family

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

IMG_2430 IMG_3181

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.

Advertisements

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.

……………………………………………………………………………
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.

 

Ask the Passengers

It feels good to love a thing and not expect anything back.

Ask-the-PassengersAsk the Passengers  by A.S. King

How it begins: Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it.

This is a story about a teenager unsure about herself, unsure about her family, unsure about her friends – who finds strength in laying down on a picnic table she and her pot-smoking dad built, staring at the planes flying overhead and sending them love. Conjuring up goodness and setting it free into the universe. I loved the action, and believed in the intentions of poor, scared, confused, different Astrid. I found the story so empowering, considering this closeted teenage lesbian, facing a difficult, uncontrolled public outing, and a family so self-absorbed that they could hardly offer any help or the love that certainly could have cushioned the mess that took over – but dear Astrid still found love to send away. It is later revealed that her actions were guided by her feeling that her love was not needed in her life directly, and what a shame to waste it, so she sent it away. The sentiment is beautiful. The action is important. If nothing more is taken from this story than the goodness that comes from having the strength to wish others well, the ability to channel goodness and silently offer it to the universe and the patience to wait and see who you really are – that’s enough. A few appearances from Socrates spoke to my own heart…there is great growth that comes from questions and conversations and considering how your beliefs find you placed in the world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The most random things get her way too full of love.

4a1b1d6c27ea9e591c10e3261a20ae10

Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

How it begins: The first annothing thing is when I ask Dad what he things happened to Mom, he always says, “What’s most important is for you to understand it’s not your fault.”

This book sat on my reader for a long time before I started reading it and after finishing it, I had wished I had read it sooner. Although the cover doesn’t necessarily suggest Young Adult in genre, the story fits there, I think. With themes of family and independence, fitting in and standing out, the characters face typical growing up challenges with atypical actions. Crazy comes out of the woodwork and through the blackberry vines. Antarctica helps Bernadette remember her purpose, her importance and her own possibilities that have not passed her by. Bee knows to never give up on the mother who stays inside, hates everyone and would do anything for her daughter.

The set up of the story is interesting, the delivery is engaging and the characters are laugh-out-loud funny. There were a few developments that I would have rather done without, but they made sense and they made the entire story even more real.

This is a read that will make you feel, make you laugh, make you connect and make you want to savour the words, the message and the little bit of crazy we all carry that tends to make the world go ’round.

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!

We Were Liars

WeWereLiarsJacketFinal

 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

How it begins: Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.

The best part about the book was the writing. The prose was delightful. I read this one on a long car ride as well, and it didn’t take me long. The worst part about this book was that I figured it out before it ended. That kind of bugged me a little bit, and it made me deflate, but the writing was beautiful. I found that the subject matter took back seat to the words and I loved that.

The subject matter was common, but the descriptions were better than I’ve read before. The characters were not all redeemed and I was happy for that. The losses are incredible and there are times that you want to reach through the pages and shake the people who are left.

The story shines a light on priorities and friendship and the imperfect balance of it all.

 

CW Challenge : Day 13

15-STEP LIST : HOW TO BE [GOOD TO YOUR MOMMY]

1340324777562_1146849

 

This is written with my 4, 6 and 7 year old boys in mind.

1. Remember that mommy’s job is to love you, to teach you and to keep you safe. There isn’t always room to make you your happiest while fulfilling her duty, but she always tries.

2. Pick one day a week and make a decision to not whine. One day. No whining.

3. When mommy says to get in the car, grab your stuff, put on your shoes, get in the car and buckle up. This is not a time for questions or requests. No excuses. Just get in the car.

4. When your brother talks to you, answer him. Don’t make him keep calling you. If mommy can hear him, you can hear him. Answer him.

5. When mommy hugs you, hug her back. You used to. She is your safe place.

6. Love each other (your siblings). Every day.

7. Between the hours of 9pm and 7am, don’t use the word mommy, mom, mama or anything like it, unless there is an emergency. A real emergency.

8. Go To Sleep.

9. Believe that when mommy is making eye contact with you and is less than 6 feet away, she is watching you. She sees what you are showing her. You don’t have to re-verify that fact every 12 seconds.

10. Stop eating dirt. Stop licking things. Stop tasting rocks. Please.

11. Do what your mother says, at least 75% of the time.

12. Learn from the mistakes your mom made. She is older, wiser and chances are she’s tried it. She’s telling you specifically because she wants to save you from her upset.

13. Eat what she makes you.

14. Tidy up your room. Do a good job. Do it without being asked.

15. Brush your teeth. No crying. No bartering. It’s 2 minutes out of your life. Brush them!

and one more – give mommy a few minutes to do nothing. it doesn’t mean she loves you less when she is not devoting all her attention to you. she needs to remember herself before she was your mommy because she loves being your mommy so much, sometimes she forgets who she was before.

……………………………………………………..
Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge