Category Archives: Musings

The change of seasons

Our bedroom windows are still open. But there is no doubting it, the seasons are changing. I mean this physically as well as metaphorically. Let me explain.

Friends are moving away from Pender Island. Dear friends who have meant the world to me. And I am sad to see them go and wonder how it will change my day to day. I’m not so much worried about the loss of friendship but more the loss of companionship during walks and play-dates. Being in a place for more than four years, we see a turnover as Pender Island is after all, a place of passing in between. A place of changing seasons.

I have had a two month lull in births and now everything is picking up again. As of next week I am going to be on call right through until February. I’m excited to see these families grow, to see babies emerge, to see women become mothers and men become fathers. Yes, it is an exciting time. I am practising breathing deep so that I am in good health during the on-call. I am stretching my limbs so that I release any tension that forms from waiting for the phone to ring. I am breathing and stretching. Such should be said of every changing of seasons.

The golden light by 4 o’clock casts long shadows and reminds us of cooler times approaching. But we’ve only lit our woodstove twice thus far. Our wood shed is looking appropriately plumped for Winter and I am so grateful for my illustrious husband.

The diapers are drying on the line but when I hung them up this morning, I wondered how much longer I’ll be able to get them dry this way. We haven’t used the dryer all Summer and our clothes smell like wind and flowers and sunshine. Now there is a smell of ripe ripe blackberries, fallen leaves and faint wisps of smoke from chimneys. Even my nose notices the changing of seasons.

So we say good bye to Summer. To friends. To warmth, flowers and sun-kissed towels. And with a gusty sigh, I say hello to Autumn. My favourite of seasons.

Being Gentle

So I was in the bathroom a lot yesterday trying to get Gabrielle to start using the potty. When you hear yourself start saying “The potty is your friend!” You know it’s time to take a break from potty training.

That’s when I noticed, of course, how I needed to clean my bathroom. With this in mind, I reviewed the rest of my house and thought, “What a dump!” And immediately thought of myself as a bad house-keeper. A bad mother as I can’t seem to get my child to use the potty consistently and I am so sick of diapers. Then stopped myself.

And wondered with great curiousity, why does it come back to a self-image issue when my bathroom is dirty, my house is cluttered, the kitchen is a mess and my child pees on the floor again.

There is a book called “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” which changed my life. It is a book about addiction, and though I do not suffer from addiction (other than my apparent need for chocolate) the end of the book talked about dealing with yourself with great compassion. Asking without judgement, Why.

So I ask it now. Why do I feel like a worse person when I can’t seem to keep up on household chores? Why do I judge myself as a mother for my daughter’s ability to control her bladder?

I make up these stories in my head for how I am perceived and that’s all they are. Just stories. But of course, the dangerous thing about all this is that Gabrielle is the biggest copy cat I know. If I model this behaviour, being self-critical, she will learn this too. I realize as a parent we do not have the luxury of being perfect so that our children will be perfect. But being gentle to ourselves, now that’s something I can practise.

So, in an effort to be gentle to myself and consequentially gentle to Gabrielle, we are fleeing to my mom’s for a couple days so I have a hand dealing with my very contrary toddler as she perfects asserting her ginormous will. It is there I will seek out some chocolate and some quiet while Gabrielle and Nana eat buckets of raspberries.

Until then, I may buy a bottle of wine. Don’t judge me!

Coffee & Other Morning Traditions

Since Marc and I were first married, a morning coffee has been one of our traditions. Whoever is up first puts on the kettle, and the quietness (pre-child) of the morning coffee while our eyelids unfolded, well, that was a sacred time.

Now morning coffee still happens but in a different way. Sips are slurped in between reading stories about Hippopotamuses (Hippopotami?) and Peter Rabbit and Hungry Caterpillars. They are in between great adventures of hanging laundry and blowing bubbles and making new number one singles on the piano.

I never knew mornings could be so busy.

I used to get up early, before work, and go for a run, or write in my journal while munching on toast. I know those days will return and mostly I do not mourn them. What I appreciate, is that the morning coffee ritual has continued, even if I drink mine mostly cold.

And reheat it several times…

What is your favourite morning ritual that you adhere to, no matter how crazy the mornings get?

To the Heart of Matters

A box of clothes just arrived for Miss Gabrielle from Miss Kitty in Texas. They showed upĀ  just in time as this ladybug outfit fits Gabrielle perfectly and really is to die for.

We have been sorting our stuff in my in-laws’ basement which includes lots of baby clothes that our babe still has to grow into. We have been going on lots of forest walks, spotting mushrooms, crunching leaves and smelling the crisp burnt air as the wood stoves are alight again. Enjoying the beautiful island we live on, and getting ready to spend a couple weeks away at my parents’ house while Marc works a temporary mill job.

Gabrielle is getting closer and closer to walking. She stands by herself for a couple seconds. She walks with only the aid of one hand now. I watch her with glee to think she soon will be motoring around. We have three weeks until her heart surgery and I gulp back a lump in my throat when I think of the progress she makes now toward moving will all be taken away. Relearning to walk after forced immobility will be difficult for me to watch. But then I think she will take off.

Our babe had a cardiology appointment a little more than week ago. Our cardiologist is fantastic, we are very lucky. Gabrielle is weighed, measured, and her oxygen saturation levels are checked. Then they answer any questions we have and go over what is coming up next. Her oxygen saturation levels were low at 65% and the cardiologist said that if they were in the low 60%’s he would be bumping up her surgery date to much sooner. It makes us all nervous to hear this. But we know that the timing of this surgery is right on queue. She is bluer, she pants when she really gets walking around. We will all rest easier when it’s behind us.

Then at the end of last week, my mama intuition was ringing bells and I decided to take Gabrielle in for a spot check on her oxygen saturation levels. She seemed to be more irritable, she was having a hard time sleeping and again, she was stealing her colour from the smurfs. Her saturation levels were between 65-70% which was good. The docs figure she’s growing out of her shunt (from the first surgery) and she’s needing that second one to come along any day now.

As her mom, I have such mixed feelings about all this. On one hand, I am so grateful that there is a solution. This will be fixed and quite soon. It is not a palliative measure, it is a full repair and to know this is quite a relief. On the other hand, my baby is suffering now, and she has to suffer a lot more before it gets better. That’s hard to watch indeed.

Last night, in my mind’s eye, I opened up my daughter’s chest and went through the surgery. I went through what they would have to do and where they would make incisions, and what machines and tools they would use. Then abruptly, I thought, this is not helping one bit! So I closed up her chest in my head, and gave it up to God, to the doctors to know what they are doing. I don’t have to know all the knitty gritty details about how to do heart surgery. I cannot fix my daughter. I needed to tell myself this and do what I can do -what I’m good at doing. Nursing, cuddling, playing, loving. Really, I think I probably have the much-more-fun job.

I’m finding it hard to write in this space lately because I want this space to be a place of hope, of cheeriness, of adventure. And right now I’m not thrilled with the adventures imminently ahead. So, excuse me if I stay away. Excuse me if I don’t. Life is like this sometimes and I hope you’ll understand the less optimistic posts.

I hope you are enjoying these sweet crunchy orange days of fall with a steaming mug in front of a woodstove. Because those are my sweet moments these days.

In Between Everything

We have an amazing amount going on right now and I am at the end of myself.

But really, it’s about time.

I went to a poetry reading last night at the Legion (Marc babysat, thank you Love.) And there was a woman there and she wrote about transformation. She wrote about seeing a crab burst out of his old shell, and wonder about on the beach in a soft new shell, still slimy and not yet hardened. Vulnerable. She wrote about how if we make our shells hard, transformation comes all the more painfully.

I don’t know if my shell was hard. I like to think myself pliable to life’s unpredictability. But apparently life sometimes throws me for a loop and I feel soft-shelled, slimy and vulnerable on a beach, hoping the seagulls don’t find me here.

Being at the end of myself is where I throw up my hands in the air. I ask for help. I hope that someone comes and rescues me.

Most of the time, I am an eternal optimist. I understand that not everything works out all the time. That sometimes life is really hard and it doesn’t get easier. That people die. Babies die. Children suffer. I understand that. But when I throw things out there, when I get to the end of myself, when I pray, usually things get better. Do you think that it is in the asking?

So this is where I am. Mostly, it is situational. It is transitional. And I think it may be because I was ‘trying so hard’ instead of letting go.

I hope that in letting go, I can find more peace in this transition. I can have a soft shell and let the rain just bead up and wash over me. I can go with the flow. And when is that ever a bad thing?

Here I am. At the end of myself. Trusting everything will work out.

And when it does, I hope I don’t grow into my new shell too quickly.

Because I’d hate to do this all over again…