Thursday, April 14, 2011


Have you ever wished that you could be in two places at one time?  More than wishing really (not like you wish you could be in Hawaii for the day and Paris for dinner) - being really, really needed on a primal emotional level in two places at one time? Well, that is becoming my reality and I must say - PLEASE SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP!!!  Now that we have Neve, my life is supposed to be all perfect and rose smelling (save for the diapers of course), but clearly someone upstairs did not get the memo.

About since Neve's birth, one of my closest family members has been dealing with a bad diagnosis and a bad surgical outcome back in Florida.  We have been monitoring the situation as best we can from across the globe and have been praying for good days.  But, we've mostly gotten small waves of worse days instead and two nights ago I had a bag packed ready to get on a 9:30am flight out of Melbourne to LA and then on to Orlando.  Me, by myself, no Hamish, no Neve.  The news at 4am that morning was as promising as it had been in days and although the bag remains packed, I remain on this side of the world for now.  For which I feel relieved.  For which I feel guilty.

When I was just 3 years old my family came to Australia for a holiday.  Pretty amazing stuff so long ago and to bring a child so young, so far - that was likely insanity.  That holiday was called up short when news reached us that my grandmother's cancer had progressed and she was very ill.  She passed away a short time after we got back to Florida from Australia.  History simply cannot repeat itself.

I must say that the build up to the almost decision to go back alone was heartbreaking (and unfortunately still remains at the forefront of possibilities).  If you had told me a year ago that leaving a 4 week old child (that keeps me up all night without so much as a thank you) would have caused me any difficulties in light of the current situation at home - I would not have believed it.  Well, sometimes you have to live something to really understand it.

Neve, just that day, started making serious eye contact.  When you feed her now, she locks on your eyes -- does not blink and does not look away.  Maybe she is still learning to focus and all, but it's a pretty intense thing.  And, I was going to leave her and know that with her baby sized brain, there was a pretty good chance that she would not recognize me when we were together again.  Would she think I had abandoned her?  I felt like she was begging me to stay each time she locked on my eyes that day and each time my eyes filled with tears and she looked at me with even bigger eyes.   Love is a funny thing.  You might know it's there, but when it's about to be taken away from you - the physical pain leaves no doubt.

But the situation in Florida is bad.  Poor Dr. Jen has gone from pediatrician to full time medical manager plus full time reporter to those of us not in the vicinity.  The stress on my Mom and sisters is unimaginable.  Words of ICU and atrial fibrullation and central lines and puss and infections and skin grafts and ventilators and lymph nodes - this is what we get each day in the reports.  But it's what's behind the words that has me more concerned.  There is a tiredness now.  An underpinning of acceptance that this new world of terrible possibilities is the new reality on the ground.  And ground, that we are far, far from at the moment.  I am helpless to help.

I want to be home in Florida to support my family.  I want to be here in Melbourne with my daughter and husband - spending more time in Australia than my husband has spent in the country of his birth since he left for what was supposed to be a couple years abroad almost 10 years ago.  Neve lights up the faces of her Australian Grandparents and relatives and I want to give them this gift of being together and relaxed at such an amazing time.  And, Neve can't leave Australia just yet.

When we applied for Neve's passport in Delhi, we knew that we would be coming to Australia and so opted for the quicker "emergency passport" instead of waiting for the full passport which we would get once here and settled.  In Australia, you don't have to go to the consular's office or some passport agency to get a passport - you just apply at the Post Office -- really!  So we did the forms, had a friend (non-family member) sign documents attesting to who Neve is, etc. (a requirement in AUS) and went into the Post Office in Port Melbourne to turn in our application.  The woman at the counter was more than ruffled by our application.  The child was born in Delhi?  Yes.  You don't have an Australian residence address?  No.  Your wife is not an Australia passport holder?  No.  After several phone calls to central authority, she finally rejected us because of a slight shadow on the left cheek of Neve's passport photos.  You remember it, the one we had taken on the first day of Neve's  birth?!

I tried to reason with the nice Post Office lady that people in the consulates office in Delhi (who seemed to me to trump postal workers) were more than happy to use this very photo for a permanent passport (and actually used it for an emergency passport) - to which she replied, "maybe in India, but not here."  I hope this is not a mantra we have to live with for the rest of our lives.  So, we went to the local Kodak store to have the photos retaken (she looks way better!) and got kind friends we were meeting for dinner that night to sign everything and reapplied the next day.  I let Hamish handle the Post Office lady and the application was accepted.  Turns out bureaucracies the world over have a great deal in common!

But the long and short of it is that Neve can't leave Australia until we get that permanent passport.  And if things get worse, I will have to leave without her because the gravitational pull of the possibility of such a loss is undeniable.  All we can do is pray, hope, beg, reason -- that things take a turn for the better in Florida.  Neve must have an opportunity to have a full family back in America and all of that family must have the opportunity to be locked in her stare and charmed into loving her.  After all that we have been through to get to this point -- it just can't turn out this way.

All our love,

G, H & N

Some photos to lighten this up a bit -

All I can say is WOW!  Jabba the Hut Jolie!

Hamish's parents put on a beautiful luncheon in honor of Neve this week.  
She was an angel and looked beautiful in her first non-pajama proper outfit - white tights and all!


  1. You and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers. Life certainly does comes in waves, doesn't it!!! Stay strong.

  2. I am so sorry to read about your family member. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  3. Hope it all works out and that you can do what you need to do... it is amazing how one little person can change our lives so much!
    Take care of yourselves ... we are thinking of you all at this time!
    Paula and Justin xxx

  4. I'm skipping to the end/current of the blog.