When I was your age and traveling overseas my Dad would write me an aerogramme once a week to keep me up to date on the goings on at home. Without email, text messages, social media, or any sort of address, consider this my aerogramme to you.
It's been a week and a few days since you left.
I remember telling you on the way to the airport that night that there's almost no point missing us because things will be exactly the same here while you're gone. We'll eat porridge and drink strong coffee in the mornings, we'll drive the girls around, we'll shlep wood in to keep the fires burning, we'll juggle farm work and house work while trying to have some form of social life and I'll snatch every spare moment to knit a row or two of my socks.
But as the days have passed by I've been thinking about that statement and how although all of the above is true, all the details that fill the hours and the days in-between are different.
The biggest thing that has happened since you left has been the rain. It has rained, and rained, and RAINED. All the tanks, and dams, and creeks and rivers are full to bursting, and on the weekend our driveway flooded over and we thanked goodness that our house was built on a hill. I also thanked goodness that we don't live in the nearby flooded town that reported tiger snakes floating down the main street. Can you imagine?!?
We've made use of this forced indoors time to clear every single thing out of the trapeze room. We sold the bookshelves, I donated five bags of vintage sheets, we've made a mountain for the op shop and everything else has been boxed up and carried to the shed. Jobbo came in yesterday and marked the new walls out on the ground, the electrician is coming tomorrow to work out where the new power points and lights will go and then hopefully by the time you return home you'll have a new bedroom and we'll have a new office/studio. I'm getting excited.
A few days ago I finished Anne Patchett's book State of Wonder which I really loved and of course cried when I finished. I almost expected you at the end of my bed when I looked up all teary from reading the last page, funny how often you're there when I do.
Although I'd decided in the depths of winter to give the veggie growing a break for this season and concentrate instead on the apples, the bio dynamics, the soil fertility and the cleaning up this place, anytime there is a break in the rain I've found myself running to the hot house with a bunch of seeds. I can't explain it except to say that I must be addicted to having my hands in the soil and the anticipation of each stem and leaf as it emerges from the earth. I loved the thought of supporting the local farmers for a season, but it seems that I love growing my own even more. I can't wait to watch your face as you eat your first veggies picked fresh from our garden upon your return.
I have fallen in love with and listened to every single episode to date of Not By Accident, a podcast documentary about choosing to be a single mother and coping with being one. And although Sophie's and my journey's to motherhood couldn't be more different, listening to her stories of pregnancy and planning and birth and early motherhood have brought back so many feelings and memories of that time when I was pregnant and full of wonder about you.
The chooks have started laying again so we're eating lots of eggs, and although it's still slow, the rocket is growing and delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a blob of feta on top. I've been searching for asparagus but still haven't found any yet.
Jazzy came back from Canberra last Friday full of stories of parliament, the portrait gallery, the CSIRO, op shopping, bus rides, tricks played on boys, and a type of Scienceworks. She had the best time ever she says.
Pepper's world is full of circus tricks, roller skating, stories about New Zealand (her inquiry project) and ukulele tunes.
Dad and I spent a rare day alone with nothing to do in Ballarat last Friday while our cars were both being serviced. We wandered, we ate pho twice, we saw a movie and we had so much uninterrupted talking time that we managed to discuss each of you, problem solve lots of our present and future issues and still have time for silence. It was wonderful and much needed. The hardest part was driving home to Daylesford in the dark separately. I know you'll laugh and call us teenagers when I tell you that Dad called me on the way home from his car to check on me and chat.
Slowly the day to day signs of you around the house are fading. Your laundry is washed, folded and put away in your room, the pages of the house diary with your writing on them have been turned over, we've found all your hidden love notes and there are only two mugs on the bench top awaiting the morning chai ritual.
However we are referring to your printed out itinerary that we have stuck to the fridge often and are constantly counting back seven hours to work out when exactly you'll be on that ferry or what island you'll be exploring. You'll be traveling from Santorini to Crete this evening, how exciting!
I miss you so very much my darling heart. In a happy way. I love to dream about you on your global adventure soaking in the sunshine, learning the language and the history, eating feta and olives and tomatoes and baklava, making friends, and visiting some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. I'm so excited for you and the person you are becoming.
It never occurred to me when you were small that one day I'd send you off into the world to explore but now that we're here I understand it's our job not to keep you close but to give you the tools you need to find your own way.
This morning I read an interview with John Marsden in the latest issue of Slow magazine where he talked about wanting to give his students first hand experiences..."so they've got stories of their own. Because stories define us, our stories shape us, and the more stories you have the more interesting person you are." I'm so excited for you and your stories Miss Indigo Apple.
I love you, love you, love you.
Oh and I've been watering your plants and they're all looking good. Even the peace lily.