Posted by: Joan Spiller | September 27, 2014

Ode to Joy. Segue: CJ is 26 tomorrow!!

I’ve a bit of a soft spot for this tune, based solely on the fact it reminds of the sense of accomplishment on her face when CJ learned to play it some 20 years ago .. not sure I’ve ever talked about this on my blog, but CJ was once a very earnest piano student..

It stemmed from her falling in love with the phantom of the opera, after she saw it around age 4 in Sydney .. CJ was all “I wanna play piano, I wanna be the phantom” (blah blah, blaaaah.. lol) and so I bought a piano (Bentley, as he shall from hereon-in be known) and while I still have Bentley, well – let’s just say he’s retired, for all he was adored for a few years 😉

CJ’s piano lessons when she was 5 were surprisingly hard to organise.

No one wanted to teach a child so young .. her hands wouldn’t be big enough, she wouldn’t have the attention span, she would get bored, she can’t reach the pedals .. heck, she can’t read – let alone read music .. the list of “excuses” went on, as I called every piano tutor in Auckland ..

Not one to give up, I kept calling ’til I found one who agreed to give it a go. A gentle, lovely lady – this tutor was fun and encouraged CJ’s new found interest – even if it was of limited duration. (CJ stopped playing around the age of 10 .. so not entirely a short term interest .. )

Each evening, CJ would insist on playing a few tunes on “Bentley” before bed (totally used as a means to stay up later .. she didn’t know it simply meant I started the bedtime process earlier to accommodate this scam she was running!) but it was fun to witness this love affair, so an easy amendment to a bedtime routine!

Throughout her life, CJ has given a heap of stuff “a go”. Much to my delight .. I would be so sad to have a child that was just meh, bored and not ever keen to try anything new.

Of course, at times this does mean I am on the end of phone calls such as:

“Mum I am in an ambulance with suspected spinal injuries after being thrown off a rodeo bull”, or;

“hello Mrs Spiller, we need to ask you to tell CJ she cannot be on road patrol every day, other kids want a turn too”;

“Uh so can you take me to the airport? I have been called to work on the Rena recovery, wow!”

To (a personal fave):

“OMG, MUM I need to hug someone, I’ve been accepted to the super competitive ‘Bachelor of Veterinary Technology degree!”

This really is one of the neatest things about CJ. She GIVES LIFE A GO! And this (plus much more) makes me so proud.

CJ is so much her own person now.

Raised by a feisty Mother (with no real idea what she was doing except for wanting to have a happy and healthy child) .. with a strong (albeit BOTH all well-meaning) grand-parental influence from day one .. the only child and only grandchild (niece, etc) ..

Let’s face it: There was a huge chance CJ would turn out to be a right shit of a human being.

But she aint!

And this is where I get a little bit misty eyed, cos she’s my “kid” and, well..?

She’s awesome!

As time passes, I witness CJ becoming more and more her own person. Not so much “Joan’s daughter”, but “CJ, the person” and it’s.. exciting.

Sure, there are times when I (ferocious Momma) think to myself: “hang the hell on”, during or after discussions with aforementioned kid .. And it’s fair to say we don’t always agree on things, nowadays. The downside to raising someone to be their own person?

But yeah, I am realising something else: raising a human being who’s actually .. being? Not always easy ..  but boy it is ALL good..

So now, a few hours (and 26years) before she entered my world “proper”, I want to say this:

Happy birthday CJ.

I am so very proud of you, I love you and I always will..
You’re amazing and I consider myself lucky and honoured to be your Mother.


CJ 3 wks old

Pic of CJ taken at 5 Kennedy Road, Napier (aged 3 weeks) by her great grandfather, Russell Spiller circa 1988



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