Sunday, September 29, 2013

Matthew is EIGHT!

Darling Matthew,

Happy Birthday, my sweet heart! Today you turned eight and in your honour, I wanted to share with you eight of the many, many, MANY reasons why I love you.

1. Your Heart

Matthew, you are a wise and sensitive boy, with an empathetic heart. I love how you always seem to know when someone - adult or child, stranger or friend -needs a little extra compassion and you find quiet ways to give some. Even as a baby, your heart knew.

Matthew, age 1

You are attuned not just to me and your brother, but to the world at large.

You may find that the world is not always a kind place for a heart like yours, my darling. But I hope and pray that you don't let the world's dark snuff out your heart's light.

Instead, I hope that you can find a way to let your light be the world's hope.

2. Your Light

My boy, since the moment you were born, you have been surrounded by an incredible light. That's your spirit and it is wild and bright and SO full. I love the energy you bring to my world, even when you've managed to talk more than me (which is no small feat) and you really should be sleeping.

Matthew, hurling himself with glee...

I love the way you hurl yourself into new ideas and schemes and play with absolute faith  that everything will be OK.
The world might not always be yours for the having, my pet, but never stop believing that it might.

3. Your smile

Your toothy grin lights up your face, a room, my heart. It is often the first thing I see upon awakening, the thing I look forward to seeing every day as I wait at the school gate, watching for you to burst out the door and tumble, laughing, into sunshine.

My boy and his glorious, gap-toothed grin!

It is sunshine and hope, right there in the middle of your face. I will always, always help you find it if it's lost and believe that it will continue to draw the good your way.

4. Your drive

I have never met another kid so willing to throw himself into learning something entirely new. Over the past eight years, I have watched you - awed - walk, run, climb, skate, leap, bound and soar.

Dreaming big dreams, this boy...

It is an absolute privilege to bear witness to your enthusiasm and your dogged attempts to master a new skill. Tenacious, you are. Determined, you are. Amazing, you are.

Never lose it. Any of it.

5. Your quiet

Admittedly, you are not often quiet, Matthew. Mostly, you chatter and yell your way through your days, not unlike your mama. But, there are moments - when you're contentedly still with a book, a game, your thoughts, when I can see contentment on you.

Some of the best moments of the day happen in the early hours, when the house is still and we are too: you sneak into my bed and wrap yourself around me, place a hand on my cheek, the way you've done since you were a wee, wee leprechaun - these quiet, heartbreakingly tender moments with you let me know that all is right with the world. Simply because you are in it.

6. Your loud

Child, you are loud. SO STINKING LOUD!!! You sing loudly, play with high-pitched shrieks of laughter and indignation, especially if Luke's involved and no one could ever, EVER accuse you of being shy.

Future rock stars, right here...

I can only pray that while life teaches you to temper the loud, that you always be willing and able to shout your truths and your dreams and your hopes from the highest places - proud, confident, free.

7. Your eyes

You've inherited your gorgeous, heavily-lashed eyes from your Daddy, Matthew. Like him, you see the world with clarity and a not altogether unhealthy bit of cynicism. This is a good thing, son, to let your eyes see truths that can help you along the way.

But your eyes are often filled with mirth and wonder and stories...oh, the stories they tell, even before you've said a single word. I love that your carry your heart there, Matthew.

8. Your faith

Thank you for your faith, darling Matthew. Your faith in me, in all of us who love you, in tomorrow. I have never known a child so quick to forgive, to offer comfort and to seek the good, as you. Your - often unspoken - belief that the world is a good place will bring you enormous solace as you grow, even when - especially when - it is tested.

A very serious Matthew at his First Communion

You believe in a kind and benevolent Father, the spirit of the Golden Rule and that there's nothing that a little bit of kindness can't heal. I could not be prouder of you if I tried, Matthew. Nor could I be more grateful for all that you bring to my life, the lives of those who share yours.

Thank you, as always, for choosing me.

I love you.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great Expectations...


"I need your help today, boys," I said, scurrying about, spritzing the air with Febreze and kicking shoes into the porch. "Nanny and Papa will be here in an hour."

"I need you to make your beds," I said:

"I need you to put your dirty clothes in the tall hamper and take the clean ones from the short one and put them away," I said:

"Please, boys, try to do so quietly because Daddy's not feeling well," I said:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood...

Walked about the neighborhood this morning, ended up on the street behind mine, admiring the pretty porches while easing my way around cracks in the sidewalk.

A man beckoned from the not-so-pretty porch of a home that has seen better days, so I stopped and went halfway up his walk: "Good morning!"

He grunted and flicked his cigarette into a rusted bucket at his feet. "Nothin' good 'bout winter comin'. But that's not why I stopped ye."

"Oh. Do you need help with something?"

"Nope. Got my chair and my smokes and my cat. I'm good. I wanted to talk to you about yer boys."

" sons?"

"Yer boys got red hair, don't they? And they wheel 'round here some nights, hootin' and hollerin' on their bikes and that stupid little plastic thing..."

Luke on his "stupid little plastic thing..."

 "It's a Big Wheel," I said, apologetically. "I'm sorry they've bothered you with their noise. They get noisy when they're excited."

He waved a huge hand, dismissively, and then spat. " Kids're having fun, doing what kids do. I don't mind."

"Oh...well....good. I'm glad."

"It's just that your kids - they wave to me every time they see me and sometimes they go 'round four or five times, ye know? And every time, they smile and wave like they've never seen me before and they're happy to. See me."

I blinked and then smiled. "They're pretty friendly kids."

"Most folks don't look my way at all. Your kids...they smile like I'm Santa Claus or something'. I like it."

 "I'm glad. Wouldn't it be grand if everyone felt like Santa Claus every day? How'd you know the boys are mine?"

"Well first off, I seen you with 'em, walking here and there. I mind my own business, but I see lots. And when I called you over here just now? You smiled at me just like they do. They teach you that?"

I grinned then and laughed, completely smitten. "They sure did!"

He grinned back. "They did good."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Finding the Good

One of the hardest things about being a mum is watching my kids navigate social relationships. More specifically, social relationships over which I have no control.

The Reds had a rough night, so I let them sleep in and brought them to school late. As we were signing in, two of Luke's classmates - one of which was S, the little boy who has given Luke a tough time for three years - came wandering past.

Luke, still giddy from reading a book ALL BY HIMSELF on the way to school, smiled at them and gave a small, shy wave.

 The blond boy with S. sneered back and then nudged S, saying, "Finally, Luke's at school. He's late. What a loser!" And they snickered their way down the hallway.

I glanced down at Luke, whose face, so bright and proud only moments before, had fallen. He stood there a moment, uncertainty now hunching his shoulders underneath his too-big backpack.

"Have a great day, Luke. Great reading this morning!" I said, forcing false cheer into my words, hoping they would carry him through.

"Yeah. Sure." His steps, usually buoyant, now slowed as he walked away and as I stood watching, he hesitated at the door of his classroom, no longer certain of welcome.

And then his teacher appeared, reached out a hand and offered him a beautiful smile. "Good Morning, Luke! I'm glad you're here! Come on in!"

God bless teachers who take my child's hand, as his mama struggles to let it go.