finally, I write.

Dear Blog,

Feeling neglected much? Sorry. And that will be the last apology from me.

I’m tired. The good tired. You know the type where you’re busy doing good that you lose your head and learn a lot? Yep, that’s me right now. I have some thoughts on this…

I’ve not been very open about a few things. So, here I go.

I’ve learnt how to focus, finally. And that focus has rested on two things – doing what I love and loving who I love. I’ve learnt that I’m not invincible or infinite. I’ve learnt that it is totally okay for me to say no to the things that do not ignite my heart. I’ve learnt to say yes to the things that do. In many respects, I realised that I needed to burn out to ignite the true flame of me.

So, here I am, realising and remembering, over and over again, what I really always wanted to do and be. The greatest part of it? Is knowing that I’m not alone in it.

I’m in the process of changing career focus, lifestyle and perspectives. In many, many ways, this is the life I know my mom and dad wanted for me but they were too overwhelmed by my often blinding determined character to say it out loud. They knew they needed to let me lead myself to this path, and they trusted that I would be supported along the way. That trust, that determined character I inherited and that passion…that is why I will always be infinitely grateful that they were, and are, my parents. I know, somewhere, in my DNA, there lives within me their hope and guiding light and…even moreso…their blind determination to do the right thing for the family they created and nurtured.  You’ll spot me soon in unexpected places and it’s interesting and exhilarating how it seems to be rolling out.

Being honest about my limitations, my expectations and my flaws has been liberating. I’m not afraid to say no anymore, and I’m excited to say yes…to the right things.

So, yes, I’m busy…busy creating the life I always wanted but didn’t know I desired. Suddenly, in a variety of ways, that life has presented itself to me. So, I’m taking it, grabbing it and loving it. To the point of utter exhaustion. To the place where my focus is so sharpened I can see nothing other than the path I know I need to travel along. I need to do that now, and I’ve never been more sure of it in my life.

It’s meant I’ve lost people along the way. It’s okay – the people who are meant to be with me on this journey already are. They’re the people who see the holistic me. They’re aware that I am not just one segment but an entire whole. They accept me as such and celebrate that notion with me. It is with those people that I feel unafraid, untempered and real. Some of them live very far away from me, and some of them live in my house. Some of them even live in my road, round the corner or in my heart every day. It is those people I focus my energy on. It is those people who accept my nature, my family and my commitment to what I need to do. It is those very same people whose courage has inspired me to change. To develop and to try to do the very thing that makes my heart happy. It is their courage I lean on, and their love I listen to. They believed in the dream long before I did, and they keep on believing long after I have fallen over with exhaustion.

Through this, I’ve learnt that it is okay to put your put family first, always. In fact, it’s not just okay…it’s an essential. I am finally, finally able to, and I’m overwhelmingly excited that I can. I could not do this without my unexpected love and my ridiculously wise child. The creation and magnificent transition we’ve taken into familydom has been, and is, my ultimate touchstone. I am, every day, grateful. I am, every day, incredibly blessed.

I am, every day, me. Finally. 

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 One Where I Wrap Up

It’s my last day in the office today. Today is that day, every year where I reflect. I’m doing it simply this year…Simply, for a lot of reasons…

1. It has been a year of love.

2. It has been a year of home. Real, true home, in every sense of the word. I have not travelled much at all this year, aside from a quick trip to Cape Town, and another one next week.

3. It has been a year of growing up.

4. It has been a year of loss.

5. It has been a year of being proud of the people I love.

6. It has been a year of hard work.

7. It has been a year of coming full circle, via a 360-kickflip of life.

8. It has been a year of learning how to sleep.

9. It has been a year of ranting but, for a change, I mostly ranted to someone. I love that man of mine.

10. It has been a year of gratitude.

11. It has been a year of Androidness.

12. It has been a year of being able to trust.

Thank you for this year.

oh look, a twelve!

Last night, Will and I commemorated 12 years of our friendship. Happy anniversary Will!

We reminisced. As always.

Once upon a time, Will gave me this book.

In retrospect, and with a hat tip to the conversations we had last night, I realise that he actually said something with this gift that, as usual, saw through years and eons, and transmogrifications…

He gave this to me when we all lived together (the G@M@C@ trio), long before Cam came along. Now I read this story to her *she’s coloured in the book* and it makes me feel like I am home when we read it.

He saw through that time in our lives (my word it was fun). He saw past what came after, he saw through the loneliness I would one day feel. He saw through pain, he saw past loss, he swam right past the manic freeway of up and down that would happen to me. He saw straight towards the exponential joy that I didn’t then know existed and…

He saw me, as I am now. The Pig of Happiness. So he gave it to me then.

He gave me hope.

Happy Anniversary my Will.


One Year Ago

1 year ago

Every day in gratitude. Every day in love.

This time, one year ago exactly, I was packing my things and flying to Cape Town for a week’s holiday.


At that time, I felt weak. I felt rushed and I felt uncertain.

As the aeroplane descended towards that gorgeous town, I felt my heart slow down for the first time in, well, I don’t know how long.

Met by Jolene at the airport, with her sign, something inside my head felt like it was finally settling.

That week in Cape Town screwed my head on straight, planted my feet in the ground of the earth my life grows from. It relaxed me, it made me see straight instead of hopelessly blindly stabbing at destiny.

That week in Cape Town, if I think back, prepared me for one of the hardest and most exhilarating years of my life.

When I left, I came home and finally felt strong enough to make choices. Strong in a way I had never felt before. But more on that later.

You see, when I went to Cape Town, I had to make a choice. My mom was having surgery whilst I was away, and I had to choose between staying for her, or leaving for me. I didn’t even discuss the choice with anyone. I just knew I had to do it, for me. And my mom knew too. So I went.

Some people may read that and think “sheesh, selfish cow”. I’m okay with that. My mother didn’t think that of me, and she knew, more than anyone, that I needed to go.

When I returned home, I was able to make choices that meant something. I was able to set boundaries and enforce them. I learnt how to make decisions for my heart, with my head. One of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make, I made when I came home. I could not have done it without the solid grounding in love that I got during that week.

I think about it all. The wonderful, larger-than-life-and-big-in-my-heart friends. My colleagues at The Forge and the hilarious in-office Skypes. The night Brendon had to help me open the front door (still, I cringe at my own ineptitude post one heck of a bender with Justin). The happiness of waking up to a kitty cuddle. The quiet I felt within me, in a room full of people I absolutely adore and admire. Pina Cathlada. La Med and the stories of “well, you know, I’m actually a serial killer” (hat tip to a friend, you know very well who you are). The throwing away of comfort zones and sitting on a hill with Jolene. The mad first actual meeting of the OtherCath. Tents which eat us. Lying under the trees. Laughing over Pina Coladas with friends. This one night in Camps Bay. Tweet ups and hilarious photos in which I look very special. Hugging Heather tightly. Shopping with Sue. Being able to reach across the table and squeeze her hand. Cows. The mosaic of faces and people who I am proud to call my friends.

Which brings me to…

It’s been a year. I have gained, I have lost, I have cried and I have laughed. I have slept, not slept, loved, hated, fallen into despondence and buoyed straight through it.

I could not have done any of the things I have done since then, without that week. For me, it was a turning point that noone else really saw. For me, it was the beginning of the person I always knew I wanted to be. The laying of foundations for what I needed to do with my life. That week helped me begin to take control. When I returned home, I finally believed I was capable. Capable of more than I knew I was. Capable and worthy of receiving love. And wow, not long after, it turned out, I was holding hands with the man who is the love of my life.

Every single day since then, when I awake, I wake up in gratitude. Every day, I am thankful to the two women who were the centrifugal forces that made it happen.

To OtherCath and Sue. Every day, you are the inspiration I turn to. You are the rocks I lean on. And even in silence, you are there. Even in the darkest bits of this past year, you are there. And in the brightest moments, you’re dancing with me.

Every day in gratitude. Every day in love.

Thank you.

77. It’s your birthday.

Dear Dadadadad,

It’s your birthday. To celebrate, I talk to you. Happy Birthday. You would be seventy-seven today. Seventy-seven?!?!

Seventy-seven. I’m sure you’d snort at the notion and say something akin to “it doesn’t really matter how many I’ve clocked up, I still feel thirty-seven”.

This is the fifth year I cannot phone you and sing badly down the ‘phone, or email you a silly rhyme. Instead, I write you a letter and who knows if you read it. It’s the writing it that’s the most healing. You taught me that. Thank you for that.

I got the chance to tell Mom most of this on a pink-sunsetting afternoon, with The Three Little Pigs being read, and Cameron snuggled up in bed with her.

I wonder often, where you’d stop me and tell me to ‘cool my jets’. Heh. Like I was a rocket, roaring to lift off. Actually, now that I think about, you were right about the rocket analogy. I ponder sometimes how you would react to my enthusiastic re-tellings about life now, and at which points you’d say “go for it” and at which ones you’d say “consider it properly first”.

On Love.

I guess it’s the minute care in every detail. The active interest in the things that mean everything to me. The way I do not feel alone. The not-having-to-plead-to-be-myself-or-do-what-I-feel-is-right. The myriad of things that I am so blessed with now. The absolute gratitude I have for this. For it’s every single moment. The way I get to wake up and I know I am loved. The loved that you wanted for me and Cameron. The one you told me about when I did not know it existed. The one where you said I would “just know”, and my juvenile self looked at you askew, and interrogated you for more clarity. Harangued you until you popped out another analogy.

The one where you said that,

“It doesn’t matter what happens in a day. The next morning, when you wake up, that person still smells like honey to you. It’s like that with family, it’s like that with real love”.

You really loved honey, now that I think about your analogies. If you were here now, I’d make you a sandwich. I’d love to just be able to make you a sandwich again, and talk all of this wonderful stuff through. I’d love to squeeze your hand and just feel you sitting next to me and being over the moon for me. Me, who never thought this possible.

On Home.

Stored in my home, are bits and pieces of your life. Our family life. I have photographs, and things, letters, cards, reports, newspaper clippings and little pieces of paper for which us members of the Jenkin troupe appear to love peppering our lives with. Cameron sleeps, we laugh, we play, we sing, we talk, we love. I pretend to eat Cameron’s toes and yell “sweeties”. I do that just for you. Just for you. Sometimes it’s cobbled together but, Dad, I have a happy home. The one you believed in for me, before I even knew it could happen.

On being a Mom.

This is the part I wish you were here for the most. For you to see how you were right. You told me once that you didn’t fully believe in reincarnation. That, in your view, we carry on entirely through the children that come after us. I see you in my nieces and I see you in Cameron. I see you in her stubbornness. I see you in her complex thought patterns. I see you with Cameron’s love for puzzles and in how she hates to lose in card games (my siblings are laughing at this point). I see you when I look at her thinking. I see you when I see her eyes sparkle. And I hope that you are proud.

On being Cath.

I’m thirty now. Wow. It seems not so long ago that I said “Daaaad, thirty is SO old…”. You were right, it’s not. It’s just a new “decade of adventure”. I’m loving it so far. On being me? I still love the same things. I love feeling at home, and I feel that way alot now. It’s not such a rarity. I am surrounded by wonderful people, every day. People I’d have brought home to you and Mom, for dinner and a laugh. The people I’d have thrown a house party with, and they would have ended up swapping stories with you more than they did with me. Thank you for instilling in me the desire to be tenaciously and without regret, myself.

It is through being my honest self, that good things come to me. Of all the things I am grateful to you for, it’s that lesson. The lesson that I should never give up and try to conform to what someone else believes is right for me, no matter how much I loved them, or thought they loved me.

Thank you for the vibrant, often crazy, run-on-love upbringing you gave me. I know I rebuked it so much as a teenager. But now, now I celebrate it. Thank you for the crazy times, and the parts that taught me to care beyond myself. Thank you for teaching me that it’s more important to help, than it is to be helped.

Happy Birthday Dadadadad. They best pour you the Chivas in heaven tonight,



Happy Birthday to ChristopherM

Dear Chris,

Random fact you do not know – you share a birthday with my Dad (more on that later).

So, you’re 28. You’re a freaking spring chicken, you realise? Stop whining about your aging and celebrate your most excellent of pinnacles. Yes, 28 is a pinnacle year. Deal with it 🙂

Truth is, 28 is bound to be a year of growth, more learning, adventure and yeah, have to say it, hard work.

But that, that is not ever something you’ve feared.

Happy birthday, my friend.

Thank you for being a voice of reason that I often need, in life and work alike.

Thank you for being a sounding-board, a friend, a confidante. Someone who will listen to me whine at 1am over Skype, and pull my head together.

Thank you for pushing me in the right direction, paved with honesty.

Thank you for “skooling” me. You know I secretly blame my happiness on your ability to see past my fears, and urging me to get real about aspects of my life I was too scared to get real about.

Thank you for believing in me, beyond what I believed.

You are a good friend, a kick-ass colleague and absolutely brilliant at being you.

p.s. Thank you for sharing a birthday with someone who was all these things for me, and so much more.

For Angel and Neels, on their Wedding Day

When I felt my most alone, you were there.

Sometimes unseen but, always present.

Sometimes quiet but, always listening.

Sometimes too far away to squeeze my hand but, always close

enough for me to know you were.

When I lost my faith in things I could not understand, you believed

for me.

When I lost my ability to heal, you helped to soothe the hurt.

When I was unable to speak, you wrote the words.

When I lost my way, you gave me the map.

When I no longer believed in love, your love made me believe again.

When I had no other way of knowing, you took my hand and led me towards knowing.

When I did not know how to cope, you kept your faith in me.

I have said this to you before, and I say it to you again on your wedding day…

Your love story is the one that inspires me  to keep believing.

Your enduring love – which started as a surprise and became the love you share.

Your infinite love – the one that you share with the world.

Your kindest love – the one that holds Cam and I up on rainy days.

Your truest love – the one that kept my faith on the loneliest nights.

It is your love that held my hand, and still does today.

Thank you for sharing your love with me, with Cam, with the world.

Happy wedding day, my friends. I’m sorry I could not be there today but, you are in my heart, every moment of every day.

Have. Good. Friends.

Yesterday, finally, after notbeingabletoleavetheofficetogoandcollectit


I came home with what has got to be one of the world’s largest boxes.

In it, presents, for Cam and I, from Angel and Neels.

Our glorious friends who have been with us through so much.

Cam demanded that she write a letter to them, to thank them. I was to dictate… snippets included below…

Thank you for my presents. I love you. My mom says I can say thank you for you in my prayers tonight and I am going to. Jesus is okay with me being thankful for people who I love.
I love my Barbie the best. I am going to name my Barbie, Alexa, because she has brown hair and that name also has an A, like Angel. Her clothes are beautiful and my mom wants to see if she can get me the same clothes. I can spell the A name. The snakey doesn’t scare me. I put it around my neck and it’s name is Princess Tiana, because it’s a Princess Snake, you know.
Mommy says she and I are going to bake this weekend, and I am going to eat the icing too. Because, you know, I’m good at it. Mama says it’s pink. Pink is my favourite. And purple. And green. Maybe I like yellow  too. No, I do like lellow. Green is for the big kids. I’m big now. I’m five. Five is very tall. My legs are very long. Mama says that I will be taller than her soon.
I have to go and watch my movie now. Mama says it’s nearly bathtime too. Mom, can I have bubbles? It’s ballet tomorrow. Oh. Can I tell Angel about my fall? Angel, I falled off a bench on Sunday. I fell off and fell on my face (onto concrete, mind). I have big sores on my face and it means that I can’t go swimming until they are better. They are getting better. I only cried a little bit, because I am very brave. Mommy says she nearly had a heart attack when she got the call. Mom, what’s a heart attack? I didn’t know hearts could attack like a leopard? Is that in my animal book?
(I’m serious. This is how she talks. All the time. Hehe).
Okay, it’s bathtime. Thank you for my big box of presents. I love you.
P.S.Oh, Mom, tell Angel and Neels and Damien that you told me they are on Twitter. Twitter is very good. It’s for clever people. Tell them they are very clever because they knew when I had my birthday. Oh, they know Sheena. Tell them to tell Sheena I love her too. Sheena has big boobs haha.

Five Years

Dear Dadadadad,

It’s funny, really. Five years seems to have flown by faster than I ever thought it could. Eldest sibling told me something once – that the moment I start working, for real, life would speed up to faster than I could wobble with it. It seems, though, that the greatest speed took hold when you left.

Last night, lying in bed with Cam and Shmooshy, watching the Powerpuff Girls, Cam stood up and jumped off the bed. Mentally, I marvelled. How did my little 50centimetre miracle bundle become this tall, long-legged wonder of learning and growing? When the heck did that happen? I know when it happened. It happened when you weren’t with me to console me at 4am with funny stories and half-cups of tea. It happened when you were not on the phone, telling me how to do things, without stopping me from doing it my way.

How you would have grinned through these five years. How you would have clapped your hands and cuddled. How you would have sung all the Happy Birthdays to Cam, and her cousins. How you would have talked to me and said “the child needs…”.

Sometimes I hear you say that, in my head. Like the time we were speaking and I was trying not to sink into the chair and pretend like a lot of what was happening was not happening. And you said, you said “the child just needs love. the rest you’ll figure out”.

As always, you were right.

You said you weren’t worried about me. You said, in love, I’d be blessed, even when I doubted you and crossed my eyebrows. Even when I snorted in derision and listened to you say “It’s the honey of life, and sometimes the jar just isn’t easy to open. One day, it’ll be easy to open. It really is that simple”.

…Papa, love your princess so that she will find loving princes familiar…

You said you weren’t concerned. Whether I was alone or not. You said I’d make it through just fine. Possibly a little off-kilter but you weren’t worried that I’d fall over. Falling over is normal, you said. You said it was the part where I’d let something keep me down, that you knew was impossible.

So, when I was alone, I thrived on the faith you had in me to get through it, to embrace it and to learn from it.

And when I was not alone anymore, funny things would happen and I would know, somehow, that you were watching.

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!

What can I tell you about these five years? That I grew. That I learnt. That I danced. That I laughed. And I cried.  I made tea, at 2am. And I wondered. I fought with myself and sometimes, I won. I fought with everyone else and sometimes, I lost. That I hoped, all along, that you were proud.

Now. Now, you have mama with you. That must’ve been a reunion beyond all compare. How she’d missed you. How I realised, long after you had gone, that your enduring love was something that I could only hope to replicate in my own life. The reason why I only realised that so late in life, is something I do not question. I guess I realised it only when I was ready to. I’m working on it, by the way. Heh.

When Mama went, I stayed up one night and went through the family computer. She’s left me the books to write, you see. Funny, somewhere, I always knew one of you would.  I found all the little things you’d written me, some banal, frankly terrible writing of my own and, I found things mom had written. I was awed. It turns out, I didn’t just get this from you, I get it from both of you.

You said, one day, I’d see more of mom in myself than I would see you. I balked and said “no, no, I am more like you than I am mom, and mom even says so”.

Of course, you were right and I started to catch myself, with my left arm flung over my head, again snorting in derision as someone told me how I should behave and how I should be. Which was, for all reasons beyond muster, not being myself. How I’ve started to see her in the gentle firmness I sometimes have to take. How I see her in the frank determination to not give up, or waver in a belief that I wholly embrace. I see her in my lack of fear, and I see her in my always-concern for the people I love. I see her in the way I am a mother, more worried about whether or not I have loved every moment enough, and not worried about how many moments there really are.

As always, you were right.

As for you. You who is in the words and the working-all-night-because-this-has-to-get-done-ness. You who taught me how to make eggs, and now Cameron demands that I make them like that for her, on Saturday mornings. She says “like the way your Dad taught you to”. I guess it’s hilarious that I’d never told her that you taught me how to make them. She’s just always known. Nobody knows that I once phoned you and said “Dad, I’m too embarrassed to phone Mom so, please, how the heck do you boil an egg!?!”. Well, if they’re reading this, they’ll know now.

You said ” you have good friends”. I thought I did then. You didn’t tell me to expect them to be even more awesome. You didn’t tell me to expect that the speed-dial list would slim down, and that I’d actually love that part. That there would be such richness of life in the group of people who I love, and who love Cam and I. Now I look at them and I know. I feel more a part, than I do apart. Which, as you know, is what I struggled with for so many years growing up. How it was you that taught me the importance of honouring that every time I got to hold hands, laugh or feel the true company of people who are not afraid of being themselves. You said, “with time, all things do come”.

As always, you were right.

How you and Mom are still a part of every single day. In every single thing I do. Still, in the way I write things. Still, in the way that this life I live, is the one you both gave to me, in love. Still, in the life I’ve been bestowed with caring for, and the small person who is becoming bigger and so like me it’s scary and wondrous all at the same time.

Thank you.

I love you and miss you every single day, Dadadadad.