The mid-afternoon sun is hazy today, which gives the day an orangey glow. The park is on top of a hill. I can see a river and hills beyond. Looking at the view, seeing over the trees, I feel freer, like I have more room to breathe.
Son has the sandbox at the park all to himself. He’s right in the middle of it, excavating and building sandcastles quietly, totally absorbed in the task. Grandma and I are sitting with Daughter on one side of the sandbox. Daughter is content, sucking on her bib, watching Son play.
We start talking about a boy who threw sand in Son’s face. Son asks Grandma for a story about when someone was mean to her.
Grandma tells Son a story from when she was about his age. She had a friend who was sometimes mean and sometimes nice, and one day she walked home from the girl’s house and the girl tried to stop her.
I think of Grandma at Son’s age, and how just a little turn of the dial made her my mother, and another turn, Son’s grandmother. I think how similar we all are, despite our apparent differences, wandering in this wilderness, trying to figure out what it all means.
Son goes back to playing, Grandma cuddles Daughter close, and we sit together some more.
Son is kneeling on his chair by the table. His eyes are focused intently and he’s breathing through his mouth, like he always does when he’s really concentrating. I’m gently holding a carrot on the sides so Son can pull the vegetable peeler down the length of the carrot by himself. Son’s dark brown eyes contrast with the carrot’s bright orange. It’s the first time he’s done this. Right before this moment, I gave him a serious talk about the sharpness and danger of the vegetable peeler. He’s trying hard to do a good job, to be careful. He pulls down gently and a perfect length of peel comes away. We both exhale.
Son has wanted to wield the vegetable peeler for at least half his life. It has remained stubbornly out of his reach until now. The way he holds it, turning it gently in his hands, looking at it from every angle, tells me how satisfying this moment is for him.
I think about growing up and how so much of it is just waiting for our bodies and minds to catch up with our desires. I know for Son, that wait can seem endless sometimes. It’s nice to be here with him when he can finally grasp something that’s been out of reach for so long.
The sun glints briefly through the leaves as my fingers brush them. I reach up to the highest branch, then wrap my fingers around a plump, purple berry. Time slows and I can almost hear the breath of the plants around me. For this moment, there is nothing but berry, leaf, and the sky beyond. My chatterbox brain is silent and my worries fall away.
The Saskatoon berries are ripe. Son and I have been prowling the little patch of woods by our house, waiting for them. In the meantime, he’s been eating his way through the Huckelberries and Salmonberries. Today, the Saskatoons are finally ripe and we’re excited to try them.
I grew up on the edge of a city in the prairies. My parents were both raised on farms and knew a lot about plants. A family walk would always be punctuated with stops to point out the Edelweiss or nibble on a rose-hip. In a place with a very short growing season, we would eat any edible berries growing wild with relish. Especially Saskatoons. My mom loved Saskatoon berries. She grew up in the same city and they were a childhood treat for her. We grew some in our garden and would also pick them in a ravine near our house. I remember walking to the ravine in the summer and coming home with full buckets of berries. We’d eat some berries and my mom would make a pie with the rest. So they’re a childhood treat for me too.
Saskatoons are less common where I live now. There’s only one little bush in these woods. Son and I won’t get buckets of them, just enough for a few of his snacks. But I’m glad that they will be part of son’s childhood too.
A lovely gem of a Sunday. Breakfast at a favourite restaurant, followed by Son playing with abandon at a nearby park. The perfect mix of activity and laziness, with minimal tantrums by any of us.
At the end of the day, Husband and I manage to convene in our living room, cuddled together with heads on the nursing pillow, as usual. The light shines on his face and I trace it over his cheekbones as he chats to me about something he’s interested in. I feel my eyelids begin to droop, the warmth and comfort of the moment pulling me gently towards sleep.
What’s your favourite moment today? What are you grateful for?
Daughter is cuddled next to me in our bed when Son comes in the room, first thing in the morning. The curtains are still drawn, the light muted. Son knows now to whisper whatever he says to us when he comes in, just in case Daughter still needs to sleep. Bless his heart.
Daughter is waking up anyway, so I invite him in, using my normal voice. He climbs onto the bed and stretches out beside Daughter. When I was still pregnant with Daughter, I was worried about bringing a sibling into Son’s life. He seemed so afraid of what would happen and dead-set against the idea of having a sibling. Now, he loves her. He doesn’t always love the attention she grabs away from him, but he loves her.
Daughter smiles at him when she hears his voice and coos to him. She reaches for him, grabbing his face, and he doesn’t even mind. He just giggles and tries to get her to do it again.
Husband comes in and curls up at the bottom of the bed. He jokes with Son and smiles at Daughter. We chat lazily. A perfect Saturday morning.
We are at one of Son’s favourite places. It’s a little historical village, depicting life in the 1920’s in our city. The first time I took him here, I wasn’t sure he’d like it. I’d been once before with Husband and it struck me as interesting, but small, mostly old buildings, not much to interest a kid. But the first time we went, it was winter and rainy and there wasn’t much else to do. The village turned out to have an old streetcar Son could explore and an old shed with a working steam engine. He fell in love with those things and now this is one of his favourite places.
So, here we are, summer now, with Grandma. Daughter is in the stroller. It’s a cool day. Cloudy but not rainy, with the sun peeking through every once in a while to say hello. Son is running down the path from the tram engine to the shed with the steam engine. He’s free to run here. There aren’t any cars, and today, hardly any people for me to worry about. He knows this place. Here he doesn’t have to hold anyone’s hand, he decides where we’re going next. I can see from his bouncing feet and swinging arms he is happy.
Quiet time. Twenty minutes where an increasingly stormy Son stays in his room and I rest; sometimes, if Daughter doesn’t need much.
Today, she needs to nurse, but that’s easy enough. I lie on the bed and pull her close to me. Side-lying nursing, the best kind there is. I prop my head on a pillow and let myself sink into the blue and gold of the bedspread. Daughter’s breath is quick, one hand wrapped around my index finger. Sunlight shines in the window, through the trees.
What’s your favourite moment of the day? What are you grateful for today?