Looking Back

Sometimes I like to open my photo file and see what I was doing 5 or 6 years ago on a particular day just for fun. I’m not always lucky enough to find a photo on the exact date or one that is even meaningful. Occasionally, though, I will stumble across one that makes me smile and brings me back to the day and location.

March 6th, 2010 – a friend treated me to a day in Montreal as a birthday gift. She picked me up on the Saturday morning and we drove like the wind to the bustling city. We wandered in and out of the many shops on Saint Catherine St. and had lunch at her favourite pizza spot in the area. The weather was warm for early March and there wasn’t a stitch of snow on the ground – very unlike this year.

I remember the day vividly as a little taste of freedom. At the time my kids were 5 and 7 – and I was just entering the stage when it was okay to be away for a bit. Especially when you are a full-time, stay-at-home parent these moments of freedom are few and far between. I had this recurring feeling like I was forgetting something but then I realized that, nope…I was good. I breathed in the cool, spring air and felt the sunshine on my face and reveled in how light I felt.

My friend may or may not remember this day but it was a gift I will always appreciate. I’m so glad I came across this photo today.

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Tea Party

My daughter’s school ran a “flea market” this week. Families donated household items and clothing they no longer wanted and the students got some time to buy things for themselves. Yesterday my daughter borrowed $3 from a friend and bought me a lovely creamer and a vase. Today (after I gave her $5 for herself plus the $3 to pay back her friend) she came home with a bag full of newswrapped items. She was so excited as she handed me the bag. “For you, Mommy!” I unwrapped two teacups, one coffee  cup, a creamer and a sugar – all Royal Albert bone china in the Mayflower pattern. Now, it could have been a soap dish made in China, and I would have been thrilled with it because she thought of me. But these are truly beautiful cups and I can’t wait to have a mother/daughter tea party this weekend complete with homemade scones. I think she deserves it for being an absolute doll. 🙂

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Momma

Today I took the kids to a maple sugar bush and pancake house, Stanley’s Maple Lane Farm. It wasn’t the best day for it, it turned cold and blustery, but the kids still had a wonderful time. Most of it we spent in the barn. There, they had horses, cows, chickens, geese and ducks, a goat, a pig, a rabbit, and a cat. The young woman who worked in the barn was very friendly and informative and happily told the kids and me anything we wanted to know. My daughter was drawn to the horses and my son was fascinated by the cows. One in particular. It turned out that 3 of the cows and one horse were pregnant. The cow that my son favoured was in the first stages of birthing. We were told she would likely have her calf tonight. She lay on her side and moaned occasionally. She was already starting to produce milk and her back end was swollen. I couldn’t help but feel for her and wished her as much comfort as she could gather for herself. It struck me as a beautiful moment to look in her big brown eyes and see the hope of continuation of life. Some of the other cows had already had calves and were affectionately named “Momma”. I expect by tomorrow, this dear will join their ranks.

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Girls’ Night Out

I decided to treat my daughter to a little girl time with Mom this evening. Just she and I headed out to the mall for dinner and a little shopping. She needed some clothes but we bought those as quickly as possible and then spent most of our time in the wonderful arts and craft shop, DeSerres. I think she was just thrilled to have some special attention and I was happy to indulge her. What a beautiful way to start the weekend.

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Thoughtfulness

It’s gratifying when, after years of working on instilling empathy and thoughtfulness in your children, they start displaying these qualities without prompting and without the promise of reward.

My son went to the library with a friend tonight and while picking out books for himself, he found one he knew I wanted to read and signed it out for me. It’s a much appreciated gesture on many levels. I love my kids.

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“Love Always”

We all know mothers. Whether they are our blood, adoptive, or even surrogate they all hold special places in our lives. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have a multitude of wise and loving older women in our lives who give us wide range of perspectives and support. I am lucky this way. Being adopted as a newborn I grew up in a tight-knit family with a very loving and wonderful mother. The same year I lost her to cancer, I found my birth mother with whom I’ve developed a very close and loving relationship. I have also known several women in my life who became like a Mom-away-from-mom and they are loved and appreciated for their significant roles in my life as well. It’s amazing how these bonds are formed and can never be shaken throughout our lives.

About a month ago I was travelling in North Country New York state in the quaint and lovely villages just south of Syracuse. While perusing the local artisan shops, I came across an artist whose work I could not ignore (nor did I want to ignore it). Bright, lively, and happy is the only way I can start to describe Lori Portka‘s work. Her mixed-media paintings bring colour and warmth to any room. In fact, I bought two prints for my office which, as soon as the space is ready, I can’t wait to hang. These days, when you find an artist whose work you admire, you look for their website which I did with Ms. Portka. Her most recent posting highlighted her newest painting called “Love Always” which she had copied and printed as Mother’s Day cards. This beautiful painting (shown below) and its message was the motivation behind this post.

Love Always (Lori Portka)
Love Always (Lori Portka)

The inspiration for this post is, of course, all the women who came to mind when I saw the painting. To my mothers who have loved me without reservation or condition, Happy Mother’s Day. I love you always. To the women who took me under their wings and cared, you’ll always be in my heart. To the rest of you who are mothers and have mothers. Happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate well and love always.

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Wham!

No…not Wham!…Wake me up before you go-go. Wham! The ball is out of the park! Softball season has arrived once again much to the joy of my son, who played last year, and also my daughter, who is playing for the first time. Each of them has already had one practice and we’ll be out for my son’s first game tonight.

I used to play ball when I was a kid and absolutely loved it. In my late 20’s I also got into playing on a mixed adult slow-pitch team. That was great fun and did it for quite a few years. So, in a city full of soccer kids, I rather delight in my children’s choice in softball instead. Oh, don’t get me wrong! I very much enjoy soccer but the leagues here tend to fill up quickly and cost a pretty penny too. The other thing is that I’m much more knowledgeable about skills in softball than in soccer so I can help my kids to learn.

Stratford Kinettes 1983 (that's me kneeling on the far right)
Stratford Kinettes 1983 (that’s me kneeling on the far right)

As I was watching my daughter’s first practice today, a woman in her 60’s passed by walking a dog. She stopped to watch the other little girl on Anna’s team learning to hit. It’s a mixed team but mostly boys and I think the woman delighted in seeing the young girls giving it a go. We struck up a conversation and she told me she lived in the neighbourhood near the diamond and always saw groups of young kids learning to play various sports. She had coached soccer and we marveled together how wonderful it was to see how quickly kids pick up new things and to watch their progression over a season.

My daughter in action.
My daughter in action.

Anna came up to practice her batting. The coach gave her some instruction and then came the pitch. Wham! Another pitch. Wham! And another. Wham! “Your daughter’s a natural! I’m actually full of pride right now.” the woman exclaimed and, naturally, I beamed with pride. She’s very athletic, I admitted. “Well, good for her. She’s going to do very well.” I decided immediately that I liked this woman whom I would probably never see again. She had a great spirit. Of course, we’ll play and practice at the same diamond again so she and I may cross paths another day…I hope.

Later that day, as the evening sun glistened through the new spring leaves and cast a magical glow about the park, I watched my son hit a triple at his game. The smile on his face made me very happy. One because it’s satisfying knowing that this was not something I pushed my kids into. They chose the game for themselves and are learning to love it for themselves. And two because I remember how it felt when the ball came in contact with that perfect spot on the bat and it just seemed to fly and I’m glad my kids can experience it too. It’s not something you can ever explain to someone. I guess it’s just another cherished connection between us.

The Gloucester Spit Fires
The Gloucester Spit Fires

Can you tell I’m looking forward to the rest of the season? Enjoy your “season” whatever it happens to be, sport or otherwise, and making meaningful connections between people.