We spent the holiday Friday exploring hidden-away playgrounds and not-so-hidden-away public markets with my lovely cousin Maia. It’s nice to be reminded that I have family here and how close they actually are.
Category Archives: friends + family
Thor and I have just been Home (yes that’s Home with a capital H) for 14 days of sunshine most days and most important: the kind of time with family that leaves you knowing exactly where you belong, how much you are loved, and just how lucky you are to have the family that you have. It aches to be away from them. It always has, now more than ever.
I got to celebrate another birthday at home again this year, though it was a completely different day than last. Last year was filled with the fear of losing Dad, this year… this year I would give almost anything to trade that feeling with the loss we live with now, if it meant we got have him with us. There aren’t any words to convey how much we miss him. But I am grateful. With Dad in mind and family gathered, it was the best day I could have wished for. My family did that. My dear friends too.
Thor handled the trip like a seasoned traveller (this is his 3rd trip to Canada before his 2nd birthday). In fact, travelling alone with him was the least stressful trip I’ve experienced in years. Calm and cool – that’s how most of it went: sugar high come down at YVR excluded.
We spent time at the beach, dug our bare feet into the sand, hung out at the playground, walked the White Rock promenade almost daily, admired the pier from a distance (it was being repaired in time for the summer masses), browsed the little shops (Saje I can not resist you), stopped for coffee, bought groceries at hippie-now-standard health food shops, smiled about old days, waded through memories and discussed the unforeseeable future. Even though it was 2 weeks instead of 3 this time – nothing felt rushed and I saw my friends and family more somehow (although I could still absolutely have used that extra week). We ate breakfast together, arranged days out, met friends in the afternoons and regrouped in the evenings. Somehow there was still time for free days and hanging out at home with nothing special planned – I think sometimes those are some of the best days of all.
They say the world is not as big as it used to be, and while that is true (when I lived in Korea in 96 we couldn’t always get through on the phone… now there’s FaceTime all hours of the day) – it still isn’t the same is it – as being home in the fold and back where you come from.
Friday saw Thor’s last day at dagpleje (private daycare) with one of the sweetest women we could have been fortunate enough to trust our boy to. She’s given Thor an amazing start and been a big factor in so much positive development the past 6 months. It has been such a blessing to know each morning when I have dropped him off and watched him confidently make his way from my arms to her living room – that she would provide a day for him that was at the same time cozy, safe, challenging and fun. She started missing her little ‘dansemus’ (dancing mouse) weeks before this day. We’ll miss her too (and for that reason will be visiting her when we get back from Canada) the week Thor has orientation at the new place.
That new place is the vuggestue (public daycare) downstairs, where their daily activities are planned with an athletic focus – which is ideal for an active guy like Thor, especially at this age. Their opening hours are a little better for us as well, which was one of the factors that led us to accept the spot when we finally got it (we started as number 72 on the waiting list almost a year ago). Thor won’t get the close attention he had with private daycare where they were only four, but given how social he is, we know this next step will meet his need for new challenges. We’ve heard very good feedback from other parents, so things bode well. Fingers crossed he settles in quickly and takes these next steps as well as he did the last.
Thor started at daycare last week – and it went just fine until Thursday when I had to come pick him up after just half an hour – he was inconsolable (and I was oozing with guilt). Friday we started with regular drop offs, I don’t stay – just say good bye, smile like this is the greatest idea ever and wave good bye. He isn’t buying it though and tears literally spray out of his eyes while he reaches out his little arms to be saved from this place. It is very hard to go.
Thankfully, the daycare is thoughtful about sending a photo and an update most days – usually with news of progress made and (eventually) smiles shared. It is helpful to know that it does Thor good to be among other kids each day, to be challenged with new activities and to find his way in unfamiliar circumstances.
On the flip side – I’m looking forward to getting back to work, to colleagues and to project work. I have missed the good kind of stress that comes from deadlines and the pressure that somehow results in better solutions – the kind you can smile about in the train on the way home. I’m anxious about starting again – curious about updates, new research, new methods, anything I might have missed this year. It will be good to be caught up.
Vesterhavet on the west coast of Jutland was close to my dad’s heart. He had to come here every time they were back for a visit otherwise he hadn’t felt like he’d been in Denmark. It’s moody and unapologetic here – there’s respect for the weather and caution for the power of the sea. Mom, Thor and I drove up for the day – to pay homage to Dad by bringing him with us in our hearts to one of his favourite places. But he was already here, quietly skipping stones out into the water with his colar up to keep out the biting wind.
Miss you Dad.
Happy Birthday Dear Mom
I know that despite the gratitude you have for each and every year – you would like this one to fall under the radar – no party, no festivities – just a quiet marking of the day and on to tomorrow and the next.
Know then – how very loved you are. I hope that you will let us tell you how much we admire you, are inspired by you, and love your wicked and somewhat twisted sense of humour. You are curious and brave, an explorer of the world – at home and far away. I think Dad loved that about you as much as we do – I have heard him mention it more than once. You’ve taught us (among other things) to be strong, to ask questions and to be fiercely independent. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
My mother and my friend – you fill the biggest parts of my heart. I hope the sun shines for you today your birthday and that some happiness finds you each and every day.
For the last few months, Thor’s been clapping his Mormor’s face when we FaceTime with her on the iPad. She eats her breakfast while he eats his dinner and the two of them have this great discussion like they’re picking up right where they left off last time. He’s looked behind the screen to see if there wasn’t more of her there. So when we picked her up at the airport the other week he looked at her a moment and then clapped her face the same way he’s been doing online – only this time she was in full dimension. He smiled at the difference. Finally Mormor was here.
Thor and I spent 10 good days with her in my uncle’s summer house in Jylland – close to family and a quick drive from the west coast (more on that later). The trip was book ended by a few days each here in (right now rainy) Copenhagen – the same way Mom and Dad have always done when they’ve come to visit. Only this time Dad wasn’t with us and Mom stayed in a new hotel. His absence is definitely felt. I think it’ll be a long time (if ever) before we stop half expecting to see him walking up ahead or lingering at something interesting he’s seen along the way. While it hurts our hearts that he wasn’t with us – it was so good and wonderful to get to spend so much time together with Mom. Thor adores her. So do we.