Chicken Soup and Mac n’ Cheese

Dear Grandma,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since you so suddenly departed from our lives. It’s been tough – so tough – and not a day goes by where I don’t think about you.

Memories of you sometimes come at the most peculiar times; I may be doing something mundane and routine like changing a diaper or watching TV, or perhaps it’s something more specific, like making homemade soup or attempting to replicate your famous mac n’ cheese. (You made the best homemade chicken soup and mac n’ cheese, hands down, and I don’t think what I make will ever come close to how good yours was.) They never fail to put both a smile on my face and a tear in my eye at the same time.

I never thought someone would have such a significant influence on me, and it’s unfortunate that I’m only truly realizing how much of an influence you had after you’ve passed. Your “isms” speak loud and clear in my head a lot: “Treat others the way you want to be treated!”, “Come on in if your nose is clean!”, or “Kitchen Witch!” Whether silly or serious, I’ll never forget your words of wisdom.

I wish you were able to meet your great-grandbabies. I know Isla and Norah would have adored their Nana. It hurts so much knowing that you passed just a few months before Isla was born, especially because you were so excited to meet her. I’m thankful that you got to “meet” her while I was still pregnant; those moments will forever be etched in my heart.

I really want to thank you for being such an amazing grandmother not only to me and my brother, but to your 16 other grandkids as well. Your love and devotion to you family has influenced us all in so many ways and we can only hope to be as great as you were.

I miss you so much, Grandma, and one day I know I’ll be sitting down with you again to enjoy a bowl of chicken soup and a plate of mac n’ cheese.

60

Becoming 4

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The screenshot of the countdown on my phone kind of says it all. In 30 days (maybe more, maybe less) our happy little family of three will become four.

It’s still so surreal to think that we’re going to have another little one in the house again. Even more surreal to think that everything is set along the exact same timeframe, right down to the due date. I haven’t had to do any shopping to prepare for this little one – no buying new clothes, no painting of the nursery, no nothing except for buying the “usual” stuff like diapers, bum ointment and lanolin.

While nothing much has changed as far as preparations for the baby arriving goes, that doesn’t mean none are on the way.

Isla will become a big sister. As much as she says she can’t wait to meet her baby sister (which is adorable), I’m more than certain that she doesn’t quite grasp what this really means. Part of me is worried that she’ll act out because she won’t have my undivided attention anymore. It’s been her and I for the past 3 years and now it will be her, I and Baby N. How am I going to help her with the potty when I’m strapped to the couch nursing her sister? How can I tell her that she can’t blast her music and sing at the top of her lungs when her sister is sleeping? I just don’t know sometimes …

I know I’m not the first parent out there to go from being a family of three to a family of four, but I’m certain that I’m not the first one to have apprehensions about making that “leap.” I knew I wanted more than one child, but now that it’s actually happening it’s a “Holy crap” kind of realization; very similar to the one I had when it finally settled in that Isla was due to arrive.

Despite all of these thoughts, I know that when the moment comes, when Baby N decides to make her grand entrance, everything will fall into place. Just like when Isla arrived, I’ll figure out my new role not as a new mom, but as a new mom to two. Winging it seems to be my style, so that’s probably what I’ll end up doing this time.

So, until these 30 days are up (which could be even less than that – I’ll be full term in 9 days), I’m just going to cherish the moments we have as a family of three. I want to savour every moment I have while it’s still just Isla and I at home while Kyle’s at work, and remind her that I’ll always have time for just her.

October 2012

October 2012

I know I’ll probably miss the simplicity of being a family of three, but I know that I’ll love our family of four even more. I cannot wait for this baby to arrive for so many different reasons, and I’m looking forward to all the challenges that may arise.

Mom

I was your typical teenager; my parents were a drag and I always felt that my mom was breathing down my neck. “YOU NEED TO STUDY! DO YOUR HOMEWORK! WAKE UP, IT’S 11AM!” Full of your usual teen angst, I thought my mom was too controlling, never letting me go to wild parties, not allowing me to date the boys I wanted, etc … Except she wasn’t. She was always just looking out for me because she knew I could do better.

Of course, she was right. All of the pushing, the nagging and the busting of my chops paid off. I graduated high school, went to university, got my degree and married the love of my life because my mom helped guide me there. If she hadn’t caught me skipping school, I probably wouldn’t have graduated. If she didn’t care about who I dated, I may never have come to realize how amazing of a person my husband was (and still is) back in high school.

I look back at the earlier years – before puberty hit – and remember all the great things my mom did for me. Adventures with her and my grandma. Enrolling me in swimming lessons, piano lessons, choir, soccer, and t-ball. Sending me to school with healthy lunches.

It was those little things that she did that has helped me become the kind of mom I want to be for my own kids. I want to push them to be great but allow them to learn from their mistakes. I want to be there for them but not force myself upon them. I want them to know that I’ll always be their mom and love them no matter what, the same way that my mom has (and still does) for me. I’m sure there were days where she wanted to give up, but I’m glad she didn’t.

So, thank you Mom. I’ve learned so much from you over the past 29 years and I know that there’s more lessons still to come. You’re the best.

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