Approximately two hours ago (in my head) it was midday on Friday and one of my best friends in the world, Cara, was due to arrive any minute on a visit from Sydney. Then she DID arrive and I couldn't even go to the tram stop let alone the airport to meet her, because a) I didn't have a car and b) Harry was sleeping upstairs in his cot. Poor Cara made it to our place in between showers and hailstorms and... we think that was SLEET. What? How cold was it in Melbourne this weekend!?! I kept seeing friends' feeds on Facebook of frolics in the snow basically just outside town and it was all so beautiful.
Cara and a bunch of our other friends joined us at the Epworth Gala Ball on Saturday night, which was organised by Mr B and his team. Just us and more than 1300 other people, raising money for medical research. (Cara was adorable because she's from Sydney and the cold weather was killing her so she wore thermals under her dress. She is a stunner so she could get away with it, but I still thought it was pretty funny). And permit me a little boast but I am so incredibly proud of Mr B and the people who work with and for him because that night they raised $5.6 million to go to medical research. That is INSANE. There were two people on our table who pledged a million and 1.2 million each to this cause. When the first woman announced her gift - a lovely lady in her 80s - you could literally feel 1300 people hold their breath. We were all thinking, "Did she actually say what I think she said?" and then the whole room erupted in applause.
The ball had a "Rio Carnival" theme and later we were all up and dancing to cheesy Latin music, including the 80-something-year-old lady. I want to be like her when I'm old. Not just rich and generous (although that would be nice), but also fun and cheeky and celebratory and go-get-em fun-loving. She has lost her husband, and battled cancer more than once. She and her late husband made their money by sheer hard work. They weren't tycoons or heirs, they were hard-working, careful-saving, and smart. And now she gives and gives and gives again to charity, because she genuinely cares. Then she laughs and cracks a slightly-blue joke, and tears it up on the dance floor.
Another highlight of the evening was when, during the Latin-style dancing, they announced a conga line. I said to Mr B "Let's sneak away," because there is NOTHING WORSE than a conga line. And he agreed. So I started to walk back to our table and he had his hand on my waist and the next minute we looked behind us and there were six or more people all holding onto us and it turned out WE HAD STARTED THE CONGA LINE. Which was horrifying and hilarious in the same moment.
We stayed in a hotel that night and Mr B didn't get in until almost 4am and I didn't sleep much before that because babies and hotel rooms don't always go well together, and we all four of us ended up in the bed together. Thank goodness for luxurious, king-sized hotel beds! When we woke the next morning, bleary and tired but on massive highs from the night's success, it was so beautiful. Everybody smiled at each other all at once. Madeleine threw herself across my body to kiss Harry, and Harry exploded into giggles. Then we ordered a big breakfast and ate it in our room overlooking the city.
I strapped Harry to me in the Ergo and walked out into Melbourne's coldest morning in 16 years. Cara texted me. "It is 1 degree!" and I said "Isn't it great?" and she simply responded "ONE DEGREE." I guess she was glad of those thermals. Harry and I were each others' hot water bottles so he quickly fell asleep and we were fine as we walked from Crown Casino to Gertrude Street where we met Cara, and Madeleine and Mr B caught up with us. By this time the day had warmed up to one of those perfect sunny winter's days that are like peering at the world through the finest layer of ice and nothing is more clean.
Madeleine was a trooper despite the night of broken sleep and no nap, and only had one meltdown all day. So we all rocked up to yum cha before heading home, where Madeleine and I picked and washed lemons to make preserves while Mr B and Harry had a nanna-nap together.
And the next minute the kids were both asleep in bed and Mr B and I were watching something cheesy on the TV and the weekend was over just like that and I SWEAR everything I've just written only happened a couple of hours ago, and the weekend is about to begin.