Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Pie

March has ended in triumph.  The snow is almost all gone.  The daffodils Henry and I planted in November are pushing up through the ground.  The trees are laced with buds.  The days have lengthened and warmed.

We had our friends and their two children come over for Easter dinner (a vegetarian shepherd's pie) and any time I held the baby, Henry would come and hold my leg and asked to be carried too.  He would not share his toys or his high chair---such pure unrestrained jealousy and possessiveness.  That too is innocence.  

The Easter bunny arrived while Henry napped after church and he was fairly well able to restrain himself from finding all of the chocolates before our guests arrived.  He was not too interested in chocolates it has to be said.  Like father like son.  Maybe next year I'll have to try jelly beans.

Going back to last weekend, we drove down to Buffalo to meet up with my brother's family at the zoo to celebrate my niece's 4th birthday.  It was wonderful to see the two cousins connecting and being silly together.

And finally, the Easter basket was made, paid and displayed.  It was beautiful and hopeful and cathartic.  

Welcome spring!

Emily and Henry at the zoo Bearstro.

My first sprouted bulb. 

Throwing rocks down at the Beach.  

 In memory of my mother and grandmother.  
You live on in my heart.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Avoiding the Florist

I've been avoiding the florist.  I ordered a special flower basket to be placed on the baptismal font for Easter Sunday.  It will be in memory of my mother and grandmother, who died 29 and 18 years ago respectively.

I was supposed to have confirmed the size of the font 5 days ago so that they could find a suitable basket, but I have not yet called.  I keep forgetting. 

Or more likely, I am avoiding making the call.

It is something I would rather block out, not deal with.  Just thinking about calling the florist raises my anxiety to quite an uncomfortable level.

I can still call the florist tomorrow morning, the day before the flowers are needed.  And if it's too late, well, I'll just make do with whatever she gives me.

I think it has been so difficult for me to follow through ordering flowers for Easter, because as much as I wish to commemorate my mother and maternal grandmother, I don't want to see it materialize.  If I see it, some pain and grief will surface.  It doesn't matter how beneficial this might be; it is easier to ignore or put this pain off.

When I told the florist the reason behind the flowers, she became quite passionate and shared her life's philosophy about plants and serving nature and her own troubled experience with her mother and then becoming a mother and now her daughter is 8 months pregnant with her first child, and so on.

We connected as mothers, as women, as survivors.  And then, without really being aware of it, I ran away from this connection, from this healing.


That is what I'm so publicly asking.    

Perhaps, I've been holding onto this loss too tightly.  Losing my mother so young and the obstacles that I have faced because of this have defined me for, well most of my life.

And now, while my son is the same age I was when I lost my mother, I must move on.  

This loss can and should be set free.  

So fine.  I will call the florist in the morning.  I will apologize and be honest about why I have not called.  I don't much care if the arrangement is too big or too small.  Just being able to transform my deep and heavy feelings into something as fresh and hopeful as hydrangeas and lilies is the best offering I can make to honour my beautiful departed mothers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Wee Post

For St. Patrick's Day, Henry's daycare allowed the children to change into their pyjamas and watch a movie together.  The choice:  The Lion King, a movie I first saw when I was around 14 years old.  Afterwards I asked Henry what he thought of the movie and he said it was about lions.  They did not sing or dance.  But the mummy lion died and the other lions ate it.  Oh dear.  Oh, and there was no lion named Simba.  Hmmm.  I tried having Mr. Pickles and Winston sing Hukuna Matata for him to see if it sparked good memories, but it didn't seem to click.  Hmmm.  Is this going to be a future trauma story? 

Anyway, he seemed to have had a fun day, and this last weekend has been espeically fun.   

Recently I signed up for Autoshare.  And and so on Friday night, I was able to get all of my big grocery shopping done by car for most of the week, which meant we were more free this weekend to enjoy our time, and be less stressed.  This for me is huge! 

Henry is starting to overcome some fears:  he doesn't cry over having to poo, he doesn't seem to be afraid of chickens anymore, he played with his remote control firetruck for the first time today (a birthday present from 6 months ago), and finally he's put on his Halloween costume.  I even got him to wear a bathrobe!  Oh the boy is growing up.

Here's some visuals.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

J'Heart Quebec

It has long been my intention to do series of blog posts on Quebec.  I wish to both share what I love about Quebec and perhaps more selfishly, I wish to feel more connected to it and learn at the same time.

It was 10 years ago that I graduated from university and moved away from Montreal, a city that felt like home, despite so many foreign aspects.  I quickly felt a deep bond to the city (or perhaps it was only infatuation early on).

What I love most about Montreal, is that it is.  It exists.  Coming from Virginia and the "melting pot" of the south, it was stunning to find a relatively peaceful city (at that time), where literally one street divided the city between the French (east) and the English (west).  Of course, there is some overlap in the middle, like a venn diagram where it is solidly bilingual.  But there is a live evolving discourse (or that is how I see it from the outside), as to how much to accommodate English at all, and of course entitled Anglos feel "why should we learn another language?  We conquered you on the Plains of Abraham.  So you must assimilate or learn two languages!"  

But I've always felt that Montreal and Quebec are only special at all, because of the French and the unique Quebecois culture.  I feel like unless we protect, respect and celebrate their language, culture and heritage, we will end up building a parking lot in a wildlife sanctuary.

So on that note, here is a little history lesson to get this series started:

-Montreal is a city on a island in the middle of the St. Lawrence river.
-Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, the 15th largest in North America.
-First Nations people occupied the island at least 4,000 years before the Europeans arrived.
-1535:  Jacques Cartier found the Saint Lawrence Iroquoians living in the village of Hochelaga at the base of Mount Royal.
-1611:  Samuel de Champlain starts a fur trading post at what is now Pointe-a-Calliere in Old Montreal.
-1642:  Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve establishes first permanent mission on the island.
-1689:  New France's largest massacre takes place in Lachine, on the island, when the English backed Iroquois attacked the French settlers.  (part of the Beaver Wars.  I'm not joking, check the link.)

And here is a taste of why Montreal is Canada's Culture Capital:  Voir 

(Oldies but goodies)

A bientot!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Prelude in Eh Minor

Yesterday, for the first time this year, I felt spring approach.  

It was light and sunny when I left for work.  The sharpness in the wind was dulled and there were birds chirping in a more animated and perhaps fuller way.  

My friend down in White Plains, NY said that tulips have begun to push through the topsoil down there, so it's only a matter of weeks before we see life return here.  

For now, there are icy walks through ravines where Henry & I hold hands and slips and slide, taking pause to throw ice balls into the trickling stream.

On the weekend, Henry spent a good 30 minutes drawing out the walk up the hill to the Danforth, picking off almost every icicle from the bottom of the ledge that runs by the sidewalk going under the train bridge.  He would pick them off, and either throw them on the ground, or "paint" with them on the water flow that turned into an icy canvas overnight.

This winter has been a real winter in at least a couple of ways.  Initially, I doubted that snow would factor into these colder months, as the previous year brought such a pathetic dusting it would have been insulting to a snow shovel to even be picked up.  But this year, we have had a couple of good dumpings and then the snow has stayed.  So by current Toronto standards, we've had a real white winter; one where the snow hangs around so long it collects enough dog pee marks to warrant an archive.  Soon it will all turn to slush and a few more cars will be able to park on the street.

So in addition to shovelling snow, going ice skating, sledding with Henry and making snow forts, winter has been a true fallow period and time for reflection in order to prepare for the return of life and hope of the spring.  

After a tumultuous first two years of Henry's life (not for him really, but for me and his dad), we are now more settled with jobs, finances, routine, SLEEP, and finally have re-calibrated life in order to achieve some sort of tentative balance, beyond the ability to survive.  

So now, starting to look ahead, Henry will soon be starting potty-training, we may start fixing up the house (little by little), we might get a cat and so on.  Our 10 year wedding anniversary in June is also dawning on the horizon.   Cue:  This is the dawning of the age of acquarius....

To get here, I am so grateful for supportive friends and family and for the community into which we are weaving and sharing our lives.  

And if you've been skimming, here's the good stuff: