We've been on a beach holiday for a couple of days. Australia, you are a beauty queen.
Scruffy, lovable kangaroos:
Deserted white sand beaches at twilight.
I see it so clearly because I'm an immigrant. Australia has opened her arms to me.
Want to hear a surprising story?
My father wanted to migrate here from the Canadian prairies in the 1940s. He was a struggling farmer; he thought he'd try his luck on a sheep station in Australia. But my mother (also named Catherine Greer) was too in love with Canada. She didn't want to leave her family or her country, everything she knew as home.
So his was a dream, stilled.
Fast forward 50+ years. I met my dashing naval officer, who asked me to marry him. Then he said, 'But...I'm moving to Australia.' Back then, he was a navigator of warships, headhunted by the Royal Australian Navy.
I said yes. To everything: marriage, Australia, adventure, change.
Taking flight is hard. Wobbly, but good.
I like to think, when I look at my Australian family and remember my father's dream, that it was meant to be. That I was meant to be Australian.
This week I got a call. The kind that makes you run around a shopping mall and scream while calling your girlfriends. (Or maybe that's just me??) A picture book I wrote, Jacaranda Snow, about child poverty in Australia, was selected from a slush pile by a fabulous publisher.
(This is how it works: thousands of manuscripts languish in the slush pile at every publishing house. To get chosen is a MIRACLE. But that's only the first cut. The editor calls you and says he/she loves it BUT they have to fight for their choice in a monthly editorial meeting. It's like winning a scholarship to a major university. Or finding the person of your dreams using a dating website. Hard, hard, hard. But possible.)
I hope she wins.
I hope Jacaranda Snow is published because I wrote it for Australia: for all her invisible kids, the four kids out of 28 in every classroom who live with poverty every day.
I hope it's meant to be!
I wonder if -- all those years ago -- Australia opened her arms to me so I could open people's eyes to those invisible children.
But even if I have to weather a disappointing NO, Australia has been an incredible YES to my family.
Thank you for holding us safe in your strong, sandy arms.