Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tell Gramma and Grampa, they love that shit

Whenever I get a few minutes alone with Shaune’s parents I corner them and proceed to shamelessly tell them every wonderful thing the kids have been up to. I tell them about recent accomplishments, share funny anecdotes and give them accounts of something kind or endearing one or both boys have done.

I do it because I want to catch them up. 
I do it because I truly believe they are interested.

I do it because my boys are absolutely, cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs, head-over-heels, madly in love with their grandparents and would want me to fill in the spaces when Gramma and Grampa couldn’t be there to witness their lives first-hand. It’s the only time I feel really comfortable gushing about the kids.

Okay. I’ll stop here to give you a second to lower that eyebrow. Umm, hello? This from the woman with an entire blog dedicated to stories about her kids.

While it’s true most of the content over the years here has been about motherhood, raising kids and family life, I’ve tried consciously to stay on this side of humility. I’ve tried not to write entire posts about how athletic, talented or smart my kids are because a) I know you’d likely want to strangle me and b) some of that stuff is private ir at least should be.

At a dinner recently, one of the parents of the other family at the table announced that the two oldest kids had achieved straight A’s on their report cards. I looked around to see if the other kids, not included in this announcement, had heard this. It was out of the blue and it caught me off guard. I busied myself helping one of the kids with a maze he was working through on the back of a paper menu and hoped that Deaglan hadn’t heard.   

My reaction and concern for Deaglan has nothing to do with how he's doing in school. I worried that this announcement could serve to make him feel inadequate somehow. We looked over his report card when he got it, praised him for working hard and helped him set goals for improving where he needed to. 

We made a medium deal about it - not big and not small. 

Because although grades are important to Shaune and me, we're more concerned with raising people who try their best, are kind to their classmates and friends, and have a willingness to keep going when things get tough. 

We also value modesty.

It's tricky though. We, all of us, love our kids deeply and want them to succeed and when they do succeed, we feel overjoyed and proud and also like we've succeeded. It's hard to resist the urge to announce it to the world or to anyone who will listen or at least to all of our Facebook friends. It's tricky and I totally get it.

I wonder sometimes though if we shouldn't just wait for the grandparents to come over and blab ourselves silly till it's out of our systems.

Here are some pictures from iur Family Day weekend.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Let the real writers write

Always around this time of year I find myself in an emotional rut. 

This is not a euphemism for depression, friends; I know it’s a rut because though I’m not particularly unhappy, I’ve grown very, very weary of the daily grind. Each day seems like something to endure. Mornings are scramblier when you have to locate hats, mittens and snow pants and then tell the owners of those things that they must put them on.

Over and over.
And over.

The walk from parking lot to desk is long and arduous and that each work day begins and ends in darkness, well, it doesn’t help.

Two nights ago, I stopped off to get Valentine’s stuff and after homework we spent the better part of the evening writing out cards for a total of 43 kids. It meant there was a lot of spelling supervision, a lot of repeating to a four year old that these Valentines were not for him. It meant telling him this 37 times.

And during this time of year, when this sort of thing is finally wrapped up and you notice it’s already 30 minutes past the usual bedtime, you must fight the urge to skip all routines and send them straight to bed. But you’re weak (due to aforementioned weariness) and have no fight left, so you promise yourself to have them brush with twice the effort in the morning.

It’s also the time of year when writing preoccupies my every thought but in a way that demoralizes and defeats me so that I actually do very little of it. The internal voices are louder on bleak cold snowy grey days, almost scolding.  You have nothing worthwhile to saylet real writers write.

It’s precisely the time of year a person like me needs to find inspiration anywhere she can. A long run on the treadmill, a few pages from an Anne Lamott book and one from Jon Kabat-Zinn too to help quiet those too-loud voices; a helpful post from an inspiring blogger (oh and this one, and this one and this one too and also this article!), a rich red glass of cabernet and if at all possible, a spicy hearty bowl of something good Shaune has cooked up.  

Sometimes a look back through the archives helps to remind me that I’ve done a good job of documenting the kids’ lives here and should continue to do so, though I don’t dare read any post too closely for fear the critics will provide more proof why me and writing will only ever amount to nothing. 

How about you? Are you feeling it too?

Here are some pictures I found on my phone.

We're spending a lot of time in arenas.

This is happening.

Can someone please point me to a tutorial on taking selfies? What was I doing when you all were perfecting your mad selfie skillz?

Naveen often demands tacos for every meal. Sadly this plate here would never meet his standards. Salad? I didn't say to put salad on them! Nope these were for Shaune.

There's a lot of this happening.

I make this simple salad just about every weekend. Chick peas. Cilantro. Avocado. Juice of two limes. Feta.

I love our kitchen.

Web building.

Our front yard view.