Thursday, 26 May 2016

Unfolding our own myth


I wake up and fumble blindly for the alarm, while my brain tries to disengage itself from sleep and my reluctant limbs exit the warmth of the duvet, one by one. It's the middle of the night outside, pitch dark and cold. I walk to Immy's room, bury my nose in the sleepy warmth of her neck. 'Morning beautiful. Almost time to get up', I whisper. I switch on lights as I head downstairs, the cat wrapped around my ankles, reminding me that she wants breakfast and the day has officially begun.

Lunch packs, school bags, drop offs and pick-ups. Dinner, homework, bath time, story time, bed time.

These daily rituals used to drive me mad. But I am savouring them now, when every 24-hour window that passes is easing me out of this comfortable, familiar life, and closer to our biggest adventure yet.

In 11 weeks, we're moving to Melbourne.

Such a little sentence that holds so much change.

We're folding up our life, piece by piece.

I'm decluttering, getting rid of everything I don't love, keeping the things that make this home precious to us. The car is sold, the house is being packed up slowly, carefully, thoughtfully. It's a sanctifying process. Touching long-forgotten items, stumbling on old photos and cards, dusting off a million memories. Lovingly recycling books and music that I've outgrown, giving away neglected clothing, shredding old documents. Opening up, scaling down.

There have been so many questions.  Do you have work? Where will you stay? Will you live together? What about school for Immy? Why are you going? What about your family? 

As with most things, we don't have all - or really any - of the answers. And that's okay. That's how we like it. Things just have a way of working out. Rob has been there for almost a month. He starts a new job on Monday. He's staying with friends. He's exploring, and figuring things out. We text and Facetime every day.

And in the meantime, we're enjoying the little things: changes of season, friendship and small adventures that continue in and around the moving preparations.

:: Autumn showing off her russet leaves and bright blue skies.

:: Farm capers. I stumbled on this photo taken on a previous visit to the farm, and just loved the messy hair, weird hands, crazy faces.

:: An end-of-summer music festival.

:: She's so excited about learning to read. She wants to read absolutely everything. Signs on the side of the road. Labels on food packaging. School books and story books, which she reads over and over in that sing-song way that small children have. I hope so much that this is the beginning of a love affair with books.

Side note: it took me a while to figure out that the writing in the heart did not, in fact, say Rose the RABBI.

:: A sleepover with her bestie. I took them for manicures and frozen yoghurt, and even though the nail polish was already chipped by the time we reached the other end of the mall, it was worth it to watch them choose their nail colours and hear them giggle hysterically in the next room.

:: A quick Knysna trip. It rained most of the weekend, so we stayed indoors. We had long afternoon naps tucked up in bed, while the grey drizzle pressed up against the window panes. We did venture out once or twice, mostly for food and a bit of fresh air.

:: Coney Glen adventures. It was our first time exploring this moody little bay. We climbed rocks, drew in the sand, and watched the tide coming in. The sea boiled below us, and the clouds drew in above us. I promised Immy we'd go back on a sunny day at low tide, to explore the rock pools and coves along the bay.

:: Cozy Sunday lie-ins on a sun-dappled bed.

:: Airport goodbyes. It was all fun here until the actual goodbyes came. She clung to Rob's neck like a monkey, and cried bitterly in the car. It was heart-wrenching.

:: And this. A Mimmo's Sunday: vanilla ice-cream, salted caramel and Oreos. We ate our way through the first inch, and then scooped out all the ice-cream to get to the salted caramel and biscuit bits at the bottom of the jar. It's crazy delicious.

Also: this is my favourite Instagram photo of her, ever.

As I type this, I can hear Immy mumbling in her sleep, the steady rise and fall of her breathing, the cat curled up next to her. My candle is flickering, and I'm sifting through magazines and papers, whittling things down to fit into a 20-foot container that will meet us in Melbourne.

This life? It's just being transplanted to another place. A new home, a new city, a new adventure.

We're ready.


“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
- Rumi

Friday, 20 May 2016

Humans of New York: the story of Grace

I follow Humans of New York on Instagram. They've just finished a series on pediatric cancer - the stories of parents, doctors, nurses and children who fight this disease with the fiercest bravery, compassion, and determination.

I was so incredibly moved by the series, that I wanted to share it here. I wanted to be able to read this post years from now when pediatric cancer is cured, and children don't have to fight this monster any more, and I want to be reminded how many people fought for a cure and never gave up.

The stories are so hard to read. I've cried more than once. But the people - and their stories - have changed my heart. Since the 5th of May, over 87 000 people have donated more than $3.2 million to aid the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer (the initial target was $1 million).

At the end of the series, after reading every single story, I'm left in awe at the people who have dedicated their entire lives - DECADES - to finding a cure despite the immense heartbreak and failure that they face day after day.


This is Gracie. And this is an extract from her story.

(5/6) “These are my beads of courage. You get a yellow bead for an overnight stay. A white bead is for chemo. A black bead is when you get pricked. And I have two special heart-shaped beads because my heart stopped twice. The first time my heart stopped was late at night. It started beating really fast, and my nurse got very scared, and suddenly ten doctors ran in. They pulled out a big bag of ice and put it on my chest. I was a little annoyed because Justin Bieber was performing at the VMA’s and I had to turn down the volume. The doctors said, ‘Grace have you ever been on a roller coaster? This medicine is going to make you feel like you’re going down a giant hill!’ And they started putting those shock paddles on me. And I heard them tell my mom they were going to stop my heart, and she took out her Valium and started chewing it so it would work faster. Then somebody screamed, ‘Everyone clear!’ And my Mom said: ‘Are you ready Grace? It’s just a roller coaster! Are you ready?’ And then they pushed the shot into my IV and it felt like the world stopped spinning. The machine was going ‘beep, beep, beep,’ but then it stopped. And then nothing. And then nothing. And it felt like a giant boulder was dropped on my chest. And then suddenly my heart started beating again. And I yelled: ‘That did not feel like a roller coaster!’”

Gracie's story had a happy ending. You can read her whole story here.
Click here to read more stories from the series.

To donate (I think today is the last day), click here.

Follow Humans of New York on Instagram.

All photos and text (Gracie's story) are taken from the Humans of New York website.