Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Happy birthday, Hunter-bear!

My nephew celebrates his first birthday today! It's hard to believe that a year has passed already. I am so grateful that I was there when he was born, and that I've been able to spend some time with him over the last year!

Little Hunter-bear, I love the funny faces you make. I love your big brown eyes and your soft hair.

You'd just started walking when I saw you in June, and I imagine now your mom and dad can hardly keep up. You are curious and easy-going and you love love love the water!

I'm so excited for all this next year holds for you. Love you little bear!

Friday, August 15, 2014


With your wispy white curls fluffing out from under your ballcap, your ruddy face and your bright blue eyes.

Your's was a loving, gentle, fun-loving soul.

You gave wonderful, full-body hugs. I'll always remember your particular scent.

You were one of the few people to drop by for a visit, and I am forever grateful for that. I hope you knew how much that meant to me.

You loved live music, and theatre. You loved to dance in your own groovy way. You loved baseball, and I think everyone loved watching the Discovery Days tournament with you. You also loved watching sports on tv, in the bar. You'd come in to town after spending all your time at the lake, just because it was time for the World Cup. In fact, that was one of our lasts visits together. You stopped by on your way in.

You had a hard time remembering names, and called a lot of people Dave. You did things on the count of eleven. You often had food in your coat pockets: a banana, a steak, Babybel cheese. You loved Kokanee and Jack Daniels made you go into a sneezing fit. You made a mean silly chili.

You loved dogs, and mushing, and your friends--you made friends easy. You loved solitude, and bush life, and your lake. 

And you'd been so sad these past couple of years, and none of us knew quite what to do.

And then you chose to end your pain in the most violent and final way imaginable. In spite of all the people who loved you, and all of the things you loved on this earth, you didn't choose life.

Forgive me for being so fucking angry with you for that. 

I love you, Barry. We all do, and you will be sorely missed.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

All's well that ends well.

Yesterday was not a great day. I was tired, and Aedan was trying, so there was a lot of yelling and more than a few bouts of tears. This whole "terrible twos" business is terribly misleading...all of toddlerhood seems to be full of frustration and flexing of wills and also wonderful, burgeoning independence and personality. Aedan is almost three, and I'm beginning to suspect that things aren't going to magically change at the stroke of midnight on his birthday.

I guess it's me who must change, become even more patient and understanding. 

But I digress. Yesterday I was neither patient nor understanding. And then P got home from work and he wasn't much better. When bedtime (finally, thankfully) rolled around, Aedan said he wanted to sleep with Daddy. So P came up to bed with us.

I lay on my side in our bed with Colm, nursing him to sleep, drifting myself in that in-between place, while P snuggled Aedan up. After a few minutes, Aedan asked, in his tiny voice: "Want Daddy to sing to you?"

"Okay," P replied. And softly, he began, "Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed."

I perked up a little.

"A poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed.
And then one day out shooting some food,
up from the ground came a bubbling crude."

Fully awake now, I joined in:

"Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea."

(is this familiar to you, too?)

Then we started laughing, and Aedan thought it was time to get up and play. We settled him back down, and P finished singing him the theme song from The Beverley Hillbillies ("it's the only song I can think of!" he told me) and we all drifted off to sleep, the day's hurts forgotten.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Of rain and raspberries

We've had an abundace of these two things around here lately. The rain is taking its toll. With such a short summer, we tend to feel cheated if it's less than perfect. And though this rain has only been a thing of the last two weeks or so, it's taken over our telling of this summer's story. We'll remember it as the rainy one, even though it started early and crept on slow and lovely. We'll only recall that it ended abruptly, with lots of puddles.

The raspberries are in season, rain or not, and the clearing around our house has been overtaken a bit more each summer. In another year or two I think we'll be hacking back the canes just to get into the front door.  Usually I pick all that I can, and make jam or freeze them. But this year I am feeling decidedly unmotivated. Aedan and I venture out every day, grazing along the little hillside like a mama bear and her cub, combing the small red fruits into our mouths without discrimination for under- or over-ripeness. We store what we can in our bodies and leave the rest for the birds. 

The rosehips blush scarlet, the ground is wet and mushrooms silently explode out of the forest floor. It feels like autumn is here, but I'd never say that out loud for fear of being run out of town.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Long Haul

I realize that there are many women who do this alone, either some or all of the time. Around here, their partners work at remote mine sites. They fight wildfires, stationed in the bush in the territory or flown out to help in other provinces, sometimes gone for weeks. 

Women's partners are long-haul truckers, or in the military, or just not there at all, ever. So many women do this all alone, all of the time.

After a day like yesterday, where P is out the door at 7:30 a.m. and doesn't pull into the driveway until 7 p.m., I find myself wondering how these women do it. How do they go for days, or weeks, or years as the primary caregiver? As the only adult in the house, all day long? How do they make time for that mythical beast called self-care? How do they fill the well? How do they not lose their minds? 

Or maybe they do. 

Lose their minds, that is. I know I feel close to it on these particular days. I find myself resenting being stuck out here alone for such long stretches of time. I pace within these log walls, or without, in the clearing around the house, swatting at mosquitoes and wishing someone would pull into the driveway, anyone, and not just to turn around and drive back to the gas station at the corner. I'm armed with tea and a wild 3 year old and a sweet baby. I'll invite you in, I swear!

In the absence of (grown) human contact, I find myself spending too much time on the internet, never really making much of a connection there, either. I sing "Mr. Lonely" in my head and feel sorry for myself and then tell myself to cut it out, shake it off. I wash the dishes, I build a block tower and watch the baby knock it over. I count the minutes until. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Tiny Guru

I recently read somewhere on the internet that "mothering is the shortest and steepest path to enlightenment."

I've been trying to keep that in mind lately as I navigate this sometimes maddening world of life with an almost three year old. Because there is no sense to those little people.

For example, Aedan has recently decided that spitting is really hilarious. Especially spitting on me. And there is nothing that enrages me quite like that. The anger is instant, and intense, and I just don't know what to do with it sometimes.

Last night, on my own because P had to work late, I cycled through all of my "tools". I told him sternly that we don't spit at people, that it is disrespectful. He laughed gleefully and spat upon me again. 

I told him again, with the same result. 

I tried ignoring him for awhile (which is really hard to do). No dice. 

Then I wanted to smack him, but I'm pretty sure that's not allowed, so instead I put myself on time out. I told him that Mama was really angry, and she was going to sit upstairs for a minute.

As I sat on our bed in the loft--with Aedan crying and banging on the gate across the bottom of the stairs--I wondered: what would the Buddha do if his almost three year old wouldn't stop spitting on him? What would Jesus do? Would they be calm and peaceful? Would they not react at all? I started to calm down a bit.

And then I realized that if the Buddha or Jesus ever had a child, it was likely home spitting on its mother while the enlightened ones were out meditating under a tree somewhere.

In the end, I declared bed-time. As Aedan flopped around in the bed, not at all tired or ready to sleep, I lay beside him, thinking about enlightenment and hoping that that anonymous person on the internet is right, and that I am on that path right now, my little guru cracking the whip over my shoulder, and spitting on the back of my head for good measure.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just doing something...

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