Tuesday, February 11, 2014

As Long As I'm Living, My Babies They'll Be

They each held up an Iron Man book for our bed time reading.

"Oh come on guys.  You have hundreds of books to choose from.  Can you pleeeease choose a good bed time story kind of book?  Mummy doesn't enjoy reading about Iron Man."

Look.  I know it's not all about me.  But it kind of is since I'm the one reading the books.

Adrian went off to the Robert Munsch section of the book shelf in their room while I chose a couple of Sandra Boynton books for Finley.

Robert Munsch.  Sandra Boynton.  I was winning the book battle tonight.

My eldest flipped through all 30 plus Munsch books and then stopped and held one up for me to see.

"Mommy?  This is the one that always makes you cry."

"Yes, I Love You Forever does make me cry."

I couldn't recall the last time we read that one but I do remember attempting to read through a giant lump in my throat, furiously blinking back the tears as my husband watched from the doorway completely bemused.

"Ok.  Let's read it then."  Nice kid.  He actually wants to see his Mother become a snotty, blubbering mess?

 I was trying to convince myself that this would be the time I could get through it without tears pouring down my face.

I was wrong.

I've always understood, even as a little girl reading I Love you Forever, the deep sentiment behind this book while others may have scoffed at the Mother creepily stalking her grown son.  I never found it weird.  Of-course it would be totally whacked if that were to happen in real life but that is not what this story is about beneath the pictures, beneath the words written in the book.  When I found out last year that he wrote the song that is woven through the book after his wife gave birth to two still borns, the emotions I attached to it became deeper still.  Especially when reading it to my two very much alive, wonderfully healthy beautiful boys.

And so.

I turned page after page, singing the song and reading the words as tears ran down my cheeks.  My sons' leaned into me when they saw me crying.

As I closed the book up Adrian gently wiped a tear from my cheek with his thumb (a very grown up gesture, one that I've done to him many times) and asked, "Why are you crying?  It's just a book."

"Yes but a book can touch your heart deeply.  So deeply that you have to cry sometimes.  Do you think it's silly or okay to cry?"

Finley, my four year old sitting on the other side of me said, "It'th okay.  I wath crying but I wipe my tearth away."

I was pretty sure he didn't cry.  But still, he knew it would've been okay to cry and that made me feel good.  I also knew he was saying those words, my delightfully sensitive child, to make his Mommy feel better.

And that made me feel quite wonderful.

As I kissed their lips and hugged them about half a dozen times as is our usual nightly ritual I then laid down beside my 6 year old for a moment.  He threw his arm over my neck and kissed me ever so sweetly on the tip of my nose.

The little voice of my small one drifted down from the top bunk, "Mommy?  I love you to de moon and back forever and ever and beyond."

"Me too baby.  I love you to infinity and beyond."

I'll Love them Forever
I'll Like them For Always
As long as I'm living
My babies they'll be.
Oh yeah and that guy in the middle.  He's my big baby.  :)



Monday, February 10, 2014

Made with Love

"Mmmmm.  Honey this is a-MAY-zing.  Boys you have no idea now but when you get older you will really appreciate how awesome of a cook your Mumma is."

When my husband is home and we eat dinner together, this is generally what he says every night as we dig in.
It never, ever gets old.

I usually bore my family then with how I made it, the ingredients I used and blah, blah, blah.  One of us usually ends up cheesily finishing the conversation off with the most important ingredient of all.  The intangible one that's four letters long and starts with the letter 'L'.

You are all excused to go gag for a moment.  Then come on back when your finished if you dare.

******************************************************************************

The boys sat in front of their plates of homemade creamy, cheesy penne with roasted chicken and roasted brocolli on the side.  Their father was not there to declare his utmost devotion to my food creations and so I just hoped to God that they would actually eat instead of driving me nuts.

"Fin, what does it taste like?"  Adrian asked his brother, who was shockingly focused on gobbling up the roasted broccolli but had yet to taste the pasta.

"Adrian have I ever made a dinner that's tasted bad?"  I was treading on dangerous territory with that question but the truth is that other than Eggplant Parmigan and bacon that's too crispy my eldest is far from a picky eater.

"Mommy, I think that if you were in a food show that you would win."  He says.

Uh huh.  Nice try.

"You do?  Well thanks. So how about eating your dinner then if I'm such a great chef."

"No. I mean maybe you would win with your desserts."  Back pedal, back pedal.  Sometimes I am smarter than my 6 year old.  Sometimes.  "Your desserts are really good."

I would not be buttered up, flattered or cajoled...oh no I would not.

"Buddy.  Eat your dinner please."

He stabbed a penne noodle with his fork and into his mouth it went.  "It's gooood!"

"Of-course it's good.  It's pasta with cheese and cream.  How could it be bad?"

"Mmm. Goat cheese?  No.  No...I taste...love."

He looked at me through squinty, smiley blue eyes, his right cheek imparting that adorable dimple.

Oh my but he knows how to get to his Mother's heart.

So of-course I squeaked out a thank you through laughter as I scurried over to his side of the table and smooched the heck out of his face.

Of-course I did.

And he ate up that pasta.

Of-course he did.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

That Time When Mommy Went Beserk

It was an end of my rope kind of morning.  It started off lovely enough watching cartoons in bed with my eldest while my little had a sleep in but as soon as the school clothes came out the defiance set in.  And my feelings of frustration brewed.

My husband is away on business.  Again.  In a string of never ending trips until the spring ends...it seems like the winter goes on and on forever.

I could feel the anxiety fill my chest. Even though I started the day with 5 Sun Salutations my Zen was already beginning to crack.

Until it broke.

People always tell parents with little ones that it gets easy, "Don't worry, it gets easier!"  I'm wondering when that's going to happen.  At ages 4 and 6 I have two independent little boys who very dependently rarely listen to me in the morning.  Gone are the days when I could simply pick them up and change them myself.  They are big boys now.  It will not do.

Maybe it's because their father is away.  Now that they're older they feel his absence more intensely.  I've never made his travelling an issue with the boys.  I like to think that I have a very positive attitude about life but that doesn't help when your 2 children are in cahoots to literally make you lose your sanity.

I'm not saying this jokingly you guys.  Today was BAD.  A very, very low point in my days of being a Mother.  It wasn't just exasperation and hollering.  But heaving, hysterical crying.  Words of, "I can't do this.  I cannot do this anymore."

In front of my children.

Friends always tell me they don't know how I do it with John travelling so much.  Frankly I don't know either.  Some weeks I feel ragged, emotionally spent, physically exhausted and resentful.  I'm not saying this to have anyone ever feel sorry for me.  That is the last thing that I would ever want.  I want Mothers that wonder about other Mothers that seem to have it all together to understand that they most certainly DO NOT.  Not always.  I've never pretended to have it all together.  I'm openly point blank blunt to my friends and even acquaintances about how very hard Motherhood is.  Regardless if you have a husband that travels a lot or not.  There will come a point several hundred times in your lifetime as a Mother that you will honest to God feel like you might lose your mind.  And then you just might. What makes it worse is if you call your husband who is 6000 miles away screaming and carrying on like a lunatic that you're going to run away from home because you.just.can't.take.it.anymore. Afterwards you will look back and think, "How the hell did I let 2 children get the best of me?"

You will then wonder if you've scarred them for life with your outburst of mental instability.

I'm pretty sure I did.  But my boys got dressed and out the door to school on time.

I just hope to God they don't tell their teachers that Mommy went crazy this morning.

Even though it's the truth.

Monday, February 3, 2014

He Turns Six

"Your son is the sweetest thing.  No really.  He is just the sweetest."  A Mother at your birthday party on Saturday had pulled me aside to tell me this.  I looked back questioningly, smiling.

"I know your invitations said just food bank donations but I told my daughter to ask him if there really was anything he wanted for his birthday...and do know what he said?  He told her, 'No I don't need anything.  I already have enough.'  I mean - what 5 year old kid says that?"

I laughed but my heart was beaming with Mother Pride.  What kid says that?  I guess you do.  Was I all that surprised by your response?  Yes I was, if I'm going to be completely honest.  Being that the no gifts idea was most definitely not yours.  You had your moments not entirely embracing it.  I'm not sure you ever fully  loved or even liked the idea. But you understood it because had I made sure to discuss it with you on several occasions.  A traumatic 6th birthday party was not something anyone wishes for.

The fact is that you really don't need anything. Your birthday wants would come from us because certainly no birthday of my boys would ever tick by without at least half a dozen gifts from the family.  The thought of 15 more gifts from your friends made my stomach queasy.  Material gluttony makes me squeamish, you'll come to know.

This Mother's story was not the first one I had heard regarding your response to your friends secretly asking if you really did want something for your birthday.  You sure do make your parents proud buddy.

Looking down at your bright red screaming face, holding your 9.6 lb squirming body to my chest 6 years ago after almost 40 hours of very, very tough labour did I envision who you would be 6 years later?  Of-course.  Of-course Mothers do this.  It's a nebulous outline always at the back of our minds whose form shifts and morphs with experiences and moments and gets more clarity as the years go by.

Every year leading up to your day of birth, the day you gave me the most epic role of a lifetime, I tend to reflect on the years gone passed.  Memories that seem like a million years ago and ones that seem like they were just last week.  I reflect on how our relationship as Mother and Son has changed and formed and how we've gotten to know each other.  How I know you as a son.  How I know you as a big brother.  How I know you as a friend, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a neighbour.  A person in his own right.  Every year I wonder and cannot fathom how it's possible to love you even more.  And every year my heart grows exponentially with a profound amount of love for you, my dear boy.

You've challenged me fiercely almost every day of your 6 years in existence.  Lord knows you've challenged me. But you've also loved me the same way every.single.day of your life. Ferociously, affectionately and without judgement.

You've made me a better person and as trite as that always sounds there really is no other way to say it. You make me think, you make me laugh daily, you make me happy and wildly crazy. Sometimes within minutes.  And you make me love harder than I've ever loved in my entire life.

Today on your day of officially becoming a 6 year old boy, I love you more than any day that's passed.  Not because your six but because it's another day in which the love that I hold for you in my heart grows deeper daily.  Simply because you are you.  Because you are my beautiful son.

Happy Birthday Adrian Thomas.  You really are one cool kid.  And I'm one lucky Mumma.



Friday, January 10, 2014

The Sky's the Limit

"Ack.  I don't like this song."  I pushed another button on the dash to switch the radio station.

'No one, no one, no o-ooone...could get in the way of what I'm feelin'
No one, no one, no o-ooone....could get in the way of what I feel for you--ouuu.'

Yes!  Alicia!  I turned to my almost 6 year old son beside me in the truck, "I love this song!"

And I sang it.

At the red light I took my son's hand and sang it to him as he just stared back at me completely unfazed by my enthusiastic (and awesome) singing.

Apparently he's used to this.

The light turned green and I accelerated, still singing.  Loudly.  As loud as I possibly could without hindering my AMAZING car singing voice.

I kept waiting for my little guy in the back to pipe up and tell me to pipe down.  That wouldn't have been super unusual.

In fact, even though my nightly rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is clearly welcomed every night, my singing at pretty much any other time of the day is not.

Not that his protests stop me.  Ever.

They continued their quiet as I continued to become Alicia Keys.

Until...

"MOMMY!  TURTLES!"

I panicked slightly wondering if my eldest son saw large tortoises crossing this very busy road and I was obviously not paying close enough attention - thanks to Alicia.

My eyes searched back and forth and in all mirrors as quickly and as safely as they possibly could being that I was driving a large vehicle.

There could not possibly be turtles in January.  Near a very busy intersection!?  Right?!

"TURTLES!  THERE MOMMY!"  Was he speaking about those delectable chocolate, pecan and caramel morsels?  Perhaps a truck that had such advertisement on the side?

What on earth was he talking about?!  Turtles?!

"Where in the world are you seeing turtles buddy?"

"Up there!  In the sky!  Look!  There's so many!"

Sure enough what looked like a fluffy white herd of turtles was crossing the bright, blue January sky.

Ah joy.

I laughed and at once was so very proud that this child of mine could see what I don't often see but continues to see what I taught him so long ago while on a mild winter walk in February almost 2 years ago...

A world of imagination in the sky.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All You Really Need to Know

As I was un-decking my halls on a very bitter winter day I picked up the silvery blue Christmas bulb with a picture of my eldest at 3 months old.  His scrumptious little face peered back at me with intense blue eyes and pouty lips.  I pressed the small round button fixed at the top and out came a tiny yet husky voice of Adrian at the age of 19 months.

19 months.  Way back when I said his age in months.

"Ho..ho..hoooo" a tinny, sweet and short melody that made nostalgia at it's best bloom in the pit of my belly.
My heart knocked slowly, dimly at an unopened door.

I stopped and listened to it once again.

And again.

And again.

After forlornly placing it back in it's box I could hear the sounds of pounding little feet and big-little boy voices casting spells on each other as they ran up and down and around the house with brightly coloured plastic drumsticks in hand as their wands.

Stay present.

I tell myself this so many times daily.

Stay present.

And yet my heart knocked again against an unknown door.

Stay present.  

For years from now the echoes of those little boys voices will quiet to a brief brush of a whisper.

And again...knock....knock.....knock.

As they ran down the stairs past me I called out,

"Hey guys?"

"What?" there was a slight tone of annoyance in my eldest's voice, the tiny huskiness still present but mostly gone.

I caught his still so soft, still bright eyed innocent, open face in my hands.  His eyes, so like my own, searched mine calmly while his body itched, still ready to play.

"I love you."  I kissed each of their soft cheeks.  The tips of their button noses.  And returned to smooching  their cheeks. I smothered their faces in kisses.  Too many, perhaps, for their liking.

His reply, "I know you do."  He hopped down from the stairs upon which we stood.

My little one was in full sprint passed me already but he called out behind him, "I knew you would say that!"

And I suppose...that's all I really needed to know.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When the Clock Ticks the Loudest

I sit in a quiet house that is usually filled with the sound of rambunctious boy noise and music playing.  Snowflakes fall silently on pillows of snow and I enjoy it for a moment before my eyes wander over to stare at the large spot on the area rug where dog vomit used to be and now lays a dusting of baking powder that I should be vacuuming up.  Not the prettiest picture to paint of the scene around me.  But it's the reality.  There are dishes to be washed.  Bathrooms to be cleaned, floors to be mopped, though with this weather there's really no point.  Oh and presents to be wrapped too.

But I hate wrapping.  I'm the worst.  And cleaning, though I weirdly enjoy it most days, isn't something I wish to do right about now.

So I'll sit here and ponder, and write and watch the snow float while listening to nothing but the furnace kick on and the snoring of my sweet retriever. I will force myself enjoy this rare quiet feeling of solitude around me.  And I will write.

For 2 days in a row there's been school and there's been an amazingly beautiful winter happening finally.  Facebook statuses run amok with pictures of precious snow angels, pink cheeks and bright eyes.  There have also been grumbles of-course.  About the cold and the shoveling and all of the things associated with winter that are moan-worthy.  Most of those would be from people without small children living under their roof.  Or not.  As a former winter loather I get it.  I also used to dread Christmas.  But since having my boys there's a renewed sense of wonder in the everyday of winter.

We've dressed from head to toe in winter gear for 4 days in a row now and trekked to the small but still fun toboggan hill behind our home.  And every time I fly down those hills with my sons' it takes me right back to my childhood when my Dad would take us tobogganing as often as the snow was there to be flown down upon.  I'm a Mother that pulls her 4 year old to school in a sleigh while others drive by probably looking at me like I'm crazy.  I'm a Mom that climbs the 'mountains' with them and whoops it up while sliding faster than a speeding bullet down a snow hill.  I hope this is the Mama my boys remember.

"Hold out your hands guys and watch the snow flakes land."

"I got one!"  Adrian yells looking down at his snowy mitten.

"See how detailed they are?  Aren't they the most beautiful things?   Did you know that not one single snowflake is the same as another?"

Just like humans.

"Mommy can we make snowflakes when we get home?"  asks my little one as he sits in his made for one sled that he last used when he was two.

"We sure can."  I reply as I turn and pull the yellow rope taut to get moving across the snow before we are late for school.

"Mountain number 8!"  Adrian yells triumphantly as he ascends the next pile of hardened snow that's double the height of his 3 foot almost 6 year old self.  I laugh softly, embracing this moment of parenthood as I trek through the snow pulling my 42 lb youngest behind me.

The clock ticks the loudest on the days when I'm enjoying them the most.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

The cutest Button Pusher that ever was.

My head ache pounded behind my right eye and it certainly didn't help when my 4 year old son laid on top of me poking my face, pulling my face, pinching my cheeks.  And when he tired of that he found Sleepy Sheepy and began beating me with it.

For no good reason.  There is no need to have a reason to beat your Mother with your favourite stuffed animal in my child's world.

"Finley why?  Why are you doing this to Mummy?  I don't feel well.  Please be nice."

Whack.  Pokepokepoke.  Whack.

With one last whack on my legs he had mercy on me and left me alone.

For about a minute.

Again he flung his 40 plus pound body on top of mine and settled in once more, his back against my belly.

"Janawarwee.....Janawarwee!  Jaaanaaawarwee.  Jannnnaaawarrrrrweee!"

I refused to answer.

I would not.

That is not my name.

Not to my children.

But it was super damn cute.  So darn adorable I had to fight the urge to squish him into a ball and eat him.

But no.

"Janawarwee.Janawarwee. Janawarwee."

"Finley.  What is my name?"

"Janawarwee."  Well duh.  I stepped right into that one.

"No.  My other name baby doll."

"Mommy."

"Yes.  That's right.  You call me Mommy, love."

"Janawaree."

Yep.  That's what I thought.

Ooooh the devilish deliciousness of this kid.
So, so, SO hard to stay mad at this face.



Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Bit of a Blather

Some people that read this little blog of mine have mentioned that I haven't been writing as much as I used to.

This is a true statement.  I haven't.  My answer, to those that ask why, has been that I just haven't been feeling all that inspired.

That really isn't the truth.

The fact is this blog began sort of as a public journal.  I wanted to start up again my love for the written word as well as to be frank and open about the deep, dark, beautiful, heartbreaking, soul altering, hilarious gorgeous mess of Motherhood.  I wanted to leave a mark about my early role as a Mother.  I wanted to tell touching, funny, insane, real stories about my boys.

I wanted it all to be recorded and written and read.  For their future as well as my own.

If I'm going to be super cheesy about it all, I will quote the words from Aerosmith's song, my view as a Mother is, 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing'.

Although every moment I spend with them is certainly not always a treasure...it's ours.  The moments are all ours.  Unique, chaotic, challenging as hell.  Sometimes so ridiculous and frustrating that I have no choice but to laugh and cry at the same time.

And that's all perfectly how it should be.

A lot of the super sweet and hilarious times have been written about.  Now that they're older there seems to be so very many moments in a day that happen that I say to myself, "I must write about this.  I have to get this down.  I can't forget it."  So really, my inspiration is daily. Sometimes minute to minute. My children are incredibly entertaining.

So perhaps the problem is that I'm too inspired?

The night comes and I'm so freakin' exhausted that to even open a book some nights and read one page is too much.  I honestly don't know how I wrote so much 3 years ago!  With a one and two year old at that. But I suppose back then there were such things as naps.

Aha.  Now I know.

These days when I hear Finley say something like, 'Upsy-side down', I think, "Oh! Oh!  I have to write about that!"  Or when he's accused of being or doing something he yells, "NO I AMEN'T!" instead of no I'm not.  Or how he calls frost 'frosting'.  Or pretty much any dream that he has which are incredible in detail.  In fact both my boys are huge dreamers.

But really, who cares about how damn cute all that sounds other than to me and his Dad?  Or the unsavoury parts of Finley's childhood when all of a sudden he's terrified of even the most remote dimness in a room.  God forbid there's a light off in a room in broad daylight.  Shadows are not his friends.  Or what about that time recently when he got so pissed off at me that he bit me in the ass and left a red welt and almost made me cry?  Or that other time when he was 2 and somehow got a hold of a paring knife and stabbed me in the butt?  Only to find out seconds beforehand he was wielding it threateningly it in front of his older brother and I completely ignored the yells because I was too busy making dinner and well...brothers yell at each other?  Like all.the.time.??? Perhaps that was a far worse than bad factoid to share about my Mothering skills.  But I'm honest.  And I can't possibly be the only Mother in the whole of this world that's been pierced with a knife in the buttocks by her 2 year old child as he screams, "HI-YA!"

Right?

The other night as I lay with Adrian he asked me, as he often does, about what toys we played with as kids.

"Did Uncle Russ have Hotwheels Mummy?"

"He sure did.  I played with them too."

"You did?  What else did you play with?"

"Well when we were little we didn't have nearly as many toys as you guys do..."  Yep.  This is the sentence that comes out of your mouth when you realize you've become your parents. "But I had a couple Cabbage Patch dolls and I played with My Little Ponies.  I also had an Easy Bake Oven that I loved."  I recall vividly the 70's style yellowish-hued oven sitting atop the red shag carpet as I sat on my knees in front of it, metal utensil in hand waiting impatiently for it to cook.

This must be where my interest in culinary came from.

Obviously.

"You did?"  This was very exciting news for my huge sweet tooth of a son.  "Did it really bake cakes?"

"It sure did.  Tiny little ones. With a light bulb!  I can still remember what they smelled like in my mind."

I can.  It's almost like I can actually smell those cakes a bakin' right now.

Adrian takes a deep breath in through his nose, "I can smell candy in my memory.  Lollipops.  And what Luke and Cole smell like.  And Justin and Branden.  And I can smell Daddy too.  He smells like hair gel.  And something else...."  He sniffs the air.  He is a major olfactory freak.  He has a nose like a bloodhound.  Just like his father.

"Maybe his deodorant?"

"Yeahyeah!  His deodorant.  And you smell like..."  he sniffs my arm, "Coconut Oil."

Indeed I do.

You see?  This is a little moment in time that I am so happy I just wrote down.  How perfectly lovely was that?

Tonight as he played Mr. DJ (I have no idea where he gets this obvious and awesome talent from) perched atop the kitchen counters playing an eclectic mix of Green Day, Justin Beiber, Pink and One Direction he announced, "Finley this one is for you!"

On came 'When Can I See You Again?' by Owl City.  My baby boy got down like a little Mister and the moment was priceless.

Then there are the every morning moments when they cuddle up to me in my bed and we watch Arthur (best cartoon EVER) or at night when we read book after book and after book...and now my 5 year old is reading which is really too precious to even handle sometimes.  He wants to be a doctor you know.  He has been saying this pretty much since he could talk.  Specifics of the area in which he wishes to practice have recently and alarmingly come into play.

He states, "I want to cut people open."

Future surgeon is the less disturbing way to put it.  I've no doubt in my mind that IF that is what he wants to do than certainly with his ingrained determination, perseverance and amazing little brain he will.  And if he wishes to work at 4cats Art Studio 'when he grows up' as he mentioned this evening than by all means he should do that too.

"I want to work there too when I grow up!"

He leaned into me, his nose touched mine, "You already are a grown up!"

"Says who!?"

Really...says who?  I feel no more older than an awkward 13 year old girl some days.

I suppose if this were to be the last entry I wrote, I hope (if they ever read these) that my sons' can see the one common thread throughout my entire blog;  how much I enjoyed them even on the days when I really didn't.  If that makes any sense at all.  I hope they can see the insane amount of gripping, all encompassing, exponentially second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year growing love that I had, have and will always have for them.  And how proud I am of the sweet, energetic, funny, polite, smart, thoughtful little boys they have become so far.

And if you read this whole entire blather and are still here reading, thank you.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you so, so much.

Good night.

Oh and also this...Adrian's first text to his Daddy...


PS...he so cried.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finley Turns Four

"Mommy?"

"Yes Finny?"

"Iii looove you."

Your soft voice drifts in the darkness down from the upper bunk to the lower bunk where I lay beside your older brother.

"I love you too baby.  Sweet dreams."

Adrian, "He always says that at night."

It's true.  Even after our good night smooch and hug, the i love you's and i'll see you in the mornings, you still tell me you love me just before you drift off to sleep.

It's two days before the fourth year of celebration of you coming into our lives.  It always strikes me as amazing the clarity with which I can recall the day of your Birth.

You took your time.  5 days over your due date but the night before you came into this world I slept lightly with contractions throughout the night.

The next morning I knew it was time and with all arrangements made to take care of Adrian off your Daddy and I drove to Mississauga to get you born.  It was incredibly emotional, exciting and only slightly nerve wracking as I knew what to expect already.  Except we didn't know if you were going to be a boy or a girl which was the best surprise yet to come.

The announcement of the nurses voices calling out, "It's a BOY!", the sob that choked my throat, the tears of happiness that burned my eyes. The feeling of your slippery, warm body in my hands, in my arms and against my chest. The sound of your insistent beautiful raw wails.

You got a 10 on the apgar score.  And although I'm still not quite sure what that even means, I know that they don't give them out often and I knew it was a good thing.

You, my dear boy, had a great set of lungs in you.

I could not have asked for an easier birthing.

Here you were.

Here we began.

Your father and I had picked out half a dozen names of which Finley was one.  As soon as I saw you, I looked at your Dad and said, "He's a Finley.  Finley Alexander."

You were an extraordinarily easy baby.  I recall only a couple times that you cried for longer than a few minutes in that first year.  And those times were when you were teething or hot.  Can't really blame you there.

You were happiest slung on my hip of-course.  I carried you EVERYWHERE.  Sometimes it feels like I still do.

I remember the first time I heard you laugh...hard.  You were just about 9 months.  It was a deep down in the belly laugh.  Aren't those the greatest?

Unless it's because you're laughing at your older brother who happened to trip, fall and do a faceplant on the driveway.

Then I began to worry wonder about the warped sense of humour to come in this baby boy of mine.

Oh and it's come.

Child.  Oh child of mine.  You are a bundle of dichotomy's.  Where do I begin?

You are so quiet, shy and unassuming yet the scream that comes out of you when you're excited, pissed off or just plain wanting to get on my nerves is enough to make the neighbours ears bleed.

You are heartbreakingly gentle to all small creatures, whether it's a dragonfly, a ladybug, a snail or a potato bug yet the ninja moves you come at me with some days make me wonder where that sweet soul momentarily disappeared to.

You come across as quite serious at times yet you have no problems pulling out your, "I'm Sexy and I know it" moves while singing the lyrics at the top of your little lungs and wiggling your little naked bum.

You are, in fact, one of the goofiest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

You are a laid back little guy yet feisty when you feel you haven't been heard.  It's so very important to you to be heard.  When I hear you demand at the tender age of three to "Listen to what I'm saying!"  you bet I will stop and listen to what you have to say.

Your imagination is something to watch.  One of my favourite things to listen to is you playing with your little superheroes or lego characters.

You find the most random objects to fixate to and play with for days or weeks until something else will strike your fancy.

Though you've always loved music, lately you are becoming quite the little musician.  Whenever we play one of your favourite songs - usually by Owl City - you'll retrieve your box of 'song toys' and drag out the little ladybug with the bright yellow and orange drumsticks and just get lost in the music while mouthing the lyrics.  I don't know why but watching you do this makes me cry.  A happy cry of-course.

You are a Noticer.  I try to refrain from hurrying you or becoming exasperated with all of your questions about every little thing you come across, wish to know about, pick up, look at and/or question.  I try to take time with you, not to rush you, answer all of your questions with loving patience.  I try.  But I don't always succeed.  I always thought I was a Noticer too.  Perhaps I was as a child but adulthood sloughed away at it until the world around me became slightly dull and blurry.  Since you've come into my life I've found glimpses of that little girl again.  Thank you.  Thank you for that my love.

Thank you for making me laugh. Every day.  Sometimes a dozen times.

Thank you for your feisty sweetness.

Thank you for your innumerable daily kisses and hugs.

Thank you for bestowing me with your beautiful bright smile every morning.

Thank you for singing.  Your sweet little boy voice has got nothing on Justin Timberlake.

Thank you for being sensitive.  Don't ever let anyone tell you there's anything wrong with that.  The world could do with a helluva lot more sensitivity.

Thank you, most of all, for being who you are.  Unique, easy going, smart, goofy, loving, polite, inquisitive and simply wonderful.

There is only one four year old boy like you.  And I love every little bit of him.

Big Much.  And so, so, SO much more than you'll ever know.

I hope you always know that.  I hope I succeed in showing you that, always.

Happy Birthday Sweet Fin.  May this one be your sweetest yet.








Friday, October 25, 2013

I Can Make You Scared. If You Want Me To.

Do you remember the first time you were ever scared?  Like adrenaline pumping something is going to get me and I don't know what, scared?

I do.

My Mum had asked me to retrieve something from my bedroom closet.  At night.  After dark.  I don't recall what is was or for what reason but I remember entering my bedroom in the dark (possibly because I was too young to reach the light switch) and opening my closet door and being completely convinced at once that something sinister lurked there amongst the hanging clothes.  I'm pretty sure I did not come back down the stairs with what it was I was asked to get.

I. Was. TERRIFIED.

It was my first experience that I can remember feeling that way.

Do you remember the first time you ever scared someone?

The look they had, the feeling you got when that look was because of something you said or did?

I do.

I was about 5 years old and I pretended that there was a massive spider behind the head of my brother in the kitchen as we were eating a breakfast that consisted of puffed rice.  That's right.  Puffed Rice Cereal.  You know...Sugar Crisp without the sugar.  It was like eating tiny pieces of styrofoam.  Basically.

Anyway. I have no idea why I wanted to scare my little brother other than the fact that that is just what siblings do to one another because it's entertaining.

So I said something like, "Ohmygod...ohmygod. There's the biggest ever spider behind your head.  DON'T MOVE!  DO NOT MOVE....or it will bite you!"

The look on his face was enough tothisday to make me laugh.  Utter terror.

Do you remember, if you have children, the first time your child showed the first signs of being scared?  For my husband and I it was when our first son was about 10 months old.  My husband put on his black driving gloves as he was getting ready to leave for work and the look in Adrian's eyes was enough to tell us those gloves were the most horrifying things he had ever laid his big blue eyes on.

Being awesome parents that we were, we thought how HIL-AAARRR-IOUS to hold those black horrible gloves up to our baby's face and see his terrified reaction over and over...and over again.

This is where we would have MASSIVELY failed had there been some sort of parenting exam before we conceived our precious young one.  But since there (INSANELY) is no test of that sort we continued to be entertained (and perhaps dug a huge financial hole into our son's future therapy) by our first baby's look of horror.

Oh that's right.  Don't even pretend you didn't do the same thing with your child.  Don't.  Even.

So this allll brings me to this evening's shenanigans.  And I'm not talking about my sons'.  I blame it on my husband being away for almost two weeks and wanting to shake things up a little in my house.  Because I enjoy making my life more difficult than it already is.  Because by day 12 apparently I've lost more than a few of my marbles and think it would be super funny to scare the shit out of my children.  Before bedtime.

It was late.  After bed time hour.  And dark.  They insisted they were still hungry and needed a bedtime snack. They ate their yogurt and my littlest stopped eating and insisted, "I hear the sound of a skirt."

What is the sound of a skirt you ask?  Perhaps a rustle?  Perhaps the real question is what 4 year old says, "I hear the sound of a skirt?"

That would be mine.  Yes.  That would be mine.

So--ooo.  Being the warped individual that I am, this strange sentence made me think of the black tulle skirt that I'd been making in my bedroom.  The black skirt that happened to be residing in the far back corner of my bedroom.  The skirt from my 'Dark Fairy' costume that I'd tried on for them the other day which kind of freaked them out.

"I hear it too!  Maybe it's the magical fairy skirt!  Maybe it's come alive!"  I say and look at my sons'.  My oldest looks a bit scared.  My littlest, who mentioned the sound, not so much.

I continue because I've obviously lost my mind, "Okay...let's all go up the stairs together...but me first."

We reach the top of the stairs and I tell them to stay outside of my bedroom door.  I crawl around our very high bed to the other side where the skirt resides.

Now we all know when we tell our children NOT to do something, generally speaking they will do the opposite.

Just as they walked into the room I threw the skirt over the bed and yelled something unintelligeble like "AAAHHGGBUULLLLLAAAA".

I scared the shit out of them.  My littlest who wasn't scared at the beginning began to cry saying, "You scared me!".  And my eldest became a statue.

Me?

I laughed for about .5 seconds and then felt horrible.  What kind of Mother does that to her 4 and 5 year old?

But now that they're in bed sleeping I am greatly hoping that this discourages them from crawling into bed with me and keeping me from precious sleep due to their terror of that living evil black tulle skirt that sits breathing darkly in the corner of my room.

Perhaps it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Enough: Loving. Hoping. Being. Doing.

Perhaps it's the way with all children but I'm not the Mother to all children so I don't know for sure.

What do know best is what I love the most about my children.

I love the way they burst out the door in the morning on the way to school or on a lazy Sunday with a, "It's a Sunny Day!"

I love the way they point out to me the beautiful pink streaks in the sunset come evening.

I love when we look out the window when the night falls dim and they begin to point out the first bright stars in dark sky of the night.

I love when my littlest stomps in puddles.

When he stops to pick up every ladybug, potato bug and worm and handles them with such gentleness it almost breaks my heart.

I love the way my eldest has boundless energy and typically runs full speed ahead but will stop every once in a while to notice the bright berries on a bush, a beautifully turned fallen leaf or to smell the giant lilac bush on the corner.

I love that they know how to treat Mother Earth.  How they pick up litter, know how to compost and recycle.  I love that they grasp what's wasteful, harmful and what doing good for others means.

I love listening to them sing the songs they've learned during their morning in school.  Even when they don't know I'm listening.

I love it when they want to show me the actions to a song from school and I sit down cross legged in front of them, chin tilted up  with a smile on my face and in my eyes hoping they can see how much I take joy watching them.

I love watching their faces in full concentration, my eldest mouth slightly open, small brow furrowed, my littlest with his lips pouted akin to mine, when writing their name, building a tower or learning to read a word.  I especially love the look of satisfaction and pride when they've completed each task.

I love watching them with their friends, hearing their conversations, their wide open laughter and simply seeing how much fun they're having.  Just. Being. Them.

I hope they always know how simply rad they are.  Just being who they are.  Loving their life.

Loving the world around them.

I hope they know how incredibly much they are loved. By me, their father, their grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends.

And even though I must tell them I love them a dozen times a day.  I hope I show them enough. My theory in life is one certainly can never have too many snuggles and smooches.

Or blankets and books for that matter.

I hope they grow up to know that words are lovely and useful but it's your actions and they way you make people feel that really matter.  That love is love, people are human, being kind is being a loving human.  And there can never be too many of those either.

I hope that one day I will know I have done enough.  That I've been enough.

But I also hope it's okay to feel that one never, ever does feel that way.

Because what does that even mean. Anyway?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Moments that Matter the Most

There is something that guts me at the most random times as a Mother of young children.  It is the answer to the question of, "Will they remember the moments that I treasure so much?"  As parents we are continually making memories, of-course because that's what families should be doing but we also do it with a vain hope that our children will remember them fully. That they will recall their childhood in some sort of a running commentary video with soft lighting and sepia tones.  Layer upon layer of flashing white smiles and running with laughter in fields of heather whilst hair is blowing perfectly in the wind.

The reality is a heart puncturing no, this is not how they will remember their childhoods.  Mostly because that only happens in commercials but also because my kids only just reaching the ages of memory retaining. My littlest is not even quite there yet, only turning four in the next 5 weeks.  This thought more than slightly breaks my heart.

This is one of the main reasons that I write these memories down.  Mostly for them, but also for me too.  Because even my memory will only retain bits and pieces.  When the days are long and emotionally treacherous...well, those are the days I hope they don't remember.  For those are the days I wonder and obsess and torture myself as if I've impaled their innocent souls or left scars on their hearts that will never heal.  But then there are these days...well this was a day I hope we will all remember for many years to come.

**********************************************************************************

"I think today is a farm kind of day."  I looked up at the beautiful bright blue sky of September enjoying the tinge of the cool autumn breeze as Fin walked beside me his 3 year old hand tucked into mine and his brother by his side.  They were all dapper little men in their navy school uniforms, large backpacks wrangled on their little boy backs.

"Yeah! Farm!"  Finley cried with excitement.  Child of mine has his Mother's love for farms.

Adrian protested.

"How about Andrew's Farm guys?"  We hadn't visited this particular farm in over a year and knowing my eldest is more fond of new adventures he agreed with more enthusiasm.

Then all of a sudden he halted in mid-step.

"Stop!  We need to jump over the rest of the cracks!" He directed.

 Adrian reached for his brother's hand and we were all linked in a line of three.

We all jumped over the crack at once.

And continued on....

1,2,3,4,5,6!

We paused at the quiet side street as I asked if we were safe to cross.  Seeing all clear we galloped across, our hands still linked.

And I thought...

This is a moment to treasure.

This is all that matters.

*********************************************************************************

As we pulled up to Andrew's Scenic Acres, Finley asked, "Have we been here before?"

Adrian declared, "I remember this place!  Remember we had apples with caramel?"

We have and I do, I responded.

I had forgotten how much I loved it here.  Low key, quiet, beautiful with an old school playground that the boys absolutely loved.  Made of wood and metal with 2 large poles and a rope attached at the top, a soccer sized ball attached at the end.  The children whip the ball around and around and around, laughing when the ball bonks them on the noggin.  Because eventually, with my boys, this happens all too often.  There are goats and chickens, sheep and ducks.  Haybales to climb, run along and jump in, beautiful wild gardens of gigantic sunflowers and other colourful flowers.  Pick your own pumpkins and raspberries and a pathway that leads to the Haunted Forest.

We enter the market and my sons' beeline it for the goodies.  Of-course.  Until they notice the humongous caramel apples in all their gooey glory by the register.

I indulge them with the apples and myself with a chocolate pecan tart.

We find a picnic table in the sun, for the shade was a bit chilly.  I watch the boys savour each bite of caramel and inwardly shrug at the fact that that is probably all they will eat.  But they bite into the apple and as they do Adrian says, "Thank you Mummy." His pale yet vibrant beautiful blue eyes squint at me across the picnic table and he smiles a sweet smile.

"Oh honey.  You're so welcome.  Thank you for being so appreciative.  That means a lot to me."

When you wonder if you're doing okay as a parent and that happens, you know that yes, yes I just might be doing alright.

And when he slllowwllly and dramatically falls off the picnic table bench to get away from a bee that has taken an obsessive liking to his caramel apple and you all break up into unrelenting giggles, you think once again...

These are the moments to treasure.

They are the only moments that matter.

*******************************************************************************

"I liked the Haunted Forest the best!"

"My favourite was the Haunted Forest too!"

They are belted back into the truck hours after farm fun with another treat in hand chattering excitedly about their day.  The late afternoon sun dapples through the trees that line the driveway as we make our way toward the main road.

"I had sooo much fun with you guys today."

"Me too!"  "Me too!"

I press the round button on the console to play some music.  The CD of choice was Blue Rodeo's Greatest Hits.

As I drive I hear the boys little voices sing along, "You don't know what it's like...no you don't know what it's li-ike...."

A sudden tingle pinches my nose and tears spring to my eyes as the next words make their way through the speakers...

"to love somebody...to love somebody...the way I lo-ve you..."

I watch them in the rear view mirror, happy faces, hands clutching cookies, thinking that, no, they don't know what it's like to love them like I do.

Not yet anyway.

Cornstalk love

Hay bale tag

Ahhhh...the Haunted Forest was suuuuper spoooooky.
Not for them though.  Brave little guys.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Peaks, Hills and Valleys

The sun beat down warm against my back, the sky was the bright blue only known in September skies and the air was already beginning to cool.  I was hanging laundry on the line as my sons' playing, chattering and laughing voices floated into my ears from inside the house.

I breathed a sigh of relief with a thought of finally.  Finally they are getting along but with also a tense knowing that it probably wouldn't last long.

As I hung up the next shirt, my son's school uniform shirt next to my husband's extra large sized t-shirt, I paused.  I stopped and stood back and stared slightly mesmerized but also with small shiver in my heart.  I stared at the immense size difference with wonder that someday my boys would be that size too.  With that thought came a future filled with visits of impossible unknowables and pictures of my future flashed before my eyes in varying choose your own adventure outcomes.  Except do I get a choice at the ending?  No, not really.  For though every life has a story we don't usually have the luxury of choosing the outcome of it.

As I stared at those t-shirts of the males in my life waving under the September sky my thoughts went like this...

Would they look forward to coming home after leaving for university?  Would they greet me with big, charming white smiles that reached their eyes and envelope me in their warm, strong arms?  Would they say, "Mom, I'm starving!  I need to have that awesome pasta you make (or those burritos, jerk chicken or fish tacos?)"  Would they send me flowers on my birthday or just because?  Would they joke and kid and make fun of my quirks in a loving, accepting way?  Would we have good conversations?  Would they talk to me, really talk to me about what's going on in their lives?  Would we enjoy each other's company? Or.

Or...

Would they resent me because of things I hollered out of frustration or anger in a past argument or arguments?  Would they roll their eyes behind my back because I did, said, acted in a way that annoyed them?  Would they avoid visiting me because perhaps I'm too meddling?  Would they rarely call (or text or email?) because we had nothing much to say?

Would they ever know how very much I love them and would do anything to assist in making them into the wonderful young men I know they will become? Will they look back on these years that I literally poured my blood, sweat and tears into and be thankful and laugh humbly at all the grief they gave me?   Because I know there's much, much, MUCH more of that to come. They're only 3 and 5 years old but it seems to only get more difficult, more demanding, more exhausting in ways I never knew were possible.  Would I be the same kind of Mother I am to them now or will life experiences, riffs and personality conflicts create a gap to big for a bridge to be built?  And what kind of Mother am I now to them?  How will they remember me at this point in their lives?  Would they remember the fun we had, the day trips, the parks, tickle torture, cheering them on from the sidelines, always, the silly songs I sing, the piggy back rides and rocket rides and playing street hockey and basketball and teaching them how to throw a football and hit a baseball?

Will they remember?  All of that and more to come?  I know I will.  I know I will.  It's the best part of being a parent.  

My eldest began Senior Kindergarten and my littlest begins Junior Kindergarten next week.  I'm rather unsentimental about it all at this moment which is unusual for me.  Maybe in part because I feel the last few months of summer, though there were wonderful moments, most of the time it felt like I was trudging through mud, yelling like a crazed lunatic.  Perhaps it will hit me next week when I see my youngest decked out in his too big for him uniform and backpack that seems to be the same size as his entire body.  Probably.  I hope so.  Perhaps I am just going through the familiar valley of Motherhood, simply being physically and emotionally drained and feeling under appreciated.

The saving grace with parenthood is that with the valleys there are always the peaks to look forward to.  Unfortunately to get to those peaks, you gotta climb the hills...here's hoping yours aren't feeling so steep.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beach Bumming: BEST DAY EVERRRR!

As we made small talk about how the summer is sadly coming to an end and how quickly it went by, I almost didn't quite catch the remark he made to me about, "Well, it goes by even quicker when you're working."  Because surely, SURELY he didn't actually know exactly what he was saying to me, a Stay at Home Mother (who is actually rarely at home).  Surely, he was not implying that all it takes to raise 2 boys is throwing food at them like pet dogs and then slogging my way back to resume my spot on the couch watching talk shows and consuming bonbons.

I paused, I did a quick breath intake with a sarcastic remark on the tip of my tongue that never actually made it out because, thankfully one of my son's barged up to me and asked me to help him with something which of-course made me have to get up off of my lazy stay at home Mother's ass in order to assist.

Don't worry.  This is not going to turn into an indignant, ranty post.  I'm done with my spurt of anger.  Because quite honestly, I'm pretty sure he didn't really mean what he said.  I'm sure it just came out the wrong way.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because I don't know him. And if he did mean exactly those words, well, that's fine.  I know what's what.  I know that my choice to stay home was the best choice for me and for my family and that's all that matters.  Granted there are the days when I become screechy, naggy, annoying and every 6 months or so verge on the teetering edge of psychotic and then I do wonder if my choice really was the best thing for all of us. But in my heart, my mind and my gut I know.  Besides I certainly wasn't going to have this person that I didn't know well at all taint the amazing day I had at the beach with my boys for the first time on my own.  No I was not.

Today didn't seem like 'work' at all except for all the bags and blankets and towels and toys and life jackets I had to lug down to the beach.  On my own.  Apparently life jackets that weigh all of .000002 lbs are farrrrr too heavy for a 3 and a 5 year old to carry.  Upon choosing the perfect spot right in front of the water's edge I plunked my butt down on the not so soft, but moreso a mix between gravel and pebbles kind of sand and began to dig holes, make sand castles, build dams and then watch my sons' play together like I haven't seen them play together in a very long time.  It was practically effortless.  We ate snacks on the quilt with them wrapped up and snuggled next to me.  We swam and played volley ball with a beach ball.   And at the risk of sounding as cheesy as one ever could, we even sang Ring around the Rosy in the water about a dozen times with them daring me to go under the water at "We all fall down!"  We were practically the poster family for a Coppertone commercial. In fact I'm sure the other people there watching us (because apparently I'm narcissistic enough to think that other people probably were) believed me to be the type of Mother who never raised her voice at her children, was super fun, always played with my kids whenever they asked and actually didn't care that she had about a million pebbles imprinted on her backside.

Today I was the type of Mother I wished I always was and for that, today was the best day of my whole entire summer.  So far.

I will never forget it.

I just hope my sons' always remember it that way too.



This was the best pic I got of the 3 of us.  One stuffing his face with a brownie
and the other looking like he'd much rather be doing anything else then what I
was making him do. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Reminder

Perhaps my eldest's fascination with life cycles began last year in Junior Kindergarten when they learned about the life cycle of the butterfly but it has continued into the summer.  He's also constantly asking questions about when my husband and I were little:  what did we play with?  Did we have video games?  What did we watch on tv?  What did we wear, eat, where did we go?  Did we ride a bike?  What colour was it?  How much money did the tooth fairy give us when we were kids?

ONE DOLLAR!??

Yep AND there was no such things as remote controls or household computers, there was such a thing as penny candy, we never wore helmets OR life jackets, we listened to music on a contraption that included a needle running around a large round piece of vinyl, and there was only one kid's channel that played Sesame Street, Hammy the Hamster, Mr Dress Up, The Polka Dot Door and The Green Forest in rotation.

It's all pretty shocking to him much like when we were kids and our parents told us there weren't such things as tv's, microwaves, their teachers hit them with rulers and they walked 20 miles to school uphill in snowstorms every single day of their childhood.

But this newest interest of life cycles is quite amusing to me.  It's quite simple as he explained to me on the way to summer camp this morning.  His random observation came at a red light and I turned the music down to listen,

"So human's are first babies, then kids, then teenagers, then adults, then old people and then you die."

"Okay.  Yes that's about right."  There was no way that I was going to get into how babies begin as a teeny tiny cell.  I held my breath hoping to GOD he wouldn't ask me for the 50th time how babies are born and where they come from and "Mumma how do they come OUT of the belly?".

Adrian blurts out, "Daddy is old."  Phew...the origin of babies subject had been averted for the time being.

I laugh, "No, Daddy is not old."

"Well he's a little bit old."

Perhaps I should have assured him that Daddy wasn't going anywhere but I was too busy being amused by his observation that his father is an old man when in fact he looks nothing the part.  As I giggled at my son's words and turned up the music, picturing the look on my husband's face if he was in the car with us, Adrian's heart may have been worried. After all, didn't he just explain to me you get old and then you die?  But maybe not, it's possible I am just over analyzing the conversation with my ever thinking 5 year old boy.  

Maybe.  

Sometimes as parents, we miss the cues that our children give us.

Only in retrospect do we realize that they were trying to ask us or tell us something more.

Today was a reminder for me.

To remember to keep my eyes open wide, my ears open wider and my heart and mind the widest of all.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Redemption: A Story

After an exhausting and difficult night with my boys, I lay in bed listening to the fan whir and the pesky house fly buzz between the blinds, the sound of it hitting against it's temporary barriers left me with a thought that we, me and the fly, at that very moment were experiencing a parallel in our lives.

At some point he was free to fly to wherever his heart desired.  At some point, he would again...unless his life was taken by a rolled up magazine or end with an abrupt and heedless smuck from the bottom of a shoe.

I've never felt guilt for killing an insect until recently.  I killed a fly with my bare hands the other day, not believing that I could actually do it.  I did.  I was repulsed by the black and off white smear it left on my white kitchen cupboards and as I washed my hands I whispered an apology to that poor fly that did nothing to deserve it's death but simply do what it was made to do and annoy me.

As a young girl I can recall picking up a daddy long legs in the bathroom and plucking every leg off of it until it was nothing but a bead of a body.  And then I flushed it down the toilet.

Does this shock and repel you?  Perhaps make you think I was a warped child that took joy in harming living things?  I wasn't.  I didn't. I was but a curious little girl.  I don't know why I did it.  I never did such a thing again...the memory of me doing something so brutal - if only to an insect - even shocks and repulses me.

I grew up to be a woman, a Mother who now teaches her child that creatures big or small are not to be needlessly harmed or killed.  Though of-course that's hypocritical being that I have done the very same thing countless times.  At this very moment I have a dish of apple cider on my counter to tempt the flocks of fruit flies to their own deaths.  Perhaps the smaller the critter the less we think their importance in this huge world.

Perhaps in my 35th year I've become far too philosophical and sentimental for my own good.

Perhaps next I shall give up eating animals, for the sheer brutality and grotesqueness of the process in which it comes to lay across my plate has, as of late, been turning me off.

"Mommy!  There's a spider in your room!  It's really, really big!"

My eldest just ran up to me and led me to the giant spider on the window in the bedroom I share with my husband.

It was a daddy long legs. I tried to remember the last time I had a daddy long legs encounter but I could not.

I gently picked it up by its one leg and descended the stairs towards the door that led outside.  On the other side of the glass door I called to the boys to show them the spider.  As their sweet, innocent faces peered with smiles out the window, the spider it seemed to wave one leg at them.

"Look!  It's waving at you guys!"

They giggled and with a silly feeling that I was being given a second chance to do right by that poor tortured spider of decades passed, I placed the spider on the window ledge outside our home where it was free to roam once again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Last Day of JK: Onward and Upwards

The last day of your JK year dawned dreary, rainy and mild.  It's hard to believe it was 8.5 months ago we all walked you (as your father semi-embarassingly videotaped the entire trip) to your first day of school all dapper and four in your navy uniform.

Today it would be just you, me and our umbrellas on our last stroll towards your last day in Junior Kindergarten.

Of-course you needed to have my black umbrella and therefore I was stuck with your dinky yet very cool Batman one.  But us Mom's...we're used to that kind of thing.

Besides a little rain never hurt anyone.

"Why are we walking today?  It's raining.  It's because we're not sugar?"

I laughed.  Ah the way the past relives itself.  I hear my Mother's words leave my lips all too often these days...

"Yep.  We're not made of sugar so we won't melt right?"

I wondered, as we left the house, as I have been wondering everyday since you began school, if you would reach for my hand once again.

And you do.

It's a gesture that is unconscious, habitual perhaps.

My heart swells and sighs and I smile in relief, in pride, in utter love that yesterday was thankfully not the last day that your soft five year old hand tucked into my 35 year old loving, Mother-strong one.

My hope is that today won't be the last either.

As we say our good-bye's at the door of the school you hug my waist and grant me a smooch in front of your peers.

This very well could be the last time that happens but I continue to hold out hope that it won't be.

I repeat the words I've said to you 5 days out of the week for over 8 months, "Have fun.  I'll see you in a couple hours.  I love you!"  Your response is usually the same which is not much more than a nod as you turn and walk through the gates or the door with rarely a glance back.  

Your year in JK taught me a lot about you which seems contrary to the fact that you were away from me for 2.5 hours each day.  Not a significant amount of time but longer than what we're used to.

I've always thought, as parents always do, that my kid (you) is full of awesome, darn smart and then some but it turns out you're also a very great little student.  A hard worker, bright, tenacious, kind, mature, competitive, social though a bit shy and an all around good kid.  And that's all I want for you kiddo.  To me the highest paid compliment is for someone to say I raised good kids.  For the word 'good' does not get enough credit.  Good, in this instance, is all things wonderful wrapped up into a simple word.  And that is you my son.

I hope I continue to do right by you.

These are all amazing qualities that will serve you well, into your future.

Keep up the good work my love.  I'm proud of you.  Always.

So very, very proud.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Outwitted by my 5 year old

Exasperation at my 5 year old's bedtime stall tactics and the heat of the day that pervaded the house had gotten to me.

"There is no way you're still hungry..." I began the enormous list of the various foods he had just finished in the past 2 hours.

"Buddy, come on." But I'm sooo hungry.

"Please stoooop."  I'm sooooo hungry!

"It's bedtime.  Enough.  You're not hungry you just don't want to go to bed."  But I'm sooooo huuuungry.

"Lay.down. NOW.  There is no eating."  More groaning due to apparent dying of hunger.

"Why are you making my life so difficult right now?"  I just need a banana!

We had no bananas.  

Numerous parental phrases in a tone I wished I could reverse every time the words came out of my mouth.

Minutes that seemed like an hour went by as I struggled with both boys during bed time hour.  The guilt mounted as I tried not to think about the way I was talking to my five year old son.

He finally laid still beside me.  As I tickled the soft inside of his arm that lay across my stomach, love and guilt and exhaustion ran through my heart, body and mind.  But mostly it was love.  Love always trumps the rest.

"I love you bugs."

"I love you too....
                           ----what does 'I love you' mean?"

"What do you think it means?"

"I don't know."

"Is love a good feeling or a bad feeling?"

"Gooood."

"Of-course.  I love you is one of the best things you can say to someone.  It means you would do anything for them."

......"like get some fruit for you when you're hungry?...."

I laughed.  And laughed.

And laughed until I was hit with a startled terrifying realization that my 5 year old child just outwitted me.

That quite possibly his question - a good one but one which he clearly already knew the answer to - duh - was a calculated tactic to guilt me into feeding him once again.

I'm in trouble you guys.

Big. BIG trouble.

Monday, June 10, 2013

He Loves Me So Well

Somewhere in the midst of a thousand and two days in a relationship the frenetic skipping of your heart slows down to a steady reliable beat.  And if you're lucky and smart enough to realize what an authentic and true relationship entails, instead of turning away from the steady ba-bump, ba-bump you lean in and embrace it, succumb towards the real and eventually promise each other forever.

Romance becomes not a whirlwind any longer.  Flowers eventually perish, their withered endings turning back into the soil and changing into something perhaps less delicate but more finite from within other organisms will root themselves, blooming again.

Romance and the ways to show love will move beyond gifts, beyond rhapsodic declarations and roaring emotions, morphing into subtle loving nuances within the everyday.

The trick to the success of knowing when and what you have is good is in the realization of all these small sometimes unrecognizable moments that are strung together with a sinewy texture and sepia tones.

You can find them in morning when you wake up to a hot cup of coffee on your bedside table or when you're laying in bed with the children between you and he reaches for your hand after brushing back the damp after bath hair from their heads.  It's in the moments when you finally put them to bed and curl up together watching your favourite show and you promise each other to always lay just this way ... even when your 94.  It's in the way he touches the small of your back as you walk in front of him or in making their favourite meal just because.  It's in the way he looks at you when you watch your children play together as if to say, "we make awesome kids...man how did we get so lucky?" It's there in his lips that linger a second longer before you lay your heads back down wearily for the night.  It's in him knowing exactly what is going to come out of your mouth before it leaves your lips.  It's in the way he can bring you up from a hard day simply with his embrace.  It's in the way you've promise to always be a team and to show your children what a good, healthy marriage looks like.  It's in the wine soaked nights laying side by side on your back deck in the midnight hour after friends stumble away leaving you listening to your wedding song.

It's in all of that and so much more.

And if you're really, really lucky, it's in the surprise weekend away that he planned for your 7 year wedding anniversary.

But within all of that, the layers of 13 years that brought job changes, moving cities, travels, illness, injuries, family deaths, marriage and children...the most sacred thing to do for the most important person in your life is to love them well.

So thank you, John, for loving me so well.

Happy Anniversary love.

How did we get so lucky? 


June 10, 2006

....and 7 years later.  


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Morning

I heard the quick muted patter of little feet on carpet come closer until he stood in the doorway of the master bedroom, Sleepy Sheepy clutched to his chest.  I laid the book I had been reading on my nightstand as he made his way to my side of the bed.

"Hiii honey love!"

I lifted him up noting how heavy he's getting.  My baby boy must be close to 40 pounds now.  I kissed his cheeks as he snuggled into me.  Rare were these easy, lazy kind of mornings any more.

"Did you have a good sleep?"

"Yeeaah."

His head remained on my shoulder for a moment more then he sat up.

"Sleepy Sheepy likes his back tickled."  He laid his favourite stuffed animal between us to demonstrate.  "Up at the top."

"Oh yeah...just like you do."

"And Bunny likes his back scratched.  But not hard.  Just..."  he continued to tickle Sleepy Sheepy's back and my heart felt like it couldn't take anymore of the cuteness when he mentioned his other favourite stuffed animal.  He searched for the right word to use as to how Bunny liked his back scratched and found it,  "just easy."

He scrambled down the other side of the bed, Daddy's side, announcing he "gotta go pee."  But before he made his way into the door behind him he said, "Mummy, look how big I am!"  I could see his entire 3.5 year old perfect face over top our very high king bed and recalled not so long ago when he used to struggle to climb up onto our bed.

This was a new sentence that he repeated many times throughout the day as he reached to the lowest branch of a tree, or stood close to me or stretched his arms as high as they could go onto the kitchen counter to reach a cookie. My answer was always the same too.

"Oh my goodness!  You are getting so big!"

And he was getting so big, this baby boy of mine.  So quickly.

Too quickly.

He returned and climbed easily back onto the bed beside me for another quick cuddle before the usual request, "Mummy, I want Cheerios."

I threw the covers back and sat up.

He climbed onto my back and down we descended piggy-back style to start our Saturday morning.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Epiphany in a Change Room

I sat on the dressing room bench of the department style clothing store and dubiously surveyed the pile of clothes beside me.  I sighed and began the process of trying on item after item of clothing, avoiding the mirror in between becoming clothed in each piece.

When I heard a teenaged girl's voice in the next stall say the words, "This doesn't fit me..."  shamefully my mood rose.  Someone's else's clothes don't fit - must be too small just like those jeans I tried on...

..."it's way too big.  I need a size zero."

A size ZERO.  Why this size even exists in this world completely baffles my mind.

Zero equals nothing does it not?  So if you're wearing a size zero what exactly does that mean?!  It's bonknuts that's what that is.

A few minutes later she comes out of her dressing room stall as her Mom and sister watched on (I'm assuming this as I stayed in the comfort of my own dressing room since there was a perfectly good mirror in there and I was by myself) and upon seeing herself in the mirror she exclaims, "Oh my GOD.  I look so fat!  I look like a tank!"

Can someone please explain how someone the size of nothing could possibly look like a 100,000 pound tank?!

What was even more disturbing was the fact that her Mother said nothing about her calling herself a fat tank. She murmured a few things but let me tell you, if that was MY daughter saying those things about herself I would shut that down fast and furiously.

I don't have daughters.  But I do have two sons'.  Same thing would go for them if they ever said those words about themselves (unlikely but still possible).

Yes we as women (and men too) have our insecurities.  It's normal and fairly unavoidable as we are flawed beings and I'm not speaking about being physically flawed. Sadly due to the ridonkulousness of society we've come to the very unhealthy thinking that if we have thighs that touch or sticky outty belly or cellulite there is something wrong with us.  There is nothing wrong with us.  Of-course we have our days where we haven't made the greatest food choices or haven't been active or are feeling bloated and not our best. This is all perfectly normal. Sitting in that change room I was hugely guilty of feeling not so good about my body even though there really isn't anything to be ashamed about. If I were 10 lbs thinner I'd still have something that irked me if I'm being honest. So who cares!?  Who.Cares.  Talking about your physical imperfections is pretty damn borrrring.  No one wants to hear about how much you hate your body, how fat you look, feel, are.  Believe me when I say NOBODY.  It's annoying, boring and cringe inducing so quit it.

Instead let's focus about what our bodies can do and have done.  Set some goals for yourself.  I could list mine but how about you start by listing your own?  What have you done with that awesome body of yours lately?  Biked a few miles.  Awesome.  Raced your kids?  Fun times.  Ran a half marathon?  Huge accomplishment.  Sex with your significant other?  Pretty damn fun. Worked out at the gym?  Good for you - how great do you feel now!  Played hopscotch?  A lot harder now than when you were a kid!  Moved some furniture?  Impressive.  Cleaned your house from top to bottom?  Good workout and productive!  Gave your child a piggy back or a horsey ride?  Memories for both of you.  Some gardening?  Surprisingly physical!  Walked your dog?  Exercise and therapy rolled into one.  Birthed children?  Most amazing physical feat EVER.

Next time you feel the need to complain about the beautiful body you have, stop and remember the amazing things it can, has and will do.  

Like I always tell my son when he occasionally complains about having to walk to school, "Why do we have to walk to school today?"

"Because we can.  Because we have two working legs.  Because there are many people in this world that would do anything, anything to be able to walk at all but they can't because they don't have two working legs."  That always keeps him quiet until he says, "And because it's a beautiful morning."

That's when I know that some things I say do sink in.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Let's Talk About Games ... maybe?

Board Games.  More specifically children's board games.  I thought once upon a time that it would be super awesome when my boys became of the age to start playing games that it would be the wonderful beginning of fun quality time together.

Turns out this is all another big fat ugly commercial fallacy.

Shall we discuss a bit more in depth?

Get right down to the nitty freakin' gritty?

Oh what?  You had no idea there was anything nitty or gritty about children's board games?

We-he-helll.  Have I got some shocking news for y'all.

Let me begin now...

Perhaps I'll start with the ones that are tolerable then I'll move onto the games that are terrible and then I'll end with the games that are so excruciatingly frustrating to play with your children that one could possibly blow an artery out.  I don't actually even know if that's medically possible or even what that means but believe me when I say that there are such games out there.

I will start with the tolerable ones and work toward the ones that are so horribly infuriating that stabbing yourself with a sharp object would be less painful.

Cariboo Island:  This was the first game I bought for my children and I really don't have anything heinous to say about it.  It's  actually a great learning game that has two levels - Beginner and Advanced.  You can start your child on it before age 3 which is the recommended age (but what parent actually goes by those recommendations anyway?)  It teaches your child letters, counting and colours.  And if they aren't into that yet it's fun for them to just insert the brightly coloured coins into the treasure box (warning:  if you don't keep close tabs on  those coins they could end up in obscure places like your utensil or underwear drawer...not that that ever happens in this house) and then they can try to find them behind each tab with the purple key.  Definitely our favourite game here at the Soden residence.

But trust me when I say shit goes downhill fast from here on in.

Candy Land:  If you haven't ever heard or played Candy Land then you probably have lived under a rock your entire life and for that I'm terribly sorry.  Pretty self explanatory game.  Child learns colours, it's bright and yummy to look at, game goes by fairly quickly (that's the biggest bonus).  The only downfall is that your child may demand candy due to looking at all the delectable pictures and could very well end up having a full blown tantrum because you don't actually have licorice or peanut brittle in the house. And for that I can't really blame them.

Not so bad.  Looks idyllic enough.  Only a glass or two of wine are
 required to make it through this one.

Perfection:  Seems pretty harmless right?  You turn on a timer and have to get those tiny little yellow shapes into the correct tiny little same shaped spaces.  You probably played it as a kid so how bad can it be?  That timer is basically  the devil in disguise counting down the seconds before you have a heart attack because you've entirely forgotten how damn terrifyingly LOUD it is when it goes off so every other time you play with your kid you're basically shoving your poor child out of the way to make sure those damn ridiculously small shapes get into those stupid matching holes before you actually do have a heart attack.  Like we, as parents, don't have enough anxiety in our lives...we certainly do NOT need a brightly coloured square piece of plastic counting down the demise of our hearts and minds.  But hey, if you like living on the edge of life like that by all means.  Have at it but don't say I didn't warn you.

Chutes and Ladders:  Good God give me strength.  I have no idea why I thought this was going to be a fun game to play with my children.  I'm 100 percent to blame because I was the one that purchased it thinking it would be along the same lines as Candy Land...but oh no.  NonononoNO.  Do NOT mistake this game for being remotely anything like the delicious quick fun of Candy Land.  It is basically the never ending game of hell.  Oh you think you're going to win?  You think this godforsaken game will finally be over?   You're at square 97, only 3 squares away from the end? THINK AGAIN!!!  You will roll a 1 and your stupid Sesame Street character must slide down another flippin' chute to square 14.  It's basically designed to make parents insane in the membrane.  Harsh?  Possibly.  Truth?  Definitely.

Hungry Hungry Hippos:  I have such fond memories of playing this game as a little girl.  Which is the reason why I bought it for my boys for Christmas 2 years ago.  Worst. Purchase. Of. My. Life.  If you wish for a splitting head ache from listening to your children pound on a plastic toy for hours on end (because for some reason they do not get sick of this game) then this game is for you.  Also?  If you think it's awesome getting your fingers practically cut off every time you disassemble this stupid.ass.game...go for it my friends.  I have scars to prove my pain.

Mousetrap: I have my Mother to blame for bringing this game into our home this past Christmas.  The instructions and set up are about 20 pages too long.  I would like to think I'm a fairly intelligent person but even after reading the instructions on how to play this game I still have no idea what the point of those tiny cardboard triangle pieces of cheese are.  The whole idea of having to construct this entire 'mouse trap' while attempting to figure out how to play the game with children just about put me over the edge...so, sorry Mum, Mousetrap is heading where Hungry Hungry Hippos went.  Down, down deep into the abyss of our scary storage room.

Never. EVER. Play this game.  Though could be possible after a bottle of wine because
by then who really give a flying *&^% about the damn mouse anyway.