Kimberley Mae, as you pointed out a few hours ago, you are now 16 years and a bit. You’ve reached the milestone marking your progression to a young adult.
Although there was no shortage of advice while I carried you, no-one prepared me for, nor indeed even mentioned, the phenomenon that to to me now epitomises the gift of becoming a parent : of witnessing the discovery of the universe through new eyes, and the opportunity to remember it this time around. Since your birth I am aware of the same wonder in other first-time parents. You will only fully understand this when you become a parent yourself (you know, the red-haired triplets I’ve wished on you occasionally).
One of my most valued memories which still has the power to touch me, is of wakening early in the morning while you were still asleep next to me. You were a few months old by then. The sun rose behind the bedroom curtains, bringing the blue patchwork print to life. Maybe that was what woke you. I could feel you stir from sleep and it felt as if all else stopped while you opened your eyes and took in the visual display. There are no words that adequately describe what it was like to share the moment, the pause followed by an awestruck whispered “w-o-o-o-w”, the sheer wonder of discovery muted as if making a loud noise would shatter the imprint.
If I haven’t already told you, do you know how good it is to share our love of nature’s beauty, of animals, the willingness to understand and integrate our pets into our world, our satisfaction in finding ways to use the English language to express ourselves – and all things blue? Oh, and chocolate.
To mark today’s milestone, I’m moving some of your earlier free-thinking expressions from a battered anniversary calendar to the high tech environment of the blogosphere. It seems an apt reflection of the changing times over the last sixteen years.
– – – – –
“I’m having a sing”
[On spotting a horse in stirrups]
“the horse wearing slops”
[Wait until you start driving!]
“see that purple car? Please don’t bump it”
[Answering the telephone to Uncle Chris]
“Hello. That is you and this is me”
[Discussing the literary skills of our Corgi cross]
“Dougal can’t read because he’s got feet, not hands”
[He can’t sit on Daddy’s lap and listen to a story] “because he hasn’t got a skinny bum”
[On a wet day, about Amanda, our spaniel]
“Why is Tootie all rained up?”
[Found “teeth footprints” on your sucker]
“Last night I had tummy ache for two weeks”
“Let me turn your eyes around before you open them”
“I burst – into tears and blue murder”
[On overtaking me in the passage and calling your Dad to see the local hadedah community fly home for the night]
“Daddy, Daddy, dah’s barking!”
[A brief motivational speech to one of our dogs]
“Lizzie, if you do that the cat will fggggt you”
[Answering my unspoken question about why your feet were pulled up into the base of your car seat after I’d pointed out a breakdown (‘tow’) truck]
“Does it take toes?”
– – – – –
You continue to coin new words when circumstances defy your vocabulary. It makes me feel less guilty about not always correcting your creative use of the language when you were younger. Sugar was “shulug” for years ; water was “wart-oh”. You made my day recently when you rather indignantly remarked that your circle of friends informed you that the TV control is not called a “marote” – that was entirely Granny and Grandpa’s doing when you were only four, and the whole family is now confused. You know the Tuscan house we drove past everyday while you were in primary school? I still haven’t found the motivation to tell you the central tower part isn’t called a turrent.
You are unlikely to remember a particular moment in January this year. While you were visiting your Dad and family in Gauteng, I’d had the fun of revamping your bedroom in your chosen colours : bright pink, purple and lime green. You weren’t aware of the extent of the work that had gone into it but every bit of effort was rewarded when you walked in : your eyes widened, the world paused, and you whispered “w-o-o-o-w”.
Never lose the power of “Wow”, my girl