So I broke tradition again this year, and didn’t do the great big roundup of what 2008 brought us, took from us and threw at us. I’m okay with that. What has stayed, has stayed. What’s left, is better left alone and most of all, what is far more freaking important, is enjoying or hating each day as it is.
Yes, I have a new year’s resolution. To learn and practice patience. Some of those among you are laughing at that. Some of you think I am already more patient than for my own good. Some of you probably think it’s bloody impossible. Truth is, I know my patience is tested, daily. I know that life throws frustrations at me that I possible don’t deserve but, it’s what I have to work with. And if I can gain a little time just by being patient, then I’m sure as shit going to try.
Resolutions aside, I have no pre-conceived ideas about how this year will be. Strange that. Truly. I hope that it brings enough to keep me busy, enough to keep me sane, and an abundance of smiles, with the contrasting requisite amount of the blues to keep it all in perspective.
But, before we get on with this year, let’s just take a little look at our holidays. This is the first time, ever, since I began working, that I can truly confess to have done nothing constructive and yet felt the most grounded. The most at peace with the good and the bad. I didn’t check my emails, ate too much, slept in, cut my hair off, didn’t worry about my to-do list, ate slowly, watched movies, laughed, smiled, spoke honestly without agenda and spent good time with good people. Pretty much, I’m festive pudgeful and peaceful.
It was not without it’s irks, thanks to Virgin Mobile. But, I’m happy to say that I finally, after three months of hell, I have ported back to Vodacom. But, that’s peripheral now.
Let me tell you about you. It’s during this time with you, the ups and downs – and I’ll get into those just now – that I have made the firm choice about where I want to take my writing. It may seem so simple to you now, but, to me, it answered where I want to put my niche. I won’t ever say restrict myself, because there are no limits to where I would go for you, but it was you who finally pegged it for me. You said “write me a story”. So, for you, Cameron, I will write a story. Every day, we write our story together and where I can I’ll fill in the parts that are not ready for you yet but that I want you to know about me one day, when you ask, “mom, what were you like when you were younger?”.
Sometimes, I feel the weight of single parenthood weigh upon my heart like a sinking tanker. But, then, you turn and smile at me, and we are okay again.
The ups and the downs.
I’ll admit, we’ve both had ups and downs this holiday. The first down would have been you having your tonsils out. Hell on Earth for every parent. Especially when your puking-blood child awakens and lashes out like a wild animal caged up for the first time. But, you, so brave, as always, you fall asleep and wake up, a changeling again, eager to embrace the world and love whoever will let you.
And love you do. Without abandon and without concern for tomorrow or consideration, coordination or reciprocation. It’s you who loves without expectation, and you who inhales every breath without worrying where the next one will come from. You love and you trust and you believe. When you awoke from your drug-induced sleep in the hospital, you confidently strode off to the playroom and found a friend, Your shyness is a distant memory, and your clinging to me every day is just a whisper. You are growing and dancing your way through life. At your own pace, set to your own tempo, and never apologizing for slowing down, speeding up. Singing all the way. Never stop singing, never stop dancing. Even when someone tells you to stop. Ignore them and keep going, my sweetheart girl.
So, we came home from the hospital that day and fell into bed, so glad to be home and safe. You healed, we talked, we shopped, we sang, we went to the movies, we ‘did lunch’. When did you get so big to know that your favourite “lunch in a restaurant, mom, Not Spur” meal is waffles and a pink milkshake (‘in the special cup, mr waiter”) and heaven help the establishment should they be out of waffles. What you don’t know, and couldn’t know, is that when I was a little girl, that was my special meal. That’s what my dad would take me out for every Friday afternoon after school. I guess that’s genetics for you. It just means the world to me that you, somehow, will have similar memories of those precious times with your parents. Because, trust me, one day, you’ll hate me and wish I were different/dead/ignorant, but on another day entirely, it will mean everything in the world to you that we did that together. I treasure those Friday afternoons with my father even more now, because I can do them with you.
Father Christmas, or as he’s known round here, Christmas Father, spoilt you rotten. It’s as it should be, then.
Presents and presents and gifts from friends and you singing Silent Night and whispering to me in the dark at bedtime “mommy, you know, if you’ve been good, Christmas Father will bring you a present too. I know, cause I asked him to”. You’re already riding your Princess bicycle (a note for Larcy here – it freaking has a 12 on it. I died) like you’ve been doing it since birth. And you love the fish. The fish were a bloody good idea. Winston, Cecil, Meryl, Cleese and Sushi are now well ensconced in our lives and hearts. And yes, they have middle names.
I learnt a lot of things this year. I’ve always been desperate to honour people. To capture for them and for myself, a moment where they have touched me, or given me something so great that I can’t explain it. Where they’ve taught me something, shown me a view or warmed my often cold heart with a little flicker of their own flame. Where they have shared or taken away. For each of those lessons, I am immensely thankful and my biggest gift, given to me so many times, over this past year, has been people. Wonderful, funny, loving people. My greatest gift in life has always been people. Cameron, whatever life gives or takes away from you, my strongest desire for you in life is to have good people around you. I am richest in friends. That makes me the most blessed person I know. I don’t care if that sounds conceited, it does mean that I am unashamed of being so lucky.
It’s true. You’re an Abba fan. Thank heavens! You are a dancing queen of no comparison, and I am so bliss-filled to see you dancing around singing “Super Trouper”. Although, of course, in your world, you sing it: “Soopah Twoopah beets are gonna fine me” (your Uncle Garry is going to be so deathly proud to read that). Love it, all of it. Just, please, don’t become Muriel like I am on my bad days. Hehe. This photo does not even do mild justice to your Mamma Mia fixation. But, the hat says it all. J In between Kung Fu Panda, the penguins from Madagascar and your fairy godmother desires, you keep singing. Never stop singing.
I saw the new year in with great friends, good laughs and smiles all round. You saw the new year in watching the ‘pretties’ and fireworks with your grandparents. I never really had grandparents and am so thankful that you sit upon your grandpa’s lap and watch the bright lights and noise from the safety of love.
It may seem to have been quiet. It may seem to have been boring at times. It may seem to have been without great adventure, or without grand event. But this holiday time has meant more to me and done more for my soul than any other time. It affirmed what I needed to know, and left me wiser, happier and at peace. Which is why, tonight, Cameron, now that you’re asleep and dreaming of “rainbows and princess dresses” I’m sitting here writing you this letter. A letter to my daughter. One day, when you’re older, I hope it helps you to write your own story.