It was January 4 when I began this post and in those 4 days of 2010 we had done so much. New Year’s Eve was spent separated from the boys with the girls watching Harry Potter, and enjoying room service in Nashville and the boys watching Wubbzy, and enjoying who knows what – probably bacon and nuggets with juice on the side.
Flossy and I began 2010 with big hugs and kisses with niece 1 and the next three days were spent laughing, freezing, shopping, learning, fake singing, fake guitar playing and freezing (yes I know I said it twice…it was/is cold).
Never did I think I would quietly ring in 2010 in Nashville TN for it is a long way from where we started … sitting with my sister and family on the foreshore of Sydney Harbor watching the magnificent fireworks and celebrating the beginning of 2009.
Reading my dear friend’s blog this morning and the uncertainty that the new year brings for her and her husband, got me thinking. It will be seven years in April that we have been making NYC our home. Four years longer than we expected.
At the three year mark when we were due to return, the Engineer claimed “unfinished business”, so I grudgingly agreed to stay so that he could achieve the work he had fallen madly in love with. Our families and friends reluctantly accepted that the very loud McClelland's would continue with their family journey away from the kitchen benches of Wahroonga, away from the bus stop of Stephen Street and away from the canteen (school cafeteria) of Asquith.
As I wrote to her this morning, I shared how I had been uncertain of what my future would hold. Yet the past four years have blessed us with so many unique experiences and special people. In my heart of hearts I truly believe Max is in our lives because of this decision. I truly believe I am mixed up in the crazy and divine art world because of this decision and I truly believe that the sad soul that was mine has begun to heal because of these two life altering experiences.
2009 began the best way any new year could begin – surrounded by those that we love. January is always a month of remembrance for us – too many too soon. We remember my bestest friend in the whole wide world – Keelie - she and I grew up together, discovered Abba together, spent hours in her mother’s salon together, walked to school (late) together, we did everything together. Then there is beautiful Brett – Neil’s best friend from high school and uni who left this world way too soon but gave the world two beautiful children. My South African brother Gerald has also been gone 5 years now and our beautiful Aunty Heather – what a blessing we as kids had, growing up with Great Aunties. Never forgotten.
January was inauguration month. I had managed to secure a hotel for flossy and the engineer … I just had a feeling that this would be a special inauguration and having the opportunity to experience it was unique.
Rose in DC for the Inauguration of the President and what is she doing??? talking to her best friend during the speeches!
Rose (now 16) had a year of performance and scholastic honors. She loves her school and her friends and enjoys the luxury of being able to attend the concerts for most of her favorite bands – Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Demitri (some comedian she finds funny) to name a few. School performances continued and she enjoys the opportunity of singing at many of the chapel services the school has for alumni. Throw in a ski trip, a few birthday parties, a couple of Yankees games at the new stadium, shopping at the Mall, babysitting gigs, a 16th, a new IMAC and the ability to fake sleep wherever we travel (or when there is housework to be done)…and you have a beautiful girl who has her mother’s performance ability and her father’s brains - thank goodness it is not the other way around!
Mighty Max (3ish) has had a great year. Imagine a McClelland who can not talk…I know you try but it’s just too hard isn’t it! Well this was our little Man but this boy has the determination of his mother, the wit of his father (sigh) and the ability to get anything he wants (like his sister). Max attends school in the morning. He travels on the big yellow bus in a car seat (yes only in America!), he loves snuggles on the red couch, adores all his TV characters (and polly pockets…much to Flossy’s horror), he is addicted (I do not joke) to escalators and elevators and he loves riding his tricycle inside the house and doing wheelies. He certainly thinks he is “one of the girls” and loves going to flossy’s school to see them all. I am truly amazed at how I go with the flow these days. There is no way I would have set up a tub of water in the middle of the lounge room and let flossy have a bath while watching the crocodile hunter (yes he is an Aussie at heart).
But he is a gift and he is our gift.
The Engineer (?..remember I only did 2A maths) has had his head down and bum up. Still with Arup designing glass buildings and traveling OS discovering where these glass buildings are going to live! Harvard Art Museum, IQ Tower (Qatar Doha), and Torre Reformer Tower (Mexico City) are just some of the few projects that have been keeping him out of mischief. At home he gets into historical debates with Rose, constructs Lego towers with Max and tries to complete Sal’s job list such as the walk up attic, the backyard and the front paving. He is an excellent ironer of shirts (because his wife is not/or chooses not to be), he continues to repack the dishwasher (so I continue to pack it badly), and he is in love with his “ultimate boss” (that would be Karenne as I am just the boss) because she brings him new Bonds Undies, Mint Patties and cooks him meals to keep him going for 6 months.
He now cons Mighty Max into back scratches!
Sal (? – Rose is fake sleeping and she is my calculator). I have had a busy year with Art Is…You finding its wings – 2012 we are bringing it to Australia so watch out! My dear friend Ellen and I make an amazing team and you know it works when you literally know what the other person is thinking. This year our theme is “Wickedly Good” – it is pretty clear who wears the black boots and who wears the ruby slippers! My work at the Conservatory, summer camp art teacher, community musical producer, tree house volunteer (one of the best life decisions I have ever made) and more recently art and craft instructor at the local library all enable me to share my gifts and lift my spirit. I can be seen most mornings at Martine’s Fine Bake Shoppe enjoying a cup of java with Joycee (Max’s name for one of his three special god mothers) and most nights … well not much has changed here…bed/magazines/tea … you just don’t skype me after 8pm if you get my drift.
Rose and I had the privilege of watching our childhood friend and very talented Roz Warby dance and tell everyone around us that she and I bounced in bassinets together! What a wonderful night that was.
2009 was the year of…
Elephant Trunk – which will not be the same without my Bronte (has conveniently found a new home split seconds away from my sister). But like a good girl, I will continue to go, suffer the loss of my companion silently, all in the name of enjoying 6am Sundays in peace.
Uncle Glen – we now have a fence, I have a bedroom door and the oven works. Glen was soooooo patient with his helper.
Concerts and imagining life as someone else!
Skype and the wonderful, glorious impact it has had on our lives. To sit and enjoy a cup of tea with your mum. To chat with your dad when he has no hearing aids in and has to leave half way through for his morning job and to talk to your 90 year old Nanny and marvel how she just takes all this technology in her stride. My favorite sound is hearing the skype ringing sound and Max yelling out “wake up Gran”…unfortunately Gran would prefer that the sound came at 4pm her time rather than 4am!
Allergies and discovering we are allergic to egg white, beef and lamb!
Ice skating in the good old clark rubber pool – skates optional.
Runaways – a totally complex musical about street kids pulled off remarkably well by Rose and her peers.
Discovering Snow – and appreciating those weird things that mum was trying to put on my hands might be a good idea after all.
GYO – Finally understanding that if you want something, you just make it happen.
Celebrations – this time with another of our classy godmothers.
Surgeries – got to have at least one a year if your name’s Max.
Friendships – my doll club means so much to me, as do all the members in it. Mama Gwen and Aunty Doris have taught me so much and I try very hard to practice the grace that comes to them so naturally.
Trick or Treating – and comprehending that it is ALL about the Treats!
Falling in love – with the beach and the joy it can bring your body and soul. Having someone to hold your hand just increases the pleasure.
Yankees – Champions of the World…of baseball.
Pumpkins and no matter how strong you are (or how persistent), there are just some pumpkins you sit on rather than try to lift.
Gran – this was the very best day that I have ever spent in NYC!
Father and Daughter bonding and looking nice. Note the nicely ironed shirt!
Hanukah lights – you try singing while lighting candles!
Discovering Christmas and all that it is cracked up to be!
Idolizing – our big sister
Family photo drama – there is always one isn’t there?
It is now the weekend – and I am still in New York but - I am grateful for the family and friends that are now ours – proving that you don’t need to know someone for very long, for them to be an integral, important and special part of your journey.
I am also grateful for our Aussie friends who have remained true to us. They write to us on email and send us beautiful cards and gifts – remembering every celebration/birthday that we may have (when I grow up I am going to be just like Julie Keefe!) I am even included in the daily email plans for lunches and get togethers. A simple act on their part but the impact it has on me, knowing that I haven’t been forgotten, is tremendous. I love you my girls! You know who you are!
But I am most grateful for my family at home who have supported us in this journey. Of course there have been moments of underlying pushing and shoving to get us to return but they have never judged us and that has been a blessing.
I will always be ready to go home but in the meantime I will face the coming year with anticipation. Hoping that I can continue to share my gifts and make a difference, praying for a few blessings to come our way and remembering that life is truly dynamic – not static.
P.S. do you know how hard it is to get the self timer working just right?
Imagine another 6 photos in here until we got to this one…