children

Stay small a little longer (though I know you won’t)

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As we sit on the eve of my baby turning 10, it’s so easy to wonder where the time went. I remember being ten, desperately wanting to be older and still believing it would be forever before 30 came. I remember cradling a baby boy in my arms sleep deprived and in love, dreaming about all the time I had before he turned ten. It was a blink. I don’t know (just as all parents don’t know) how the baby turned himself into a little boy.

I worry about this one all the time, as I do with his brothers. I hope I am what he needs me to be and I hope that he finds contentment within himself. I strive to make sure he knows he is loved and he is enough.

I try to believe that there is still time, and I know that there is. The days stay with us as the years slip away before we’ve had time to chase them. For now his days are filled with Minecraft strategy, Wizards, books and navigating a new school. He is smart and often solitary and seems comfortable being himself.

My Jack is a special soul and he has big plans for his life. As his mom, I hope to make him feel like his life is always big enough for his plans.

Happy birthday, baby cakes. Mommy loves you.

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Photos of the boys

Oh the trauma of taking pictures of the little people in my life. We didn’t try very hard tonight. None of us were all that into it. They were more interested in soaking each other on the trampoline….in their clothes. I was more interested in – them listening to me. They won.

Here are a couple of salvaged pictures – nothing is edited (minus the one I turned grey). They are getting too big too fast – my normal complaint. Ugh. At least they have clothes on. Those who know us personally will truly know what I mean by that.

Jack – 8 years old (9 in 2 months), Alex – 7 and a half, Charlie – 5 years old.

hug....denied.

hug….denied.

the middle one holds the two ends together.

the middle one holds the two ends together.

Jack, Alex + Charlie

Jack, Alex + Charlie

Charlie of the Corn

Charlie of the Corn

That's my Goph

That’s my Goph

Jack of the Corn

Jack of the Corn

By forever baby

My forever baby

Alex

Alex

Jack

Jack

nope...everyone can NOT look at the same time.

nope…everyone can NOT look at the same time.

tower.

tower.

faces any mother would love.

faces any mother would love.

 

So proud of him

If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing. — Coco Chanel

photoIn a past life, Michael was a chef. He was so good…he still is, but that lifestyle was not one that we really wanted to continue to embrace. Too many hours, a lot of stress, too much missing out on things that kept going on when he wasn’t here. It was fun, it was the atmosphere we met in. And like I said…he is talented. I think part of that was natural talent, and the other part is his insane ability to think about so many things at the same time.

We got older and priorities changed. The family grew and it was more important to be home on weekends and at night.

He went back to school. We were so proud to watch him get his degree last week. I was taking pictures and Jack was clapping, even when he wasn’t supposed to. He gives our boys someone to look up to. And although we do not believe that formal education is the most essential element in a successful life, we do believe that you should aim yourself towards something that interests you, work hard for the things you want to achieve and never let anyone tell you you can’t do it.

As the four of us sat in the drizzle, right up at the front to watch the most important man in our lives walk across the stage for a piece of paper that represented hard work and a journey towards something better, something more fulfilling, something meaningful to him and to us, we were so excited to watch and proud to have just been there.

He has already started with new classes, onto the next goal of a Masters…from Harvard. Yep, that Harvard. Can’t wait for that graduation ceremony!

his idea

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My biggest boy (now eight and a half) is not what I would call a feeling kinda guy. He is rational, fact-based and analytical. Yes, think Sheldon Cooper. Books and math and science and puzzles and building stuff are his thing. People and new stuff and spontaneous actions, not so much.

When Jump Rope for Heart stuff came home, it was Jack who decided that the three boys should pool their efforts and fundraise as a team. These days kids can earn prizes for raising different levels of money. Alex is into the prizes. Jack is into the numbers. The idea was embraced by all three of them. Jump rope is on Thursday at school and so far, going door to door the boys have gathered $425 in pledges. Our social butterfly goes to the door behind his big brother and dares not communicate with the strangers who open the door. Charlie rings the bells or knocks on the door and then loses interest. Jack, my normally reserved boy stands up straight, says his piece about the Heart and Stroke, and has come leaps and bounds towards meeting the target. His dad and I have been so surprised and feel so very proud of our boy, who gives us worry with his lack of interest in social ways for his whole life.

When Jack found out that one of his friends since junior kindergarten had cancer, he was very introspective. We talked about it a lot and I could always see the wheels turning. Every couple of days he would have a new few questions that I would answer as best as I could and he seemed to be satisfied. I knew, however, that he was worried about his friend. He felt her absence in the classroom.

Recently he explained to me that hospitals and doctors have made great advances since the days of Terry Fox. I told him he was right. He told me he was still worried about his friend. I told him that I was too.

Different events and fundraisers have been started to help Grace’s family, so I’m guessing that is what gave Jack reason to keep at developing his own plan. My determined and smart little boy decided that he was going to raise money on his own (he would let his brothers help) for Grace. He is going to sell cotton candy. He has me on making tags, his dad will be on cotton candy making duty and we’ll all be going door to door to see how we can help his friend and her family in this difficult time.

Kids are strange little creatures. Every day comes with new discoveries – about them, about you. Today I’m a proud mom. And as much as I worry about him, I hope the world has good things in store for him because he has such good things to offer the world.

…………………………………………………………………….

He’s started a blog. Adventures with Jack. Who knows where he’s going to go with that.

If I Stay

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

How it begins: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.

Told by a girl in a coma. She is aware that her family is gone and she is all that’s left. There are people who love her that want her to wake up but she spends the story telling the stories of remembrance and young love, that could have, should have and maybe would have been.

It is built on the possibility that everything can change in a second, with a snowfall or a day off or a music selection. It’s all fleeting and the decisions we make – before and after – have consequences and meaningful impacts that reach far and wrench heartstrings.

This was a quick read, and when I was looking for the image of the cover to stick in this post, I discovered that there is a sequel. (I guess you can figure that she stayed…that doesn’t lessen the story at all, I promise). I’ve already downloaded it and I hope it doesn’t keep me up too late tonight!

Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith

Joy is the best makeup. Joy, and good lighting.

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Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

How it begins: There is not much truth being told in the world.

Anne Lamott is my favourite writer, no question. I love everything she writes. Bird by Bird is my favourite book. This collection of essays lent itself to a wonderful novel. There was love and humour and struggle and authenticity in the pages. She tells things as they are and uses the right words to do so. This book read like a conversation and her frustration was clear and humerous, her voice was authentic. I loved every page, every paragraph, every piece of every story.

school is starting (i say with a sigh)

You can drag my body to school but my spirit refuses to go — Bill Watterson (Calvin + Hobbes)

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i don’t know what happened to summer.

although i am fully aware that this is the week i will face an empty house, as all three boys will be in school by friday, it doesn’t yet feel true.

we got scrubbed, fed and mostly packed and somehow had time left before bed. wanting to make the most of our last night of summer holidays, we all grabbed our ipads. it was minecraft time. (the four of us, daddy doesn’t play mine craft). the four of us joined together in a world of jack’s creation. the boys tend to play all unorganized and unruly. more interested in changing the colour of sheep and searching for creepers. mommy takes a very different approach. normally, when i play, i task them with crafting my much-needed supplies, they steal the resources i uncover and i mine, mine, mine.

those pixels sure do make them happy. until the competition starts. tonight, there was excitement and joy bouncing on mommy and daddy’s bed, tied together with a wifi bond. it was a wonderful mommy moment. until it wasn’t. the unorganized chaos of the boys’ gameplay means very little gathering of anything useful. so, when mommy hit iron, the race to find me was on. again, way more interested in just the building of a mine, i don’t care how much iron or gold or diamonds or anything i have, so i left the material where charlie got to it first. within thirty seconds charlie had been assassinated and everyone was wailing. oh, the horror.

the boys know that mommy doesn’t play if we are going to kill each other. so, jack was done. why did he task his little character to cause a necessary re-spawning of charlie’s ninja999? he wanted the iron and couldn’t wait for charlie to share. couldn’t wait for mommy to find more. he didn’t really know what he was going to use the iron for, his need for it just got away from him and the little pixel person controlled by his little brother paid the price.

game over.
boys in bed.
tears. remorse. sadness. ugh.

i was torn between chuckling over the excitement over a little game and feeling bad for the abrupt end. but discipline is nothing without follow through, and they have to learn that if we are going to play together, we are going to follow the rules we all agreed to.

these are the moments i feel time getting away. i hope that we’re doing alright by our boys. i pray for their friendship together and ponder about the number of nights left like this. the simplicity of a big bed, clean and fresh little boys, a mommy who wants to be present and hold on, and a game that helps us forget that school begins again tomorrow.