My daughter does not have an invisible friend. Instead, she has an armada of invisible cartoon characters and fictional creatures of whom Walt Disney and his cohorts would have been proud. While other children can take this extraordinary friendship to almost uncontrollable levels where parents are required to set additional places at the table, my daughter has limited her remarkable imagination to the confines of the garden and bedroom. While her companions may not join us for tea, they most certainly watch television with us and keep her occupied when she is frolicking around the garden with a wand in hand. After all, what would a 3 year old’s back yard tomfoolery be without a unicorn in tow?

So who are these imaginary friends and why do they make a sporadic appearance in the lives and worlds of imaginative babes whose minds know no bounds?

My first logical reaction to D’s new found magical playmates is that perhaps she is lonely. In recent weeks she has been separated from her older sister for some time, not to mention almost all of her toys that are now here in the UK and is forced to spend most of her time with Daddy. No matter what he does, tutu or not, he will just never really be Clarabelle the invisible fairy who loves all the same movies as D does. It is funny how she really did not enjoy watching ‘How to train your dragon’ and had this irrational fear of Toothless (I think he is gorgeous) but magically, when Clarabelle is with her, she will watch the movie. The truth is that the logical reaction is not my first one. I am whimsical first, I am a parent second. Let me explain.

When Daddy stubbed his toe this morning, it was my daughter’s instant and rational response to heal his wound with her wand. When Daddy did not play along and told her his toe was still sore, she went outside in true Malucia style to steal magic from the unicorn to heal daddy’s foot. My worry here was not that she was looking for a unicorn (Apparently I found that part acceptable), it was that she was trying to steal from someone else and be the evil thief Malucia from yet another Barbie movie. I realized I did not give her enough credit because after running around the garden for some time looking for her magical creature friends hiding in various garden crevices, she came back to tell Daddy that she would give the magic back to her friends as soon as his toe had healed because she is not naughty like Malucia is.

Fair play D, fair play.

As someone who loves reading and writing, I often wonder if I too am exposed to the likes of imaginary friends in the recesses of my author brain. While I have not yet written a book (Despite starting a few times) , the characters that I want to use in these unfinished novels live quite comfortably next to the cranial cabinet marked File 13… not quite ready to be packed away for an eternity, but living close enough to the edge that I do not appear a loon. These characters are after all mostly fictional, despite being loosely based on personal experience and sub conscious memories, who’ve been imagined many a time doing super human feats with Macgyver like ambition. Who are these make believe, fanciful beings but a reincarnation of my own child like attributes made manifest? If it is acceptable for JK Rowling to breathe life to a dementor, it should be more than acceptable for a child’s best friend to be invisible as well as invincible.

I have done my fair share of internet exploration on the subject and sadly every website or page you come across has the intention of making you believe there is a hidden, more serious meaning behind having an imaginary friend. Most articles accept the existence of imaginary friends, but however ‘normal’ they are made to sound, there is some psychologist somewhere looking for a reason for their existence. I refuse to accept this and instead I am happy to acknowledge D’s magical friends for what they are – IMAGINARY FRIENDS. A friend she has imagined.

Because she can.

Because she has an imagination.

Because she is not held ransom to unnecessary ideals of realism.

***

2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Random

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Birthday beauty…

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Family
Tags: , , ,

My beautiful baby girl on her birthday.

In the 9 years since you made your perfect entrance into my life, you’ve taught me more than anyone ever will. You’ve taught me patience, determination, willpower, ambition and most of all you taught me how to love unconditionally xxx I love you with all of my heart and soul and I miss you more than words can explain and tears can express, I promise to fight for you always. You are my heart, beating on the outside xxx

Happy 9th birthday to the most angelic soul I know… I am so proud of the wonderful girl you have become and the best big sister or oldest daughter anyone could ever ask for. I cannot wait to give you the world, which is merely a taste of what you deserve. The last few months have been horrible but we will be together again soon and you shall have all the love your little heart desires xxx

I promise I will never miss another birthday, as long as I live and breathe.

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Yesterday was the worst day of my life.

While I have never been the ‘Christmas’ kind of person, I have always done my best to make an effort with Christmas, to make sure that my children have an amazing day and to make sure that we spend the day as a family with family, the way it is intended. Yesterday, I spent my first Christmas separated from my children and my first Christmas separated from my husband – A Christmas tradition I would sooner not repeat.

I have been in the UK for 10 weeks without my family now (10 weeks and 1 day) and yet I remember that day at the airport as if it were yesterday. The awkward uncertainty of goodbye and the fear of not seeing my family for what felt like forever, with no end in sight. I remember checking in and walking down the hall towards the security desks as they walked alongside me on the other side of the pillars – I stopped to reach for my phone and when I looked up, they had gone. The emptiness that swallowed me at that point was something that can never be described and was only the beginning of the loneliness to come.

Many people have told me how proud they are of me for doing what I have done so far, for leaving my family for months to build up to a new life for them. As far as I am concerned, no matter how good of a life I am trying to give them, no one can take away the guilt I feel every second of every day for deserting my family. No one can take away the loss I feel. No one can give me back all the days I have and continue to miss with my children, no one can give me Christmas or my 30th, my husband’s birthday or H’s 9th birthday. The truth is, I made this bed and now I must lie in it until it has all played out and everything we are fighting for finally comes to fruition…

That said, supposedly, we are almost there. In 10 weeks, I have moved countries, started a new job, found a house, moved, familiarised myself with public transport and have tried to fit right in as I have been here for much longer.  Just the other day, a train was cancelled and I shared a cab with a South African woman who immediately heard my accent and was curious to my origins. After chatting briefly on our journey home she was under the impression that I have lived here for a long time, she was surprised that I had only been in the country a little over 2 months. In the time that I have been here, my husband has sold up everything we owned, lived with his mother-in-law, single parented two daughters and made sure that we are ok financially. The girls now have their British passports and my husband’s visa application has been submitted – The waiting game has begun and now the ball is in the court of the UK home office to issue his visa, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The truth is, the hard times are only just beginning. As soon as J-P and the girls arrive we need to find him a job, the girls need their placements in schools, we have to figure out how to manage without our full time nanny and instead work out after hour child care. We have to learn how to be a family again, without the support that we have in South Africa. We have to learn to fend for ourselves, our little family, alone and in a new country. Am I nervous? Absolutely. Right now though, all I can focus on is my family and their arrival… I cannot even count the days because we do not have a definite date, but I count each moment that passes as another one on my own without them. Something I vow to never do again. I will never be separated from my family for this long, ever again.

Merry Christmas everyone, I am not sorry that it is finally over.

The concept of impatience is a rather interesting one when you take the time to delve deeper into the inner workings of the human mind. We rush through hours only to wait days… We spend our whole lives trying to get somewhere as fast as humanly possible and yet we only ever get anywhere at the time and place we are supposed to.

I’ve spent a few days conceptualising my thoughts into a coherent piece of writing on the subject and was listing various examples of being impatient when a prime example happened in front of my very eyes on the train. A stand off in the rail doorway. You want to get off. I want to get on. Let’s waste time in a face off while others climb on effortlessly at alternative entrances. So what did either of us gain? Absolutely nothing but annoyance for the rest of our journey home, the train still arrived at its destination at the exact time it was supposed to.

We are impatient even when we don’t realise it. Driving along you may find yourself cursing the traffic light because it turned red just before you managed to get through it, not stopping to realise that had this light been green, the next would’ve been red anyway. Aggravation reigns and we arrive at our end destination at the exact time that the universe intended… Either way, would it not be easier to be thankful that you arrived rather than annoyed at the inevitable waiting?

We watch our children grow in anticipation of the next event… Their next birthday, the next Christmas, the next family holiday or another year at school. We forget to live in the here and now, focusing on what’s coming instead of what’s already in front of us. Ignoring the fact that ageing is measured anyway and the children will only be that age in that particular moment, never again. There is no time to waste on anything but the present and yet we become the parents impatient with their dawdling around a shopping mall or rushing them through homework, we become the parent holding one hand tightly and dragging them along as they trail behind doing the very thing we cannot seem to get right into adulthood – Living.

Every day we exist through impatience. We rush through breakfast, push through traffic, race to our desks, hurry through the day, escape through the door at the end of the day and then relay home again until finally we make our way to our beds… Not understanding why we are so worn out at the end of the day. The elevator will not go any faster by pushing the floor buttons multiple times, the train doors don’t open any quicker if you push the button repeatedly before the lights come on, your dinner won’t cook any faster when you’re watching the oven and the kettle won’t boil any sooner while your fingers tap the counter. You’ve risked your life impatiently running across the road before the pedestrian crossing light is illuminated, took a chance on an orange traffic light, ran across a train track. We leave the house and cannot remember if we turned the hair straightener off or not, blaming it on OCD instead of lack of attention. We speed walk around instead of stopping to take it all in. We skip the song before its finished in anticipation of the next one. We read the back pages of books before we’ve even read the blurb. We speed read to avoid reading the full article and abbreviate words in texts because we’re too impatient to write out a full word. We rap songs instead of sing ballads, we break dance instead of waltz, we order take out instead of cooking, we shower instead of bath, we drive instead of walk and we are too busy doing all of this that before we know it, we wake up as a middle aged human being realising that all we did is speed to this point of existence and anything of substance was lost in the stream…

I am tired of being impatient. I’m tired of being tired… It’s difficult to let go of what’s been tattooed into your very existence, it’s almost impossible to back track to before fast paced was normal. The thought of doing everything at an average speed instead of the rate of knots is daunting but it’s the resolution I intend on keeping in the forefront of my mind in 2015. To be impatient is to be ignorant and inconsiderate – to be impatient is to the detriment of no one but yourself – to be impatient is a rather lonely existence I’d like to pass up on. To be impatient is merely to exist.

Slow down, no one is going to slow down for you, no one is going to thank you for speed reading through life and at the end of it all, no matter how fast or slow you may be going, it’s at the exact pace it’s supposed to be so you may as well enjoy the ride.

I get bored. Let’s be fair, I am on the train a lot and there are only so many newspapers you can read in a day… So I find ways to pass the time like taking photos of random strangers picking their noses (To name and shame of course) or listening to music.

I then got this idea to write a poem… but not actually ‘write’ the poem. I decided to take a line from every song that I listened to… My music was on SHUFFLE and so I let the iPhone do the work, I wrote a line out from every song that played, as it played. The end result? This! Have a read and try to guess the songs (or sing them) as you make your way through the list… I will also post the artists / songs below so you can see if you were right and if you like my music choices!

***

The choice is yours, don’t be late

Try to find out what makes you tick as I lie down

Let the leaves fall off in the summer

When you fall asleep

I wasted it all just to watch you go

Somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep

I’m walking down the line. That divides me somewhere in my mind.

Tell me I’m the perfect queen

Looking at my own reflection when suddenly it changes

My eyes don’t need to see that ugly thing, I know it’s me you fear

I don’t want to be selfish anymore

I hate to leave you bare, if you need me I’ll be there

Keep me safe inside your arms like towers

And everything I can’t remember

I had no choice but to hear you

***

Nirvana – Come as you are

Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane

Fall out boy – I don’t care

Bastille – Oblivion

Linkin park – In the end

System of a down – Toxicity

Green day – Boulevard of broken dreams

In this moment – Dirty pretty

Disturbed – Down with the sickness

Seether – Remedy

Flyleaf – Much like falling

Narcotic – Liquido

Paramore – We are broken

Staind – It’s been a while

Alanis Morisette – Head over Feet

Xxx

I miss you every weekend
miss your faces every day
miss it when you are naughty
miss all the little things you say

I miss seeing you in the morning
miss brushing your hair at night
miss begging you to brush your teeth
miss fighting about the light

I miss how cute you can be
Miss seeing your big toothy smiles
Miss you being grumpy
Miss all the moments that you’ve cried

I miss everything about you
Miss just being your mum
Miss how you smell, touch and feel
Miss everything you’ve done

Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you
Not a day goes by that I don’t see
the emptiness that comes with
You not being with me…

siobhan 3a