Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A love letter to a Mum

Hey,

I saw the moving truck as I walked down the street to do some work at a local cafe. I can't believe the big day is finally here.  You must be so relieved and excited that all the preparation, to do lists, contracts, home buying and selling, going away parties and good bye conversations are almost done.

Your new life in an amazing new town is about to begin! Well, at least the unpacking is about to begin.  You're no fool. You know what lies ahead. I am in love with the fact you elected to "Choose your Own Adventure". It is such a testament to the commitment you have to your values - family, economic and environmental. I love that you know that you haven't chosen the easy road but you have chosen the longer, richer and more adventurous road.

Our path to friendship has not been without it's potholes but none of the paths to my lasting love affairs are.  There are few people in this world of Facebook, Twitter and passing fads that I find myself driving through the potholes to the bike lane on the other side for. So, I'm glad that quietly, sometimes awkwardly we seem to have done this together.

I'm sure my loud brash, overasking, overextending loutish personality has been painful and sometimes off-putting to your thoughtful, deliberate, resolute, independent and deeply private sensibilities. Yet, here we are. Moving day and still friends.

As I've demonstrated in the past, I can be brutally pragmatic around life change and upheaval. I could say a lot of dismissive things about how I'm not sad because we'll be in touch over Skype, email, and that we'll be visiting at the latest in August when I ride to Montreal and maybe the earliest at Winterlude in Ottawa.  We live in the future after all.

The reality is my skin is super thin and I'm wet eyed and sloppy because of these reasons:

I'm going to really miss your quiet efficiency, open mindedness and thoughtful language.
I'm going to miss your family's commitment to pacifism and environmentalism.
I'm going to miss your caustic sense of humour.
I'm really going to miss your ability to get Fenner to love beans and rice.
I'm going to miss watching you quietly and effectively tell people (myself included, don't think I didn't notice) to fuck off and die, in of course, your words, not mine.
I'm going to miss ignoring you when you tell me to fuck off and die because you used your words not mine :)
I'm going to miss parenting amazing children with you around.
I'll miss trying to torture Rob in the morning by saying 'Good morning!" and then be perversely flattered and happy when he responds and one ups me by asking me how I am...
I'll miss being opposites at The Rail Garden committee meeting and finding the perfect plan in between our world views.
I'll miss our ability to drink all the beer and wine in the house in a single sitting once in awhile (but I'm pretty sure Jason won't miss that...)
I'll miss the network you have in the neighbourhood and how despite your proclaimed introvertedness you bring us all closer together.
I'll miss having all sorts of access to music through our friendship.


I am especially going to miss the beauty that is watching our girls be together. The respect, care and kindness that passes between them while they play together or in parallel is a song that puts my heart at rest.

As Fenner starts to build the protective walls that set the boundaries with the world around her, their relationship becomes more startling.  The respect they have for each others' boundaries and the comfort they have with each other puts some of my relationships to shame.

I know that, like all parents, we go by the grace of God or the Fates or a Higher Power and we can only give the best of ourselves to help our girls navigate the rough waters of growing up but this relationship is one of many barometers that I use to check in on how I'm doing.  As I hear them find conflict then come to a common solution together with no adult intervention, I measure our progress...on the growth chart of parenthood.

I know that you and I aren't done this crazy walk yet. I look forward to seeing how we all choose our next adventure and what our family love affair will lead to. This is going to be an amazing adventure for you and your family and we will miss having you around but I am so excited about the adventures our girls will go on when we visit. 

So, you'll find my Skype handle and our mailing address in your email folder and, if Canada Post, allows, a little piece of love in your mailbox at your new home.

See you soon Neighbour.

Jen

PS: I bet this public display of affection made you cringe. It's the high cost of the love of an extrovert, frankly, it's kind of appropriate now that I think about it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Digging Out.

Bear with me guys.  January has always been the month that drags me kicking and screaming down to Uglytown.  I usually pay extra special mind to make space and time to recover from all the magic and goodwill of Christmas and to start the New Year feeling right.

But this year I miscalculated my resources and ended up drastically short on the sleep and time. Two resources that can break any woman on the best days.  Marlowe and Fenner have been sick with colds, I started working on a couple exciting new projects at work and forgot, for a second, that it was January.

It's a bad month at the best of times. This year it has hit us hard. So, I'm going to take an inventory of moments that I use as my crutches

My Mimi's beloved Grenfell Mission knitting bag came to me this year. An amazing reminder of my beautiful, witty, talented Grandmother, her best friend Auntie Ev and a pretty badass piece of Canadian history.




Photo Credit Jason Gemmill
Bedhead that smells like wet wool.

 One year ago I had lunch with Michel Odent. I'm not sure how I got so lucky but he and I enjoyed my knitting and a meal. He's as charming as he looks






My brother-in-law was the lucky recipient of a hat donated by Lisa and auctioned off as part of a fundraising blitz for Steph last summer. It's nice to see karma looking so smoking hot.
This beautiful winter garden is my beloved neighbourhood ravine.



Thursday, January 03, 2013

Post Holiday Malaise


We had been planning to head to Frenchtown, NJ to visit with one of our favourite people after Christmas but for some reason I was gripped by doubt.  One of the biggest benefits of someone who likes to go on crazy is that if I second guess any adventure it is because to go on it would be to unleash the Fates.

It was an aggressive drive through a short day and uncertain weather and though Judy's warm home, delicious cooking and great company would greet us at the other end it was just too much. Until the warmer longer days of Spring anyway...

That leaves me to focus on getting out of a bad case of the post holiday blahs. Just have to get enough exercise on the way to and from work to make me feel like this again.









Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Active Labour to Transition

Guys, how fantastic is the month of December? It is a month filled with everyone I love.

People that I love so much that I started making and planning the month back in August so that I don't hate them by this point.  I know it sounds a bit crazy but everything gets hairy if I leave it until December.  Frankly, I go off the deep end and lose my Self to the holidays if I don't manage it early. 

I am never so thankful that we don't have cable as I am at Christmas.  We would be paying off Christmas the entire year if my consumer habits were at all impacted by Christmas television. I am too easily swayed in my habits.

Frankly, this year was as centered and family oriented as we could have hoped. Lots of sleep, home made food, focused snuggle time, friends, space and a civil amount of wine keeps us all on our game.

We started the holidays with our Urban Family Party on the first night of Hanukkah. Aviva's mother brought a minora for all the kids for the first lighting.  The recital was amazing and Fenner performed her current the holiday favourite; Alligator Pie


This was followed by our tree trimming party. We have family drop in for decorating and soup in early December before calendars are too jammed with commitment.
We are so thankful that my Sister's family has moved to the city so we can have more time together.
Speaking of family, we were invited to our dear friend Stephanie's home for her annual Gingerbread decorating party.  I think Fenner finds great relief in Steph's company. She is so clear and logical - her rules are very similar to our family's and well her love of the child's perspective is obvious.
When Steph and I first started talking about our family Christmas traditions (almost 4 years ago) she talked about this Gingerbread party. I confess. I have always wanted to be one of those special friends who got invited when Fenner was old enough.

But this year, all of Steph's girls were grown up and I didn't think they were going to have any more parties. I see now that I had clearly grossly underestimated her girls' commitment to the tradition.
When the kids finished decorating the tradition Christamas moose, sea horses, sharks and dolphins. There was a delicious kid friendly macaroni dinner to be enjoyed and Sam offered to play some games with her. 

My daughter is becoming heartbreakingly astute around games - she asked Sam up front if she meant "winning games" or not. To which Sam replied that of course it wouldn't be a winning game that wouldn't be fair (THANK YOU SAM)

She then cracked out this magical game that Fenner is currently SMITTEN with.  It would seem the competitive agenda of most kids and adults might not be as subtle as we might have hoped.

We ended the pre-Christmas blitz like this on Christmas Eve. Surrounded by loved ones, books and quiet time.
It still makes me a bit uncomfortable to think that if you followed the Christmas story that right around this point Mary was going from Early to Active Labour and Joseph was shitting himself....

if you subscribe to that sort of thing.