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Moment 12: Sparkling rain

rain

Photo by muttcutts (Instagram)

Fat wet drops explode on the car windshield putting an end to any delusions of a golden fall. Memories of tire-swings, beaches and lakes drown instantly in a torrent of cool rain.

I twist the dial searching for CBC’s The Signal. It’s hypnotic, haunting music would be perfect for this abrupt entry into fall. But it’s too early; it just feels much later.

The road is slick, car lights blur in the downpour, and any trace of warmth has disappeared. Theo, bundled in sweats and thick jacket, yawns from the back: “Hey Mom … look at the rain; it sparkles.”

Moment 11: brown skin bonus

No burn suns here.

No burn suns here.

We’re lolling on the warm wooden bench in front of the ice cream shop soaking up the golden light. A white woman with a grey dog sits beside us savoring her exquisite dish of cardamom and vegan lemon ice cream. My own cardamom cone is long gone, but Theo is still slowly licking away at his vanilla cone, which is dripping all over his striped shirt and shorts.

Suddenly, he snaps out of his ice cream induced reverie and notices that the woman has a rash on her arm. Being 4, he touches her arm and blurts, “Excuse me! What you got on your arm?!” She doesn’t say anything so naturally, he soldiers on. Pointing at the sun, he says, “You got a burn sun?” She laughs and nods. He looks very serious and says “My skin is brown; I don’t get a burn sun.”

This is my 11th post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge – 10 more to go.

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Today I’d like to be an old man at the beach

with a salty beard

shirtless

my  skin cracked and brown

gleaming burnished in the late summer sun

lazing at my own driftwood log.

I’d spark my bunsen burner

for a cowboy coffee

and commune with the gulls.

This is my 10th post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge – 11 more to go.

Moment 9: the final year

It goes fast.

It goes fast.

The leaves are slowing shifting colour and the mercury’s rising – the promise of a glorious Indian summer fills the air. The streets are full of school children in shining backpacks, pressed jeans and new runners. Some walk shyly hand-in-hand with parents or grandparents. Some have younger siblings at their sides. Some run fill tilt towards the school yard hollering, eager to see old friends and hit the playground before the bell rings. Others walk slowly expressionless, already too cool for school. Still others drag their feet steeped in recent memories of sand and water, burnt marshmallows and block parties, reluctant to let go of summer’s grip.

My four-year-old looks longingly out at the kids as they stream into the schoolyard. He wants to go. He thinks he’s ready. But I’m happy to have him with me for another year. This final pre-school year, the last year of kids’ sizes at the Gap, easy afternoons at the pool, empty playgrounds, wide open spaces at Science World, tranquil beaches and slow mornings.

He may be tall but he’s still little inside. He asks for a “gugu” when he’s tired (milk in a sippy bottle), and his outrageous stories often need a translator. He love kids, but he crashes and burns out like a spectacular meteor from the excitement.

The schoolyard is empty now, and I think how precious this upcoming year is. Early childhood is fleeting; I’m already nostalgic. … gentle sigh.

This is my 9th post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge – 12 more to go.

Moment 8: Mystery solved

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Theo goes to part-time daycare and like most daycares, the kids nap on little cots in the gym around midday. Theo hasn’t napped at home for almost two years so it’s an ongoing mystery as to whether he actually naps at daycare.

When I pick him up around 4, I always ask him if he had a nap, and he always says yes. The thing is, by 8 pm, he’s stumbling around exhausted, which does not jive with the nap story.

I think I solved the mystery today.

Me:  Did you nap today?

Theo: Yes … [pause] … but … I didn’t close my eyes.

Me:  You napped but you didn’t close your eyes?

Theo: Yes … [pause] …  it’s too dark so I don’t need to close my eyes.

Me:  So it was too dark to close your eyes?  (Trying not to laugh)
So … [lightbulb goes off] did you sleep? 

Theo: No. It was too dark.

Me:  So you napped but you didn’t sleep.

Theo: Yes.

Aha! moment: Napping does not equal sleeping – ding ding!

This is my 8th post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge – 13 more to go.

Moment 7: Animal wail

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I’m lounging in my lawn chair overlooking the campsite field where Theo and a group of kids are running wild finally free from the confines of the car. I’ve got an earthy red in hand and my lungs are filled with fresh forest air. It’s been a long day of travel but the tent is up, we’re fed and we’ve dipped out toes in the ocean. Life is good.

Suddenly, I hear a heart-stopping yell: It’s a mixture of crying, yelling (MAMA!) and bleeding all wrapped into one animal wail.  I see Theo running towards me blood and tears streaming down his face into his mouth, his hand over his brow – hysterical.

I walk towards him faux-calmly (I don’t want overreact but feel frantic); it probably looks worse than it is. I scoop him up in such a way that I don’t get blood all over my only jacket and run him to the campsite. We clean him up, check to make sure all his teeth are intact. The bleeding stops but we can see his lower brow swelling in front of our eyes and he’s got scrapes on his forehead, nose and chin.

He keeps sobbing uncontrollably asking if it’s still bleeding. I apply two Angry Bird band aids, and suddenly it’s quiet; he’s fast asleep.

But it’s not over.

Mark says he shouldn’t sleep, he might have a concussion so we drive around Sechelt in search of a clinic. Our GPS leads us erroneously to an acupuncture and wellness clinic, then to a Health Unit where the receptionist sends us to the medical clinic, which is full so they suggest the ER.

By this point, Theo is eating gummy bears, giggling and singing songs, so we drive back to campsite and resume where we left off.

This is my seventh post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge.  Fourteen more to go! 

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Awake in the middle of the night on my squeaky air mattress
wrapped in the cocoon of my down sleeping bag.

It’s quiet, dark and still

except for

the soft snores of a boy and a man

 a baby’s cry

 squirrels launching pine cones from upper branches of the trees

the buzz of a lone mosquito

a car alarm

 whispers, hushes and sighs

and thoughts

­plenty of those.

This is my sixth post for the September – 21 Moments Writing Challenge.  Fifteen more to go!