The House Is Silent

I made the mistake of letting myself read chapter ten of Pooh Corner, when Christopher Robin says good-bye to Pooh.

You’ve just left for rehearsal at church. Your dad is running errands with the dogs. I’ve just watered the greenhouse.

And again I am struck with a deep, piercing longing of wanting you to be six again.

I want to start all over on Brown Street. I want to move your bunkbed to the yellow room because it’s so much brighter and you can look in the backyard. I want to see you studying the periodic table on the top bunk and then telling me all about it. I want to begin homeschooling again, even though it took me forever to figure out Singapore Math. I want to wear pajamas and rainboots and go splashing in puddles. I want to bring out the ramps and watch you take your bmx bike out.

And like Christopher Robin, soon, you won’t be able to do Nothing. Where you just go for a walk and listen to the birds and throw rocks into the creek or smash dead branches off the pine trees. You no longer talk for an hour at bedtime – having conversations with Pinky about science, math and tree jobs.

Please don’t ever lose the ability to do Nothing. Go for walks. Lie on your bed and stare at the ceiling and contemplate whatever comes to mind.

Splash in puddles.

I love and have loved being your mom. It’s my favourite job.

Too Fast

It’s already March 2022.

You’ve applied to U of T and to U of O.

The interview at T went well…you even told an anecdote about how I encouraged you to play classical music. And I did. But it was still nice to get a little credit for where you are today.

Your teachers/coaches want you to live on campus to get the full effect. They promise you scholarships and playing with OSO and other venues. They try to downplay coming home every night.

This terrifies me.

You’re 17. You haven’t even begun to live yet. The longest you’ve ever been away from home is a week and it was at a Christian camp. I only managed to survive your absence by going on a writing retreat. But you’ve never lived alone. I don’t know how you’d manage with a roommate. You’re very introverted, relishing your own downtime and your own quiet. I feel if you any stress came on, you’d retreat into headphones and slip into a funk. I don’t know how you would handle the pressures of your meals, the cleaning, getting your schooling done.

But I can’t tell you what to do. I can only encourage you to try being at home for awhile…until you get used to the shock of doing in-person learning and dealing with the real world and the awfulness it will throw at you.

With E being suicidal…and only 14…I live in fear of you ever thinking of it. Because I did as a teenager.

It will break my heart when you move out and the house will be far too quiet. But I am so excited for you to go. To spread your wings and fly around the world and experience GOD’s blessings and beauty for you.

Just wait a year, first.

love mom.

Almost Seventeen

It has been a whole year since I’ve written.

I blame the lack of knowing how to log into this website on the regular computer.


Lockdown happened all last year and most of this year. They just allowed phase 3 a few weeks ago, but a lot of people still aren’t vaccinated. And it’s going to ugly.

You finished grade 11. And 12. You did exceedingly well on your maths and sciences. You write the SAT’s in 14 weeks. You just wrote your first practice one and scored a 1410.

Your driver’s test is in four weeks. But you didn’t get to practice in the snow. Which worries me a little, given how far away we live, but I trust you. You don’t like driving for long periods of time because it makes you tired. I think it might be because you don’t blink the entire time.

You finished a month with the Orchestre de la Francophonie. And you slayed it. Your digital project is magical and brilliant. Everyone loved your concert.

You finished a month with the National Youth Band of Canada. You won the Kiwanis Festival – both local and provincial.

You create videos of yourself playing covers – but you rearrange them for percussion pieces. You create videos of the dogs spazzing out and of cool Lego smashes.

You’re helping your father with the tree business, using a chainsaw quite regularly – and making some good money along the way.

You’re part of the Worship Team at Celebration! Church and you love it. You’re mentoring with Pat B.

You’ve had a pretty good year, considering. It was hard not seeing other people, but you kept cheerful and hopeful and so creative with your time.

I’m startled when I look at you because sometimes I don’t recognize you. And sometimes you remind me of when you were so much littler, so much younger and so much more innocent. You have your father’s chin and his big goofy grin. You walk like him, with a little swagger in your step. I love that.

You’re intelligent. Perceptive. You’re mostly patient at explaning things to me – like science and math. You’re patient explaining music, as well.

You’re funny. You pull silly pranks like leaving the cupboard doors open. You tease me and it makes me laugh.

You’re kind. You’re compassionate. You listen.

My heart hurts when I think of when you’re leaving. Not because I don’t want you to go, or I’m worried about how you will do (well, maybe a little). But I hurt because you’ve been by my side for so many years. Since grade 4, we’ve seen each other practically every single day. You’re my best friend. I hurt because my best friend is moving out and I won’t get to talk to you any minute I like, or comment on something I’ve seen, or a thought that popped into my head. I’m losing a best friend. And we both know I haven’t had many. And I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty, far from it. I’m just really grateful and appreciative of what we have. And as much as I hate you going off and finding your own best friend in your wife, in your close male friends, I’m so excited for you. It’s been an honour being your mom and best friend. GOD gave me an amazing gift in that.

The other thing that I really love – is that you share music with me. That you actually want my opinion on how it sounds, and we both know I don’t know anything about music. But I’m honoured that you ask me, that you care what I think. And I think that is a gift in itself, and I hope you always share your music with me. Always. Ok, now I’m bawling and you’re playing xylophone in the next room.

You’re almost seventeen.

And I’m so proud of who you are and how you are with other people that I could burst into a million pieces.

I love you, brat.


Almost Sixteen

It has been far too many years since I’ve written about you.  The only lame excuse I have is that we purchased a desk top computer and I was afraid to use the Lenovo, because I thought it didn’t have security.

It’s July 30 and in a month and a day, you’ll be sixteen.

I couldn’t tell you where the time has gone.

Right now, it’s been 4.5 months since they began the COVID-10 lockdown.  In mid-March, right at the beginning of March Break, things began to close.  OY closed, schools closed and in April, stores and restaurants closed. Everyone had to stay home. A lot of people contracted the virus and a lot of people died.  Your dad had a test because we thought he might have it, but we think it might have just been dehydration.

This was your second year with OY.  Last year, you joined with Declan, Alex and Navin. But this year, none of them came back.  You were the only percussionist in the orchestra.  You won percussionist of the year last year. And although they didn’t hand out awards this year, Susie and Allan Douglas sent you a cheque because they felt you deserved it anyway.

You’ve been training with Jon and with Ken. You had an intense summer where you saw Ken once a week and Jon every second. I don’t know if OY will start up again in September. Ken said that you now know what you have to know for first year of University. Jon got very angry with us because we hadn’t contacted him for lessons. He was so angry and felt so betrayed that he called me up and yelled at me. He yelled at me for about twenty minutes and my heart broke because I did not want to ruin the relationship the two of you had. I didn’t want to ruin any chances for your future. And I apologized to him profusely. I begged him not to let you go as a student.  I begged him. It was demeaning and embarassing and I cried the entire time.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Because pride is ugly.  And if took me apologizing to a man who thought it was ok to yell at a woman because he was angry (it never is ok, by the way. Ever. It is classless and so very wrong) I can deal with that.  Because it was for you.

This year was grade ten.  You studied Pre-Calculus for the whole year, including Physics. You got a 94 and a 98.  I honestly can’t remember what else you studied. It’s written down somewhere. You speak a little Russian. You’ve bought a marimba with your own money.  You now have two drum sets (one bequeathed to you by Billy Weir), a marimba, a xylophone, borrowing two timpani from Jon, congas…I haven’t a clue what else you have.

The lockdown has been hard on you because you can’t see your friends at Orchestra. You quit gymnastics at Christmas. It was just too much for us. Lately you only see Tommy when you’re cutting trees. But today you’re at Abraska ziplining for your birthday. And he’s sleeping over.

You’re 5’11 1/2″. You’re 146lbs. You pick your face and your head.

You’re so smart. You pick up on instructions and schooling like crazy.  You’re creative. You’ve been using Pete’s go-pro to film train sets in the garden and now you’re planning something in the pool underwater. Right now there is a train track in the pool.  You create the most amazing origami.  You’re kind. So compassionate. Crazy funny. You still make me laugh like mad.  You’re hard working and strong. You’ve laid all of the stones out in my garden and now you’re laying brick paths in the vegetable patch.

You don’t bring Pinky everywhere. You stopped around November. But she still sleeps under your covers at night.  You snuggle Gertie during your quiet time.

When I look at you…when dad and I talk about you…we keep wondering who you are. You are so incredible. You’re so good and kind and thoughtful and caring. We wonder who made you? It couldn’t have been us, we are just so flawed. Dad with his forgetting things and leaving his underwear on the dining room table and getting defensive anytime he messes up, and me with my temper, my stubborn nature and my anxieties of people. You are so creative.

Ok, I have to go make chicken kung pao for dinner. You’re still one heck of a kid.

love, the bad woman lady


Getting Bigger and Older

Hi Monkey Butt,

You’re thirteen.

You’re also 5’5 1/2″. Which means you’re almost taller than I am.

I marvel at how you have grown. Your wide shoulders are strong with purpose, your back is straight. You’re so strong, right now, from doing gymnastics 3x a week.

You keep cracking your knuckles. I keep telling you to stop. I keep envisioning these gnarled, arthritic fingers.

You’re in three different orchestras right now. You’re in OJ again, because they decided that while you are good enough to be in OY, they want a leader for percussion. Which is good, and bad. Good because you’re getting some amazing parts. Bad because the other students aren’t as keen as you are.

In OY, you don’t get to play much. But you’re so encouraged and excited to play with them. To be older kids that want to be there, as you do.  Your first concert at the NAC is coming up and I’m so excited for you.

You’re playing at Parkdale again, with Angus. This is your second year and you still love it.

And this means so much driving.  95% of the time, I don’t mind driving in. And it’s not because I get to go to the gym, although I do love working out. It’s because I get to be with you.

Sometimes we talk about Pinky and how silly and fat she is. Sometimes we talk about Lego and all of your creations. Sometimes we talk about music, and I always forget which parts in which song you are playing.

Do you know how hard it is to be a parent?

I’m not talking about bad behaviour, although lately you’ve been a little…arguementative and giving me tone, but it’s fine.

I’m talking about the awfulness out there.

We’ve had to talk to your gymnastics’ coaches about the other boys talking about innappropriate things. Do you remember? 12 year old boys asking if you please yourself.  Asking if you get excited when you see girls.

My heart hurts because I just want to protect you from all of the garbage, of all the pain.

I’m trying to keep you as innocent as possible for as long as I can. Because once you know the true evil in this world, your heart will change.

And I don’t want your heart to change.

Your heart is kind, compassionate, funny, loyal… you have so much character in you. And your heart is so big.

I don’t want to tell you about rapes in highly prestigious colleges; rapes inside families; rapes everywhere in the world from third world countries/slaves/prostitution/dating.

I don’t want to tell you that people kill for fun. That there are sick people out there who get a kick out of hurting someone else. Out of hurting animals. Out of hurting seniors, the disabled, the mentally-challenged, the hurting.

I trust you.

I trust GOD.

I trust that you will always choose the right path. The better one.

Don’t sell out to fit in.

You are so much better than that.


I believe in you, Jack.




Making Mistakes

Hi Babe,

Well, by now you have probably figured out that we are human and not superhuman.

We have too much debt.  Your father and I did not manage our finances properly, and we have messed up.  We actually went to a bankruptcy specialist yesterday and when she opened her mouth, I knew we didn’t need to go that route and we could figure it out. Learn better discipline.

You’re doing really well at gymnastics. And of course, gymnastics is an hour away and summer requirements are three times a week, for 5 hours each time. They want you to compete in December. And you just might. You managed to do a round-off, backhand spring, whip, back layout. Do you remember that? How could we not encourage you to compete?

My family is being crazy.  Their cottage burnt down last summer and they specifically told a mutual friend not to tell me. Which is typical. Of course then all the drama. And then I get an email telling me that the cottage is to go to myself and my brother once my father dies. So they can’t rebuild. So will I give up my inheritance?  Ugh.  So now, we are going through notaries and I have to wait to see if we’ll get anything for it, or if I will own a bit of land when my father passes.

A friend of ourse who suffers from severe mental issues, just confessed that they’ve been having repeated affairs.  The friend is severly addicted, and is having problems stopping. The friend finally told their spouse, and of course it isn’t going well.

It feels like a weight is crushing down on us. This will happen from time to time, because this is the nature of life.  I am choosing to be joyful, even though it is really really hard. I have to trust that my emotions and my heart are liars, because I know that GOD has this. His will, will be done. And it is always to His glory and His good.

Don’t ever forget, little Mister, that whenever it seems the darkest, and everything is quiet and pressing into you, GOD is taking care of it. There are battles being fought that we don’t even know about. But we do know that GOD has already won. So let Him care for you. Let Him take care of it. And trust Him.

You are an amazing, resilient child, and I adore your heart.

love, mom. (the bad mommy, the pew babe, and the baby lady)


Hey Babe,

It’s January and as usual, the weather is weird. Yesterday, it snowed 10cm and then freezing rain and now it is 5C. The weather has been freezing, and then rises up again. Weird.

Your OJYO took a break for Christmas. I’m parent rep this year, remember? So much work. And I do love it. Actually, I don’t love the work, but I love the music and I love encouraging the kids.

This year, you have played/are playing: Berlioz, Unter Donner und Blitz, Firebird Suite, Samson and Delilah, the Barber of Seville, Beethoven’s 8th… and you’ve joined the Parkdale United Church Orchestra on Tuesday nights’.  Crazy.

You’re at a new gymnastics club, too. The coaches from the previous one left, and we managed to track down your coach and it turns out they opened a club in CP.  You’re now going 3x a week. The coach wants you to go 4x a week. But they are about to move to Kanata.  Which means driving into town…5x a week. And we live an hour away.

I have absolutely no idea what to do.  I want to encourage your growth, to give you as many opportunities as possible. But I don’t think we can do that much driving.  Especially since we are insane enough to get two puppies in 3 weeks.


Please know that we are struggling with this.

I love you, Mister.


Today You are Twelve

Hey Little Man,


I don’t think you understand how hard it is to see you grow up.

The benefits are plentiful. But I miss your littleness. I miss your snuggly dependency on me. Oh, you still snuggle, but of course, not as much as you used to.

You’re twelve. I don’t even.

In one year, we have ‘almost’ completed grade 6. I was distracted by gardening in the greenhouse, getting the chickens and garden set up, and we did go to NYC for two weeks, remember? Remember when we came back we found out that some things were broken? Like my favourite arm chair had rips in the arms? Some of your Nerf darts were broken? And that awful smell that took us 4 hours to figure out it was a sludge of dead bugs in your air conditioner?

You auditioned, and got into OJYO. You played beautifully. You played Beethoven’s 1st, parts of the Nutcracker, Danses Cubanes (where Angus said, more cowbell), La Gazza Ladra, Beethoven’s Egmont, Slavonic Dance, Ritual Fire Dance… and this year you are auditioning again. You are nervous. I’ve had to tell you that you are amazing, and that you will get in. Because you will.

You began gymnastics at Gymnosphere and your coach, Michael took you to new heights.  Spinning on the mushroom, rings, parallel bars…  and now you’ve left Gymnosphere and you followed Michael to Resolute Gymnastics which is thankfully in CP, but not for long.

You’ve helped dad with many tree jobs. You’ve picked bugs for me. You grew too many inches. You are now up to my nose.


I want to emphasize just how much you mean to me.  You are smart, kind, so funny, a good snuggler, and good encourager, make eggs like nobody’s business… and determined. So determined.

I adore you and admire you.


You’re at Calypso water park right now, on the coldest day of summer after a long drought.


I adore you and love you, my little monkey.


PS: pew pew.

Being a Man

Hey little Mister,

I was speaking to one of the moms the other day. Cassie’s mom. And she called because Abby’s guinea pig had died and your class decided to make sympathy cards for her because she was so upset. You told me on the way home that the card said words like, ‘God will help you get through this’, ‘There are 10,000 angels watching over you’, and stuff like that.  She callled because she said your card was incredible. That she was so impressed.

Then she told me how you stood up for Cassie. How a boy had called her ‘fat’ and you stepped right in and argued with him, stating she was not fat and he should stop teasing her. She said that she immediately turned to Cassie and said, ‘you marry that boy’.

She said that you were such a gentleman, such an amazing boy because boys don’t stand up for girls anymore and you were rare and amazing.


Atta boy, Jack.

I’m so proud of you and your character.



Grade Six

Hey Mister,

Today is not a good day for me. I’m an emotional wreck.  Daisy tore her outside nail off and bled all over the snow. I had to make her lie down so I could try and stop it bleeding. She’s old and has terrible teeth and a large tumor-thingy in her mouth. Her breath is awful. But she still plays. So how could I put her to sleep?  School hasn’t been going well.  I’m having such a hard time finding a good routine and sticking with it.  I’m not able to push you to do your best, right now. And I’m taking that personally.  Your answers to questions are hilarious, but I want the right answers. You’re a smart kid and I need to be able to encourage your intellectual growth.

But I think I’m doing a bad job.

Your dad built me a greenhouse and I love it. I’m excited in it. But it feels like I don’t have time. Do I ever have time?

I’m sorry to complain. You are a wonderful child. I’m just really messy sometimes. And I’m sorry if that hurt you, in any way at all. It isn’t you. It’s me.

I’ve already knelt before GOD, begging for help, for peace for wisdom. And while I feel peace, I feel exhausted. It’s my own fault for indulging in reading at bedtime.

I love you.


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