Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Letter to Bobbin - seven years old

Hey there Baby Cakes,

You are waking up to $2 from the tooth fairy and another year older today. In the future when you're looking back, I think the first six months of 2020 will stand out as a pivotal part of your childhood. 

But let's go back a bit first and get a few highlights. You came first in all three of your events in the ISKA tournament, sparring, sword fighting, and sumo. There were only three competitors in each event so it was a round robin style and you won each of your bouts. On paper it makes you state champion yet again, which I will never not find hilarious. You went on to absolutely nail your green belt grading, being one of only a few who knew it all on the day and didn't need the instructors giving hints or demonstrating. You're now up to your last tip on your green and will be heading for coloured tips next - I wonder if you'll be a brown belt for Christmas? Maybe the new year? You might be grading on the mats at the same time as Tricks!

Or maybe you'll take up a new sport? You've been getting in to rollerskating and rollerblading lately, after being gifted the coolest pair of pink sequined rollerskates from our friends. You will be having your first out-of-the-house birthday party at Rollerdrome on the weekend with a few of your friends and you can show off your new Rollerblades then, too.

You attended your first official concert with us as family at the ACDC Highway To Hell Tour extravaganza along Canning Highway. It was proof that bogan pride can in fact be genetically inherited. You. Did. Not. Stop! We joined in on smashing the Guinness World Record for the most air guitarists playing along at once, so don't forget to add that to your trophy cabinet - it's an air trophy so it won't take up much room. As the trucks rolled by with each new act you were on someone’s shoulders singing at the top of your lungs with your horns up, rocking out HARD. You got SO in to it that I could see flashes of your future (it was a bit scary). I thought you might get tired or bored but you did not stop the entire night, and partied all the way home too.

You started year one and it’s been a bit hit and miss. The work is easier because your last teacher saw how much you liked to be challenged and pushed you to go far. This year the assessments for IEPs only happened half way through term two and by then you were already bored and had gone backwards, and then a lil thing called Covid happened. 

We did some awesome homeschool activities, went on mini adventures (before everyone else pulled out of school - so we had Perth to ourselves!), and played a lot. You and your brother came up with the most creative games. A favourite of mine was when your house was the swing set and his was the driveway - he came over, knocked on your door and asked if you'd like to hear about god! I guess you guys overheard me singing Book of Mormon songs.

You really quite liked isolation. You wrote letters to your friends and we delivered them on bikes. You and Tricks made rainbows on the driveway with chalk like every other kid in the world, and then spotted teddies on the 168 walks around the streets we did each week to escape the house. You found great amusement in watching your grandparents learn how to videocall, and of course, the whole Nanna throwing chocolate off her balcony to you shenanigans that I wrote about in Tricky's birthday letter.

There were many other things, but they have all been dwarfed by the death of our beautiful Sprocket. You two were inseparable from the moment he noticed you as a strange new lump of flesh in the house when you were barely 24 hours old. You are driven towards all animals, but Sprocket, although technically a family dog, was yours. You were the last of us to meet him and yet he became yours, and you his.

As his pain grew you would write him endless get well soon cards and shower him in even more attention (if that was even possible). There were a few times in the last 18months that he had been unwell and we thought it might be close, so you and I had many conversations about death and dying.

We all went to the vet to ask how much longer they thought he had, and the vet said if we were thinking of it enough for us to have all gone in together, it usually meant that the time was right. I had said we were just going to talk to the vet and then all of a sudden it was happening in a few hours - I regret it. I feel like I lied to you, even though I genuinely didn't think it was something they would just do. He was in pain, and it was the right thing to do. I'm so sorry.

You used your pocket money to buy a little yellow dog charm for Sprocket and we put it on his collar. It tinkled as he walked and you were so happy to see it there. Your favourite colour, your favourite animal on your favourite pet. We set about creating and cementing in memories in the few hours we had left with our boy. You walked him around slowly as his legs were very sore. You sat and cuddled. You shook hands. You fed him a naughty final meal, his first ever cheeseburger. You laughed. You cried. You would smile and then a sadness would wash over you as you realised these were all 'lasts' and you were about to lose your shadow. Your best friend.

We had spent many hours talking about death in the months leading up to this, so you knew what was happening... yet at the same time, you didn't. You pointed out that it was good we sat where we did because when it was time to go, the car was right there and he wouldn't have far to walk on his sore legs... but he wasn't coming home, my love.

You patted and snuggled him gently as he drifted off to sleep and you told him how much you loved him. When his heart stopped you climbed on top of him, sobbing, leaving tear stains on his fur.

After a while you sat up and started shaking his head, slowly at first then more insistent, as if trying to wake him. You jiggled his legs; checked his eyelids; lifted his face to yours and examined him. When he didn't respond, you climbed back on top of him, wrapping your arms and legs all the way around and would not move.

Dad and Tricks left, and it was you, your Perth Pop and I still there for a while; stroking his soft fur and trying to commit everything about his physicality to memory. After half an hour it was time to go. As long as I live I will never forget how tightly you held on to him. As soon as I'd get one arm off you'd cling back on, not wanting to leave your best friend behind. I had to physically pry you from him as you wailed. With your legs wrapped around my waist and your arms reaching over me for him, you screamed for him as we left the room.

In the car park you had what I can only describe as a panic attack. You were clawing at your throat and gasping that you couldn't breathe. I held on to you and cried with you, sheltering you from some of the comments being made by another person there.  I showed you a photo of Sprocket on my phone and you calmed. In the tiniest voice you sang "Sprocky Sprocky ding ding". It was barely audible. Over and over again you sang it. You didn't say much else other than some yes and no answers; it felt like the only way you could communicate right then, so I just sung it back to you.

You created a shrine with pictures, cards and letters, all saying how much you love him and wish he would come back. Every single craft item you made was a dog. Every game you made up was about dogs. You made him from cardboard and brought him back to life in endless puppet shows. You made him from stacked kick shields and attached his lead. You wore his collar for weeks afterwards, sometimes even on outings, the little yellow dog charm you'd bought him tinkling as you walked. And you kept singing your soft, mournful Sprocky Sprocky ding ding song.

When his ashes arrived home you placed his collar around them and would not let them out of your sight. You fell asleep hugging them many nights and I still find them in your room sometimes. To this day he features in all your art work. You have asked me if you'll ever forget him and I can't imagine you ever will. You have a bond that not even death can break, my love. You carry him in your heart at every moment and I think you always will. Your heart has a dog-shaped hole in it, and you really want it to be filled. One day, baby girl. I promise.

You are smart and sassy, and much more sensitive than you make yourself out to be. You are as loud as can be and go one million miles an hour. You can’t stop talking, can’t sit still, and are distracted by anything and everything, particularly your own reflection! You make the silliest faces and half of our photos of you are so ridiculous it’s fantastic. You astound us daily with your vocabulary and understanding of the world around you. You are strong and resilient in the face of complicated medical issues that cause you to be in pain every day. You are confident and headstrong, kind natured and laugh-out-loud funny. You push all of my buttons and you make the world a better place. Happy seventh birthday, my pocket rocket missy moo.

Love Mum x

P.S. You're probably wearing glasses or contact lenses right now when you're reading this because with your genetics it's practically a given. They're annoying, right? I need you to know you chucked a little tanty the other week when you had an eye test and got 20/20 vision. You have worn fake glasses on and off  for years to do important work and reading, and lately you've been wearing them as much as you can. You were so envious that Tricks was getting some and you weren't!

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