Friday, October 26, 2007

Talk talk talk

"Sometimes when I'm talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice" ~ Bill Watterson

My dearest E.,

You talk! Terribly adult-like. You form funny little sentences. You learn funny new words. Your voice is tiny and cute, just like a baby's should be. Sometimes you talk and talk, and I don't understand what you say. You nod and say "OK", "Alright!". Sometimes you say the bad F-word, or something you say "Shit" but we pretend we don't hear you, and then we fervently pray that you won't repeat it. You're like a sponge, absorbing things around you at a pace that I cannot keep up with.

You pay me compliments. You told me, "Nice, Mummy," when I put on a new red blouse for work. And smoothed the front of my blouse as you leaned into me to kiss my cheek. You wag your finger at me and say "Shame, shame!" when I undress in front of you. You tell me what you want: books, TV, your milk, food, TOYS. You love your toys and books. You want me to read to you all the time. And you talk and talk when I do.

You are ever SO precious. I don't care if you talk and talk and talk and never stop.

Being Busy

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans" ~ John Lennon

My dearest E.,

Yes. Life has indeed happened to me. In the times that I've been busy of late, I've experienced great work stress: great but strangely fulfilling, leaving me with the notion that I am somewhat important to my work organization. I've experienced illness and recuperation. I've experienced a little free time. I've had the opportunity to plan and celebrate your birthday with your little friends and our loved ones. Yes, E., you are now the grand old age of 2 years!

What a wonderful fun birthday party we had for you. Friends and family crammed our tidy little house (which wasn't so tidy after the party), a 40-odd-strong crowd whom I had to cook for (yes, cook! All by myself!). There were balloons and gifts, laughter and merriment. I put on your sweet indigo & red sailor dress for you, you looked a dream. And you were a gracious host, sharing your toys and happiness with your other little friends. I was a flurried host, making sure everyone had enough to eat and drink, entertaining our guests as they thronged at our gates and flooded our tiny living room. It was raining, but it couldn't be more perfect. And at the end of the night, when our guests had gone home, I sighed contentedly and dragged myself to bed, tired out with the events of the day.

Did I have any idea then that a dark event would overshadow our happy celebrations? Of course I didn't, but it was a sign of things to come when you fell ill the very next day, vomiting and purging. You spiked a high fever, sending the alarm bells in my head ringing, and your father and I frantically rushed you to the nearest paediatric clinic we could find open on a Sunday morning. The diagnosis: you had a stomach virus, a rather nasty one which had been making its way around our abode and general public, infecting people like a nasty plague. It was no coincidence that both your father and I had suffered a bout of it the previous week, and that at the time you fell sick, your uncle, my brother, had been hospitalized for the same illness. It came to my knowledge that many more people we knew had suffered the same illness quite recently.

My heart bled as you grew weaker, your cries louder, your need for comfort greater. You were small and tiny, your body hot to the touch, your cheeks flushed with the fever and illness ravaging your body. Your father and I rushed you to the hospital, and you were immediately admitted and placed on IV drips. Did I cry when you did, when the kind old doctor, who had not intended to hurt you, drew a line in your vein for the IV? Your father couldn't bear to look, but I did, and as you cried, I kissed and kissed your tears away, wishing that I could take away your pain. And in the hospital we spent for 3 long days.

Do you know what it feels like- to be helpless and watch your child suffer and cry from an illness? You were delirious in your sleep, whimpering for me, wanting to be close to me all the time. I stayed beside you, slept beside you, held you in my arms, all the time praying for your speedy recovery. The pain that hit me, and still lingers within my heart, to see you in that frail state, has not gone away. I suspect that it never will, because my eyes have been opened to your pain, emblazoned forever in my mind.

And so, this is life. When we are busy doing things, we live our lives. Good things and bad things happen to all of us. Your illness was a bad thing, possibly the worst thing that has happened to us. I am thankful that it has passed. But with it came a good thing: I know you're only a little girl, only 2 years old. But in your time of illness, you knew that I would be there for you, to love you and care for you. I hope you will carry this knowledge with you for the rest of your life.