We went away last week for a little trip to Duncan on Vancouver Island to see an old friend, husband and her 6 year old boy. Just me and the Precious and Juno cause hubby had some meetings to go to. We were going to meet up with him at the in-laws the next day. The ferry ride, usually a time for hubby to take the kid to the play area and a time for me to read a magazine, went by quickly.
I met a mum with a little boy was great at playing with the Precious. She was pretty chatty and within minutes I had learned she was a single mum and that the boy’s father was schizophrenic and alcoholic and she was better of without that drama. In return, after a comment she made about our children growing in our bellies, I told her he was adopted. Honestly, it makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes to let people think I gave birth to him. You know, cause I am such a proud infertile and all. We’re having that strange heart to heart talk that complete strangers can get into about motherhood and sons and then the next thing you know I’m on my soapbox about adoption and how adoptions are not as easy as everyone thinks, yada, yada, yada. I tried very hard not to sound simultaneously grateful and bitter at the same time. Then as we were saying goodbye, I felt like an idiot for blabbing on about it. I mean, here I am talking about adopting a kid from a low-income mum to another low-income mum who probably never considered giving up her child. Mmmm. I don’t consider myself rich in any sense of the word, but I can afford things she can’t. I have a husband to share the responsibility of raising a child and we drive on to the ferry despite the crazy ass fees. My dog eats raw food and wheat free treats. I probably spend more at Starbucks than she does on food for the week. On the flip side, I also know people who eat out 3 or 4 times a week and shop without looking at the price tags. It’s funny this motherhood thing. You end up talking to women you’d never talk to normally because your kids play together for a few minutes. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I would stay far away from the kids’ area and I could barely look at a newborn.
I was a little nervous about driving on my own but with the help of my new friend, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I arrived safely in Duncan with minimum fuss. It was a fabulous, sunny day and traffic was light. Hubby showed me how the GPS worked and I have to say it was fantastic. I’ve never travelled with both of them (the dog and the kid) on my own and I was pretty darn busy, but it was a great experience just being with my son alone. I’m lucky, you know, I’ve got an easygoing kid and an easygoing dog. We arrived in the afternoon and we had to make some stops at the pet store, liquor store and Tim Hortons for Timbits. The pet store, because I had forgotten to bring the dog treats, and a rake comb because the dog decided to drop all her winter hair in a day and I didn’t want any more hair for my friend to clean up. The liquor store, well, for obvious reasons, and Timbits because what kid doesn’t like sugary donut balls? I wanted to bring flowers and food, but I couldn’t bear to drag the kid out of the car seat and go shopping one more time. I was pushing my luck as it was. He decided to protest by sitting down in the liquor store. Luckily, it was not busy. Savvy mum that I am now I just let him pout and grabbed a couple of bottles and let him find his way to me at the till.
We had a nice time with my friend. She’s an artist who used to design stained glass in Vancouver. The walls in her home are covered in her art work. She’s about as opposite from me as someone could be. She recycles, composts and grows plants and trees and stuff. She shops only in secondhand stores and doesn’t watch TV. She listens to CBC radio. Ugh. I have no doubt that we are still friends because she calls me about once or twice a year to check in and continually invites me to her “pancakes and jam” sessions she’s been doing for years. She used to live in a an old broken down house with about 4 or 5 revolving roommates, managing the house, cycling 2 hours to work and serving pancakes to various banjo strumming, bluegrass type people and singing Beatle songs. (That broken down old house has since been torn down and rebuilt as a brand new “heritage” home). I loathe banjo and bluegrass music but her enthusiasm was infectious. You never knew what kind of person you could meet at her place. Alas, no one date-able. She was a real artist, her easel set up with some fantastical image in the dining room surrounded by little pots of paint. I admire that kind of talent. She would encourage me to paint with bits of spare canvas. We met because her boyfriend at time was an actor who played baseball with the same acting agency and she basically befriended my newly arrived self. She was so bubbly and artsy that I found her quite charming. Once, when her relationship with her alcoholic boyfriend deteriorated into a bit of an ugly mess, hubby and I had to pick her up at her house to spend the night with us. She eventually stopped trying to recycle men and found herself a decent, stable guy and they had a baby. She’s kind and loyal and has that community activist spirit.
I hadn’t actually seen her in about 4 years since she moved to the island. At the time, her son was about 2 and as delightful as he was, it was a little bittersweet to watch my husband run around with him. She was one of a few women I had known who had conceived later in life and it seemed as if everyone I knew had gone on to motherhood but me. Now, of course, it was a different experience. Now we talked more about raising little boys, getting older and dealing with perimenopause. Neither one of us can/will have more children and we were grateful to have our beloved sons.
And speaking of getting older, when we left, I realized 1/2 hour onto the highway that I had forgotten the Precious’ sippy cup (oh, no) and the dog’s food (raw, in a cooler in my friend’s fridge). I turn around, anticipating the ribbing I’m going to get when I arrive in Sidney for being scattered and absentminded, the GPS the whole way back telling me to turn left and make a U-turn, only to remember once I arrived in her driveway, that she had gone to pick her son up at school and then go swimming at the community centre. Oh, brother! Her neighbour graciously tried to help me get in, but she had locked all the doors and so, with my bladder bursting, I get back in the car and find a Starbucks to empty myself and grab a latte for the road. We finally get there, the Precious happy to be reunited his with his daddy and summarily dismissed me. By now, it was obvious that both of us had a cold – not sure who gave who what. And yes, I did get the gears for forgetting the dog food (hubby had to go look for a raw food pet store) and the beloved sippy cup because the kid was in whiney nasty mood by bedtime and wanted his cup of milk. And no other cup would do, of course. Sigh. It was like daddy was taking over and he never would have forgotten anything. Grrrr. Yeah, right, whatever.
We had a pleasant weekend, but I was glad to get back home to my own space. By the way, I went without my laptop! Hah! First time for everything, ta da!