Theo: Mama, why don’t fish have noses?
Theo: Do you have a heart, Mama?
Alice: Yep, Bubba. Here in my chest.
Theo: What does your heart do?
Alice: It pumps my blood all over my body…
Mabel: And my heart is for when I love someone.
Theo: Do crabs think we walk sideways?
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.
Theo: Mama, here’s a ring. We’re married now.
Alice: Oh, thank you darling. We’re married? What does ‘married’ mean? Do you know?
Theo: It’s when you show someone a dance forever.
Baking day 1 + 2 + 3 / Afternoon walks in her favourite shoes; always on the wrong feet. / Oh, hello to you! The bulbs I planted in April, arriving just before Spring. So cheerful. / Quilts, embroidery, and a well stickered sewing box. / My stylist making some last-minute adjustments to my outfit. Or trying to get at all the Lego that he keeps in my handbag. / Sitting on the back deck, waiting for Summer. / Knitting, knitting, knitting.
Theo: Whose idea was it to put corn in a can?
I am standing at the kitchen bench barefoot, making the children something to eat.
As I cut the crusts off a piece of toast, to Theo’s prescription, I drop them on the floor for the dog.
‘That was surprising!’ Theo notes of the commotion that ensures; flat-faced-cat trying to lick buttered edges before they are inhaled by an ever available Dachshund shaped garbage disposal.
I hand Theo a piece of toast. Buttered with hummus. Crusts, as mentioned, removed.
‘And a top piece?’ he asks of me. ‘It’s convenient that way’.
Theo: Mama, why don’t spiders have hands?