Monday, March 12, 2012


Let me start by apologizing for being AWOL these past few weeks...I attempted to hit the Internet a few times out in Manitoba, however my parents' computer was suffering from the following message: "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage. Diagnose connection problems". Whatever the hell that means. Here's the technical translation I gave my Mom: one of your 34 grand children was likely effing about with your wires so let me just pop down there under your desk, armed with only a flashlight and a prayer, and pretend to know how to reconnect it, shall I?

All told, I survived the 5-hour trip by myself with three children. Some of the highlights included:
  1. Beating my Mom and Dad in rummy. More than once. I seriously don't win at cards very often; I suspect I lack the required focus. I'm too busy snarfing back chips and dip to be watching the cards. Well, fate smiled down on my garbage-disposal body. More than once...sorry, did I mention that already? I now have my earnings (loonie per game) hidden randomly around my parents' house in anticipation of my next visit. And inevitable losses.
  2. My brother stopping by to scoop up Jack and Isla to go and witness a calf being born. I missed the whole thing, but it was recounted in great (if not a touch repetitive) detail by Isla. "Mama cow being very bad. She bad. Dada cow good. Mama cow being VERRRRRY bad." The poor heifer was only a few apples higher than the calf she dropped, so it had to be pulled. At some point during the process, Isla (who was being held by my brother), got a little too close and the Mama cow turned and BAWLED a big 'ole mooooooooooo-I'm-in-so-much-f*cking-pain-right-now-and-you-violating-my-personal-space-isn't-helping-matters-much right into her face. I can relate. At any rate, it scared the shit right out of her (both of them), prompting Isla to formally launch her "Mama cow being verrrrry bad" campaign, which incidentally lasted the remainder of the week.
  3. Jack learning how to pee in a water bottle. (This educational vignette was brought to us by the baby James, who had just fallen asleep after screaming for an entire hour on the return trip home, so there was no way in hell this cat was stopping the vehicle for any sort of urinary tract activity. Bowel perhaps, but definitely not urinary. After convincing him that no, his penis would not get stuck in the water bottle, he decided that he really didn't have to go that badly.)
I have to say this...there's something about going back home that grounds me. The significance of family. Parents who love you even when you don't deserve it. Especially when you don't deserve it. I believe it's called unconditional love, and I've been blessed by it. It's a gift I can never repay, only thank God for it, and share it with those I love. And yes, there are moments with my family where I want to pack up, run away, take a sibling out at the knees, have all my frustrations dissolve into the universe, but really, one needs the rocky moments, so we can fully appreciate and enjoy those moments when we're handed the diamonds.

Time moves on around us, but in the presence of family, it seems to warp and stand still, as if stepping through magic, invisible glass back to our childhood. We know each other's hurts and fears, the secrets we wouldn't dream of  sharing with another living soul, the pain, the pecking order, the perceived injustices, the heartache, those moments that made us screech with hysterical laughter, the hopes, the dreams...

And every so often, the sting of sadness brushes across my face, like the warm breath of a hushed whisper, reminding me to hold onto these moments with my family, to savour them, because they won't last forever. When I stop to consider mortality, and the thought of one of them not being here, it squeezes the air right out of me. But as a lovely, wise soul recently reminded me, Emily Dickinson said the fact that life will never come again is what makes it so sweet. 

In closing, here's a glimpse of some of my diamond moments over the past few weeks. They remind me of how grateful I am for my family. How grateful I am for these gifts God has given me. How grateful I am for my life. In the face of trials and frustrations, may I never forget to appreciate what He's given me. Amen.

This photo here? Makes my heart feel like it's going to explode.
James would follow Grandpa everywhere, and as soon as Dad would stop,
he'd grab onto Dad's wheelchair and tug until Dad would scoop him up.
He'd never squirm to get away either...he would just sit and be.
Almost like he knew it was the best place in the house.

James and his Daddy watching some NHL highlights...

A story about this little white crib...
This was the crib my Mom had for all eight of us kids.
So yours truly slept in this bad boy.
And yes, in all likelihood, it's the exact one I nearly perished in.

 I just had to take a group photo before giving it back to Mom...
Isla has on her teeth-grinding face which clearly indicates:
"I'm pretending to love you James, but really, what 
I desperately want to do is squeeze the shit out of you."

 Isla and her best buddy, Bobby...watching my children being loved
on by their cousins makes me wish we lived closer to home.

Getting in their cuddle time with Grandma and Grandpa...
be still my beating heart.

 Goes without saying the little guy gets the fun position
at the front. He's sure excited, if not a touch frightened,
to be included in the big kid bath!

 Jimmy Bean....

 The Peanut...

The Captain...
I'm blessed. And I know it.
    p.s. The winner of the hardcover edition of Postcards Never Written, as determined by random org generator, is Hell Cat! Congratulations, Hell Cat! Random Org threw out the # 47, and your friendly moniker was the corresponding grey stalker-like profile. (You're not related to me, are you Hell Cat? My apologies for not being certain...I need to confirm you're not one of my brothers. I may ask you to submit a blood sample, just to be certain. Don't be alarmed.) Please send your deets to so I can mail it out to you. (Once I get it. There's been a slight snag in production, however I should have my new books within a month.) 
    p.p.s. Dear Jenny V: the fact that your left nipple hurts did not warrant an automatic win, although it did make me laugh out loud at your discomfort. I'm a good friend like that.

    p.p.p.s. Happy birthday, Roddy. You're the best decision I've ever made. Let's grow old together, shall we?


Laura said...

I love the passion with which you love and express in words and photos the love that you have for your family - which you then share with the world. Thank you for this. The timeliness of your posts remind me again what is truly important in life - and lets me know that I'm not alone in feeling as though the air inside me will never return when I allow myself to think of what life will be like without my parents/our childrens' grandparents. They are truly a blessing - as are you.

Jodi Carmichael said...

Hey Janita,

How did I miss the contest?!?

Of course, I'd like to buy, yes buy, your book. Do I order through Amazon or can I find it at McNally's?

If you come to town, you really should do a reading here in Winnipeg. They are so supportive of Prairie authors and we could get the room full for you!

Such a great blog. It's my daily laugh.



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