Thursday, 8 January 2015

Tiny Dancer

"Anna, it's a girl!"
2002
Tears rolled down my cheeks. My bestie had just found out she was having a girl; a much wanted and wished for girl to follow-on from her beautiful boy twins five years before. And what a girl she would turn out to be.
2002
2002
2002
My bestie and her family had moved from Cairns in northern Queensland to the Gold Coast when the boys were toddlers, so we had the joy of experiencing this pregnancy much closer together. I was living in Brisbane at the time, working and completing an undergraduate degree, but tried to spend time down the coast whenever I could. It was just gleeful to be less than an hour's drive away instead of a two hour plane ride.
2002
2003
During the last months of my bestie's pregnancy, in the summer of 2001 into 2002, it was the hottest summer any of us could remember. This became the summer of legend, the summer that melted unlit candles off their candlesticks, heat that popped the corks out of wine bottles. This summer would see Christmas Day top 41 degrees Celcius (106F).
2003
I don't know how my bestie coped; she was so pregnant she couldn't drive because she couldn't fit behind the wheel. She took her frustrations out on the potatoes Christmas Day while preparing potato salad; the bench shook with each blow of the knife. I swear she chopped enough potatoes to feed the whole suburb but no one dared tell her to stop. Her husband and I hid under the furniture until it was over. My bestie was Ready For This Baby To Come Out. Our Girl would be very well baked, in more ways than one. 
2003
When Our Girl was born she was something extra special right from the get go, twisting the entire world around her little finger. As I've mentioned before in 2004 I moved to Tamborine Mountain to establish my photography business, not long after my bestie and her family moved there.
2003
2004
2004
It was here that Our Girl became my inspiration, my muse of sorts. I always had my camera with me so my photos became the testament of her life.
2004
2004
2004
She was a self-contained and contemplative toddler, you knew just by looking at her things were going on in her brain that were way, way beyond her tender years.
2005
2005
2005
2005
She took in the world all at once but it was never enough, she wanted to learn and to know everything, fighting to 'help' the boys with their school homework before she was there herself. Her curiosity about the world was wondrous, amplified to infinity when suddenly she went from youngest to middle child, caught up in the whirlwind that was her surprise little sister.
2005
2005
2005
2005
As she grew little changed. Our Girl took up ballet, Girl Guides, even the violin, but she remained an individual, an oddity, an outlier. (Much) smarter than the average and not one of the in-crowd.
2006
2006
This made her even more special to me as I could see so much of my own younger self in her, and I knew what battles faced her in the future. It made me want to wrap her up and protect her but really all you can do is be ready with a Kleenex and a Band Aid. You have to let them go.
2007
2007
2007
My bestie and I had a chuckle to ourselves when we realised Our Girl and her bestie are the same age now as we were when we met. May they be so lucky as to have a similarly rich and lifelong friendship.
2007
2009
2010
I say this now to you on your birthday, my beautiful Tiny Dancer, as you teeter on the edge of adulthood. A. A. Milne once said; 'Always remember... you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think'.
2011
2011
So be kind to yourself, because the world won't always be.
2012
Love yourself, because sometimes you'll think you are the only one that does (you'll be wrong by the way).
2013
2013
Stand up for yourself, and your principles, because you have to live with yourself for a long, long time after all the people-pleasers go home.
2014
Listen to and trust yourself, because sometimes your own common sense will give you the right answer.
2014
Be patient with yourself, and with others. Remember that 'this too shall pass'.
2014
2014
Respect yourself, because if you don't you can't expect anyone else to.
2014
And most of all, believe in yourself, because if you do you will become an unstoppable force. 
2015

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