I met her in June 1987.
I was the long dark haired 23 year old, that sashayed around on 6 inch stilettos, legs laced in french stockings and skirts that just skimmed under my derriere and spoke with a rather healthy strong New Zealand accent that I am sure people needed a translator to understand me. She, well, she was this feisty little 5 foot 1 inch 30+ year old woman who had a no nonsense air to her.
Funny, even now as I think of her, I am always transported back to the first time I ever saw her. She was dressed in her work outfit that had a jacket with shoulder pads, a light coloured shirt and a dinky little skirt that ended at her knees and a pair of sensible one inch heels.
She was the model of a no nonsense late 1980’s woman executive. She never quivered in giving direction nor did she suffer fools well. However, whenever I heard her laugh from the confines of her office, it sent a little thrill down my spine and all I knew was….’I want some of that’.
I had NO idea what ‘that’ was, but I just knew this woman was going to be a influential person in my life and if I played my cards carefully, she would be there in my life, my heart and my soul….forever.
So, I glided past her office, on my stilettos with my mini skirt swishing around my derriere, on the way back to my desk where I played being a personal secretary, I sneaked at peek at this little dynamo and I wondered how I was going to get this no nonsense woman who sent tingles up my spine to notice me?
We began to speak sporadically over the coming weeks but it actually took a complete breakdown at work over an issue involving my personal life, that our friendship began to gather the weavings that would create a bond that would last the rest of our lives.
She came across me one day, collapsed with my head in my arms, weeping profusely. Without hesitation, this cherub of a woman, swiftly and silently like a ninja, gathered me in her arms and guided me to the sanctuary of the company boardroom. As she handed me a pile of tissues to wipe my tears, she encouraged me to unleash my sorrows. She listened to me spill about my highly complex and emotionally volatile family environment, that I was currently having to find the energy and determination to cope with.
When, I finally stopped crying, she gathered me once again in her arms and in that gentle hold, she showed me the compassion, the emotional and physical support along with a healthy dose of wisdom that has seen me over the years be able to gather myself up from the floor and forge ahead with the strength and character of the woman she has helped create in me.
From then on, most lunch times would find the twin pair of heels walking briskly up and down George Street to our favourite restaurants where I would indulge in gin and tonics or a scotch and dry for her while we chatted like we had been friends forever. Even then I knew that this woman was a sure gift from God and she never ceased to send a tingle up my spine.
She gave me the chance to grow, be inspired, encouraged me, supported me, influenced me and offered that no nonsense approach to guidance and wisdom that I craved. She quickly became my confidante for life, my Mother Superior, my elder sister I never had, my partner in laughter and sadness. Through her, I evolved from the slightly bewildered young New Zealander who had left everyone and everything behind in her homeland to find love, life, happiness and new experiences on a bit of a whim from a chance meeting with a certain Redhead, who like this woman had taken my breath away and made me think ‘I want what he is offering!’
The day, I went to tell her that we were relocating. My new husband had decided to relocate us from the bustling world of Sydney filled with gorgeous tourist delights that I loved to explore. Leave our gorgeous apartment overlooking Botany bay, that offered the joys of making love in the sand dunes late at night and weekends spent walking everywhere with a look of utter delight on my face. We were now moving to a teeny tiny little village that had one shop, one petrol station and had his entire family residing on one street. She was horrified as much as I was. My heart ached so badly, I didnt want to leave any of my life let alone lose this beautiful friendship that I had with her.
What’s a girl going to do when she gets issued the ultimatum..’are you coming or not?’ Follow your newly wedded husband like you promised you would do at the altar or stay in the city that you had grown to love and sign some divorce papers, mere months after you said I do?
Within the month of moving northwards, I started writing to her and telling her of my new life where I fought to be recognised and I discovered I was too highly qualified to get a job. The joy of morning tea with my new sisters in law that I had only briefly met before our move who helped ease the pain of being lonely and gave me terrific insight in to how to handle our men, both in and out of the bedroom. The beautiful relationships that I had begun to develop with my various nieces and nephews, that even to this day still fill me with much love and happiness to be their Aunt.
I wrote to her of:- my luncheon I had been invited to by my Mother in Law, who introduced me to two women who I had thought she wanted me to have a friendship with, only to discover they were the actual original prospects for the job of being my husband’s wife that he hadn’t even known existed. She learnt about the dynamics of my newly found family and my integration as the new Daughter In Law. My favourite times spent feeding my Father In Law, homemade chocolate cake, fresh scones with homemade jam and whipped cream while he repainted our house. Our first anniversary with me sitting at home with a baked dinner and my husband at the pub with his brothers or the fact I got an ironing board for a birthday present and none of my own family called me as I wept.
She was one of the first to hear the news of our first pregnancy and the joy that it had brought to our little world. She cried tears of sadness when at 14 weeks I miscarried and told of the genuine fear, that I would never fall pregnant again.
It was to her, I told we were finally moving back to Sydney and we were going into business and by the way I had managed to defy the odds and we had a new addition arriving in the summer. Arriving back in Sydney, once again our friendship began to grow from strength to strength, weekends spent at each other’s houses, long phone calls and the peace that came from being surrounded by her love.
Then one day, she told me the news, that motherhood would not be hers to cherish. It was there, sitting on her couch, cradling my swelling belly that housed our own little miracle, I decided that if this lovely woman who I adored, could not have her own children, then my child/children would be involved in her life forever and with that decision, I asked her to become a Fairy Godmother.
She took on this role with relish and utter joy.
It was to her I turned, when we got the news that Red and I were going to become parents again after overcoming some major medical odds, to a set of twins. We had been understandably overwhelmed at how we were going to cope? My darling diamond came to my aid, offering many moments of hugs, tender talking, wonder at the new nursery that had been set up and taking the now 3 year old Miss Scarlett away for exciting weekends spent with her Godparents at their home.
When I ended up in hospital at 28 weeks due to my amniotic waters breaking, she would come to visit me almost daily, rubbing my now swollen feet and urging those babies to hang tight. While being held hostage by two babies who constantly threatened to evacuate their warm oven with monotonous energy and gave their parents more than a few moments of utter fear. She never allowed the fear of all the possibilities that hung over our heads to be shown, but I do know there were moments, she was scared and worried for us.
Just before the end, after another close call, I asked her to come and witness the birth of the twins. I will NEVER EVER forget the pure wonder , the flush of joy and the utter fear of what she was going to see and experience, erupt within seconds over her face.
I knew she was the only person other than Red, I wanted, needed and had to have to hold my hand.
She was my anchor.
At 36 weeks, I was rushed to the labour ward, thrown onto the bed, strapped to a whole lot of monitors, got thoroughly traumatized as the doctor opened my legs and broke what remaining waters I did have, all over the bed, directly in front of my poor brother who had been visiting me. Within minutes I went from laughing to wanting to scream my head off with the intensity of the pain and wondering if the kids were on skateboards?
I needed my Darling Diamond and my Beloved Husband..now!
My husband who worked nearly 2 hours away, decided that day to ignore ALL phone calls, because he had just spent the past six weeks being called from work to come immediately to the hospital, only to discover it was another false alarm. I knew that my darling friend would be the only one he would listen to.
Meanwhile, I had rather breathlessly rung her at work and told her, she needed to get to the hospital and make it pronto because my brother was now severely traumatized and had vomited with glee everywhere, after his experience. He had been edging himself closer to the door to literally escape but was held hostage by his sister who was worried she would give birth alone!
As she flew in through the door, with briefcase in hand and her power suit looking slightly ruffled from the mad taxi ride to the hospital, telling my brother he could escape, she took over with complete calmness.
That day, she became the true epitome of an Executive in crisis mode.
All I can ever remember of that day is these things:-
- She threw her briefcase from across the room, it skidded with a loud thunk against the wall to land upside down and never looked at again.
- She threw off her shoes with wild abandonment and asked me ‘was it the real deal?’
- Demanded the phone from the hospital staff, put on her ‘best executive voice’ and told Red to get here and don’t dawdle!
- She grabbed my hand, smiled at me and at that moment, I knew I truly loved her.
- The first time I became unconscious, I saw the fear in her beautiful eyes and that is when I knew something bad was going to happen.
I have no idea how often or how long I was unconscious but I do know that I frightened ALOT of people and it became a massive emergency to get those kids out and keep me alive to enjoy them.
When I became conscious, I remember turning to my left and in her arms was this aluminum foiled wrapped little blob and I asked her, ‘which one do you have?’ She was weeping profusely, there was tenderness, love, amazement and wonder on her entire face and I was told ‘I have your daughter, what are you going to call her?’
As I watched her cradle my little daughter, I knew in my heart that this woman deserved to be remembered for everything she had ever done, given and lavished me and my family with. She was worth so much and more than I could ever tell her and forever would I give blessings to the Lord for bringing this wonderful woman into my life. So with much love and happiness, I told her, I name her after you.
Our daughter bears her Godmother’s name with pride and much love.
Fast forward through the years, She has given the children, not only vast amounts of love, but guided them with her wisdom, emotional stability, sensibility, devotion and encouragement to better themselves. She has been there for them whether it is a summer holiday spent with the Godfather and herself or offering monetary offerings when life has torn them into different paths. She has offered a shoulder to cry on and be there to listen to them complain about their parents or simply offer these words to them when they are being obnoxious ‘sympathy is between shit and syphilis in the dictionary’. She is simply the best Auntie, Godmother and will be the best serendipity Grandmother a child could ever wish for.
My Darling and I have both laughed, giggled, screamed, yelled, spoken in hushed voices and been hysterically raucous over the years. She has physically cared for me and my family when I have been recovering from operations. She has discovered the mayhem created by one teenager and four naughty little minxes intent on eating the entire house free of food. She has driven countless miles to retrieve her godchildren for much needed holidays from their parents and offered a sanctuary for our family.
We have shared long talks over coffee and stiff drinks. We have held hands and given support to each other. We have nurtured each other’s souls with many letters, phone calls and emails. We have watched in wonder together as each of the four children have defied the odds to survive life and its mysteries. We have both sighed, glanced to the heavens and nodded sagely. She has read me the riot act when I am being seriously stupid and guided me back onto the path that I had left. She has defended me when my family threatened to destroy me and my well being.
We have both spoken between the lines and given each other a million hugs and kisses. We have been there for each other in sorrow and grief. We have welcomed each other with joy into each others homes and said sad goodbyes. We have shared meals, luncheons, breakfasts and a whole lot of joy.
She has made these past 30 years of my life, an amazing journey to maturity and growth. She has filled my life with love and happiness. She is EVERYTHING to me.
To: My Darling Diamond, My Best Friend, My Fairy Godmother.
My Darling Anne,
I love you so deeply. Thank you for the best 30 years of friendship, a girl could ever wish for! Here’s to another 30 years, my love….
From my heart, my soul and my body.