Sunday, December 9, 2018

Stellar Activities

We've been doing some pretty fun, traditional "getting ready for Christmas" activities:

  • making cards
  • collecting for a food bank
  • choosing Angel gifts 
  • doing random acts of kindness
  • singing carols
  • reading Christmas stories and poems
  • watching movies

It has been really great, actually, and I'm experiencing the joy of the season in a new way, largely thanks to my 3 year old.

We have baking yet to do, and a visit to the Christmas market, of course, but we also tried something new this year - Christmas Camp, a mini session of four virtual classrooms. It was great! 

We (I) signed up because I was interested in learning about SQUILT, and while that was the definite highlight for this musically inclined family, we were pleasantly surprised by the rest.

After a rousing music lesson, we had a natural science class and prepared for a Christmas hike, which we were able to carry out over the long weekend.

Next was a poetry reading, Christina Rossetti's In the Bleak Midwinter. It was lovely to look deeper at the beautiful words.

Finally, we had a crash course in chalk pastels with. It was great! 

The best part was we were able to join live due to a last-minute change in travel plans. It was a great way to kick off the long weekend and also refresh my material for our discovery box (our version of a morning basket).

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Looking Up

It was one of those moments. The ones you don't want to record in their memory journals. Unnerving in private and embarrassing in public. One crying inconsolably, the other having a meltdown, and me, running late.

I have come to the conclusion that losing it really doesn't help anyone in any way, so I stopped. We all did. Time for three deep breaths. As I filled my lungs, I looked up. And laughed.

There it was, just when we could all use a bit of luck, a cheerful yellow shooting star, in all its construction-paper glory, taped to the window.

Right when I needed to see it, a shooting star entered my field of vision.

Incredible. But maybe not surprising. He is known to work in incredible ways, after all.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The First Star

We started talking about the tree last week.
(Note to self, do not casually mention things to Husband when 3-year-old is within hearing distance!)

Me: We'll need to get the tree out of storage, I think I'll need some help getting it down...
Husband: O- (gets cut off by the three year old, who comes tearing into the kitchen from his room)
3YO: Are we decorating the Christmas tree TODAY?? RIGHT NOW?

We took the tree out of storage and set it up on Thursday. My son helped fluff up a branch or two, then took on the role of supervisor, watching me shrewdly from the arm chair, commenting when I seemed to be working too slowly, or missed turning a pine cone. This was important work and I needed to take it seriously, you see.

On Friday, we (ahem, I) did the lights. The dreaded lights. My Dad always took care of those, thank you! One year I helped a friend decorate her mother's gorgeous 3 meter tree, I told my son. After a couple of hours we got strings and strings of lights on, perfectly spaced, only to end up with the plug at the top of the tree. Oops. He grinned. Silly Mummy. Our tree is much smaller, and I plugged the lights on before I began, just in case. 

Saturday, December first. He woke up so excited you'd have thought it was Christmas Day. He took his time, carefully considering the placement of ornaments. I focused on reminiscing- that ornament is from Russia, this one was a gift from Nana - until he asked me to stop. "I can't concentrate with all the talking, Mummy!" 

I love decorating the tree, and have been known to rearrange ornaments for days, weeks even, until I had it just so. Today, though, I relegated myself to unpacking ornaments, hanging the especially delicate ones at the "tippity top of the tree", and entertaining the baby. It was a time to hold back, to let him take the lead. Yes, at first 3 ornaments on the same branch here and a group of same-patterned balls all together there were calling out to me to be moved. But his precious face, how carefully he handled each item, the light in his eye... And when his Papa lifted him up to put the star on the tippity top, oh, the joy! The wonder!

Charlie Brown knew it. The perfect tree is not the perfectly decorated tree. Rather the imperfect tree is made perfect through the lens of love, and isn't that what it's all about? 

Love came down at Christmas, 
Love, a lovely Love Divine. 
Love was born at Christmas
Stars and Angels gave the sign.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Star of Wonder

December First. 

24 more days.

It's coming.

This year, more than others, I am fully aware that IT IS ALMOST CHRISTMAS! I have my three and half year old to thank for that. His enthusiasm is contagious. I'm also fortunate to be out of the classroom, away from the business of the season, and I have time to really savour the days and appreciate the meaning of Advent with my family.

The teacher in me, who would have had it all laid out weeks in advance, is at odds with the mother of little ones, who sometimes doesn't even know what they'll all be eating for dinner that night. To be intentional, though, requires planning. I've made a rough list of values, experiences, stories, and activities I'd like us to do, a lose framework. And we'll be guided by - what else? - the star.

Edvard Munch, 1893
Starry Night, Edvard Munch
Join us on our advent journey as we lift our eyes and our hearts to follow the star.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On loss II

The silence rushes over my eardrums like 
a wave pulling back from the shore-
It won't be good news, I think.
It's not.
It never is,
not when the stillness
can drown out this pounding in my chest.

I nod and let you hug me, because 
it makes you feel better.

As for me, I have turned to stone.
I get up to leave and my heart is screaming 
though somehow I don't make a sound,
even as I pull 
the door shut behind me.