Friday, August 28, 2015

Broad-Shouldered Beasts

"But it's alright
Take it out on me...
But it's alright
Take it out on me..."

The lyrics of the song, Broad-Shouldered Beasts by Mumford and Sons' blasts out as I fry perogies, the scent of onions filling my nose, meloncholy filling my heart.  Maybe it was the light of the dusk or the words of the song, the fact that the boys will be returning to school soon or the chaotic scenes between my sons' and I that filled my head...but, yes, it was definitely meloncholy that I was feeling. 

How many times in 48 hours is it normal for one to wish the next 10 days away and then minutes later take them back with a whiplashing heartbreak for wishing the time away.  Again.  And again.  And again.

"Mommy..." my baby, who's no longer a baby says to me through sobs, "how would YOU feel if you were just a little kid and an adult didn't let you play at your friend's house...?...."

So how do I explain that his brother just needed some time away?  That that friend is much more his big brother's friend than his?  How do I explain that to a 5 year old boy whose first words every morning are, "Where is Adrian?" 

"I do know baby. I'm sorry..."

"NO YOU DON'T!  YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME."  I tried to hold him close but he screamed not to touch him.  I sat a foot away.  Waiting with my heavy heart, my arms longing to take away his hurt as they so often have. 

Maybe not this time.

Within minutes he made his way into my lap where I wiped away his tears, his head on my chest, my lips on the crown of his head.

How many times does a Mother's heart break every day?  What's the average? 

Between 5 and 500 is probably a pretty good ball park.

He is not quite 6.  These are the kind of 'conversations' that make my soul cower as I recover them in my mind in the wee hours of the night...what will 16 bring? 

What will 16 bring.

God have mercy on me.  His emotional manipulation at a wee age is something to be admired and feared.


Adrian pushed he plate away, "I just lost my APPETITE!" he screamed at me today after I became more than exasperated when he dropped his sandwich into his lap.  I know better than to react that way and normally I don't bat an eye as he figures it out on his own.  But if you only knew how many times he drops food in a day.  He's like me, a clutzy food eater.  It's genetic, it cannot be helped.  But yet I lost my patience.  What's that saying?...."The things that annoy you about others is usually something you see in yourself?" or something like that.  Anyway.  He lost it, I lost it.  He went up to his room and I let him go, knowing I should've apologized.  Knowing that no good would come if I followed him. Five minutes later he came down and ended up eating the lap fallen sandwich.  He had calmed himself  in a semi-mature way and I had calmed myself by breathing and waiting. I said I was sorry - because really?  A fallen sandwich is so, so minuscule. 

Later we lay in my bed and listened to music.  I showed him how we could look up the lyrics to the songs.  I let him choose as his long, strong, bronzed seven year old legs fell over mine.  He chose 'Photograph' by Ed Sheeran.  Probably my least favourite song on that album but as we read the lyrics, unexpected tears came to my eyes. 

"Loving can hurt
Loving can hurt sometimes
But it's the only thing that I know
When it gets hard
You know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive...."

This is encompasses SO MUCH.  So much of everything.  Every adjective and verb in the world could probably be applied to what we are, do and feel.  Strong, alive, hard, tender, loving, detached, logical, emotional.  We are all of it.  We are where our children long to be when life is tough.  And here is where we shall stand when it does.

We are our children's Broad Shouldered (Beautiful) Beasts. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Minute. A Memory.

Five months.  Five months it's been since I've taken the time to sit down and write.  Five months ago I couldn't put my hair in two silly little buns at the side of my head.  But I did today.  I'm daring myself to go out in public to pick my boys up with my hair like this.  Why dare?  Who really cares how ridiculous I look anyway?  It's grey and pissing rain outside.  No one.  Not a soul.  Though I know my sons' will have something to say about my 'do.

Five months.  Five months that I've missed writing my little anecdotes and stories about my boys.  I've written them in my head of-course.  Always in my head.  I fear they've been forgotten by now.

But a few weeks ago my youngest one was playing in his little creative corner that happens to be in our living room.  It's messy, chaotic and strewn with legos, magnets and pieces of colourful construction paper.  Pencils, markers strewn in corners and under things along with Lego heads and miniature weapons that I must comb the floor for every time I vacuum.

"Pick up your stuff guys or the dog will eat it!"

But the dog never does.  The boys know this.  She only chews the occasional stuffed animal. And munches on delicious paper products from the bathroom garbage.

And so it all stays until a miracle happens and they decide to actually listen to me and clean it up.  Or until I can't stand it anymore and do it myself.  Mostly due to company of-course if for no other reason.

So my son - my baby, my five year old with the soul of an old man, the humour of a tween and the face of an angel, sits on his knees at the coffee table in front of the fireplace that heats up his back to a teapot whistle, he sits and he creates there every morning and every evening.  Rarely does he ask me to join him.  But when he does, I do because it's so rare.  And sometimes I just do.

I stand bent over with my forearms on the kitchen counter, my rear stuck out behind me with a clear but far enough away vision that it doesn't seem like I'm intensely staring at him like the weirdo Mother that I am.

Even though I am.  With wist, pride and happiness swirling in my heart.  My little creator.

A minute goes by without him noticing.  Until he does.

He looks up and makes eye contact.  I smile at him.  He looks back down, his little hands busy building and connecting.  No smile was returned.  He looks up again and I know what's next.

"Mommy sthtop sthtaring at me.  Why are you looking at me?"  His mouth is slightly turned up now but he's serious.  It's time for me to look away.

"Because I love to watch you baby.  It makes me happy."

"Well sthtop Mommy."  Creative and self conscious.  It's been noted before.

I reluctantly walk away with the image and emotions etched in my mind.

Next time I'm spying.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Pocket of Serenity

Over the running water I hear the creak of little footsteps on the stairs.

I look to my right from where I stand doing the dishes and his sleepy-sweet six year old face peers back between wooden spindles.  "Mommy, lay with me?"

"Baby, I can't right now but I will.  Your brother's birthday cake in in the oven and will be ready in ten minutes.  I promise I'll come up then."  Promises are meant to be kept.  He knows that but he shakes his head.

"Can I help you?"  He wants to help me do the dishes.  My first thought was no.  I'll get them done a lot faster on my own.  But that voice in the back of my head pushed out another answer.

"You sure can." I place all the unbreakable dishes - God knows my eldest has his father's inherent lovable clumsiness - on a dish towel and hand him another.  "You can help me dry."

I washed and he dried - quite thoroughly, I was impressed - in complete silence except for one question, "Mommy do you know Jacob in grade 3?"  A daily question since I started working at the school which usually leads to no other conversation except that he is just curious.  Sometimes he'll tell me it's so and so's brother or sister but mostly he just wants to know if I know.

I don't know who Jacob is and so we continue our chore while music plays in the background and the delicious smell of baked cake fills the air.  

It was that pocket of a moment that you wish you could just sit in with your child forever.  Pure serene loveliness.  And then the dishes were done.  Five minutes remained on the oven timer for the cake.  The music played on.  He looked up at me, "Mommy, can you come lay with me now?"

"Sweetie there are still 5 minutes left for the cake."  I paused.  "Do you want to dance with me?"

He nods.  

In the soft light beckoning from the kitchen onto our dance floor, we danced in our pajamas, my six year old son and I.  He twirled and dipped me (ever so slightly) and I him.  We danced until the song was over and it was time for the cake to come out of the oven.

Up we went and I tucked him into his bed and laid down beside him, the sounds of his little brother's sound asleep breaths coming from the bunk above.  

Within minutes his breaths matched those of his brother's and I kissed him and my baby, who was going to have his fifth birthday party the next day, their last kiss until morning.  The insurmountable Mother-Love feeling overcame my heart as I gave one last glance back before leaving their room.

Until morning.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Finley is Five - A Birthday Letter

Dear Finley,

After I picked you up from school the other day, we walked over to get your brother and you put your arms up toward me like a toddler and said, "Pick me up Mummy."

"Oh honey.  You're way too big for that.  Do you want Mummy's arms to fall off?"

"Up Mummy." Your face was set on stubborn and I gave in.  Of course I did.  I haul up onto my hip all 40 plus pounds of you with a smattering of at least 20 kisses on your still cherbic cheeks because you still let me.  You smile and wrap your arms around me and I don't care if people think you're too big for this.  I indulge you and when it comes to affection there is never too much I can give to you and your brother.  

This banter happens several times a week.  I'll carry you for a bit and then it feels like my arms actually will fall off and down you go to run ahead home with your brother.  Or you'll hold my hand ask me questions like, "Did I have gym today or not Mummy?  Guess."  "Did I play with so and so today Mummy?  Guess."  "Did I play tag today Mummy?  Guess"  And I do.  When I get it right you ask, always, "How did you know?  Why do you know everything Mummy?"  

I revel in the fact that you think Mummy knows all but I'm sure to let you know, that sometimes, Mummy doesn't actually know everything.  

I don't think you really believe me.  I don't look forward to the day you do.

This year has been a bit of a revelation for me observing who you're turning into.  I am so fortunate that I get to spend time with you at school and see you interact with your friends and teachers.  You've turned into quite the confident little boy.  You've never been afraid to speak your mind or simply be who you are.  Funny, quiet, introspective, genuine.  You have a certain quality about you that one can't quite identify but can only say, "That Fin.  He is something."  You are quirk personified.  You are lovable.  Everyone enjoys being around you.   

And you love to hide on me. Ever since you were a baby...hiding is your favourite thing.  I can't tell you how many near heart attacks I've had and no matter how many times I've explained why you need to stay close to me when we're in public you just think it's funny to hear me yelling out your name, searching for you like a crazy lady.  

You love your Cheerios.  You've pretty much eaten them everyday since you were a baby.  You like to pour the milk.  God help the person who pours your milk, for though you are quiet, your temper is volcanic. Mostly towards your big brother.  No one can piss you off more than him.  I suppose that's to be expected though.  

You are incredibly thoughtful.  Anytime we are out somewhere just the two of us and I get you something special you always ensure your brother gets something too.  Remember when we were at the pharmacy and that nice lady gave you a lollipop?  You made sure to ask for one for Adrian.  It was a very proud Mom moment for me.  I could see the woman's heart melt right in front of me.  As did mine.

You have that ability with your angelic face and big blue eyes.  To charm people.  Lips like a perfect little rosebud and a voice that no one can get enough of.  You still have a little lisp that is unbearably  adorable.  Perhaps I should get you into speech therapy though.  It won't be as cute when you're 8. 

You love little critters.  It can be painful to get to school with you on the warmer days of spring and summer for every little potato bug, caterpillar and snail must be picked up, talked to, examined or moved to the grass so they don't get stepped on.  It's endearing and I hope that your love for the tiny creatures on Earth continues. Who knows...maybe you'll become an entomologist one day.  

Well my darling...I could go on and on and on about you but reality calls and I must get ready now.  I have to be at your class in less than an hour.  How lucky I am that I'm still able to see you throughout the day...though you don't run up to me anymore when I arrive, I'll take it as a good sign.  You know I'm there.  As I always will be.  

Like the moments when I carry you around and nuzzle you, your head on my shoulder and your legs over my arms and exclaim, "You're my baaaaby!"

"I'm not a baby!"

"No.  You're not a baby.  But you are my baby.  And you always will be."

No truer words have been spoken between Mother and Son, I think all Mother's can agree to that.

I love you big much baby boy.  Forever and eternity plus one million thousand hundred.  

Happy Birthday bug.



My sweet, sweet Finley is now officially five.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Deep Breaths

"I'm not even sure it's a nice day to BE at an outdoor pool today...and..."

And the fireworks of tears and screeching flow.

And I am tempted to run down to the calendar on my kitchen wall and begin to place X's on every day of summer 'break' I've so far survived.

It's not even noon yet and the summer isn't even half over.

If there was any one person standing outside my door this morning they would either nod their head in affiinity (if they  were a parent.  Only if...) and anyone else would shake their heads and judge, wondering what in God's name is going ON with all the yelling (all of us), the fighting (the boys....wait...all of us) and the tears (the boys...but if the fighting between the boys keeps happening I will definitely be added to that list).

We took Riley to the dog park this morning.  A beautiful dog park with trails and fields and wooded areas.  I found myself reminding myself to look around at the wonder of nature surrounding us and breathe.  Breathe deeply.  It felt so good, the deep breathing and I wondered if all I did all day was barely breathe at all.

Reminder:  Breathe deeply more often.  It may sound more like a sigh but it's a start.

Of-course after my wondrous deep breathing my little one fell in a heap on the ground because wood chips kept getting into his new flip flops which he was still getting used to wearing.  Flip flops which I had advised him several times weren't a good idea to wear to this particular park.

But I figure, lesson learned. Maybe next time he will decide to listen to his very wise Mother.

Or not.  Probably not.

Breathe deeply.

So we're supposed to be going to a pool.  But the day is turning to cloud and cool winds and they won't stop trampling loudly through the house, screaming and generally driving me insane.

I didn't even sign them up for camps this summer.

I'm pretty sure that's mental suicide.

They've found their way down to the basement to play Minecraft.  For the 556th time this summer.  That sounds like a gross exaggeration but it's probably not.  At least it's somewhat "edjamacational" as my little one would say.

I find my chest tighten and my mind whirl.  What am I going to do with them all the live long days in this forever feeling but fast moving summer?  What?!?!  Dear God.  


They're quiet for now and so I breathe.  Breeeathe.

Who cares if they play too many video games?  It certainly isn't like they don't play outside even more.  They do. We do.  

They should be reading more.  They should be playing more board games.  They should be doing those educational activity books that have barely been touched.

Go away you niggly, naggy, judgy voices.  Go.  Away. They are quiet and for the sake of sanity...that's all I need.  

Clomp, clomp, clomp.  "Moommmy!"

For. The. Love.

There goes my quiet.

Breathe Deeply.

And so I close my eyes I picture...

...Fin's little four year old flip flopped feet.  His toes that I still kiss, pretend they're really stinky and fall over from.  "Close your eyes Mommy." he says and I do while he picks a wildflower that I will always tuck behind my ear.  His sweet smile.  The sweetest little smile that I ever did see.  I see Adrian's big feet, ever growing limbs.  His smile as he runs like the wind with our dog or while playing soccer. I hear his deep belly giggles that still remind me of when he was a baby.  Their soft backs under my hands as I gently tickle them to tiredness.

I feel their hands in mine after an hour of meandering through a market.  "You don't have to hold my hands you know guys."

But they don't let go.

That makes me happy.

"Mooommmy?  When can we go swimming?"

And so the breathing continues...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Amongst the toothbrushing and washing and chaos of the every night he says to me, "Mummy, I want to lay with Daddy in your bed tonight."

I nod, knowing his little brother will place dibs on lying with me of-course.

"Sure sweetie."

He finishes his nightly bathroom routine and I watch as he climbs up onto our high bed and snuggles in with my husband.

Finley and I head into their shared bedroom and he climbs up first as I prepare myself mentally for the anguishing barefoot ascent onto the top bunk.  It doesn't happen often because Adrian thinks that the bed will collapse on top of him if I'm in the top bunk but since he's surrounded in the comfort of his father and our duvet there's no worry to be had.

I look forward to my rare night time snuggles with my baby.

We begin with our prayers but he doesn't say them aloud.  I watch as he crosses himself once and then pause for a moment, his blue eyes serious and to the ceiling, and then he crosses himself again.  Such a solemn, adult gesture it make my heart ache.

He wants me to sing Robin in the Rain and I do.  Fitting since the weather is grey and wet.

I switch the words from "you don't mind the weather" to "with your boots of yellow" and he giggles and tells me that I'm so silly.

"Whatsth that sthong?  De one with de food?"

"The Kookaburra song?...  Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree-ee..."

"No, not dat one."

"Oh!  Down By the Bay!"

"Yesth! Down by de bay-ay...where de watermelons grow...back to my home..."

The verses went on...and on...and on...

There were donkeys hanging with monkeys (which I know doesn't technically rhyme but I made them rhyme, oh yes I did).  There were dolphins carrying coffins and deer looking in mirrors and a moose riding on goose.

He asked me what Adrian does to my water when he drinks from it.  I had to explain what backwashing meant then which is why I freak out if he drinks from my water bottle.

He solemnly swore he would never do that.  I believe him.

And then it was time for quiet.

I watched in the grey evening light as his eyes grew heavy.  His dark lashes fluttering and finally coming to rest on his four year old cherubic cheeks.

My hand spanned across his chest.  His heart beating warm under his dinosaur cotton pj's.  I breathed in deeply giving thanks for this moment as I remember a conversation that we had just before bed.

"Buddy, get your jammies on.  Come on now - you're not a baby, you can dress yourself.  Let's go."  Bed time exasperation.  Speed it up, speed it up.

"I am your baby."

It's true of-course.  As I always tell him.  He is my baby.

"Yes, you are my baby.  You will always be my baby.  Both you and your brother.  But your not a baby anymore."

But looking at him, asleep in the darkening night hour, he still looks like a baby to me.

I lean in and kiss his cheek.  Once.  Twice.  Three times.  I'm sure he's off in dreamland already but even still I whisper near his ear as always, "I love you baby."

"I love you too."  He says in a sweet, sleepy, little boy voice.

I climb down the ladder, wincing as the weight of my feet lies heavy on each rung.

The pain is worth it.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chivalry, please don't die.

The sky was blotched with heavy shades of grey as the occasional thrill of warm sunlight peered through while I walked across the parking lot to pick up my dry cleaning.

I saw them right away.  It was almost like they didn't belong on that sidewalk as they ambled together. I felt like they should be in some bountiful market of a sort in another country. Her, speaking animatedly yet seriously about something as he nodded along.  European?  I think so.  Italian?  Maybe.  The language was not one I understood but I loved listening to it.  I hoped they weren't talking about something too grave but at that age you never know.  A friend diagnosed with a terrible illness.  A relative in the hospital.  Of-course my mind isn't so dreary all the time and I hoped these scenarios in my mind were just that.

I was really hoping they were planning for their next trip to Italy for a family reunion.

They were a small yet sturdy elderly couple in their late 70's early 80's.  What is even considered elderly these days?  Perhaps they were in their 90's for all I know. Age means nothing to me the older I get.  Just as I was as a child, I am hopeless at figuring out how old people are.  It's only a number anyway.  Only a number.

I observed them together as they walked past me and a smile broke across my face.  They didn't see my smile, so engrossed they were in their conversation. She wore a scarf of pattern on her head, a beige trench coat to keep the day's dampness away.  He, an ivy cap of neutral colour.
He had his arm around her shoulders.  They were of the same height.  When my eyes fell on what he was carrying...well I kind of fell in love with that little Italian man.  He was carrying a shopping bag.  One that I could see through.  And what I saw through that bag was a box of her hair dye.  I suppose it's possible that it was for him.  Anything is possible.  But the story in my mind told me that it was hers.



1.the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice
 and a readiness to help the weak
2.courteous behaviour, esp towards women
3.the medieval system and principles of knighthood
4.knights, noblemen, etc, collectively

Or in my terms of the defintion:

Chivalry:  When a man buys tampons or hair dye for their female spouse and carries it proudly. (or at the very least...carries it)

I wanted to watch them to see where they were going.  I wanted to take my iPhone out and snap a picture of their backs retreating.  But I had errands to run and I would never take a picture of a sweet old couple without them knowing, so I walked into the dry cleaning store to retrieve and pay for my item.

I rushed back out looking down that sidewalk hoping to spot them one last time.

I did.

I watched them as they turned a corner, just as his arm left her shoulder and her hand tucked into the crook of his arm as he offered it to her.

These moments of people watching seem so intimate yet I can't help but want to stare and burn these beautiful images in my mind forever.

Like the time I saw a young teen tie the shoe of his girlfriend on the side of a street downtown while they waited for the bus so many, many years ago.

Or seeing a young boy brush away a strand of hair that's blown across his Mother's face oh so gently. It's heartbreaking as you wonder, you hope, that one day he does that for his wife just as sweetly.

Seeing a man's hand at the small of his loved one's back or her hand as it falls naturally on his knee as they sit right next to one another.

Overhearing a conversation of a couple's first date.  And you can tell they're falling in love.  You can tell because though it might be slightly awkward, there's that certain brightness in their eyes that only falling in love does.  And lots of smiling.

Today's moment watching that sweet couple gave me a sense of security, hope and peace.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, one day my husband will carry a bag with my hair dye in one hand as the fingers of his other are laced with mine.

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"

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 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' 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 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.



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."


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


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'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!"


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.


"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


"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.


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.


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....


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 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 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.


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's hoping yours aren't feeling so steep.