The Crazy/Fun Ones Are Always The Best

So there I was, week two of being moved into our new home and feeling so lonely I could puke. A month before I told everyone and their dog that, “I’d be fine” and, “Don’t worry about me, I’ve got the kids and we will make friends lickity split once we get there.”  Turns out kids are crappy conversationalists and leave little time for socializing.

As the days pressed on, these two small factors began to drive me over the proverbial edge.

One evening Jamie was half an hour late making his usual bedtime phone call to the kids. I freaked. I actually may have momentarily lost my mind. I imagined him dead in a ditch somewhere because there was surely no other reasonable explanation as to why my husband had not answered any one of my twelve text messages. Not to mention why he was thirty minutes late in calling us—his loving family who missed him dearly—just no logical reason at all.

After calling his brother and texting about fifty other people to assure my text messages were getting through, I saw his picture pop up on my cell. He was calling. I answered in a fit. “I thought you were dead Jamie!”

He laughed. He laughed at my misery/psychosis and told me the restaurant had got slammed during the dinner rush and he couldn’t get off the line. However by this point it was too late for excuses.  Between snivels I heatedly explained that he shouldn’t laugh in this situation. I told him he wasn’t the one here in this strange place all alone with two children and knowing hardly anyone, so he just wasn’t allowed to laugh.

He apologized and I got over the initial hysteria that was building up in me. However when I hung up the phone I realized that if this was going to work I had to buck up and find some way to be okay with my husband’s temporary absence.

It’s funny how sometimes the most chance people decide to show up in our lives, exactly when we need them most.

The next day my Auntie Deb called me out of the blue to ask how the move went. Auntie Deb and I used to be very close when I was a kid but over the years and as life tends to do we had grown apart. However she is and always will be one of those fellow humans that once you reconnect it feels as though no time has passed at all.

After crying my woes to her and revealing my loneness resulting in temporary psychotic breaks my aunt told me she was planning to come down for a visit. She said that she too had once been a mother alone in a city where she knew no one- she felt my pain.

Auntie Deb has always been, well, Auntie Deb. Growing up she was the person my brother and I would be thrilled to go stay with because she is so carefree and fun-loving. She is outspoken and spontaneous. She is a little crazy (but in the most excellent way possible). Life was always chalk full of surprises when she was around. I couldn’t wait for Lars and Sophie to get to experience the jubilation this woman brings to those around her.

We all slipped easily into a routine while Deb and her funny pup Maggie were staying with us. The kids fell in love with the energetic Shih Tzu while Auntie and I stayed awake late talking about the old days and catching up on all of the moments we had missed in each other’s lives.

We went walking and I fell about a hundred times on the slick ice-covered sidewalks. Have I failed to mention to you how “graceful” I am in this slippery winter weather? And Oh how Auntie laughed at me. You know it’s a special kind of camaraderie when you are flat on your derrière from a fall and all you can hear are snorts of hilarity coming from your walking companion.

After that we decided to explore the city via car as to save me from another catastrophic nose-dive. We got lost and found our way again—and might I add, if you are going to get lead astray by anybody in this life you’d be lucky to by such a blithe human such as my Aunt. So despite having no clue where we were we simply laughed and ventured forward.

Sometimes, life will cut us a break and send a special soul our way to help us find our bearings and let us know that everything is going to be alright. It is for that reason I will forever have faith that there is something out there leading us in the right direction.

12235071_10153763432886068_5704730548769353555_n (1)

297890_10151202941001068_1056989183_n

I Wonder How

I wonder how we survived

Back

When

We didn’t swim

In a sea of Google searches and Wikipedia factoids.

I wonder how we survived

Back

When

We didn’t feel the need to publicly pick a fight

Over whom voted for whom

In the last hairy election plight.

I wonder

How we survived

Back

When

Life didn’t revolve around

Heart buttons and “Likes”.

I only say this because

I’m the worst of them all.

Trolling for fans the easy way

Writing only what the diehards want to read

Pleading for followers,

Beseeching for the almighty glorification

That I,

Have done something —worth praise.

I wonder,

How

Did we formerly sit and converse

Civilly when speaking about our difference of opinions on

Vaccinations or Donald Trump

(Or whoever his equivalent was in said time and space)

Surely we did not speak face to face

While lacing up our boxing gloves to meet in a ring

Of knowledge which came purely from our brains

And not a link

From some bogus website that was made to look entirely factual

For our ego’s delight.

I wonder,

How

We once lived in a place

Where we were not obsessed with being in the know.

Where we could absent-mindedly say,

“You know what, I have no clue.”

And continue on living our lives without that nagging

Need to Google the answer for our mind to read.

I wonder,

How

That could have possibly been.

Of course we are better off with these

Answers at our calloused fingertips.

We advance, we grow, and we progress.

And that is worth the fight. Right?

Yet I still wonder,

How

We did it.

How contented we could be

Without Instagram, Facebook, Wiki and Tweets.

How pleased we were perceived when not obsessing over

Celebrity eats.

How easy it seemed,

To respectfully debate face to face

Rather than brutally name calling

Behind our protective screens.

At some point in the game

Privacy was swept away

Replaced by insecurities and finally shame.

It simply amazes me,

The changes I’ve seen.

And I think of the transformational bullshit

Our elders have gleaned.

But I realize it’s perpetual

And we are not the last to

Have seen.

So consequently

I must foresee,

That one day

We’ll be perceived.

And now more so than before

I wonder,

How.

Distance and Hearts and Such

His voice cracks as he says goodbye to me. If he was some other person or if I didn’t know him better than I know myself I could have mistaken it for a bad connection. However that’s not the case. Hushed tears are now dribbling down my face but I try to keep my composure. I have two children in the basement who I can hear sobbing because talking to Dad reminds them that they still have another five days before he comes home. I have to be strong for them. I have to be strong for my husband, who is silently struggling. He is too proud to admit that all he wants to do is drop every last obligation and run as fast as he can towards his family. I have to remain steady for the humans I love.

This move has taught us a lot about ourselves as a family. What we can endure together and what we must suffer by apart. To give ourselves the best shot at this new future Jamie will have to stay working in Sylvan Lake on a rotational schedule until we establish our new business prospects here in the city of Lethbridge.

The first week wasn’t bad. We had some moments of doubt and a few minor meltdowns but nothing that doesn’t happen on the regular anyways. It was once the tough stuff started getting thrown at me, like troubles at school and “fix-it” jobs that I had no idea how to fix; I realized what I had gotten myself in to.

Ever since I became pregnant with a little lad named Lars Jamie and I have always been in it together. We do everything together. We cook together. We make financial decisions together. We raise children together. We will soon be building an entire business together. I colour coordinate our outfits on date night for the love of God! And many might feel the need to criticize our ridiculously codependent existence—perhaps with valid points. But it seems to work for us so I say, “do what makes you feel right.”

But right now, at this very moment, as I sit in our new home typing on this laptop that holds so many stories of our family I feel at a loss. It has been so 15 days since all four of us have been under the same roof. Typing it makes me feel vaguely silly since it doesn’t really sound like that long. It sure as hell didn’t sound like it would be that long a month ago when we were hashing out this master plan.

It is long though. It is too long for kids who are used to having Dad tuck them in nightly. It feels so very long for a wife who hasn’t slept a full night in fifteen days because every creek and crack of this new house startles her awake. And when she sleepily moves to hold her husband all she finds is a cold pillow. It is devastatingly long for a man who has just been told by his five year old daughter that she doesn’t want to talk to him on the phone anymore because it makes her miss him too much. It is just so damn long.

The children have now settled and Jamie and I have set in to a rather racy thread of text messaging (which I will spare you of). I find myself constantly giddy over the thought of my husband coming home to us. I daydream about the grin he will be wearing and how tight he will hug us as he walks in the door. I think of him asking Lars about his new schoolmates and getting Sophie to show him all of her new drawings that are fastened to the refrigerator. It makes me smile to think of how whole I will feel once he is here with us. And I wonder how other families do this on a regular basis.

Then it dawns on me. Nobody chooses this type of a lifestyle. There is no family unit that wishes to be separated from each other. But we all do what we must to survive in this world. We work away. We distance ourselves from our loved ones. We make sacrifices and go without to achieve what it is we truly desire.

Family is our most important entity and we will forever journey to the ends of the universe for their wellbeing. So once the tough stuff has been conquered and we are reunited with the people who mean the most all of the heartache and strife will have been worth it. And one day when we look back on these moments we will realize that it was the “tough stuff” that made this beautiful life that much sweeter.

1482793_10153767886021068_5166440618984125575_n (1)

 

Lean on Me

This was a piece I wrote for Me Plus Three just before we made the big move. Now, the kids and I are in our new home (and settled in quite nicely by the way). However to assure that this transition went smoothly Jamie has had to stay behind to finish up a few more weeks of work. So needless to say I am very much missing my husband right now.

 

A moving check-list hangs on my fridge while I feel as though I am sinking into a bottomless pit of worries and stress. Damn stress is a nasty thing isn’t it? It can make a person crazy. It can make you sick and take away all of your good and common sense. It can make you do things you never would in normal day life.

I just drove Jamie to work this morning because right now to add to my delightful mood we are down one car. We are in the midst of registering the new-to-us truck but let’s just say there have been a few pit stops along the way. Anyways, as I was driving him to work a silent list of must-do’s usurped every corner of my thought process. I hear Jamie mumble something and I bark the word, “what?” at him.

“You’re in the wrong lane…This is a turning lane.” He again mutters because he knows how much I hate it when he backseat drives me.

“No I’m not,” I begin saying as I look at the road sign that hangs on the traffic light ahead of me. Sure enough I am most definitely in the wrong lane. Like seriously, how did this even happen? How thick can I be? Who forgets how to drive? There isn’t anyone behind me so when I get the green light I dart into the lane I need to be in all the while feeling like the greatest fool on the planet.

When the kids and I arrive back home I still have a looming checklist to get done and now I seem to be carrying around a newfound weight of self loathing. It sometimes seems like with every step of progress we make another twenty things come down on us. Life can be a major pain in the butt sometimes.

I sit down at my computer because even though I know I have little time to spare today, writing is the one thing that is going to get me through with a bit of sanity. There is a familiar sound coming from my phone. Jamie is texting me.

“I love you hun. Sorry I’ve been such a grump lately- we are doing okay and we are going to get through this stronger than ever.”

And he is right. We are going to get through this. There will be more stresses along the way. At some point or another I will probably lose faith again and the endgame will be difficult to believe in. I think about what we have accomplished thus far and I am so grateful to have my husband to walk beside me in this huge journey we are taking on.

“I’m sorry I almost killed us with my crap driving skills. Love you too sweetie.” I text him back. I can just imagine his smile as he opens this message up at work.

It is funny how a marriage works. When things get tough and one of us is finding it hard to cope it is almost a natural instinct for the other to stand up and find the strength to be a leaning post.

Whether it is a simple joke that needs to be cracked to lighten the mood or the words “I’m sorry” when emotions are running high. To me, this is one of the greatest strengths of mine and Jamie’s relationship—we know when the other really needs us.

There will always be disagreements. There will always be difference of opinions in the many ways of life. The pressures of stress will sometimes top us up with feelings of inadequacy and short falling’s. These are things we can be sure of. But the goodness will always outweigh these times.

Later that night Jamie and I cuddled up on the couch and put on our favourite show, The Twilight Zone. After a few episodes he hugged me and said, “You know, in fifteen years from now, when we are sitting on our private yacht in some remote tropical place, we’re going to laugh and wonder what we were so stressed out about all those years ago.”

“Yeah I think you’re right.” I replied.

“We’re a team Lindsay and when everything is said and done, it’s going to be you and me. There is no one else I’d rather grow old with.”

I wanted to say something but for once in my life I couldn’t find any words, he had literally said it all.

So instead I leaned into my husband and I kissed him.

Summer 61

Letters For The Past

January eleventh nineteen eighty six a baby was born. She was five weeks premature, had a skull full of thick black hair and even back then was a stubborn little bugger. This baby’s name was Lindsay Rae Sawyer (that’s me!).

IMG_0055

Thirty, can you believe it? It astounds me how quickly thirty years has come and gone. I can remember being a child and thinking about how my teen years couldn’t come fast enough. Once those hit it was pretty much a blur for an undetermined amount of time but once I pulled my head out of my you-know-what I found myself quickly nearing the terrifying twenties.

Turns out this age was way more fun than the teens because you’re legal to do whatever (well, mostly whatever) you want. For a time I took full advantage of this. These last ten years have taught me so many life lessons. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, my life has so far been exceptional.

And now my family and I have set off on our new adventure. The new place has been painted, the city explored and we have said goodbye to the house that had felt like home for so very long.

I think about the young girl who once stepped into that house, still only a child herself—pregnant and terrified for what the future held and I cannot help but smile. If only I could tell her that it would all work out. If only I could write a letter to the person I was so many years ago, explaining that this is exactly the way that life is meant to be. I would tell her to embrace every moment.

I would tell this naïve and scared person that raising an infant is difficult even in the best of times. However there will be nothing else she does in her life that is more important. Also take pictures; there can never be enough pictures of these moments in time.

I would tell her that despite being young she and her spouse will be strong. They will go through the toughest times she has yet to see in a relationship and only come out of it sturdier than before. And somewhere along the line there will be a realization. After all is said and done, once businesses have been built and entire lifetimes have been lived it always comes down to the two of them. Friendships will have come and gone and the children will be embarking on their own journeys—these two people who so long ago began a journey with nothing more than an infant and a pile of dreams will still be holding hands and venturing off into the sunset together.  It will be a romance that endures the ages.

049

However I would also have to say that these next years will not only be sunshine and puppy love. There will be more heartaches and strife than she will know what to do with. Whether it is her parents, siblings, the children, in-laws or friendships—there will be upheaval. After all what is family for? There will be moments when this woman will assume that she will never again speak to some of those she has come to love. The heartache of the matter will be so grand that it will seemingly take up every spare minute of her life. She will discover herself downhearted and glum dwelling over what has went so terribly wrong to cause such turmoil in her life.

These times are painful but entirely necessary. They are there to assist us with the essential growth we need to move on to our next journey in life. And if it is meant to be the relationships we’ve broken will become mended bringing us closer to those we love.

Throughout a lifespan I can imagine how many times we think back and say to ourselves, “if only”. If only I would have said ‘this’ instead of getting angry. If only I could have told them I loved them once more. If only I might go back in time to tell my former self the lessons I have learnt.

Yet it is not really about the “if only” is it?

At some point or another we are all just a terrified person not knowing how we will possibly get through this next hurdle. I think that if we can embrace the scariness that is inevitable in life, we can find peace in knowing that one day it will be something we merely look back on.

And maybe uncovering this knowledge will not assist in comforting a young and scared Lindsay Rae Sawyer but it certainly makes me feel better about what’s ahead for a certain Lindsay Rae Brown and her family.

 

Welcome Home 2016

Another year has passed us by. I can honestly say that 2015 was a pretty big deal for the Brown clan. We learnt, we loved, we lost, and we decided to pick ourselves up and venture out on a limb.

Usually I am not a resolution type of gal; I am typically of the opinion that if I want to do something I will just do it. Why feel the need to resolve to be a better person? Perhaps we should all just actively be better people. However with that said I’ve gotten a taste of something wonderful and I would truly like to live with more of it.

Gumption. That’s right; my “resolution” for the year of two thousand and sixteen is to live with more gumption. Jamie and I have recently taken the biggest risk of our lives by selling our home and moving onwards. We are starting a small business. We are bringing our dreams to fruition.

There is nothing more exhilarating than to live bravely. To not constantly be held back in life by fears of inadequacy and the trepidation of failure. Sure we may fail, but there will always be something else to strive for. It took a long time for us to really believe in ourselves but once we woke up and realized that we are pretty intelligent people it seemed like a no brainer to go out in this world and work hard for what we want. What kind of a lesson would we be teaching our children otherwise?

I want to say yes more and no less. I want to take chances, calculated chances at least, and feel the excitement of doing anything that is new-fangled.

For so long Jamie and I sat on the sidelines waiting for our “opportunity” to be tagged in. Granted we learnt some pretty valuable life lessons, it still seems like wasted time. I don’t want to squander anymore precious time.

Perhaps living with gumption takes more work, for argument sake, let’s say that it does. It means having a certain kind of drive in life that doesn’t give up when times get tough and doesn’t cower when something scary comes along. It means that we must put ourselves out there and wait for the criticism to come rolling in. I have no doubt that it will. When anyone decides to live boldly, someone will have something to say about it. Living with gumption means to make decisions and stick with them. It means to always be moving forward with confidence and common sense.  It means living with conviction about your everyday choices.

That sounds like a life I’d like to live. For so long we have worried about what others were saying about our life choices we somehow forgot that it simply doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

As far as I know we only have this one life, so I am here to make sure that it is the ride of lifetime. By doing so, by living happily and bravely Jamie and I will teach by example. Hopefully not just to our children but to anyone who wants to break free from the monotony. For anyone who wants to stop being shackled down by insecurities and self doubt. I so wish that by living today with as much gumption as I can muster, I will inadvertently possess even one individual to want to live in the same way.

It doesn’t matter if you are a banker, a writer, a laborer, a stay at home mom, a small business owner, a man or a woman, we are all simply humans. And in any case we all deserve fulfillment. Fulfillment is not something that will be dropped in front of us on a golden platter however; it is something we must work for. Sometimes it involves heartache and struggle. Sometimes it means we must work harder than we’ve ever worked at something before. Sometimes it entails sacrifice. But it will always take gumption.

So instead of calling this a New Year’s resolution, I instead will simply say I am going to press on with my resolve for fulfillment. This world can be a magically complicated place but when it comes to the quest for meaning within oneself that is something that is incredibly uncomplicated.

 

20151223_170806

 

Sometimes We All Just Need a Friend

It feels like it was many moons ago when I had a nervous little boy starting his first day of Kindergarten. Lars has always worn his emotions on his sleeve so it was painfully apparent to everyone in the colorfully decorated classroom that my son did not want to be there. He cried and asked over and over again to go home. However we persevered and the more he attended class the more he enjoyed it.

It is one of the important lessons of life: Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. It takes work and resolve to accomplish greatness. It takes determination even when the outlook seems grim. Success means having a healthy dose of optimism to back up your plans. It also helps to have support and a shoulder to lean on from the people we call friends.

I think it was a number of things that turned Lars around when it came to school but a big one was the friendships that he made in that first year of Kindergarten. There were two boys in particular who he hit it off with. As it happened the mothers of these boys also ended up being pretty spectacular human beings and just as the boys’ relationships grew into great friendships so did their mothers.

It is a wonderful thing when an acquaintance can blossom into something so meaningful over the course of only one year. I look at everything that has changed for me and my family over these last twelve months and I feel so thankful to have been blessed with Carla and Jen’s friendship. Just as Lars has found safety and comfort in his new friendships so have I.

I was having a bad day. The pressure of the move and about a thousand other everyday stresses had come crashing down on me and I felt as though I was drowning. Jen had picked up Lars from school for me and brought him to her house where she and Carla were having a play date for the kids. I figured it would be a good chance for me to get some packing done and try to de-stress a bit.

When I got to Jen’s house to pick him up I didn’t intend on staying and I certainly didn’t plan on breaking down into a blubbering mess in front of her and Carla.  But both of those things happened despite my best efforts.

One look of, “are you sure you’re okay” from Carla and every tear I was holding back and sob I was stuffing down came flowing out relentlessly. Before I knew it I was unloading on them every piece of anxiety I had been harboring and the worries that were weighing me down for what seemed like so long. I cried uninhibitedly, it was no doubt the ugliest of ugly cries and I didn’t give a damn. I told them how I felt I was failing as Mom because I couldn’t ease Lars’ anxieties about the move and how I didn’t know what to do about Sophie’s acting out lately.

Both of these women, who I’ve only known for a short time in the grand scheme of things, hugged me and told me that it was normal to feel this way. I spoke and they heard me. They listened to all of the junk that I had been piling inside of me because I didn’t think it was worthy of being let out and discussed. They allowed me to validate my feelings.

And I can never thank them enough for those few minutes we shared at Jen’s kitchen table that day.

Friendship can mean so many things. Perhaps we have friends whom we haven’t spoke to in months but just knowing they are there for us when we need them is enough. The relationships we have with our spouses are another type of inimitable camaraderie. The coffee conversations we have with our parents and the silent moments we share with our children. If we look we can unearth unique friendships everywhere.

As humans it is in our nature to find consolation in one another—whether it is to feel comfortable in a new school or to simply have someone tell us that everything is going to be okay. We talk, and cry and laugh and feel each other’s pain.  Friendship truly is a beautiful thing.

And in those quiet flashes of reflection we can truly realize how fortunate we are to have had these exceptional people slip into our existence.

IMG_20150714_191810

Changes, Happiness and Feeling Alive

20150724_212817As I walk Lars to school this morning it hits. A foreboding magnitude begins to press down on me and the looming feeling of fright is palpable. However there is nothing I can do about it since I’ve played my own key role in this massive turn of events. The only way out is to travel forward.

We’re moving. Even writing it seems surreal. We are moving to a new house, in a new city, a new school district and an entirely new place. We are venturing into unknown territory with two small children and a brain full of hopes and dreams for our future. It is the most terrifying thing I have done since bringing my two small people into this world.

As I write this at my usual spot I look around at the backdrop. I am sitting in the same kitchen we sat in with a three day old Sophie as we watched Lars blow out a wax candle shaped as the number two. It is the place where Jamie proposed to me, right here on the kitchen floor while baby Lars played in the living room below. It is the home, where in the last eight years there have been countless arguments, ridiculous nights of merriment, and so many moments forever sealed to memory. It is the place where Jamie and I have created a family.

While I am walking hand in hand with my son I quietly think about what will soon be changed. They will be attending a new school which means making new friends and building new relationships with teachers. It means saying goodbye to the people they have grown to love here. It means more change than any of us have ever dealt with as a family. It is damn intimidating.

Intimidated—that is the perfect word for how I feel right now. Will I be strong enough to assist my family emotionally in this move? Am I forthcoming enough to make the new friends I know I will need in this unfamiliar place? Will I be collected enough to stand confident even when both Jamie and I experience moments of self doubt? Yes, in the deep of my soul I know the answer is yes to all of these questions. But the intimidation still lingers unremittingly.

I can feel this lump in the back of my throat each time I think of driving away in our moving truck—towards the indefinite. I have never been as afraid as I am in this moment.

And it makes me feel undeniably alive.

This is what we live for. We are put here to make advancements, break barriers, and do something (anything) out of the ordinary. Progress cannot be made by keeping stagnant. This is how Jamie and I came to our conclusion that it was time for us to move on. We want to teach Lars and Sophie that although new endeavors can be daunting, they are essential for growth and fulfillment.

The morning is foggy as Lars and I walk. He grips my hand a little tighter.

“Everything okay sweetie?” I ask.

“I’m just really scared of the fog Mom.” He replies. “We can’t even see to the end of the alleyway. I don’t like not being able to see what’s ahead.”

His comment makes me think about how unclear our own future seems. I realize that this hazy alley behind the only home he has ever known mirrors the anxieties I have been feeling in regards to our move.

“It’s normal to feel scared when you can’t see what’s ahead of you Lars.” I give a gentle squeeze to his hand. “But we know that we have to get to school right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then we’ve got to move forwards. See, as we walk, the fog seems to fade away and the closer we get to the school the easier it is to make out. Fog isn’t that bad when you think about it, you just need to move slowly and carefully through it to be able to see clearly again.”

“You’re right Mom and it makes it better when I have someone to walk with.” He said.

Foggy areas are worrisome; one could even call them terrifying. But when you have the people you love holding your hand reminding you that there is clarity on the other side it all of the sudden doesn’t seem so scary.

 

 

 

The Beauty of the Season

There was once a time when I loved Christmas. I loved the smell of cinnamon that would waft through my grandmother’s home while we tore through gifts piled high under the tree. The fun my brother and I used to have stuffing ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes until we were ready to explode. The laughter that we’d share with the people who we loved was so unforgettable in those days of carefree Christmases. There was just something about that time of year that brought smiles to faces and a feeling of cheer to the air.

But then adulthood hit and the reality of this god-awful month became painfully clear. Let us remember the fact that you will probably be plunging yourself into thousands of dollars of debt in order to achieve the “perfect” Christmas experience for you and your family. Not to mention the high-stress state of affairs that is the “family get-together”. All of the scheduling around each other’s plans can be enough to drive a person bonkers.

And please don’t get me started on the “one-upping” of the Jones’ at this sacred time of year. Right down the street we have our very own Griswold family who seem to think it is appropriate to drain the electricity grid every evening to show off their superb light show. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that? Here I am with a pitiable Charlie Brownish wreath that hangs lopsided off my front door and I am calling myself Martha-fucking-Stewart!

Well, don’t I sound like the Grinch? Before I know it I am going to be growing green body hair and people aren’t going to want to touch me with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole.

Each year when this month rolls around I tell myself that I shall not succumb to the scroogery. However every year once the pressure of Christmas envelopes me there I am yelling at Christmas carolers to get off my porch and telling the children that the Elf on the Shelf was too tired to get into any shenanigans the night before. Ugh it makes me guilty even writing it. Christmas is a difficult time of year and it only seems to be getting more and more complicated as I get older.

I had been telling the kids for weeks that after Lars’ birthday we would put the tree up. This is yet another Christmas event that has become more of a task than a treat. Each year it always seems to be a fight over who gets to put up what decorations and where on the tree they should go and how the proper way to string a strand of lights are and how much tinsel is too much tinsel—you get the point.

So begrudgingly I pulled out the tree from our storage area and began to set up. Something happened however as I placed the synthetic thing together…Some might say my, ‘small heart grew three sizes that day’. I watched as Sophie sorted eagerly through the antique decorations that my Mom had given to me several years back. Any other year when the kids have eyed the priceless bulbs I’ve stopped them in their tracks and told them that those decorations were for adults only, they’d be left with the paper-chains and popsicle stick picture frames they had made in preschool.

Maybe it was the way she ever so gently handled them or the gleam of wonder in her eyes as she sorted through these very old treasures but I decided to let Sophie and Lars do all of the decorating this year. After setting the tree up and stringing the lights (which seemed surprisingly easy when you forgot about the stress of it all) I found a seat on the couch.

I took that time to appreciate the joy that they were getting out of this tree decorating occasion. I played Christmas carols and made hot chocolate—the real kind of hot chocolate that my mom used to make for us.

After all was said and done the tree looked beautiful! All at once I didn’t care about coordinating the colors of the decorations or if the bulbs were evenly distributed, my heart was too warm to feel anxious about anything.

It was then that I realized that it isn’t childhood that makes Christmas a carefree and joyous time. It is having the ability to let go and simply be grateful for the people you love and the delight of the season itself.

12299118_10153654601431068_7525843928425561075_n

Watch “Critic” on YouTube

A Bit of Quality Time

Sometimes our lives get busy. Lately there has been a bit of an upheaval in the Brown household and our routine and schedules have been thrown for loop.

Unfortunately at this time the disruption is something that cannot be avoided. So I’ve decided to embrace it. Sometimes when unexpected change comes upon us the best thing we can do for our family is to show them how to roll with the punches.

It occurred to me lately that I’ve been so wrapped up in the “big things” that I’ve let the truly important stuff fall to the wayside. The best thing for my babes (and me for that matter) right now would be to make up for some much needed quality moments together.

Sophie and I set out on an early Tuesday morning and ended up having more fun than I think either of us anticipated. Our first order of business on that brisk November morn was to visit the lake and go for a, “beautiful autumn walk” (Sophie’s exact words). Sophie gathered all sorts of nature-stuffs; from dried colorful leaves to funny looking rocks to pieces of bark with moss growing off of it. We placed all of her goodies into an airtight container in which she was to bring for show and tell the next day at school. With every treasure that we stumbled across a bigger smile grew on my daughters face, allowing my joy to surface too.

We then took some time for a little park play. Sophie sat me on the car shaped jungle gym and asked where I’d like her to drive.  I told her Mexico was nice this time of year. She agreed and we took a left then a right and then went down a very long and winding road and in virtually no time at all we found ourselves in sunny Mexico. I asked her where she got her superb drivers training from and in true Sophie fashion she answered with a reasonable and matter of fact reply.

“Well of course Mom, I got it from the dollar store. Don’t you know that you can get ANYTHING there!?” And once again I think my frequent perusing of our local dollar store may be rubbing off on my daughter.

Lars has entered into a different kind of age where nature walks and pretend car rides to Mexico just don’t seem to cut it anymore. Sometimes I wonder if he is growing up too fast. I worry that the allure of video games, tablets and technology has jaded our children in a way that we never were. Maybe this is true, or maybe we just need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to raising our children.

I asked Lars what he would like to do while we spent some time together. To no surprise of mine he said he’d like it if I watched him play Angry Birds on the tablet. I met him halfway and offered to watch for half an hour if he’d do some reading with me afterwards. He seemed happy enough with this decision.

“You see Mom; if you just pull the slingshot back like this and aim right here…BOOM! OH YEAH! See that Mom I totally nailed it!” The kid’s pure enthusiasm over what he was doing gave way to most all of my reservations about the games. He is so confident when playing, I can see it is an outlet for him and that is most definitely okay in my books.

After a very in depth look into the world of Angry Birds we found a few books to read. He read to me and although we read daily I still am baffled at how far he has come.

Somehow we got on the topic of the Harry Potter books and how my mom (Granny Colleen) used to read the series to me and Uncle Dustin every night. I explained that it was a book about wizardry and a school of magic called Hogwarts. Immediately Lars was hooked, and just like that we found ourselves another “something special” to bond over in his growing years.

I think it is natural for our lives to sometimes become heavy with all of the “big stuff”. We are all human and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the daily grind. What’s important is taking the time to find the perhaps small, but extraordinary, moments that we can one day look back on and contentedly say, “what wonderful times we’ve had.”

IMG_0426

 

IMG_0620[1]

Critic

We’ve got critics.

Cynics in the crowd that are mocking our every move

Peering at us with tight lips, fists that are gripped, and a hat-tipped gaze.

They are reviewing our inherent and unwary ways.

But days pass by and we still carry on.

Even though we are worn

From words, that Mama said would never hurt us

Our purpose is determined

So we will stand strong with courage-

Attempting to be unburdened by the current.

Because we’ve got critics

Skittish mimics who slink along in shadowed places

Picking on races, faith and, well, anything basic.

It makes us brainsick to watch their archaic ways

It could be hysterical, if it wasn’t so damn hateful.

But we will bear it, refusing to fall short

Sorting through the refuge and waste

Until we uncover our own sacred place.

And there will always be critics

Keyboard warriors who stand strong behind

A cyber interface—

A birthplace for anonymous and unwarranted hate

The gateway for nonsense to be transformed into

Plausible weight.

And that’s okay,

Because it’s not for us to berate

We need not be skeptics of this forlorn state

If you listen to one thing I’m going to say

Know that judgement is addictive,

Evicted imaginings from predispositions.

All that is envisioned from our haters own

Sordid inhibitions.

They will try to steal our happiness, our wisdom, our faith

Our unending conviction for our futures fate.

Yet we will choose to turn away

Continuing to plunge forwards in our freethinking ways

The negative haze will not discourage us

Only give us strength.

Because we will forever have these critics

Cynics in the crowd jeering our actions with a hat-tipped gaze

Crazed by the fact that we’ve forged our own way

Using their rules

As our own personal foreplay.

We will be brilliant

The players of our age

However disgraced by those who couldn’t accept the change.

Engraved by some as the outcast

…But by some as the brave.

And the naysayers indeed in the end

Will inadvertently show us what we need to see.

So we beg of you please

To all of our critics

Never quit us.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0352

The Truth About Bullies

A long time ago, back when I had a toddler and an infant, I was at the park with the two of them. Park play was a lot more difficult back then because I had to be right beside them in pretty much everything they did. Well, perhaps I didn’t but I was kind of a hover-mom back in the day.

Anyways there I am at the park with my almost four year old and my almost two year old. I am pushing Sophie on the baby swings when I notice Lars trying to play with a kid a little older than him. Back then Lars wasn’t as reserved as he is now, so even though the kid clearly didn’t want anything to do with my four year old, Lars was persistent. Funny thing about kids, they don’t really have that insecurity thing going on. I was about to tell my son to give it a rest and come over to the swings with me and Soph when the kid up and pushed him to the ground and began to scream at him that he didn’t want to play. This invoked a white hot rage in myself that I was not actually aware of and for a split second I envisioned myself in a jail cell due to punting a seven year old to next Thursday.

The kid’s mom had witnessed this too and went over to discipline her child, rightly so. Thank God she had seen the spectacle because if I were to have to tell her that her child was the little shit weasel that pushed my son, I probably wouldn’t have been tight-tongued about the issue. No amount of censorship could have stopped the atrocity of words that would have exited my mouth. Admittedly I go sort of ballistic when somebody comes after my own.

After the park incident Lars was a lot more cautious around strange children, never again running up and worming his way into a game of tag. In a way it makes me sad, and I wonder if the bully at the park that day took away a little piece of Lars’ Larsness. Nevertheless it is something that every child will probably endure at some point in their adolescent life, the hard truth is, there are bullies around every corner.

My dad has taught me many things over the years but something that has always stuck is that family must stick up for one another. Maybe that is where the deep seated anger came in when I saw my son being bullied. Maybe it was simply a primal motherhood instinct that I experienced. It wasn’t the first time I’d witnessed a family member of mine being tormented and it wouldn’t be the last. Sadly children aren’t the only people who get picked on by their peers. And each time I see someone I love being hurt by another I can feel that familiar anger begin to bubble.

A girl I know who is much wiser than her years once told me that she feels sorry for the people we as society deem as bullies. Me, being the hot headed person that I am, disagreed with the statement as soon as it left her lips. How could she feel sorry for the browbeaters of this world?

Just hear me out, she said. These people who try to damage others by physical hurt or name calling are so unimaginably broken in their own lives that they must project that misery upon the other people, the happy people.

She was right. It is so obvious and I’m sure that deep down we all know why bullies walk among us and how they’ve been created. The truth is we don’t want to admit it because it is so much more satisfying to meet hatred with hatred. Understanding takes work.

One day in the future I or another human I love may feel the oppressive hand of bullying once more. I will want to retaliate. I will want to meet hatred with hatred. I will want to stoop down to that level of name calling and crudeness.

However then I will bring to mind the words of my friend. I will recall the happiness that is experienced everyday in my family. The absolute love we have for each other and the euphoric feeling of togetherness that we share.

In the end, once the initial anger has flit away, all there will be left to do is feel sorry for the unhappy people. And then maybe we can begin to spread joy and understanding to those who need it most.

Partnerships Aren’t Always Pretty

When I was twelve I played badminton. I loved it. I was never a diehard sports fan but when it came to playing badminton with my best friend Janelle, we were unbeatable—of course I mean that in a metaphorical sense. Janelle was the brawns…And well let’s face it, she was the brains too.  I was mostly there to make weird and erratic gestures at our opponents to distract them while ole Nelly smashed the birdie into their court.  What can I say, we had a killer system.

Now maybe it was our genius strategy that made us great, or maybe it was just that we had a perfect partnership. We knew how to work together and we ran with that. Have you ever been the other half of a truly amazing duo? I hope so, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Luckily for me, my badminton days weren’t the last of the great partnerships in my life.

“MOM! You’re the worst!” Sophie yells at me because I will not open up the third bite sized chocolate bar she has requested in the last fifteen minutes.

“Nope, you don’t need anymore!” I say because I can blatantly see the cataclysmic sugar rush she is already coming down off of.

“YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!” She screams. I wonder if we will one day have this same conversation but instead it will be about her wearing a skirt that is too short or going out on a date with a dude whose pants are held up by his ankles and cannot form full sentences when he speaks. I’ll have to worry about that later though, for now I send her to her room and she slams the door.

Ten minutes later I hear a CRASH-BOOM-BANG coming from Lars’ room. In all honesty I am not in a huge hurry to discover what has happened because I have simply had my fill of drama for this day. I can already hear the children squabbling.

“Okay guys settle down, what’s the problem?” I ask. It seems that they don’t hear me. “Sophie, aren’t you supposed to be in your bedroom right now?” Again my words manage to be drifting directly over their tiny heads and straight out the window. How curious. “Ahem! Children- listen up.” I raise my voice to a point that is just louder than there caws.

Lars slightly shifts his head towards me, it reminds me of the way a deer does when danger nears. Sophie slowly turns her gaze to meet mine.

“OK listen up guys, I don’t want to hear your screaming and yelling. Sophie you are in your bedroom, Lars you can clean up the mess in the living room that you conveniently forgot about. I don’t have time for this, dinner is burning!” I make sure I’ve made eye contact with both of them for this last part, “No more fighting, it doesn’t solve anything. If you have an issue with each other we will talk it out after dinner.”

I turn to go back to the spaghetti sauce on the stove. Maybe it is the burnt smell of tomatoes or the fact that the kids just wouldn’t listen today, but I break. Tears begin running down my face while I attempt to salvage what I can from the now smoking pot.

I hear the door open. It’s funny how one simple noise can sound so much like salvation.

Being the superb man that my husband is he moves towards me instinctively when realizing I am upset. I begin to tell him the happenings of the day and how I have come to the point of sobbing hopelessly into a heap of scorched spaghetti sauce.

“Man those guys are little jerks, like who are their parents anyways?” He says while making exaggerated and bewildered face. I laugh, because, well it sort of funny, and at the moment it is the only thing left to do. “Now don’t worry, I actually brought home some leftovers from work today and I will go and talk to those little worms.” He is so calm and in that moment I am actually envisioning him as a knight in shining armor. That Jamie, he is always saving me.

I’m not sure what he says to the kids but it must be effective. Moments later they enter the kitchen and both of them begin hugging my legs.

“We love you Mom, sorry we weren’t listening.” They say.

Most often a perfect partnership delves much deeper than what meets the eye. Even though Jamie and I bicker endlessly about the small stuff, disagree on many of the trivial pursuits of life and can quite often be found in headstrong heated debates, this thing we have works. Because in the end, we’ve got each other’s back and that is something I’ll take to the bank any day of the week.

 

294003_10151244101804442_886811928_n

My Birth Story

You all know how much I love to hear and share people ‘s stories and Miranda’s here is a very special one. It is about the difficulties and fears she experienced with the birth of her son but in the end how she prevailed despite the trials. Miranda’s story is very inspiring and it will most definitely speak to mothers, caregivers and anyone wanting to overcome hardships in their life.

Please take a moment to pop by her site and read her work!

PsychShare

On November 11, 2014 I went into labor. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant so Joe and I were excited to welcome our son into the world. We went to the hospital nearby. I ended up laboring for 10 hours with the help of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) until I was 7cms dilated. At that point I asked for an epidural because of the discomfort I was experiencing. The anaesthesiologist administered the epidural which was surprisingly not as painful as I had imagined. I was in the care of Dr. 1 whom was working alongside a medical student that night. Around 8:30pm Dr. 1 decided I should start pushing. I couldn’t tell if I was pushing but was assured that I was progressing. I was starting to have major pain while still pressing the epidural button so I told Dr. 1 and I was told they would let…

View original post 2,797 more words

304695_10151178240766068_287625298_n

Siblings? Yeah, they’re pretty great.

Today I walked into the kitchen to find Lars gently brushing Sophie’s hair. They were concocting a plan to meet up at recess later that day.

11353025_853454434742584_1153987031_n

“When you come outside go right to the twisty slide Sophie!” Lars was getting a bit frustrated from Sophie’s inability (or blatant refusal) to recognize what slide he was talking about. As they nattered at each other I couldn’t help but think back on a time when my own brother and I used to be an oddly unbreakable force.

Dustin and I were close, there was no denying it. We were stuck together on acreages our entire adolescent lives. That’s bound to make two people learn to enjoy each other’s company. Dad worked the oilfields and was gone frequently while Mom was left with two kids and acres of open land. We only had one vehicle back then which Dad usually took to work. So more often than not when I say we were stuck out there, we actually were.

We made due. We journeyed through the back forty’s wood and made blanket forts out of Mom’s plentiful collection of crocheted blankets. We had secret languages that weren’t languages at all but somehow we knew what the other meant. There was always an inside joke being created or chuckled over. And because of all of our cryptic laugh attacks due to nonsensical sentences, people often thought of us as a little strange.

304695_10151178240766068_287625298_n
I can’t imagine why…

Did I care what people thought? Nope. Well, not until I did I guess.

There comes an age in every young person’s life when they begin to take notice of what the other humans around them are saying. We start to recognize when people are talking about us. We begin listening more intently and taking to heart the details in which others perceive. For some reason once this time in our lives comes to pass we begin deeply caring about what our peers think. We will do just about anything to assure that we come off as “normal” to the squad (as the kids nowadays call it).

It was a little after my thirteenth birthday that I stopped hanging out with Dustin so much. I wanted to be with my friends and according to them; it really wasn’t cool to have your kid brother tagging along to the beach with you. So with a heavy heart (that was masked by layers of blue eye shadow and heavy mascara) I told my brother to hit the road.

I wonder about the day when Lars will find himself too cool to hang out with Sophie. Perhaps because their age gap is only a few years apart it will never happen. Maybe they will manage to stay friends throughout those awkward teenage years. For their sake, I hope so. I know looking back I could have used my brother in those uncertain days.

Lars and Sophie are still sitting at the kitchen table, he has finished brushing her hair but she is still mulling over the complexity of her brothers plan. There is something so special about the way they sit and talk, almost as if they know what the other is about to say. Their conversation flows without the complications or worries that are often veiled in so many other aspects of this life.

Once again my thoughts are drawn back to my brother and I realize how special the sibling bond can be. There have been many moments when we have had that same uninhibited conversation. We will talk early into the morning around hazy campfires, recalling childhood memories that only he and I could possibly understand. What a wonderful thing to have someone in this world that can place a value on those early days in the same way you can.

1798752_10152280338454913_1480260051_n

Lars flings on his backpack as though he’s been doing it for years and his sister follows suit.

As we approach Lars’ school doors Sophie moves towards her brother for a hug. “I love you Lars, have a good day.”

“Love you too Soph, remember, twisty slide at first recess!” He says then runs off towards his classmates.

As we walk towards Sophie’s classroom she looks up to me and says, “Don’t you just love Lars Mom?” I smile and reply in kind.

I am thankful that my children have each other. It is reassuring to know they have a friend in one another—especially for first recess meet and greets at the good ole twisty slide.

20150713_152431

Short Story Time- The Tattered Olive Branch

Switching it up on The Mama this morning- throwing some Speculative fiction your way!

The Death of a 20-Something

My name is Liza Toller, and I’m going to be straight with you, I fucked up big time. The article I just wrote will probably get me in some hot water, and by hot water I mean— boiled alive. But I don’t have time to worry about what the Gunmen are going to come down on me with; I’ve got to get the word out. Seeing as how, this word (as far as I know) is the only unaltered information getting to the people of this city.

I am a columnist. I know what you’re thinking; what the hell is a columnist? I work for the last print newspaper in the city- hell, in the country I’m guessing. It’s called the Weary Herald, a knock off publication of a popular newspaper back from when the city of Calgary was still called the city of Calgary. That was before Mass Fabrication. Before…

View original post 2,439 more words

The Never Ending Memoir of a Sleep Deprived Mama

“Jamie will you get up with Lars today?” My words float across our queen sized bed listlessly. For a moment I wonder if I actually have said them or if I was only thinking the sentence in my head. No, I’ve definitely spoken aloud as my husband lets out a groan and rolls over.

The garish nightmare that was my reality only several hours before comes raging back to mind. There I was in middle of the night cursing horrendously under my breath as I cleaned up popcorn smelling vomit. Just reliving this for even a moment makes my stomach curl and throat tighten.

Sophie had fallen asleep fast, this should have been my first clue. However I was more concerned about Lars and his “ear ache”. Do you remember six months ago when our darling son stuck that bead in his ear and had to undergo surgery to get it removed? Well it turns out this incident has caused a few psychological issues in the boy wherein he now is paranoid that random objects continue to get lodged in his eardrum.

It was ten o’clock at night and I was brushing my teeth when I heard the sobbing coming from Lars’ top bunk. There he is fanatically pulling at a very bright red earlobe insisting that there is something stuck in it.

“Well did you put something in there?” I asked.

“No but I think I can feel something!” Now if you need to know one thing about Lars it is that the kid is an awful liar. In the extremely unlikely case that he would shove ANOTHER object in his ear, there is no way he could spin a fib about it. So my next guess was that it was either an ear infection or it was all in his head.

I took him into the bathroom to get a better look and after a half hour of desperately trying to convince him that there was nothing in there I gave him some children’s Advil and sent him back to his room. This seemed as good of temporary solution as any, and as I lay down to go to sleep I reminded myself to check his ear in the morning before school.

It felt like I had closed my eyes for about two minutes when I heard the wailing of another child across the dark hallway. In a moment of selfishness I attempted to yell back to her, “What’s wrong?” The response was not that of any string of legible words but a dire sounding moan that was enough to shoot me out of bed.

“Mama” she said. It was in the liquid sound of her speech that clued me in to what was about to happen.

NOOO— I thought to myself.  I seemed to be slow motion running into her bedroom when I realized at some point in the last twenty seconds I had also grabbed the bathroom’s garbage can. I dove ever so awkwardly towards her to insert the can under her head. It was too late.

Oh how the scent still lingers at the base of my nose hairs. It tiptoes around that part of the brain that associates moments in time with certain aromas, certain stenches. I shall never eat popcorn again, and it saddens me greatly.

“WUGH!” That is the sound of me dry heaving while I cleaned up my daughters yuck. Last year we were wise enough to get our flu shots before the start of the sick season. Therefore the entirety of sickness in our home over last winter involved one bout of croup and a bead in the ear. This year however I dropped the ball and now as I was cleaning up half digested popcorn (why out of all things did I have to feed her popcorn the night before!) I was beginning to feel a sore throat coming on myself.

After I had fixed Soph up and put her to bed I checked the time. 1:30am. I fell asleep fast, but again was woken up by the distinct sound of yakking three more times during the night.

“Babe I need you to get Lars off to school this morning.” I say as I keep one ear open for the sounds of Sophie in the next room. Finally it seems she is sleeping soundly.

“Sure sweetie, everything okay?” I half hear him but am already falling fast into dreamland. I should tell Jamie to check Lars’ ear I think. Instead I allow sleep to take me. Somewhere in the far corner of my brain I know soon, “Mom” will once again be summoned, and so will continue the memoirs of a sleep deprived Mama.

150_7299857703_585_n

2015-10-31 11.42.58

An All Hallow’s Eve Spooky Read

On a not so eerie and fogless night you find yourself sitting quietly in the front room reading from a thrilling Stephen King novel (maybe you aren’t as obsessed with Mr. King as I and if that’s the case… SACRILEGE!!!!!)

Ahem, only kidding.

I love you Stephen... *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.
I love you Stephen… *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.

Anyway, there you are reading away when you realize how peaceful the house actually is.

A little too peaceful. Things are never this quiet around here.

Your heart begins racing. It’s pumping so hard that you must consciously will it to slow down in fear you may have some kind of a cardiac episode. You’re not sure what kind of heart attacks young and virile people such as yourself have…But you’re sure you’ve heard tell of such incidents occurring.

You shoot up frantically from your spot on the couch. Immediately upon placing weight on the legs you had been foolishly sitting on for the last half hour you tumble to the ground, hard and loud. You let out an agonizing scream and think for a moment that this may well be it. The Charlie horse you are experiencing is currently shooting straight into your ass cheek and you don’t know how much more you can handle.

You begin recalling beautiful memories from the past, like when you finally murdered that pesky fly that was buzzing you the other day and the time you didn’t have to engage in the struggle to get into your favourite skinny jeans.

Featured Image -- 3431

Luckily your spouse comes to the rescue. He runs to your side. “What’s happening here?” He yells. He is clearly very confused from the scene he has walked in on.

“Butt cramp! House too quiet! KIDS!” You reply.

After he assists you with a bit of an awkward bum rub, you both realize there is no time to waste.

Hand in hand you move stealthily towards the hallway that leads to your children’s bedrooms. The lights are dimmed making your home reminiscent to a bad 80’s horror flick and you immediately regret installing all of those dimmer switches when you were going through your home renovation phase.

The hall looks much longer than you remember it and in the middle lays a solitary toy.

It is the rubber chicken that your daughter pleaded with you to buy her the last time you were in the pet section of Wal-Mart. You tried to explain it was a dog’s toy. That meant nothing to her so you purchased it anyways. But ever since then you’ve been having wicked dreams of clowns and rubber chickens…Like the two worst things ever to be invented.

200171005-004

Your partner steps directly atop the things inflated belly and it lets out a long and exasperated squeal that makes both of you yelp! You can feel the slightest trickle down your inner thigh and you wonder how old you have truly become.

You turn right—towards the lavatory. You flick the light on without expectation and what you find terrifies you more than any amount of incontinence could explain.

“No!” you place a foreboding hand towards it, as though trying to telepathically push it away from your line of sight, “NOOOOO!!!”

Your husband appears seconds later and joins you in an ominous chorus of misery.

“Why? Oh WHY! What is happening in this house!” He despairs .

There, staring up at you menacingly is a poo that has coiled quite perfectly around the inside of the bowl. Some may ask what is so scary about a coiler. And admittedly it is not the fecal in which you shy away from, you’ve dealt with your fair share of shit before.

Photo credit: Google Images
Photo credit: Google Images

In truth it is the lack of toilet paper accompanying this turd that makes you cringe in the very deep of your soul.

Somewhere in this house there is a pair of underwear stashed away that holds a shart streak to end ALL shart streaks. It must be found, it must be removed.

You and the hubs look at each other for longer than what seems acceptable when standing over a log that is quite possibly the length your daughters arm. You are silently brooding over what to do next.

For a moment you wonder if you have developed the ability to telepathically speak to your spouse so you say, “Can…Can you hear me!?” silently…When he continues to just stare at you with a blank look you realize you haven’t quite got there yet.

So Instead you whisper, “What the fuck do we do now?”

He grasps your hand in a, ‘we’re going to get through this together’ kind of way. You shift towards the children’s bedroom. Again the agony of anticipation creeps to the forefront of your better judgement and you can feel the beginning of an anxiety attack.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BREAK!

You open the door slowly to really articulate the *creeeeeeeak* sound it ever so creepily makes.

There sitting in the dead centre of a clutter filled floor are your children. They are waiting for you. Your partner squeezes your hand a little tighter upon seeing their empty eyes, their vacant smiles.

You begin scanning the room for the underwear in question and you wonder if in fact it could still be located on their person. A slight tang of poop wafts past you in the stale air of the room.

2015-10-31 11.42.58

And in unison your spawns say,

“Hello Mother, would you like to play a game.”

The Arrival Home

The house was dark and still when Jamie and I rolled our suitcases into the front foyer. As we made our way into the house all of its usual smells sprung to memory and I realized that even after a short week I had begun to miss this place. Or perhaps it was just the thought of the small people who lived here that had my heart skipping a beat.

Daniel, Jamie’s brother, was asleep on the couch. The hallway lights were turned off and I’m positive at that moment I had never felt quiet quite like that. The time was somewhere around eleven o’clock at night as I made my way towards the children’s bedrooms.

After all of these years of parenting, all of the frustrations and meltdowns, I really didn’t think a week long break would be that difficult to endure. And believe me I’m not complaining. You know, the sun, the sea, the amazing quality time that my husband and I got to experience in our seven days of childfree time was very much treasured.

It seemed however that so many of the activities we participated in while visiting the Mayan Rivera would remind us of our little darlings back home. As I snorkeled with sea turtles I could only imagine how elated Sophie would be to meet those massive sea creatures too. Or whenever Jamie and I would stumble over one of the hundreds of iguanas that roamed our resort we couldn’t help but think of Lars and how fascinated he would have been with the small reptiles.

Needless to say our flight home was filled with anticipation. We both couldn’t wait to give those first initial hugs and kisses to our babes after what seemed like a lengthy time apart.

As it sometimes happens we got a bit held up in our arrival back to Canada and found ourselves at home much later than we expected. Despite my efforts of “accidentally” waking the kids up by clumsily dragging the suitcases up the stairs and flicking on every light in the place, that evening they slept right through the night. Go figure.

I decided to unpack the suitcases that night, because well, I’m that kind of a type A human being. As I created a mountainous pile of beach wear that needed washing I wondered how the kids’ time away from us went. If you remember a couple of weeks ago  I had poked fun at the fact that they were so excited for us to leave that they couldn’t help but verbalize it in their honest adolescent way.

A major part of me expected that this is exactly what happened. I was sure they had hardly thought about us or our absence at all and they had had the time of their lives while we were away. But I must admit there was a tiny part of me that hoped we were missed.

The saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” I’ve come to discover is true in so many different circumstances. Here, I realized how our time away from the kids has made me appreciate their beauty and uniqueness in a way that I think we all as parents can sometimes overlook in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I have to wonder if children experience that same kind of logic and reasoning when away from the people they love?

“Daniel?” Sophie called from her bedroom faintly. I rolled over to look at the clock, 6:30am. Jamie’s brother Daniel had tucked her in the night before and she must have forgotten that we were coming home.  I moved eagerly towards her room.

“Good morning my love.” I said.

“Mom?” She asked.

“Yes, sweetie, it’s me.”

“Mama, it’s you!” Tears began to immediately stream down my daughters face as she jumped out of bed and ran towards me. “I missed you so much Mom! I love you.”

I knelt down to hug her; I too was now crying because of this unexpected emotional response from her—the kid who usually is least likely to show this kind of sentiment. She grabbed my neck to pull me close to her, “I really love seeing your face right now Mama.” Lars then joined us from his room and we all moved towards mine and Jamie’s bed for a cuddly family reunion.

I guess it goes to show that distance certainly does makes the heart grow fonder and that is true for any age group.

10369179_10152439709391068_4300867620584176856_n