October

Dear Babies,

It’s been a busy month. Mae’s birthday. My birthday. I’m 29 now. I’d had you both by 25.

I never thought of my self as a particularly young mother. You just came when it was your time to. I had always been the first of my friends to do things; go overseas; have a 9-5; buy a home; start a family. So even though, looking around me, there was no one I knew doing what I was doing, I was used to that. You find your own way. The only thing you are obligated to do, is to find something beautiful in living. To take the chances to find out who you really are. Just do things how they feel best to you. Your Aunty once told me, ‘just find what you can do, and do it how it needs to be done’.  I think that’s good advice.

Your journey is not comparative to anyone else’s, though we all begin and end in the same place. Remember, they say comparison is the thief of joy, because it’s true – nothing will ever feel as good as when you think you’re doing a good job; heading in the right direction; being your best. You have such a talent for happiness. Keep it with you. When you feel sad, which you will, hopefully from time to time and not all the time, though that can happen too, happiness can feel like it takes so much energy. But I have seen you, watched you everyday since you first arrived here, and I can assure you, happiness comes naturally to you.

You’re so good at happiness, I was initially just happy simply by association with you. And though there’s been such cause for sadness, your faces, our time together, your loveliness, your liveliness, has been the light that I have set sail for until I reached the shore. You have made me sure of so much; my self, my decisions, my ability to sustain my own contentment. You personified my happiness, gave it a face and a name and brought it to me everyday. You remind me what happiness is. Now I’d recognise it anywhere.

This month:

You woke me up before dawn:-
Mabel: ‘Happy New Year! You are a dog! Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome a brand new Otto! This is great! You are so much fun, Mama!’
&
Theo: ‘Mama, why can’t cows walk down stairs?’

I discovered you, both in the butter at the bench; Theo wiping it off Mae’s shirt with a cloth, and Mae thanking him.

I found you arguing; M: You can’t share my birthday, Theo! It’s my choice!

You yelled at me:-
Theo: ‘Did you say QUIET?’
&
Mabel: ‘YOU’RE MY HAPPY PLACE!’

You broke my heart:-
Mabel: ‘I’m sad because I’m not somebody. I’m just me.’

You made me laugh:-
Mabel: ‘My dreams are so much fun! My hot dog is so much fun! I’m so much fun!’

You asked:-
Theo: ‘Is this a home sweet home?’
Theo: ‘Who is Bonnie Prince Billy and did he die?’

You advised me:-
Theo: ‘Just breathe, Mama!’

You made my heart swell:-
Mabel: ‘I look beautiful in the mirror’.
Theo: ‘Mama! I couldn’t wait to tell you! I had a crazy dream about noodles!

Aside from everything you utter, one of my favourite passages came to me, tucked up in bed, always reading. It’s from Camus.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

Remember your invincible summer.
Remember you’re my invincible summer.

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele,
Mama xx

January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September

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September.

Dear Babies,

You’re not really babies anymore, you know. And you do know. You tell me often. “I’m big!” you say. Though sometimes you’ll concede “I’m little”. I kiss you to sleep, as I always have done. And you wake me by making a racket, as you have always done. Though times they are a changin’. Though the song remains the same.

Right now I am sitting on our blue couch. There’s an orange cat pressing his tickle whiskers to my arm, making it hard to type. I’m listening to all the different versions of ‘Dream a Little Dream’ I can find. Everyone that hears me type says I hit my keys too hard. I’m really writing this, you know? I am really here, in this little wooden house as you sleep across the hall in your little bunked beds. There are flowers on your sheets and there are cars on your sheets and there’s Dora on your pyjamas and there’s Thomas on yours. And in the morning it will be Mabel’s birthday. There’s a grey cat on the coffee table, and she has little silver feet. There are cherry blossoms on the mantelpiece.

My love for flowers is something you know about me. You tell other people ‘Mama loves flowers! And dancing! And her favourite colour is yellow’, all of which are true. You’re my biographers. You are telling my story to me and my fingers are flying trying to take it all down. Bang on the space bar. Smashing the full stop. There are notes of our lives over everything. On calendars. Throughout my phone. On receipts in my purse. Marked on my body. Scrawled on walls in crayon I can’t bring myself to wash off, because it’s you telling your story. So there’s nail polish on the doors and paint on the floor and pen on the paint work. Because, even now, I can’t believe you’re here. That you’re mine. And this is the place we do our living. You’re telling your own stories here, too.

I walked an enormous coffee table, another roadside find, several blocks home today. It’s the perfect height and the perfect length and it has tiny carved flowers on the legs. And I want to love it. Really. I’ve spent all evening looking at it, thinking how I will make it work. The possibilities. The purpose. Because it seems like it should fit right in. I can see you drawing on it and building on it and it being strewn with cake plates and tea cups and climbed all over. But I’m not feeling it. Because a lesson I have learnt in learning the lessons I’ve learnt to learn is, less really is more. I used to feel like, the more I had, the more real I was, somehow. As if owning things connected me in some way. Identified me as a person. With things. And, sure it is easy to say, over here or out there or after, that what I was trying to do was to fill some void; to find what was missing. When really, nothing was.

And that’ll bowl you over sometimes, that nothing is missing. That you have everything you need. And you do. Right now. Even though you mightn’t believe it, or though you might be working so hard to convince yourself otherwise. Because just you is enough.

Just you is enough.

Theo: you lost your smile for a little while there. Somewhere along the line that 4 has walked us. Things got hard again, as they do in times of change. And you don’t want to say ‘oh, that’s just 4!’ because, how reductive. And I’ve been 4 and 10 and 13 and 18 and in the last weeks of 28, and you could say ‘oh, that’s just!” to any of those and be right and wrong. But it’s back now, your smile. And it’s not an ear to ear. No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s a chin to eyebrow. Your face lights up.
You talk with your hands and when you’re asking me a question, in conversation, you extend your right hand. And it’s as if I can see the words walk off your palm and out into the world. Your questioning strengthens you, darling. Don’t stop asking. You are so brave. I hope I’m half as brave as you, when I grow up.

Mabel: you sing to everything. Songs you make up. The ones you hear. From Bonnie Prince Billie to theme songs on the movies we watch and watch. You walked into the lounge the last week, ‘right’ you said, clapping your hands, as I always begin, ‘you’re gonna play the drums and you’re gonna play the pianey and I’m gonna do this!’ this, of course, being your beloved harmonica. It’s only vexation being that you can’t sing and play it at the same time. We had friends over the week before, and as they left, you came slowly inside after waving them off. ‘What’s wrong, little love?’ I asked your small down turned face. ‘Alex and Hazel have gone home.’ You sighed. ‘And we were making a band!’. You stroke my cheek when I tuck you in at night ‘sing the songs when I was a little baby’ you ask me, and I do. The same as my mother sung me. As her father sung her. When I sing ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ you yell ‘I’m not going!’. When I sing ‘This Little Light of Mine’ you sing ‘I’m gonna let it shine!’. And you mean it. And you do.

Let it shine, baby loves.

And make sure you really love the coffee table, before you walk it all the way home.

I love you. I love you. I love you.
Mama xx

January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August

August.

Winters is over now. The Summer is coming for us.

We’ll live on the deck, under the sun shade. I’ll cut flowers from the garden with orange handled scissors. Posies will perfume every room. You’ll help me grow vegetables, your tiny fingers digging in the dirt. We’ll walk to the dairy, hand in hand, for ice blocks of every colour. The washing will dry on the line, and the sun will bleach the stains left by fruit with stones. We’ll buy dark green avocados by the bucket and we’ll live on guacamole. We might get chickens.

Our house will be filled with music and people and we’ll send them home with full bellies and their black clothing covered in the hair of our daft cats. We’ll get in cars full of family and dogs and sandwiches and songs and go on easy adventures. You’ll go to bed before the sun and there will always be sand in your sheets.

I am so tired, darlings. This past season was long. I couldn’t be more ready to sit in our overgrown garden and watch you grow, ever skyward; my sunflowers.

It is so important to appreciate where you are. And who you are there with. There have been times in my life, where I couldn’t imagine things getting easier; being any different than there were every day. Making changes can feel impossible. To let people in. To let go. To tell your truth. But you can. You really can. Have courage. The beauty you see around you is your beauty.

Mae-Mae. When I am with you, I feel the perfect sweetness of the world. When you and your brother were brand new, it kept me awake nights, worrying how I would protect you, from all there is to run from. What I realise now, is that it is for me to stand with you, not to keep you from all that is meant to be yours. There will be times when you need to be so brave, my love. When you will need to hold on, with all your might. There will be times you could never imagine. Times you couldn’t hope for more. Our human experiences are what shape us. I am with you. We are in this together.
You have this crazy hair, you inherited, from a fine line of wild women. You ask me to hold things for you, ‘for safe keeping’. You love to be spun around, turned upside down. A small pink acrobat, that screams with laughter during every act. When you and your brother gang up on me, you are always the muscle. Mae-Mae the Merciless. Mabel the Muss. You don’t take any shit, that’s for sure. I admire that about you. Your Aunty took your photograph the other day. ‘No flash photography!’, you told her.

Theo. You are obsessed with technology. You sigh, wistfully, when you recount the computer of your Uncle. You moon over idevices, when we encounter them. I threw an (already) broken VCR off the deck (the screws were too tight!) last week and let you have at it with all the screwdrivers I could find you. It should be added that most of them I found stashed under your mattress. Which would be worrying, if you weren’t Capitan Sensible.
I want you to know how loved you are. Because I see you sometimes, can see you realising your singularity. And how it frightens you. It used to frighten me too, that feeling of separation. And how it makes you seek out connection. You are okay, Bubba. You are not alone. And you’ll learn, over the course of things, that alone dosen’t have to mean lonely. I am with you. We are in this together.

Hold on. To each other.

Love,
Mama xx

January / February / March / April / May / June / July

July

Dear Babies,

20 things to think about:

  1. Most new experiences will be hard and weird and interesting. Hang in there.
  2. Ask for help. Ask questions. Ask people their names.
  3. You are never too old to make new friends.
  4. Figure out what happiness looks and feels like to you. That way you’ll know it when you find it. And it makes it easier to remember it when you lose it sometimes.
  5. Never be afraid to say ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and stop as soon as it doesn’t. Don’t rush.
  6. Try not to put too much pressure on other people to give you the love you should be giving yourself.
  7. Everybody is just looking to feel cared for, in a way that feels right for them.
  8. It’s the people, it’s the people, it’s the people; be good to the ones that are good to you.
  9. Make art with your friends.
  10. Take road trips and flowers.
  11. Try not to show up empty handed and always offer to do the dishes.
  12. No one ever regrets buying quality.
  13. You can do literally anything for 15 minutes. Clean your bloody room already.
  14. Say sorry when you hurt a persons feelings. Even if you didn’t mean to or if you feel embarrassed because you did. You will be surprised how meaningful an apology, and changing your behaviour, can be.
  15. If you do the things you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
  16. Spontaneous musical numbers are good for you. Put a little air behind it.
  17. Dance wherever and whenever it feels necessary. It’s good for you to remember your body in a joyful way.
  18. Remember your manners. Your Great-Grandmother always said they lubricated society…She also said to always flirt with the butcher…
  19. Everybody feels better after a cup of tea. Or a bath. Or a poo.
  20. It feels good to laugh.

 

Mae; you have the creepiest laugh I have ever heard, and a grin that could power a city. You crawl into bed with me still, some nights. Sleeping with your little foot pressed up to my ribs and stealing the blankets. When I am trying to talk to your brother, discussing the consequences of his actions, you roar in the background: ‘take him away, Mama! Take him away! You love animals and the garden. There’s a pit-dober-weiler that barks at us on our way to the dairy. ‘Be quiet, Puppy!’ You yell back at him. ‘Be a nice dog!’. You’re incredibly bossy, in a good natured way. You come with me to the grocer and take our fruit and vegetables up to the counter. I handed you some ginger recently. ‘Gabba had this when she had a cold! She cut it up and made tea to help her feel better!’, you told me with earnest urgency. You are wary of shopkeepers, or store assistants, other adults at Playcentre. You don’t like to be spoken to by people you don’t know. You can be slow to show affection, but once you decide you like someone you ask after them constantly, enquiring as to their state of wellbeing. You told me today that you were a super fairy. I am inclined to believe you.

Theo; this month you turned 4 years old and had a party that you didn’t want. ‘No friends’, you told me. ‘Just my family’. We had afternoon tea on the Sunday before your birthday with Gabba and Pappous and your avalanche of honorary Aunties and Uncles, but we weren’t allowed to call it a party. There were two cakes, as is our tradition. And you got a little daunted when they came out be-candled, as if their presence was what distinguished this gathering as something more. But you blew out the candles and said thank you and ate more cake than anybody. You don’t like to be the centre of attention, even though you so often command it. You love to listen to music through headphones and when I ask you to lower your voice when you’re telling me what you like about the song you’re hearing, you turn to me and yell ‘I’M NOT YELLING!’. You never stop talking. You ask questions from the moment you wake up until I sing you to sleep at night. The Nearness of You is your favourite song at bedtime. I imagine you dancing to it in the future with the person you love. They’ll be so lucky you do.

 

  • (And one for luck:)  Just be yourselves. There’s a reason that that piece of advice is so popular. It’s because it’s good. And you’re great.

 

I love you all the love,
Mama xx

 

January / February / March / April / May / June

June.

Winter arrived this month. I chase you around the house in the mornings, still dark; trying in vain to get you to keep your socks on; to sit under a blanket on the couch while you watch cartoons. You wear striped thermals under all your clothes; your super hero second skin. I tie towels about your shoulders at bath time, and fly you into bed.

I assembled your bunks this month; Theo on the top, Mabel on the bottom. Our nightly ritual now including me banging my head; catching a shoulder; injuring myself somehow, just trying to get to you for kissing; on your castle, in your little cave. They are a pain in the arse to make, to make nice of the nightly knots you make of your bedding, but I do, because doing so is a part of our rhythm. Like dance parties before dinner. Like 1000 kisses a day.

There are some parts of parenting that took no consideration for me. They arrived with a knowing, just like you both did. I knew I would have you both at home. I knew I would stay home with you once I had you. These decisions decided themselves. They were just what was going to happen. I never measured them alongside anyone else. I think we get so lost navigating by the belief that we are having a comparative experience with others. That my not doing what you have done is a judgement upon your choices, or vice versa. Where we are lucky enough to be empowered with options, what works for one may just not work another. It’s a process, not a competition. Try to remember that.

Mae; you are a party girl. When you were a baby, you thought that was your name. You responded to it; looked up at us, from where you bum-shuffled; hands full to treasure or contraband, usually one in the same. “What you doing, Party Girl? Where you going?”. You would invariably hit us with the full force of your grin, your whole face the Sun. Before scooting off somewhere new, ready to party; somewhere the chaperones weren’t such a drag. You can fall asleep standing up, and did so this month, further testament to your party girl powers, and some serious Darwinning. Most of your top teeth are chipped; from dancing, from falling, from your hereditary perilous sense of adventure. Your language is developing in leaps and bounds. You decided at 1 that you spoke English; ready to communicate, to express, to get together and feel alright. Now 4 months shy of 3 years old, you are all the time refining, elaborating, exploring language and all it can lead you to. Sitting on the couch last week, you danced in to the room and took me by the face. You took a deep breath before yelling, point-blank, ‘THESE ARE MY EXTRA SKILLS” apropos of nothing.

Theo; you know your left from right; which is often confusing and frustrating for both of us, because I don’t. Not without having to think about what hand I write with, anyway. You told me the other day that you wanted to be a doctor. And a digger. And to work at the dairy. You love Louis Armstrong and can tell the difference between a trumpet and an oboe, which is a pretty great party trick, for a 3-year-old. You have mastered the art of the leading statement, often opening with, ‘so, I’ve been thinking…’. You’d live at the library, if only they’d feed you. You asked me just now, ‘what’s the good news and what’s the bad news?’, which is pretty demonstrative of your thought process. What are my options here? Is there room to negotiate? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? You hate to be rushed, but are easy to reason with. Except for the times there is no reasoning with you. You get that from me.

You are all the colours at once, the pair of you. Flags held high, tales trailing behind you. Filling yourselves up. Forging new ground.

May which ever road you choose, always rise up to meet you.

 

I love you without measure,
Mama xx

 

January / February / March / April / May

 

May.

Dear Babies,

This month the washing machine broke down (because I washed too many couch covers too many…and at once) and my cellphone stopped taking calls (because I answered it with wet hands from running the bath) and the batteries for the home phone were no longer working (after they were used in an ‘experiment’) and the dishwasher all of  sudden no longer washed dishes (which led me to discover, it was actually a fuse) and power points all over the house no longer had power and my laptop went to sleep and never woke up and the laptop I borrowed didn’t have all its keys (so I spent 3 weeks copy and pasting ‘L’s, ‘T’s and 9’s and do you know annoying that is, when you’re in a heated debate, over instant messenger?) and the USB keyboard I purchased today, because I had to write this post? Well, my darlings, I’ll be damned if the ‘A’ doesn’t work. So whenever you see one, think of me fondly; cross-legged and squinting, machine on machine, hunting for typos. Ctrl V. Ctrl V.

And all this to say, sometimes you will have a mare. And you will get to the point where you say, gosh, that’s a fair share. And then more will happen, and you’ll think, really? But…really? And then more will happen and you may have  cry; or you may be too tired to cry, or too stubborn; so maybe you’ll just be angry instead, and you’ll curse your lot and call your mother and swear and complain.  And then more will happen and you’ll be like OF COURSE. COME AT ME! WHAT ELSE YOU GOT? Because you are my children; and that’s how we do.

And on and on it may go, a veritable avalanche, untill you get to the point where you no longer care, which comes as respite, but also, rewardingly leads into the point where you will find yourself laughing. And then it’s as if the secrets of all things are revealing themselves to you. Because if you can still laugh, for whatever reason, alone and your own, you’re doing okay.

Because there will always be times where things go wrong. Times the sheer relentlessness of the world will astound you. But there are also first kisses, and new ventures, and parties and books. And inspiration and peanut butter and jam sandwiches and really hard hugs, right when you need them. There’s conversation and collaboration and new party clothes and treasure and gold watches and do you know how many cat videos there are on the internet? There’s new bands and old bands and doing your best. There’s cleaning your bedroom and washing your hair. There’s new friends and old friends and family. There’s new friends and old friends and family, who have a full complement of working chattels.

There’s a quote, wrongly attributed to Buddha, that says, “When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” And while it my not be from the source, there’s wisdom in it. Remember there is much to look forward to. And most of it will come as a complete surprise.

*

This month you said:

Driving somewhere talking about what we could see out the window:
Theo: Look at that truck Mama!
Alice: That’s a good one, Bubba. What do you like about it?
Theo: I like the engine and the started motor!
Mabel: I like the black it’s painted!

Sitting at the kitchen table; eating dinner:
Theo: Mama, what are prickles?
Mabel: Like on cactuses! (Then you laughed to yourself) Good thinking, me!

Sitting on the couch in the afternoon with Mae on my lap, when she turns to face me and pats my chest.
Mabel: Mama, your boobies were a milk container!

Theo came over to fix my fence (as played by the couch)
Theo: Hammer! Hammer! Hammer! There! All fixed!
Alice: Great! Thank you! How much do I owe you?
Theo: 20 box!

Getting in the car this morning, a Police car drives past.
Theo: You tell the Police to get lost!
Alice…You mean, you tell the Police when you get lost, darling?
Theo: Yeah! And then they’ll ring Simon!
Alice: …You mean…Ring the siren?

This month I overheard you say:

Theo: Is that the go-er?
Mabel: No! that’s the stopper!

Theo: I’m going to give you a haircut!
Mabel: Okay!

Theo: That sounds naughty and dangerous.
Mabel: Lets do it!

*

Theo; you have learnt to say and spell Bob the Builder in 5 languages, and to use the covers of our videos to copy the titles for searching on you tube. You are endlessly inquisitive; you asked me the other day why the mandarins had freckles, and asked your sisters feet why they were under her socks. “Feet? I’m talking to you, Feet!”. She made them reply in a silly voice and we laughed and laughed. You are such a good brother and son.  I remember exactly, like some cellular memory, how I would burp you when you were a baby. Sit you up straight with my hand across your chest, lengthen you as best you are able to lengthen a slug, tilt you slighty forward and rub your back in an upwards motion. You’d wake every 2 hours, like clockwork. And I remember, so clearly that time; how everything changed, suddenly so focused. I remember the light from the lamp on top of the television, where I would sit on the couch and feed you those nights. The warm weight of you. I had no idea the little boy you’d turn into; though you feel it, somewhere. A knowing. I am so proud of the person you are.

Mae; you say ‘him is’ instead of his, ‘them is’ instead of theirs. Carrying you in, half asleep from the car, you pointed your little hand “Mama, the stars have them is lights on”. We roll around in my bed, most mornings, under blankets til the house warms up. One morning you sat up and said, very earnestly, “It’s a whole city and a whole world, Mama. It’s a difficult music. We need a day off”. I am so often struck by your wisdom. I never want to forget how you talk, you say things like “There is a yittle cup in your breadroom”, which makes me so happy. You have no ‘L’s, could just about be my favourite thing of all time, but still surprised me when you asked me the other day why I had a cock on my arm. “You mean a clock, darling? My watch?” “Yeah. Mama! Your cock! It’s shiny!”. Your favourite look at the moment is to wear tights with feet as pants, and I call you Edie Sedgewick and you say “No! I am Mabel!”. You told me, this month, that you didn’t want to be a girl, as I sat on the toilet doing a wee. That you wanted to have a penis like Theo and Daddy and Pappou, so you could wee in the ‘toilet hole’. And I wanted to reassure you, to extol the virtues of our sex. Damn the patriarchy! Girl power! I was almost shocked by the force of my own reaction. But instead, I said, “That’s okay, baby. You can be whoever you want to be”. And then we sat there a moment; you on the floor, and me on the toilet, and we waited while that information echoed inside us. I will always be there for you, to help it take hold.

*

And so, my loves, take heed: it’s not the life in your appliances, or even the appliance in your life – because where there is a will, there’s always a way; even if it’s not the way you had planned.

That I stay home, Friday nights, and write love letters to the best people I know, is proof. Ctrl V. Ctrl V.

Everything’s gonna work out, you’ll see.

Love,
Mama xx

January / February / March / April

April.

 

Dear Babies,

You don’t always have to be right. You won’t always be. In every new season of my life I realise how much I don’t know. But those gaps have a way of filling themselves. There’s this Kafka passage Tom Robbins quotes in Still Life with Woodpecker; “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Here is a secret that’s not really a secret (people will try to tell you that’s wisdom); you don’t always have to know what you’re doing either. Or what you want to do, or where you’re going. It is perfectly okay to just sit with that not knowing. To wait it out. To think it over. To try a bunch of things. To like them or not like them. To succeed or fail. Where and who you are supposed to be will find you. Your future is waiting, and you are the only one it wants. It’ll come to you. It always does.

We are all here; worrying the same worries and feeling the same feelings and thinking the same thoughts. The best you can do, at all times and anywhere, is to be kind. To yourselves especially. Be patient. When it all feels too slow or too hard or too much, try to remember that everything you have done has brought you to now, and you managed all those other times that felt too slow or too hard or too much, didn’t you? You kept breathing in and out and putting your right foot in front of your left foot until you found yourself somewhere else. Somewhere where maybe it was easier to breathe. Remember to breathe. It may sound too simple to be meaningful, but that’s a another lesson for another letter. Try and appreciate the good things, even in the bad times. Because they are there too, just as much and as ever and the hard things.

Read widely. Listen to all sorts of records, especially if someone you love loves them. These are the secrets people will share with you without even realising. Take a lot of photographs. I began the 365  project I’ve been doing this year, to help and mend a broken heart I was holding. One day at a time is a powerful thing. It’s enough. It is so easy to get caught up trying to figure out the future, when you’re headed there anyway.

Mabel; I think we all forget sometimes how young you are; only 2.  But you have reminded us this month, with your tantrums, your demands, so seemingly out of character, but so suitable for where you are right now. Being only 15 months younger than your brother, you have almost rolled into a twinship. But you are you and our very best you at that. You come up to me sometimes, and take my hand and say ‘best friends’. You like to build towers from all my library books and when I give you a carrot dipped in hummus, you eat the hummus off and hand me back the carrot, “More pwease!” you tell me, rather than ask. You’d live on crackers, if I let you. I woke up the other day, to find you sitting on my bed, crumbling a mysterious piece of polystyrene all over my bed covers. “It’s snowing, Mama!” you told me, as a million uniform snowflakes drifted over us. They stuck in your eyelashes, like some kind of Man Ray, and oh, I just can’t get mad at you. You overwhelm me with happiness. Your face heralds it.

Theodore; this time next year we will be preparing you for school. Just as I am beginning to feel as though I am getting this thing right. As our rhythm is finding us and carrying us over. That’s how these things happen, my love. The music swells, and our lives along with it. You say the most tremendous things, all day, without pause. “Where are my formal pants” you asked the other day. I had to tell you I didn’t know, because, formal pants? Where are you off to? The theatre? I ask you a lot of questions back, wanting you to look for your own answers, wanting to show you the possibility not knowing offers. And then there are some things, like when you say ’emergent seat!’ instead of emergency, which make me smile too hard to correct. Try and remember humility, Bubba. Never let yourself be shamed into it. But know that there is a connectivity that comes with it. Something relateable. Because when you are singing ‘heyyyyyy, sassy neighbour!’ as the lyrics to Gangnam Style, there is always going to be someone who thought those were the words too. And then you can laugh about it. Together.

I think I write you these letters as a way to hold on to you. Or to hold on to myself. To try to preserve something that is both fleeting and forever. I am sure, when you’re old, and I am trying to explain to you all that we find and feel over the course of all things, you’ll throw back to me, over your shoulder and out the door, “Yeah. I know, Mama. You covered that in Newsletter 57”. “Consider yourself lucky”, I’ll call after you, never to old to kick your ass, “that I was so consumed with love for you, I had to tell the whole world our story”.

Our tiny landscapes.

 

I love you all the love,

Mama xx

 

JanuaryFebruary / March.