It’s March and my daughter is taking her first steps. As I watch her I hold my breath. She steps forward and forward and then falls onto her bare bottom. We clap for her and then she claps for herself too. Her proud smile reaches her ears. I think, oh baby, this is just the beginning.
Brisbane is a beautiful city. We spend days by the big river, walking across the man made beaches, under the flowering vines and spend hours in the library. Alba meets other children here and Papa reads her bird books from the grown up library. We both love seeing Alba happy.
One night I have a gallstone attack. It is the only pain I’ve ever felt that rivals childbirth. I had one in the mountains last year that lasted hours and I thought I might be dying. Back then I talked to my aunt and she told me it was common for the women in our family to have the attacks after pregnancy. I can’t breathe properly and my stomach is as hard as rock. I want it to end but I don’t know when it will. We drive to the hospital. The traffic is bad and time goes very slowly.
Soon after we arrive my lungs begin to open wider, bit by bit. And then like a sail caught in wind I can breathe full breaths again. It feels so incredible and blissful to be well and alive. I am told to get an operation on my gallbladder but the attack already seems miles away. A part of me feels grateful for the reminder of how good it feels to be well.
Every morning M goes for a run up the nearby mountain and Alba and I spend the morning together. For breakfast I make her scrambled organic eggs with lots of coconut oil (for good fats) and nutritional yeast (for b12) and I have chia & oat bircher with almond milk and fruit. When Papa is home we make green smoothies together (kale or spinach, squeezed orange juice & frozen banana). Now that we eat well food is a huge joy for us. Eating a piece of sorrel from the garden sends delicious shivers down my spine. Who would have known that I would one day find more pleasure in a big bowl of salad than an ice cream? Somehow now that we mostly only eat plants, nuts and seeds we eat more diversely than ever before.
We go on a little roadtrip to visit my grandparents. We have breakfast in their garden, picking fresh figs, persimmons and raspberries to eat. Afterwards we lay back on a picnic rug and teach Alba what a cloud is. We forget the camera, so we are careful to not let this memory slip away from us.
As I am picking the raspberries with Alba, I tell M “We need a big garden with strawberries and raspberries and blueberries and mulberries because I could never be unhappy if I had fresh berries to pick.”
We daydream about owning our own land every day. We talk about what we’ll grow and build and how we can live sustainably. I begin planning workshops, a photography book and an app so that these dreams can become life someday soon.