Monday, May 25, 2009

Move Over, Mommie Dearest!

Matthew is almost four and is testing, testing, testing and pushing every boundary, every wall, every godforsaken button his wily little mind can find.

I love him. I do. But God help me, there are days when I wonder who has entered my son's body, because my wee, sweetpea leprechaun is behaving like an IMP, and not in a good way.

He was fine this morning. Delightful, even. But then he had a nap and I'm not sure what happened while he slumbered but it was like a completely different child emerged from his bed. Sure he LOOKED like my fire-haired lovey, wore the same Curious George underpants (backwards, as he now insists on dressing himself) and adorable, sleepy look.

And then he opened his mouth and out came a sassy-mouthed, attitude-tossing, dirty look-throwing, petulant BOY.

Bedtime came....and went. He was hungry, thirsty, had to pee, had to poo, had a sore leg, itchy mosquito bites AND he'd lost Lamby somewhere in the vast expanse of queen-sized sheets.

Finally, finally, as I hovered over the toilet with my clearly exhausted, yet gamely smart-mouthed son, who'd so been SO desperate to poo yet again, he'd removed his Pull-Up and pj bottoms whilst sliding down the stairs, I sort of lost it.

"Matthew," I said sternly, fixing him with my best, never-before-failed glare, "you had BETTER have a poo in there, or you'll be in BIG trouble!" And squeezed him leg a little harder than necessary, to press my point home.

"Oh, I have a poo, Mummy. Watch!" And didn't he scrunch up his adorably-freckled nose and close his eyes, straining so hard to push out a poop he tooted?

"See?" Such glee. Such pride.

"I see no poo, Matthew." Another icy glare.

"It was a little poop, Mummy. But it was so little, it already went down the hole."

Mummy: 0 Matthew: 345,078, 021

The evening's performance ended shortly thereafter, with much crying and gnashing of teeth and wails and not all of it from Matthew.

Half an hour passed and I scrubbed furiously at the dishes in the sink, mad at myself, mad at Matthew, tired, frustrated, let down, ashamed....standard fare, really. And then I heard a plaintive"Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmyyyy!" from the room at the top of the stairs. DAMN IT!

Grim-faced, resigned, I trudged up and sank to the bed, sighing, "What now, Matthew?"

He was sleeping soundly, one lean arm wrapped around Lamby. Achingly still and calm.

But just beyond him, on the other side of the bed, head barely visible...stood Luke. Crying. He'd been searching for me, seeking comfort and snuggles and I was so busy being pissed off, I hadn't even heard him.

He's sleeping now, too. But something tells me that my dreams will not be restful ones, this night. This parenting business is so wonderful. Except for the moments like these.

The ones that hurt my very heart and soul.

I suck.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 19th, 1978

Dear Andrew,

Tomorrow is your birthday - you were supposed to turn 31.

I miss you. I miss knowing that whatever else might have been going on in our lives, that tomorrow, I would dial your number and wish you a "Happy Birthday!" and would hear your smile through the phone.

I've been waiting for you to send me some sort of sign, a peace offering, smoke signal - anything to let me know that you're well and safe and happy. One morning, I heard an owl hooting and thought of you. But dude, it was FAR too early for you to be up and hooting, so I chuckled a bit, missed you more.

Some people watch for pennies, but you never had any money, so they're out. Others wait to hear a favourite shared song, but Cypress Hill isn't on my playlist, so it'll be a long wait, eh?

There's a guy here in Belleville - every time I see him, which is about once a week, in random places, like the grocery store, or walking his dog by the Moira River - he reminds me of you and I catch my breath, thinking, "Andrew!"

And then I feel crazy, because he's not you and I know it, but I was hoping SO hard...

Was explaining thunder and lightening to Matthew last week - told him that angels high, hiiiiiiiiigggh in the sky were having a party and the sound of thunder was them laughing and lightening was the flash of their smiles.

The next day, he told Luke not to be afraid of the thunder, because "it's angels, 'Ukey and they're having fun up there. Uncle Andrew's there, too...high, hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigghh in the sky."

And I laughed so hard, hiding on the landing above them, listening. Andrew? High? Never! HA!

Interesting fact: November 30th (which is my birthday, in case you forget) is also St. Andrew's Day. Isn't that something? Connected we were. Are. Always.

Shit, Bamboo. It was supposed to be you and me, brother-mine. You and me, the chosen ones, forever. Remember? You and me, arguing over who gets the stupid "Cows" portrait when Mum and Dad have gone on ahead of us. You and me missing them, instead of this.

Wishing your life had included us more.

Wishing our lives still included you.

I love you. Know that. Hold it close and never, ever forget it. I loved you even when I hated you and wish you'd have stayed with us in Newcastle. Wish you were here to know Luke and watch him swagger through his days, so much like you as a toddler, it makes my heart ache sometimes.

Wish you could see Matthew, growing like a weed and chattering incessantly, all day long. He talks about you every so often and it pleases me that he remembers, even though it breaks my heart that he only has memories now - his, mine. Watch over them, please, from wherever you're perched, chilling, free.

Whisper sweet dreams to Mum, Andrew. And watch over Dad, who's bearing up, but is so sad.

This is harder than I'd ever, NEVER imagined. It was supposed to be you and me.

Blessed be, my baby brother. Always, I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Letter to myself...

This Mother's Day, I want you to know that I am so proud of you, as I think you're turning out to be a great Mum.

Sure, you have your days, when patience is non-existent and frankly, you're a bit mean to the Reds. But you try, Belly, and that matters. You are quick to recognize when you're being unfair and impatient, and you haven't actually tossed a leprechaun out the window.


You've changed, since becoming a Mum, Belly. For the better. Since Matthew, finally, someone's else's needs come before your own and you know absolutely what it is to love another person without condition. You are wise in ways you'd never realized before the Reds - slower to judge, quicker to hug.

You are vulnerable in ways you'd never imagined and Belly, that softness makes you beautiful.

Since Luke, you've learned what it is to have your body not belong entirely to you, for minutes, days, months at a time. Be proud of yourself, for you've overcome some dark hurdles to snuggle that boy to your breast and grow him into the chortling little tank that he is. When you feel his soft breath on your skin, allow yourself to feel pliant and good and more like a woman than you've ever felt in your whole life.

Your boys are delightful, Belly. They are funny and lively and are the very best of you and Mark, rolled in Red. They show you every day who you really are - growly faces and all. No, it's not always nice, seeing your own temper flare in your son's face. But it's humbling and real and your honesty about what you're seeing makes you a good Mum. Remember that when you want to pitch yourself out the window.

Matthew starts kindergarten this year, Belly. I know that every day, a part of you weeps for the loss of him, your very heart. But you bravely carry on, vowing to make every moment with him matter and that is your gift to him...and to yourself.

Luke, fierce, darling Luke, your very soul - he will always be your baby even as his impish face grows into BOY and that he loves his brother so, is because of you.

For every hug encouraged, every reminder that "brothers are built-in best friends" they have bonded and are stronger for each other. You gave them the gift of that special sibling relationship, so be happy.

Blessed be, Bellymonster.

Happy Mother's Day.


My Darling Mum,

Boy, this is hard.

Not because I don't think you're an amazing, wonderful Mum, because I do.

You are.

You are loving and wise and everything I strive to be for my own children. I wish I had your innate kindness and could steal some of your infinite patience, especially on days when what little I have is stretched thin and all I do is fidget and fuss and use my "growly voice."

Matthew is a pee-on-the-potty superstar and it's thanks to you, really. All I did what follow up what you started and remind him that Nanny would be so proud. And he loves his Nanny oh, so much, I'm pretty sure that those magic words did the trick. Well, ok...Smarties help, too!

This is hard because this Mother's Day marks your first without Andrew - this year, and for all the rest to come, there will be only one card on the mantel and only one child to hug you and say, "Happy Mother's Day, Mum. I love you." And as much as it hurts to even write these words, I want to acknowledge who is missing, and to let you know how very much I wish it weren't so.

He was headstrong and fierce and not easy to raise or even, on some days, to love. And yet, love him you did. Do. Despite it all, you stood by him and reached out again and again, to hold him, to rescue him, to offer safe harbour. Far, far into the night, you fought with him, for him, against him, despite him - because you love him. That he grew up in such love, in the constant glow of that sort of dedication of the heart, is the greatest gift you could have offered him, and he knew it.

We were chosen, we two, and we were smug about it - never did Andrew and I ever believe that we were anything else but special and beloved. This truth was ours alone and was the best part of our shared lives. Remains my truth, to carry forever.

Thank you for that, always.

Thank you for finding your way through your own grief to ask after me - to encourage me to share my pain and memories and all my sibling angst. With poise and compassion, you've shown an awesome strength and grace for which I adore you all the more. Wish I could be more like you.

Thank you for drawing some of that strength from my children, both of whom adore you, as only "Nanny's Boys" can. You are their light and their treasure and I am so, so happy that you have been such a warm and loving part of their lives from the very beginning. They will cherish visits and snuggles and morning chats and hours spent in Lakefield, much like their uncle and I did of our own childhood. You bring to each moment, a certain magic, and we are all so blessed.

Blessed be, Mama. On this, and every day - know that you are loved beyond all measure, from Heaven all to way to us and back again. Andrew and I grew up, basking in your love, and now, so do Matthew and Luke. For all of it, from all of us, thank you. We love you.

Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

And I'm off..., well, on. The scale, that is.


Sorta knew I was this heavy, but was hoping that, by some miracle and despite the chocolate puddings (note the plural) that I gulped down the night before weigh-in, I'd weigh less.

Uh, not so much.

So, I forked over an indecent amount of money to some extraordinarily chipper women, stepped onto the scale for another smiling, chatty lady and took my seat, waiting for the weight to magically slide off of me. Hey, I paid money, I'm here in the Weight Watchers meeting - shouldn't I be skinny by now?

Apparently, that's not the way things go, more's the pity. In any case, I stayed. I learned stuff and collected my little food tracking booklet and another, detailing the number of points certain foods garner.

Interesting. My daily intake of points should be 32 (Thank GOD, I'm still nursing Luke, as this gives me extra points. I'm gonna nurse him until he's 5, or I lose all this weight, whichever comes first!) and I immediately flipped to "doughnuts".


It is sort of my "tradition" to pick up a box of Timbits at the beginning of a long drive. I tell myself that they're for the Reds, but really, I only share them - rather grudgingly I'll admit -with the boys. They each get one. With water. And then, while sailing down the 401, I skillfully sip my double-double (extra-large, thank you very much) while simutaneously shoving the remaining 8 Timbits in my mouth.

8. Timbits. Before Cobourg. All by myself.

Yes, I am a sloth and should be shot, but that's not the point. The point IS, a single Timbit is worth about 4 points. EACH. Timbits are 4 points, each.

Which means, on a stretch of highway, in less than 2 hours, I've been inhaling my entire point value for the ENTIRE day.

Holy hell.

Good thing I'm learning to run this week. Gotta burn off years of denial and Timbits!