We’ve lived in our current home for almost 14 years now. Aside from my childhood home, it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place in my adult life.
Our neighborhood is wonderful. We really lucked out with a fine group of people. Their children were all young when we moved in. We were the new kids in the block. Young with no children. Now their kids have grown up and moved out, while our kids are taking over the neighborhood.
A few years ago a family moved in to the house next door to us. It had been for sale for a while, then it was leased. It’s always a little scary when you’ve lived in a neighborhood for a long time, have gotten used to your neighbors only to have some “new people” move in.
Well we kind of hit the jackpot with these folks. It was like looking in a mirror. They had 6 year old twins and a baby on the way. Mom is a doctor and scientist, dad works from home. I mean really, how crazy is that?
I’ll never forget the text I got from my husband. “Neighbors moved in. Kids already know each other from school. Moms a doctor. Dad works from home. Wtf??? 😃”
The twins were in my backyard later that afternoon playing with my kids when I got home. We met dad a little while later and I think it was a month before we actually met his wife – a busy clinician scientist finishing her fellowship in Oncology.
Fast-forward 2.5 years, we lived through a pandemic together, “bubbling” our families during the initial lockdown to keep ourselves sane. The kids were inseparable most of the time. Our daughter got her first job walking their dog every morning. The dads developed a relationship that centered around politics, the love of music and vinyl. A bromance if you will.
A kinship developed between two working moms struggling to be the best at both their jobs. And in the thick of it all, 6 children who kept the neighborhood alive with laughter, especially so during a pandemic.
But nothing lasts forever.
This weekend they moved back to their home province. It’s been only a day and we can all feel their absence. The kids will miss them of course, but they will likely adapt far quicker than their parents will.
The baby’s stomach virus hit me late last night. Husband rented “A Million Ways To Die In the West” to cheer me up after what was a crappy (no pun intended) day.
After dinner I started to feel that all too familiar queasiness in the pit of my stomach. I was able to ignore it for most of the movie. There were some really funny parts and this one in particular had me laughing so hard I almost started crying!
I went to bed around 10:30 pm. Tossed and turned for a good while until it hit me. That unmistakable rumble in the stomach that says “get thee to the bathroom pronto!” A few minutes later the cold sweat hit me like a ton of bricks and everything came out. From both ends. That’s the moment when I thought it might be better just to curl up and die.
I instantly felt better but the weakness set in and hasn’t left. I had a fitful night’s sleep. The phone call to my office has already happened. I am going to try to get through the morning but likely not much else.
Most nights after a 4 AM feeding, I am wide awake and can’t fall immediately back to sleep. So I will often browse Pinterest.
I found two gems the other night that I thought I would share.
I’ve written before about the almost daily purge we have to go through to keep our house in some vague semblance of order. And I do mean vague. At any given moment I am tripping over a piece of LEGO or a mega block or a dinky car. It takes everything I have not to pick it up and toss it in the garbage. Inevitably there is a child afoot who screams bloody murder at the thought of their precious ending up in the garbage. So much so that this epitomizes my plight.
On an Internet forum I often frequent there was a thread about life with 3 kids. Most of the posters talked about how crazy their life has become. With 3 kids, it’s just louder, busier, and impossible to have any time for yourself. I’m not sure I entirely agree. Sure, I’m only a few months in and the baby is a blob right now, so perhaps I am deluding myself, but it hasn’t been all that bad. It probably helps that husband is also home with me. We both make time for our own hobbies. Sometimes this means the kids put a video on and watch a movie. Is that bad? I tend to think not. Happy parents = happy kids.
Honestly, I couldn’t handle it if my husband worked. There. I said it. I have it easy, I know. Still, can’t help but think this might be me in a few years.
So, like every household with kids we have an extraordinary number of stuffed animals. Sure, a lot of them were mine from childhood (and adulthood – what, you don’t have stuffed animals you won at amusement parks??), but most of them belong to the kids. Every so often, husband and I go through them and decide who should stay and who should be donated to GoodWill.
We have one stuffed animal who always survives the purge — Grover. He was given to my daughter on her 1st (or 2nd?) birthday by her uncle, my brother. Wherever we find him, it always looks like Grover has somehow fallen victim to some weird tragedy.
Note: None of these photographs were staged.
Like that time he was crushed by the baby stroller …
Or that time he drank one too many shots of tequila ….
Or that time he apparently choked on a Scrabble piece …
Or that time … well, we’re not sure, but it involved a water siphon, and a My Little Pony…
Then there’s that time we’re pretty sure he smoked some crack …
Laughter – a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group — it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows.
This weekend, my husband’s best friend and his wife were back in our province looking for a house. They moved out West a few years ago and are now returning home. My husband couldn’t be happier. He has missed his friend so much. So, we decided to leave the kids with their grandparents for the night and joined our friends at their hotel.
About 2 minutes into the reunion the boys were acting like the teenagers they were when they met. Instantly, the jokes started and the four of us were in stitches from laughing so hard. After a wonderful meal we went back in the hotel room. Again, within minutes, the laughing continued and at one point, I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe.
(Recall that I am pregnant, so my abdominal wall muscles are now all but non-existent, and laughing becomes more difficult when there is nothing to support your core.)
As I was falling asleep, the peacefulness that washed over me was sublime. There was a time, honestly, when laughing like that with friends was difficult. Sometimes friends just connect, and sometimes that connection fades. My husband’s friend’s wife said last night that sometimes friends are like old clothes in your closet. Sometimes you have to clear out the old clothes that don’t fit you anymore in order to make room for the new ones.
As I welcome this new little life growing inside of me next fall, I want him or her to know nothing but the sound of laughter in our home. I’ve realized last night that won’t be a problem anymore. The people in my life make me laugh every day; I am reminded everyday how lucky I am and how fortunate I am to have these people in my life. Seeing my husband with his best friend again just reinforced it for me.
Laughter really is the best medicine and the foundation for healthy relationships.
I hope that anyone reading this laughs with their friends and partners today.
It’s December 20. This could be our last day on Earth, if the Mayans had it right.
Have you seen the movie, 2012? Oh goodness, it’s one of my favorite disaster films. Did I not mention that in my bio? I LOVE disaster movies. Disaster movies are my go-to films when I am feeling down, or sick, or both. I recognize that I may need some professional help.
As the end of the world year approaches, I started to compose a list of events that defined the year for me. I tried to put it in a poem (just to be different), but who am I kidding, poet I am not.
So, how does one sum up 366 days? (Leap year, remember?)
I celebrated 10 amazing years with my partner in life.
My stunning little boy turned 1.
I tweeted a few thousand times.
A door closed, but another one opened.
I blogged a lot and people are reading!
I did a childish thing. Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. (Ambroise Bierce)
I got up off the couch to 5k in 6 weeks.
I became a runner.
I lost a total of 8 inches, all from running.
I shared a wonderful, relaxing summer holiday with good friends.
I witnessed the birth of the behaviour of women in the bodies of 3 little girls. It was a little frightening.
I saw my 4-year-old enter the public school system.
I experienced the death of two patients through the eyes of their loving family.
I enjoyed countless glasses of wine.
I saw a few good films.
I shed several tears, but laughed a hell of a lot more.
Overall, it was a good year. There were certainly a few bumps in the road, but that is life.
To all my friends (past and present), and to my readers, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2013.