Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Owen!

Two years ago, I pulled the kids out of school for a week and took the train up to see Mom and John in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Erin was in a 4/5 split class and the Grade 5 students were writing a provincial Math assessment, so I thought she would learn more French during a week in Quebec than in someone else’s class with the 5 other Grade 4 students from that class. While we were there, Owen Aikman was born half a world away in Switzerland.

I have only held my nephew on one occasion, which is a sad reality when family is so far flung. This summer, however, I will get to play with him, build sandcastles on the beach with him and soak up lots of Aunty Dragon moments as my brother Dave, his wife Anne, my niece Juliette and little Owen come to visit for 2 weeks and we all head to PEI for a week.

I cannot wait! Owen may not remember much about this summer as he grows older, but I know that Juliette will indeed. At 6, she can make memories that will last and enjoy cousinhood so much more than when we saw her almost 2 years ago. Thank goodness for sales on Memory cards because I intend to take a HUGE amount of pictures to get me though those times when I can’t hug them in person.

I can’t believe you are two already Owen! Your mommy tells me that you are about the height of an average 4 year old. I just love our family genetics at work!!! I am counting the days until I can hug your whole family in person!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I’m A Sandwich!

Honestly... this is getting a bit ridiculous! Last night was totally crazy because I came home from leading my evening Weight Watchers meeting and checked the calendar to see a little “note to self” that the cakes were due today for the Family Fun Day Cake Walk at the girls’ school tomorrow. With a groan, I pulled out the cake pans and started to bake. I really do LOVE my new convection oven! Trying to cook 6 cake halves at a time was a bit of a challenge until I took out the middle of the 3 racks because the rising cakes were threatening to bake around the rack! I was in the middle of icing them at almost 11 pm when the phone rang with the latest crisis. Nick’s mom had to be admitted to the hospital here in town!

This morning, I got the girls off to school, did my 6 km walk with my walking partner in record time (stress is good for our speed), iced the last cake, wrapped them up, printed out the gift certificates for the Silent Auction (I donated a logo design and a certificate for stress-free holiday baking) and put some pamper items in a basket for Nick’s Mum along with a few trashy magazines. I got the cakes and prizes to school, visited her in the hospital and still made it to my 10:30 am dentist appointment where they told me that 4 of my older fillings will have to be replaced this summer, the first two on Monday morning!

If I have learned ONE THING in all of the craziness since March, it is that while you cannot control what life is going to throw at you, you can control how you react to it! I have now learned to go out and walk or weed the garden furiously instead of do something naughty with a tub of haagen-dazs in the basement. If I feel powerless and out of control, there is always a cupboard or drawer to tidy that will give me a sense of order amid life’s chaos.

Suddenly, though, I have become the dragon in the middle of the sandwich...

...with children who are growing faster than the weeds in my garden. They are straining for their independence, still leaving me with much of the chores and seeking reassurance on their terms when the world gets too scary.

...with parents who are suddenly running into health problems, major transitions of their own and other milestones that make me look again at where I am.

I don’t feel that different from when I was 24 and getting married! It is so strange to think that I am older now than my parents were when they got divorced, older than my mother was when she went back to school to become a minister, older than my father was when he lost both his parents...

I just keep sweeping up the crumbs and hope that at least my sandwich is tasty!