The Secret of life

Another weekend flown, back at home with the kids tucked into bed I think about my life.

I wonder how did I ever deserve all the blessings that I have? Life may not be perfect, but it’s so amazing.

My kids are hilarious, wonderful and happy. I’m mostly healthy, and I have good people around me. 

My husband is kind, wise, and thinks he’s funny. (Joking. Mostly. But the dad jokes are getting stronger every day.)

I have a calling. In fact, I think I have a few, which I marvel at. I think maybe,

Just maybe,

I’ve found the secret to life.

A lust for life, a creative outlet, and a career where I feel what I do is worth getting up every day to do,

Although it does make taking time off difficult, as the same reason I get up and look forward to the day also makes me feel too responsible to go away.

I look at the week ahead with a little dread, simply because I know it will be busy, overbooked and maybe stressful.

But I’m still looking forward to it. I’m so happy I’m not dreading Monday anymore.

The Pest

Sometimes it’s frustrating to have a sibling

And by sometimes, I mean almost always

The pick, they push, they nag, they whine

Getting closer to the last nerve, all of the time

They always want the same things, never share

Never give the first turn, never want to do my game

I don’t even know why mom had them 

They’re no fun, awful, trouble, and so annoying 

It’s hard being the oldest, the middle, the baby

No matter which kid you are, it’s all shoving and fighting 

And yet at the end of the day, they have your back

Best friends forever, in between scirmishes and squabbles

Civilization

Sometimes I wonder where society has gone wrong

Are we at the beginning of another great decline? 

Civilization crashing, imploding, while people remain focused on themselves,

Shallow,

Uncaring, unknowing.

Watching the suffering of others from arms length,

As entertainment

Social media makes spectators of us all, 

watching the gladiators 

bleed and die

On the cross of entertainment 

How did we get here? 

Was it only a few years ago 

we swore 

never again?

Only to watch as innocents die in masses around the world, 

Serbia, Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, 

North America, Europe 

We live in a world of immense

wealth and riches,

Enough for everyone,

 if we could rise up past our 

petty day to day concerns,

And cultivate empathy, unity, 

and altruism 

Some truly great things have been done alongside the destruction,

But not enough.

I watch my news feed, 

glazed from the daily bombardment 

of pain, 

and I wonder,

Am I doing enough? Should I do more? Can I do more?

I ponder these things in the late night and early morning hours, 

While I go about my daily routine,

Scrolling past what I don’t 

want to see,

Promising myself 

someday 

The occult 

It’s silent, 

hidden away, 

Never discussed, 

never acknowledged.

Shameful, 

damaging, 

isolating
When love is dangerous, 

where do you hide?

When you can’t trust your 

own memories,

Who do you tell?
Soft bruises hide the damage 

within,

Loss of innocence,

The destruction of trust 

Unable to accept any hand 

that is offered

Because you don’t know if it will

slap 

instead of help
Where is the breaking point?

When do you flee?

Life or death 

or just the demolition of everything 

you ever knew?
Please, 

save the judgement

for someone 

who has time for it
Just be there for the flicker,

In case a window opens,

Allowing fresh air,

A new start

Back to reality

Back to work today. Strangely exuberant about it,Leaving my house and all its denizens behind,

In my car with my tea, 

just me and the open road, 

a podcast, and a snack,

on my way back to being a useful, productive member of society. 

I was surprised by the level of relief I felt.

 I had a nice vacation, made some memories and did some catching up,

Relaxed, as much as one can with 4 kids in an RV

But I’m a creature of habit, and returning to work was like returning to myself, 

in a way.

Things are familiar there, I know where I stand, 

my coworkers are like extended family.

We work together, we have a common goal, we each try in our own way to be the difference to someone

And that is a nice place to be,

Happy to return to everyday life

Homeward bound

Now, the end is here, And so I face the final…

Highway.

Today, my mind has been full of songs, most with a home theme. 

As I sit here trying to put my thoughts into words, homeward bound is playing in the soundtrack of my head

Home, where my musics playing

Home, where my love lies waiting 

I wish I was…

And of course, the very Canadian child in me wouldn’t have a complete road trip without the littlest hobo showing up as well

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on

I love the highway, but I’m always so happy to be on it heading home, no matter how much I love travelling down it.

My traditional mode of transport is driving as many hours in a day as I can and getting the job done, but life since having children has meant slowing down. 

Forcing myself to be more considerate of others. 

Realizing that not everyone is fine with a fourteen hour drive and meals in the car. 

The kids were great, but they were even more relieved to get home than the adults were.

Tomorrow I’ll go to work, although not *technically* scheduled, it will save me work on Friday (I think!) Once again to save myself a hard day with a tight schedule, I’ll add an extra in to keep things lower stress. 

As I get ready for a long awaited sleep in my own bed I smile, and think of the hobo with the neckerchief;

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down, until tomorrow, the whole world is my home

The Great Vacation- Part 5

The last full day of vacation, with tomorrow just the drive home.

We slept deeply last night, full of birthday cake and sunshine. 

I was the first awake, Until I woke my little man with a kiss on his cute button nose 

We enjoyed fleeting family time over breakfast and coffee, saying goodbye to the past

I hugged and waved to the last of my brothers, following shortly after on our own way home.

A brief trip, but a chance to see so many people who I don’t talk to nearly enough. 

Every time I see them, 

I find myself wondering 

why 

we don’t do it more often,

And then life gets in the way again, and another year has gone by.

We make promises to see each other 

soon, 

always,

And mean them

But Ars longa, vita brevis

keeps repeating through my head the last few days

Art is long, life short

We work diligently at our art, sometimes

often

at the expense of our human

connection.

Never has this been more true since the advent of social media.

 I have so many people I can talk to at the press of a button, but find the distance between us even further than it was twenty years ago. 

The mindfulness has vanished,

Replaced by a quick text, 

or a thumbs up.

As I watch the kids play at the campground, 

fast friends with children they didn’t know twenty minutes before and won’t know tomorrow

I promise to myself

Call my loved ones

Make time to connect outside of Facebook, social media and the hollow world of the internet 

Life is short.

I want to make the connections,

Water them, 

grow them as tall as the hollyhocks in front of my parent’s house 

They will grow more beautiful with fragrance in time

And provide a treasure that will last forever

The Great Vacation- part 4

The sun rose and alerted me that, no matter where I was or what the schedule for the day was, it was 5 o’clock in my brain and time to wake up.

I lay there instead of getting up, watching my little boy sleep, curls sleep tousled and cheeks flushed. He would move, and snuggle in closer to my side.

Still sleeping, but instinctively moving to safer waters.

I listened as the birds talked about their plans for the day. They sounded busy, unlike me.

My entire day stretched ahead with nothing other than chasing children and having a BBQ with family. If felt strange, like my feet were glued down. 

It felt amazing 

And it was.

I watched as my little ones ran around with their cousins again, all day from nine am until nine pm. Laughing and crying and hugging and fighting with each other, 

One giant bunch of kids treating each other like siblings, sitting at a real kids table, with 6 little chairs and plates left mostly untouched,

Except the corn. 

They all ate the corn

Catching up with cousins, adults all, people we only see once or twice a year,

and it felt so familiar and close,

My memory and conversations from today harmonize,

bringing me back twenty years, 

Going for a long walk with my brother

nothing is changed,

Everything is different 

The Great Vacation- Part 3

The Ol’homestead
Our first full day back at the place where I grew up. 

My little dude had spent the night scratching in his sleep while I gently and repeatedly moved him back from the edge of the bed. He’s a vigorous sleeper, and often came dangerously close to falling off.

He woke first, as per usual, and somehow I managed to get clothes on quickly before he woke everyone else.

We somewhat stealthily entered the house to find grandma waiting in a fuzzy pink housecoat.

Four keurig cups of coffee later and some conversation, my sleepy man was ready to have breakfast. He showed Grandma his skill with a skillet before devouring a piece of toast and a “runny egg” 

I eventually woke the rest of my crew- they surprisingly were still asleep at ten! Normally the wild toddler is loud enough to wake all things dormant,

Including the dead, rocks, and other inanimate objects. (By the way, you’re welcome, fam jam)

I was able to get in a quick run, even though my mother’s car made me feel confused and incompetent a few times, and the four cups of coffee were giving me palpitations.

I returned in time to get the nap set up for the early bird and eat lunch with the others.

The speed of life seemed to slow. The wind sang through the leaves in the trees sheltering the house while bird sang through the cloudy day

As the day lazed on, we eventually got hungry and had burgers and chips- potato chips- for supper

(My childhood is a lie! The same woman who rarely let us have chips said they were vegetables tonight.)

My son came to tell me he was full, saw my plate and said “I get fork”, and then proceeded to eat my brown beans before going to play

Six little children ran around for hours while the big kid jumped on the trampoline with her cell phone.

The weather continued to threaten, but held off, allowing them to create new memories of playing with their cousins

I watched with fondness for my own days on that same lawn, 

and look forward to many more years ahead 

The Great Vacation- Part 2

Day two of the Great Vacation began with the sound of rain on the roof. It had poured all night, and in between fear that my youngest would fall out of bed (using my legs as a gate as prevention) and listening to the rhapsody of people snoring, I was able to enjoy most of it. 

I’m pretty sure I slept well between about one am and five am, but the rest is kind of a blur.Sluggishly, I went to make coffee and realized the coffee pot was elsewhere. I feel like we maybe using it in the house since ours crapped out.

No matter- they had a convenience store, so I walked a short ten minutes over to find it didn’t open until ten.

Ugh. I neeeeeed coffee after that sleep. So, as it had started to rain again, we packed up and hit a gas station.

The coffee was divine. I mean, really really good. Better than Tims or Starbucks. So good.

We loaded up for another six hour drive, and I wish I’d captured every amazing minute, but I did manage to write a few down. 

Things I’ve heard while driving today-

“Leave me alone forever Sam!” -Alexis 

“Are we there yet? How much longer?”- everyone except myself, repeatedly, every two minutes. Because I kept looking at the map on my phone every 2 minutes, I didn’t need to ask.

“You hurt my feelings!” Sam, repeatedly, when told to listen

“Matt is sleeping. Quiet!!!” Thomas, repeatedly, as that was the freaking holy grail. Do not wake him! 

“Tell us when you see Grandma’s house, Kay?” -Alexis 

“Want out!” Matt, repeatedly, with the saddest eyes after about two hours driving. 

Me too buddy, me too.

“Look at the skeleton trees!” Sam looking at a forest with dead trees

“I wonder if caffeine makes me more tired?” Thomas, while trying to drive

“Alex snores. Not me, for real.”- Sam, in response to the suggestion she was one of the 3/6 people who snored.

Thankfully, we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s with plenty of time for the kids to run around and have fun.

The Uncles and puppy were there, auntie and the cousins. Lots of running around and play time.

Supper was a round table, six conversations at once event, which was exactly how it should be.

Grudgingly, we said goodnight, loathe to leave the good time, tucking ourselves into bed for a better sleep 

I hope.