The Yays! (and Boos) of a Mixed Race Marriage

While our families didn’t oppose our interracial marriage, we were the first in both our families to marry outside of our race, so they did have a few concerns. Daddyken’s parents were worried that our mixed kids would be bullied at school because one, they’d ‘look’ different, and two, they’d be taking rice to school instead of sandwiches. My parents were worried that this Westerner was just out for some fun – the ‘love you and leave you’ stereotype they had of a Westerner. It didn’t help that both sets of parents lived in suburbs not conducive to extensive interactions with cultures wildly outside of their own.

My mother-in-law coped by reading anything in the newspapers about everything remotely connected to ‘Asian-ness’ and reading it out to me… I remember telling Daddyken that I’d never been so reminded that I was an Asian person than when I was with her! And my mum told everyone that her daughter’s fiancée was a gweilo (ghost or white man)… BUT he was a really nice one.

I think that even if you marry someone from your own race, you’re still going to encounter some challenges, not only between yourselves but also the extended family. The merging of two different extended families who didn’t necessarily choose to be together isn’t always going to be a smooth ride. But naturally, when you add the extra ingredient of two different races, it’ll inevitably add some extra bumps to the journey.

For the record, we’ve just had our 14 year wedding anniversary, we live in an area where mixed kids form a sizable chunk of the population, and while the Cherubs love rice (and Panda does sometimes take fried rice to school), they also love their vegemite and cheese sandwiches.

So to celebrate, I’ve put together my top 4 list of advantages and disadvantages of an interracial marriage (I know 4 is an unlucky number for the Chinese, but 4 + 4 = 8, and 8 is a favourite number of the Chinese because it means ‘make a fortune’ : )).

Note that I could wax lyrical about the amazing romantic-ness of the union of two different cultures etc etc, but life isn’t lived in the serendipitous clouds all the time – let’s get into the nitty-gritties.

Boo for Interracial Marriages:

1. Separate togethers: My in-laws don’t speak any Asian languages, and my parents’ English is good for general conversations about the weather. Awkward for everyone when there’s a family get-together. As a result, we have separate family gatherings… some may say that’s a good thing though, and I admit I deliberated a bit when trying to decide whether it was a Yay! Or a Boo : )

2. Language Block: The Cherubs can be a little shy with my parents because they aren’t able to fluently communicate in Cantonese with them. I take some of the blame for that because my Cantonese isn’t so flash either, and I speak to the Cherubs in English. I’m reluctant to send them to Chinese school though because I hated it when I my parents sent me to one when I was young.

So my parents converse with the Cherubs in broken English, with a few Chinese words thrown in, and the Cherubs use the few Chinese words they know whenever they see my parents, like hello, good morning, good night and good bye. And I think they all also assess the situation they’re in and just bluff their way through.

3. Pure Misunderstandings: I’ve perfected the outwardly calm, nonchalant, show-your-teeth-slightly smile, while frantically messaging Daddyken with my eyes and (hopefully) subtle movements of my head to give him an ‘ABORT. I REPEAT: ABORT LINE OF QUESTIONING/COMMENT/JOKE IMMEDIATELY’ signal.

It may have happened many, many years ago, but don’t put China.

Japan.

And War. together in the same sentence to a Chinese man who grew up in the aftermath of that conflict.

Also, try translating a joke into another language. There are SO many things that can get lost in translation that it gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. Best case scenario is that the joke just falls flat and there’s an awkward silence. I repeat, BEST CASE.

4. The Issue Of Prawns: The Cherubs don’t like prawns. What Chinese kid doesn’t like prawns, albeit a half Chinese kid? Just eat half a prawn then. One cannot thrive on vegemite or cheese sandwiches alone, says this Chinese mother. I blame Daddyken for that. The White half of them has got the Chinese half in a headlock over prawns. I’m working on this difficult situation and will keep you posted.

Yay! for Interracial Marriages:

1. Cultural Collision: The Western side has an advantage with this culture thing because we live in Australia. However, I’m very close to my family and we live a few minutes away from both my parents and sister, so the Cherubs get the full Chinese family experience on a regular basis.

Our interactions with Daddyken’s family is very calm, orderly and planned. We ask how the other is, discuss the weather, what the other has been doing since we last met and how much rain each family has received in their respective locations. We eat quietly and the conversation is very polite.

As to my family? (Daddyken has a lot to say about this, but his main point would be that when he married me, he didn’t realise that he also said I do to my whole family) I’ll summarise: eating too much, having family members drop by all the time, any day of the week, any time – not necessarily to see us, maybe to get something out of the pantry that they need (even while we’re sleeping… yes, they have our house keys), cooking for 16 when there’s only 8 for dinner, being upfront and blunt about anything and everything (Your hair looks bad today or Those pants don’t suit you or Denim’s not in this winter and This doesn’t taste very good at all), an insane focus on eating all the time and the loud incessant conversations that overlap one another with no break in-between because everyone’s trying to say something and not willing to wait for an appropriate break in the conversation because frankly if you do wait you’ll never be able to get a word in and then apparently it’s just your bad luck you didn’t say something when you had the opportunity.

I like to think the Cherubs will grow up well-rounded.

2. Bridge of Pardons: Don’t like what the other is doing? Typical crazy Chinese people. Don’t understand why that’s happening? These white people have no idea. There’s a world of pardons that helps to smooth the bridge between our 2 families.

3. Happy obliviousness: Daddyken doesn’t understand many Chinese words except for gweilo, go lo (tall man) and a hand-full of random words that you wouldn’t be able to string together to make a coherent sentence. Which can have its advantages. For example:

Daddyken sat between my parents at dinner once, and mid-way through that dinner, my parents started arguing loudly and heatedly behind and across the front of him (I’d like to say that they fought over the top of him, but at 183cm tall, not many people would be able to do that, let alone two elderly Chinese people) about who dug up whose chives in a certain large black pot and now who won’t have any chives in their noodles and who should have marked that black pot in the corner with a sign so that there would be no confusion as to whether or not the large black pot was empty and who should have known…

Daddyken calmly ate his dinner, finished eating, thanked me for cooking and left the table. After they went home, I commented on the fight my parents had just had. When? and Really? Your family always speaks so loud and fast all the time I didn’t notice. So how did it go?

4. And the ultimate pièce de résistance: THERE’S NO FIGHTING OVER WHO’S HOUSE WE GO TO FOR CHRISTMAS OR CHINESE NEW YEAR!! Christmas is Daddyken’s domain, Chinese New Year is mine, and never the twain shall they ever, ever collide.

Pronunciations of the edible kind

Many years ago in my youth, I was a management consultant and worked in Italy at a multi-national beverage company for a few months.

I lived half an hour’s walk from the city centre in a serviced apartment with a pizzeria, bakery and gelateria across the road. I wasn’t keen on the rock hard bread they seem to like there, but the pizza and the pasta was amazing – I seriously still drool when I think about those meals. And don’t get me started on the gelateria’s spectacular seasonal gelato flavours or the fact that I shipped back 16 pairs of shoes… that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, after the first week of reveling in their glorious restaurants and gelato, I craved simpler meals back in my apartment. Not accustomed to supermarkets even back at home (I was living at home and my mum did all the cooking and shopping), I found the local Italian supermarket super confusing. So in the second week, my meals alternated between pizza from the pizzeria and canned tuna (because tuna in cans is easily recognizable and the canned tuna aisle was close the supermarket entrance) and pasta.

Another week went by and I craved some steak or chicken. I braved the supermarket again, but couldn’t find the meat section and I was too shy to ask because I couldn’t speak Italian. I’m sure the security cameras would have been following me – that small Asian woman is back again, walking up and down the aisles again, looking up and down and around again and then finally just paying for a tin of tuna. Again.

The local staff at work helped me with my Italian language skills during lunch later that week, emphasizing the importance of pronunciation. I marched into the supermarket that same afternoon and walked boldly up to a staff member at the back of the shop, brimming with my newly acquired confidence in the Italian language. Well, for buying meat anyway.

Scusi, car-ne? I said triumphantly.

He looked at me alarmed. No, no he said nervously.

Um… Car-ne? CAR-NE? (because of course, if you speak louder, they’ll be able to fully understand what you’re trying to say).

No, no! he repeated, shaking his head vigorously and looking somewhat distressed.

Determined, I repeated Car-ne! Car-ne! and gestured a little desperately at the shelves (avoiding the canned tuna aisle) and doing eating movements with my hands.

He seemed to grow a little frantic No, no, no! And then he paused. No bow bow. Another pause. Then he put his hands in front of him and impersonated a dog. No bow bow.

Ohhh… cue the lightbulb please.

Um… moo moo? Baa baa?  Um… oink oink?

Ah! He looked relieved. Card-ne! si! card-ne!

Wasn’t that what I had just said? Sort of?

Looking excited, he took me over to the refrigerated (why didn’t I think of that?) section and happily pointed to the lamb chops and steaks nicely packaged up, with minuscule pictures of the relevant protein on the front.

The next day, the local staff at work pointed out to me the difference in pronunciation between meat and dog. They also found it exceedingly amusing, while my Australian colleagues benefited from my gallant effort. But at least I got to have my steak and eat it.

Camping Glory

I am, at this very moment, basking in the glory of a victory.

Daddyken, for some weird primal reason, bought a tent a few years ago, presumably with the hope that I would eventually want to camp anytime soon. My requirements for a camping trip includes running water – both hot and cold for a shower and an actual flushing toilet – all within the confines of my own tent, decent cooking facilities, comfortable beds and not having to carry my own accommodation with me… requirements which funnily enough weren’t conducive to the type of camping trip he had in mind.

He and the Cherubs happily camped in the backyard for a few summers, while I communicated with them from within the comfortable confines of our house via a walkie-talkie. I thought it a most satisfactory state of affairs until I accidentally organised a day trip to Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Unfortunately it had camping facilities which I was impressed with, and then Daddyken played his For my birthday I would like to go camping card.

*#^%*%>!$^.

On Daddyken’s birthday, the day started out lovely – warm and sunny, with blue skies and serene fluffy white clouds above us. We drove 10 minutes to the ferry wharf, lugged our 4 sleeping bags, 1 camp chair, tent, snacks, dinner, 2 air mattresses, 1 mallet, air pump, clothes and other paraphernalia onto the ferry and in 5 minutes we were at Cockatoo Island. I know, I know – it’s not a bona-fide camping trip out in the bush where we’re communing and roughing it with nature – but that pull-along suitcase weighed a tonne ok?

We pitched our tent close to five women who had opted for the glamping option (tent, bed and chairs are already set up for you) and had just started a bottle of wine.

By the time we finished pitching our tent into the hard dry earth in the windy afternoon, the women were onto their second bottle of wine. At least.

The afternoon was idyllic. The Cherubs climbed down the rocks that surrounded the island and played in the water. We explored the island’s buildings which were mostly built by convicts, sandstone tunnels built during WWII, discarded ship yards (ships used to be built here for the war) and made seagulls furious by peering into their nests.

The evening sent the day-trippers home, and in the half-light of dusk, the island transformed into an amazing communal world where there were no fences to keep people from traipsing right across the front, back or side of your tent. Kids played handball and soccer in the open spaces, music wafted in from the wedding across the other side of the water, the women campers were still into the wine (we only ever saw them drinking by their tents, walking to the cafe to buy liquor or walking back from the cafe with liquor), kids scootered around, seagulls squawked, families cooked dinner on the BBQs, we ate our sushi (who wants to fuss with sausages when you can eat sushi purchased earlier that morning?), we admired the tents adorned with Christmas lights, toasted marshmallows in the bonfire and the Cherubs did not once ask to play on our phones.

And then night came.

A camper tripped over one of our pegs and confiscated it. With horrifying images of being executed in the dark of night by vengeful campers, I apologised profusely, retrieved our offending peg and hammered every peg in until they bent.   The change in temperature from day to night caused the Cherubs’ asthma to join the camp-out, so they coughed, wheezed and their noses ran.   For fear of being eaten alive by mozzies (and also execution by revenging campers) I zipped the tent up securely so we could slumber uncomfortably in an extremely small, hot and stuffy space not designed for unseasoned campers.    Memo to Seagulls: There is absolutely no need to SQUAWK all night. I get it that your rookery is close by and you’re trying to protect your chicks and eggs – but ALL night? Really? Don’t you need a rest so you can squawk even louder during the day since you’ve built your nests right next to the walkways of this island where at least a hundred people tramp through every day?    The volume of the dance music from across the water competed with the rhythmic coughs from the Cherubs.     Now I know why those 5 women drank all afternoon.     Did you know that not all campers sleep at a reasonable time and walk around discussing in high volume how the contract hasn’t been signed and so they won’t be able to go in extremely close proximity to the sound absorbing walls of your tent ?         We should have brought pillows because that would have helped Soccer Boy with his blocked nose and he wouldn’t have had a sore neck and woken me up each hour to reacquaint me with his woes.     For your information, Cockatoo Island is very well lit, so when you get up at 1 am to take your Cherubs to the toilet because they can’t sleep because it’s hot and stuffy and loud and they’ve got a runny nose and they’re not comfortable and you were just on that magical cusp of sleep – you won’t stumble around in the dark and trip over a tent peg (which should have been hammered into the ground properly in the first place).    The patter of rain on the roof of one’s own home is comforting, but the patter of rain on the tent roof IS NOT.    Also for your information, the first ferry of the day from Cockatoo Island back to your car which will take you back to your home where it’s quiet, you don’t have to rock on an air mattress with 2 wiggly boney kids, there’s pillows and no seagulls scream at you, DOES NOT start at 4 am. So when your Cherub tells you he wants to go home NOW, you can let him know that you’ve already made it very clear that even though you would also dearly love to get off this wonderful adventure that THEY all so excitedly embarked on – We. Can. Not.

And then morning arrived at 6:30 am courtesy of the violent rock of the air mattress as the Cherubs sat up and chatted like they slept like, well, angels all night.

Daddyken said Let’s never do this again.

I would have video taped that statement, but based on the night we had, I knew I didn’t even need to bat an eyelid. I couldn’t anyway, my eyes were so tired each time I blinked I ended up having a snooze.

We performed our toilette, ate breakfast, packed up and joined the throng of bleary eyed campers at the ferry wharf.

Happy Birthday.

Message Of A Thousand Thoughts

A friend of mine sent the following message:

“Come over for lunch one day before we move back, the renos are almost finished. We can have a swim and eat at the Country Club so I can get the most value out of this mind-numbingly exorbitant rent I’ve been paying these last few months.

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After you wrangle the kids to finish their breakfast, threaten to cut their screen time if they don’t stop fighting and raise your blood pressure trying to get them to school on time, meet me at my apartment after school drop off. It shouldn’t take you long since you won’t have the kids whining at you or fighting each other because someone took their red Lego piece which they absolutely need right NOW and no other red Lego piece will do, while you pack their drinks, snacks, swimmers and towels. You’ll just have to get your own stuff. You’ll just have one little bag. Remember those days?

But wait! There’s more! We’ll get to swim BY OURSELVES. Remember how that feels? No? I didn’t think so. Let me remind you – you get into your swimmers and then get into the water! Get it? You won’t have to wrestle with the kids while you pull their rashies over their heads as they protest that it’s too tight. You won’t have to bribe them to go to the toilet beforehand and then risk a melt-down as you stretch their goggles onto their heads and readjust for 20 mins until the goggles are just right. You won’t have to think about all that for one day. Imagine that!

It’s lovely to see the kids having fun, but this time you won’t have to stand in the water shivering while the kids jump and splash at you. You won’t have to piggy back them around the pool. You won’t have to have a heart attack if they go under water and not surface after 2 seconds. No readjusting their goggles because it’s too tight or the water’s going into them or it’s gone foggy.

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We can just swim how we want, when we want and for as long as we want. Breaststroke, freestyle or no style, it doesn’t matter. No interruptions! Except of course when we feel hungry. Not when they’re hungry and need a snack and it won’t be the snack you’ve packed and then – well, there won’t be ‘and then’ because that won’t happen on this day. Then let’s have a hot shower. Straight away. No shivering as we rinse the kids. No fights to dry and clothe them. No wet feet, no wet hair to dry. No Mum, why are you taking so long in the shower? I want to go. Hurry up I’m bored.

Oohh, the menu will be fantastic. We can order ANYTHING we want. It can be spicy, it’ll be non-kid friendly, it can be ANYTHING. Duck and fig salad. NZ snapper with mussel cream sauce. Confit duck with creamy potato mash. We won’t have to share. Any of it. What’s more, we can eat when the food’s still hot. No cutting up their food, no picking out green bits and no scraping sauce off. We don’t have to order chips. Unless we want to. And we won’t have to pay crazy money just so the kids can order deep fried chicken nuggets out of a packet straight from the freezer to you for $15.

Ahhh. Can things get any better? How about dessert? Not just vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. How about a lemon curd tart? Coconut and passionfruit slice? A macaron? Maybe even a flourless orange cake. With cream. All for ourselves with a quiet cup of tea. No Mum, I’m bored. I want to go home. Can we go home now? We won’t have to leave until we want to. Well, until it’s time for school pick up.”

Ok, the actual message read:

“Come over for lunch one day before we move back – the renos are almost finished.”

But I think the person who said “A picture says a thousand words” was limiting themselves to only one side of life.

Spring Feelings

Before I had kids I don’t think I ever appreciated the seasons – I never really sat down to appreciate the changes that they brought. Granted, Sydney’s seasons aren’t as dramatic as, say Canada, but we do have subtle changes. And thanks to the Cherubs, I’ve been forced to slow down and watch the seasons transition while I sit on the grass as they play at the park or while they take their time to decide if they’ll get changed now or in 2 hours or never.

Summer in Sydney is dry and hot. And when it’s humid, your energy’s zapped even before you wake up from an uncomfortably hot night where not even the fan can make a difference. But it does mean the beach, bbqs, slathers of sunscreen, your washing drying to a crisp in less than 3 hours on the clothes line (the smell of sun dried washing is spectacular!), ice-cream (especially hazelnut and pistachio) and ice cold home-made lemonade. Spring rolls with vermicelli salad, mangoes, rice paper rolls, lychees and fish and chips on the sand with the sea gulls eyeing your catch.

Autumn’s allure is when the deciduous trees drop their beautiful yellow, red, orange and brown forms all over the footpath. They’re soft underfoot, and then go crispy after a few weeks, and there’s a wonderfully satisfying crunchy-crunch-crunchy-crunch as the Cherubs walk and jump on them.

It’s a nice change from the draining heat of summer, a time when your skin gets a bit of a reprieve from the glare of the sun. This lovely mild weather is soothing and comfortable, but I can’t fully enjoy it because I know that the colder season is due. However, there are spaghetti and meat balls to be had, Mexican burritos, lemon grass pork with carrot and radish pickles and home-made pizza.

I love how the wattle tree blooms in winter, and how the late afternoon sun shines through the window in our back room and I can snatch a quick snooze in its rays before the Cherubs discover, yet again, my hidey spot. But I dislike the winter season because that’s when we all inevitably get sick.

It’s hard enough looking after yourself when you’re coughing and sneezing and your body aches all over, but try that with kids in the mix. In my youth, I would have just laid on the lounge and watched awful daytime TV, but now there’s no real down time even if you feel crappy, your head hurts and your nose is like a leaking tap.

Also, my ability to weather any chill factor has declined with the passing of each winter. So (now that we’re safely out of the winter season) I confess to wearing THERMAL UNDERWEAR in winter. And my goodness did I LOVE it. Because I was WARM and I was SMILING (I hasten to add though, that I didn’t buy them -my mum gave them to me and I took them because I didn’t want to offend her). Maybe it’s because they’re a size too big for me, but my only gripe is the cut of them. Not much thought has gone into how they could flatter the shape of the body. Both (okay, I’ve got 2 pairs) the pants go way up above my belly button. Sexy is not the word.

But yummy is most definitely the word for the comfort foods of this season. Duck noodle soup, Chinese roast pork with crackling, lamb shanks with lentils and tomato, roast lamb and massaman beef curry.

My all-time favourite season is Spring. It hails the end of the need to wear (ahem) layers of clothes. It hails the end of the colds and flu, chilly nights and freezy toes. It brings with it the promise of any type of food because it’s Spring – tis the season for anything! And the other most bestest thing of all? The amazing spring flowers that I never noticed until my Cherubs came.

Rebuilding My Wall

I find it interesting how things work out, and the things that come back to you through seemingly random events. A few days ago I was preparing to take a picture of my new favourite soup recipe for this blog, when Daddyken (excitedly) suggested that we build a brick wall on the weekend (he’s swapped his corporate job for a gardeners’ one).

I said What a great idea! Let’s do it! – not in a sarcastic tone but an actual excited voice, and even with an actual excited attitude. And that really confused me, because as you may have noticed, there’s nowhere on my blog where I’ve mentioned anything remotely akin to reveling in the delights of building any physical…non-food stuff. So after Daddyken drove off to buy cement – probably so I couldn’t change my mind, I sat down to work through my confusion. And then I remembered that wall.

On Day 1 Daddyken came in from the back yard holding his head, sat down on the lounge and said his head hurt. I told him to have a lie down. I looked up as he stood up and I saw all 182 cm of him fall to the floor. He got up and fell again and got up and then fell again so I rushed to him and pulled him up. Saliva was running down from the left side of his mouth so I gave him a tissue and told him there was saliva down his face. He reached with his right hand to wipe it but he missed the spot and missed again and missed again and then I wiped it for him.

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On Day 14 I walked out of the hospital lift with our baby Panda to the neurological ward. A nurse was standing next to a wheel chair at the entrance to the ward, and in that chair sat a tall shrunken man. His body leant awkwardly to the left and a cushion was wedged between that left side and the arm rest. His white hospital gown hung limply and there was a trickle mark on the gown from where the saliva from the left side of his mouth had dribbled down. He shifted when he saw us and I saw the left arm fall and dangle by the side of the wheel chair. He saw my eyes move with it. His right hand reached over for the left one and pulled the arm with the clenched fingers up where it sat uncomfortably at an unnatural angle on his lap. He looked up as we approached and I looked into his frightened eyes.

Daddyken’s stroke came about because there was a blood clot in his heart. His heart pumped the clot up, pushed and pumped it again and again until it wedged itself within his brain.

Before Day 1, we were the ones who did things, fixed things and got stuff done. We knew what we were doing, where we were going and how we were going to get there. We’d built our wall and we were excited.

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But each pump sent a cannonball careering towards our wall. Each cannonball attacked with intent. Each and every one pounded against it. Relentlessly. And in the silence of a dark summer’s day within the dim cold greyness of the hospital, I stood at the edge of our wall and turned around with our newborn Panda in my arms and saw that last cannonball thunder towards us. Our wall crumbled, it gave way, and collapsed entirely.

I scrambled to rebuild my wall, because with a wall we would be what we were. I cooked faster. I cleaned more. I filled my days with rebuilding. I made sure everything was ready for anything every day. No one, not friends nor family knew how to fix my wall but me. The nappy basket would be refilled as soon as a nappy was used, the rubbish would be out the door before it had time to fill. No heavy brick would be forgotten.

In the days, weeks and months after, my wall didn’t stay up and I was bewildered. I did his buttons and zippers and I chopped up his food. I drove him to his doctor’s appointments with Panda crying in the back. In our darkness we fought. Each and every day I kept on rebuilding.

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Daddyken took a more junior position in his corporate job. He gave up the 6 months he had to go to complete his MBA. Each and every day I woke up I could see the wall made up haphazardly from the night before. It wasn’t fully up, but it vaguely resembled a wall and I would resolve to fix it properly today.

He slept every 2 to 3 hours to satisfy his hungry fatigue. We sold our investment house. His voice slurred when he was tired and sometimes I couldn’t understand what he said. As the minutes and hours of the day crawled on, I wanted to reinforce, but I found I was rebuilding.

The left arm swung like a pendulum as he limped. He couldn’t pick up, clean or care for Panda. The darkness was impassable. I would pick up the left hand and position it next to his right hand in a cradle position and gently place Panda there. I was scared that he would drop her.

As the years wore vaguely on, my need to rebuild lessened. The darkness was no longer at the forefront, but it still trailed me for a long, long time. I don’t remember the last time I went to fix my wall, I don’t know what state it was in when I last saw it and I don’t remember seeing a fully built wall.

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This weekend Panda, Soccer Boy, Daddyken and I built our wall. Afterwards, as I sat close to it playing Transformer battles with Soccer Boy (I was the baddie again), I surprised myself by shedding a few quiet tears. Oh, Mummy’s just yawned Not for me, but for the Sally who lived through the dark time she thought would never end.

Kindles are great, but paper books?

Ah, paper books, how do I love thee?

Let me count your well thumbed pages…

to the depth and breadth and height of all the bookcases in my home.

  1. Paper book, I can dog-ear your pages to mark where I’ve read up to. It’s like wrinkles, creases of experience (much like the smile lines around my eyes). You’ve lived.
  2. You won’t run out of sight. I don’t have to wait until you power up – I can read you on demand.
  3. Paper book, I can accidentally drop you without fear that you’ll shatter into a million pieces. You may not be as fit as before, but your essence will still remain.
  4. I can read you while I’m eating and not worry when teriyaki sauce drops on you. I’ll just wipe the sauce off and sit you outside in the sun and you’ll be ok. Sure your pages may stick together, but I just need to remember to shake and separate your pages before I take you out to dry.
  5. Paper book, you smell divine. I love the smell of a well-read book…although dried teriyaki sauce on paper does sometimes render you not as enjoyable if held too close (I’ll just put some eucalyptus oil on a cloth and wipe the area emitting the most odour and then sit you outside to dry).
  6. Paper book, you sound divine. When I turn your pages, they rustle and seem to talk to me – you’ve got passion!
  7. And what if I want to reread an amazing line or paragraph like when Mr Darcy proposes for the first time to Lizzy in Pride and Prejudice and she (spoiler alert) rejects him?! If there’s a teriyaki sauce stain on that exact page I’ll know exactly where to go – it’s like you’ve got a birth mark!