Wednesday, September 21, 2016

dear indi (the third)

Dearest Indi,

You've now been away for two and a half weeks, which makes this the longest time you've been away from us since you were born, almost 16 years ago.

We miss you.

In the past week since I published my blog we've heard from you twice. Each email has been the sweetest surprise. We've read them over and over, out loud and to ourselves. We've discussed all the details and tried to fill in the blanks. For me it's enough just to hear that you are well and to get a glimpse of where you are and how you're feeling. I almost can't believe that while we're still here, you are spending your days climbing to the top of mountains, visiting ancient places, jumping off boats into the bluest seas, eating meals in the ruins of castles with no roofs and watching fabulous sunsets. But for Dad, your emails just make him miss you more (he's such a sook).

Until now you've been traveling around the same Greek islands that our family travelled around last year. When you talk about Santorini I know what that crazy drive looks like from the ferry right up all those sharp hairpin turns to the top, I can imagine you strolling through the white stone alleyways with your class mates, making friends with all the cats and the old Greek men selling olives and grapes. I can feel how hot and sweaty the air is and I can easily remember that sunset and the crowds that swarm to that side of the island to watch it. I hope you managed to stay well away from their pointy selfie sticks.

But last night, or the night before, you travelled to Athens and from here your trip goes into uncharted waters as you visit places we've never been and we can only imagine. I wonder if this part will feel harder for us.

The highlight of our past week has again been the rain. (I know you think excessive weather talk is boring). Last Wednesday we were flooded in as our driveway became a raging river that tipped me over while I was trying to rescue some crates that were starting to float away. Piles of stacked firewood disappeared down the creek and we lost a bee hive that we later found at the bottom of the orchard. Jobbo had to cancel work on the renovation as he couldn't get here and we had to take the back way through the forest to get the girls to school, which involved cutting two fallen trees up with a chainsaw.

It all felt very dramatic and exciting and was all anyone was talking about, but the noise on the roof started driving me crazy and I missed the sunlight, and the garden, and I worried about our precious top soil being carried off down the valley.

In the end I made a Facebook plea to Mother Nature to let it rain all she liked in September but to please give us an October filled with still, sunshine filled, perfect bee flying weather for the apple pollination. In retrospect I probably should have said something about being kind over the school holidays too, but one can only hope...

This week the renovations have continued and just before I took my computer out to write this in my car (I can't concentrate with the radio playing loud inside) I actually stood in your room. The lining boards on one side are up, the door is framed, a beautiful second hand door has been bought, and the electrician is coming in tomorrow to work out where all of your power points will go. It is crazy exciting and I know that you are unsure but I know best that you'll love it.

Last Friday night Dad and I went to a party hosted by Instagram. By the time we drove into Melbourne through horrific Friday night traffic to drop the girls off, drove back across the city to the hotel to get changed, and then caught a cab to the warehouse, we were an hour and a half late

We missed the introductions, we missed the panel's talks and the discussion and therefore we missed the point of the whole thing. Which was a shame. We did have a drink and admire the table laden with sweet food that looked like savoury and savoury that looked like sweet (there's a couple of pictures on my Foxs Lane Facebook). We chatted to a few people who seemed very excited about the whole experience. We tried to work out what sort of accounts the other guests had, we kissed and posed for photos in front of the instagram sign (I know, teenagers) and we grabbed our show bags and left. We never did meet anyone famous and we never did see anyone else with dirt under their fingernails or accidental straw left in their beanie.

I've looked but I haven't seemed to be able to find anyone else's account of the night. It was actually weirdly noticeable how few phones there were at a phone app event. I seriously felt self conscious taking the couple of pics I did!

In the last week I finally cast off the Aztek sockz and have gone back to the scarf I was knitting in Woodend. It's kinda nice to be slowly working through those colourful balls that you wound for me before you left to keep your hands busy while your brain went crazy with all the 'what ifs' of this trip.

After I finished a horrible book that I don't want to talk about, I read a chapter of The Catcher in the Rye which I ended up finding in our bookshelves as we were clearing them out. Are you reading it too? Are you enjoying it?

I'm also reading Nina Stibble's Paradise Lodge which Bee handed over last night. Jazzy has started calling her my dealer.

And I'm listening to a podcast called Casefile which is true crime stories and pretty bleak. I'm totally addicted though and it has filled many hours of school drives this week.

The leaves on the apple trees are about to come out, as you can see by the photos we're moving the chooks and we've got a tower of egg trays on the bench, we've eaten asparagus, rocket and still loads of potatoes.

As I'm finishing this off I can hear Jazzy rehearsing her song for the soiree tomorrow night to Dad in the other room. Pepper spent the day at an art class and is shattered. I wonder what you'd be doing if you were here. I wonder what you're doing over there?

Years before you were born I remember sitting with Bee at one of Emily's gigs at Revolver. Emily was on stage playing guitar and singing and seemed larger than life. A star of a person. At a break between songs I turned to Bee and asked her if she could believe that she made Emily. That she grew her and looked after her and helped to become this amazing individual. Bee told me that she couldn't. Emily was Emily. It was too big to reconcile.

That's how I feel a bit about you. This independent, guitar playing, Greek Island hopping, beautiful email writing girl. I feel so blessed to be your mother but also to watch from the sidelines as you have adventures and find your place in the world.

I'm so proud of you.

I love your guts!!!!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

dear indi (one week later)

Dear Indi,

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.

 I'm knitting my second Aztek sock, still loving the pattern and laughing at myself every time I think that I had hoped to finish them before you left and sneak them into your backpack.

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. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

dear indi

Dear Indi,

Last night we took you to the airport for your six-week class trip to Greece. 

It had been a few intense months in the making and by the time we actually arrived at the airport it almost felt like a relief. But still I expected tears, I expected clinging hugs, I expected last minute nerves and I expected not to be able to look at Pepper's face. But instead you were so excited you could barely stand still long enough to pose for your group photo. We've got the sweetest little film of you yelling out 'let's dance' and the group photo quickly dissolving into a mini dance party for a moment or two. I've watched it 10 times already.

Your smile couldn't have been any bigger when you looked back at us one last time before disappearing through the departure doors and so we walked away with completely unexpected smiles plastered to our faces too.

What a wonderful start to your great adventure.

And what an unexpected happy start to our six weeks without you.

We spent our first moments as a family of four eating sushi at the airport for dinner and then we drove through the dark to Emma's in Woodend. She'd left a bottle of wine for us because she thought we'd need it after what we'd just been through. How sweet is that!

The little girls slept well but me and Dad lay awake for hours reading our books and chatting. I wondered if it was because we'd never had the big tearful release that I'd expected, or if it was because we'd had such a big intense before and the after would need some adjusting to, or if it was the sneaky chocolate we'd eaten in bed.

This morning we packed Jazzy up and waved her off on her Canberra camp. Then we drove off as a family of three. Until Friday we'll only have one girl at home. Crazy.

We had breakfast in Woodend, drove Pepper to school and then spent a few hours in the oldest apple orchard making big piles of the prunings. It's still so wet in there and my boots and socks were saturated . And as I worked I listened to my 'beautiful songs that make Kate happy' soundtrack and they did. And I thought of you flying through the air and how proud I am of you and what an incredible adventure you are going to have. 

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

And I think that over the next six weeks of planting, pruning, packing up, renovating, planting and living I might just take this opportunity to get back into the blogging groove and keep you updated on what we're doing and thinking and planning. (Although you definitely won't read this until you get back and possibly won't ever).

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

Better go and get Pepper from circus class.

Love your guts!


PS the shawl details are on my ravelry page

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