Some nights, if I go into the garden, I hear the hum which I have come to regard as normal. The sound of cars whizzing by in the distance, the sound of doors slamming, planes flying overhead, voices.
And then there are times when I walk into the garden and there is a silence so profound it actually makes you stop in your tracks, so not even the sound of your feet break it. The silence. Last night was a night like that. The stars were as bright as diamonds scattered on a velvet throw. And that silence. Wow.
Now I try to look for it at night. I wonder if I stay up a little longer, will I catch it? Sometimes I do and sometimes it never happens.
Last night, I looked.
I had been talking to my daughter because it was already her birthday in New Zealand, and I was not there. I was here. But I went to look into the sky for a different reason. We live under the flight path, I think. Planes take off from Heathrow and fly north over the pole to America, and then on to New Zealand. I can always see planes at this time. Always. And surely one is going to NZ? I like to think so and I look at the tiny lights up there in the sky, and I think of those exact same lights flickering over the airport in Auckland as they touch down in 24 hours. Closer to where my daughter is.
Imagination is a wonderful thing.
Telephones are too.
It sounds just as though she is in the same village when I speak to her. I forget she is hot and in the middle of summer while we are freezing in winter. I forget she is waking up as we are winding down for the day. I forget the thousands and thousands of miles when I talk to her.
We talk of ordinary things. Of family and friends, and how to work phones. Of cars and plans and things which make us laugh. Of illness and crises and oh....just ordinary stuff.
30 years ago, my little baby girl was handed to me seconds after she was born. So tiny and so beautiful. I never knew what any of my children would be. Boys or girls. I just knew that they were my babies and I loved them. So each was a beautiful surprise for us. It never mattered in the slightest to either of us.
And now look at her - 30 years old. Full of life and love and far away. Living - really living her life to the full. But I am her Mum and I am allowed to miss her, even though I raised her to fly.
Happy Birthday, my Diana. I think I will go and watch for planes in the sky for a while again. I love you very much.