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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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If I were to fall asleep

If I were to fall asleep
And wake up new in heaven
I want you to know that you were always loved.
You captured my heart the moment yours started.
When you laugh, I am liquid and warm.
Your happiness is my happiness.

Today, we held hands almost everywhere
And sang Chinese nursery rhymes
Badly.
We braved the first winter winds
And talked about the end of autumn.
Today, your fly-away baby hair
Stayed tame, framed your face
And I chanced a glimpse of the boy in years to come.
You both shared a dinner for the very first time
Of congee and spinach and fish
And had a competition to see who would finish first.
(Your brother won.)
We waited for Daddy, and felt joy when he walked through the door.

I held you both in my arms today
And thanked God for my time with you
And pleaded for more
Because nothing is a sure thing.

If I were to fall asleep
And wake up new in heaven
I want you to know that I love your father.
I do not wonder or wander.
Every day, I pray for travelling mercies
Every night, for a new day.
He is a man of few words when I have too many,
My anchor when I fly off the handle.
I become a better mother to you because of him.

If I were to fall asleep
And wake up new in heaven
I want you to know that I’m alright.
If I make it to heaven, when I make it to heaven
I will be giddy with relief and joy.
(Even as I miss you profoundly.
Even when I can no longer hold you close.)
I imagine that it will be nothing like I imagine.
I hope I’ll still get to see you grow.
The world will tell you that Heaven is fictitious
Simply because it cannot fathom it.
But it is there, and I will be waiting
So promise me that you’ll never lose sight of its light
And that you’ll find your way home, too.

Your minds are still young
Your memories, still short
So that even though you touched my hands, stroked my face today
Tickled my sides for a laugh
Stuck your tiny faces in my neck and breathed me in,
You may not remember me
Quite the way you do now.

But I will never forget you.
Even
If I were to fall asleep.

Ten Years

Ten years ago,

Kiss at wedding
We chose each other to be family

Since then, we’ve cooked in three kitchens

Kitchens montage

Travelled to Singapore so many times we’ve lost count

Singapore montage

Gallivanted through parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales

Travel montage

Farewelled two loved onesPhotos of Mum and Cuz

Made two beautiful babies

Children montage

Loved and laughed

couple montage

We didn’t get much chance to make it a big celebration this anniversary. Visits from family overseas and interstate was one reason. And then there was the rather tiny matter of birthing a whole other human being and being severely sleep-deprived as a result.

And yes, part of me wants to knuckle down and get real Deep and Meaningful about my marriage at this time of year. Part of me wants the big fanfare to mark this significant milestone. Ten years! It should mean something. I want to tell him how he’s changed me. I want to tell him how I never want some things about him to ever change. I want to tell you that there were rough bits and boring bits and tough bits, but they were few and far, faaar between the absolute comfort and joy and love and certainty and assurance I get to enjoy every day. Every. Day.

It’s been a real privilege being a wife and from that, a mother. Ten years! Thank you, God.

Bouquet of red roses
120 red roses over 10 years
Arddun playing with knife and fork
Some percussion entertainment while we wait for our anniversary lunch to arrive

Arddun close up

Atticus sleeping in capsule
Sleeping prince while we wait for the food to arrive
Arddun's apple juice
Arddun’s la-di-da apple juice

 

Arddun's gourmet carbonara lunch
Arddun’s gourmet carbonara lunch
Tony with long glass of beer
The man whose name I took as my own
Long glass of beer
Enjoying a long glass of ice cold

Close up of Tony's ring

 

Happy 10th Anniversary, Tony. I love you.

Photo of Tony Velle silhouette

Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day

I am not American, but I understand Thanksgiving Day is huge to their sense of nationhood and identity. It’s also big in the way it brings everyone back to the coop, kinda like Chinese New Year but with turkey and more gratitude.

The church I worship with regularly in spirit and in person have, in more recent years, held a Thanksgiving get-together to roughly coincide with Thanksgiving Day in the States. It’s a lovely opportunity to get together, break bread, and collectively remember just how insanely rich we are in Christ. I missed this year’s – which was held this evening at the building we meet at regularly. Even then, I had a lovely friend pop by with a baby bouncer, bassinet linen, more boy clothes and a play mat. Yet another person to be thankful for.

I came across this quote on Facebook today:

Let us be grateful for people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

It would be difficult to name all the people in my life who make me happy – directly or indirectly – but I thought I’d at least name some of them in this post, seeing how it’s Thanksgiving and all.

In no particular order:

The Husband

Who, after almost ten years of wedded bliss, still comes home and wants to hear about my day first before he tells me about his. Who still makes me laugh, who opens my eyes to the world around me, who is the fount of knowledge on current affairs, history, and F1 trivia. Who obliterates his competition some nights on BF4, but wouldn’t hurt a fly in real life unless it really bothered me. Whose logical head cools my own and teaches me temperance and fairness.

The Girl

Who showered me with more kisses this month than the rest of her life added together, thus far. Who kisses her baby brother goodnight, and lately thinks stickers on her face are a great way to lighten the mood around our house. Who is turning out to be gentle and kind, and unaffected by the compliments grown-ups continually pay her. Who tucks me into bed when I sorely need a nap.

The Mother-in-Law

Who has cooked all of this week, helped with the groceries, washed up, and generally taken over Thinking duties so I can waddle around the house in a semi-comatose state and then take long siestas in the afternoons. Who came with an arsenal of craft activities and stickers for the granddaughter, who absolutely adores craft activities and stickers. Who does all this, even though there is a good chance she’s going to miss out on Boy Blob’s Birth because that boy sure is taking his sweet time.

The Father-in-Law

Who came, saw our dead hedges (front and back), and proceeded to tidy up. Tony and I have little skill and zero interest in gardening. Seriously, if we could get away with tastefully astro-turfing our front and back yard in the new place, I think we just might. It’s wonderful to be related to a retired horticulturalist whose passions coincided with his education and lifelong career. And who still had enough energy left over to meet and greet Every Single Toy his excited granddaughter thought to trot out.

The Mother’s Group

Still messaging and emailing and finding out how we’re doing, still interested and excited for us all. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to all your emails and texts, but I’m so appreciative of your concern and willingness to help with the odd hand-me-downs and last-minute babysitting.

The Church in Canberra

My blood family, if you count how we are all washed in Christ. Especially the Kirkies, who love us all and are practical about it. I know if this bubba decides to enter the world in the 5.5 hours between my MIL’s departure and my Singapore family’s arrival, that you will have all bases covered. Also, you read and like my blog posts. Extra brownie points for you. xx

The Church in Singapore

Who still love me, even though I am grown and far away and don’t come back very often. You lurk on Facebook, and then completely surprise me with how much you’ve kept abreast with our family shenanigans whenever we visit. I love that you are strong and hardworking for Christ, and I am so proud of you all always. I lurk on Facebook too, and I love watching your families grow even as it saddens me that we cannot spend our everydays together.

The Lee Family and partners

Most of whom are coming to Canberra this weekend! Very, very excited and slightly frustrated that I do not have more energy. Please remember that I only have one refrigerator, and that it’s a baby-sized one compared to yours. So don’t buy up the supermarket, m’kay? Also, my pantry is already busting at the seams because I am still Singaporean and am incapable of keeping a minimalist kitchen inventory. Love you all very much, and Can Not Wait.

The Friends I’m growing old with

Who blog and message and email and chat in bits and bobs, in spates and seasons. Who remain friends, whose hearts remain open and willing to share and partake. Friends where geography is no measure of distance, really. Just this last week, I’ve so enjoyed connecting with you, Gail, Sarah, and Kenneth. And in the last year, I’ve been so delighted to reconnect with others like Evonne and Pei Ching.

 

And so many, many, many more. I know that as we get older, our circles are supposed to shrink and there are some days, when I feel lonely (for No Good Reason, really), that I feel I am not immune. But no, I am richly blessed and surrounded by kind, decent, intelligent, whimsical, funny folk.

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours. xx

Before Bedtime

Soaking up Nanna Playtime before Bedtime.

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Daddy Day 2014

Celebrating
The rock of this family
This little girl’s hero
My complement
Co-parent
And Love.

Collage of photos of Arddun and Tony playing Horsey
Daddy: sometimes the knight, sometimes the steed. Sometimes, even an elephant.

Collage of monotone photos  with Tony and Arddung hugging

Bentspoke Brewing Co.
A chilled-out early Father’s Day luncheon at Bentspoke Brewing Co.

Collage of photos of Arddun placing necklace on Tony

Tony and Arddun looking serious
Her eyes may be mine, but that stare is definitely her father’s.

Father's day gift from Arddun

Tony at Blackfire solo shot
Ain’t nothin’ sexier. Happy Father’s Day! xx

I am the girl

A few years ago, The Cuz and I each took up the challenge of writing an internet meme titled “I am the girl”. Each of our memes started out  as a self-description, but quickly turned into a love letter to family and friends.

This was hers. This was mine.

Anyhoo… I just found a paragraph that my mother had written out in full on a piece of paper.

I am the girl who is always your girl. I am the girl who now lives across a slip of ocean and vast desert plains, and who still remains your girl. I am the girl who makes you cry when you think of my dying before you, who doesn’t always know how to deal with such candour, but who never, ever forgot. I am the girl who remembers Jesus in her upbringing because of you. I am the girl who has always needed your validation. I am the girl who yells at you in fits, and feels like an ogre later. I am the girl you stayed up nights to chat with – although mostly you listened and understood. I am the girl you played Rummy and chua-dai-di with, whom you taught over time how to win with grace and how to lose with good humour. I am the girl you’ve always defended against lashing tongues and sugar-coated deceit, even though I didn’t always take heed. I am the girl who is fast running out of gift ideas for you.

I guess my mother found her paragraph.

Ori’s birthday party

(I’m in the process of backdating a bunch of posts, so at least when I look back, I know when the photos were actually taken. So yes, I’ve posted this on the 29th even though it’s dated the 6th of April. Better late than never, etc.)

Melissa and David were so sweet to invite Tony, Arddun and I to Ori’s first birthday party on this date, and were we glad we made it. I was nursing a slight sore throat that day, but that didn’t stop me from hoeing into the cake and mian bao ice-cream…

Arddun at birthday party
Clockwise from top left: Arddun slow-dancing with Daddy; Arddun rocking out on rocking horse; Mian Bao ice cream man in the driveway, coaxed from his usual business spot in the nearby park; Arddun, still rocking out on the rocking horse because let’s admit it – I’m a mother of an active toddler. I don’t have time and hands to take lots of interesting photos!

Mel and David did such an amazing job putting together this party. Usually, they say parties for 1-year-old are really more for the parents than the kids… but I think they had something for everyone. Stupendous cake, champagne, activity stations, music…

Admittedly, the music was more a reflection of Mel getting nostalgic about her youth (hence the many ’80s numbers!) but we weren’t complaining. The personal gosh-aww moment at the party for us turned out to be when Arddun pulled Tony out to the “dance floor” to dance with her daddy.

Observe:

Yes, she did look a little drunk… or high on chocolate cake… And yes, there was a bit of in-and-out-the-cherry-window followed by lots of odd dance moves partially inspired by Bjork… And there’s no denying the wails of children in the background so we are in no doubt that this WAS a children’s party… But there you have it. Arddun’s first slow-dance with her daddy.

Hopefully, they get the steps worked out a bit better by her wedding day, some day.

Photobooth-at-Ori-party
We Are Family

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