Posts Tagged With: love

I will hold you up

My BFF and I came to each other rather late in our childhood — we were 45 — but I think we have made up for the years apart and then some. We met because her second child and my one and only were in the same Kindergarten class. We have evolved far beyond school-parent friends and have melded into family. It all happened very quickly. And I am thankful for her every day.

In September, on my BFF’s birthday, her grandmother died. Annie was 99 years young and was the very definition of a Babba. She loved her children, her grandchildren, her grandchildren’s children, and her great-great-grandchildren with an unbelievably open heart. Hell, she loved BoyGenius as if he was her very own great-grandchild right from the day she met him. She had lived through some things, she had come out, and she kept on living. And loving. I loved her, and I miss her.

At the beginning of this week, on Sunday night, while in hospital fighting pneumonia, my BFF’s mother had a massive stroke. She died Monday morning at the age of 79. This second unbelievably strong woman from this family passed away so unexpectedly that we are all still reeling. Shirley was a seemingly tireless worker who took care of everyone and everything. She was the glue that held her family community together. This loss, so close on the heels of Babba’s passing and coming so without warning is like being hit by a tetherball in full swing — the force and ensuing vibration have rocked us to our cores. I loved her, and I will miss her (it hasn’t really sunk in yet).

I know that my friend will find it exponentially more difficult to come through this than I will. I know that her head and heart are filled with regret and “if only”s. I know that her heart is broken and her spirit is only hanging on by the thinnest of threads. I know that words are cold comfort and even actions may go unnoticed right now. I’m doing what I can, including driving across country this evening so I can be there with her, for whatever she needs.

As I enveloped her in my arms on Monday afternoon I promised her one thing: “I will hold you up as long as you need.” The palpable release of even a little bit of tension was all the thanks I needed. I love her and I don’t want to have to miss her.

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Categories: family, friendship, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

poetry on a thursday

Although this wasn’t written today it is fairly new; with the cool air and the autumn breeze it seemed an appropriate day to share it.

My God! Do you really not see what I see when I look at you?
The way you sparkle when you laugh, like the diamonds of early dew;
the light that glows from deep in your soul when you’re telling me something new;
the strength that emanates from your hands when you’re working with a tool;
the depth of wisdom behind your eyes that shouts that you’re no fool;
the flow of your hair, the curve of your hip that your beauty do betray;
the love that breathes and beats in your heart — it all makes me want to stay.
I wish that you could see yourself through my eyes now and then;
you wouldn’t doubt your value or your worth ever again.

This poem percolated for a few days, and I lost some of it while wool-gathering. I think it still turned out okay. 

Categories: friendship, love, poetry, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

almost 12

Last night I was far too deep inside the “book” I was reading (it was an e-book, I can’t deny that I use those) and was long past tired, so it wasn’t until close to 1:30 am that I finally closed the iPad and pushed the switch on my bedside lamp. It took me at least 20 minutes to doze off and drop into a solid sleep. Not so solid, however, that I didn’t immediately awaken when my almost 12 year old son appeared at the side of my bed. “Mama, I had a bad dream.” I glanced at the clock before I scooted over against the wall and held the covers up for him to climb in beside me: 3:17. After a few minutes spent watching him, I felt confident enough in his slumber to close my eyes, trying to drift off. He moved about a bit and then, “Mama, my head hurts.” I asked him if he wanted a pill or just an ice pack and he decided on both. I checked the time when I climbed over top of him and back into bed: 3:43. Once he was lying still for 15 minutes I climbed back out and took myself and my alarm across the hall to his empty bed. I lay awake a while; listening in case he needed me; unable to settle because I was worried about not getting enough sleep. 7 am came fairly quickly. HardWorker was already gone, I had some time before I needed to get BoyGenius up and into the shower, and tried to plot out just when in the day I would fit a couple of naps in. My Fitbit app advised me that I had managed only four hours and six minutes of actual sleep — nothing I could do to change that. It was going to be a long Monday.

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For a few weeks now, I’ve been getting hit with the realization that I am about to be the parent of a 12 year old. How did this happen? I didn’t really plan on this. I mean, I know that’s how it works, if you’re extremely lucky: your children grow up and you all grow older together. But seriously, my plan was to have a baby, maybe a toddler. A 12 year old? I never really thought that far ahead. He’s in grade 6. And the school year is more than half over. His birthday parties now consist of 3-4 friends, pizza, a movie, and some video games. To be fair, they’ve been like that for a few years already; he’s always seemed two to three years ahead of his chronological age. Not that we’ve rushed him, or anyone’s expected him to be more mature, or anything like that; he’s just always had this “presence” and common sense, logical thought process and a wicked quick sense of humour, an easy-going nature and a thoughtful need for fairness, all combined with a solid sense of uniqueness and self. While most of those character traits have stood BoyGenius in good stead over his 12 years, he has also had to put up with disparaging comments about his sensitivity, his choice of hairstyle or shoe colour, his apparent “know-it-all”-ness, his book and movie preferences.

I still look at him in wonder at least once a day. He makes me laugh, he makes me cry, he makes me worry, he makes me proud. There is still so much for him to learn, but there is sooooo much that he already knows. There are things he does that frustrate me, and there are things he does that make my heart swell with amazement at who he has already become in his 12 short years. And the thing is, the person that he has become, and that he still has to grow into, that person has been there since day one. That personality was already in place with the first wave of his hand and kick of his foot in utero; the good-natured-ness, the sense of humour — already there.

Sometimes I miss my baby. Sometimes I miss my toddler. Most times I know that the young man sprawled across our couch or searching for food 15 minutes after dinner is the same guy. When my almost 12 year old gets awakened by a bad dream and needs to snuggle with Mama I am absolutely sure.

I love you, Schnucki.

Categories: family, love, memories, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

musings (on death, in this case)

The first line of this crept into my head as I was peanut-buttering my toast this morning. No idea why, but I thought I had better sit down and find some paper pretty quickly (kind of like that split second when you know you’re about to throw up), so I did just that. And ended up with this:

 

I have held the hand of Death
as it invades and seeks to usurp
the breath of Life in a loved one’s body.
While Death is not pretty and Death is not proud,
wanting and waiting to snuff out the Life within,
it does seem to care for the shell and the skin without.
Rarely have I felt a hand so soft or smooth
as one struggling to hold on to another day or two.
Skin stretched taut over cheekbone and brow
may seem a grotesque mask to some,
but if so then surely one made from the finest silk
with nary a furrow or crease.
It is almost as if Death, knowing its own reputation
doth proceed, has searched for some small way
to repay the great sacrifices made,
and understanding that family and friends may be holding fast,
offers the only softness it knows,
one of gentle touch.

 

As I said, I don’t know where this came from, I only know it had to come out.

Categories: loss, love, words | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

empty bed

BoyGenius is away at camp this week. Sleep-away camp, for the first time ever. I knew he would be fine, I knew I would be fine, and I knew HardWorker would be beside herself with anxiety and worry. (She was so beside herself that it was crowded here for a couple of days — she has since gotten better.)

I had no reason to believe that he would be homesick or feel out of his depth or anything at all like that. I know he’s having a blast (thanks to the modern miracles of INSTAGRAM and Twitter). Dropping him off on Sunday evening was fine for me, fine for him, and a huge deal for HardWorker. I had read her The Riot Act on Saturday and repeated it on Sunday morning: “You’re not going to say anything about him missing us (or the cat) or feeling homesick. You’re not going to tell him how bad you’re going to feel because he’s away. You are absolutely not going to suggest that if he feels like coming home all he has to do is text and you’ll come pick him up.” She thought maybe she shouldn’t come along to drop him off. Then realised that she’d probably do worse alone at home. It was hard work getting her to leave him at camp, let me tell you.

My mother asks everyday if there has been any word from BoyGenius. She asks every day if I miss him. I’m having a hard time convincing her that I don’t. That’s right. I don’t miss him. Like I said, I know he’s having fun, a fantastic childhood summer experience. I know he is secure enough in our love to just be able to enjoy himself. I am secure enough in both his love for me and my love for him to not miss him. He’ll be home tomorrow, for crying out loud. It’s not even a full week away. When I was 8 years old my brother BlueEyes (who was 12) and I went to Germany on our own. Sure, we had relatives meeting us and we were staying with them, but we flew across the Atlantic alone — and changed planes in one of the busiest airports in Europe. When we were only a few years older my parents put us on a cross-border Greyhound to visit friends in New Jersey for a week, and BlueEyes and I took the commuter train from Paramus into Manhattan almost every day — on our own. We went to see a show at Rockefeller Center, we went to the outside observation deck of the World Trade Center, we shopped in Times Square. Did my mother miss us those times we were away? She says she absolutely did, but I don’t think it stopped her from carrying on normally. We were responsible kids who were totally secure in and with our family units. I like to think I am raising my son the same way.

Do I miss him? Not in the way you might expect. Listen, when he’s been here this summer, he’s been in the basement most of the time. I’ve been able to build him a corner desk unit for his gaming computer — something I would not have been able to do had he been lounging around down there. I’ve done some laundry, baked a cake or two, been able to gloss over lunch and dinner since I didn’t have to worry about feeding him — so in other words, it’s been a pretty normal week for me. I am not feeling an empty space in my heart. I am not sad that he’s away, because I know that he’ll be home tomorrow. I am not worried about him because I know who he’s with and I know he’s having fun. So no, I don’t miss him.

I do notice his empty, nearly neatly made bed every time I walk by his room, though.

BoyGenius is totally asleep, on his stomach, with his left leg bent at the knee so his heel is touching his butt.

So instead of seeing this (yes, this IS how he often sleeps), I am only seeing the empty bed.

Categories: family, love, memories, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

amy

I went to see AMY yesterday.

I knew I wanted to see this movie from the moment I became aware of its existence. I knew I would love it. I knew I would leave the theatre angry, frustrated, sad, and smiling.

There wasn’t really anything in the movie that I didn’t already know; no secret confessions; no deep, dark revelations; no surprises. And I’m not anywhere near to being what you would call an obsessed, huge, or even big fan of Amy Winehouse.

There it is: I’m just some average music lover who appreciated the genius of a young singer-songwriter — and I knew all about her.

What is it about us, as a people, that makes us think we have any right to know everything there is to know about celebrities? Why do we build people up to impossible heights, making it equally impossible for them to lead any sort of normal life, and then revel in their inevitable downfall? Listen, I know she had problems, I know she was a substance abuser, I know she had an eating disorder. I know that the general public is not directly responsible for her death, but come on! Truly, I think we all need to take a good hard look at the way we treat the artists we love: actors, musicians, writers. We think someone does a great job, is fantastic at what they do; we admire their artistry, their talent, their gift. Then we harangue and harass them, chasing them down, following their every move, feeling like we deserve to be a part of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing photos of my favourite artists. But I like to see what they choose to share with us. I don’t like, nor do I or anyone else need to see celeb x caught in an illicit lip-lock with celeb y after midnight in some swanky club, or celeb z stumbling to the curb having been tossed out of a neighbourhood burger joint. It’s none of my business. It’s none of your business. It’s certainly not the business of 142 photographers. We have created this mess. Every living soul has a derailment or two or twenty-eight over the course of their lifetime; we don’t need to try and make every single one of them into a massive train wreck.

Look, I know the drill: the person who needs help has to want the help. You can’t make someone go to rehab and expect that it will stick at all if they don’t want to be there in the first place; but you sure as hell aren’t helping them any by telling them they’re fine and don’t need to go. Amy Winehouse was possessed of a tortured soul. Her struggles gave her the foundation for her artistic expression. She wrote what she lived and I don’t doubt that she relived those experiences every time she breathed life into them on the stage. She was a poet. She was brilliant; she was young; she was scared; she was in over her head. She was sweet; she was funny; she was smart. She was like a firework: we hear the sizzle, the whoosh, the lead-up; then there’s this awe inducing flash, an explosion of colour and light interrupted by the bang/pop that we know came first but just couldn’t keep up; then gone — the absence of the light and colour so stark that you can almost feel it; and we’re left with a lingering puff of smoke dissipating into the atmosphere much faster than we would like.

This movie. I grinned. I chuckled. I grooved. I clenched my jaw. I shook my head. I laughed out loud. I smiled a lot. I cried. I sang. I was prepared for all of the feelings. Some of it was hard to watch, even though I knew what was happening. I had seen it on the news, after all. Some of it was fantastic, simply mesmerizing. I was surprised by what triggered my tears: Tony Bennett. Man, I love this movie.

I do miss you, Amy Winehouse. I would have loved to hear (and feel) whatever else you might have had in store for us.

Categories: loss, love, music, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

if it’s Tuesday this must be poetry …

you come to me

you come to me from time to time
with neither reason nor with rhyme
you come to me in memories
you come to me in dreams
you come to me and fill me up
until I’m bursting at the seams
you come to me on starry nights
on gloomy days devoid of light
you come to me with sparkling eyes
if I hold my breath I can hear your sighs
you come to me and whisper soft
those words of love keep my soul aloft
you come to me — is it your intent
my sanity to steal?
you’ve already taken all my heart
won’t you come to me for real?

Categories: words | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

new year

As the new school year fast approaches (tomorrow!!) I see all sorts of “advice” or “rules” posts and articles that people have written for their children. Some are gender specific, some are grade specific, some are neither. Mine is BoyGenius specific. You might find some nuggets of wisdom in it, you might not.

My dear son, as you start this next chapter in your academic life as you head into grade 5 (seriously!??!) there are some things I want to tell you; some things you need to know. Guess what —- they are not much different than the things I told you at the start of last year, or even throughout grade 4, or 3. Take them to heart, or at least try to remember little snippets of them now and again:

  • don’t be afraid to be smart; don’t be afraid to let your smarts show
  • be respectful of others; friends, teachers, administrators, coaches
  • have fun — in the classroom, on the playground, at lunch
  • don’t let your smarts or the silliness and fun get in the way of learning
  • try not to be too frustrated when you realize that others don’t know the things you do or don’t think the way you do
  • don’t be rude
  • try to keep focused on the task at hand — if you can’t, then try to figure out why and if there is something you can do to make it better; if you need help with your focus, don’t be afraid to ask
  • stay true to yourself; you are a sweet sensitive boy with a fantastic understanding of “fairness” — please don’t give that up, as hard and as heartbreaking as it may seem to hold onto
  • come to me; remember that you can tell me anything and I won’t ever love you any less
  • if something is keeping you from learning and/or doing your best let your teacher know; if it’s the teacher, let the Mama know; marks and grades are far less important to me than you might think — you learning and loving it much more so
  • eat all of your lunch
  • write as neatly as you can
  • if you are bored please tell someone other than your friends, like me or Mommy or your teacher
  • you have every right to question anything you are being taught; please just remember to be polite and respectful when you do so, especially if pointing out mistakes or misinformation to your teacher
  • remember, Mama welcomes the dreaded “note home” from the teacher so never let that scare you
  • you and I together, kiddo, are a force worth reckoning with; I will advocate for you until the cows come home — maybe even after that — probably, yeah
  • practice your times table
  • if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away; don’t let people suck you into doing stupid things — we’ve talked about this, remember? (Mike Hunt is not a real person. My apologies to all of the real Mike Hunts out there.)
  • keep climbing trees
  • I love you, so does Mommy
keep climbing, baby!

keep climbing, baby!

Wow, that turned out to be a long list, a lot of advice. Like I said, at least try to remember snippets of it here and there. Sure, it’s all important, but if you have this list then you don’t need to memorize it. Neither do I.

(I reserve the right to modify, expand or shrink this list at any time now or in the future, in perpetuity and forever, to infinity and beyond.)

Categories: family, parenting, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

love, and circles

I wrote this in December 2013. For some reason I never published it. Maybe I thought it wasn’t finished. Maybe I just forgot. Maybe Christmas happened and who knows what else. I read it today, and I liked it. Just the way it is. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve got circles of friendship on my mind.

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I am sick. It started with a feeling of just not being well, that achyness that comes with a fever. BoyGenius has had a cough for over a week already, but we had managed to avoid the stomach bug that had hit our and other area schools very heavily in the last three weeks, so I felt lucky to only be getting a cold. Ha! Within 12 hours I had such a cough that I was sure I had dislocated at least 6 ribs. Then the coughing sent my stomach into spasms and I was throwing up 2-3 times a day. BoyGenius’ cough became a bit more prevalent, then his whole thing morphed into more of a standard runny-nosed cold.

This journey began on Wednesday evening for me and I think today is Saturday. This afternoon I started having sneezing fits, dizziness, and excess tension in my jaw. But hey, my ribs are much better!

I don’t mind the whole cold/virus thing. Really. I drug myself up, use the neti pot and the peppermint oil, drink plenty of fluids, nap, watch movies with the boy and wait it out. Usually. But it’s, what, 4 days ’til Christmas? I was going to head up north to bring my mother down to our house on Thursday. Then Friday. Hasn’t happened yet. Cleaning the house in anticipation of her arrival hasn’t been finished yet, either. Oops.

There has been much couch-laying. There has been very little cooking. There has been even less cleaning. There has, however, been time to peruse e-mail and facebook. There have been lovely posts and messages from friends far and wide, new and old. There has been love, and there have been circles.

Circles? Yeah, circles. You know, people used the term “circle of friends” long before those Mexican folk-art candle holders became popular. Way back before they had “networks” they navigated. Circles are cool. I have many different circles of friends. Some of them are old (and even broken) like Stonehenge. Some are like satellites orbiting around a centre. Some are unexplained like crop circles. Some overlap in areas like venn diagrams. Some are loops, hoops or bangles, linked like chains or singular like in carnival ring-toss games.

Whatever they look like, you know what these circles do? They link us together. They carry us — our similarities, our differences, our likes and our dislikes, and most importantly, our feelings — so that we can share our lives, our loves and our hardships with one another. They let love spread out like ripples (hey, those are circles, too) and when my ripple circles meet your ripple circles they intermingle and can even send brand new ripples even further out.

Categories: family, friendship, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

wisdom on a tuesday

I don’t often do this, but I am sharing a blog post I read over at Renegade Mothering. It’s important, it’s real and it’s something you should share with your friends. It’s brilliant, really. I get it. I think you’ll get it.

Oh, and, it made me cry. And laugh, too. Give it a look and tell me what you think.

 

The No-Bullshit, No-Drama, Friendship Manifesto

 

Thanks for reading.

Categories: friendship, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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