Ebb and Flow

Nurture, by Philip Kanwischer

Oh, hey there! I’m shacked up at my all-time favourite coffee shop, listening to my all-time favourite writing music and I have just about eighteen million things to write about.

It’s time for a list.

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, and I can barely even speak as I type this because I am so excited, my mother, she of the six children and four grandchildren; she of the of the baby whispering and all-time best baby advice; she who taught me everything I know about being a strong, warm, common-sense mother;  she now lives two minutes away from me!

    Yes. Here. In Calgary!This woman, this phenomenal woman moved from Victoria, BC, where flowers are blooming and the sun is shining and it’s already full-on spring, to Calgary. In March. In one of the biggest snowstorms the city has seen in ages.

    My front windows started leaking because my eavestroughs were so packed with ice,  I’m pretty sure I have PTSD from shovelling, and Olive and I began every day by asking with our eyes clenched shut – “Is it spring yet?”.In fact, it’s snowing again today. The day after the first official day of Spring, because winter’s being a real dick this year.

    Yet here she is. My mom.

    I haven’t lived in the same city as my mom since I was 21 years old. I am truly living the dream. And why has she moved? Well,  the first reason is because…

  2.  My little sister Lizzie is pregnant (!) and due in just over a month!

    When did she get taller than me?!

    We had her baby shower this past weekend and I can’t even express how incredibly excited I am to meet this little nugget of hers! She lives half a block away from me, and in no time flat, I’ll be basking in unlimited baby snuggles, slow stroller walks, and the joy of finally repaying years of babysitting she’s generously given me.

    So my mom moved here to help Lizzie with her new baby, but she also moved to help me because…

  3. Olive’s dad has moved to Ontario. This is new, and it’ll definitely involve a bit of an adjustment for both Olive and I.For the moment, however, I’ve made the completely rational decision to completely ignore the ramifications because the thought of single parenting almost 100% of the time for the next few…thirteen years….is kind of overwhelming.

    For the past year, she’s spent every other weekend with her dad and with this move, that schedule will shift to alternating Christmas/Thanksgiving holidays, and a longer chunk of time in the summer. Just how long that longer chunk is has been the topic of some debate as we both have different ideas about what’s best for Olive, but I’m trying to look on the bright side of that extended absence and plan some travel during that time to take my mind off things.

    In the short term, it may bring some positives too,  skipping the bi-monthly three-hour drive each way, more consistency, etc. But no matter how you look at it, it’s a big change and while I know that it will eventually work itself out and become routine, as it always does, in the meantime it’s occupying a large portion of my mind, and in between pretending that it’s not happening at all I find myself sort of staring at my calendar and wondering how.

    I’ve had lots of time to think lately, because…

  4. Olive is gone for two weeks. Well, I guess nine more days now.

    Sushi dinner the night before she left

    I’m always so thrown off by these longer trips, the feel of my empty house and the silence I always talk about missing but then find so strange when it arrives.I’m making an extra effort to make the most of this free time while I have it, however, so I’ve been catching up with (and trying to get ahead of ) work, reconnecting with people who I’ve fallen out of touch with, and taking care of all of those niggling little tasks I never seem to get around to doing.

    Things like oil changes and clothing donations and cleaning out the garage and buying a secondhand ugly-but-cute (?) pink velvet recliner for my living room to rock my soon-to-be-nephew in.

    Oh, and a fish funeral. Yeahhhhh.

  5.  I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Olive’s fish Charlotte (AKA Fishy Red, Fred, Scarlett)  has left this world for the great beyond.

    She was the third-time’s-a-charm fish in our lives, the One Who Lived after the tragic illness of Fishy Black and even more tragic death of Whistle, and she lived almost two full years, which I find completely respectable.

    Olive seemed only mildly perturbed by her death, which happened a few days before she left, and at the moment I’m not sure whether we will become fish owners for the fourth time.

  6. Finally, a second book is starting to take shape (!).And by “starting to take shape” I mean, of course, that while thinking about it as I’ve done a million times in the past four years, I think I’ve finally settled on a shape for it; a focus for the words and a voice for the stories inside.

    Non-fiction, real-life based. The kind of thing you read here already, about life and love and parenting and the bliss and chaos that unfolds within each one.

    If this book does, in fact, go anywhere it won’t see the light of day for another few years yet but saying it out loud gives it the sort of realness and immediacy that a chronic procrastinator like myself needs to get the real work of it done.

    So – nag me, OK? Yell at me until I write it. I promise you’ll love it when I do.


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  • Reply Samantha Pereira March 22, 2018 at 4:51 PM

    So , I had to look at a map, but now I understand all of the ramifications. Crikey!
    How awesome is your mum?! I had to remind myself that she had moved because the Olives dad information made me BURN! But it’s ok. You have back up. And I’m cheering for you. And waiting on that book! X

    • Reply Madeleine March 22, 2018 at 8:54 PM

      Yeah it’s quite a ways away! But the move does make sense, and it’ll all work out in the long run, especially with my awesome mama in my back pocket

  • Reply Trisha March 22, 2018 at 5:36 PM

    I’m an old lady and I absolutely loved your last book. I’ve passed out copies to all the young adults I know and suggested (made) my daughter use it for her book club selection. I vow to bug you until we see another! I’m so glad your mother moved closer. With her at your back, you have this! As difficult as it has been for you, you have done a wonderful job with Olive. Just keep trusting yourself! (And get that book going!)

    • Reply Madeleine March 22, 2018 at 8:52 PM

      Aww thank you! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support (and your vow to bug me )

  • Reply Anonymous March 22, 2018 at 7:22 PM

    What a hard reality for Olive. Hope it’s not too dramatic for her.

    • Reply Madeleine March 22, 2018 at 8:51 PM

      Oh, no, she’s doing great. She and her dad took a road trip out there a few days ago and are spending some quality time together before she comes back. I’m sure it’ll be an adjustment but I know she’ll be just fine.

  • Reply Za March 22, 2018 at 10:28 PM

    SO over the moon about the new book!! I’m a new mom now and would love to read more about being green as a mom. Your mom is an angel! My mom is mine as well

  • Reply James Hopes March 24, 2018 at 3:11 PM

    I’m sure oil changes play a bigger part in your life than the average person! I’m sure you’ve written about them before at least once!

    I literally can’t remember the last time I did one. No doubt my car will seize up tomorrow now but…

    And yay, definitely write another book. Your writing has always been lush

  • Reply meli-mello May 11, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    A lot of stuff happening for sure. I would probably kill someone to have my mom move to Calgary. Probably even someone I really liked. 😉 Having moms close is the best thing ever.

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