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.