Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New home

I haven't been overly enthusiastic about moving and leaving our lovely home which holds so many memories - much of my pregnancy with Sophia and the baby shower and all the preparation for her arrival, her funeral, even the night that she died - I'm pretty sure I was in the bath (her favourite place) at the time with that awful pain. It's the place where I mourned her, where everything I am changed, where I began to grow into a new me.

Tandi was conceived - sorry - in that house and before I knew I was pregnant, I knew and spoke to her in my tummy. I remember it so well. I don't even think I was late yet, but I wanted her so badly and I was so sure and I was showering that night and said to her " I don't know if you're in there. I think you are. I am so utterly in love with you already". I think I took a test the next day.

The first blurry weeks of tandi's life happened there. Ice ice cold with snowy mountains framing our view. Two heaters on in my room to try warm this teensy little bundle. Tandi's first meal and first step and first words. Her first smile and the first time she ran into my arms.

This move came more as an inevitability than a choice from my side. When TheBand and I first saw this place I was heavily pregnant with t. It was a dark gloomy day. The house seemed dark, cold, creepy. The tenants were messy and the place held no appeal to me - nor did the prospect of moving with a newborn. The garden was overgrown and there was not even a front wall.

But now.
TheBand went to work early on - he pulled out approximately TWENTY trees and put up a wall that I'm told is the envy of the neighborhood. We secured great tenants and already it seemed brighter.

D-day eventually arrived on Monday and because I'd been packing and cleaning it just happened that I hadn't been inside this house again since last year.

Wow, it is not at all how I remembered it. There is so much beautiful light. The lounge has big windows on two sides and I can sit looking at the mountains and the school.

We have a fireplace (!!!)

The kitchen is so seventies but it's big and light and lovely in its own seventies way.

The rooms are smaller than we had before but they have good cupboard space and - I realized with a shock - I can do whatever I want with them. I can get as crazy and creative as I want to in tandi's room.

There seem to be a million bathrooms and they are all quite ugly, but they are ours and we'll get there.

The light fittings are some of the most hideous I've seen but they make us laugh.

The kitchen overlooks the backyard. It's sounds like a small thing, but to have an enclosed backyard is awesome - tandi can play outside safe and sound while I'm doing my thing in the kitchen. Fantastic. Also, eventually I can just walk tandi across the road to school.

Poor Guvvy - it's a bit of a thing for cats to move house so to be safe we are locking him in for a week or so. He's unimpressed!

At this stage it's all still chaos but we'll get there.

When (if?) we have money we'll put electric motors on the gates. we have big plans for the back yard (lapa and eventually a pool, big veggie and herb garden and so on). We'd also like to make the kitchen open plan to the lounge and dining room and give all the bathrooms serious attention.

I am excited to have an oven that works and to plant veggies with tandi "helping" - ha! I can well imagine that. I'm excited to build bird feeders with her and to see what birds we can attract. She'll ride her first bike here one day! And perhaps this will be the hang out for her and her friends. I hope so.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So all the scans and ecg etc came back clear. No cancer, some small evidence of a stroke in the past but possibly not recently. That's good news. But they didn't admit her to hospital and that worries me.

My mom is stubborn and energetic. She is talking about going to a 3 hour course tonight and going back to work tomorrow!!
Also this morning her fingers were suddenly swollen and she couldn't get her rings off. She was having a sleep last time I checked which is also unlike her.

Anyway, my aunt's children have bought her a ticket and she will be arriving there tonight. I'm relieved. I think my dad is of the school of not wanting to overreact and simply taking the doctor at his word. I'm not. I used to be... but no more. I interrogate and research and double check and follow up. Annoying? Perhaps. But who cares. Rather safe than sorry any day of the week. My aunt and I have chatted and feel the same way about things so it will be good if she's there putting her foot down.

I wish I was going too.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I miss my gran. She'd know what to say.

My dad phoned this morning in what felt like one of those life defining phone calls which inevitably starts with "caz..." *nervous pause* "I don't want to upset you,... but mom is not well".

When my dad got back from his walk this morning my mom was confused. She doesn't know what day of the week it is or that they are going to conference next week in CT. She doesn't know where my brother lives or the name of her grandchild. She keeps asking my dad the same questions.

They are at the doctor as I type this. And so I wait.

The thing is that my mom is one of the most capable people I know. She has more energy than the rest of us combined and is always doing something. She's intelligent. Independent. Competent.

My dad sounds scared. Not a voice I've ever heard on him.

I want to just get on a plane. I probably will. But we are waiting to hear what the doc has to say.

I am scared.

Friday, September 02, 2011


This time 2 years ago the nurse had by now called in the midwife to try find the elusive heartbeat. The midwife thought she'd heard something maybe but couldn't be sure. I was so so thirsty.
My throat was dry. They wouldn't give me water in case I needed to have an emergency Caesar.

They called in the OBGYN. She put on the ultrasound. She was unequivocal (perhaps mercifully so) but in that annoying doctor tone "this is where we would expect to see movement over here. There is none".

Stef was pacing like a caged tiger, calling people. I was stuck on the bed. In shock. What did this mean? How could this happen to us? Competing with "of course this was inevitable. Who did I think I was trying to have it all."

I really do hate the 2nd of September. It marks the loss of innocence. The loss of blind faith. The loss of childhood even - and I mean my own. It's not the day Sophia died and it's not the day Sophia was born, but it is the day my world ended.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


My entire post. And I had dug deep for it too.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

South African tragedy update

Lily was transferred to Tygerberg today for an operation on her leg. Mavis doesn't know what the op was for as it wasn't explained to them.

Mavis says she's worried about Kuselwa (Lily's mom). When they phoned her about the op a blood vessel burst in Kuselwa's eye. The same thing happened to my dad when he heard that Noon had died. I guess its just that spike in blood pressure.

I asked Mavis how everyone was doing two years later. She says the other kids (mavis's kids and the other cousins - Lily is Kuselwa's only child) don't want to speak about lily.

Mavis is worried about Kuselwa. Worried about her heart. She says she's been crying a lot and she's so stressed. Mavis is worried she might have a stroke or something.

It's a living nightmare. Can you even begin to imagine it?

Anyway the op has now been canceled because Lily's chest isn't well enough for an op.

I get numbed to this story and the shock of it all recedes but then when something happens like today I'm sickened and heartbroken all over again. And what do I possibly say to Kuselwa? What possible comfort is there in this horror story? Only that my heart hurts for her and that I am praying.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Grief Season

It's pounced on me all of a sudden this year. In less than a month it will be 2 years. Can you even believe that?

And when I think about it, when I see (and hear) the first beginnings of spring, I am transported back to that first Grief Season. The Aftermath of The Watershed. And my walls begin to crumble and a lump takes up permanent residence in my throat - sometimes it sits there almost minding it's own business, but sometimes, when I allow myself to succumb to it, it swells. Choking me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tandi is one :)

The birthday girl

Well people, the party was by all accounts LARGE. Make no mistake, we don't do small or cliquey. In our life everyone is invited and everyone seems to accept the invitation!

We had a startling 70 people appear last Saturday (which shocked even me coz at some point all the people saying they were coming freaked me out and so I stopped counting :)

Colouring in - my brother and niece

But it was great. A beautiful day. In keeping with our Hello Guvvy theme, everyone was given a black nose and whiskers.

Princess Tandi and I - check her cute tiara

The Hello Guvvy cake The Band made. (I have a keeper)

Keena and her family all came and lives were changed.

Two of Mavis's kids. They were so excited to be there.

In a previous post I posted the letter Tandi sent out mentioning she would be sharing her presents with Keena. Well in the end pretty much everyone brought a present for each of the girls. Keena's pile was as big as Tandi's! Keena's mom (she couldn't come as she works on a Saturday) sent me a message that night saying she was in absolute shock and could not believe how people had blessed her child.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in that shack in Kayamandi when that family gathered round to open what must have been about 30 gifts. Not hand me downs, not second hands. But brand new, freshly wrapped gifts. Toys, books, clothing, even wet wipes and baby food. Mavis (Keena's aunt and Tandi's nanny), ever loyal, told me on Monday that all the children were so excited and that all the gifts were wonderful, but that Keena's favourite gift was her doll from Tandi (I hunted down a little black doll for her - too cute).

Keena and Tandi

And so my little treasure princess girl is one. Already. Oh and if I could only press pause on time and stay in this moment. It is precious. So precious.

And some time on Tandi's birthday (the day after the party) there was a moment when everybody (we had a bunch of family staying with us) was out and it was only me. And I released the last 3 helium balloons into the sky and watched them forever as they grew smaller and smaller and I thought of Sophia and where she is and how we long for her and how happy she must be where she is and my heart hurt and I felt peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I watched as tandi drifted to sleep in the car seat next to me. I thought to myself "oh I DO love this girl" and as I spoke the words in my head, I heard Noon's voice. That phrase was something she'd declare emphatically whenever she was with Phoebe. And in that moment that stranglehold particular to grief grasped at my windpipe. What if she's not there? What if they're not there? What if heaven is not what I believe? What a despairing, awful lonely thought. I miss my gran with a fierce pain.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday party planning

Would you believe that in less than 3 weeks Tandi turns one?

We are having a Hello Guvvy party :) It's going to be big! Every one of you is invited. Look here's your invite:

I think there will be a LOT of people and we want Tandi's birthday to bless others so I sent this note our with the invite. Hope people don't think it's too cheeky! (Keena is Lily's cousin)


I’m soooooo excited for my birthday and have been counting down the sleeps to my party, but I’ve also been thinking a lot about my buddy Keena.

Keena lives in Kayamandi and is only a few days older than me (she is actually called Ke Nako coz she was born during the World Cup). I know that I’m going to get really spoilt on my birthday but it makes me sad that Keena won’t be, so I’ve decided I’m going to share some of my presents with her.

Keena has plenty of older brothers, sisters and cousins so if you have any spare toys or clothes at home please think about bringing them along so that her whole family can be spoilt for her birthday.

Lots and lots of love
Tandi x

PS This is a picture of my buddy Keena, mommy and me!

Be prepared for many requests for advice on party food and kiddy entertainment in the next two weeks. I am Captain Clueless!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I won I won

:) ok ok before you start chucking rotten veggies at me, just calm down. And for your information (helen!), maybe you'd ALSO win sometimes if you ever entered anything.
Ok but I digress as usual. I didn't win a competition, I won a blog award from Nes. Nes discovered my blog a short while ago and is so encouraging and wonderful and complimentary and lovely that she is inspiring me to write more. Thanks Nes :)

Here is my award:

And the rules that go with it:
1.) I have to choose five other people who deserve it and pass the awards along
2.) Regale you all with seven random facts about me
3.) Let the people that you give the awards to know
4.) Thank the person who gave you the award

So first of all my 5 people! I've written their twitter names but linked to their blogs so you can find them either way. Sorry boys, but these are all women that I care about and am inspired by:
@meganstow - she is a very caring mom of two. She's a tough cookie with a big heart. AND it's her birthday today.
@Angelsmind - Angel is kind of this maternal figure to all of us. She has a massive capacity for love. Plus she's arty and creative and drove all the way across Joburg to meet me.
@HoneyBza - what an incredible woman. She is motivated and dedicated and is changing the world! You can help her!!! read more here:
@mandimadeit - Mandi is super creative and really caring. Actually she and Angel remind me a lot of each other.
@nixgrim - Nicole started a support group called Babies Born Sleeping some years ago. She has 'survived' loss. What I mean by that is that it doesnt define her. She is not hard or bitter. She is empathetic. Sometimes sad. But she lives her life. I think where Nicole is now is where I am getting to. Hope so!

Okay, 7 random facts about me:
1. You probably wouldn't recognise me in real life. I don't mean in terms of looks (ok that too, I mean come on - that header photo was 5.5 years and 2 babies ago!!) but personality wise. I'm a shiny, happy, cheerful, chirping, competitive, teasing, challenging person in real life. Not sure what I portray on here, it's definitely accurate, but it is one facet of me - the facet that I don't really allow people in real life to see.
2. I'm a pastor's wife. TheBand and I lead a congregation called Urban Liberty. It is AWESOME! Seriously. You would love it. Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady, you would!!! Don't panic, I'm not about to wallop you with my bible (it's an iphone app and we don't want to be destroying the beloved iphone) but I am Christian and unapologetically so. And you can't help but love me anyway... can you!?
3. I detest making the bed. It's just one of those things.
4. I have lost my reading and writing mojo and am fighting to get them back. By this time last year I'd read 30 - 40 books and this blog had seen a lot more action. Why have they gone? Is it the busyness of motherhood? of life? of being my own boss? partly. Is it the easy satisfaction and interactivity of twitter? I don't know. Since I learnt to read I've been an avid reader. It's weird that this whole year I've finished only one book. I'm now reading Shantaram at The Band's insistence. Hopefully that will kick start my reading again.
5. Okay, I'm mildly embarassed to share this, but what the hell? Some time toward the end of last year I gave myself a makeover. After two years of pregnancy and many months of fear and self-protectionism, I realised it was time to be me again. I don't want to be a dowdy, pastel-ensconsed, butternut smeared mommy, walking around in beige stretchy pants and sensible shoes. I want to be a foxy lady for my man :) and for me! I'm working on it - exercise, clothes choices, make up, etc and am feeling good :)
6. I am excited about life again. I feel like I am standing at the beginning of something amazing. Family-wise, church-wise, career-wise. Life is sweet. Incredibly so. I am hearing God's voice more clearly. He is challenging me in ways I don't want to be challenged and yet every time I obey Him, He opens up the next door and pours out His blessings. Sorry non-Christians. You probably think I'm moggy. But it's astounding and I'm grateful and stunned.
7. I can wiggle my ears. One at a time or in sync. It's a gift. :)

Life with an 11 month old

is beautiful.

I am so in love with this little girl. She is entertaining and so clever!

A few weeks ago she took her first steps. She waves hi and bye. She loves to say "mama" and "dada" and "Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv". And she ADORES The Guv - that poor cat puts up with a lot!!

She loves to shower or bath and her latest thing is to waddle or crawl over to us in the middle of her playing and give a tight hug, and then resume playing. Heart melter of note.

She's still little. Less than 9kg. But strong!And so very beautiful.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's not fair

That I blog only when I really need to these days.

It's not fair because so many of you, Dear Invisible Readership, have followed my story for so many years now and these days you only see the toughest parts of my life and that really isn't accurate at all.

There is an odd twilight zone that BLMs with RBs find themselves in. Haha ok, ok, BLMs = baby lost moms (stupid term - they weren't misplaced and anyway, what about dads?) RBs = rainbow babies ( ie Children born subsequent to a loss). I really don't love the lingo!
Where was I?

Ah yes, the twilight zone.

On one hand people who were uncomfortable in your grief (& you yourself) want to pull you into normal life, forget all the sadness, move on, live. And on the other, you feel a longing to remain in griefland and the kinship you have with fellow grievers. There's a guilt even, to celebrating life. I could write an arb fluffy post and potentially hurt someone whose world is falling apart.

The frustrating (if you're the one suffering) and I guess good (if you're not) reality is that life carries on inevitably and incessantly. It's at once unfair and right.

I will be posting a few newsy, merry posts featuring pics and news of my beloved Kernel soon. Please ignore them if you're in a place where they will cause you pain. I hope they don't. I hope instead they bring you hope.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

death be not proud

Today began with an sms from a friend telling me her friend had gone into labour the previous evening and given birth to her daughter at 24 weeks. The little girl lived for less than an hour, lying on her mom's chest.

I agreed to go chat to her this afternoon.

In the meantime I got voice message from the hospital. There's been a stillbirth. Would we come.

Wednesday is the day I will be on call.

I went.

It was awful. The part with the mom was wonderful. She was lovely. But to see that baby. That baby who should be full of life and noise and colour, instead devoid of all this and more. Too soft. The mom didn't want photos and it was the right call, but she wanted hand and footprints and with the help of a very very kind nurse, I took them. I think that moment will haunt me always.

Or will I become immune? Hardened? I can't even begin to describe it and you wouldn't want to read it.

But it meant everything to the mom. I took a photo of her baby (you could just see the bundle) with a teddy bear and gave her the photo and the teddy as well so she had a keepsake.

We spoke - I loved that part. She was lovely. Asking all the same questions I did. Feeling guilt and despair and kinship with me and I with her. Common ground like no other.

This evening I went to the mom of the 24 week old. No baby, just mom and dad. It was good. The mom needed to talk and needed the freedom to talk to someone who understood without explanations. Again - the kinship of shared tragedy.

Home to Tandi who has missed me and is battling to sleep. She has cried and cried this evening and TheBand has now closed me out the room. Rationally I understand his approach, but not tonight. For ME that's not the best thing. For me to hear my little girl's heart breaking tonight is the last thing I need. But I don't feel like fighting over it. And so I went and sat in the dry bath and sobbed. And then I came here to blog. Hi all - this is coming to you live from my hellish day.*

* what would a hellish day be without issues from blogger. Hence not live in the end... written last night and posted today

Monday, June 06, 2011

Babies Born Sleeping

It's odd that I haven't really blogged about this or tweeted about it or even hardly spoken about it. Babies Born Sleeping is a project I've been in the process of setting up alongside some really wonderful women.

TheBand doesn't know much about it, nor do my family or friends. I have unconsciously kept it separate from the rest of my life. I've confined it for fear that it might spill over, perhaps even burst through the very neat, convenient and surprisingly sturdy wall I've been building round my heart. Today it did.

I'm such a narcissist. Forgive me, invisible readership. This is not about me. it's far bigger than that.

Round the corner from my house is a smallish public hospital with a high risk maternity ward. The aim of BBS is to be there for moms who go through stillbirth.

The tragic reality is that the maternity ward of a public hospital is a busy, chaotic, under-resourced place.

The tragic reality is that moms of stillborns recover from labour in the same ward as all the other new moms with their visitors, their smiles and, of course, their babies.

The tragic reality is that these moms would have little to no understanding and no answers offered as to why their child is dead, whether it was their fault and whether they can have more children.

We hope to be able to be some semblance of comfort to them. We will pray, we will listen,we will most likely cry with them, we will ensure that their babies are wrapped in a soft blanket and given a hat, we will take photos where possible and we will honour their babies.

I went to the hospital today to meet the matron. We are prepared now and its time we got started.

There is no morgue at this hospital and so dead babies are left in the laundry room. The. Laundry. Room.

Today my friend, who was showing me around, showed me this cluttered, untidy, utilitarian room. She pulled out a plastic crib from under a counter explaining that this is where babies are placed before they are collected by a funeral director. And then she swore in shock.

There was a baby. He was wrapped in plastic. Plastic. Stored in the laundry room. Stored.

The rest of my day was a busy one. Work. A friend came over to tell me about her blossoming romance. And then.

And then the friend I'd gone with to the hospital smsd to check on me. Isn't it always human kindness that breaks us?

I'm not crying for me, or even Sophia. I'm crying for the tragic reality of our public health system. The tragic lack of dignity. The countless additional wounds that moms will suffer.

I hope and pray our project will bring even a small bit of dignity and love and hope.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Another mothers day


That is all.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Where I'm at

*warning: this is a boring work-related post which I needed to write to process things*

Growing up I was always a bunny hugger. Chairperson of the Environmental Society in grade 7, vegetarian from grade 8, member of the SPCA society throughout high school, studied a BSc in conservation ecology. I recycle. Like I actually recycle, I don't just think it's a good idea. I'm a greeny. The dream job of a greeny is to work for the cause, to be part of the solution, to represent The Panda. I've always loved WWF. I dreamt of working there and when it happened I floated about the place for months in a happy bubble.

My job at WWF has sent me tracking wild dog, relocating rhino, travelling to India. I have met with celebs and have been treated like a celeb on all major radio stations and TV stations in the country. I am the last remaining member of the team who brought Earth Hour to SA and have made it happen for the last 3 years, we have garnered the support of presidents and politicians, musicians and sportsmen.

Last year WWF was involved in a court case whereby we sued a mining company and the Department of Mineral Resources for granting mining rights in a place which was environmentally pristine. The area in question provides water to most of Gauteng. It was ludicrous. We joined with a few other NGOs and took the bloody agents to court. We were pouring in millions but how do NGOs compete with endless finances? Then someone from the mining company made the mistake of commenting to the Mail&Gaurdian. Because he broke the "no media" agreement we were allowed to as well. I put together information and comments from our side. It was printed and within days the mining company had withdrawn their mining application and promised to never mine in that area. What millions could not achieve, the media could. I am immensely proud of my part in that.

In my time at WWF I have completed my Masters, had two children and bought a house. I have had 3 cars stolen (I know!) and have had several break ins. I have moved house twice. I have lost my gran, my Phoebe and Sophia. Two of my best friends in all the world are fellow employees.

My point is that while it makes all the sense in the world to no longer be a permanent employee of WWF, my nails are bitten short, I feel queasy and anxious and this is why: While I don't doubt my decision, WWF has been such a large part of who I am for so so long that it feels like in leaving, a little part of me is dying.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Number 3

Yesterday a friend emailed "So, the question everyone wants to ask and doesn't want to - or does - are you guys planning another?"

Just in case you are all sitting there politely not asking, this was my answer:

"Right now I feel totally unready. I feel like I’m only just getting back to some semblance of me. From Jan 09 – July 10 I was pregnant (with a brief 1.5 month break mid way – ha! “break” – hardly) and I’m still breastfeeding and only just getting my figure back and and and. Yes, I sounds like a selfish little brat. I do get that. But I think that I will know when I’m ready. I've seen people who have a third and don't even stop to take a breath. Almost like the novelty has worn off and life must just continue. It makes me want to cry every time I see that. When my number 3 comes along I want to savour that little life. Treasure and cherish his or her first months and years on this earth. You know? That been said, I have no doubt that if it had to happen unplanned my heart would open right up and love that little baby immediately. But the thought of another pregnancy.... wow. scary, tiring thought."

Later that afternoon, TheBand, Tandi and I went into a shop. A little girl (presumably the owner's daughter) was sitting drawing at a table. She was very taken by Tandi (who turned on the charm of course).

"Awww she's so cute!"
(pauses. then wistfully) "I always wanted a little brother or sister".
"do you have older brothers or sisters?"
"No. I'm an Only Child. I would have had two younger brothers but they both died in my mom's tummy."

Sucker punch to the gut for so many reasons, and yet also my heart lifted. There was just so much that hit me in that moment.

Had anyone ever said such a thing to me before Sophia? And now it seems I hear such things all to often.

The loneliness of this little girl. Her eagerness for some interaction. Her unussualy polite manner. Her frank way of saying it as it is. The way she labelled herself as "an only child". I could almost see a giant stamp coming down and branding her as such. What a sad and lonely label for this little girl. The very first way she introduced herself. The way she defines herself. Heartbreaking.

But in the same moment, to perfect strangers she honestly and openly acknowledged her little brothers. I loved that. I would want Tandi to answer that same way. Childlike, matter-of-fact honesty. Not seeking sympathy or attention. Not fearing awkwardness. Just telling it how it is.

I told her that Tandi's older sister had died in my tummy too.

As we left, I saw a drawing on the table.
"Did you do this?"
Big proud smile and nod.
"It's really brilliant! WOW! Well done" (and I wasn't being nice. It WAS brilliant).
But as I put it down, I saw in the top corner of the picture in her childlike scrawl:
"TO: me". She spent her afternoon sitting in a shop alone besides the shop steward drawing herself pictures.

And as scared as it makes me, and as content as I am (all things considered) in my life at present, I want a little brother or sister for Tandi.

Motherly advice on being sick

Dear Tandi
First off I must apologize for my previous post in which I very stupidly mentioned that you'd never been sick. Everybody knows that you NEVER state such facts out loud (or the virtual equivalent thereof). Naturally but a day after that bold declaration you became a little snortleby. Filled with sniffs and snorts. Sorry baba.

But since we're here anyway, I though it would be a good chance to impart some motherly wisdom. And so, a few hints, if you will, on being sick:

• sick people sleep a lot. In fact that is really the major perk of it. You get to just chill
• sick people do not wake up continuously like it's a big game
•sick people, when allowed into their parents bed, lie very very still and stay calm and quiet
• sick people do not use objects like water bottles and cellphones to thump their sick and headachy moms on the head
• sick people sometimes cuddle a fluffy toy for a bit of comfort
• sick people do not motor about the house stalking TheGuv and clutching tufts of his fur out

Love you
Mom xxx

Monday, March 28, 2011

1st quarter of 2011

The first quarter of the year is always crazy busy for me. Earth Hour is like the equivalent for me of an accountant's year end multiplied by ten. Now that it's over I can breathe a little again and update you on what's been happening in my life.

Tandia at 8.5 months
This little girl is busy busy busy. Crawling (and speedily at that). Perfecting Xhosa clicks (that even her dad can't do). Standing at every opportunity and itching to walk. Loving her food. Two teeth in, another on the way if last night was anything to go by. She's a socialite who loves being out and about. She sleeps well - from 7 - 6 so no complaints there. She is a delicate thing - probably weighing about 8kg now which is the same as some 4 month olds I know, but she is strong. Very strong. And she hasn't been sick yet. She ADORES The Guv and he is surprisingly patient as she stalks him only to pounce and clutch at his fur. In short she is a delight and I find myself reflecting on how much I love her umpteen times a day.

Church stuff
A while back our church became what's known as a multi-site. It means that we have several meetings happening on a sunday in different locations. In our case, Stellenbosch and Somerset West. The Sunday evening meeting was called Urban Liberty and is a fresh take on doing church. The fundamentals are the same: the gospel is preached and God is glorified, but the style is younger, more chilled. It's aimed at 20s - 30s. The room is set out in a cafe style - some couches, tables and chairs. very sociable and interactive and with great cappucinos. As of January, TheBand and I now lead the Urban Liberty site or congregation. I'm a little surprised to say that I actually love it. It's busy though - we do a lot of pre-marital counselling with couples (which I love) and I meet with a lot of the girls one on one. Tuesday mornings I meet up with a group of the girls for an early walk on the beach to catch up. The Band is also preaching a lot. Anyway, I'd love to do a bit of research soon about people's perceptions of church - mostly the perceptions of non-christians so watch this space for that.

You probably know that since Sophia died I've felt a bit itchy in my job. I've felt like I needed a change. I've felt a little trapped even. I've come up with many business ideas in the interim but none have really gone anywhere until...
Last month BestFriendJosh (who also worked with me for a while) announces that he knows what I Must Do. I must do PR/comms for the small NGOs who can not afford a big agency and don't have internal capacity. I thought it sounded good and forgot about it. But the next morning there was an email from him telling me he'd thought about it all night and it was perfect for me. The email had links to various articles and finally to an advert where a small NGO was looking for just that kind of support. I contacted the NGO in question and voila! First client secured. About a week later I received an email from another NGO asking if I could recommend a comms consultant. ("Why yes, yes I believe that I can). Boom! Client number two. Another organisation (who I spoke to wrt something involving Client No 1) have also asked me to pitch to them (....client No 3 pending). And there you have it. No marketing. Barely any effort and consultancy is happening. My current work contract ends mid-April. I have warned my boss that I am not interested in renewing as is, but with Earth Hour looming we haven't been able to discuss things properly. Hopefully this week. Ideally they would be another client.

I'm really REALLY excited about it. Although it's been hectic managing my current work load while trying to set up shop for going forward. But if all goes well the potential is there for me to work half days and earn double what I'm earning now while doing what I enjoy and working for causes that matter AND working from home with baba nearby.

Ok, well that's my update. Hopefully I will now be a better blogger!! Who knows, maybe one day I'll even finish that meme!

Friday, March 18, 2011

White eyes and sparrows

When I was pregnant with Sophia I was swimming one day when I noticed our dog carrying something in her mouth. Upon closer inspection I realized it was a little bird. This dog (zebu) is very gentle and hadn't harmed it. She had found it on the ground where it must have fallen from its nest and picked it up. I took the little thing from her, very carefully, it was the tiniest, must gorgeous little bird: a baby cape white eye. Tiny and fragile and perfect. It lay on my open palm and breathed it's final breaths.

It was then that I noticed the commotion going on around me. Two adult white eyes were flitting around in a panic, flying up and down and in circles seemingly searching for their baby.

It broke me.

They were searching in vain. Their child was dead and they didn't even know it. Deep down they must have feared it but they still hoped enough to search. I didn't know what to do. I wanted them to be put out of their misery. I carefully placed the baby up close to where I thought their nest was. They didn't seem to notice. Perhaps they didn't want to notice. Perhaps they wanted to cling on to their last bit of futile hope.

I returned to the pool and sobbed. The situation was too sad. This perfectly formed, delicate, beautiful baby dead too soon. The agony of it's parents hoping against any logic that it might not be so. I stood in the pool hiding my face and sobbing for that little bird and for it's parents.

In Matthew Jesus talks of sparrows being a very cheap commodity and yet even sparrows, if they fall to the ground God knows. The implication is that if He cares for sparrows, how much more does He care for people, for Sophia, for me. If it hurt me so much to see this tragedy, how much more must it have hurt God to see ours.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

18 months on

Can you believe it's a year and a half since That Day?

I feel a little like the smart girl who plays dumb in class to fit in.
I hide a lot of me and of her to fit in.

On Sunday there was a guy visiting our church. He played a guitar piece. Beautiful. After the service I complimented him on it. He complimented me on Tandi and asked if she was my first. I briefly explained. He wasn't uncomfortable at all. He was sad for me. His wife had miscarried and he knew something of the hurt.

As I was leaving he caught me and gave me his CD. Guitar songs he had recorded after his young teenage son was diagnosed with leukaemia. Songs strummed in hospital halls. Fill of pain and hope and beauty and sorrow.

It is wonderful.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Your turn

5 years ago today I woke up early and walked down to the beach with my bridesmaids. It was The Perfect Day at Nahoon in East London and we had an awesome swim. One of those rare days when the sea is the perfect temperature, the waves aren't lame and are just a little bit scary and you feel like you could stay in forever.

Alas I was dragged out the water because there was much to be done! Hair, make up, The Wedding Dress! what a stunning day all in all. And 5 years married to my best friend have been beautiful. I really can't imagine me minus him. We have grown together, changed together, loved together. We are in sync. We have our own little world. Our own little sense of humour. Our own little random non-sensical songs which we make up and sing (mostly off-key) and they provide the soundtrack to our life.

Hmmm this is turned out mushier than I intended :/

Your turn - any questions about me and The Band (and because of all the confusion last time I'd just like to point out that by Band I mean husBand).

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand GO!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

It never fails to leave me flabbergasted. How very short our memories are.
People who saw me weekly or even daily throughout my first pregnancy, who even bought gifts for Sophia and attended her baby shower, who saw us living through the devastating aftermath. These very same people will now jovially ask "So? When's it time for number two?"

I stare at them blankly. "You mean number three".

Averted gaze. Awkward moment. "Yes... er... three. Sorry."

I know they mean no harm. Of course I know that. But it's a little punch to the gut each time. A tattoo wasn't enough. Perhaps I should have had it emblazoned on my forehead instead.

The resounding ache of we sorry bunch of parents who've lost babies is that their personhood - and sometimes even their very existence - is not acknowledged. Sophia was here. She lived. She mattered. She's a soul, same as you and I. She's in Heaven. She is not merely an IUD - as the medical charts reduce her to. She was not simply a pregnancy. She was (is) a PERSON, with a character, with preferences. Do you know that babies even DREAM in the womb? As fully formed and decisive and complete as Tandi was at birth, Sophia was a week moreso when she died (37 weeks vs 36 weeks).

I have grace for people. Really I do. I don't set about trying to make people feel awkward. But once in a while it would be great if they honoured my girl. If they acknowledged her. If they asked.

Out with friends the other night - their son was born just days after Sophia - and they asked about number 3. Just like that. So naturally. They asked whether we prefer to speak about Sophia or not. They asked whether Tandi looks like her. They asked if it is hard for me to see their son. As they asked these things my throat closed and tears streamed down my cheeks in the middle of the restaurant and I ached. But I was filled with such gratitude and relief. The dam that fills and fills and fills way past capacity is allowed some respite in these moments as the sluice gate is opened a bit.

If you ask, you are not making me cry, you are allowing me the relief of crying.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011


Well I can only hang my head in bad-blogger-shame whilst muttering about IT issues, break ins and so on out the corner of the mouth.

Sneakily though, I am preventing all snarky comments with this little blog post, because this post inspires some sucking up in the best of us :)

This is the Pay It Forward meme. As featured on Angel's blog. With this blog post, I promise to send something I have made with my own two hands to the first 5 people who leave a comment on this post saying they would like to take part.

Here’s how it works.

1. The blogger posting the offer must send something to the 5 commenters before the end of 2011.
2. What is sent to the commenters must be handmade by the blogger.
3. The commenters who ask to take part must post the same offer on their blogs, and then send something handmade to the five commenters who ask to take part, and so on and so on.
4. Please link back to this post and Angel's original post as well.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand GO!