Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 10* → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read about it here.

I have no really poisonous people in my life. The most poisonous person in my life is me. Not at all the time, not even often, but sometimes I can be my own worst enemy. So the person I wish I didn't know is lazy caz, insecure caz, envious caz, bitter caz, scared caz, mean caz.

That all being said, I don't want to construct something simply because it's the prescribed title of a post and so, in the efforts of honesty (a beeeg value of this blog) let me just say that for the most part I like who I am - particularly post-Sophia me. There's room for improvement, always, and I'm working on it, most of the time.

Cop out? Hope not. Just honest.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 09* → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

When I was a young'un, my oldest brother (12 years my senior) had a serious girlfriend named Jacqui. She was ten years older than me and, considering I am the 4th child with 3 older brothers, she was my hero.

I must have only been about 7 when she came into our lives. She soon became part of the family. There all the time. Early on in their relationship, her younger sister committed suicide. She wasn't just Greg's girlfriend, she was our older sister. I remember when, as a little one, I'd be upset and run to my room in tears, it was Jacqui who would come and console me. I remember how excited she was when I started my period - to her it was an event worthy of flowers and a facial. When I had sleepovers as a 12 or 13 year old all my friends would be so excited for Jacqui to give us manicures and pedicures. She was a profound part of my life for 10 years. 10 hugely formative years. She was there through puberty. She was there through my mom's cancer and chemo. She was there through my childhood. Even today I can see certain parts of my handwriting mimic her handwriting. She was my hero.

And then.

Greg and Jacqui got engaged and moved to Durban. Oblivious me. There were signs which you only see in retrospect.

She ended it. She was in a relationship with her boss, who she subsequently married.
She went from being my hero to being public enemy number 1 in our family. But that's silly. There are, of course, 2 sides to every story.

Anyway, the impact was rather devastating to 14 or 15 year old me. I didn't get why their incompatability should mean that I had to lose a sister. Just like that Jacqui was out of our lives and we never heard from her.

I've seen her only twice in the 14 or so years since and I still miss her. I don't miss Greg and her as a couple, I miss her as my big sister.

In big moments I often wonder where she is and if she knows. Her mom is still in East London and worked at my gran's retirement centre so I have no doubt she's been kept up to date with the major things.

When I'm interviewed on TV or radio for Earth Hour I wonder if she recognises my voice all these years later. I wonder if she knows my new surname. I wonder if she knows about Sophia and I wonder if she longs to meet Tandia. I've no doubt she cried when Noon died. I guess, at the end of it all, the little girl in me wants my childhood hero to be proud of me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 08* → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you badly.

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

D'you know, I really can't think of anyone.

Obviously people have given me a hard time along the way, but they haven't had enough of an impact that I want to give them space in my blog. It just seems a bit doff. I'm going to dig around in my brain for people who made me feel bad about myself and then I'm going to rehash the situation and possibly feel that way all over again and worse, tarnish my lovely blog with bitter memories of people who didn't have that much impact to begin with. Pass.

(That's not to say that anyone who has done this post is lame. Not at all. Rather that my particular examples are lame and not worth sharing.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 07* → Someone who has made your life worth living.

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

The Band.

The Band who walked just behind me when we hiked all those years ago so that as we went up the hills he could subtly lift my backpack and make it easier for me but without me or anyone else realising he was doing it.

The Band who can never remember the words, rhythm or tune of any song, but gives improvising a good go.

The Band who wrote me poems and songs to win my heart.

The Band who, at the height of a fever, once told me he felt like a boiled baboon.

The Band who sees the potential in everybody and will give anyone a chance.

The Band who is my fiercest competition when it comes to any game. But as team mates we're unbeatable.

The Band who is so dam cute with children.

The Band who is my best friend.

The Band whose dance moves are less Patrick Swaze and more Wall-E malfunctioning.

The Band whose gran gave him one of those very gold very croc pleather catalogue watches for his birthday and so he wore it all weekend over his jersey using any excuse possible to draw attention to his bling.

The Band who will always challenge me beyond my comfort zone and inspire me to expect more of myself.

The Band who cried on his knees after Sophia was born.

The Band who comes up with fascinating ways to entertain and sooth Tandi - from the laughing song, to the mobile throne, to the flying suit, to the sleep train.

The Band who I want to grow old with, playing fierce backgammon tournaments on a porch somewhere by the sea.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 06* → Something you hope you never have to do.

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

Oh come on man. How about some nice light and fluffy post topics. sheesh.

I've already done the most horrific thing I can imagine - I have collected my daughter's ashes from the crematorium.

If I had to cast the scene in the movie, it would have been much as it was: a bleak, overcast, windy day. Crematorium on the outskirts of George. It was, in a word, bleak. Grey. A grey, bleak day.

I hope and pray I never ever have to do that again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 05* → Something you hope to do in your life

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

I want to write a book. Yes, yes, I know. Not particularly original. But it's a long time dream of mine. A book that's written beautifully, wittily, inspiringly. A book that leaves readers touched. Changed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 04* → Something you have to forgive someone for.

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

I've become quite a sensitive soul. I'm easily hurt these days when it comes to all things children and pregnancy. So sensitive, in fact, that I even get offended on behalf of others... for example when people curl their lips at the thought of the imposition of having children I want to strangle them because I know of the heartache of my friends fighting the infertility war.

Anyway, if I'm harbouring unforgiveness, it's generally around that general topic. Ussually I get over things with time. And so what comes to mind is something which happened this weekend. It was a telephone conversation with a family member who was speaking about a photo of Tandia.

Her: I showed it to my friends and I was telling them that, you know, she may not be a beautiful baby, but she is very cute.
Me: WHAT???? excuse me. Are you saying my child is not beautiful??
Her: umm well I think I'm saying it wrong. She doesn't look like your typical baby. She looks wise. Like she understands everything going on around her.
Me: Yes, I can agree with that, but seriously? You don't think she's beautiful???

I thought I'd be over it by the next morning. I wasn't. I woke up FUMING.

WHO SAYS THAT? Now let's all be honest for a sec here. There are some butt ugly babies out there. No doubt about that. But you NEVER actually SAY IT. ESPECIALLY not to the baby's mom. And in any case, Tandia is sure as hell not one of them. I have strangers coming to tell me that she is one of the most beautiful babies they've ever seen.

Why does this upset me so much? Well it's some healthy mama bear defensiveness coming out. And that's fine and even feels good. But it's also to do with 2 other, more sensitive things. It's to do with my previous post, for one thing. I can't quite put into words exactly how it relates, but you can figure it out for yourself, I'm sure. And it's also to do with the fact that I've never felt pretty. I've always felt mildly insecure about my looks. Some of that, perhaps, is inherited and it's not something that I want to pass on to Tandia. I want her to have a very good self image. We constantly tell her how much we love her. How beautiful she is. How precious she is. From the start I want her to have confidence in these things. There are far too many women walking around feeling bad about themselves for no good reason. I don't want that for my little girl.

Anyway, there is now tension between this person and myself. We haven't really spoken since. All it takes is "I'm sorry, that was not a nice thing to say". But I don't really think that's going to happen. Forgiveness is my duty, but a simple apology would make it a helluva lot easier!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 03* → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

Ugh. This is the one I've been dreading. At least it's near the start of this meme so I can get it over with.

The thing I "have to" forgive myself for, and probably (or even definitely) never will, is not checking up on the lack of movement in those last days of my pregnancy with Sophia. You all know the story by now. Pain on the Friday night... then days of things being different. I dismissed it as her having dropped and therefore less movement which is what the books tell you. But there was a gnawing feeling and I ignored it. I didn't want to be an imposition. Stupid stupid vein me.

The day we arrived in Plett we took a drive to see where the hospital was, just in case I went into labour. I remember peering through that window and thinking "maybe I should just find someone to do a quick ultrasound for peace of mind" but I squashed the thought. That would be pricey and paranoid and besides, the first trimester is the risky one, there's no real need. Stupid stupid naive me.

Could I have saved her? No. I don't believe for a second that I could have. We were foretold of her death a week before. Placental abruption can be very quick. I believe that my little girl died on that Friday night. 28 August. Only hours after my last doctor's appointment. And so, if I couldn't have saved her, what's the point of the regret? I guess it's about dignity. It's about the bruising and hurt her little body had endured by the time she was born. I will perhaps never talk about it in detail, but my beautiful, precious daughter was marked by death. Each extra day taking its toll. And so, if I could do things differently I would have gone to the hospital that Friday night (it wasn't even a consideration!!! didn't occur to me AT ALL!) and birthed her then. She would still have looked as she should have. Perfect. My angel baby. I know there are reasons, there are pros. If I'd done that, she'd not have been born in Plett. I wouldn't have had the incredible support and brilliant (all things considered) experience that I did, in a hospital all to myself. It would have been a lot harder on ME. Perhaps I wouldn't have as much peace as I do if the experience hadn't been what it was. But for her... if I hadn't taken so long...if I had listened to my gut... she'd have the dignity of being born whole.

In Heaven though she is whole and beautiful and happy and it's only there that I'll finally be able to forgive myself for this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 02* → Something you love about yourself

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here

Can I change it to what I love about my life? that's easy... but no, that is not the topic.

What an arb topic. Seriously.

Fine then. I love my nose :) I do - I think it suits me :)haha. What else? I love my cheesy sense of humour and the groans it results in from those around me. At least I think I'm funny - even if no one else does!

I love that I love to read and write.

I love my maternal instincts and I love myself as a mom, if that makes sense. I think, despite never having changed a single nappy before Tandia's arrival and having no experience of babies, that I'm a natural. I feel at home with her and have done from day one. I love that sense of confidence in myself as her mom.

I also love the perspective I have gained from Sophia - the way she has changed me and grown me and matured me. The empathy I now have. The way trivial issies are seen for what they are.

I keep wanting to refer to some "we's" - to the things I love about The Band & I as a couple, but alas that is off topic. As it is I was probably only meant to say one thing and I'm digressing big time as I always do.

The End

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 01* → Something you hate about yourself

*I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

Ok, I know that it's a bit of a trend to hate this or that about oneself - especially as a woman - but I don't hate a part of myself nor do I hate the sum of the collective parts (ok, fine, I just wanted to say "sum of the collected parts" - I'm cool like that!)I think that what immediately comes to mind under such a title is physical attributes. Am I supposed to list all my physical flaws here? Or does it refer to something deeper - lifelong regrets, personality uglies.

No, I can't say that I'm kept up at night dreaming of plastic surgery or bashing my head on the wall for stupid things said and done. But of course I can recognise where there is room for improvement and of course I have regrets.

So now that I've toned down the topic to "Places where there is room for improvement in you" I'll try address the topic.

On the shallow side I'm obviously carrying the weight of two pregnancies in quick succession and the changed body shape as a result. There are angry little lines where there never were before. I suddenly have chunky arms, a mean little caesar scar and so on. I'm working on improving what I can though - I meet with my personal torturer, er, I mean trainer thrice a week and hopefully that which can be improved will be. The scars and marks I mind less so. They are reminders. Badges of grief and badges of honour. Being able to carry a child must certainly be one of our greatest gifts and privileges and these marks are reminders of that - I'm grateful for them. Ha! Just reread that last sentence. Dam I'm cheesy. But it is true!

In terms of personality improvements... well I need to learn to think before I speak and to consider the feelings of others. I can say that it is pretty much never my express intention to hurt people, but I can do this inadvertantly (if not hurt them, then make them feel silly) by joking or teasing with the best intentions but without considering that people have different levels of tolerance, of sensitivity and simply that everyone is going through their own battles and we will never know someone's context completely. And so I want to learn to consider others in all that I say, but not to become paralysed by that - I like teasing people and joking with them (in a respectful way) because (done right) it brings people out of their shell, it pulls a few laughs and in a way it makes people feel special.

I'm told by The Band that I'm not good at apologising. I'm not sure if I agree with that actually... I think I'm good at apologising for the bigger things, but for smaller things, not so much. A hypothetical example (in reality we gave up refilling the fridge water months ago):

Me: SHMOO! You didn't fill up the fridge water again!
Him: Actually you were the last one to use it...
Me: No I wasn't...
Him: Yes - remember you had a glass with breakfast?
Me: Oh.... mumble mumble mumble
Him: (haughty tone) I accept your apology!
Me: (stubborn tone) I didn't apologise (sulks).

Where do you see room for improvement in your life?

A cure to bloggers block

Most of the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere (wow I'm a geek!!) are busy with this meme and I thought it would be a good cure to my writer's block and also probably just a healthy exercise in introspection (which I've been avoiding for the past month!)

The idea is that over 30 days you stick to a list of blog topics. Topics designed to get you thinking about who you are and where you're at. A bit of stocktaking, if you will. Before I even start, let me say that this may or may not happen within 30 calendar days. I am unlikely to crank up the laptop on a Sunday, but you never know.

Here it is:
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you badly.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life with Tandi

Tandia (pronounced "tun-dee-uh" for those who still aren't sure) is an unusual name and it still does not yet just roll off the tongue - not that it doesn't suit her. It suits her perfectly and I love it, but truth be told I don't use it often. Most often she's my shnugglepuff, Little Miss Stinkleton or Snortleby (her very hungry cry is peppered with unladylike snorts which have The Band and I in hysterics!)

Life with Tandia is precious. It's an incredible thing when others are vying for her attention and yet her eyes follow mine alone. The gratitude and love and "chosenness" I feel in those moments - as if the star quarterback has asked ME to the prom :)

We are realising more and more that we've got an easy baby as babies go. As soon as I stopped waking her for feeds (around 3 weeks) she began sleeping for 6 hour stretches at night. She sleeps easily and without fuss. She's little, but is growing faster than her predicted growth curve, so no problems there. She's healthy and strong and has her dad and I wrapped around her tiny little pinky.

When she smiles we can't help but smile back - even if it's 4:30 and she's supposed to be sleeping.

It's amazing what we'll do for a smile. I guess any parents among you will know exactly what i mean. Those first few smiles - Well The Band and I were harmonising nasal "hallo, halloooo, halloooooooo" (in true Wielie Waalie kouse vorm). Our voices go higher and higher and our actions grow larger and larger.

She's THREE MONTHS ALREADY. Can you believe that? which means about 100 baths. And yet I adore bathing her. It doesn't get tired. It's still a privilege. A treat. A dream come true. A prayer granted. I adore this little girl and savour her. I am trying to take it all in. Trying to imprint special moments and memories on my heart.

And spoilt! Me and her both. WOW we have been blessed. So many luxuries have been given as gifts. One friend did a photoshoot for us free (see these), another did 5 week infant massage course for us. LOVED THAT! Another friend of mine is doing personal training with me, also free. Crazy how blessed we are. People are STILL arriving with gifts, 3 months down the line.

Celebrating Sophia

The Band and I spent Sophia's birthday weekend in Hermanus which was great. We went out for a quiet dinner and each got to spend some time alone by the sea. That evening we opened a special bottle of wine which we'd bought in Plett just days before Everything Happened. When we bought it back then we had planned to celebrate her birth with it. It was a quiet, peaceful time away, but the contrast to what a 1 year old's birthday should have been were glaring.

On the Sunday we invited local family and one or two close friends around and had birthday cake and champagne. I think this will become an annual tradition.

I guess one may have expected a princess cake or something, but this is what I felt would have epitomised Sophia.

In my mind's eye she's being pushed on a tree swing or she's playing in a tree house. She's adventurous and playful and laughs a lot. She loves being outdoors. And so the tree.

It was a good time. Good to have people speak of her. If only a little bit and even if rather awkwardly. Her name was spoken and that meant something.

Ke nako. It is time.

to blog again.

I've long been out of blogging action. Not because I've had nothing to say. Not because I've had no time. It's more just been that I've not wanted to spend my last few weeks of maternity leave glued to a computer - plenty of time for that when work starts again NEXT WEEK. (le sigh!)

And so, two updates up ahead... Sophia's birthday (more than a month later!) and life with Tandia. Coming up!