The Year Of Broken Plates

She is everywhere.

Your Instagrams, your Pinterests, your blogs, your billboards, your Wal-Marts, your coffee shops, your gyms, your parks, your schools, your TVs, your dreams.

The Mother.

Her hair is done, her house and clothes are clean, her body is healthy, her coffee is hot, her kids are happy, and like, she’s busy but she is HANDLING IT.

This time last year, I was suffering from a common condition known as “summer pregnancy.” I knew this part was hard, but then the baby would be here, and I would become THE MOTHER and everything would be great.

And then, suddenly, I remembered that I’m terrible at juggling.

Good china plates are lying in shards around me; my brain is dizzy and my feet are bleeding. The baby is screaming, the dishes are crusted with 3-day-old food and flies, the house carries a faint but distinct odor of wet towels and shit, the floor is sticky, and TBH I’m probably gonna throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner…again.

I have one baby. ONE.

The Mother did not come to me; the Mother betrayed me. The Mother didn’t tell me that she had to give up everything else she loved, like music or writing or friends, in order to be considered a good mom.

By her standards, I have failed spectacularly.

“It takes 9 months to put on the weight, so give yourself at least 9 months to lose it and then #HustleYourButt!” but instead I gained it all back and heyyyy it brought some friends!

I was given TWO Baby Bullets, and I rejoiced because I wanted to make fresh food for my baby every day.

I have used exactly ONE of them ONE time. And I remember to brush those 2 preciously sharp little chiclets in his maw about once a week, so he’s definitely going to need dentures by the time he’s 5.

Does it sound bad if I say that my 11-month old son already has favorite showS? #YesThatWasAnEmphasizedPlural #ILoveYouMoana #AndDinoTrux #BasicallyJustAllOfNetflix

If I get all the laundry done, it’s a good day.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away, I’m pretty awesome.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away AND take a shower, I deserve sexual favors and Chinese take-out, full stop.

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This little helper gently rolled into the sink head first about 2 seconds after this picture was taken. #MotherOfTheYear

I’m honestly a little sad. The first year is already almost up, and the only thing I feel confident in showing for it is that Harrison, Steven and I are still alive.

Maybe in Year 2, I’ll figure out how to keep the house clean as well as get in shape, and return to music/writing/friendships on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll just drink my coffee while it’s still hot.

But one thing (lol, probably a FEW things) I do pledge: to be okay with being JUST okay, and to be okay with NOT being okay.

To delegate those chores. To not do IT ALL. To get together with a friend, like, once a week, even if the dishes aren’t done. To kiss my hard-working husband at the start and end of every day. To unfollow the perfect Instagram moms.

And lastly, to donate the good china plates and settle for some good ole indestructable Corelle and Tupperware. I’m a mom now, after all.

 

5 New Mom Truths I Didn’t Know Until I Knew Them

I’ve been a mom for 4 whole months now so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.

1. You learn to function without sleep.

All I had to do was stop visualizing my life as “day” and “night”, and start visualizing it as nap #3 of 6 in a 24-hour period. So go ahead and have that coffee at 9pm, because nothing matters anymore.

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2. Breastfeeding can be REALLY difficult. 

And just like pregnancy, I did not love it. I  wanted to, and I thought that would be enough to make it a reality.

 

Nope. I could not Desire Map my way into this delicate, hormonal endeavour called breastfeeding. But after doing it for 3 months, I can say YOU GO MAMA to anyone who manages to do it for longer, while eating, while lying down, while in public, while being covered up, while being stared at, while being given advice. YOU ARE MADE OF STRONGER METTLE THAN I.

3. Successfully putting your baby to bed is like a scene from The Hurt Locker. Or any movies involving bombs, really.

Their bellies are full, their bums are clean, the room is dimly lit, the white noise is whirring, the lullabies have been sung, and Baby is so sleepy it’s adorable. You debate just holding and snuggling them for the duration of their nap, but then you remember you have shit to do. And so, you must GTFO before this happens:

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If you succeed, this is how you will feel.

 

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4. Any amount of personal hygiene will feel like a spa day.

If you’re wondering about the state of our hygiene as new parents, a mouse lived in our tub long enough to chew the shower curtain and drop 40 poops in it before we noticed. But once we decided not to burn said tub to the ground, man, those showers felt great.

5. Your love for your child will be infinite.

All the songs on the radio will be about them, you will sacrifice everything you once loved to take care of them. Every smile and achievement they make will convince you that surely it’s never been done before, and they are the first ones, and they are THE BEST at it.

But you’ll be amazed at how much MORE you love them when they sleep more than one hour at a time. It may occasionally happen at the expense of your husband’s feelings (“If you fart like that one more time, you cannot sleep here! At least muffle it with a pillow for the LOVE OF GOD!”) but it will be worth it.

Actually, everything is worth it.

Talk again in another 4 months…maybe…

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow: A Birth Story

It is absolutely surreal to me that, at this time 5 weeks+3 days ago, I had just given birth.  First of all, thank you for receiving my last blog post so graciously. I was a little unhinged, so y’all have … Continue reading

Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

7 weeks to go: the ups and possible Down’s of our Baby Button

Every once in awhile, there comes a time when you straight up have to cancel your life. Your cares, your responsibilities, the expectations placed upon you are bulldozed by reality, and you must deal with THIS THING for your own … Continue reading

The Turkey & The Hurricane

Last Friday, the Button family went on the road trip of a lifetime.

We just didn’t know it at the time.

1. The Hurricane

It was a dark and rainy morning. We had the next 4 days off work, because we’re in Canada. And instead of celebrating the domination and desecration created by that Columbus guy, we eat turkey while knowing little to nothing about Sir Martin Frobisher.

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We left our house around 6am, so it was still dark. For the next 3 hours, we were blindsided by driving rain, gale-force winds and nasty-ass dog breath.

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The weather was actually a little scary. Our little car tried to leave the road several times.

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Thankfully, Steve was the one driving.

Later, we would turn on the news radio and learn that an event called Hurricane Oho was occurring off the Pacific coast, and we were literally feeling the after-effects of it in the middle of British Columbia. Steve quickly coined it Hurricane Uh-Oh, and I quickly coined us Bill Paxton & Helen Hunt.

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^^^ Dat’s us. #DriversAndSurvivors

2. The Never-Ending Ride of Burgers, Weed & Sh*t

Hear this: I love coupon day. I love opening my mail box, and seeing those shiny red papers filled with pictures of food I want to eat and money I want to save.

No more.

We brought all of our coupons for the road trip because #poor, so we basically ate burgers and potato-related foods, all 3 meals, in the span of 14 hours. Sure, we saved money, but by the end of the day when I could no longer poop, I found myself wishing they made coupons for organic salad.

Oh yeah — we were in that car for FOURTEEN HOURS. Because the freeway between Hope and Vancouver is bat-shit crazy on a good day, and we were there on a Friday. On a holiday weekend. And while the Fraser Valley has many lovely qualities…

Smelling good is not one of them.

I know they *say* marijuana hasn’t been legalized in Canada yet, but in that valley, it might as well be. Also there are cows and mushroom farms and lifted trucks that are singlehandedly putting a hole in the ozone.

Did I want to poop? Did I want to throw up? I couldn’t tell anymore.

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3. The Golden Anniversary

But the reason we drove (besides turkey) was well worth it. It was the 50th anniversary of my mother-and-father-in-law.

And they didn’t know we were gonna show up.

I was a little nervous; I hadn’t seen them since we moved away a year ago, and I feel like a golden anniversary is kind of a big deal. I wanted it to be memorable.

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I found this beautiful British-style teapot awhile ago, with them in mind, as well as some loose-leaf earl grey tea that could be used to fertilize Mum’s garden after they were diffused.

To me, it was meaningful on many levels.

To them, it was too.

But that wasn’t the only surprise of the night.

4. Poppy vs. The Pool

It was dark by the time we arrived at the house, and we thought Poppy should explore her new surroundings.

I didn’t see any of this happen, so this is how I understand it.

Poppy was busy sniffing the backyard by the light of the back deck, when she suddenly came upon a strange new surface. It was blue, kinda wet and level with the ground.

It was the tarp cover on the swimming pool.

She quickly realized she’d made a terrible mistake, and tried to swim her way to the sidewalk. Instead, she started sinking.

Very calmly – like Jesus, one could say – Steve reached in and pulled our Precious out of the pool just as the cover was starting to blanket her.

And since she’s smart, she remembered and avoided the special blue ground for the rest of the weekend.

5.The Guardians of the Toy Store

We’re nerds. Straight up. We collect Funkos from multiple fandom’s, and our Christmas tree looks like the entire pop culture from the 1970s-now threw up on it.

So when Steve showed me the newer, much bigger location of our favourite toy store, I nearly had a heart attack.

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Ewoks on a tree bridge over the toy shelves! #UhhhhCha!

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Treebeard & Gollum creepin’. #We’reTakingTheHobbitsToIsengard

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Completed by the best: Groot & Rocket extending hands of friendship to yours truly. #WEAREGROOT

And finally…

6. The Darla Effect

Have you read Darla Halyk, from New World Mom?

You probably should. She has amazing stories, from comparing herself to Amy Schumer to her literal, actual, text-the-Vatican miracle baby.

I had no idea, until recently, that she lived near Vancouver her whole life – up to and including the time I lived there. When I think about the coffees and laughs and sisterhood wasted, I wanna cry.

Because I got to meet with her for approximately 90 minutes before heading back north, and you guys.

She’s amazing.

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We hugged upon meeting, because of course we had to. She drank out of a coffee cup the length of my forearm while we talked non-stop about writing and our pets and her kids and food and it all ended too quickly. She is the Real Deal, from her sweary-mouth to her sparkly eyes and again to her fierce love for life. I can’t wait to hang out with her again.

So, I am very thankful. I made it to my 28th birthday with little mental breakdown, I ate turkey dinner twice, laughed at YouTube videos with my sister-in-law until my stomach hurt, made great memories with friends & family, and I survived a hurricane.

But above all, I am thankful this picture exists. Because we’ve had enough of Sharknado to last a lifetime. Haven’t we earned…

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…Turkeycane???

The Story of Poppy

A few months ago, I shared a story about a very special golden retriever who got her ear in a predicament.

Her name is Poppy, and she has changed our lives.

When we first met her last winter, we were just helping out one of the families I nanny for. She belonged to them, you see. They’d rescued her from a shelter a couple of years ago, and so she’d been showered with love from 3 kids and two cats since then. But occasionally, they travel, so we happily opened our home to have Poppy stay with us whenever they went away.

Then, something strange happened.

Every time they came home to their busy lives, they noticed Poppy seemed to be a little…less. Less happy, less energetic, less Poppy. They felt concerned, and a little guilty that they couldn’t devote more attention.

So, while it was painful, they decided to do what was best for her. They gave her to us. They would feel better knowing she could have more space out of town to run, and to be adored by a family that wasn’t quite as busy. The kids were consoled knowing that I could bring Poppy for visits when I came to nanny them. And me? Well, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. The golden retriever I’d always dreamed of having was now a reality.

In the past few months, we have learned many things about Miss Poppy.

1. She is made to adore.

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Her eyes are pools of dark melted chocolate, and they speak volumes. If we’ve been separated for a few hours, her reaction to seeing us again will instantly change our mood. She jumps and hops and *smiles* in absolute exuberant joy at our existence. I’m not gonna lie, it feels pretty damn good.

2. She’s cool with Walter.

Which is just an amazing bonus. I love that we are a little family of rescuers and the rescued.

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But even she knows better than to cross paths with him in a catnip-induced hallway hangout.

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3. She knows what the words “car ride” mean.

And it.jazzes.her.right.up.

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4. Playing a game of tag with her will lighten your soul.

Without a doubt, this beautiful creature is teaching me how to play again. Can you believe she is 8 years old? I’m half her age in human years, and her energy puts me to glorious shame.

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5. As strongly as she loves, she just as strongly hates.

She actually cannot handle thunder, the vacuum cleaner, anyone squeezing her ears or touching her food bowl when she’s not done eating. We don’t really know what to do about that, but we’re working on it.

6. She has the soul of a wanderer.

We have a very big yard where we live, and it’s completely fenced in – which is perfect for Poppy (and friends) because, while we rent a large property, there is a raging highway and a thick forest full of bear and moose not far from our house.

About a month ago, I had a day off at home, so I was relaxing on the deck in the beautiful sun while Poppy chased her purple squeezy ball around the yard.

After a while, I went inside to make some lunch, leaving the dog outside. In the distance, I heard a roll of thunder, but didn’t think too much of it. We’d been having thunder every day for almost a week now; I opened the screen door to let Poppy inside.

She was gone.

I searched every inch of the yard, looked under the house, called and called. She was mischievous occasionally when it came to the fence, but she always came back when I called.

There were no obvious openings in the fence, and she was not coming to my call.

Lunch forgotten, I grabbed her leash and jumped in my car, preparing to peruse the neighborhood street, preparing myself to *not think* about the highway and the forest.

After an hour of driving and calling, I phoned Steven at work. I tried to keep the worry from my voice, but his mind went to the exact same place mine already had.

“Shit,” he muttered, “I can’t leave work. Just pray, and keep calling. Let me know if she shows up.”

It would be 4 hours before Steve could get home, and so for the next 4 hours, I screamed and prayed and swore into the atmosphere that if she didn’t get her GD-effing-ass home right now, Mama was gonna lose her shit. Because there was no way we were ready to lose *another* precious family member after last summer.

When Steve got home, I had almost no voice left. With slight relief, he told me that he had not seen any dogs on the highway, alive or dead.

We decided to go to all the places we had ever taken Poppy, starting with our landlords farm just down the road. They weren’t home, but we felt free to explore their property and call her for the 57,000th time.

No sign of her.

So we posted a LOST sign on the neighborhood mailbox, and went the opposite way on the highway. A knot of dread sat in my stomach as I pictured her beautiful amber fur matted with blood, her energy and passion sapped and lifeless…

Nothing. No news is good news.

We went back to our neighborhood, deciding to go door-to-door now that it was almost evening.

Starting with the abandoned property directly across the street from us, we parked the truck.

“POPPY! PAAHHHHPPY!”

Like a dream, we heard a reply coming from our house.

“She’s here!”

We abandoned the truck and ran down our driveway. A farm truck we’d never seen before was parked at our house, and guess who was in the passenger seat.

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We all but fell at the farmer’s rubber boots in gratitude. He shrugged, like it was no big deal.

“She showed up at my place a few hours ago, and jumped in my truck like we were best friends. So I figured I’d better go around and find her home.”

(Yes, of course this would happen before we’ve had a chance to get her a proper dog tag!)

“Took her up to Gweek Riding Center, and Cindy thought she looked a lot like pictures she’d seen online and sent me over here.”

(Bless Cindy. And bless Facebook pictures.)

“Where do you live?” We asked him.

“‘Bout two kilometers up the highway. She was soaking wet when she showed up; I figger she swam all the way up Deep Creek.”

Two kilometers. Up a creek. Returned to us because of Facebook and good neighbors. Without a scratch on her.

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Moments after this photo was taken, she barfed up a gallon of creek water and grass on the kitchen floor, then took a long nap.

We didn’t mind at all.

She hasn’t tried to escape since then. It’s like she knows what she put us through. She knows that we need her, for just a little while longer. And for that, we’re grateful.

Welcome to the family, Poppy. We love you.

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Next Time

At this time last year, I was four days late. My breasts were sore, my appetite had changed; something new was going on.

My husband and I welcomed our first pregnancy with shock and awe. We hadn’t planned for it, we weren’t ready – but really, can you ever be?

6 weeks later, our baby was gone. We hadn’t planned for it, we weren’t ready – but really, can you ever be?

I still can’t believe it’s been almost a year. A year of walking through a strange fog of grief that only someone else who’s experienced it can understand.

We haven’t tried again. We’re afraid. We want to be secure in finances and housing and knowledge about child-rearing – but really, can you ever be?

Ever the optimist, I have hope that one day soon, our life will hear the sounds of a newborn cry morphing into the pitter patter of little feet running down our floor.

And once it does, this is what I want to do.

1. Next time, I want to tell my husband the news a little more creatively.

As much as he loved the news, I’m sure he will appreciate being told in a way that doesn’t involve being woken at 6:30 on a weekend to have a pee-covered stick shaken in his bleary face.

2. Next time, I want to tell more people in person.

Technology is great for sharing news, but there’s just something extra special in seeing a loved one’s face explode with joy in #realtime.

3. Next time, I want to tell people early-ish.

We announced our pregnancy to our world just shy of 8 weeks in. A foolish thing, some might say, but I believe something unexpectedly bad can happen to a pregnancy at any time. I’m not jinxing anything if I share early. It was a life saver for me to be able to use my blog and Facebook as a platform to document every high and low of my 9-week pregnancy and the weeks that followed. Every time I made an update, I knew I had people waiting to support me with comments, prayers or even just silent heart emoticons. Friends appeared out of the woodwork with their own stories of loss, that I might have never known otherwise, and I value that more than keeping secrets for taboo’s sake.

4. Next time, I want to ignore my phone a little more.

“Hi! Welcome to the MyPregnancy App! Today, your precious baby is the size of a raspberry. Make sure you avoid soft cheese and raw fish. Watch this video of computer-generated genitals emerging from your cartoon baby’s abdomen!”

*An hour later*

“Sweetie, your baby is *still* the size of a raspberry, and probably will be tomorrow as well. You know how at sometimes you keep checking the fridge in hopes that new food has magically appeared? Same concept here. Go take a nap.” – what MyPregnancy App should have said.

5. Next time, I want to finally become a fashionista.

I am not fashion-conscious. At all. I am the reigning queen of hand-me-downs and thrift store bargains. There’s nothing wrong with that. But my queendom has been established for more than 10 years. I’ve been out of high school for only 8 years. Yes, if you do the math, that’s a problem. But not one that I can justify changing until I literally cannot fit into those clothes anymore. And there’s never been a cuter time to be pregnant, Pinterest will tell you that right now. Hang in there, holey wardrobe. Your time is coming.

6. Next time, I want all the photos.

One of my good friends took my wedding photos almost 3 years ago. I booked her that same day to take all my family’s photos for all time ever. But before that, I want baby shower photos, I want maternity photos, I want labour & birth (YES, birth) photos, and I want newborn photos.

This will be my “rainbow” baby, and I want to soak myself in their presence, just once, before I’m too tired to function and staring at a tiny stranger who’s changed my whole life.
I want to revel in every glorious inch of those days before and after because I’m making up for lost time.

I know that the world is already flooded with baby photos that everyone else is sick of, but you don’t understand. It’s my turn. You don’t have to look at the pictures, but don’t you dare deny me the joy of sharing them, just like I’ve shared every single other difficult step it took to get me here.

7. And finally, next time…

…even if I don’t accomplish everything on this list, my baby will still be here, and I will still be a good mom. Because Love conquers Lists and Fashion and Pregnancy Apps and Photography.

And I’ve got Love in spades.

Her Name Was Lola…

Is it weird to write a love letter to a car? Oh well.

Dear Lola the Corolla,

4 1/2 years ago, you came into my life freely, without expectation or guile. You were a surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I had not been able to drive.

4 1/2 years, a lifetime of memories, experiences, and “firsts” in my early 20’s.

And yesterday, you retired. Not to a junk yard, thankfully. You probably have at least 100k left in your hearty soul. But my mom really needed you, so I gave you back to her. A surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I hadn’t been able to take care of her.

I remember the day I drove you for the first time. It was a bitterly cold January day, but I didn’t care. I was warmed from head to toe by the freedom of the open road. Granted, that “open road” was actually the Prince George highway full of snow, ice and hidden craters. But as far as I was concerned, anything was possible now. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-11.png Although you were almost 20 years old, you were immaculate. Your pure gold outsides were as clean as your insides; your standard shifter as smooth as Sinatra and your brakes as abrupt as Snape. I tried my hardest to keep you that way. But you see, I have no depth perception and I’m clumsy, awkward. I’m sorry. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-47.png As a Thank You, I want to share some of my favourite memories.

Spring 2011

My mom visited us again, and she decided that we should go for a drive to downtown PG. I was eager to show her how I’d learned to drive Lola with ease. But in a moment that could only be described as movie-perfect, I took a right turn down a street that neither one of us was aware was a one-way street.

When we saw 3 lanes of traffic rapidly heading toward us, we figured it out pretty quickly.

When I saw that a cop car with flashing lights was at the very front of one of those lanes of traffic, I knew I was about to get my first ticket. Damn.

He waved me into a parking lot; I started trembling and overheating. He was an older gentleman; he probably could have done time as a mall Santa with his white hair and near-jolly spirit.

“Clearly, you weren’t going the right way, eh?”

“No, sir. I didn’t even see a sign for a one-way street! I’m so sorry.” He looked at my license, saw that I was a learner, and traveling appropriately with an adult. He did a slow circle around my car (the worst!) and came back to my window.

“Are you aware that your L is missing?” (For those not Canadian, new drivers start out with a Learner’s, and it’s a red magnet that goes on the back of your car with a big L on it. When you graduate to Novice, you get a big green N magnet. Kids these days call them Losers and Nerds.)

In shock, I stepped out of Lola, ran to the back and sure enough! No Loser.

Tears started to clog my throat. “I HAD it this morning, I promise! Look, you can see the dust outline where it was!” I outlined the empty square with my hands for emphasis.

I *think* my cop was trying to hide a grin. “Well, at least let me see your companion’s driver’s license.” I sighed with relief. She was my mom, she would be able to set this whole thing straight somehow.

Mom riffled through her things for a moment. “Huh. I must have forgotten my wallet back at the house.”

My heart sank. Three strikes; I would definitely be out.

“I see.” The officer started writing furiously in his notepad. Minutes passed. I kept my head down, waiting for the verdict.

“Well, your ticket would probably be around $450. But today, you get to go home.”

My head snapped up in disbelief. “What?”

“Your mother can drive you home, just don’t get pulled over again. Get another L and watch out for those one-way streets. See you later.”

I stared.

He leaned down into my window sternly. “Get outta here.”

Feeling like a prisoner on death row just given parole, I thanked him over and over. As we were leaving the parking lot, another car turned erroneously down the one-way street, and my cop just waved them on into my old “parking spot.”

To this day, we have never gotten a ticket.

January 2012

I discovered how much cargo Lola could carry when my church had a Young Adults weekend retreat, and I was everyone’s “Friend With A Car.”

Lola seats 5 full-grown people almost comfortably. So once we loaded the trunk with 5 sleeping bags, 5 pillows, and 5 suitcases, we piled in. Oh, did I forget to mention that one of my friends was responsible for the food for everyone for the entire weekend? Let me rephrase: we loaded 5 sleeping bags, pillows and suitcases in the trunk, stuffed food in any cracks available, got in the car, and arranged food carefully around each one of us in a delicious pyramid, from head to toe.

When we drove up Connaught Hill, my friend with the *full license* had the pedal pressed to the floor and we went a slow but steady 50km/hr all the way up. I pretended we were the Flintstones and tried to make the car go faster by shuffling my feet because I’m a nerd.

Two days later, Lola brought everyone and everything home safely without so much as a hiccup.

Valentine’s Day 2012

At 8:30pm, instead of being out with someone special, I was working in the coffee shop up at the University. During my break, I checked Facebook and saw that my friend Kim had been in a horrible car accident just outside of Jasper, Alberta, nearly 5 hours away. Her car had been totalled but she was okay.

I started texting her. She had no money left and she was stranded in a bar. Jasper was a big enough tourist place to be expensive, but too small to have a Greyhound bus that didn’t arrive at an outside stop at 4am and then drive away at 4:03am.

The coffee shop was pretty dead (I mean, it was Valentine’s Day) so I texted my boss and asked if I could close up early for an emergency. She said yes, so I began to move like lightning. I had no idea what I was going to actually do, but I couldn’t leave Kim there. Even if she did have money for a bus, it wouldn’t come for another 7 hours and Jasper might as well be the Arctic at this time of year.

When I got home, I announced to my roommates that I would be taking an unexpected road trip. When they found out what had happened and what I was thinking, they all protested. It was after 9pm now; I wouldn’t get to Jasper until after 2am.

There’s a two hour stretch of highway that is literally abandoned wilderness. No gas stations, no houses, no cell service, nothing. Like, if you wanted to dump a body that would never be found, the road between McBride and Jasper is your safest bet. And I would be there in the middle of the night.

But they saw that I was determined to help Kim, so my roommate Alissa offered to go with me. We could take turns driving, and at the very least, not die alone. We would text our other roommates as often as we could, and pray like hell we weren’t making a huge mistake.

Thankfully, we found Kim, took her to the impound, helped her empty what was left of her car (I still feel sick in my stomach when I picture that car in my mind. It was NOT OKAY.), found the only gas station that was open to get some microwave food and energy drinks, and were back on the road at 3:30am. We made it home by 8am, crashed for a few hours, Kim got picked up by family, Alissa and I high-fived our success and went to work for 8 hours. Our good friend was alive, and so were we.

Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Now

Well, now, I say goodbye. Lola, you were the best car a newly legal immigrant with barely a license or experience could have needed. 80,000k in 4 1/2 years; there was nothing you couldn’t do.

And now, you get to rest. Occasionally cruise the open road. Be even more appreciated by someone with actual depth perception. I’ll see you again.

Love, Carly

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make &  model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer. Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make & model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer.
Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

Small But Not Insignificant

When this Butler and that Hutton got married, we became the Buttons. 

When we were pregnant, we called it Baby Button.

When you think about it, buttons are small but not insignificant. They’re actually pretty important for holding stuff together. 

Even though Baby Button is no longer with us, I believe we will be held together; without love, we are nothing. 

Today was a good day.