Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012

It's that time again, New Years Resolutions will be half heartedly made, people will sing Auld Lang Syne, and most will get drunk enough not to remember the night at all - truth be told I'm a little envious. But it seems fitting that I'm ending 2011 - and all that it brought - here in the comfort of my home, writing a blog, and drinking the one beer I have left in my house. Most people I know are hoping for a better year then the one they just had, or bravely exclaiming how they'll miss this year and how it was the best one yet.

I'm neither of these people. I have fallen into a weird category. I truly suffered this year - I now have an intimate relationship with fear itself - an understanding what it means to love someone even while questioning whether it was prudent to do so.  There were moments where I believed my youngest son might be lost, moments where I questioned how my life had fallen so far down the rabbit hole, moments where I begged God - sobbing on my knees - to save him, save us. Without an answer given, or perhaps one not readily heard, I vowed that I would never give less then I had given to Gabriel and Eden, and I loved in a way I had not known was possible...I truly loved without condition. This little boy gave me such a gift even while dragging me through hell and back.

2011 brought me to the brink of despair, shoved me to my knees, forced me to enjoy precious little moments I had once over looked. I couldn't see it then, my vision was still clouded with the intense fear I fought on a near daily basis, but I was changed. 2011 is the first year I have not felt regret, the one year whose resolutions where merely about love, the year that was the worst and the very best.

2011 is not a year I would like to repeat, but it is a year I will never forget. And so on towards 2012, and all the moments it will bring!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hoping for B9

I received my test results (the ultrasounds) from my lovely little lumps. The left lump looks like a fibroadenoma (Benign mass) and hasn't changed size or shape over the two years I've had it! Yay, Left boob! Way to be healthy. My right breast is an asshole. The lump recently discovered due to tenderness has "an Irregular shape" and "needs to be biopsied" to rule out cancer. That was not the news I was hoping for over the holidays!

I admit I'm now stressed out about this new development. I've been googling like mad, mainly looking for other people's stories, reading through blogs, testing out this new landscape I now find myself standing on. Some people's stories are inspirational and full of hope and they claim cancer gave them a second chance to really live their life full of appreciation and blah, blah, blah. This is something I understand. But I've taken that journey. I walked it with Preston. Was his heart defect a blessing in disguise? No it was a fucking pain in the ass, but it did force me to walk a line I hadn't considered before. It forced me to start living in the moment. I can't claim that was easy in the beginning, or something easily sustainable, life is life after all and you can't live like mother Teresa all the god damned, live long day; but I refused to walk away from that hell unchanged. I needed it to have meaning.

So would cancer be a blessing in disguise? No it would be a fucking pain in the ass. But I hope that I would find something in it, something good, that I could walk away with. So if this lump is cancer I'll deal with it, I'll fight it, and I'll turn it into something it's not, something worth it.

But for now, I just hope that this lump is benign because dragging something beautiful from the dark, annals of cancer, is not a quest I'm looking to take.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm just a stay at home mom...

I hate meeting new people. I admit I'm a bit of a homebody to begin with; but in general I just hate the idea of small talk, and the awkward feigned interest in other's peoples lives. A few drinks down the hatch usually eases the uncomfortable silences but the worst part of every new conversation, at least for me, comes when they ask the inevitable question "what do you do?"

Whenever anyone asks this particular question I smile broadly, talk about my beautiful kids, and murmur under my breath that I'm a "stay at home mom". Unless you are speaking with another "non working" mother, the general consensus is that being a stay at home mom is not really something you do. It's at this point people usually smile uncomfortably and then ask me what I did before I had children; as though whatever I did before I gave birth and decided to raise my own kidlets was somehow more worthy of their interest, and of greater societal value. Of course when I answer "chambermaid" they look as though they want to run away from me, as though they have found the bottom rung of society and must detach themselves from my side, lest they be led down the road of mediocrity too. But I digress...

Why do people act as though I must be someone who is lazy, or stupid, or unwilling to have a "real job" when I say I raise my own kids? And let me just be clear that it's not something that is easy, or comes naturally - child rearing. The learning curve is huge. You aren't just wiping butts, feeding, cleaning, and putting them to bed; which by the way, isn't a piece of cake, but people seem to think motherhood amounts to chambermaiding, and nannying. It's does not.  I stay at home with my kids and teach them things like cooperation, dispute resolution, manners, morals and values, ethics, and in case it's not something that is inherent at birth in all human beings, I also make sure that I establish in them a conscience, a sense of sympathy, and when applicable feelings of empathy.

My "job" may not be a paying one. I may not have an established career that brings in a measurable incremental amount of income. But I contribute more to the sustainability of our society than even my lovely cop of a husband does. For I am an active member in my children's lives.  I am the mediator, the general, the boss and caretaker of the next generation.

But no, it's not a job, and if you really want to put a label on it, than I suppose it's more of an art form. I am creating beautiful little pieces of art. And I alone have the creative license to do that in a way I see fit. I can change palette's when things aren't working properly. I can brush in broader strokes when life is moving a little too fast. I can meticulously add a bit of shading, or infuse some light to the lessons in life, whenever I need too and whenever I want.

What do I do? Hell. What don't I do? I'm a Stay At Home Mom.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My lovely little lumps

Her fingers probe my breasts with expert hands and I am surprised and relieved to discover that her hands are warm. She then asks me to lay on my back, arm over my head and I oblige and she talks nonchalantly about my life, my kids, their ages, and that my tummy is nearly stretch mark free; how nice for me. She goes on to check the lymph nodes under my arm and apologizes for any discomfort I may feel from the ever increasing pressure of her fingertips. After we are finished she asks me to get dressed and to join her in the room across the hall.

Her office is cozy, and the chairs are comfortable. She starts off by saying that the lumps are not cysts, and from the ultrasound on my left breast's lump, she believes them to be fibroadenomas - benign tumours. The odds are - she tells me - a 99% probability that the lumps are not cancer. Immediately she knows her mistake, we had just finished talking about my youngest son, the 100 to 1 statistic - the Congenital heart defect baby.

"That is to say - I feel really good that you have nothing to worry about", she corrects herself. "But I would still like to have them biopsied, as much as for my own charts as for your peace of mind".

I agree to the procedure because if there is a small possibility that it's cancer, then it's still a possibility that needs to be investigated, no matter the likelihood. That being said, I'm not too worried. No matter the outcome, I can't predict the future, nor can I prevent it from happening. I used to be a person so hung up on the "what ifs" of life, so worried about what tomorrow would bring, that I never enjoyed 'today'. So now I try not to waste the "todays" I have, on the things I can't control.

These bothersome lumps are probably not cancer, I won't know for sure until the biopsy results are in, but either way it goes, one day at a time still seems like the best mantra to have.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My journey through the dark

This time last year the doctor's were telling me that my little Preston had holes in his heart. It's a funny feeling walking a line between joy and sorrow, courage and fear, hope and despair. I remember thinking that I was just so fucking inadequate to the challenges being set before me. I looked into my little guy's eyes and I didn't have anything I could promise him. There was no guarantees, no whispered assurances that were good enough; it was all so big, and I was just so ill prepared for the seemingly insurmountable trek in front of us. I remember begging God to show me the future. I wanted so much to know there would be an end to the nightmare. If only I could catch a glimpse of Preston in front of his first birthday cake, happy, and healthy - alive...then maybe I could face another day in the dark.

But there would be no easy answers, no promises made to me by doctors or God. I faced everyday as though it were his last for the first six months of his life, and the sadness faded. I hadn't expected that. But every new moment, every new day I was granted with him became...enough. And I know how cliche it all sounds...But the world is like crystal now. Clear, and beautiful, and easily shattered.

Charles Dickens once wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..." And this was the context of my life for an endless brief period of time. Never before have I understood the ironic contradiction that is life so fully and completely.

Did you know...that the dark can illuminate your path?

My darkness did...and for a moment I could see through the eclipse, and it was so terribly wonderful.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Eff Word

"Fuck me" I mumble under my breath as I pull the charred remnants of our dinner from the oven. Everything had been timed perfectly; dinner would have been delicious. But there are moments in life that can't be planned for. When my daughter's unfortunate fall caused her recent bowel movement to explode from her diaper all over my carpet and walls....priorities changed. I had no choice but to leave dinner and clean up her mess. Now twenty minutes later and with the smell of poo still lingering in the air I concede that dinner is ruined. Cereal is served and I eat toast for supper.

After cleaning up the kitchen I ask Gabe if he would like to work on his words. Recently we've seen his speech therapist and the doctor noticed he was having trouble with his S blend words. Gabe jumps at the chance to be my center of attention and we begin the hard work of pronunciation. While we are working on "Snowmobile" Eden grabs for the pile of paper word pictures and snatches "Snake" from the table top. Gabe grabs her wrist, viper quick and with a boa's strength, squeezes her tiny arm and shouts, "Don't fucking do that Edie". My mouth drops open as I pry them apart and take the picture from her hand.

"Gabriel, you are not allowed to say the Eff word in my house!" I state while feeling all the bit of the hypocrite I am. Confusion is written all over his face and I realize he can't spell and so I can't stop him from saying the word without repeating the word myself. An ironic hypocrite I have become when I explain once more that the word "fucking" is a bad word and should not be said...by anyone.

"Any person who says the bad word will have to go for a time out!" Gabe's eyes nearly bulge from their sockets as he asks, "You too?" I hang my head while I consider the implications of handing such power over to a three year old...but if I want him to change...then so must I. "Yes, me too" I mumble. I can only hope I'm not creating a monster and instead, I'll be instilling in him that even adults have to pay for their mistakes.

It's almost time for bed and so I pack up Gabe's words while thinking ruefully...S blend words are troublesome for him....

Mother shitter...

Nah, It just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Fuck.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birthday baby.

Dear Preston,

In a baby's first twelve months of life he will learn a lot of new skills. You have learned to sit up, to eat solid foods, to crawl, and you even took your first steps. I cheered you on through all of it and I was over joyed with each new success. But you are more than your milestones, Preston. You are Truth; a pure and simple, but intricate truth.

It seems that every one of us is searching for the next best thing. We want a bigger house, a faster car, an upgrade for our cell phone; what we have is never good enough and what we need is always more, more, more. My goals, and needs, and wants weren't much different than most; although I liked to believe they were. I was a person that thought she appreciated what she had - who believed she understood what was most important in life...

But our minds play tricks on us, and we are fooled into believing that time isn't real and that tomorrow will always come. Somewhere along the line we begin to believe there's time enough for anything, what a fallacy; such a deception.Your one year here has taught me how much knowledge I had, but how very little understanding I possessed. The truth is - there are no second chances. We don't get a do over. What can be done today should be done today. If you have an apology to make, make it. If you have an emotion to express, express it. If you have a life to lead, for god sake's lead it and stop following those few who claim to have all the answers.

People live in a world of excuses, and half truths. They rarely live in the moment and instead prefer to live in a future that is never guaranteed. They devote themselves to a God they claim to know, or to money they revere, or to kings they want to be like and I no longer understand why. You blew my world apart kid, in one year you shattered it to pieces, and now I find the puzzle larger than it was when I started. Perhaps this is what they mean when people implore you to see the "big picture". My bigger picture is now made up of smaller, simpler snapshots.

These snapshots include taking my kids to the park and watching them play. I want to tell a silly joke and hear their laughter. I want to kiss their tired heads and tuck them in at night, and I want tomorrow to come so I can do it all again.

It's true that I still wish for tomorrow Preston, but you have taught me to live for today.

I love you,

Happy birthday my sweet, simple truth.

Mom.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

To become someone

The fall winds whip around the house and catch the back gate, hurling it mercilessly against the hardi board siding. The persistent thumping is like a drum and the creature inside shuffles slowly forward, marching to it's percussive beat. Her slack jawed faced and hungry eyes eagerly search for the thing she craves most. With a stiff arm, and twitching fingers she claws at the Folgers container. The Creature From The King Sized Bed clumsily removes it's lid and breathes in the fresh aroma of coffee...

Only after the brew has hit her lips will she respond to the incessant demands of the children. Soon breakfast is served and the only sound which remains is the hungry slurping of their greedy little mouths and the bang, bang, bang of the gate.

As the coffee works it's magic and life begins to return to her face, the question of who she should become on all Hallows Eve has her drumming her fingers against the mugs porcelain surface. Every day she is the same person, has the same routine, lives the same life. Deviation from the norm is too unsettling for the offspring and so the death of spontaneity occurred the minute they were born.

But for one night every year she can be whoever she wants. Whether that be a sexy doctor, or a scantily dressed nurse, a vampire, or a witch with untold power. There is so much possibility, so much she can choose from and she will revel in this opportunity to become an individual once more.

Then at the end of the night, she'll hang up her costume and don the mask of motherhood - morphing before their very eyes, changing back into the woman they've always known - and becoming their someone.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A mother's light - For Chance.

A mother's Light - For Chance.

it's been four years
and she still grieves
a mother's loss
can not be eased

A twist of fate
that stole your light
four years gone
Since that black night

She smiles and laughs
the tears look dry
But don't be fooled
For she still cries

So in support
we gather now
a life made brief
and she'll allow

The memory which
she holds so tight
a mother's love
her daily fight

A glimpse into
a shattered soul
which she rebuilt
and though not whole

she smiles and laughs
and turns the page
the tears look dry
because of Gage

your little brother
loves you too
her family now
to see her through

so don't be sad
she won't forget
all you were
and all you meant

a hope, a dream, a wish on high
a star against the darkened sky
a boy, an angel, a gorgeous glance
upon your face
her one true Chance.









Friday, October 14, 2011

Murmurs

His bed is a black, 4-in-1 stages crib from Sears. It was originally purchased for his big brother Gabriel and has been passed down from brother, to sister, and now to him. It's full of character...which is a nice way of saying it's seen better days. It's been spat up on, scratched, dropped, chewed and rebuilt numerous times in numerous houses, three times in this home alone. I doubt if it could live through another incarnation, but for now, it serves it's purpose...or at least it would if Preston would cooperate.

He hates it. He hates sitting in it, he hates looking at it, and he loathes sleeping in it.

I know a part of his hatred towards the crib is my lack of commitment in forcing him to sleep in it. I let him co-sleep because it was easier to have him next to me when I was terrified he would die in the middle of the night, just arrest, stop breathing, cease to exist without my knowledge or motherly intuition to guide me to his side. So I kept him in our bed; and I've done it much longer than I did with my other two children.

Gabriel never co slept, Edie co slept until she was 9 months old and we started the arduous process of integrating her towards cribdom; and it was so arduous I promised myself never again would I keep a baby in my bed so long they understood, and preferred to stay there. But Preston, he's different for obvious reasons. He's my last child, one we could have lost no less, and he's my baby...even at almost 12 months old....

He's my baby, and the doctor says his heart still murmurs, some holes are still there, his appointments are still compulsory. So when I lay him down, in that black, 4-in-1 stages crib, I don't see a toddler, I see this tiny frame on this huge mattress...I see my baby. And when he cries for me, I get up, I reach out, and I hold him until we are both fast asleep...because some days I need that assurance more than he does.

And the ugly truth is - there are more nights than I can count where I wake up startled and confused, calling out his name in the dark of night, crying out my unconscious fears that he's disappeared...that the dark has stolen him. And while I'm struggling to find reality -wrestling with the spider threads of sleep - I shoot out my arm reaching for what I'm sure is lost...only to find him nestled next to me, safe and sound, and his crib empty...for one more night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coping with womanhood

For seventeen lovely months I've had a reprieve from the fluctuating hormones which punctuate the lives of many women. Periods are necessary to reproduction and the survival of the human species but they are also the complete embodiment of - for lack of a better word - Ugh.

What is Ugh you may ask. It's simple really.

Ugh is the blood you find has leaked into your new pair of La Senza underwear despite the fact you were wearing a "Super" absorbent tampon and long night shield pad.

Ugh is the yawn you can't seem to stifle during the week you are plagued by this hormonal beast of blood.

Ugh is the dishes your husband never put away and you contemplate tossing at his head during a fit of hormone induced insanity.

My Ugh can reach extreme levels where you can almost see the annoyance flow from my body like the blood that marks this most special time. Men are often caught in the crossfire because of their innate nature to leave their socks lying in the middle of your living room, or to forget the toilet seat lowering requirements of living with a woman, or who can't help but say things like "Jesus, are you on your rag or something".

Yes Scott I'm on my rag and just so you know...I did notice that you took the garbage out but didn't replace the bag, and the chewing of your bagel this morning was unnecessarily loud and irritating, and maybe tonight when you fall asleep, you could avoid laying on your back so I can have a chance of falling asleep too; instead of laying awake listening to the lawn mower beside me...

Ugh.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Resuscitation

I needed a doctor, that much was clear. My eyes swam out of focus and finally closed, and I could hear my children feverishly trying to revive me.

    "One, two, free" they said while compressing various parts of my torso - from chest to naval.

I could smell the grilled cheese they ate for lunch as they leaned over my motionless frame. Their spittle flew and landed directly on my eye lashes as they blew hot air onto my face. This is their understanding of CPR, and I'm content in the knowledge that I would not be saved by them if I ever truly needed this life saving act.

    I restrain a smile as Gabe proclaims quietly, "She sick".

     "Yes Bro", Edie answers, "I sad".

Suddenly I take in a shaky breath and my eye lids flutter open, "She awake!" Gabe cries and both of them drag me upright while I feign catastrophic injury - weaving back and forth - and finally collapsing onto the couch.

The two of them work quickly, jabbing me with hot wheels "needles" and fixing my hearts apparent arrhythmia with their Tupperware lids. Gabe wraps my arm with a dishtowel and Edie checks my throat with a flashlight. Soon they declare I am healed and I thank them for their vigilant attendance to my wounds.

At dinner that night we speak about our day and suddenly Edie's voice falls silent. I glance over and am immediately panicked. Her face is beat red, her chest no longer rises and falls, her fingers eagerly search for the food obstructing her windpipe and her eyes...her eyes are filled with the chilling knowledge that she cannot save herself.

In one quick movement I jump from my chair, knocking it backwards, startling my sons whom are oblivious to the drama unfolding around them. I pick up her 31 lb frame as though it weighs nothing, thrusting her diaphragm across my forearm while applying one quick pound between her shoulder blades with the heal of my hand.

Instinct rules my actions while my brain works overtime trying to determine what the best course of action is. Thankfully the situation doesn't need further analysis as her cries indicate the food has been dislodged and I scoop the offending piece of meat from her mouth.

I begin to shake as the adrenaline ebbs and I realize how bad it could have been. I think back to our doctor play that day and am reminded of their ineffectual attempts at CPR. I mistakenly believed I would never survive if I ever needed life saving intervention from them; but the truth is, they have already saved me. It is their lives which beats my heart, and without them...life would be breathless and resuscitation useless.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Written

Check out my new blog friend's! No it's not replacing this one. "Written" is a short story fiction blog. Just an outlet for my ever busy and creative mind.


http://writtencrave.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A rose by any other name...


I've been married for a year and some and still haven't bothered to change my name. At first I assumed my reluctance towards moving from my maiden name to my married name was the hassle it entailed. To drag three kids to the DMV, wait god knows how long in line, and then pay to replace all my ID is a pain in the ass I just didn't want. But the more I contemplate the name change the more I wonder if I'll ever get there.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a feminist, or a person who rejects traditions. I don't hate my husbands last name or any of his relatives. I just find it hard to reconcile the idea that marriage automatically equates to an identity change. Or maybe it's that my identity has already changed so much I just wish to hold onto this one last thing.

There are moments where I feel like I'm not Carrie Middleton anymore, probable relative -okay not really- to Kate Middleton; instead I'm mom and wife, maid extraordinaire, chef and referee... I'm everything but the girl I used to be. Don't get me wrong. I love what I am now, but there are moments where I miss that carefree kid who thought she knew everything - confidence, arrogance, and ignorance all wrapped up to make one silly girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

So is it too much to ask that I retain the last name i've lived my whole life with?

I understand my husband's point of view, I know he wants us all to be a cohesive family in name as well as practise. I know it irks him a little that I still haven't changed my name to his - but after everything we've been through as a couple, and a family - I just want something that doesn't have to change. Something stable and familiar... something uniquely mine.

Maybe I'm being selfish, I'm sure many people see it this way. And maybe one day I'll relent and spend eight hours in line waiting to change the name I've always known, to the one I now respect.

But I'm just not there, yet.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ancient

I stood upon my tiptoes, stretching to reach the mirror. It's toothpaste splattered surface was quickly wiped clean - my practised hands completed the task in less than a minute. As I lowered my arm I happened to catch my reflection in the glass. My hazel eyes studied the red hair and brown roots, and slid from forehead to chin. My eyes are the same, despite the the faint hint of crowsfeet, and the lips are still full - one of my best features; and yet i'm different, changed somehow. I see a person who is more cautious and guarded, a woman whose ventured the outskirts of Hell face on and lived to tell the tale. I suddenly let it sink in, all of it, the lessons I've learned. The realization that life is finite, not just for me, but for those I love, was one lesson I won't soon forget. This year has taken a toll on me and has forced me to grow into a person that I no longer recognize.

I used to think aging happened according to the years we accumlated, the number of candles we snuffed out on our birthday cake; I realize now that it's the experiences of life which ages us. Just one year ago I held a life within me, a hope for their future, a fantasy of their adulthood. I would love him, raise him right, and then watch in wonder as he became independent and absolutely remarkable. It never crossed my mind that his life is already his own, and so thus, is the timing of his death.

Babies die. Children die. Adults die. Some people find comfort in this - a comraderie that no one is immune. But I was appalled by this thought; and so I realed backwards from it's infectious reality, as though it's poisonous whisper could only find me if I stood in the open, mocking it's authority, and daring it to come for us. But no matter how deep I hid within my own despair and stubborn hope, I couldn't help but hear his mortality echo against every wall of my being.

I cried more tears this year, than any other time in my life. I stood frozen this year, in indecision and fear, more than any other time in my life. I felt a hurt that cannot be described, a gnawing ache within my soul during the moments where I wondered if he would leave me. This year battered and brutalized every fiber of my being, and left me so horribly vulnerable. But this new found vulnerability would force me to appreciate everything I had.

It will take me a while to reconcile the woman in the mirror with the girl I always knew. I like to think I'm ancient now because I refuse to live my life in years; instead I live in the moment, because there is more of those in a lifetime than candles on your cake.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Romance

I'm independent, strong, and often stubborn. I know what I want, and I know how to get it. But I'm also a pro at self deception. That handsome man over there, the one who saved my life from the rugged half acre I got lost on during my excursion into Vancouver, intrigues me, but I won't fall in love with him. I refuse to become anything less by allowing emotions to rule my aching loins. But the smell of his aftershave, and the way he has started a life saving fire from dry wood, and bits of his tightly kinked pubic hair makes me swoon with admiration. As he steps towards me and mutters a statement that's gruff and inherently sexist I can't help but reach up and caress his six pack abs. I want him, but I can't. I need him, but I won't. He'll take me because I can't make up my mind despite the fact I made up my mind the minute I set my eyes upon him. Throbbing member, velvet enclosure, moan, groan, and happy day.

Recognize it? Yes women, it's your typical romance novel formula and not a thing like real romance...well at least not marriage romance.

Pubic hair fire aside this formula is apparently what women want. We want to be strong, but weak enough to be taken. We need romance, but also a man tough enough to kill a grizzly with his bare hands while opening a bottle of wine for us with his calloused feet. We long for the moments in our relationship where the men in our lives thrust us onto bathroom counters, and we're so swept away with the intensity of our love that we don't worry about the toothpaste tube that has just leaked all over our only pair of good granny panties, soiling the underwear and the counter we just finished cleaning.

 I'm not completely throwing the formula out the window mind you. There is a reason why romance novels gross some of the highest book sales in North America. Do I want a tough man in my life? Of course, I mean if my husband sobbed during Grey's anatomy right along with me it would probably kill the mood. Do I want a romantic guy in my life? Of course, but do I need a guy to stand outside my door with a thousand flowers, while reading me a love sonnet and handing me a dazzling piece of expensive jewellery...well...no. I mean yes. Well it's not necessary...but... It's the thought that counts...so some idiot once said. Anyway. What I'm trying to say is that to have a successful romance all you really need to have - with your tough, handsome prince - is some open communication. Men are timid creatures, sex with us women doesn't come easy. No means no, after all and we aren't the sort of creature who can ever be persuaded to give up our goods through batting eyes, or sexy lingerie. So if your sex life is boring ladies, spice it up, tell the person you are with what you want and go experiment.

As an example to you all, tomorrow I plan on having me a tough and slightly corrupt sheriff. Rawr. And I'm not referring to the romance novel I'm currently engrossed in ;) and if this corrupt sheriff ever feels the need to buy me a thousand flowers, or jewelery or both...I wouldn't object...Not like those oh so confused heroines of my smutty little paper backs.

Take me Scott, woo me, but try and do it before Preston wakes up, and after my shows are over.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Three

I didn't know what it meant, the honour it held. I was unaware, as so many are in the beginning, during conception and the days of endless growth. I held my belly once, convinced I understood, I thought I was prepared. I made plans, I bought necessities, I waited. He came into my world and I gave him a name. I spent months pouring through books, browsing different websites, looking over countless meanings. It's so important to pick the right one. It should define who he'll become, or so I believed. I see now it defines what I imagine he should become. Bold, and brilliant, angelic, and awesome. A mother's future lies intertwined, unwavering, forever with her children's and as such a million day dreams, an infinite number of hopes lies within her. It's hard to see the person they are when their future shines so bright and is filled with endless possibility. And then somehow, they become separate from you...somehow they break free.

My oldest child, my first born son, took his first step before his first word. His smile is more than memorized, it's embedded within my soul. The sound of his laughter, the gait of his walk, the way he flaps his hands when he's excited. I know it all. I live and breathe him.

He's small, and young, but a big boy. He has his pride, he's potty trained. He takes care of his siblings, and can stand on his head. He winks with both eyes, and loves to make people laugh. He can "do it himself" and isn't "A baby, mom" but he still sleeps with a blanket at night and needs a night light to extinguish the monsters in the dark. He cries for me when he's hurt, and believes a kiss can make him better. When no ones looking he asks me to sing "Baby Mine", and so I do...just as I did the day he was born, when he looked at me and I knew...

              that I didn't know a thing about love before him.

A mother's love is so intense that it dwarfs everything she is, while simultaneously becoming everything she is. It's beautiful, so sacred. But it's terrifying. Because the world is a cruel place, and sometimes nightmares occur. Nightmares so wicked that only a mother knows that the love we surrender too, will surely destroy us, change us, warp us into shells of the person we were, if ever that nightmare becomes a reality. If ever we lose the one person we cannot live without.

She's waiting and hurting, and loving you more than ever. Her perfectly beautiful, three year old boy. I know how she loves him, I love my own just the same, and so I ache for her.

Come home safe Kienan Hebert. Come home to her -your forever safe place - come home to a love that can never be measured, to a woman who would die for you, and right now - most certainly - is.

UPDATE: He was returned by the suspect early this morning. Kienan is Safe!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Family Vacation.



I've just come back from a beautiful, fun filled, two week vacation. Things went a lot smoother than anticipated. Anyone who has ever travelled with family members knows that things often can and do go awry. So as we started off a couple of Mondays ago, heading for the ferry that would take us to the sunshine coast and a long awaited visit at Scott's mother's - finally finished - dream home, I imagined all that could befall us. From projectile motion sickness to explosive diapers to overly excited, non-listening children who climbed the railings of the ferry and fell off the boat. Yes I prepared for all possibilities. With three children ranging in age from cranky toddler to cranky baby, I didn't hold much hope for fun during the actual travel time to get to our first destination. Turns out I should have had a little more faith in my kids, myself, and my ever steadfast husband.

To travel successfully with any family you must have a perfected formula. Every person in your vehicle of choice - from car to train - must be assigned a certain role or expectation. If you set your expectation too high or even too low you will inevitably have a family vacation that's as memorable as any of the Griswold's.

The first designation handed out for any familial travel endeavour is Navigator. This individual must get every person alive and intact from point A to point B. In my family's case the Navigator is my husband as he is the only licensed driver in our brood (I have a phobia, okay?) Conversation from the Navigator is often scarce, quick and to the point; and eventually you learn to decipher any information you might want or need from the under the breath mutterings and sighs of indignation or frustration from said individual. Every eye twitch or quiet hum issued forth from this person can reveal things as diverse as a wrong turn to the happy and timely arrival at the midway point of your trip (Mickey D's in our case). The Navigator is an essential part of any family vacation, but they are only a means to an end, in order to have a Happy and Relaxed environment for your trip you must have a great Second in Command.

The Second in Command, or the Lieutenant if you will, keeps all secondary players cooperative and in line; while juggling the affairs of the Navigator. Everything from cell phone calls, to food handouts, to any necessary disciplinary action is meted out by this integral part of any travelling unit. The lieutenant's success or failure will directly impact the morale of the group. If this role is not handled with the utmost of care, and the perfect balance of strict discipline and goofy fun is not struck then dissension in the ranks will occur. The screams, cries, and violent outburst from the secondary players will be so disruptive that the travel time of your vacation may become torturous and unforgiving. The Navigator and Second in Command must work together and communicate effectively in order to arrive at Point B without a single casualty.

Finally we come to the grunts or travelling trainees. These are the individuals who are slowly learning how to remain patient during the seemingly endless change of scenery and ironically continuous movement during long periods of restraint. Only practice will create perfect travelling companions and so the grunts must learn how to enjoy confinement while looking forward to a new found freedom of early mornings, late nights, extinguished naps, and days filled with endless activities. You can recognize any grunt by one innocuous and annoying enquiry, "Are we there yet?". Upon hearing this question once every twenty minutes the Navigator will sigh, and a good Lieutenant will answer, "Not yet, but soon. How about a game of Eye Spy?" Until at last freedom is gained and the vacation begins.

And so I am happy to report that we didn't lose one single person through motion sickness, violent backseat outbursts or swan dives off the ferry deck. In a family vacation, my friends, that is the definition of Success!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Siblings

He came to me one morning, his puffed up chest swollen with pride and confidence. He told me that he was a big boy and as much as it pains me to admit this reality, I agreed with him. He was no longer my baby. His four pound frame has grown into a three year old body and with this metamorphosis comes a new understanding of himself and of all the things he can do.

Tripping and stuttering over his speech he tried to find his way through the tongue twisting minefields of the English language and I waited patiently for him to continue on with his story. In so many words he told me that the night before when he and Edie were asleep, her crying had roused him from his own peaceful dreams and so he'd taken care of her. My own chest swelled as I listened to his heroic account of rescue, and  I couldn't help but picture his tale as his broken words weaved a tapestry before me...

The bitter taste of fear, the deafening thud of her heart, her eyes wide with terror - Edie would have cried out, whimpering in the pitch black of night. Then suddenly from the shadows, a voice would have broken through. His voice, the one which berates her all day, and tells her what to do, the one that yells at her and calls her names - reached her in that deepest dark, and soothed her quaking presence. His whispered assurances weren't enough to quell the tempest which had begun so he invited her to sleep next to him. She stumbled towards him, and crawled haphazardly under his covers. The offer to share his space, bed, and blanket, no doubt caught her off guard, but she didn't hesitate... Then his arms hugged her tight, her tears dried upon his chest, and both of them tumbled back into a soundless sleep.

"I'm a big brother Mom, I take care of her"

With one bold statement I realize, they aren't just bickering siblings, they are loving ones as well...and maybe just maybe, I'm doing something right.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Predictability

I like predictability. It's comfortable and warm, like a blanket you've had a little too long... Perhaps the edges are fraying just a bit, the wire stitching has come loose and the stuffing gathers all wrong, but it's the first one you reach for on a cold winter's morning. You wrap yourself in it, smelling it's familiarity, reveling in it's relaxing presence. The soft, smooth feel of the predictable is something I don't have to search very hard for, not yet anyway...

Every morning I wake up with my sleeping baby beside me. Without fail my own world comes into focus a few minutes before consciousness descends upon his. I stare at his sleeping frame, the quiet rise and fall of his chest - this beautiful rhythmic breathing I once watched with dread - now has the capacity to lull me back into the land of dreams. Despite my hope for just five more minutes of sleep those big beautiful peepers look over at me and a beaming smile urges me to remain alert, I have attention to lavish, after all. After a few minutes of gentle rough housing and tickle torture the giggles from my youngest has poured down the stairs and awoken the Toddlers; a tsunami of smiles awaits me.

With my son on my hip I reach their door. They already know I'm there, they stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the knob to turn and for freedom to be gained.
          "Hi Mom", Gabe shouts and Edie echoes him word for word.
          "Hi Guys" , I reply with a smile. I'm quickly thrown off balance, their little bodies collapsing into mine during a fierce bear hug.
          "I missed you, Mom" Gabe states matter of fact. There is no sappy, tearful emotion behind it. It's just that simple. He missed me. Edie once more echoes his sentiment and I bend down and kiss them both while assuring them that I missed them too. After greeting me, they move onto Preston, kissing him and hugging him, and making him laugh with delight. Then it's downstairs for breakfast and the last blissful moments of peace before the days begins.

Light eventually turns to dark and sleep takes my children from me once more. I crawl into bed myself, and wrap myself in a blanket that's a little too worn. I know one day I will have to replace it, and learn to love something new; but for now, I'll enjoy it's familiarity while waiting for the morning to come and with it... the prediction that I was missed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Caught off Guard

I can't believe you are nine months old - no really - some days I literally can't believe it. We have come so far in this journey, that sometimes I forget how terrifying it all was, how destructive. I can honestly say the worst day of my life occurred three days after the holes in your heart were discovered.

The doctors hadn't told me much, preferring the wait and see approach to the open and honest, rip the mother's world in half approach.

"If he's a failure to thrive - in other words if he hasn't gained weight - then his heart is the problem" Dr. W had said somberly, "But it could just be he has a chest cold, we won't know until his weigh in". (They had placed you on diuretics in order to drain off any fluid that was accumulating around your organs, especially that of your lungs. I remember thinking that you couldn't have put on a pound of fluid...it all seemed so impossible).

I took all this in alone because your father was at work. Getting that news by myself was tough and a part of me wanted to shake the denial right out of your dad; but a wiser part of me understood that it wasn't over... that there was still news we had to shoulder together. So when the anger began to slowly bubble up inside me, I swallowed it down.

The doctor's optimism, however, had left me ill prepared for the weigh in - three short days later.

The resident doctor picks you up, her long brown hair sways as she lays you upon the scale."Six pounds eight ounces" She says while jotting it down on your chart. You weighed two ounces less then the day you were born, three weeks ago.

"His heart is the problem, his heart is the problem" the phrase reverberates around the confines of my skull.  I vaguely think about collapsing into the chair behind me. My vision begins to blur and I'm alarmed about the prospect of fainting onto linoleum.  I realize then, it's tears which obscure my vision, and I gasp for breath while quickly blinking them away.

I fight so hard to remain calm, to hold onto what little I have left. I know if I start to cry I won't be able to stop. I step forward instead of back, unconsciously choosing to always be there for you, to never falter.  I promise then and there to never stumble.

Your father and I leave the doctor's office together, but also quite alone, and I'm suddenly, painfully aware why couples aren't molded, and cast together in times like these...It's not possible to truly grieve together, the pain, it swallows everything you are, and you lose yourself.

"You're so STUPID" I lash out at him. I hurl the words at him so sharply he jerks as though they've physically harmed him.

"Did you just say I was stupid?" he asks me incredulous. I have never spoken to your father in anger, I have never called him a name. I glance down at my hands which  are scored with half moons from my embedded fingernails.

"He could die..." I whisper this time, my voice failing me, "He could die, and you should be home". I glance at him and watch as the muscle in his jaw twitches. Am I getting through?

"Do you want to regret this time you spent away from him, a time you could be holding him, and kissing him, and knowing him. Do you want to trade this time for a job where you protect everyone else? Protect him. PROTECT YOURSELF" I say in between sobs, and gasps and moans.

We rode the rest of the way home in silence. Both of us embattled in our own grief and shock. But you should know, he chose us Preston. He risked losing the new position he was applying for so that he could know you, so that he could live in the moment.

Nine months old kid. I never thought we'd make it, but I'm beyond relieved that we did.

I love you.

Mom

Thursday, August 4, 2011

They sleep together

They sleep together now; Dora and Lightening McQueen somehow existing in the same space. At first I believed the results would turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. They are so different.  Like two galaxies caught together in a dangerous dance, eventually they would collide, their gravitational pull making it impossible to waltz without stepping on the others toes. I braced myself for the screams and tears as I stood with my ear pressed against the door. Silence. After a few minutes I stepped back, alarmed. Had one killed the other before I had finished exiting their room?

I slowly and quietly slipped away, tip toeing down the stairs to my waiting husband who was absorbed in a television show. With furrowed brow I strained to hear the beginning of the end. But it never came. What once was merely daytime play has morphed and from the ashes a new understanding was created: Two against the night is better than one.

When blackness descends and shadows grow long; they no longer call for me. The monster under the bed, the creature in the closet, the moonlight which gives their setting an eerie glow is no longer as threatening as it once was. They sleep together now. Dora and Lightening McQueen whispering platitudes in the pitch black of night, until their heavy eye lids close and daylight comes and once more their galaxies collide.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dear Husband

Scott,

It's been a whole year since we got married. It was probably the hardest of our lives together, and I sincerely hope it's the one year we can look back on and say, "It was then...I knew we'd make it".

One year ago my biggest worry was whether the hall of my reception would be decorated properly. Four short months later I was wondering what was wrong with my newborn son. One year ago I was fussing over my hair and makeup, and being angry that my nails weren't booked properly. Four short months later I was fussing over our baby during his weigh ins and echo cardiograms and being angry that it was my child. One year ago I was standing in front of you promising a million little things that I thought mattered...Four short months later the things that truly did matter were revealed in the harshest manner.

When despair overtook me, when my fear no longer allowed even tears to fall, you did what you always do; you put on a brave face, told me things would be fine, and you made me a million little promises that really did matter.

You took my hand in yours and promised to never let go.

We went to all his appointments together and you promised we would never stop fighting.

During the bleakest nights and the harshest mornings you promised me the world, allowed me the highest hope... and then perhaps foolishly, but lovingly, you promised me his life.

There has never been a man greater than you. This year together has proved it.

I love you husband.

Carrie.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I see dead people...

I have always wished to be one of those people that could see and speak with dead. I mean how cool would that be? If I could pick a super power that would totally be it. To walk in this world with one foot always in theirs...radical! I got really into "ghosting" for a while. Doing EVP's, visiting graveyards, catching orbs on camera etc. I caught a few unusual things but nothing that ensured that this interest would become a passion. So I moved on, had kids, became a wife, moved into a new house on an old military base...and started to see dead people.

I soon decided that seeing and speaking with the dead...not really as fun as I anticipated. Actually it's really more terrifying than anything else. So I stopped watching "Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters, etc" and started to ignore the flickering lights, the tv and computer turning on and off, the radio randomly blasting, and anything anomalous I caught in photos of my kids.

With no attention paid to the ghostly visitors I stopped having ghostly visitors...for the most part. And I know what you are thinking...that the things I have just described can be easily explained away...it's true...but I haven't told you everything.

There was the shadow of a large man, so dark it seemed to eat the light, staring at me on my back porch who then walked through four solid objects. Or the apparition who pretended to be Scott, who I thought WAS Scott until a conversation later that night revealed the truth - twas NOT Scott.

and now the most recent events...

Some one whispered "chicken" in my ear...I suppose because I am too chicken to commune with them and on a separate occasion also whispered "Chris" at me; naturally I assume this is the person's name. And I'm certain he lives in our guestroom. Our guest room, previously our daughter's, is often 10-20 degrees colder even with the heat at full blast. It smells like cigarettes and I can't get into the room, the door won't open! unless I knock and ask to be allowed in. I poop you not!

So I guess I see dead people - occasionally; and hear them too - occasionally...

but I'm really wishing I didn't.

Friday, July 15, 2011

He's not Heavy



"Take him and get him weighed, Please", I command my husband. He seems too little. I refuse to panic. Preston has always been smaller than the average child. He went three weeks without gaining any weight at all, and then months where a diuretic ensured that he never carried any water weight. I naturally assumed he would bulk up the longer he was off the Lasics. He hasn't. When he started to eat solids, I told myself, surely now he'll gain weight, he'll start to put on baby fat. He hasn't.

"Take him and get him weighed, Please", I demand again as Scott heads to the walk in clinic. The antibiotics Preston was put on has caused a rash. Is it an allergy? Perhaps. In any case, I reiterate once more, please, get him weighed.

Scott returns home, Preston settled on his hip. I smile at my baby and look at him expectantly.

"Well?"
"Do you want the good news or the bad news?" he asks and I get the sudden urge to disable him with a quick, sharp kick to his shin. I play along anyway.
"Good".
"His ear infection has cleared up!"
"And the bad"? I inquire.
"He's allergic to amoxicillin."
"Crap...And how much does he weigh?"
"17lbs 11 oz"

I do the math in my head and I know it's off. I hand the baby over to him and rush upstairs to his baby book. The last time he was weighed and I had recorded it was two months ago at his last cardiology appointment. He weighed 15lbs 10 oz. Hes only gained two pounds in two months.

"Shit, shit, shit" I think to myself. The doctors told me he was in the 25th percentile for weight that day; that fateful day we got the news no surgery would ever be needed, that he was doing great!

My nimble fingers type 'baby percentiles' into google. I pull up a growth chart and discover his weight is at the 9th percentile now. I choke. I bite back the bile I hadn't tasted in months and that disgusting, slimy feeling of panic begins to settle in once more. My heart pounds in my ears, my mouth goes dry, I stumble down the stairs to Scott where I find him relaxed and smiling at little Puck. The minute his eyes meet mine I can see he's already determined that the news I have to share isn't good. He reaches for Preston and subconsciously clings to the baby who just yesterday had given us so much joy.

"It's not good. He's dropped to the 9th percentile for weight"
"Shit" Scott states, his words eerily matching my own.

In desperation I turn to the women who know this path intimately. "Heart moms". It's a club I haven't been fully adopted into, or so my own guilt tells me. Preston's miraculous gift; the news that he would never need surgery ousts me from the support group I had once leaned so heavily upon. How can I request help and ask for advice from the mother's who have walked that insidious path of open heart surgery? They rejoiced with me when my news was happy. They no doubt had hoped the same for their kids once upon a time. But I'm that mother now. The one who gets to step outside the confines of the diagnosis.

I'm a mom whose escaped the heavy fear that surgery brings with it and consequently, it's not as easy to step back into that club when his heart never needed a surgeons scalpel. Still, I know my own feelings don't matter; Preston's health does. So I request Michelle's advice once more and she happily gives it. And as much as I feel like an impostor in their world, they embrace me none the less, and I am grateful.

I admit that being Puck's mom is sometimes a struggle. And so I do my best not to buckle under the weight of it all; because despite his dimunitive size...sometimes he feels so heavy.

And then miracle of miracles, yet again, I discover he has not tumbled outside of his percentile after all, and in fact that the doctor misinformed, or I misunderstood, the "25th percentile" information. Preston has remained steady in the 10th percentile for his age for as long as his weight has been recorded.

And it's moments like these I find myself ever stronger. And I realize that as a heavy as he can seem, he's still my son, and I will carry him as long as I need to.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reach for the stars

So here I am, age 28...and I am a mother. A pretty good mother if I have to say so myself. But I'm not the greatest role model. I swear, and occasionally lose my temper, I eat too much sugar and burp at the dinner table. My kids adore me of course, because they don't know any better, and I adore them because they are new, and beautiful, and so impressionable, and of course because they are my kids. But I want to leave more of a mark on them then just a few bad habits and a wealth of advice I myself never followed before having kids of my own. I want more than good health, and happiness for them, I want them to always reach for the stars. Right now they are of the age where the belief in Santa Claus, and Transformers, Boogie Monsters, and Princesses define their world and assure them that anything is possible. One day though, they will reach a point in their life where they will have to define reality for themselves, and decide what is possible and what isn't.

Ten years ago I decided as I graduated high school that writing was a dream that would never come to fruition. I was full of self doubt and terror when contemplating the world as a broke novelist. So I shelved that dream as just that - a dream and never attempted to really put pen to paper - until now.

I'm writing a novel, actually two. I'm writing them for myself, and I'm writing them for my kids. Whether I'm published through an agent or whether I publish them myself is still a question I'm not really worried about. I just want to be able to say to my kids, don't give up on your dreams or your highest hopes, without sounding like the biggest hypocrite to my own burning ears. I want them to see me, I want them to emulate me, I want them to say I can do it - because she did.

So I type with one hand, while reaching for the stars with the other and I dust off that dream I shelved so very long ago...

and I write.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two

Dear Edie,

You are two years old tomorrow. It seems as though I should be exclaiming how fast it all has gone, how shocked I am that another year has passed so quickly; but in truth, experience has ripped from me the ignorance that time is ours to wield and that if we ignore it, and turn our backs to it that somehow it won't trickle through our fingers. With this new found knowledge that life is lived in moments not milestones, I have found a new appreciation for time. Two years my little one is not so long, but it holds an infinite amount of memories and wealth of loving acts.   

 In this second year of life you were no less a challenge than in your first year. I'm sure you know that you have never been the "easy" child. You do not readily accept change and yet fight tooth and nail for the freedoms which ensures you can induce some if you so choose. Some would call you stubborn but your single mindedness is mere determination, nothing more, nothing less. And your confidence, it grows with each new day. Yesterday you did not dare to jump off the deck, today it was the first thing you did. I imagine that given enough time you will evolve and become a child more beautiful in all your intricacies than I could ever describe in a single letter.

Two years has passed, a time that was filled with smiles, steps and first words. I held your hand, caressed your head, and slept with you on top of me. I kissed your hurts, and winced in anticipation of them. I have danced a million steps with you, and sung you countless lullabies. Two years of time that you'll never remember but that has created a bond that can never be forgotten.

Happy Birthday sweet sweet girl.

I love you every second of every minute of every precious moment.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddy Dearest

You are bigger than Lightening McQueen, or Dora the Explorer, you reach levels of fame and adoration Oprah Winfrey can't even claim. Their worship of you is all encompassing. They can't help this obsession, they are of the age where expression of emotions is neither controlled nor carefully guarded. When you walk through the door after being gone for a period of time their shouts of "Daddy", could be replaced with "Superman", "Hercules", or "Ghostbuster".

If they want to reach the sky, pull down a cloud or feel the gentle edges of a rainbow - they call for you, Superman.
If they want a helicopter ride or a horse to call their own, if they want to hang by their ankles or flip like a seasoned gymnast - they call for you, Hercules.
If they need a hero to rescue them from the ghosts in the trees, ninjas in their closets, or monsters on their ceilings - they reach for their fisher price phone and call for you, Egon.

If they could articulate their feelings; speak the words to express what you mean to them, it would never match the depth of all that you are. But if it could be summed up... if the emotion of it could be expressed in a word... its the one spoken when you arrive home from the mystery of "work", from a day where you disappeared and the calls for you were left unanswered, when your heavy boots echo on the porch steps, and your key sets the tumblers free in the lock...

Daddy!! they will scream and you will know. They love you. They missed you. Their hero. Is Home.

Happy Father's Day Scott

We love you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Armageddon

Six months ago I saw my world crumble around me. Everything I had built, all the hard work I had put into "belonging" was ripped from me as easily as paper. It's an illusion. What you have, what you think is yours to keep. I am no longer able to convince myself that treading water is the same as swimming. When your world collapses at your feet, movies and the media will fool you into believing it will be from one large catastrophe that will strike the rest of the world, just as surely as it has struck yours. It's supposed to come from the sky and burn the cities to the ground, or from the sea and wash those cities away, or perhaps the earth will just swallow you and your good neighbours up. Any which way the end comes, you're rest assured in the knowledge that from the ashes a unity will carry on. The catastrophe will make us stronger as we take each other's hands, cry on each other's shoulders and eventually rebuild. You never acknowledge the possibility that the world ending event could be yours and yours alone.

 Never was this more apparent than the morning after discovering my son was ill. That night I went to sleep, exhausted and hurting. The terror of it was indescribable - it still is. So when I blinked my weary eyes and listened to the early morning sounds of the day, I was genuinely shocked to hear the birds, and the happy voices of neighbours, and the shouts of my children calling for me. Where were the screams that would match my own, the sobbing that could drown out the ones that wracked my own battered body? Where was the suffering that the world should have been in? Why didn't anyone else see it and feel it? Was I the only one privy to the knowledge that we are all fragile? That this wool blanket we have wrapped ourselves in and called society is only as strong as the people in it - and no one is as strong as they need to be.

I can no longer see the world through those special glasses we are all conditioned to wear - you know the ones - the rose colored ones that paint our world with the bliss of ignorance. I am shackled by this experience as much as I have been set free from it - and it's confusing to me.  Armageddon doesn't come the way the movies claim it will - it will stalk your neighbour, pick off your sibling, destroy your boss - for "this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper".T. S. Eliot

I am now a shadow of my former self, tethered to my own experience with the distinct ability to grow darker in the brightest light. I have grown acclimated to this pitch black, to the darkness I see around every corner, even as I carry the bright lamp labelled 'hope' and march forever onwards into it's abyss. Don't get me wrong, it is not a worse world, just a changed one - one where possibilities of all forms can seek me out - the good with the bad, the real of reality...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Procrastination

Procrastinate: to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

Is it still procrastination if the task is never completed?

After having gone through three pregnancies in three years my body is starting to feel it's age. I learned the hard way that I'm not the spry little gymnast I used to be while attempting a front walkover for my children. After collapsing out of the handstand onto my head I was sore for days - both physically and emotionally. The day you realize you're body is starting to suffer the wear and tear of forgotten years is a devastating moment. Everyday now there's some new ache, from my neck to the soles of my feet. A lot of these pulled muscles and pinched nerves come from hauling around kids all day and breastfeeding at awkward angles. It doesn't help that the big 3 0 is on the horizon. This devastating reality is enough to make me want to start an expedition to find the fountain of youth.

Perhaps though, I could go into the land of middle age with my head held high, if only Scott would understand my precarious self-esteem. It's been two long years since we moved into our house. Two long years where my body has endured numerous months of pregnancy and 16 months of breastfeeding. Two long years where I have had to crawl, sprint, or tuck and roll under the windows in my bedroom. All I wish for is the neighbours to wonder what I look like naked to have some mystery left to that quiet mother of three in the house next door. At this point though I'm positive they have seen every tattoo, stretch mark, and saggy bit of skin I have. It's probably why they avoid talking to us...or why some of them have come to the door and offered us their recycled blinds ( I wish I was exaggerating ).

Scott is always so offended when I mock statements like "I wish we had our own property so that I could level the yard myself", or "If only we didn't have to get strata to approve everything, then I could stain our deck", or "I could clean the gutters myself, why do we have to pay someone to do it". Because Scott, for the third week in a row you have missed the garbage truck, we have three full baskets of clothes to put away in the bedroom, and the peeping Tom across the street won't even spy on me anymore because he's seen it all before.

Procrastination is too kind of a word to describe some of Scott's techniques of avoidance. I love you Scott, but the neighbours and I have created a petition.

All in favour of blinds for the naked woman in number 29.

Sign below

1. Tenant #11
2. Tenant #3
3. Creepy peeping Tom

and the list goes on, and on, and on.

...........................

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Naked!

The water pools around their feet and slowly begins to ripple and rise over their naked bodies. This part of the day is always quiet as they wait patiently for the bath to be filled up. After I turn off the water they inquire about their toys. I pass them some from the drawer beside me and they play nicely together for a record breaking time of five minutes before the screaming and shouts of 'mine' echo off the walls of the tiny room someone had the audacity to call a full bath.

It's 7 pm and a headache creeps up on me - familiar, dull - the ache of motherhood. I pinch the bridge of my nose where my glasses usually sit, but thanks to the constant splashing are now resting on the bathroom sink, and I ready myself for the inevitable high, pitch wails of toddlers fighting the hair washing routine. I start with Gabe because although he can articulate his hatred towards getting water in his eyes he doesn't sob uncontrollably like his sister does. As careful as I am about keeping the water off of his face it's inevitable that some foreign drop of H2O finds it's way under his closed eyelid and the accusations of water torture spurns his sister into hyperventilating and performing any number of useless attempts to escape the enclosure of the tub.

By the time I turn to Edie she has accepted her fate and doesn't start her head splitting screams until I begin to rinse the soap out of her hair. By the time I'm finished I'm ready for this whole bath time scenario to be over with. But instead of getting calm, complacent children eager to leave the confines of the torture room, I receive excited and happy children who have managed to stir up a second wind for playing with their toys and fighting each other over the ones they don't possess.

By the time I manage to drag them from their bath they are wrinkled and cold and begging me to wrap them in a nice, fluffy towel. Of course they demand a certain color and they like it to be wrapped around their shoulders and tucked in at their necks. If you don't comply with these wishes then they wont leave the bathroom without full on tantrum meltdowns. Two seconds after being wrapped in color coordinated, properly arranged towels, they throw them off and run streaking throughout my house usually screaming 'naked!' as they careen from room to room. I manage to pin them down somewhere between the tub and Eden's bedroom to put diapers and pajamas on the crazy, little, flailing bodies when Gabriel says in passing "Edie has two bums!"... I respondm "I'm afraid that's just a vagina, Gabe"

I chuckle and think that it wont be long before they are demanding to bathe by themselves - so I guess I should just try and enjoy this while it lasts, but maybe for the preservation of my own sanity... I'll take a few blackmail photos here or there - can anyone say "grad congratulation photo"...

Monday, May 30, 2011

An airman and his wife.

After reading one of my blogs to him he shyly looks up and states that he too has many stories to tell - a thousand histories to write. I glance over at this man, and I have to admit I'm intrigued. He reminds me so much of my late grandfather, a man I wish I had taken more time to know. I was too naive to realize how awesome my own grandfather's life had been, how much he could have told me, the stories he had himself. So I am compelled to listen when Scott's Papa mentions this to me. He has recently received a friends autobiography and he is motivated to write one himself. This man I see once a month -a retired airman, a pilot from World War 2 - needs to tell someone about the life he has led and the things he has seen; the people he has met, and the love he has cultivated and known for decades - so I do what anyone would - I offer to help.

My kids love them dearly - this couple they call Grandma and Papa - two unique personalities that move so fluidly together - in the ways that they speak, the laughter they create - that it's apparent the many years they have spent with one another. They are eachother's history - without one the other would be lost - they are that entwined together. My children enjoy their company and are always eager for the next visit. But I want more than that. I want my kids to know them. I want them to understand that they aren't just a black and white photograph saved for historical relevance, or a name on a family tree. They are a history so invaluable that without them my children's lives would not exist now. Fate has thrown these people into my life, but love has kept them there. If not for the choices they made half a century ago - my life would be drastically different now.

His wife - Agnes - has been listening in. She has a thousand things to say - a million anecdotes to imbue on anyone who will listen. But she keeps herself silent. She doesn't mention writing her own autobiography other than to chastise herself for the lack of schooling she has received - for the written word that will never be set to paper. But of course her history will be told, at least a great portion of it; afterall, Lyle's life was lived alongside hers for so long - it's inevitable. And when it comes to those hundred stories he can tell, I have no doubt she will be standing right behind him, dancing that dance only they can waltz together, while informing him that he's remembering it wrong and not to forget all that happened next - their story to tell - my honor to listen...and now...to write.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jigsaw

I look at them and see the jagged parts. They come together like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. For a while you think it's your job to put them together, to bring the edge of one jagged color to another, but just when you think you have it figured out they pluck the pieces from your hands and reorganize all your hard work. The independence comes in bursts at first. So quick and sharp you don't always recognize it for what it is. But  before long you realize this tiny person - an extension of yourself - has taken on a mind of it's own...

He was born so small that when I touched him I shuddered at his vulnerability. How do I handle him without breaking him? I used to wonder. And then I blinked and suddenly he transformed into this boy who resembles pieces of the man he'll become. Bones and muscles and brains locked together in one beautiful form so spell binding that sometimes I have to remind myself he grew inside me once. A hundred good natured relatives and friends tell me he looks like me. They are right. He has my face - my chipmunk cheeks, my full lips, my chin - but there are subtle differences. His eyes are more almond shaped - like his fathers - and they are green. He has one dimple that breaks the continuity of that gorgeous face, drawing your attention to his stunning smile, a smile which will win over the hearts of a thousand girls. But as much as he resembles me physically that is where the similarities end. I imagine he is more his father's creation than mine. His quiet observations mostly go unnoticed by me. But then he unfolds himself and forces my eye contact, and states something so perfectly true that I am reminded that he is his father's son. I always do a double take when he catches me off guard like this. This gift is an off shoot of his empathetic nature. But as in any gift there can be a dark side. His pure and perfect empathy allows too many hurts to be felt. He has a tendency to take things too personally. Tears often stain his face just as often from the hurts he himself endures as from the hurts others feel. His greatest challenge will be to learn that he can't save everyone nor should he try. Right now though, he is unmarred and untouched by the true cruelties that this world can create. It won't always remain this way, but for now it is beautiful to witness.

She was always a challenge. She has fought me every step of the way since the minute she was born. Already - at barely two - she fights for the freedoms she has not yet earned. In this respect she and I are the same. She has yet to learn that she can't forever stand at the edge of a precipice reaching for a goal that is still out of reach. She will tire and fall before it's ever in her grasp; but true to form - her stubborn streak inherited from me; her dare devil ways unique onto itself -will only see her climb that cliff again and again and again until she's grasped what she's aiming for. And only after failing more times then she succeeds will she learn that not everything is worth breaking yourself over. Not everything is worth the blood you spilled in reaching it. She will have to temper her need to acquire everything she wants, lest she be left with nothing she needs. But this being said she has one asset I didn't. She has a big, boisterous personality that will ensure someones hands will reach down and pull her up time and time again. She has a smile that would crack even the hardest facade and big, beautiful, blue eyes that will draw anyone in. She will not need to demand trust, you will just give it to her, and she will not let you down - not on purpose. Taken in pieces she seems scattered, but when seen as a whole she creates such a perfect, little girl that there are moments when she literally takes my breath away. She will be a dynamic woman - she will believe she can have it all- and if there is one person who could attain perfect balance it would be her.

I can't wait to see who Preston will become, what kind of personality he will have. It's hard as a parent to be patient, to settle back on your heals and let them do the work of self discovery, but it's worth the wait - as any good thing is. All of us are a work in progress - a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that will never truly be finished. But there are pieces of yourself that will always fit just right - pieces that will never need to be shifted or changed in any way - the foundation of who you are - pieces of soul that can never be lost or diminished. No one can tell you what those pieces are and sometimes you won't recognize them yourself, but that's the fun in doing the puzzle - the mystery of what lies within- the picture that is hidden in the pieces.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Columbo

His eyes were the first thing I noticed. They were a color I hadn't seen before. I wouldn't describe them as ocean blue because they aren't that dark, but they aren't so light they could pass for grey either. If I had to pick one thing to compare them to I would have to say they are more like a shallow pond whose bottom is covered in algae; depending on the time of day - from the first light that peaks over the horizon, to the last burning rays at sunset and every artificial creation in between - they could pass for a blue or a green. In the right light, when the sun is lower in the sky and shadows are elongating they are the color of a blue spruce - cool and chameleon in their ability to shimmer blue or green or a combination of the two merely depending on the angle you are at. They have captured my attention from the beginning and even now - five years later - I find myself occasionally stealing glances at them, curious to know what color they will be today.

I like that I cannot label him. He's not typical. He's not a man who fits into any one stereotype. Even those eyes are not easily catalogued. He's simple but weirdly complex. Sometimes I call him Columbo because he has the uncanny ability to reveal parts of himself so well hidden that even I - a person who has seen more of him than anyone else - can sometimes be caught off balance. Perhaps this ability makes him good at his job. He can get the most hardened criminal to shake his hand while cuffing the free one. I admire this ability to keep parts of himself secret. I am his polar opposite. I keep nothing under my surface, I do not hide even the darkest parts of me. Perhaps he loves this most about me, this ability to reveal who I am in one large swoop. There is no mystery to me, and there seems to be none with him, until there is. Columbo incarnate.

I always want to wake up beside this man after a night of whispered conversations that last until the first morning light. I always want to collapse into him when the world seems to much, when the only solid thing is the knowledge that his embrace will never waiver. I always want to steal a glance from across the room, while kids hang from our limbs and laughter shakes our house - and wonder what color his eyes are today.