Wednesday, August 29, 2012

September: The Beginning of Nostalgia

The realization comes in flickers and flashes.

When I reach for your hand to cross the parking lot and you pull away protesting, "I don't need to hold your hand anymore Mumma."  A pang to my chest and I pretend to cry...embarrassing myself more than you when you plainly state, "People don't really cry like that Mumma."  But that doesn't mean I stop.  I may pretend to cry on the outside...but the real crying is beginning on the inside.

When you lie beside me at bed time.  Peaceful, quiet but not yet asleep and I see the face of the baby that you were once upon a time but is now atop splayed limbs, long and angular with deepening muscle.  When your eyes finally close I find myself still beside you.  2 minutes.  5 minutes.  10 minutes.  Listening to you breathe evenly.  And I thank God once again for the healthy, strong boy you are.

When I notice I can almost (but not always) reason with you.  When the beginnings of a tantrum can be desisted with calm word, a look or a hug. (though - again - not always).

When I see you in your role as a big brother, being kind, helpful, playful and dare I say loving.  When you aren't fighting each other tooth and nail that is.  

The other day when I saw you with your second cousin, who is going into her second year of university - when did this happen?! - ...and I recall the moment I held her for the first time as vivid as it was yesterday.  So tiny and curled up in my arms, dark hair and scrumptious pink smushy newborn face, smelling delicious as babies do.  The memories I have of her as a little girl flooded me at that moment.  Giving her piggy backs.  Her obsession with the Spice Girls. The first time she showed me her big girl bed.  The first time she showed me her Big Girl room.  Watching Mary Poppins with her as a toddler as she dozed peacefully on my chest. Seeing her awe inspiring talent as a gymnast.  Singing Happy Birthday to her on her 14th birthday which was also my wedding day.  Watching her bloom beautifully, gracefully into an intelligent, funny, compassionate and stunning young woman.

The memories of you as my first born, her as my baby cousin mesh together as I watch you together.

Suddenly with a start, that pang in my chest hits harder when I realize that your second year of university will also be here before I know it too.  20 years just flashed before me.

Boom. Just. Like. That.

Then I will find the trails of my memory are left scattered like bright delicate petals on a concrete pathway leading away from me.

Too far away from me.

The thought makes the stitches of my heart strain with longing for this space in time to still.  And though the years are far off I feel the melodic swirls of nostalgia beginning already.

The trail of sweet memories began with your first cry and in a couple of weeks you'll be off to your first day of school which will begin another set of bright reflections that I hope won't dull with time.

I can see 2 weeks from now all too clearly.  You, looking so handsome and much older than your 4.5 years decked out in your sharp navy and white uniform.  Cars backpack slung over your little yet strong boy shoulders.  Your wild curly mane of hair sitting atop big blue eyes.  Looking up at me, squinting in the autumn sun with your dimpled smile.  Bidding me your biggest adieu to date.  Excited for what the morning will bring.

"Bye Mumma!"  As you turn away from me, all smiles and become engulfed in your new classmates. My hand that waved too enthusiastically slowly making it's way back to my side as you glance back toward me barely noticing I'm still there. The way it should be I suppose.  It's better than tears.

And maybe you won't hold my hand when we cross the street to your school.  I will reach for it.  Maybe you will reach for mine this time.  I hope so.  I also hope it's not to much to ask that with that adorable squinty, dimply smile comes a hug.  And possibly even a kiss.  You must say an I love you.  There's no negotiating that one.

Might that be asking too much?

For the sake of this Mother's tender feeling heart...I certainly hope not. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Brother to the Rescue

The crying begins and I hold my tongue about to call out Adrian's name sharply for bothering his brother once again.  But Adrian wasn't near him.  He wasn't even in the same room.  My littlest was simply frustrated not being able to do something on his own...his crying face is heartbreaking.  And Mommy's help would not do.  "Not you Mommy.  I do it on my own!"

But he can't.

He sits crying and I stand a few feet away helpless.  No hugging or soft words of encouragement were wished for.  He wanted me to leave him alone.  

My eldest's footsteps came from behind me.  Then around me and towards his little brother.  He sat down beside him.  In his arms was Sleepy Sheepy, Finley's favourite stuffed, silent, sleeping companion.

"I brought you Sleepy Sheepy Finley."  He waggles the soft, large floppy sheep him in front of his face and says the cutest words that have ever come out of his 4 year old little mouth, in the sweetest voice I ever did hear..."What are those wet things on your cheeks?"  Sleepy Sheepy kisses the wet spots off of his face and then he waggles him in front of his face again.  I see the faintest hint of a smile on Finley's lips.

Then Finley winds up and punches his favourite stuffed animal in the face.    

Adrian makes Sleepy Sheepy fall dramatically to the floor with a big, "Ahhhhhhh!"  

They both fall over cracking up and I giggle to myself as I watch from the kitchen hoping that it won't be the last time I see Finley's big brother to the rescue.  Minus the punching of innocent bystanders of-course.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What I Learned on Vacation (a Baker's Dozen)

It was that crazy, stressful, fun time again to start packing for a week away with 4 other families at a cottage resort.  (as an aside - am I the only one that finds packing stressful?!)

And so off we went, our second annual trip...this time to a different place.  One without raw open sewage, massive holes that our children could fall into, no blaring horns from freight trains in the middle of the night or heavy machinery that could potentially harm our babies.  You know...a normal, pleasant kind of cottage getaway.

I always learn a few things while 'vacationing'.

1.  The first thing being the obvious...or not so obvious to those that don't have children.  Vacationing with children?  Isn't really vacationing at all.  Though fun!  Very fun.

2.  A water trampoline should be standard at every cottage resort...especially for the amount of time most children will spend on it far away enough to barely hear the squeals but within watching distance from the parents. (and of-course life jackets are mandatory)

That smile on my child's face is what he pretty much looked like all.week.long.

3.  Don't bother bringing a book to the beach.  The liklihood of getting any reading done whilst looking after your children is ... well.  Unlikely.

4.  While you wish with all your might that your child might be tuckered out enough to nap on the beach, it won't happen.

Doesn't he look so cozy you'd think he'd fall asleep?
But no...not even a wink.

5.  While getting sick on vacation should be totally universally outlawed it does happen.  Thank God it wasn't me, but my husband. I felt as much sympathy as most woman do when their husband's are sick (which is not a lot - this is also something I learned and I felt so much better knowing I'm not the only insensitive wife out there).  It made me feel like doing this when he was down and out...

Action shot taken by lovely husband.
This is what I look like when I stub my toe.
Stubbing never pretty.

7.  When your husband has a really terrible awful thumb injury it's a great excuse for him to not do dishes for an entire week. (or going on four now - but at least in the comfort of my own home I have a dishwasher) Two thumbs up for no dish doing (for him).

Note the right Frankensteinish thumb.  Gah.  You can still see his stitches! *shudder*
8.  Picking a theme song for the week and dancing to it every morning is a great way to start off the day.  Our theme song unintentionally became Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men.  My 4 year old son is obsessed.  We had to listen to it about 6 times in a row every morning.  This song will forever take me back to this week.

9. When you wish to have serenity now...hop in a kayak and paddle your little heart out to the middle of the lake until you hear nothing but an occasional bird chirp, a flutter of wings from a bird swooping for a snack and the wind in your ears.  I realized that I feel completely at peace surrounded by water.  And I may have to take up kayaking for sport.
See how happy I look?  SO happy. 

10.  The male species can fall sleep anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

11.  Drinking while teeter tottering with children, while not advisable, is still quite possible.

12.  Accupunture can most definitely be done on the beach...
(and also?  having your tongue read is just as terrifying as having your future told)

13.  Cottaging (and marshmallows) makes my boys VERY happy.  Which is turn makes me look forward to doing it again every year until they refuse...and even then I will insist they still come along.

Memory making for my children is my favourite.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Big Much

We sat, my littlest and I, at the kitchen table with the late afternoon sun beckoning between the crack of the patio door curtains.  He, with sweet potato wheat thins on the mind.  Present and choosing each morsel ever so purposefully.  Me, my mind marinating, my heart mewling, my soul stirring in the life of my not-so-distant future after reading this. 

I looked over at my not quite 3 year old little boy munching so innocently on his snack while this Mother's world turned at warp speed with harrowing thoughts of letting go. I said only what always comes directly to mind when this happens...because these thoughts?  They happen all too often.

"Mummy loves you.   So, so much. You know that right Finny?"

He continued his mindful masticating without even looking my way.  Like I didn't even say a word.

I looked back at my computer screen.

Then back at him.  I was going to try this once again.

"How much does Mummy love you?"

He continued snarfling away at his damn crackers.  My question was a mere annoyance.  Interfering with this Godly moment of feeding his face.

He was paying absolutely no attention to his Mother.  This Mother that loved him beyond any sort of measurement in time or space.


The love between a child and parent is beyond any comprehension. Until you become a parent yourself.  There is no other way to tap into the potential of your heart and soul's capacity to truly experience a  Love Beyond than to have children of your own.  That's why the question I was asking...I didn't really expect an answer.

But then he looked right at me.  His eyes were big blue saucers that drew me into his like an eddy. I knew then that he had heard me.  He was listening.

"Big Much!"

He put his still slightly pudgy, cracker crumbed hands on either side of my face and puckered up those delicious lips for the sweetest Mother-Son kiss that ever was.

My heart shimmered, as vulnerable and translucent as pink Jello.

My smile and laughter at his answer mirrored every other Mother's smile and laughter when their child says such words of sweet succinct perfection.

Big Much.  

Yes baby boy. I love you Big Much.  

And a million trillion times more.