Reflections

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was inserting a pacifier into my newborn grandson’s mouth, I caught my mother’s hand doing the same in the reflection of the mirror opposite him.

Myriads of thoughts happened in that instant.

But the first one, as I glanced down at my hands, was, Are these my mother’s hands?

Then, Yes they are, in more ways than one.

Hands that were once smooth and unfurrowed, now show creases and blue-veined rumples. Delicate fragility hides the strength they represent, and the hard things they have encountered. From the feather-light stroke on a newborn’s cheek, to the unyielding grip on a defiant teenage girl’s wrist, to the lively bustle of caring for the grown girl’s children.

By the time I leave my daughter’s home in this quaint Manitoba lake-town, I will have been here five weeks. Five weeks of cradling, changing, pacifying, and getting to know newborn twins. Five weeks of cuddling and entertaining their beyond-energetic three-year-old brother. Five weeks of filling in the gaps – those things newborn moms & dads need help with or don’t have time for. Doubly so when the baby is twins. Things like emptying the dishwasher, filling the dishwasher, folding laundry, sterilizing bottles, wiping counters, dressing the preschooler, or running back to the living room to quickly tidy up as we’re all walking out the door for an outing.

Besides the busy-hands type of help, there’s the being alert kind of help. Like understanding the half spoken sentences that trail off into nothingness from a foggy, sleep deprived mom or reminding her that her coffee cup is still on top of the vehicle.

All these things my mother did for me when I was the sleep deprived mom of newborns.

Life has come full circle.

These are the thoughts that flitted across my mind as I caught my mother’s hand reflected in the mirror opposite my grandson.

 

I am my mother’s reflection

Reflecting back at me

My hand reflecting hers

In the reflection that I see,

Causing me to reflect

On reflections.

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Sensible Shoes

 

Dr. T looks at me seriously and says, “You should start wearing hi-tops.”

It takes a few seconds for this “pretty-shoes” loving girl to grasp the concept. I imagine Converse basketball shoes (vintage 1970’s) on my feet. The kind I have never, in my entire life, even thought about wearing.

 

 

I never hung out with the high school jocks. I was always on the music end of the school. The only time I even entered the gym was for enforced – excuse me – mandatory Phys. Ed., or when the school band had to play for an event.

 

And once, for the Tea & Fashion Show, where we modeled our projects from sewing class for mothers, grandmothers, and boyfriends.

 

 

I remember it now …

Silver tea service, dainties, serviettes – not napkins.

Striding to the end of the runway, slipping off the jacket of my sky blue 3-piece suit and swinging it over my shoulder just before doing a pivot turn.

I remember clearly the shoes I wore that day: Sandal wedges, strappy leather that buckled around my ankle. That fit my feet perfectly.

I loved those shoes …

 

But I digress.

 

I watch Dr. T lift the cuff of his pant leg to display his own dull brown hi-tops, and I feel my vanity take a nose-dive.

 

Shoes have always been a passion of mine.

 

And weak ankles have always been an impediment lurking around the corner.

 

Now, I’ve twisted my ankle one time too many and Dr. T, foot specialist, sits in front of me speaking quietly and matter-of-factly. Telling me that, besides the orthotics and the ankle wrap I’ve become accustomed to, and short of the surgery that is not very successful anyway, hi-tops are a great way to support weak ankles and combat the pain.

 

On the drive home I feel like Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse in aviator cap, red scarf, and goggles. Fist pumping the air.

 

“Curse you, weak ankles!”

 

Against my wishes, I have been relegated to the world of sensible shoes.**

 

Some are born to sensible shoes, some achieve sensible shoes, and some have sensible shoes thrust upon them.

 

So this is it then. The end of an era.

No more 3-inch stilettos (seriously, when was the last time I even tried on stilettos? 20 years ago?).

No more wedges, or pumps, or cute open-toed with bows on top.

 

 

No more brand-new-Broadway-dance-type-shoes-in-my-closet, still unworn.

Sigh. I don’t even know who to be now. I know I won’t recognize this new hi-top wearing chick.

 

 

In the only time I have for shopping before I leave for a week’s frolic with Little Man, I resign myself to a certain pair of hi-tops because … pink racing stripes.

Then, because it’s buy one get one 50% off, I choose another pair. Suede. Mint green, with matching laces.

 

As the weeks of wearing hi-tops go by I catch myself looking down at my shoes many times a day thinking, who is this person?

 

But my ankle feels better when I’m wearing them and so I concede to Dr. T’s professional advice. He was right.

 

Still, I walk by shoe stores longingly, trying not to let my gaze waft over to the pretty shoe section. Until one day when something in the window catches my eye.

What’s this? Tucked among fur lined wedge boots, chunky combat boots, high-heeled fashion boots … there they are.

Low heeled. Lace-ups. Leather.

And Red.

Could I possibly follow Doctor’s orders AND soothe my vanity?

 

I duck into the shoe store to look for a salesperson.

 

Take THAT, Red Baron!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** For the purposes of this blog post, the term sensible shoes should be understood to mean low-heeled (or no-heeled) lace-up shoes.

 

All shoe photos credited to Pixabay.com

Pattern: rustyzipper.com

Snoopy: my own photo of a comic.

All is Calm, All is Bright

 

It is early morning on the day of Christmas Eve and all is quiet in the house … for the moment.

 

Very soon the air will be alive with voices and activity:

Gwamps,Gwamps! Let’s play, Gwamps!              Gwumma, what we gonna do next?

A contented baby’s chatter will sprinkle through the rooms. The kind of chatter only other babies understand, but we grown ups joyfully listen and respond to because this is the beginning of good communication. And really, it’s just plain fun chatting with a tiny one who thinks they know what they are saying.

The piano will resound throughout the house as Gwumma and Little Man play and sing their unique rendition of Jingle Bells, which consists of Gwumma singing and playing the notes while Little Man tinkles the higher keys, singing the same phrase over and over at the top of his lungs.

Gingerbread houses may or may not get decorated today.

Christmas goodies may or may not get baked today.

Some outdoor activity will surely be included because it’s snowing, and the marshmallow world is begging for new footprints and happy voices.

 

There will be some kind of sports blasting from the tv for those who don’t understand that Christmas means lovely Christmas music, and Christmas movies, and fragrant candles burning. This is the result of adding sons to the family, much to the Cowboy’s delight.

There will be good conversation snatched here and there among the busyness of little people.

There will be naps to smuggle, goodies to munch, and a new boyfriend to meet.

There will be a seafood feast for dinner, followed by a Christmas Eve service. Then time spent around the tree, the traditional gift of new pjs opened just before bed.

 

But most of all there will be togetherness. There will be living, laughing, and loving. It will not be forced. It will be achieved through the knowledge that, being scattered across three provinces, we rarely get to be all together in one place at the same time. So these moments will be cherished. Treasured up in our hearts, as Mary treasured up all that occurred around her on that very first Christmas Eve. And we are grateful. So very grateful.

 

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If you would like to read a Christmas poem I wrote this year, you can find it here.

 

 

 

What I Know For Sure

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Today is my birthday.

As a gift to myself, I will be spending at least an hour in a favourite bookstore. Then we will meet some family and friends at a restaurant where they serve varenyky and farmer sausage almost like Mom used to make.

The day is made even better because I’ve come to the conclusion that I finally know some things.

This is important to me because I have lived most of my life outside my comfort zone. Never completely sure of myself. (A common plight for introverts, apparently.) Most of my life – from choosing a breakfast cereal to parenting – has been I don’t know what I’m doing, but let’s try this. I admire people who are so sure of themselves, and I wonder how they do it.

Now, having reached the unremarkable age of 54, I am happy and relieved to say that there are actually a few things I do know for sure. Someday I may expand on them but for today, at the risk of being too simplistic, yet in an effort to keep it simple, here they are:

 

Life is a series of seasons. Some seasons are good. Some seasons are bad. That’s life.

The dirty dishes won’t go away. The baby will. Leave the dishes, hold the baby.

It takes less than a second for life to change forever.

Those you love the most have the most power to wound you.

Doctors are not God. They are just people, with a medical education.

Everyone must walk his own path. Most beloved, dearest child, friend, or foe, I cannot live their life for them.

Traveling the world is exciting, but coming home is everything.

The only way to learn perseverance is to persevere.

The way I respond to what happens to me is my choice.

God can be trusted with my life – even when I can’t see Him working.

 

So, Happy Birthday to me. Here’s to many more years of Joy!

 

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