Saturday, August 31, 2013

what he sees

at the sanctuary last weekend, we decided to leave the stroller in the car and pushed our babes beyond their walking limits. they did well but just past the half-way point, we found ourselves desperate to keep the kids walking on their own to the end of the trail. the boy kept the girl going for us (only too eager to grant her big brother's request). but when he began to lag behind, i offered the boy my camera.

he's been learning how to point and shoot, you see. and i'm hopelessly in love with the photos he took!

his sister was only too happy to pose for him, the darling. i just adore how they look at each other in times of peace: how much she trusts him, how innately he protects her, how well they play.

and i often wonder how he sees the women in his life, this only boy of ours: the only fire sign in a house full of water.

i wonder how he sees himself, this affectionate boy who loves bugs, dinosaurs, cars, robots, superheroes, legos, who chose a pink bicycle with "hair" (tassels) on the handles, and whose favourite colours are purple and pink.

and i worry. i worry because i didn't realize that although i've come to terms with my lesbian self, my gender-specific programming regularly interferes with my actual belief system. i worry because i find myself gripped with fear when i think of what people may say to him and do to him because he has 2 moms and happens to like butterflies and kitty cats. i worry that because i am afraid for him, i may not be able to adequately stand up for him when he needs me to, whatever my intentions may be. i worry that i won't be able to model being brave when it counts.

this is the thing i'm learning about mothering, you see. loving each of my children for their whole selves is easy. coming to terms with my reactions - facing the fears i've long thought i've overcome - and actively choosing not to apply them to their life choices, that's the hard part.

while i know my fears do not define who i am or what i believe, and although my parenting choices are not motivated by fear, i have them all the same and i fight them all the time.

because despite my fears, i believe that what the boy sees, how he focuses, how he frames his life, what he defines beautiful, what he chooses to do next - belongs entirely to him.

all i need to do is be there for him -  this boy that i love so much, so much like me, and so much more himself.  be. there. be brave (for myself). and stay open - ready, to see the world through his eyes.

excepting the photos of the boy himself, all other photos in this post belong to him. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


we took the kids to the george c. reifel migratory bird sanctuary last weekend. i didn't even know it existed until a few months ago. 

i never fail to find myself in awe when my view of our vancouver backyard expands. 

it was a wonderful afternoon, full of excitement and discovery. i'll never forget how happy the kids were, to clutch a small bag of bird seed as we explored the trails: offerings for friends they hoped would follow them home. i think we'll go back for an extended stay - with a picnic, drawing supplies, and a stroller next time. perhaps deeper into fall, wearing sweaters and toques. oh yes. 

the idea of returning to a sanctuary is more comforting than i can say.  

these days have been rather trying. the wife and i have been grappling with our responsibilities: what we control, what we don't, what we can help, what we can't. we've been weighing our obligations, coming to conclusions that are difficult to accept, making decisions that range from petty to impossible. 

it's all just life, really.  growing up is such hard work at any age. 

to counter all the things that whelm with varying levels of ebb and flow, i am practicing gratitude. 

i am all gratitude for the three people that are my home, my centre, my safe place, my sanctuary. because in the end, whatever happens, whatever choices each of us make, whatever consequences follow, we return to each other, and start again.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

fall calls

the trees are beginning to singe.

the sun's harsh beat is receding earlier now, giving way to shadows and halos at play.

the earth basks at the waning summer light in soft focus, preparing for its time to rest. 

fall is calling. 

i am actively choosing to keep one foot in what's left of this summer. my other foot, however, is tensed and ready to sprint towards my most favourite season - chomping at the bit, to answer her call.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

at home: cooking, knitting, dreaming, rambling

katie's legacy bread, again. 
we've been home for over a week now. i'd like to say that all is going swimmingly but the transition is resulting in rather grizzly bouts of mood swings for all of us. i feel like i'm yelling all the time and i don't like it. the kids have gotten used to being outside all the time and our need to keep them indoors so we can keep house isn't working very well. and i was all zen about doing things one thing at a time in the forest but now that i'm home, i can't help but will myself to grow another 3 pairs of arms. i seem to have all too quickly lost my centre and need to re-frame my state of mind. so many things to do, so little time. so many things i want to do, so not happening. that's the trouble  challenge with the blessings of work and family: finding balance and rhythm to the extent that as many necessary needs as possible are met at the same time. 

in an effort to bring myself back to centre and meet some of my family's needs - including mine - i have, of course, been knitting. the boy's sweater is blocked and finished, which pleases me to no end. 

better photos, anon. i promise.
i have also found myself in the kitchen: baking bread and eating tomatoes and green beans freshly picked from our teeny garden.

roma and heirloom cherry tomatoes with green beans 
the kids love to help and feel included in kitchen decisions. and i really love having them in there.  i made katie's legacy bread again to better success, i think. the recipe makes 4 loaves and i let the boy do what he wanted with a quarter of the dough.  those little loaves were devoured immediately after this photo was taken, plain
the next morning, the boy requested pizza for breakfast with the bread he made. i made garlic bread by rubbing garlic on the partially toasted bread, added cheese, and broiled until the cheese melted: a breakfast hit (we ate all the tomatoes).
i have been itching for a walk to the river beach but time and tide really hasn't allowed it. 

my baby cousin (she's 27) was in town for a conference so we've spent as much time as we could with her before she returned to toronto. i took very few pictures. i just wanted to focus my energy on her precious company. she's getting married next year to a boy (he's 28) she's loved since she was 15. she has chosen the wife and i as her candle sponsors, the boy as her coin bearer, and the girl as her flower girl. we are so honoured to be part of it all. she's the closest i have to a baby sister (i have 2 younger brothers) and we've been connected since she was born. we've always been there for each other. 

i am extremely proud of the woman she has become and feel privileged to know her. she's so good to my kids. and i just can't help but love her more because she loves them so much. so naturally, while she was here, i took a break from all the sweater knitting to knit her a hat.

this is my second renfrew (the first was for me!) and i will attest that it is such a fun, fast, and easy knit. in fact, i still plan on knitting piles of hats in this pattern as christmas gifts. this time, i used anzula for better or for worsted in mauve (from the stash). 

anzula for better or worsted is probably my favourite plied yarn of all. its cashmere-merino blend makes it just like butter to knit with. the cashmere in the yarn gives it a melting hand that enhances the softness of the merino; and the bit of nylon in there makes the yarn almost bounce back slight when you're knitting, which made it feel as though the hat i was making was knitting itself.

as you can see, the yarn results in lovely stitch definition, made even more beautiful by its luminous hand-dyed depth of colour. i dream of sweater quantities of this yarn, it is so delicious. 

and on that wistful note, i must come down from my anzula cloud and return to my responsibilities. 

i am happy to be home. i am grateful for my bed, my job, my family, my life. there is much to keep me in the here and now. but i can't help but steal away a few moments here and there to dream - of yarn, of time outside, and of change. after all, "a change is as good as a rest." and i don't dare disagree with the dowager countess of downton abbey.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

in the forest, part 4: knitting in the wild

of course there was knitting. i brought a project with me wherever i went. but since there was always some work to be done, the knitting was pretty much either confined to long car rides or stolen moments. i have become rather a fast knitter in my own little clumsy way, so i managed to finish 2 hats, a pair of gloves, a single glove, and a sock. and to be fair, one of the hats was half done, and i began the little sock en route to kelowna from vancouver and worked on it throughout our time away.

the half-done hat was for the wife. i don't remember the last time i made her a hat that's just for her.

she likes it.

fortnight by jared flood
cast on with manos del uruguay maxima
knit with mystery tweed (lost the yarn band)
but i was wishing i was knitting with shelter all the while.
very much.

which makes me very happy.  see? 

i started a hat for ms. t immediately after i finished the wife's hat. i finished this second hat the morning of our departure from the forest. i charged my phone the day before with the express intention of setting my alarm for 6am so that i could have a quiet knit in the woods behind our campsite.

the mornings were cool in the forest and that morning was no different. 

i watched the sun make its slow journey up the east side of manning park and listened for the early morning sounds of the forest. i winked at it, as it shone on me and bowed my head. i took a breath to accept the blessing and whisper my gratitudes, then returned to my stitches.

as i knit, i listed as the birds went about their morning chatter. i even heard a loon make its hauntingly intriguing call. i watched a squirrel skitter towards me with curiousity. i thought i even saw a two-headed slug (it was a mushroom).

the time i took to finish making this hat for a not-so-little girl i adore and admire was a moment i stole. i freely admit my greed because i can tell you that even now, in ever-cluttered bedroom/home office, i can wholly remember satisfying it so completely.

quynn hat by woolly wormhead
knit with malabrigo worsted
(i think i've made 6 of these. such a great pattern!)

ms. t loves her hat, too (in fact, she asked for this very hat when she saw the babes' hats. i had to knit an extra inch on the largest pattern size so it would fit her decidedly non-toddler head).

a hat for each of my favourite scorpios = happy making.  now neither of them can wear those hats without thinking about our forest adventures. 

i don't have a photo of the gloves i made (in a hurry, 'twas cold up there!) or the pair of teensy socks that are finally done. so i will end this final instalment of  the "in the forest" series with a snapshot of a very long breath i took just behind our campsite that last morning, a moment full of gratitude and remembrance: a rare occasion in which my centre actually found me.

i hope your week began with the kind of peace and focus you need to carry out the busy-ness of the next few days. my vacation being most decidedly over, i am actively working hard to return to centre out of the forest. 

have a fantastic week!