Monday, March 28, 2011

Blessed

The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.  ~Sam Levenson


I wonder if they know how lucky they are...

It's not every grandparent that would take the time to create tin can candle holders with them.


It's not every grandparent that would take the time to make peanut butter pine cones with them.


It's not every grandparent that would take the time to make homemade maple butter with them.


And this was all in one weekend.

I wonder if they know how lucky they are.  To have grandparents who take the time.  Who care.  Who love.  Who give.


They are the luckiest kids in the world!

Break

You can feel it coming - that slow build of lava, bubbling up through exhaustion and the minutia of patience you cling to like a life-line - when words are sharp and tone is hurtful - when they stomp to bed with tears in their eyes because your kindness is at it's limit and your assiduity is self-focused because all you want is a steaming cup of tea and a steaming bathtub steeped in lavender and you swear if you hear, "but I don't wanna go to bed," one more time you'll shave your head and lock yourself in the bedroom closet...

Winter wears you like a ragged coat, dragging you down, robbing colour and grace.  I needed this like an addict needs heroine so, when the proposal was spoken, all I could do was write a great big YES in the condensation of my sigh.

A beautiful room, hip and modern, king bed, toilet paper folded to a point, clever signage and berber carpeting.


Steak so rare we bordered on vampiric.  Walks through bitter winds to view one of the seven wonders.  Laughing.  Catching hold of those moments that strengthen and bind.  Remembering the little things.  Like a night without a child coming into our bed.  Head massages and hair cuts.  Ferris Wheels and floating in an early morning pool.  Blisters and complimentary coffee.  Best friends.  Finding the end of the rainbow.




And coming home.  Two nights refreshed.  And happy to see my children.  And saying, "I missed you."  And really meaning it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Floating

Escape to the fringe.  Morning sky hung with fire and ice.  Caught in silence.  Hung suspended between gravity and this peaceful rest.  Eyes closed.  Held in sweetness.  Held in peace.  A brink on the hemline of heaven.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Person's Junk...

...is another person's treasure.

They were throwing it away.  Full sized.  Weighted keys.  Dirty.  Dusty.  Broken pedal jack.

I rescued it.  Cleaned it.  Took it apart.  Fixed it.  Put it back together.

I haven't had a piano for over ten years.

I sense some new song writing in the very near future.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Army of One

It is his personal battle.  It is a war and he is the one soldier fighting against the odds and he will keep fighting until the day his daddy gives up his du Maurier Ultra Lights.  His offense methods are direct and unapologetic and I love him for it.  Last week he presented said father with this brilliant little number..."Do you even know what's in those cigarettes, Daddy?  Well, let me tell you!"  And he read it out loudly and matter-of-factly and holier-than-thouly and then hung it on the fridge so Daddy has to look at it every day.  I have no doubt that Zander, above all else, will be the reason he finally quits.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Conversations on the Road

We're pushing through a particularly Canadian winter night drive, one headlight blown - the other piercing weakly through heavy flakes that fall like offensive dandruff on the dark shoulders of the highway.  All-seasons, obviously designed in a part of the world with no knowledge of black ice or slush, catch and grind in our timid parade behind a lumbering plow who's flashing lights twinkle like a Christmas tree and make me feel safe.

Liam is crying softly in the back seat and I cringe against the shuffle and smear that means he's just wiped a snotty nose on his coat sleeve.  He's upset because Zander is sitting in the front seat with his new Pokemon game and he wants to watch him play.  It's almost past bedtime.  This is our regular Monday night, slipping through the dark night to a worship practice where I carry my guitar through an unlit church, settle children in the nursery with a pointless plea that they not make a mess and meet my team in the sanctuary for an hour and a half.

And like a storm suddenly clearing, Liam cries out with sunshine in his voice, "What in da worwld?"  I can see him in the rearview, forehead pressed against the cold window, breath making little puffs of condensation on the glass.  "I ten see Dander's DS out da window!"  The reflection against the darkness makes it seem like a screen is floating just beyond the car, hanging suspended like the moon, and he's brilliantly happy.  "It's dust like da drwive-in!"

We carry on, part of a procession now, one of seven vehicles behind the heavy-footed plow.

"Mommy?"  Liam's voice floats up from the back, sleepy now.

"Yes, Liam?"

"Does Desus live in da desert?"

I laugh softly, "No, Liam, Jesus lives in heaven."

He's taken aback.  "What?  He's DEAD?"

Zander closes his DS and cranes his face around the seat to face his brother.  "No, Liam, remember?  Jesus died on the cross and then he came back to life and he flew up in the clouds and disappeared into heaven."

"Ohhhhh,"  Liam says, "like Superman."

Zander turns back around, plow light alternating his face between blue and red.  "Exactly!"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friending the Bully

the nicest kid in the world!
Dillon is scrawny, freckled and red-headed like a Rockwell painting or the Mad Magazine kid.  He looks harmless.  Cute even.  And he's been bullying Zander for months.  Pulling hair, stealing his chair or his hat, shoving in the hallway, name calling, breaking his snow fort in the school yard.  And, of course, we didn't know anything about it because his reply to the daily, "how was school?" question is always answered with a robotic, "fine."

It took a call from the teacher to give us a clue.  "There was an 'altercation,'" she said.

Zander didn't want to tell us.  He just knew there would be a consequence involving video games.  He begins with his defence:  "Well, Dillon's been doing stuff every day."  (First we'd heard of it.)  "Today he pulled my chair out and I fell."

"So what did you do?"

"I got up and punched him."

And while we would never encourage that kind of behavior I'm listening to his story thinking, "good, you need to stick up for yourself!"  But what I said was, "do you think that was the best way to handle it?"

"No - he just shoved me back into the blackboard and I hit my head."

And so begins the dissection of Dillon:
"Does he pick on other kids too?"
"No."
"Who are his friends?"
"I don't know."
"Who does he play with?"
"Nobody."
"Maybe he just wants to be friends with you but doesn't know how."
"How can you not know how to be friends?"
"Maybe he doesn't have any brothers or sisters."
"He has two older sisters."
"Maybe they're mean to him.  Maybe his parents aren't nice.  Maybe he doesn't know how to be nice."
"Hmmm."
"What if you asked him to play with you?"
"Yeah right, he's mean."
"You could be a good example.  Show him how to be friends."
Shrug.
"I'm not saying you have to Zander, it's just something to think about."
But I'm sure all he really cared about was that I didn't take away his DSi.

One week later...

"How was school, Zander?"
"Fine."  Of course.
"How was Dillon?"
"He tried to break the tunnel I was digging in the snowbank."
"So what did you do?"
"I asked him to help me build it."
"And did he?"
"Yes."
"How was it?"
Sheepishly now, "fun."

And I was so proud that it came bubbling out in embarrassing hugs and kisses and he just giggled and pretended to fight it but I know he was okay with it because none of his friends were around to witness.