Thursday, May 24, 2012


Happy Birthday to you my wee girl. It seems like an age since we found out you were coming.  A world away, literally... It was my birthday and we were visiting the Shetland Islands.  Your Dad knew there was something amiss when I turned down a seafood dinner out to instead go to sleep, stating "that would be the best birthday present he could give me".  That's when we knew you were there.  Even before you arrived you were the daughter who made us change our paths.  Before you arrived we lived overseas.  Before you came we worked to travel. You were in my belly when we travelled to Thailand.  We went for a wedding and an adventure but on day three jaw dropping morning sickness kicked in and all I could eat was pomello and salty potato chips.  A bus ride saw me holding a plastic bag of my vomit, goldfish-like for two hours before we could get out. We cut our holiday short and returned to England intent on having you there, but through a few twists and turns we ended up homeless and jobless in an increasingly strange land- and on more buses - lonely double decker rides staring out at endless cold grey streets, you made me long for the light and warmth and familiarity of home and the love of those familiar.
I remember the strong smell of eucalypt on the humid air the night we stepped back into Australia.  Still homeless and jobless and penniless but somewhere where we knew. I remember the fear dissolving that night...heralded in by morning magpie's song there was no need for worry, we were on the right path. Despite more moves and shuffles and house hunting and job hunting the one constant was that you were coming.  We traded the sound of magpies for the soothing rumbling of trams and settled into the suburbia of california bungalows and walks along Merri creeks.  
Then one cold night in May you arrived.  You took your time. We didn't mind. It took endless pacing, hand in hand and eventually your Dad making analogies to laps in swimming pools... 'We are approaching the wall.  Turn.  Kick off. We are swimming again'. But then you were there. You chose to arrive posterior ... the difficult way but looking up at the world.  You arrived eyes wide open. Ready. I can still feel the weight of you on my chest that night at midnight.  I carry you there even now that you are five.
 There has been more change and moves since.  We have crossed the water to live on a small Island.  Those rumbling trams we travelled on are now the things of holidays and visits to Aunties and Uncles. It is here in a wonky old house that you have arrived at five.  My beautiful wee girl.  My creative girl.  My girl who climbs trees in dresses.  My girl who composes musical numbers and sings her words when her happiness spills over.  My girl who is the wordsmith.  My girl who never stops.  My girl who is still keen to send her brothers back. My girl who challenges me - so great are our differences and so familiar our similarities. My girl who started this mother caper; who arrived without instruction manual.
My girl who is already planning her next birthday party.
My girl who is five. 

Happy birthday to you, gorgeous girl.  The, "This was the best party ever.  It was just ... magnificent", made this Mumma's day xxx

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

La petite couture

We have a little tradition the wee girl and I.  Each year, come birthday time, I sew a new dress.  A birthday dress.  A dress for the party. This year was no different ... Except this year it wasn't a surprise dress, this year the girl got to choose all by herself.  This year she sat on the floor of the back room and got to go through the box of patterns.  This year she ummed and aahed, perused and pondered, and decided all by herself.  She picked out Style 4060, circa 1973 - my, my, the girl has an eye.  A beautiful pannelled dress with collar. She then plundered the stash cupboard and we pulled out a few fabrics - but she settled on this one - a 100% Cotton Pique that I have lovingly stroked for a while now - waiting for the moment that it would get its chance.  I had the perfect pink cotton for the pockets and collar tucked away.
 That was weeks ago.  It sat cut out but unsewed until a couple of days before her party. She had no idea I had been sewing at night to get it finished. So she still got her surprise.  Her party was on Sunday and the look on her face when I revealed the new dress complete with matching skivvy and tights was ACE... and I did have that little moment where I revelled in her joy ... because one day a dress sewn by your Mama may not illicit quite the same reaction. She even proclaimed after the party that it needed to be hung up so she could where it on her actual birthday (which is tomorrow). But for now it is still the number one reason why I get so much pleasure out of sewing ... it's the giving away of something you have made with love and having it received like you are the Christian Lacroix of Tasmania.  Viva la petite couture, non?