My mother’s group will be celebrating our babies’ first birthday tomorrow afternoon. So here’s what a few of us were up to late this evening…
I’ve always found false optimism in the workplace grating. I consider myself a fairly upbeat, energetic person but there’s something about faking the rainbows that gets under my skin like nails on a chalkboard. I get highly suspicious when everyone rushes to embrace the upside of an idea, without taking the time to poke holes in the approach first and see if it still holds water after a few inevitable trials.
Yet, I’m not wholly convinced my attitude is a result of a whole-brained approach to problem solving. I think a part of me also wonders if I’ve grown more cynical over the years. And then I watch an episode of TED Conversations, and wonder if I’ve somehow lost my innocence.
My Thursday’s Three Thank-Yous have fallen by the wayside. Partly because I haven’t been blogging much at all… but mostly because I’m not feeling overly blessed or happy of late. Cerebrally, I know I have plenty to be thankful for. The fact I’m able to stay home with Arddun. The fact that I have most of my health, apart from this dastardly cough and cold that won’t go away. The fact that Arddun’s one year old and still alive. The fact that Tony has a job and is well-respected where he is.
The fact that we see double rainbows on Flemington Road when the rains hit the sun. The fact that Canberra has real Winters and Summers and the most gorgeous Autumns. (I don’t really care much for its Springs. Too windy and ridden with hayfever hazards.) The fact that the sun, the moon, the stars, the planet are still working. The fact that we haven’t completely destroyed our eco-system. Yet. All that.
But I’m wondering if the cynic in me just cannot bring myself to be thankful for the seemingly mundane and natural. That summoning gratitude for ten fingers and ten toes is bordering on the desperate and false. And most of all, how CAN I profess to such gratitude when my own mother is suffering still from toxic, worrisome, potentially fatal cancer, and I cannot, CANNOT feel happy about that?
It feels like I’m pretending I’m happy for sparkly nail polish when I’ve lost my whole foot. Anything before the bit about the foot just seems ludicrous and hollow.
And yet, I know I must press on. And I know I still have things to be hugely grateful for. And I know I have a little girl in my life who makes me laugh every day. And a loving husband who rushes home at day’s end and makes sure I take my medicine. All that.
I just wish the attainment of happiness was as easy as Shawn Achor makes it out to be.
We’re back! Survived the flight to and fro – although the flight back with two adults turned out to be a lot harder than the flight to Brisbane with just me, owing to the rapid deterioration of good temper from Missy Moo. She yelled and bucked so hard in her car seat the whole 30 minutes to the airport, I had to mop sweat off her soaked head when we got out.
I guess she really didn’t want to leave. And guess whose temper she’s got?!
I have a couple of half-done post drafts sitting in my phone and will try to get to them soonish. Meanwhile, here’s a quick snapshot of some of the family cuddles the birthday girl received this past week.
It boggles my head to think that you are now a one-year-old. It boggles me, because it has been my fastest year to date, and yet I remember so much of it. Usually time skates past and I’m stunned to find it’s the Queen’s Birthday, and then it’s Christmas and hey, where did the year go? But with you, with this year… I have strained and strained to capture many precious moments with you. To paint you onto the canvas of my mind, so these delicious, sweet moments will always be there to gaze at with renewed surprise and pleasure. Vivid. Priceless.
A year ago, I gazed at you through the haze of stunned relief and adrenaline and thought to myself, “What big feet you have. And you have my nose, poor baby. And my hair colour. And yes, you are a girl so we don’t have to change the nursery – although I brought mostly white baby clothes to the hospital, just in case. And I cannot believe how tiny and whole you are!” And you screamed through your first bath, and turned orange with jaundice. And your eyes were always shiny and bright, though slanty and Chinese they may be. And everyone marvelled at how alert you always looked. How curiously strong you were. How you held your head up, as new and fragile as you were. And how you never stopped moving.
And before our eyes, you’ve turned into quite the social creature, with a ready chuckle and a playful heart. Who still finds peek-a-boo the BEST game every invented, ever, EVER, and who will engage a planeful of jaded, tired travellers in 700 rounds of it, if you were allowed. You who will flop face down on the cold, cold tiles in WINTER and dry-swim on a whim. Who tears off hats and trendy sunglasses, and pretty shoes and socks. But will run all day, ALL DAY in the garden with your boots on, if you were allowed.
You, who can last many afternoons on just a half-hour nap and be perfectly content to play by yourself for hours. You, who will stroll up to a group of 4-year-old girls in the library and play sharkbait. Who, even at 6 months, would crawl up to perfect strangers with an infectious chuckle, fully confident they’ll let you join in the conversation. I just want you to know that it freaks many 3-year-old boys out when you do that but honey, if they can’t take your big personality, then you’re much better off weeding out the weak ones this way.
You, who will stand when you’ve just learned to sit. Who will run, when you’ve just learned to walk. Who will dance to Grey’s Anatomy, and laugh at Giggle & Hoot. Who thinks bursting in on daddy when he’s having a shower is the funniest prank ever.
You, who will do anything for an Arnott’s arrowroot biscuit. Which usually means you will say, “Kang-koo!” while simultaneously signing the word “please” across your little chest. Because there’s no time to waste when food’s involved, and it’s much more sensible to give your thanks up front than while your mouth is full of bikkie.
You, will grab my face and kiss me repeatedly because you just feel like it at the time. Big, loud, enthusiastic open-mouth kisses punctuated with “MMMMMUAH!” because you haven’t figured out how to pucker your lips yet. You, who will sometimes forget yourself and give me a pretty good slap across the face in your enthusiasm. And then look completely horrified when you realise what just happened, before you start bawling into my left shoulder in mortification. It happens more often than you think, by the way.
You, who will cuddle your purple plush-toy worm to sleep, and wake up looking for birds. You, who adores animals and cannot get enough of them. You have radically changed my life this year and I cannot believe I still get to keep you.
Being your mother is a blessing that reverberates deep within my soul. Happy first birthday, my baby girl.
We’ve been wanting Arddun to meet her extended Queensland relatives, and so it seemed a rather fitting thing to have her first birthday celebrated up north. And so we had a lovely afternoon tea after church on Sunday – a fairly chilled out affair, with a huge spread of desserts (my mother-in-law’s effort), some paltry attempt at decor (mine), and about 25 friends and family.
Got on a plane alone with Arddun and flew to Brisbane with Virgin Australia. Fairly uneventful, apart from bumpy landing which resulted in Arddun clunking forehead on tray table unexpectedly. Very loud pronouncement of pain with tears (hers), followed by profuse kissing of forehead after having just applied two layers of lippy – base colour and sparkly conditioner (mine). Which only made daughter look like she’d been smacked across the forehead with a fairy wand.
Also a scary moment after disembarking, when they thought they never loaded the pram on board. Face fell, jaw slackened, tone of voice sharpened, mind raced to locate nearest Kmart and feasibility of hunching over $29
Dolly’s umbrella stroller with dignity (verdict: none). Otherwise, I thought Arddun flew well. Let’s just say it makes a huge difference having a spare seat beside you when flying solo with a young child.