For my nan. Who won’t read this. Because she’s 80 today.

What do you say about your grandmother, the woman who helped raise you, on her 80th birthday?

My nan loves her footy and cricket with passion, but dislikes people in general for no reason she can pinpoint (“there’s just something about him/her”).

She is always buying us things. You have to be at least four doors down before you even whisper that you need / have been looking at buying something. If she hears you, without fail, she will turn up at your doorstep a couple of days later with exactly what you were saying you needed.
Apparently it was “just laying around”.
At the shop.

The woman has a giant heart and an even bigger stubborn streak. Like my sister, she’ll argue that the sky is green even if you’re staring right at it, and clearly, it’s FUCKING BLUE. No backing down. She’s the right woman to have in your corner if you ever need someone put in their place.

Just don’t get her involved if there’s a slight chance you could be wrong.
Like that time I thought I heard the bus driver say there’d been a fire on the bus. That totally didn’t go down well when Nan started going off about it and it turns out I was way, way wrong.

She has been there through everything I’ve experienced.

She looked after us as babies, and even in my last year of High School, I was still going to Nan’s after school, instead of home or out with friends.

So many of my warmest memories are in her kitchen, sitting around the dining table while Nan and the Four Daughters of the Apocalypse (my mum and aunts) ALL spoke at once – Three different conversations being held, with all women participating in each.

When Nan and Aunty Helen have different opinions, that’s when it gets really loud.
Aunty Sue tells them both to “wake up”, Aunty Fiona does her Muttley laugh, and mum asks who wants coffee to try and diffuse the situation.

There is honestly no place like inside the arms of your grandmother. The problem arises when your head height is their boob height – both my nans were blessed with ample bosoms and it made for some very awkward greetings as your head had to be turned on this awkward angle so you could get your arms around them.

Now my nan’s arms are thin and bony but they still feel like one of the safest places I’ll ever know.

And, thanks to her, I have started checking the outdoor furniture for spiders before letting any visiting children sit down.

So here’s to Old Rathy, the woman who says “bullshit” in my favourite way, the woman who taught her entire family how to have anxiety, and the woman whose face, voice, arms and kisses make up most of my life’s memories.

Happy Birthday you old tart. I love the shit out of you.

Why we can’t have nice things

The body wash had bubbled up and was tickling my naked arms, floating on top of the steaming bathwater.

A meditation track was playing in the background, the binaural beat lulling me into its calm embrace, readying my mind and my body for complete and very necessary relaxation.

“by now, your body should be in a calm state”, the voice droned. My subconscious agreed, and I felt my bones turn to liquidy warmth beneath my skin.

I exhaled to the count of five, as directed, but before I could take my next breath, girlcat launched onto the edge of the bathtub, caught in the shower curtain and unleashing a terrified cat scream.

Within seconds she had extracted herself from her curtain prison, and commenced her slow, explorative strut along the length of the bathtub, stepping on my phone – the source of my guided meditation – in the process.

In rescuing my phone from the bathtub, I took my attention from her and her back paws began to slip on the enamel. In slow motion, I pictured her falling into the water, her claws tearing my flesh as she scrabbled to escape.

Thankfully, she’s a cat with far better balance than I give her credit for.

She launched from the edge of the bath onto the cabinet beneath the windowsill, displacing deodorant cans and that heartbeat I should have just felt.

Me? I pulled the plug from the bath and decided that medication is much fucking easier than trying to relax when you have cats.