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,


The extraordinary thing…

There’s no secret that I’ve spent many years of my life relating to the fictional character of Bridget Jones. In truth, many of us girls can, but mine goes a little deeper (and if you knew me many years ago, you’d know this to be true). There’s always been a line that’s stuck with me, throughout life. It’s when she says:

“I’m still looking for something more extraordinary than that.” 

That’s resonated with me for a very, very long time. Every time I’ve been disappointed by someone, I’ve come home to that line, and consolingly convinced myself that I’m just searching for that extraordinary thing. That I’m worth that very thing. It’s hard, at times, especially when you’re alone, it’s 2am, and you cannot sleep because you have no idea where your life is going. We’ve all been there.

I realised, more recently in my life, that the extraordinary thing that we all look for (because we are all looking for it, even if we don’t admit to it), is more than just an action. It’s a constant. The extraordinary thing should be a way of life, a way of meaning and a way of intent. The extraordinary thing does not have to take on the form of some grand gesture, but it can also live in the every day. It’s in the little things.

Shmooshy and I started off much like an interesting conversation. A giggle, a flirt. Harmless enough. To be honest, at that point, I wasn’t looking for more, nor expected more.

And then came the unexpected surprise of the post-it note. You all know about that piece of stationery.

And, since that funny, wonderful evening by my gate, sewn together with kisses, there has been the extraordinary thing, every day.

Perhaps one of the first extraordinary things was, one Saturday morning, I awoke at ten am, and immediately went into a flat panic. Why was I only waking up NOW!? Where was my kid!?! What is going on!?!…I shouldn’t have worried. She and Shmooshy were cuddled up on the lounge floor, playing and talking. He’d awoken before me, and taken care of her so that I could sleep in.

And it’s been like that, all the way through. I’ve been wooed, I’ve been comforted. I’ve been able to share all my secrets with someone I love. He is with me at every important event, he held my hand all the way through losing my mother. He celebrates my kid’s every success – no matter how small it may be, it’s big to him. He dances with me while we wait for dinner, and doesn’t care who sees us. We’ll dance anywhere and it doesn’t matter. I can rely on him, and I rest in the soft comfort of his love.

I can pick through our chronology and select these little moments, where the extraordinary thing has been the daily life of us. As we’ve progressed, moved forward and laughed our way through the sad days, the extraordinary thing has not diminished. As it was with the first post-it note, I’m still thoroughly awed every single day. I’m awed by the easy, stands-by-me-always love. It’s sincere, and thorough. We’ve had our share of disagreements – who doesn’t? But even those are done through love. It’s more about conversation and compromise, than it is senseless fuming.

And then, just as the extraordinary thing is the every day love we are so lucky to have, he surprises me still. Like, this weekend, when he whisked me away to my second-favourite place in the world and made sure we got spoilt like never before. He did so much behind the scenes to make this surprise a completely speech-stealing moment for me. I’m still dumbfoundedly trying to put the words together. I hope he knows it meant the stars and all the planets to me. I know he knows he means all the stars, planets and galaxies to me.

Then my thoughts turn to that beautiful daughter of mine. The metamorphosis of her personality is both age and home-related. Sure, she’s always been a generally happy child, but the evolution of her character over the last two years is evident to anyone who looks at her. Her self-confidence and ability to trust people (only those who pass her muster, mind you :P) has expanded. She’s a proud, self-assured child, who is about ready to spread her wings into the world of big school.

I owe so much of her evolution to his presence. I cannot thank him enough for it, every day. I’ve watched her grow from a drawing-little-shapes-in-only-one-colour person to creating artworks full of colour, life and joy. If you still don’t get me on this one, I’ll explain. A long time ago, when drawing people, she would only draw one or two. Nowadays, she asks for extra paper so that she can include everyone in her family.

That leads me to family, indeed. The sting that life gave me, of feeling like an orphan…feeling parentless and living life without being able to just pick up the phone or hug them. That sting is significantly assuaged by the welcoming arms of his family. His funny, warm, wonderful family. My kid and I aren’t invited guests, we’re family, and that’s how it is.

I’ll end with this line, from another movie I love very much – Juno. It goes like this:

“In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

And you know, I have that. I have that in abundance. I’ve had two full years of it and I’m going to carry on having it for as long as life allows me to.

Happy Anniversary, Shmooshy. Love you like cows love to moo.

3 songs for 13 years.

Today, Will and I celebrate 13 years of best friendship. We celebrated with a little intimate dinner at his Chateau. For the first time ever, we let our loves join us. It was marvellous.

He’s just written me a letter to commemorate today that will live in my heart forever. Our exchanges this year will be private, and I won’t be blogging about it.

Thank you, Will, for thirteen amazing years. All I am is gratitude.

And now, as always, the themesongs:




Of your great love.

Today is your anniversary. 1969 – 2011. That makes it your 42nd anniversary. Heh, so maybe the answer always is 42…

I realise now that you’re sharing your anniversary with each other, which is the way it should be. Tonight, I’ll make dinner and dance with your first grandchild, and think of you. Maybe I’ll raise a glass to the sky for you.

When I was eight, I spouted my own favourite piece of wisdom. I said “mom, an anniversary is a family birthday”. 42 years of a family. If I know anything at all, I know that you were all about the family. From the moment you committed to each other, that was it. Your commitment to each other, to creating and preserving a family through all of life’s tribulations was always at the forefront of your minds, and actions.

And for you, as you taught us, family is more than just a bloodline. Family extends to all who touch your heart, to your fellow man and woman, to friends, and to those you hold so dear.

Our family is larger now. Larger than it’s ever been. Where once there were three kids -two girls and one boy – forming the focus of it, we now have three, giggling, exuberant, clever little girls. Oh how they laugh and talk (they all inherited the gift of the gab!) and play. They are the future of our family, and how proud you must be.

Every day, I marvel over something you said to me once Dad. We were having one of our gallons-of-tea-swirls-of-cigarette-smoke pontification talks, and you said that you believed that we all carry on once we die but, that you didn’t prescribe to a very popular theorem. You believed entirely that we carry on through our children, and our grandchildren.

I believe you now. I see you in your grandchildren. I see you so brightly in my brother. I see more and more of Mom in myself and my sister. I see you and mom’s combined tenacity and ability to love on a grand, all-encompassing scale, in each of your granddaughters. I realise now that we’ve probably created super versions of you two, and of ourselves. That strong commitment to values, and beliefs…I see that in them already.

So, you were right. We do carry on through our children, our grandchildren. You left us a legacy of love that we can all only hope to live up to, and work so hard to.

And, about that love. Thank you. Thank you for letting me live through your love-that-went-beyond. Thank you for the love that you built our family on. Thank you for that firm, unwavering, unconditional foundation. Thank you for instilling in me the dream that that kind of enduring love would one day be mine. Thank you for never giving up on it. That love stays with me every single day.  I believe that love you set as an example has found me, and I’m living it. Your example is one that I will set for my own daughter, I promise.

Happy 42nd Family Birthday. We miss you. X

A few good men.

<insert schmaltzy but serious post here>

Today is one of my bestie’s, aka, Sheena‘s two year anniversary with the fantastic Jon.

Upon waking this morning, after calling my Shmooshy and waking him up as he wanted me to (*heart*), I was alerted to the fact that Jon woke Sheena up this morning with coffee and beautiful flowers. Having just had me and the Shmoo’s 20 months, I’m all hearts and flowers myself. In fact, scrap that, for just over 20 months, I have been all hearts and flowers myself. Sheena has been for just over two years.

That brings up some perspective. Some very serious, very life-changing perspective. You see, I have some favourite love stories. My all time headline top one is that of my friends, Angel and Glugster. I know Sheena will agree with me that, this one, is a love story that inspired us on the days when we both thought, for a long time, that love – real, enduring, curl your toes and soothe your soul all the way through, love, was beyond us.

You see, when Sheena and I lived together (in our much younger, less schmaltzy days :P), we would often discuss the topic of love. Of how we’d both been led into love, led out of love, and how we had both made some absolute mind-boggling errors in supposed love. Sheena saw me a through an ultimate heartbreak, that ended up with me realising more about myself, and led me to realising some life dreams. Were it not for that heartbreak, I would not be who or where I am today. Were it not for that heartbreak, and all of them that went before, I would not know or have the love I have today. And I have it, in abundance.

Here’s the thing, though. Sheena and I would talk of love often. Daily, in fact. We’d laugh over our follies, muddle through our sometimes lack of faith that it existed for us in the future, and resolved to just marry each other if noone worthy ever showed up on our doorstep.

Oh. How. Wrong. We. Were.  

The thing about love, real love, is that it is almost always unexpected. Sheena did not expect that, one day – in the not too distant future, she’d be taking  a road trip home to her mama and fall in love on the way. I did not expect that, one day – in the same not too distant future, I’d be coming home from a trip to Cape Town and have someone waiting for me. I did not expect at all, that he’d get down on one knee and give me a post-it note that would change my life entirely.

We expected none of this love.

And, in there, I guess is the life lesson. When living without expectation, great things happen. You see, we’d always been told that, but we never really thought we were entirely worthy of it. Instead, we preferred to laugh at our own (and each other’s!) mistakes, and try and fathom our way towards a life that was without that great love story.

Today, though, we look back and we email each other and laugh. We marvel at how our mood swings get dealt with by our significant others, we laugh at the notion that we have significant others and how it’s not a weird cosmic joke that they’re really ours to love.  We share our cute stories of things they’ve done, and marvel at our stupendous luck. Our extreme joy.

There was a time in our lives when we felt let down, disappointed, and eager to cover up our hurts with a flippant “I’m fine”. There was a time in our lives when we’d pretend we were the poster girls for Surviving Singledom – we’d watch Bridget Jones over and over again for inspiration, and commiserate over the rather apt resonations of ourselves on the screen.

There was a time in our lives when we believed that love was for other people. Today, we both know that love…our love that we’ve been so incredibly blessed with, is for us.

Happy Anniversary Sheena and Jon.

(and Jon, apologies for my heinous hair and screeching nature when we met the very first time in my driveway. I promise I’m sane).

(and Shmooshy, I love you like there are not limericks enough)


In six years…

Today is six years since my father passed on. Today, I write to him.


In six years, your first grandchild has grown from the tiny mite we once spied on an ultrasound scan together, into a beautiful, graceful, compassionate and imaginative little girl. I’ll never forget the time you came with me to see her in an ultrasound scan. I saw your face as you fell in love. You were so sick, and yet so absolutely inspired.

In six years, your two other grandchildren, who you sadly never met, have become exhilarating, enthusiastic and character-filled little girls, whose laughter lights up the world.

In six years, I fell in I-thought-it-was-love. I fell out of it too. I stood alone for a long time. I fell right into true love, and I stand alone no more.

In six years, the world has changed and evolved and grown. How I wish you’d seen Facebook and Twitter and all of it. How much you would’ve loved it. How often I see the actual applications it could have been used for, for your life’s work. How I feel, so much, that you would’ve thrived within this sometimes-strange ecosystem. You’d have loved it.

In six years, I’ve realised I’m only alone if I believe it. I don’t believe I ever am, now.

In six years, I’ve learnt that bitterness does not help you grow.

In six years, I’ve tried really hard to learn to let go.

In six years, I’ve danced more than I did during my nights out. Except, this time, I do it around the lounge with my daughter, and not strangers in a dimly lit nightclub.

In six years, I’ve started to learn how to be me. Unashamedly so.

In six years, I’ve learnt that I absolutely must live with my heart on my sleeve. That’s where it belongs and if anyone doesn’t like it, I can kindly suggest they look the other way.

In six years, I’ve finally learnt what you were trying to tell me for so long. I have nothing to apologize for, unless I hurt someone. And I never intend to hurt anyone. Ever. You knew that from when I was very little.

In six years, I’ve taught myself resolve, and to steel against the sometimes wind of life. I’ve learnt that by remembering you, as you did, no matter what.

In six years, I’ve learnt that my anger at you being gone, is really just the sadness of missing you and your conversation. I am not afraid of that sadness, and I allow myself to miss you. The gap where you used to sit, is part of my life, and I accept it so.

In six years, I’ve come to make peace that you’re both gone. I’m at peace knowing that you are, however it may be, together. I am comforted by the assertion that that was one joyous reunion, however it played out.

In six years, I question myself less, and question the world around me more.

In six years, I grew wrinkles and grey hair.

In six years, I’ve learnt to care less about them.

In six years, I’ve taken the steps you wanted me to take, and I’ve shied away from the ones I intrinsically felt were wrong for me, no matter how forced I felt I was.  I learnt that resolve from you.

In six years, I stand tall. I stand proud, knowing the legacy and history you bestowed upon our family. I’ve got everything to be proud of.

In six years, I am more thankful to you than I ever have been.

In six years, I have learnt that I can miss you, and not have you be missing from my heart and head.

In six years, I can finally write you a letter and not cry. Well, at least not the big ugly cry. I can do it with some semblance of composure. It doesn’t mean it hurts less.

In six years…

In these six years that have gone by so very fast, I hope that you are proud of me.

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.



Dear you,

I realise I haven’t blogged in a while. You mentioned it to me the other day and well, you know how it is. You know how strung between thin lines of work I have been, and have understood when I’ve needed to shout about it. You’ve held my hand when I didn’t know what else to do, and you’re always there.

Always with me. My life thus far has never been about constants. My life thus far has always been about the chop and change of circumstance, and maniacal scramble towards getting things done that hopefully matter but, sometimes leave me feeling a little kicked in the teeth.

Enough with the whining about why I haven’t written. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Every day. Every single day, I am simply and fantastically awed by you. You. You, my constant. No matter what, and no matter when, you’re there. You see, I didn’t expect that. At every turn, both during this amazing year and before then, you were constant. You’ve become the person I know I can lean on, believe in and laugh with, without concern about whether or not I’ll dribble tea down my chin.

You’ve loved me right through losing my mother. You’ve loved me right through facing up to some of life’s horrible demons. You’ve loved me straight past my sometimes crazy ways. You’ve loved me for them, in spite of them. You’ve loved me when I feel I cannot do enough. And you’ve loved me right through my over-functioning. You love me even though I can’t navigate my way through the kitchen without the aid of a map and a flashlight. Heh.

You do things that make me explode with pride. You do them so well, you sometimes intimidate me. You make me shake just knowing that in that swell of pride of just knowing you, you’re also the person who knows all my secrets. In that moment of pure joy where you’ve succeeded at something that I know you put all your energy into, I know how much of yourself you give. All of it. Always.

You’ve taken me aside, put my head straight. Given me perspective when I could not see it myself. You’ve let me love you back in any and every way I can. You’ve loved me right through insomnia and weirdly, because of you, I sleep better than I ever have before.

You’ve opened up my world. A world I believed, so firmly, that was well-rounded and protected. You’ve made me see that it is possible to have a safe place that you don’t have to shut everyone else out of. You’ve reminded me of what’s important. That it’s not about how much power I give to something, it’s how much of me I put in.

You’ve danced with me whenever we can. Whether we’re waiting for dinner, or shopping, or just getting up to get something. You dance with me and you make me smile.

A smile that swims straight through me. It can’t be tempered or tamed. It bursts, without direction. Sometimes it becomes the frothing giggles and I can’t stop but to feel the intense relief of knowing that I can laugh without worrying when it will turn into a frown.

You’ve let me stop worrying. Suddenly my frown lines are not permanent fixtures. It’s been hard for me to let go. So hard. But you’ve let me let go, and squeezed my hand to let me know I’m alright.

I never expected you. That still gets me every single time I think about it. You were the unexpected early Christmas present that is my gift every day. You’ve blessed me more than I can count.

You’re in pictures with me. Sometimes I just stare and think “Hello, this is my life. Life check. Your boyfriend is hot and is with you. Life check. Awesome”.

You’re okay with me crying. Whether I’m crying because I’m sad, touched by something or crying from happiness. You deal with my big emotional responses to events, people, pictures, words. You love me for them, even though they’re sometimes bigger than I can put into words.

You share with me. We divulge the minutiae of our days with extreme detail and I feel a part of your every move. Even the most banal parts of my day, I can tell you. You let me explain the problem at hand, without trying to immediately fix it. You know, more than anyone, more than even myself, that I can get through things without being fixed.

And then. And then if that was not enough. There’s the secret club of two that I am only sometimes invited to. The secret club of two, comprised of my life’s greatest surprises and ultimate joys. This is the part where I fall apart into a puddle of happy tears whilst typing this. This is the part where I wish, every day, that I could show my dad, like a silly schoolgirl, you. The secret club of two where my heart rests.

You know, the first morning you woke up early and played with Cam so that I could sleep in. You remember that? I know you do. When I awoke, I listened. You two were talking, still new in your affection for each other but, already unbridled in your adoration. I listened and swooned. You were playing and talking so sweetly, that half of my heart did not want to disturb the beautiful experience of just listening to you.

And the best part? The best part is that it just keeps getting better. You’re there for her, whenever and however. You’re celebrating her every success, and not afraid to help her with direction in life. You’re understanding when she cries and you listen to her fantastic stories of mermaids under the sea. Remember that time we went down to the beach? And you, whilst we were walking on the pier, pretended to spot a mermaid? That sits with me every day. You tap into the fairytales of her mind, and let her live that world through and through. I mean, really, how many times have you played the part of the handsome prince to her playtime meanderings? Is it 605 thousand times or 606 thousand times?

We’re at dinner, just the three of us and we’re talking about the wonders of the world. You’re teaching her about things I didn’t even know existed. You’re teaching me about things I nonchalantly used to ignore.

You’re loving both of us, and you’re not scared to. Not at all.

My love. My unexpected love. My absolute, fearless and wonderful love. All I have are the words…

Thank you

You made my heart come home. Happy Anniversary. I love you. X

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.


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.