Friday, 16 August 2013

A really good thing

When I was in my early twenties and off-and-on single, I used to make lists of the qualities I was looking for in a man. These lists were often written by hand in my journals. Back then I did all my writing by hand, in hardcover journals I bought at Cole’s bookstore at the Pen Centre; my favourite ones had prints of famous paintings on the covers and were lined but not dated. I spent a good amount of time sitting in diners, alone, with a novel or self help book and always a journal, sipping tea or something stronger, reading and writing.

It felt right and somehow very writerly.

...Tolerant of all people
...Handsome and Funny
...Enjoys talking about the important things
...Likes the same books, music and movies as me...

The lists went on and on in great detail. When I think back on it I realize what I was really looking for, was my idealized self.

It took another decade to learn that I could be all those things to myself.

In my mid thirties, when I saw that this thing really was on with Shaune, that after nearly 10 years of our own off-and-on, we’d finally given into the fact that we should stay together, build a life, start a family, I stopped thinking in terms of ideals and looked instead to what was right in front of me.

Because I think we all get swayed by the fairy-tale version of marriage; we want the celebrity and Pinterest versions too. We get so caught up in what it’s supposed to be like, these imaginary benchmarks we’ve helped perpetuate, that we forget to mine our own relationships for the gold that lies within.

The more I learn the truth about what it takes, what it really takes to make a marriage work, the more I know we have a good thing, a really good thing.

Last Friday night the kids foiled Shaune’s plans to surprise me with a diamond ring for our fifth anniversary tomorrow. After dinner Deaglan asked “if we could give Mommy her big, big surprise.” I was stunned to learn that I hadn’t really lost my wedding band (two weeks prior, I'd taken it off to let one of the kids look at it, got distracted by the phone ringing and two days later noticed I no longer had it) but that Shaune had actually found it and used it to get the ring he bought sized.

When we got married, neither one of us felt right about spending money on a diamond since we’d only recently bought a house, paid for a wedding ourselves and had a growing eight month old boy to finance. I told him at the time that it might be a nice gift for a fifth anniversary. Since then he went back to school, and quit a well paying job to take supply work.

Which is all to say I was not expecting it.

And that the ring is beautiful and sturdy, the diamond just the right size and sparkle, and that I know for certain I would not have picked one that was different, says something about us I think.

Happy Anniversary Honey. I wouldn't have picked anyone but you!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tuesdays in late July

Last week Shaune took the kids to Manitoulin Island to a cottage with his parents. This was the first time in six years that I have been alone in the house for more than a few hours. It was lonely and glorious at the same time. They were gone for four days and three nights.

On the first night I was lost.

The house felt too big, too empty. My plans to enjoy takeout and whatever I wanted to watch on TV lost its appeal when I realized they were not coming back in a few hours. There’s something about freedom in those small doses. I ate leftovers and channel surfed most of the evening. When Shaune and the kids called, I had a hard time swallowing the big lump in my throat.

Pathetic. I know.

On day two I received a total of four phone calls and one video chat, two of which were spent trying to console Deaglan, reminding him that we’d be together again in no time at all. When I was sure he was finished sobbing I reminded him that he was with just about all the best people in his life: Daddy, Naveen, Gramma and Grampa.

It felt good to be missed though.

I got the hang of it a little by the second and third nights. I went out for dinner with friends and couldn’t believe how good the food tasted when there was nobody to discipline. It felt a little like old times; before kids.

I wished Shaune was there to discuss the food and enjoy the conversation.  

It’s always times like these, times when I’m out of my element, that I realize just how much my regular life satisfies me. I realize that home is where my three people are, not the vessel that holds us. I realize that despite the chaos and constant feeling that I’m not doing enough, there is a comfort for me in the everyday ordinary of my life.

On Thursday when they got back, I wondered if I’d measure up to what they thought they were missing.

Naveen hung onto my neck into the next day. Friday morning, when I told him I was going for a run but that I’d be back before he knew it, he put on his sneakers and cried when I told him that I’d be running for too long for him to join me. Deaglan asked a hundred times if I loved the necklace he’d bought me at the gift shop. And when I told him that yes, it was just the perfect one for me, he asked if I thought I would wear it every day for the rest of my life.
 The boys on the Chi-Cheemaun,  the ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island.
 My mother-in-law (have I mentioned how much I lucked out in the in-law department?) building what looks like an amazing mote.

I think this is what the hip kids would call a selfie...I'm surprised though because I can usually never pry the camera out of this guy's hands long enough to capture him in a picture.

You'll notice I gave my blog a little makeover. I used Pic Monkey to create the new header. It was easy (obviously, if I could do it!) and free.  I tweaked the about me page and updated a picture or font where it seemed to need it.

I've been seriously considering changing the name.

Lately I get a lot of creepy visitors looking at the pictures of my boys. I can see what they've typed to find my little space here...things I'd rather not repeat but things that worry me nonetheless. And I can see what pictures they focus on.

I started this blog a month or so before Deaglan was born; five and a half years ago. We were told prior to that, at our 20 month ultrasound, that he would be a boy but something in me did not trust the technology. I didn't believe that they could be accurate in predicting his gender by looking at those static pictures of his bone structure.

Clearly, I was wrong.

But when it came to naming the blog, I had decided to keep it simple: The child. Little did I know that it would open me up to giving all sorts of perverts a peek into my world.

What do you think? Would you change the name?