Having it all

I would like to preface this post with a mini life update :

  • Boulette was born June 22 after a predictably painful but beautifully brief birth. He real name is Florence and she’s magnificent.
  • I’m on maternity leave for another 14 months. Oh, Canada!
  • Arthur is 2.5 years old – which is apparently the age at which children become criminally insane. Not really. But maybe.
  • JF and I are close to celebrating 15 years of togetherness.
  • Odie is six years old and getting smellier every month.
  • We still live in a humdrum bungalow in sweet little Wyevale.

Meet Flo, princess of leg rolls

Basically, I’m a very, very lucky person.

I have all the things society tells us successful humans should have: an amazing partner, two beautiful children, a big sweet doggo, my health, a reliable job, two working cars, an incredible network of friends and family, and a comfortable home in a nice neighbourhood. I know many people would love to have my «problems.»

Two of my (adorable) dependants

Most of the time (let’s say 97.5 per cent of the time) I bask in it.

I savour the family meals, the baby baths, and the Odie walks. I enjoy my friends when I’m lucky enough to see them. I hug my sisters close. I find my son hilarious. I even love cleaning my car.

Other times I am totally overwhelmed by it all.

  • Partner = Damn it’s hard to keep the romance alive.
  • Toddler = Are you eating an earplug?
  • Baby = How did you get poop in your armpit?
  • Dog = Ready for yet another cold and rainy walk?
  • Health = Does lifting bags of chips count?
  • Car = Is that a rotting cheesestring under the passenger seat?
  • Friends and family = Oh shit, I forgot (insert name here)’s birthday!
  • Home = Googling “how to get dry, crusty play-doh out of a jute rug.”
  • Neighbourhood = We need to up our decorative gourd game.

It’s like I’m stuck standing in the surf on a windy day. The waves keep crashing down and my feet keep sinking into the mud. It feels kinda nice, but it would be good to have dry feet again. And some days I wish someone would pull me out and drag me onto the beach where I can sip a margarita and read a romance novel.

I haven’t had time to improve this sad, sad Halloween display. Bonus: Odie peeing on my hedges.

I recently had one of those days.

I was running on 2.5 hours of sleep (damn you, teething!). My house looked like an episode of hoarders. My head was pounding. I had a nasty cough. My car was out of gas. My fridge was empty. And Florence just wouldn’t nap long enough for me to fix any of it.

Then I picked up my toddler who was in a miserable mood, right before he pooped his pants. I overcooked dinner. The kids’ bedtime took forever. I had a row with JF over potty training (this is my life now). Then I spent an hour wallowing in self-pity before finally conking out. Basically, I was Alexander.

There is no time for beauty routines. I literally woke up like this.

The next day was better.

I slept a whole five hours in a row. My brain was unfuzzy enough to appreciate and absorb the little things: a good cup of coffee (thank CHRIST for coffee), my daughter’s giggles, fall flowers, sloppy kisses from my toddler, and my husband’s dry jokes.

I had enough energy to tackle the groceries and the clutter, and enough wisdom to ignore the garden weeds and peanut-butter-stained windows. I even did a bit of mother flippin yoga.

Conclusion?

Having it all is pretty swell. But sometimes – mostly when I’m exhausted – it sucks. I want to leave it all behind and become a hermit on some isolated mountain in the Urals.

And I’m learning that’s it’s OK for me to feel that way, on occasion. That those crappy days can be a really important reminder to practice gratitude. Because I really am so very lucky.

So lucky!

A year ago

367 days ago at this time, I was hugging my beautiful Toronto work friends goodbye. I remember feeling a happy fluttering in my belly, along with a strong urge to throw up. Walking away from my downtown office is when I actually internalized the fact that, for better or worse, I was finishing and beginning an adventure.

Screen shot that says "you registered on WordPress.com 1 year ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!"

This popped up on my phone on May 31, 2014. Thanks WordPress!

The night before, I had spent an hour hammering out my first blog post. Reading it brings so many feelings back into my head and heart. It was exhilarating to know we were finally going to give our dream lifestyle a shot. And horrifying to think we were leaving stability behind.

In the days that followed, I called our wonderful landlords (how I now admire their impeccable yard skills!) to tell them we were moving. I picked up dozens of regrettably empty boxes from the LCBO. And we ordered last suppers from our favourite delivery places — I miss you, Banjara Indian Cuisine.

Fast forward to now, when I’m often asked if the whole thing was worth it. It’s a tough question to answer.

Most days, I say yes. In this new life, I cook more, see JF more, read more, spend more time living en francais, see family more, and give back to causes that mean more to me. I also love working on our house, in our garden, in our little town.

But is our new life everything we expected? Of course not. I still overload my schedule. I haven’t properly broken in my new purple sneakers. My job is great, but short-term. Our red brick beast/house adds a whole new layer of busy. The hammock we pictured ourselves regularly lying in hasn’t even been installed. And there are Toronto people and things I miss ferociously.

After weighing both then and now, I’ve concluded that I’m closer to who and where I want to be than I was a year ago. I’ve also decided it’s important to have those someday dreams. But it’s equally important that I remember to enjoy the lumpy, potholed (or these days, mosquito-ridden) road I’m on. At the very least, I think I’m headed in the right direction.