I’m not sure if I will be able to do a good enough job.
I’m not sure if I will be able to describe to you how wonderful our last few days have been
or how big Ivy’s smile was
but I’ll try.
We woke early on Wednesday morning and drove to Sydney
where the pair opened gifts and celebrated their sixth birthday with our traditional pancakes and ice cream breakfast
with grandparents, cousins, their aunt and us.
It was lovely and colourful and special.
Noah, loved his light sabre (saver) the best
and Ivy loved her handbag filled with hair accessories and necklaces
and her horses and the horse float
oh, and her brand new tutu.
Noah looked in his bag with new clothes in it and then poked them a bit with his sabre.
Noah doesn’t care much for clothes but he’ll let me dress him up in what I think looks smart, so it’s all good
and he loves hats – the funkier the better.
He did look gorgeous.
We’d received a message earlier that Ivy should dress in her best tutu for her Starlight Wish,
which was to dance in The Sydney Opera House with The Australian Ballet
Ivy has tutus but I thought she could do with a new one.
Especially after everything.
I had fully intended on buying a nice dress for the girl anyway but because we were in the hospital, I’d forgotten all about it.
In a last minute email, I asked our friends at Baby’s Got Style if they could help get a rush order out
and they pulled out all of the stops to make it happen for us.
Dave and I were very thankful because Ivy just loved her tutu so much, her little eyes lit up when she saw it.
That’s where we bought Noah’s outfit from too.
Time moved so quickly and soon we found ourselves on our way into the city.
The Starlight Foundation are so amazing and left nothing undone.
When they realised it was Ivy and Noah’s birthday they organised lunch for us as well at a lovely little cafe.
Noah had asked, when we were discussing the event, what his wish would be.
It’s so difficult sometimes when one twin is well and the other isn’t.
Dave and I thought that we might take him on the Ferry
because he loves that kind of stuff – as part of ’Noah’s Wish’
and so the Starlight Foundation booked us into Cafe Brisa at Manly.
The ferry ride over was interesting and fun,
although we missed the first ferry from Darling harbour, so we were a little shell shocked to start with.
It just gave Ivy time to practice her spinning.
We saw lots of the Sydney sights from the ferry, including the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.
Noah loved every minute of it.
Our party included my Mum and Dave’s parents,
which was really special.
When we arrived at Cafe Brisa, they were ready for us.
Kerrie, our wish co-ordinator had brought some balloons around earlier which was a really lovely surprise for Ivy and Noah.
I loved that she included Noah and the other kids wherever possible.
Lunch was lovely, with seafood, steak
right through to risotto for the gluten free, seafood free, lactose free girl
and of course, there was cake.
The staff were just wonderful and looked after us really well.
By the time we’d finished it was 4pm and everyone was starting to feel weary
although, Noah still managed to dance with Maddy along the Corso.
Gran bought the pair a lollipop each, which just made their day
and we rode the ferry back to the city, exhausted.
We stayed in the Meriton Apartments in Pitt Street.
We ordered in and watched the city from forty floors up.
It was pretty amazing.
Even though Ivy had a high temperature towards the end of the day
and the boys were coughing up a storm again
nothing could deter them from enjoying every minute.
Ivy and Noah had a deep bath and declared it the ‘best birthday ever’.
It was a funny kind of night.
Everyone was a little restless
but they were all up and excited early the next morning.
Wish day had come!
We had brekkie at a little café called Opal Coffee,
which had great food and soy chai latte for a small price.
Immy took a liking to their little teaspoons, so the manager kindly gave her one.
We ate, drank and recharged for the day
and then we set about getting ready.
Everyone dressed for the occasion.
Noah, took on his role as Ivy’s escort so seriously.
He dressed in a jacket and tie
although he did take a while to get dressed –
too busy pretending to be Tom Cruise and sliding on the white, slippery
tiles in his socks and undies.
Ivy was so excited.
We hadn’t told all of the kids that we were being picked up by a stretch Hummer
so when it rounded the corner of Pitt Street they went off.
Mal was over the moon.
We met Luis, our driver ,who took us for a tour of Sydney.
He was so wonderful.
If you are ever looking for someone to show you the sights, Luis is your guy.
We went into the Botanical Gardens to have photos
and boy did we have photos!
The Japanese tourists were in love with our kids,
especially the girl and so instead of photographing the Opera House and the Bridge
they started snapping pictures of the tiny dancer and her brother
and the older kids too.
AJ became really protective and started standing in front of Ivy every time any of the tourists came near her.
The funniest thing was when the family was all lined up for a photo and the tour group decided they would join in
so, when they all grouped together for a photo, the teenagers decided they would jump in with the tourists!
What can I say?
My biggies are seasoned photo bombers.
Our Japanese friends took it in their stride though and laughed and included them.
It was good fun.
They also took photos of us outside, inside and alongside the Hummer.
It was so strange.
Finally it was time for us to make our way to The Opera House.
Ivy stared out the window,
the anticipation was palpable.
Luis drove us right up to the stage door where we met Kerrie (from Starlight) and Caitlyn, who was our host from The Australian Ballet.
We were ushered in through security and taken to watch a warm up class, where three of the ballerinas met the girl.
They were very friendly.
Ivy was fascinated.
She watched the bar work and some of centre work without moving once.
She picked out some of the steps that she had learnt in her ballet class
but she was amazed at how fast the ballerinas had to learn routines.
At one stage, one of the female ballerinas, Amy, came over to Ivy and presented her with a pair of toe shoes that had been autographed by everyone.
The girl clung to those shoes for the remainder of the day and when she didn’t have them in her arms, they were never far from her sight.
After class, Ivy was taken onto the stage, where she danced with some of the girls from Romeo and Juliet.
I cannot describe to you how magical it was for the girl.
One of the ballerinas, Brooke, brought Ivy right out of her shell
but all three of them (Brooke, Amy and Dimity) worked really hard to make Ivy feel like
she was the most important person in the world
and Ivy blossomed.
She was able to try on some of the costumes and stood amongst the sets.
The girls were so good at including Noah too – they called him’ the new Romeo’
and Noah lapped that up.
I was so thankful to those girls.
They put themselves out there and were so friendly and open
and so beautiful.
Ivy could not get over how gorgeous they all were.
We took loads of photos (many of them are blurry because I was laughing and crying and just not concentrating)
I wanted to go through and edit them all but I just couldn’t, instead I’ve picked some of my favourites (it was so hard to choose)
and if you want to see the whole set – unedited, you can look at them here, on Flickr
Luke introduced himself as Ivy’s male partner, explaining to her that he was the girl’s
just for lifts.
Oh, Ivy loved every second of that!
We were introduced to Graeme Murphy, the choreographer extraordinaire ,for Romeo and Juliet.
He was so good with Ivy.
He sat down on the ground next to her and chatted to her about ballet.
Even the professional ballerinas were in quiet awe of his wanting to meet Ivy.
Everyone was so lovely.
Soon it was time to move from the stage
and after a quick lunch
we were allowed into the theatre to watch the final dress rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet.
We met David McAllister (my, didn’t the Grandmas swoon) who is the Artistic Director of the ballet
and then Ivy met Madeleine Eastoe – who is the principal female artist, playing Juliet.
I couldn’t believe how lovely everyone was and how interested they were in the girl.
Everyone wanted it to be a special day for Ivy.
When the ballet started
Ivy did not move.
She laughed in the funny parts
and watched as the ballet played out the story of the feuding families
and how even that could not keep Romeo and Juliet away from each other.
At interval they took Ivy to wardrobe, to look at some costumes.
By that time, Ivy was exhausted but she was excited to try on some of the costume from
one of her favourite ballets – The Nutcracker.
For a few moments she was the sugar plum fairy.
Kerrie gave us the option of leaving then but Ivy was determined to see the second half.
Of course, she loved it.
At the end, Ivy was taken out to say goodbye and thank you to the performers.
It was a wonderful, amazing day and Ivy’s wish come true.
She was so tired at the end of it all but so happy too.
I will never be able to thank The Starlight Foundation or The Australian Ballet
I’ve not seen Ivy that smiley in a very long time.
It was a once in a lifetime experience that Ivy will never forget
and one that she will be able to hold onto on the really hard days.
She made a card for the ballerinas yesterday
and inside it said:
“Thank you for letting me dance on stage with you in the Opera House.
You made me feel like I was flying.”
That says it all, really.