Writing These Days

These days, following the incredible excitement and stress and commotion of the move and renovations and launching the new west end shop, have been a bit slower – the summer heat seemed to come over Toronto all of sudden, and I’m embracing it with picnics and naps outside and writing again. The dog had his brief few weeks when the weather was warm enough for humans to stand outside, throwing a ball around with him, but not too hot for him to require shade and copious amounts of water after one throw. I know it’s all about the hustle these days, but it’s not quite what I think they’re thinking of, when you’re trying to rush a three year old and he’s half naked on his little indoor bicycle thing that he outgrew two years ago, inching along gleefully, saying, “I’m hustling, I’m hustling!”

It’s been a lovely sort of recovery – checking in on neglected plants, piles of laundry, finishing up a long book club read (Donna Tartt’s The Secret History), weeding out Caleb’s winter and outgrown clothing, renewing my library card. And, finally, I’ve been catching up on correspondence, overdue thank you notes from Naomi’s birth (already now seven months ago!), journaling again. I made a comment the other day about the fog of early infanthood, but it’s mostly just me letting life get a bit out of control.

With all the big rush of long days and nights mostly over, I’ve been newly re-invigorated to write again, to clean out my pens and sort through everything on my desk and find the ink flowing onto the page. Snail mail! Grocery lists! Quotes from books! Lists of Things I See Other Children Doing That I Want Caleb to Do!*

And I’ve been writing in my journal again. It’s also been a long time since I journaled consistently – probably not since before Naomi was born late last year. Here and there when I managed to grasp a few minutes at the tail end of a day, or in between loads of laundry. Life is whirling around me! How important it is, especially during these months, this year, of huge and sweeping changes, to remember the stories and the ups and downs and the milestones and surprises, of the shop, of the babies, of my own personal dreams.

And so it’s been wonderful to organize and open my notebooks again. I have a Traveler’s Notebook insert with photos and stories of the babies, and I love looking back and seeing especially Naomi’s rapid changes, but also seeing Caleb’s big and small moments. It’s become a process for me as I select washi tape for photos and ephemera to tape in, but I especially love seeing the pages fill up and crinkle and become heavy and full.

With much of my stationery still packed up in boxes, I’ve also been completely embracing the idea of using what I have in front of me. Some letters have been written on mis-matched stationery or unusual paper, and I can only hope the recipients can embrace the wabi-sabi of it. I didn’t make it for February’s InCoWriMo or April’s National Letter Writing Month, but I’ve been making it up for it the last few weeks, and I love seeing a (small) stack of mail ready for the mailbox.

It’s been surprisingly satisfying to weed through my bin of greeting and note cards and letter writing stationery, to find just the right one for each recipient. Finding the right envelopes, looking up addresses, taking a minute to really think about these people I’m writing to. I sometimes find myself caught up in trying to make sure I have one of each special edition! And perhaps a spare! And perhaps a spare for the spare! But really, when it’s all packed away and you only have a few bottles of ink, you use what you’ve got.

I sometimes think, yes, maybe Caleb will be able to sell that mint-condition pen or box of pencils for 20x its original value once I die and he cracks open my stationery cupboards (obviously not before I die), but even more so I love the idea of him and Naomi being able to look back and see their adventures and the excitement of living behind a shop and how loved they were. Jon is always quasi-complaining about how much film I go through, but I’m shameless. More photos! Let’s all stop and take a picture here! These photos and notebooks are some of the most precious things I own.

Custom 74: Sailor Sky High
Lamy Vista: Ancient Copper
Lamy Safari (Neon Lime): J. Herbin Lie de the
Lamy Safari (All Black): Sailor Epinard
Pelikan M600: Diamine Syrah
Pelikan M400: Pelikan Brilliant Brown fyhg

***

In other news, I registered Caleb for kindergarten the other day. A class happened to be entering the school at the same time I was, from the playground, and I spent the entire time registering him watching the class tear through the halls, horrified at the thought of his tiny soul wandering lost into the chaos of a public school, classes of kids hurricaning past him. The receptionist assured me “oh, the kindergarten teachers are all wonderful” – but don’t they always say that? I mean, I used to work in a public school, and I’m pretty sure no receptionist would actually come out and say, “well, there’s this one kindergarten teacher who you want to look out for, she’s just horrible.” We’ll have to see how it goes.

Everything has flown by – Caleb as a baby, Naomi as an infant, our days on Carlaw, life. Some days, I can’t wait for both babies to be in school all day long, but then on others, I want them spread out on blankets at the park, listening to me read books out loud, sunlight streaming through leaves, spilled popcorn everywhere, forever.

*(Obviously) I am just kidding. Caleb is a free-spirit – i.e. belligerent.

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