13 January. My friend Leigh. I am grateful for my friend Leigh. For my pioneering friend Leigh. She is a teacher, a sage, a leader, an inspiration. I am grateful for her honesty, her bravery, her sharing, her ear and her forever friendship. She has lived through some serious shit, and that smile is always there. She has taught me there is always a way. To fok maar voort. With style. And grace. And dignity.
Yesterday was a good day. A day filled with much laughter, far too many margheritas and good honest fun with lovely and at times delightfully mad friends. But a day that also left me quietly deflated. I saw so many sad women looking for happiness, in what was obvious to all but themselves, the wrong places. Beautiful successful women sadly clearly not realising quite how innately beautiful they are by selling themselves short. Women so desperately and so sadly needing reassurance they’ll take it no matter where it comes from. You all know how much I love women, how much respect I have for our inner strength, how deeply capable I believe we all are. How much I know we all care. But you also know how sad it makes me when women let each other down. And that I believe it’s usually due to fear, fear of not being good enough, fear of being left out, fear of being ignored, fear of being alone, fear of not being loved. But what makes me the saddest of all, is seeing women letting themselves down. I wish every woman could know her worth. And know that it’s not to be found in a bottle or with someone else’s husband or by accepting dismissive or disrespectful treatment by others. I wish all women the respect they so dearly deserve, the only respect that really matters. Their self respect.
I rushed in to do a quick grocery shop today and found myself mesmerised by this wonderful older couple. They chatted and discussed every little purchase with much intensity and care. I overheard as she told him she’d found some of his favourite mints which she thought he’d enjoy on the journey home. He thanked her. He wandered off on instruction to return a packet of fresh beans to the grocery section. I must admit I was loath to leave their sweet presence but I had to make my selection and move on. I was down the next aisle when I noticed the gentleman shuffling past heading in the opposite direction looking down all the aisles for his wife. I went back to where she was and told her he had gone past looking for her and should I get him for her. She sweetly told me not to worry and headed off after him. Next I saw them it was whilst unpacking their trolley at the checkout and I had to capture them. I didn’t want to intrude by asking for their photograph. Hence my slightly voyeuristic shot. But it was more my observation of them that I was grateful for today. For a little flash of hopefully how B and I will be one day. They were so caring of each other, it genuinely brought tears to my eyes. On leaving the centre I spotted them again, in a little sedan with the elderly gentleman in the driving seat, as he very cautiously backed out of his parking with his precious cargo. Too cautiously for the lady in her 4×4, who rushed past, hooting at him. This threw him a little. I wish everyone would realise that they too will be elderly one day and hopefully somebody will treat them with care, patience, tolerance and respect. I am so grateful to this wonderful pair for unknowingly sharing a bit of their lives with me today. I will hold it dear.
When both our beautiful daughters were born I remember being overwhelmed, not only with love (and relief that it was all over), but also with gratitude that they were healthy. And still today, right now, this moment, I am so very grateful that my precious girls are healthy. I do know this is something most of us do take for granted and seldom even realise or even consider how grateful we should be for that reality. Every now and then something makes us stop and think and give thanks. Today it was the link I was given to a youtube clip of a wonderful brave young boy with cerebral palsy. What a beautiful boy and family, who bring joy and empathy and compassion to the fore in so many people. The wonderful image of his courage and tenacity hasn’t left me all day.
10 April. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular offering of The Phantom of the Opera with my family. And in particular my girls. I loved how moved they were by it, but even more so by the empathy and compassion shown by Kate at the young man begging in the street on a cold night with only a blanket for company as we left the theatre. At the unfairness of it all. At the sad jolt of reality. I only wished I could find the words to stop her tears. It is just not right.