Friday, October 12, 2018

Dear Jarrah

Dear Jazzy,

Although I don't think you've ever read my blog before, as our middle child I know you'd point out the injustice if I didn't write to you like I did to Indi when she was off on her school adventure two years ago, and so I will.

Dear Jazzy,

Last Sunday night we took you to the airport for your six week class trip to France and Spain.

After weeks of preparation, after days of goodbyes, after breakfast pancakes and last minute adjustments, we five jumped in the car and drove away. In the car on the way there, despite your initial protests, I played the latest Heavyweight podcast - Rob, and you laughed the loudest. Of course you did. In our family you are 'the broken arm guy' and as our middle child, there's no way we'd be ever be allowed to forget it.

Sandwiched in between your sisters, our role as your parents is to make you feel and trust that your experiences are no less important and are valued and acknowledged equally. So we discussed your trip and tried our hardest not to compare it to Indi's. But secretly, inside my heart, I felt pleased with my own mum-experience. I knew what I was in for this time and felt a little more prepared to let you go.

At the airport you ran off excitedly with your friends, you posed for photos, danced and then we watched you as you handed over your passport and checked yourself in. It was impossible to feel overemotional when you appeared so calm, capable and ready.

We four drove home from the airport flicking through so many podcasts, but nothing fit. I think we were all a bit lost in the silence, thinking of what the Jarrah-sized hole would feel like in our lives.

On Monday, while you were still in the air, Pepper went back to school, Indi studied at home we worked on the farm and continued our attempts to use up the winter produce in the garden to make room for spring. Late in the afternoon we got a message letting us know you'd arrived in Paris with a photo of your first meal.

I wondered if you slept on the plane. I wondered if you watched movies or ate your meals. I wondered who you sat next to and what you did on your two hour stop-over in an airport far, far away.

On Tuesday we woke up with 15 year old you in our hearts. It was raining hard and I knew that if you were here you'd be bargaining for a deep bath. We put together the frames for three more bee boxes, we made Pepper's birthday party invitations, we weeded and planted and watered and cooked, and then late in the afternoon we called you and sang 'happy birthday!' Even though it had only been a few days, it made us so happy to hear your voice. To hear that you'd just been woken up with songs and cards. I love that you felt celebrated. I love that you are the 15 year old girl who wants an electric guitar for her birthday. And I hope you found all of our cards in your backpack.

On Wednesday the wind was blowing hard and unsettled everyone and everything. All of my plans to start planting out the market garden were pushed over and I felt on edge and annoyed.

On Thursday we woke up and the wind had stopped and everything felt still, thank goodness. I noticed that the first of the peonies that always flower on your birthday is out. I thought I might pick it and put it in a jar next to my bed but then I changed my mind and left it there to admire each time I walk past it to my studio.

On Thursday I also started spinning wheel lessons and dad finished his first bowl on his new lathe. He carved it out of a eucalyptus burl - a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds.

With all that tricky grain going in every direction it was quite a challenge for him to turn but the results are totally worth the effort. Such a beautiful piece.

Which brings me to today. It's the most magnificent spring day. I'm sitting on the couch in my studio watching the birds visiting the banksia tree outside, I can just hear the sound of John on his mulcher cleaning up the gorse behind the tractor shed and I'm contemplating trying to type and treadle the spinning wheel at the same time.

And of course I'm thinking of you. I love that your school cares about rites of passage and the transition through adolescence. I love how perfectly timed this trip is for you. And I love you!

It's 6.30am in Paris, I wonder what adventures your today holds for you.

So this is it, the first of my stories from while you're away. I can't wait to hear yours.

All my love



  1. Beautiful words, a love letter to your daughter and to yourself.
    Made very happy to read it
    cheers Kate

  2. Oh my....just beautiful Kate. And please pass on to Brendan how TRULY STUNNING his bowl is.

  3. Oh my goodness Jazzy has grown into a young woman when did that happen. Did she just wake up one morning and there she was? The problem with middle children is that they’re always there in the middle, holding their siblings apart but joining them together all at the same time, they are that strong. Then when they go off to “do their thing” there’s a massive hole. But don’t worry you won’t all implode she’ll be back soon and all the more grown up for it. That bowl is stunning what beautiful colours and markings.

  4. Such a mixed feeling of pride, joy, sorrow and trepidation (tinged with a little envy) as we said our goodbyes to our grown up children at the airport. Jazzy and Joss have know each other forever - been at school together forever and I am so glad that they will experience this monumental journey together. I know that, as part of the group, they will support each other through the fun times and the challenges.
    Happy birthday, Jarrah.

  5. So so touching, and truly beautiful! I hope she has a wonderful time.
    I am such a sook (sniff!) 😌

  6. I've been following your blog for some time and I cannot believe that Jazzy is 15 years old! How did that happen? Your post really moved me, as it reminded me of the first time my daughter stepped out into a world beyond my control (she's twenty eight now!) and how I felt. It's so important to let them know as often as possible how much you love them.

  7. Just lovely to read Kate...your girls are very lucky :-)


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