Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Enduring Truth

Leafing through my notebook, I came across an unfinished piece written just a few days before Dearest broke his leg. Despite all that’s happened since, my words of then are still true now.

“Life is so full these days. Morning to night, we are rushing. But it is so deliciously full – if calming the pace of our lives means giving up constituent parts of it, I’d rather the rush, complete as it is, than the missing.

Because each piece is so very vital.

Gone are the days when I used to go home and return to work refreshed, revitalized, rested.

It’s now the reverse.

Well, except for the rested bit – that, I’ve had to give up on entirely.”

Reading these words now, on the other side of the insanity the past 6 weeks have been, gives me hope. Life is so very much too full now, but, it is still delicious.

Tickle fights are delicious.

Chasing my son with my toy drill/sword and then saving him from the mounstrous dragon is scrumptious.

Hearing my son vehemently choose cooking over TV is music to my ears.

Watching my husband teach my toddler to whistle is delightful.

And kissing my son until he’s in fits of giggles is heavenly.

The rush, the weight, the strain, the stress, the tantrums, the whining, the discipline, the way too many “not now”s and “Mommy’s busy”s and “just a minute”s and “no”s, the never-ending errands and chores and clean-up, and the worry – are not.

But it all adds up to plain old life, full as it is.

And it is deliciously worth the living of it.

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In The Bleak Midwinter

These are the shortest days of the year, and the longest nights. Here in bitterly crisp Ottawa, it’s pretty noticeable.

Darkness has expressed itself in my life a bit too much of late – I’ve had some tough, tough days recently. A lot of that’s been due to factors outside of my control – a husband with a busted leg, a sleepless son, ever-increasing chores, errands and plain old work  – resulting in no end in sight of stress.

Hardest of all has been feeling these factors and stressors all chipping away at me, feeling them prying off my hard-won armour and tunnelling through to my molten core. And not being able to do a damn thing to stop it.

I know what I need to do to maintain my mental health. And I guard these things fiercely. Fiercely. But I just simply cannot maintain my family’s health right now without giving up mine.

So, I’ve had ample opportunity of late to see the inner me – the self, if it is a self, that’s left when patience and energy and positivity are all long gone. Deeply, darkly, gone.

I haven’t enjoyed the sight.

I haven’t been able to be the mother I want to be – that I work so hard to be. It’s been months. Months of too much studying, too little sleep, and way too many demands on my time, my attention, my patience and my body. And absolutely no investment in me. Not only am I not eating right – I’m often not eating at all. Same with sleep. And art, or reading or music or writing or yoga or exercising or peace and quiet or time with friends or ANYTHING to myself at all, isn’t even a distant memory.

Most days, I barely even have words.

But it’s Christmastime, bittersweet or not. And Christina Rossetti, one of my very favourite poets, reminds me that when there is nothing left to give, there is always my heart. And even when that’s all I have – that’s all I ever have to give.

In The Bleak Midwinter

“In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.”

— Christina Rossetti (1872)

Haiku: Selfless

There is no time-space
Where my self is. There is but
When-where it is not.

Humour, heart, hope,
Art, power, care, spirit, wit.
All less – and feared lost.

Driving Under The Influence Of Grumps

I now know why road rage happens.

After four hours straight of being whined at, snapped at, complained to, cried on, demanded of, crawled up, loaded down and dumped on by a grumpy husband and a grumpy son, I was cut off by a supreme idiot of a driver who decided that crossing four lanes of traffic head-on three car-lengths from an intersection, because the bird’s eye view from a gas station with a one-way exit going one way to the Starbucks with a one-way entrance going the other way was really the smartest thing to do.

In lieu of being able to express oneself honestly, voluminously and creatively to those one loves best but who occasionally none-the-less deserve it most, we as a society have decided it most proper to scream our heads off at complete strangers on the road.

Trust me, this morning, if I’d had a weapon handy (that wouldn’t have resulted in denting my own car), I might not have hesitated all that much in using it.

I am not a drama queen. I seek things like warmth and comfort and peace and quiet, and consider an uninterrupted hour to myself an all-too-rare gift. And yet, drama, of late, has attached itself to me with super velcro power. I now spend my days (and nights) cleaning up other peoples’ messes. At work. At home. In the car. Via e-mail. Via credit card. Via hugs. Via curses.

And all of these messy people, every single one, seem not to have the wit to wonder that perhaps their behaviour has costs not borne solely by them.

Road rage, I’ve come to realize, is the effect of being overwhelmingly harried by the familar, leaving the only permissible outlet losing it with total strangers.

I think the sight of a child’s car seat in the back of a car, a Winnie-the-Pooh sunshade, a Baby-On-Board sign, or any other indicator that a young child might live in the driver’s household should be a reminder to drive a bit more carfeully around that particular car – not because the cargo is precious, but because the driver would very, very much like to turn you into playdough.

Unrealistic Realism

These days my sanity, such as it is, can be minimally maintained by the following:

  • Blowdrying my hair
  • Finishing a cup of coffee
  • Posting a blog entry
  • Staying in the car until the end of a song
  • Reading the news
  • Taking the stairs
  • Surfing eBay
  • A single sip of wine

The sum is small, the content paltry – but this list is crucial, and therefore, sacred.

Sadly, more than occasionally, also entirely unachievable.

Two Loving Minutes In The Car

“Momma, I don’t love you.”

– sharply indrawn breath

“What?”
“I don’t love you, Momma.”
“What do you mean you don’t love me? That’s impossible!”
“No. I DON’T love you.”
“Well, I love you.”
“No! No loving me!”
“Yup, I love you – you can’t take my love away from me!”
“I take your love away! No loving for me.”
“You can’t take my love away! It’s mine to do with as I wish. I can love you as much as I want to.”
“No! I don’t want you to love me!”
“Well, that’s too bad, because I love you so much – I love you all the way to the moon and back again, forever and ever and ever.”
“No! You DON’T LOVE ME! No, no, NO love!”
“Well, I’m very sad.”

– silence

“Momma, don’t be sad!”
“Well, I am.”
“Don’t worry – I will tickle you, and you will feel better.”
“I’m afraid tickling just won’t cut it this time – my sadness is too big. You told me you don’t love me, and that makes me desperately sad.”

– more silence

“Momma, I do love you.”
“Really? Are you sure?
“Yup! I do love you. I’m sure.”
“Oh, I’m so relieved! I love you too.”
“Yup, you love me to the MOON!”
“And back again, in an infinite loop! I love you loopily!”
“Loopidoopeedoo loo loo mamamamamamaloo da!”

– happy humming

“Momma, do we love Daddy?”
“We sure do! I love Daddy, and you love Daddy, and Daddy loves you, and Daddy loves me too!”
“Uhuh, that’s right!”

– feet happily kicking

“Momma, look! There’s the moon!”
“Wow! It’s so beautiful tonight!”
“Yah!”
“Momma, I think the moon loves me too!”
“Oh yes, I think it does too.”