2005 I had packed up and left the father of my oldest child. I mean I left him a 100 x before,
which usually involved me just going to my parents in Ahousat for the weekend
but this time was different.
I had this amazing job with (cough, cough) Government of Canada
where I was traveling to different nations throughout the island
to gather info on how services can be improved
(really Melody? What even ever happened to all that info gathered?)
Anyways, left the baby daddy and got my own place. I was feeling confident & ready for new!
Of course, until he showed up, which he always had. It didn't matter where I went
or how many times I ran or changed my number, he always came looking.
So then I thought instead of running, hiding, changing my number I'd face what always came, him.
We'd separated maybe a month, ok it really did feel like an eternity then
but as usual, he showed up at our front door.
Apparently looking for his salt shaker that I took when I packed up the entire house.
Well shit, salt shaker my ass,
he stood there at the door with his
please take me back
I"ll do anything look.
It was my birthday weekend in November in Nanaimo in our new home
(which was really nice but in the hello ghetto - me scared)
it was that type of cold that begged for cozy so cozy came in for his salt shaker
and along came this very unplanned little being.
The little being that journeyed from my birth to his.
With all the birth control odds against him he came along when
I was clearly touching the finish line with his older brother who was 14.5 years old then.
I felt freedom, for real seeing that finish line! Ok, like there even is a finish line but still!
The race started all over, from the very beginning. In all honesty, I wasn't ready to race again,
but his father though was on cloud nine, runner's on & ready to marathon!
He had begged me for years to have another & couldn't care less about how I felt about this unplanned gift.
After all, according to him to him, he was just 'using' me to have his baby.
I could go back to work, travel and come and go as I pleased he swore, he was going to stay home and raise this one this time.
Though Evan never got to know his father & is at an age where he almost seems to resent him
(I"m blame hormones/puberty/cooped up)
so though people might mean well by thinking they are complimenting him about his father,
he's at a place in his life where he simply does not want to be like his father period.
It can be a lot of pressure to feel like you have to live up to a father you never knew,
like people somehow expect you to be just like your dad.
An all-star super athlete, which happens to be neither of our sons.
So instead of assuming everyone had a relationship or a cozy loving relationship with their father,
I try my best to not put that pressure on these men who are working through some very uncozy, valid feelings.
Even if my heart wants to still share how much I see him in them,
so maybe I secretly share with you here instead.
Evan had one birthday with his son and he went all out.
He stayed true to his word and did everything for this wish upon on a star that came true (this baby).
He baked up a storm & was so proud to have all the family over.
He went shopping and picked up some super tacky clothes for his son's first birthday.
When Evan was born he was born with acid reflux and cried all the time.
Often dad would wake up for those regular 3 am bathes with baby that seemed to calm.
But never in a million years would I ever have imagined the storms that would come after those moments of calm.
And after that first and last celebration.
Birthdays were never quite the same after that, no matter how many times we tried to celebrate,
no matter how many gifts there were, it always still felt empty.
As time went on and as we grew,
celebrating without presents became the new norm.
We created new ways of celebrating and invited
(more like demanded Melody be honest)
we invited others to join in our newness
which was, gifts can be given so long as they were gifts of experience.
cause we like our bareness.
So our new gift,
our new gifting was going to the Cultus Lake Waterslides.
No gifts, just presence.
Like really Melody? Instead of a $20 gift, let's just invite families to the mainland for a $700 weekend!
OK, but really in my defence, we all normally went to the slides / PNE before such invites
and plus there are many gifts of experience such as surfing,
skiing, lessons, carving, harvesting,
time, teaching and the list goes on and on
but it had to be an experience!
(I suppose there are worse things than receiving gifts that one won't use or need but hello earth)
Anyways! Who was always up for adventures and experiences though?!
Auntie Joyce and her family! Every year right now we would up and go last minute,
on our annual camping adventures!
We never planned but we always knew it was around Evan's birthday
We somehow without a plan
coordinated work schedules
to magically make it all happen and happen every year it did!
Until this year of course,
it's once again been those familiar empty feelings,
oh hello, grief, our old friend.
We never even missed you.
Evan misses his late auntie,
they way she called him,
like a song she sang, 🎶 Baby Evan 🎵
He'd been so scared to go to sleep
because every time he closed his eyes,
he would hear her.
Teary-eyed, I would tell him,
Awwww, close your eyes so you can see and hear her,
that's where she lives now... inside of you.
Don't be scared to let her sing you to sleep.
Cause when you see and hear here there,
you won't want to wake up here.
He'd been super sensitive this year about his birthday, not wanting to camp,
not wanting to talk about his plans or wishes.
I knew this was grief. Grieving for what once was and if I'm being honest,
he was grieving for something he's never had, a normal life,
a normal birthday & wanting to be like everyone else.
Well, talk about a super shitty time for this weirdo mother to try to offer anything normal now.
There has been nothing normal about his life. He was born in a flame, a fire burnt within him (acid reflux)
& after the loss of his father which was right after his birth, it only added fuel to our flames,
we naturally felt drawn to the ocean to tame the fires that now burnt in both of us.
Yet somehow the spark that he was born with has kept me warm for years.
When he was younger and I would be working half the night in my office and
come in to find him in my bed (when he was to be in his own), he would be half asleep hearing me enter,
mumbling while moving over from one end to another of my bed,
"I warmed up your side for you mom"
Sighs, how's anyone to kick that warmth out?
When warmth wraps you in so many little gifts.
Those little gifts that money couldn't ever buy.
Those little gifts that have always started with,
"Close your eyes mom"
Since he was two.
Whether they be tiny or big feathers,
or special rocks
I appreciate all those closed eyes surprises to this very day.
In his own way, he has looked after his momma.
From the toddler days of kissing my tears away.
To the teen days of today & trying not to look after me anymore.
For years and years, he had so much compassion
Then one day, when he was still small he'd had enough of grief.
Mom, enough crying now, be a big girl he demanded.
Giggles, though most days & nights he tries not to be a care taker of the big girl.
(because hello teenager's tearing apart who've they've been and wondered who they even are, which is def not their parents)
Because one day you're just a kid who loves needing a parent a lot!
Then next thing you know
Another day at some point in your childhood,
you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time and nobody ever even knew!
Then what? Who ever even knew who?
But in many ways Evan knew, he felt it & I saw it.
I witnessed them slowly disappear from one another.
One day, one year, you're all the same and all that matters is having fun & being a kid.
Then another day, another year everything and everyone has changed.
There are new ways to have fun that seem to bury old pains.
But burying old pains digs up new bonds.
and it was extremely painful to see them slowly break the bonds they'd built all their little lives.
Each headed down their own path.
No longer walking, running, or playing the same games.
Evan held onto Max like a brother from another mother.
They definitely walked the same path & played the same games together, he was the longest friend.
They'd laugh and laugh,
the kind of laugh that had zero sound,
the kind of laugh that only belonged to that one friend.
That kind of laugh that was high on life.
But for every high, there's a low.
and as his mother, I've witnessed my son dive in the deep lows.
While everyone else be getting high.
he works through the lonely lows as a teenager
wondering and waiting if there are any youth left who still like to get high on life.
But regardless of what self-medicating choices
other's make for themselves
(cause reality is we're all self - medicating with something)
I always remind him,
we don't know people's stories & it isn't our place to judge.
We don't know what people are trying to numb out & escape from.
But he does know the trauma that's been handed down for generations (thanks Canada)
He does know that sexual abuse is in all communities and most families (Residential school still teaching today)
He does know the importance of breaking these cycles & the terrifying stats that are stacked against him.
But he also knows where it comes from too
He knows the dark sides of this country & what it tries to hide, bury, and continue to take from us.
He does know that if he ever harms a woman that she will remember it the rest of her life & that secrets are never safe.
He's been taught that no one is safe, especially family & friends as most victims know their abusers very well.
He does know how much is riding on him to not only protect women
but to honor them and to honor them,
he must honor himself.
He's also been educated about healthy sexuality because
it's my belief that if more parents had these uncomfortable discussions about sex, the good, bad and ugly
that maybe there might be less of the bad and ugly?
Sex is not dirty. Sex is sacred. After all, it's why we're all here.
So he's been taught to honor the feminine in him & all around him
because most men who be running *ruining* this planet
& running around the world (womanizing, chasing women after women)
are really men running from themselves & using women to fill an empty gap within themSELF.
Those men are imbalanced because they have forgotten that they have come from a woman.
It's forgotten this planet is the mother, the ultimate life-giver that needs us all to take care of her.
But most men, whether in power or lacking power,
are denying that they're wounded and imbalanced because that is what society sells
& tells them to be.
To be strong.
So he's been taught to stay soft.
He's been taught that soft is the new strong.
He's been taught to treat every woman like his mother, sister, aunt, grandmother.
Even though he's been taught all that,
when I look at him
it reminds me too to stay true to who I am too
because we all know,
it doesn't matter what we say,
it matters what we do & how we do it
So being his only parent
I best continue living what I be preaching.
Because truth is, when I'm not practicing what I preach, he calls me out
and just loves to shove me into my shadow (work) because that's the kind of relationship we have.
Even if we're sometimes more like siblings ratting each other out.
But he is in relationships. Very serious ones.
Since he could walk it's been his responsibility to put the fish into jars.
To get his tiny hands full of blood, scales, and guts.
To be gentle & patient with the fish because food carries energy.
And as he got older and held more energy than his momma, he who apparently did not like doing fish anymore
took it on as his responsibility to drag his momma out of bed
for the 4 am smokehouse checks when she had run out of smoke n steam.
MOM!! Upsqweeee, the alarm! The fish! Get up! Let's go!!
(So bossy! I'd never boss my mom like that. I"d be softer, giggles)
He's in relationship with nature, though it's one he's in complete denial over.
Always pouting, complaining & mumbling how he's tired of being forced into all these relationships!
Ahem, only for him to be thankful in the end.
He's in a relationship with language. Again even if he says he's been forced into it his whole life (he's so dramatic)
Even though he chooses to learn it a lot on his own, especially when I'm not around.
I'd like to think that it has nothing to do with all the chumus in those classes.
But then again, he's an old soul
Drawn to other old souls.
Drawn to the safe elders who've accepted and embraced him into their lives. (Nana, Rosie, Marge, Jack, Suckeeya)
I mean, let's face it
What other 14 year old sets his alarm on his birthday to wake up extra early to run over and visit elders?
What other 14 year old has a wish of not ever doing alcohol or drugs
just like their great grandfather?
Just like their dad's friend, What's his name again mom?
Paul Frank Jr.
Yah, just like them.
What other 14 year old isn't on social media
Isn't on a cell phone for the summer (both by choice and not)
Gives up their limited weekend Nintendo game time for the summer &
Insists their mother gives up their game time too (social media).
(Yah that's not fair, he only gets game time on weekends for a limited time and hello I need social media for my business)
Sounds like an unfair sibling excuse?
Still this kid
Rather this young man.
Is truly something else.
He's got his head in the clouds.
He's always soaring way up & lifting me along the way.
Holding me accountable to it all
especially to the $40 he swears I stole from him when he was 9
& to all the times I promised we'd go visiting,
only to end up getting all carried away
writing like I am now till wee hours in the morn.
But he's human like us all & wanted you all to know
that he isn't just all smoked fish and sunshine.
He has deep dark shadows too.
He said, "Mom you can't just share all the good.
I don't want people to think I am something I am not."
Ok, Evan, I will tell them you are a little shit, or rather a big shit
who sometimes talks back and is lazy at home but helpful everywhere else.
Ok, that sounds good mom.
Gotta keep it real.
14 years of reality with him.