Does she feel pain?

We started our morning today with our new unpleasant weekly ritual: To give Shaina an injection. You betcha she doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t cry. Today, after Naomi administered the shot, Shaina looked at me and announced, “It’s sore”. I wasn’t sure if I should whoop or cry. The only thing worse than seeingContinue reading “Does she feel pain?”

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

I’ve never been into gazing into the mirror. In my youth, I had no patience for it. Now, I have no appetite. What’s there to see, anyway? Since Shaina’s diagnosis, the looking glass shows me the grey strands in my beard and the stress lines across my brow. I don’t always recognise the weary eyesContinue reading “Mirror, mirror on the wall…”

Kindness Circle

Shaina knew something was afoot. Her older sisters entertained her in the living room as the special guests arrived. Shaina has sharp hearing, and she picked up our conspirational whispers from the other side of the house. To be fair, she had already cottoned on to the fact that something was up when we wouldn’tContinue reading “Kindness Circle”

Happy to be happy

“SING!” Shaina’s shrill instruction interrupts my thoughts. I don’t feel like singing. I’m tired after a challenging day; frustrated by a thorny communal issue. Maybe if I pretend not to hear, she’ll do a solo “Bo’ee Kallah”. “SING!” She’s not taking no for an answer. I’m not in a singing mood, but she doesn’t getContinue reading “Happy to be happy”

Shaina’s voice

On my right sat an inspiring young tennis champion and, next to him, a nervous young mother. Well over a hundred people had arrived to listen to us despite the chilly Sydney night. The event’s organiser welcomed the crowd and began to introduce me as the first speaker. My mind focused on one thought, “HowContinue reading “Shaina’s voice”

You’re always so positive

It happened again this week. Someone wanted to know, “How do you always stay so positive?”  I’m sorry to disappoint the fanbase, but I’m neither a saint nor superhuman. I don’t “always” “stay” positive. I actually think both of those words are barriers to positivity. If we expect to “always” be in a good space, we make it worseContinue reading “You’re always so positive”

Kindness across the ocean

You never know where kindness will lead. When we first launched Shaina’s kindness campaign, our goal was to bring light and meaning to a very challenging experience. We wanted Shaina to be celebrated as a force for good rather than “that poor girl”. The first sign that we were headed in the right direction cameContinue reading “Kindness across the ocean”

Born on the right day

You know what they say about mother’s instincts… Dial the clock back to late 2014, when a couple from our community asked me to marry them in Cape Town the following April. Cape Town is gorgeous, one of my favourite places on Earth. My answer was a resounding “Yes!”- any excuse for a visit toContinue reading “Born on the right day”

A world of kindness

“Hello young girl, what is your name?”  Shaina turns heads wherever she goes. In the height of Covid, when her face mask swallowed up most of her face, her twinkling eyes drew people to her. When she walks the hospital corridors, nurses, visitors and cleaners lean in and wave to catch her eye. When sheContinue reading “A world of kindness”

The toll on a mother

I missed the signs even though they had been right before my eyes. I had stared at them for ages while waiting for Shaina in the emergency room but hadn’t registered that they were relevant. I missed the sign when Naomi complained of an intense headache slightly more than a week after we rushed ShainaContinue reading “The toll on a mother”