I don’t even know why I’m using that as my title. It sounds so… happy. Compared to what I was really feeling on that day.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy. It’s just that underneath the surface, I’m kind of sad too. The Chinese definitely got it right with the whole yin and yang thing. That shit is legit and the older I get, the more deeply I have come to understand life and all its complexities and how everything is a fucking cycle and no, it will never be fair and it would be stupid to even have such an expectation because the way it works is this: you just gotta deal with whatever is handed to you.
Confucius couldn’t have said it any better:
Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.
Which probably got you stumped as well, unless you’re one of those brainy nerds or cosmically enlightened philosophers. Or maybe just (naturally) high where everything that doesn’t make sense make sense somehow. As if it’s just a simple matter of connecting the numbered dots.
I have no idea what it means but “Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life.” had been taken and magnified numerous times times already it has become sort of a cliché. I was trying to go for Confucius’s lesser known quotes to make me sound smarter than I look. It took some time to scroll through google for that one but if you can’t be intelligent, at least be patient, hey?
The quote pretty much sums up life, I suppose, wherein no one really knows what it truly means and why things happens the way they do. We all got our smartass theories but when it comes to putting them into practice, we find ourselves floundering. Badly.
On a mental level, I deal with my dad’s cancer the way I deal with my patients — nurturing, but with a bit of professional detachment to provide the right amount of compassion that they need while still maintaining a clear head capable of making sound decisions untainted by personal biases.
On an emotional level, I’m a low-key wreck. But that sounds like somebody who’s on a downward spiral from drug addiction so maybe a hot mess will do.
As to how I’m still able to function, let’s just say suppression as a defense mechanism certainly comes in handy. Girlie was right. Grief does come in waves. Some days you’re surfing through it. Other days you’re swallowed by a shark.
That day was more like the latter.
Geez, so much for an intro for a f%cking Wiggles concert. Somebody bring out the violin.
July 3, 2019.
The day started out like it had been for the past few weeks in Melbourne — like crap. Sure, we get a bit of sunny reprieve once in a while but on the day that I took a day off work, it was cold and rainy. Of course.
I thought it was just the weather. (Jeff would probably go for ‘hormones’ if he wasn’t too scared to say it.) You know, those days where you just wanna stay curled up in bed because you couldn’t be bothered but then you remind yourself you’re not single anymore and there’s a kid out there waiting to be fed so you drag your ass into the kitchen to pour cereal and milk into a bowl. Breakfast is served and once again, you’re in the running for Mother of the Year Award.
It wasn’t until Jeff looked up from his camera preview screen after playing around with his camera and taking random photos of me getting ready and said, “Your eyes look sad.”
That’s when it hit me.
Since my dad’s diagnosis, I thought I was fine. For the most part, maybe I was. It’s easy to get distracted with life when you’re 5,780 km from reality and the only jolts of shock you get in a day are the viber video calls when the internet connection is good.
Raven was excited to go. I couldn’t blame her. She waited three months for this. Yes, I bought the tickets three months in advance and even then the transaction itself was something close to panic buying.
Back story: The Wiggles originally had three time slots scheduled on the 3rd of July. By the time I called the Drum Theatre to ask why I couldn’t seem to find the event online so I could book tickets, I was told that unfortunately, all three shows had already sold out. But because I was one lucky bitch, I was also told that just that morning, perhaps due to public demand, they opened another show for 4:30PM. The only caveat was that I needed to book within the next five minutes because the tickets were selling like hotcakes.
I could hardly believe it. Really? For a Wiggles concert?!
It was at that moment that I realized how big The Wiggles actually were. They seem to be the superstars amongst the children’s entertainment group. I don’t really like them and Raven doesn’t really like them but after Playschool Concert, I vowed to spend my money on more experiences for my daughter by giving her access to quality entertainment, at least. Watch her shows live on stage so the next time she’s watching them on TV, she’d be like, “Remember we went to Playschool Concert? Remember?” Which she does. Every time. #motheroftheyear
After posting the best (but, of course.) photos of myself (sorry, Raven.) on Instagram, Girlie commented I was “such a cool momma!!” (She’s my BFF so her opinions of me aren’t exactly neutral, leaning more towards my favor than anything else. But between a million bucks and me, I know where I stand. And vice versa. The feeling is mutual.)
Instagram is all about image. I know, because I play the game myself once in a while. I told her that was my Victoria Beckham look — If Victoria Beckham was broke and complaining about the price of The Wiggles Concert.
To make up for her milk and cereal breakfast, we took Raven to this corner cafe across from the Drum Theatre where the concert was to be held for some fancy lunch of scrambled eggs on toast. Jeff and I would’ve happily had our usual order at A1 Bakery next door for a grand total of $15 but there’s nothing there that Raven eats.
My burger was really good, though, so I can’t complain. Even though Raven finished her babyccino long before our food arrived.
I managed to pass the time reading the paper. Jeff and Raven occupied theirs with a bit of a photoshoot right there on the table, with Raven happily clicking away the camera’s shutter button while Jeff goofily posed in front of her.
As a professional photographer, Jeff reckons that the photos came out stunning and that Raven has a natural talent for photography and he needs to buy her her own camera so she can hone the skills she inherited from him.
I looked up from the article I was reading about this woman being in a financial crisis. “You have a lot of cameras. Give her one of yours.”
Knowing Jeff for as long as I know him now, secretly he’s the one who wants to buy a new camera. For himself.
4:30PM was still some 2 hours away after we had lunch so we took Raven to Dandenong Library. She loves it there. She especially likes going on the computer and coloring elephants and eggs on the screen with her fingers. Exactly how we used to do it with Microsoft Paint back then, but with a bloody trackball mouse that seemed to have a mind of its own.
“Oh no, what happened?!” she asked dramatically, holding up her hands to show me her background of a computer area swarmed with kids who were on school holidays. Every single one of the four computers were being used.
“Sorry, baby. Let’s just do something else,” I suggested.
That’s how I discovered the cupboard with all the library’s puzzles and board games. I was pretty psyched to see that they had Snakes & Ladders. I used to love it when I was a kid. I thought it was high time Raven learned to play it, too. I figured she can count to twenty. She only needs the first six numbers that are on the dice. And she knows her colors so she shouldn’t have a problem identifying her playing piece.
Check. Check. Check.
What I failed to realize was that she didn’t exactly have the patience yet to wait for her turn. That, and she wanted to move her piece to where she wanted it. Who cares about the dice when she couldn’t even throw it properly?
Needless to say, we only got to play two rounds. And even the second one was forcing it already.
Maybe next time when she turns 16 we’ll give the game another go.
The short walk to the Drum Theatre was paved with mini photoshoots. This was the moment we waited for for three months. We were finally on our way to The Wiggles concert!!!
Seriously, I had never seen so many little Emmas running around in one place! All that yellow was hurting my eyes.
“I didn’t dress up like Emma. I didn’t.” Raven said sadly, her mouth pouting and her face scrunching into a little ball like a cute puppy.
Jeff, on the other hand, upon seeing all the characters perform on stage, remarked, “Wow, these guys must be really high on cocaine!”
As for me, all I could see was that guy in polka dot shirt. Or rather, his thick booty sashaying around in those tight white pants. I tried, but I could not unsee it.
The concert itself was alright. They sang their songs, danced their dance, and said their lines in that phony voice you use when you’re trying to be prim, proper, and polite at the same time. Which, I’m sorry to say, also sounds fake.
Except for Captain Feathersword, whom I had taken to liking. He was goofy and quite natural at it, too. Like, if you ever get to chatting with him at a party or something, he’d probably talk to you in a normal voice like the one he uses on the show. Minus the pirate accent, of course, but you get my drift.
All in all, it was too sterile, the show. Everything was too choreographed. That’s not to say that the kids didn’t enjoy it, though. A lot of the older ones were jumping up and down on their seats and happily singing along.
Or it could just be the venue and how the bolted-in chairs prevented the kids from gathering into a group where they could all sing and dance together.
Either that or I’m just exercising my right to be old and grumpy.
Playschool was so much fun, though. That one I actually enjoyed because the actors were mucking around and making all these side jokes that made the adults laugh. You can tell they, too, were having fun. They kept it real.
Maybe that’s what I’m really whingeing about.
*Raven at 3 years old