36 | 72

This coming Saturday, I will mark my mother’s 72nd birthday.

Except it’s not her 72nd birthday, because she’s not here to celebrate it.

But her children are.

I am.

I’m turning 36 this year.

That halfway point in our ages hit me as I walked up the stairs yesterday afternoon, puzzling over my priorities and choices, life tasks and duties. I had the same thoughts as my mother probably did at this age, and probably a whole bunch more.

I pick up on all the similarities between us now – where she made choices in her life, and now I see those same ones reflected back in my own. I untangle the ones I haven’t made her way, and glue even more stickily the ones I have. Hell, I see her in everything. Everything I do. From the way I talk to my dogs, to the way I parent, to the way I can sign people off from my life when it is required. That steeliness? That alleged flippancy you see from me when I am actually just implementing self-preservation?

I get it all from her. But the underside of hurt that I bury underneath it burns the same. Like the fire in her eyes that I knew could engulf a room or embrace a stranger.

That fire, the one that lived within her but she never extinguished, no matter how many times people and life tried to hose it down. That fire always had a purpose, and a place. I used to feel pity for people who met it, when they irked it awake. I used to feel great shame for them when they would hurt someone she loved and cared for. That fire, that begins with grace and ends in obliteration… I’m still learning how to manage it.

And as I realised all of this. I also remembered that I will be the age,this year, that my mother was when she gave birth to me.

I am ever aware that, at this age — the part where she gave me life — I need to use the flame more, the way she did and did not.

I need to carry on learning to choose my anger, and find my answers.

But in many ways, as I realise this halfway point, I see my own mortality too, and question the impact of my own life. Have I done enough? Have I done the things I loved? Do I do them every day? Am I helpful? Am I useful? Am I changing the things that need to be changed? Am I learning?

My mother was an eager learner. So much so that she changed careers and paths more times than I can count. She was always reading, always learning, and never scared to encourage someone else to flex their mental mettle.

As I look at that halfway point, the strange one that hit me as I walked up the stairs of my house that she never got to see, never got to know, never got to feel. She never will know the rhythm of the home I live in, that my little family created together. But underneath the rhythm of our family, there lives a beating drum that has never stopped in tempo. Just as she beat the drum for our family, she taught me how to continue it. Beneath the rhythm of this home, with crazy dogs, to do lists and funny magnets, askew on the fridge… if I listen very carefully, I can still hear that drum.

Today, as I walk up the stairs and contemplate that halfway point, I remember her too. And I hope like anything, that you’re proud.

Happy Birthday, UM.

The Extraordinary Thing.

You spend the major portion of your adult life with a backup plan in your pocket. This isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Life isn’t Monopoly. It’s a survival tactic that’s sewn into the fabric of your personality. Then your life does a kick-flip and you realise that you need that back-up plan less and less, because the plan you have before you is actually better. Sure, it takes hard work, learning and a bunch of really difficult curveballs to create, but this one is pretty darn cool, so you’ll stick with it. Eventually, you throw away the back-up plan because you haven’t updated it in years.

I’ve never been a huge idealist when it comes to marriage. Even just typing the word still feels foreign to me. I always just found it an impossible idea. In fact, it’s something that I had pegged as an experience I would not be going through, and I was totally okay with that. P knew that too – I like our life, with the homes, the dogs and the kid in-between. Were we to stay like this for the next 5000 years, I’d probably die from an overdose of satisfaction in my dotage.

But if there’s one thing life has taught me about this man, it’s this – that I should never expect the expected. Six years ago, when I thought he had come over to feed me baked goods and talk through a problem he was enduring, he got down on one knee with a post-it note and asked me to be his girlfriend.

Since then, it’s been six years of surprises. Of leaning, learning and loving. Of homes, dogs, parent-teacher meetings, take out menus, spreadsheets and me doubting myself, while he doubted me not at all. He has believed for, and in, me, far beyond myself, and far beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

I’d arranged a special starter for our anniversary dinner for him. Something he’d been wanting to try, and that I hoped would raise a giggle. We’ve done years of HUGE surprises for each other, and years of smaller ones. I thought this would be a very cool one.

After he finished eating and we were giggling and laughing, he engineered a conversation with my daughter that made my eyebrow do the telltale arch. He asked her what she would say if he asked her for permission to marry me, and she nearly exploded in a smile and tears with a resounding yes. Then he turned the conversation to chatting about my brother because, as it turned out, he’d asked him too, earlier on that day.

And then he turned his sparkly-eyed face to me.

This funny man, who has made me laugh (mostly at myself) when life threw the biggest wads of horrible paper at me. This human, who stands up for me whenever and however he can, especially when it’s me that’s talking me down. This one. The one who saw my life as a package deal, and signed up for it, terms and conditions accepted.

With a ring in his hand and a knee on the floor, the man I’ve given the most uphill to, who has stood by me through more than anyone can imagine, asked me to be his wife.

It’s the easiest question to answer that I’ve ever been asked.

Most people get married, find a home and have children. But there’s nothing usual about us at all, so it makes sense that we do everything in a roundabout way.

As it turns out, we are the extraordinary thing. 

Love and Lunchboxes | Six Years

If you ask me what my favourite number is, I’ll tell you that it’s a multiple of 3. Usually, I plump for 12, but there’s a reason why I always live in homes whose numbers equate to a multiple of 3.

So the fact that our family turns 6 years old today is, ultimately, a very big thing to me. It’s a comfort and a delight, that started with baked goods and breaking first date rules. Oh and, of course, the post-it note, but you knew that already.

The scary thing is – this was the year that I thought would break us. At the end of last year, as we celebrated our anniversary in the midsts of moving house, changing schools and all of the craziness that went through it, I got a little scared. Generally, when you change everything about your environment, things change within you too. I have changed, you have changed, the kid in the middle of us has changed the most… but, they are good changes, and not the one I secretly feared at 2am when I couldn’t sleep. The thing is, this is the sixth year and, as it turns out – it’s been my favourite one so far.

Fast forward from five to six years in, and I’m so very aware of all the transformations our family has gone through. We’re a two dog household. We operate our lives from a place of convenience and closeness. Our routines are solid, set and sweet.

We’re even more of a team than we have ever been.


This year was tough on me for a lot of reasons, but they had to happen. The single constant that has allowed me to cling to it, has been this. This funny space where you and I meet at unheavenly hours because the dogs woke us/there’s a noise outside/I can’t sleep/you just got home. The parts where I’m bleary-eyed and hate everything. The bits where you’re being brilliant and I feel like I’m failing.

You never let me fail though – to you, I am perfectly imperfect. And yes, that includes being clueless and muddling up the lunch boxes or forgetting to cook dinner. When I panic over stupid stuff and you’re my easygoing partner in it. Between Excel spreadsheets, losing my house keys or the tell tale crash from the kitchen as I accidentally smash yet another mug to the floor. Between the noise of our days and the quiet snoozing of the nights (if we’re lucky. LOL). From my experimental cooking that scars me (haha!) to my pleas for you to just bring home takeout. Between the silly conversations and the serious talks. The parts where you let me be me, and then I come running because I just need a reminder that it’s all good. To loving each other, and to loving (or loathing!) things together.

To the every morning kiss-you-goodbye for the day, to the times where I mumble something at you when you get home late.

It’s been six years, baby. I guess we’re growing up.

Love and lunchboxes,


You Don’t Get This Back

I am always first on the line to smack heads when someone tries to give me “advice” on how to parent my child. It’s funny, but the people who pass this advice around the most, are usually people who are not parents themselves. Oh, and you never actually ask for it — it’s foisted on you like that free sample of shaving cream some enthusiastic in-store promoter just needs to give you.

Usually though, when I am seeking advice or would like some insight on something, I head on over to my child’s grandparents for their take on it. I have memories of asking my mom for advice, but that stopped about a year before she died. Not being able to ask her or my dad is something that stings so much. But, I have a network of incredible extended family who are there, and who are always willing to jump when I ask. For that, I am ever-grateful.

But there is one addendum to this rule of mine, and it’s this:

The most powerful thing anyone ever said to me about parenting was not spoken by a parent.

It was, very simply:

“You don’t get this back”.

Now, that seems like a stupid statement to you right now, but I’ll explain:

I can work, and work, and work. Work will always happen. I can get work back. I can clean, clean and clean. Things will get dirty again, and then I’ll get to clean again. I can get cleaning back.

But the moment where my daughter read her first word will never happen again. The second where she went from crawling to walking, will never happen again. The sunny morning where I watched her win all her races in sports day? That day will not come back.

That Tuesday evening where, as I walked from the lounge to the kitchen, turning away from my daughter and she finally said the word I’d been waiting a year to hear? That was a limited edition, one time only, will never happen again moment. That word was…


So you can tell me this is urgent, you can foist your deliverables upon me, and you can yell about how badly you need me. But those things are notlimited edition, one time only, moments. You’ll need me again, for something, or something new will arrive that’ll be just as important. What is urgent today will not matter in a year. I will get that back.

For me, right now, as I watch her, head buried into homework. Or I listen to her story about how Molly fought with Margaret and now they’re friends, but there was a bit of a situation over by the benches…

I know — I don’t get this back.

Also published here.

You can call me a woowoohead and that’s okay

She: “Mom I’m making a toy at school. It’s a project. I’m making a robot alien”

Me: “That’s so cool, babe. What are you going to call it?”

She: “424-424”.

Recently, my daughter’s been dreaming a lot about my mother. She has incredible grandparents on her dad’s side (the best!) and an amazing set of extended family. But, I’ve always mentally underplayed the role of my own parents in her life. Why? Because my dad wasn’t here for her growing up and my mother was only here for just under five years of it (thanks cancer, you really know how to mess up my folks’ plans of a dynasty… which they ended up having, but aren’t here to see it). 

I realise now that this is an error. Family ties aren’t based on time spent, but rather on connection. And the woowoohead part of me thinks that my daughter actually misses my mom, and my mom is, well, making herself evident.

These incidents were few and far between in the years after my mom’s death. We’d openly chat about my mom, her illness and her journey but I imagined that these conversations would fade over time. They did, for about a year but now, over the past few months, the opposite has occurred. As time has grown longer and my own ability to assimilate feeling like an orphan in the world has minimised, my daughter’s need for her maternal grandmother has grown.

Obviously, real life isn’t able to give her that, so it’s coming out in strange places — her dreams, her projects and, I imagine, her writing. She writes a lot, a lot more than you or I realise. I find it semi-comforting that she’s finding an avenue of peace through words, even if they’re little scrawls in notebooks or fantastic stories she pieces together. There’s a sanity to be found in that world that is peaceful, if you can get past the madness of word-mangling.

That is where my mother found her peace too, in the last years of her life. It’s where my father had found his for years. It’s where I find mine.

But somehow, no matter how much I write or create, or write towards them, I know I can’t bring them back to life. My daughter is, I think, reaching for them too, in her own particular way.

Is it grief that does this? Or is it acceptance? Either way, it is an avenue of healing that she is determined to integrate into her life (or it is being determined for her). I do know that my mother would, and could always, make herself heard. She would “speak the words” so that others would have to “hear the words”. Most of her life, she spoke them for the sake of someone else who did not have a voice.

Perhaps this is her, speaking them for herself. Speaking them to her granddaughter.

The Yardstick of Nine | Dadadadad.

Dear Dadadadad,

It’s been nine years. The idea that it’s now just a skip and a little hop of a year to a full decade since I last heard your voice or held your hand, scares me. The marking of this time…the marking is a mixture of cruelty and healing. The marking is a reminder, and a yardstick that helps me take the next step.

That void of time seems to have moved so quickly and yet, I feel it like an ocean between continents. You are not here, and you have not been here for more of my adulthood than you were. Technically, you were with me for seven years of it, but you have been gone for nine years of it.

The time of you being gone is marked, indelibly, into each day, as I look at your first grandchild. Her growth is an indication of the time you have been gone, and she’s now growing into a young woman. She is no longer a little girl, and – just like she – my missing of you takes on new shapes, grows longer and becomes a life. I mark the years of you being gone, by the notches in her growth chart. The one she now supersedes. There is no growth chart big enough now, as she grows beyond the years marked on it. I wish you were here to see that.



As I screech towards the middle of my thirties, my auditory memories of your voice fade, and I hear that voice only in my own now, or in those of the people of our family. It is in the calm and measured planning, the carefully crafted words and the tinkering of 2am thoughts…that’s where you are.

In the time that you have been gone, my work has brought you closer to me. Sometimes your name even comes up when I’m in the middle of something…and like a spark in the silence of midnight, you’re there.

A few weeks ago, I had a health scare. The kind that kicked my bum, and had me lying on a bed in a medical examination room, staring into their light. As I lay there, waiting for some specialist I did not know, to come in and tell me my future, my brow furrowed and…I remembered your words “I’ve let the team down, duckie”.

You didn’t let the team down, Dadadadad. If anything, you taught the team the way forward. You never were letting any of us down, and I don’t feel you ever did.

But, if that appointment had not gone the way it had, at that time, I fear it would’ve been me who would let the team down. That scared me into a blinding realisation, and it wasn’t just the light shining in my eyes.

When this man-I-did-not-know, told me that I was fine, I uttered the words we as a family used to mutter. Mom, as she washed the dishes, you as you would on the phone, and my siblings and I, as we’d feel relieved over something. It is, as I lay there, the moment where I think I saw you, stomping your foot and clapping in relief.

I realise it’s just a reprieve. Losing your parents when you’re younger than most, ingrains into your days the fact that we are all mortal…we are all never safe from the other side. We’re just all moving towards it different ways – the end result is always the same. What is left behind, becomes our legacy.

The start of that legacy.

And that legacy? Well the legacy you left, the one you created with The UM, has children in it. There are words in it. There are parties and dinners and love and stories. There’s history created and memories that become facts of our life stories. There’s legacy and there’s love.

I miss the warmth of you beside me, and the easy banter of a Sunday morning laugh over breakfast. I miss your teas and your spontaneous giggle. I miss the gentle reassurance of you, and the compelling motivation behind your “get on with it”. I miss your calming “cool your jets”. I miss your speeches and your absolute inability to not go off on a tangent. I miss you grabbing my hand and squeezing it. I miss the smell of you, and the knowing I can call you. I miss calling you, even though it’d mean yelling half of the time. Haha. I miss calling you so damn much.

Just as you have been gone from my life for nine years, you are still in it. But your voice is in mine, not outside of it anymore. So, really, maybe I should just call myself. That’s what you’d tell me to do, anyway.

Perhaps you already did, that day you said:

“I can promise you the excitement or the attraction isn’t ‘out there’, it’s in you”. 

FJD – 27/07/1933 – 12/07/2005 

Father’s Day.

Dear Dadadadad,


It’s almost Father’s Day. A funny day, where we’d have tempted you with soap on a rope, socks and silly mugs. The last Father’s Day-like moment I had with you was the day you met your first grandchild up close (she was born on Father’s Day that year), and I gave you beanies to keep your head warm. Your hair was thinning. No, let’s be honest. It was falling out. That big, tough bush of hair that I seem to have inherited was withering away a little as your sickness progressed, and you’d texted me to say your head was cold. I tried to fix it.

A few weeks later, I’d get those beanies back. I held them against my cheek and I could still smell your hair, even though I’d just walked into our house to be with mum, because you’d just left the planet. I stuffed them into my bag, and kept them. I didn’t wash them for a year. I’d just hold them every now and then.

But then Winter came around again and I looked at them. I realised, you’d want me to wear them. I think of you when I hear this song, and it rings in my head each time I put those beanies on. You wouldn’t want me to be cold, you’d want me to be warm, in Winter.

Which is why I’m not going to be without you today. I’m not going to feel your absence, but, rather, celebrate the idea that – somehow – you’re still here.

You used to say our genes are our legacy. That our DNA is what is our afterlife, and that the little pieces of you that live on beyond your body are what continues you. I  agree with you on that front, for a lot of reasons.But, Dad, it’s not just that. It’s more. Sometimes, life brings you back to me and it’s not DNA.


Have I told you about the Shmoo? I have, I know, but I don’t think I’ve told you this part.

You see, the Shmoo and I have been together now for what seems like a lifetime and feels like just a day. He puts up with me, he takes care of me (most especially when I don’t want to be) and he listens when I gabble off twelve million ideas of how I’d like to save the world but will never actually fulfil. He is tolerant (an essential strength), patient, kind and supportive without question.

But, Dad, I gave him uphill when we first started taking an interest in each other. I was all walls, spikes and boundaries. I was needy and aloof all at the same time and I did a lot to deter him. He took the “deter” as just an abbreviation for “determination”.

Slowly, he worked away at my walls. He didn’t push them over and ignore them, he just sat on the other side of them and talked to me through a little hole he’d chipped away at for a while.

And then, well, you know how I went to Cape Town for a bit and he took me to dinner and seemed weird, and the next night he came over with cake and Post-It Note.

And that’s how he started loving me, and I, him.

One afternoon, while we were sitting on the steps of my house as your first grandchild pranced around the garden, looking for fairies and we were talking (we’re always talking. it’s like we have a continuing conversation that started on MSN messenger some near five years ago and hasn’t even quite got to the point of the debate yet. We’re still talking about the weather, if one were to compare our continuing conversation to the millions of conversations that start across the globe every day).

I can’t quite remember who mentioned fireflies. It could’ve been C, it could’ve been the Shmoo, it could have been me. But, just as it was mentioned, he instantly quipped:

I wish I was a glow worm, a glow worm’s never glum. ‘Cos how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum!

I remember looking at him, startled. Somewhere, I think, you looked at the scene and cackled. That was the rhyme you would send me when I had a bad day at work, or I needed a cheer up. Once, you printed it out for me and stuck it on my desk when I was studying at home and feeling bleak about some heartbreak. You’d email it to me when I was crabby, and when I just wanted to be left alone. Somewhere, in the swathes of papers I have kept from my life, is that printout.


There is no way on the planet he could’ve known that, and yes, perhaps it was some funny coincidence. Things like that just happen. But, Dadadad, that was the day I knew I could lean. So I leant. I’ve been leaning for a long time now.

As time went on, and the Shmoo became a more permanent, rather than transitory, fixture of our every day life, so C began to rely on him. He became the third parent and, in that first year, he really got put through his paces. As we started living life as a trio, so life changed. So life threw family emergencies, loss and tears at us. But we were strong. So strong, that we could combat so much more. C began to lean on him too.

We live in a little townhouse now, together. Each morning, I wake the two of them up with their respective tea and coffee, and start the day. They then zoot off to school and work, and, every day, as I wave them goodbye, I grin.

They are a little club, you see. Where boring old mom is responsible for providing the snacks but… “really, mom, go do something else, we’re fine”. They go on adventures together. They laugh and talk and are silly together.

As time’s moved on, I’m not the only one C confides in. She feels safe to be herself, express her emotions and communicate her ideas with him. When they are skylarking around the house, and I hear her squeak with giggles, I think of “sweetiessssss!” and laugh to myself. When it’s the end of the day and she snuggles her head into his shoulder and we talk about our days, I think of sitting next to you on the couch.

And there, Dadadadad, I find you in our days. I found you as I leant, as C leant, and as we built this life together. I find you in my every day, and not just my DNA.

Thank you, for teaching me that rhyme. For every time you sent it to me, and for every time you stuck it in front of my face. Thank you, Dadadad, for it’s that rhyme that led me home.

Happy Father’s Day. I hope there’s whiskey and very loud music. But, most of all, I hope you see the glow-worm.

A very special playlist.


Growing up, there were a variety of songs that stuck with me, that I hang on to, as they remind me of my folks. Specifically, though, I have a strong memory of why Vanessa Williams’ Save the Best for Last will always remind me of my mom.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the songs that have woven themselves into my life with my daughter. Each of these ones have memories attached to them, and I love them for the way that I can, on any bad day, hit play on them and they will instantly bring a smile to her little face. Here are some of them:

Katy Perry’s Hot ‘n Cold.  Many, many years ago (feels like an entirely different lifetime ago), I got dumped. A friend of mine suggested this song to me as “therapeutic” and I adopted it as my “gotta do some housework and feel chipper” song. It, very quickly, took on a whole new meaning for me, as my kid and I would dance around the house, with our own specially engineered dance moves, and sing it at the top of our voices. It is now, and forever, the song that brought a smile to our faces, on a bad day.

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. This one dates back to when she was an infant. I will admit, I was one of those “rock the baby to sleep, do whatever it takes, even if it takes an hour” type of moms. I did not let her “cry it out”; “self soothe” or anything like that. I was a ferociously devoted co-sleeper too, and, honestly, still am. I’d have her sleep next to me any day. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not exactly a great singer *understatement* and she, once, lifted her arm out of her swaddled blanket and clapped it over my mouth when I attempted to sing her a lullaby once. But there was always one song she’d let me sing, and this was it.


Another Bob Marley tune, Buffalo Soldier, was something she heard at playschool, and came home singing one night. I treasure the video I have of her, singing this like she was made for it.

When she was about three (which, guys, is the best-most-difficult-continuous-conversation-and-questions age), she decided she’d like to be a dancer. Again, I have a little home video of her singing this and waving her hands around in the air like she just didn’t care. Heh.

More recently, she had an awful day at school earlier this year. When she got home, I tucked her into my bed and spun up a few tunes that I thought would cheer her up. The one she loved the most that day? Katy Perry’s Firework. This is the song I will sing to her, every day, for the rest of her life, whenever she needs it.

And, I have left a few off this playlist but, I’ll end it off with the silliest song we enjoy. It’s during this song that we come up with the very funniest mondegreens and end up flailing about the place in giggles (ridiculous Canadian enunciation included).

Sweet child, I love the soundtrack to our life. You’re the best song that ever played.

life is… the great editor.

I’ve just finished off my work for the week and am settling down for a little quiet night to myself. But, maybe, just for a minute, I’d like to just write, just for me.

While I was working this evening, I came across my dad’s name while searching for something online. It surprised me (it shouldn’t), it catapulted my heart into the ceiling, and I ended up doing the crysmilesoblaugh that my family members are so very well known for (When we’re happy, we cry. When we’re pissed off, we laugh. When we are many things, all at the same time, we do the crysmilesoblaugh and occasionally stomp our feet). It felt weirdly comforting, for so many reasons.

But it got me thinking. I write. It is what I do, and I don’t think I can do much else with as much glee or intent. The hardest part of writing, though, lies in the editing. So, yes, all you funny people who email me “lyk dis, becuz you wanna be a riter becuz it luks eezi and i am gud at it” (THESE PEOPLE EXIST GUYS!), I’m certain you have some talent, somewhere. But it’s not your writing I’m ever going to look at. I’m probably going to look at where you edited yourself, if you did. Trust me, it shows.

But while I’m here, thinking about writing, editing and all the little nitpicky things I bang on about every day (see Twitter for rants), I realise…I’m not the final editor of my life. Heck, everyone gets edited. And subedited. And then edited again.

I absolutely can create the best story I can. I can fill it with ideas, activities and colour. I can stock it with daytime naps and dreamy sex, love and friendship. I can commit to composing stories that riddle together like cheese on toast and I can depict as much of my story as I want to.  I can edit and sub and scratch out, backspace and delete as much as possible but, I am not the final editor.

Life. Life is the final editor. She’s the one that injects the surprise twists in the tale, kills off characters and gives new ones a grand entrance into the plot. Life is the one that leaps the story ahead when you least expect it and forces you to pore over each word of a sad scene, over and over again. She’s the one that takes the story, shakes it up or she lets it glide along for a chapter or two.

i found my dad through my work tonight.

So when I found my dad through my work tonight, I remembered. I’m in a stage of my life now where I *know* he’d enjoy it so intensely. Not just as a grandparent, not just as my dad. But as my greatest sounding board. I wish for him, when I have to edit my own work (which is, lovely reader, all the time). I wish for him when I need a question answered and I want someone to explore a peripheral idea with me. I wish for him, because he’d understand the nuances I want to explore. I want to call him up, fight with him over a sentence I love and he hates, have us slam the phone down on each other in frustration and then laugh about it all again the next morning.

I remembered, all too strangely tonight, of the days I’d work away at essays for University, and he’d edit me. I giggled to myself over how I would secretly send him articles I wrote for my first “proper” corporate job, and he’d edit them, and then send them back to me, so that my boss would receive beautiful work, each time (I was a silly 22 year old then, and mostly insecure about everything). I want to juggle angles on stories with him, and find a little hook to hang my coat of words on.

But I can’t do those things anymore. I haven’t been able to for nearly 9 years now. I’ve had to learn to find his voice within myself, and use the critical but kind guidance to cross out lines that don’t work. Sometimes I can’t find him, and I want to throw my hands in the air and scream: “It’s shit! It’s all shit! I should go be an accountant or something!”

I can’t do that either though, so I must pummel through and keep looking for his guidance somewhere, for life is the great editor and she, she needed me, my siblings and my mom, then, to start writing our own stories.

Just like all editing that happens though, if you look really carefully, you’ll still find the remnants of the original story. That punchy word, that funny little phrase or the great perspective that makes you think long after you’ve finished reading. So it’s that, that is my rebellion against life. Even though she edited my dad out of this world, I can still find him, somewhere, in my words, in my work, somewhere in my head.

You might be the great editor, Life, but I am still the one who writes this story. My dad taught me that.


I miss him every day.


Winging it.

Sometimes, when I look at people around me, or that I pass by on that usual walkrunslog I do, I’m amazed at how “put together” they are. I’m never going to be one of those people, who constantly appears and seems to have it all planned out.

I’m okay with that, because, for me, every time I do try and smash it altogether and focus on pulling myself towards myself, I end up feeling a little less like me and little more like I have no idea what I’m doing. And, when I’m winging it, that’s when I feel most comfortable.

That’s not to say I don’t wake up every morning with a to do list and a plan of action. Hell knows, I’d be adrift and lost in the kaleidoscope of YouTube for 9 days solid if I didn’t have those. It’s funny how that happens, hey? You start off doing a simple Google search for “best prices on pencils” and, somehow, a million hours later, you’re sitting there dropping crumbs into your cleavage and watching a YouTube video on the African Giraffe’s journey towards crochet or something. So, yes, my to do list is a centrifugal force that keeps me from ending up “over there” in the great, wide Internet.

What I realised, when I looked back at my Month of Saying Yes this week, is that I actually like saying yes. Sure, I’ve felt a little bit more overwhelmed than I wanted to. Yes, I have done a couple of true blue freak out sessions and, well, I’ve got very little sleep. Very little. In fact, our entire family is starting to look a tiny bit like there’s a toddler in the house and they’ve just discovered that staying up all night is actually quite fun.

this is how I see Can-Do-Cath in my head.

For someone whose default reaction is “no”, my Month of Saying Yes has been an extreme eyeopener. I’m suddenly doing things I didn’t think I would and that I really love; I’m not feeling as burdened by things and I think I finally found that little part of me I used to like so much but lost somewhere. I call her “Can-Do-Cath”. In my twenties, I remember someone I worked with being a little alarmed that, no matter what they threw at me, I’d get it done. I liked that bit of myself, and I feel like I lost her somewhere. But, Can-Do-Cath seems to have made a Can-Do-Comeback. I like her. I like her very much.

During that month of saying yes, I proved to myself, and myself alone, that I can run for fun and exercise. I proved that I can enjoy work I did not plan for, and even love it. I learnt that, by immersing myself in things I am not familiar with, I can get over a jarring sense of self-doubt that’s plagued me for way too long in my life. I taught myself that, sometimes, that ability to wing it is beautiful. Most of all, I proved to myself that I am not as afraid as I thought I was.


But, bearing in mind that I am exhausted and I really need a little timeout, I’m going to say No to everything this weekend. It’s all about balance, right? And that’s one thing I have to teach myself and have never really learnt – balance. I’m saying No to work this weekend (properly…none of this “oh I’ll just do an hour of this”) and I am saying No to anything but pyjamas and ice cream. Just for 48 hours. Can-Do-Cath will return on Monday morning, bright-eyed at 07h30.

Until then, Can-D0-Cath is taking a weekend. A real, live weekend that I can smush my face into, laugh through and love. Can-Do-Cath is going to try and prove to herself that she Can-Have-A-Weekend. See you on Monday, world.