Now You Are One

Dear Ethan,

A year ago today, just before we left for the hospital and about three hours before you were born, it snowed. It was the first snow of the year and it came down lightly, the snowflakes glinting in the street lights on the side of the road.

It was a sign of a new season, both literally and metaphorically.

There is so much about you that I didn’t anticipate. You were wanted and planned for, but I didn’t expect you to enter our lives a month after I started a new job in a new city. But we were ready, and I guess you knew that.

I spent the next months trying to imagine you – who you would be and what you would look like, but I couldn’t. At the time I couldn’t even begin to picture a child different than the one I already had.

But you are so very much your own person. When you decided you were ready to enter the world, you did so determinedly, and a couple of weeks early. When you were born you were so small we had to borrow preemie clothes from your cousins because everything we had left you buried in rolls of soft cotton.

Ethan-newborn

I looked at you and wondered how you could possibly be so small and quiet when everything about your brother was big and loud.

My first few days with you, in the hospital and then at home, were filled with nothing but awe. But it was a different sort of awe than I felt as a new mom the first time. It was a feeling of calm, a feeling of peace. It was us settling in to one another.

mom-kissing-newborn

That settling has let me observe you and see things I want to capture in the palm of my hand and never let go of.

You are joy and happiness and laughter. You have a huge smile. You give really, really good hugs.

smiling-highchair

Everywhere we go someone comments on how happy or easygoing you are. You are both of those things, and blissfully so, except if someone takes away something you’re playing with and then WATCH OUT.

I’m used to your brother’s big personality and sometimes I have to remind myself of you because, truly, you are quiet enough that people come into the room and don’t know you’re there.

And then, suddenly, you will light up. You’re a talker and you wave your arms wildly and repeat sounds and mimic us. You want to be involved and you make sure that you are. When you start to talk or laugh you become the centre of all things, because how can we not listen to and look at you?

Ethan-airplanes

A year into this journey I’m not sure I know what it is to be your mother. You are my little babe, my duck, my blondie. I want so badly to stop time and stay with you a while, just as you are. I want to hold your soft hands and watch you sit on the floor and kick your legs in excitement. I want to watch you dance.

But just as the seasons change, so must you. And I must let you.

I see amazing things for you but sense that my role is simply to guide you and watch you soar.

So do that. Dance on, darling.

I will love you always and forever,
Mama xx

 

Awakening Wonder

Wonder. Delight. Joy. Someone asked me to contribute to something involving those concepts and of course I said yes.

prairie-wonder-cropped

It’s a inspirational and free ebook for moms (or anyone, I’d argue), and as part of its release into the world I’ve contributed something at Raising Loveliness (and the slice of image above is part of it). I’d love for you to come and read.

More wonder. More delight. More joy. All good things. Come and get some.

First Day of Kindergarten

Connor had kindergarten orientation yesterday, just half an hour with three other kids. Parents stayed, they did a scavenger hunt to learn about their classroom, and his teacher gave the parents a gift – a Kleenex (to dry our tears) and a tea bag (to have a calm cup of tea after dropping them off for their first day), along with a lovely note about entrusting our kids to her for the year.

Connor loved it. He was excited about school and he really likes his teacher.

Today was the first official day – the day he got dropped off and changed his shoes and then hung his own backpack and sweater on his hook. The day he went to sit at his desk, in a group with three other kids, and got to see what school will be like for the coming year.

This morning he went in happily but came out a little overwhelmed. I can imagine; I don’t think I was especially keen on throwing myself into a classroom with a bunch of other five-year-olds either. (I was shy but cute.)

But he will be fine. He’ll be great, actually. And us? We probably won’t need the Kleenex (though certainly have an appreciation for a calming cup of tea).

Kindergarten has begun.

first day of kindergarten picture

The Wishing Tree

He wanted to go to the Science Centre, he said. So we went.

He played with light and did experiments with air and built things with colourful pieces made from all kinds of things.

I read wishes.

The papers were green that time. They hang from string all over the wishing tree, and if you stand here and duck there and peer through you can immerse yourself in wishes.

Some are simple, yet wise beyond the years of those who wrote them.

I wish to be joyful always.

Some are fanciful.

I wish to be Mario to save Peach.

Some made me wonder. (Why can’t you?)

I wish I could see butterflies in the sky.

Some are grandiose. All-encompassing. World-changing.

I wish for all children to be happy, carefree and well-educated.

Some aren’t.

I wish Pokemon were real.

For some I’d wave my wand and grant them right now. If only I had one.

I wish I will live long enough to see my grandkids grow up.

Sometimes the things we wish for are simple.

My wish is to have a pogostick.

Sometimes they’re simply beautiful.

I wish for everyone to be kind.

Some wishes seem to be connected to each other.

I wish I can skate/I wish my knees would stop hurting.

And some connect us to everyone.

World of peace/a journey to the first star I see.

What would you wish for?

 

 

Now You Are Five

Dear Connor,

Today you turn five.

I’ve been looking at pictures of you from this time last year, and from six months before that, in which you were a little boy.

hands over ears

It seems such a short time ago that you were so little and now, quite suddenly, you are not.

I think I feel this about you—that you are no longer little—because I’m comparing you and your baby brother – you to him, him to you. He has brought Small back into our lives while at the same time you have charged ahead to Big. You didn’t ask whether you could plant yourself firmly in this next phase, you just did. I don’t think I even saw it coming.

There are times you let some of your former Small peek through, like when you come out of the bath and you throw off your hooded towel and your hair is wet and spiky. Or when I wake up in the morning and realize you have come in early-early without me noticing and you are curled up next to your dad, fast asleep. In those moments you are Small.

But mostly you are Big.

boy asleep on couch

You eat more than I ever could have imagined an almost-five-year-old could eat. “Can you get me something to eat?” is a question I hear many, many times a day. You are growing. And you are Tall and you are Long Legs and you are Independent.

You are so big that I almost can’t remember what it was like when you were a baby. And yet you are still the same character who burst onto the stage of our lives five years ago.

“How does our voice come?” you recently asked me. We’ve reached the stage where I have to start looking things up to explain them to you properly. You want the details – the hows and the whys and the what-ifs.

boy playing with rocks

You have rituals. At the end of each day, without fail, you say, “Let’s talk about our day,” and “What shall we do tomorrow?”

You are curious and busy and stubborn and loud. You have to be reminded—often—to use your inside voice and your listening ears, to put your shoes on so we can get out the door, to not jump on your brother. Often, these requests have no effect on you whatsoever.

We are still push-pull, you and I. We are the same in temperament and different in our desires, requiring a not-always-achieved balance of your Loud versus my Quiet, your Bounce versus my Still. I don’t always get it right, yet after five years I have mostly figured out when to push forward and when to pull back.

brothers

Sometimes you slow right down and set everything else aside—the noise and the toys and the games and the shows—and you get quiet. You ask to hold your baby brother. You feed him. You sing him a song when he cries.

I watch you brothering him and I see your heart shine though. It is Big, just like you are. And it makes my heart big too.

I will love you always and forever,

Mama xx