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home three days early

Hello internet, glad to have you back in my life! Hello garden, hello house, hello major modern metropolis. Happy to be with you once more.

Home three days early. Perhaps that tells you all you need to know, considering the time and expense it took to organize this trek north. Basically – the cottage is the friend of a friend’s, in a good location, and, as we’d been told, on a big shallow lake with a shady beach for small people. Amenities – toys on site, grass, gorgeous sunsets, hammock, paddleboat, call of the loon. Lovely.

But there were problems, some with the cottage and some with us. To be brief, the place was not well maintained. In the sun, not a problem, but in bad weather, when you’re stuck inside with two incredibly energetic children, it was. Our arrival day, Sunday, and Monday were wonderful – Lani and Maurice arrived for a visit and had supper with us, Lani doing puzzles and playing a game of catch the bubbles with Eli, and then it was painting time.

On Tuesday, the heavens opened – not just rain, but a biblical downpour. Anna located a wolf sanctuary on her phone and off we went, to spend $25 to look through windows at some empty woods – the wolves very sensibly opting not to get drenched – and see a documentary. The visit was great for Ben, though – he spent an hour going up and down the stairs to the bathroom. All Ben wants to do is climb – he is, at one, a fearless Cirque du Soleil gymnast. After our rather dispirited non-sighting of wolves, along with other desperate families of small kids, we drove to Haliburton and found a restaurant for lunch, where the waitress forgot our order so by the time it arrived, the kids were going insane, Eli especially disputatious and Ben emitting the ear-piercing scream that gives him so much pleasure. On the way back, the rain was so heavy, I had the wipers on as fast as they would go and still could hardly see.

The next two days were variable tho’ we could mostly go outside – but thunderstorms were predicted for the whole weekend. No way. Anna and the kids were supposed to get the bus back Friday night and I to stay with a friend or alone for the weekend. No way. Between the musty smell and the weather, we decided to pack up early.

But also – I know there are people who have quiet grandchildren who sit and look sweetly at picture books. I am not one of them. Eli is a dervish – constant activity and noise from the moment he awakes, much too early, to when he blessedly drops off to sleep at 7 or so. He’s bright, contrary, wilful and stubborn – as his mother says, he’s her karma, because that was her young personality too, except that he’s also bouncing off the walls. No problem when we could get him in the water and burn off some of that energy. And Ben was in the meantime trying to climb everything in sight, including the steep fence and steps of the deck, and when not climbing, he was gnawing on his brother’s Crocs, my rubber boots, gravel, sticks and dirt. And paintbrushes.

Still we had a wonderful time, truly we did. It was a joy to watch them paddling, splashing and digging in the sand, these hilarious and marvellous children – discussing Eli’s family of dragons, watching him carefully set the table for them so they could eat their soup. He sent them home before us. “Perhaps,” I said, as we drove, “they’re talking to your dad now.” “Glamma,” he said scornfully, “dragons don’t talk.”

And their mother is, as I’ve said before, a force of nature, the best mother in the world, dealing with the kids and producing one beautiful meal after another in a kitchen with no counter space – for Eli who’s very picky and tiny Ben who eats a small amount and then throws the rest on the floor. And Glamma, who eats everything with gusto but was a tiny bit overwhelmed by it all. What an enormous amount of energy it takes to parent effectively, especially to children as forceful as these. It’s relentless, like being in the eye of a hurricane. My daughter does not quail. But still, we were both very happy about the decision to go home Thursday night – she to her bed, her home set up for kids and cleaned to her exacting specifications – and I to the internet and PEACE AND QUIET. She organized the trip back to perfection – we wore them out during the day and left at 4, so they both slept for nearly the whole blessedly peaceful 3 hour trip to civilization.

But today, as I came home from taking the car back – glad to be rid of that behemoth – I passed the fire station on Dundas. They had the ladder out and a fireman was climbing it, and I so missed being able to show it to Eli, who would have been enthralled. I miss the feeling of a wriggling baby in my arms. Never mind – I took a picture of the fire engine and sent it to Anna, and I’ll see them all again soon enough.

In the meantime, a mountain of laundry and piles of stuff to put away. No loon. But the cicadas, the little woodpecker hammering at the dead ivy, the sirens, the distant roar of the Don Valley Parkway – music to my ears.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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