Monday, December 29, 2008

My heart

It seems full these days; my heart that is.

Hamlet's birthday was on the 13th of December and we work very hard to make sure he gets a birthday, not just a pre-christmas.

Side note: After watching the present carnage in our family room, his grandmother made it a point to tell my three year old son, on his birthday, that perhaps he now had enough toys and that he didn't need any more for Christmas. Mentioned it several times in fact before she left. Ha freakin' ha. She seemed quite surprised when we called to tell her that Hamlet, when asked in subsequent days what Santa was going to bring him, said "No toys Mommy. Grammy says I have enough toys." Lady, he's a kid, not a potted plant. He hears you.

Hamlet tells me a secret today. "Just for you Mommy. A secret in yous ear." He comes close and whispers, "I love you." Oh. My.

Christmas day and there are presents and presents. He munches on the crumbs Santa left behind - cookies don't just eat themselves you know. He wakes from his nap and we have to hurry to get ready, get in the car, get on the road...but I hold him as he surfaces. "What did you dream about puppy?" I ask him as he leans against me, blanket cuddled close. "I dreamed about you and Daddy and Hamlet; family Mommy." "Was it a good dream, love?" "Family dreams is best," he asserts, snuggles closer.

It seems these days that we are a family in flux. We are working on renovations to put our house up for sale; we are going to build the house we've been dreaming of for years. My company is being purchased by another, with the deal becoming final January 2, 2009. I've been assured that my job is secure, and that my expertise is appreciated and much sought after by our new parent. But the future and its path is a little uncertain, and I've been burned before.

Painting, repairing, handymen, contractors, builders, bosses, many moving parts that when I stop, I can still feel the cogs moving and clicking. And I find myself impatient with my three-year-old - his moods, his demands, and isn't it bedtime yet??

And then...

"Mommy, I have a secret for you..."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Well, and I thought I hated October...

Seriously, November has taken the cake. I was starting to fray around the edges, because in the last five years, October has consistently taken me out back and kicked my ass.

November must have been feeling overlooked.

I'm sitting at my desk and I hear crying. "What's wrong?" someone asks. In a rush of breath and tears I hear someone say, "I think he's dead!" My.heart.stops. And then they call my name, and it's time to be a professional. Time to decide the steps to take. To look people in the eye and make sure they stop, think. Breathe.

(inside I'm saying ohgodohgodohgod; and I don't believe in god, but something in my brain needs something to say to keep it running)

It's a mistake right? Please call us back and tell us that he's in the hospital. Injured, but alive. A terrible mistake; so sorry to have worried you.

(it's not)

I speak to a man hours away, whose sentences end in quiet sobs as he says, "I'm so sorry." Soon, I'm in the car on the way to pick up a co-worker to be part of my investigation team. We'll be speaking to officials, witnesses, picking up personal effects, retrieving equipment.

(my heart is so tight, my breath is shallow; the worst has happened and I never wanted to be here, but I knew that someday I could)

The next day, I feel myself shatter a thousand times, but it can't show. My eyes burn from the tears I refuse. I promise myself a thorough falling-apart, but later; it must be later.

It's so very hard, going back to work and seeing the people with questions I cannot answer. I teeter on the edge of anger and sorrow for days; short of patience and short on time.

(I can't go to the funeral, I can't, I can't, I've been living death, his death, for days)

I quell my inner coward and go to the funeral, because it's the right thing to do. My turmoil does not compare to that of family (wife, children, friends, ohgodohgod)

And so, one day at a time, one step at a time.

"We'll never be the same, will we?" asks my boss, my saviour in so many things.

"No sir." I say, "We never will."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't look back

Mythology is full of examples.

Orpheus lost his Eurydice because he turned to make sure she was following him out of Hades. Psyche lost Eros because she allows the distrust of others to break the covenants between them.

Lot's wife became a pillar of salt, frozen in time, for looking back.

It's so hard, to choose to move forward. I've seen what living in the past can do to a person. It can reduce you to a victim, characterised solely by the hardship you've endured. It can turn your relationships into eternal games of one-upmanship where no one wins, and everyone hurts.

I won't live like that. But it's not easy.

I don't forget things - dates, occasions. Which seems to have turned into a bit of a curse as my brain endeavours to remind me exactly where I was and what I was doing two years ago. Do you remember Hammy? This is the day.... Do you remember? This is how it felt.

Flashes of breathlessness; of pain.

No. I say, no.

I won't stay here. I won't be trapped in yesterday. I won't let the backward glance poison my forward vision. I won't allow the choices of others to dictate how I will live, think, feel. A mantra of sorts, eh?

Now, if I was being perfectly successful with this premise, I probably wouldn't be writing about it. But, you fall down, you cry, you get up, you start again. Lather; rinse; repeat.

Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream

This cough is kicking my ass. I've spent over a week sleeping in 1-2 hour stints. The bags under my eyes are sooo big...(how big are they?)....too tired for cheesy cliche involving luggage.

But now, I've got its number. Crawled to the doctor, and was prescribed the magic elixar Cophylac. The only cough medicine I've ever been given that you MEASURE BY THE DROP PEOPLE. Seriously, the dosage is "15 drops twice daily".

It's 9:35 pm, and I'm counting my drops. Bwaaa haaa haaa!!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Don't Like October

I just don't. Bad things happen in October.

Almost five years ago, on October 31st 2003, my Nan died. I still can't believe she's gone, that she never got to meet Hamlet, that I'll never hear her call my name again.

I was driving the other day and saw an ambulance. And some part of my brain decided to bring me the memory of my Nan, driving. Probably driving me home after school; too lazy to walk after soccer practice and dinner at 4:30. :) When she'd see an ambulance she'd say, "I always ask God to put a circle of protection around the person riding in there. Because I've been in there and Someone watched over me." In the utter certainty of my teenaged self, I'd tell her that perhaps she should have asked 30 minutes sooner and then the poor soul could have been saved an ambulance ride. She'd laugh at me, chide me gently. But she always took a moment when faced with the shrieking, siren'd evidence of someone else's misfortune to look for grace.

In my car, remembering, I cried. I miss her so.

She was my safe haven. It didn't matter what happened, I could sit with her, be calm with her, have her stroke my hair like a child, and I knew that nothing could ever change the love she had for me. For you see, we had known and loved each other since the day I was born.

She told me again and again the story of my birth, how she drove my mother to the hospital sharing each contraction and breathing along with her oldest daughter, anticipating the birth of her first grandchild. She settled down to wait, as her experience with childbirth had shown that hours would pass before anything happened.

A nurse approached, "Excuse me, but your daughter would like her glasses."

"Pardon?" my Nan said. "What does she want to see?"

"The baby. The baby is coming." Shocked my Nan handed the glasses over. "I never had babies that fast." Nan would tell me, "Never!"

My mother and I were wheeled out of the delivery room. I was wearing a yellow blanket and a shock of curly dark hair. "You were so beautiful." she'd say. "And then, I told your Mom I'd make some calls and come find her. And I swear, when they went to wheel you away, you turned and looked at me. You were only minutes old, but you looked for me as they moved you away."

And if my mom was there, she'd say "You did. I felt you twist in my arms, trying to keep Nan in view."

Oh, if I could still just turn and have her there.....

I'm still looking for you Nan.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm flattered, but....

So, in March of 2007 I was "reorganised" out of my job. Six months after returning from maternity leave - nice eh? On the bright side was a considerable severance package (the way a fucktard employer says "I'm sorry - please leave quietly"); on the not-so-bright side, a lingering feeling of diminished worth.

In July of 2007 I was hired by my present employer - a friend presented my resume to her boss and told him that I was exactly what he needed. Turns out she was right. :)

This workplace has been awesome. I feel useful, professional, and valued. But, there's a catch: To the Competent go the Spoils. They are loading on responsibilities and projects like no tomorrow. And I think we're approaching the realm of "last straw". I'm meeting with my bosses tomorrow and part of that meeting we'll be discussing what they'd like me to be when I grow up. Because, awesome as I am (tongue planted firmly in cheek people), I can't be everything at the same time.

Wish me luck.....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Carpe diem

A quaint phrase, my title. Almost cliche. Almost.

Last week, I attended the funeral of my 53 year old aunt. Married to my mother's brother, she wasn't a blood relative, but nonetheless, she's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

She had been battling ovarian cancer for around 10 years, and as it does, cancer took the final round. She didn't want a funeral, just a memorial mass. So, I stood in the church and watched my uncle say goodbye to his wife.

A new suit - he wanted to look good for her. Make her proud.
Standing beside his son, trying to be strong.
Quietly losing her; his everything. (His words, not mine.)

If anything confirmed my lack of religion and faith, it was listening to the priest tell a grieving family and congregation that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. That she had gone to a better place. That they should have faith in God's plan.

I say no.

I want my uncle to know that the love he and his wife shared was enough. There was no lack. I don't want him to think of her away in some heaven, I want him to keep her close, in his heart. I want him to feel her smile and continue living his life, sharing joy and pain with her as long as he needs to.

She was too young to go, she didn't deserve the pain of a terrible disease. But it happened. They dealt with it with love, humour, and great friends - the best they could. I'd rather have my uncle embrace the life they lived, than consign it to an indiscriminate God's plan.

So, go out and seize the day. 53 doesn't seem as far away as it once did.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Random Internet-tery

So, I seem to be on a blog spiral. I have six or eight blogs bookmarked in my browser, but lately I've been exploring the list of blogs these folks link on their pages. Kinda like an introduction to the proverbial "friend-of-a-friend". I've ended up in the strangest places...

A gay gentleman in Quebec linked me to a recent identity scandal, where a blogger claimed to be someone they were not. Not exactly surprising in the most general of scopes, but this deception seemed to have been quite far reaching and complex. When someone falls in love with a persona and individuals are moved to send presents and gifts for fictional children, you know hearts and spirits are going to be bruised when the truth outs.

In guise of father and parent, this person wrote of his experiences and dreams; or rather, plagiarized the writing and images of another. In a stunning display of bad judgement, not surprising given the trend so far, this person plagiarized blog components from a women struggling with the death of her infant son. A lovely writer, laying her pain bare as part of healing and living...

Last night, I read posts from her blog and the blogs of others she links - tears pouring down my face. Suddenly grateful and terrified for the two-and-a-half year old Hamlet, snoozing blissfully in the next room. Anxious for two close friends who are due this year: one in September and one in November. Remembering with cold clarity that moment in the delivery room, as they frantically prepped me for an emergency c-section, where I thought "Is this where it goes wrong? After 9 months; it is here where the world changes?"

I will return to some of these new places I've discovered, if for no other reason than to enjoy the writing of someone writing with focus, with grace, with humour.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guilty pleasure

So, I'm assuming you've Google'd someone? Used a proper name as a search to see if you get any hits? Find out what someone is up to, where they're located?

In a wanton display of unhealthy acts, I sometime Google my husband's whackjob ex-girlfriend (y'know, to see if it's time to move or anything). Last week, I decided to give up this practice because I found something that made me happy - a picture of the aforementioned whackjob, and she's now fat.

Like "round to the ground" fat. Wearing an "I give up" polyester skirt and shoes that my grandma would consider "too frumpy". My thimble runneth over.

I think I'll just give up this unhealthy habit....why spoil a good thing?

Don't judge, people - this woman walking the planet brings us all down a notch. Any heartache or misfortune she's experiences, she probably had a hand in orchestrating.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Song on the Playlist

Sunday afternoon, drinking coffee with Mr. Hammy whilst Hamlet naps. Through the baby monitor, I hear the sounds of a stirring toddler, who decides to try out some new material.


Mr. Hammy and I look at each other, "Is that? Did I hear? Did you hear?"


This goes on for several minutes; just this one line, evoking memories of big hair and high school dances. From my 2.5 year old son.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lullabye and goodnight

I sing to Hamlet every night. I like to sing and have a passable voice, so I'm trying to pass on that love of music to my son. He now makes requests:

"Mommy, you sing Cars song."
"Honey, Mommy is not Cheryl Crow."
"You try Mommy." He pats my shoulder, "You try." And because he is my pup, my love, I try.

"Mommy, you sing We Will Rock You."
Because his babysitter plays what she calls "Jock Jams" and We Will Rock You makes an appearance at every hockey game ever played...this is now on the playlist.

"Mommy, you sing Dreamland." There's a place, way up high, starry bright there through the night there...

And then there are the songs I sing to Hamlet that someone once sang to a smaller, younger Hammy.

When I was a child, it was a grand treat for me to spend the night at my grandparent's house. They lived across town, and my Pops worked nights. So, I sometimes stayed "to keep Nan company". I would snug down in her big bed and ask her to sing me to sleep.

"Oh, honey you don't want to hear my scratchy old voice." (For posterity, my Nan was 40 when I was born.)

"Yes, I do!"

And because she couldn't refuse me, because her heart was mine and we both knew it, she sang:

You climbed up on my knee
You're all the world to me
You're mine from head to toe
That little girl of mine
No one will ever know, just what your coming has meant
But I love you so, you're something heaven must have sent....

I was in heaven, and all was right in my world.

So, as I write this, wishing I could hear my Nan's voice one more time, I hear Hamlet in his crib...
(We will, we will rock you! Buddy you're a strong man!)...and hope that he always remembers how his Mommy sang to him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You travel for work? How exciting!

Except that it's not.

It's lonely, and who knew I'd ever get tired of having someone else cook my meals? Seriously, you can only eat in restaurants so much before you start craving things like granola bars and cheerios.

Oddly enough, it also means that the line between "work" and "not work" becomes even more blurred. I find I put in longer hours, over and above the work I'm actually travelling to accomplish, because I can work until midnight without sacrificing my "real life". Meaning, time with Mister Hammy and Hamlet.

And I'm also struggling with the fact that Hamlet is old enough to both a) miss his Mommy, and b) tell me about it. He's almost 2 and 1/2, so it goes something like:

"Hi Mommy! You take the red car to Nova Scotia."

"Yes buddy, I'm working in Nova Scotia. Are you taking care of Daddy and the boxergirlies?"

"Mommy, I watchin' Diego!"

"That's great pup - who is he yelling at in Spanish today?"

"Leatherback sea turtles Mommy. Mommy I miss you. Mommy I love you. Bye Mommy!"


Sunday, May 04, 2008

I remember, I started this for a reason

I read the blogs of others, but I do not blog.

I remember I wanted to have a venue to work things out; a safer haven than the paper process (yes, I was once traumatized by a family member reading my diary). I don't think that need has gone away.

The last year and a half have been the hardest of my life. Everything I believed about myself, personal and professional, was taken away. And I have had to search for the bits of myself, my real self, and painstakingly pull it together.

It sucked. Hard.

Call me cliche, but I feel like the pheonix - burn me to ashes, then burn the ashes. Fire streaks to the sky and I am reborn.

So, the present loveliness of my life should be doubly celebrated. Hamlet is 29 months old, beautiful and bright. He shines, does my lad. He deserves a Mommy who looks to the future. Mr. Hammy and I love with the knowledge that we came too close to losing everything; our family and ourselves. Love is hard and fraught with responsibility - i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling).

This week, after some work craziness and a certification exam, I'm hoping to push the "reset" button on some of my priorities. Physical fitness being one; perhaps mental fitness is another? I think this blog could be part of that - a spot to work out the things in my head before they spill over into life and damage what I've built.

Hey, you gotta start somewhere.