Colour me pretty

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged or done any journalling, or taken the time to ponder my thoughts and emotions. To those of you who’ve liked my posts, commented, or followed me, thank you kindly for your love and support.

It’s been almost two months since we moved to Ottawa — my childhood home. Sometimes I do miss Montreal a great deal, and wonder if we’d made the right decision. I miss our small cozy apartment, and balcony that’s adorned with fairy lights and colourful plates; I miss our neighbours and the children that we befriended since they were tiny peas; and I miss the parks that we used to frequent with our son. Most of all, I miss the memories. Especially memories of Keaton’s first steps and first explorations at his beloved playground.

Yet somehow, life is as it should be. I left Ottawa at a time when I was wounded and thirsting for life — longing for my sense of self and identity. Now, I’m back, in what I can now call my thirties — more seasoned and grounded, with a child of my own. (Still not any less clumsy.) I’m also reunited with my parents — I missed them dearly in the midst of motherhood and an unmerciful pandemic — and now, they’re able to build daily connections with their grandson, and he with them. I feel like I’ve come full circle in my life, and that I’ve had my closure.

I’m forever grateful for my parents’ role in our lives and how much love and support they provide us. Motherhood has been both challenging and rewarding — and doubly so during a pandemic. Fortunately, ever since we arrived, I’ve begun having some space to exist. My son is vibrant, perceptive, expressive, highly inquisitive, and amazingly helpful. But he’s also full of energy, demanding, and relentless. In Keaton’s 16 months of life, I can’t remember a moment when I truly felt at peace in my heart. His energy level and temperament is comparable to handling at least three children at the same time — and everyone can attest to it. Might I add that he’s the love of my life, and also the death of me?

Recently, for the first time, I noticed my hands visually shake when I reached out to grab my son’s smoothie and napkins at the counter. That day, since I was going to take a long walk with him to grab scones, I stopped midway to buy a fruit smoothie to entertain him — he loves smoothies — so that he wouldn’t grow fussy on our long journey. When I realized that I couldn’t control my shaking hands, even if I’d consciously tried to, I felt both self-conscious and heartbroken to see myself in this state — to viscerally witness my own struggle. “Is this what motherhood has done to me?” I ask myself as I feel my throat constrict.

Motherhood has gotten pragmatically easier in certain ways, and harder in others. I’m learning that the road to raising children is long, sweet, rewarding, clumsy, arduous, and full of mishaps and mistakes. And that most of all, Keaton needs a happy mother that takes care of herself and her needs. After all, I’m worn out to the bone and have raccoon under eye circles; I feel like a dried squid that’s hung out to dry for too long in the sun; I’ve lost all butt, with only skin and bone for some cute loving; and my sagging breastfeeding boobies might just hit the floor walking tomorrow.

But in the midst of all these comical adventures, I’ve found peace, solace, and gratitude in the daily moments. I’m happiest when I see my son in his swimsuit enjoying the waterpark; I’m happiest when he gives his daddy a reluctant but successful kiss on the cheek; I’m happiest when I see the unyielding love between my parents and son, and how much he laughs when he’s with them; and I’m happiest when Keaton grabs his Giorgio monkey and a towel for me, to signal to me that it’s time for milkies.

I’m happy when I see the sunny skies and trees towering above me; I’m happy when I exchange a smile with strangers and passersby; I’m happy when I’m able to lie down and rest my heart, body, and soul, and let it all melt into the comfort of my couch; and I’m happy when I cook meals for my family. I’m also happy right now, as I type this, because I’m creatively exploring the inner workings of my heart and mind.

I’m happy when I paint, too. When I do have some downtime late at night, I appreciate letting loose and being creative. I painted the two paintings above recently; it was relaxing, calming, and fun. I even listened to music and lit a candle. I forgot the feeling of adventure, creation, and possibility until then.

While I’m just starting to explore the world of paint and colours — I’ve got much to learn — I find that these paintings turned out quite cute and pretty. They’re meaningful to me because they symbolize, in many ways, my coming home to myself. I can’t wait to put them up on the wall above our couch, for some character and feminine presence.

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