As 2014 draws to a close there’ll be many a Sydney-sider sparing a thought for mother-of-three Katrina Dawson, when the Harbour Bridge fireworks pay tribute to the two victims of the Sydney siege.
Along with the rest of my city, my country, and the world, I sat horrified when I learned of these deaths. Particularly that of Katrina, a fellow working mother, who – as the result of a split-second decision to order her coffee from one particular cafe that morning – never returned home to her kids.
What would she have said, if she had her chance to hold her babies one last time?
My 2014 has been pretty remarkable. I’ve grown a new human inside me, and introduced him to the world. Wow. I’m sure 2015 is going to be something special too. But, if there’s something coming for me, I don’t want my children to be left wondering, years from now, what would mum have said to me if we had the time?
And so, here goes. This is a letter to my children….. just incase it’s ever needed.
To my darling daughter and son,
Sometimes we take the little things for granted. And by little, I mean real little. Like the quick breath of air that you’re pulling in through your nose right now – see? Gone. And usually forgotten. Rarely celebrated. And yet that teeny tiny breath – like the billions of other teeny tiny breaths that you’ve taken in your lifetime is what has kept you alive all this time. But that goes without saying, right?
Well, I’m not going to let this go without saying. I might have another day ahead of me to live, another thousand, or another thirty thousand. But if my days all end today, I want you to know about me. And I want you to know what you mean to me. I don’t want you to hear it second hand, because no one knows me like I know me, and anything else will be inauthentic.
I guess I should start with where you will find me if you’re searching for me. If you’re on your knees, sobbing on your bathroom floor one day and wishing you had your mum, you do. You will find me in song. In music. In melody.
I sang to both of you as you lay curled inside my womb. You knew my song long before you ever knew my face. And when you can no longer remember the colour of my eyes, or that dimples peppered both my cheeks, you will find me inside the music that makes your heart happy. Always sing loudly. I will hear you from wherever I am, and I will join in with you. You will never sing alone, my children.
I want you to know that I place no expectations upon you. I have hopes for your future (high ones) but never feel guilty that perhaps you have let me – or the memory of me – down. This is not possible. As you are, right now, in this second, in this breath, enough.
You were enough to make me happy when you were unable to focus your eyes, or hold an object in your pudgy little hands.
You were enough to make me believe in the beauty of life when you didn’t have hair, or teeth.
You were enough to sustain me every day. You are enough just as you are. So seek only what makes your heart feel happy. Seek only what you know will bring you joy, and joy to those you love. You don’t need things to make you complete.
I have never been perfect and you need to know this. I have a temper. I am anxious. I doubt myself and my abilities on a daily basis. I’m scared of success AND I am scared of failure. This often leaves me feeling as though I live my life in a state of purgatory and paralysis. But at the same time, I am full of life and laughter. I’m a chatterbox. I love to sing. I am loyal and loving and find it hard to restrain myself from kissing you every second of every day. If I am not around long enough for you to know these things about me, well…that’s a shame. But you may have seen me in a different way to the way I see myself and that’s OK too.
I believe that we will meet again one day. I do. But if the fates, and the Gods, and the Universe are so unkind that we never do, then know this.
My family is my everything. You, my daughter, you are my air. And you, my son, you are my water.
I lived a happy life before you. A life full of highs and lows as I discovered who I was deep down (and made many – MANY a mistake – on this journey of self-discovery). A life which led me to find love with your father. But the life I led after you? Well, that life was blessed.
Thank you doing nothing but being yourselves, and for giving me something beautiful to sing about.