As I write this, you are upstairs sleeping and I am using this quiet time to organize myself for an upcoming trip. Your Dad and I are going to Vegas in a few days and will be leaving you for the first time ever. At night, when it is dark and I am trying to fall asleep, bad thoughts enter my head. I don't want to leave you. I am terrified that something will happen to us and that I will never see you again. In the morning, I feel better and am excited to spend some time alone with your Dad in a place I have never been. Your Dad and I have always traveled - a passion for going to new places is what drew us together, kept us together, and we hope, will always be a part of our lives. It is easy to fall into the trap of never leaving your baby and I know (at least intellectually) that making sure our marriage is healthy is also a gift for you. But it all feels wrong. You are my family now and the idea of splitting that family up, even for a few days, has left me feeling nauseous. I am going to do this and I know that you will be okay with your Grandma and Grandpa, and that in a very short time we will be back together but man am I going to miss you.
This past month we had the first ever McGrath family reunion. My Mum's siblings all got together in honour of her upcoming 60th birthday and we had a blast. Seeing my Mum with all of her brothers and sisters made me realize, once again, how lucky we are. You are loved by so many, in so many countries! When I was growing up, I didn't have any Uncles, Aunts or Grandparents nearby. As immigrants, my parents had left their people behind in order to start a new life and give their kids the best they could. It was a sacrifice for them and one that I think I am only really beginning to understand. Seeing you with my parents and brothers, and recently, the extended family, made me realize how much my own Mum missed out on and I'm glad that this time, you get the best of both worlds.
This fall has been one of the most beautiful I have ever experienced and we have done our best to enjoy it every day. A few weeks ago you, your Dad and I all went for a long Sunday walk down by the Bow river. The sun was shining, the leaves were turning yellow and the smell of fall was in the air. Your Dad and I have done a lot of talking about what we want your childhood to look like, and on that day we discussed Sundays and what they would bring. For both your Dad and I, Sundays always meant church. For you that won't be the case but we want to make sure that there is still time for reflection and wonder and quiet conversation. As atheists (and scientists), the natural world holds a lot of wonder for your Dad and me. That awe is something we want to pass on to you as you grow and so far, you've been more than receptive.
As we walked along under the warm sun, you started to lag behind. Eventually, your Dad crouched down and called you. You stopped, turned, beamed and came running towards him. Your face was dirty but happy, your hair crazy and golden. As you ran into your father's arms and hugged him I watched tears rolling down his face. Being with you makes us so happy Paisley.
You are a happy kid and always have been but I have to admit that lately, you're whiny. It's partly due to your molars coming through and also probably your age. It can be grating at the best of times and by 6:00 in the evening, it can be unbearable. I try so hard to be patient and you do your best to be your best, even when you don't feel well. If I get down on the floor and out out my arms you will hug me, and kiss me and finish off with an Eskimo kiss. A politically incorrect but adorable new discovery. You laugh and play and love to be tickled. You have a new little baby that you push around in a stroller and sometimes, you even share your snack with her. You are kind and funny and love, love, love books. You are talking even more these days and learning new tricks at lightening speed. You are in swimming lessons and Kindermusik and you love to jump and dance. You are the joy in my life and even when I feel like I'm going to go crazy from having to clean the floor for the fifth time in a day or from the high-pitched yelling you've mastered, I am able to stop, look you in the face and fall in love all over again.