The idea for this post was
stolen from inspired by Scary Mommy’s blog post and, like her, I have ensured that both sections have the same amount of words!
To my favourite daughter
You struggled into the world and stole my heart. I love your pixie face, your glowing eyes that change colour with the light and your mood, from grey to the amber you were named after. I love your creativity, how you can make things from pipe-cleaners and tissue paper; a cow, a motorbike, a swing. You are the most caring person I know; you share willingly and your empathy is endless.
I love how easily you make friends, how you adapt to the games they want to play and how you are always smiling. I love your mischievous face, your singing, the way you sit and play beautiful music on the piano. I love the way you throw yourself fearlessly into the swimming pool or do forward rolls on the lawn. I love the way you say, “Bring it on!”
My baby girl, you have grown so fast; I am so proud of you. My little cherub, you helped me learn to be a mother and you are still teaching me, every day. Your wisdom exceeds mine often, yet you are still my little girl, running to me for cuddles.
I love your interest in the world; your deep questions about evolution and the living planet. I love how you care for babies even though you say you don’t want any of your own. How you sing “You’re a pink toothbrush” to yourself at night when you can’t sleep, and how you make up stories for your brother. I love that he is the first person you want to see in the morning and the last person you want to hug at night. Seeing the two of you play together so beautifully makes me the happiest Mummy on Earth. I love how you tell me you love me out of the blue. You are my favourite.
To my favourite son
You rushed into the world, into my arms and into my heart. Your smile lights my day and your hugs warm me to the very centre: There is no happier place than inside your cuddle.
Your sense of fun is endless and you teach me to be silly and how to laugh. Your changing faces, your changing moods, mean I don’t know who you will be next, but I love all the people you can be.
You are charming and cheeky and disarm the grumpiest Mummy with a glint of your chocolate brown eyes. The world comes alight with your happiness and you share your joy willingly.
You can kick a football better than I ever will and you run and climb and jump like a goat. When you fall, you get back up again and grin.
You paint in beautiful colours, especially yourself. Your piano playing make me smile, as you loudly sing Baa Baa Black Sheep. I love how you dance while you play the harmonica and how much you adore Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It makes me proud that you love reading and stories almost as much as I do.
I love how you do everything at a hundred miles an hour and how your grumpy moods can change like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.
I love your kisses and the way you stroke my arm when you’re tired. I love how you giggle when you watch Peppa Pig. I love how you play with your big sister and declare that she is your best friend. I love that she is the only person you want to play with in the morning and the main one you want to hug goodnight.
I love the way you say “I love you” and throw your arms around me. You are my favourite.
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
Claire sat in the dust on the side of the road and wept. How could I be so stupid. The driver said we were only there for half an hour and he wouldn’t wait for stragglers. I should have realised he wasn’t joking.
Her first reaction had been to call someone. That was when she realised she’d left her bag on her seat on the coach. All she had was her camera and a headache.
The sound of wheels crunching on the unsealed road dragged Claire back from the abyss. She leapt to her feet, ready to welcome the returning bus with open arms. It seemed to take forever for the sound to turn into a vehicle. Claire watched the road until her eyes watered. At last a cloud of dust announced its arrival. As she glimpsed red, instead of the green she hoped to see, Claire slumped back down and dropped her head into her hands.
The sound of wheels slowed, then stopped. Looking up, Claire saw a small red car parked next to her on the road. There were three people inside and the driver – a blonde girl around Claire’s age – was winding down the window.
“Are you okay?”
The sound of an English accent lifted Claire’s spirit. She gave a shrug and shook her head.
“I missed the bus.” Saying it out loud made Claire realise how stupid she was. How do you miss your bus when you’re in the middle of nowhere? What an idiot.
“Tour bus? Green one? We just passed it, it can’t be far behind us. Do you want a lift?”
Claire’s heart leapt and she jumped to her feet. “Would you? That would be amazing. But you’ve only just got here. I don’t want to ruin your day too.”
“Don’t be silly, we can’t just leave you here, can we girls?” She turned and faced her passengers. Claire heard a chorus of negatives as the other people in the car agreed with the driver.
“Hop in. You’ll have to climb in the back, it’s a bit of a squeeze.” The driver undid her belt and got out of the car, tipping her seat forward to let Claire in, before dropping the seat and returning to her position. Within moments she was executing a painful three-point turn, and they were on their way.
“You’ll have to excuse her driving,” the passenger in the back said conspiratorially, “she doesn’t much like the unsealed roads. We might just catch up with your bus before it gets to Auckland.”
“Oi, I heard that, Emily! Cheeky cow. You come up here and handle this tin can on these roads. Or better still, you ring and tell your parents how I drove you off a cliff two weeks after meeting you.”
“Chill, Mand. It’s fine.” The passenger in the front spoke.
Claire turned to face the girl, who sounded like she might be Irish. “Are you all travelling together?” The good-natured banter between the three women was infectious. She imagined they had a laugh, although the girl driving seemed more serious than the other two.
“We met in Auckland,” the driver called over her shoulder. “For some bizarre reason I asked these two lovely ladies if they fancied coming north with me.”
“And for some unknown reason we thought it’d be a good craic.”
The girls all laughed and Claire found herself joining in.
Progress was slow along the dirt track and Claire itched to get in the driver’s seat. When she peered out the window, and saw the long drop down to the sea, she changed her mind and was thankful she hadn’t seen how narrow the road was when they were on the bus.
“Do you know where the green machine is going next?” The driver called out.
Claire leaned forwards. “Er, I think we were going to a beach – Sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Claire.”
The girl clucked her tongue. “I’m sorry, I’m rubbish at introductions. I’m Amanda, this is Janet,” she nodded to her left, “and you’ve met Emily there in the back. Don’t ask her what part of the States she’s from and you’ll be fine.”
Claire had already guessed that Emily was Canadian, but she laughed nonetheless.
“I think I might know the beach,” Amanda continued. “The woman at our hostel gave us some directions and mentioned a place where the buses stop to let the passengers go for a paddle. We’ll try there first. Otherwise we can take you up to the dunes, as apparently the buses all stop there too. We’ve got some toboggans.”
“What?” Claire was thrown by the apparent non-sequiter.
“Toboggans. For the sand dunes. Didn’t you know?” This was from Janet. “It’s meant to be a right laugh, tobogganing down. Though I think you guys use boogie boards.”
Claire thought about all the high-adrenalin activities that Julia had thought up to make her life miserable. Even Carl’s PA couldn’t have come up with diving headfirst down a sand dune.
“Bugger that. I’ll watch. Assuming we catch up with them.”
They drove for a while in silence, until Amanda pulled the car off the road and down to a secluded bay. Claire’s heart gave a skip of relief when she saw the familiar green bus parked up ahead of them.
“Oh, god, thank you so much. I really owe you. Wait here while I grab my bag and I’ll give you something for petrol money.”
Amanda parked the car. “Don’t be silly,” she said as she pulled her seat forward to let Claire climb through. “It was a pleasure to help a fellow Brit. Do you want to go and make sure that’s your bus.”
“Would there be more than one?”
Amanda shook her head as if to say, “no idea.” Claire strode towards the bus and tried to get on, but it was locked. Scanning the beach, she saw a group of people a short distance away, having a picnic. As she walked towards them, she recognised one or two faces from earlier.
“Ah, the missing lady returns. Well done.”
Claire turned to face the driver, ready to give him a piece of her mind; but the sardonic look on his face stopped her. What was the point. He clearly knew he’d left her behind and either didn’t care, or intended to teach her a lesson. Whatever the reason, there was little to be gained from antagonising him further.
As if interpreting her silence, the driver grinned and nodded at the food. “Grab some lunch.”
Grinding her teeth, Claire walked over and took some food. Getting on her high horse would only leave her hungry.
“Sorry, lady. I did try to tell him you’d been left behind, but he didn’t listen.”
Claire turned and saw the English man she had passed on the path earlier. “Thanks for trying. I’ll make sure I’m first on the bus in future.”
“Here’s your bag. You left it on the seat. I thought it might be safer with me.” He passed over her handbag. Claire resisted the urge to check the contents. Instead she nodded her thanks and headed back to her new friends. Suddenly, hiring or buying a car seemed a million times preferable to travelling round by bus.