Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paint: A rock & roll band

It's a pretty amazing thing to watch someone live her dream. I had the opportunity to do just that on Friday night.

My university roommate, Mandy, is an amazing person to begin with. We hit it off on Day 1, wiping away tears after saying goodbye to our loved ones and hello to each other. She was a guitarist majoring in math, I was a French major dabbling in singing, and we figured our don put us together because we were the messiest Christians on our floor. One time, a friend walked in and looked around, out of genuine curiosity, asked "How do you live like this?" Mandy and I performed in pretty much every coffee house we could, doing songs like Still Fighting It by Ben Folds, Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp, and a medley of Forever Young/Golden Girls Theme. We got to know each other's families, and have kept in touch over the years, largely due to the other equally awesome friends we made at St. Jerome's.

Once a year, we have a cottage weekend at our friend Meagan's, and this past year, Mandy brought out her guitar and played us a song that she wrote. She also let us know that she had plans to audition for a band. There are a lot of people who say they want to be rock stars when they grow up, but Mandy was serious. And this fall, she joined indie rock band Paint.

The band is composed of several really excellent musicians: Robb is on lead vocals and guitar, Mandy rocks out on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Marcus mans the bass, and Chris kills the drums (Hubby, also a drummer, was duly impressed). We caught their live show downtown on Friday night at a local club, and it was pretty unbelievable. You know when you go see a band for the first time, and maybe you only know one or two songs of theirs, and you're counting down to those songs? This was not remotely like that. They brought incredible energy to the stage, fun banter, and an engaging radio-friendly sound. It kind of makes you wonder that when there is so much out there that's contrived, how a band with such genuine talent can be relatively unknown. Mind you, that's changing pretty quickly: in the few months since their latest incarnation, they won a fan favourite contest from 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, and just wrapped up a two-month tour of Ontario and Quebec.

Watching Mandy onstage was obviously a huge source of pride for me. She's an introvert like me, but at the same time she looked completely natural rocking out onstage with her bandmates, and even engaging the audience between songs (including offering a shout-out to hubby & I up on the balcony). I wondered what Paint had been like without her! Afterwards, we hung out by the merch table and got caught up on each other's lives while I happily sported my newly acquired Paint shirt (which I have worn every day since). I am so thrilled to see her living her dream!

Driving home that night, I felt very blessed indeed to be living my dream as well. I wanted to be a teacher from the age of ten, but I have wanted to be a wife and stay-at-home mom for as long as I can remember. Now, at 26, I have the most supportive, helpful (not to mention good-looking) husband ever, who is working hard to support our family as he moves towards his career goal; I have a beautiful, endearing daughter who is growing and changing every day; I have wonderful friends who love me even though my house is messy and I don't always keep in touch; I have a faithful Lord who loves me even more than my parents and husband do (which is pretty hard to fathom), and provides for all of our needs. In the more difficult moments of life, these are the things I hold onto.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Musings on motherhood

Last year was my first Mother's Day, but this year's celebration has been more meaningful. A year ago, I did stand up in church when they asked all the moms to, and I took home a flower like the other moms did. I didn't have much of a belly at the time, and even though I definitely was a mom, it didn't feel as real because I figure most moms know their children's names and birthdays. Now that baby D is here and has been for 7 months, the day has greater meaning for me. And not just because we had her formally dedicated at today's service.

The more D grows and changes, the more admiration I have for my own mom. Every stage D goes through brings different challenges and delights: when she was a newborn, I loved how she smelled, and how much she slept, and how she only cried if she needed a feed or a change; I wasn't a huge fan of not being able to put her down, even for a few minutes, without her crying (a swing remedied that situation). When she was a bit older, I loved her first smiles and giggles and noises, although it was really tough getting her to sleep in her crib- she hated being away from us and screamed for up to an hour. Now, she's in a really awesome stage: she's loving solid food (but I do still nurse her several times a day), she babbles a lot (and I know it's way too early to read into this, but she does seem to say mamamamama when she looks at me and dadadada when she looks at her dad), she can sit and is very close to being able to crawl. At the same time, she still isn't great in the car, and has been waking up a lot in the middle of the night lately.

Being a mom, I've learned, is a pretty tough job. You don't get sick days, but you can sleep in and take naps when needed. You don't have as much free time, but you get to see your kid grow and change every day. (And I really love being there for all of her milestones.) You have to learn how to prioritize and multitask like never before. You have to intentionally ask for help and make time for yourself, not to mention time for you and your partner. You have to be willing to share your child, but in return you get to see the people you love, love your kid. You sing silly songs and make ridiculous faces just to elicit a toothless smile or a sweet giggle, and you get to see others do the same.

Mom, I have no idea how you did this with 4, but I'm looking forward to finding out. For the moment, though, I have my hands full with one.

My mom, her mom, D's mom and D.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Humourous things that happened in the past 5 minutes

1. Me: Wow, my pants are really high right now. [In my defense, I had started off sitting up straight and had slowly slouched down, while my pj pants remained in the same place.]
Hubby: Let's measure from the top of your waistband to the bottom of your bra... oh look! Less than 2 inches.

2. Me: "What snacks were brought?"
Hubby: "What?"
Me: "What snacks were brought?"
Hubby: "What you just said to me sounded like German."

Feint, perry, riposte

Just after dinnertime, I was taking laundry off the line (and being thankful that it hadn't been rained on). We have a path behind our house, and people often walk animals and children there. Because our property doesn't have a fence around it, we have occasionally found "presents" in our back yard, which I am presuming were left by said animals, or perhaps neighbours' pets. I love our next door neighbours on either side, so even if their pets were the culprits, I wouldn't be put out. I assume that most pet owners (I hesitate to use the popular "pet parents" as I espouse the antiquated notion that parents generally have offspring of the same species, whether biologically or adoptively) are responsible people who pick up after their animals, because in my experience, most of them do. Likewise, I assume that, when walking their dogs, they keep them on a leash.

However. (You knew that was coming.) That was not the case this fine spring evening. A woman was walking her schnauzer when the little beast ran away from her, tore across our lawn and up the side of our house. She tittered and casually remarked to me how he must have gotten away from her. I stared at her, not trusting myself to speak, lest I make any snide comments like "did he? Are you sure?" She called him in a half-hearted, unenthused voice, and he did not return. Then she called him again, mentioning that she was leaving, and Spike (for this is apparently its name) came rushing back.

Owner lady did not, as most might think to do, reattach his leash. Spike then realized that he hadn't torn up the other side of the house, so he proceeded to do that. I didn't find his behaviour as innocuous and perhaps endearing as she did, but rather than yell and carry on, I finished taking the laundry off the line and went inside. (An aside: it's a blasted good thing baby D wasn't outside with me, as she sometimes is when I'm hanging up or taking down laundry.) Next home reno project: a fence around the yard.