Friday, November 29, 2013

one last look back

Like many in this city before us, we had to cover up all the holes we made and erase every single speck of dirt we left behind from the unit we occupied before we could truly begin to settle into our new home.

I have moved 18 times in my whole life (I quoted 22 a couple of times recently but this is because some moves count as double) and I have never lingered as long as 3 days after the move out at a place I am leaving behind.

And boy oh boy it was a tough job, refreshing the smallish 2-bedroom apartment we called home for 2 and a half years. 

We marked that place as a family of four with every dent, every hole, every stain on every surface.  There we slept. There we cooked, we crafted, we worked, we played. We formed and stormed and normed and performed. We grew together inside those walls.

With every hole I covered up, I saw us:  Lamplight on a baby girl who laughed and laughed and lifted her legs up and down with my wheels on the bus singing. I saw the boy's fingerprints behind closet doors - DNA evidence of the hide and seek games that were played. I saw all the places we put up a bookshelf or a mirror or a hook, only to take them down again.  I ran my fingers one last time over the the gouge made by a birdhouse wrenched from the wall as it was used as a stepping stool over and over again by toddlers who wanted to peek through the kitchen passthrough. The same little birdhouse became home to the chickadees that made a family in our little patio: the little patio we left with chalk and mud on the stucco - more evidence that we were there, that we lived there.

It's no wonder both the boy and the girl protested every proclamation that we were leaving their home behind. Those walls are the only home they can remember. 

So we cleaned and we patched restlessly together, the wife and I (and with the help of my father-in-law and blessed friends) while the toddlers restlessly ran around enjoying the echoes that bounced back from the walls of the empty rooms they know they will miss. Together we said our goodbyes and our thanks to that space that is now someone else's home. 

After all the moving and cleaning and patching (which by the way, had to be redone by the painter because apparently patching is not one of my strengths. I recognize this now and vow to nevermore waste 10 hours of my life doing this), good riddance. 

Moving forward together is a gift I don't intend to waste. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

wind rushing

I had a completely different blog post planned after my last update but, well, life took over. There is much going on right now. Much - not natural disaster much in any sense, but we are juggling Much. There are so many balls in the air and passing through my hands and touching the top of my head in so many directions that the colours blur and I fight the pressing urge to let it all drop.

I have been feeling short of breath.  I failed to give my wife an earnest deep breath when she asked and it was then that I realized that holding my breath has become my new resting state.

It's my cousin's last week in Vancouver. In the time he's spent with us, he's become a knitting buddy, closer friend, and a favourite of my littles. We are all going to miss him dearly but happily (and necessarily), we are cramming in some quality time with him, doing all the the fun things we can - amid all the Much.

Today we picked the boy up from school and then we chased the sunset to Iona Beach just in time to behold a dusk-lit horizon swathed in orange, mauve, and white.

I needed the ocean today.

I needed to run with the wind: with it, against it, beside it, with my the children and my cousin. Together we  danced in defiance and in celebration of the power of the wind's whipping chill. We laughed. We giggled. We brrrd. We bent with the reeds and skipped with the grass. Then we fled the ocean front and made for the marshes where the wind punched less and we ran some more.

I needed a reminder that everything, our big move, the work, the mothering, my faults, our triumphs, the littlest most annoying things, other things - all of it: problems with solutions. There are indeed bigger wallops in the grand scheme of the universe and the fierce force of mother nature. We are all connected. Everything happens for a reason. I can only do what I can.

We only lasted 15 minutes. We were not dressed to break the wind or to brave the cold. So by the time twilight gave in to darkness, we were safely in our car, breathless and grateful.

I am still holding my breath but the wind, it's still in my hair and in my lungs.

3 more sleeps and then we move. I can't help but think that once we're home, once we claim our new space, that there will be three little birds at my new doorstep, singing of melodies pure and true. Or toddlers bickering. Either way, every little thing is going to be all right.


We breathe with relief now because we've heard from our families and although there has been some damage to their property, everyone we know and love in the Philippines seems to be safely social networking. I can't say the same for my paternal grandmother's Leyte home town. Please consider doing something to help the Philippines recover from Haiyan's rampage. Everything counts, even your prayers and happy thoughts. 

A friend of ours out here is assembling boxes of gently used items to send out to those that have lost everything. So that's part of what we're doing, but we know that many organizations have committed to help. My aunt recommends donating through the Humanitarian Coalition of Canada because the Canadian government has committed to matching our contributions dollar for dollar. 

I hope that all is well in your world. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

update from the eye of the storm

Oh my goodness it's been a long time.

I have missed connecting with this space and you good people that visit.

I was caught in a swirling tunnel that had me right up against a virus that left me without a speaking voice for over a week, then bumping into some knit city wonderfulness, then catapulting into a trip to toronto, then knocking through a house full of boxes, heart-warming deliveries - all amid the chaos of all the fall mothering that included pumpkin patches and last-minute halloween costume-making and trick-or-treating and impromptu parent-teacher meetings. 

The particular ride isn't over yet either. There's housework and work-work and surprise visits, actually moving into our new space, all immediately followed by holiday merriment.

My cup runneth over with the furious, delicious, chaotic, obstacle-ridden, irresistibly enchanting, powerful promise of change. 

I've been mentally preparing some catch up posts in my head and then, after our big move on the 22nd, I hope to be back here regularly again. I am finding, even now, a moment of stillness helps to calm the whelming panic that I am trying to keep very much at bay.

*The Philippines has just been walloped by an actual massive typhoon. Thinking of our families there and hoping that their recent social media updates are actual indications that they are safe at home and very minimally impacted by its force.