The other day Jon had an appointment in Cabbagetown, and I took the babies down the street to Allan Gardens to wait for him. Allan Gardens is a large city park that has an off-leash dog park, but is mostly famous for its architecturally beautiful greenhouse, which is open to the public. I had initially thought we would just loiter around under those huge, shady trees, maybe eat a few snacks, but it occurred to me that I’ve never brought Caleb inside the conservatory.
If you’re ever in the area, or you’ve never been, you should definitely go. The greenhouse is fabulous, for lack of a better word. First of all, it’s free – you can just wander in and out as often as you please. But second of all, it’s stunning: it has a huge dome in the centre, and you can wander through the greenhouse into different rooms with towering trees and ponds and a watermill and plants and leafy things. Plus, the air is pretty great in there.
According to Wikipedia, the park has been around since the 1850s, making it one of the oldest parks in Toronto, and I love this huge expanse of green in the city. It has old, soaring trees, so most of the park is shady, while still being very bright, which is perfect for picnics or just hanging out on a blanket. It’s also a large park, so there’s always enough space to spread out, without feeling like you’re encroaching on someone else’s sliver of shade.
In any case, we roamed around the inside for a bit, admired some flowers and some plants, and I took a few pictures.
In other news, I spent a few hours going through photos on my phone the other night, selecting ones for printing out. I love having photos of the kids, and Caleb, at 3, loves going through them, and it’s startling how far back he remembers sometimes. I’m honestly so excited to have these printed out – hundreds! – of some big celebrations, like birthdays or holidays, but also many, many, many tiny moments. Caleb asleep on the bed in funny positions, the dog’s tongue sneaking out to lap up some crumbs off the kitchen table, the animals roaming the warehouse, Jon at his desk, the new shop, the old shop, the old old shop, out for walks, cottage days, cooking together, potty training, eating bananas. I can’t wait to have them all out in photo albums to pore over with the kids, and to add to as the days and years pass.
As a small business owner, we’re constantly trying to gauge and plan ahead for the next season, the next project, the next shipment, but time is a funny thing. As Caleb gets older, I’m sometimes tricked into thinking he doesn’t remember as much as he does because his language around time hasn’t quite caught with his understanding: he’ll sometimes say something like “yesterday, when I used to wear diapers” when he really means ” vaguely last year,” or “a long time ago I ate some cereal” when he really meant “this morning for breakfast.”
It’s startling to see both how quickly he’s grown and changed, but also the changes in my own photography skills. I take a lot of the photography for the shop and my blog myself, with my trusty old point and shoot, and of course photos of the family. Especially for the shop, which is our livelihood, I try to really strive to get photos as perfect as possible (an impossible and soul-numbing exercise if there ever was one), but life with kids is a bit different. As I look back and select photos of Caleb and the baby, even though so many of these are phone photos, half blurry or crooked or in dark lighting, it’s a delight to see and remember these stories, to laugh out loud. I see these photos with the couch covered in toys and clothes, or the kitchen sink overflowing with dishes, or lunch stains on shirts, and I’m learning to be okay with the real life. These crazy memories of Caleb spilling a box of Cheerios on the floor and Super trying to eat them up as quickly as possible, or the baby grabbing at Super’s ears and gurgling mouth wide open. That’s the good stuff.
Caleb finishes preschool at the end of the month, and I’m about ready to start weeping. How did this happen??
After June, we’ll have two summer months to join Jon in the main shop to help out with inventory and customers, head back and forth to the cottage, see what’s up with the east end studio shop, check out a few more parks, and maybe squeeze a few books or a little writing in between it all.
Currently reading: The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Indians in North America by Thomas King
Currently drinking: Fresca
Currently listening to: the cries of baby raccoons on the roof
Latest purchase: a bubble gun from the dollar store (that actually cost $3 + tax)
Latest heard from the mouths of babes (Caleb): “Chicken can eat the spicy sauce because he’s a spicy cat.”