This Christmas was my first with my family in Montreal since 2002. Back then I was preparing to return to New Zealand with my Kiwi boyfriend, unsure of what lay ahead for us. We knew we were happy and in love, but we didn’t know how long we’d stay in New Zealand or even where we would settle once there.
Fast forward to Christmas 2011. This time we return married with our 4 year old boy and 7 week old newborn baby girl. They’d met the first monkey 3 times before, once in New Zealand and twice before when we’d visited Montreal. This was their first meeting with Monkey #2 and it was pure magic. Never before had I seen my father so gentle, so in awe. Her little fingers, her smile and shiny black hair made him smile from hear to ear. My parents would hold her all day if I let them, or if she let them. My baby girl is a wriggler. My mother has a magic touch, instantly calming her in the evenings when I couldn’t.
On a more important level my parents are enjoying being grandparents. My dad took us to meet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve as was planned. Monkey #1 loved Santa. He sat on his knee and told him what he wanted for Christmas. My dad eavesdropped and later asked me what a “Woody toy” was. Monkey wanted a Woody doll from the movie Toy Story. Later that day, my dad called from the mall frantically asking for more info on the elusive “Woody toy” as he was hoping to track down the perfect toy for his little boy. I smiled at the thought of my dad going from shop to shop asking for a “Woody toy”. My dad is notorious at getting an idea and going all out. When my sister and I were little, like every other girl we were devastated when Cabbage Patch Kids were sold out and we’d yet to get one. We were watching the news with my mom one night and they were covering a mob scene of parents getting their hands on a new batch of just released dolls. To our surprise, the camera picked up my dad holding one box in each hand, waving them triumphantly – Cabbage Patch Kid for me and one for my sister.
My sister and I always whine and complain that our mother is forever commenting on our hair, our skin our weight (normally how much we’ve gained) and a host of other things in a bit of a negative way. As I age, I’ve come to realize that she only does this because in the words of Oprah, she wants us to be our best selves. Her little comments are meant to push us just that much more. I often fly off the handle at her off the cuff comments that go something like this, “Did you comb your hair today?” It’s not outright nagging, but I know she’s trying to tell me that I should comb my hair cause it looks horrible. I’ve talked to her about it in the past and truly she doesn’t see it the same way as I do. She really believes she is just making a general comment, not meant to offend.
So whenever my sister and I return home together, we prepare ourselves for the onslaught of nit picking. To my happy surprise I got nothing but the opposite this Christmas, compliment upon compliment on my hair, skin and weight. All the things she usually finds fault in. Maybe it was all the love flowing around having their grand kids around, but my mother actually raised my levels of positivity rather than dull them. I love my mom and I know there is not anything she would not do for me, so the fact that she was so forthcoming with praise just made me love her that much more.
On a superficial level 7 weeks post baby and I am smaller than I was before I got pregnant in March of 2011. I was incredibly sick for the first 6 months of the pregnancy and lost 15 pounds, it was the worst time in my life to lose weight, but I’m happy now that it has not returned. Oddly enough I’ve lost the weight in my butt, legs and tum. Its normally impossible to lose weight in my butt. My sister and mom both noticed and commented on how good I looked for someone who’d just had a baby. Besides the breastfeeding induced sugar cravings I’ve been eating alot of fruit including apples, so the weight is staying off for now. Up until I was pregnant I would get an allergic reaction from apples, itchy gums, swollen lips and even nausea. I can’t remember when my allergy to apples started, it’s not as clear as the day my deathly allergy to nuts began. I’ve been told to try these foods every 7 years, as apparently allergies come and go in 7 year cycles. I’m not willing to try the peanuts, too risky. But I try apples every once and awhile. After Monkey #2 was born I was given one in hospital and decided to try it, no better place to try something you’re allergic to, right? To my joy I enjoyed it and had none of the allergic reactions I’d had before. So I now devour them 2-3 per day, yum!
For me, right now, everything is right in the world.