Sunday night swing and a miss

swing

We went to the park this evening. It was a busy weekend, finishing up today with a cousin’s baptism and dinner out (read: trying to contain a two year old at church, then for two hours at a restaurant) and we thought he could use some fresh air and exploring time before bedtime.

We went to a nearby park which also happens to be the one a few houses down from the one I grew up in. It’s full of childhood memories and whispers of the past – something I’ve been thinking about lately, mostly, how I feel about living in the same neighbourhood I grew up in. I had a nice childhood and wouldn’t change it, but I feel a bit trapped or stuck in time for some reason.

I know things won’t be the same for my little boy as they were for me, that he may not be out on a bike or in a tree, off with neighbourhood pals til the dinnertime whistle shills down the street, but I want him to have a wonderful childhood too, with friends to play with and keep close. Is it boring to still live right in the place you grew up, for your kid to go to the same schools you did, repeating the same things? I guess I wonder if we should make a change, try to move into a spot with more young families and settle down a bit more.

He played hide and seek with us, and went on the slide, climbed and exclaimed and poked things with sticks. I took a moment and hopped on one of the swings. I swung higher and higher, thinking about the hundreds of time I’d swung in that exact same spot before, years ago, and then realized I don’t like the sensation at all anymore – I felt a bit queasy as the air whooshed past – so I got off.

It reminded me of how much I’ve changed, that although all these memories and things that make me up as a person are special, my own child will have his own memories and happy times, even if we have placed him in the same spot I was in. He’s growing up in a different world with different people and he’s surrounded but love so I’m confident he’ll one day look back and savour his own memories, whatever and where ever that turns out to be.

After a bath, books and finally tucking a sleepy boy into his bed, I got a call from my aunt in Winnipeg asking if I’d zip over to check up on my grandparents – no one had heard from them in a couple of days and the phone was constantly busy. I did just that – bringing my trusty little guard dog to prowl around Bayshore with me – and when I arrived, knocking on the back door at 10pm, they were inside, just happy to see us, and we tried to figure out what was up with the phones.

Driving home then, in the dark, with a misty slice of moon softly shining above and the silence all around, I thought that they’ve achieved such a great thing – the ability to be happy in a life well led. They go to doctors appointments and buy groceries, take the bus and smile at strangers, and in the evening they contentedly watch TV, play cards or read. Having seen so much, lost so many and now just being able to enjoy being comfortable with no pretense – it’s amazing.

They don’t care that they’ve done the same things over and over – they had adventure and traveled, there were children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, messy mealtimes, funny stories. Routine and predictable things are good now, and they can remember the past but also just simply enjoy the present moment. There’s no worry or doubt or wondering about what to do. Now is good enough, whether you live in the same place year after year and do the same thing again and again. They’re happy, and I am too.

A little walk

I had the house to myself and a car at home yesterday – pretty rare during the day, and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather to zip out to the off leash dog park with our pooch. I used to go frequently, pre-kid, and although I don’t get there much, after this nice lunch time walk vowed to try to work it into my schedule on a weekly basis. It was really good for both of us.

rolling dog

Even though there’s often lots of furry friends mingling and people walking by, it’s a great place to be all alone and just be. When I first get there, my thoughts were all tangled up in worries, fretting over life and work and family, the balance I can’t quite achieve and how to do it all better. But as I start walking, the sun shines down on me and I can’t help but breathe in the spring air, fresh and not too humid just yet, and notice the little signs of life popping up all around me.

trees at the dog park

I’m occupied watching my little dog prance and play, rolling in the sand and digging in the mud, and I don’t even worry about what I’m going to make for dinner tonight or whether I’ll make it back to my desk in an hour (I did).

I’m alone, but there are also lots of friendly strangers along the way and I make sure to smile, say hi and sometimes make a bit of chitchat – it’s so easy to find a common thing to say with a fellow dog walker on a beautiful day. It helps me get lost in the surface level, the easy things of the day itself; in the intricate patterns of new, delicate branches playing in the sun over the dirt packed path. The soft chirping of birds through the air, the quiet crackle of branches under my feet. The patter of quick running steps as my little dog trots along beside me.

trees

It helps me realize that I need these quiet moments of alone time that don’t include folding laundry or making grocery lists. I miss having think to just think freely and to just be. It’s not something that’s out of reach, it’s just not something I thought I needed to make time for in a jam-packed week. But I’m going to keep trying.

A Two Year Old Monkey

Two years ago, I had a whirlwind of a labour, and fell in love hard with a tiny wrinkly being, learning the ins and outs of caring 100% for another human. One year ago, we had a small party where the guest of honour was a little unsure, enjoying the balloons and his cake more than the attention and gifts.

Now it’s been two years. Two years since I become a mom and while I agree with the sentiment that it changes everything, I almost feels like for me, it more completed everything. I always wanted to be a mom, and I couldn’t be happier that my sweet little boy, a red-headed imp who is serious and sweet, who is always on the move and loves to dance and spin, but who will settle in for a nice snuggle and a good story, is two. Two! He’s getting more expressive by the day, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

His birthday was on Saturday and we had a nice, low-key day. He was thrilled to see the dozen balloons I’d blown up the night before as we descended down to the living room in the morning. We had cottage cheese pancakes and frozen mango for breakfast, and opened gifts from us, and my sister and her husband who came for the weekend from Sudbury. After naptime, we headed over to my brother’s house for some playtime and Swiss Chalet take out.

Sunday was party time! Julian got to watch his favourite TV show, Curious George, in the morning, while we did some food prep for the party. I had tried to come up with some ideas that would be kid and adult friendly, easy to grab, and to fit my theme, colourful. So we did rainbow fruit skewers, veggies in cups with Julian’s favourite garlic dip (made by my mom), and smoked salmon/ cream cheese and BLT turkey with spicy mayo pinwheels. We chopped and packed everything and headed over to Tyler’s parents place to get ready!

party food

party guests

two

The birthday boy had a snooze while we put up streamers, balloons, a birthday banner, photos from the last year in a big 2 on the window, then put out the food, including the banana split bar we’d planned for dessert. We poured drinks, and waited for our awesome family members to arrive: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents.

birthday book

guests

Once awake, Julian was a little slow to warm up – although the house was filled with people he knew, it was still loud and he felt better approaching the goings-on with my hand clutched tightly in his. As the afternoon went on, he ventured away from me, but still preferred to keep me close as he opened gifts, watched the bigger kids play pin the banana on George, gobbled up cake and opened presents.

woowoo

curious george party game

cake

blowing out candles

banana split bar

I felt a bit like the party passed me by; I spent more time batting at a ball with a plastic golf club than I did catching up with people and having conversations, but…this phase of his life, where I’m the center of his universe, will pass him by quickly enough. So while he’s small enough to want to press his sticky fingers into mine for comfort, while I’m the one who best understands his semi-spoken requests for his blankie or for a drink, I’ll be fine putting all my focus on him and his needs.

birthday boy

We got spoiled with presents, everyone ate and talked and it was a typically wonderful family gathering, infused with love and laughter. People filtered out to get to the hockey game, and J opened a few more presents. He loved taking off each piece of wrapping paper, and wanted to take out every toy and inspect and play with it. He got tons of cars and trucks, a talking Elmo, and the present he’s gotten the most use out of so far: a cute book about Easter called Hop, Hop!

birthday gifts

gifts

birthday boy with hat

As I watched him, I realized that he really is not a baby any longer. He’s a boy now – a mama’s boy who is always in motion, swatting balls with sticks or jumping off steps; a boy who loves his garlic dip, pickles, and any kind of fruit; a boy who’s easy-going and quiet with a playful side. He really is a fun, special little guy and I’m happy that I get to be his Mom.