Cozy

Walking with Daughter from our living room to the stairs and back again. Cool air wafts in through the open door and windows. A beam of light from Husband in the office rests on the floor. The dishwasher quietly whirs the dishes clean for tomorrow. The counters are wiped clean. 

Even though I’m still walking, part of me rests in the solitude of the moment. The endless “to-do” lists that cycle through my mind stop for a moment. I breathe in the satisfaction of a (kind of) clean kitchen, a day in which everyone was fed and cared for, and exhale relief.

What are you grateful for today?

Evening Walk

Daughter and I are walking outside. The sun has set and evening is slowly turning to night. I’m trying to get her to sleep, though her curious eyes peeking over the straps of the carrier tell me this is probably a lost cause. Still, the air is cool and it’s nice to be out after a hot day inside. 

Daughter is watching the world the way I watch a favourite movie, she barely blinks, not wanting to miss a moment. For my part, though I notice the soft pink and blue of the sky, the hopping robins and dive-bombing dragonflies, I am looking into other people’s houses, with almost the same intensity as Daughter. Since it’s hot, some people keep their blinds open and I can see bits and pieces of their lives; flashes of art on walls, bags dropped by doorways. I can even see some people, an older lady watching TV, a little girl laughing with her father. I don’t know what I love about this so much. I’m partly looking for decorating ideas. I’m horrible at home decor and I want to see what other people have done with their places. But I also love getting a glimpse of a private moment in someone else’s world. There’s such poetry, somehow, in the flickering television, the abandoned toys, the shoes by the door. I think of all my neighbours eating, breathing, hoping and dreaming and silently wish them all a good night’s sleep.

Shazam

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Son and Husband are in our living room. I’m just across from them, in our kitchen. Son holds a wooden green onion in one hand, Husband holds a stone obelisk. They are grinning at each other. Son shouts, “one, two, three, ready!”. They both turn to me, point the onion and the obelisk and shout, “Shazam!”. I laugh. A big laugh, a hearty laugh, and bounce up and down.

You see, a while ago, Son had a tantrum and he was feeling so sad. Son has big feelings and they linger a long time. He didn’t know how to feel better again, so I told him I had a magic wand that would make him feel happy. I took a stone obelisk off our mantle, pointed it at him and shouted, “Shazam!”. It perked him up a bit, then he immediately wanted to try it out too. I hadn’t thought of this. The stone was too heavy for him, so I told him the wooden green onion in his kitchen was magic too. He tried it on Husband first, then me, and we did our best to become instantly happy when he shouted, “Shazam!”. From that day on, Son used it on us more than we ever used it on him. Today is the first time both Son and Husband joined forces to magic me happy. Two magicians in shorts. The funny thing is, it actually works.

Popsicle

https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-watermelon-popsicles-10713
Photo: Sara Kate Gillingham

A day of sunshine, bacon and egg breakfast (made by Husband), and popsicles. We made the popsicles yesterday and Son had to wait until his snack-time today – about 24 whole hours – to finally eat one. He went to bed talking about popsicles, he woke up talking about popsicles, I’m sure he dreamed about them. (I actually did, a consequence of all the recipes I’d been reading.) Son’s Long Wait reminded me how slowly time seems to move when we’re young. (“Is it snack time, now, Mama?”) I felt such sympathy for him – I know today felt like an eternity for him, while it felt like ten minutes for me.

I didn’t actually get to see him take his first bites, I was napping, gloriously with Daughter, but his excitement met me on my way down the stairs, “Look Mama! Popsicles!” His arm waving a mostly empty stick, with a bit of watermelon red still clinging to it. “Want a lick?”

Oh, what joy to be four and eat your first popsicle. Oh what a gift to be a popsicle-bestowing Mama on a hot summer’s day.

Anyone else eat a popsicle today?

In Her Eyes

Daughter is lying on her changing pad, looking out the window. This is one of her favourite spots. She can happily spend thirty minutes here sometimes; just gazing. 

I kiss her cheek, then lay mine on hers so that I’m looking in the same direction she is. I feel the softness of her cheek on mine, while I see the world from her perspective. The startling blue of the sky contrasting with the vivid green of the leaves. And the sun shining through it all, painting shadows on the blinds. 

I hold my breath for a second, wanting to hold on to the beauty of it all. The surprising beauty of an ordinary day.

What are you grateful for today?

Serenity 

Daughter is on the examining table in Dr. K’s tiny office. She is naked except for her diaper, and is lounging like a baby Buddha. She is serene, watching Dr. K. intently. We have just weighed Daughter, and now Doctor K. is checking her hips for flexibility. Her hands are gentle. Finished the check, Dr. K. lets go of Daughter’s legs and says, “what a grace it would be if at the end of life, we could be as relaxed and trusting as we are in the beginning”. 

I look at Dr. K., into the sparkling, youthful green eyes that contrast with her long, greying hair. I wonder how she feels about getting older. A lot of her patients are probably closer to the ends of their lives than the beginning. We always need doctors more towards the end. She must see them struggle and fight, as I have seen older family members do. I think about how different it would have been for them if they had been able to go through it as serenely as Daughter. Such serenity at the end of life has never seemed like a possibility. “Getting old is not for sissies”, an uncle once told me. 

I think of myself, now in the middle of life and wonder what my walk to the end will look like. I hope I’m able to remember Dr. K.’s bit of wisdom.

Berry Picking Angel

Opa (my dad) is coming for a visit, so I tell Son we need to pick Saskatoons for Opa. I mostly just want to get him out for a walk, but I know if he has a purpose like this, he will be more willing. And I saw a couple days ago that the Saskatoons are looking ripe and perfect, and I can’t resist.

We’re at a bush and we’ve started picking berries, but not too many because they are quite high up and hard to reach. Plus Daughter is sleeping in the carrier, which makes it doubly hard. We are about to move to a second bush, farther down the path, when Son turns and sees an older Chinese man walking towards us. Son thinks it’s one of our neighbors, who is always very friendly, so he opens his arms wide and says, “Hi!”, to the man. It’s not our neighbor, but the man is delighted with Son’s greeting. He sees what we’re doing and asks us (with hand gestures because he doesn’t speak English) if the berries are ok to eat. I nod, yes. He points down the path, indicating that there’s another bush there too. I nod and say, “yes, there are more there too.” Then the man walks to the bush, grabs a branch, bends it down efficiently, and picks berries like a pro. Where I pick and choose the berries, one by one, he pulls them off in bunches, then drops them into my bucket. He keeps picking them, so Son and I join in. He has clearly decided to help us get as many berries as we can, so he keeps picking and we keep helping. We communicate simply with hand gestures, each speaking in our own language or we rest in comfortable silence. Once we’ve decided we’re finished with one bush, he rushes us to the next one. The berries here are fat and juicy. He says points to them and says what I imagine to be something like, “look at these beautiful berries. There are so many of them!” And I nod and say, “yes, so many!” Other Chinese people come walking by. He chats with them, explains what we’re doing. Those that speak some English ask about the berries. Son explains it all to them. He loves explaining. Suddenly, an ordinary morning of picking berries in the woods has turned into a party.

Eventually the passerby go on their way. We pick some more until Son and I have filled one small bucket and half of a large one. We thank him profusely, then walk together until it’s time to part ways.

Isn’t it amazing what can happen when we greet each other with kindness? 

What was the best moment of your weekend?