My Girl

The first moment she looked in my eyes my breath caught. I knew it in that moment of stark gravity. She was extraordinary.  Her newborn soul seemed so much bigger than mine and I admit, I was intimidated.  I looked back into her gaze and felt overwhelmed.  How could I do a good enough job for her?  How could I presume to be her mother?  I’d been talking to a growing baby girl in my tummy for nine months, but this baby wasn’t her.  She had been like a little animated doll in my mind, a sweet, quiet thing who jiggled to the music during school assemblies.  My class would look across and watch my tummy jumping, I would pat it and smile.  Settle, little one.  I felt like I knew her as she grew inside me.  And then she was born.  I don’t really know how to explain how enormous the reality of her unique self was to me.  She wasn’t the baby I’d been talking to, the longed for baby of my imagination.  She was entirely herself. Complete and shockingly present. She seemed to be prematurely wise, appraising her new mum.  Staring me down.  It wasn’t exactly as I imagined it would be.  I was terribly afraid.  I whispered her name, she opened her mouth
and wailed.

For the first six months of her life, Bee screamed.  My nappy bag was always packed full of anxious mummy remedies for every possible difficulty we might encounter.  But none of them stopped the crying.  She wanted to be upright, but she didn’t want to be held.  Her back would arch away from me and her mouth open in a pained, sustained scream. The only way we could comfort her was to perch her against one of us in a body sling and rock, rock, rock. Pat, pat, pat. Eventually, when we had exhausted all the possible parenting strategies and failed, we took her to a paediatrician and discovered she had something called silent reflux. I wish we had gone sooner.  Soothed by baby gaviscon, Bee began to sleep.  And so did we.  Our angry banshee became her true, sweet self.  And there she was, that baby I had imagined, a sweet, quiet wee girl. We set up a routine and everything started to calm down.  We exhaled. We began to get to know her. She began to smile.

Little Bee showed us very early that she loved animals.  She adopted snails and worms and repatriated them to new garden homes, resplendent with flower petal decorations and twiggy installations.  Ebony cat was her most loved baby. She loved the sandpit, hated loud noises.  She ate anything we ever offered, but particularly loved the methodical joy of eating blueberries or peas, one by one, tweezered from her high chair tray between thumb and finger, each one popped into her mouth with perfect precision.  Eyes wide as they burst between her teeny pearly teeth.  She was an observer.  A cautious participant.  Quiet and solemn and curious. She loved story time with her Granny and sat, warm in her lap, reaching for the next book in the basket, “More?”  The answer was always yes.  She craved the small fluffy bunnies of the petting zoos and crooned to the white rhinos and the wild cats of the big zoo.  She met her first pony at a farm festival when she was four.  From that moment, she was smitten.

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Little Bee’s best friend was a sweet little fella called Ced. They made block towers, took naps and played dough together.  Went to the same creche, baby gym and preschool.  They held hands and pushed each other around in the pedal car, shared raisins between hot little hands.  We had season passes for the Zoo and that is where we often went, walking around and stopping for neatly arranged finger foods snacks (the first-time-mother-factor!) and brightly coloured drink bottles.  Here they are, having a side by side nap when we were on holidays together in Fiji.  Aw.

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I look at my Bee now, lying on her tummy in front of the fire.  She was always off the scale on the baby height charts and she still towers over most of her friends at the age of nine. Her long frame stretches across the carpet.  These days she’s all growing pains and making gains.  She organises herself and takes pride in being responsible.  She comes out with surprising one liners and spontaneous sweetnesses.  Horse obsessed, she’s taken it upon herself to educate us about every breed and colouring of the equine spectrum. And she rides like she was born for the saddle, flying over jumps that make my heart lurch. Falling onto the neck of Beau with unbridled affection at any opportunity.  Her muscles are strong and supple and her ponytail dances beneath her helmet and down her long back. She takes my breath away, my girl.

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But more than all these wonders about who she is, are the things she does that most girls her age wouldn’t have the heart to do.  Bee is an expert assessor; she gauges my need for a cup of tea like she has a sixth sense.  She offers to bring snacks and feeds the cat.  She does her jobs without ever complaining.  And just yesterday morning, as I hung my head over the toilet bowl and retched, her hand reached in with a hair tie.  “Here, Mum” she murmured “You can keep your hair back with this”.  Her hand, warm against my back.  Her heart reaching in to mine.  Then, a glass of water; my eyes filled.  “Thank you, sweet heart” I whispered to her.  How can I ever show her how much gratitude fills my thoughts?  Not just for all the small ways that she brings me comfort and support, or for the compassion she shows so far beyond her years.  For her willingness to help. But for loving me so unconditionally. All those years ago, she appraised me with those wise eyes, she saw my fear and my insecurities and accepted me as hers, anyway.  She reminds me every day that the best of who I am is invested in a shining beautiful person. A girl who makes me proud to be related to her, proud by association, touched by the wonder of being her Mum.

Love you, my girl.  

If your teenage years should temporarily kidnap your true self, I’ll pay the ransom.
I’ll wrap you up in my arms and even while you protest, I’ll tell you that I love you.
I’ll look you right in your young ancient eyes and remind you: you accepted me.  We made an agreement, you and me, the day you were born.
I’m here, I’m your Mum. And no matter what may come;
no matter where you are, no matter where I am, my heart is with your heart.

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Taking Stock


Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 12.54.46 pmI’m doing a course on blogging and writing (just in case you missed my many references to it).  I am loving the course and determined to do all the assignments, because you can take the girl out of girly-swot but you can’t take the swot out. Which just means (if you are not a kiwi) that I am a big fat nerd.

So here it is.  A list of what is happening in my world at the moment.  If you are a girly-swot too, who loves lists and wants one of your own, join in! I’d love to see your list, too!  I’ll add the empty list at the bottom of the post so you can copy and paste it.   Message it to me over on:
https://www.facebook.com/chronicillsofrach  or add it to the comments below.

Making: havoc of my kind

Cooking: lots of slow cooker, save-my-bacon meals for six.  But last night(!) an inspired-by-Rosie, pulled pork and noodle stiry fry with lots of fresh veggies and handfuls of coriander.   Oooooh… delish.  Even if I say so meself.

Drinking: tea!  Wanna cuppa?

Reading: Half The Sky, Let me Sing You Gentle Songs, the Dovekeepers…
(well, in truth, I’m just looking at them in my ‘to read’ pile and actually reading lots of blogs!)

Wanting: an ugg onesie.  Have they been invented yet?

Looking: at the ‘insides’ of lots of amazing heads in the blogosphere

Playing: over and over in my head,  a conversation I had recently with my doctor

Deciding: that expanding our family was the right thing to do after all

Wishing: I had enough energy for my expanded family all of the time

Enjoying: blogging with Pip and the Pipsters

Waiting: for the rugby to finish so hubster can join me in sweet slumber

Liking: (“blog crushing” on) Michelle from Living with Bob, Annette from I Give you the Verbs and Kellie van Meurs from To Russia with Hope.

Wondering: if Zed will be okay in his first TV audition next week

Loving: being challenged by my BLOG WITH PIP course!

Pondering: the sounds coming from down the road… is that joyous celebration or a fracas?

Considering: whether we should investigate that...

Watching: BBCs ‘Hunderby’… crying myself silly with laughter. It’s a spoof period drama/ comedy.  Think Jane Austen, crossed with The Young Ones.

Hoping: I will wake up in time tomorrow to wake Bee for her sunrise photography session with the other Be.

Marvelling: at the wondrous coincidences that occur in my life, all the time.  You too?

Needing: some oomph.

Smelling: Lemons from the Chilean Pisco Sours Hubster made tonight.

Wearing: Lazy Bones PJs (Australian genius in a pajama)

Following: suit.

Noticing: that my blog is a bit different to what I thought it would be. Less informative so far, more impressionistic.  What do you want more of?

Knowing: I am so lucky to have this beautiful big blended family.

Thinking: how I have always been happiest in International communities and that is why I love social media

Feeling: happy tired instead of sick tired.

Admiring: the character Bee showed at riding today when she pushed through her terror and made the jumps that she thought she couldn’t get over.

Sorting: our finances.  I’m in charge of them for the first time ever!  eeeeeek!

Buying: Star Coins for StarStable (I know.  Ridiculous.  And I am in charge of finances?  Help.)

Getting: closer to happy more often.

Disliking: NZ being so small and at the bottom of the world, so far from some of the best Dysautonomia specialists.

Opening: the doors to the things I have needed to express for a long time.

Giggling: at Hunderby’s naughty bits.

Feeling: affirmed and supported and loved by people I know and by people I haven’t even met in person. It astounding how good that feels.  I have a community.

Snacking: I’m not!  Gold star for me for the last five minutes of no snacking.  But just by the by, ‘snackage’ is quite possibly one of the loveliest types of eating. Closely followed by dessert spoon lingering.

Coveting: The writing lives of Naomi Bulger, from ‘Naomi Loves’ and Pia, from ‘Woven Words’.

Wishing: I had a magic wand.  There are lots of places I would wave that thing.

Helping: with my words. People are finding my words useful and I really love that.

Apologising: for not making links yet for all the lovely people and blogs mentioned above. That’s a bit beyond me this second. I will amend that on the morrow (check back here and get clicking)!

Hearing: a song on a loop in my head:
“Every little thing is gonna be alright” (after a little meme glued it in there).

Here’s the list.  Your turn!
Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Buying:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Coveting:
Wishing:
Helping:
Hearing: