The Deep End

The Deep End - SweetMadeleine.ca

I told you the pool was cold.

One of the most interesting aspects of parenthood is seeing your best and worst qualities reflected back to you in the unnecessarily loud mannerisms of a small, angry, socially inept human being.

Yesterday, you see, was Olive’s first day of swimming lessons.

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Work and writing

Work and Writing, SweetMadeleine,ca

It is lovely; it is intolerable; it is both.

This was the succinct, brutal description of motherhood written by Rufi Thorpe in her recent essay for Vela Mag, titled Writer, Mother, Monster, Maid (and my god, even if you’re a mother who’s never written anything more than a grocery list in your lifetime, go read it.)

I devoured the piece in minutes, stunned that a woman I’d never met could so accurately sum up my experience of both writing and motherhood. She took the aimless, itchy, angry frustration I so often feel and put it into words so finely chosen that I found myself wanting to cry or cheer, or both.

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Has the world gone mad? Or is it me?

(Title taken from the lyrics of this song. It’s a relevant soundtrack for the following post.)

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and set off for the Calgary Stampede Parade. My mom has several incredible friends who always wake up at 2am the night before the parade and go to the parade route to set up chairs. You simply drop your chairs off at the house of these saints and then the morning of the parade you swan in fifteen minutes before it begins and claim a prime spot in the shade. It’s absolutely unreal – how do such lovely, kind people like this exist?

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Inertia, by Lynn Langmade on Etsy

There are some periods of my life when I’ve felt like I’m being propelled along by something bigger than myself, it’s this wild sense of PUSH, of velocity; a gathering of speed. It’s like driving down a busy street and having all of the lights turn green just when you thought you’d need to start braking. I love these periods, the fluidity and the serendipity of them. It makes me feel in connection with something, like I’m on the path I’m supposed to be.

Last summer, challenging as it was, was a perfect example. This apartment became available just when I needed to move, it was cute and filled with old hardwood and natural light. It was airy and promising and right next door to my sister. A month after I moved, at the delicious age of 31 I went on my first date ever and it was far better than any first date has any right to be. I sat there with my drink, blushing and looking at the man across from me as he clasped his hands behind his head, leaned back and grinned. Two months later I was offered a column with the Guardian – next to my book, the most incredible opportunity I’d ever had in my writing career. A week after that, Olive began preschool and thrived with this new routine, loved her teacher, adored her classmates.

I could hear the pieces clicking into place.

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It’s been a wild few weeks around here, let me tell you.

First, and most importantly, for all of those who have been desperate for an update on Squash Baby (there are dozens of you. Literally dozens!) I have sad news. Squash Baby is no longer with us.

I think my little sister must have realized that my bleeding-heart hippie ways would never allow me to get rid of Squash Baby, and she was right. Under my watch, Olive would probably have been packing a fossilized Squash Baby off to university with her in fifteen years. So one morning, Lizzie came down and announced that we would be having a farewell party. She went ALL. OUT. It was a strange and bewildering party, perfectly befitting of such an odd guest of honour.

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