Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The cancer journey, losing my dad

We are at the find stage of a very long 15 month cancer journey.  Unfortunately 9 years ago I walked a cancer journey with my mother too but thank God early detection meant we could put vile toxic chemo into her body and kill the cancer and keep the Mama. 

Chemo is brutal.  When my father-in-law got cancer in his late seventies I was convinced the chemo would kill him before the cancer did but old Basil managed to survive both and is now 82 and just fine.  His girlfriend (do you have a girlfriend when you are 82?) lost her husband to cancer too.  Basil lost his wife, Gary's mom to cancer over 20 years ago.  And we lost our Bee too who was only in her forties.  My list can go on and on.

How is it possible we can facetime each other across the world?   We have all this incredible technology most of which is beyond my understanding but someone gets cancer and they die??  When Pops was diagnosed on the 27th of August last year I did what we all do when faced with news like this: google.  Google everything I possibly could about pancreatic cancer (PC) and the news out there was pretty bleak.  Its the cancer with the highest mortality rate due to the late detection and very few cases where surgery is an option.  Most people die within 3-6 months.   The 5 year survival rate for stage 4 is given at 1%.  I suspect its zero but they have to put a tiny glimmer of hope in there.   My dad at age 67 being a stroke survivor with stage 4 PC and mets to the lungs with his old patched up heart of 2 triple bypasses and numerous heart attacks was not given the best odds.  They just sent him home to die and we did not think he would make last Christmas. 

His response was a big fat f*ck you to his death sentence and he decided he was going to beat this monster.  He would throw whatever he could at his cancer because he had a whole lot of life to live and places to go.  We used the same sweet kind oncologist who saved my mom our beloved Dr Loots.   Life became about tumour markers and blood tests and numerous visits.  Bouts of grief and then mad hope junkie moments as I would get swept up in his cycle of hope.  Maybe?  Just maybe he could beat the odds.  My dad is the Man van Staal.  He is one stubborn bugger who loves a good fight like his grandson.  He should have died many times in his life. 

When the first chemo stopped working we hit the second type of chemo but this one was horrendous and left him exhausted and feeling horrendous.  And then he got an embolism which could have easily killed him too but he caught that one in time.  Unfortunately it left him too weak and we had to stop the chemo and were unable to get the port placed.

And so began his real decline and the loss of irrational hope.  Pops finally had a battle he could not win.  He became smaller and smaller and weaker and weaker.   He used to be over a 100kg, he is now 60kg.  Once again the frantic googling began of signs of death.  The not knowing when he will pass is very hard.  Every time I read a symptom and get an idea of time my dad does not follow the rules and defies the odds as always and stays the exception.  He will die at home.  I am grateful to my mom who has given him that gift, an incredibly hard gift to give.  I am also grateful they have brilliant medical aid that pay for the hospital bed and the nursing staff.

This end is very drawn out.  2 months ago he ate a few mouthfuls a day.  4 weeks ago he stopped eating completely.  Like zero food for 28 days??   He cannot even sit up he is so weak.  But still he stays?   We wait every day expecting it to be the day.  I have days when I am so very sad, I have days when I feel like I can't stand one more day of this slow suffering.  My exhausted mother cannot continue like this day after day.  Their are good parts of course.  The closeness of my family.  The humour we all share which is mostly inappropriate but keeps us going.  The sweet gentle side of my dad I never knew existed.  He is so polite and nice.  He could be a real arsehole when he was well.  And we were not close growing up with little physical affection or I love you's.

Now, now I get to rub his bony back and massage his hip and legs which aches.  I rub his arms and skinny little legs and kiss his face and old head.  Every time I leave I say 'I love you Dad' and he says 'I love you my girl.'   I want to know that is the last thing he said to me.  So we wait in limbo unable to plan anything like Christmas carefully watching my mom who has to dig so deep to care for her husband of 49 long years.  He gets very confused and talks the weirdest stuff and we stay infinitely patient with him just going along with what he says.  I love this sweet kind gentle man who I finally have access to after feeling on the outside forever.  The price to pay for that closeness is way too high and I would rather have him alive and well but I will take beauty from ashes.

My sister and brother arrive the end of December so perhaps on some unconscious level he is waiting to have all his kids around him.  I have been glad they have been spared the sight of him so incredibly thin and frail although I know how hard it is for them to be away.  I am so fortunate to have the family I have.  So grateful for my father's close friends and brother who have been incredible with him and my mom.   My Uncle Brian who keeps us all laughing.  My brave, stubborn, fighting dad who I love.  We call him Laz after Lazarus because he keeps rising from the dead.  Mom is Florrie (Florence Nightingale) as she cares for him.  Florrie & Laz, what a team.  Mimi & Pops.  Okie & Dokie.  I can't imagine the one without the other but its the end of the line now.   We salute and release our Pops and give him our blessing to step off the battlefield and sleep forever.  My Dad, what a legend. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Poverty of idleness/recreation

What I wrote on my magical holiday.  I am ready for another!

I have learned many interesting things in my 6 years of studying and 46 years of life.  Learning about poverty is a core focus in social work studies and all the different theories.  One of them is by a Chilean man called Max-Neeff who identified 10 fundamental human needs.  A lack of any of them is recognized as a poverty and causes us to act to fulfill that need.  He has the obvious ones like poverty of subsistence and freedom but then he also has poverty of idleness as well as of transcendence or spirituality which he places of equal importance.

I am typing this while on my magical little holiday on my bed with my big mozzie net all around.  Like a little tent.  Sadly the back of my thighs are on fire as I did not reapply my sunblock while snorkeling and now I can hardly sit.  Hurts like a bitch!   But back to my point:  Before my trip I had my hair done and my hairdresser remarked it was the first time she had seen me without my laptop or textbooks.  I am always working and always busy trying to fit in the 100 beans in my 80 capacity jar.   Sometimes they spill over and sometimes the pressure of all those beans threaten to crack that jar.  I knew I just had to hang on till the 30th of October this year.  I had planned a road trip with my dog Goose as my reward to myself.  I was going to be deliberate and take some time out after literal years of being busy.  Somehow the road trip became a beach holiday and I looked at Vietnam, Bali or Thailand.  With just 7 days the prospect of a 24 hour journey didn’t appeal plus I did not have lots of moola saved so I found Zanzibar.  Another good word…Zanzibar.

When I booked my trip my dad was still doing well but has deteriorated since then.  I had such angst about going.  What if, what if…??  And then just before I left Frances lost her mom who was diagnosed 2 months before my dad.  We have travelled this journey together finding solace and comfort and understanding with and in each other.  I also got really sick but my trip was booked and paid for and so I went.  And now I sit albeit gingerly with my bright pink thighs but even after such a short time, I feel myself heal and breathe again.  My anxiety and sorrow and exhaustion was over whelming.    I felt broken.  And now I feel like I can exhale. I am so so grateful.  To myself for recognizing what I needed and being brave enough to go off alone.  For my sisters and brother and mom who basically pushed me on that plane never considering I need to stay.  And Gary for understanding and my kids for being so excited for me. 

Under the layers of busy and mothering and studying and grief and worry is a person who has this enormous capacity for joy and I found her again.  I am known as a HSP.  A highly sensitive person.  I feel everything with great intensity and I am a total empath so others pain becomes my own.  I can’t drink coffee due to the caffeine or take an advil or any meds.  I am allergic to the hypo-allogeneic tape the physios use and micropore tape and the tape they use under my eyes when I have my lashes done.  My entire system is so finely wired but the plus side, is when it’s good, its very good.  A simple swim in the ocean every morning is a source of enormous delight and I literally grin as I swim up and down so frikking happy.  I know real life awaits me back home and the girls write exams but this little trip has been amazing.  Like washing my dirty windscreen so I can actually sit back and drive and not hunch over trying to peer through the window.  I won’t allow myself to get so poor again re time out.  I can take weekends off now and read books and journal and watch crap TV.  I can swim and beach and hike along with my busy life.  I don’t regret studying for a single second but I do wish I had done a short course instead of a bloody 6 year honours degree.  What an arsehole?  And every year I was in too deep to stop. 

I have loved chatting to people who I would never normally talk to.  The locals are genuinely friendly.  Not the tourist ‘have to be fake’ friendly.  My fave barman Shehe and I talk for ages about our countries and cultures.  Meeting the Israeli young guys was definitely a highlight.  We laughed a lot and spoke shit and had fun.  We will probably never cross paths again but life threw us together for a tiny moment in time and all barriers of age, language, culture and gender melted away and we were just tourists hanging out.   Today I was alone on the trip so 2 guys from the tour company joined.  The one guy is 19 and we could park off on this little boat and talk about random stuff.  That powerful human connection we so often miss because we have our people around us.  

I have 2 days left and done all the tours I want to so I plan to savour them.  My last few swims in the early morning ocean.  Hanging at the pool reading my book.  I might do another bike ride if my butt and legs stop burning.  I am not bound by any schedule or the wants, needs and desires of others.  Being alone is so vital.  Liking your own company.  I was not sure what to expect but I know this week has been an absolute gift from God/the universe/karma.  Just life in general putting back so I can stand up again.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  My gratitude knows no bounds for this precious little trip.


PS:  It’s my last night.  I can’t connect to the wi-fi on my laptop for some reason so I will post this at home.   What a magical week and what a difference it has made in my life.  I found what I was seeking but that’s yet another post for another day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Coming full circle

I have found the answer to the question.  The secret.  The meaning of life.  And no, I am not stoned or on any mind altering substances.  It is a little like the revelation I got 8 years ago when I was journaling and trying to figure out where I would send Daniel to high school.  A really simple answer.

But back to the big question, what is the meaning of life?  The meaning of life is to never stop searching.   To question what you know and why you know it.  To seek the truth and wisdom from many sources and people.  We construct our truth based on our perception and on our concept of self.   As organic beings we are continuously changing and growing and we cannot wear this same truth all our lives.  It will no longer fit or be too worn and tattered for new circumstances.  We evolve and change and grow and our truth grows along too.  And when it doesn’t, we stagnate and become hard and arrogant and judge others not stopping to have a peek at what they have learned or know to see if we can take a little piece of their wisdom and mix it with our own.

Nothing is cast in stone so staying flexible means we can absorb the unpredictable.  There is give so we don’t snap when faced with something we did not order, did not anticipate.   18 years ago on this day I landed up in Camps Bay United Church.  I found the love side of God that day, the Jesus bit without the religion and rules and guilt.  And then ironically the very freedom and love I found got smothered by rules and what others thought I should be doing or thinking.   For many, many years until that constant nagging about who I knew God to be, was greater than this intolerance of anything different and lack of acceptance of all people.   I took another few years to figure out I did not need a label to define my faith.

When we take the truths out the bible that resonate with us we are accused of cherry picking.  Why would I not choose the most beautiful sweetest shiny fruit?  Why would I not ask questions or wonder if a story is literal or a parable? In every book I read.   I can’t remember how many authors the bible has but I know not one of them was perfect.  They all had flaws and unique perceptions based on who they were, and what was going on at that time hundreds and thousands of years ago.  It was their interpretation of what they felt God was revealing to them.  They were imperfect men.  Much of it aligns with universal truth and much of it reveals the pure love of God.  Those bits I pick.  Universal truth and cultural relativity.  In other books I find different bits of wisdom and I mesh them all together to make my own book of all that sits well with my soul.   For those who believe every single word that’s ok too, that’s your truth you can live with which fits in with your life and soul.  Just don’t get so hung up on the rules you forget the love bit, the Jesus bit.


So the meaning of life is found in the question and the quest to answer it.  The journey is the destination.  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hot and stormy

The weather, not what I am doing right now.  I am actually sitting on Gary's side of the bed.  If I face the bed, the LHS is mine.  The RHS is his.  This is anywhere we go and we have been fortunate to travel quite a bit sharing big white soft linen hotel beds around the world.  It was never a conversation or a discussion, we each had our side.  And last night I slept on his side.  I don't know if it has any meaning.  I think too much, you might have noticed.

I went to see my psyche on Tuesday.   Gary and I go once a month for marriage maintenance.  People give me 'that look' when I tell them we go which I find quite odd as going when the shit has hit the fan is too late.  But I digress, I told him I needed to go alone and even though he actually loves her and she loves him, (true story) he was delighted not to be shrunk by our shrink.  In chatting to her I realize that being self-aware and having a theoretical knowledge of one's emotions is quite different to allowing myself to feel them.   Analytical knowledge and feelings just don't line up regardless of how we make them fit.

I am going to write loads while I am here.  I have been craving writing for ages, catching all these thoughts in my head and turning them into words in the hope I make a pattern and I can figure it all out a little.  I love words.  I am a word porn addict.  We are a certain species us word porn people and we find beautifully written pieces or quotes on FB and irritate some by posting them and delight others.  Vomit.  Isn't that a good gross word.  Not beautiful but it SOUNDS like vomit.  Exquisite....you see.  It sounds exquisite.  And no, I am not stoned.  I have always had this irrational fear of going to jail.  Wearing an orange jumpsuit and eating awful food and having a lesbo girlfriend with a shaven head and numerous piercings.  So I am packing for my Zanzibar trip and measuring out my daily meds including my medical cannabis which helps my clenchy jaw and I suddenly remember its not legal everywhere.  Fortunately I checked as even though its 8 little low dose capsules, what if dogs sniffed my bags and they locked me up and I was on the cover of YOU magazine.  So no, not stoned, just waffeling on.  And I can you know because this is my holiday and the weather is so bad I have to hide in my room. 

They gave me a stunning room but I think it might be too loud later as it is opposite the jetty bar.  When they opened the door the storm was so fierce the lamp crashed off the side table and now I have a teeny prick in my foot so I think I stood on a little piece.  Prick, another good word.   So far in my zen time I have eaten, swam quite far in the pouring rain in the sea which I admit was a little scary fighting the current coming back, thought of what I need to think about, almost decided to think of my future job, and then decided to write some crap first before I do some real posts.  I need to write about my studies.  About my work.  About Grief.  Grief sounds like grief.  Like you breathe out the end of the word.  Ffffff. 

OK, I am signing off.  I know I have been a bad zenner so far but I it will take a few days before I can unwind.  Zenner is not a good word.  Shit, day 1 is almost over.  Making yourself relax is like making yourself like a boy when you don't.  Back in the day.   Ah, a cocktail!  That will work. Going to the bar in the storm.  Cheers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

In the absence of Ana

I have always wanted to foster or adopt and have always wanted 4 children.  I really envy mothers who have 4 plus kids.  This was not Gary's wish and marriage is a partnership so I was forced to let that 4th child go.  Being the person I am, I had run with this idea and imagined her entire life.  She was already born, she was a little black girl who was 2 years old at the time and I would be her mom. I was adamant about her gender, I was afraid of a teenage black boy.  Of what a male black child could become.   Yes I know it's totally f*cked up!

My daughter's name was Ana and 7 years ago I had to let the dream of her go.  She would be 9 now and in grade 3 or 4.  I was sad and cross and letting go of a child you never had in the first place is a very difficult process.  When you go through the process of adoption you have to get your heart and mind and soul ready.  My kids were all on board, my mom came with me to the adoption agency and was ready for another little grandchild. I had been praying for her and writing her letters as I did not want her to feel left out that her siblings had a preggie book before they were born and she did not have one.   She even had a bedroom that would be all hers

Gary would have allowed me this daughter but to force a man to adopt a child, a cross cultural adoption, it's just not right.  He just didn't want another child.  So I went against this enormous want, a want that felt so 'God' and I let her go and closed that book and moved on.  Time passed and I was super happy with my 3 kids and decided to study and threw myself into that.  Somewhere in the journey of my studies I got over my fear of black men.  I know its shameful, that fear.  That prejudice.  But it was there and now it is totally gone and my discernment and gut is still honed for danger but from anywhere and anybody who makes the hairs on my arms prickle.  I have always wondered why God placed such a strong, strong urge to adopt a child and then not grant the same desire to my husband?

Today I had to tell the boys at Bright Lights I would be leaving the end of the month.  My internship is up.  I get to work and the day kids and some girls are there too.  I have been involved there for two years, building trust, building relationship and waiting for the damaged ones to come to me, to open up.  I never force a hug or get into someone's space.  Some pulled me in from day one.  Others kept their distance.   I get out the car today and I am Bieber at a tween party.  Big smiles and big hugs from the hardiest of kids.  The little ones clamber up my long legs and squirm until they in my arms. The big ones give me a hug while maintaining their coolness at the same time.

I sat in the sun with them in their play park and we chatted about me going but doing monthly fun outings.  Putt putt and swimming and the beach and horse riding and sports.  This Saturday we are VIPs at a boxing match.  I hate boxing but for them, I will go.  When I drove home one had snuck in my car giving me a frikking heart attack.  I turfed him out the car and felt so very lucky that I had these 2 years with these boys.   Black and coloured naughty teenage boys.  The very kids who I feared who God then placed in my path and gave me His huge unconditional love for.  

I never got to adopt my Ana.  I never had the 4 kids I so badly wanted.  But I have so much more.  I have a whole home of boys who make me laugh and challenge me and stretch me and break my heart.  I am their Tannie Mel and they are my boytjies.  I am so very, very lucky.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rainbow flags, individualism and the cross

I went to church this morning, my 'old' church.  A few years ago that statement would be totally insignificant and simply routine.   I have always been a square peg in a round hole when it comes to church but I loved my church and I loved the people who went there.  As a church family we had been through so much losing people we loved on the journey.  Even when things were incredibly tough and my very close friends left, I stayed.   And today, was awesome.

I stayed in church through all my questioning and debating and continued to be passionate supporter of LGBTQ rights while simultaneously loving Jesus.  In fact it was because of my love for Christ my only response to any people group, HAD to be love otherwise what was the point of my faith??  My studies further changed my mind set and we learned about constructivism where people construct their own truth based on their perception of reality as well as the world as THEY know it.  We do not have one great universal truth, we have what is true for us and find like minded people who share that truth.  To tell anyone else what they believe in, their very faith and core, is actually a lie and they are deceived, is really disrespectful in my eyes and somewhat arrogant even if intentions are pure.  This is all my opinion of course.

A few years ago I sat in church praying and thinking and asking a million questions as always and I felt God say Just Love.  That's all you have to do.  Not decide who is right or wrong or worthy or going to heaven or not.  My only job I had to do as a follower of Christ, was loving people.  Although I try to avoid the excessive use of hashtags, I will often do a #justlove on my posts as this is what it is all about for me.  Ah the freedom that comes with that is amazing.  It is God's greatest commandment and for me, negates all others.   My filter is always the love of Christ.  The bible for me is a book that has some interesting truths and ideas but it is still a book written by men and even the most extreme Christian has to admit no man was perfect except for Christ.  So a book written in a foreign language over two thousand years ago by imperfect men cannot ever replace the truth of love for me and what I believe the spirit of God is telling me.   It has been used for hundreds of years to do terrible harm to many people and to justify hate which is the very opposite of Christ.  It is ironic and sad that people who claim to follow Christ will use the book over the love and kindness and common sense for their fellow human being.  Actually they really do follow Him and believe vehemently they are being obedient but for me, any intolerance or hate cannot co-exist with my faith.  

Apart from the gay issue, I have the death with dignity issue.  I am passionate about that too. Allowing someone to die in a humane way rather than have them suffer yet many churches will use a book to justify someone suffering an awful undignified death so they can be 'right' and 'obedient.' WTF?  How is it ok to let an animal go rather than watch them desperate for mercy but we won't allow people that final choice.  It is NOT ok.

Trump and the church?  Nope, don't get it.  If the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control then how on earth are you seeing this in that man?  Where is this Christian character millions and millions are proclaiming?  The damage this man has done to the church is massive.  He makes people want to vomit.  If he shows the character of Christ then we clearly have different religions.  

Science and creation?  I believe in both.  I do not believe the world is 6000 years old.  I do not believe in a literal wooden boat and a guy who built it and somehow captured 2 of every species which then bred on this boat while everyone else drowned.  No disrespect to those who do believe it and maybe one day when I get to heaven I will need to apologize to poor Noah but I don't think my belief or disbelief in bible stories is a major or particularly relevant in my life and walk with God.  I believe how I live my life, how I treat people and the earth and my body is important.  Gratitude, humility, kindness.  Not being an arsehole.  And when I am, saying sorry and then forgiving myself and trying my best not to be an arsehole again.

Two years ago I got really hurt by someone I trusted implicitly and I left the church.  Everything I thought I knew felt like a lie and I could not stay.  I kept my Jesus and continued my walk but I missed the fellowship.  I missed my friends, my church family.  I kept my bestie Mish and close friends but lost others.  I have stayed away for too long. They accepted my gay loving, opinionated, Halloween celebrating, left wing theology and let me be.  They long gave up trying to change my stubborn questioning mind.  Basically, I have pretty much made up my own unique religion to incorporate all my values and stay true to myself and who I know Jesus to be. I loved being at church this morning, I loved seeing old friends and I loved the message preached with humour and sincerity and humility.  I don't know if I will come every Sunday but I will definitely come again and that feeling of coming home is priceless.  I thought I had to choose, loving Jesus my way and living it 100% or staying in church. Turns out I can do both.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sofia Josephine Novitzkas turns 13!!

A new teenager in the house?  Say it isn’t so!  Happy 13th birthday my Sofes.  It feels like yesterday I gave birth to you and you just gazed around the room peaceful and calm.  You were the most delicious baby.  Mimi said I never gave anyone else a turn and I never put you down for at least a year.  I fell madly, deeply, utterly in love and was enchanted by your happy nature.   I remember having a revelation of God’s immense love for me based on the love I felt for you.   I felt breathless but it was probably because I wanted to inhale you, breath you right in.  Big big love!

You are such a fascinating blend of characteristics with all these complex layers I am privileged to know.   Watching you grow up and being your Mom is one the best parts of my life.  Your sense of humour and sharp wit.  That sassiness that sneaks in till I give you the stink eye and you give me your sheepish dimpled grin.  I love your individuality, your refusal to be pressured by what others think or do.  You are your own woman and you know your worth. 

You are about to embark on a whole new chapter at Rhenish with old friends and new friends.  Stoked for you that Ashleigh got in too!  And how cool to finally be at school with Dani?!   Enjoy the new adventure and new friends, stay kind and thoughtful and be careful of the bitch clique, it is easy to get into the whole exclusion game but always put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think how it would feel for you in the same situation.

Watching you dance is just magical.  Daddy and I look at you on that stage with your huge smile and agile fluid body and we wonder where the heck you got it from??  Listening to you recite poetry and sing solos at Eistedfodds?  Our kid?   Jiu Jitsu with Daddy when you kick his arse!  You have all these amazing gifts and talents God has blessed you with.  Continue to work hard at them but stay grateful and humble.  Next year you get to try soccer and water polo and all these new and exciting opportunities.  Make the most of your high school, it flies past.

We love you our spunky fabulous unique strong teenager.  Enjoy your special day of this big milestone becoming a teen.  My Sofielicious!

All my love,
Mom
xxx


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rebeka Scarlett Novitzkas turns 15

I used to be really good and write you a long birthday letter every year on my blog so you can read them all one day in the future.  I might have skipped the odd year!!  But lets not focus on those random missing years because today is what counts and it is finally your birthday, the WHOLE day!
This morning I gave you 3 times when I was particularly proud of you but then I kept on thinking of more and more.  It is never about grades or trophies or medals for me.  Those are just a bonus.  It is your strength of character, your integrity, your kindness.  It is your willingness to put yourself out there and try things even when you know you won't be that girl of the match or dancer in front.

Becks when you started dancing this year I was beyond proud of you.  You and I are awkward and inflexible and shy when it comes to dancing.  But that is where the commonalities stop because you, are brave.  You danced anyway.  You knew you would get hidden at the back and get a few sniggers but you danced anyway because you loved it.  That takes guts and I promise you while you were not the sassiest or best dancer, you were SO lovely on that stage.  And it wasn't just me who thought so in case you accuse me of bias!   Playing the lead in your school play?!  You used to be so shy so to watch you in that pink dress being on stage, Daddy and I just couldn't believe that was OUR girl.  So many times, so many occasions of being brave and just doing it.

I love how we say things in exactly the same way at the same time.  I love how I stay your mom but our friendship develops.  I know we joke about being besties but its true.  Hanging out with you is one of my favourite things to do.  Chatting and laughing and being happy and sad together.  Knowing each other and picking up a vibe instantly.  Our true selves laid bare because we know its the safest place to be.  I get you, you get me.

I am grateful for many things but one of the biggest is your awesome group of girlfriends.  I know last year was really hard for you and it was my daily prayer, you finding your tribe.  And now you have!  Fun girls who make you happy and share your values.  Don't worry about boys, that will come at the right time.   That is another prayer by the way.  I have him stored away for a decade but that guy who is funny, sporty and loves family and God and kids and animals and is ambitious and will adore you, he is out there and I am trusting he comes into your life at the right time.

Right now you enjoy your awesome school (SO jelly!) and your friends and soccer and life saving and being insanely lazy watching endless episodes of Greys.  And know if you decide you really do want to be a doctor, Daddy and I will help you gain your points to get into med school and support you 100%.  Dr Rebeka Novitzkas....I like it.  Whatever you decide to do I know you will do it with excellence and passion and integrity the way you live your life.

Have a very special birthday my beautiful girl.  I love you. I like you, I admire you, I respect you, I cheer for you and I support you in whatever you choose to do.  I am honoured to be your mom and watch you grow up.  I thank God for His favour and protection on your life and trust it will be part of your existence all the days of your long life.  Happy 15th Birthday Rebeka Scarlett.

Mom x