Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

It's amazing, in a few short days (literally days), we've gone from -4C to +14C. It's quite something. We went on our first adventure to the river the other night. Watching Baby Faye's face as the geese landed on the water, I was once again I am reminded of why we chose to move out this way.

I am honestly beyond awed by my son's joy and general amazingness these days. I am so very happy that where we live with provide him with a slew of amazing childhood adventures to grew up to.

And can I just say, honestly, heart to heart here, that I am falling more and more in love with my son every day these days, which is just so flipping amazing after struggling so much during that first year.

I remember feeling, in those first months, so guilty because I didn't feel like I radiated maternal love. I felt raw and bitter. Overwhelmed and isolated. And most importantly, like I couldn't be honest about how I felt without being judged a bad mother because I wasn't over the moon with love for my child. I "knew" that I cared but I didn't feel the awe and love that so many mothers ascribed to the mother-child bond.

But my god do I feel it now. And it's amazing. Despite all the trials and tribulations of parenthood these days, I can finally say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love this kid like I've never loved anyone or anything else. That each day he fills me with awe and wonder (and often frustration too but that's a given).

I'm just amazed by him and the things he does and is learning. Seeing the world through his eyes is an absolute gift and I'm so very thankful for the joy he has brought into my life. This age, so far, is his best age yet. Even with the temper tantrums and terrible twos.

Before he was born, before I knew he was a boy, I dreamed of him at this age. He was a blonde, blue eyed, chubby cheeked boy, walking and holding my hand. I awoke from that dreaming knowing not only that we would have a boy, but that he would be just that, blonde, blue eyed with chubby cheeks. The other day, as I walked with him from daycare, I was totally overwhelmed by the realization that this is it, this is exactly the baby boy I dreamed of in that moment. He is the exact age of that little boy in my dream and he's such a joy. From the way he points his finger and tells us "don't you do that" to the way he lifts his bowl and says "more" to pasta and oranges or the way he rocks out on his toy guitar (I kid you not, he really rocks out and neither of us have any idea where he learned it from).

More importantly, I am just so utterly relieved to finally feel like I am truly over the postpartum anger that coloured much of my first year of motherhood. And having come so far from those days, I also feel like I can be much more honest about those days now without fear of how negative I sound or the judgement of others. I think women (and men) need to be more honest about how hard the early years are.

Ironically, there are those who are, but often you only find them much later, after you're already drowning in the days of new parenthood and looking for solace. People tell you that it gets better, easier, but in the eye of the storm it really doesn't feel like calmer days will ever come. But they do. I promise. 


shaking off the winter blues

I don't know if it was just a rough winter or if something was in the air, but this past season has been a very heavy one for so many people I know, myself included.

I'm so very relieved to see the grass again and the buds starting to grow on the trees around me. The birds are out, the geese have arrived, the deer are in the fields around me and we even saw a muskrat in our backyard recently.

It's a huge relief to start to feel like I'm shaking off the winter blues. Each sign of spring and summer has me feeling more and more lighter and capable of letting go of the weight that has been dragging me down the past few months.

Thank god for that.

It has been an earthy, material winter. I don't know if I have ever felt so tied to the material world as I have these past few months. Ironically, just as I'm looking forward to shedding the dullness and heaviness that can be associated with Earth, I'm about to launch into an earthy month of practice. Go figure.

Actually, I think it'll be a nice closing to a long, dark season; one that will remind me of the more balanced nature of Earth and help me find the virtues of the element. Good stuff.

Here's to better, sunnier and warmer days!


Friday, April 10, 2015

belonging to place

I've been thinking a lot about home lately. From having a sense of belonging and connection to a place to having connections to people.

Part of my day to day work has me working with students who have rather complex relationships with home as they are both Canadian and of another culture, which leaves them with a dualistic concept of home. Home is both here and elsewhere.

At the same time, I also work with Indigenous students and am saturated with ideas of a deep seated sense of land and belonging.

The irony behind the fact that I work with the First Peoples and the Settlers doesn't escape me.

If anything, the fact that I am constantly navigating narratives of belonging, culture and identity makes me hyper aware of how complex and nuanced these ideas of home are from individual to individual, group to group.

But it also means that I am thinking a lot about what home means to me personally. Is Montreal my home after 15 years or is the West Coast of BC my home? My last trip back left me feeling very disconnected with the place I have always thought of as home. I have finally become that "immigrant" or displaced person who no longer fits with her home. I carry a glorified, static image of what home was rather than the living place that it currently is. My narrative of BC is stuck in the past and to the identity I had when I lived there. My BC is the place of my 23 year old self.

And yet, with all of it's language politics and tensions, QC isn't really my home either even though it is becoming more and more my home with every passing year. I see how I am beginning to internalize the narratives of this space even as I long for the ocean back home. Which is such a weird space to be in.

I guess, on some level, because I keep dealing with these narratives of deep, long seated belonging to place (for example, the discovery of Haida artifacts below the water that date back 13,000 years and lend historical weight to the oral traditions that have been handed down through stories), I keep thinking about what it means to know deep down that you are a part of the land around you.

I am the child of an immigrants. I am first generation on my maternal side (though my Dutch ancestors can be traced back to the 1300s in a particular region in the Netherlands) and 5th generation on my paternal side. I have never had a deep sense of attachment to place as I have always had a very nomadic heart. I have never wanted nor longed for (until now maybe?) a sense of belonging to place, not really. The fact that I have "settled" in the place is surprising to all who know me and really a by-product of my life partner more than anything else. I practice a spiritual path that comes from immigrants and is made up of mostly Western magical traditions though it does have many Eastern influences in it.

I can't help but wondering lately though, what would it look like if I actually dug in and claimed this land as my own? What would it look like if I embraced some of the traditions of the people of this land? (Albeit of course, in a respectful, non appropriating kind of way). What are the traditions of the land here and what can they teach me in my practice?