Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One more gift...

The past year and a half has been rough. Losing Dad hit me much harder than I ever knew it would. The economy has been rough. Dear friends have endured hardships and tragedy. The bakery has gone through several major changes, some of which were extremely unpleasant. It's felt like "What now?!?" for far too long.

But through it all I've maintained my sense of humour. Or so I thought.

Last Friday my Uncle George died. I cried. I came home, I listened to Freddy Fender, I cried. I thought about my dad and I cried. I thought about Carol and the cousins and I cried.

They asked us to speak at the service. What could I say that wouldn't make me cry even harder? I sat and I listened to the words others said about George. How giving and kind and funny. Funny...

I remembered as a child when the Clevelands came to town there was always so much laughter. When we were broke and broken there was always something to laugh over.

As an adult I realised that life is hard, often unfair, sometimes tragic and bitter. But life is good and beautiful and filled with joy. You can turn your eyes to the sorrow. You can fill your heart with tragedy. You can swallow down choking mouthfuls of bitter despair or you can feel the true weight of good, find delight in simple beauty and  let joyful laughter spill from your lips.

We can choose what aspects of life are important to us and I try always to choose joy.

But for a while I had lost my way.

Sitting in church listening to people telling their stories of George, of a house filled with love and laughter, of the gifts he gave others, I discovered I knew what I wanted to say. I knew I wanted to tell everyone that I learned that love and laughter are far more important than bitterness and woe and what a precious gift that was.

I didn't say it as well as I wanted and I cried too. But the shadow that had lain across my heart this long time was lifted. My eyes opened to the fact that I had not been "fine". I had let my heart fill with sadness. My sense of humour  had begun to atrophy and I had let cynicism creep up on me. 

I will miss George 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Memory is a treacherous b******.

Tonight after dinner we had to make a run to the store. (For the shop not us.)

We got in got what we needed and were out of the store  in about 15 minutes.

Heading home Karl started singing. He doesn't sing very often at least not seriously so I was enjoying his rendition of "Blueberry Hill".

I smiled because my dad loved that song. He didn't sing very often either but he would belt out a bit of "Blueberry Hill" every once in awhile. Usually directed at my mom.

Then I thought about when he was slipping away from us. His breathing laboured as we sat around him. Holding his hands and patting his head. I didn't want him to be scared. I knew he was dying and I wanted to tell him that I loved him.

He wasn't perfect. He was impatient and cranky and sometimes completely unreasonable.  But he was my dad. He took us on picnics and berry picking and to quirky restaurants. He grew roses like some sort of rose savant.

There isn't enough time to say "I love you and you love me and I remember those times and always will." To say "We didn't always agree but none of it matters because you're my dad and you did a damn fine job of being my dad." So many things you can't say because the words are trapped by the tears you are trying not to cry. So little time to hold his hand and pat his head and hope that he's not scared.

So I opened up my mouth and the first thing that could get past the tears was "I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill" It was a little shaky but it helped that Cate and Lora joined in. "On Blueberry Hill, when I found you..."

"The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill and it lingered until my dreams came true.
The wind in the willows played loves sweet melody
But all of those vows we made were never to be
Though we're apart you follow me still
For you were my thrill on Blueberry Hill."

So we talked to him as best we could and held his hand and sang a few songs to him. I think he knew we were there. I think he knew the things we couldn't say, didn't have time to say.

I started crying as Karl sang. I didn't want to cry. I liked the singing. I liked the song. I didn't want it to end.

Things do end though. I try to always remember good things about Dad. To laugh when Chloe sticks her tongue out the side of her mouth when she's concentrating and somehow manages to look just like Grandpa Geo. To remember berry picking and farmer's markets, long, pointless drives into the night and the simple joy of knowing the best and oddest places to eat. I want to be happy when I think of him

 but sometimes, I cry.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


So Tuesday I was sewing lapped t'shirts for Ben and Jude and Chloe was sitting at the table drawing. She paused, looked up at me and said. "Mommy, what's a virgin?"

My brain went into panic mode.  

Interior Dialogue-"Where did she hear that word? She doesn't hang around older kids..was it on t.v.? Oh God! how do I dumb this down? The farthest we've got on where do babies come from is 'Mommies and Daddies make them.' Ack, okay calm down..."

Mommy-(very casually)"Where did you hear that word baby?"

Chloe-"Martha Speaks!"

Interior Dialogue-"Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, they wouldn't say that word on Martha Speaks, what word did they say. Think, think, think..."

Mommy-"You mean version?"

Chloe-"Yes, version."

Mommy-(In a much relieved voice.) Okay, see how Mommy is making both Ben and Jude the same type of shirt but each one is slightly different? That means I made two different versions."

Chloe looks at me for a moment then says- "No Mommy, like you don't like something."

Mommy-"Oh...aversion!" (Such as I have an aversion to this topic)

That said...
Lapped T'Shirts for Ben and Jude

Two different versions...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I've been trying to catch her singing this for weeks now. Thank goodness for Terie!