You’re carrying around a huge pink handbag, embroidered with flowers. Inside it are a small tan Pug dog plush (He’s your new favourite; you’ve named him Pug-Pug) and a Kelly green copy of the Heinemann’s New Zealand Dictionary. It used to belong to my grandmother. Her name is written, in her ever-elegant cursive, inside the front cover. You think this dictionary is best for telling your stories, and you flip open its pages and begin.
You have told me today that when you are older you will live in a windmill. That you will ride a purple motorcycle and you will look after yourself. You told me today, like every day, to remember that we are always in each others hearts, no matter where we are.
I reminded you of this when, yesterday, you found yourself lost, so ever briefly, in between isles in the local supermarket. I saw on your face, that expansion of reality. Saw you feel so lost, so alone. I swept you up; so wanting and willing to take that feeling from you. To keep you from it and have it never bother you again. To stuff you inside my t-shirt, where you lived for so long when you were cooking then new. I held on to you, laid safe in my arms, and kissed the tears from your ears and told you all those truths. All our old truths. Truths as old as ever, as old as you. And some new ones, too. Some new ways to find your way. Because you are, and you will and nothing will hold you back.
Because you’re a girl on a purple motorbike, riding home to her windmill. And in your handbag is your dog, he’s named Pug-Pug. And he’s wearing a helmet and reading aloud his favourite words from the your Kelly green dictionary. A book that’s helped 4 generations before you, find their words, so a part of your story. And you won’t need to remember because you’ll know it forever, we’re together. We’re in each others hearts.
You’re the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart.
From your Grandmother’s garden.
You drew you and I drew me. Then you extended your hand.
Mabel: Mama, you’re my favourite. You’re my favourite because you get the spiders out of their webs so they don’t scare me.
We went to Ferrymead! For Children’s Day! We rode the tram!
Mother was mostly concerned with the light fittings! They were good light fittings. And the ceiling! She has a thing for pressed tin.
We found things with wheels!
And bright red doors!
We climbed in the butter churn!
And chased these chickens!
We played in the phone box!
And made prank calls!
We found the Post Office!
And ate chips in the garden of a weatherboard house! (Which does not differ, really, from our every day life!)
We rode something else! A steam train this time!
Mother was mostly concerned with this sign. It was a good sign. She’d like it to hang in her kitchen.
And though it was crawling with people, we found little pockets of stillness. And like so many pockets, that’s where there’s treasure.
You are reading books in a tent in the lounge. You both still have bottles in the afternoon.
Mabel has just come through to the kitchen, where I am sitting at the table writing. She mimed ‘I love you’. Her eyes. Her heart. Her mama. ‘Don’t forget to look after yourself’, she said to me, over her shoulder, as she left the room.
The Kale we sowed from seed has sprouted on the windowsill. 4 white plastic containers we filled with dirt, and watered and left to sleep in the sun.
You made your own sandwiches for lunch, tearing the crusts off and feeding them to the dog, as we sat here, all together.
With love and thanks to: Khuzwane Holder for the track and Simon Boxall for the video.
Previously published in Something Magazine by Young Gifted and Broke.
“How do you want to play this game?”, I ask her.
And she replies:
Cutting out quilts.
Paws covered in paint.
Flowers from the garden, clutched softly in little hands.
Dresses that match your (soon-to-be) jam.
Deeply inspired by the newest issue of Mollie Makes, though we hadn’t the materials suggested.
Proudly presenting Mae-Mae’s first guest blog.
Mabel’s Instructions: ‘Get the little scissors and the piece of paper and cut dem, and then I sticked it together, and then get Mama to help you. I love glitter! I sticked it with glitter. It’s pretty. It’s blue. There was a stick in the photo. I got one from the garden and I put it on’.
‘I wanted to make them because I did’.
Treasures from this mornings trawling’s: An armful of books. A 70’s croc-pot. Irish linen tea towels.
Otherwise known as items I am powerless to resist.