Welcome to my Asylum!

A place to empty my head of the random musing and mumblings that populate it on a daily basis.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

She's growing up....

Freyja turned 8 yesterday.

I remember being 8. I felt like I was growing up faster than my friends, and a year later I started my period and pretty much decided that all those childish things were too immature.

Freyja has always held on to her childishness tightly, she hasn't wanted to grow up. This week though, for reasons we had no control over, my baby has shown just how mature she is becoming in some ways.

On Monday we found out that the victim of the truck crash last week was the Dad of one of her best friends. Lee and I had met him several times, and I have to say he was a lovely man, always smiling and joking, clearly a devoted father and husband. It was terrible finding out that the victim of that awful scene was a man we knew, and especially for Freyja, that it was her friends' Daddy.

Monday evening she cried lots, as did I. She worried about me and her Daddy dying in an accident. But mostly she worried about her friend. "How could it be her Daddy?" she asked "I just don't understand Mommy, why would God take such a nice man away from his family". "How will M manage without her Daddy? How can I make her feel better?"

So many questions that I just didn't have the answer to.

Tuesday she went to school and there was a grief counsellor there for the kids to talk to. She talked, she listened, and when they said that there should be 2 kids to meet her friend when she came back to school, Freyja put her hand up and said she had to be one of them, because they had known each other the longest and she knew her friend would need her help.

Wednesday, it was her birthday. She turned 8. She went to the Aggie Days with school. She opened presents and we all had KFC for dinner at her request. It was her day.

Thursday, today, her first thought was again for her friend. She comes back to school today. Freyja disappeared as we were about to leave the house and came back with a favourite stuffed dog. I told her stuffies weren't allowed at school.

"Its not for me" she said " Its for M. She comes back to school today and I think she will need something to hug sometimes, so this is for her to keep, so she can hug it and feel better and know I love her".

Only 8 and so grown up......

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Happy Birthday Fidgetty Widget!

When I was pregnant with Freyja, my sister-in-law was expecting at the same time, and the baby who would become Charlotte was known as "Bean".  As "Bean' was no longer a family option for a nickname for our bundle to be, we started calling 'it' "Widget".  This soon became "Fidgetty Widget" as that little baby on board never kept still.  She's been the same ever since.

Today, my little tornado turns 8!  At 4.04pm GMT (9.05am here in Calgary) my little girl moves that step closer to being a woman, and I'm scared!

Its been quite a week in our house, good and also, pretty much as bad as you can get.  At the weekend, she went off to Brownie Camp.  I dropped her off Friday night, and barely managed to get her to stop chatting with her friends long enough to say goodbye to her sister and I, a sign of how grown up and independant she is getting.  When I collected her on Sunday though, I got a huge hug and "I missed you" whispered in my ear.

While she had a great time at camp, impressed the leaders with her enthusiasm and her behaviour, she also missed her family and even had a little cry at night.  While I hate that she was upset, a little part of me is happy that there is enough child in there to still miss a night time hug and kiss.

When she came home on Sunday, she told me how she had been worrying all weekend that I was going and never coming back, that something was going to happen.  Nothing did happen, of course, but my sensitive little girl was maybe picking up something in the cosmos.

On Monday, I got a call from the school asking me to collect Freyja as she was not feeling well.  I left work, went and got her, much to her surprise as she had expected her Daddy, and took her home.  She had a tummy ache that wouldn't go away, so we went through all the questions.  Did you eat your lunch?  Did you eat the fruit or just the bad stuff?  Did you eat properly at camp this weekend?  Did you drink enough water at camp?  How about at school?  Did you go to the bathroom at camp?

The answer to the last question turned out to be 'No" so I figured I had my answer and promptly ordered her to the bathroom with a book to "give it a try".  Success, but still a tummy ache that persisted.  I dutifully set her up in my bed with a glass of water and the TV remote.  I then began making phone calls to find out which of her friends was coming to her party this coming weekend as I hadn't had RSVPs.  "I don't think M is coming" she says as I'm about to call.  I make the call and her Grandma answers, not her Mom, and sure enough M isn't coming.  I tell her she was right.  "I thought she wouldn't because K said today that M's Dad died in a truck accident last week"

Oh My God !!!!!!

There had been a horrific accident involving a tractor trailer on the main route near our home the week before, but it was Easter week, the kids were off school, I hadn't had a chance to read the details and Monday had been their first day back.  I got out my phone, Googled his name, and there it was, an obituary and the date of the crash......

Now I knew why my baby had a tummy ache.  She had been holding that to herself all afternoon, not knowing what to say, or if it was true.  We knew M's dad.  Not well, but enough that he and M's Mom had once come to our house and had food before we all set out Trick or Treating together one Halloween.  We'd see him at school dances and Christmas shows and chat. He was a truly nice, good man, and a wonderful father and husband.

All Monday night, Freyja would ask for hugs and squeeze tightly, she didn't want to go to bed, but finally, after an hour of cajolling, she did and amazingly she slept soundly for a few hours, not waking until around 2am.  I lay with her another hour then, and I am not sure who needed it more, me or her.  She fell asleep again, and slept till morning, waking in that resiliant way that kids do after bad news. 

She went to school Tuesday and I called to tell them we knew what had happened and was told a grief counsellor was going to be with her class that morning.  I wish I'd had one myself as I was a wreck.  We weren't close, but I knew him, I knew the horrible way his life had ended, I knew the confusion and sadness I was feeling were the same feelings my poor girl had, and like me, she was likely imagining "what if it had been her Daddy".

My big girl came home yesterday without mentioning her friend or the grief counsellor, so I mentioned it to her. "Yes" she said "it helped to talk about it. M is coming back to school on Thursday and they said two of her friends should be close to her all the time and go to meet her at the door.  I told them I should be one of them as I have known her longer than anyone, and I knew her Daddy, so I think I will be able to be a good friend and help her feel better."

Only 8 today, off to 'Aggie Days' with the school to see the animals, she will be a kid having fun again, but tomorrow, she will be that mature girl, the shoulder to support her friend.  Saturday, she will be the kid again, enjoying her party, but I know part of her will be thinking about the friend who isn't there, the friend who is at home missing her Daddy. 

My baby isn't a baby any more.  She has kept telling me she didn't want to grow up, and I kept telling her it happens to everyone, but I thought the biggest thing threatening to bring the end of childhood would be the onset of puberty....  I never thought my girl would have to deal with such big issues so soon in life, and I am so proud of how strong she is being, and how her first and continuing thought is how she can make her friend feel better, feel happy, even if just for a moment. 

What a wonderful person she is growing up to be, my sweet, kind, loving, feisty, argumentative, creative, all singing, all dancing, Fidgetty Widget xxx

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Easter came early this year.  It didn't feel like Easter in the weeks leading up to it; snow on the ground; ice in the air; stir crazy children in a stuffy house; but the weekend of Easter the sun shone brightly, the snow melted and the windows were opened to welcome in the spring air.

Normally we don't get much of a chance to 'celebrate' Easter as it usually falls around Freyja's birthday and I am madly scrambling to finish the preparations for a party and wrapping gifts.  This year, it fell a full two weeks before her party weekend, and this coming weekend she is at Brownie camp, which gives me time, and a much more relaxed run up to her birthday as well as a much more relaxed family Easter.

It didn't exactly go to plan of course, it rarely does!  Friday was a busy day of house cleaning, with the idea of getting it all out the way so we could spend the Saturday and Sunday relaxing and doing family things.  Sadly, our neighbours, a houseful of young men barely into their twenties, still brimming with energy and lacking in consideration, decided to have yet another party until dawn.  This resulted in very little sleep for me and my better half, a restless night with nightmares for both kids, and a very groggy household as Saturday dawned.  It also resulted in a phonecall to the neighbours landlady and her saying that they had been warned "no more parties" so they are being given the boot.  Which may upset one of the tenants more than the others, as it is her son!  Better behave next time lads - this lady takes no sh*t, especially at 3am when my family can't get sleep.

So Saturday ended up being a brief foray to Home Depot to order a washing machine since ours finally lost the will to spin, and then back home for naps all round and half hearted completion of the cleaning.

I managed (amazingly) to stay up late enough on Saturday night to allow the Easter Bunny to make his entrance and leave some goodies (just some small chocolate eggs and some stickers in this house - none of the gift cards, toys and dvds here thank you!)

Easter morning began later than expected, and yet still earlier than I like, with Freyja barrelling out of her room, finding an empty basket by her door.  She charged into Rosie's room and woke her, bouncing like the Easter Bunny himself in impatience to get started.  For some reason, probably lack of sleep, I was in a crappy mood that morning.  I was getting irritated that Freyja was flitting back and forth with no method, and so was missing half the eggs.  Some eggs were missing too as the cats had decided to play with them.  Lee told me to take my tea, make my Sunday morning call to my parents, and keep out the way.  Twenty minutes and I was all better and ready to make the most of what was left of our Easter.

Lee stayed home to cook the Easter Feast as the girls, Dan and I headed to church.  I have only just returned to going to church these last few months, and I am still not completely comfortable with it.  Right now, I am there mainly for the kids.  Freyja is in a Catholic School, Rosie will follow suit, and really they need to be attending a church (though we don't attend a Catholic church).  Both girls are actually attending the Sunday School, rather than the church.  Rosie wouldn't do it for the first couple months, but now heads in to play with the other kids with barely a backward glance.  Its one of the reasons I go... to build her confidence with kids and new situations.

The church is huge!  Its an auditorium really, with classrooms surrounding it, a coffee shop, a gymnasium, a library and book shop.  It is easy to remain anonymous in there while I assess my feelings on the church, and on God.  Dan is new to the whole church thing.  He was not brought up as a church goer.  Some months before he moved over to live with us, he 'found' God.  He was baptised in the UK then, but still didn't really attend church.  He was eager to find a church which was a good fit.  I had been to this one a few times with our Landlady, and found it welcoming and not too 'preachy', so I took him a couple of times.  He really liked it and chose to be baptised again there a few weeks ago, and the kids love it, so I am attending it more in the capacity of driver right now while I enjoy an hour kid free, drink a cup of free coffee and enjoy some uplifting music and a (usually) amusing sermon.  All in all, it fits us as a family well, and I do not feel like a 'Bad Catholic'  like I do in the Catholic church which is small, so I stand out as being the person who has no idea what she is supposed to be saying or doing.

I'm still not convinced I'll ever be a 'God-Fearing Church Goer' but at least I am getting out there, working things out, and becoming part of the community.  I may not believe in the organised religion side of things, but I believe in kindness to one another, charity (not only of the financial kind, but also charity of heart), treating others with respect and in a manner you wish others to treat you.  So while I may not be joining the church properly, I think my children will be learning some good lessons in life, as I did attending Sunday School as a child, and later, they can make their own decisions on their beliefs.  After all, Free Will was one of the things given to us, so I hope they learn to use that to be good and honest and kind.