After spending one night away, we decided to head back into town to retrieve the necessary items for staying away longer from our horse truck. Brian has invited us to stay in the cottage as long as we need to.

We stopped at the mechanic’s workshop to check on the progress of our truck repairs and learn that while the ailment isn’t fatal, the necessary part isn’t available in New Zealand. It’ll take time to locate or repair the part, and so we’re kicked out of our home for a while. Thank God for Brian’s invite!

Pointing out butterflies, June 2012
In the park where we stop for lunch, the girls discover large numbers of butterflies in the trees and chase them around the grass.

Monarch butterfly, June 2012
Male monarchs have a black spot on each of their hindwings. These are scent glands. But you have to get close enough to the butterfly to examine it properly — a challenge!

Monarch butterfly, June 2012
As I watch our girls playing freely and the butterflies flitting around, I'm pondering the attachment that I still feel to certain of our belongings.

While we’re back in town, we chase up two of the girls’ cuddle rugs. These are the blankets that help them to sleep at night — no matter where we are.

Delaney’s Fishy Rug was left in a shop yesterday morning. When we stop by to retrieve it, the shop is not open. It seems miraculous that Dell slept well last night without it, and I feel a bit frantic on her behalf. We started out with three items to help comfort Delaney. Her small fishy rug fell out of the truck a year and a half ago and although I called up the local council to try to retrieve it — and the lady I spoke to had spotted it — it was gone. The second substitute, Fishy, survived a leap onto the train tracks in Sydney this January only to disappear a couple weeks later in a large shopping centre. Now, this photo is the last record of Delaney’s special attachment to her Fishy Rug, and it seems that she’ll somehow continue to sleep without it.

Aisha’s also recently become attached to a woollen blanket. It’s hand-knitted and soft and buried at the bottom of a rubbish skip. She left it in some accommodation we stayed in, and the staff threw it out. It only cost me $6 in a secondhand shop, but it’s irreplaceable and I feel gutted by its loss.

In pondering the losses of these sentimental treasures, it’s interesting for me to analyse my emotional and physical reactions. The items’ value is not related to their monetary costs, but in their places in our girls’ hearts, and by proxy — in my heart too.

I have spent so many hours retrieving these cuddle rugs for our children because I value their assistance in comforting our little girls. And now they’re gone. So in one way it puts the onus back onto me to be our children’s primary comforter. This is a role which I’m still growing into as I learn to place primary importance on the relationship I have with our children. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, and yet the time is now upon me.

And as I consider how a possession’s loss can affect me so much, I wonder how much of my self-worth is bound up in my own possessions. Do I own things that give me a subtle feeling of importance or superiority? Would their loss make me feel devastated? And if so, why do I allow an object to hold so much importance that I feel personally diminished if I lose it?

Surely it is just the right time for our daughters to let go of their cuddle rugs — however sad it is. Maybe this early separation is necessary so they don’t continue to pad out their self-esteem with the word “my”.

If we can show our children how to hold lightly onto possessions, if we can model a loose attachment to the things that pass through our hands, then they, too, can be truly be free to focus on relationships, to show love in a variety of circumstances and to not be sucked in by the material world that has held me captive for too long.

These lessons which are meant for me — but affect our children — hit me the hardest. Once I finish learning all the lessons I need, my children will be able to grow up in peace — so let it be soon, please. This is my prayer.