I first met Ali when she was young, and blonde, and back on our soils with a hybrid American-Australian accent. She was a tiny little poppet of sunshine and giggles and I thought her gorgeous, and funny when she stamped her foot when I called her Alison. “My name is Ali!” she said as I laughed and told her that Alison wasn’t that bad, thinking she would grow into the name like I did.
The next time I met Ali she was rebellious and blonde, and back on our soils with a hybrid English-Australian accent. She was a ray of light and fun and she made me laugh, with her ripped, oversized jeans and bare feet. I thought it was funny when she stamped her foot when I said she would probably be a great Chiropractor one day. “I will NEVER be a chiro!” she said as I laughed and told her that it wasn’t that bad, and she would grow into the life like I did.
The next thing I knew, years had gone by and little Ali did all sorts of study and travel and stuff and somehow without me noticing, had gone from being my babysitter, to a grown up woman with a degree, and a shiny new office in a new country, and a fiancé.
I don’t know how or when it all happened, because I know she was only just looking after our kids a minute ago whilst we went out to Sabai Sabai for tea, but here she was in front of me, all grown up and with a ring on her finger. Some events just jump in your face and force you to feel old, and this was one of them.
I was excited to trot down to the home of her parents and see who she had chosen to hold her hand and her heart, in this next part of the adventures. This time when I saw Ali she was poised and beautiful without even a hint of a hybrid New Zealand-Australian accent. We sat on the couch, and chatted about all of the things under the sky and she made me smile with her stories and insights, and this time I didn’t laugh at her at all. I just sat with her and reflected on what a rare privilege it is to see someone grow into their skin, and become somehow more of themselves. To observe the changes and the letting-go that happens as we become our true selves. I listened to the man she has chosen to be the one she lets see all of her, both her fragility and her core of stubborn strength. I watched him, watching her, and my heart smiled as I knew she has chosen well.
For she is still Ali. Never Alison. I suspect that she will still stamp her foot on occasion, but I love seeing that she will also listen carefully and consider deeply before rushing off to catch the next Piscean rainbow she sees. She came from a home of Infinite Possibilites, which she has gracefully managed to distill down to the ones that speak to her best self most of all. And that is a joy to see.
Congratulations on your betrothal, Ali. MWAH.
…From The Ashers xxx