Sunday, September 7, 2014

Down some other road

I’ve been thinking about words lately, lyrics in particular. Artists write them down because they have something to say (besides any pressure I’m sure they also experience!). Everyone has something to say so it begs the question: what would your song be? What would be mine?

La, la, la,
I tried to get pregnant and then 5 years later did. 
Thought about a dog but I’m glad I had a kid. 
Stuck here in the house while my baby snoozes on. 
Happy that he is so I thought I’d write this song!

A sure hit! Maybe I’d sing about the various trials of childrearing (pick one), or a love song (for sure). Right now I’d rant a rock anthem about how on this extremely rare afternoon alone (save sleeping baby), when I’d planned to finally start an iMovie about the kids, the application won’t open (long story). A and Ben are in the Big City having Big City adventures, donuts, dumplings, subway rides, the works. I feel a little lost actually, un-tethered. My main purpose these days is the fam; it’s been halved and I am with the not-especially-conversant half. Oh, we’ve had fun, precious time, but the dynamic is so different without B&A around. Those two drive me nuts sometimes but I already miss ‘em. I guess we’re all pretty attached, as evidenced by the upheaval in our home re: Ben starting pre-school. Neither parent has been sleeping well, anxiety is high. Ben is miserable every morning, happy every afternoon. Such a roller coaster! For me, it feels hard to set him loose into a bigger world. His former daycare was so small and cushy. It’s an act of faith really: in our choice, in the timing, in him most of all. We certainly question the decision, regularly contemplating selling the house, buying an RV like that Kellogg family with the heap of kids (12!), and just homeschooling along the way. School of life. Now doesn’t that sound like [crazy] fun?

All that extra free time gave me the gift of a song instead of a movie. The words are below, with a tune partly inspired by “Wrong song” on Nashville. I attached my very low-tech, real-person-voice, Guitar Band recording of it, if you dare. It’s a song for Ben (who belts out “Wrong song”)…

Down some other road

Wouldn’t it be nice to stay in bed on rainy days?
Counting out the many toes, under our duvet
But life’s too short to hide inside our heads or homes my son
Grab the wheel, resolve of steel, and let’s go for a drive!

Hop in the van, child, it’s gonna get wild
Life ain’t all roses, though it comes with a smile
So much to see, so much to be, so this is life…
Driving you down some other road

Take me by the hand, baby, get a little crazy
Clouds are a formin’ and it seems a little hazy
But I swear on my life there’s a rainbow along for the ride…
Driving you down some other road


Thursday, July 31, 2014

So fast

Mommy blogging is like wading through a sea of clichés. I can no more escape it than a house of boys can escape pee. And I am now looking into the face of PRE-SCHOOL. I am both holding my Ben’s hand as he cautiously faces this massive change to come, and also gently swaying in his wake as he bravely marches forward into his new building, his new sand box, his new Big Boy world. [Ben actually says to me now that he does or doesn’t do things because he is a Big Boy.] A and I each took him to pre-school for a practice morning this week, in anticipation of his start later in August (French language Montessori school). I felt that classic heart swell watching him learning, earnest, focused. You could tell he was chuffed, and the Madames in the class seemed pleased. Ben, his moms, the people who love him, we’re all on this suddenly super fast charging train of pride, Ben’s growing up happening rapid fire this summer. First dressing himself, his ever more expressive vocabulary, potty training, then this. We were going to throw a single bed into the mix but haven’t summoned the will yet. I suppose it’s normal, that kids evolve in such a way most of the time that you only notice change when you haven’t seen them in a while; but then suddenly, they have quantum leaps that knock you over and leave you feeling dizzy and lost. No wonder he and his moms are having trouble sleeping, having nightmares and other crazy dreams. All change brings gifts and costs.


Too few thorns

Daniel, we promised to protect you from life’s thorns at your Welcoming Ceremony, until you’re ready to handle them yourself. We did so at Ben’s too. But there was one major difference between each of your metaphorically charged flowers. My poor sweet second-born baby, there were too few thorns on your rose! There were only a few to remove, maybe three, and I lost them. Ben’s had at least a dozen and I taped them into his baby book. Overall, Ben has also had the benefit/curse of being the first and the focus of all our new-parent anxiety and cautiousness. But now in our busy world it feels like life is just throwing hazards at you left and right, your knees perennially scraped, your face regularly bonked, and your delight in puddles getting me yelled at by the old half-naked neighbour guy to get my child out of the road (I wasn’t looking for maybe 5 seconds). You are a delightfully adventuresome guy, and it leads you into the face of danger every few moments, and I am not always there to keep you safe. How can I be? We do our best to child-proof, to put you in the care of competent, loving people, but you are good at finding the hole in the fence. And now potty training your bro, I am ever less present, finding it suddenly quiet after taking Ben for a poo and you at the top of the stairs! [We normally use a gate but he hasn’t needed it of late]. Maternal guilt is part of the package, I know. It’s not going anywhere. I just hope you know how much we love and cherish you, how important and special you are to us, how wanted you are. The hidden gift in all this will be your innate ability to handle challenges with aplomb, to stand up smiling from your falls, stronger, braver. You already are extraordinary. 


Dealing with dying

Tree of Life by Heather Watts
“Maman, when I’m gonna be a man, I’ll be dead.” My three and a half year old Ben has begun his lifelong wrestling with our fundamental state of reality: everything dies eventually. It’s what makes life possible, but it’s also what makes us crazy. My partner kept herself up endless nights as a young person worrying about death, what it would feel like, when it would come. The more A talks about it, the more folks come out of the closet with similar stories. She said it’s partly because she was given no framework to understand it, nor did her parents know she was grappling with the topic. How to save Ben from her fate? I have never worried about dying, at least not existentially. I went to many funerals as a child, and at age 11 held my Nana’s hand as she died peacefully in our home. [I’m fortunate though not to have experienced the death of children, or any violent deaths.] I am also blessed with a story I gave myself, a story I believe in, despite rational opposition from my brain. I know deep down that this isn’t the first time I’ve done this thing, Life. I know it won’t be the last. I’m not sure whether I believe each life is to teach us a particular set of lessons, leading to some nirvanic end point. But I like the theory, and I chose to work with what this life presents. I know our bodies will become compost, which has its own magic and beauty. I want that too, to be buried without a box, to become the earth. No energy or mass is ever gone, just rearranged, repurposed. Nature’s reincarnation. But that’s for our body, what of the soul? What can I, in good faith, say to my unformed son’s open eyes?

Here is what I want to say to Ben: This beautiful body of yours is the house for an even more beautiful soul; you can’t see it but you can feel it. I can feel it. It’s the most YOU of you, and it will never die, never be apart from the people you love. You are an essential piece of the Spirit of the World, of the Life that connects all things. A part of every living being that has died is in the caress of the wind. You have been part of the world since always, and you always will be. Will you always be Ben? No, you are Ben now and you are so much more too. When you breathe in, the air actually contains little pieces of others, of butterflies, of clouds and your body becomes them a tiny bit. They become you too. Your mothers’ job is to do our best to keep you safe, to help you take care of your body and soul so that this life can be long and happy. But one day, hopefully a very long time from now, your body will become part of the earth again, your soul set free to dance through the sky, to find a new body. So will ours. And we will find each other, again and again, forever. Blessed be!