Dear Archie and Rissie
It is hard to believe that you are both now 11 years and 1 month old! I have not written to you for almost a year. I know, I know, I promised you a series of embarrassing letters, so you could roll your eyes to the heavens when you turn 18 but I figure by then you will know that occasionally your Momma can be erratic.
Christmas is approaching, and this time of year makes me melancholy. I am not a fan of Christmas and as you are at your Dad’s this year and we are flying to Italy shortly afterwards, I don’t have to do the whole debate in my head as to whether I can ask you if we can give Christmas a miss this year.
I don’t like Christmas, but I don’t want you to think I am bitter or twisted, I just don’t like Christmas. I know it is linked to Tiney and the fact that I miss her and that awful last conversation we had where she sounded so happy and she and I planned a Tasmanian Christmas. The conversation was so real and so vivid that I looked up the cost of the Tasmanian ferry afterwards. A few days later Tiney was gone and I am not certain if that conversation will ever make sense and I sometimes wish I could stop it repeating in my head.
That is not the main reason I don’t like Christmas, I just don’t like it. I don’t like the excess food, I don’t like the excess presents. I don’t like the fact that people think it is a day we should spend with those we love exchanging presents we don’t need and eating a truly over the top amount of food. I believe we should spend time with those we love every day, and sometimes the most important present we can give someone is merely our presence and that rather rare gift of taking the time to listen. Small everyday behaviour is the most telling and the most magical, and effects the ones we love the most. I would rather spend all year showing you I love you than buying you presents on one day because that is just the way things are done.
I don’t like Christmas. But I don’t have to tell you that this year. We have already discussed that we are not giving Christmas presents, just like we chose not to do birthday presents as well. Our present this year is Italy and the fact that we are heading off on another adventure. I think we are so lucky to have all that we do.
I don’t like Christmas and I don’t like presents but I like hope. I hope things every day. I hope for so many things for you Archie and Rissie. Not because it is Christmas, but because I will always be filled with hope, especially for you both.
I hope that you always believe in fairy-tales and magic. I don’t care what anyone says, but never stop believing in magic. When you believe, you tend to find magic in a million different places.
I hope that you are always kind. Sometimes life can suck, sometimes it can be downright cruel, but remember always to be kind. Kindness is king, it is the most important thing of all. I hope that before you are anything else, you are kind.
I hope that you survive school. When bureaucracy, red-tape, political bullshit and people watching their backs and answering to the powers above seems more important than creating an environment where some can teach, and others can learn, then I have little hope. The one gift I wanted to give you was a love of books, like my dad gave to me, and you have that gift. The rest I believe, is survival. I hope you survive your school years with your compassion and empathy intact. I hope you remain kind. I hope you study and work hard but at the end of the day what happens in your school years is only a small and meaningless blip in life.
I hope that you realise sooner rather than later that what people think does not matter.
I hope you march to the beat of your own drum.
I hope that you have a handful of people in your life that you can call your dearest friends. Whether you email and speak every day or years can go by without speaking, but you still know they are there, they are the people that warm your soul. I hope you have those special people in your life who understand how you work and love you just the way you are. Those people who know what you are going to say before you even think it. I hope you have a handful of dear and vital friends.
I hope you have itchy feet and a yearning to explore this world while also retaining a love of your home.
I hope you understand communication is not about posting on Instagram or shouting on Facebook, but rather it is about listening, and you can’t do that on social media.
I hope you put more importance in experiencing great adventures and living well, than owning things. I hope you have a minimal wardrobe and a few pairs of shoes because you would rather spend your money on a plane ticket.
I hope you look at things with your own eyes and not through a screen. If you are in a place that brings tears to your eyes because it is so beautiful, if you are listening to a concert and you hear a song that hurts your heart, don’t pick up your fucking phone to film it. If something is so beautiful that it makes you cry, then look at it with your own eyes and create a memory in your head that is more vivid than the one you will ever find on a screen. A screen can’t tell you what a moment felt like, how it moved you, what it smelt like or what it tasted like. I will always be strident about this point. Look at things with your own eyes before you do anything else.
I hope you don’t develop a reliance on devices. Sure, technology is great, and I could not work the way I do without it. I don’t hate technology, I just dislike what we sometimes do with it. Use your devices to work, to develop, to keep in touch, but don’t use your devices as a replacement for living or for communication. If you pick up a phone when we are out to dinner, I will slap it from your hands.
I hope you laugh more than you cry and that you smile more than you frown.
I hope you continue to #startthedaywithsomethingbeautiful even when you don’t have me to drag you from your beds.
I hope you travel, explore, see the world and always come home.
I really hope you end up living in Italy one day, so I can be that mad Australian Momma who drives all your friends crazy in their kitchens.
I hope you forever have a dog, as the unconditional love of a dog is a gift that I think we should all have.
I hope you always have a book at hand because if anything else, you can always escape into the pages of a book when the world is a little unkind.
I hope you truly appreciate the fact that I am very funny, even when I drive you crazy.
Finally, I hope you are always each other’s dearest friend, each other’s port in a storm and that you always laugh at each other’s jokes, no matter how bad they are.
I also hope you forgive me for being old Mr Scrooge and all bah humbug about the festive season.
I hope so many things for you, not because Christmas is approaching, but just because I love you, and I am forever hopeful and because I made you both from scratch.
Love your mummy