Monday morning started in our usual way.
Baby girl and I crept down stairs for our buffet breakfast before daddy emerged sometime later in search of the coffee pot.
We then set off on a quick pilgrimage to our local doctors, in order for me to receive my travel vaccinations.
Holy moly, we were not expecting the expense of those, but thank God for the opportunity fund, which had just enough to cover them.
Funny, because normally if I have to deal with money, and us having so little of it at the moment, I can get quite anxious.
However since I have been using my train travel time to follow a guided meditation regarding my mindset toward prosperity, I am feeling much more relaxed.
On paper, nothing has changed, and we are still just scraping by, but at least I am no longer tying myself up in internal knots about it.
My injections left me feeling fairly lousy for the remainder of the day, and I could not lift either arm above forty-five degrees.
So much for training, I thought as I flopped on the lounge with a book while Little had her mid-morning nap.
Michael went for his usual Monday swim and a quick trip to Randal’s house before returning mid-afternoon and taking baby girl to the good park.
Again, all I could do was lay down and wait for my symptoms to pass.
Michael said it was amazing to watch Emily playing with the other kids, and exploring the different textures of her environment.
Apparently she can climb to the top of the equipment no problem, but getting down is another matter.
Lucky daddy was there to intervene.
He said although she tried to go beyond the bounds of the shade-cloth, every time she found the edge of the shadow, and the ground became hotter, she would backtrack to the cooler area.
Well done Little, you are learning about difference in temperature. Does this mean mummy’s tea will soon be safe from tiny curious fingers?
Tuesday was a big one.
Emma, my orientation and mobility instructor arrived just before 9:00AM, as we had agreed.
Our mission was to find the Blood Bank in Sydney’s Central Business District, as it had moved since I last donated, and I had failed to find it by myself.
It is never the big things, which throw me, but rather the smallest of details.
For example, I knew where Town Hall was, and had a reasonable idea as to where I thought the address should be located, but sometimes finding the entrance to places is where I come undone.
By sometimes I actually mean most of the time.
However trying to explain this to a sighted world is not easy.
I had always planned to take baby girl with me, so Michael could have some time to himself.
After all, I knew he would be having her for the following three days, and it would be a nice outing for us.
Of course, I had considered the pram, knowing Emma would be with us, and if worse came to worst, she could take over. However, I never dreamed it would actually happen, so I had decided upon the more complex baby carrier as my preferred option for the day.
Therefore, imagine my surprise when I skip down the stairs, intent on rummaging through the outdoor cupboard to find said baby wearing apparatus, when I tripped over the pram in the hall, all ready to go.
It turns out, Michael had simply assumed because I would be with Emma, that of course I would take the pram.
I was absolutely cheering inside, because wasn’t this what I had always wanted?
Pushing the pram in the park like those designer yoga pants wearing mamas with the tightly sculpted asses, glossy tresses, and perfectly behaved children of my imagination was one thing. Nevertheless, pushing baby girl down George Street? That was entirely another.
I decided to play it cool, and simply said in my most casual tone as I kissed my husband good morning, oh, I thought I would carry baby girl, but the pram would be great. Thank you for setting it up.
Then I ran back upstairs and did a happy dance where he could not see me.
I was elated that he had displayed such faith and trust in my abilities.
How strange the phenomena of letting something go, only to have it return in ways, which are far more than one could have ever imagined.
We loaded Little in her pram, and a token effort cane in my bag, and headed out the gate.
It took a little while to get used to the pram, but by the time we made the station platform, the pram and I were Zen.
The strangest thing about the entire experience was not having my cane with me.
When I use my stick, I am used to people giving me a little more flexibility than they otherwise would if I were not using it.
Therefore I was a little put off, as I struggled to tap on with my Opal card, when the person behind me became exacerbated at what they considered to be my lack of consideration for their need to also use the machine.
Because when I have my cane, no matter the colour or design, people are far more forgiving and friendly with that type of thing.
By the way, there are several within a matter of paces, but nope, she wanted this one, and only this one.
As it is, I am still getting used to this electronic ticketing technology.
Most of the time I forget I need to tap on at the beginning of my journey in order to take advantage of the flexibility and freedom provided at the other end. Therefore, I am often left to the mercy of the train barrier gate guy due to my old habits and way of thinking. Because if I tapped on, then I could use any barrier I please to escape, and not have to wait for someone to decide I am worthy.
Note to self, put ticket in pocket with phone…
Oh to be an inconspicuous individual of the masses.
Emma helped me lift the pram on to the train, as I had never done that before.
We found a seat, and as usual, Emily immediately made friends with the commuter next to us.
It was strange to have her in the pram, and not on my lap.
Not the least being she takes up so much more room in that thing than she does when I carry her.
However, it was lovely not to be lugging her nappy bag on my shoulder.
She sang songs, gave out smiles, played with her toys, and kept us all amused.
Thanks sweetie, you make everything fun.
We disembarked to a busy Town Hall, where we patiently lined up for the very crowded and crazy lift. I am not one for waiting, so I began to eye off the stairs behind us, and strategized as to how I would get us up there. The only thing, which stopped me, was my concern for Emma’s workplace health and safety policies. If she had simply been a friend, then absolutely we would have been lugging the pram up those bad boys without question. However given we are a part of her job, I thought it might be a bit much to ask.
Again, I was not used to being seen as anything other than disabled, so it was rather disconcerting to have people deliberately
Push in front, and not make room for us.
The problem being, just because I am not carrying a cane, does not mean my vision improves any.
I know, this came as a shock to me as well.
Imagine if it worked that way…
As we exited the concourse of Town Hall, the place was deserted.
I am fairly certain this was the universe’s way of letting me know it had my back, and we would be fine.
It turned out that I had a better idea as to where to go than Emma did, which was somewhat nice, because again it affirmed that I was within my depth, and could in fact make this work.
Once we got up on to the street, again it took a little while for me to read the pram properly.
Walking Little around the footpaths in my local area was one thing, but navigating a city full of people was quite another.
Pebble Crete feels different under the wheels as compared to bitumen or concrete. I mean obviously!
However, couple this with a crowded walkway, unrelenting glare, and somewhere I had not been in almost a decade, and little wonder it took me half a second longer than usual to catch up.
We found the blood bank with little fuss, and Emily charmed the receptionist into giving her a biscuit.
I never know what to say in these kinds of situations, because although I do not allow her to have sugar, I do not want to appear rude either.
Thank God, these were wrapped, and she could not get into them without my help.
Therefore, after we left, they made their way into my handbag, where I promptly forgot about them for the rest of the week.
Ok, so originally I may have said the blood bank was our main goal, but really, it was something far more important, coffee.
Recently my new friend Susan had taken me to my new old favourite coffee shop in the city, however, I had forgotten to ask her to show me where the counter was, so if I ever returned, I could get a take-away.
As I said, it is never the broad strokes; it is always the details such as these, which have me feeling lost and ridiculously disempowered.
Therefore, my true mission was to have Emma orientate me to exactly exactly where I needed to be in order to purchase the best coffee in Sydney.
I knew how to get us there, but those last three to five metres are always the hardest.
Therefore, we set off down George Street, baby girl happy in her pram, Emma beside me, and me concentrating very intently on the task at hand, while still managing to look cool and confident.
I knew that if my wheels were a little higher on the left as we stepped off the curb on to the road, then I needed to line up a little more to the right as we stepped back on the curb in order to centre us up better.
I knew to slow down and simply take my sweet time if I needed.
I knew to read the pram wheels the way I would my cane, listen for footsteps, and not expect anyone to get out of my way.
Therefore, I did all these things as I chattered happily to Emma and Emily, just as an able-bodied mummy would.
Oh, how freeing it was to blend into the sidewalk along with everybody else.
How nice not to be noticed, gawked at, tripped over, tripped up, or trod upon.
However what would a sojourn down George Street be, if we did not stop to say hello to Tony the fruit man.
His face and exclamations of delight said it all as I wheeled baby girl around the corner to his stand.
He is always so excited to see us, and so generous with his time and produce.
He never lets me buy anything if he thinks it is below a certain standard, no matter how fixed I might be on having it.
I reached for my wallet as he asked Emily what she would like, and he practically slapped my hand.
Put your money away, he said as he carefully chose her some grapes, a banana, and the biggest fig I have ever seen.
It turns out she loves figs.
We accepted his gifts, before bidding him a lovely day, and continuing to our ultimate destination.
All the way along George Street, and not a hitch.
We turned into Margaret street, which is a little tricky with its’ strange architecture, odd pole placements, and inny outy curbs.
I almost ran into a pylon, but in my defence, I was trying to dodge a woman coming in the opposite direction, and the offending obstacle was the same colour as the pavement, so what was a mama to do?
When we reached the coffee shop, and I had found the counter, there was nothing else for it, but to sit down and try out the silky smooth aromatic product for ourselves After all, we were on a mission.
Emma was super impressed with how well I handled everything.
I figured there was no point in trying to hide things from her, so it was not as if I were doing anything differently to how I would if she were not there. I figured that if I simply went about my business the way I normally would, then we would both gain a greater understanding as to where I were at, and what we needed to do in order to make things easier, or rule them out completely.
Ultimately, baby girl is my top priority, and as much as I want to push the pram naked, as in without another mobility device, if either of us had thought it were not viable, then we would have pulled the plug.
Therefore, I was delighted with Emma’s feedback.
Everyone else in the café were dressed in dark business suits, and having very serious businessy type conversations.
While Emma, baby girl, and me, dressed in our bright colours, found a table on the edge, and chattered in our usual bubbly banter.
Emily was a rock star, and sat on my lap eating her lunch like a lady.
She did such a good job at picking each morsel out of the container, and hardly dropped anything.
Granted, mummy’s coffee was not entirely safe from curious little girls, but it was the first time I had not asked for it in a take away cup, so I understand baby girl’s need in wanting to touch then taste it.
And this is when it happened, I did something I have previously deemed irresponsible; I lifted my hot coffee, over Emily’s head, and to my mouth.
I was fairly certain she was not going to make any sudden moves, but it was still daunting, and I was extraordinarily careful.
However, I was relieved when Emma took baby girl, so I could sip my beverage in safety.
Little loves Emma, even when she is not holding a cane. Therefore, it makes it easy to bring her with us even if it is not entirely necessary.
We sat for almost an hour, as cutie cute cute cute played with her toys.
I wanted to see just how long we could push it before she began to get frustrated.
It turns out, Emily out lasted us, because it was the tick tock of the clock which eventually moved us, not a fractious baby girl after all.
As we walked toward Wynyard, a charity worker tried to stop us, and I practically bit her head off.
Didn’t she know I was concentrating, and this was taking up every part of my brainpower?
However, of course, she did not, because I was rockin’ it like all the other mamas.
I was shocked at my reaction, as I had forgotten I did not have my cane, so of course how would anyone know.
There are definite advantages to a cane, and one of them is that usually charity workers do not bother asking me for money.
Be it because they feel sorry for me, or they think I do not have any. I do not care. Either way, they leave me alone, and that is exactly how I like it.
We turned into the entrance, where I was fairly certain there would be a lift.
Turns out, I was wrong.
However, there were some mighty steep escalators we could use.
Emma hesitated, but I was on such a roll, and knew it could be done.
The principle for all escalators and the pram is the same.
If attempting to travel downward, push the pram forward on to the first step, as you would if you were walking normally, then pull back hard so the back wheels line up against the head of the step behind them as the travelator begins to decline, while keeping the front wheels raised.
Then as you hit the bottom, the front wheels will touch the ground, and that is when you know it is safe to push forward and hop off the escalator.
If going up the escalator, the principle
Is in reverse.
Simply push the pram forward as you normally would when walking, and as the first step begins to incline, push the front wheels against the head of said step above so they line up, while keeping the back wheels raised.
When it is time to hop off, the ground will rise to meet the back wheels, and that is how you know it is safe to push forward as if you normally would and step off with safety.
It doesn’t matter how fat, think, short tall, long, skinny, steep, or shallow the moving stairs are, the mechanics remain the same.
So this is what we did.
Emma stood in front, just to make sure, although who knew what she was going to do if something went wrong, given how heavy the pram is with one baby girl strapped inside, but psychologically it helped both of us, and this is an approach I would always take anyway.
Took a moment at the top of the escalators just to get a feel for the pace and space of the contraption, and once my ear had adjusted to the speed of the conveyer belt, and picked up the quiet tick tick tick rhythm of its movement, I assuredly stepped on. Pulling baby girl back and up almost immediately as described above.
I could not get the smile off my face as we rode down to the floor below.
I knew Emily was safe, and I would not have taken her otherwise.
I felt so accomplished and competent as we slowly descended into the underground.
If I could do these escalators, then I could do anything.
Through the barriers we went, without a hitch.
Followed by up the lift, on to the platform, and straight on to a train.
However, this time I had it.
Emma bent down in front of me to pick up the pram, but by the time she did, we had safely embarked. The whole thing was so quick; I had not given it a second thought.
I was on fire.
So much so, that when we discovered there were not any seats, and given I did not look like I needed one, we simply pushed through to the adjacent carriage.
I never do that without the pram, let alone with one.
However now that Emma has shown me where the open door button thingy is, maybe I will try it again sometime.
Normally I just tap tap purposefully on to the train, and wait for someone to offer me a seat. If per chance they do not, I simply ask them to move.
My shame about that is slowly dissipating, which is quite liberating actually.
There must be something in my presentation lately, because people are usually pretty good about it. Not like when I was pregnant, and getting a seat was almost impossible.
I was sure Little would have a nap on the way home, but nope.
She found some people to smile at, and this kept her amused.
Well that and she had her first public transport dirty nappy, which must not have been comfortable.
But the poor thing was so tired, she could not help it, and fell asleep less than a block from home.
Even when I handed her to an expectant daddy, as we walked in the gate, she did not wake up.
It may have taken us the best part of four hours, but we wore her out.
I had thought Michael would go for a swim, but instead, he had stayed home and cleaned the house from top to bottom, and made Emily some more food.
Oh, how I love you honey.
Later that afternoon as he was mowing the lawns, I saw an email beckoning me to the post office as I had apparently missed a parcel being delivered.
I was not impressed, as it was not the first time we have been home, and according to the very reliable people at Australia Post, we were not.
I picked up the baby, put her on the hippy thing, and off we set to see what mysterious package might be awaiting us.
Well that and I wanted to give them a peace of my mind, because their service is shit, and I still have not forgiven them over the wedding dress shemozzle last year.
Working out must be paying off, I thought, because Emily was as light as a feather. And last time I carried her up the street like this, not only was she smaller, but I struggled with the weight.
I love you hula-hoop.
We arrived at the Post Office, five minutes before closing, only to be told in no uncertain terms, that the email was a fraud, and I should have known better.
I was furious, and it was all I could do not to reach over and bitch slap the woman behind the counter for being such a cow.
I questioned her on Australia Post policies, and if in fact it was a scam, and Australia Post knew about it, why hadn’t they sent us an email warning people to watch out for this sort of thing.
I showed her the email, and pointed out that it had the Australia Post Logo and everything.
She was not very helpful. But what did I expect, given she was the woman I dealt with last year, who refused to look into where my wedding frock had disappeared to, even after I had stood at her counter, seven months pregnant, and cried in frustration.
Therefore, we trudged home again with no parcel to open upon our return.
Wednesday was a girly day, in that I left Emily at home with daddy, and I went to get my legs waxed, followed by lunch with my American friend Alix who is enjoying our Sydney hospitality.
I know, it sounds so decadent. Hot wax, leg hair, a beautician who enjoys her job way too much… What’s not to like?
I strode down George Street to the designated spot where I was to meet my friend without a hitch.
After all, I knew this city like the back of my hand.
Her directions had been clear, and precise. Which is just how I like them.
Thanks Alix, you nailed it.
We entered a very dark restaurant with one of those touch screen menu order thingies.
I had never seen one before, and although I have to admit they are great for efficiency, the annual meeting of the blindy club will not be taking place in said venue, as none of us can ever hope to read it.
Some of us might think we can, but trust me kids, we cannot.
And yes Dave, there is an annual meeting, so you had better get your butt back up here.
Too bad, there is not a Voiceover option, because we could really blow some doe in that place with the novelty of being able to order independently. Not to mention the fabulous food.
We spent the next two and a half hours catching up before adjourning to Alix’s apartment just across the way so we could continue our conversation.
Coffee seemed like such a good idea at the time, until we got on to the topic of white cane laws in the United States of America.
I am not opposed to differing points of view, but Alix’s staunch defence of the legislation took me by surprise.
Each of us came at the subject with almost opposite frames of reference, and definitely opposite viewpoints.
It is no secret I think such laws are ridiculous, and believe people have the right to choose. Be it the choice to use no cane, a smaller identification cane, a badge, one of our crazy canes with the pretty patterns and blindy bling, a handheld electronic buzzy thing, some other sort of wearable technology, or a guide dog.
Just as with parenting, I am a big fan of whatever works. And by that, I mean whatever works for the individual in question.
Because mandating such restrictions is like saying to the mainstream population you may only wear purple and white dotty spotty gumboots for your footwear, and nothing else.
And I’m not talking about the good modern streamline purple and white dotty spotty gumboots, I’m talking about the purple and white dotty spotty gumboots which are so last century, and fit with the thinking therein.
Now keep in mind, I am the kind of person who will take six pairs of shoes away for a two-day weekend, because I want to have all possible scenarios covered. Therefore being dictated to regarding my choice of cane is sure to touch a nerve.
Now I am not saying people should not use a traditional red and white cane, I am simply saying let them make up their own minds.
At last count I have sixteen different canes, be them varying heights, weights, and coloured patterns. However, one of them happens to be a traditional cane, which is what I use when I have Little in the carrier. Because yes, sometimes there is the odd situation, where wearing that red letter A on my chest serves a higher purpose. However most of the time, I prefer to feel good about my mobility device, rather than have it represent everything sucky and shitty about being blind.
Because for me, that is exactly what it does.
My friend Alix made the argument that the laws are most surely there to protect people who are blind and vision impaired.
Certainly, that is one aspect, but I think legislation like that can do more damage than good in the long run.
Blindness is complicated, and comes with a lot of baggage. And I am not talking the cool lightweight Gucci style bags, which look good with anything; I am talking big heavy ugly cumbersome things. Which can be such a pain in the ass to sort through, and lug around.
Being constantly reminded, or worse, punished because of a girl’s differences on a regular basis can be humiliating, hurtful, and harmful.
Maybe I am mistaken, but the way I see it, is having laws which hamper people’s freedom of expression sends a clear signal about the low expectations society has of people who are blind or vision impaired in terms of trustworthiness, intellect, ability, and personal preference.
I mean where is the dignity?
So for me it comes down to if a pretty coloured cane is going to make someone feel better about themselves, their prospects, and open up their potential, then surely this is a good thing, yes?
What can I say the world is made up of such intricate and diverse people, and that at least it keeps life interesting.
I like a good robust discussion every now and then, so thanks girlfriend.
See you soon, yes?
I cannot exactly explain what happened on my way home Wednesday afternoon other than to say I became completely disorientated in my own city.
Getting lost is something I almost take pride in, because half the fun is ringing my sisters and telling them all about it, either during the getting unlost part, or afterward when I am safely back in familiar surroundings so we can laugh at my mishap.
However, it has been an age since I have found myself clueless when it comes to my location.
Somehow, I had… Oh who knows what I had… However, after wandering aimless around the streets of Sydney, completely fascinated by the unfamiliarity of it all, and literally trying to pick up a familiar smell, breeze, sound, or landmark I could use to reorientate myself back to earth.
And ringing my friend Liz to tell her about my predicament, knowing she would find it as funny as I did. Not because she is unsympathetic, but because she knows that feeling well, and I needed to tell someone about the strange clean black footpath I had supposedly never seen before.
I then rang my mum, and asked her to track down my phone so we could figure out where I was via her computer screen.
This was a novelty for the two of us, as normally if I am lost, I will ring, and start describing things around me. However on this day, the sun was too bright, the shade too dark, and even my echolocation was completely off kilter. I had absolutely no sense of direction, and could not identify anything the way I normally would.
Occasionally someone would stop and ask if I were ok, but mostly people were too busy to take any notice.
Just as she was toying with the idea of sending my sissy to come fetch me, I inadvertently stumbled back on to George Street.
Or at least I thought it was George Street, but again, nothing looked like I thought it should.
Even the road traffic controller’s assurances that I was indeed, where I wanted to be were not helpful.
I know I said it is the big broad strokes I am good with, but I rely on the consistency of the smallest detail to keep me on track.
Therefore even something as small as a new colour on the road because of road works, a rearrangement of building scaffolding, three new jack hammers, faulty traffic lights, or any number of tiny changes which a sighted person might not even notice, can throw me for a loop.
Needless to say, Wednesday afternoon was my fun park ride for the year.
Even when I saw Tony the fruit guy, and asked him if I were in the right place, I still did not quite trust myself to find the station without incident.
There was no way I was going to attempt the bridge walk, as clearly something was off with my inner compass, and it wasn’t worth taking the chance.
As it was, I was already later than I had intended, and would be lucky to make it home in time to give baby girl her bottle and put her to bed.
Speaking of which, her day was just as eventful, with a trip to the little park in the morning, followed by a play in the library, where she jumped on beanbags, read books with daddy, dived off couches, and crawled around a lot. And as if that was not enough fun, then they went to the good park in the afternoon where she got to climb the equipment and play with bigger kids.
No wander she was all warn out and asleep by the time I arrived home.
Thursday saw mummy back at work, where I very gingerly skirted down George Street, checking everything twice, and even then not quite being as confident with my spacial awareness as usual.
Sometimes the universe likes to kick my ass, and just remind me to be a little more compassionate.
I am fairly certain this was one of those lessons.
Meanwhile Michael and Emily went on an adventure of their own to a new mall.
Apparently, they shopped until they dropped.
Three hours Michael said it took them to do all their errands.
What’s more, he did not lose the car.
Aliens may have abducted me the day before, but surely now they had my husband instead.
For one, Michael is not a shopper, and two, he has been known to lose the car on more than one occasion.
Later that afternoon there was nothing else for it, but a dip in the clamshell pool for the two of them.
Friday was a normal workday, while Emily took daddy to story time at the library.
However, there must have been something in the air that day, because nor Emily or any of her friends were particularly happy. Therefore, they did not stay to play together afterward.
Saturday morning started the way most our mornings together do; baby girl and I quietly going downstairs for our buffet breakfast, and a play before daddy’s materialisation in front of the coffee pot.
I love the mornings when he gets up with her, and I can smell coffee brewing while I am working out.
I love coffee.
Emily and I made almond meal pancakes with coconut oil, which it turns out she does not like, while we ate our toast.
I keep trying to come up with healthy options she can hold herself.
However, as healthy as this is, she will not touch it.
Maybe the coconut oil was too much. I mean it is a pretty strong flavour.
Honestly, I am not keen on them either, so I do understand her reluctance.
Maybe we will have better luck with falafel instead.
After daddy woke, I quickly through together a chocolate cake in preparation for our visitors later that afternoon.
The rest of the morning was spent playing, before eventually someone small and cute went down for a nap.
Michael then escaped the house, went for a swim, followed by a trip to Aldi, whereby he filled the trolley to the brim.
However, he thinks he has come up with a flaw in the system.
Sure, things may be cheaper, but they are also smaller.
For example, the margarine we usually buy at the big supermarkets may be more expensive, but it is larger than the Aldi size. Therefore, the question is are we really saving anything?
Looks like we are going to be working stuff out per 100g from now on.
Meanwhile my friend Kat, her husband Nick, and their two kids came over to deliver a bountiful supply of baby toys and other provisions for Little.
Thanks guys, you have given us so much great stuff.
We received a load of toys, which all light up and make sound, and I love it.
Now wherever Emily is, I know without having to call for her, or actively listen or look for her.
It is fantastic.
She got a farmhouse you push blocks into and it sings, a frog, which does something, a piggy bank, which makes music, a walking frame, which has jazz, along with various other bibs, and bobs to keep an almost one year old, amused.
Obviously, they did a good job in wearing baby girl out, because between that and her first solo swim she took in her clamshell pool after they left she slept really well.
As in Hip hip hooray, last night was a one-bottle night.
Emily only woke up once!
Neither Michael nor I can remember the last time that happened.
However, we reckon I have probably written it down somewhere, given the momentousness of the occasion.
Michael took the early shift this morning, as I had a headache, which if given enough space to fester, could have taken over our entire day.
However nothing quite like a steady stream of synthetic pain relief to trick my neurology into submission.
I cannot account for where our morning went, but before I knew it, we had forty minutes before we were due to leave the house, and I had done little to prepare myself.
Sure, I had stacked the cutie cute cute cutes’ lunch box to the brim with snacks, and managed a quick cup of coffee, but beauty takes time people. And time was running low.
I bolted into the shower, shimmied into a pencil dress, slipped on some appropriately high stilettos, and hard core scrunched my hair as high as possible.
Oh God I love heels.
Emily thought they were fascinating, but I found myself being extra careful when I walked, because I didn’t want to inadvertently step on her little fingers or toes with my newly weighted footfall as she scrambled beneath my feet the way she does.
Where are you little girl, I kept calling her as I tried not to rush from one thing to another.
Michael helped me choose my lipstick, as my colours have been disappearing lately.
I am forever grateful that he doesn’t make a big deal out of such things, but I cannot help but wonder if my world becomes colourless, then what?
Clearly, it is time to look into my eye-health options. Because I do not like these glary whites, shady greys, and shit house blacks, which are invading my universe.
Surgery is not an viable choice, as the unique branding of my eye condition with all its pretty nuances will not tolerate such brutality, no matter how carefully orchestrated, or how skilful the surgeon. Therefore in the words of the one and only William Shatner, and no, I cannot believe I am about to quote Star Trek either, but, there’s got to be another way.
Pair of beautiful pearl earrings from my husband, one gold bracelet from an old friend, and the only diamond ring I own later, and I was ready to go.
Perfectly attired for the occasion at hand – a christening.
I have not gotten my Greek on like that in ages, and it felt good to be all frocked up.
Honey, you have a hot wife, I exclaimed as I checked my reflection in the mirror.
I felt amazing.
It had been a delight to go to my wardrobe armed with the knowledge that not only did I have a just right dress with perfectly matching shoes and handbag for the situation, but I also had the perfect cane to compliment my ensemble beautifully.
Let me just say ladies, there is nothing quite like a little leopard print to add some sex appeal to a girl’s attire.
I mean who doesn’t want a little smoke with that sizzle.
This is why if it takes thirty five pairs of shoes to lower my stress levels and social anxiety, then by God I am going to have forty pairs just in case.
I can find enough reasons not to do something. Not the least being the cognitive load it is going to take in order to complete the simplest of outings. Therefore, I need to stack the deck in my favour as high as I can.
And for me, fashion is one of my primary currencies.
Whatever works, yes?
I hate not having the right thing to wear, and it has bugged me for as long as I can remember.
Take the jeans situation; I still have not found a remedy for that one, and it is pissing me off no end.
Into the car, we piled, and within minutes, we were on our way.
Now if only the air-conditioning had not broken down early in the season due to a lack of use, things would have been perfect.
However, we made do with the windows down, and what nature provided in the form of a hot breeze.
Miracle of all miracles we found a car parking spot opposite the church entrance.
I took this as a sign that God still liked me.
I mean it has been a while since we have been in touch in such a formal setting, so this was a pretty good reward for turning up.
Hand in hand, my husband and I walked up the steps and into the dimly lit entrance. He with Emily in her favourite spot, and me in mine.
It had been so long since I had entered this particular building I could not remember where the candles were located, let alone the icons I needed to kiss.
The last time I had been here, it was pre-Michael, and with a girlfriend who used to take care of these minor details for me.
However, after some prompting, Michael helped me light a candle, and found me an icon to pay my respects, before moving inside.
Icons covered the walls and ceiling, while heavy chandeliers hung ominously overhead.
A deep red carpet cloaked the main isle, while the windows with their yellow stain gave everything a golden hue.
I have always found it to be rather sombre.
But of course, just as with most things, peace can be found in many guises, and this church like many others, allows and invites such quiet contemplation. Especially on a weekday when it is empty.
The whole thing is a little to elaborately decorated for my taste, but beautiful nonetheless.
Throughout the ceremony, Emily sat happily either in my arms, or with her daddy.
Occasionally she would help the Priest or the chanter by singing along with them, but for the most part, she was fairly content.
Michael had offered to take her out if she became restless, but I figured as long as she was happy, she could be as boisterous as she liked.
Certainly if she were older I would expect her to sit still and quietly, but for now, while she is still learning how this reality works, we are happy with her mischief.
She kept the three late comers behind us amused by pulling faces, and chatting in her soft voice.
They thought she was adorable.
However if there were one thing I had forgotten about, it was the intense scrutiny and judgement of others from the community.
Oh God, the distain at my daring to show myself in public, no matter how well put together, or perhaps because of it, was palpable.
A beautiful matching cane was not going to dissolve centuries old superstition regarding my disability.
However, it did take the edge off my feeling vulnerable and powerless.
I could almost hear the murmurs of pity for my husband, grotesque curiosity as to whether or not my baby was also afflicted, and the you’re not good enoughs filter through the air.
I felt terrible. Not for myself, but for my husband.
It is one thing to look at me as though I am a freak, but quite another to have it reflect upon my family.
I am thankful Michael did not catch the comments of disgust expressed regarding my disability as we weaved our way through a group of people when exiting the church.
So much for Christian virtues and acceptance, I thought as he held my hand and kept us moving toward the light.
However what bothered me most was when we reached the reception, and my husband asked the same group of people who were sitting behind us in the church, and thought Emily was lovely, where to sit, they used that oh so special condescending tone I have heard a thousand times, usually only reserved for people like me, with him, as though something were wrong, because he had the disabled wife. There was an inference of surely no man in his right mind would choose to marry damaged goods – unless of course he was damaged himself…
Funny how they were fine until they saw the cane, I commented to him later as we sought reprieve from the busy state of our own table by taking baby girl to the window.
As they certainly had not showed such discomfort when speaking to us in the church, with my cane packed neatly away in my fo-suade handbag.
I mean what am I supposed to do with that?
As I said, treating me differently is one thing, but quite another when it comes to my husband or child.
How the hell am I supposed to either protect Emily from such ignorance, or teach her to deal with it in a healthy way, when I myself have no idea as to where to take this. Apart from reaching over and scratching the offenders eyes out of course.
Which by God she is lucky I reframed.
However to be honest, I was too busy drowning in shame to be able to react.
If only the floor could have swallowed me there and then…
Ah but a girl can dream.
So there I stood, a little off to the side, Emily on my hip, cane in hand, and not quite knowing what to do with my face.
Ah hello bitter after taste of humiliation, I cannot say I have missed you.
On the toy front, the kitchen drawer with all our mixing bowls, measuring cups and other plastic containers has been baby girl’s favourite for the week.
She can spend upward of an hour rearranging the contents of my kitchen over the floor.
The animal magnets on the fridge have also been a big hit. However, nothing quite matches the pool in terms of fun.
Stacking is still a good pass time, along with big bear, and face planning off the couch. Now she gets upset if the cushions are not arranged on the floor the way they are supposed to be.
One of her newer games is to side step across said cushions while holding on to the lounge, but then plonking down and burying her head in the soft feathery goodness at random intervals.
We like to read books together, while her and daddy play other games I do not know about.
She has been fractionally less clingy of late, but it comes and goes.
Words wise, I can confidently say I have no idea what she is trying to tell me.
Occasionally there is a mama, but this is normally when she is really upset.
Her best sound for the week is a nangnangnangnang, and only she knows what that one represents.
Sleeping has been up and down. Some nights are better than others are, while most days we are lucky to get an hour out of her.
Will those teeth ever end?
Project potty has taken another turn, whereby she refuses to sit on it at all again.
All we can do is keep showing up, and seeing what happens.
She is growing so quickly and soon I think she will need a haircut.
Now when she sits in the washing basket, her arm span reaches length ways from one handle to another.
Michael tells me her cradle cap is finally starting to disappear, which is a relief. I thought we might be stuck with that forever.
She is such a clever little monkey, and we are so happy as a family.
I love you Little.
You give the best cuddles, have the most infectious laugh, and do the funniest things.