So after a glorious hike up the mountain for Digz and Kitty last weekend...
We have hit the week running, back to school and usual routine, extra murals and heavy training schedules. And back on the racing circuit for Corks and Sas. Loved seeing these girls riding together again. It was wet, cold and muddy but after both of their Europe travels - they did fine on their bikes. As for school - Corks has 2 months left of her whole school career. She received her first set of exam schedule this week. The next two months will be full on for all of us.
As for poor Riley - the cold and wet days = deep in my gown cuddles.
July has been big and stretching and deeply enlarging.
So don't get me wrong - as much as it was all of this, it's been beautiful too. Expanding your life, your heart and your understanding is always beautiful and always yields good fruits, even though it's often at times, painful.
Beautifully painful, beautifully stretching.
Besides some changes of me working at home more and learning and growing so much in this place, we also sent our baby overseas by herself... (by herself, I mean with 97 other students but without us). I know she was in the safety of her group and an organised tour, which did give me a measure of assurance that was oddly comforting. Watching your girls do something that makes them so ridiculously happy is a gift beyond gifts.
We still continue to unpack beautiful stories.
Her entry and exit into Europe was via Turkey respectively.
They missed the airport bombing by a few days and the military unrest too.
She coped well overseas. She problem solved, budgeted during her travels, made good choices and completely fell in love with Europe, especially Italy, like I knew she would. We really couldn't be prouder of our beautiful girl. What better way to taste a bit of independence than in Europe in the safety of an organised tour with some of your best friends.
I know her heart expanded. Her mind truly blown.
When she got home - she unpacked, we washed mountains of clothes and she slept and slept and slept. And then she repacked and headed out to the airport again for the next leg of her trip - which was a cycling training camp and to ride the South African Cross Country champs (for experience).
All I can say is that this leg of her travels was some of the toughest moments we have experienced in releasing her. She was out of her comfort zones. Being hosted out of town, with people she hardly knew... was humbling on every level. She flew alone, got picked up and delivered and navigated her week with strangers... wow that felt harder than sending her across the world.
She had the hardest race of her life.
Lining up at SA Champs knowing she was out of her depths and riding at a level beyond her capabilities, without her dad... heart-wrenching. She had to dig deep to keep her emotions in check and her fear in place... us too. I had to allow others to comfort her in her time of need. That wasn't easy because everything in me wanted to hop on that plane. It was deep attrition for her and deep attrition for me, each in our own ways.
The most astounding thing is that she didn't give up even though she wanted to... the desire to pull off after each lap was greater than the next. She cried through parts of the course and cried privately with me on the phone. True grit.
Saying goodbye to her new friends was hard on her. Being in a place of suffering together cemented new friendships and she made some beautifully deep connections. As deep and as hard as her week was for her, she loved it and wouldn't change it. I know that together with Europe, this has changed her a lot and what she went through in 3 weeks most people don't get to do in 3 years.
We are hugely proud of her, proud of us.
We all expanded this July each in our own ways and it will go down in our books as one of the defining moments in our family... you know, the one we might all refer to... " remember that time... when Corks travelled the world, crossed the country and came home a different young lady".
I am delighted to announce that I am a surprise mini-guest contributor in Let's Face it 2016.
Kara asked me to be a mini guest in December/January and I've had to keep it a secret for the longest time. I get asked all the time how I paint my faces... so you will be getting a glimpse of how I do that. I have been doing practice runs so I feel ready to share with you. Hope you will join in.
I will be sharing my own personal techniques and methods in September 2016.
This class is currently open and can be joined at any time. The cost is $125 for 50 weeks worth of content with a huge variety of contributors. Pretty excited to be part of this wonderful group.