Monday, August 6, 2012


We were all up early waiting for mum's visit today. When we couldn't wait any longer inside the apartment, we headed outside. I had reminded both girls that they needed to hold in their excitement for Nana's arrival because most people in Toronto weren't awake yet and we didn't want to wake them. It didn't work--sorry, entire neighbourhood. But they hadn't seen her in two weeks.

Alyce misses her Nana like most people might miss oxygen. I get it because my mum is one hell of a woman. They're joined, those two, maybe because it was my mum who caught the first glimpse of that white blonde hair at her birth. It's as though they became fast friends the second they met. Or, as Anne says, they are simply kindred spirits. While the past year was difficult in many ways, one thing that was easy was the time both girls spent with their Nana. They stole all these extra moments with her that our culture doesn't often give children anymore. Most of us simply do not live with our extended family. Alyce and Shira developed a new understanding of family, learning that ours included not just two parents, but grandparents, too. Shira loves her Nana just as fiercely, but it shows differently simply because she's two and still so attached to me. Alyce can love my mum so much because she's growing up, building her own relationships without me.

Back to Sunday. It was the long weekend in Canada (remind me later to tell you how annoying endearing it is that Matt complains very loudly about Canadians and their preference to close down most businesses for statutory holidays) and my mum decided to visit us in Toronto. One way that my mum and I are very different is our attitude about leaving the house. My mum prefers to stay close to home, welcoming people in her own space, and her home reflects all the effort she pours into creating such a wonderful place to visit (perhaps too welcoming since we last stayed eight months). Me, as much as I love my home and happily spend a lot of time here, I also love a good daily adventure. Pack the car or stroller and let's get this show on the road. This means that I have many conversations with my poor mum wherein I ask, again, why doesn't she just hop in the car and drive an hour if she's missing these grandchildren of hers? But I get it, I really do. And so most of the time we visit her.

But not this weekend. With the extra energy of the long weekend, mum arrived early Sunday morning and dined on challah french toast with her girls. After Alyce and Shira showed mum all of their toys (none of them new, by the way, yet they take great pride in them nonetheless), we headed out to Kensignton Market. Speaking of having an awesome mum, she spoiled us in delicious food at the market, sending us home with cheese, (pecorino and provolone) fruit, veggies, and chocolate tarts from my new favourite bakery, Wanda's Pie in the Sky. Oh, please visit Wanda's. There are pies, of course, but so much more (not that one needs more than pie). I can't even speak rationally about how much I love walking into this place. Then we went to Good Egg, a tiny kitchen and cookbook store I had no idea existed until I read about it in the NY Times article last week on Toronto. It is with no exaggeration that I tell you I might spend my entire life savings in that store (if we had a life's savings). There are cookbooks at every turn, not just a shelf or two, and the pots! And the aprons! And the tiny kitchen details I actually dream about, such as the perfect butter dish and cast iron muffin tins!

I did come home with a few things for our new house, gifts from my mum, again (thank you, again). We are now the proud owners of knives on the wall (thanks to a lovely wall magnet), a pastry scraper, and a tiny pie bird. It wasn't even my birthday. But mostly my mum's gifts came in the form of making my girls giggle all morning long. We all miss her for that. Fortunately, we're only an hour away (nudge, nudge, mum) and while we aren't living in the same house anymore, there is always an open invitation for french toast.

How did you spend your weekend, long or otherwise?

1 comment:

  1. The picture of your little one eating a chocolate tart and looking up into Nana's (?) face with so much love just made my heart squeeze. Beautiful. My mom has a bond like this with my youngest. I always say that they're two halves of the same apple. My mom can hardly travel with my dad because she misses Margot so much. They live 20 minutes away and this fall, mom will be here with Margot five days a week till I have the baby. And she thinks I'm giving HER a gift. Hooray for extended family, and multi-generational caregiving! Loved this post; hope your mom makes it out to visit every two weeks or so! This made me want to visit Toronto.