“This Too Shall Pass”

I’ve been hoarding memories lately. Any chance I get a quiet, one on one moment with one of my sons, I find myself reflecting on when they were babies. I try my best to draw forth the feel of their perfect skin or the scent of their soft blonde hair.

I say “try my best” because I can’t remember anything chronologically. Images come to me in waves: my first son, Connor, at seven months, splashing in the lime green pool on our deck with his blue eyes squinted against the sun, or sitting in his high chair and pushing his chubby fists together to sign  “more” to indicate more food. IMG_2724-2The new discoveries of self-propulsion across our carpet, first rolling to where he wanted to go, then crawling, walking, running, jumping. The bubble feeling of just he and I going for mommy son dates: to the library for sing-a-long, or the swimming pool, or the zoo. There is a magic with the first child, because everything is a first for the parent as well.

And more recent memories of my second son, Nickson; the naps we would take together in my bed when he was brand new, or the vigour with which he devoured new foods, or the quickness with which he would pick up a new skill. He did everything faster than his brother. He crawled at 5 months, walked by 10. My ability to keep up with two mobile little humans adjusted accordingly. By default of being the second and not really being a cuddler anyway, I can count on two hands the number of times that Nickson has fallen asleep in my arms in his 18 months, with each time feeling like a victory. IMG_3298If Nickson does happen to fall asleep on me I am hyper sensitive to the little breaths he takes, the feel of his round tummy as it rises and falls against my own, the texture of his fine sunshine hair as it sifts through my fingers, the baby soap and sweaty smell of little boy, and the assertion to myself that I will always, always remember that moment.

It’s a fib I tell myself. I can’t remember it all. Photos help and videos are even better. And I am thankful I live in a time where there are devices at the ready to record a moment, even though I have to be mindful of also living in the moment and putting said devices down. With a full time job, the logistics of picking up the kids and making meals, a bit of a side job, the demands of keeping up with laundry and cleaning the house on the regular, ensuring that I pay proper attention to my husband and myself, along with keeping the kids occupied and not fighting, life seems very very busy.

On particularly tough days when Connor is having a melt down about the shoes he wants to wear or Nickson is fighting having his diaper changed right as we need to leave the house, I repeat the mantra “This too shall pass.” And it does. Without me even noticing sometimes. But when I have quiet moments with the kids, I know with certainty that it goes by too fast. And all I can do for now is hold on and try my best to remember as much as possible.

Be Like Vinny Chase

Vinny Chase3Entourage used to be one of my favorite television shows. In it the lead character, Vincent Chase, is an actor trying to make it in Hollywood with the help of his rag-tag crew of friends, each of which have their own talents and story lines. An episode would start with an issue in Vince’s career and, with the help of his friends and overbearing and hilarious agent, Ari Gold, he would overcome the obstacle presented. Women, money, drugs, cars and celebrity cameos were the “flash” in each episode. The constant theme throughout the show was Vince’s unrelenting attitude that everything was going to work out. He’d have a smile on his face throughout the episode, regardless of the challenges presented, because he thought ‘it’ll all be okay’. And it was.

Granted, it was a television show. The characters were rich and famous. And they weren’t dealing with real world problems. It stands to reason, however, that a positive outlook will serve you well.

At the end of my maternity leave, I wasn’t sure where I stood with my job. I wanted something more. I loved reading and writing and I was good at customer service. It clicked that I wanted to work in a library. In order to make that happen, I had to go back to university and get my Masters of Library and Information Studies degree.

Problem #1: my GPA wasn’t high enough. Okay, I could handle that; I spoke to an adviser and learned that I could take a couple of correspondence courses through Athabasca University to bring up my marks.

Problem #2: I wanted Fall 2016 admittance and the deadline for admittance was Feb 1, 2016. At the time I decided to do this, it was October. Usually the Athabasca courses ran for 6 months. I had to condense 2 courses into 2.5 months in order to complete my final exams in December so that I could work on and submit my application in January for the University’s February deadline. I did this while parenting 2 small children and going back to full time work in November.

I worked probably the hardest I’ve ever worked – any time the kids were asleep or occupied I read course material or hammered out essays. My husband and I went to Mexico and there I was in our hotel room, submitting assignments and doing required reading. I’d come home from work, make dinner, play with the kids, put them to bed, then work on school until midnight. I received the marks from my courses and got the A’s that I needed to advance my GPA.

With confidence, I submitted my masters application. I waited. Aaaaaaand I didn’t get in. I met all program requirements but didn’t make the cut for the competitive GPA.

I was disappointed, yet not as much as I thought I would be. I was happy that I had worked so hard towards a goal and tried my best. I was glad that in the two years to come I wouldn’t be overburdened with school, homework, a part time job and parenting my boys. And returning to my job hadn’t been as painful as I’d initially thought. For all these reasons I was okay with not being accepted. Most of all though, I figured “everything will work out.”

When dealing with day to day stress or big, life changing events, I have to believe that everything will work out. My life is better for it.

Disappointment is inevitable, however one of life’s constants is how inconsistent it is. A positive outlook is difficult to maintain at all times but if you look at the world through rose colored glasses life is a blessing. If you expect the best out of life, the best will be rewarded to you.

So be like Vinny Chase. Take care of those around you. Be loyal. Be humble. Work hard. It’ll work out.