A Song For You….

I could be in the cheeriest of moods. Ugly laughing and gasping for air. I might have just fallen off my chair laying on my back because I wasn’t able to maintain my composure. I could be the center of attention riding a joke to the high heavens as those around me cackle and lose themselves. I could be fueled by joy and glee and have it all snatched away at the sound of Donny Hathaway singing ‘A Song For You’. While written by Leon Russell, this is absolutely one of those remakes that far exceeded the original. It is a beautiful piece of music and Hathaway’s voice ate this masterpiece up! I don’t know what it is, but the song drives me to be quiet and calm, sit with my eyes closed and my head back. I never sing along either, I suspend every move whenever it plays. It’s like honouring the beauty of the song with silence and pressure to never ruin what it does for me. It immediately puts me in a pensive mood. I ended up listening to it in the morning after his rendition of This Christmas. After spending Christmas morning in the emerg with my sick baby the day turned into a somber emotional time and it reminded me to love on and be grateful for everything. This jam could easily be a forgiveness plea anthem for lovers, but I dedicate this song to my husband and child. Ideally, letting them know, I am not without fault or innocent. I fail and falter and would never hurt them intentionally. I am in love with them wholly.

‘I know your image of me…Is what I hoped to be… I treated you unkindly… But darling, can’t you see?… There’s no one more important to me… Baby, can’t you see through me?.’.  This is a message of love and purpose of choosing my family over and over again.

‘You taught me precious secrets…Of a true love while holding nothing…You came out in front when I was hiding…But now I’m so much better…And if my words don’t come together…Listen to the melody…’Cuz my love is in there hiding’. This a message to my son. I learned so much and grew in abundance from becoming his mother. My parenting has false starts but not because I am not trying but because I am just learning as I go.

 

‘I love you in a place…Where there’s no space or time….I love you for my life…’Cuz you’ re a friend of mine…’.  Speaks to being more than a wife and a mother but a confidante and anchor when they need me.

 

The decrescendo from 5:06 to 5:18 just rips at me and have caused tears to flow. This song is such a simple yet emotionally disturbing admission of wanting to do better and be great. It’s the perfect dream…..

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I felt sadness others found solace….

LINK: Kahlil Gibran- On Children

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Are kids worth it?

I recently engaged in a discussion around what it’s like to raise a child; or multiples. The tone of the discussion was frank, lighthearted and a bit dark at times. Exactly the way being a parent is. Every parent feels this, and when you struggled to have your child, you will think this but may not be strong enough to say it out loud out of fear of seeming ungrateful. 

The conversation started with a non-parent reaching for the stars saying the want 4,5,6 kids and those who were already parents cackled heartily at the dreamer. Hit me up after you’ve had your first someone said. We all laughed again. Another person neatly declined the thought of procreating and honestly was met with a lil’ envy. Thinking about having more children comes with so much reluctance. Then you think, if my life is constantly on flames now, what’s a lil more heat? If you are lucky enough, you find out. There was also mention of the fact that people don’t always know what they’re talking about when it comes to kids. This is my FAVOURITE thing to say, why? Because no one person is the same. What worked for you wont work for others and people should really stop doling out advice on sight. Fingers on your lips as the ‘parents’ handle things their way. Here’s the thing, people get frustrated when something someone told them doesn’t work, not realizing that it isn’t intended for your child but theirs. Take suggestions and advice from people you trust but always try what your gut is telling you first. Most importantly what your kid is telling you. I cringe when I watch parents do what others tell them to do to their kids while the child have to be standing up for themselves because you’re failing at respecting their right to choose. Then they further get labelled as rude and treated as such. Meanwhile, you’re selectively deaf. Child-centered parenting is not indication of weak parenting. FACT. It was also mentioned that its gets easier the more you have, you can never be sure though. The thing about being a parent is that absolutely anything is fair game.

Frankly expressed was the fact that you get used to a new normal, then fall back into the pits of newborn hell. Caring for a loaf of bread sized human who can’t do much but expel rapidly out both ends and let you dress them up. The teething, late nights, fevers, protein spills, never ending cleaning, potty training, wonder weeks, regressions, illnesses, accidents, near misses, they anxiety, thin sanity, breastfeeding woes, greying, loveless marriages, nonexistent sexy time, schedules, frantic driving, arguments, tempers, tantrums, body changes, memory loss, irritability, tolerance and weight ballooning. You genuinely wonder if you were built for any of it and find that you build yourself as you go. You find your strength and uncover truths about yourself from raising your kids. The lessons learned in parenting happens when things occur but if you never have another child you don’t get to redeem yourself and quench that burning guilt. There’s also finances and another cackle happened this time with a few tears being shed at the mention of this topic. I love being a mother and at the crux of that is that pair of boots I also love but couldn’t buy last month, or every month if i wanted. Frankly, my savings account I throw money into the same way I do a wishing well, every now and then you know, just in case… as its been awhile.*Hears a knock on a door*… Me: home ownership is that you?…why no, no it’s not. It’s the need for another bloody winter jacket since your kid lost the last one you purchased just 2 weeks ago.

Hard truths was what I said, in addition to that most days I love being a parent. My main qualm is having to do everything by ourselves all the time because you cannot depend on anyone. People either don’t understand kids, have the patience or they romanticize how they were raised and want to pass that on. It’s difficult being a hermit parent because life happens but also you have to do that so you don’t end up raising a child that has to work to heal from traumas. You then rely on a daycare service which in itself gets paid out with the likes of a cash cannon. Someone else chimed in saying this also leads you lose 80% of your family, friends and about 80% of yourself. BIG FACTS.

The key I find is to treat kids like adults so they gain their independence early, even in their manner of thinking. Socialize them properly, hold them to discipline and you have a built in best friend. There is now a certain symmetry when you both understand and trust each other because a certain bond is there. There’s also so many joys that come with being a parent, their innocence and wonderment for the simplest things is so fulfilling and humbling. Being a parent most importantly comes from honestly asking yourself ‘Am I unfit?’ ‘Children are to be seen not heard’ is dead and should have been generations ago. It dumbed down a whole generation of people who have issues with basic communication. It taught people to not talk to each other and to be impressionist because we don’t want to face embarrassment. That was the key here, our parents didn’t want us to embarrass them so everyone walked around heads high like everything was fine. Meanwhile the truth was that mental illness, toxic behaviors, abuse and other issues needed to be out in the open and discussed. They created frail children in a new, mean world, not kids who would speak up when something wasn’t right. Let them speak and no matter what it is they’re saying, converse with them. Ask a million questions and teach them how to communicate. To bring this full circle, the minute your child needs to navigate the world without you present they need a sense of maturity and the ability to communicate so that you are aware of everything they experienced. They need to be able to tell you everything that happens to them in your absence, not cower and speak up for themselves and those without a voice. If you find that you need to control everything and try to do that to others around you, you are unfit. Watch your interactions with others and how much you try to influence people to ‘bend’ in a way that pleases you. Language, mannerisms, actions, choices and willpower are independent based on free thinking and should not be stifled or changed. Yes, choose the best people to be around but we genuinely all have rough patches. If you find that you cannot leave people alone and take them as they see fit then you cannot parent well. You need to be able to give them freedom to choose, fail and fight against all odds; they also need great examples that teach them how to celebrate in a way that doesn’t oppress others. Think about it, if you cannot just be and let people be themselves around you, when the dark days of parenting hit, you’re going to rage against your child. That, is the first step towards a traumatic life….

Skool dayz…..new wave

Having a school aged kid is a DIFFERENT beast. Initially my son was supposed to go to school 3 days in the week then the opportunity came for him to go all 5 days and we accepted it. Listen, newborns are hell, the fourth trimester will ruin you, when kids get mobile they will keep you busy, when they start talking and asking questions  you will need discipline and patience, but school aged kids? We weren’t ready *Kevin Hart voice*. Regardless of our work or school life, every day at the same time baby had to be in school and picked up. There is no getting caught up and running late and leaving your kid at school sad and worried he’ll never get out of there. Every term is unpredictable and feels like a milestone. Every month carries a different form of celebration that requires heavy parental input. Every week is a new craft and a new theme. Every day is a new story about who did what in class and new conversations with the teacher. Something breaks or changes with baby’s progress weekly. Homework requires so much patience and diligence. Field trips require a day off work or a later shift or a half day. There is lunch prep everyday that he won’t eat. Regular check-ups, birthday parties and play dates. Heaven forbid you throw extra curricular activities in the mix and you’re looking at a full day working on top of going to your actual adult work. I completely get why some parents leave things for the school to deal with. It is a lot. They require your input and help a lot. Seriously, being active and present at your child’s school will show you how much help schools really need.
To do this with multiple kids? I’m not sure about that one. There needs to be a gap. I see parents with multiple kids yelling through the school for Ann, Mary, John and Jacob to put on their coats, explain where their hat and gloves are. Who hit who or ate whose snack. Process who came from where and who’s missing while trying to catch up on the day with the different teachers. A HUGE hats off to them. I get tired watching them. I’m struggling with one child. There is also the fact that when one child gets sick, then entire class including the teacher will be wiped right the fuck out. It then becomes a cycle. Since he’s been sick, I’ve had to take time off work, his dad has had to leave early to get him and plans have been cancelled. My own health related appointments have had to be cancelled and plans foiled and thrown right the hell out the window. Personally, I haven’t been to school in weeks. Every night I sit to work on assignments I can’t because baby is sick and needs me. Or he’s having nightmares and can’t sleep. My grades this semester slipped tremendously because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to prepare for none of it. This was the first time in our parenting journey that we really needed additional help. This has been the hardest part of it all and not one person ever mentioned that to us. SAHMs I envy wholeheartedly. Having school aged children is extremely hard with working a 40hr work week and getting through personal endeavours. We somehow do it anyway, but balls get dropped so much it’s not even funny. Teachers reminding us of random things and simply choosing to not do some things have been our saving grace. It’s too much!!

Mean Mommy….

As I was about to enter a Starbucks this morning I yelled at my kid for not swallowing the egg he chewed up and had in his mouth for about 30 minutes. I whispered under my breath how breakfast time before school is always a fucking nightmare and that I was over it. I did this, not realizing he was actually about to throw up. Asshole parent 101. This wasn’t the bad part. Nope. I sat him down on the couch but before I could join the queue I heard a splatter in the floor. I looked back and there he was throwing up his little guts. Things I don’t even recall him eating was coming up. I was in a panic but tried to remain discreet about it as we were in a food establishment and spoke quietly to the barista when I asked for a mop. An older male scoffed and was so disgusted he moved his thousand books, laptop, 4,000 papers, phones, 3 jackets and aire of premium douche to another table. Thanks for the privacy Grinch!

While I was busy wiping up my sons vomit splashed face the sweetest barista-Tyler got to work and threw an apron over the whole thing, scooped it in a bag then mopped. He even ‘handled’ me by giving me a rag told me to clean off baby’s shoes so he isn’t walking around with throw up on his feet all day. When my grasp on the event was insufficient, he used a wet rag and wiped baby’s jacket, pants and shoes again. I felt sad but so grateful for the humanity of the moment. He spoke with my son with such kindness and was not even the least bit annoyed that at 8:30 in the morning he had to be mopping up a little kid protein spill. He kindly said to my son ‘Are you ok now? Did you get all of it out and will you do it again?’ My son replied ‘yes, yes and no’. To which Tyler said jokingly, ‘great, and don’t worry if you have to do it again, this time get mommy’. We had a good laugh and I thanked him profusely for jumping into action and for being such a sport about the whole ordeal. When he walked away my son said in the tiniest little voice, ‘If I do it again mommy will be upset.’ Twisting arrow to the heart explains how shitty I felt. I would have definitely deserved that protein shower, not that motherhood hadn’t already given me my fair share. I apologized and let him know I didn’t know he was throwing up and that it’s perfectly ok to do so. He was back to laughing and being himself right then. I, I was embarrassed. How sordid do you have to be to treat a kid like that?    All I could do was make a pact with myself to never yell at him again. I felt like primo shit. I absolutely didn’t mean any of it but he humbled me and I trust that it won’t be repeated.

Memories making me measure myself…

I wish you were here to meet my son. My father never needed to deny or not take care of me because my photo was permanently affixed on your dresser. Every time you looked in the mirror I was there. You acknowledged me. I wish I could talk to you so many times. Just to fill in the blanks in my life and understand me. My burdens are so heavy sometimes. My worries are circulating with no end and the pressures of life are seething into each other. I miss you so much on many days and get angry when my memories of you start fading. When little details are no longer clear it breaks my heart. You loved all of your family and I’m so glad you taught me that. Everyone that came your way was taken care of. Your palms were always open. In my weakest moments your memories are always there. When time brace against my responsibilities and I am just one woman against the world I feel you behind me. Every fall I take I scream at the audacity of the dips trying to keep me low knowing I have fighter blood in me. Today I cried because I couldn’t remember your face. It felt like the ultimate betrayal. The things that come with aging in life doesn’t discriminate. It was like you were forgotten and dashed. How scary it felt I didn’t dare utter but was sure to dig deep into my life and there you were coming back to me. Coming into a clearing. A love like yours was never again graced and though I aim to be like you, my ego knows I’m no measure. I need the conversations of an older woman I can trust. The ties that bind that makes you never ever to leave me. The woman that can tell me the history of my lineage and clear up why things are or will be. That female bond that binds in times that men cannot understand exist. The older, experienced wisdom that nurtures and soothes. I need access to your blueprint to mothering; it’s so bloody hard! I miss you so much and need the strength of you by my side but I get up; still. I try to move mountains with what feels like a pencil and use the rubber to remove the unnecessary figures from my life. Never forgetting what life with you was like and aspiring to that joy in my childhood life. You made the best roti I have ever had in life. I loved our supermarket trips. The hot patty lunches. I was so horrible to you when you tried to control me, not knowing better; I’m sorry. I wish you were here still grandmother; to just be.

 

….’As a child, there were them times I didn’t get it, but you kept me in line’…’All them grown folk things, separation brings, You never let me know it, you never let it show, Because you loved me enormously’…’And you never got a chance to see, How good I’ve done’…’I wish that you was here to celebrate together, I wish that we can spend the holidays together’ …’I thought you were so strong, You make it through whatever, It’s so hard to accept the fact you gone forever’….

Gratitude….

I can’t count how many times I’ve cried since I’ve become a mother. It has to be an enormous gigantic number of times though.  Nonetheless, today I shed tears for the end of a chapter. A safe chapter. A chapter that never once made me fear for my sons’ life or the unknown. Especially after my cousins’ son almost lost a thumb at his daycare! My son is out of daycare and is going to school full-time. We are so grateful for the school community that’s been going well so far but we still brace for the impact of what might occur. With this came the need to stop sending my son to daycare, an uber safe space we all enjoyed for the past 3 years. Safe people and spaces are extremely uncommon when it comes to children. The most seemingly harmless of souls will disappoint you. My sons care has primarily been just his parents, no grandparents or relatives played a major role in care, mainly due to distance. Our daycare coordinator was phenomenal though. We all genuinely love her and have been so grateful for how well she took care of our son. She really became a grandmother to him and would guide us with a light touch. When we had emergencies, we called her first and she would always say ‘bring him come’. People complain so much about the cost of daycare without perspective. Fuck the money. None of it met her value. Especially when I had to dart to work, school or to handle family issues and she made herself available. When he was hospitalized one Christmas our first stop when we left the hospital was at her home so that she could see him. When my ‘naturalista’ mommy ways consumed me she went along with every extreme request and never once complained. Every time he was sick he was loved on more and was fed home made soup and given lots of tea.

She always checked in on me and Tam and sent us pics and vids of him throughout the day. She quelled our busy minds without us even asking. Always pleasant and ready to take him, no matter how late the request. A part of me screams at how unfair it is that she can’t live with us or be around all the time. Or just be his teacher. Or adopt him and we visit. Or just go to school with him everyday. Crazy, I know. You just can’t forge a bond like that. It was a wicked click of worlds that held together in raising a sweet lil boy. He dotes on her and her entire family. As a new parent with limited span and a small circle, most of whom live far away, she was our source. She was pivotal in jump starting and getting through stages from eating solids to language development to manners to potty training. I feel so tremendously blessed that we escaped common daycare complaints and had such a beautiful, safe, nurturing support. Whenever we were unsure she was there to say lets try xyz. Which was her way of knowing what baby needed and just doing it and fixing things. I read the other day that most parents know what they’re doing; maybe but this would be excluding us. So we are extremely washed with sadness but so grateful and happy she was in his life during the crucial years. Angels are on earth, and when you encounter them you will know. The innocence and nurturing of your child is not a game and when someone respects and understand that its so amazing.