Lauren is my daughter. Julie and I named her Lauren Patricia, after Julie’s mom, Patricia Beckman.
For La’tjie, adapted from a Chris de Burgh song.
This is for La’tjie, sweet girl of mine, who is 19 today and far away,
A song for the baby who changed my life,
I’ll never forget when I saw you first,
I thought that my heart would burst,
With the love that I have;
As I watch you sleeping in here tonight,
And I hear your breathing so soft and light,
I cannot believe all the things that I feel,
When I hold you next to me,
It’s the love that I have;
Oh how my heart it is shining,
Oh how this heart is shining through,
With the love that I have;
And as you are growing from baby to child,
I share the wonders that are in your eyes,
And I am amazed at the way you change,
All according to the plan,
And the love that I have;
And when you are older you will go away,
You’ll see injustice and you’ll see pain,
But never forget that I’m always there,
Like a shadow by your side,
With the love that I have;
Oh, how my heart it is shining,
With the love that I have.
* adapted from a Chris de Burgh song he wrote when his girl was born
This poem captures much of my emotions as I think of my precious little one! She is that and amazingly talented and beautiful! I admire you more than most people on Earth and learn from you every day!
Message From The Past
On 9 Dec 2011, I wrote the following for the kids.
T and La’tjie,
Finally, it feels as if summer has arrived. I am sitting at Michaels, working. My mind wanders. It’s your last day of primary school today, T!
You guys are my most precious moments!
T, your first school day was in Vanderbijlpark, when we stayed with Ouma. 7 years ago!
We did not have money to pay for our own place. We just lost Millennium Marketing and after that, nothing seemed to work out. The asking rate just always seemed to be more than the run rate.
I can’t believe it’s only 7 years ago!
You were going to school and I was trying to figure out the next business move.
I did some contract work for All Joy Foods. I realised there are more opportunities in food than in chemicals and I changed focus.
I got a job at Stocks Meat Market in Cape Town and we moved to the Cape.
When the kids and Julie arrived in Cape Town – we had NO furniture. Here La sits on the only furniture we had – a wooden coffee table. We slept on blow-up mattresses and sat on camping chairs for months.
Your first school day in Cape Town at Groote Schuur Primary School. Not one of us guessed that Mom would end up working at the school and you would become deputy-head boy! Or that La’tjie would do drummies and become SA champs five years later!
I worked for Stocks. I resigned after they decided not to implement the strategy that I was employed for originally. I again got some contract work with a food company, Goosebumps Frozen Food Distributors and moved to Johannesburg for a year and a half. It was during this time that I met Oscar who would become my partner and the man who would make Woody’s a success with me.
When I came back, I started Woodys – 2008. Oscar joined me in 2009.
Woody’s finally brought stability in our lives from a work perspective.
We had the most amazing times in Cape Town and moving here from Gauteng was one of the best decisions of our lives!
We climbed the mountain probably a million times!
On Table Mountain – the day when we got stuck in a storm at the top.
Remember all our trips up Lions Head? How scared I was the first time when we got to the chains and before I could do a thing you guys were up the chains to the horror of me and everybody watching you guys!
Remember the afternoons at Sea Point when we would go and eat MacDonald’s? You guys would play put-putt and I would go for a run.
Waves at Seapoint. . . . Tris, standing his ground. . . only because he does NOT know what is behind him! :-))
How we would watch every movie in the DVD shop. Play Wii games. Braai’s with Paul and Claudette and takes drives around the Cape Peninsular.
Remember the bunk bed you guys slept on. Remember “bear-bear” every night before you went to bed and Gruffalo’s Child?!
Remember the “smoking” incident the lesson that there are certain things you DO NOT tell your mom about!
Cheap Tuesday movies at Kenilworth and Lauren’s “play-and-eat” at the Spur!
Drives to Oudtshoorn to go and visit Ouma and your cousins.
So many good memories.
Remember the annual visits to your Grandparents for Christmas in Pretoria and the days on end you guys would spend in the pool.
Mom and I decided to give each other some space and divorce. We did.
T became deputy head boy and learned that like me, you are not built for cricket!
You started to LOVE rugby and in your last year of primary school were playing for the High School already.
La’tjie did not want to be forced into anything by grown-ups and decided to start doing Drummies. SA champion! What an amazing achievement!
T did what we have taught you all your life namely NOT to follow other people’s ideas of right and wrong and against my advice, you choose to go to Rondebosch next year. A decision that I now support wholeheartedly, knowing that it is the right choice for you and one of the best schools in the country!
I have seen you develop from a boy, tempted by all kinds of insecurities, to a young man who is confident and independent. A leader!
I have seen Lauren develop from a cute girl into a gorgeous child!
Its a time of growth and change for all of us. Mom and I have the opportunity to move on with our lives. I am working with Oscar at setting up the Woodys Factory, setting up our international trading partners. Redefining my personal life. When to hold on and when to move on. When to hope and when to be realistic. And the enjoyment of climbing Table Mountain every day!
I hope each of you finds your own Table Mountain one day!
Today is a day for thinking about next year, T! So many things happened in the 7 years since you went to school for the first time.
You have the character, the determination and the eye for quality to be very successful in high school, as you have been in primary school. As with La, I am very proud of the person that you are becoming and I treasure every moment with you!
La’tjie, you have such clear goals for next year. It is amazing to see. The excitement with which you approach every new day! You are a beautiful child and I love the two of you very much. I see the determination in your eyes which is in one sense, scary! I can tell that nothing will stand in your way!
Your mom and dad are by no means perfect and of course, there are days when all is not fun and games. Like us, you guys will one day also be in your late 30’s and early 40’s and you will have to face the daemons of your own past as people tend to do when they reach this age.
T, as you enter high school, and La, as you finish primary school, remember:
– Connect with who you are and what makes you happy.
– Live according to the values in your soul!
– Try and do something daring every day!
– Embrace challenges!
– Do everything in your life with excellence and passion. Shun mediocrity!
– Challenge conventional thinking!
– Respect the rules of engagement!
– Never fear anybody!
– Be creative! Find new ways to do things!
– Learn how to hold on and also, learn to let go!
– Live each day as if it’s your last day on earth!
– Surround yourself with friends who will challenge you to be better!
– T, learn how to treat a beautiful woman! La, learn to enjoy the company of a good man!
– Don’t get involved in other people’s problems. (generally – dont involve yourself in adult problems. the problems of your parents and other adults in your life are theirs and theirs alone. Dont make it your problems. IT IS NOT YOURS! Refuse to get involved!)
– Have fun!
Being your dad is the greatest privileged of my life!
You guys rock!!
(c) eben van tonder