This past week was a very good week for everyone at our house, including M. The kind of week that doesn’t come along very often. There were a few moments of “you’ve got to be kidding” – M yelling at the soccer ref; the iron burning a giant hole in a favourite shirt; falling off my bike to avoid hitting another rider (who didn’t seem to feel the same sense of urgency to get out of the way). But they were far and a way out-numbered by the good times.
It probably didn’t hurt that we took a few days off at the beginning of the week and hung out at the cottage. We were there with all my immediate family, which based on past experiences, had the potential for major drama. This time, however, everyone got along fine. A couple of times when he was asked to help out with setting the table or doing the dishes, M did ask, “do I have to?” in a tone of voice that clearly said “I don’t want to.” But he got with the program and pitched in. Even my husband who generally views visits to the cottage as something to be endured, rather than enjoyed, seemed to have a good time (not having grown up with a cottage, my husband is largely immune to its allure).
For M, the best part of the week was spending time with his 3 cousins. He sees other relatives more often, but his first cousins are special. They are teenagers and don’t share many of his interests – Pokémon, word search puzzles and Garfield comics. But they seem as genuinely fond of M as he is of them.
Some of the highlights of the past week:
- Seeing M perform with his school choir at the local art and music festival. They were on the main stage which he found a bit intimidating. But once he started singing, he was fine. It was a big crowd (lots of proud moms and dads) and the kids did a great job.
- M playing cards every morning with his 15-year old cousin. Sometimes, their grandmother and/or my sister-in-law would join in, but most of the time, it was just the two boys. I’m not sure what games they were playing, but there was lots of conversation and laughter. Apparently, M is lucky at cards. Fortunately, his cousin is a good sport
- Listening to my (almost) middle-aged brother chat with our 13-year old niece. They were sprawled on the double bed in the room just off the kitchen (it was the originally the au pair’s room), so I could hear them as I was making supper. My brother gets along well with kids – he says it’s because he’ s still a kid himself. He is not particularly close to M – perhaps because he sees him fairly regularly in the summer months. I couldn’t make out what they were discussing but they were clearly enjoying themselves.
- Watching my youngest brother do a cross-word puzzle with M as we were packing up to go. M loves any kind of word puzzle – he taught himself to do Sudoku when he was about 5 years old. My brother, who is possibly the worst speller in the world, is a surprisingly good Scrabble player. Apparently, he is not too bad at crosswords either.
- Going shopping with my mother and my nieces in the nearby “city” on a rainy afternoon. I tend to shop by myself, so going out with the “girls” was a new experience for me. The girls have definite taste – a few of my suggestions got a double thumbs down – and they were both good company. My mother insisted on paying for the shirt I decided to buy. I let her as it wasn’t very expensive, even though I was the only one of the four of us with a full-time job.
All in all, a very good week.