Thursday, March 26, 2015

A random rant about choosing joy

Well people, the snow is *starting* to melt. It's a good thing too, because I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread here. Winter fatigue is... tiring. I am feeling more than a little desperate to take off these wool socks, to see some grass, to take my life back outside.

I mean, seriously. This is what we've been dealing with. I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here and say it, too. #enoughisenough

Today, I actually sent my younger girl to school in old winter boots with grocery bags on her feet. Her rain boots seem to have shrunk over the winter, and my hair dryer couldn't get the wet out of those slushy winter boots. If that doesn't just sum it all up.

But.... I sent my kids out the door this morning with the knowledge that we are going to break 5 degrees today. It's going to be grey and foggy, but my 5-year-old tells me that fog melts snow better than sun, and I trust her. The winter tires are coming off the family van today. It's all about the little things, people.

Today, I am choosing joy.

My grade primary kid bounded out of school on the last day before March Break a couple of weeks ago, walked over to me, and in all of her 5-year-old innocence, asked "Where are we going for March Break, Mom?"

My heart kind of broke a little bit.

You see, we live in a more than comfortable neighbourhood. Which is something that I am not always so comfortable with- yes, I am always thankful for the excellent school, the lovely homes, the fantastic sense of community that surrounds us. But when I sat at the Christmas concert this year, and realized that every single kid on that stage was wearing a perfect, brand new Christmas concert outfit (my child included), I cringed a little. And when most kids in school are going somewhere sunny and warm for March Break, or are skiing, or are at a fancy March Break camp, I cringe even more. Because I am scared that this is what my kid expects now, and I can't blame her for it. Except... my kid should expect food, and a warm house, and a family that loves her... and that's kind of it.

My heart broke for a few minutes when I had to tell Scarlett that "We aren't going anywhere", and then I planned a little stay-cation. I tried not to dwell, I tried to chose joy. I had lofty plans- trips to the museum, our new breathtakingly beautiful library, crafts, treats, the movie theatre. I was going to give my kid a March Break to rival all of those shiny trips, while still reinforcing our values- that big bucks don't need to be spent for quality experiences. And then my stay-cation was foiled by a whopper of a late winter storm- 80 + cm of snow in 3 days. We were stuck inside, literally stuck, for days. We managed a little bit of outside play when the weather wasn't more than the kids could handle, and the snow wasn't so deep they might drown in it. We watched a whole lot of movies, read books, ate our weight in baking. When our dad finally dug us out from under our snow-pression, we went bowling. To finish off our week, we had a spa morning at home while the baby napped, during which Scarlett spiked a fever and barfed everywhere.

March Break ended, and Spring officially started, and I felt worn out and dejected and like I'd let my kids down a little. And then the other night at bed time, during our nightly chat, Scarlett told me that she'd had the best break ever. Her favourite activity: spa morning. Her mind seems to have blocked out the barf. She also adored making a poster out of 6 pieces of taped together loose leaf- that was pretty damn cool, too.

I have not heard my kids complain about the weather once- they aren't blue, they aren't hanging on by a whiny thread like the rest of us. While I have been glowering at all of my Facebook friend's sunny trip photos, my girl was reminiscing about the 45 minutes we spent in a bowling alley, and the cupcakes we scarfed at the Superstore food court after. It has dawned on me- we actually may be doing what we hope to do.

We are trying to teach our kids to be thankful and to appreciate the lovely, extra comfy world we live in, but to know that it is a privilege to be here. I also hope we are teaching our kids to find beauty in all of the little moments around them, because it's actually there. Sometimes you have to look harder to find it, but it's there.

Or maybe... our kids are teaching us. Because once again, my kid brought me back down to earth the other night. Scarlett appreciated the good things about our yucky week, and didn't dwell in the low moments.

She chose joy.

I may have sent my daughter to school in wet boots today, but here's the thing. She actually has boots. And a new pair is on the way. How lucky is that?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

You can have it all, but not at the same time: In honour of International Women's Day

This week I was busy making. Now that I look back on it, making quite a random assortment of stuff. Which, I’m learning, is my style as a maker. I took care of some serious business Dewdrop wise- I got caught up on pending orders, I started a few new fun projects. 

This week I made a lot of stuff.

This week I seriously sucked at some of my other 'jobs'. The laundry is in teetering piles around me, I woke up to a sink full of dirty dishes, and it appears that there are barbie shoes on every surface of my house. 

You get the gist.

If you know me well, you know that my mom is my go-to quotable person. Which is understandable, if you know Babs. Have you read her blog? My dearest friend Sarah regularly reads my mom's blog, because she says it keeps her up to date on my life, and because of the Babs wisdom that permeates every post. She admits to skimming some of the detailed sewing posts, but Sewing on the Edge is a daily read for her. Which I find hilarious and awesome. But I digress.

My mom is a big feminist, a professor of Women’s Studies among other things. But despite her firm stance on all things female, she always says that women used to have it a whole lot easier than they do now. Although they didn't have equal rights, although they were typecast into being wives and mothers, they had clearly defined expectations, and they were not expected to do it all. They weren’t expected to have thriving careers, be thoughtful, flawless mothers, have Pinterest perfect homes, and be fit as 18-year-old fiddles.

My grandmother, who retired from her nursing career after a few years to have 4 daughters in the 1950s (and who, to this day, identifies first as a pediatric nurse), was the most involved, hands-on mother of small children around. That lady can still sit and play cards with my girls for hours. If you need to know anything about small kids, she’s your woman. But she is not a gourmet cook, and housework was not always her priority (She also famously once wrote f&*k housework on the bathroom mirror in lipstick, and then spent a week in the tent trailer in the driveway, on strike). But that was ok- her focus was on mothering her kids. No one can do it all.

No one can do it all.

Or, in the words of Babs “You can have it all, but not at the same time”.

This week, I made a lot of things. My three little kids, and my slightly out-of-control making schedule took all of my energy. Some things fell by the wayside. 

I sit here this morning, feeling quite fulfilled.

My girls couldn’t find clean underwear this morning, but I sure did piece some awesome pillows last night.

My girls. Here's hoping they're this confident on International Women's Day 15 years from now.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March 6, I love you

Yesterday I turned 34. Holy smokes.

It's starting to sink in that I'm borderline middle aged. When did that even happen? When did I stop being 18? Yesterday I got up, just as excited that it was my birthday as I was as a kid. It's something I don't even try to hide. I love my birthday.

Then I put on my eye make-up, feeling perky and all birthday-ish, and some of it got stuck in my wrinkles.

But the sun shone

I felt celebrated I realize how incredibly lucky I am that I have a life full of people who make a point to reach out and let me know I am appreciated on my birthday- who make sure
I know I'm loved. Guys, I am so lucky. On my birthday, just like on holidays, I'm left with a feeling a deep gratitude. For my life, for my people. For the chance to share a few images of what made my day.

I can't wait to turn 35.

My friend Mary MADE this mug and I basically forced her to give it to me. Need some of Mary's amazing pottery in your life? She'll be at the East Coast Momma Collective Spring fair in Halifax on May 2.

My kangaroo baby loves being wrapped up, and I love rainbows. My Girasol woven wrap from Nurtured in Halifax is such a pretty lifesaver.

My 87-year-old grandma sends me flowers every year on my birthday. She's a pro. There's no one like Buddy.