Monday, 6 September 2010

No one cares what you look like - you're a parent!

That's what Shaune said to me when I hesitated before putting on sneakers and white socks with my jersey top and leggings. We were in Toronto on the weekend for a mini vacation and as you can see from this picture Shaune took from Centre Island, it was cold and wet, not conducive to barefeet in sandals.
We hadn't taken any time away yet this year, since we were busy preparing for and welcoming Naveen into our lives. Shaune had originally asked me if I wanted to go to Toronto several weeks ago but I just couldn't bring myself to go to that place where Matthew had been last.
But then I remembered that it was Matt who was excited last summer about Deaglan being old enough to take to Centre Island, an amusement park mostly for toddlers.

So we booked a room and created a kid-friendly itinerary and headed toward the big city with little thought to Hurricane Earl and how he might impact our trip. It was cold, windy and rainy but we stuck to our schedule.

Naveen slept throughout most of the two days. But Deaglan had a blast. We told him that we would be riding on a boat and trains and boy was he stoked. Here he is with Shaune on the ferry over to the Island.

The second day we bought a day pass for the subway and gave him a good dose of train riding. Every time we were ground level, he wanted to know where the trains went. Shaune and I took turns of honing our explanation skills about how the subway is under the ground - under the ground we were walking on right then.

In the morning while I was feeding and changing Naveen, Shaune and Deaglan went outside to explore downtown Toronto. Apparently a truck broke down in front of a streetcar and there was a bit of a kerfuffle. When they returned to the hotel room, Deaglan excitedly told me about the blue truck that was stuck in front of the choo-choo train (he wouldn't make the fine distinction between streetcars and trains despite our constant reminder). He continued to talk about this all day and when we were home last night and I asked him about his favourite part of the trip he again told me all about the blue truck being stuck in front of the choo-choo train.
No mention of the expensive hotel room we stayed in, or the meals, or even the trains we rode around for no reason other than his entertainment.

I thought about my brother almost every minute of our trip. I didn't know him at all in that environment, his environment. I looked out into the water where he had his final moments. It left me sad and lonely. And I passed by a constant stream of Starbucks wondering each time if it was the one he got his morning coffee before heading into work each morning. I let myself cry when we passed an open market downtown, not sure if I just wanted to imagine that he might have done some shopping there on a Saturday morning or if he might have told me he did.

I mourned that we would never take our boys there to visit their Uncle.

It was one of those trips that might be more fun to remember. Four people in a hotel room when one of them is an infant who only sleeps during the day, a toddler who suddenly developed a high fever, a mother who usually prides herself on being prepared for anything but not prepared for that and a father who was almost asleep when woken and told to go find a pharmacy to buy children's tylenol.
And on the drive home, I went back to what Shaune said about people seeing me only as a parent now. I couldn't decide if it upset me or not. I did the mental checklist:
  • Two kids
  • Snacks and kleenex in my purse
  • Raffi playing on cd player
  • Minivan
  • Getting excited to ride the subway just because your toddler son is crazy about trains

Of all the things people could see me as, well, it could be worse I guess.


  1. I am still trying to figure out why Naveen will only sleep at night.

    It really does sound like a great trip and the city looks beautiful. I hope we can visit there some day. Glad you got out and had some entertainment.

    And isn't it funny what a toddler picks up on? T Rex fixates on odd things too. I took him to see his aunt and her horse and all he could talk about was the dog that jumped into her pond. He sees our dog all the time. Evidently, her dog is much more interesting.

    And I used to roll my eyes at people who did their grocery shopping in their pajamas. Recently, I've been running to the grocery store in my work out clothes - very similar. I just don't have time to get all dressed up to go somewhere because by the time I do, someone is no longer ready to go. When it's go time - it's go time and if I'm not dressed, oh well.

  2. That phase where you have young children and they trump any thought of your own appearance pass in the blink of an eye. Enjoy.

  3. I'm crazy about trains too! What a wonderful trip for all of you. Of course, you know that you look FABULOUS!!! Don't I sound all Hollywood using that word. LOL.

  4. I'm glad you stepped out there and went on the trip. Yes, memories are amazing and our joy-filled moments seem to stand out. Love all of the photos. :)


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