We just got back from our biannual trip to Perth so that the girls can spend time with their Gran and Poppy. It’s no secret that my relationship with my mum has not been what it should be for some time, so I must confess that there was some trepidation on my part about the trip. But I strongly believe that the girls need to know all of their grandparents.
Once we got there, Mum and I had the chance to say things that needed to be said. I’m not sure if it’s just because I have a different perspective on things now or that enough time has passed, but for the first time, I felt like we were moving forward, making the trip a really good one.
Then I got sick. Everyone laughed when I woke up with no voice on our third day there. I very rarely get sick and if I do, it’s a runny nose and a sore throat for a couple of days and then I’m fine. This was swallowing razor blades, no voice, dizzy, short of breath, feverish – in short, a monstrosity of a cold.
Fortunately, as awesome grandparents do, Gran and Poppy indulged the girls and kept them entertained while I moped around. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time, I just think the shock of being sick turned what I had into a bit of a man flu. It didn’t help that Perth is two hours behind us, making bedtime and wake up very difficult. The girls were overtired by 7pm over there, because their bodies were telling them it was 9pm and then they would be up at 4am, which is our 6am.
But in amongst that, there were the most amazing moments with them. Absolutely stunningly, melt-your-heart moments when it was quiet and still.
The first one was Little, who had such a hard time getting to sleep at night. I was laying in between the girls, one arm over Little, the other holding Big’s hand. Big had fallen asleep long before and Little was laying quietly. To help them at night, Gran had kept a battery operated candle for them as a nightlight. Little slept with it tightly clutched in her hand each night.
As I lay there, wishing she would go to sleep, she gently took my hand and began to paint my nails, using the candle. She very gently swiped each nail and then said, “Other hand,” very softly. I gave her my other hand and she repeated the process. The she traced my face as she whispered, “I’m colouring you in.” Not long after that, she simply rolled over and went to sleep, cuddling her teddy and her candle.
Then it was Big’s turn to melt my heart. We had spent the day in the city and I dragged everyone to the Oxfam shop. It’s my favourite and I would buy everything if I could! They have the most amazing handmade creations and you get the bonus warm fuzziness of having helped others. Both girls clearly take after me as they also wanted pretty much everything in the shop. Big finally settled on some ‘Worry Dolls' from Guatemala.
The inscription inside says,
“Here are some tiny people for you to keep
So you can have a good nights [sic] sleep
put them under your pillow when the day in [sic] through
and let them do all the worrying for you”
I mentioned in one of my whingey moments that I probably wouldn’t feel so bad if I could at least sleep through the night. Ever the thoughtful one, came running up to me with her little yellow box and said, “Here, Mummy. You can have one of my people to put under your pillow so that you can sleep all night.”
But my favourite moment occurred more than once and gave the entire household joy. Poppy is quite the musician and has the most amazing grand piano. Most evenings, he practiced while we were there and the girls either sat with him, making their own contributions to the pieces he was playing, or they donned their frilliest dresses and whirled and twirled around the room as he played.
David and I both turn the big 3-0 this year, so Mum and Big planned a birthday dinner for us. There were party hats and whistles, party poppers and cake, candles had in the formal dining room, followed by a special concert where Poppy played and the girls danced.
Each time Poppy played, Little begged for ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ over and over again, and of course Poppy obliged.
It was also a great moment when I got the email at Brisbane airport on the way home telling me that I could finally have my toys back!!