My dear Rebeka
21st of June, the longest night of the year being the winter solstice and your 16th birthday. SIXTEEN? I am shooketh. Ok fine, I know it's cringe when Moms use teen slang. Like high key bad. Sorry, that was the last one. For real!
So you know how I write you a letter every year on your birthday? Well last year I can only find Sofe's so that's why I am putting it here on my blog. Years from now you can come back and read all these letters and get a glimpse of how we both were. We are both so sentimental, similar in many ways but I am really enjoying watching you become your own person.
This year I have decided I will write down 16 of some of my fave memories of you and us. Next year I will give you 17 pieces of wisdom you are likely to discard and later find out for yourself.
So, out of the thousands of memories to get you to this milestone birthday, here are a few that make me smile.
1. Your birth.
I can take myself right back there, walking down the passage and having this crazy moment where I looked at Daddy and I said to myself: I am having Gary Novitzkas's baby. Like really?? We had known each other for years and didn't like each other way back. I was a tree hugger hippie, Dad was ex military. Maybe we are still kind of the same? Your labour, me walking and rocking and focused. Dad watching the football on TV. Him hogging the loo and me yelling at him to hurry up. Shit! Nothing has changed. How funny is that?? The pain at the end and using that power to push you out. Putting you on my chest, exhausted and triumphant and powerful. Geez you were red and cross and massive. And you yelled so we were sweating trying to dress you. Daddy fell in love instantly. I loved you and calmed you and we connected forever. Nothing has changed there too.
2. Your first pair of shoes
Little pink suede Woolies sandals. Not the most glam compared to those plastic clippy clop shoes you became obsessed over later, but good for your tiny little fat feet. You marched up and down the aisle at the store and everyone just stopped to look at you loving your new shoes.
3. How you loved your Mimi.
And still do. You were crazy about her and not just because she brainwashed you saying "You love your Mimi" from the time all her grandkids were born. You would only sleep on her chest and fetching you to bring you home was a total mare as you screamed all the way home. You were pretty scary!
4. Your response to your sister
You were only 2 years and 8 days when Sofia arrived. You looked at my still round belly and said: "Baba in tummy Mama?" No! Just my post baby belly. You had started potty training and every time I would feed the baby you would decide you needed a wee and off we rushed to the loo with sister stuck in the boob only to find out it was a false alarm. Fifi & Becks, you guys were so cute together.
5. Your kindness at Happy Days with the bitchy girl
She was pretty awful to you so naturally I secretly wanted to punch her spiteful little face but you stayed kind. You made her a gift and I asked her why you want to bless her when she makes you sad and you said you just did. You wanted to make her happy. So you gave her the gift and took the wind right out her sails. You came in the opposite spirit.
6. Your school concerts, especially the last one
With Daniel, it was just me for 6 years so having Dad with to watch you through the years and share in my joy and pride has been divine. Your grade 7 year in your pink dress on the stage all alone being Molly. I wanted to bawl!
7. The Belle dress
No one loved to dress up more than you. You were a princess and life was a fairy tale with a closet full of sparkly bling ball gowns and tiaras and shoes. Then one Christmas you asked Father Christmas for a Belle dress. It had to be gold and shiny with a hooped skirt. Dad and I went shopping and there it was, the perfect dress at Woolies. A real Belle ballgown. You wore it to church and you walked like a little queen and charmed the entire congregation.
8. Our Mauritius holiday
It was the first time on a plane. You cried when you said goodbye to Lucy and Zara but once we were on our way, you were beside yourself. Watching you waterski, your shrieking under water when we snorkeled, you with Daniel and Sofie on that tube. My real best was one evening when Dad and I watched you with your sister in your sega dresses dancing. You girls and Dani loved those outfits.
9. That kitesurf day
Do you remember? It was late afternoon and we went down to the beach even though it was super windy. We decided to be brave and swim anyway and this kitesurfer gave you each a ride on his board. You were flying along. In hindsight I should have probably said no when some strange dude offered to take my daughter off in the ocean but oh my word it was exciting.
10. The big swing
Walking down with Goose while you girls were on the scooters and then taking turns for 20 swings each. Again and again while my arm almost fell off. I can see your hair flying and your big smile and loud laugh. We should go down again, just for old times sake.
11. Night swims
Those awesome summer nights when I would allow you to skip going to bed and we would swim till our skins turned wrinkly. And days when you girls jumped in with your school clothes on. Mimi allowed us to do that too. Imagine how divine this pool will be in the summer?
That darn spoiler alert when you watched an episode before me and you cried so much so I just knew someone big died and then it was our Mac Dreamy. Derrick! That was so uncool Shonda. Lexi and O'Mally and Izzy's boyfriend and Teddy's husband and Mark. I love watching Greys and Survivor with you.
13. When you got your dress for your 13th.
We went to the dressmaker and didn't have too much time till the party. She looked at you and said: You don't want a ballgown do you? And you said: Actually I do please Auntie Jenny. Well of course she couldn't resist and you looked so pretty in that dress. Mimi loves the picture of Helena doing your lipstick. It was a lovely birthday.
All of them. Choosing our tree, getting Dad to help us put it up and hanging all the decorations. Feeling the stockings to feel whose is fullest. Later when you girls finally no longer believed in Father Christmas we could put all the gifts under the tree. Every year you wake up a little later but it stays our favourite holiday. Remember when we had Christmas in Singapore and Nina made Yorkshire pudding and you ate so many? And our best one before Pops got very very sick and we were all together.
15. Orange River
I wish I could have gone too but I knew you were having such a good time. Trying to pack everything in 2 buckets when you are the WORST packer. You getting so upset because you lost your sunblock and you thought I would be so cross. It's weird when you do that. Over estimate how mad I will get about something and work yourself up into such a state. It was the longest that we haven't spoken, 5 long days of not hearing your voice.
16. Mmmh. I need to end with my fave but I have too many. Gordon's Bay?
Our 24 hours away staying in the guest house. I fetched you from school in the middle of the day and when Miss Liezel asked where we were going, I said bunking and you were all nervous and giggly. We drove for a while and you looked at the back of the car and suddenly knew we were going away. Its weird how just 1 day together can be so special when we just picked up shells and went to the bookshop and ate dinner in our beds. You were 10 years old.
I am incredibly blessed to have had you for these past 16 years and we have so many more years to make so many more memories. If all goes as hoped, I am around for another 40 plus years and we have the rest of school and university and travels and weddings and babies and then the ordinary little days in between.
I love you Rebeka Scarlett. Happy HAPPY birthday my Becks.
Mom aka Maaaaa.