Saturday, February 27, 2010

The view from the sidelines

I'm part of this group of wonderful women who exchange emails about various activities to participate in with kids. Much of the time I find myself able and interested to participate. However I know there is only so much assimilation I can expect to do with the locals. There are times when I am just not able to partake of the midwest flavor as I'd like.

The most recent idea was to go ice skating with the kids and this was one of those occasions I realized I'd just have to throw in the towel and stay home.

I tried ice skating once. It was not a success. My husband and I became in a short half hour dreaded by every attendee on the rink. "Look out the Indians are coming!" was uttered under many a breath as we slipped and slid along the rink. And how we were put to shame by many a self respecting four year old who turned up his and her cherubic snub noses at our flailing arms and our askew legs. We're tropical animals, I wanted to yelp in my defense. That and the fact that I have feet of two distinct sizes which made the skates far too uncomfortable for me made my performance on the rink less than desirable. All right it made my performance downright dangerous to all and sundry. I had begged the attendant for one size 7 and one size 7.5 skate but the unsympathetic cretin looked down her nose at me and refused.

Not once did we try that activity again.

The other wintry sport I tried a few times is skiing. Each time inside an hour I was much afeared by the toddlers who for their part were gaining expertise of the bunny slopes in a matter of minutes. I in turned was afeared of the continuously, ominously spinning rope that took us from down the bunny slope to its top. Often I didn't let go of it in time only to find myself sprawled on the snow, a prisoner of my skis on top of the slope and watched helplessly as the little ones behind me tumbled beside me in a heap and then went crying to mama to rescue them from"that woman". In my defense the long summers and autumns all but obliterated any minor skill I may have built during those rare skiing sojourns.

Needless to say I gave up on that activity too. There was no sense in participating in such things until I could finagle an ice rink or a bunny slope all to myself. Yeah right. Good luck with that.

And so I watch with amusement and bemusement as the natives take such joy in their seasonal cultural pastimes.

Should talk of hikes or canoe rides or beach trips start trickling in, I shall participate with much enthusiasm.

But until then, I shall stay safe and more importantly keep others safe watching from the sidelines.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My world

Picture this.

A sleeping 12 day old packaged neatly lies near the top of the bed, in the next bedroom sprawled is a four year old, near the foot of this bed on the floor, is an exhausted 32 year old, standing at the door a 36 year old. These in the order mentioned above--son, no. 2, son no. 1, darling brother and dearest husband respectively.

My people. My world.

The ones missing that complete my world is mum, asleep downstairs, and dad who's watching 24, also downstairs.

I drink in the scene. I sigh with happiness. I love each of these people so much, so very much, it hurts. I worry about them, wonder constantly about their well-being, about how I can help better it; they depend on me as I do on them, also so very achingly much, in varying degrees. Some days more than others but depend we all do. My father depends on me to understand his difficult emotional nature. He thinks we're kindred spirits when it comes to emotional matters each of us being horribly quirky. My mother depends on me for the camaraderie we share even if its mostly over the phone. Brother as his sounding board, husband as well...everything.

But it's not something I think about or analyze much. Like living or chores, its just something one does.

My newborn baby suddenly lets out a gasp, as if searching for air. I pick him up and hold him to my chest. He turns beet red, gasps some more then lets out a sound of relief and begins breathing normally again. The fragility of this little life dependent so much on us and our ability or lack thereof to keep our wits about us overwhelms me for a moment. I quickly hand him over to my husband.

I then go to my four year old lie down beside him, pull him close and hold him tight. The enormity of what we have done over the last four, almost five years with this boy hits me. He is well, he is happy, he is well adjusted. So far, so good. We've not done badly. I think for the first time that maybe I can actually do this. Heck, I've actually done this. Be a pretty reasonably good mum that is.

To be able to hold this human being close without fear of breaking him seems like a lofty accomplishment all of a sudden. One I must somehow sustain for years to come. I close my eyes and kiss his warm neck.

And there I stay until my still fragile son lets out a wail. Demanding to be strengthened, demanding to be fed, hoping perchance that I can keep my wits about me for him too.