I’ve been feeling unsettled lately for two very specific reasons.
First, because in a week’s time, Olive will be flying across the country to stay with her dad. He moved to Ontario at the beginning of April, and our custody arrangement has changed significantly as a result. We are still working out what will work best for Olive, but the likeliest outcome is that Olive will live with me for the majority of the year and for a portion of the summer, when time off school permits longer visits, Olive will spend time in Ontario.
I have a lot of feelings about this. Part of me is desperate for a break and part of me is excited that she’s going to spend time with her dad and part of me is deeply, deeply uncomfortable with the whole situation because she’s going for seven weeks. Seven weeks.
My mom babysat Olive last night and when I came home my house was spotless. The dishwasher was quietly humming, Olive’s toys were stacked neatly in her toybox. My dining room table was clear. My bed was made.
The sweetest things are always, always the smallest things.
When I drop Olive off at school I wait by the playground fence as she lines up with her classmates. She runs back three or four times for another hug, another kiss, another “I love you”. When her class begins to slowly file inside she interrupts her excited chattering every few seconds to look back and wave, “Bye mummy!” she cries, “Bye mummy!”.
We’ve been in a deep cold snap for what feels like years. Calgary is no stranger to cold weather but it does feel rare to be so cold for so long, without a warm-weather chinook to give us a break, even just for a few days.
The temperatures have consistently hovered around -27 C (sometimes feeling like -36 C with windchill) and we received a record-breaking snowfall over the course of two days last week. Life around these parts has been made up of endless snow shovelling; air so cold it takes your breath away; toques and scarves and mitts and sweaters. Olive’s school doesn’t let the kids play outside when it’s below -15 C and we’ve been driving to school rather than walking in the frigid temperatures.
All of this has added up to both of us feeling stir crazy. Late last week found me pacing my house like a caged animal, eager for fresh air, sunlight, and a chance to stretch my legs. So on Friday when I picked Olive up from kindergarten we didn’t go home – instead, we headed to a little mountain town called Canmore about an hour away. I’d planned the whole thing as a surprise, booked a hotel with a pool and a waterslide – hoping that a few days out of the city would be just what we needed.