Two digits. One decade.
Two often-conflicting personalities vying for attention of your body and mind. One young lady yearning to grow up quickly and gain total independence and autonomy, whilst the younger, more innocent and fragile Evie is pushed to the side, even when it is she who has the greater need for the utmost support and love.
Two sets of limbs developing into a young tween, your body changing shape and entering the very beginnings of womanhood. This makes me happy and sad and excited and scared all at the same time. For I remember this time in my life, a time where I too was on the brink of discovery. A time when the world can be a crazy adventure with best times intermingled with much confusion.
Two daughters. The angel who hugs me tight at night and whispers “I love you” and then runs back into my room for a final hug and kiss goodnight. And then the fiery hell’s angel who grunts barely audible answers and believes I have no idea about anything in her world.
The ying and the yang. The kid who volunteers to help when I am cooking and the only one in our family who thanks me for dinner every single night. But you’re also the volcano who erupts in downright indignation when we decide to cycle to school and runs from the room screaming, as though we have asked you to step on hot coals.
The two school students. Evie who is far brighter than expected at her level of schooling and absorbs knowledge and information that she can recall and apply in numerous situations. And the other Evie who’s favourite time of the school day is when math is over, and refuses to budge from her comfort zone, despite her ability to succeed at greater heights if only she applied herself.
You are my jekyl and hide. The Evie whose morning routine includes an automatic moan when it’s time to put sunscreen on and declares that it’s SO unfair because she is the ONLY person in the world that has to put on sunscreen. And the Evie who sweetly looks at me with those baby blue eyes and says “Mummy, I have a question and the answer has to be yes”…which is inevitably followed by “Can I pleeeeeez have a lolly?”
The teeny weeny little baby girl who made her way into this world ten years ago today and made me a mum . Only 3652 days ago, yet I feel like I have been your mum for so much longer. Is it because you are my first born? Because of your maturity beyond your years? Because you are your great grandfather’s namesake and your soul has been around for a long long time?
Here I am with you…both of us only a few hours into our mother-daughter journey. I look at this photo and think how clueless and unsuspecting I was, confident that because I read every parenting book published prior to 2009, then surely I was prepared for anything that a little body of only 2.65kg could throw at me. Boy was I wrong!
You marched into this world in your glorious determination right from go. Starting with your arrival a couple weeks before your due date, and not budging from your posterior position in my uterus, which made my labour absolute agony (side note: I remember describing to your dad that the contraction pain was like slamming my finger into a car door every 60 seconds, multiplied by ten thousand!). And you took over my heart in that second you were placed into my arms, and I have never felt so in love and so out of my depth all within an instant.
You are our Type-A, uber responsible, uber emotional, never tired, strong-willed, persistent, big-hearted, compassionate, animal-loving, dancer-obsessed, creative, intelligent force of a daughter.
This past year has been some of my most challenging parent moments. You have moved beyond the physical demanding stages of a young child, into the much more intense roller coaster era of emotional needs, for which I feel very ill-equipped to manage. I grapple with knowing when to help steer you in a particular direction or when to throw my hands up and let you race off into life on your own. I am fumbling my way through working out when I need to set strong boundaries and when it’s ok to let you venture into hazardous territories, knowing you are likely to make some decisions you will regret, but also knowing it’s the only way for you to find out what you want from your life, what values you wish to uphold and ultimately what sort of person you want to be.
I am learning to take a back seat on your journey of life and be thankful that I (sometimes) get to come along for the ride. I continue to watch in awe as you grow into the exact person you are meant to be. If there is one thing I have learned from these past ten years, it’s that whilst I have tried to teach you about life, it is actually you Evie who has actually taught me about life. Thank-you and happy birthday my sweetheart.
These birthday blog posts have become the most important gift that I can give to you kids. The moments and images that I captured during the past year. I hope you look back one day and smile and reminisce at your 9 year old self. This is your documentary treasure cove of wonders untold, so they don’t slip away into oblivion.
What I remember when you were 9….
You are still small enough that you need the step to reach the higher shelves in the fridge.
How on earth do you get your legs into the splits so easily when I can barely touch my toes?!?
When you find a good book, you will read for hours, despite often protesting that reading is boring. I hope your love for the written word and holding pages of imagination in your hands will never wane.
Along with your ongoing love of reading came your first taste of adult responsibility….your first fine! A library book you had borrowed was left in the same school bag compartment as your bottle of water and got ruined. So you had to pay a $23 fine to replace the book. Unfortunately it probably won’t be the last fine you ever have, but at least since then I have noticed your book is always kept separately to your water bottle.
Another year of Coles stickeez and minis. Whilst these plastic characters were once again the bane of my existence, it also provided a way to keep hanging onto your disappearing childhood, and that was worth the Facebook swaps and the ridiculous amount of plastic packaging.
It was a sad turning point from childhood into tween hood when your dolls were packed up this year. After months of Arlee collecting dust, I finally realised that there was no turning back and we packed her up, together with the intricate doll clothes your Nanny had made and a few other treasured trinkets. Whilst some were given away, there are a few items I am hanging onto that will hopefully be passed onto your children one day. I hope you pull them out of the box to give to your daughter (or son), and it evokes only wonderful memories for you.
Dancing. The moments in your life where you absolutely shine on stage. You have been performing for a number of years now but it still never ceases to amaze me when I watch your exuberant confidence on stage. There are many aspects of your personality that are reserved and not shown in public, but when you dance, you really do dance like nobody is watching. Nothing in the world makes me happier than watching you do what you love best.
Your love-hate relationship with your brother. Whilst there is many a day where you cannot be bothered to give Jake any attention, unless it’s to remind him that he is “SO annoying” , there are still moments of tenderness and kindness that creep in between spats of sibling rivalry. Moments when the two of you have crazy dress-up competitions, or roll around on the floor of your bedrooms tickling each other with fits of giggles. I know that you know how much Jake adores you and looks up to you, and I also know that deep down that means a helluva lot to you.
Cino and your ever growing love for your best fur friend. You spent ages researching his dog birthday cake and used your hard-earned money to buy him a toy, which he took about 5 seconds to chew and destroy. My favourite thing is to watch him lick you all over your face whilst you giggle endlessly. My dog Smokey was my best friend growing up and I know how important this relationship will be for the rest of your life.
Kitchen classes. For the past year I have hardly been allowed to be seen with you at school….the days of holding my hand as we entered the school gates are long gone. But you willingly and eagerly invited me to come along as a volunteer for your kitchen classes (but not garden!). I have loved being involved, despite the fact that the only recipes you will taste are those involving white bread or chocolate!
This year was the year you grew up and out of childhood just a little bit more. The age when you decided you were too old for a car booster seat, but old enough to start straightening your hair. The age you decided to disown your previously loved cuddly toys and the age when your dad and I felt comfortable leaving you at home alone and letting you walk Cino around the block by yourself (until that ended because he would pull the leash and run away!)
This was the year you fell off your bike and ripped your finger nail off, requiring emergency plastic surgery. I remember you crying in my arms upset not about your finger in agony, but the fact that you would miss dancing that day.
You are the free and big spirit who knows exactly what is going on in your world and does not miss a thing. When I ask what you do at school with your friends, I get told that you “walk and talk” and I know I won’t get any more insights into that part of your life. But that’s ok. Because I can still observe and capture moments of you being nine. Like when you climb over rocks in national parks and get filthy happy dirty, or spend hours on the beach creating a magical castle from lost shells.
And I can watch you jump when you think no-one is watching.
And see your hair fly wildly in the wind.
And I can remember you being just a kid who wants to discover and have fun. Someone who loves fairy floss and pulling funny faces and exploring the worlds around you.
And I love that you love so deeply and fiercely.
You are ten years old today. An entire decade young.
Recently I read an article that said parents too often mourn the fast years going by and yearn for it to stop, as our children grow up too quickly. But the author suggested we change our way of thinking and instead of lamenting the past, look forward to what the future may hold. This really struck a cord with me. I have treasured the past decade and always will. But I don’t want time to stop. From that moment ten years ago at 2:37pm I have been humbled and grateful to be part of your life and I absolutely cannot wait to continue our mum-daughter journey together.
Happy birthday my sweetheart, here’s to many many more decades.
A Ten Year Old Birthday Interview
24 November 2019
Who is your best friend? Zahra (school friend)
What is your favourite colour? Baby pink
What is your favourite food? Chocolate cake
What is your worst food? Asparagus
What do you want to be when you are bigger? First a dancer, then when I am too old for that then a vet. When I get too old to be a vet, then a doctor
What makes you happy? Cino
What makes you scared? Snakes and spiders
What is your favourite book? School of good and evil
If you could have one super power, what would it be? To be invisible
What would you like to learn to do now that you are ten? To do a walkover
What do you think is the most important job in the world? A doctor
What is your favourite song? Let it go
What is something you enjoy doing at school (not recess or lunch)? Going home
What is something important that your parents have taught you? To buy shares
What is something important that a grandparent has taught you (which one)? Stranger danger (Nanny)
What is a favourite holiday memory? Going into the buffet in Thailand
If you had three wishes, what would they be?
1. To fly
2. To have all the money in the world
3. To have a mansion
If you could change anything about the world, what would it be? That people give more money to charity
What is something you are really good at? Dancing.
What is something you would like to be able to do better? How will you do this? Sport. I will play netball
What is the best thing about being ten? That it’s double digits
What is one goal that you would like to achieve when you are 10 years old? Do a walkover
What is something about you that many people don’t know? That Cino licks my face
Who is your hero or someone you admire? Why? Superman. He can fly
What’s your most treasured possession? Cino
If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life? Nothing
What is your greatest achievement? I don’t know
If you were an animal, what would it be? Dog
If I gave you $20 now what would you buy? Robux