View From The Glen

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Erik!

In the past, for my children's birthdays, I have always posted a blog about them, with the milestones, some pictures, some biased motherly adoration and admiration. But I pause this year, on Erik's birthday.

I pause because he is 11 today, and seems suddenly to have passed out of the realm of childhood. Not that he's all grown up, but I get the feeling he's too grown up to be blogged about. I don't think he minds - he's a very easy-come-easy-go kid - but I am starting to wonder if perhaps I mind.

Had my mother written a blog when I was 11, I'd have died of embarrassment should she decide to dedicate a page to all my idiosyncrasies and delight in all the things lovable she found in me. Maybe a nod or two to the funny things I said or did, and a cute photo or two just to round things out and really make me wish the floor would open and let me fall through it.

Perhaps there is an age where it stops being appropriate to talk about our kids' lives. I don't know if that day is today, but am going to tread softly and simply say this:

Happy 11th Birthday, Erik.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I'll be honest, it hasn't feel much like summer. Rain, rain. Cold days. A desire to light a little fire in the evenings. I mean, really, what is that about?

But here I am on the Friday of the long Victoria Day weekend, thinking summer is here.

And although it is overcast outside (but warm at last), there are a number of signs that make me believe this. Here's my top ten.
  1. It's the long weekend. So it has to be summer.
  2. My Bridal Spirea are in full beautiful bloom.
  3. The grass needs to be cut. Again.
  4. My Linden Tree has leafed (and this makes me so incredibly happy after the disasterous events of last summer...Just glad it survived, even if we don't get the full lime smell and visual glory this year.)
  5. There were June bugs last night cracking their little hard bodies against the windows.
  6. The windows are all open and the breeze is sweet.
  7. There are packages of seeds all over the kitchen and a roughly drawn garden sketch.
  8. It's Erik's birthday tomorrow and I promised him summer would start on his birthday every year (because I'm his mom and I can make promises like that).
  9. I can sit and have lunch on the veranda without a sweater.
  10. It's the long weekend. So it has to be summer. Yes that's repeated, but it's the most important point.
Happy Victoria Day Weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Camps of Proved Desire and Known Delight

Who hath smelt wood smoke at twilight?
Who hath heard the birch log burning?
Who is quick to read the noises of the night?
Let him follow with the others
For the young men's feet are turning
To the camps of proved desire and known delight.
~ Rudyard Kipling

How many of you have had the wonderful experience as a child of running around with friends until the skies turn black and darkness falls? Of listening to the distant chatter of parents over by a cracking bonfire while you escape into the recesses of the night. Twilight comes on grey and flat, and then the evening. By starlight and moonlight you race around, a gang of kids reporting to no-one but each other, laughing and playing and chasing imaginary dragons.

We had friends over for an impromptu dinner and fire last weekend. Six adults sipping wine by the fire. 10 children out in the wilderness enjoying their freedom. The two youngest came back to the fold early, but the older ones were having way too much fun, and when they finally came in, the embers were low and the cool spring air was chilly. The kids had smoke and leaves and dirt on their faces and clothes, exhaustion written all over them, and big smiles on their faces.

Exactly how it should be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rule Rant

I had a call from the school bus company today. They were very sorry, but since Grace is currently on crutches due to a potentially cracked bone in her foot, they cannot allow her to ride the bus. Never mind the kids I've seen in the past riding the bus with crutches - we've had to tighten the rules this year, the pleasant voiced lady informed  me. And with this rain, it's slippery. And if she falls... And she can't take the crutches to her seat... And getting in and out is hard...

Spare me. I get it. I'll drive her.

I'm not fooled. This is not about Grace's inherent safety, though  obviously they prefer to couch it in language that implies otherwise. This is about their own fear of liability and about convenience.

The post office does the same. I've heard of mail failing to be delievered because the step up was an inch higher than the "regulation" allowed.

And school boards, always a bastion of rule establishment, have taken it even further: No home-made snacks. Indoor shoes must have white soles. Math must be in a yellow duo-tang. (Our board hasn't yet gone to the extent one Chicago board did recently-disallowing all packed lunches because they couldn't guarantee they were healthy enough-but the food police are no doubt rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect.)

Some rules are smart. Don't drink and drive. Pay taxes (I could quibble here, but won't). Don't eat raw chicken.

But so many of them, so many more of them it seems, are flimsy and stupid.

Sigh. Feeling rebellious - gonna have to break a rule. But which one?