Posts Tagged With: memories

still holding

Today, the 14th of November, marks the first anniversary of the death of my best friend’s mother.

A year ago I wrote this, and I’m offering it up again today.

This afternoon (or yesterday afternoon, technically — life and schedules only allow so much leeway) I held her close and she said, “Thank you for thinking of me.” I squeezed a little harder, whispering, “I’ve still got you.” To which she replied, “I know.”

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

small talk

** This was actually yesterday’s post, but the wordpress app and I are not seeing eye to eye (on the iPad) — and apparently now online on the desktop, too!! (just lost 1/2 of this post although I saved the changes) — so it was not able to be published last night. **

You know how a few days ago I said I was going to stop some things? Well, I did and I have. To a degree. It’s hard, man! I check my e-mail today and see that someone I follow on Twitter has been quoted in The Daily Call (?),  and not knowing how big of a pit I would be falling into, I decided to take a quick look. Ha! What a mistake that was. I did manage to pull myself out after 5-10 minutes, though. Tried to scroll through my facebook feed without clicking any links and to be honest, I can’t actually remember how successful I was. But since I did get two loads of laundry done and one bed stripped and re-sheeted/linened before heading out to the city for my hair appointment, I think I did okay.

There’s a lot that goes on in a hair salon — chit-chat, gossip, the radio plays, the television is on the local 24-hour headline news station (sound off), the phone keeps ringing and people come in and go out. So as I’m getting my hair washed I can’t help but see some of the stories that are on the news and it’s all I can do to keep from allowing the water to blind me to save my sanity.

As I sat for my cut, my hairdresser and I spoke of many things, as we do, and once we got the stupidity of the news stories out of the way we moved on to other things: Fashion, the beauty industry, our children, Christmas. We discussed how the beauty business is a billion dollar industry and that even though we both find it ridiculous, it is, after all, her livelihood; how horrible we both find any number of things about the fashion industry, including the fact that women’s sizes now stretch shrink all the way down to 00 and 000, and that certain trends just won’t die the horrible deaths they deserve; my son being in grade 8 and loving his vintage adidas jacket, and me dyeing his hair black for Hallowe’en, while her boys are grown and survived some dubious fashion trends that still refuse to die. We talked about my mother’s aborted postponed/rescheduled hip replacement surgery and her father’s recent cancer diagnosis. We mentioned make-up and eyelash enhancing volumizing serum and then we laughed because we both know that I don’t wear make-up and thus have no wisdom whatsoever to contribute to any such conversation other than, “If I wear mascara, people think I’m dressed fancy!” We discussed how I already knew in grade 9 (almost 40 years ago!!) that I was wholly incapable of conversing with any of the other girls in the washroom at a dance because all they were talking about was shampoo, hairspray, and boys. She complained that it was totally unfair that I had been able to realise that, already, at age 14.

We finished up, we settled up, and we booked my next two appointments.

The realisation that I am actually able to make small talk came as a bit of a surprise to me. And a welcome one at that. Whew!

 

 

 

Categories: friendship, memories, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#inktober

So there’s this little thing called inktober and this year I decided to participate, even though I’m not much of a drawer. I mean, honestly, even in school, my doodles usually just consisted of a couple of flowers, some pom-pom looking trees, or 20-30 different sized triangles joined together. Sure, I took art in grades 9 & 10, but my favourite units were lino-cut prints, ceramics, plaster sculptures, and the like. Sketching was really not my thing.

Still, I thought, it’s not about how good or bad I am at it, it’s about doing it. I didn’t keep up with all the prompts (which trust me, I needed since me just sitting down and drawing something will result in the same aforementioned doodles, still, after lo these many years) but I did manage a few. I posted them to instagram, but only to my private account and not to my blog-associated one, since I’m shy that way, but I thought I may as well share them with you here.

sword

          

shy

                                 

crooked

run

shattered

teeming


cloud

 

Categories: art, memories, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

day three

So it’s the 3rd of November, which makes it day three (3) of this #NaBloPoMo or #NaNoPoblano thing I’ve signed on for. I’m still here. **YAY!!**

I’ve decided that in addition to committing to posting an entry every day, I am committing to removing one bag or box of stuff out of my house every day this month. I am, sadly, already one day behind on this, but today’s bag was large, had a grocery-bag add-on, and also a separate stack of boys’ jeans to go with it. So, in essence, that was two days’ worth. Truth.

There is a lot of excess stuff in my house. I’m not sure why I hang on to certain things. Some of it I can explain away — my Opa’s pipe, my dad’s jacket from when he was a butler/handyman, many of BlueEyes‘ things — but other things are really not necessary. How many fancy beer glasses can anyone really need? Might it be possible to consolidate all of the scribblings on countless scraps of paper into one notebook? Do we have to keep ALL of BoyGenius’ stuffed toys?

I guess what it all comes down to is remembering that I am a work in progress, I am perfectly imperfect, and my life is ever evolving. Or as a famous fish once said, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”

Categories: family, loss, memories, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

grade 6

this rascal is going into grade 6

this rascal is going into grade 6

A new school year starts tomorrow. BoyGenius is going into grade 6. The speed with which these kids grow up is almost surreal. Grade 6! I know we’ve done all the years, all the grades, but it still seems like there are a lot of holes — like we’ve skipped stuff. I know we haven’t; I know we live in different times, a different age than the one I grew up in, and as such BoyGenius’ childhood will be, must be different than the one I had. But does it have to go so fast? Did mine?

I think perhaps that when you are the child and you are living those years they aren’t as swift as when you are the parent. I certainly never felt like my childhood was slipping through my fingers; I remember something about every year, I think. I know that summers were long and hot and winters were long and snowy and school was something you went to every day and, for my part, anyway, enjoyed. I like to think that BoyGenius is having those same experiences, even if the events are different. He had two things he wanted to do this summer (neither of which happened): go to New York and go to Los Angeles. He went to summer camp and spent seemingly endless hours on his new gaming computer. We went to the beach a record low (for us) number of times but he was content with what he was doing. We did stuff, we just didn’t pack the weeks with outings. I’m the one feeling like we didn’t “accomplish” much, not him. He was happy. He is happy. HE IS HAPPY.

When I tucked him into bed tonight I asked him if there was any grade 6 “stuff” he needed me to tell him. He chuckled and said no. I asked him if he was excited for tomorrow. He chuckled again and said, “No, it’s school.” I asked if he was nervous, he laughed and said, “No, it’s school!” I said “Good.” I reminded him that he can talk to us about anything; if anything is unfair at school, or if there are any issues or problems with students or teachers, or anything at all he can come and tell me about it. He said, “Yes, I know.” All right, then. I kissed his newly shaved head (just the left side) and said good night. He seems happy.

This. This “no worries” attitude towards school starting. That’s all I need. That’s how I felt as a child: summer ends, school starts, no big whoop. He is happy. I am happy. HardWorker has a bit of anxiety (but that’s par for the course). In think we’re doing just fine.

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

rain

It’s raining. The gloriously heavy, warm-weathered, bright-sky-with-big-dark-clouds kind of rain of impossibly large drops that we used to enjoy when I was little. My brothers and I would be outside in our bathing suits and flip-flops or rubber boots getting soaked and squealing & laughing with delight. Sitting on the curb or dancing in the yard or splashing in the gulleys that ran as fast as they could to the nearest storm drain.

Thunder rumbles in the distance. The downspouts are flowing like fountains. The still hot pavement and steaming shingles smell like summer. The rain stops, the sky brightens. Until the next wave.

Categories: family, memories | Tags: , , , , , | 4 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

twenty years

Let me preface this by wishing all of you a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate). My most fervent wish for everyone I know (IRL and IVR {in virtual reality}) is that we all stay happy and healthy, and help each other through whatever struggles we may encounter. Love, love, love all around!

Now. Twenty years.

Twenty years ago today we checked my brother BlueEyes out of the hospital and took him home to celebrate Christmas Eve. Yes, we knew it was already Christmas Day. He didn’t. I can’t even tell you how we all got to his apartment, but we did. We helped him through the lobby of his building, into the elevator and into his apartment. I set up the little Christmas tree I had somehow brought from my house, we got him into his silk pyjamas and he held court from his comfy wing chair. While we were waiting for the oxygen delivery the hospital had arranged he made us find and distribute the gifts that he had for each of us, slowly and painstakingly explaining why he had chosen each one.

Once the oxygen arrived we put him to bed and got him hooked up. I think my parents and my brother SkinnyGuy left. I think I stayed with BlueEyes and his boyfriend. I think.

I know that we had 4 more days. I don’t really know what happened during those days. I think I went to work. Maybe. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is what I do remember. This day. Twenty years ago. Christmas has never been the same.

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

my friend Gord

When my son was three years old, he attended a little “pre-school” learning programme offered by our town’s recreation department. It was, and still is, aptly titled “Ready, Set, School!” and is held at our local community centre. Our neighbourhood’s community centre shares space with our neighbourhood school. Children from every area of our town sign up for this particular programme; it’s very popular and we were lucky to get space. The great thing for those of us who live “in area” is that not only are our kids getting ready for school but they are getting accustomed to the very surroundings they will be spending the next 10 years of their lives in. It’s fantastic.

One day, when HardWorker and I were both attending a special Mothers’ Day Tea that is held in May, the pre-schoolers were “interrupted” by a visit from the school custodian. He was a familiar enough face to the kids, as he would come in once in awhile to check on the a/c or clean up a spill in the shared space. I guess some of the moms that were attending this special tea had a questioning look on their faces (something in the way of “who is this strange man who just walks in?”) because one of the teachers had just begun to introduce him to the parents when BoyGenius jumped up from the table, ran over and enveloped this man’s legs in a huge bear hug, very loudly proclaiming, “I love you, Mr. Gord!” The man smiled, looked at us to see if we were okay and seeing that we were, hugged back and said, “I love you, too, BG.”

That was the moment this man became my friend Gord. He saw 350+ children every day, and had for more than 20 years. He saw these pre-schoolers maybe once a week. He knew my son’s name.

As it turned out, Gord and HardWorker had met that previous winter, both taking the same night course offered by a local college. He spoke with us at length that day, wanting to be sure we were okay with him hugging our son, concerned that in this day and age one had to be so careful with showing affection. Aware that many parents wouldn’t like to hear him say he loved their child. He did, though. He loved them all. Every.Single.One.

Over the next 6 years, Gord would often recall that day and he would always tell me, “I’m sorry, but if those kids tell me they love me, I’m going to tell them right back,” or “I know you have to be so careful, but I’m not going to deny any child a hug.”

When BoyGenius started Junior Kindergarten he was very happy that he would get to see Mr. Gord every day. By Senior Kindergarten he started calling Mr. M by his ‘real’ name. In Kindergarten my son decided he wanted to have long hair. By SK his hair was halfway down his back and Gord often asked that BG keep him in mind when he decided to cut it, as Gord’s own hair was thinning. BoyGenius just smiled, never committing. He did cut it, the summer before Grade One. Gord asked him once what had happened to the hair they cut off? Wasn’t BG supposed to save it for him? BoyGenius just smiled. Gord smiled back. By Grade Two, BoyGenius had decided he would grow his hair long again. Gord was happy, mentioning only once or twice a year that he hoped BG would remember him if he ever cut it again. Once, in Grade Three, when a totally follically-challenged colleague of HardWorker’s asked BoyGenius the same thing, if he would give him his hair when he cut it, BoyGenius very quickly answered, “No, I already have a deal with someone else.” When I told Gord about this, he was over the moon and smiled for about a week; told me again how much he loved my son.

Gord told me more than once that even though he would be retired by then, he would be coming back to the school to see BoyGenius graduate. And if you knew Gord at all, you know that he would have been there. No doubt about it.

When Gord first got sick he underwent all the necessary treatments and couldn’t wait to get back to work. He did it. He came back. He needed to. Gord was worried that if he wasn’t able to come back to school/work as soon as he wanted, depression would begin to take hold. It wasn’t so much the fact that he had cancer that might set it off, but the fact that he wasn’t able to do the things that gave him joy. That he couldn’t be fully “there” for his family, his friends, his job, his school, his co-workers, his students. I’m sure there were dark moments still, but Gord felt better being able to come back to work. When the cancer launched another attack on his body, Gord remained upbeat, telling anyone who cared to ask that although he was having a set-back, or there was some new, strange, niggling symptom that cropped up just to irritate him, he was going to beat this disease. He certainly tried. When I last saw him in July, he told me, “Yes, another two or three chemo treatments and then I’ll have time to strengthen up.” He was weak, and tired. He smiled, I smiled. BoyGenius and I both took his hand. Gord and I both cried a bit.

Gord was a man who loved his family, his friends, his co-workers, his job, his school, his students. He often spoke of his wife and sons, told us how proud he was to have such a great family. To the end of his life he praised his wife, told me (and others, I’m sure) of how wonderful she was. He was so happy to have gained a granddaughter when one of his sons started seeing a woman with a little girl. He was nervous, he told me, so hopeful that their relationship would work out because he already loved this child. Gord was a hard-worker, proud of our school, proud of the staff and students, proud of his profession; he was a great advocate for his fellow union members; he was so appreciative and spoke highly of those who worked with him. If something needed tending to at the school, Gord would take care of it. If you had any questions about where something was located, Gord knew the answer. If you needed an extra person to volunteer to receive a whipped-cream pie in the face at our annual Fun Fair fundraiser, Gord was your man. If any of the kids needed a little steering in the right direction after taking a wrong turn, Gord would be happy to find jobs for them to do, a little something to divert them, as it were. This man had a smile, a hug, a laugh, AND TIME for everyone; he had a sparkle in his eyes and love and joy in his heart. This man also suffered from depression and anxiety. He didn’t hide it. He wasn’t too proud to let people know. Our world would be a much better place if all men took heed and strived to be the kind of man that Gord was.

The last two days, BoyGenius has been having trouble with his shoes being missing when he goes into school in the morning. He’s been finding them in the lost and found. Apparently the janitor is just sweeping them up from under his hook. I suggested he put them on the shelf above his hook. He says “but everybody’s shoes are under their hook. It’s just mine that end up in the lost and found.” I smiled a little to myself when he said this but I thought, no, I’m not going to say what I’m thinking. Then BoyGenius says, “Maybe it’s Mr. M’s ghost!” followed a couple of minutes later by, “I don’t know why he would be haunting me.”

I smiled and chuckled. “Because he loves you.”

I miss you. And I love you, Mr. Gord.

Categories: family, friendship, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“it hurts”

“It hurts!” BoyGenius is holding his head, crying, sitting in front of the toilet, and between sobs he’s wailing “it hurts.” In his wretched, pitiful little voice I hear myself at the same age and I feel as helpless as my mother must have felt back then.

BoyGenius went up to bed at 9pm and awakes around 12:30am, the night leading up to Mothers’ Day, with a migraine. I can’t actually do anything to help him. Oh, I try. I give him a gravol and an ibuprofen even though I know it’s too late for them to help. I give him a cold washcloth and do most of the holding of it as it rests on his forehead. I tie his hair back into a loose ponytail so it doesn’t get covered in the vomit that will inevitably come. I murmur “I know, baby, I know,” as if hearing that between his own “it hurts” will be of some comfort.

And it’s true. I know. I have migraines. They started when I was about 7 or 8. BoyGenius’ started when he was 6 or 7. He got them from me. I got them from my dad. Dad got them from his mother. I don’t know which of her parents my grandmother got them from. My brothers were mostly spared, SkinnyGuy not really having any and BlueEyes suffering only once or twice. My cousins from my dad’s side got off scott-free, but their kids managed to keep the generational hand-me-down going.

But I digress. I manage to convince my little bundle of misery that we should move to the bed; it’ll be much more comfortable than the bathroom floor and I’ll have a bucket handy for the vomit that will inevitably come. I try to get him to lay still but he keeps twisting back and forth holding his head tight and sobbing. “It hurts. Oh. Owwwww. It hurts.” At one point he’s knocking on his head with his knuckles and I’m almost ready to take him to the ER. Then the inevitable happens. It comes in waves, with head pounding the whole time, 5 minute breaks in between, head still pounding for the most part. About half an hour into it the ibuprofen comes up, still a perfect little caplet form. I try to give him the benefit of my 40 years of experience with this beast and get some ginger ale into him. He doesn’t yet understand that the throwing up doesn’t stop just because your stomach’s empty. Doesn’t yet know that ginger ale coming up and out tastes infinitely better than bile. He also doesn’t know that those little breaks in the throwing up are a particularly cruel joke. You just about manage to doze off. There seems to be a lull in the pounding, even. Maybe it’s over. You open your eyes or move a toe or just blink. BLAM! Jackhammer starts and you better sit up quick ’cause here it comes again.

At about 1:15am he bolts up and heads to the bathroom. I take off after him and see that he’s sitting on the toilet. I put the bucket beside him and rewet the facecloth so it’s nice and cold. I notice he’s falling asleep, trying to rest his head against the seat lid behind him. He drifts off for a few seconds but that heavy-head-jerk (you know the one) wakes him back up. He takes the washcloth and wedges it between the base of his skull and toilet seat lid as a kind of pillow and catches a few winks. I ask every once in awhile if he’s ready to go back to bed but he keeps saying no. I talk him into believing he’s done on the toilet and direct him back to the bedroom. The bucket is still handy but I know that if he’s been able to get off the bed and into the bathroom and back to bed without having to throw up then that part’s over.

His little body is exhausted. He says his head still hurts but I can tell that even that is subsiding. He’s no longer rocking back and forth in agony. He’s able to close his eyes peacefully, no longer squeezing them shut against the pain. For this I am thankful. I breathe a little easier. I have been through this all before, from both sides, and I know that I will be here again. I know that I will feel just as helpless the next time a migraine makes itself at home in my house; less so if it’s my turn.

As I sit beside BoyGenius in the wee early hours of Mothers’ Day, watching over him, waiting to hear deep, even breaths replace the ragged, raspy ones from earlier I can’t help but think of Sheila and Kate, two moms whose blogs I read/follow, who have known much greater anguish than what I have gone through tonight. I don’t know them personally, face to face, but I know their stories. I send love and strength out through the universe to both of them.

It’s Mothers’ Day. BoyGenius gets up at about 7:30am. He tells me he’s fine, heads downstairs and lets me sleep. Life is good. I am thankful. Again. And again.

Categories: family, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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