This Little guy here is Finlay Rayne and he is the son of Jo who I have been friends with ever since I asked her the time in year 8 agriculture. Our Ag teacher was a man named Mr Voller* and if you attended our school just saying that name out loud causes shivers to run down your spine. I was miraculously not heard but when Jo answered, the full force of this man’s enthusiasm for obeying classroom rules fell on her shoulders. After being singled out and embarrassed in front of the whole class she was held back to have a layer of her hearing removed by a very animated tirade. I was so mortified that I hid behind a stack of lockers in the corridor till she was released just to see if she was alright, who knew that saying "12:15" was akin to global annihilation? And so from the heavy weight of guilt a life long friendship was born.
Finn, her little boy, has cancer. He has a stage 4 Neuroblastoma. I mentioned him here when it was all so unbelievably new and raw. He also, when he was very little, lost a very special baby toy (well his Mummy did anyway, I’m not blaming you Finn). I’m not sure if Finn even knew how special that toy was but if you’re parent or have a special little person in your life you will understand the attachment you feel for that first toy the child makes a connection with. That one little critter that catches their eye and makes their face light up whenever they see it, that one special cuddly that their fingers curl around so perfectly. And you can understand how devastating it is to find that after you pull up on the drive and hustle everyone and their various odds and sods into the house, that it is just not there.
Jo looked everywhere for the original then after the realization that it was gone sunk in, looked everywhere again for a replacement. She even searched eBay and not just for listings under its name, I mean looking through those bags of "Various baby toys". She then dragged all her friends and relatives into the search by setting up a FaceBook page.
For months on end I haven’t been able to walk past a toy shop without quickly ducking in to see if a stripy blue zebra is hidden within the piles of baby toys. I even checked out other peoples prams as they passed by. I don’t know what I would have done if I had seen one dangling in front of someone else’s chubby baby?? maybe initiated a surprise attack from behind the plaza courtesy seats, snatching the zebra and disappearing into the crowds in the veggie shop?? Maybe I became a bit obsessed but it didn’t help that she mentioned it every time we got together.
Anyway one night after hearing about Finn’s cancer when I was feeling empty and lost I started to Google search anything that might be distracting. A pointless exercise that should never be attempted, when you care so much all your thoughts spiral back, it can’t be stopped. I typed the little blue zebras name into Google for the millionth time. There it was, sitting on my computer screen surrounded by French words. I’m assuming that it being a French toy was the reason it was hard to find in Australia. As I am completely without the ability to read French I called Glenn over hoping that he might know some sort of bable fish program that will translate French for me.
"Oh is it French?" he asks
"No its Australian, they just thought it would spice things up if they wrote all the product info in French" I thought.
"well hang on" he says ‘ I know a French guy on Friend Feed, maybe he can help out"
So now I would like to introduce Brome, Glenn’s French guy. Thankyou so much Brome for organizing all of this for us and refusing to accept any money. You are amazing.
And Jo sends a thankyou to you as well
"Thankyou, it came just at the time where he will need a cuddly friend most." -Jo
Finn is doing so well, he’s never still except for the times he’s sitting on a tricycle making his mummy push him around the backyard. But he has a big fight ahead and while he’s in the middle of it I hope he senses how special he is and how many people are sending their love and prayers his way, even a really nice French guy on the other side of the world who we have never met.
* Please note I do know this guy IRL and he is a lovely and very kind man, it was just the first week in and we weren’t quite used to his, um, teaching style. Once I got used to it Ag was my favourite class and one that I did very well in. I think the inner workings of the cows digestive system is permanently etched on my mind through fear. But in his favour, other than a title page, he never gave out homework.