life

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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CW CHALLENGE: DAY 25

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FAVOURITE MONTH

She is warm and beautiful. As the colours change and the trees lose the coverings that came in the Spring the crispness is a promise of something new in the loss.

She is the month of my birth and the birth of my first babe as she watched me become a mother. She has been a month of great sadness and fantastic joy. She defines me in so many ways. She is where I find myself and where I find my strength. It is funny to say that about a month, thirty days in three hundred and sixty five, but they are my favourite thirty. They are the days that I feel most at home with myself and in the world.

I am always happy to say hello to September, and always somewhat reluctant to say goodbye.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

REMINDER

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We must always remember that there are always at least two sides to every story. And, if it sounds or feels like there is more to something – whether it’s troubling or curious – you can probably bet that there is.

There are many different ways to look at the same problem and the solution that works best for you is the one you should try.

The people who are happiest or proudest or most successful will spend less time telling you about themselves and more time asking about your happiness, satisfaction and success because sharing your joy or helping you find it is just better.

Passing judgement on those who you do not know, by name or by circumstance, is wasteful and contributes nothing positive into the universe.

Although your beliefs are important to you and may be that which assist you in living a productive and peaceful life, others may not share them. It is important to remember that the street travels both ways and your beliefs, as well as the beliefs of others are completely irrelevant, as we are all entitled to our own. It is not necessary to change your mind, or work to change the mind of others because in the end, it does not matter.

As much as we may wish or want, there is no one in the world we have the right or capability of changing, except ourselves.

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 24

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Tolstoy

FAMILY

The family: Comes with no written, stated or implied guarantee. Oh, but I wish there was. I wish it did. I struggle to say that I think there should be. I am more at ease to say that I am wrong.

I think the best we can do is promise to try and do better. We can promise to love without condition, forgive without grudge and choose to always, always see the best. At least see those for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

The family: these people who are part of us, who made us, who shape us, who damage us and lift us up. These are the expectations placed upon a unit who have been placed together by luck and  biology. Or some divine plan. For some, the luck was bad, the biology formed funny, the plan was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Maybe it was only meant for a while. Maybe the plan was to teach, to [hopefully] learn, to prepare for the next.

The family: Those who will share something – cells, memories, trials, tragedy, love, meaning, hope, pain – with us forever. Our stories are all different. Certainly our unhappy ones are.

My family: Built on a competition we were never going to win. I don’t know who decided upon the rules, but I remember playing.

My family: Torn apart by anger and immaturity, pride and a change come too soon.

My family: Marked now by loss and gaps of time that bring forgetting and remembering and moving on.

My family: Came with love but without a guarantee of receipt without condition. Came with a best before date, a warning of expiry.

It was me who left. It was me who could not stay. It is me who is now lost. In reality, I am not. In metaphor, there are betters to choose. In reality I am here, existing with my past and my experiences and my future. If you say that I am lost, that you have lost me – like a ship at sea? like a missing sock? like a misplaced object from such a time ago? We are not lost. We are trees. separated by a chasm too wide for our branches to reach. We are books that once shared characters, but whose stories have ended. We are windows that have been forced shut by time and weather and paint in neighbouring houses, without people who have the ability to pry them open again.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 23

100 WORDS OR LESS

I hate being spoken of like I’ve gone somewhere. Like my disappearance was a surprise without warning. like I’m this spirit of a being that once was.
I wasn’t lost. I’ve pinched myself as evidence that I’m still very much here.

Our path was no longer meant to be travelled together, but my prints disappeared no more than yours did. I didn’t loose you, for I know where you are. It was too much, too heavy, too difficult to keep going along that path we were on.

Now we each have our own and I hope your journey is breathtaking.

 

100 words exactly!

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 22

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GOODBYE

airports see more sincere kisses than weddings halls. the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches

We must stop saying that we hate goodbye. Of course a goodbye is not lovingly embraced. Our culture has attempted to lessen the blow with clichés like a goodbye makes room for a later hello or saying goodbye to something good makes room for something better. They are not nice because they come with loss. That is why change is so feared, so disliked, so distrusted — the loss.

I think the term comes from God be with you….God bye….Goodbye. It was a blessing once. It can be a blessing still. It’s a salutation to send someone or something out into the universe with care. With love. With longing. It is, however, an ending, a parting, a disconnect.

Hearing that ‘I hate goodbyes’ drives me a little nutty. Who likes them? At least when they happen. We may look back on them with deep breaths and relieved sighs, but not in the thick of the first utterance. We must remember that a goodbye is not required. It is not owed – to you or by you. It is a tool, a marker, a note for a moment in time, a glimpse before a turning, a word before none. It is not a goodbye that changes anything. It is what happens after.

I have had goodbyes and I have had great loss without them. They haven’t changed anything. Their absence hasn’t changed anything. They haven’t eased the feelings, nor have the ones spoken brought me any comfort.

I do not hate goodbyes. I do not feel I am owed a goodbye, from anyone, for anything. Their goodbyes are not for me, just as mine are not for them. Like a funeral is not for the one who has passed, the goodbye is for those who are still here.

If you need a word to capture the space before the change, you have it. Embrace it. It’s not the goodbye you hate, it’s what is coming. The change, the silence, the grief, the loss, the unknown.

The goodbye is the blessing.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

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.

 

Top 10 Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Topic: TOP 10 FAVOURITE TV SHOWS

I’ve been meaning to start doing these for a few weeks now, and considering this week is actually a departure from books is an ironic note to start on. I’m starting, nonetheless. Here’s my list! (in no particular order)

UnknownSHERLOCK

The casting is clever, the dialogue quick and full of wit. I hate that the seasons are so short but I can’t wait to see the return of Moriarty. My favourite relationship in this one is between Sherlock and Mycroft. I agree that Elementary is good at showcasing the stories of Sherlock Holmes as well, but the actors, music and fast-paced stories win me over every time (in case I was forced to choose). Benedict Cumberbatch wins. Every time.

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THE WALKING DEAD

Sunday nights, this is what I’m doing. October cannot come soon enough. The stories, the people, the tragedy, the themes. The show is so well done. We’re getting down to people that I’m afraid to lose now, though. And I can’t wait to see how they get out of that train car.

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HOMELAND

I’m not even caught up with this one…waiting for season three to come out on Netflix. I can’t wait to see Brody die. I keep watching so intently because I know that it’s coming. I just wonder what’s going to drive Carrie as nutty afterwards…I’m interested to find out though.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

I am a binge watcher. After the new season got released, I was through it within three days. I convinced myself that I was watching while working, but not much got done those days. The characters are interesting and troubled (of course, they are incarcerated), based in truth, and as much as you hate some of them (still not a fan of Alex), there are elements that redeem them enough to invest in their story. The end of season two was so fantastic, all of the emotion pent up from Rosa’s news was balanced with the karma put upon Vee…fan-tas-tic.

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SUITS

This show fills the void left from Boston Legal. It’s smart and interesting. Shows the darkness of people – high stress, thinking outside the box. Intelligence is cool and I love that.

Donna and Louis Litt – love, love, love.

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FRANKLIN & BASH

Another law-based drama. Perhaps I have a type? This one is funny, the supporting characters add so much to the focus of the show. And the throwback to my generation of Saved by the Bell and Clueless – these boys are still cute.

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REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Again, with the smart. Bill Maher is intelligent, opinionated and I love watching his show. (I fall asleep to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Monday through Thursdays too).

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MODERN FAMILY

Al Bundy as a put upon step dad.
Phil Dunphy.
Cameron Tucker.
no more words.

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THE BIG BANG THEORY

One of the only two sitcoms on the list. I have a fondness for Sheldon because I have a small Mr. Cooper living with me. The Nerdy version of Friends, in lots of ways, I enjoy the interactions and the personality quirks and the trouble, embarrassment and muddling through.

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DOWNTON ABBEY

I watch this one when it comes out on Netflix. I watch it for the stories. I love reading historical fiction, and I assume that’s why I enjoy this one. It’s the quiet humour, the ‘way things are’, the conventions, the scheming and the terribly tragedies that result in heartbreak, upset and then, the ability to carry on.

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CRIMINAL MINDS

Spencer Reed. Penelope Garcia. The awkwardness and the raw ability.
And, the words at the beginning and end. I’m a sucker for those as well.

THE ONES I MISS THE MOST:
These are the shows that I loved so much when they were on and missed them when they left.

Boston Legal. Denny. Denny Crane.
Friday Night Lights. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.
The Big C. So much emotion.
Breaking Bad. ‘yo. (at least Better Call Saul is coming)
House. Everybody lies.

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.

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