I have five siblings. We are all congregating at our cottage in Bobcaygeon, Ontario on Saturday. The past six weeks has been a haze of “Reply All” emails trying to coordinate arrival times, cars, meals, and sleeping arrangements. A week ago the emails escalated into the only thing my brother hates more than Apple products…the Group Text. Behold, this morning’s exchange – begun after Hilary sent out a meal schedule.
It’s almost fall, and the other day Olive said defiantly, “It’s not fair”
These two things seem unrelated, but they are one and the same, my friends. These two things – the sudden bite in the air in the early morning and late evening, and the rage-fits of a tiny dictator – are markers of the unrelenting marching forward of time. Winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes fall. Swollen bellies become babies become toddlers become hotly sassy almost-three-year-olds who are, by turn, infuriating and inspiring.
Life has been strange and other-worldly lately.
On Wednesday, I found myself lying in my backyard watching a meteor shower. I squinted my eyes against the dark grey of the sky – it was so lit up from the street lights and overflowing city brights that in some places it was tough to make out the stars at all. I lay there in the quiet of the dark and just as I was losing hope I saw a bright flash of light streak swiftly across the sky, disappearing as quickly as it emerged.
It was so bright and fleeting. Something beyond me. I needed that reassurance – that reminder to look up.
This is an actual conversation I had with Olive last week. The entire thing was conducted while I was in the bedroom and she was yelling at me from the living room. Enjoy.
(“Tooting” is basically the only baby talk word I have ever used. Please forgive me.)
Olive: Mummy did you hear that noise?
Me: No – what was it?
Olive: Did you toot?
Me: No – did you hear something that sounded like tooting?
Me: Did you hear something that sounded like tooting?
Me: Oh…OK then.
Olive: Did I toot?
Me: …I don’t know…did you?
Olive: No! I didn’t!
Me: OK…so why are you asking?
Olive: Why I am asking? What I am asking?
Me: Asking who tooted.
Olive: Who tooted? Who tooted?!
Me: I don’t know!
Me: I said I don’t know!
Olive: It wasn’t you?
Me: Nope. Did you hear something that sounded like tooting? Why are you asking about this?
Olive: I don’t know!
Me: *laughing* OK then!
Olive: You didn’t toot?
Me: NO! I didn’t toot! You didn’t toot! No one tooted!
Olive: So what did make that noise?
Me: What noise?
Me: What noise?
Olive: WHAT noise?
Me: The noise that sounded like a toot!
Olive: You TOOTED?
I wish I could say it more, deeper, differently. I say it almost every day for a million tiny reasons – when you fall down the stairs at the playground and when I forget to bring you something, when you can’t have what you’re asking for. I apologize for a dozen different reasons every day but underneath each casual apology lies something larger. I’m sorry there are just two arms here to hug you. I’m sorry that it’s just me right now. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I wanted more for you. You deserve more. You deserve to be like the other families we see during our adventures around this city – Dad, Mom, Child. All of these little families perfectly balanced on three legs, while we wobble around on two. It feels like we could simply topple over at any time.