Friday, September 25, 2015

Wow... Happy Fifth Birthday... and a Very Fond Farewell

Here we are.


Five years ago, I couldn't even imagine the moment recorded above.   I was - we were - so incredibly, happily naive, and yet, here we are.  Older yes, hopefully wiser.  As so many know, there is a wistfulness to all of this; a tendency to look backwards.

But there are even more reasons to look forwards.  We do, and the kid's joie de vivre carries us along in the current.  How fortunate we are.  And I think that is one of the greatest gifts of perspective:  knowing just how fortunate we are.

I knew when I started putting my thoughts to pixel that this was a finite thing.  I had a story to share.  But now, I feel increasingly that it is no longer my story to tell.  I certainly cannot tell it with Evelyn's dramatic flair, Colin's creative complexities and Keith's wild exuberance.  And, of course, there is Malcolm, reminding us all that it's "MY TURN TO TALK".

So, I will step aside.  I've had my time to talk for them and about them.  It is, truly, their turn.

Thank you for sharing our journey.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Summer, Part 2

There were too many great pictures to choose from, so here are a few more:

At Marielle's farm in New Brunswick:

Malcolm and a zucchini

In the garden

Getting to know the (stationary) 4 x 4

A dream come true

Could this get any cooler?

On the "Things That Go" theme, I snuck in a photo taken at the Cumberland Heritage museum in mid July:

All aboard!  With Edward and Martin

Back in New Brunswick, but still on the vehicles theme:

Keith in our (stationary) mini van

Bonfire sunset

Snack time at the cottage

A pensive Keith

Summer in Shediac

We had a wonderful time at the cottage this summer!  Here are a few pictures to enjoy:

Ann (Grammy) had an addition put on the cottage to increase its functional space.  Well planned and executed, it made a huge difference!  Here is the new eating area.  There is also a new bathroom with a tub, and a new bedroom + loft space.

The first bonfire of the season

This is what it's all about!

Well, and, of course this too:  sticky, pink marshmallow hands

Up to the warf for an ice cream

At the beach with Molly

Merman Keith and Colin

Shucking corn

One of Evelyn's favourite things:  baking with Pinie

On the lawn with Eric

We had beautiful, HOT weather (such a change from last year), but we were happy there was at last one day cool and wet enough for hot cocoa.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Hi everyone,

I'm working through a lot of great pictures taken in New Brunswick, while trying to tie up a lot of little loose ends that are cropping up before school starts next week (The Ducklings in SK, Malcolm in preschool!).... and before I go back to work after 5+ years next that explains the radio silence.

Oh, and we also had a tremendously awful bout of the stomach flu.  We're STILL recovering, and it's been well over 10 days after the initial onset.  But we're chugging along, as per always.

In any case, we had a lovely time down east.  Thanks to the Cast of Many who made it wonderfully down tempo for Edward and I.  I think we really needed the time to catch our breath.

More to follow!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our Week

Well, we bundled all four kids (plus Edward) onto the plane yesterday afternoon, so they can begin their much anticipated almost month long sojourn at The Cottage in Shediac.  

We always travel Porter airlines; firstly because they offer the shockingly serendipitous direct flight between Ottawa and Moncton.  But just as importantly, they offer beer as soon as you're airborne. When you're travelling alone with four small children, alcohol + altitude = enough serenity to almost overlook the fact that you're travelling alone with four small children.  You know it's bad when the gate attendants struggle to make sense of: "Yes, they're all going.  No, I'm not going with them.  Yes, he'll be alone with all of them", and eventually manage to gasp  "Wow... alone".

And then, my friends, my mother (who also accompanied us to the airport) and I might have danced a small (very sad, very mournful) jig, and told each other that we would wait to see them actually board the airplane just so we can cast one more loving gaze at those sweet little children... when secretly, I think we both wanted to make sure they absolutely, 100% got on said aircraft.  Or else.  And then my mother and I ran to the mall, where I bought a freezer and my mother might have had a (not at all) celebratory ice cream cone.

So yes, for the first time in over five years, I am alone at home for more than 3 hours.  Well, Sprocket is my companion, but he is presently alternating between staring at the front door and staring at me, wondering where everyone has gone.  This is after he frantically searched the entire house numerous times yesterday, looking for them.  Or perhaps he, too, has been cast aloft by the Wings of Liberty and is, in fact, keeping a close eye on that front door to ensure they don't come back... too soon.  Yes, perhaps.  Eventually, I will join Edward in New Brunswick, as will my mother, and Sprocket will be treated to his vacation at Myriam's house.   This is the ideal win-win-win situation, and I have a ton to do before I leave.  But for now, tea and blogging is the order of business!

On that note, I wanted to thank all of you who came to my father's celebration of life on Saturday.  I am thrilled it unfolded so smoothly, and was so well attended.  I am particularly pleased for my mother, as what better tribute to my father than to have people share their happy memories of him?  The tone was light and joyful and truly focussed on his life, which was our hope, as my father would have greatly appreciated that, over a somber ceremony that focussed primarily on his death.

I think it is a true testament to his personality that people who may seem, at first glance, to have been peripheral in his life - the family who ran his favourite Vietnamese restaurant, the pool desk receptionist, his dentist and dental hygenist - made the effort to come and share in his celebration.   My father had the gift of making no one in his life feel "peripheral".  He was genuinely interested in everyone he engaged in conversation; a function of both his energetic curiosity and his empathetic nature.  He cared.  And those people in attendance on Saturday clearly reciprocated and amplified his caring.

A very heartfelt appreciation to those who came to support my mother - and me.  As much as my sister, mother and I have heavily leaned on each other in the past few months, there is something about a "bosom friend", to quote Anne of Green Gables, whose mere presence can do so much to uplift, steady and nourish.  There were my mother's friends in attendance who where at Lake Louise, that summer of '62, when my parents met for the first time.  There were friends of mine whom I have known since Grade 7.  

Thank you so much for being there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

This Face

Happily, the spaghetti sauce completely covers the black, blue, purple and yellow chin courtesy of a face-plant into the sideboard.  It does not cover his swollen left eye, which was a reaction to a mosquito bite we got from our sojourn to Mud Lake in search of ducklings (check), turtles (check) and catfish (? check).

This also does not show the...lice.  Yes, we came down with lice that happily settled into Malcolm, Colin and Evelyn's hair.  I think we managed to get on top of the situation in the nick of time, and by luck, we already had a bottle of the special treatment shampoo on hand.  We're hoping we're at the tail end of it now, as Colin was the last to be infested and that was a week ago today.  We have done tons of laundry in hot washes, spent literally hours combing through hair, and have sent bags of stuffies "on vacation" in our hot car.

Ah yes, life does move on; ready or not.

We look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday morning!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Goodbye, Opa.

Thanks everyone, for all your best wishes and support over the past month.  As I've said to many of you, this is a very difficult road to walk.  But you have to walk it; you can't take a shortcut, or delegate your steps.

That being said, I've been incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful people guide and support me along the way.  Edward, who has been my absolute rock; Martin and Andrea, Ryan and Cristina who freely gave their evenings so that Edward and I could go to the hospital to visit my father; Jane and Gillian who provided a sympathetic ear, hugs and entertainment for a bevy of children; Myriam, who valiantly kept the house and children in one piece through the turmoil and uncertainty; everyone who visited my father, sent e-mails, phone calls and  thoughts and prayers our way.  It is a sad and exhausting road, but your compassion and care made me feel that we were not alone.

Most of all, I owe deep gratitude to my mother and sister, for having the courage and love to let my father go.  I am very proud that we kept his best interests at the heart of our decision to pursue palliative care for him; we knew that my father could not be a passive bystander in his life.  He was a passionate and engaged participant.  His seizure and cognitively debilitating second stroke made it clear to us that any future he might have would not have met the quality he deserved.   Nevertheless, it took tremendous fortitude to see him through to the end.   He died yesterday morning, exactly one month after his first stroke.  My mother, sister and I are grateful that his decline and demise represent only a tiny fraction of an almost eighty year life very well lived and very well loved.

We will be having a Celebration of my father's Life on Saturday, July 25 from 11-2pm at the beautiful Capital Funeral Home located at 3700 Prince of Wales Drive.  Please feel welcome to attend.

At the moment, it's very hard for me to eulogize my father.  So I think it is most fitting to leave that to his grandchildren, who were, after all, the greatest joy in his life.  The video linked below was taken on Friday, as my kids worked on a "Hug Blanket" for Opa.  We hung it on the wall of his hospital room, and yesterday morning, right after he died, his wonderful nurse draped it over him.  We all know he would have wanted that last hug more than anything else.

What We Love About Opa

We love you, and will miss you, Dad.  Heaven is a place in a loved one's heart, Dad, and you'll live on in ours forever.