‘Treasure’

Week 45: ‘treasure’

I’m not one for speaking out loud and making speeches. My words form better in writing. I get nervous when I have to speak and the words come out way to fast and people comment that they can’t understand me. Although I can play the part of a character in our local theatre pantomime. Maybe this is because I’m playing a part and not being myself. I remember when my son Ben (this handsome lad with me in this particular photo prompt was at his recent PE teaching graduation at university) was graduating year 12 at high school his friend who was school captain delivered a very motivating and fantastic speech that has stuck in my mind for many years. He quoted a few words from the Disney movie ‘Treasure Planet.’ 

The young man from Ben’s school reached out to the audience confidently, highlighting to the student the journey they soon would be on leaving high school and finding out who they are and where they wanted to be when they left school – ‘and I want a moment to be real, wanna touch things I don’t feel, wanna hold on and feel I belong’ and ‘they can’t tell me who to be, ’cause I’m not what they see. And the world is still sleeping while I keep on dreaming for me…’ 
‘Now you listen to me, James Hawkins. You got the makings of greatness in you, but you got to take the helm and chart your own course, stick to it, no matter the squalls! And when the time comes you get the chance to really test the cut of your sails, and show what you are made of….well, I hope I’m there, catching some of the light coming off you that day.’ I did catch some of that light coming off my children as they ventured into the wide world outside of the comforts of school. Amy has followed my footsteps and is an Early Childhood Teacher, Rachel is a chef/event manager at a local winery, Ben is teaching at one of our local Catholic High School and Jacob was well on the way of becoming a cinemaphotographer. As a proud mum I would say these words from the film – ‘look at you, glowing like a solar fire, you’re something special Jim. You’re gonna rattle the stars, you are!’ All my children glow a bright light – on the outside and from within, with Jacob shining bright from the dark sky at night, guiding us all along our journey in life. As we look into the stars at night we feel him there – 
‘and I feel you now, 

I’m not alone 

I always know 

I’ll always know where you are  
And when I see myself 

I’ll always know where you are 

And when I feel the sun 

I’ll always know where you are’ 
These are the words from a song from Treasure Planet called ‘Always know where you are.’ We’ll always know where you are Jacob and you’ll always be with us 💕

‘Connections’ 

Week 44: down the road 
This particular walk down the road (and a long drive) led us to our local international airport. We set our alarms to wake up before the dawn to drive to greet our relatives that had endured a long flight from the UK. The sky was dark as we made our way up the highway. My girls drove off in one car and my sister’s car followed with my mum and myself comfortably seated and ready for a noisy trip of chatting to one another (as if we hadn’t talked to each other for a lifetime) after all we were all excited to see my Aunty and her son and his partner. Two weeks is not long enough for a holiday across the world, a holiday to spend quality time with family you haven’t seen in forever. It never really matters that the time past between visits, we pick up where we left off. 

Once we got to the airport we met up with my girls as we’d parked in different carparks and made our way to terminal 1 – arrivals A. We had our own scene from the famous movie – ‘Love actually’ with hugs and happy tears as we spotted them walking down the ramp to the entry space. My daughter Rach had offered to go to the bathroom with my mum ( who can’t seem to manage a cup of coffee without saying ‘she’s busting’ only 1/2 an hour after consuming it, plus her sense of direction is woeful and we laugh about that – so if she went to the bathroom by herself we’d have to send out a search party to get her back) so they missed the arrival by 2 mins. 
It was turning into a beautiful crisp summer morning as we made our way to our cars. As it was early we decided to show off our beautiful Sydney coastline with a bite to eat at Coogee beach. We ate breakfast in style with a beach view back drop as we dined on our yummy delights – nothing beats a poached egg with smashed avo and lime on sour dough to start the day. Once we were full of food and catching up conversations we headed on a 2 hour journey home with our visitors. 

Visiting the airport is either happy or sad. Happy at arrivals and sad at departures. That’s just the way life is. You can’t have one without the other. We’ve had more than our fair share of sad since the passing of our beautiful brown eyed boy Jacob, but we are trying hard to continue to see the happiness that life can still bring our way as we live it in ways that would make him proud, honouring him in everything we do. I’d like to think that Jacob is just travelling to all the places he’d wished to have visited in his lifetime had it not been cut short. I’d like to imagine that I’ve just dropped him off at the airport to await a fantastic trip, give him a big bear hug and kiss and wish him well on his way as any proud mum would as they send their kids off by themselves for the first time. 

Quoting Ellen DeGeneres wise words about roads….seemed to fit with what I have written in the paragraphs above – ‘You just have to keep driving down the road. It’s going to bend and curve and you’ll speed up and slow down, but the road keeps going.’ 

‘Glow’ 

Week 43: Glow

A few weeks ago we had a big clean up in our ‘games room’ and threw away a lot of clutter and things we’d collected over the years that we’d never use again. It was hard to throw out some things. It broke my heart that my girls wanted to throw out some of their stuffed toys that had adorned their beds when I tucked them in and read them stories before sleep when they were little. But I had to respect their wishes, although I went back while no one was looking and rescued my individual favourites from out of the pile and placed them in a bag to show their children when they eventually arrive. Even my husband piped up and said ‘Amy’s not getting rid of the teddy I bought her when she was born’ (that made a noise when you rocked it back and forward) No! I responded and reassured him it was safe in her room. A plastic container in the corner of the shed had been home for all of our favourite books and stories. I was going to donate the well loved books to our local book shop for new owners to thumb the pages. The books were all in good condition and featured well known best sellers like Stephen King, The lord of the rings, the brother’s Grimm stories for children. Some had hard cover, some soft. The container lived in our hallway for a week or so waiting to be taken to the shop, but it was thankfully taken back to the ‘games room’ to it’s original spot in the corner for future avid readers. 

I think it’s harder to get rid of accumulated stuff because of the memories tied to these forgotten treasures, particularly if I find old broken favourite toys of Jacob’s. If I throw things out its like losing parts of him all over again. I’m keeping Rachel’s pink, blue and white Fisher Price dolls house and furniture that she got on her 4th birthday and I’m not getting rid of the waffle town farm set with roads etc either. They will get played with again by chubby and sticky hands again. When I think of toys being thrown out I am immediately brought to the movie Toy Story 2 where Jessie the cowgirl sings ‘when she loved me’ and tears well up in my eyes. Disney movies will do it to me everytime. 
While rummaging through the mess I stumbled upon an action figure that was given to Jacob when he was around 3 or 4 just after the release of the movie ‘Small Soldiers.’ Him and his brother liked the movie and characters (not really sure if it was age appropriate at the time). Ben received Chip Hazard and Jacob got Archer one Christmas morning much to their excitement. I have the video of them opening their presents that morning to prove it. Ben’s Chip Hazard had a hazardous life with his head being pulled off by his cousin so early on in his existence with our family and was played with mostly with his head missing as he fought the Gorgonites in battles. He is now missing in action. Whereas Archer has been found, old batteries removed, new ones replaced and is in fine working order when his button are pressed he proudly states – ‘I am Archer, leader of the Gorgonites, prepare for battle, defend Gorganite castle……rarrrrghh’ as the green circle medallion glows on his chest. You can swing his powerful arm to hear a metallic punch too. 

In this photo Archer’s medallion is glowing while he’s hanging out with other heroes from my children’s youth. My boys both had 2 Buzz Lightyear toys to carry around, Jacob’s was the original colours and Ben’s was special edition black. I had Woody in my possession minus his hat as it was misplaced in the years that he was played with. When my boys were cleaning out their room with my mum when they were heading towards their teenage years they placed those Toy Story toys in a bag to be sorted out to be either stored away or donated to charity. Unfortunately the bag they were in got mixed up with the ones to be thrown out so it was a case of Toy Story 3 where Andy’s toys in the bag was accidentally thrown into the bin. At least Andy’s toys were eventually found, ours were not. My husband knew how much those toys meant to me so he bought me a new Woody and Jessie. I haven’t opened them yet just like the Old Prospector was never let out. I will gladly shared these favourites with our future grand babies. As I look at these toys I am reminded to feel old as I realise that the toys my children used to play with have become collectables and will eventually become antiques. Archer has been kept well and looks great for an 18 year old toy. 

I will finish with a quote from Woody in Toy Story 2 – ‘I can’t stop Andy from growing up….but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’ We won’t get to see Jacob grow up for he is forever 20, but we are so glad we had 20 years with him in our world although we will always wish for more. 

‘Love’ 

Week 42: Love  

As our family gathers at my sisters house to celebrate our dads 81st birthday we enjoy the banter back and forwards of conversations, laughter, singing and tears, as we share memories of days gone by and remember fondly of the people who are missing. My sister’s immediate family is only represented by her husband, one son and herself. Their other 3 boys are away in Wales playing football on contracts. My mum & dad are immensely proud of the family the two of the produced and smile at the unfolding of the day. My brother and his 2 young daughters laugh and giggle at my sisters 6 month old yellow Labrador pup as they get kissed and nibbled as they sit on the grass within easy access of the puppy’s excitable antics. There is another empty chair that gathers dust and that spot is for Jacob. His presence is felt larger than life as his cardboard stands proudly near the gathering table where the food is carefully laid out for all to share. We’ll all have a slice of my mum’s yummy fruit cake (with no peel as the grandchildren don’t like it) and her simple vanilla sponge cake and sing the ceremonial happy birthday song with a nice cup of tea, or coffee, or a beer or wine – whatever takes your fancy. We always end up with way too much food enough to feed an army and we all get to take the left overs home to consume through the coming week. We have a family recipe on days like these: 3 cups of forgiveness, 1 gallon of friendship, a pinch of hope, a spoonful of laughter and endless LOVE. 

‘Friends’ 

Week 41: friends 

I know I’m late with week 41’s entry titled ‘friends’ but I wanted a specific photo that summed that word up. I could have chosen lots of photos that suited the theme but none of them spoke volumes like this one does. This photo captured lots of empty wine glasses that had just toasted lots of young people who’s lives have been lost to cancer including my 20 year old son Jacob at the 2017 Dreams2Live4 Feather Ball. Dreams2Live4 is an Australian wide charity that delivers wishes and dreams to people living with metastatic cancer. Jacob was lucky to have been given 2 very special dreams of his own. It is a night for us to pay it forward in honour of Jacob so others may be granted a dream. The friends on the table are the team of Jacob’s nurses who cared for him in his fight to be cured of his disease. They saw him at his weakest and lowest point of his life, they did everything in their power to make him comfortable. These friends became more like family, a lifeline on speed dial on your phone at desperate hours, a shoulder to cry on, someone to share your heartache with, to laugh with, to create with as we decorated the ward for Christmas.

One particular friend is the CEO boss of the dreams2live4 organisation. Louise followed her sister Annie’s dream of this organisation coming into existence. Her sister lost her battle with cancer before she got to see the magic that her dream was creating. In her memory the organisation is growing and thriving. I have promised to support this wonderful charity in honour of Jacob on all of his earthly celebrations like his birthday, Easter, Christmas and his angelversary and this night was another one of those occasions. There are 3 other people enjoying the night on our table and they belong to me too in the manner of my offspring! Jacob’s siblings. Amy, Rachel and Ben are my children and I’m proud to call them my ‘friends’ as they reach young adulthood and who are continuing to develop into such beautiful human beings (I’m a bit biased). 

Although we don’t see these friends that have become like families as often as we’d like, we all lead busy lives but we keep in contact via the usual ways – online, but when we do catch up in person we pick up where we’ve left off as if the last time we met was yesterday. They’ve seen us at our lowest point in our lives and being around them makes us feel better as they accept us who we are – after all it’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our lives that matter. Here’s the Irish toast we shared for our ongoing friendship that came about because of Jacob – ‘never above you, never below you, always beside you.’ 

‘Plugged in’ 

Week 40: plugged in
I know that jumper leads don’t really plug but they seem to suit this weeks theme within my mind this week. By connecting them to another car you can interpret and vision them as being something plugged in for a purpose. These jumper leads have been plugged in quite a bit over the last few days charging a little bit more life into Jacob’s car. His car sits lonely on the road as it did throughout Jacob’s treatment and passing two years ago this week. I was hoping to let the little car have a new lease of life and have a driver to call it’s own if only for awhile for my daughter Rach to use till she got a car. It served her well for a few days then refused to start. You see the car is old. It is the same age as Jacob was at his passing – 20years, a long time for a car and yet such a short time for a human. We are hoping it’s just the battery and not anything expensive to fix so we don’t have to part with something that was so special to Jacob. 

He bought it with his own money from his part-time job for $1,000 before he’d left high school. It isn’t the most masculine looking car tinted a purple/mauve with a repainted white bonnet. His mates loved that car too. I bet they have lots of memories of adventures in the car as they rocked up at the drive through at Maccas paying for the food with his debit card and then laughing that they all ended up knowing his private PIN number. As I open the car door and sit in the driver seat I feel him there. The car still smells like him. Everything about it brings memories flooding home. It was featured in his movies on his YouTube channels. The body work on the old girl isn’t what she used to be and holds her bumps and bruises with pride. Jacob reversed out of the drive way into another car as he went to the shops to pick up some milk – this was bump number 1. Bump number 2 the damage went unnoticed for awhile after a car sideswiped it out the front adding further dents to the existing ones. Her bumps and bruises tell many stories just like all of us. 
I hope these little jumper leads can bring long wanted life to the old girl yet again. We are not yet ready to say goodbye to her. But if it’s her time to go the timing is more of a coincidence as the car is the same age that Jacob passed and her problems started within days of his anniversary and then we’ll have to let her go. As I captured this photo through the boot of the hatchback you can spot an unplanned and mystery capital ‘A’ on a pair of tiger striped gum boots. You see it was a sign from Jacob for they are his sister Amy’s gum boots in his car and they are the patterns of Jacob, Amy and my husband’s football team – the West Tigers. Jacob’s given his approval that it may be time to let the car go. These jumper leads have been connected and sort of plugged in and have served her well in keeping her road worthy over time. 

‘Evening’ 

Week 39: evening 
I like the evening to say thanks for the day I’d just been given. I like the natural progression of life slowing down after a busy day, particularly on a weekday. Weekend evenings are even more special. No set time limits on weekends, go with the flow kind of days. The colours in the evening skies are equally as beautiful as the way the day begins. What a wonderful open and closing ceremony that happens with the magic of each day. 
In a photography workshop I was shown how to capture pretty cool shots during the evening and I try and dabble with the techniques now and again. I couldn’t pick just one photo of this particular evening on the jetty capturing my daughter and her boyfriend Adam who had just returned from a holiday in UK and Europe for 10months, so any excuse being in their company was magic on any given evening. Their images in one photo appear as ghosts as they were moving as I captured it.  Nothing beats having family around you. This has become more paramount since the loss of Jacob from our family tree. My nurturing drive kicks in overtime and mother hen wants to keep us all under her wings in the fear of loosing one of her eggs. But I will rise just like the stars in the evening sky and search for him in the stars, moon and colours knowing Jacob will do everything in his power to help keep his family safe from afar. I know for a fact that he was part of that ghostly image of Rach & Adam. 
‘What a nice night to have an evening’