ON my five-year-old daughter’s bedside table sits a pretty little fairy jar.
Inside are wishes we wrote almost a year ago on New Year’s Day.
It’s a tradition we started; writing our hopes for the months ahead and reading them together in December.
This January 1st my four-year-old will take part too: probably wishing for a unicorn in our courtyard or a dolphin in the bath.
Before having children, traditions didn’t mean much to me.
It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I realised their worth.
Counting Christmas trees on a night’s drive to the city, gawping at Aus Day fireworks on the foreshore – Ganggajang on the airwaves, fried chicken in our clutches – hunting for chocolate eggs at our beach house on Easter Sunday; these are the traditions of my childhood.
And nothing can replace that kind of treasure. My daughter and I read our wishes together last night. Not surprisingly; she didn’t grow wings or turn into a mermaid.
And I didn’t move to a renovated four by two with leafy green ferns out front and blossoming flowerbeds out back.
But I also wished for my family to be healthy and happy: Tick.
It has been a pretty great 2019 for me and my clan.
The only resounding low point was in August when we rushed our youngest to hospital.
She had been bitten on the face by our dog. But as horrifying as the incident was, it left me with a sense of gratitude.
Because while in hospital, worried for my child’s well-being and fearing the future of our pet, a moment occurred that stays with me today.
Four months on, her scars healing, our beloved dog happy in his new home, my mind goes to that time and the very sick child I encountered.
As my daughter slept off the anaesthetic – her beautiful face rested, breath light and long eyelashes fluttering – a gaunt young girl came in next to us from surgery.
Amid tears she shouted: “Mum, I can’t see. I can’t see!”
The mother tried to comfort her, brushing her hand through what little hair was on top of the child’s head.
It was an awful sight and sound and it overwhelmed me as I fought back tears. The mum was so calm and strong, and as I looked at the nursers in horror they were nonplussed.
They had seen this, and much worse, before.
My daughter woke, perfectly fine, and we left.
I am not always appreciative of what I have and I’m a pro at the poor-me rhetoric.
But I tell you, I was grateful in that moment and days later. And as I write this now I’m reminded again of just how good I have it.
So here’s to another year of blessings, hope and gratitude – more health, happiness, mermaids and unicorns and whatever wacky and wonderful new wishes my kids imagine.