Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have had the strangest experience of my entire motherhood - being away from my children for 12 days. Strange in that while I missed them, I was OK. Strange in that Christmas didn't make me sad. Strange in that the freedom was wonderful, enriching, gave me perspective. I honestly feel like a different person right now then before they left.

While the kids were gone, I did a huge job on the house. Cabinets were added to the kitchen, an island was moved and new countertops added, and as the piece de resistance, I sanded and resealed the softwood floor. No more splinters. Yay!

But before you all think I've gone nuts, I've got to say that today - spending the first day in nearly two weeks with my kids - was the best day I can ever remember as a mother. It was still fraught with the chaos of kids - Thea climbing in the sink and soaking herself just as we were heading out the door, taking diaper off multiple times, etc.

The joy, however, was huge. We went for a run/bike on the Spit in 35-degree sunshine - no snow on the trail meant we had a rare window for such activity. And we came home and ate food that would never have been accepted otherwise. And when Thea threw a fit about something, I had the energy to deal with it appropriately instead of brushing it under the rug and encouraging the behavior. And after dinner, the three of us danced to fiddle music for a half-hour, taking turns "soloing." And then Liam sang us a couple songs, and Thea and I clapped along. And we read some stories, and both kids collapsed in bed.

The stove is crackling. The house is warm and clean and beautiful. I am filled with a feeling of richness. Hurray for perspective.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

chistmas is coming

This is going to be a strange christmas since the children will be gone. I've mostly ignored the holiday so far, but last night, the weather was warm, we got home at dusk, and I decided to strike while the iron was hot and get the tree. I popped the kids out of the car and down the path, saw in hand, in search of a small enough tree to carry. We found one after only a few minutes, just off the path. It took a bit of time to saw down due to the fact that I believe I was using a keyhole saw since it was the only one with any teeth (note to self, get new saw before next Christmas).
Théa managed to howl her way through the whole process since she pulled off her gloves and then fell in the snowbank. I believe the rough translation of her rant was, "Seriously, why do we have to live in a place with all this white stuff, anyway, and did you know I am hungry and really can't imagine why standing out here in the snow is going to benefit me in any way."
Despite it all, the tree came down, and I started pulling it up the path when I realized Thea was not going to walk. So I handed the saw to Liam, hiked her up on one hip, and strongarmed that spruce up the path to the house. It was one of those moments I was glad to be in good shape, because frankly, being a single mom takes as much physical strength as it does mental fortitude.
After a speedy spaghetti dinner, I found the tree stand (amazing!), trimmed the bottom, scrunched it through the front door and got the thing standing upright and mostly straight without flattening any small children. Then Théa went off to bed and Liam and I decorated for an hour. It was lovely - quiet and peaceful and we both had a great time. Liam set up the crèche and I put the star on top, and voila, Christmas.

In the morning, when Théa got up at 5:30 in the morning (uuuggg) I kind of forgot about it until I heard her emphatic "OH WOW MAMMA" as we came down the stairs.
There's something undeniably magic about Christmas - and I guess I can't ignore it altogether. Putting up the tree has always been one of my favorite parts, and I was glad to be able to share that with the kids.

Tonight was Liam's Christmas concert at school. They sang Silent Night in Japanese (and English). It was beautiful, and Liam was so proud. He sang his heart out, really. Not one iota of stage fright in that little guy. What a surprise.
And even Thea surprised me by not pitching an almighty fit when asked to stay in one place for a 1/2 hour or so. Pretty good showing, all around.