This is the most beautiful thing that anyone has ever written for or about me. I love you too Mom.
A very happy 40th birthday to my beautiful Finola.
You came into our lives 40 years ago and from the very first day brought us great joy. You were such an easy baby to care for, always good-humoured and smiling, and after the first few weeks when the world was new to you, you never cried, except when you were hurt.
You were always wide awake and lively during the daytime, naps were something to be despised. I did my housework, cooking, ironing etc. with you always with me strapped in your little chair, on table tops, the kitchen counter, the middle of beds or on any safe surface. As long as you could see me and hear my voice, you were content. Even when I read, I did it aloud, so you could hear me.
This was balanced out when, at three weeks, you began to sleep right through the night.
For some reason, you had a special affinity with the people that worked in our local bank. No sooner did we get inside, than you were off to your chosen person and chatted with them until I was ready to leave. On one occasion when I was finished my business you were not there. I looked all around, and then in a large high-backed leather chair in the manager’s office, I saw two tiny feet sticking out. He was your choice that day. Everyone there knew you, and were very impressed by your vocabulary and ability to express yourself when you were only two years old.
I know you hated school (so did I!) but still you worked very hard and were a high achiever. I used to love parent-teacher interviews and hear all the praise your teachers heaped on you. And it was so well-deserved.
I always remember something you said to me when Paul left home to share an apartment with some friends while he was at university. As we walked back into the house after seeing him off, you said: “when I leave home I will be the one to leave you on your own.” My heart broke a little at the sensitivity behind this thought. I tried to reassure you that, although I would miss you so much, at a certain point children needed to spread their wings and learn to be independent and that parents understood this.
The years we spent alone together were good ones for me. I don’t remember any major disagreements we had; minor ones of course, but they were usually resolved without acrimony and without leaving either of us with angry feelings. It’s a hard job to decide just how much freedom a child should have, but when all my inclinations were to say ‘no’, you always had good and valid reasons which you presented very well as to why I should say ‘yes’. I trusted you and I liked and trusted your friends.You did so many things to help me during those years. Every day you washed, dried and put away the breakfast dishes before I came home from work. Every week during the summer, you cut the grass. And in the winter, I always came home to a perfectly shovelled driveway and path after a snowfall. All these things, and many more, you did without even being asked.
Then you did leave home. Of course I missed you enormously, but I knew how much you loved your little apartment on Somerset St.W, and I was glad that you didn’t have to make that long journey by bus from the labs at Smyth Road to Kanata every night.
There were so many occasions when you made me proud. When you graduated Magna cum Laude in your undergraduate degree, and then when you won the top prize for the best master’s thesis in your Master’s. I knew you had been nominated, but didn’t know that you had won. When it was announced at the Art’s Centre, I jumped to my feet cheering wildly. I even turned to the people behind us shrieking “that’s my kid” like a demented banshee. They were so nice about it, and they all shook hands with me. When I saw you downstairs afterwards, I had great difficulty not crying.
Then you married Tony. What can I say? There isn’t a better son-in-law in the world, and his kindness and helpfulness to me is beyond description. Whatever I ask of him is immediately done willingly and cheerfully. He is kind, loving, funny and has the patience of a saint. I love him so much.
And then you presented me with two beautiful little granddaughters, N and B. I can’t even put into words the love I feel for them, and the pleasure I get from being with them.
Finola, when I wrote a tribute to Paul on his 40th, I thanked him for 40 years of loving kindness, patience and understanding.
I thank you for the same things. I love you.
|Me and my Mom|