My beautiful I take your hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may I be ever open to seeing the world through your eyes...full of innocent wonder, delight and joy. As you take my hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may you be ever open to seeing the world through my eyes...full of gratitude, wisdom and peace. May we be blessed on our 'ramblings' together. Love, Nana

Thursday, February 24, 2011

When 'She' is a 'He'!

So many things I kept packed away, from when my beautiful daughter was a little girl...frilly dresses, patent leather shoes...all for the granddaughter I just knew I'd have someday!

I used to imagine how much fun it would be playing with dolls, and teaching her to cook and sew.  Ha!  The gods sure have a weird sense of humour!  There on the ultrasound, were all the tell-'tail' signs (pardon the pun!) that 'she' was indeed going to be a 'he'!
A happy little 'Aidan-to-Be'
There was disappointment, but it didn't last long.  I just wanted the little guy to be healthy.  I'd learn to love him...I guess!  And I did!  As soon as I saw him, my heart was his.  He's all the little grandchild I've ever wanted and ever will!
And, while he's not much into dolls...he will learn how to cook and sew! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Morning Has Broken...

Dragged my insomnia-induced menopausal bones out of bed this morning, moaning to myself and the dog...'what I would give for just one good nights sleep'...pulled up the blind on the kitchen window, and what did I see...

Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Spring in completeness where her feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day
                                            Eleanor Farjeon (1931)

Thank You Sun...Thank You Sky...Thank You Clouds...Thank You Trees!
Thank You Spirit/Goddess/Mother Nature...
I will complain no more!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

For the Love of Books!

No need for cigarettes!  No need for booze (well...sometimes!)  My 'drug of choice' is reading.  Books...can't live without them!  Don't want to.  Never will.  I am 'champing at the bit' for the day to come when Aidan and I can read together.  He has many books...mostly picture books that interest him at the moment.  That's OK.  His thing right now is to look at the pictures and tell his own version of the story!

I gently dust and 'whisper sweet nothings' to the ever-growing collection of books that are waiting for him to read.  And I learn patience!  I want him to know the stories.  I want him to love the characters.  I want his imagination to fly.  And it will...someday!

I can't remember being without a book to read.  I'm pretty sure I loved them in school (it was a long time ago, OK!)  I remember sleep-overs at my nana's house, tucked up in bed, reading Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe 'til I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  I wish I still had those books.  For Aidan.

The list of books that I treasure is too long to share, but I did reacquaint myself recently with one I've had in my library for many years.  It is A Tear And A Smile by Kahlil Gibran.  First published in 1950, it was the last of many books he wrote, and the first of his books I owned.  I love his writings.  Especially the ones about our children...

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

Aidan, two weeks old
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nana's Balls!

Ah...the sweet innocence of our little ones!  Several years ago my daughter gave me a lovely gift.  It's a game.  An 'Olde English' version of solitaire.  I love it.  It is a beautiful 'ornament' to me.  The rich colour of the cherry wood.  The cool smoothness of all the marble balls.  It's a fun game to play... even though that usually only happens when I dust! 

My little grandson has now adopted this 'ornament' as his own.  To play with when at Nana's house.  He has lots of other toys  and activities here to play with...trucks, books, stickers.  But no, he loves to play with 'Nana's balls'!  What fun it is to whirl them around the game board!  The faster the better!

We've tried to encourage him to call it other things.  Really, we have!  But no...'Nana's balls' it is!  I'm not sure what will come of this in the future.  I'm really hoping he can move on to other amusements.  At least before he starts school!  But, for now, 'Nana's balls' is what the game shall be!  Oh well, on the bright side of this, I do have lots of them...and they are lovely colours!  Could be worse, right?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

The little love of my life and I spent some time yesterday making heart-shaped 'birdie cookies'.  I found the recipe on a friend's blog.  It's origin was from a book called Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison.

Aidan and I made a few little changes.  We used the peanut butter (1 cup - organic, of course!) and the birdseed (2 cups - premium!) but added a 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil too!  After mixing it all together...Aidan's job...we put it in the fridge for an hour to harden up a little.  then we rolled it into balls; flattened them with a glass bottom into circles (about 1" thick) and shaped them into hearts - Nana's job.

Aidan making 'birdie' cookies!
Into the freezer with them for an hour, then they were hard enough to make holes through the centres for the ribbon (or yarn, about 10" long) to hang them up with.  After leaving them in the freezer overnight, they are now ready!
Valentine 'birdie cookies'!
On with our boots, winter coats, hats and mittens...we head outside to hang our little seed hearts/'birdie cookies' in the trees.

A yummy treat for our feathered friends!
Just spreading a little love around to our feathered (and probably furry!) friends...
Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"What a World! What a World!"

...So said the 'wicked witch' (really, people! NO such thing!) in the Wizard of Oz as she slowly melted away into oblivion.  I have found myself quoting those very words on many occasions over the years.  It's the 'hippie' in me.  The 'I can change the world' dreams from my life-defining days growing up in the '60's.  I really believed that back then.  Still do.  And in many ways, the world did change.  But not enough.  Children still starved.  Their parents died from disease.  Wars still raged on.  "What a world" indeed!

Like so many children of the '60's, everyday life got in the, family, mortgages.  For most of us, our dreams and visions for the world somehow landed on the back burner of the day to day realities of life.  We quietly cheered on those among us who kept the dream alive.  Pleading peace...being the voice for those caught in the web of hunger, disease and war.  I did my little bit.  I donated to Amnesty International and Greenpeace.  I marched, with my little daughter in her stroller, with 'Parents for Peace'.  I thank the gods that my daughter has grown up with a strong sense of tolerance and compassion for her fellow humans (and other lifeforms!) on this planet.  That is my reward as a parent. 

And yet...I cannot help but wonder what the world will be like when my little Aidan grows up.  It is my hope and prayer that he too will have tolerance and compassion leading his way.  That will be my reward as a Nana.

'What a World'...will our children inherit?
Today, I watch the world in all its upheaval.  People are saying 'enough'!  Hell, look around...the planet herself is saying 'enough'!  Even while there are still wars raging on, and hunger and hurt still abound, I am today feeling just a little bit more hopeful for the first time in a very long time.

Along with the rest of the world, I have watched events unfold and history happen, these past two weeks in Egypt.  Watched her people say 'enough' and rise up in peaceful protest.  And win!  Good actually made it over evil!  What the hell is that about?  We are living in very interesting times!  There is still 'power with the people' to be found!  We have witnessed that these past few days. 
My heart bursts with joy for the people of Egypt.  I wish them well.  I wish them peace.  I wish them prosperity.  Isn't that all each of us really wants and needs in life, anyway?  I thank them.  They have given me hope, that maybe, just maybe, the world my little grandson inherits won't be quite so bad after all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fly! Fly, Little One!

I always wanted to be a dancer...or an artist (not that you can be one without the other!)  When I was young, ten or so, I'd spend hour upon hour in my nana's front parlour, in the dark, radio on, dancing my heart out until bedtime.  My Nana knew how I loved to dance then.  I still do. 

I sometimes wonder how different life might have been for me had I been allowed to explore my budding passion.  My parents, like most parents, went with the practical stuff.  Their advice was that I should study and train for something that would surely make me a living.  Something I could use out there in the 'real world'.  I do not fault them for this.  I did the same thing with my own daughter.  I should have known better.  I know of her longing.  I knew of my own longing.  And all the "what if's". 

But Aidan...he will be what he will be, whatever that may be!  As parents and grandparents, we must allow our children the freedom to choose, and trust them to figure out what they want to do with their lives.  Yes, we can guide them.  But we must give them a voice in their own destiny.  However difficult that may be as a parent.  Our children will make mistakes along the way, but those mistakes are part of life's lesson.  Our children may choose many different paths before they discover what truly feels good inside their own skin.  My daughter and I both know the folly of becoming anything more than that.

Doin' the Cha Cha! my beautiful grandson!  Be whatever you want to be.  Your Momma and Nana will be the wind beneath your wings.  So too will all who dearly love you.  If you want to dance...then dance.  I'll dance with you!  If you want to make beautiful will have the brushes and paint to take you there.  I may join you in that as well!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Hell of Postpartum Depression

The insular world of the hospital now behind her, the reality of the responsibilities that now lay ahead,  overwhelmed my daughter.  She was constantly tired but could not find sleep.  Her anxiety and fear rose with each passing day.  And yet, she consciously and calmly went through the motions of caring for Aidan's needs each time he awoke.  He was loved and cuddled.  Warm and fed.  All the things a newborn baby ever really needs.

Yet my beautiful daughter could not find peace.  Could not relax.  Could not sleep.  Could not enjoy her little baby boy.  "All normal feelings for new moms" said the midwife and doctor.  But the anxiety and sleeplessness persisted and worsened.  All the while, my little grandson oblivious and content in his newborn baby world. 
I did not know how to help her.  I helped in any way I could.  As did her husband, my amazing son-in-law.  We cared for Aidan and we cared for his Momma.  But it was scary.  For all of us.  It was supposed to have gone by now.  She was supposed to be this happy, got-it-together new mom.  The truth was she was falling apart more each passing day. 

After one bad night, we ended up at the interview with a psychiatric appointment with a psychiatrist...a prescription for anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
Through all of this my mind would sometimes wander to a news clip I had heard several months earlier about a woman who, along with her weeks-old baby boy had jumped in front of a subway train.  It haunts me still. All the could she...what would make her do that...why didn't she get does her family cope with something so devastating.  My heart broke for the family left behind.  The mother/nana left alone. At the time, I couldn't imagine what could possibly make this woman feel so hopeless and helpless that the only way out was to take her life and that of her baby. 

But now, I can imagine.  I didn't know what else to do for my daughter but be there for her, day and night.  Having never experienced anything like was the 'great unknown' for all of us.  The pills didn't help much.  They mostly increased her anxiety over having to take them!  Another bad night.  Another trip to the hospital.  Better help this time, finally.  By now my little grandson was almost two.  Somehow we had all muddled through.  There were good days.  There were happy days.  I made it my mission to get them both out somewhere each day.  We made the best of it.  My brave daughter struggled through dark days and lonely, sleepless nights.  All the while, my grandson thrived.  From somewhere deep inside, his Momma always found the strength to smile and be happy around him.  Through all the fear and helplessness that held us in its grip, we were calmed and grounded by one little baby boy.  His laughter was contagious.  His joy made us breathe.  His love made us hope.

Aidan, two weeks old...and his momma
My story does have a happy ending!  After pursuing so many possibilities, it turns out my daughter had a 'through the floor' hormone imbalance, likely triggered by the actual birth process.  With the help of hormone cream, other natural remedies, and diet changes, her life began to improve.  Peace and happiness slowly returned.  Today she is, as she has always been, an amazing momma to one happy little boy.  Having gone through the hell of postpartum depression, she has come out the other side physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually stronger.  I am so proud of her.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh Spring!...Where Art Thou???

It was a beautiful sunny day today in my neck of the woods.  The day following the 'snowmaggedon' storm.  It wasn't so bad!  We didn't get as much snow as many other surrounding areas.  But it was enough for one day.  Eyes closed and holding my head skyward toward the warmth and brightness of the sun, in the quiet I heard the sound of melting snow dripping on the ground, and I wished for spring and all it brings...budding trees, green grass, and the sound of hundreds of birds greeting each other upon their return home from their southern vacation.  I relished those few moments, then opened my eyes once again.  The snow was still there.  But winter had its own beauty and magic...especially today.

Aidan's Garden, Winter 2011
I can't help but look forward to being in the garden once again with Aidan.  Last year I made a little herb garden for him and me to enjoy together.  I planted english roses, purple and white coneflowers, thymes, rosemary, sage, forget-me-nots, and my favourite of all, the foxglove.  When I was little someone told me that the fairies lived inside the foxgloves.  I believed it then, and I believe it now!  Though the garden is small, we both walked the little stone path and admired our newly planted herbs.  He knows them all by name. 

Aidan's Garden, Spring 2010
 At the end of the stone path sits a bench that once belonged to Aidan's great-grandmother.  At the base of the bench sits a beautiful quartz crystal I dug up in the garden, quite by accident, but what a lovely find.  On the bench sits the "country retweet" birdhouse, that is usually occupied only by spiders!  To one side of the bird house sits the 'patio' furniture for our garden fairy friends to relax on a warm summer night, and on the other side...the honourable Mr. Solobodob!  WHO? you may ask? 

Aidan's Garden, Summer 2010
Well...when I was a little girl growing up in England, there were only a few children's shows on TV back then (yes, we had TV!) and one of those shows was called 'Bill & Ben the Flower Pot Men'. The show was set in an english garden, owned by an old man...Mr. Solobodob!  (I know...sounds more Slovakian than English, but patience please, I'll get to that!)

Anyway, Bill and Ben lived inside two big plant pots at the bottom of this garden, next to the greenhouse.  When Mr. Solobodob wasn't puttering around his garden, Bill and Ben of course, came to life, and would have wonderful adventures in the garden.  However, at the slightest hint of human life, they would quickly plod back to their place by the greenhouse, jump inside their plant pots, and once again become a tumbled pile of terra cotta plant pots.  Their vocabulary, being that of the plant pot race and all, the only thing they could say that was anywhere near understandable to the human ear was "Mr. Solobodob!" shortly before their panicked, and very awkwardly managed, return to their spot by the greenhouse.

I know this 'plot' sounds awfully boring today, compared with what kids now get to watch on TV, but I loved it!  Besides, Bill and Ben got to live on either side of the original 'dumb blonde' (sorry...I REALLY am a feminist!)  But 'Little Weed' was something else!  More of a daisy than an actual weed, her only role in each episode was to unfurl her petals and squeal "Weed! Weed!" whenever she saw Mr. Solobodob heading out to the garden.  (Wow...this last sentence could be a plot for a whole other TV show!!)  But, now that I think about it...she was the 'lookout' for Bill and Ben...not so dumb after all!

Alas, you may inquire...(having actually rambled this far in my post!)...why is Aidan's little Mr. Solobodob plant pot man not named Bill, or even Ben, for that matter?  Simple answer.  And I promise it won't take as long as the rest of this story has taken!  I found him a few years ago, hiding in Ireland (of all the places!)  I looked around in vain for another, but Bill had no Ben (or Ben had no Bill, I don't know which!) so home I came with the lone flower pot man, duly christened 'Mr. Solobodob'  Besides, it's way more fun trying to get Aidan to say that, than just plain old Bill, or Ben.

Enjoy the snow!  And the quiet moments winter has to offer (some days!)  Spring will come soon enough...and so will the birds...and the green grass...and the flowers.  And of course...the fairies!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On The Day That You Were Born...

Aidan was born on a warm, sunny day in the summer of 2007.  That was the day my life, as I knew it, changed.  My daughter, my only child, had spent the previous nine months planning and making arrangements to have a 'home birth' complete with midwife, doula, candles, and soft music.  What's that saying - "the best laid plans of mice and men..."

 We found ourselves at the hospital, a week past her due date, awaiting a C-section.  Husband, parents and in-laws.  A mixture of anxiety and excitement.  As we awaited the time for the surgery, Canada's famous 'Snowbirds' were performing in a local air show that day, and did a fly-by over the hospital.  It was a welcome distraction!

'A' for Aidan
The surgery took little time, but seemed like forever.  Then, finally, he arrived!  Into the room came the midwife with this screaming little bundle of humanity.  My little grandson!  My beautiful boy!  Cleaned up and swaddled, I held him in my arms for the first time. 

Newborn Baby Aidan
And that was those few moments, he had me wrapped around his little finger as surely and tightly as his little hand was wrapped around mine.  The scent of a newborn baby!  The warmth and wonder!  Welcome Little One...Welcome Little Aidan!