To Mother Boldly: a Tale of Two Strawberry Pickings

To Mother Boldly: a Tale of Two Strawberry Pickings

We’re on a super mini-vacation right now in a favourite city of ours, Montreal, and these lessons from the strawberry field are true as we explore the city with our littles.

strawberrycollage2

It was perfect strawberry picking weather. It was warm but not blistering hot. There was a slight breeze that lifted the leaves to show the bright red fruit hiding underneath, it played with my baby’s curls and blew my bangs out of my eyes. My girls ran up and down the rows of strawberries, they chatted with the other pickers who thought it was darling to have two little girls picking strawberries. I smiled back and soaked in the moment.

strawberry picking

It was what I wanted to do. It was how I grew up, if we had strawberry jam it was because we made it and picked all the berries. I balked at it sometimes then (sorry, Mom!) but I’m so grateful for the way we were raised. I want my girls to have the same farm to fork experience I had. I want them to know the sweet, sun-filled taste of a strawberry picked from the field. I want them to know the excitement we feel every June when the first of the strawberries appear in the farm market and we have strawberry shortcake, snack on strawberries, and eat strawberries in any way we can for as long as they last.

strawberry picking with little kids, eat local

It was our second time out in the field this summer. We had ventured earlier out on a drizzly day- me determined to pick our strawberries, my girls entranced by the strawberry field and all the dirt. They ran, they trampled over a few plants, they tasted and then spat out the green berries. They picked a few, ate a lot and generally enjoyed themselves. I took a few pictures and then instagrammed our experience. I tagged it #eatlocal and #motherboldly.

But if I’m honest, I was a grumpy mom that first picking of the strawberries. It was a bold and brave thing to take my littles to the strawberry patch. I was excited and then promptly forget how very little they are and how very exciting fields of dirt are to little ones. I got frustrated, I got upset and I got a few berries.

strawberry picking with little kids, eat local

I wanted to go back and pick berries again with my littles. I wanted to say ‘kerplink, kerplonk, kerplunk’ with the strawberries in our little green baskets. I wanted to call them my little Sal and soak up their littleness, the mess and the chaos that picking strawberries with two littles three and under is.

strawberry picking with little kids, eat local

And I did. We picked berries, lots of berries. We laughed together. I picked berries on all fours with a little on my back. I let them run and say hello to the other pickers, I answered their endless questions of why, why, why. I bought them ice-cream on the way home and bathed them after they had lunched on a princess lunch of strawberries and cream.

strawberry picking with little kids, eat local

I want to mother boldly. I want to venture out with bravery, new challenges, and new places. And I want to remember how very little my girls are and how very big the world is to them. Together we will embrace it all, with boldness, bravery, and lots of laughter.


                                                                                                       I wrote this post last summer and I’m still repeating that mantra to myself- mother boldly, mother well. 

Advertisements

The M in Motherhood {celebrating the hard parts}

I’ve been a mum for four years. I have two sweet little girls whom I adore and motherhood has been an incredible adventure that no books or other people’s stories could have prepared me for.

The late nights of begging with the child to just.go.to.sleep.

The cheers when there’s that first milestone of wobbly sitting, standing, walking and toilet training.

The reality that I will share everything with them but get annoyed when they find my secret chocolate stash yet again.

The sweetness of bedtime and tucking their blankets around their soft faces, regardless of what kind of day we’ve had together.

The truth that even when I go away by myself, I think about them and wonder how they’re doing.

The tight, tight hugs I give them when my mama heart hurts for another mama’s loss or agony. motherandchildren Last month, I became that mama with the loss. I am the mama with a heaviness that won’t go away with a kiss or a bandaid. I wanted to share some other news with you but the truth of motherhood is that it isn’t all happy.

It doesn’t all always end well and my story isn’t your story. 

I miscarried last month.

It was not pretty. It was not happy. It’s still hard.

There’s the loss of the anticipation, the sharing of the happy news with friends and family. There’s the hard bit of only a few close friends knowing and not wanting to explain to the whole world why I need to rest and why its hard for me to hold your baby. 1 in 4 women miscarry, my mum has and my mother-in-law. My dear friends have and I understand that path so much better now. motherandbaby It’s nearly Mother’s Day and I’ll be celebrating with my two girls and my husband. Three of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. But there’s a different depth now to my motherhood and with that in mind, I give you a gift list.

Or how to love a mama who has lost a baby.

1. Be available. I had to go to the ER twice and the first time my husband was at work, an hour away. Friends dropped everything they were doing, reworked their schedule so that I could go to the hospital and they watched my girls for hours. Priceless.

2. Bring food. And tea. Or coffee. Actually both.  We had lunch plans with friends and instead they packaged up the meal and brought it to us. Including a lemon cheesecake that was absolute perfection. Other friends invited us for a spontaneous Easter dinner and sent leftovers home with us. Another friend came over for a visit, brought the tea and snacks. motherandgirls

3. Love in practical ways.  Offer to clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, or if there’s other children- take them for the day/afternoon. I can’t tell you how much of a gift this has been to have friends who pick up our girls and return them- bathed and in fresh jammies. Or out for ice-cream and park time.

4. Say nice things.  I know,it’s  kind of obvious but when your heart is so very sad you need words of love. Things like ‘that’s really, really hard’ ‘I’m so sorry’. Don’t say things like ‘God will give you another one soon’. Sometimes that’s true but sometimes it’s not. Let them talk it all out, if they need too. Ask weeks later, how they are doing. Don’t bring up pregnancy or babies or the story of how your friend miscarried but then got pregnant a month later.

5. Give support to the husband  He’s grieving too. It’s his loss as well and he’s looking after the household plus grieving. Take him out for coffee and ask how he’s doing. Share the sadness.

It’s not a situation I would have chosen but then none of us choose the hard things on purpose. I understand a little bit more about grief and loss. And I’m so very, very grateful for the two little girls who have made me a mother.

 

Thanks for letting me share my heart today, it’s not something that I was ready to talk about right away but it’s not something that I couldn’t not talk about. All photos taken by my husband, two years ago but still some of my absolute favourites. 

18/52

kilmo18

 

 

khaira18a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

It was finally warm enough and we were all healthy enough to do exactly what I dreamed about all winter long.  I filled a tray with our tea cups and some cheese and crackers to nosh and we sat on the back steps.

We talked together. We laughed. I answered questions about where the birds slept and if the faeries made the daffodils bloom. There was tea spilled, arguments over the tea, and I ate most of the apricots because my little girls don’t like them, right now.

My littlest rode her balance bike, rubber boots and sundress and all. She counted herself in and then raced back and forth across the pavement. When she was too tired to do it on her bike, she ran. With her curls flying everywhere.

My big girl wrote notes to Tinkerbell asking her about the flowers and about spring. She also wrote a page full of notes for my blog because she is ‘my big helper’. 

It was a perfectly beautiful afternoon with all the mess and the loveliness of springtime in Nova Scotia. 

Tell me about your spring afternoons and your favourite nosh. We’ll be doing this on repeat for as long as there is sunshine.

linking up with Jodi for Project 52