I feel ever-so-slightly guilty that my youngest son’s birthday weekend was more of a celebration for me than it was for him, but I’m sure he wouldn’t begrudge his parents a good time if he were old enough to realize!
My cousin Gillian (the same who cycled across Canada this past summer) called me up and said the most awesome words in the world for any parent to hear: “I’d like to take your kids.” Even better, she and her husband Jamie said they wanted to come up to our house, spend the weekend babysitting, and give us their apartment in Toronto. A house swap with free childcare? Yes, please!
Yesterday Jason and I headed south to our old stomping ground. We wandered through Little Italy, where I used to live, and visited ‘She Said Boom,’ a fun bookstore with great titles. We headed down to Queen, poking into shops, drinking lattes and eating pain au chocolat at Le Gourmand, even stepping into the Eaton Centre for a brief and chaotic walk around, and generally spending more money than we’d anticipated. (The city has a funny way of doing that, doesn’t it?) We met friends for dinner at Milestone’s in the club district; then we returned to Gillian and Jamie’s adorable apartment in the east end, which had been decked out for a romantic getaway.
There’s also a common theme that keeps popping up all over the city. We didn’t Mayor Ford leading the Santa Claus Parade, as per tradition. Maybe he was at home… eating… or something.
This morning, November 17, is L.’s second birthday. Gillian and Jamie met us in Toronto with the boys and we all watched the Santa Claus Parade together. It’s part of our attempt to give ‘experiences’ instead of gifts, since material objects never last as long as memories. While it was a good idea in theory, the poor little birthday boy got sick and enjoyed it much less than the rest of us. At the post-parade sushi party, he only ate edamame and sat limply in my arms.
It’s hard to believe he’s two. I feel so blessed to have such a cuddly, affectionate child, a beautiful little boy who loves nothing better than to curl up on the couch under a blanket and have a long embrace with me, his lucky mommy. My oldest, by contrast, is a high-energy, passionate child who never has time to cuddle, whereas my baby requires it on a daily basis.
I have to say I’m glad not to be labouring to push out a baby tonight, doubled over in pain in the middle of the living room and surrounded by capable midwives, as I was two years ago tonight. Instead I’ll enjoy my cup of mint tea, listen to the wild wind and rain battering the brick walls outside, and give thanks for my precious boys tucked into their warm beds upstairs.