The last six years have had their overwhelming moments for our little family. There was the huge move from Brisbane – away from our family and friends. Noah began highschool not knowing a single soul in any of his classes. I went back to university and studied nursing so as to provide our family with a more stable income. Julian worked long and often stressful hours at his job, and has had many many work trips, leaving Noah and I to fend for ourselves weeks on end.
To be sure there were many times when I just sat and cried, at a loss as to know what to do next.
But one constant source of support, compassion and love, has been Noah’s highschool. An all girls, Catholic highschool, they took Noah under their wing from the very beginning and dedicated themselves to helping him navigate the stressful maze of teenagehood, social anxiety, and gender dysphoria – not to mention unending school work and exams – and providing Julian and I with endless support and encouragement!
One of Noah’s teachers even rang me one afternoon recently, after school had finished for the day, to say how proud and excited she was that Noah managed to get through his Japanese oral without tears (oral presentations are excruciating for someone with social anxiety) – Noah and I were both in the car and it was really heartwarming to share this teacher’s love and enthusiasm over the bluetooth!
Honestly, I’m sitting here now with tears on my cheeks I am so grateful and humbled by this school’s dedication. I don’t know how we would have made it without them. The beautiful painting below – which is in the senior building’s stairwell – sums up exactly what this school did for Noah – gathered him into their arms, protecting him with their strength and love.
One of the school’s standout Stars is Bob – the volunteer lollypop man. He has manned the crossing in front of the school, morning and night, for more than a decade. Watching him in action each day always brought a smile to my face – and to the many many girls he greeted by name, chatted with, admired their artwork, listened to their plans, commiserated with when they were having a bad day. He has a wonderful capacity to communicate with young people and has endless, genuine enthusiasm for what they are doing.
For our Noah – completely bereft of a grandfather – he was an absolute gift. An absolute gift. Every single afternoon I collected Noah from school – and I often intentionally came a bit late – he would be standing with Bob, chattering away, big smiles on both their faces, sharing his drawings, his dolls, listening to Bob’s stories of dance classes and competitions. They had a lovely rapport. And on the mornings I dropped Noah off, Bob was there to welcome him – with a beaming smile and wave for me too.
Now we’ve given Bob a Christmas present each year, but in this our final year, we wanted him to know just how much we loved and appreciated him so we made him a quilt of stars – inspired by the school’s name and his love for the school, it’s layout inspired by one of the lovely gates .
It was a family effort. I designed the layout and cut out all the pieces. Mum stitched up the vast majority of blocks. I pinned and quilted it. Noah sewed down the binding.
It really is a beauty, even if I say so myself :-) The fabrics – sourced from Darn Cheap up the road – were perfect and there was just the right red pure wool blanket waiting in the sewing shed. Most of all, it was an absolute joy to make and even better to give.
Bob was utterly delighted. He was effusive in his thanks but declared he had already received the greatest gift – six years of lovely friendship with Noah. He insisted he was grateful for us!
Naturally, I cried. He gave Noah a poem he had written especially for his graduation. I cried more. There were many hugs and promises to keep in touch. I cried even more.
This picture says it all. I know I will look back on this story and the photos and cry more! And I will always always always think of Noah’s school and darling Bob with such love and gratitude.
Yep, I said it yesterday and I’ll sing it again today from the rooftops. It’s love folks, love.
And that’s what matters.