Monday, November 17, 2008

home from school

I knew it was coming, but I just didn't expect it so soon. I knew it was coming because it's just one of those things you do when you're a kid with boundaries to test and push. But at 4 years old? I really didn't think kids figured it out that young.

This morning you could have called me a witch doctor. A magic man. A true healer. Praise the Lord, you are well! Well I didn't say that. All I said was 'you don't have to go to preschool' and miraculously Owen was healed. That is until I changed my mind. Then the spell was broken and he was horribly sick, unable to stand at all. Bound to his bed. He did it all except moan. The bottom lip hung limp, his eyes moistened and looked as sad as a basset hound. His shoulders sagged and he looked down right pathetic. If I hadn't been paying attention he may have got away with it. But I didn't become a mom yesterday.

All weekend, quite out of the blue, I earn my stripes again. (Not that I'm lacking any) While sitting cosy on the couch together Saturday evening, Owen suddenly gets up and decides he doesn't want supper anymore, and it all comes back up. All over the floor. It wouldn't be as much of a panic if it weren't for Shady. Skills of an acrobat are needed to get from my seat, over the mess to the paper towel on the other side of the room. All the while keeping the dog and my toes, out of the mess.

By Sunday evening, the battle between going down and coming up was won. A bagel successfully stayed put. But since that was all he ate all weekend, I thought Owen would be as exciting as a blob of goo today, stuck to the couch. I snuck into his room this morning to find him curled up, eyes fluttering somewhere between awake and asleep, sucking his fingers. The way he has since he was a baby, reminding me that he's still a little boy. 'How are you feeling?' I asked when his eyes finally met mine. A shrug of the shoulders was all I got. So I said the magic words.

That's when he showed me that he's not so little. In fact he's a sneaking little fart, trying to pull a Ferris Buelers Day Off. I'm sure now, that in seconds he had a list of toys he would sneak out of his brothers room while he was stuck in school. In minutes he was out of bed, dressed, breakfast in the toaster and sitting cosy on the couch watching the beginning of what he hoped was a day full of cartoons.

I have to give him credit though. I didn't know he had it in him. Too bad he hadn't studied his brother a bit longer, planned a bit better. Reiley knows that you have to fake it until at least lunch time to get away with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I was hiding behind my mothers leg when we met. She was hiding behind hers. The game of shyness lasted the whole of our mothers chat that day. Neither of us brave enough to come out from behind our protective posts. We were 3. She is now my oldest friend.

Like friends do, she moved, I moved. We grew up. University took her into the military. Then around the world on a boat. Then a few short years in Halifax only to move again to Ontario. When we left high school I gave her half of a heart. The kind of charm you break in half and each keeps a piece. One day she showed me her dog tags, and to my surprise there was my half heart. It had been close to 10 years.

She is Reiley's god mother, she witnessed my marriage and she stills comes to play with me when we have the chance. The years dissolve when I see her, like no time has passed. I think of her often, and today especially. On this remembrance day she is in Afghanistan.

I don't understand all the politics behind any of the wars really. Especially today's. They seem more complicated. Less about ideals and more about greed. Schoolyard bullies on a global scale. Despite any ones belief of whether Canada should or shouldn't be in Afghanistan politically, there is one truth that can't be denied. The people who are there, are there to help and they are giving themselves completely to do that. I admire their selflessness.

Today I remember to give thanks. For the freedom our soldiers fought for in the past. So I could grow up with my friend and not know death. For the soldiers who fight today, so a family can wake up and Dad can go to work and his daughter can go find her friend and play.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The once lush beautiful trees, now grey, brittle and bare rattle in the wind. Cold. Regardless of the temperature, they look cold. It's dark, and my playground outside that I know so well, suddenly seems spooky. Behind me, the house is glowing with light and warmth. The smell of supper wafts out through the door to my nose. Making it all the more tempting to run back inside where it's safe.

If I can just make it to the barn. It's not that far. Around the house, past the scary woods full of shadows and noises. The bare tree branches reach out for me like skeleton fingers. But everyone is waiting for me, I have to go.

The barn is warm and glowing with light. It smells not of my supper, but of theirs. My company inside is waiting for me. The old horse with less patience than the others. He lets me know I'm late. I clean the beds, feed them supper and make sure all the animals are tucked in cosy for the night. I like it in the barn. If only my supper were in here I wouldn't have to run back into the dark, past those scary trees.

Some 20 years later, as I get home from work, our house glows warmly in the dark. Spooky shadows fill the yard. The bare brittle trees rattle in the wind. My adult mind knows nothing lurks in the woods, but I run anyway.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Smell in the air

The wind blew all day today wiggling the last remaining leaves free from the branches. Bare and grey the land they once hid is now visible to anyone who passes by. I catch myself weaving this way and that as I drive to work, the scenery all new again. I spy fields tucked away on the river banks, trails and homes I never knew were there, that I have passed twice a day for the last 6 months.

The tree tops are bare, but the forest floor is covered in the most beautiful patchwork of colour. It's winter blanket of leaves. Just as the last spider, grim reaper and princess visit our door, and the clock falls back, I can smell it in the air. The change in season that comes with the wind. Winter is just around the bend.

The horse went to Yarmouth yesterday to hold off the winters cold in a barn with lots of feed and the company of cows. I'll miss him, but his absence makes my internal, instinctive clock ring all the louder as I'm suddenly capable of sleeping the day away.

Even our menu changes from salads to root crops and we hunker down readying ourselves subconsciously for the winter. Hope you like roast, potatoes and carrots with apple pie. A winter feast and company inside keeps the cold outside at bay and brings me comfort.

I've always been a spring and fall kind of girl. I used to base that on the temperature. As a redhead, God didn't design me for hot temperatures. But I think really I love those seasons because I love change they bring.