Family

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My daughter’s children. From left to right. Kieran, Brianna, Devin, Kayleigh and Tarrin in front. Photo was taken two years ago.

My daughter came to visit. Walking in the door holding Kieran, her eight month old son, she made her announcement.

” I have some news to share.  I’m expecting triplets “.

” What!  How!  What!  When? Congratulations. When? ”

” The doctor thinks around November. If all goes well “.

My son-in-law just sat to the side with a dazed looking expression.

Three months later my daughter was confined to bed rest at home. A month after that she was confined to a bed at Women’s College Hospital under the care of a specialist.

The triplets, Brianna, Devin and Kayleigh were born at twenty four weeks, three months premature, weighing 2lbs. each. Their skin was translucent and their bodies could fit in the palm of your hand. They were placed in incubators, attached to oxygen, feeding tubes, heart monitors and a number of other medical devices. My daughter was allowed home after a few days but made the 1-2 hour journey to the hospital everyday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m so she  could bond with the babies. As soon as it was safe to do so, the babies were allowed out of the incubators for a while, so my daughter could hold them and they could feel the comfort of their mothers body.

The triplets were born in the middle of August but not allowed to leave the hospital till November 1. I can still picture the shock on my fourteen month old grandsons face as we brought the triplets in one by one. I still don’t think he has gotten over the shock.

There were a number of logistics involved in the early months of raising the triplets. For example they were all on different formula strengths and their bottles had to be colour coded. My wife was there all day helping out and I would come over every day after work to help. We both left around 11:00 p.m. every night and wished my daughter and son-in-law the best of luck for the night. Needless to say there was not much sleep for the first few months. In that time we had sold our house and purchased a house within two minutes walking distance of my daughters house.

In December of that year, two months after the triplets came home, my company downsized and I lost my job. It was then that my daughter asked, if my wife and I would be able to look after the grandkids while she went back to work. As a family group we had discussed all the options available.  In the end it boiled down to economic survival. So my wife and I agreed to take on the daily responsibility of caring for the grandchildren. My daughter went back to work when they were a year old.

The routine for my wife and I was as follows. I would walk over to my daughters house every morning for 6:30 a.m. which was the time my daughter and son-in-law left for work. I would stay with them till 11:00 a.m. at which time my wife returned from her morning aqua fit class. I would leave and she would prepare their lunches and put them down for a nap at 1:00 p.m. I would return at 2:00 p.m. and look after them till my daughter returned home at 5:30 p.m.

Summer was easy as I would bundle them all in a wagon with a supply of snacks for the morning. We would leave the house around 7:30 a.m. and tour the parks of the area returning at 11:00-11:30 a.m. I would continue this routine after their naps.

In the Fall we would spend most of our time in the woods, exploring, jumping in leaves and collecting pine cones in buckets.

The Winter would be fun when it snowed. Besides tobogganing,  we would make snow forts and snow castles using their sand buckets and shovels. We would also have sock fights in the house. I would grab all the socks from the drawers and we would run around the house, throwing socks at each other, engaged in battle. They loved it.

In the Spring when it rained they loved to catch the water flowing down the drain pipes into buckets and empty it out and start all over again. We also had puddle jumping contests. Dressed in splash pants and rain boots we would search for the biggest puddles we could find and see who could make the biggest splash.

Just as the four grandkids started school and my wife and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing we had from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to ourselves my daughter visited.

“I have some news to share. Remember me telling you that I felt so tired after running the Toronto marathon in October and had a hard time trying to recover. Well I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to see what was wrong with me. Good news. The doctor said it’s because I’m nine weeks pregnant”.

My wife and I looked at each other and said congratulations that is great news………and gave a big sigh. But as it turned out Tarrin was a gem to look after.

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This is a shout out to Serena, my son’s daughter, on the left. Tarrin is on the right.

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Because my daughters household is not crazy enough. This is Finn. He’s a Norwegian Behund puppy . They also have two Maincoone cats Fred and Ffion, a hamster bubbles and tropical fish.

 

 

 

 

 

Karma

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“Karma comes after everyone eventually. You can’t get away with screwing people over your whole life, I don’t care who you are. What goes around comes around. That’s how it works. Sooner or later the universe will serve you the revenge that you deserve.”
― Jessica Brody, The Karma Club

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Water poured down from the heavens, baptising the earth, cleansing it, nurturing new life. The roads of the cities and towns were washed clean and puddles formed, awaiting the splash of tiny feet on their way to school.

Rose hovered over Brian’s sleeping form and hesitantly offered, ” it’s 6:00 a.m.”. Brian twitched in his sleep and Rose proclaimed a little louder, ” Brian, it’s 6 o’clock”. Brian jerked upright, grunted and rolled out of bed. Rose made her way to the kitchen to cook a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages and toast that Brian was so fond of. Brian completed his morning routine and set off for work. He was in the office to-day, having to attend lectures on sales motivation and product enhancement. He sat through the lectures thoroughly bored, while his mind drifted to the new, pretty, young sales assistant recently hired. After work he made his way to the tennis club for his 5:00 p.m. game with Peter. Arriving at the club he placed his gym bag on the bench and started to unpack the contents. He suddenly scrambled in panic  searching his bag. He  lashed out, smashing his fist against the locker door and raging, “the stupid bitch, forgot to pack my shorts”. His fists clenched and unclenched as rage seethed inside him. Arriving home he yelled at Rose , “you forgot to pack my shorts, it’s all your fault if I lose this important client”. Rose timidly accepted his pronouncements. Karma.

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all it’s possibilities. The sun shone down from the heavens, proclaiming it’s warmth and embracing all the creatures on earth.  Town and cities were bathed in light and it’s peoples were filled with new energy, while the children skipped and danced to school.

Rose fluttered over Brian’s sleeping form, cooed her morning call and retreated to the kitchen. Brian awoke in a grumpy mood, he had been called to an early meeting with the sales manager. The sales meeting did not go well. Brian had continually failed to meet his quotas and was given one last chance to meet this months quota or he would be gone. He arrived home that evening in a miserable mood. Walking in the door he let loose on a continuous rant about the stupidity of his manager, the stupidity of his clients and how his talents were unappreciated. He continued this rant through supper, gulping down his food without tasting.  Rose listened patiently and nodded her agreement. Karma

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. The earth continued its rotation around the sun, dancing harmoniously with the planets. People are locked in their daily routines of self absorption and survival, failing to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the universe.

Rose contemplated Brian’s sleeping form wondering what made him so angry, resentful and bitter. She echoed her wake up call and wandered into the kitchen. Brian spent his day arguing with customers over product complaints, it was always the customers fault, he was forever the victim. He was on his way home, when he felt a terrific pain in his chest, he collapsed over the steering well, and the car veered off the road into a ditch, tumbling onto its side. Rose answered the door bell and listened as the police officers explained the manner of Brian’s death and that he was being held at Hamilton hospital. She thanked the police officers and after they had left walked to the kitchen cupboard. Reaching her hand to the back of the cupboard, she pulled out the one million dollar life insurance policy on Brian’s life, she had taken out six  months ago. She reviewed its contents and poured herself a glass of wine. Settling into the chair she decided that Brian could wait till tomorrow for her to make the appropriate funeral arrangements. Sipping her wine, she sighed contently, enjoying the peace and tranquility of her house. Karma

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“Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.”
― Daisaku Ikeda

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Rose woke up late, stretched and unfurled her arms towards heaven. Today was a new beginning. Her life was starting anew and she was determined to embrace it and create a positive spark from the ashes of the past. Karma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence

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“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
― Leonora Carrington

His mind was confused, and he was so tired. Is it meal time , shall I get up and eat. But wave after wave of fatigue ate at him and he had no desire to move. He heard noises all around but the sounds were making his head hurt. He kept his eyes closed and tried to block out the sounds. After a while he succeeded. He embraced the silence and in return the silence enfolded him and held him close. He saw a dove ascending in a clear sky,  carried by the wind,  towards heaven. He saw himself enfolded in a cocoon of clouds, waiting, marking time before his transformation. He drifted off into endless slumber.

The doctor reached down and closed the eyes of his shrunken body.

“How old was he”

“He was ten years doctor, but sick for a long time. His family came in this morning. They were from a tiny village. A twelve mile walk. They carried him all the way.”

“Only ten and so small and shrunken. He looks like a five year old. How many more like him”

” He is the eighth to die to-day doctor. The families have no food. It’s the war you know”

The doctor shook his head and cried inwardly. His first day volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and he felt so helpless. He had no food only medicines. What they needed was food………. and the war to end.

The war in Yemen has been ongoing for three years. 2.2 million children are suffering from malnutrition and 85,000 children under the age of five have died.

Just another statistic in a world of seven billion people.

These words were inspired by /janedougherty.wordpress.com. Writing at Jane Dougherty writes. She wrote a poem on this subject “Why are the babies dying”.

Grace

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Write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word grace. This is a word challenge set by patriciasplace.me – Patricia’s Place

The perfectly formed baby glided from the mothers birth canal into the

waiting hands of the obstetrician and was immediately named Grace

because of the elegance of her arrival.  Grace was born on

Thanksgiving Day and so the weary mother took a breath, closed her

eyes, held her baby tight to her breast and thanked God, and the

doctors, for the miracle of birth. God’s grace is infinite and merciful.

Such a Simple Idea

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“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

 

 

 

Jesus had such simple ideas.

Blessed are the merciful.

Blessed are the pure of heart.

Blessed are the peace makers.

Such simple ideas.

But we are complicated people.

I have a right to defend myself.

I have a right to bear arms.

I will serve my country in time of war

I will sue you for every imagined wrong.

I will protect the institution over the individual.

Jesus became a Christian symbol and his simple ideas have been mostly forgotten, replaced with institutions, hierarchies, rituals and dogmas.

Jesus had such simple ideas, but we are such complicated people.

 

 

 

 

Winter, Touching and George RR Martin

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God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.

Sarah Teasdale

I snapped the photo above from my back door this morning. Seven centimetres of very wet snow overnight and thirty minutes of shovelling.  Though because it was wet snow, it stuck to the trees, and everything looks very beautiful. Still five weeks till Winter officially starts.

While I’m here a few random thoughts.

I drive my thirteen year old granddaughter, Brianna, to horse back riding lessons twice a week. She is one of my daughters thirteen year old triplets, she has a brother and sister the same age, she also has a fourteen year old brother and an eight year old sister. Brianna is very talkative and loves music. She switches my classical radio station off as soon as she gets in the car and listens to her iPod’s playlist, sans headphones.

I told her about the giant snowball battles we engaged in when her mother was young. Whole streets,  children and parents would engage, sometimes ten  a side. She told me that they were not allowed to have snowball fights in school. The principal had just made an announcement this week that any child caught throwing snow would be sent to the principals office and their parents would be notified of this breaking of the school rules.

We had a discussion on the games children play today and she mentioned tag. I told her that when I was young we played a form of tag where as soon as you tagged a person you joined hands and had to tag the next person while running together with hands joined. Every person you tagged had to join hands until this chain surrounded the last person. Brianna told me that they were not allowed to touch another person at school, it was against the rules. I cried a little and didn’t dare relate that in the school playground,when I was younger, in order to get people to join in a game, we would walk around with arms entwined over another students shoulder shouting ” who wants to play tag”. Any other student who wanted to play would join in and put their arm around a person in the group  and so it would continue till no one else wanted to join in. A little like a Russian Cossack dance.

Now for a pet peeve. George RR Martin is publishing a new book for release date November 20, 2018, ‘Fire and Blood (A Targaryen History) “. I consider this book promotional advertising for the new series being contemplated on HBO after the Game of Thrones ends. I have been reading his books of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) since they were first published in 2003. I eagerly awaited the release of each of the five books in the series. Then he became involved in the HBO series and hasn’t published another book of Fire and Ice since the series started. I was so sure that he would write and publish to finish the books series before the HBO series overtook the books narrative. However, it was not to be. So although I will still follow the series on HBO I will not buy any more of his books. His unfinished symphonies. He of course is free to do whatever he thinks best, but so am I.

Thanks for reading. Just letting off some steam after shovelling.

The Great Divide

 

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“The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame.
He might get burned, but he’s in the game.
And once he’s in, he can’t go back, he’ll
Beat his wings ’til he burns them black…
No, The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame. . .
The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real,
‘Cause Flame and Moth got a sweetheart deal.
And nothing fuels a good flirtation,
Like Need and Anger and Desperation…
No, The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real. . . ”
― Aimee Mann

Do you blame the flame for consuming the moth. Do you blame an idea for consuming a person to such an extent that it leads to the destruction of their soul.

Rebecca was passionate about politics. In the heat of political debate she became a fiery volcano, spewing her views at anyone who crossed her path with contrary opinions. She despised Republicans. Those Trump loving, gun loving, racist, misogynist demagogues. She wasn’t born angry. In her younger days she was very perceptive in her observations of life, she cared about other people and would go out of her way to show them small kindnesses and let them know she cared.  She had slowly grown into her political ideology after the blush of puberty. Each perceived societal injustice burned into her soul because she cared so much. It reached its climax in university when she took a course on ‘ Protesting For Social Justice Issues ‘. She was taught that it was her right to vigorously protest the inequities in society and to shame and disrupt opposing views. She was content to be confined to her echo chamber, allowing her mind to become an empty shell, repeating her political mantras.

 

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“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
― Robert Frost

Is it right to conserve the past, keep our traditions, encase them in ice and preserve them till the end of time. Is it right to freeze an idea in our minds, unchanging,  preserving it till we die.

Robert was very political. He knew what he believed, and that was that, no debate necessary. No compromise. He was cold towards other points of view and debated contrary opinions with icy rhetoric. No need to get emotional when he was so certain of his beliefs. He didn’t actually hate the Democrats, he just considered them a bunch of trouble makers of no consequence. Rabble rousers trying to pull down the foundations of society with their fiery, emotional rhetoric and virtue signalling. He wasn’t born entombed in his views. He was the ideal child, listened to his parents, respected them, was liked by his teachers, received excellent grades in school. He was a little reserved, didn’t make friends very easy, but loved tradition. He was a creature of routine, everything in its place, order was his rule of the day. He held to these views through puberty, high school and university. Unchanging.

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“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
― Anais Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

Rebecca approached the counter at Starbucks and ordered an iced peppermint white chocolate mocha and a blueberry yogurt and honey muffin. Reaching inside her pocket she found it empty, as realization dawned that she had changed jackets that morning and had left her wallet in the other jacket. She gave a sigh and explained to the server what she had done and turned around to leave.

Robert happened to be the next person in line and understanding Rebecca’s dilemma offered to pay for her coffee and muffin. She politely declined, but Robert insisted that he was sure she would have done the same for him. So she eventually accepted. Robert ordered a skinny mocha and lemon loaf, paid for him and Rebecca, and proceeded to find a table. The only space to be found was the same table as Rebecca, he sat opposite her and soon they began to strike up a conversation.

Rebecca explained her love of art and her ambition to tour all the famous art galleries in the world.

Robert stated his love of history and how he would love to explore the ancient cathedrals of Europe, the Taj Mahal  and the pyramids.

Rebecca talked of her love of the sea, its turbulent and chaotic nature on a windy day.

Robert expressed his love of the desert, its tranquility and vastness, the myriad of stars to be seen at night.

And so the conversation continued for two hours until Rebecca glancing at her watch said it was time for her to go. Before she left she asked Robert if it was okay for her to return the favour and buy him a coffee next week. He accepted and they agreed to meet at the same place a week from now.

Two souls. Having a conversation. Discussing their dreams and aspirations. Listening to each other.