between the shadow and the soul

My friend S texted me the other day about a helicopter crash that claimed 12 lives, one of which was an acquaintance of hers; she is also friends with his widow, and his brother. He leaves behind a young wife (after a whirlwind courtship), a two year old son and there are expecting their second child in a little under five months.

She ponders how his widow would feel when she delivers, what it would be like to lose the love of your life after only being together for such a short time. She heart wrenchingly questions how things would be later that night as mother explains to toddler why daddy would never be coming back again. And she concludes with these words: “It’s a truly very big ask and I am thankful that God has not asked that of me.”

I recently said goodbye to a friend who was only 31; there was no “real” reason he passed away, his heart, brain and general physical being was in tip top shape- coroner ruled,  sudden death syndrome.  He was Possibility personified: he was successful, well liked and an all round amazing guy. He was a great son and brother and the world was his oyster.

I’m not yet 32 and have buried several friends called before their time: some to illness, some to accidents, some self-inflicted. Its hard to comprehend how or why things happen. The famous question we ask is :why bad things happen to good people. And really, there’s no answer except the belief that the “will of God will never send you where his Grace cannot keep you.”

The day I became a parent, the notions of life and death took on a different perspective completely. The frailty of life, the fragility of our humanity beckons at these moments and I find that sometimes I find it hard to breathe if I dwell on “what it all means”.

I look at my young sons and I learn that I cannot take tomorrow for granted- who knows what the future holds? But what I do have is Today, the now and for most days, that’s enough.

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Letter of the week- We made it!

 

After 26 llllooonnngggg weeks, we finally made it through all 26 letters of the alphabet! We’ve been faithfully sticking them up on our cupboard and here you see it- all 26 letters, upper and lower case alphabets!

Its our first education milestone since we started the Growing Tree Project. And while Q’s been able to sing his ABCs for a while already, I think this take-your-time method has really helped us enjoy learning, learning the alphabets and its place in our lives more. Sometimes when I feel like maybe he’s not “quite getting it”, he’d surprise me by correctly identifying the alphabet in random words we come across: street signs, words in books, names of his friends… Interestingly enough, he seem to like some letters more than others!

We’ve been working on writing some of the alphabets and we started with the letters of his name. We’ve gotten through all the different letters of Q-U-E-N-T-I-N (not so steady on the E and N just yet) but we’ll get there soon enough I think. He writes the letter Q very well ( a circle and a line) and I look forward to hitting this new learning milestone!

Letter of the week- Z

We finally made it to the Letter Z! I had great plans for the letter Z since Q’s favorite place in the world began with the letter Z: The Zoo! Unfortunately, between my crazy schedule (its peak work season) and the terrible weather (too hot, too cold, too wet), we did not manage to go to the Zoo to see the Zebras.

So, to make up for it, we pretended to build our own zoo! We pretty much have all the animals in our animal menagerie and our lego set has “gates” so we spent a happy afternoon building ourselves a zoo. In our zoo, of course, the crocodiles would live harmoniously with the Pandas and the goldfish next to the lions. Its a very peaceful, friendly zoo.

Methinks a trip to the zoo might still be in order next week.

Letter of the week- Y

I must admit, the last few letters of the alphabet are hard to get through- first, cos my schedule is beginning to take on a manic pace; second, we are getting a tad “bored” of the process, especially since the Letter Y ain’t that exciting.

But still, we persevere. And cos, next week is the last week in this series!

We welcomed our letter of the week simply by playing some yoyo. Q scored two toy yo-yos at a recent birthday party and we had some fun learning how it worked. I suck as a yoyo player (?) and he was just as dismal so I cut the string and we played Make Believe Yoyo- you know, you simply fling your arms about and the yoyo would kinda fly everywhere. We completely aced this game. Yeah, we made great “make believe yoyo-ers”

Then we found some empty Yakult bottles and made little Yakult robots. Cos, Yakult (one of our favorite drinks) begins with Y! That was a happy, messy fun activity. We simply poked holes (yeah, very tak glam) and made robot sounds. Q made a flying robot. He simply threw the robot about the garden and declared he was flying.

I drew in wings. Cos, life, my friends, lies in the details.

 

 

 

Letter of the week- X

I’d be honest and say that the letter X doesn’t quite rank as high for me in importance when I rank all 26 letters of the alphabets. But the “lets be fair” part of my says, that I gotta give good ole letter X his equal emphasis; after all, what would Fox, box and X-ray be without the letter X.

So I did a little digging.

X, as most of us already know is the 24th letter of the alphabet. Aside from its (meta)linguistic importance (ahem!), X also has mathematical importance as it is often used to symbolize an unknown variable and has been thereafter co-opted within linguistics to denote a similar unknown: person X, for example.

Traditionally, X was also used in lieu of a person’s signature back in the day since many people could hardly read or write. Though, I never quite get that since they could always use thumbprint. Maybe they did both. I’m sure there were and are huge legal issues to title deeds or will signed simply with an X. Clearly who ever came up with that was either lazy or clever or both.

Then there’s X in lieu of a kiss: this dates back to early Christian times when people would place a kiss on a cross as a mark of a promise. X was a symbol of the cross of calvary as understood by the Greek word for Christ: Xristos. I’m thinking maybe this is why some people aren’t fussed to use X’mas. I personally like spelling the word CHRIST in whole. But back to my point- this was why people would write X at the bottom of letters: to suggest earnestness. Though why hugs are fat Os is beyond me. I like to think someone thought the contrast between both letters looked nice. Or maybe Hallmark came up with it.

Anyway… then there is the all famous X chromosome. The all important X chromosome is one of two sex determining chromosomes. Females have two X chromosomes and males have XY. I think this is why women are considered mysterious and all- evidently the mathematicians got that observation right seeing as they like to use X to denote the unknown variable.

And most importantly, to me anyway, X just kinda looks cool. Don’t you think?

mummy choices

I am grateful to be a full time working from home mom.

Its a fragile balance I am mindful to keep cos while it means I get to be home with my boys, it also means there are nights I barely sleep because I only get to work after the kids go to bed.

It is a perpetual battle to stretch (or bend) time, prioritize my insane to do list with my mummy duties of loving, educating and hanging with my energetic and curious two year old and mummy-ing my equally as energetic and wakeful four month old. They are one of those nap phobic kids that would rather mummy entertain them. Oh, sure, they nap- only when mummy is by (read: either carried by mummy or cuddled by mummy). Ah well.

I keep my training to a minimum as far as possible and I am constantly grateful that my team are ok to work around my mummy duties, sometimes even pulling babysitting duties. Yeah, I know, they kinda rock, huh? 🙂 On days I do have training, I make it a point to make up to them: if my gig is in the morning, I spend the afternoon with them, it the training is in the avro, maybe I’d take them out to the zoo before heading off to work.

Today I spent a rare day working all day: before the sun rose and right till dusk. No less, by the time I got back, I was completely knackered. No less because I spent the entire day around people whilst maintaining energy levels of an Energizer bunny all I want to do once I get home is crawl into a hole of silence and solitude. (That’s how us introverts recuperate). Which means, well, that post-(long)-training me makes for a poorer version of being mummy.

And its in these moments that I am so grateful these days are few and far between. Tomorrow would be a new day. A busy day, undoubtedly, but not crazy like today. Thank God.