I begin the day with tiny hands clamping my cheeks, hopeful that a finger wasn’t just poking around his nappy only moments before. Abruptly beginning to shake my face, he yells “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”
That is our two-year-old son, Iluka…
I roll over, open my eyes and I’m greeted by the cheekiest smile. Then I watch as Iluka turns to his daddy, sweetly rubbing his face, smothering him with sloppy kisses, gently saying, “Morning Daddy… marang ngarin.” (Good morning in Wiradjuri language.)
Time to kick-start the day. Let’s go! I work full time from home in the climate justice movement, juggling our clothing brand and keeping Iluka occupied. It’s all in a day’s work.
Things starts optimistically: pancakes for breaky with a lather of nutella. Then, A SUGAR RUSH. Iluka sits in on my Zoom meetings, saying ‘bye’ every couple of seconds because these meetings are all very un-exciting. So Iluka decides he’ll read a book. Every kids book. And he’s throwing them on the floor, like he just did me a favour.
Naptime comes and in a flash it’s over… The pitter-pattering of fat little feet on the tiles and his soft voice asking “Mummy, Mummy”.
By the time afternoon comes around, I’m exhausted. I can hear my partner get home! HOW GOOD. Iluka dashes to the door with supersonic speed and, as I grab a useless five-minute scroll of Insta, Iluka and Ben run laps around the house filling it with energy of the didgeridoo and clapsticks.
There is nothing more rewarding (or exhausting) in this world than raising a little human. We have days where we disagree, throw tantrums, do absolutely nothing. Days where we become lounge lizards, because honestly, who can be bothered to do chores?
It feels like no time ago we were welcoming our newborn Iluka, but time seems to fly by, milestones pass, and now our little baby is a toddler.
Iluka, today I’ll live in this present moment, enjoying the chaos, charm and charisma that you bring into our lives. Because there’s nowhere in this world that I’d rather be, than here guiding, nurturing and loving you, every second of each day, as you grow into the young man you are destined to become.
My son, be true to who you are while always doing your best under any circumstance and NEVER let anybody silence your voice.
Live your life to its greatest potential!
Chase your sweet dreams!
Treat today as a gift, because we are living in the present after all.
For you my son, have the strength, resilience and pride of a young warrior with over 60,000 years of culture running through your veins. Let me remind you, the future is in sacred hands.
Tamika Sadler is a proud Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander woman living on Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Country (Sunshine Coast). As well as running a clothing label Take Pride Movement with her partner, Benjamin, Tamika’s a community organiser and campaigner for an environmental organisation advocating for climate justice, with her little sidekick, son Iluka! In between the chaos, she’s also finishing postgraduate studies in Land and Sea Country Management.