I was kewl, once...

We had fried rice for dinner tonight and in the spirit of Bob Marley rewrites, I thought we could have a little fun with our meal. I bopped over to the table singing, "Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rice! Get up! Stand up! Rice is really nice!"

I was greeted not by smiling, laughing, standing children - But by three blank stares.

I could have just sat down and pretended like nothing happened - But oh no - I had to go another round.
"Come on girls, sing with me! ... Get up, stand up! Stand up for your rice!"

Three blank stares.

Then Miss V rolled her eyes at me.

Then Miss J said, "That's not how it goes, mum."

Then Miss F said, "Ye-ah.. And you're not a'sposed to stand up when you're eating."

Yeah - Duh, mum!


Miss J:
Mummy? Why does the fridge light up but not the freezer?

Mummy? Why is the sun round? Why can't it be square instead?

Mummy? Why is the bubble bath stuff blue but the bubbles aren't?

Miss F:
Mummy? Why does that lady have a beard? Is she Santa Clause?

Mummy? Why does that man have breasts? Is he feeding a baby?

Mummy? Why do we have bones if they break?

Miss V:
Mummy? Why can't I have smarshmallows for breakfast?

Mummy? Why can't I have a penis?

Mummy? Why do clouds fly?

Mummy? Why did daddy die?

Mummy? Why doesn't he come back yet?

But mummy, why?

Bye bye, puppy dog

The girls and I took the dogs to the beach today and we made friends with another family who were out flying a kite. Their kids wanted to play with our dogs, and the girls wanted to play with their kite, so it was a perfect match!
After a while the kids decided to ditch us adults and make up their own games.
Miss J played leap frog with her new friend, Miss 6, and Miss F, Miss V and their new friend Mr 2 played puppy dogs.

When it was time to go our separate ways, Mr 2 tried to give Miss V a hug. Miss V put her hand up, meaning 'stop', and said "No thanks!".

Woohoo! Go Miss V! And Woohoo! A teachable moment!

I explained that hugs were for our family and for friends that we've met lots and lots of times before. Then I asked the girls what a good way of saying goodbye to a new friend was.

Miss V waved.

Miss J waved.

Miss F said, "Sniff their bum!"

Mum - 0
Puppy dog - 1

People First

The kewl girls and I were in town today and we bumped into L, the manager of the community centre where we do music. We stopped to chat and during our conversation I mentioned that we were shopping for a birthday present for the girls' friend R, who also comes to music.
It took L a moment to remember R from the 20 other children in the group.. When she did, she said, "Oh yes, the little down-sie girl."

In response, Miss J frowned and said, "Her name is R, and she's not a down-sie girl, she's my friend."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

R is a person, not a diagnosis.
Down syndrome is what she has. It is not who or what or all that she is.

We are all people first. No matter what our abilities, no matter what our diagnosis, no matter how smart our brains or how agile our bodies, we are all people first.

To only see a label is to be, in Miss J's words, "A big smelly bum".

How to jump shopping queues...

This afternoon we had to make a quick dash to the shops after a pretty full on day. The girls were genuinely tired, so when we were standing in the queue at the counter and Miss F complained, "My legs are DYING mum!", I figured it would be easier to pick her up than deal with a dead leg induced tantrum.

Now face to face, this is the conversation that followed...

Miss F, "Mummy look! You have symmetrical pimples!"

Me, "They're freckles, darling."

Miss F, "No they not, they pimples!" *Pointing* "One on that side and one on that side. See? Symmetrical pimples!"

Me, "Yes, they are symmetrical, and they are freckles because they are brown, aren't they?"

Miss F, "No they are pimples, mum. Pim-ples."

Sniggering from the people in front of us...

Me, "They're freckles, Miss F."

Miss F, "PIMPLES! They are pimples! 'Cause they are all red and gooey and 'scusting! Yucky pimples."

Silence from me...
Laughter from the people in front of us...

Miss F, "They are pimples, mum. Sorry - But they are."

More silence from me.
More laughter from the people in front of us...

Miss F, "Mum....? Mummy....? Hey Al....? Allllllll......????"

Me, "Yes, darling child?"

Miss F, "They are pimples, aren't they? Yeah, I know they are 'cause of the pus and stuff. They are really gross you know, mum."

Me, "OK, thanks Miss F."

Miss F, "Mum?"

Me, "Yes, Miss F?"

Miss F, "Are you going to stop eating pus now?"

Roars of laughter from the people in front of us...

Me, "What?!!"

Miss F, "Eating pus?"

Me, "I don't eat pus! Yuck!"

Miss F, "But L (her friend's mum) says that you are what you eat? So you shouldn't eat pimples, should you mum?"

Me, "No you shouldn't. I will stop eating pimples."

Miss F, "EEWWW! You eat PIMPLES!! That's GROSS!!"

Me, "I think you can stand on your own feet now, Miss F."

Miss F, "Yeah! 'Cause I might get sploshed with pimple pus otherwise! Oh no! Don't splosh on me, mum!" *Covers her head dramatically*

Hysterical laughter from everyone around us...

Then the person in front of us turned around and said, "You can go before me... I don't want to get sploshed on, either."

And that is how to jump the queue when shopping with pimples children.

(P.S. - I have symmetrical freckles.)

Shopping with Bob

Three somewhat random bits of information are needed to appreciate our moment this morning...
Firstly, I've rediscovered Bob Marley and had my favourite CD on pretty much non stop this week.
Secondly, we've recently been shopping for presents to share with friends when we go to Cairns next month.
Finally, our neighbours have just returned from a trip overseas and when they came over to catch up their 8 year old told us all about the wonders of duty free shopping.

On to the moment...
The kewl girls were playing shops this morning - Miss J was the attendant, Miss V was her lackey and Miss F was the customer.
Their shop wasn't fortunate enough to have a stereo system, so Miss F decided to make her own background music...

The happy customer grooved up and down the aisles singing, "I shop for sharing! But I do not shop in duty free... Oh no NO! .... They say they going to bring me big gifties... But what - I don't know! Do do do, do-do-do, do do do... HEY! I shop for sharing! But I do not shop in duty free... Oh no NO!"

I have to say, I'm with Miss F on this one - I'd much rather "shop for sharing" than "shoot the sheriff".
Sorry Bob!

Social Skills

The local primary school had their open day today and I took the girls to have a look around. They enjoyed the art displays and the music performances and they especially loved the playground equipment. They spent almost an hour cruising around the outdoor kinder gym having a great time and making lots of new friends. While they were playing one of the teachers came over and we started chatting. The conversation got around to us being home learners and the teacher became quite confused. She watched the girls playing with the other children for a moment, then she said to me, "But they have such good social skills! I'd never have picked them as home schoolers!"

So there you have it - We are not weird because we do home learning, we are weird because we do home learning AND have good social skills.

Who'd'a thunk it?!

Six Question Meme

Melody from biglittlesister has tagged me for a Meme...
I have to:
  • Answer 6 questions about myself
  • At the end of the post, tag 6 people and post their names
  • Go to their blogs and leave them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read my blog
  • Then, I must let the person who tagged me know when I’ve posted my answers
So here goes!

Places I have Lived
St. Kilda, Victoria
Kensington, NSW
New Farm, QLD
By the beach, QLD
Our current home in the bush, QLD
I've also spent time touring with different performance troupes and travelling along Australia's East Coast with M, living out of our combi and doing the "festival crawl".

What I Was Doing 10 Years Ago

I was touring with a circus troupe for all of 1998. In June I think we were somewhere in NSW.

Five things on my to do list today

Write a to do list... lol
Five things on my mental to do list were/are:
1. Put blankets in the bottom of the big "doof doof" drum for the kids music group so that it's not so loud.
2. Remember to hook the trailer up to the car before leaving home so that we can take 50 plastic chairs from the community hall to the school for their open day tomorrow.
3. Stop at the shops to get corn chips (to make nachos for dinner) and epsom salts (for a bath to help my aching muscles after lifting 50 stupid plastic chairs!).
4. Brave the scrub behind our house and go searching for the riding boot that Miss J threw for the dog to fetch (unfortunately the dog is not that silly so now mum has to fetch instead. Woof woof).
5. Replant the strawberries that Miss V helpfully "weeded" yesterday.

Snacks I enjoy
Chocolate coated blueberries
Chocolate coated sultanas
Fruit salad
Cherry tomatoes and snow peas from the veggie garden

What I would Do if I was a Billionaire

Make music, dance, art, drama, sexuality education and inclusive programs for people of all abilities compulsory for every teacher and every student in all schools.
Redesign every building in Australia to make it accessible to everyone. That includes people with a communication disability, people who have vision or hearing impairment, anyone who needs information presented in a different (and more effective!) way, people who use a wheel chair... Everyone. Then I'd build a centre that was inaccessible to "able bodied" people - a place where walking is a disability, where what you see is not what you get and where the native language is Auslan - so people might really start to understand that "disability" has little to do with the person and lots to do with the society.

Six People I Would Like To Know More About
(Feel free to pass or if you've already been tagged, my apologies!)
Deb, at Life's Funny Like That
Lani, a new blogger over at Me & Boo
The fabulous Bush Babe
Mountaingirl at Mountaingirls Musings
The gorgeous Rhubarb Whine
And the wonderful Preschool Mama


Today is Photo Challenge day at Mountaingirls Musings, and the theme this week is Spiritual.

This is a photo of Miss J playing with the curtains in her room yesterday:

I know, the image itself isn't exactly spectacular or spiritual - but the moment is.

When I saw Miss J playing with the curtains I asked her what she was doing. She answered,

"Playing hide and seek with Daddy".


We were playing at the park today and another child (about 8 or 9) came over to join us. When she noticed Miss J and Miss F playing together she exclaimed, "Oh LOOK! Twins!"
Then she asked, "Can I pat them?!"

A new strategy

Recently Miss J has been having trouble with our horse riding routine. She's great at getting ready on her own, she loves getting her horse ready and in my opinion, she is most at home when she is riding.

The trouble she has, is getting off.

After a week of full blown tantrums upon dismount, I decided it was time to come up with a new strategy. I also decided it was time to let Miss J have a little bit more responsibility. She is perfectly capable of understanding the reasons why she has to get off her horse and why tantrums over this are not appropriate, just as she is capable of coming up with better ways to manage her emotions.

So we sat down and had a talk. I explained again that her riding time is 30 minutes and the reasons it has to stay at 30 minutes are so she doesn't get tired and hurt herself, so her horse doesn't get tired and hurt himself, so no one gets bored and cranky and because there are other people who deserve a turn as well. We agreed that tantrums are not a good way to deal with feeling disappointed and sad because her turn was over and Miss J seemed keen to change her behaviour.
I suggested that she come up with something she could do after horse riding that she really enjoys so that when she feels sad, she could focus on this instead. We talked about some of her favourite things - toys, a favourite game, the box of colouring in things - and she seemed to grasp the concept pretty well. We agreed to give it a go and Miss J assured me that she knew what she was going to look forward to after riding.

This afternoon we set off for the paddock, all calm and confident and ready to try out this new strategy. The lesson came and went and when it was time to get off Miss J coped like a star. She told me she was sad her lesson was over but she would like to go up to the house please, because she was looking forward to something else now.

Hooray!! Even I was gob smacked at our brilliance.

Back at the house, Miss J disappeared into her room for about half an hour. When she emerged she was dressed in her favourite pink dress with her favourite pink shoes, she had just about every clip she owned stuck to her head somewhere and her arms were swimming with bracelets and beads. She had her 'Saddle Club' bag slung over her shoulder, a pink purse in one hand and a black, sequin, 'night on the town' number clutched in the other. To complete 'the look', her face was completely covered in purple lip glitter.

Miss V, Miss F and I were speechless.

Miss J, however, was not. She skipped over to the door, swung around to face me and announced:

"Come on mum! We're going shopping!"

She was so excited and so certain, I couldn't say no.

Today, we went shopping. Tomorrow, I think our new strategy may need a little refining.


The girls were playing in the lounge while I was burning food in the kitchen this morning. All of a sudden Miss J screamed: "OWWWWW!!! MUUUUUUM!!!!!!"

I raced into the lounge where Miss J sat cradling her arm. She presented her wound to me, and upon very close inspection a small red line was just visible.

Me: "What happened?"

Miss J: "V scratched me with her claws!"

Me: "Miss V scratched you with her nails?"

Miss J: "No, her CLAWS, mum! She scratched me with her claws! Owwwwwww..."

Me: "Did you mean to scratch her arm, Miss V? (She didn't, and she apologised) Do you need a band aid Miss J?"

Miss J: "YES PLEASE I do. I do need a band aid very very very much, to stop my arm from coming all the way apart!"


"And it's NOT FUNNY mum!"

Girl Stuff

I have been tagged by Megan from Imaginif for a Girlie Meme.
People who know me are probably falling off their chairs laughing at the moment. Miss F is. She can't believe other people are asking me about make up, and she says she will help me so I don't use her lip gloss as eye shadow again.
I maintain I only did that once, and I was nervous because Miss F was watching me.

Before I get to the meme questions, I have a disclaimer:
I don't wear make up. I haven't since I was about 17. Not as "me" anyway. I love getting into costume and donning stage make up, but I see that as a character - a performance - not a personal choice.
The reason for my lack of make up is not lack of care. I do take pride in my appearance and make an effort to look and feel "good", but using make up to change, enhance, or 'better' my face doesn't sit well with me any more.
It took a few hard lessons for me to learn that no amount of 'bettering' will make me feel beautiful if I don't already feel beautiful to start with. Once this clicked and my thoughts changed from covering up the perceived imperfections to celebrating individuality there was no going back.
I don't think make up itself is all bad - I understand that for some (including Miss F), make up is empowering and liberating and something that feels good.
It's just not for me.
OK - End of disclaimer.

Meme starting now:

I once wore the wrong type of foundation on stage and the lighting made me look green.

Miss F says that you're meant to wear it so people can't see when you get embarrassed - We both think this is silly.

Ouch. I haven't attacked myself with a mascara wand in ages, and I certainly don't keep weapons in the house.
I have a wicked pair of false eye lashes from my performing days though. They were given to me by one of the most respected drag queens on the festival circuit. When she presented them to me, she said, "Because you need them more than I do, sweetie darling".

Miss F is not yet aware of it's existence. I would like to keep it this way for as long as possible. She does enough damage with her eyes as it is.

Day Cream:
I use fresh aloe from the garden most evenings and wash it off in the shower at night. I also love papaw ointment and use it on my lips all the time.

Miss F - wears tinted (all natural) sunscreen during the day and cleanses her pores with rose water at night.

Essential Beauty Product:

Miss F has her own tube of papaw ointment, her own aloe plant, pink strawberry soap, 13 different shades of lip gloss, 7 tubs of glitter and 9 favourite hair accessories. Apparently these are all "Super 'sentials."

Favorite Makeup Product:
Face paint. I LOVE it. I make an awesome "Patch" the dog.

Miss F is a lip gloss diva. We've had to limit her to 3 colours in her hand bag at a time. We also have to allow an extra 20 minutes or so in our morning routine so she can choose which 3 shades go best with her outfits of the day.

Essential oils (hi Megan!). I make balms with beeswax and essential oils so they aren't too, er, oily. My current favourite is a blend called Dream Time. No idea what it's a blend of exactly, but it's divine.
I have also been known to splash a little tea tree and sodium bicarb deodoriser on my clothes if I smell too much like horses.

God mother makes a lavender spray for Miss F. I actually quite like this too, and it's great for calming down a stressed out Miss F if she runs out of new outfits to change into.

Fairly long and very strong - Great for picking tics out of the animals.

Miss F - "Pink, and pink with pink sparkles, and just pink sparkles, and pink with silver sparkles and silver and pink sparkles."
She has 10 different nail polishes and applies a different one to every nail. When the neighbouring teens come over they fight over who is first to get their nails painted by Miss F.

I love my hands. They are soft and creative and I love what they can do. I have long fingers, too, and can get lost watching them cruising up and down the keys of a piano.

Miss F says "Hands are for patting, not pulling tails".
(This is kind of our mantra at the moment.)

I think my feet are still mad at me for torturing them with years of ballet. They hate shoes, so most of the time I don't wear any. Except for horse riding boots. I ALWAYS wear boots when I'm going to be around the horses.

Miss F is in love with her pink boots. She made a bed for them out of an old fluffy pink jumper and she tucks them in at night.

Three Products to bring on a deserted island:
That doesn't seriously mean products as in, 'beauty products' does it? LOL! Seriously!
1. A chocolate face mask - because you can eat it.
2. A nail file - for self protection.
3. Miss F's lavender mist - 'cause I figure we'll all need it when she runs out of outfits on the island.

Women I admire for their beauty:
This woman...

Her spirit, her character and her love of life make her one of the most beautiful women I know.
Also, the bumper sticker you can just see behind her says "Men are like floor tiles - Lay them once and you can walk all over them for years".
Now have another look at the grin on her face and tell me that isn't beautiful!

Women with the Best Sense of Style:
Miss F, naturally. She changes outfits at least 3 times a day and has a special "wardrobe bag" dedicated to carrying the selected outfits when she's not at home.

My Ultimate Dream:
To master (or at least get very very good at) the art of living in the moment and only attracting that which brings me joy.

How Do I Define Womanhood:
I came up with a few different things here, but I just can't go past the stunning definition Megan gave:
Womanhood is like a crystal sphere hanging in the window. Given sunshine, beautiful shots of colour occur at any angle and with no notice. Multi faceted, it is possible for the sphere to throw colour in many directions at the same time but to also hang colourless when being systematically watched with an expectation of performance.

Plain, yet beautiful, the multi faceted crystal sphere needs to be handled with care because of it’s dense tough fragility and, given light to perform at its best. Block the light to the sphere and you will get nothing but that which you deserve: nothing more than robotic movement.

Few people have ever discovered the inner workings of the crystal sphere and the angle of the sun required to produce the most brilliant rainbow hues - but that’s okay, because the crystal sphere has ultimate shine and powers when she wants and she is ready.

Favourite Fashion Publication:
Horseland catalogues - They make me laugh. There is just something about people in gumboots and jodhpurs trying to look stylish that I find very funny. I think horses find it funny, too. I know mine do - They make me step in horse poo when I get new boots, just so I don't go getting any posh ideas.

The last bit:
Now that I've managed to incorporate horse poo into a post about make up and girlie stuff, I'm going to tag Jeanie and Pencil Writer.

Phew. Must be time for a chocolate face mask.

A hot water bottle and a good night kiss

I haven't managed my emotions very well this week. Even less so today. In fact, I was so out of touch with reality today that I had an "I can't do it" moment.
I was standing at the sink making hot water bottles for the girls and I got lost in my own negativity.

First the animals - All the vet bills, the feed, the equipment, the risk they pose to the girls, to me, to themselves, the responsibility for all of those beings - Is it really worth it?

Then the property. There is so much upkeep here - the fences, the grass, the paddocks, the fast disappearing driveway, the tree branches, the gutters, the grey water system, the water pumps, the compost, the veggie patch - Am I getting sick of our home?

Next I moved on to work. Am I doing enough? I'd love to start a new project, but I already feel stretched enough as it is. Am I stretched too far, then? Do I actually achieve anything by doing bits and pieces, or am I doing bits and pieces of nothing? And money - I want everyone to be able to have music and drama and dance and self protection and horses as part of their lives. I want to do it all for free, but I can't - so where is the middle ground?

Then the girls. My precious girls. We had a shocking day today, and I made bad choices and had silly tantrums. Do they still know I love them? Will they always know I love them? Always and always and always, no matter what? They are my world and I love them with all my heart. But does this put pressure on them? What if they start to resent me?
And the decisions - far out - how is one person supposed to make decisions that will essentially make or break another's life? Just how do you decide what is best for 3 little lives, both as individuals and as a family? What if I get it wrong?! What would I do then, because I don't trust anyone else to make decisions for us. Is that arrogant?

I need to stop this.

But what if I can't?

It was at this point that Miss J came into the kitchen to inquire about the progress of her hot water bottle. I told her I was doing the best I could and she would have to wait, because "I CAN'T DO EVERYTHING!"

Oh good one, Al - Share the pain, why don't you? Way to go.

But Miss J just looked at me blankly and said, "I don't want everything. I want my hot water bottle and a kiss goodnight. You can do that, can't you mum."

I made some not so kewl choices this week. They were pretty unkewl actually.
On Saturday I felt a lump of grief swelling in my throat, but instead of releasing it I swallowed hard and tried to ignore it.
On Sunday I felt the tightness of grief in my chest, but instead of soothing it I stopped breathing properly and tried to ignore it.
Yesterday I felt the knots of grief in my stomach, but instead of undoing them I clenched my fists and made more of them while I tried to ignore it.
Tonight I can't ignore it any more, and I wish that I had let it out on Saturday because tonight I have the lump, the tightness and the knots to get through.

Oh yeah - I mismanaged my emotions BIG TIME this week, and I let them get the better of me today.

Tomorrow is a new day though, and tonight I think I can at least manage a hot water bottle and a good night kiss.

Childhood Hero Day

Friday June 13th is Childhood Hero Day - Have you got your capes yet?

Childhood Hero day is more than the perfect excuse to dress up though - It is an opportunity to raise money for the Australian Childhood Foundation so that they can keep supporting kids who have been abused and their families, too.

Even better than this - It is an opportunity to raise awareness! An opportunity to speak up and promote a zero tolerance attitude towards child abuse in your community.

Possibly the best part about Childhood Hero Day, is the opportunity we all have to celebrate being hero's and to flex our superhero muscles - Listening, believing, caring and taking action to protect our kids.

So how are you going to celebrate your superhero powers and show off a bit of muscle?

Megan over at Imaginif is flying high with her cape, her awesome child protection blog and the other superhero's at Imaginif. As well as a corporate donation, Megan is donating $1 for every blog post in support of Childhood Hero day. How kewl is that?! (*hint hint*)

Over on this side of the screen the kewl girls and I will be flying around our community hall, sprinkling superhero dust over as many people as we can, playing superhero games, eating superhero food (cake, of course), having oodles of fun and raising lots of money for the Australian Childhood Foundation in the process.
(AND I'm going to wear my undies on the outside - Because I can, and because Miss F is still too young to refuse to be seen in public with me.)

As always, here on the kewl blog we will be celebrating the moments.
Lots of the things I blog about are moments where my children are little hero's... Moments when they are being their most inspired, humorous, ridiculous, outrageous, wise, intuitive, blatantly obvious and innocent little selves.
The kewl girls regularly flip the parent / child roles upside down and I have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for my three amazing young teachers.

These moments, though, are just that - momentary.

While I will always celebrate the lessons I learn and the wisdom of my children - I will never forget that being the hero is my responsibility, always.

On June 13th I am celebrating my own wisdom, the wisdom of other superhero's and the collective power we have to kick monster butt and make child safety everyone's priority.

What are you celebrating?

Inside day #4

Yes, I'm posting about the weather.
That is how nutty I go when we have to stay inside all day.

It has been raining here since Friday, and today it is pouring. The road out of town is flooded, as is our drive way and most of the back paddocks. This means the horses have to share a room, and they are not impressed.
It also means we have to stay inside and share our toys.
We are not impressed either.

But as always, the kewl girls are reminding me to change my perspective and make the most of things.

This morning Miss J helped Miss V gather up all the dishes they could find- cups, plates, bowls, cutlery- and put them outside in the rain. Miss J was very please with herself when she told me I wouldn't have to do any washing up today, and Miss V was grinning from ear to ear when she informed me the dishes were: "Cleaning their selves now!".

Then Miss F went outside to check on the bucket we placed in the rain, to see how quickly it would fill up. She called to me, "Look Al! It's raining sideways!"
This was shortly followed by, "Quick! Get the camera!"
Then from mum, "How else could you ask for something?"
Miss F, "Get the camera now!"
Mum, "Or how could you ask so that I might like to do that for you?"
Miss F, "Oh - Quickly get the camera now - please mummy, I love you?"

The down pipe (guessing on the terminology here) has a hole near the bottom so that it doesn't explode when we get heavy rain, and this makes it rain sideways when there is enough water pressure. It looks very kewl - Or in the eyes of Miss F- Very photo worthy.

She was getting awfully close to this 'sidepour' of rain in order to best capture the moment, and I admit, I was more concerned for the dryness of my camera than for the dryness of my daughter.
I asked her, "Is there any water getting on the camera, darling 'I love you' Miss F?"
She said, "Of course not mum."
"There is rain getting on the camera."

Lunchtime on Inside day #4:
Kewl girls = 53
Mum = 0

Not that I'm counting...


It was a struggle to get out of bed this morning. I nearly didn't, but I'm glad that I did.

My inspiration has come from two places today. First, my darling Miss F. She came into my room, all dressed up and ready for a party, took my hand and pulled. She said five words that completely changed the direction of my day.

"Come on mum! Let's dance!"

So we went outside and we danced.

My second source of inspiration came from above. Quite literally.
As I went to get a book off the shelf, another book slid out beside it. This other book (
A common prayer, by Michael Leunig) toppled off the shelf, thwacked me on the head, then fell to the floor, where it lay open at this page:

Dear God,

Give comfort and peace to those who are separated from loved ones. May the ache in their hearts be the strengthening of their hearts.
May their longing bring resolve to their lives, conviction and purity to their love. Teach them to embrace their sadness lest it turn into despair. Transform their yearning into wisdom. Let their hearts grow fonder.