British Store in our ‘Hood

 

This Saturday, I was the proud mama of a 4 year-old just starting his soccer career, a career that I realize may end up lasting years or one that may fizzle as quickly as his interest in cheese. (“I don’t like cheese mama. It’s not delicious.”)

** Side gripe/rant: What does my child like to eat, you ask? Hmm, I would ask you the same thing, since my lack of anything resembling a CLUE about what he likes to eat is utterly pathetic. Let’s run through my mental checklist as I’m trying to figure out what to pack in his lunchbox – a difficult and arduous brain exercise I have to go through every single night:
Bread: No (Rules out sandwiches, for the most part)
Cheese: No
Rice: Nope (makes him gag)
Cooked veggies: Nada (Also gag-inducing)
Tuna: Ew
Clementines/oranges: No
Grapes: Not particularly, unless they don’t have the top part/hole that connects to the little vine branches
Crackers: Will maybe eat 1.
Any kind of bean: I DON’T LIKE DAT EITHER MAMA

Ok, you get the picture. Also, in case you think I’m an over-indulgent parent that bends to my child’s will and ends up feeding him chicken nuggets and cookies every time he asks for them (i.e. every single day) just so he’ll eat something: NO. That does not happen. (At least not ALL the time ;)
So of course, that complicates matters even more because I have to fight my concerns of whether he’s getting enough nutrition with the battle of wills and gagging episodes that leave me flabbergasted.
Wish me luck in my quest to figuring out how to get my son to EAT!
** Side gripe/rant over.

Back to soccer Saturday. We went to soccer (this was after swimming class earlier in the morning), and he had a BLAST. He could barely contain himself, feeling like he was on a real TEAM, and he was playing a real GAME.

It was, in one word, adorable.

After the game, we were all in a good mood, and we decided to check out the British store that I keep passing downtown and thinking to myself “I should go check that out.”

Oh, and check it out we did. The store had all kinds of treats, from chocolates to cookies and biscuits, chips, Vimto (Vimto!!!), and a range of other items I haven’t seen since I was last in the Middle East. Cadbury, Aero, McVities Digestives, Bourbon cream cookies, random little bags of chips – it was awesome and droolsome. My husband and son’s eyes were swallowing up half their faces, and I knew that I had lost them – temporarily – to the temptations on the shelves. It was their heaven.

I, not being much of a chocolate-lover, saw something else, however. I saw, in a tiny little shelving area in the corner, an assortment of soaps and cleaning supplies. And the crowning glory was the little bottle filled with amber-colored liquid gold:

DETTOL.

I found, standing there on that shelf, bottles of the real, original, Dettol.
Yes! Dettol! Pine-scented cleanliness in a bottle! None of this wimpy, imitation Pine Sol stuff. 
Dettol is the gift to every lover of sparkling clean counters, floors, and anything else that can be cleaned! (Assuming, of course, that it won’t disintegrate upon being touched by the stuff, since it’s PROBABLY not that gentle.)

Needless to say, we were a happy little family this past Saturday as we walked out of the little British store/cottage, heads and bodies (and noses) filled with swimming, soccer, English tea biscuits, chocolate, and fresh, completely artificial, pine-scented cleanliness in a bottle.

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Motherhood and the Quest for Peace

In some parts of the world, including the part of the world where my own mother lives, March 21st is Mother’s Day. On the eve of this celebration of mothers and all they impart upon this world – we would be nowhere without them – I sit awake, restless, desperately attempting to find peace in my heart with the mother I am today.

My own mother gave herself, fully and completely, to us. To her family, her children, to being our rock and the one constant in the constantly changing backdrop of our lives. I lived in more apartments and houses than I care to count, went to 11 schools (all before college), and can’t remember most of the people I was friends with for mere months at a time. But mama was always there, with a hot, home-cooked meal ready for me when I came home from school. She was always there, cloaking me with the invisible security blanket of knowing I never had to wonder where she was or what she was doing. She was there, she was mine, and nothing else in her life was more important or of higher priority.

I, on the other hand, leave my son and his father sleeping in their beds on 5 mornings a week, as I head out to spend the next 11 or so hours of my (and their) day enclosed in an office, unavailable, distant, away. They rise and spend the next hour and a half together before my husband drops off my beautiful boy at school. The hour and a half that used to be mine, that used to carry some of our best, sleepy-eyed, uninhibited memories together.

How can I be a good mother if I’m only there for 3 of his waking hours? How can he learn to trust that I will always be there, if, for the most part, I’m not?

And now look what I’ve done.
I’ve gone and made another one.
In a matter of months, another boy will be born to this family, and I will spend however many weeks of maternity leave I get agonizing over the day when I will have to leave yet another infant in the care of someone who, no matter how amazing she is, is not me.
What have I done?

Some days are positive, upbeat, fulfilling on all fronts, professional and personal.
Other days make me feel handcuffed, trapped, yet insufficient in any of the roles I have taken upon myself.
My need to prove that I can do anything any other woman can do – be an intelligent and high-achieving professional, be a nurturing and selfless mother, be an accomplished recreational athlete – leaves me pursuing everything all at once, yet mastering none of it.

 I am not as good of a professional as the woman who dedicates her life to her career, not as good of a mother as the woman who spends all her time ensuring she personally meets each and every one of her children’s needs, and not as athletic as the woman who knows exactly what she wants out of each workout.

I wonder whether trying to have “it all” is an attempt at keeping each part of “me” alive, or whether I am simply lost, not sure of which parts of me are the real me, trying to find myself in my work, my physical health, and my relationship with my family.
I wonder, more importantly, about whether that means my children will be lost as well, not having the security blanket of knowing that they never have to wonder where I am or what I’m doing, or whether they are my highest priority.

The answer is yes, they are and always will be my highest priority. I may not do everything perfectly, I may not always make the right choices or be the best, most selfless mother. But I love my son (and my yet-to-be-born son) with a fierce intensity that perhaps only I know. It will be my life’s mission to ensure that they know it just as surely, just as securely, as I always knew the love of my own mother.
In the meanwhile, I can only hope that my darling, beautiful, and perfect boy knows that his mama is always there, even when he can’t see her right in front of him.

And now I shall go hug his sleeping body with all my might, and breathe in the sweet smell of his youth, innocence, and clean hair.
 (Even darling, beautiful, and perfect boys smell better with shampoo, especially after a weekend of running and jumping on furniture).

Overwhelmed

Have you ever had so much going on in your life, mind, and emotions that you just don’t know where to start?

My brain feels like it currently holds the emotional and mental load of one of those cargo trains that never seem to end, and I have no idea where to start in order to sort things out.

I hope I have not lost each and every one of the very generous people who have previously graced these pages with their eyes, read my words, and potentially commented on them as well, but I understand the cyber world is fickle and so are we as consumers of its content.

Perhaps I can use this as my forum, my means of sorting things out and organizing my thoughts.
I hope I can have some of you join me on the journey.

Back soon, with content this time, I promise.

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