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.


Summertime…and the Living is Easy…

Hi Jack,

Incidentally? This is my favourite summer song. It’s sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It always makes me think of summer.

This summer is completely different, isn’t it? We are used to living in the suburbs…hot days with the blow up pool in the backyard, avoiding the dog poop and squashed tomatoes.  The sweet, cool, air conditioning and Copa barking across the street and Jim’s stinky wood stove/fire pit next door. And now? Now we’re out in the country where all we can hear are birds chittering (the wren in the next out front), the robins calling their babes to come home at night, the high pitched ‘peeruuuuweee’ of the goldfinch.  The wind in the leaves of the manitoba maples surrounding the house (Bertha, Betty, Beatrice, Brittany, Barb and Brenda) and sometimes if it’s quiet and the river is high, you can hear the little waterfall at the top of the swimming pool. You can see the pinky sun setting every night at the top of the hill. It is so beautiful here.

This summer I am paying you to kill bugs in my vegetable garden. Do you remember that?  You were mowing one day (incidentally, you and I love mowing with reel mowers. You throw on Adventures in Odyssey on your headphones and go for hours) and you started getting weirded out by these bugs landing on you. It took me five days to figure out they were rose chafers. And they were devouring my beans. So now you go out, wearing your leather gloves, and catch them and throw them into a bucket full of soapy water. Ew.  And now the colorado potato beetle has come. Sigh. But you’re doing it. And you’re tough about it.

Your dad built a raft yesterday – out of a piece of plywood on top of two inner tubes. We padded up our creek to the pool and you got to jump off it, repeatedly. Oh, the joy on your face.  You didn’t even care that you were kicking up old weeds or that you had a small leach on your ankle.  That matters so much to me. That you can find joy in simple pleasures of swimming in a mud creek and mowing.  You’re truly turning into your dad. I love that. Your dad is an incredible man.

Today you’re helping cut trees. You have been dubbed the ‘bush-dragging beast’. And you work so hard for your money. I’m so proud. You’re tough. Did you  know that?


I think you’re the bees’ knees, kid.



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