April 16, 2009

Good Friday

Last Friday, Good Friday, was the rarest of all days in a household with a new baby, a high-strung dog, and a wiley cat -- an unqualified good day. It began with rain, an inauspicious sign in most places, but in the dry, sun-parched Alberta prairies where you don't see rain for nine months of the year, a little rainfall is a minor miracle in itself. It's also a sign that Spring is truly here.

While the rain fell outside, and the cat and the baby napped upstairs, and the dog chewed his bone in the basement, I threw open the windows and doors and stole a few hours of precious alone time to ... clean my floors. It may not sound very exciting, but I haven't been able to wash my floors since Colin was born, and with two animals in the house, my floors need washing on a weekly basis. I now understand why the pioneers made such an event out of "Spring cleaning." Giving one's house a good airing after a long, dirty, cooped-up winter is truly a cause for celebration. I even lit candles (to mask the scent of the floor cleaner), and the effect was almost holy.

By 10:30, I was washed and blow-dried and dressed (another minor miracle) and able to welcome my friend Amy into a freshly cleaned home to play with my freshly awake baby. Amy brought delicious cinnamon buns and held the Colin, while I got to enjoy my first cup of really piping hot coffee in months. It was a great visit. She's welcome any time.

Afterward, since Colin was still in such a good mood and the sun was shinning, we went out and did all of our grocery shopping for the holiday weekend, and by the time we were done, we got a call from Kevin telling us that he was coming home from work early, "because I'm ready to come home to my wife and child," he said. (If you inferred that these words don't cross his lips often, you would be right.)

With Kevin home, we put Colin in his pram and took him and the dog on a long walk in the sunshine. It was Colin's first really awake excursion into the out-of-doors, and he was mesmerized by the leaves rustling in the wind -- and Kevin and I were mesmerized watching him watch the leaves. I imagine that one of the greatest joys of parenthood will be seeing the world anew through his eyes. Like the first time I ever wore glasses, those leaves seemed to pop out in all their individual glory.

It being an official holiday (for everyone but workaholic physicists) the whole neighborhood was out enjoying the good weather: couples relaxing in lawn chairs, dads firing up their grills for the first barbecue of the season, and everywhere children riding bikes and playing ball. The neighborhood was just teeming with people, all so happy and carefree. And it was such a contrast to where we lived this time last year that my eyes welled up with tears of gratitude -- for the probably hundredth time -- that we now live where we do and that our lives are so much better than they were then. Even Remy seemed to understand that this day was special for me, and he didn't pull on his leash or bark at passers-by or roll in poo -- not even once.

Although it already seemed like a very full day, there were still hours of daylight left to us (the sun is up until 8:00 p.m. in the Far North these days), and so we took Colin out for another first -- his first swim. I recently discovered a recreation center with a heated, saltwater baby pool for my sensitive little boy, and it being a Friday night, and Good Friday at that, we had the place to ourselves to try it out. Again, Colin was mesmerized ... which is not to say he liked it. He didn't cry at least, but clung pretty tightly to us for the whole hour that we were there. Kevin and I certainly had a good time, though, getting to go out on a Friday night, when everything is usually closed to us.

And afterward, Colin was so happily exhausted that he went straight to bed without a fuss -- in his very own bed! If you've followed our sleep dilemma on this blog at a;;, then you'll know how miraculous an uncomplicated bedtime is at our house. I hadn't set out to get Colin sleeping in his own bed -- in fact, I rather enjoy sleeping alone helps my son to sleep for seven hours at a stretch. That's right, Colin slept -- alone -- for seven hours that night! This miracle has yet to be repeated at such long intervals, but ever since Colin has, at the very least, spent the first part of each night in his own bed and given his parents some much needed "alone time."

With our first night of "alone time" we did nothing more than curl up on the couch, eat frozen pizza, drink beer, and watch a pink sun setting over our neighbor's treetops, but in it's own way, it was the perfect end to a very long week and to our very good, Good Friday.

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