Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Birthday Cards

Dear Readers,

Yesterday was my mum's birthday (for her sake, I will keep her age in discretion, but I will say she doesn't look a day over 25 :P).  I was lying on my bed the night before, pen poised over the page of the card that I had made.  What should I write?  I didn't want to do the generic thing and write 'Happy Birthday I hope you had a great day, it's lovely to celebrate with you, thanks for being a great mum, yadda, yadda, yadda," because, whilst true, these words simply are not special.  They are some regurgitated pleasant words that, in contrast to much of my writing, seem hollow.  

So, I decided to embrace my inner creativity.  For my Nanna's 80th birthday this year, I was expected to write a speech; being the oldest grandchild.  Instead of making a corny speech filled with words previously said ("we are so lucky to have you in our lives, we love you, what a great way to celebrate a milestone blah blah blahdy blah"), I chose to write something a little more creative.  *Ding ding ding* went the fork against the glass; and I rose from my seat.

"In our hearts there live the memories.  Those that we cherish and love to death.  

There’s picnic’s down at the rivers, three children running around the wharf's of the yacht clubs.  There’s endless games of hide and seek (or just running away from each other) through the Lisle Lodge gardens, with winding paths and echoing giggles.  There’s perfectly shiny orange nail polish spread delicately onto the ends of dainty fingers; and lipstick to match.  There’s many Christmas Days, wearing those ridiculous hats and smiling amongst seafood and salad.  There’s Easter’s with special white chocolate Lint bunnies given every year.  There’s the old fashioned telephone that sits on the wall, the French magazines and comfy cushions.  There are Nanna’s famous chicken sandwiches and piles upon piles of books collected over the years.  There’s the memories we can’t quite remember; with kiddy pools and puppy Hugo.  There’s the colour white.  There’s fancy hats and not-so-fancy hats.  There are stories about the bus.  There’s the wisdom and the warmth that Poppa Billy brought into our lives.  There’s music and dancing and hugs and kisses and speeches.  And of course, there’s this moment here, spent on your 80th Birthday, Nanna.  
May we never forget them all.

This way, these words mean something.  They required thought, they required memory and they required proper punctuation and grammar.  I hope that they stuck in the minds of my family, took root and began to grow, fueling their own flourish of memories from times spent with those they love.  It's interesting for people to see what parts of them get noticed, what things other's remember or cherish about them.  So for my mother's card; I wrote a poem that goes exactly like this:

Fluffy dark hair and a big toothy smile on a petite frame filled with love. 
The smell of nice perfume. 
An eagle, swallow, blue wren or even a dove. 
A ‘huggy woo woo’.
An added ‘achooooweee’ on the end of a sneeze and; 
‘I need to do a poo’.  
Green tea that sits on the counter, growing cold.
A steamy plate of coiled spaghetti topped with meaty tomato bolognaise. 
“God I’m getting old”.
Washing hung on the line and no dishes in the sink.
Beds made, cat tray clean.
Who would do all those things if it weren’t for mum, you think?
And for god’s sake take the bin out - it honks like no tomorrow!
You’re always there to listen,
Or to hug throughout our sorrow.
With hugs and kisses for your daughter teens.
And poems and words and crystals and crosswords. 
And “does my bum look big in these jeans?”
You’re not afraid to curse and swear
But we love you all the same,
For it’s you, our dearest Mum, who never forgets to care.

So, next time you are about to write in a card, even if you're not a particularly creative person, think about the things that remind you of that person, the reasons you are happy to have them, things that make you laugh.  And perhaps, they will cherish that card and hold onto it forever. 

Lots of Love,
Annabel xxx

Monday, 17 February 2014

A Letter To Two Years Ago Me

Hey there chickadee,

First of all I just want to say don’t dye your hair red.  No matter how much you want to, don’t do it.  Actually, stop dying it altogether and see if it will grow.  Secondly, don’t stop writing.  Ever.  I know you feel like you’re not good enough now, but you just have to stick by it and believe. 

In about 4 months you’re going to get a boyfriend and he’s going to cheat on you, but don’t worry, you get to meet your soul mate this year.  Your final year at school is going to be tough but you’ll love every minute of it; even the bad parts.  Don’t work too hard, you’re going to get in the 90s (I know, I didn’t expect it either!).  While I’m at it, try not to eat too many packets of Cheese Doritos, you’ll put on like 5 kilos!  But you will get into Curtin studying writing and you’ll absolutely love it.  First year will be hard, but you’ll get there.  I promise.  

You’ll have some of the greatest friends in the world; some you didn’t even expect.  Your dreams of becoming a mermaid are going to come true as well – sort of.  You’ll know what I mean.  You’ll lose your best friend, and it will hurt like hell.  I’d like to say that you’ll get through it, but I’m still working on that.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Your cat still loves you to death, so you’ve got that at least.  

Mum is still working hard, your sister now has a boyfriend and you’ve started cycling with Dad again (could be a disaster, who knows).  You’ll enter writing competitions, become a writer for Curtin Uni’s magazine and your blog will reach 4000 views.  Sometimes you will feel like giving up and letting things work themselves out.  Don’t.  Don’t wait for things to happen.  Make them happen.  Hang in there, gorgeous, you’ve got talent.  Use it.  

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Run For Your Life

Running is a lot like life.  For starters, it’s a journey.  A long one.  If you look at the distance as a whole, you become overwhelmed.  There is too far to travel, too much to cover; your mind cannot comprehend it and you become more exhausted.  But if you focus only on what’s right in front of you, it becomes manageable.  If you can just make it to that pole, then to that shadow, where the two ducks are sitting, passed the man in the blue sneakers, to that third tree; it doesn’t seem so huge.  Little by little.  Take each piece one at a time. 

Sometimes you will run with some friends by your side, perhaps a lover.  Sometimes you will run alone.  Sometimes you will trip over – and yes, it will be embarrassing, but you will get over it.  Sometimes someone will be there to help pick you up, but sometimes you will have to do it on your own.  You may pass people, those you only see for a brief amount of time.  Others you will see a lot more of, perhaps even jog near them for a while.  And some will be there every day, just like you.    

You might hurt your ankle, or pull a muscle, but if you take good care of it, or take it easy for a little while, it will heal.  Sometimes breathing will be heavy, difficult, like knives in your chest when you heave.  Others it will be steady, controlled, fresh air filling your lungs and making you feel more alive.    Sometimes your legs may burn and it becomes harder, but you have to keep going.  You cannot stop because if you do, you’re not sure you’ll be able to start again. 

Nobody said you couldn’t slow down.  A slow jog is sometimes what you need to regroup your energy, to figure out where to go next.  A sprint may come when you least expect it; or perhaps you’ve been preparing for it for a while.  If you need to, you can walk.  Just keep strolling.  Feel free to wander; it’s not always about how fast you can go.  Sometimes you simply need to enjoy the ride.