Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Friend for the ages

Lately I've been thinking a lot about friendship.

In my life, I have been extremely blessed with a number of wonderful and strong friendship that have left life long impressions on me even after they ended. In my childhood, I had a best friend extraordinaire. We did everything together, spent most weekends together, had countless sleep overs, shared all our secrets. Through elementary school, high school and into our early twenties we were it, the untouchable two - and because of my friendship with her I have so many beautiful and happy memories from my youth. I will cherish those days, always.

Then there are what I like to call my two lifers. We're besties for keeps. Like it or not I'm theirs, and they are mine. Nothing, no hurdle, no man, no rumor, no bad mood, no distance or amount of time can damage our friendship - and believe me there have been many times when something could have come between us. Nothing has, and though our lives have taken us down vastly different paths we still love each other, support one another, and know that one day our lives will once again lead down a merging road.

When I had Jakob I was blindsided. Adjusting to having a baby was a huge challenge for me, I struggled a lot for several reasons and those first few weeks were so so hard for me. And then I met this wonderful network of women, and my life as a mom just bloomed. In hindsight, I see how lucky I was to have my first baby in the neighborhood that I did, and that I met the women I did because that first year with Jakob, that started with such a jolt, ended up being one of the best most fulfilling of my life. I credit those other mothers I met, who offered me so much support and whose friendship remains even today. Those are some powerful mama women warrior princess' that will be a vital part of my life forever.

And speaking of powerful mama women warrior princess', I was twice blessed in life because after I made this big move over to this island we live on now I once again met these amazing friends. Women that I instantly and fiercely bonded to. A random mother I met at a little park down the road became one of my best friends and support after the birth of my daughter. Another that I met at a cultural celebration became a confidant and second sister. Wives of my husband's best friends became friends I never imagined they would be. Coffee dates emerged, exercise evenings were born, regular play dates arranged, and when I floundered after the loss of a baby I had this instant and amazing net that caught me and held on until I could make sense of it all again. But the greatest blessing of all was that our children all became friends too, which among other things make birthday parties so much more fun when you not only look forward to inviting the kids but their parents too.

It goes without saying that my husband is my strongest friend, whom I depend on more than all the rest. He knows every corner of my heart, soul and body and loves me for it. My best friend, without question.

Then of course there was a moment in my life where I realized that I had this amazing sister who somewhere along the way became my most treasured friend because she encompasses it all: family, support, encouragement, foresight, hindsight, the example I have always followed. Friend for the ages.

I was never Miss Popularity, and the way I see it it is about quality not quantity anyway. Not all of my friendships have stood the test of time, but all have left me with meaningful and positive memories. And on some very special and rare occasions friendships that faded were reignited again, and emerged stronger in our adulthood.

So basically from the start of life to now I have been incredibly blessed in friendship. I hope I continue to be blessed as I look forward to friendships yet to be born. But more than anything, I hope my children are equally blessed with extraordinary friendships. I hope that they learn how to open themselves up to people, that they have the courage to always put forward their true selves, to make themselves vulnerable enough to accept the joys and sorrows that come from friendships. I pray that they find that friend that can stick to them like glue during those agonizing pre-teen/teen years, that they find people who can support them when they hit their milestones in life, that they have those treasured few that no time or space can separate them from.

And I hope and pray that they one day wake up to find that what they have in each other is one of the truest and bravest friends they'll ever know.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Feeding the seals

There is a little marina tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood close to ours. If you visit there you will find a few residents that will put on a bit of a show for you if only you promise to feed them after.

Jakob loves visiting here. It is probably Victoria's best kept secret. At the marina's shop you purchase a small bag of frozen fish, and make your way down to the docks where there is always one seal keeping vigilant watch for little boys and girls holding clear plastic baggies of fish bits, and if they spy you they send our a special sealy call and before you know it another head pops out of the cold pacific waters, then another, and another, until suddenly there are a handful of seals barking and clapping and lolling about showing off their gluttonous bellies and adorable whiskers.

I don't know how they gain so much weight eating fish, but they do, and they wear it well.

Once the bag of fish is empty, the seals topped up and satisfied, there are a few token beaches around that are laden with rocks, and sticks ripe for throwing. My little boy? he never could resist a rock or a stick on a beach. He can throw for hours and never get tired. It is a very nice way to pass a beautiful afternoon for anyone, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, seals and little boys and girls alike.

*Thanks Nana for all the photos.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Long Weekends: Easter edition

As far as Easter long weekends go, and they can really go either way considering all the sugar that is consumed on two out of those four days, ours went relatively smoothly. In fact, I'd say it was one of the nicest I've had in a long time in some ways. Lots of family gatherings, lots of delicious food, lots of traditions past and newly formed, and enough chocolate to keep the energy high and flowing. 

One Easter tradition I love: Good Friday dinner. Growing up in Vancouver my mom and dad always hosted a Good Friday dinner where a big vegetable soup was the main course and our close family friends and their four kids came over contributing platers overflowing with cheese and fruit. Being away from them on this day, knowing that the tradition continues even without us there makes me feel homesick and nostalgic. So to make myself feel a little closer to home I hosted my own Good Friday vegetarian soup and cheese plate dinner, and invited a few favorite people over to help me forge a new tradition. 

It was a nice way to kick start the final days of our Easter journey.

This year Jake really had this great sense of anticipation for the Easter Bunny. He fell asleep late, forcing his tired eyes to stay open at the hope of catching a glimpse of the magic rabbit, and woke up early (way WAY too early) with excitement and wonder that there were easter eggs hidden in his room and that that meant that the bunny had been in and out of his bedroom without him noticing!

He hunted, he found, he ate. 

Ah the joy of pure, innocent childhood magic.

I wish us adults had more of that innocent joy in us. The innocence and the joy that helps us believe, without question, in all things magical. A bunny who hops around the world delivering eggs and filling baskets for children of all ages? sure, why not.  Jakob believes that he drives around on a vespa so his feet don't get too tired and that he speaks german. He stayed awake late listening for the putt putt of his motor. 


Live on. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cool clear days

The other day it was cool and clear and like many cool and clear days around here we decided to head for a local park. Unlike previous cool and clear days at the park, however, little sister took part in a way she never has before. 

She had her first ride in a swing, and who better to push her than her seasoned big brother. 

These last five months have been busy and have moved by faster than I sometimes feel I could keep up. Most of the time I just feel like I've been running along side my life at top speed trying desperately to keep up. It's been a blur and when things get blurry I tend to lose focus of the little things. But every once in a while, when things are cool and clear, everything slows right down and those little things, those two wonderful little things that make the sprint to keep up with life worth it, become the centre of my attention. 

I snuck up on him reading to her the other night. Melt my heart. 
Cool clear days, please keep on a comin'.