The official site of the book Better Late Than Never Baby - Becoming a Mother Later in Life, written by Serena Kirby.

If you're over age 35 and about to become a mother - this is the book for you.


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Postcard from Heaven

Tall and talkative (and with the habit of telling the same joke too many times), my father was a sensitive man with a happy heart. A lover of art and nature with a fetish for modern gadgetry, he was a hard worker who gave me many things in life.  He gave me my first bike (and, years later, a car), taught me how to drive, sent me to college and lent me money to start my own business.

Like many dads, he knew lots of dad-kinda-stuff and the fact that we lived on the land meant he also knew really-cool-kinda-stuff.  He could point out constellations in vast night skies, use a rifle, train a sheep-dog, kill a snake and carve a roast like a chef.

He was wise too but I didn’t know that back then.  I just thought he was hell-bent on making my young life miserable.  He enforced curfews, embarrassed me by screening potential suitors, regularly cut off my pocket money and grounded me for a month for sneaking out to a SkyHooks concert.

But he was also a father who loved to give advice, and he seemed to have a motto for everything. Sometimes delivered in boiling hot frustration, but always with concern for my safety and happiness, he’d roll them out whenever he had the chance.  I usually told him he had no idea what the hell he was talking about and ignored what he said just to prove I could.

It’s strange that, for all my determination not to listen, the messages did seep in and I’m surprised at how many I still recall.

“Never put all your goods on display.  Keep a few things under the counter“– was what he said when I started dating boys.  I used to cringe as I knew he was either talking about sex or the way I was dressed (back then, the two were closely linked). Now that I’m older, I realise the advice refers to emotional-goods as well.

“If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.” Strangely enough, I’ve never got into debt, taken out hire purchase or opened a department store account.

“Never drop your standards” – I should definitely have listened more to this advice as I’ve learnt (through repeated mistakes) that you never feel right when you settle for less than you’re worth.

“Zip your lip” and “If you can’t say anything nice about someone don’t say anything at all,” were two more of his favourites and ones I don’t practise enough.

But, “Be resourceful.  Find a way,” was probably the motto he believed in most.  He was never a man to give up.  To him, an obstacle was simply a thing to go around.

It was this kind of advice that he recited when last we spoke.  He’d called from a public phone box on Magnetic Island in sunny Queensland. He was on holiday and our conversation was full of enthusiastic catch-up news and status reports on my various life-dilemmas. He relished having my undivided attention as he went through the ritual of giving guidance and I found myself smiling and responding ‘yes dad’ at all the appropriate places.

“I love you,” he said, finally winding up our chat.
“I’ll send you a postcard,” he added just as the line dropped out.
He’d run out of coins.

He died the next morning; jogging along a pristine beach.

He was (as always) a man of his word and the postcard arrived the day of his funeral.  He’d mailed it before he went running.  My hands trembled as I held it and saw the glossy picture of an idyllic holiday scene – white sands, sapphire blue water, secluded bays.  On the back, he’d written three words in a carefree script.

“This is Paradise!”

Resourceful to the end.  He’d sent a postcard from heaven.

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2013-02-13 09:04:32 Reply

Wow. Did such a short story ever say so much! I loved reading that. I’m not sure your Dad’s pearls of wisdom will stay with me like they have with you, but the very special pearl, you share here, surely shall. Treasure my dad. I think I’ll go and hug him right now.

    Serena Kirby

    2013-02-14 05:10:07 Reply

    Thank you for posting a comment Lydia – so glad you grasped the message of the story. I hope your dad enjoyed the hug.


2013-02-17 09:09:16 Reply

I have read this article before and will read it again and again as it such a wonderfful story. It is uplifting and has a good set of principles to live by.
Thanks for your words and to your dad for the life lessons.


2013-03-06 09:02:37 Reply

How beautiful. What wonderful memories of your loving Dad. It gave me goose bumps. Just goes to show how important Dads are in a child’s life and how his wisdom follows through into your adult life.

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