A Wistful Part of Parenting

I remember holding Cate for the first time. For nine months I talked to my burgeoning belly, imagining what our child might look like and how she would sound. The night before Cate’s birth I decorated our Christmas tree and sang Christmas carols to her. By mid morning the next day, I finally got to look into her eyes, call her by name and say, “I am your Mom”.

I have honestly enjoyed every stage of parenting Cate: her as a newborn, a toddler, a school-aged kid and most recently a pre-teen. I’m not claiming it was all easy. There were of course the inevitable moments of exhaustion and frustration. In the early days she was my constant companion, quite literally attached to my hip. When school began it took some time to convince Cate that she could manage a morning in kindergarten without me. Slowly, and with a great deal of patience we both learned that getting over the threshold of the door was actually the hardest part. Once there, she flourished.

Cate is now a teenager and for the first time I am feeling what I have begun to describe as wistful. I’m enjoying this stage too; I just have a keen awareness that while Cate will always be our little girl, she’s actually now a young woman. Next week we will be attending her grade eight graduation. Every time I think about it I have pictures of little Cate floating through my head.


While I was pregnant nobody could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. It wasn’t until I held this tiny person in my arms that it sunk in: this is a human we are responsible for. Sometimes it feels like my heart is walking around on two legs. As Cate begins to make more of her own choices and has all kinds of experiences apart from us this feeling only intensifies. I long to protect her from heartbreak, but know that I can’t. I endeavour to be a mom that is present and she can confide in. I also pray for her incessantly.

It is a joy to watch Cate mature. She is compassionate and articulate. She fiercely loves her friends. She has a beautiful voice and is authentically humble about it. She loves to read and is rejuvenated by hanging out in a bookstore. She is a self-described old soul, while at the same time content to be her age. She is claiming for herself the same faith we hold. And so while I am admittedly wistful, I am even more proud. Cate, I love you and will always be your mom.


In this Moment, I Choose to Abide

I am writing for the first time in weeks from a chair on the back deck of our house. My ankle is elevated because I managed to badly sprain it while walking to see my Mom in the Intensive Care Unit, where she has been since Saturday. I am missing a funeral today because of all this, while planning another for next week. Between my injury, Dion’s MS and Cate being away, our household is a bit of a comedy of errors. The beat shall we say, goes on.

The sun is shining right now. There’s a nice breeze too. I close my eyes and try to listen: to the birds, the squirrels running along the fence, the children playing in the schoolyard across the street, the breeze, the neighbours discussing their garden and the hum of a lawn mower. Since my childhood I have loved the smell of freshly mown grass and its scent is strong right now. I am trying to be aware of this moment.

In this moment I am also thinking of my Mom as she works to recover after another infection; of Dion as he checks out an accessible van that we need to buy; of Michael “Grumpy” Graham who died on Victoria Day; of the many people gathered at today’s memorial service for another friend tragically lost too soon; of Cate on her grade eight trip, wistfully aware of how quickly she is growing up. I am aware that my emotions are intertwined with so many things that are happening outside of my control.

I have been encouraged recently to consider what it means to abide, especially in the context of my faith. Abide means to: accept or bear; to stay or live somewhere; to remain or continue. I am invited to discover that as I abide in Christ, Christ abides in me. Any ability to accept and bear the challenges I’ve described above comes from strength that is absolutely not my own. As I rest into, or abide in the love of God, I am reminded that I am not alone.

So today as I listen to my surroundings and think about the oh so many things that I can’t change or fix, I also choose to abide.