the name of me. the name of you.

And these are the thoughts.

I’m working on a little pet project at the moment that’s both (personal) and (with good reason). My reasons for them aren’t important here.

The thing that it’s come down to, is this. I’ve shared a lot of my life online. That has seriously declined over the past year, and I’m way more objective about it nowadays than I ever have been. I’ve become way more protective over my life. Sheena will laugh at this. A lot. I’ve always been a paranoid android about it, and had really good reasons for it. I let go a little a while ago, but now, I suppose with age and wisdom, I feel more of a need to reign it in.

And I do, and I’m happy with that.

I do, however, have an almost daily need to do things anonymously. More on that another day. Nothing nefarious, I just sometimes wish I could say certain things online and not have people know it was me.

I also battle to label myself. No labels actually really fit, for me. And I don’t like putting labels on other people. Shoving things into little neat boxes is a principle I can use in real life, with actual objects, but never with people. So, I’m not your typical mommy blogger, and I’m not your typical life blogger, and I’m not a lot of things. But, what I am, was, and who I aspire to be, is pretty defined for me. It’s firmly set in my head and I’m not ashamed of it in any way.

I know that there are things I love, and there are things I despise. I know, too, that these are adequately reflected in the way I raise my child. And, there again, there are things I’ll share online, and there are things I won’t. I won’t tell the world her secret life dream, but I will tell you how she danced in the sunshine with me the other day. I’ll tell you what she did to make me proud, but I never will tell you what she did that irritated me. Note – there are VERY few times where I get irritated with my daughter. I’m stupendously lucky that way, and I have no cotton-picking idea how I got so lucky. She really never requires much discipline. I hope against hope that that’s a fantastic combination of nature and nurture, but I actually think it’s got a lot to do with the fact that…I have a fantastically good kid.

(yes, I know, as a parent, we all say it…our kid is the best, our kid is the brightest etc etc…)

Anyway, my point here is, the name of me. By putting together the name of me, I realise that in years to come, her name will be tied to that same name. In that respect then, I actually, in some way, pave the way for how she will experience the online world. That’s a big thing, really. Who do you think initially shaped your view of the online world? She’ll enter the online world and already have people who know her through me. And that will be warm and welcoming, and exciting. At the same time, I worry it could feel restrictive upon her, once she hits teenagedom. That time where she enters the online world as herself, inches nearer every day, and I’m very aware of it.

But, seriously, I’ll worry about the adolescent years when I have to. Right now, I’m way too focused on enjoying every single moment of this sixth year. This sixth year of brilliance, independence and unbridled learning.

My main concern for her is that she never feels that pressure to be labelled, or the pressure to label others. I want her to live and experience her life as free to think and experience. I want for her to go into the world with a positive viewpoint, and a secure sense of self.

I realise, even more, every day, that all I can do to help her have this, above all things, is love her.

I have a few thoughts…

1. This song, today. I’ve been thinking alot about world events, because of a friend, who brings much to light. I’m keeping this song in my head alot at the moment, because it calms me. And reminds me.

2. Today is 19 months with my precious, wonderful Shmooshy. Lucky, lucky girl, I am.

3. I’ve been up since 2am. I’ve mentioned this previously. I watched my kid sleep. I do that a lot, I know. And one day, she’s going to wake up and shout at me for it. I hope not. But, for the moment, I love the quiet observance of watching my sacred blessing snooze. She kicks in her sleep, like I did as a child, and sprawls her way across the bed like it’s a land to be explored overnight. I was exactly the same as a child, and, apparently, I still am. She wraps herself within the covers, tightly, or throws them off sleepily, dependent on the heat or cold of the evening. That quiet observation, in a dim light, there is so much peace for me in those moments. Lucky, lucky mama, I am.

4. I’m trying very hard not to obsess as neurotically as done before. In a way, that’s quite a funny resolution – obsess over the need to not obsess over things as intensely as I always have. I like to think I’m just more aware of my tendency to be overly affected. I honestly envy unaffected people. People who can shrug off distemper, or carry on regardless, in the face of disappointment. Mentally, I feel like I’m training myself to get over things a little more easily. The littlest disappointments don’t pinch me as much. That’s progress for the little girl who still thinks she fat because someone she didn’t know said so when she was nine.



my cynicism is gone.

I’ve never really been one for fairytales. Yes, I read them to my daughter, and I let her immerse herself in the world of princesses and dragons, and I’m not afraid to let her believe in gallant princes on white horses. It feeds her imagination – one that so grows every day.

But when it comes to real life, the reality in which I live, I’m not party to living for them. Yes, I get whimsical (especially on very special days), and yes, I allow myself to daydream. Sometimes the best ideas come from those mental meanderings down Dreamside Avenue. This piece is one of them.

Anyway, I’m cynical, at best, realistic, to a point, and often curb my own cravings for dreams by snapping myself back into reality, by making lists of things that need to get done, or reading the news. It’s awful to do, but I have to kick my own bum sometime. The thing, my point is, is that, when it comes down to it, I’m a hard-nosed realist who doesn’t make space for dreams in day to day life. It makes me question everything, and seek to understand every nuance of a statement or situation. I deal in bare facts, and accept them as best I can.

In fact, I’ve told you this before.

But, oh boy, my cynical dragon is slowly being slain.

Unbelievably, at the time when I was at my most cynical, an absolute  prince walked into my life. And there he’s stayed, for nineteen months so far.

And, with him, came a whole troop of heroes and heroines, each one of them singularly and tremendously spectacular. This troop of loved ones, have become like family over this time, and I cannot imagine life without them, not for one second. So too, has his family, who are, to me, closer than I could ever have imagined, and so absolutely wonderful to love. And they love us, through and through. They are all woven into the fine texture of every day. We are so very, very blessed.

So, yesterday, my best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Grace. Now, what you don’t know, world, is what I know. I know that this child has been dreamt of for longer than I can tell you. I know that she’s the most anticipated and strongly longed for baby, that I have ever known. That’s not my story to tell, though. My story is this…

That, in the midst of waiting to hear of her safe arrival, I sat on my balcony, oscillating between pure glee at the notion that this dream was coming true, and pure fear over “how it was all going”. By the time I heard of her safe arrival, and listened to her father speak of her tiny beauty, my heart was sitting somewhere in my throat, and my nerves were more shot than ever. I’ve never so desperately waited on a text message, as I did yesterday evening.

When I woke up for no reason at 2am today, for once, I didn’t lie there worrying about life/bank balances/work demands/the eternal am-I-a-good-mother questioning…

I lay there, cuddled up in bed, and swooned over pictures, looked around at my life and smiled. There was no nervous tension, no grand designs of “how on earth am I going to get out of a pickle”, no furrowed brow over things I have zero control over. I watched my own daughter sleep, and marvelled at how quickly she’s grown, and just how much love she has in her little body, and the amazing dreams that live in her head. All I had was peace.

Dear Grace, you are barely a day old, and you’ve got me believing that fairytales do come true. Well done. 🙂

I cannot wait to meet you.


The UM. 1 Year.

It’s been a year, mom.

It’s been a year when I’ve had to grow up. People say you don’t really grow up until your parents are gone.

From when I was very little,  you taught me that, in everything, there comes balance.

And here I am. I got Cameron, and then Dad went on. I found love, and then I lost you.

Yin and Yang. Balance.

I won’t lie. I’ve been feeling like an orphan for a while now. But, the thing that stops me sinking into that abyss of self-detriment is that notion of balance. Yes, I’ve lost you and dad but, I have gained more than I ever imagined over that time. Whilst I do not have my parents, I do have a family of my own. The closest approximation to the homely texture of bloodlines, that I could possibly wish for.

The one thing that stings in my heart, mom, is that you and Dad have not been able to witness this joy in my life. This all-encompassing love and its ramifications, attachments and journey. You witnessed the hell of my teenage years and my aimless wanderings through young adulthood but, I feel like you’re missing the good part. The part you were hoping I would end up living. The part you kept believing was my future, but were never given all that much evidence that it would be.

Mom, I want you to know, that to the best of my ability, I have done and am doing the things you told me to. The only thing I cannot face, still, is finishing your book. I feel incapable, unworthy, just thinking about it. I’ve read it. I’ve read all the things you wrote. I’ve read them, over and over again. Some of them…well, one of them, is stuck on my fridge and I read it every day. It was a letter you wrote to me when I was thirteen. It’s relevant to me every single day, and I’m wholly reminded of how blessed I am to have had parents who wrote to me. Who gave me a legacy of words, and who passed on a history of rich memory and absolute treasure.

I really, truly hope I am half as good a parent as you and Dad were to me. I really, really hope I am.

I thank you, daily, for being the inspirational parents you were to me. I know I was not the easiest journey. Moreover, I know you wouldn’t have changed a single day of that journey because it brought me to where I am today. I know I wouldn’t either. I love that you gave me the power to stand firm for myself, and I thank you for being that rolemodel to me. I thank you for believing in me with your whole heart. I thank you for believing in your values with all your life’s power.

I’m trying to write this without crying, can you tell? We generally suck at that kind of thing. We cry at everything. Television weddings, especially. 🙂

Mom, Cameron has grown. Mom, the most important thing I know I can do with Cameron is create memories with her. So I try my very hardest. I want her to grow up believing that every day is special and different. I want her to have that enthusiasm that she shows, where each new day is an absolute treasure, and that there are smiles, even when it’s raining.

I wish you could be here some days. Yesterday, when she saw a rainbow for the very first time. The other day, when she drew me as her mom for the first time, properly. The picture was full of hearts. Oh how I cried and cried over that. How I absolutely cried. How lucky did I get? She knows that I love her and she loves me. Mom, she knows that I love her. Thank you for teaching me how to let my child know that I love her. I learnt it from you.

I learnt how to love from you. The greatest lesson of all life, I learnt from my greatest heroes. Even more blessed, I was born from them. Could I have been any more blessed?

I hope you know this. I really hope you do. I hope you know that, through all the tribulations we went through as a family, we know love.

Every time I dance like a madperson around the house. Every time I make your first granddaughter giggle. Every time I stand in front of the stove making dinner. Every time I sit down and play with Cameron. Every time I tuck her into bed at night.

Every time I breathe as a mother, and every time I hope like hell that I’m doing a good job. Every time I get a sign to say that I’m doing okay. Every time I start to try again. Every time I do not give up. Every time I start over. Every time I make my peace with what life has given me. Every time I celebrate my blessings.

Every time. Every time, they are a tribute to you.

I love you and miss you daily.

There are these little things

I “took a moment” this weekend. An actual 48-hour moment, to be with my kid, hang out, talk, have fun, shop, have our hair cut.

Ah, man. Her energy and conversation know no boundaries. Her love and excitement for even the little things of life…these character attributes are what make my heart swell.

I’ve spent most of this weekend just listening to her, talking with her, discussing the large life questions of “why don’t we have unicorns for real?”, right up to the intricate and essential topic of shoes…

“mom, we’ve talked about those shoes”.




For all the things we are not rich in, we are immeasurably endowed with love.


I’ve been thinking all day about what to write on this day.

It’s been side-stepping me, to be honest. I went from not wanting to say anything, to wanting to say everything, to just waiting for this day to pass.

For those of you reading, I apologize. I am not my normal sunny self today but, this day will pass and I’m sure you’ll understand. For the moment, though, I’d like to write to my mom.

Dear Mom,

Today’s your birthday. Funny. It crept up on me without me taking much notice until, this morning, I clocked my calendar over and there it was. It’s always been remarkable to me that both you and dad were born on the 27th of different months. A funny coincidence, probably and, that would be a nice thought if I believed in coincidences. I don’t anymore. I just believe that things happen as they are meant to, and even when they are untenably crap, they do pass. Even more importantly, when wonderful things happen, one should savour them, capture them and envelop oneself in the mystery of that moment. Moments pass too quickly, and sadly, life does too.

Yours passed way too quickly for my liking but, there is nothing I can do to change that. All I can do is live on, and hope, somehow, that I’m making you proud.

It’s Sunday, and I’m sitting at my computer with tea and a cigarette. A true Jenkin artform, that is. We’re brilliant at it. Heh. Yes, I know, I need to stop smoking. I will when I’m ready. You know this about me. I’ll only do things when I am good and ready. You knew that from when I was potty-training. Teehee.

Mom, Cameron lost her first tooth. I wasn’t at home, I was at parent’s evening. Paul covered that life event for me and he did it so damn well. Lucky, lucky, lucky me. When I was creeping into Cam’s room to nick the tooth, and replace it with a fairy’s blessings of five Rand, your voice resonated in my head. Once, when I was little, I heard you filling up our Christmas stockings hung on our door handles. When I asked who was there, you said “shut up and go back to sleep, it’s the Christmas fairy”. Thing is, mom, in my sleepy-headed state, I believed that. In fact, if there’s one thing I can thank you for, and wish to carry on with Cameron, it is the childhood belief in fairies and pixies, and an encouraged imagination. Forget that, encouraged is the wrong word. Absolutely stimulated and nurtured imagination. I’m proud that she’s obsessed with mermaids, and has created a whole notion of the wild mermaids who live deep in the ocean, complete with expressions and fearsome eyes. I’m proud that she lives for stories, and loves the written word, even though she’s still just learning to read. Cam loves rhyme, and she picks it out of every day, or inserts it into conversation. She high-fives me when she gets it right, and giggles when we make words rhyme with pooh. It’s the silly things but, they are the ultimately important.

I’m happy, mom. I’ve done nearly all the things you told me to do, just before you died. That hazy afternoon, with Cam snuggled in with you, we talked and I knew what I had to do. I’m thankful for the opportunity to feel that through. Some people don’t get it, and if anything, I am grateful that I had that afternoon. It was just us, and I think I learnt more then, become more sure-footed then, than I have ever been in my entire life. Thank you for helping me to make and live a plan of action that would enable me to reach a quiet happiness that has become a theme of my life. I know it’s what you and Dad always wanted for me to have, but knew you couldn’t give it to me outright. You knew I had to make it on my own, and live towards it. Now I live towards that theme every single day, no matter what that day brings. And, I won’t stop, nor let anyone derail me from that.

That’s made me a little unpopular with some people and, I realise now, that they’re actually not that important. Thank you for that clarity, and ability to suss out a way through difficulties. To do that, with a smile on my face and a heart at rest – that is your greatest gift to me.

Grief is such a funny thing, mom. It doesn’t stop you from living, you just live differently. You never get used to it, it just becomes part of what you do. In a way, that’s liberating to know. I never knew that before.

Paul just arrived to give me flowers. Bless. Just because he knew today would be hard for me. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

I hope you’ve had a good day, mom. Whatever it is that you’re up to, or not. Who knows really. All I hope is that you’re proud, you’re happy and that you’re at peace.

Happy Birthday to the UM. Tell dad you’re off duty tonight and he should make his famous omelette for dinner. And that he can be in charge of washing up afterwards. 😛


Dear you two

Dear you two,

I’ve been privileged enough to wake up to both of your faces a lot recently. Waking up that way makes every day more than okay. It makes it brilliant, no matter what the rest of the day holds, or throws at me.

I listened to you two, this morning, talking about anything and everything that crossed your wonderful minds and I, I still pre-proper-coffee just listened and smiled.

You two with the silly talk. You two with the laughing banter. You two with the squeezes and hand-holding. You two, always on my mind. I’m always thinking about you, you know. Bedtime stories and happy smiles.

You, you the bigger one. You were there when the tooth popped out. I missed that moment because I was being a responsible parent and looking at schools. You were there and you dealt with it in a way that just simply awed me. Even when you’re tired, you smile at me and hold my hand. Lucky lady, me.

You, you the littler one. We lay in the sunshine reading yesterday and cuddling. Nothing else in the world disturbed us as we counted fairies and wound our way around mazes in pictures from your new almost-favourite book. When you’re asleep at night, I check in on you, and grin. Lucky mama, me.

I marvel. At one point in my life, I thought I would never know love. And now, now I have two loves. Both hilariously funny, both marvellous and clever.

Lucky lady. Lucky mama. Lucky me.

On standing up for yourself.

Dear Cameron, on standing up for yourself.

You came home today hurt. You’d fought with a friend. It had not been pleasant, and your little heart was hurting. My mild and mannered child, distraught over this unpleasant interaction.

We lay on the floor and talked it through, like we do our every day. You cried and told me how sad you were, and I held you, wishing I could make the whole world go away and play nicely.

You’re five, nearly six, yet, your tenacity and personality is already well-formed and rounded off with a large serving of independence. You’ve had much change to adjust to, and you’ve rolled with it as we’ve moved homes, changed schools, changed routines and started some things afresh. Of all the things I am about you, my love and pride know no boundaries.

Fighting with people you care about is heart-wrenching. Whilst this interaction, in the bigger picture of life, is minute and will be forgotten soon enough, to you…to you it is the world today.

My heart ached for you, in ways that both resonated and rushed to protect. I’ve been that kid, Cam. I was that kid growing up, most of the way through and for a long while after. I’ve felt that hurt and I got through it eventually. It made me stronger. It enabled me to take on life’s challenges and to laugh off the jibing of people. Thankfully, nowadays, none of them matter to me. One day, this won’t matter to you either. That I can absolutely promise you.

But, for now, I want to applaud you, my brave little girl. You told me your story, cried and we went through the steps of what one is supposed to do when a friend is mean to you. I’m satisfied that you did everything in your power to try and resolve the situation. As much as a five-year old could. We talked and we’ve taken this situation up and then…then your tenacity and ability to want to see a problem through on your own awes me…

You say:

“mama, it’s okay, i will try again tomorrow to be friends. i will try and sort it out and carry on”.

My sweet Cam. My sweet and wonderful Cam. You astound me. You astound me so much with your commitment to wanting to resolve a situation, no matter how small in life, on your own. You simply awe me, my precious girl.

I want to tell you something. Something that my mom told me when I too was little, and tackling some hurt that I had as a teenager. I quote this for you straight from my mama’s letter to me, because it lives on our fridge and I read it every day. It says:

Knocks of all kind come at you, from unexpected angles and unexpected people, at any time of your life.

Make of yourself an inner fortress, which nothing and noone can penetrate. Do this by whatever means necessary…personally carry it out. Resolve that nobody and nothing can penetrate your inner calmness…Be very sure that the knocks and stumbles that you are finding hard to deal with now in your young life are preparing you for the “maybe” harder ones in your life to come. See them as a testing ground. You will overcome them…

Now, I realise that that’s a ginormous life lesson to learn for you, at five. But, when I see how you deal with these little life-knocks, and how you’ve resolved to try to sort out the situation on your own, I am proud. In your actions and words, I see my mommy and my daddy, and baby, mama cries because they would be so proud of you. They are so, so proud of you. I promise you that. I know it like I know how your head feels against my chest. I know it like I know you.

Life’s knocks come and go, I promise. And EveGranny was a very wise lady, wasn’t she? We are very blessed to have her as our own.

My precious daughter. The other night, you came to me and said you missed EveGranny, that you think it would be nice if you could tell her all about your new school, and she could visit us at our new house. I cuddled you and reminded you how much she loved you, and how proud she was of you and your cousins. And, remember when we spoke about genetics and how everybody inherits characteristics from their mom and dad and grandparents?…

(yes, readers, Cam uses words like characteristics, awesome, right? right!)

Well, my sweet Cam, that tenacity that you have. That desire to want to see a problem through? You got that. You got that from EveGranny.

With love and mamapride that has no bounds,