#1089 Rebirth of an orchid

I entered the laundry today.

Within moments – “Oh!”

Shocked. Startled. Amazed beyond belief.

I was moved even.

It was about the Phalaenopsis plant. Rather, to you and me and most Tom, Dick and Nancy’s, the orchid. MY orchid. The plant that had been gifted to us when baby girl was born, the plant I had kept alive… until recently.

Until the move.

I am honestly not sure if it has bloomed since we moved house. Last summer, despite it being next to a window, I don’t recall seeing it blossom once, NOT ONCE… it soon moved to a less prominent position, but still by a window, and still facing the same side of the house as it was before… only it was in a different room. The laundry.

I was hopeful for so long. This plant held ties with baby girl’s arrival. Sure, it’s miraculous to keep these things growing beyond a few years. Plants die, ndoor potted ones more so… I get it.

But this one I COULD NOT LET GO OF.

I watered it. Gave it food. Trimmed some dead leaves and branches from it. With no change and the soil becoming more like sand than dirt, I started to contemplate throwing it away.

Again… I just couldn’t. I left it there in the laundry, facing the window, with dust settling on the leaves… thinking one day, I would do something with it.

I just didn’t know what.

So to walk in today and find this…

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What? My orchid was alive? Reborn from brittle soil when I least expected it, its seed lying dormant for the longest time, waiting, just waiting, for the right combination of circumstances to spring forth…

I honestly, clapped with glee. Got teary. I am so glad I didn’t give up.

You all know what this means. I may not throw out a plant now, NEVER EVER EVER.

Because you never know if a seed of hope is lying around somewhere, just waiting.

Waiting…

#1016 Her boldness

‘Gee she’s a handful.’

That was my thought this afternoon. Another Monday, another swimming lesson. Baby girl was in the lane with another girl and two boys.

4 this week. It was full.

I watched her as she splashed deliberately when the teacher drew near. She jumped up and down repeatedly, bobbing into the water wholeheartedly, her entire head disappearing from view.

When they had to push off from one side, she took off prematurely, and the teacher, for what I observed was about the 6th time that day, said “baby girl, go back, not yet.”

The others kids stood there – taking off when requested. Sitting patiently. Responding when spoken to.

And here baby girl was, kicking her feet wildly as other kids swam up to her end of the lane, giving them a good mouth full of foam.

She was a handful.

I watched her – silently praising the teacher for being so calm, while I was also alert, waiting for baby girl to look over to me up at the benches, so I could wag my finger at her, and tell her to listen to the teacher by pointing to my ear.

She didn’t look.

I thought about her character. I looked at the other kids. She was so full on! She couldn’t sit still! Sure, she was a tad younger than them, therefore their maturity was perhaps a tad more advanced…

But why couldn’t she just, listen?

Wait a minute, I suddenly asked myself. What was she doing wrong?

She was swimming…. YES.

She was listening… YES.

She was partaking in all of the swim class activities… YES.

She was being nice to the other kids… YES.

So then why did I feel a need to shush her? Stop her? Keep her still?

I suddenly realised, I was wrong.

I didn’t want to do ANY of those things to her.

Baby girl, is BOLD. The world will try to dim her light as she grows up, just as it does so for everyone else.

Why should her Mum then be adding to that shadow?

So what if she shrieks a little too enthusiastically?

So what if she is splashing all over the damn place (it is a bloody swimming pool)?

So what if she takes off too early because she is too keen and loves swimming too much?

SO WHAT?

I want my girl to have a voice.

I want my girl to be passionate.

I want my girl to be expressive.

I want her to have fun.

And she achieves all that by being BOLD. Loud. Flashy. In your face.

And I realised, so she should. 

Why should she live in the box? Adhere to the straight and narrow. Tell me… what has the ‘straight and narrow approach’ ever achieved?

I want her to nurture the fire in her belly, promote that kick in her step, and move forward through life knowing she can do and say and be whoever the hell she wants.

Without anyone wagging their finger at her 😉

And if that means being a splashing, loud and over-enthusiastic child, then SO BE IT.

I sat there smiling for the rest of the class. And when the teacher put her hand up high at the end of the lesson for the kids to try reach it for a high-five, when baby girl launched at her and water spray went everywhere…

I giggled and put my hand over my mouth. World, watch out.

#1014 Scaling heights and shedding fears at Faber

I remember going skiing with my sister and her friends when I was about 16.

It was then that I had to face my fear of steep inclines. A fear I didn’t even know I really had until then.

I had these long narrow skis on for the first time in my life, and after becoming quickly bored by the amateur kiddie slope, I knew I had to move on to something more challenging.

But the next step up was actually down down down… a slope that seemed dangerously steep.

It probably wasn’t. Being next in the skiing procession, it likely was a realistic step 2. But for me terror gripped my heart and made my arms and legs go numb at the prospect of going down it, and it wasn’t just from the snow.

I must have expressed my fear to my sister then – I wanted to ski, go down, do something… but it was so damn steep.

She gave me some sage advice. Advice that helped me through that moment, and advice that you can apply to almost any overwhelming situation in life:

“Just look at the space in front of you. Don’t worry about the next 10 metres, or even try looking all the way down the slope – just keep your eyes in front of your feet.”

I was completely shitting myself, but following her lead, did as I was told.

I made it. Sure, I fell over myself awkwardly a few times, but soon I was sailing down, swerving left and right, and making sure my eyes were safely trained on that small space in front of me, that small space I knew I could accomplish.

Little skiing steps.

I had to overcome a similar fear today… but this one involved looking UP.

It’s been 5 years since my last writing workshop/class, an activity that was severely overdue for this creative head. I headed over to the Allen and Unwin East Melbourne office to partake in a Faber Writing Academy one-day course.

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I absolutely loved every moment of it. The interactivity, the encouragement. The shared and similar ideas, sharp proof that I was on the right track. The writing space provided, and of course, the highly sought after, terrifying feedback.

Wooo.

I can honestly say that once the day was done, I felt with all of my being, that I was definitely on my lifelong path. With so much upheaval this past year, uncertainty and confusion being such a prevalent theme in my life, to find that what I had always known and hoped for, was definitely the path I had to take, the path that was for me, was a true joy to realise.

How did I know?

Just the way you know in the feelings that emerge from such an experience.

Like when you have custard for the first time and you go “mmm.”

Or when you hear a new song and straight off you KNOW you’re going to play it until all those around you start to despise you.

The way you feel when you find love, and that little voice tells you “watch out – this is it.”

It’s that same knowing.

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I’ll leave you with one of my writing exercises of the day that we did off-the-cuff… it tells you more about my journey today in ways that I simply can’t at this heady midnight hour.

Theme? A journal entry. Why, I know ‘a little’ about that 😉

 

THE JOURNAL ENTRY EXERCISE

I thought I had given myself ample time to get there.

6am start.

Local café brekkie. My cappuccino had a leaf design in it, the way all hipster cafes do nowadays, and it reminded me of my most favourite emblem, the tree.

Tall, looming and abundant in nature, its roots expansive and far-reaching, to places our eyes were not privy to.

The tree was the symbol of growth and renewal, and the way in which it bared its leaves for all to see, still stood grandly amidst its shedding, and then found the innate courage to sprout green all over again, was an inspiration to me.

It was to be a similar fate for me that day.

The unveiling of myself. My deepest and most personal stories, a torchlight shone brightly on, magnified and criticised for all my like-minded peers to see.

There’s nothing like being in a room of those who do what you do, to instil the greatest sense of doubt in oneself.

Suddenly, I had 10 minutes to go and this huge mother of an escalator LOOMED before me. What? No one had told me I would have to scale those insane heights?

I clutched the rubber rail to my left at the train station, staring at the man’s orange tiger on his sneaker in front of me, willing the mechanical steps to go faster.

But because I had a fear of steep inclines, of course it took its time.

My journey to the top, body leaning forward at a 90 degree angle, was a brutal one. I couldn’t even look back down to the depths of the platform below to see how far I’d come.

I think I’ll take the lift on my way down.

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And that is why I am a never-ending… work in progress.

 

#907 For the love of Baking

I am quite pleased with myself. Pleased in that I don’t despair too much when faced with the task of cooking or baking, whether for myself or for others.

I don’t despair, because… I enjoy it. A LOT.

It is another avenue of my creativity coming forth. It requires thought, planning, precision… but just like the creative process, it also takes intuition, passion, and a healthy dose (perhaps a few tablespoons?) of spontaneity.

I’ve been baking a bit this week in the lead up to my nephew’s 16th birthday bash this weekend. And although I know I don’t mind cooking, the thought of making so much was initially, a bit of a worry in my mind.

How would I get it done?

Would it go as planned?

Would any hiccups occur along the way?

Amazingly, so far, none. Today was the last baking-fest, and each day that I had to prepare or tend to the oven, I’d put on a cd, turn it RIGHT UP, and begin the creative process in my kitchen.

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I have found real happiness and delight in making things with passion. With heartfelt intention. While singing out loud to Queen/Prince/Sia/Michael Jackson, other creative geniuses filling the rooms of our house with meaningful music.

I guess I’ve realised whole-heartedly, how important the act of baking is to me.

It brings people together. It carries on age-old cooking traditions and recipes.

It is magic, at your fingertips. Much like writing 😉

And it creates love and unity. Nothing is more rewarding that your Hubbie and daughter stealing baked goods that you’ve created for a party, knowing how happy it is making their tummies.

I do it, for the ♥

And that is how the magic comes in. You must do everything, out of ♥♥♥

#879 Wiggly World Cup

The Wiggly tradition continued today.

Us BIG kids (sis and I), took the little kids along the beachside for yet another mid-year intimate (1500 kind of ‘intimate’) Wiggles Show. It was amazing as usual, and every time I see this group I just love them more and more.

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The karma they are getting from making so many children and their parents happy… that power will be able to bring peace on earth in the near future.

It is, truly something special.

And although there were new memories made, like baby girl handing her bouquet of flowers to Lachy, and my nephew getting his own special signed card from all of the Wiggles themselves… something else is at the forefront of my mind, a small moment, that is actually a pretty BIG moment, that nonetheless has me feeling super grateful and happy.

It also, like the Wiggles shows we attend so reliably, has to do with tradition, family, and love… but this moment can perhaps only happen every 4 years, and even then it is not guaranteed.

This lack of opportunity and the fact of pure chance, is what trumps the other moments of the day.

I am of course, talking about the World Cup 🙂

I was awake early this morning for yet another nail biter, though I didn’t anticipate it was going to turn out that way. Croatia were playing against England, and they were down 1-0.

From the way they were playing, I honestly didn’t have high hopes. I was feeling under the weather, super tired, and was questioning if I should have a TV in the bedroom rather than only the lounge room, just so I could fall asleep easier after the fact… when Croatia suddenly levelled when they scored a goal.

Immediately, things changed. Fast forward to extra time, and they scored yet another goal, bringing them in front of England.

I lost my mind.

Goals are hard to come by in soccer. I jumped up on the couch, throwing the cushion around, whispering “yes yes yes!” in a high-pitched tone. Hubbie had just joined me for his breakfast before heading off to work, and looked incredulously between my out-of-control display, to the TV, his luck at having walked in on exactly the right moment to see the winning goal.

There were 11 minutes to go. It wasn’t over. But like I said, goals are hard to come by in soccer.

As we sat there, Hubbie and I, staring at the screen in stupefied shock and all of my World Cup dreams realising before me, we heard some movement behind a door.

We stared at the closed door off towards the bedroom side of the house, and then saw as the handle slowly turned, and baby girl stick her head out from behind it.

She had found us. My celebration as quiet as I had tried to be, had woken her. It was super-early for her to be up, but there was no chance in hell I was going to put her back to bed when there was history-making soccer to be watched.

So in true responsible parenting-style… she stayed up with me.

I rugged her up with throws and blankets, she stared at Hubbie at I in a kind of shock at us sitting on the couch and reacting to TV as strongly as we were, so early in the morning… and then as I explained to her that Croatia were winning, and what was going on, and that Mummy didn’t always get up at crazy hours to jump on the couch over a ball on the TV… she relaxed a little, started mucking about a bit more, and took it all in.

And it was then, that I realised.

She is almost 5. This will surely be her first World Cup Soccer memory. Walking in to find Mum and Dad excited and Mum losing her shit on the couch, over one of the countries she resides from.

And that there. What a beautiful memory. And it means so much to me now, as I know what it will mean to her in the future. Because I’ve had those same memories, and I continue to.

As I’ve said it before… the outcome really doesn’t matter… because it’s the memories that WIN over everything ♥♥♥

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Photo by Davor Denkovski on Unsplash

#839 Saturday night friend vibes

The night started off as a catch-up between old friends.

Dinner, antipasto, and a fireplace beside which baby girl could draw.

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Ahh, so soothing for a cold Winter’s night in early June.

And as with old friends, things can change suddenly…

Delightful tea mugs…

To cuddle time between bestie and baby girl…

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To then full-fledged passionate essays about the greatest artists of all time as shown on the YouTube channel!

Shouting! Standing from sheer inability to sit still! Fist bumps! We went from an easy cruise down a scenic coastal road to speeding down a tight and narrow laneway at over 100km an hour!

Success in a night is evident in that the vibe can change from mellow and easy to loud and boisterous, and yet the love, respect and admiration for one another in the room still remains.

It was one of those “we’re leaving now” nights… where we left 3 hours after the first mention.

But coming home late from a great night out, is a problem I am happy to have 🙂 ♥

 

#811 His shoes were made for dancing

He didn’t dance for a LONG time.

This was a big deal. Dancing was Hubbie’s forte. The way he effortlessly and magically glided to the folk music, his feet seemingly floating in the air, arms waving about in focused movement as if conducting the people and arena around him…

The love and passion were so evident on his face when he danced like this. It was pure joy and happiness for the music manifested, and the expression came forth as his body responded to the music, from the beam stretching from cheek to cheek, all the way to his tip-toes.

It’s all about moving on your tip-toes. There is NO OTHER way to do it, he would say.

So I knew then when his Dad died, that he would stay off the dancing for a while.

Because, not doing the things you love, as passionate as you might be about them, is one of the natural processes of grieving. Hell, you don’t want to do barely anything, let alone something that makes you happy, or used to make you happy, when you are so sad.

It was harder in his case to even contemplate dancing… because it had been a great love he and his Dad shared.

Father and Son. The image epitome. Side by side, arms outstretched, touching shoulders, as they moved in perfect unison, in big grand movements, sweeping their arms wide as they turned around, and kicked and jumped and paraded for all to see.

It was the perfect image of familial bliss. And it was.

But after a year of grieving, Hubbie still couldn’t do it. He forced himself here and there, but there was just no love for the act of dancing…

He stopped dancing. Cold turkey. Just, GONE.

It made me so sad. Here was a part of Hubbie that brought him so much joy, and yet he wasn’t doing it anymore, so strong was the loss and unhappiness in his heart.

“Do it for your Dad,” I would suggest gently. “He would be so proud to see you dancing on in his name.”

But my words were empty. The intention was meaningless, because the person behind the meaning, was not here anymore.

This year will mark 5 years from his Dad’s passing. And though there were some small moments over the past year where he danced here, he danced there, with some substance of meaning, a breadth of the passion he used to hold, signifying a subtle change to the Hubbie of old maybe occurring… tonight something happened.

He had the music on before we headed out, and was dancing around the house, “warming up.”

He made sure to have his dancing shoes on.

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And when a suitable song sang out over the dance floor, he took me… and he also took the arm of his Dad’s peer – a close relative and friend of his father’s, a fellow music lover and dancing companion – and he said “you’re coming with me. In place of my Dad.”

WOW.

I was on one side of Hubbie, looking over as the two of them made light of their feet. They danced and jumped around, hopping and skipping, and turning around with grins from ear to ear.

His late father’s peer stood proudly beside Hubbie, honoured he had been chosen to dance in place of such an important and influential person from Hubbie’s life.

And in that moment as I glanced over at the two of them making a scene, causing a dancefloor stir, and galloping around jovially, something in my heart tugged, and I teared up.

There was that smile.

There was the skip in his step.

The lightness of movement had returned.

He was dancing again, full gusto.

My Hubbie, was back ♥♥♥