Olive has been away for the past week, visiting her extended family on the west coast. It has been a wild ride without her. Mexico prepared me for it in some ways – silence stretching into itself without being punctuated by her trademark speech patterns, her little voice interrupting me to ask for a drink, a hug, for me to voice her tiger toy.
But there’s something different being here in our house without her. Distractions are fewer, I don’t have someone to cook for and clean up after, her laundry is put away in five minutes instead of a half-hour of matching the shirts to the appropriate drawer. It’s been strange. And disconcerting. And impossibly wonderful.
I felt like I had been thrown back in time. What did do before I had her? What filled my days, absent her tyrannical demands?
I tried to remember. I woke up and I wrote, I walked, I got caught up on the last little bits of getting settled into our home. I caught up with friends in Calgary, I went out for drinks and dinner and coffee dates. I stayed out too late and slept in too late the next morning. I wrote more. I read. I spent a lot of time trying to plan next steps in this life of mine – new work and new ventures.
I realized, mid-week, that the tightly knotted ball had eased from my stomach. I noticed how my cheeks hurt from smiling. When Olive is here a lot of my time is spend responding to her in the moment, there isn’t a whole lot of time for reflection, but this past week that space unfurled in front of me and I spent a lot of time chewing over everything that has happened and is happening, that which has yet to happen glinting somewhere on the horizon (cross your fingers for me).
Once I had the chance to reflect, I realized somewhat to my surprise that I was happy. Our little life here is pretty beautiful. I have everything I need, and more. I feel like I have finished reading one book, and opened a new one. I can’t wait to see what people, places and stories these next chapter brings.
That said, I am also feverishly counting down until three-thirty when I can watch her come out of those airport doors and scoop her up into my arms and kiss her chubby cheeks and hear her voice. I can’t wait for her to bring back the chaos, the noise, the tiny hand tugging on my arm in the middle of the night asking to sleep in my bed.
Before I had her I was concerned about the upheaval a baby would bring into my life. I like things just so, I don’t do well with disarray or disorder. I’m not particularly attached to schedules, but I liked the freedom I had. I tasted that again this week and although I adored the ability to simply walk out my front door, to go see whoever I wanted whenever I wanted without needing to arrange for childcare, I can’t wait to have her back. My littlest, biggest responsibility.
Also, in a completely unrelated tangent that I simply couldn’t not write about. Have you heard about this story? A high-school student is protesting her school’s archaic dress code after she was suspended for wearing a floor-length maxi-dress that – gasp! – exposed her upper back. The reasoning , as explained by her school’s administration? The dress was “a ‘sexual distraction’ for male pupils at the school”.
Is this for real? This is 2015, right? In CANADA? I always think us Canadians skew towards more tolerance, less conservative bullshit than our American neighbours, but this is absolutely ridiculous. If I was one of her male classmates I would be livid that the administration at my school thought me so feeble-minded that the sight of a young woman’s upper back would be enough to derail my studies.
they use the word “distracting” to refer to style choices they don’t want at their schools here, too. my nephew likes his hair in a mohawk, but he’s not allowed to wear it to school that way. because it’s “distracting”. boo. it’s so cute on him, i mean, it really flatters his head shape and facial features, i am not kidding.
but what’s even worse (but luckily doesn’t affect any of the kids in my family so far) is that they consider long hair on boys in the same category. don’t even get me started about the reinforcement of gender binaries and stupid assumptions and hostile environments for trans and fluid children… ugh.