It’s been an absence. I’ve been struggling along with an essay, my first in seven years – or more. I’m rusty!
Canberra had its 100th birthday, I had my 28th. Henry and I are officially in our late twenties and thirty is just around the corner. I don’t mind. I intend to live to 112 and have each year more productive than the last. I just feel I have so much to learn here on earth and so much I could potentially give. I want to give it all. Spend myself into the earth and into its people like nothing else. Of course, as a mum, you’ve got to spend yourself into your kids. Like everything, large scale change depends on the small actions of individuals. It is a wonderful and daunting concept.
In between Henrys absolutely exhausting work schedule the past week (I get the benefit of seeing the monumental effort that goes into these festivals that Canberra likes to throw!) We managed to squeeze in an early morning excursion to the balloon spectacular. We’ve been going to these since Sophia was in my tummy. I love early mornings and I love family outings, so this has been one of my absolute favourite events over the years.
I’m not sure if the Peacock or ‘Franklin’ were Sophs favourites, I guess it doesn’t really matter. They were both cool.
It was a super early morning! 5.30am out the door, it was still dark. It was totally worth it, even though I paid for it through the day with super tired and crotchety kids.
We ducked off to get a coffee before I dropped Henry off at work. These kinds of dates make me jump for joy inside. I just love those happy, carefree times with my family. It’s absolutely right and delightfully fitting.
A few days later Henry was working again, this time at Skyfire. I am not generally a fan of Skyfire, fireworks: great. Crowds: totally not great. The music: not into it. But, showing kids fireworks for the first time: yes please!
So mum and I took them down to the lake, we made sure to go a good distance from the main area, with still a good view, and we did find the right spot.
The tower was rather thrilling for Soph as it changed from Pink to Red to Orange and on through the rainbow.
I only took a couple of photos as I mostly just wanted to cuddle my kids and enjoy the view with them. It is just beautiful seeing things like this through their eyes. Their ‘Wows’ and ‘oohs’ and ‘Look! It’s a shooting star!’ bring big light to older, staler senses. Children are one of the best things for us adults.
So our week wound on with a few resting days at home, a few gigs to go to and an Uncle up from Tasmania to spend time with.
Then came birthday day. Mums birthdays are never much I think. Mums are the ones who make birthdays happen for children and for husbands, but this time I had my first taste of my daughter taking care of birthday traditions.
Henry was sick as a dog, poor thing, he had to pop in to work, so we all went together and I dragged the kids around. We had fun jumping around Civic sculptures.
I feel this is rather an unusual fountain for a city centre, but when I read that it was bequeathed by Alexander Downer in honour of his father I saw it in a new light. Now I see a father raising up his son and passing on a gift which the son is reaching for. That is appropriate and a close father-son relationship ought to be honoured. As our time in the city fast ran out and Henry was still working I did get cross. I hadn’t had a chance to do that retail therapy Henry had promised. So palmed the kids off on him and I dashed of, getting a few presents for the three other friends who have birthdays around mine and bought some new dresses from a favourite shop. (natural fibres and potentially ethical – though I’d definitely like to look into that!) It was very very brief, but when you become a mum even five minutes of rushed time alone is luxury – and retail therapy! Unheard of!
Then on to the Arboretum where we had a spot of lunch with my mum, dad and brother. I always think it’s appropriate to spend the anniversary of your birth with the people who are responsible for your arrival on the firmament. We had lunch in the absolutely amazing construction of the Arboretum ‘Village Centre’, high ceilings with wood highlights through the entire building. Then we rolled around on the lawn ampitheatre, well the kids did. And finished off with a chilled out stroll through the Himalayan Cedars and the rust coloured words, ‘Wide Brown Land,’ on the hill.
Finally, at home, Henry soldiered through cooking dinner, then crashed into bed for a nap. I whipped through the cleaning, then with two exhausted children finished off with a ‘birthday’ cake. By then though, I was totally over it, so I cut it up and headed outside to eat alfresco. Sophia was not too be put off. ‘Are we singing happy birthday?’ ‘No, we’ll just eat it and go to bed.’ ‘No, let’s sing happy birthday.’ A little pause. I just waited to see what she would do. ‘Come on Gunny, let’s sing Happy Birthday to mummy.’ So Gunny began: ‘Happy Birthday’, then Sophia: ‘To You!’, Gunther again: ‘Happy Birthday’, Sophia: To You! Then Soph sang all the way through to ‘Hip Hip!’ where Gunther joined in again with the ‘Hoorays!’
It was a beautiful moment, one of those times where you see and really notice how your little baby is growing into a big person with responsibilities and the ability to think of and look after another person.
The sun set and shone through the leaves of our plum tree making them glow and then it was bedtime.
Uncle David came with two of his mates, Henry crawled out of bed and we finished the day with beers and interesting conversation.
Now we are looking ahead to a PINK birthday party for Sophia in two weeks time and finally our move out of our village which has been home for 5 1/2 years, ready to step into life’s next adventures.