Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Waking up when I wanted to, not when the alarm clock told me it was time.

A good morning hug and the sound of an egg cooking in the pan.

A trip to the grocery store with a hot cup of tea and a list; no rush, no panic, just a relaxing spin up and down the aisles.

All of my chores done by 2:00 and a day sunny and warm enough to finally head outside.

A walk around the block with my daughter, just far enough ahead of me on her scooter to pretend she’s on her own, but still stopping every now and then to turn around and make sure I was there.


A day warm enough to take a deep breath and fill my lungs with fresh air.

A sky blue enough to look up and appreciate what is yet to come.  The trees are still bare but they hold in them the hope of more warm days to come.  After so much cold and grey and dark, spring may finally be here.

blue sky and tree

Home for a cup of tea in a fancy cup and saucer, with nothing more to celebrate than making it through another week, and learning to appreciate a good day, however and whenever it comes.

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‎I have a night stand that is actually a dresser. When hubby and I bought new bedroom furniture a year and a half ago I requested a large night stand, preferably one that didn’t match the one on his side of the bed.

I saw it in a decorating magazine; mismatched night stands are supposed to look unique. Well, considering all the crap that I cram into my night stand, this was one decorating craze I could get behind.

My dresser has three drawers. The top one almost exclusively houses my nail polish collection and I should probably be ashamed that it takes up the whole drawer but I’m not. The second drawer holds the half dozen books I’m reading at the moment as well as a few random magazines that I flip through when my brain hurts too much to read actual words. The third drawer holds my pajamas.

And I discovered a wonderful thing this winter, this wicked, never ending, brutal winter. The bottom drawer, the one with my pajamas, sits right near the heating vent underneath it. So close in fact that at the end of every long, chilly day when I open the drawer and pull out my pajamas, they’re warm.

Wonderfully, right out of the dryer warm. Blissfully, like a hug from my mom warm‎. Maybe I just haven’t experienced ‎enough of the world but in my opinion there are few things more wonderful than a warm pair of pajamas on a ‎cold winter’s night.

And now, whenever I think the universe is perpetually out to get me, ‎I think of my magic pajama-warming drawer and I smile.

It really is the little things.

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Of course I remember the moment you were born, how could I ever forget it?  But, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really feel like the moment you were born was the moment I first met you, if that makes any sense at all.  The moment you were born the room was filled with a whole bunch of people, even more than usual perhaps, because you were being somewhat stubborn about your entry into the world.  I now know it was just a sign of things to come, that stubborn personality of yours that you inherited directly from me.

The room was filled with people and machines and lights and it just felt very busy.  They put you on my chest and I cried and your dad cried and we took pictures and they did all the things they have to do with you right in the beginning.  I remember feeling like I was in a daze, not sure what was going on but sure that I was supposed to be remembering it all, taking it all in, so I could tell you about it one day.

The first few hours were all about letting everyone know about you, that you had arrived, safe and sound, that you were a perfect little girl and the name we had given you.  It was about trying to track down your grandfather at the airport after a frantic, red-eye flight in from the West Coast when you decided to come just a little bit earlier than expected.  It was about everyone else getting to see you and kiss you and hold you, and I sort of felt as though I was at a distance.

Then they wheeled us into what would be our room for the next 24 hours and suddenly we were all alone, you and I.  I remember all of a sudden it seemed so quiet and so still and you looked so small wrapped up in that blanket with only your face showing.  I gingerly propped myself up on the pillow, easier said than done now that the medication was wearing off, and pulled your bassinet closer to the bed so I could reach you.

I kept expecting someone to come in and tell me I wasn’t allowed.  That I wasn’t allowed to take you out of there, that I wasn’t allowed to touch you, but then I realized that I was allowed, that you were mine and I was yours.  It seemed to take me hours to get you out of there, between my sore body and your seeming fragility I moved about one inch every minute, so afraid something would happen to you.  Finally I pulled you in close and lifted my feet back on the bed, laying back on the pillow and feeling the full weight of you in my arms for the very first time.

I gently unwrapped the blanket, it suddenly seemed very important that I look at all of you, not just your tiny face.  I looked at your toes, your feet and legs still curled up so tight.  I ran my fingers along your chest, feeling your heart beat under my hand for the first time.  I held your fingers, examined your tiny finger nails and pulled off your hat to see all of your beautiful dark hair.

And it was there, in those five minutes, hours and hours after you actually entered the world that I felt like you and I met for the first time. There in the silence of the hospital room while the world continued on just on the other side of a thin curtain, you were now all that mattered.  A little piece of me and a little piece of your dad and a whole lot of the amazing person you were going to become.

It’s now ten years later.  I don’t know how it’s happened but it has, and you are now so far from that little baby that I can hardly understand you are the same person.  But then I look into those huge brown eyes and run my fingers through your thick brown hair and I’m taken back to that room, in that bed, when it was just you and I.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, or how I ever got lucky enough to become your mom, and ten years later I feel essentially the same way.

And while the first ten years seemed to be very much about keeping you safe and teaching you some of the things you need to know, I kind of feel like the next ten are going to be more about me getting out of your way.  Me realizing that you are very much your own person now and it’s time for me to do less teaching and more watching, less directing and more appreciating, less questioning and more understanding.

We somehow managed to make it to this point, although I definitely had my doubts some days.  It’s a good thing you finally learned how to sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time or I’m not so sure either one of us would still be here!  Between then and now there have been a million moments that I wish I could remember.  I wish I could pull them out of my pocket one at a time and examine them in my arms, like I did with you on your very first day.

But because I can’t, I will just take a moment to cherish you, as you are now, and for all of the million moments you have given me since that very first one.

I can only hope that the next million are going to be just as amazing.

Happy birthday baby girl.

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By all accounts, the next few days should be good ones. I look at the calendar and see some pretty great things lined up. Add to it the fact that I’m off work for five days and really, there’s almost no chance I won’t have a great time.

There will be time with friends and time with family. There will be a wedding, which probably means dancing, and two nights away from the kids, which definitely means sleeping.  There are enough things to fill the schedule, but also breaks in between for spontaneous trips to the park, or for ice cream, or for a quiet nap under the whir of a gently turning fan.

I’m excited.  And normally at this point I would start imagining exactly how I want it to go; detailing scenes in my mind. My hopes and expectations would be rising, so high in fact that before long they would drift out of reach.  So high that when reality failed to meet my unreachable expectations, it would inevitably lead to feeling disappointed, defeated, disheartened.

Because let’s be honest, nothing ever goes exactly as you hope it will. Plans get changed, weather doesn’t cooperate, words are said and taken the wrong way, silences lengthen from nuanced to awkward , children misbehave, adults misbehave, and basically the universe scribbles all over the beautiful picture I had made in my mind.

And when that happens, as it inevitably does, I feel like I have been wronged; like I am being punished or singled out unjustly. How come these things always happen to me? How come everyone else is having a good time except me? How come nothing ever goes my way? And instead of realizing that these things happen to everyone (they just don’t post the pictures on Facebook), I listen to the voices in my head telling me it’s just me. It’s because I’m me.

But I’ve decided I’m not going to do that this time.

This time I’m going to see what comes. I’m going to leave the expectations at the door and go with the flow, something that I’ve always had difficulty doing. But I’m learning, and I’m trying, and I’m patting myself on the back every little step along the way.  Every time I almost open my mouth but don’t.  Every time I think to make a suggestion about a different way to do something, but I don’t.  Every time I say “no” when what I really want to say is “yes.”

Because I’m realizing that when I fill up every situation with expectations, it leaves no room for pleasant surprises.

And at the end of the weekend I hope I can look back and see a weekend that wasn’t perfect, but rather perfectly wonderful.

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My favourite part of Mother’s Day is when I get to read the cards, the homemade cards that the kids make at school.  They are usually stuck together with white glue, bits of yarn and so much love that it’s all I can do to stop my heart from bursting.

The cards are always beautiful, in their own colourful, simplistic, innocent way but for me the best part are the words.

It’s always the words that get me.

When they’re too young to write their own words their teachers help them.  They ask them the question and they write down the answer and then they send the words home to me.  If I could say anything to the people out there who spend their days teaching our little kids I would say thank you for so many things, but mostly I would say thank you for the words they send home to me for Mother’s Day.

The words are never eloquent or flashy or even grammatically correct but they are always the most beautiful words I have ever read.

“I love my mom because she puts notes in my lunch.”

“I love my mom because she always gives us popcorn when we watch a movie.”

“My mom is the best because she makes me baths with lots of bubbles.”

I remember the times I yelled instead of whispered, the times I demanded instead of asked, talked instead of listened.  They remember the notes and the popcorn and the bubbles. When I think of being a mother I think about all the things I should have done and could be doing to make their lives better.  They think about all the things I actually did, the small little things that showed them how much I love them.

I sometimes think I’m doing a horrible job, that I’m doing this all wrong.  They show me that the job I’m doing is fine, good, great even.

And while the card is a gift they give to me, believing their words is a gift I give to myself.  The gift of a pat on the back, and a sigh of relief.  The gift of realizing that I’m doing the best I can and the acceptance that my best really is good enough.

On any other day of the year I have a hard time believing it, but on Mother’s Day I see it right there in front of me, written in crayon and decorated with sparkles.

And who am I to argue with that?

From me to you.

From me to you.

So as we all prepare for Mother’s Day, my wish for you, for all the mothers out there, is that for one day you believe all of the best things that everyone else already knows to be true.  That you understand that you are a great mother, not because you are without faults, but because you are perfect in the eyes of your children.

Just ask them, they’ll tell you.

All you have to do is believe.

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let it be

I very rarely just sit and let my mind go quiet.  Instead, I find myself constantly searching.

I am looking for something to do.

Something to write.

Something to inspire.

I’m looking for a new path.

I’m looking for a way to say goodbye.

I’m looking for a new challenge.

I’m trying to fill the days, the hours, the minutes.

It all just gets to be too much.  I lash out; I get annoyed.  I just want quiet.

And when I finally give in and just sit, just listen, just be, the answers seem to come. For a few minutes I make myself go quiet enough to hear them.

The kids ask to go to the park and I say yes.  I breathe.  I take in all that is around me and the gifts come to me if only I am still enough to receive them.

And, as if like magic, the surprise tulips that were planted by someone I don’t know start to bloom.  Like a smile in my garden, just for me, just when I needed it the most.

Sometimes the universe knows exactly what I need, even if I don’t know it myself.

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welcome to the zhu

As I sit here typing this, my kids are sprawled out on the floor building an intricate set of tunnels for their Zhu Zhu pets.  For those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to the wacky world of Zhu Zhu’s, this is what they look like:

Unfortunately, what the picture does not convey is the disturbing half squeeking / half chewing sound they make when they move around.  Yes, on top of being kind of creepy looking, they also move.  When you push a button on their back they move in a haphazard, unpredictable manner along your floor so you’re pretty much guaranteed to step on them no matter how hard you try not to.  And when you step on them they make that squeeking noise.  Ew…full body shiver.

I’m not good with rodents.  I don’t really know anyone who would describe themselves as being “good” with rodents but I’m the exact opposite.  I don’t think I’m a particularly “girly” girl but when we had a mouse in our house a year or so ago, I turned into a crazy person.  There was a lot of screaming, a lot of climbing on furniture and a lot of time spent in my bedroom – pretty much as far as possible from the basement.  It’s not a time period I’m particularly proud of but even now when I think of it, it makes me want to curl my legs up under me so my feet aren’t touching the floor.

So this past Christmas when a family friend gifted my kids with six lovely Zhu Zhu pets, I wasn’t very impressed.  The sight of them scurrying around my living room gave me the heebie jeebies.  And then there were the noises.

But my kids love them and the fact that they will play with them for hours on-end has made me grow to accept them, although I’m still a far way from love.  For Easter this year I found a bunch of tunnels and “rooms” that hook together to form a mini Zhu Zhu city and the kids have been playing with it pretty much all day.  They hardly even looked at the bucket of jelly beans and chocolate eggs, so enamored are they with their collection of plastic tunnels.  Oh and did I mention you can buy clothes to dress them up?  Seriously, who comes up with these things?  So, now I have a Zhu Zhu dressed in a basketball uniform and another in a cheeky bathing suit and sunglasses, all ready for a trip to the beach.

I still don’t think they’re cute, and I still cringe whenever I hear the noise but I have to admit that the fact they entertained the kids long enough for me to watch three complete episodes from The Big Bang Theory marathon is certainly making them grow on me.

At least until the next time I hear that noise and one scurries through my legs.


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A couple of weeks ago I hit a wall.  I started doubting why I was writing on this blog and berating myself for what I was writing.  “Who cares about this stuff anyway?”  “Aren’t there other things you should be doing with your time?”  “Why do you think your opinions matter?”

It wasn’t pretty.  It was a full-fledged pity-party with an attendance of one.

Then, in short order, three pretty amazing things happened.

First, I had an incredible evening with a good friend of mine.  The kind of friend who won’t just say the words you want to hear, she’ll also say the words you need to hear.  I lamented my situation and boo-hooed a bit on how I think my writing is crap and why am I doing this and blah, blah, blah.  She looked me in the eye and said “I like reading it” as though it was the most simple thing in the world.  And suddenly it was.  At the very least, if my putting some crazy little stories out there in the world make two people smile (i.e. me and her) then what more can I really ask for?  Shut up and keep writing.  I get it.

Second, a few days later I got an award.  Yep, a full-fledged, honest to goodness award.  A lovely award, to be exact.

The wonderful blogger over at “Shoes On the Wrong Feet” passed this award along and mentioned my little blog on hers and I was blown away.  I am a regular reader of her blog and was scrolling through her post last week only to be shocked by the sight of a link to The Polka Dot Palace.  I have to admit, it actually took me a few seconds to clue in that she was talking about me.  Wow.  People actually read this; and a few of them even like it enough to keep reading it.  Mind blowing and totally amazing.   I will pass the award on to five of my favourite bloggers in an upcoming post, to keep the ‘amazingness’ moving forward but for now I will simply say thank you.

And third, as proof that the stars were aligned last week or something, the day after I received my award, this post arrived in my inbox.  The title “You Are Amazing” jumped out at me and I felt like it was written just for me – it was exactly what I needed to hear, during that week of all weeks, when I was trying to drag my self-esteem out of the gutter and not doing a very good job of it on my own.

And that was it, the trifecta of amazing things that the universe sent my way when I needed them the most.  One from a person that knows me better than almost anyone and two others from people I’ve never met.  So a big thank-you to each of them, and to the universe for sending them my way.  There’s now a smile back on my face, inspiration back in my heart and my keys are back on the keyboard.

And I’ll shut up and keep writing.

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