I’m writing this column for you the Tuesday following the Family Day long weekend. As luck (and the Cowichan Valley School District) would have it, the Friday before the long weekend was a professional development day meaning the children were home from school four days in a row. What’s more, my children were absent a fifth day due to the illness that invaded our house just in time to wreck any plans we had as a family for the long weekend.
My weekend mostly consisted of pushing my son to drink fluids and feverishly feeling his forehead for, well, fevers.
He stayed on the couch for nearly the entirety of the weekend and was actually sick enough we had to cancel his sister’s little birthday celebration she’d planned to have with some friends. Not cancel. She made sure of that. Just postpone.
At six years old, seven by the time you read this, my daughter is a spitfire. Stubborn, funny, quick-witted, wicked smart and super empathetic. I’m thankful for that last one most right now, because given the choice of having her party with her big brother locked away in an upstairs bedroom, or postponing it and waiting for him to recover, she chose the latter. Stuff like that makes me proud.
Smart enough to read. Sometimes we forget just how little she still is, though. After spending the last seven years watching her grow, she seems so grown up. But every now and then she does something that reminds us she’s just a little kid. (Her brother too. He’s in third grade and reading and writing and doing math like a boss but the other day he came home with this giant unwieldy pirate hat that he’d crafted out of paper and five dozen staples and he was so proud of it, it made my heart swell.)
Anyway, the other night we were having our nightly reading time and our book (we were reading Spy School: British Invasion but have since moved on to Spy School: Revolution) had the main characters parachuting onto the roof of the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, and hightailing it through the impressionist gallery to avoid capture by authorities.
The book made mention of the protagonists racing by a painting by Monet, at which point my husband stopped reading and explained to the kids that Monet was a super famous painter.
“I’ve been to his house,” said my husband. “He wasn’t there.”
I, of course, laughed. Claude Monet was born in 1840 and died in 1926. The kids didn’t know that though.
“You broke in!?” asked my daughter, worriedly. “Daddy’s a robber?”
So yes, just a week or so shy of her seventh birthday, her innocence is still so precious to me.
My husband explained that no, he’s not actually a robber, they just turned Monet’s house in Giverny, into a museum and he’d been there to visit as a high schooler on a Grade 11 trip to France.
That was the same trip as the time his tour bus driver ran over a stubborn French pigeon in the middle of a traffic jam.
A long story short, it went like this:
“The driver slowed down as much as he possibly could,” my husband explained.
The bus inched closer but the bird didn’t move. The bus inched closer still and the bird didn’t move. (Yes, it was a real living bird.) The bus inched closer even still and the bird simply refused to move.
My husband noted that ultimately the driver was powerless in the situation and was unable to avoid the bird, and as such, the bird was killed by the bus’s tire.
“We saw a lot of pretty cool stuff,” he added, thinking of the art and the architecture he saw on the trip.
“Yeah,” my daughter chimed in. “Like a flat pigeon!”
She would have been five at the time. They really do say the darnedest things.
As a working parent who also runs a household, I’m ready for the kids to be back at school. The paradox is that these are the situations I am most certain I will look back on with extreme fondness.
Lucky for me, the Spring Break two-week holiday is just around the corner and however much they test my patience, I’ll get to spend even more time watching my babies grow and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we do it together it’s the best gift a mom could ever receive.