Or the spaces we hide. Stories we don’t want to tell. I’m thinking of the moments that aren’t captured and posted because they aren’t bright enough, happy enough or easy enough. Who would post these? Who would want to see them? Of course no one.
But it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of how I would capture them and it doesn’t mean I want to lose them. They make us who were are. When things hit and one child feels so bad and can’t get out of bed, I notice the spot of sun just touching his cheek, brightening his freckles. Or when the other son is so frightened that his eyes shine and he looks so much older and younger to me at the same time.
These moments are just as beautiful as a silly picture of us smiling in the snow or swimming somewhere. They are us, they keep us on our toes and make us stronger, those spaces in between.
These are early days for this blog. It needs more focus but for now I have a goal – to keep moving. To keep writing, to keep moving.
It doesn’t take much to keep moving. One day at a time. We say that often. You get up and make something different for breakfast, in our case, it was an apple Dutch baby yesterday. So good! You hope everyone’s well enough in your home and then go for a morning walk in the snow on a Sunday morning. You wear the best winter hat you’ve ever had, thankful to be warm and healthy. You enjoy making four cups of tea at a time now instead of just two.
And of course you read, and you read and you read. You collect words and images and wear them like armor when the days are most difficult. And you celebrate and are grateful for tiny surprises like hearing from others that your own words are being enjoyed.
A week and a half ago, Scott’s back went out and it was really bad. He was in bed most of the time, trying to get marking done for his classes with walking (hobbling) breaks around the house to keep moving. Then Rory came home exhausted, with a fever than turned into one night of throwing up which became what still feels like a never-ending cold which William now has as well. In the past two weeks there has been only one day without someone home sick or sore. The most relief I felt was rereading last year’s diary entries for January (I write each night in a 5-year diary) and saw that it was pretty much the same last year, weeks with kids home sick. One kid says we relax too much over Christmas and then getting back to work and school is just too much. I buy it completely and might even say it’s worth it.
By Thursday night I was getting pretty low. Scott brought home flowers and chips and dinner which helped along with a super amazing episode of Workin’ Moms.
But this morning, Saturday, William was finishing up an assignment on the history of dance throughout the eras (which was very fun to hear him talk about 90s hiphop and disco) when he asked if I wanted to hear a poem he’d written for school. Everything felt like it got really quiet and calm. He read it for me and everything just fell back into place. It was beautiful. Everything that is important to us and to me was suddenly right there again shining away. It was more than the feeling of getting spring flowers in the winter – it was the head of the first snowdrop pushing itself up from under the sludge of leftover winter slop. It as a reminder that even though our days had been filled with far too many video games and snotty Kleenexes and not nearly enough vegetables or sleep I could lose, maybe, some of the guilt and feel inspired and excited about all the surprises that are always just around the corner.
It’s amazing when your kids remind you of who you are.
I’m away right now, or I have been away, from a lot of things. Mostly from working at the library. I am on a leave of absence for another two months and have been since the fall. Ultimately, I am at home because I need to be, not for myself directly but for my family. I don’t mean to be mysterious, they just aren’t my stories to tell because my kids are getting older. So I’m at home and being at home makes everything easier, and I don’t want to be anywhere else.
Because of the way things work out, I often start and stop many things, such as this blog or my writing. Those are the things that fall away and that honestly is my own choice. I’m too tired, or distracted or worried and instead of waking up early to work, I sleep. Instead of writing 1000 words every day, I read and spend too much time online. Instead of keeping this blog going, I feel guilty for the times of haven’t and ignore it for months. At times I feel stuck in a constant loop where last week was New Year’s Eve and this week my bright and shiny resolutions have already fallen to the curb hidden beneath dirty, leftover snow
So when I read Kerry’s post about getting back to blogging I thought yes! I should do that! As a means to write and process and think things out. But there are two things I wrestle with a) spending too much time online, and if I’m honest, getting caught up in whether or not people are reading and liking what I post and b) writing things that aren’t important and perhaps sound narcissistic. How do we share our stories without having them become “all about me?” And when so many of the stories that float through my days like dust motes are often composed of struggles of my family, how do I separate myself and strengthen my own voice? What do I have left to say and is it even important?
I was making dinner the other night and listening to one of my very favourite singers Sarah Harmer. One song, ‘Uniform Grey’ began and I instantly began rocking back and forth, it was a song I rocked my first baby to over and over in our huge yellow kitchen in the best house on Dovercourt in Toronto. There is a line in that song, ‘the sunlight on the floor will always fall’ that just always clicks with me – the light part, the ‘always’ part, the general feeling of everything being okay in the end. Maybe it’s the importance of such a tiny, regular, domestic realization. The thought of bare feet standing warm in a puddle of sun. It’s one image that can be broken into so many ideas. Maybe this blog can do this? A place to spin around, write, process and think things out.
“Look what she has imagined, and set her mind to, and caused to come into existence.” from What is Going to Happen Next by Karen Hofmann. I loved this book and it was perfectly paired with the CBC podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo which I started listening to today while making this non-pretty but delicious chocolate and orange cake.
I’ve been away from here for weeks. I’ve been concentrating on my writing course (which finishes this week and was amazing). I’ve been reading and working and keeping my kids going, day to day, or even sometimes hour to hour. There was Valentine’s day, sick weeks with children home for days, and a dog with a scratched eye that ended up in antibiotics, a cone and her sleeping on me for hours while I read. We’ve been skating. I messed up my swimming lessons and thought they’d been cancelled only to find out later that no, they had gone on without me.
We spent too much energy on which vacuum we should buy and in the end probably bought the wrong one, too heavy. We have subscribed to new magazines (Room and Owl and Vanity Fair) to make happy mail days more of a thing. We went to the Car Show, we’ve had more hotel stays, we’ve been to the top of the CN Tower. I’ve blown through every episode of Workin’ Moms, the one show I love the most. We have felt small and so tired, and lost only to be brought up by the tiniest of hope. We became obsessed with figure skating and Scott and Tessa. We have kept the kids abreast of all news, sharing the facts and hearing their thoughts even when it was hard.
We have watched Black Panther and listened to it’s soundtrack on repeat some days because the kids love it and it’s perfect to listen to when playing lego. We have stayed home and played with boxes and board games and street hockey nets during March Break. We made meringues and watched hockey games.We have worried and written emails to teachers and not slept. We have forgotten those emails just long enough to enjoy Samantha Bee and John Oliver.
We have written letters to the paper to unsubscribe because of a transphobic editorial cartoon they gave us no explanation or apology for. We have perfected times tables and joined the wrestling team (not me!!). One of us is closer to making peace with an old bully while another of us has had enough and finally walked away for good. We have eaten many bags of Mini Eggs. We celebrated the twenty years it has been since the first time Scott and I first kissed. We have hunkered down and worked hard and laughed and above all, we’ve read and read and read.
There hasn’t been much of anything these days. Nothing but sick people hanging out at hoping waiting to feel better. Needless to say, there has been no swimming and not much skating. There has been more Netflixing than usual, due to the surprising fact that Supergirl is a really fun show that we all enjoy watching. It’s been our dark horse. We are now mostly back to work and school, having deciding to ignore how crummy we still feel, especially after the doctor told us it was nothing rest and fluids couldn’t fix, and time. She said it could take a few weeks to be rid of this thing that’s going around. You know things are bad when your kid comes home and says his teacher greeted him that morning with ‘Hey Stranger!’ But there’s been books and mini eggs so one can’t complain too much. Books like “Home Fire” by Kamila Shamsie that took my breath away. Oh, that ending! It’s all about family and love and I’ll be writing more about it for our local newspaper next month. I read “The Music Shop” by Rachael Joyce and I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised after being snobbish about it and not expecting to enjoy it. If a Richard Curtis movie was ever a book, this would be the one. And I’ve just begun to read “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff which I already love after only twenty pages. It’s given me what I need to doft the blanket of sick and get back to writing which is perfect because my next UofT course, “Intro to Novel Writing” with the wonderful Michelle Berry started this week and I couldn’t be more excited. So onward, onward, onward – with help from Supergirl (although I will so badly miss Calista Flockhart because I know she isn’t going to be in many episodes next season and her charcter is my favourite with perfect timing and lines like: “Tell Harrison Ford I’m flattered but I don’t date older men.” She also gives excellent pep talks.