This blog space means many things and I have so much hope for what it will bring me and give to others.
But at its heart, it is a collection of stories.
For my children. And (goosebumps) my children's children.
When Andrea, at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl, suggested a 12-12-12 photo day, I knew I wanted to play along. It wasn't the significance of the numbers or the fact I'll never see another repeating date in my lifetime that I found compelling.
Instead, I wanted to view one of my days, through a lens, yes, knowing I would never see it again. A day I could never get back.
As the director of our family's day-to-day routines, I sometimes fall prey to feelings of repetition and monotony. But I knew in my earliest days of motherhood, that the best moments would show themselves in the most ordinary of days. It's why I left my desk job to be here. I don't want to miss them.
So that brings me to this re-telling of yesterday's story in 12 photos over 12 hours. They aren't fancy or artistic. But they are real. Just like the moments they captured.
For my children. This is a day in our life. Thank you for making the ordinary extraordinary.
Every school day, I come downstairs and dedicate myself to making your lunches. It's become something of a "thing" for me and you have all given me the space to do this for you. Thank you for buckling the baby into her seat and bringing her the pink bowl and the Minnie Mouse spoon while I dice vegetables.
Christmas music is something we look forward to each year (well, maybe not your Dad). I love the way your faces light up when songs like Rudolph and Frosty come on. I love that we all giggle when the little one says, "It's Shitmas time!" Your favourite night has yet to happen, when we wear pajamas under coats, pack hot chocolate, put on "Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas", and head out in the dark to drive through the neighbourhood with the most beautiful lights.
My oldest girl, I know singing in the choir becomes less popular as you get older. I am so proud of you for listening to the song in your heart. And this year, I am most proud of you for the gratitude you've expressed towards your hardworking teachers for helping you and your friends give this performance to their families. Listening to you sing songs from around the world was incredibly moving.
My little girls, you really wanted to do Mama's hair for the big holiday concert. Your excitement for everything is contagious. The way you gently brushed and caressed my hair with lovely words and such unabashed hope that I would feel beautiful? I cannot begin to describe what this does for my heart. Sitting cross-legged on your bedroom floor while you both fussed and flitted around me, told me I make you feel the same way. Thank you for that gift.
My tiny singer. The first time you stood on a stage and sang a song in front of an audience, you were only five. And yet, you brought an entire room of strangers to tears. You have the voice of an angel. Whether it's being heard on its own or in a choir, it's joy. When you came into the gymnasium yesterday and saw me and your grandparents in the audience, your face flushed with happiness. But, my girl, it could not compare to what you made us feel. Keep singing.
Food is love. And making food for the ones you love is one of the sweetest ways to show it. My mom shows her support for me, my parenting, and my work by dropping off containers of food. She always makes our favourites. Thank you, Mom, for filling my childhood with food from around the world, for having a junk food cupboard that was always stocked and open to our friends, for sending care packages of food to my dorm room, and for giving these traditions to my children. The curry was delicious!
There was a lot of guilt about walking away from my 9 - 5 job and taking a chance on working-at-home. But, for me, there was no other choice. And each time I sit down at my desk with the piles of art work and love notes you've each given me, I know I'm in the right place.
I've learned to embrace my own needs on this parenting journey. It means sometimes you guys don't come first. It means I can get to the end of my rope and know it's okay to do something that's just for me. I've finally learned that it's okay for you to see this part of me. And I hope I'm teaching you to listen to, to be gentle with, and to honour all the pieces of who you are.
For nine years, I have been meeting children at the end of a day. It never loses its appeal. It never fails to be a bright spot. It is everything to me to be able to stand in a place where I am the first one you find. Sometimes, your cheeks are bursting with a story you can't wait to tell. Sometimes, you lean into me quietly and I know we'll need a moment together later on. There is no place I would rather be.
My hardworking boy. You don't have a lot to say, but when you do, it's always worth hearing. Those of us closest to you know. On Wednesday nights, Daddy isn't home in time to take you on your paper route. Grandpa has started coming over to help. I don't know what you two talk about. I know you both come home flushed from racing each other up and down the neighbourhood driveways. And I know how much it matters to both Grandpa and I that you have this one-on-one time and that you feel noticed. I hope you never forget.
I do my very best to keep our playroom an electronics-free zone. I don't normally bring my phone or tablet into this magical space. I know what you want from me when I spend time with you here. You want me down on the floor eating your pretend food and buying groceries with paper money from your pretend store. Let your imagination guide you always.
I revel in seeing each of you experience things whether it be for the first time or the 100th time. And the moments when you catch my eye? It catches my heart. Even in the moments that we've caught you doing snow angels in the grassy outfield or sticking your tongue out at yourself in the dance studio mirror, you gave me a memory I will hold onto. Dance, swim, sing, play, draw, write and find as many ways as you can to express the song in your hearts. I can't wait to watch.
Yesterday was 12-12-12. A day like so many others, yet special because of who each of us were when we experienced it. A day like no other. Thank you, guys, it was the best.