Dear Nephew

Dear Nephew,

I adore you.

You came into my life when I was only a few years older than you are now. I find that so hard to believe.

Where have these last eleven years gone?

I still remember the day you were born. I was thirteen, and I was so excited at the prospect of being an aunt. I couldn’t wait to be the role model that I had seen my parents be to my cousins.

When I first held you, I melted. The smile my face broke into just about pulled muscles in my cheeks. I couldn’t believe that you, the perfect specimen in my arms, were related to me. I felt (and still feel) a responsibility in helping to make your life better.

As you have grown, you have developed into the most opinionated, educated and amiable young man that I have ever met … and you’re only ten! I love that about you.

Even when you were two, you had more confidence and social skills than I had, being thirteen years your senior. I was so proud that you could make friends of all ages within seconds. All you had to do was sight someone, say hello, and BANG! you had yet another person eating out the palm of your hand.

Your sister annoys you, I’m under no illusions that all of your interactions are amiable, but the love that you show her is truly admirable. Do you remember when you, your dad, your sister and I went to mini-golf with you and they had a game arcade attached to it? Your dad allowed you both to have coin limits on the machine and you won so many tickets to be redeemed. Your sister began to get upset that she hadn’t earned enough tickets to redeem a prize.

With your own initiative, you marched up to the desk and you handed your tickets over and asked if you could split the tickets in half and, if so, what could you get with half the amount of tickets you had handed over.

You didn’t have to do that. You had won those tickets on your own, yet you felt obligated to be the awesome big brother that you are, and share the spoils with your little sister. I will never forget how proud I was, in that moment, that you were my nephew.

Though I am not always there, you are always in my thoughts.

From the day you were born, you have been a source of light in my light that I cherish every minute of every day.

I can’t wait to see the man that you become, because I know that you will be the most amazing you that you can possibly be.

Love,

Your Aunt.

Dear Easter

Dear Easter,

You’re an excuse for everyone to binge on food that’s bad for you. You’re an excuse for us to stuff our faces with a year’s supply of chocolate.

When I was younger, my parents learnt very quickly that buying chocolate for me at Easter was pointless. It’s not that I didn’t like chocolate or that I was allergic or anything like that, but for some reason I just didn’t eat it.

I’ve always a been a person who hates permanence. You have to give me a very persuasive argument with multi-faceted reasoning for me to actually agree to do something that is permanent. So when someone gave me a gorgeous duck made of different coloured chocolate for Easter, I couldn’t do something as permanent as destroy it and eat it.

It sat on my bookshelf in my bedroom for at least a year, if not more, in its sealed box, before my parents had finally had enough. They took the box from my room, placed it on the kitchen table and told me that it was time. Time to open it, destroy it, eat it and say goodbye. Incidentally, it tasted awful. I guess we left it too long.

After that, they didn’t buy me chocolate for Easter. It was a pointless and unhealthy exercise, and a waste of money. Instead, they began to buy me a gift that I could appreciate a lot more (and was much more permanent than chocolate).

In saying that, my family has a lot less focus on chocolate at Easter than most. Instead of finding chocolate eggs as an indicator that the Easter Bunny had been, there were old sheets hanging on the washing line with streaks of different coloured dyes on them.

My mum’s side of the family, from German heritage, would hard boil and dye chicken eggs. They would be all different colours of the rainbow, some with Easter themed transfers put on them. I thought they were the coolest.

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So, instead of finding chocolate, I’d be searching for the real thing. This worked out better for me and my permanence issues, because I don’t like hard-boiled eggs. I just gave all the eggs I got to my parents and that was that.

***

I’m sorry this is a little late. But I will see you on Tuesday, I promise!

Dear Holidays

Dear Holidays,

Thou art a bittersweet novelty.

You arrive and depart in what feels like the same second. Why?

The time leading up to a holiday is the longest to endure. You are so full of excitement, every minute feels like an excruciating hour. When that time arrives, you can’t believe it’s here. You’re boarding a plane, you’re loading up your car; you’re “getting the hell out of dodge”, basically.

There’s something about embedding yourself in an environment you aren’t familiar with. It’s scary as hell … but you thrive off it. Somehow, though we are on the same planet, it gives us this feeling that we are cheating life, and are running away from life and our responsibilities. It’s such a powerful thing. Of course, what really happens is that all those responsibilities and life stresses that we think we are running away from are well and truly present and accounted for, stacked on your doorstep when you return. Funny that.

When you arrive at your destination, it’s bliss. You can’t wait to go out and explore this new world you have found yourself in. And it doesn’t stop. You walk more in one day than you usually would in a week. You’ve come to this place to relax, but you end up jamming so much into your day, that relaxing becomes an absurd concept. How can you relax, when you are confronted with so much to see and do?

And then before you know it, whether it’s for six months or three days, it’s over. And you are on the plane back to your hometown, back to work, school, whatever is you do. And on that first day back, you find yourself wishing that you booked your trip for that one day longer. You wish you could go back, and you long for the time you can book another holiday to take you away from the responsibilities and stresses that you have just returned to.

As you may have guessed, tomorrow I go on holidays. I am so exited to go. It’s going to be epic. It’s a writer’s holiday. I’m going to be spending my days, taking in the world around me and writing about it.

So … You have a whole six days in a row with me this week … starting tomorrow.

***

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Dear Nanna

Dear Nanna,

You’re my hero. That’s it, in it’s simplest form.

Every day you inspire me. You seem to withstand anything life that life throws at you. Not only do you stand without a scratch, but you seem so grow from it.

I feel like I flounder.
I feel like I fall.
You have fortitude.
And you stand tall.

I remember, when I was little, the afternoons we would spend together. I would come home from school and you would watch the old Elvis movies on TV whilst you prepared dinner. I didn’t really like those films – I didn’t understand them – but I ended up liking them because it was time for only us.

That was nearly twenty years ago.

You’re ninety-one today. You’ve lived through so much. Three different countries, eight children, a life filled with stress, busyness, love and fulfilment.

You are always willing to lend a helping hand. And, though you would disagree with me, you are still the most wonderful cook. There’s always a feast at nanna’s house.

We love to spend time with you, and talk ’til it’s time for bed. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit and be – to leave things left unsaid.

I know I speak for every one when I say:

We adore you. Top to bottom. Inside and out. Every atom that unites to form you.

I’m wishing you the happiest of birthdays, my sweet Nanna. You inspire me every day.

Love one of your many granddaughters, who reveres every word you say.

xxxxxx

***

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Dear Clumsiness

Dear Clumsiness,

You know me well.

My friend got a new phone once. She loved it. It was her ‘precious‘. She wouldn’t let me hold it. When I asked her why she said simply, “You’ll drop it”. Incidentally, I eventually convinced her to let me hold it, then promptly dropped it on the floor of the bus. This is what you have made my life become.

It’s not uncommon for me to drop things. I drop my keys three times in a row some days – drop them, pick them up, drop them, pick them up, drop them, “well, they may as well just stay there now”. And I have many a stain on my jeans from spilling boiling tea in my lap.

Is there a reason why I am so clumsy?

After looking on Web MD (always a superb idea…not), I can conclude that I am none-the-wiser. I read a bit and then I got confused and, frankly, a little bored. Just shows where my attention span is at today. Non-existent.

I had a morning a few weeks ago, that really set me off on thinking that the day was just going to be awful. I was in my kitchen, opening a new packet of muesli, as you do, and for some reason, the packet decided to split open and pour out all over my bench top and the floor. But it didn’t stop there. After a bit of a frustrated huff and puff, I grabbed the dustpan and brush, swept up all the muesli and carted it to the bin … where I promptly knocked the bin over and out spilt my week’s worth of garbage (Yes, even I am shaking my head at myself). I spent the rest of the day suspecting an anvil was going to drop on my head because, well, why wouldn’t it, after that start to the day?

So, clumsiness, why do you haunt me so? Do you take delight in torturing innocent souls? Why must you cause so much havoc in people’s lives?

One of the things I would love to buy myself, is a decent camera. And one of the main reasons why I haven’t yet is that I don’t want to spend umpteen hundred dollars on a camera that I am probably going to drop off a cliff (knowing my luck).

So it looks like, because of you, I am going to live, a camera-free and mistrust-filled life. Thanks, dude.

***

See you Tuesday!

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Dear Hobbies

Dear Hobbies,

I know you’re there.

You sit there withering away – deteriorating day after day. You yearn for attention I cannot afford to give.

How come we are told that finding as many versions of you as we can is imperative when none of us have the time to spend with you? Is it so that we have something to do when we retire, or is it just to make us more interesting as individuals?

“Oh, yeah. I love doing that. I did it that one time seven years ago. It’s my hobby, really. How many times? Oh, only once. Haven’t had the time to do it since. But I would really love to do it again soon.”

When does something that you like to do transform into you?

As a kid, we are told that finding interests and hobbies are so important. No one tells us that once we become adults, hobbies are null and void. There is no time; there is no possibility.

Why must you treat us so?

I have about ten different versions of you festering in my cupboards at home – drawing, sewing, origami, music, just to name a few. And yet, you tease me. You stick out your tongue and sneer, “don’t you wish …”, “wouldn’t you love …”, “I’m over here …”
How dare you be so cruel when you know full well that I cannot get to you? How dare you feel guilty for letting my skills go to waste?

When I am able to be with you, it’s like no time has passed. I get wrapped up in the moment, I produce some wonderful things. I am reminded why I was drawn to you in the first place. You wrap me up, keep me warm, ensure that I can’t be free of you. You remind me of the times in my life that I look upon with fondness. You make sense of my world, if only for a minute.

I guess what I am saying is, hobbies, you may sit by the wayside for most of the year – feeling neglected and alone. But think of that quality time we spend together. Think of the joy.

Some day, not today, I will be able to spend more time with you. And, when I do, it’ll be great.

***

There you have it, guys.
Bit of a different type of letter, this fine Tuesday.
Come back Saturday for more.

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Dear Inspiration

Dear Inspiration,

I find it hard to reach you sometimes. It’s like the phone is off the hook, or you’re screening calls. Sometimes I wait on the line for hours, just waiting for you to notice.

I have had so much advice when it comes to dealing with you. Some say to wait – wait until the moment is right and you are at your optimum communication level. Others say to power through, to show you who’s boss – to never take no for an answer.

You see, when you are here, it’s awesome. I feel invincible and worthy of your time. You make me feel like I can do this. You make me feel that I have talent. You make me feel loved.

But when you’re gone, there’s this hole where you should be. And it’s not like you’re gone for a moment, a minute, an hour; you’re gone for days; like “bye guys, going to Puerto Rico! Send you a postcard!” Why would you leave me when what we had was so good? Am I just the mistress to a much stronger marriage you have elsewhere?

Sometimes you come in the form of a quote or a phrase or even a question.

Today: “How bad do you want it?”

Sometimes you come in the form of a scenario or a circumstance.

There are constant reminders of you everywhere and in everything that I do.

I can’t get you out of my head.

I can’t get away from you.

I don’t want to.

So the next time you go away, don’t make me wait long.

Because I can’t live without you.

Dear London

Dear London,

I miss you.

I never thought I would. I thought that once I visited you, I would be done. But you have claws. You dug them into me until I couldn’t waver from you.

But I can’t be mad. I love you.

Before I even met you, I put you on a pedestal. You were the ultimate. The place where dreams came alive. I thought my hopes were an overestimation – that I would be sorely disappointed with the reality of you – but you exceeded my hopes.

2013. That’s when I last saw you. Nearly 4 years. A blip in time for the city that was born in 50AD. An age for the woman born in 1992.

I think the thing that astounded me most was the age of your most loved landmarks. Most of them 2-300 years old. Does that not blow your mind? Does that not make you proud?

You sparked yearning within me. A yearning for knowledge; a yearning for exploration. I can now give my friends an in depth history lesson about your most revered and feared monarchs.

Mark my words, London. I will visit you soon.

I expect to be welcomed with open arms. Because I want nothing more than to immerse myself in all that you are. I want to learn more about what makes you tick and I want to see all your secrets.

Wait for me.

***

See you Saturday!

Dear New Years

Dear New Years,
You are the holiday of the year that lies the most. You promise us a new start, forgotten events and life transformations. You give us false hope … and I hate you for it.

You seem to be tangled up in superstition and tradition – so much so that we can no longer see the reality of you. You’re just a day with a new surname. Yet we make promises to you that we can change those bad habits we have deeply ingrained in us.

Should I be concerned that people, year after year, trust you to change their lives, or should I have my heart warmed to the fact that people still believe in the “mystic powers” you somehow have?

Resolutions. That’s what we call them. Decisions to better our lives which, in most cases, we have no intention (and sometimes ability) to keep. If this the case, what’s the point in making them, I ask you?

I do admit, though, that many of the celebrations you attract are quite spectacular. The New York celebrations, the fireworks on Sydney Harbour bridge. A lot of it is simply stunning. Some of it not so much, but that’s not so commercialised, is it?

When, too, did it become a necessity to find someone to kiss at the strike of midnight? How on earth does that signify how you will spend the remainder of the year? Do you mean to tell me, that what we do at the strike of midnight will somehow be the thing that I do for the remainder of the year? So my friend, Maude, locks lips with a guy named Henry at the stroke of midnight, and all of sudden she has fused herself to him for the remainder of the year? How is she supposed to do any work? Of course, I am being facetious, but you see the ridiculousness that you encourage within the population of the world.

Though I agree that the beginning of a New Year should be celebrated, I do not believe in the ridiculous behaviours of resolutions and midnight kisses. Though others are convinced of you and these behaviours, and I encourage them to pursue whatever they believe in, you will never hear me make such promises to you.

I am goals girl. I make no promises, I only work toward something that I would feel proud to achieve by the end of the year.

So, New Years, you are puzzling to me.

You are universally loved.

Shine brightly tomorrow.

Don’t forget social media, guys!

See you Tuesday!

Dear Christmas

You flit in and out of people’s lives like some crazed sort of bird. You look sweet and innocent – some irreplaceable part of nature. Then you start to panic, spread your wings, and frantically flap. The results? Everything knocked over, and shit gets splattered everywhere.

When we are kids, we worship you and what you represent. We can’t wait for Santa, presents, and food that will rot our teeth. But somewhere along the way, we all lose sight of the magic that you spur within us. We lose our innocence and our imagination to the point where we are on the brink of becoming routine-crazed automatons.

Perhaps we have so much faith in you because we miss what we thought of you when we were kids. How much we loved the decorations, the wrapping paper, the time we spent revelling in our latest and most novel acquisitions.

When we become adults, you become less about enchantments and spells, and more about family. We move mountains in order to come together one day a year. For that one day, you surround us, and remind us that though life moves so quickly we can blink and miss ten years, we are able to stop, and appreciate the things that we have in that moment. You give us that, and that is irreplaceable.

My dear Christmas, though I don’t like you, or the idea of you, most of the time, I do really appreciate you. You inspire the best in people, though sometimes you make people a little nutty.

You don’t discriminate, though you originated as a solely Christian holiday. Sometimes I think we forget where you came from, and focus on what you are now, in 2016.

So, my dear Christmas,
be merry today. Right at this moment, you are bringing the world together.

 

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Happy Holidays.

Don’t overeat. Stay safe. Share love.

I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Don’t forget the socials!