In a few days, another birthday will roll around. The thirty seventh one, to be precise. 37 – how did that happen?
I’ve been thinking recently that maybe I should have a bucket list of things I want to do or “achieve” before I turn 40. “40” is a big number, and only a moment ago it seemed like a very long way away – yet here it comes, hurtling towards me like a boulder down a hill. So maybe a bucket list would make me feel more in control of the situation, less like life is happening on its own terms.Read More »
I’ve been having flashbacks lately. Vivid, intoxicating flashbacks. Memories from a different time.
The smell of jasmine in the morning. The way the sunlight looks from underneath a thick rooftop of bougainvillea. The sound of a speedboat engine revving to pull me out of the water on a pair of skis and the taste of the salt water when it hits my face. The crackling of a wood fire and the smell of lamb chops on a summer night. The brown of the water in forest rock pools. The morning sun slanting through my bedroom window and the insistent scratch of the cat’s paw on my door.Read More »
Some weeks are just longer than others, aren’t they? I’ve had one of those this week. One of the ones where you start seeing red by 3pm and you’re clock watching by 4. Where more than two consecutive hours of sleep eluded me on several nights and the wine fridge was opened more often than I’m proud of.
But next week is a new month, so I plan to press the reset button and – as I say to my daughter – adjust my attitude. In the mean time, here are a few of my favourite things for March…Read More »
This evening we’re going to a little farewell gathering for some friends who are leaving the island to go back home. This will definitely not be the last time we say goodbye to new friends here, but it is the first. And as I feel the loss of the great energy they bring to our social circle here and the gap their absence will leave behind – it’s getting me thinking about the nature of goodbyes.
In my adult life I’ve said the word “goodbye” a lot as we’ve moved around from place to place. I live far away from where I grew up and far away from my family so in fact, I feel like I’m constantly saying goodbye, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier with practise.
It’s a sticky word. A loaded one. A word that closes chapters – but also opens new ones.Read More »
We’ve all been tickled this week by the hilarious BBC interview that went so very wrong when a toddler and baby came running into the room while their dad was on Skype being interviewed about democracy in South Korea. It was my favourite YouTube moment of the year so far – until this morning, when a friend reposted this on Facebook, a spoof of what it would have been like if it had happened to a woman. A working mum. And the reason I laughed so hard is that it so absolutely could have been true.
But actually, it’s kind of not funny.
Because working mum, I don’t know how you do it.
I don’t know how you get up in the mornings and get not only your small people looking presentable, but yourself as well. Hair, make-up, clothes-that-do-not-fall-into-the-Active-Wear-category, grown-up shoes… but you do.
I don’t know how you make breakfasts and packed lunches, and get small people to sit down and eat said breakfasts, while simultaneously preparing yourself mentally for whatever tasks are waiting for you when you get to your desk… but you do.
I don’t know how you manage to do the school run, administering that all-important “one last kiss”, and then haul yourself across town (or sometimes even further) to wherever work is, and arrive on time… but you do.Read More »
I feel like a bit of a mutt, nationality-wise. My passport and birthplace call me British, my upbringing and my heart say I’m South African. Born in one place, raised in another – and now raising my own family here, there and everywhere – sometimes I’m a bit fuzzy about my national identity, about where “home” is.
I’m fuzzy, that is, until the exact moment, once a year or so, I step off a 747 on to the tarmac at Cape Town International Airport. And then it all becomes startlingly clear.
For me the simple truth is that “Home” is more than where the heart is.
Home is where the sky opens up to embrace you, where the smell in the air and the breeze on your face sing a familiar song and your heart relaxes. Where they know you without any need for explanation. Where street corners and memories are inseparable from one another and the bird song in the morning is like a language you’d almost forgotten was your mother tongue. Read More »
Happy weekend! In our house we’re looking forward to our last weekend at home for a while (more on that later), so we’ll be doing all of our usual favourite things.
On Friday nights we always go out to our local pizza restaurant with a group of friends and neighbours. To me it’s a wonderful way to put a fullstop on the week and welcome in the weekend with it’s different rhythm – otherwise (especially with small kids) we were finding our weekend nights tended to look exactly like our week nights – and weeks and months were slipping away from us. So now a family night out to ring the weekend in is our ritual.Read More »
First it’s denial… Scratchy throat? No – it’s nothing. I’m just thirsty. It’s not my four-year-old’s cold. Couldn’t possibly be. [**reaches for the fluids**]
Then it’s hope… Well, yes, okay, I do seem to be coming down with a bit of a cold but I still feel good – I’m sure it’ll pass quickly [**reaches for the Berocca**].
Then irritation… Ugh, this cold is getting worse and it’s messing with my week – we have three children’s birthday parties in the next four days – I cannot be sick! [**reaches for the paracetamol**]. Read More »
If you had told me a few weeks before my littlest’s first birthday that by the second week of January I’d be getting 8 hours of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep a night, feeling fresh and rested, and able to run 5km three mornings a week, I would have laughed at you. I would have laughed hard.
Because I was a wreck. Every time I switched off my light at night I felt like I was going into battle, never knowing quite when my adversary would strike, or how many times – but knowing it was coming. A good night was the baby screaming twice. A bad night was us getting up every hour or having her tossing about in the bed between us. I spent my days in a haze of exhaustion – cranky, miserable, and certainly not being the best mother I could be.
In a few days we will blow out your candles, open your presents and sing happy birthday at the tops of our voices. We will have a party and throw streamers and play games and eat far too much cake and celebrate all that you are.
But what you won’t know is that as I sing “Happy birthday to you”, I will have a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Because never again will you be three.Read More »