Tuesday, 30 November 2010

You were born on a Monday

Dear Naveen,

you are six months old today, doing all the things a six month old should, you're chubby, you smell better than good and on a daily basis I want to eat you right up.

When your brother was born, I didn't think I could possibly ever feel that way about another human. My heart seemed to swell to a hundred times its own size. But you are the proof that my capacity for love is endless.

I never tire of looking at your beautiful little face or planting kisses on your cocoa skin. You and your brother are constant reminders that I am possibly the luckiest woman alive. I honestly don't know what I ever did to deserve you but I'm trying not to take it for granted.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

Here's a video of the day you were born. You'll notice that I seem to be a little short with Daddy. I had just had you and I probably needed a bit of rest.

Love Mommy.

P.S. Daddy might say that I was just acting like my normal self here, but don't believe him. It wasn't a normal day the day you were born. You came when I needed you the most.
video

I'm participating in Stumble Tumble Tuesdays. Check out the other posts and join in!



Monday, 29 November 2010

Bug Season


I wrote this post last year. I wish I could say that the holiday spirit has already caught me this year but it wouldn't be true. But here's what has. I've had to run into the mall a few times this week and I remembered that there's something in the air this time of year that bothers me. I don't think I would be so troubled by it if it didn't have the power to infect me. See, while I was hoping to run in and get the few items I needed, the mall was teeming with shoppers. People were buying up Christmas gifts with determination and it made me panic.

I never shop this early. I usually take one or two days in the middle of December and get everyone on my list checked off. But this thing in the air at malls and Walmarts across the land during this season is like a bug. It gets you even though you have practiced healthy thoughts. Even though you wash yourself with truths like Christmas is not about buying a bunch of meaningless gifts for people who don't need them. Even though you've inoculated yourself with promises that as soon as it makes sense you will teach your children about the real giving, helping the people who really need it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not above it all. I do buy meaningless gifts for people who don't need them. I excitedly talk about Santa on a daily basis with Deaglan. I bought a new Christmas rug for the front doorway just yesterday and I'm coveting a Kindle if anyone cares.

But I do it with a sense of guilt. Like this is wrong. Some deeper sense in me knows that it should be much, much more about altruism, gratefulness and extension and way, way less about retail, Santa and stocking stuffers.

So again, this year, I'm struggling with the season. On the one hand I have a duty to get giddy and enthusiastic for my kids' sakes but on the other, I could take Christmas or leave it.

I have a bit of the spirit though and have joined the gals over here for Merry SITmas

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Poop, pee and other food groups

                                                                      
 Lately we can't have a conversation with Deaglan without him bringing something toilet-esque into it. You know what I mean parents of toddlers?

On Saturdays we always have pizza for dinner from our favourite place Soprano's. (They make the best pizza for a great price and anyone I've ever dealt with from the restaurant has been nothing but lovely!) Anyway, tonight when I served Deaglan a slice this is how it went down:

Deaglan: Mommy I don't want pizza.

Me: Aren't you hungry?

Deaglan: Yes, I'm hungry.

Me: Well then, eat. That's what we're having for dinner.

Deaglan: I don't want pizza.

Me sighing: Okay then what do you want?

Deaglan: Poop.

Me biting the inside of my cheek: You're not having poop. It's   pizza or nothing.

Deaglan lots of laughter from him: Okay then how about Pee?
Now he's almost falling over laughing.

Me: Oh boy. Let me know when you're hungry then.

And while I'm on the subject of body fluids, Naveen had some sort of eye thing - likely Deaglan brought home pink eye from daycare. I remembered my midwife singing the praises of breast milk and how it can cure just about anything. And truth be told, I was too tired to call around to try and get a doctor's appointment. So I squeezed breast milk in the baby's eye a few times a day for three days and that bad boy cleared right up!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday night


I just finished bathing, reading to and tucking in two small boys. While I was nursing Naveen, I was trying to remember what I used to do on Friday nights before the kids. Flashes of recall came to me. In my twenties, Friday nights were filled with the appeal of anything can happen. There was usually the panic of figuring out what to wear, where to go, and what to drink. In my early thirties, it became more about nice dinners out, affordable but good wine and figuring out what to wear.

Now here I am on the cusp of my forties, and it entails, figuring out what the toddler will eat for dinner, how I can tweak the bedtime routine to encourage the infant to sleep longer than two hours and the countdown to me-time on the couch with maybe a glass of wine and a turn on the laptop. And what I wear? Well that's the easy part.

It's not exciting in the same way but it's so good in a different way. There's something solid and satisfying in getting kids bathed and settled in. It feels right to provide the comfort of a routine, to indulge them when they ask for one more story. And that glass of wine?

It feels earned.

What are you doing on this Friday night?


This post is also inspired by The Red Dress Club who asked us to write a little something about feeling grateful.


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Acknowledging what I'm doing

I've been thinking a lot about my blog lately. I'm sure you could have guessed just by looking around this place. I've added some pages up top about me and my family, I've changed the colour scheme around a bit, learned how to play around on Picasa to make a banner (if you want to know how, let me know) and I'm even trying to increase traffic.

It's not that I want to make money or talk you into believing something. I just really like writing and I want to share that with you. I feel like I have something to say. You know?

I've tried to write from my heart, to be honest, to balance the happy with the sad. And the more I write here, the more I feel that it's the right thing to do. That probably sounds weird I know.

I go between wanting to share enormous amounts of my life, my life as a mother, my life as a brown woman, my life as a wife, a sort of older mom, an aspiring writer, to feeling embarrassed after I hit the publish button. In those moments of self-doubt I wonder what's wrong with me that I want to tell the internet about what's going on in my life, in my head.

But then I remember that this is a new day. Facebook has made it possible for me to reconnect with friends I had in grade seven in Tucson Arizona. One day recently my friend Frank just "found" me through Google. After 25 years!
Because of Facebook I can find out what a lot of high school friends are doing at any given hour of the day.

The truth is, I love this blog and even though I'm not an expert or even a known writer, I want to keep trying. I want you to read my posts and tell me what you think. I want to know if you are experiencing the same thing.

I want the dialogue.

Most of the people on my blog list are people who follow my blog too. But I have a few listed that I love and even though I know they will probably never follow me, I want to promote them anyway. I read this post from Her Bad Mother recently and it made me wish I had written it. It was one of those times when I wanted to call the author and say - that's exactly what I feel, it's exactly what I needed to read. If you have time, check it out.

Thanks!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tuesday's Child

Today I'm launching a weekly meme here at The Child. I'd like to feature a reader each Tuesday, post their pictures and do a short interview with them. It can be any reader, a blogger, or a Facebook friend - you don't need to have any of these. I'll promote a cause or charity or just you. Leave me your comments if you want to participate and we'll get started next Tuesday.

If you don't want to leave your email address in the comments, email me at kimmcnamara71@hotmail.com. I think this will be a great way to increase traffic to your blog or facebook page.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Miscellany Monday

1. Happy Anniversary to my blog! Three years ago this week I created The Child. Over that time it's evolved from being a picture blog whose intent was to keep family and friends updated on the new baby (Deaglan) to a place I come to share my stories about motherhood, me and my family. I've never had a hobby I enjoyed so much!

2. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (National novel writing month)I like to write but I didn't know if I'd have the discipline or desire to stick to writing every day. Plus it's been busy around here! But so far I've been keeping up and have written about 90 pages (of utter crap). This is the final week and once it's done I can begin the editing process.

3. Kelly tagged me in a meme to answer some questions about myself. Here are my answers:

  • My favourite toy from childhood was Cindy - a cheaper version of Barbie. Because she was shorter and chubbier than Barbie (who my sister had), my sister felt it made more sense if Cindy played Barbie's maid. Older Sisters!

  • Did you ever have one of those embarrassing candid camera moments in public? - How much time do you have? When Deaglan was about five weeks old, I had decided to go out for a walk with him in the Snugli. I quickly threw my hair in a ponytail, applied some of the topical gel for my rosacia to my cheeks and went out the door. It was really cold outside. When I passed by people not one person commented on the adorable creature I had fastened to my chest. Instead they gave me wary looks. When I got home and happened to glance in the mirror, I saw that the gel had mixed with the cold outside to give me the look of white tribal marks on each cheek.

  • Do you like dancing those silly dances (chicken dance etc) at weddings? - I would say up until now NO but I never thought I'd be rocking out to Raffi in my minivan either! It's funny how parenthood sneaks up on you.

  • What is your favourite food to cook? - My husband reads this blog so I can't lie. I'm not much of a cook but I do make a mean spaghetti sauce.

This post was brought to you by Miscellany Monday over at Lowercase Letters


Naveen had a playdate last week. From left to right are Maya, Trent and Nadia (twins) and Naveen.

Friday, 19 November 2010

I can't remember if I cried

The Red Dress Club's writing prompt this week is to write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) inspired by a song. It can be any song of my choosing.

My cousin Paul strummed his guitar and sang each verse softly. I can't say for sure whether Matt would have picked it had he planned his own eulogy but I think he would have liked that everyone joined in on the chorus. There was something comforting about singing it that day. Not just because it reminded me of Christmas Eve with my cousins, but it gave me something to focus on, finally.



Six days earlier, my younger brother had taken his own life. My Dad had called Shaune at work to tell him. It's not that he couldn't reach me, he said he thought it would be easier to tell Shaune. I was sitting on the recliner, with Deaglan beside me, watching television in those final days of my pregnancy, when Shaune came flying through the door. Naveen inside was seemingly busting at my seams and the recliner was the only comfortable place in the house for me. Shaune's face was wet and I thought it was the rain. It had begun raining about an hour earlier.

After that day, it would rain forever.

Without taking his rain wet shoes off, he came to me and kneeling took my hands. I knew he wasn't proposing, we were already married.

And I realized he was crying. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen Shaune crying and all I could think was that he must have been fired from his job because he was supposed to be at work.

What? I asked panicking? What?

I have to tell you something he sobbed. Oh, Kim I have to tell you something.

What? my voice rose, What? You're scaring me.

I waited for the punch line. This is good, I thought, better than usual.

He usually only let a joke go for a few seconds. But this was good. The tears, the leaving from work.

The punch line never came.

I didn't believe him of course. How could Matthew be dead? He had just called me Monday night. I was going to call him back the next day. I hated calling him during the week day because I never knew if he had his cell on at work or not. So I was waiting till Saturday.

It's hard to cry when you're in shock so I screamed. And then Shaune and I both sobbed loudly with no tears. When we saw that we were scaring Deaglan we stopped. How could we explain to a two year old why his parents had lost their minds?

I'm amazed to realize that in the span of the next ten days so much had to happen. People had to be notified, funeral arrangements made. Cremation, visitation, pictures printed, tributes written, doctor appointments and midwife visits and baby born.

His friends came from everywhere, beautiful, hurting people. People who had plans with him for the following Monday. People who had seen him just a few nights ago. People he had spoken to that night. And a dear friend who he had flown to see the weekend before.

There were no whispers of he's in a better place now. None of us wanted to believe he was gone. His beautiful friends brought balloons and outside after the service, they handed them out and we released them into the clear blue sky.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

My little helper

Mama Kat wants to know why I do or don't drink coffee. With an inquisitively busy toddler and five month old in my charge, I need at least one vice to get me through the morning! Here are the reasons coffee is sacred to me:

1. Because my five month old thinks sleeping through the night is for suckers and sissies!

2. Because lately Deaglan's been prefacing every conversation with the phrase: Mommy, it was an accident! This is usually followed by me walking into the kitchen to find a chair painted in chocolate pudding or the cat's tail dripping because Deaglan thought he needed a milk bath.

3. Because even though I know it's five o'clock somewhere, I haven't been able to figure out where.

4. Big brother is always watching. Deaglan mimics everything we do, the other day he was pretending to drink something out of one his toy cups and I asked him what it was and he replied - I'm just like you Mommy, I'm drinking coffee.

5. Because it wouldn't be as cute if I asked him the question above and he said: I'm just like you Mommy, I'm drinking a screwdriver!

6. Because you can pretend the Bailey's is creamer if anyone asks.

7. Because my children are still getting up at the old 6 am:(

8. Because it's the only way I can deal with Dora's obnoxious voice - does she have to talk so loud?

9. Because then the house smells like coffee instead of poopy diapers for a little while.

10. Because Deaglan's old enough to tell Shaune that he watched Playhouse Disney all day and had Cheerios he found in the carpet for lunch.


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Kindness of a stranger

Has someone ever been kind to you for no good reason? It doesn't happen all the time but it did this one particular time and I've never forgotten.

I was in university and was invited to spend the weekend with a new crowd of people I'd just met. Actually I was sort of dating the guy who owned the house hosting the weekend gathering.

I didn't want to go.


The people in this crowd were several years older than me, seemed sophisticated beyond belief, had established careers and I felt completely out of place among them. While they discussed ensuites and time shares, I was wondering if I should pay the phone bill or spend the money on a new bus pass.
Everything about me screamed I was a struggling student from my thrift store clothes, to my worn out Doc Martens. I was working two jobs, living in a one bedroom basement apartment, just barely scraping by while finishing up my thesis and looking forward to graduating.

Since he lived out of town, knew I didn't have a vehicle, Ben (the guy hosting the get-together and who I was sort of dating) organized for me to ride up with a couple who were also going. The husband was forgettable but the wife, Debbie, well she shines like a diamond in a ditch full of coal. I think about her often.

Throughout the weekend my discomfort increased with each new activity. I couldn't afford to buy anything when the women invited me to go shopping at a nearby outlet mall and squirmed with shame when we went out for lunch to an expensive restaurant where all I could afford was a side salad and water.

Most conversations during that two days left me dry mouthed and at a loss. I didn't have a clue about investments, or yuppy life, had never played euchre, and had absolutely nothing to contribute to a discussion about golf club memberships.

It was Debbie who eased my out-of-placeness when she could. She didn't ever come out and say that she understood how I felt but small gestures made me aware of her empathy. She showed interest in what I was studying, recalling a few stories about how difficult it had been for her to juggle part time work while she was in school herself. Once she even suggested that we take a walk when she sensed I was at the pinnacle of my discomfort. Looking back, I wish I had just confided in her.

The few dollars I had budgeted for the weekend were earmarked to give Debbie and her husband to thank them for the ride. This I did quietly just as we were about to leave to come home. When her husband suggested we stop for lunch about half way through the trip, my stomach lurched. I had absolutely no money left and was planning to eat when I got back to my tiny apartment. We stopped in front of the restaurant and Debbie got out of the car. She leaned down to move her seat up to let me out and did something I will never forget. She reached down to the floor in front of me and handed me something.

I think you dropped this Kim, it must have slipped out of your purse.

It was a twenty dollar bill.

She understood my situation and saved me the humiliation of having to explain it to them. Needless to say, the relationship between Ben and me fizzled and I never saw Debbie again.

For years, remembering the moment she handed me that money always brought me a sense of shame. However, in the last while I've found my mind wandering to it again. What a beautiful way to help me out. She could have let her ego take over and loudly refuse to take the gas money, or she could have just pretended not to notice my discomfort like the other women. I'm grateful for this experience. I know that I am changed because of it.

I've tried to google her and find her on Facebook to say thank you after all these years. But she's nowhere to be found.

This post is brought to you by Shell's Pour your heart out over at Things I can't say. I took her lead in writing about a time I felt out of place.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Mommy and Me Monday



I've joined Krystyn at Really, Are you serious? for Mommy and Me Monday.


We had a beautiful day here on Friday, so we loaded up the van with a stroller, a trike, a tripod and headed out to Springbank Park. After we tired Deaglan out riding around the park, we finally did the family photo shoot we've been meaning to do for some time. I asked Shaune to take a few pictures of me with the kids individually. A friend told me when I was pregnant with Naveen that her youngest often asks to see pictures of just herself with her mother. I had that in mind plus I wanted to capture us together before they were too big for me to hold. It didn't hurt either that Shaune got me at angles that completely omitted my post partum lumps and bumps! We're lucky to have such a great camera!


We're also seriously lucky to have such beautiful boys.


Friday, 12 November 2010

And in the end

As I watched her speak, I tried to imagine what she must have looked like in her thirties. Her husband died when her youngest was only six leaving her to raise the three kids on her own.

It wasn't easy she sighed.

And now over thirty-five years later here she sat on this park bench pouring her heart out to me, a stranger.

She has been battling colon cancer for going on nine years and as a result of the chemo, now suffers from osteoporosis and arthritis. Her workaholic daughter helps her get groceries once a week but she hates to bother the daughter unnecessarily so she waits to hear from her. Sometimes it's almost two weeks before this important business woman calls her mother. Her sons both live in Vancouver and run a construction company. They each have a few grown children who also have children.

They're both very busy. It's hard for them to visit. But they came when I was first diagnosed.

We talked until Deaglan was near ready to have a meltdown because I was ignoring him. She had been out walking, trying to get some exercise at her doctor's request, when she saw the three of us at the park. She came and sat beside me on the bench as if we were old friends.

We discussed motherhood, her youth, her kids, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren who she's never met. She told me about a new medication for arthritis she's discovered through a friend of hers who has a computer. She is now almost considered a survivor of this cancer that has been plaguing her. Her philosophy over the past nine years of treatment has been to get up every single morning, bathe and get dressed whether she wants to or not. Then she climbs down the stairs and starts the dishes or dusting. If she feels exhausted with her efforts then she lays down on the chesterfield until she feels better, but at least she is clean and dressed.

I eventually had to pull away and tend to my toddler and infant but I've thought about her almost constantly since. Is this the course our lives eventually take? Do we just end up alone, battling the breakdowns of our bodies and loneliness, without the help of the younger generation we worked so diligently to nurture and raise?


This is a Red Writing Hood meme from the Red Dress Club. There were a choice of two photos I could use as inspiration and I chose this one entitled resigned.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Things I'm loving this Thursday

I'm joining Teresha over at Marlie and Me in taking inventory of what I'm loving today. Phew, I need this after yesterday's downer of a post!

1. This hat. It was a gift from my sister when Deaglan was born and I'm so happy to see it making an encore.

2. Coffee!!!!

3. That we have a playdate with a little girl who recently was diagnosed with Leukemia. She's doing great considering and being around her really makes me grateful for all of my abundance.

4. Shaune for cutting up the onions for the batch of spaghetti sauce I'm going to make today. I hate cutting onions!

5. My friend Kelly over at My voice, My view. Even though we've never met in person, I feel like we are kindred spirits.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

It sounds like I'm complaining but I'm not


I'm participating in Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday with Shell over at Things I Can't Say. In Shell's words: Write a post from the heart. Something that has been weighing on you. Something you feel passionately about.Something you've been wanting to talk about. A cause, a memory, a belief, a world view. Anything.

I'm still not sleeping. Naveen sleeps once for a three hour stretch from 8 to 11 every night. After that he's up every hour or so. I don't know how to change this so I feed him and usually end up pulling him into bed with me because I need to get a few hours if I can. Well, I was getting these precious few hours until last week when I started him on baby cereal. The changes on his digestive system at least I'm assuming that's what it is given that it's the only new variable I've added to our routine (I started with oat cereal knowing from experience that rice is constipating and then switched to barley once the oat cereal was gone) have increased his wakefulness at night so that whereas before I was able to get him back to sleep after nursing him, now he stays awake for up to another hour each time. At night, my life feels like one long torture session.


The sleeplessness is taking its toll.


I give my best self to the kids. Some kind of miracle, I can only credit to my higher power, takes over and I am mostly alert and present for their needs. We do arts and crafts, go to the park, read books and play. I stay on top of the laundry - an absolute necessity now that Deaglan goes through about six pairs of underwear and three outfits a day, and if I forget to put a bib on Naveen his shirtfronts look like he's been through a carwash from drooling. The house is clean at the end of the day most days and Deaglan almost always gets something homecooked for his meals (even if it is hotdogs or scrambled eggs).

But when Shaune gets home from work, I have nothing left. Most nights I've just finished bathing and settling two kids and I'm anxiously waiting for the baby to wake up so that I can feed him again and try to get him back to sleep and it's my only time to do something for me like have a glass of wine and watch a show.

When little people are mercilessly demanding from you all day long, your attention, your patience, your love, your body to feed them, your hands to change them, your arms to hold and hug them, your undivided attention so they won't get hurt or hurt each other, you become covetous with the few moments you can steal for yourself.

With two tired grumpy people in this house, arguments and bickering are at an all time high. We're dealing with a very busy, very energetic toddler splat in the middle of the tantrum- throwing, jealous-of-the-new-baby-so-I'll-demand-all-of -your-attention, my-energy-level-just increased-exponentially terrible two's.

Sigh. That's it. I'm done pouring my heart out.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Brothers



I caught this a few days ago. I want to apologize upfront for the almost-disciplinary moment you'll have to sit through, and also the high falsetto voice I use when talking to Naveen. Clearly I have no technical abilities or I would have edited it a bit. It's also a tad long. It's almost impossible to catch a few moments on video where Deaglan is somewhat cooperative - he's lost all patience with my constant picture taking. He's like the celebrity and me, well I'm the paparazzi chasing him for some good blogging material. And yes, Deaglan still has his soother. I'm working on weaning him from it but it's tougher than I had thought and I haven't really given it a serious effort.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Found





I'm participating with the ladies at the RDC and this week's prompt asked us to "Dump our Junk": We're borrowing this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from NaNoWriMo Prompts, a blog dedicated solely to National Novel Writing Month. Here's your prompt:"Your protagonist empties the contents of his/her pockets, purse, and/or backpack onto a table. What all was dumped onto the table?"


I've been participating in National novel writing month and this is an excerpt from the novel I'm working on. It's also connected to this post I wrote last week for RDC.


A niggling at the back of his mind, he couldn’t quite articulate was bothering John. But he couldn't find two seconds to try to figure out what it was. So far that morning he had washed every window on the main floor, and then went straight to work on the floors. His usual Saturday to-do list was longer today and he still had the upstairs to work on. When he finally could, he ran to his room to gather his thoughts, figure out what he couldn’t put his finger on.


It looked different somehow. Something was missing but he couldn’t immediately name it. Then his heart skipped a beat. He scrambled down onto his hands and knees and peered under his bed. The backpack was missing. He had been careless after school yesterday and forgotten to leave it in his locker. The pep rally had distracted him from his usual routine. Once he realized he still had it, it was too far to walk back and he would have been late. Janice did not tolerate lateness.


Nervously he sat up on the bed wondering what to do next. He could have sworn he had shoved it deep underneath the bed but she had obviously found it. As if reading his mind a head poked through his doorway.

"Mommy wants to see you," whispered his six-year old foster brother Joel.


John walked the 20 seconds to his foster mother’s room as if he was walking the plank of some ancient pirate ship...only this wasn't his execution but he was certain that plunging into a cold raging ocean would surely be a better fate than what Janice had in store for him.

She sat on the edge of her bed, hands neatly folded in her lap. The contents of his backpack were arranged on the bed ,anything that meant something to him, the things he had managed to keep from her all these years, suddenly out in the open.


"Do you want to explain this boy?" She asked in her cold steely voice.


Swallowing the urge to throw up he shifted from one foot to the other. He looked at the contents spread out on the bed. These were all the things he treasured most in life. Then he saw it. His eyes darted to the picture of him with his brother Irv and his Mother. Janice had taken it out of the now worn Ziploc baggie and torn it in half.


A sob caught in his throat. The tears that stung his eyes could not be held for long. They fell silently down his cheeks and he missed his beautiful mother with a force that threatened to break him in two. He missed his baby brother Irv almost as much. The picture had been on the fridge. His mother had grabbed it and stuffed it into his bag before the man from the Children’s Aid Society could object. That night was still felt fresh in his mind. He wiped the tears away with the back of his hand. Janice was unmoved.


Laid out were also his sketchpad and a set of charcoals, a pack of Hubba Bubba, a Swiss army knife that he had found under the bleachers at school, his wallet which she had emptied and splayed open, some notebooks, a science textbook, crumpled up gym shorts two pens and a lighter. But none of these things were incriminating. It was the stack of white envelopes held together with a rubber band addressed to him that caused the trickle of sweat running down his back.


He could see that she hadn’t opened them yet, but the address alone would be enough to make life worse than it already was. These were what he did not want her to see. Sanjay brought them to school whenever they came in the mail. He lived for those letters. They were everything, his only connection to his parents.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

My first love

I'm participating in Mama Kat's writer's workshop. I chose to use the prompt Look up a favorite childhood actor and tell us where they are now:
One of my favourite parts of the day in elementary school was when the teacher read to us. In grade five Mr. Jansen introduced us to S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. It changed me. The whole experience affirmed my already growing love affair with reading.

The silent rapt attention of the class while he read a few chapters each Friday afternoon, the exhilaration of hearing our teacher talk of things so unorthodox in our Catholic school environment, while he opened up a world where the poor kids known as Greasers fought to keep their turf and dignities intact against the rich and privileged soc's (short for socials) gave me joy. I remember the excitement with which we would all discuss the chapters we had just heard on our walks home, trying to figure out who amongst us would be considered Greasers and Soc's.

The following summer I borrowed a copy of the book from the library and read it again even memorizing some of the passages and the Robert Frost poem Stay Gold*. I can recite it by heart to this day:

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
And dawn goes down to dayy
Nothing gold can stay.

In grade six our family moved all the way to Tucson Arizona. It was a devastating and difficult move but I found enormous comfort when Hollywood came out with the movie version of The Outsiders. That I was seemingly half away across the world and yet this beloved story was known there too, eased the pain of leaving behind my friends and school.

It was when I fell in love for the first time. He was the lead character in the movie, Ponyboy Curtis, and the actor's name was C. Thomas Howell. To me, he was Ponyboy, I made no distinction between the character and actor. I wrote his name on all of my notebooks, and there was always an I love T.H (Tom Howell) at the top of every note I passed to friends. I used my allowance and babysitting money to buy any teen magazine he was featured in, and plastered my share of the wall, of the bedroom I shared with my two sisters, with his pictures. I even wrote to him once and received a postcard from his Fanclub Headquarters. It said something like:

Thank you for the letter. Stay Gold. C. Thomas Howell.

His name was a stamped signature but the rest had been written in pen. I was convinced it was directly from him and carried the postcard around in my pencil case showing it to anyone and everyone.

I hadn't thought about Ponyboy in a long time. A few weeks ago I was watching Criminal Minds and there he was, C. Thomas Howell. He was guest starring as the unsub and time had not been kind to his face. He was gaunt and lean, his hair shaved close to his head. There was nothing left of that teen hearthrob I once worshipped.

I guess Robert Frost knew what he was talking about. Nothing gold can stay.

*I googled the poem after I posted this. The title is actually Nothing gold can stay.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

It's how I roll

I don't know how to order a Starbuck's coffee. I could learn but I really don't want to. I usually say something like yeah, hi, could I get a coffee, something mild, equivalent to a medium?

I've never written the acronym LOL in a communication or used the phrase that's how I roll.

I'm not sure I'll ever join Twitter and I only started texting this year because Shaune insisted we upgrade our phones. Usually my texts are to Shaune and they say things like: Need cat food and ketchup.

I'm just not cool.

And I'm not writing this post to seem cool in some uncool nerdy way. I can accept that I'm not hip or trendy, I will never be on the cutting edge.
I've always been okay with this but I came face-to-face with it a few weeks ago when Shaune rolled his eyes because I announced excitedly: I think I'm gonna learn how to knit! I think he said something like: Why don't you knit yourself a shawl granny to keep yourself warm. If he knew anything about knitting, he'd realize that that's a lot harder to do than it sounds.

He wasn't frowning on knitting in general but just pointing out once again that motherhood has changed me, really changed me.

I like the changes. I think they suit me. I feel better in my skin than I ever have. At the end of the day I don't mind looking in the mirror and seeing my unkempt eyebrows, and stray grey hairs. I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. It's okay that I didn't get everything done. I fed the kids, changed them, got them outside and tried to focus my energy on teaching them something, even if it was just how to use Elmer's glue or eat solids for the first time.

And hey, just because I didn't Tweet about it, people can still read all about it on my blog! Blogging makes me a little cool right?

Halloween was fun - Deaglan was a dinosaur and Naveen wanted no part of being costumed. Shaune and I took Deaglan out trick-or-treating (we only made it to about six houses before he was ready to come home) while gramma and grampa stayed home with Naveen to hand out candy. Thank goodness we had tons of trick-or-treaters and very little candy was left over.