Thursday, 24 May 2007

March 2007

Fairy Princess
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02/03/2007, 04:08 PM
My baby girl is 3 years old today. THREE! This time three years ago I was sitting up in my double hospital bed with a sleeping baby cradled in my arms. A perfect, satin cheeked, creamy complexioned perfect baby girl nestled into my heart and me wondering how on Earth I had managed to have something so perfect. How was I going to care for something so beautiful. I was amazed, intrigued, in awe and in love. Now 3 short (so very very short) years later, I am still amazed, intrigued, in awe and in love. She is no longer a baby. The traces of it are all but wiped from her beautiful little face. A tall girl now, still long and thin, with porcelain skin and sea green eyes. Caramel coloured hair now runs riot til it hits her shoulders, surrounding her face in a messy honey cloud. Pink and purple sparkly butterfly clips are usually nestled into the ringlety haze, in a vain attempt to keep it out of her eyes. A fairy princess, with rings on her fingers and wings sprouting from her shoulders, in a pink twirly birthday dress and lipgloss smeared over her cheeks who played this morning with her dinosaur (named Bill) who wanted to make friends and say RAAAAAAAAAAA. Who when chasing the bubbles that cheerfully filled the backyard apologised to the golden orb spider in the corner when they landed in her magnificent web. An all talking, all debating future politician who has an answer for everything, and a cheeky smile for those situations that cannot be explained away. A naughty twinkle in her eye and a half dimple that pops out when she is truly turning on the charm.A little girl who loves trains and climbing and jumping at gymnastics. Who kicks back to the steps but has become afraid of putting her eyes in the water at swimming. A little girl who will scornfully tell me I am NOT her friend, but will later snuggle into me and tell me she loves me so so much. A little girl who wakes with the sun and plays hard and long all day with an exuberance that leaves me literally breathless at times until the sun disappears in a stunning array of purples and oranges beyond the Western mountains. Who after playing in a bath full of bubbles snuggles up for "just one more" book and giggles at the exploits of Zachary Quack, Maisy and that rascally Hippo on the roof. A big sister who is loving and bossy and protective, who ADORES her baby sister. Who will cuddle and help and play but will also chide when the Monkey does not play with a toy as she ought. A little girl who is tucked into bed at night with a menagerie of animals and falls asleep to the cacophony of no less than 4 wind up musical toys, all clashing and different but somehow melodic. Who cries out as we reach the door for just one more hug, just one more kiss, who blows kisses as we're out the door and tells us she loves us. A little girl with a fiery temper and a killer tantrum, who will yell and bash the ground (so long as there is an audience). WHo builds towers out of blocks but somehow understands that the joy is not in building the highest tower, but in the sound that the blocks make when they crash to the ground. Who is cheeky and clever and was caught spinning in our office chair, with another chair precariously perched on top rejoicing as only an enfant can. She is all of the strongest parts of my personality personified - my temper, my obstinance, my joie de vivre, my intelligence, my exuberance and my keen heart. She has her Dad's cheekiness and his steadfastness. She is our raison d'etre and true to her beautiful name, my muse, my inspiration. Happy birthday beautiful girl - we are so lucky that you have blessed our lives and warmed it up with your light.

Have shoes, will run
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03/03/2007, 07:38 PM
In celebration of me embracing my inner gym junkie, DH took me to The Athletes Foot today to get measured up for a properly fitted pair of running shoes. My embarrassing (because I bought them for looks and price and not comfort) cross trainers were just not up to the job of my increasing fitness (vis à vis sore feet and ankles after every session). SO I stood on the funky mat (it's not just an advertising gimmick - they actually do have one!) and looked at my feet in varying rainbow shades which showed where all the pressure goes when I stand or walk. After half an hour of being measured up, fitted and trying on quite a few pairs of shoes, I finally found my missing link, the shoes that complete me. And lost the equivalent of almost a weeks wages in the process but when they say the shoes maketh the man (well I may have butchered that lol) it's true. These incredibly light, soft, supportive shoes mean that I can run and run and run. (I know because I went to the gym and tried them out in all their fluorescent newness). I love going to the gym now, well not the going, but I love it when I am there. I love the way it is airconditioned into frigidity, the way that it is full of people all in their own little worlds. A microcosm of society pushing themselves to sweat and hurt while plugged into machines by their ears. It is a pretty bizarre sight, but I think it is the city equivalent of climbing a mountain by yourself and enjoying the solitude at the top. In high density suburbia pushing myself, feeling the burn in my own little world is almost as good.I love it. I only wish I could get there more often than the twice a week plus occasional sporadic extras that I am currently managing. With the girls in daycare again soon, I fully intend to be there more often - rofl I will actually be one of those women who uses daycare to go to the gym!

Childhood joys
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05/03/2007, 08:50 PM
Yesterday, sort of as a belated birthday present for the Elfling, we went to Whitewater World which is the new Dreamworld water park. The entry was technically a gift to DH (that is a really irritating acronym - I never describe people as "darling"... need a better name for other half, thinking thinking) and I from good friends of ours for Christmas. But when you go to a theme park with children, it's really not the same experience as goign as a couple of young thrillseekers. This was adroitly emphasised by our arrival at the themepark. While we stopped and spent 10 minutes extracting bags, prams, sippy cups, nappy bags, eskies and finally children from the car - next to us, a Suzuki Swift pulled up and 2 early 20s females jumped out with a towel each slung over their shoulders. The water park is fantastic - very well desinged, brightly coloured, entertaining and exhilirating to look at. Unfortunately for us though, the stomach churning rides were out of bounds and Wiggles Bay became our destination. The Elfling had a ball - water bubbled, sprayed, bucketed and swooshed throughout the toddlers area and her confidence was boundless, sliding down the miniature waterslides herself after a few trial runs. The Monkey was not quite as enthused - the water was a bit cool and she didn't like being splashed - but when we sat and bobbed in the warmer and more still major wave pool, she was much happier. All in all it was a warm, laid back, fun family outing, that made me realise just how much life changes when you're a parent. It made me appreciate how my parents used to do holidays as well. When we were small, my parents used to "allow" us to spend a weeks holidays with each set of grandparents. A week of great food, love, and the beach (Dad's parents) or the backyard (Mum's). We ADORED these weeks and looked so much forward to them. Being able to be with someone that not only loves you as much as your parents do, but spoils you rotten is amazing. Mum and Dad obviously enjoyed the reprieve as well - somethign I'd never thought about before becoming a parent! It would have made no sense for us to accompany them on some of their holidays - what is a B&B holiday with children? A visit to a vineyard is quite a different experience with a toddler hell bent on destroying the wine racks. It was a happy solution for all. I remember visiting Mum's parents vividly - Staying in frigidly cold Toowoomba dressed up in fleecy clothes... The way the pot belly stove crackled in the evenings, and sometimes all day with it's fantastic woodsy scent... Toasting your toast over the coals in the morning, giving that weird pattern on the bread from Grandad's home made toasting fork... Playing putt putt golf in the course that Grandad made in the backyard... Climbing the avocado tree in the backyard that was in the middle of the chookyard (which meant it grew so quickly that the heavy strong branches started a mere foot off the ground)... Drawing pictures in the kitchen while Nana cooked, the stove smelling of casseroles or roast... That fantastic smell of cooking rich meat, braising in its own juices... Sitting up at the formica table with shining faces with a plate of food so high on it, that it could have fed a family for a week - but somehow managing to eat it all and having the praise heaped on us for being such "good eaters"... Having our bath in the tiny bathroom and getting dressed as quickly as possible because it was so cold... Holding on tight to Nana's hand to go to the toilet which was outside, down the back steps and being so scared but trying to be a brave girl... Having lollies from the lolly jar, those sugar encrusted ones that only Nana had... Drinking soft drink from the big glass bottles and then putting the crate out on Wednesday so that it would get replaced with a new set of rainbow bottles... Sitting up next to Nana on the couch at night, and having Astro curl up on my lap, and talking to Nana about "big girl" things... Being tucked into her sweet smelling flannel sheets at night, with that strange smelling comforter on top... Being scared at the noises outside the window but being comforted that Nana was in the next room... Goign into her room in the mornigns when we woke up, and doing puzzles on her bed... The hilarity of her false teeth... The cuddles that she would give...We went back up to Toowoomba today, me, "DH", and the girls, summonsed to say goodbye. I have been expecting it for so long that I had forgotten about all of those wonderful things that made my childhood what it was. The last 10 years have been about Nana going into hospital and being "prepared" to let go, and her recovering, always a little bit worse for wear, but back at home, installed in her favourite chair to watch her shows, those old style movies and the cricket. Today though, as the CPAP pushed the air into her non-compliant lungs, her face squashed under its unflattering weight, her body wracked from the effort of simply breathing, and her one conscious comment, a plea to "please, let me go" I knew that this time, it really was goodbye.

Pause Button
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08/03/2007, 11:43 AM
After further intervention (that she asked not to have ) Nana is awake and breathing again. She has dodged the bullet again (or was forced to dodge it by others). She is now waiting in the rehab unit until they can find a place for her in a nursing home. She is unhappy but relatives that "know better" think that once she is well (lungs don't regrow from what I've been lead to believe) she will be *happy* that she can sit up and watch TV all day. I am so angry for her. I love her, I want to hold on to her, I wish she could live forever. But her body is ruined and she is at peace with that and wants to move on to the next great adventure where shes' not confined to a bed and subjected to daytime television. In her last episode she was clearly at peace, and one felt the grace of God in giving her such an easy and peaceful journey from this world. There is no dignity in paracetamol suppositories every couple of hours, examintaions from medical students without the nous to cover an elderly lady while doing so, being fed, having a catheter and wearing a pad and the inability to do what you please. Some peopel manage to maintain their dignity through that, but not my grandmother. Things are not great around here at the moment. Between the emotional upheaval, the travel that has ruined the Monkey's sleeping habits (and hence mine), the state of the house, the boredom of the Grot, and my own fragile mental state, things are just not fantastic. We all feel in such a state of limbo. There is no certainty to anything, and when you keep "preparing" yourself, it is wearing. The Monkey had her first day at daycare yesterday and the Grot starts hers next week. Although I have been looking forward to it it is so so hard. Leaving my tiny little baby with someone else was torture with red hot pokers.

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11/03/2007, 06:29 PM
Back on BiPap, but still here. We're just stringing along in suspended animation not knowing where this is going to end. Is this the last hurrah? Or is this just a tiny set back?? Should we hope or should we mourn? So tired. This week has been crap. Profanity isn't pretty but I can't think of anything articulate to say. Lots of tears, not much sleep, and life going to hell in a handbasket. Feeling trapped and suffocating. Recognition that I don't get to dictate my life any more and that the needs of the little ones must always always take precedence. Shutting down and then realising that that's not an option with the babes. Trying to find new coping strategies and managing only to knit. Knit knit knit. I have almost finished the Monkey's first pair of longies and they're very cute. They have taken so much time and concentration they have helped as I have been unable to think of anything else when concentrating on my knitting. The girls are adorable. Beautiful. They are my reason to just keep on pushing through. And when it gets too much, I go to the gym and run and run and run. I have bought a new tape measure (after the last one suffered at the hands of a creative Grot armed with scissors) and will post new stats on Monday.

Fun with charts
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14/03/2007, 12:14 PM
Just for fun this morning I decided to convert all of my DD's (both of them) weight and height measurements into the bizarre imperial system so that I could have a go at plotting. I used this site, just because it looked easy Percentile ChartsAnd this is what it spat outFor the Monkey
For the Elfling
As one can see, there seems to be a bit of a pattern. While the Monkey is somewhat "heavier" than the Elfling was at the same age, they are both relatively tall and relatively light. Where the height comes from is completely baffling really. I am 5'7/170cm which is certainly not short, but it's not tall either and DH is 5'9 which is quite short for a man. There are sporadically tall people in our family, but not many, and certainly not in immediate family. Grandparents, blood uncles/aunts are all very short. It will be very interesting to see whether this pattern keeps up! I think that neither one of my babies will regret being tall and thin as teenagers lol. I think the weight thing, especially the notable dips in both girls' charts is probably familial based on the fact that they both did it, and that it's related to activity. The Monkey rolls EVERYWHERE now. It's not just a roll here and there for amusement - it is definite "I want to go there now!" rolling. Combined with efforts to rock back and forwards on hands and knees. Yesterday was the Monkey's first real day at daycare. Not only did I leave her there, but she also did a full feed play sleep cycle. Apparently she was wonderful and did not cry once. She ate her mushy pear, she drank her EBM, she even had an hour sleep. I hated leaving her there. Walking out of the centre I just wanted to run back in and snatch her back. I'm so glad that it went well though. I only really feel bad for me. The Elfling was somewhat confused about it all. SHe kept asking when we were going to pick her up. To help pass the time, I took the Elfling out to high tea where my little princess sat up like the queen, eating her ribbon sandwich daintily and patting the corners of her mouth with her serviette after each bite. Watching her eat her cake with a fork I could no believe she was the tiny baby that I used to lug around with me 3 years ago! The ladies at the table near us were in hysterics watching her play the role of Lady Muck. But the one thing that astounded me was that her behaviour was FANTASTIC. We also went to the library and the toyshop, and I could not believe how gorgeous she was. Which lead me to the horrible realisation that most of her "bad" behaviour is my fault. She just wants attention. Ah good old mother guilt, where have you been hiding? It was pretty obvious that having a parent all to herself, without the distraction of a cute and adored baby sister, was everything that she could have ever asked for. I am determined to make more of an effort now to spend one on one time with her. To finish off the afternoon before picking up the Monkey we stopped in at her new Kindy to do another orientation day. It was a lovely cool afternoon so the children were all playing outside. The Elfling, feeling a bit shy stood close to me, but watching the children play. She then saw the sandpit and started to play on her own, with me instructed to sit down and watch her. I scanned the playground looking for some of the children that had been at her last centre and marvelled at how some of them had grown up so much in the last 3 months. Then I saw him, the Monkey's best friend since they were babies. Looking taller, skinnier, and much more boy-ish, engrossed in an activity on the far side of the playground. While I was watching him, he looked up and saw the Elfling. I swear you have never seen a little boy look so happy and excited in all your life. It was like Christmas morning as he ran over to shyly play next to the Elfing in the sandpit. It took all of 5 minutes of this shy stilted play (how embarrassing having your Mum watch you with your boyfriend!) before the Elfling was off and running through the playground calling for him to race and push her on the swing. For the next hour that we were there they had a ball. One of her other good friends, an adorable and articulate little girl was there as well, but her usual bubbly personality was a bit subdued as she is heading back to Switzerland in the next few weeks to live with her lovely parents who have accepted university positions there. All in all it was a nice, though strange day for me. One thing that really stood out was the ease with which I felt in letting the Elfling play at Kindy. It is a FANTASTIC centre and one that I am so happy that we have a place. My feelings towards this centre are polar opposites to the "other" centre (in which she was enrolled but I pulled her from). So next week, the Monkey will be in care 1 day (probably about 4 hours at a time at this stage) and the Elfling will be 3 days a week. We're all feeling happy and confident about it (aside from me not wanting to let go of the Monkey) and it's such an incredible relief. Only 3 and a bit more months before I'm back at uni fulltime and I can hardly wait.

Weight loss
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15/03/2007, 05:26 PM
Ooer. Yeah. That...Well, on the plus side, I have been going to the gym very regularly and am much more fit than I was (I can RUN these days, could never do that before!!). On the minus, with 2 active children and breastfeeding around the clock I have not been actively trying to lose weight per se, just hoping that it would be one of those lovely convenient side effects of a more active life style... apparently not. Damn. I refuse to give up all nice foods and eat salad though. (Even though I eat a lot of salad, it's one of my favourite meals).So...Last timeAge 25.2Height 170cmWeight 78 kgCurrent BMI 27 (overweight)Waist Measurement 89cmHip Measurement 110/115cm (#1 at level of iliac spine/#2 at iliac crest)Arm Circumference L32cm R32cmLeg Circumference L59cm R59cmBust Measurement 118cmAge 25.5Height 170cmWeight 77 kg -1(one whole kilogram rofl)Current BMI 26.65 (still overweight)Waist Measurement 86.5cm -2.5 (WOW hadn't expected that!)Hip Measurement 104.5 -5.5/111cm -4 (#1 at level of iliac spine/#2 at iliac crest)Arm Circumference 33.5cm x2+1.5 x2(crap they've got bigger??)Leg Circumference 58cm -1 x2(more loss woohoo!!)Bust Measurement 111cm -7(pardon my French but sh*te!!)OH MY GOD!! Until I actually measured all that I was expecting to be exactly the same (if not bigger). But I've lost 19cm off my measurements!*Jenn does a little happy dance*Would be ecstatic if weightloss reflected it all - but I'll take what I can get!!! Obviously the gym *is* making a difference WOOHOOOO

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18/03/2007, 08:44 PM
I love autumn. It is my favourite season (I"m sure I said that about Spring, but indulge me). I love the clear cool days and the glorious afternoon breeze. The way the dusk turns smoky purple and the temperature drops sharply making bare arms shiver in anticipation of the inky night. Sitting up on the lounge chair, Nana's throw rug over my knees, doing something crafty (probably knitting) with my chilly fingers. Drinking hot chocolate when the babies are asleep, the warm fragrant cocoa making my belly runble in anticipation. Making risottos and soups with ham hocks so that the smoky rich smell of the cured meat permeates the house. Boiling up corned beef with vinegar, sugar and bay leaves and making white sauce to eat with the pink meat and mashed potatoes and peas. Making rich puddings for dessert with their shiny delectable sauces. Apple crumbe with it's spicy cinnamon scent cloying in the air drowned in single cream. Rhubarb pie made with merlot so that the stewing ruby mess bubbles up leaving that delicious foam that sticks to the sides of the pan. Lemon meringue pie heaped tall with airy light caramelised peaks. Walking to the park in the coolness and the blueness of the afternoon. The way the breeze blows sterling silver. The quickness of my blood when I feel the seasons changing. My brain coming to life as the leaves turn russet, the gradual stirrings of critical thought... I always loved being at uni in Autumn, it was always the season where uni life bubbled up into some amazing microcosm. Where the frisson of ideas buzzed in the air. Where I believed that social miracles were possible. I love autumn.

Feeling squiggly
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19/03/2007, 01:35 PM
Right at the moment I am feeling a bit blurgh. A bit nauseous. A bit squiggly in my belly. Just not quite feeling 100%. Also tired and my boobs hurt more than usual and the Monkey doesn't seem to be getting enough milk. Which means that not only are a few little bells jingling in my head, but there is a riotous clanging going on in there. I am really hoping that it just means that I'm getting my cycle back (even though I wish it would stay away for a few more months).But just to make sure I'm POAS tomorrow. f**k I hope that this is just adding 1+1 and getting 3. There is no possible way that 2 lines on a stick would be a good thing. NO WAY.

Expressing Myself
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19/03/2007, 09:34 PM
I hate pumping. Hate it hate it hate it. It feels like someone is trying to give me a hicky on my boob. It;s uncomfortable, takes ages and here's the kicker - I top out at maybe 20mL these days. 20 miserable millilitres. ARGGGHHHH. It's enough to drive a woman to formula (almost).The Monkey is 6 months old tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly that has flown. I will write more about htat tomorrow while she is at daycare and drinking up my 5 hours worth of expressed milk.The Elfling started Kindy today. She adored it. She loved every minute of it. No hiding behind Daddy when he dropped her off, no shyness or fear at all. Just a hard long day of playing, getting dirty, and meeting new friends. It was so strange putting her hair up in piggy tails and making sure that everything was labelled again. Packing up her sheets, and her brand new hat. Packing up her lunch box much more nutritiously than she would ever eat at home and kissing that tiny creamy face as she bounded down the stairs. I didn't know what to do with myself. The Monkey and I read books, tidied up, and then because there was no one to play all over the floor the house stayed tidy So when the Monkey went down for her naps I was at a loss as to what to do. I didn't have the car and didn't feel up to PT with the pram so I stayed home and cruised the internet. Was so surreal. So quiet. So lonely! I am looking forward to Thursday when I have my girls back together again. Heaven knows how I am going to cope tomorrow with both girls away. I think I will sit at home and mope

Happy Half Birthday Monkey
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20/03/2007, 05:45 PM
SIX MONTHS! When did time warp to make it 6 months since I had my tiny roly poly baby? With her smooshed in face and her pale red wisps of hair and her fuzzy Monkey ears? Her cast iron grip and her insatiable thirst for Mummy's milk?She's sitting up at the moment, a couple of pillows behind her for when she forgets that sitting takes some effort and falls over, bashing away at a toy. Watching the Elfling's Percy train track its way around and around it's circuit. She is trying so hard to crawl, getting stronger on her belly every day, her little arms bulging with teensy muscles just waiting to support her when she gets the coordination of arms and legs together. Rolling all over the floor, with determination (and speed!!) to get to books and toys and forbidden cables which only makes them more alluring. Her eyes are now almost completely brown, just the outer edges of her iris maintaining that steely slate colour of a newborn. Her hair is now an inch long, but still so fine and wispy that it's barely visible unless you're out in the sun where it just blazes. She's still tiny and soft and creamiest white. Her pudgy arms and legs even more delectable then when she was smaller.She is the most determined flirt, with a slow building but completely dazzling smile which is often accompanied by whole bodied joy when she sees me after an absence. She is so serene, so serious, so intent and so happy. Cuddling her makes my heart sing because she is just so incredibly gorgeous. She is my sunshine. Sleeping is a big deal around here at the moment, because since the arrival of the great whites, there hasn't been a lot of it happening. She used to suck on her fingers, her two middle fingers looking like she was giving a heavy metal salute, but since the sharp pointies moved in it's obviously not as nice/she keeps biting her fingers so she finds it hard to self settle. We have tried dummies in vain, but she won't have a bar of it. Food wise though we are going great guns. This week we have introduced sweet potato and pumpkin to add to the pear and rice cereal. She is a complete guts. We have not as yet determined how much she *can* eat because I stop her at about 100mL of food. It's quite enough I believe for a tiny girl with a stomach the size of a golf ball! She is pretty adamant that she wants more food though, and gets very agitated when the spoon and bowl are removed from her sight. I was worried about how much milk she was getting (vis a vis the enormous appetite for solids and the night waking) but today while she was at daycare, I easily expressed 70mL in ten minutes so I think my supply is probably actually fine (though lowish at night - which is normal). She is just growing so much. I love this age. 6 months-9months is just so cute. If only I can convince her to sleep then life will be perfect.Oh and re other entry, POAS = BFN. VERY VERY happy about that.

he Purple Rose
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21/03/2007, 01:25 PM
"Let's go for a walk, there's something I want to show you""To the park?""Yes the park! There is a new garden. A rose garden""I love roses. They are my favourite flower""It's a lovely garden. We'll have to show your Mum when she comes too""Oh it's so beautiful! I love them. Can you smell them Nana? They smell like love.""I bet you will never guess which is my favourite rose!"I look out at the arbor covered over with a rambling climbing rose. It is dusky pink and sweet, but definitely not Nana's rose. I run around the beds where there are red roses, deep crimson and firetruch red, heady with their almost sinful scent. These aren't Nana's favourite either. The orange roses are bright but somehow a bit gaudy. Nana wouldn't like an orange rose best, even though they smell so lovely, almost peppery. I run to the other side and look at the stunning, sunny yellow roses. They are so bright and happy looking, but somehow not quite right for Nana either. "So which do you think is my favourite"I furrow my brow, deep in concentration. None of these roses look right. They are either too small, too delicate, too heady, or too bright. I run down one of the rows looking for Nana's rose. In the middle of the main hall of the rose garden is a bed with a tall rose with small soft thorns. The leaves are large and dark glossy green. But I barely note these, I am looking carefully at the flowers. They are large flowers, with a tightly furled centre so that you can't see the perfumed core. But although in shape they are truly lovely, it's not that which catches me eye either - they are a pale lilac colour. I have never seen a purple rose before and I stand studying it, with that unnaturally engrossed expression that I lapse into sometimes. Nana catches up with me and stands next to me admiring the rose as well. "It's your favourite Nana". I don't even ask it as a question."How did you know?? Just wait til I tell Grandad" she laughs "all those roses and you picked out which one is exactly my favourite". A strong rose, different to the others. Not as sweet, or as stunning, or as perfumed, or as bright, or as lovely as the others. But with a distinct personality. That something other. And more than 15 years ago I knew without being told that it was Nana's rose.Last night I felt compelled to call Mum. It was about 8pm and I couldn't get through. So we watched terrible television and I knitted. The phone rang after 9, which is strange. No one ever calls that late. It was Mum. Nana died at 8:05pm.

Dear Nana
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28/03/2007, 11:06 PM
I've been meaning to write to you since Monday, but I've been so sidetracked. I wish I could blame it all on the babies, but that's not really fair. Mostly it's because I just was too tired. Monday was such a lovely day - Autumn in all her windy, clear, cool glory. The sun shone and the sky just beamed. The perfect day to sit around thinking and talking about you all day. Mum had arranged everything as perfectly as I know you woudl have wished. Some were sad, and even Mum couldn't hold it back at all times, and others grim (and others a bit doddery and I'm not sure if they were actually there for you or if they'd wandered in - but I know you would have welcomed them all!).For some reason I couldn't stop smiling a lot of the time. I meant no disrespect, and I knew you would understand, but I was there to think about you my fiesty irreverent grandmother not some doddery old killjoy. The eulogies were nice, and I'm sure you would have liked them, the ceremony itself lovely and respectful. I know you were there (and not in that lovely rosewood box embellished with shiny brass) because I could feel you everywhere. I heard you giggling along with me when The Elfling pointed at Jesus on the cross and asked if he was doing ballet (Oh how embarrassing, perhaps some religious education is a good idea? Great Aunt Shirl would have had a fit if she'd heard *snicker*). I felt you beaming with pride when the goofy grinning Monkey stole hearts as she giggled. I felt your love as little sister struggled through her part of the eulogy, and I saw you comfort Grandad as he sat lost and alone at the end of the pew. I watched you soar as we released the pink balloons that tangled so in the wind, and saw the twinkle in your eye as Little Sister struggled with them at the grave site. I felt your happiness that you were buried so close to your sister and I felt your peace as you were laid to rest. I expected to feel so much loss. To feel bereft as we wished you goodbye. But it wasn't goodbye. I have 25 years worth of solid memories, even from when you were sick. And you know what? I can still see you all the time. In my Mum, in Uncles and Aunt, in cousins, in the mirror, and best of all in the babies fresh shining faces. Your legacy.I'm so glad that you're free now. Not shackled to a body that had all but worn out, not hooked to machines that go ping. Just there now, in that great eternity, happy and free. I'm sad that my girls will not know you. That they will not know how much you loved to joke. How great you were at darts and how Ken from next door said you had great legs but your boobs were too big (even at 60!) and just how great your beef casserole was. But I'll tell them everything I can remember, because someone like you needs to be remembered.I bought Mum a purple rose. I don't think it's the exact same one as the one you loved so many years ago, but it was as near a match as my memory could make it. When I gather flowers for Mum's table I'm so excited that your rose will be among them. Much love to you NanaJennxxx

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