Saturday, May 21, 2016

Move Along, Little Doggy

The other day driving home from the school at the end of the day I heard Girlie say "Mom, I don't want to move."

When we told the kids a month ago that we'd be moving back to Alberta this summer there was so much excitement.  The initial reaction for everyone was happy happy happy! It took Sergeant half of a second to process the fact that he'd be moving away from friends. It took Smarty the same but half a second after that he was talking about the friends he had left when we moved out here that he'd be able to connect with again. The girls were just excited that they would be moving back to the city they were born in, never mind the fact that I had to remind them that all of their toys would be moving with us.  They didn't have to say goodbye to their stuffed animals!

Having moved around a lot when I was younger I know the bittersweet that comes with a relocation. Missing friends, learning to depend on your siblings, the incredible importance of that core family unit, adventure meeting new people, never really stop missing the people you used to play with all the time. I still think occasionally about the kids on the block of the PMQ's in Trenton when we were there. The ups and downs of elementary school friendships when we were in the BC lower mainland. 

But everyone processes things in different ways and at different speeds.  Monkey has been a literal monkey and has decided that she doesn't really want to be social anymore.  I gave her a week of just mommy Monkey time and then I took her to a parent and child play group. She screamed and screamed and would not let go of my neck, kicking her feet when I tried to take her shoes off. I dropped her off at the casual care at the MFRC (Military and Family Resource Centre) and she pitched a fit like she did when she was a baby and didn't want to be left anywhere without mommy. 

Girlie has been in need of more cuddles than before, more talking calmly to her when she starts crying faster at little things. Far more whining than she used to do as well. 

The boys are dealing better, but they remember the move that brought us here. The girls wouldn't really. So this is essentially new to them. I know it helps that this is a good move for us as a family unit and we talk  about it openly. The boys ask Dad about what he'll be doing on an army base compared to a navy one, we talk about what we are planning to stop and see on the drive out there. They keep adding to the list, and are getting excited about seeing so much of the country. They don't quite realize the scope of the distance, I don't think, but they will by the end of it. Some of the sights they want to take in will have to wait for other postings because, awesome as Ripley's Aquarium is, it's just too far out of the way for this trip!

There are days that I feel emotionally stretched with dealing with two very emotionally needing girls. Daddy can't go anywhere in the house without having someone on his lap or on his back for cuddles when he's home. He sat on a chair on the front porch yesterday for a total of 5 seconds before Monkey came out of the house and just climbed onto his lap. Just because.

Moving is really exciting for us. The adventure is what we signed on for. Even before the military we would talk and plan for living in as much of the country as we could. I love having the broader scope of life and experience and I'm really excited to share that with our children. They've put their toes in the Atlantic ocean! They've played in the red sand of PEI. They have driven along the Bay of Fundy, visited Peggy's Cove, driven through Cape Breton, and lived near those amazing ships that get sent out. 

As a "westerner" those are pretty fantastic experiences. We've taken pictures, collected shells and pretty rocks, sat listening to the birds in the yard, watched the leaves turn gorgeous shades of red in the autumn. We've made some very special friendships, both in the service and outside of it, and this time will be remembered fondly. It was here that we cut our teeth on living the military life. But that will likely be another post. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Little Boots

A couple weeks ago I had a sad day.  Well, not sad sad, but one of those day when you realize that the dinosaur rain boots you bought in Calgary back in the summer of '08 when the oldest boy was 2 and have been worn and muddied and splashed in by him that summer and the next, then by his brother the two years after that, and the first sister after that, and now the youngest little Monkey is wearing them and you see a couple little holes in the soles.  Not all the way through, the socks are still staying dry. But holes nonetheless.

Those boots saw countless kilometres walked through the dinosaur exhibit at the Calgary zoo, trying to sneak away to climb up onto some terrifying lizard's back. They saw walks to and from the park a block away, a move across the provincial border to a new house. The boots got muddied in the river sand in the South Saskatchewan river, jumping in puddles there, bogging up the incredibly soft back yard we had there, digging for worms, giving Tonka trucks baths and "painting" the fence with wet sidewalk chalk. They were worn on the road away from that house to yet another, back to Alberta, where that little boy trudged new paths in a new back yard.

Those boots were passed on to a brother who had no front teeth due to an argument he had with gravity and a chair, who ran countless circles in those same boots with those same trucks in that new yard, They dug in new grass, went dinosaur bone hunting, wild life watching on new trails that ran through the beautiful place we called home. They discovered West Edmonton Mall, saw the river banks of the North Saskatchewan River, and caught fish in Minnedosa, Manitoba.

On the feet of a sister, those boots made the trip out to the east coast of the country. They stepped into the waters of the Atlantic, trudged through the rivulets that the rainy autumn brought.  They walked to and from school with momma and the littlest sister while Daddy was away at Basic. They ran around that beautiful back yard pulling siblings in the wagon, pushing the trucks around, having races. They walked dolls in strollers along the back paths to pick the boys up from school.

Those boots played at the playground of the MFRC preschool, splashed in the puddles of the parking lot, and dropped off her feet when she had to be carried (sleeping) into the house after. They were worn with frilly skirts and ribbons and bows.

Those boots were passed on to the final sibling to be used to "flat" slugs and worms, squish spiders and ants, and pick up rocks.  They climbed through the rocks in the back yard and ran to the park. They made mud, hunted for salamanders, picked chives and dandelions and the occasional tulip.  Those green cammo t-rex boots were worn with tutus, tights, and sparkles unashamedly.

Four sets of feet were kept dry by those boots.  Forty small toes. And now they are retired, no more steps will be taken with those T-rex boots. They have certainly earned a rest. And that is why I had a sad-ish day a couple weeks ago. Bittersweet reflections as I look back on all that those little boots have done, sweet because it has been amazing watching these kids explore and grow in them. Bitter because their role in our lives is done.