parent time

When Karen’s at yoga, Aaron and I take turns cook­ing din­ner and play­ing with Ryan and Ruby (read: keep­ing them occu­pied and out of trou­ble). Then we gin­gerly con­vince them to eat what they can (good days involve uten­sils), make sure they’re bathed, and put into bed with a story if they’ve been good. Everything is man­age­able as one but eas­ier with two, espe­cially when the sim­ple act of get­ting rice into a child’s mouth can turn into an ordeal.

This is when I get to expe­ri­ence the joys of hav­ing chil­dren in man­age­able doses. That means not hav­ing to deal with dia­per changes, and read­ing the same 30-word book only four times instead of 400.

Ryan and Ruby

The new lap­tops were presents from Nana and Papa at Christmas. Now they can send/receive e-mails, and blog about the awe­some poop they just took.

Ryan used to be par­tic­u­larly excited to see his Uncle Jeff, leav­ing Aaron and Karen to won­der what got into him when I was around. Now that he’s a bit older, his face doesn’t carry the same glow when I arrive any­more, and he’s hap­pier to see the mar­bles I brought. But Ruby is begin­ning that phase of enam­our, and con­stantly clam­ber­ing into my lap to involve her­self in what I’m doing. Recently she started ask­ing me to carry her (which I’m told means mem­ber­ship in an exclu­sive club con­sist­ing of her par­ents and me), even though she’s just learned to man­age stairs by herself.

They seem to grow by inches every week, and they’ll soon be old enough to take care of them­selves. I’ve learned to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle chances I have to be truly part of a fam­ily like this, espe­cially after decid­ing last year against ever hav­ing kids of my own. And I don’t feel the need for chil­dren any­more cause this will always be enough.

that I may cease to mourn

At some point along the way, I dis­cover that I’m ter­ri­ble at being alone. I need some­one to care for / spoil / love / give my exis­tence mean­ing. Echoes of a try­ing child­hood I’m just now sort­ing out. Otherwise, I’m con­stantly feel­ing empty instead of fulfilled.

Once a week I’m torn down so I can be rebuilt again, and some days I won­der: what of me will be left?

Protected: self-love

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a heavier dose

I’ve been try­ing to stay vocal about my needs, lest I fall back into old life traps and defence mech­a­nisms. It means I’m still apply­ing lessons learned from last year, still try­ing to be open even if it means being vulnerable.

As far as I can tell, this has been work­ing in my favour. Otherwise, Seth wouldn’t be com­ing over on Saturday to teach me how to play the acoustic ver­sion of Sean Rowe’s Jonathan, one of those songs I’ve always wanted to learn before I die.

As a side-effect, it’s been a strug­gle to bal­ance my rela­tion­ship needs with over­stim­u­la­tion. The other night we smoked an apéri­tif in the car before spend­ing three hours gorg­ing our­selves on all-you-can-eat sushi, learn­ing that the small but sig­nif­i­cant priv­i­leges of our class come in plates of bite-sized fatty pro­tein made to order. Then we watched the entire first sea­son of Tim and Eric, Awesome Show! Great Job, and played Magic until 4:30 in the morning.

It left me burnt out and I must have lost two days, yet it still feels like I don’t have enough nights like that, shar­ing real moments with peo­ple who don’t per­pet­u­ally have some­where else to be or some­one else to see. I need more of those times in my every­day life, not just in the days marked on my calendar.

tides

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I’ve been look­ing for new inspi­ra­tion and lis­ten­ing to as much new music as I can find recently. I haven’t dared go into much of my old music. I sup­pose that means I’m not yet com­pletely over some­thing or other. Thankfully, peo­ple send me new songs all the time (this gem cour­tesy of Mansour Chow), and often it keeps me going until the next addiction.

I haven’t picked up my gui­tar lately either. For the first time, the break has been self-imposed, though out of a desire to pur­sue other inter­ests more than any­thing else. Also pos­si­bly the fact that I lost two months of growth when I chipped my thumb­nail, and I’m not inter­ested in learn­ing any­thing that requires a thumbpick right now. Ever since my dad gave me Larissa as a birth­day present two years ago, I haven’t able to put her down until now. I’m hop­ing it’ll reset a few bad habits, and give me more focus when I start again.

Practicing gui­tar has been the one tan­gi­ble way in which I could tell I was improv­ing. Now that I’m tak­ing a break, I’ve been faced with an unset­tling sense of stag­nancy, cause I’ve always held self-improvement as one of my main rea­sons for liv­ing. But I’ve also real­ized that it’s not always pos­si­ble to con­tin­u­ally improve, so I’m try­ing to be happy with who I am at the moment, and accept that it’s nat­ural to go through cycles of growth and stag­nancy, pain and heal­ing, frailty and strength.