Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

the arrivals gate

it’s hard to talk about so writing about it is pretty scary- very concrete- as it officially means i am admitting to myself and then to the public (cosmically, if nothing else) that i don’t always enjoy mothering, especially, it would appear, from the trenches of the first few months.

i know damn well that i should be taking every opportunity to enjoy our new baby, given that he is darling, precious, and our last- soon to outgrow us all as well as his need or desire for my company- but… i don’t seem to really be capable of that today. most days, yes, i enjoy him immensely and now that i have got it all pretty sorted, this new life with two kids, i mean, the happiness quotient is rising with regards to all things parent. this morning though, i feel busy and harassed being responsible for the two of them and i find myself mid bitter identity crisis regarding where i am in all of this. i think it’s fair to say that on this dreary day, the chaos and ever present neediness x 2 is detracting from whatever bliss i should be feeling.

i remember this with my first son, as well. i didn’t find parenting hard, or meeting his needs to be a skill beyond me, but i found the transition to being a parent, exclusively, in those early months challenging. there wasn’t a whole lot of room for me to be anything else but what he needed me to be and despite my love for him and my pride in him and the delight i found in him, i had days where i felt suffocated and would find myself busying about at times, trying, somehow, to feel as though i accomplished something tangible, or that my day had meaning, in a way that could be measured. other times, the often sound of his crying was just so overwhelming that i would purposely engage in other tasks that i decided to define as important and pressing, just to justify diverting my attention and energy elsewhere which would give me reprieve from him, like vacuuming instead of continuing the constant effort of  trying to make him stop.

on those days when out was what i needed, part of me felt guilty but the rest of me felt good- immersed in an activity i could effectively manage-and i felt liberated, because i couldn’t hear him for a while and i could trick myself into feeling alone, and maybe even free. it was a falsehood, of course, as you can only vacuum for so long, and too soon i found myself called to face the enormous challenge of having a dependent and, as a direct result of this reality, not having much choice making room for myself. but, even the mini break did me good and benefited him in the end as well, as i returned fresh and maybe even kinda renewed. ready, anyhow, to keep on giving.

i find myself there again every once in a while, where i feel irrationally annoyed that my baby can’t somehow meet all of his own needs and leave me out of it in the meantime. compounding this is my three year old who has even more wants of me, and his requests are more creative, refined, complex and exhausting by virtue of same. they aren’t unreasonable demands and it’s not that i don’t have time or energy for them, it’s that i simply don’t always want to meet their (seemingly insatiable) requests of my body, mind, and spirit.

it’s at moments like this when i can’t help but wonder if maybe my personhood gets in the way of my motherhood. maybe i spent too much time in university and that’s why i always crave diversity, stimulation, and challenging dialogue. maybe i was single for too long after i graduated, had too much fun doing whatever i wanted on my own terms, and got selfish and now find it hard to share. or, maybe i was partnered for too long before kids, got spoilt and now miss my spouse as well as having a conversation with him that doesn’t revolve around the to do list. maybe it’s because i love my work and lose some sense of self-importance when i’m not busy being fabulous at it. maybe i am a product of a generation of selfish assholes (it’s a popular theory) and therefore resist selflessness. maybe it’s a combination of all these things resulting in too strong of a self concept that means i can’t be subservient to a baby without missing who i was. or, perhaps, it is completely normal for women to experience some internal conflict, resistance, and discomfort as we redefine ourselves (over, and over again) for the benefit of our family.

whatever. point is, it’s not the kind of day where it would be in anybody’s best interest to try and befriend me at the playground. but, i’ll be back at my joy. soon. arriving there may be more of a circular then linear process but i believe that i will make progress. i may be present and immersed and whole in my role one day and then i may spiral again, to the angst among unreconciled versions of self that can’t find room to think, let alone exist.  actually, it’s more then believing in better. i know i will get back to happy.  i have history on my side this time and i know that this is fleeting and that it all transforms and develops into good, good stuff. i walked this road before and we all survived.

as for now, i will practice what motherhood has taught me better than any other experience: i will try to let go of preconceived notions; i will try to shake off unrealistic expectations; and i will try to be sensitive, gentle, and generous with those who need it the most, myself included.

November 14, 2012

if these walls could talk

my husband’s family home is 100 years old and stands in the center of a town that has grown up around it. in the face of change, growth, and expansion, it stands, stubbornly, seemingly refusing to be altered or modified from it’s original state. it has seen many a rainy day and suggests, in outer appearance, at least, that it might have had enough of the grey scale, fog, and moisture, and might just melt into the ground, end the fight to withstand another tofino winter, and make peace, finally, with the harsh landscape and weather pattern.

inside, though it is often cold and drafty, it is usually full of family members who love each other and, paired with the fabric of his family’s history, having been inhabited by multiple generations over the years, it is, for that, very warm. it is a damp, dark house, with a narrow entry way, steep and creaky stairs, a number of bedrooms, one bathroom, one living area, an eating area, a cold spare room used for storage, and a bizarre and tiny kitchen. it is so small, in fact, that the oven and other essential appliances live in the large and spacious dining area, which is fitting, considering the volume of people who dine there on the regular.

the kitchen was once mint green, i think, and is now faded in it’s glory. the linoleum is lifted in parts, worn completely out in others, and the yellow sparkly countertops have lost their sheen. like the exterior, what could pass for neglected is, in fact, just well used and unpretentious. it is a busy and active kitchen and i can hardly believe what his mother, sisters, and brothers in law are capable of producing from there. feasts, i tell you, by any other name. i personally find that it lacks counter space and order and therefore can’t think very clearly in there and, because of this, have difficulty functioning to my potential inside it’s walls.

despite this, i love it. i love the ice cream bucket compost. i love the garbage cans, often full of salmon remains, that are separated into burnables and non (a system, admittedly, i have never fully understood and probably confuse and/or ruin regularly). i love that there is only room for one, maybe two adults in there, and i love that when the dishwasher moves in, requiring a hook up to the sink to drain, that exactly zero people fit, rendering it unusable. i love the vinegar in the microwave, i love that there is always baking on the counter (though my waistline does not), i love that there is always coffee in the pot though no one who lives there drinks it, and i love the cactus on the window sill which is so illogical, given the floods that pound the pane, rendering it even more blurry and isolating, as the plastic that is put up in protection every season keeps out the angry storms but limits any clear view to the external world, as well.

one of my favorite parts of the kitchen is a hidden treasure taped inside a cupboard, a piece of worn paper with faded writing, hung above a oversized vat of flour, used by my mother in law (a precious, kind, and giving woman who has raised what seems like hundreds of children and even more spirits) when she creates her home-made bread that is highly coveted.

taped there for reference, complete with a threatening reminder to NOT (or else) remove the #$%&*@! recipe is the simple list of ingredients and directions you will find below. i don’t follow directions well, and often resist conforming to the rituals of my in-laws for some unfounded reason i can’t name or explain but, truth be known, i have been absorbed by this one. years after first seeing the yellowed scrap paper with what i think is his second eldest sister’s writing, and after dozens, maybe more, pancake breakfasts at his mother’s proud and stoic family table, i made the call, i asked for the recipe, it was generously provided to me from memory, and i am the better for it. you will be too.


pancake recipe

1. mix together:

1 & 1/2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 teaspoons baking powder.

2. add:

1 cup milk

3. stir until just smooth.

4. in a separate bowl, mix together:

1/4 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 tablespoons oil or margarine / butter.

5. combine and mix together.

November 13, 2012


you turned three this past weekend. it’s been busy the last month, with the arrival of your brother and our world multiplying in joy and chaos and all, and i have not been able to give writing much room so, your little love letter is late.

this said, little man, i have reflected upon your birth frequently this past month and what it meant to me, us, and life in general and you can rest assured that you occupy more room in my consciousness then is probably healthy.

moo, i am no longer able to say that the day of your birth was the happiest, or the best, day of my life (rumour has it siblings don’t like that) but i can still say it was the most significant. bringing in your life was so profound and so transformative that my timeline will forever be marked by this turning point day, or night, as it were: before motherhood and since.

in the moment you were real you gave me more than i ever could have asked for and, most treasured, you gave me the gift of you. i will never forget the drama of your signals to come, the travels in fiction like conditions to all that was unknown, the way you contorted by body into a primal being, the tenderness of your scalp as you made your exit, reaching to grasp the birth of you, or the feeling of your slippery and warm body on my exhausted chest. i will never take for granted your alerting cries, the opportunity we had to lock eyes within seconds of meeting, or what magic it was when you suckled at me for more life once yours had begun.

happiest of birthdays my love. i celebrate you, as every day, but even more than usual this month. watching you become your curious little self has been an honour and a privilege. i hope you think we are doing right by you.

adoringly, your mother.

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November 8, 2012

false advertising

ever seen the children’s show “olive the ostrich”? no, probably not- your life is likely more interesting then mine. i, however, have a frantic cluster feeding newborn and a (neglected) preschooler and, therefore, have seen this show, as knowledge kids is on sometimes (read: more often then it should be). anyways, point is, olive: whattabitch.

why? the show’s jingle actually introduces olive’s mother to us stating that “olive’s mother enjoys pushing out HUGE eggs” and then demonstrates, complete with dopey animated smile on said ostrich mother’s face. i kid you not, this is not a sleep deprived fabrication. i saw it with my own puffy eyes! what bullshit.

olive’s ridiculous mother probably also ‘enjoys’ the sound of her newborn, who lacks self soothing skills (that’s right, 2 for 2), completely lose his shit  instead of cringing, cursing, and engaging in escapist blogging behaviour.

fack, i think i’ll take it one step further and put my own head in the sand.

November 6, 2012

amazing grace

the only unfortunate part about birthing a second beautiful child is that your first beautiful child has to get a bit further away from you, to make space. no one really tells you how conflicted you might feel, loving this new life whilst grieving some perceived loss of your first. or how your skin might ache for the touch of the child who you have spent the last number of years loving, exclusively, and who, until now, was the love of your life. i wasn’t ready for that ache, that ache that might make it just a bit hard to swallow, or adjust to my new little precious.

today, when i had a moment to get real close to my moo, he snuggled into my face, looked me in the eyes, put his fingers in my hair, breathed deeply, and told me that i had “beautiful hair, mom-mom”. then, taking my arm and tucking my hand around his body he, unprompted, reminded me: “you are not lost mommy” and, patting his chest, asserted “i am right here”.


it’s like i am now, officially, home from the hospital. home in the smell of his skin. home in the sound of his breath. home in the warmth of his tender, loving, knowing, being.

home, trusting there will be room for two.