Friday, March 15, 2013

The Half of Pi

I dreaded that my first-born might be born on The Ides of March. Such an ominous, murderous day.
Perhaps this is why I pushed so hard on the eve of it.
And so, I delivered my Pi baby. Born on 3.14 (04)
You can do the math. If you like math.
Or, I'll just do the meaningful part of it for you here:
We have survived the first nine crying, messy, stinky, clingy, demanding, yet so beautiful years.
They are over. 
Pi has survived them. We have all survived them. Somewhat in tact. At least with all our limbs still attached.

There is a death to be acknowledged here. Those first nine years swallowed his childhood. Never to be repeated. Oh how I wish I could redo moments. So many moments. Some to relive the joy. Some to say things differently, to act differently, to show more patience, or to be more present. 

And so to honor this death, I will bury his blankie that he hasn't used in years (but couldn't sleep without for the first three), the forest of drawings of knights and monsters and two-legged heads, the mementos of cheap bracelets and plastic awards, of derby cars and lego creations, the teeth, the report cards, the first letters, then the first sentences, then the first of the real thoughts... 

I will bury these in a treasure chest. I hope we can sit down together years from now to sift through these random items. 

For pi explains the circle. And the circle implies a non-linear journey, one that recognizes a starting point. It offers a promise to return.


We move on to the second half of his time under our roof. We brace for the next nine years to unfold.
We prepare for the battles.

I am not ready.
To hear the angst of confusion, and smell the stink of hormones.
To listen to doors slamming and witness confused tears.
To endure the horror of middle school and incur the expense of deodorant.
To wonder about the silences and feel the betrayal of loyalty.
To entertain snarky friends and share my child. 
At least during the first nine years, he was mine. No one else claimed his attention or company much.

It's a slow bandaid that tears off when your child ages.

Circle back to me, pi baby. I'm your biggest fan, always.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cheers with a tampon for Int'l Women's Day!

Cheers to all you ladies today!

In honor of International Women's Day, I would like to pause and share with you a story.

I heard an interview with Shin Dong-hyuk this week. This man recently released a book that chronicles his life in and escape from a North Korean Prison Camp: Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West. The details of his life in the camp sound eerily familiar to the stories we've heard from the Concentration Camps in Europe during WWII.

After describing many horrors he endured, including watching his mother and brother get executed, Shin shared that he has a difficult time existing in North America. He is astounded at the stores here, and said that he gets especially sad when he sees the boxes and boxes of tampons and pads on the shelves. Which caused me pause--what man ever notices feminine products unless their girlfriend or wife won a bet?


Then Shin explained that in the prison camp, 2,000 women worked in one of the many buildings each day. When these women had their period, they had no choice but to bleed through their clothes and drip blood onto the floors.

He sounded like he might cry when he described how he wanted to take all the boxes of tampons off the store shelves and bring them back to these women. He noted that they were lovely women.

As if their beauty makes their suffering even harsher.

And here I live with luxuries and dignity and ambition.


Today I pause to think of so many women who do not.

Then I start to think maybe I'll mail a box of tampons to North Korea, perhaps with a message inside to Kim Jong-un to let him know... well, he's apparently got some nukes, so maybe I won't be so naive.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Settle Down February!

Some things I've learned as of late:

1. Unspoken cultural rules exist here in Canada, and they are escaping me.
I learned early that I need to remove my footwear when I enter someone's home. This only took two embarrassing confrontations (and has saved my footwear budget--no need to buy any here just to surrender them to waste away at someone's door!)
There are certain social customs I fear I have violated. And nobody is telling me. Maybe they're whispering behind my back. Possibly laughing. Perhaps I'm completely delusional--cold months of no Vitamin D may have strange side effects. I'm not sure if I bring up inappropriate things at innoportune times, or if I talk too much or too little. Or if I have bad breath. Or if I'm scary looking because I'm so pale.

2. I do know this: I am tired of being on my best behavior in order to find friends. I just want people to surround me who love me for my bad and inappropriate and ridiculously awkward sides. I want to be crabby in public.

3. There's no such thing as new-old friends.

4. I had to delete this one. Even though it was good. It was, perhaps, a bit too honest. Sometimes even I self-censor.

5. Lately, I write articles for magazines. Then I submit them. Here's the problem: Even though I have been submitting said articles to magazines that I am confident have a demographic I comprehend, I have felt my limitation as a writer: I cannot write for a wide audience. My preferred audience is snarky, vodka-drinking, swearing, Jesus-loving, but Dobson-not-loving-, women who sometimes want to be sexy and smart and not have mom attached to their identity (but deeply love their children). That's a frickin long magazine title. I am about to give up on my limp dream of pleasing a wide audience and start writing here more, where the few of you who read this would buy that magazine, even with its long title. Which is why I love you.

6. I've also learned this: All we really need to survive is one person who really loves us.

7. The person who loves me most is a song-writer. He wrote me (and sang) this: "Hold on to me as we go / As we roll down this unfamiliar road / And although this wave is stringing us along / Just know you're not alone cuz I'm gonna make this place your home / Settle down, it'll all be clear / Don't pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear / Trouble it might drag you down, but if you get lost, you can always be found / Just know you're not alone, cuz I'm gonna make this place your home / oooohhhh, oooooooo, aaaaahhhh, aaaaa-ooooo-aaaaah, aaahhhoohhhaaaahhh, oooooohhh, aaahooooahoahoaohoaoahoaohoahoahoahoah... " And, no, I'm not married to anyone with any Phil in his name, but someone with a Phil somewhere in their name stole this, apparently, from my husband.