Tag Archives: Martin

Only Child celebrates her son’s birthday

Martin outside Allans Restaurant on Mother's Day

Martin and I outside Allans Restaurant on Mother’s Day

Today is my son’s birthday and we plan to celebrate this evening over dinner. Just the three of us, including his girlfriend, at an Italian Restaurant. Wine and pasta or maybe wine and pizza. And conversation.

My son, Martin, gives me a lot to be thankful for. Too much to list, so just a few. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but he paid for a hotel room for my then boarder, her cat and me for a couple of days in late December 2013 because of the ice storm in Toronto and its resulting power failure at my home. He’s there when my computers and their programs act up. He helps financially with some of his gifts – things I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. He doesn’t forget my birthday or mother’s day and takes me out for brunch or dinner. And we always celebrate the Christmas season with dinner here.

It’s not just a lot of food and meals. I think deep down it’s the mother-son connection. Some mothers and sons (or mothers and daughters for that matter) either have severed connections or the connections are shaky or gone sour. Perhaps the child grew up to be a criminal or drug addict, or worse. Perhaps the mother abandoned her child. You can probably imagine all sorts of heartbreaking scenarios.

Many of us raise our kids the best we can and sometimes are surprised when they turn out okay. In my case, Martin’s father and I split up when Martin was quite young. But – and it’s a big but – neither of us abandoned him. Martin had equal time with both parents. Not easy at first when my ex and I were fighting, but it smoothed out after a few years. This time with both parents gave Martin a more rounded growing-up period and hopefully with no feelings of abandonment. For my part, I tried to be fair and let my son work out a lot of his growing-up pains himself, often offering the listening ear and a few suggestions.

Not that there wasn’t some discipline involved when necessary, but never extreme. For example, when I had to ground him when he was 16 for something (for privacy’s sake, I’m not saying what, except it wasn’t drugs), I used common sense. He was grounded, except from school (obvious) but the other exception was he could still practice and perform at gigs with the rock band he played in. Why? Because there were others involved here and it wouldn’t be fair to them. Parenting is give and take – on both sides. I’m not saying I was the perfect parent. Far from it.

Something that came out of his growing-up years – he matured in thoughts and actions early. Others have commented on this. And he has a lot of common sense and logic in him.

But also lots of creativity.

Now he plays in another band (Beams, see http://beamstheband.com/) and is a computer programming expert.

But when you get right down to it the continuing love, the continuing bond is what’s important.

Happy birthday, Martin.

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, Martin Crawford, Mother and Child, Only child, Parenting, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child’s meaning of Christmas

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

Christmas means different things to different people. To show what Christmas means to me, I’m going to take you back to last December 2013. Close your eyes and remember.

Early morning December 22, 2013, the lights, the furnace, the fridge, the freezer, the heat suddenly went off. Ice pelted down on southern Ontario and Toronto was badly hit including many fallen trees on power lines. Toronto lost about one-third of its tree canopy. It was like the wrath of God was unleashed full force and we were being punished.

The boarder and her cat (still living with me then) and I were stuck. We had water, including hot water because that is a separate utility here and the hot water heat is gas-run. So is the furnace but years ago turning on the gas furnace switched to an electric-turn on.

Mid-day Sunday, my son Martin phoned. He still had power; so did downtown Toronto. He wanted to put us up at a downtown hotel. We resisted at first – partly because of the boarder waffling and partly because I was worried about leaving the house. He gave me advice about removing the ice from the veranda and driveway (put down salt and a couple of hours later go out with a shovel and hack away/shovel it). I did that.

Next day, the Monday, the phone woke me up (a land line, my life line then). Martin again insisting we had to go into a hotel downtown because the temperature was plummeting later in the day. The room included the boarder and her cat. So, after talking to some of my friends on the block and elsewhere, I got the house situation straightened out (except for no power and no heat, so I left a tap in the laundry room on dripping).

We took a taxi to the hotel and Martin met us there. He got us checked in and helped me set up my laptop with the hotel’s Internet while the boarder fed her cat. Then Martin took us out for dinner at Fran’s Restaurant and left me with a Starbucks gift certificate for hot chocolate for the boarder and me. Much later after Martin returned home, he phoned me at the hotel. Tanya, my friend next door had just texted him that the power had just gone back on. I called Tanya.

We stayed in the hotel for the two days booked. Christmas around noon, Martin in a leased car arrived, paid for our stay,  and drove us back home. That wasn’t all – he brought Christmas dinner – ham, potatoes, cream cheese, rosemary and cooked it. I supplied green beans and the dishes.

Looking back, I realize this is the true meaning of Christmas. Friends and family helping each other and celebrating Christmas together. To me, that includes taking time through the year to get small but useful presents for those close to me. I do it bit by bit when on holidays and afterwards. The only mall part was going to the Hudson Bay Company – but in a smaller mall and I focused on the department and the person I was buying for. To me Christmas is not about playing shopaholics at the mallChristmas is not about sitting in a church for Christmas services. You might say my take on Christmas is secular/spiritual, but definitely not religious. My Christmas spirit is (no, not in a bottle, although I like the occasional glass of wine) connected to family and friends, and helping others when and where I can. My Christmas spirit is listening to Christmas songs – secular and religious – it’s the music I like, watching Christmas movies – old and new – on TV, looking at decorated Christmas trees and decorating my two foot high artificial tree,  and walking around outside looking at the Christmas lights. May not be able to do that this year either as according to weather forecasts we are supposed to get very high winds with rain. Not happy about that and I’ve told God what I think about that and what is the right thing to do.

That’s my Christmas story and I’m sticking to it.

Happy holiday to all. And may it be safe, especially from bad and extreme weather.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Christmas, Christmas spirit, Extreme Weather, Hydro power outage, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto

Only Child’s Canada Day thanks and no thanks

Only Child's magnificent juniper tree as it once was. Slowly coming back some.

Only Child’s magnificent juniper tree as it once was. Slowly coming back some.

Canada Day, July 1, is one of the few statutory holidays I like to celebrate. Christmas is another. However, we all know why last Christmas was a write-off – the ice storm – except for one thing, my son’s wonderful help here – getting my boarder, her cat, and me into a hotel downtown and paying for it when we had no hydro power and no heat here. And driving us back here Christmas Day (when we had power – but not everybody in Ontario did) and making dinner.

On Canada Day I have a ritual – I don’t usually make it on time for the parade but I go to the nearby community area where there are booths for gardening, crafts, City of Toronto information, community groups, food, entertainment and a lovely garden maintained by the East York Garden Club. I like to sit by the latter and eat a lunch I have brought along as I no longer eat burgers and hot dogs, let alone the buns that go with them (gluten). After that I like to go for a long walk in the neighbourhood just south of this community park area and end up back on a main street and take the bus home.

Today it doesn’t look like that will be possible, thanks to God and his weather. I mean the parade just started 20 minutes ago and then the rain. But more on that later. First, what am I thankful for on this July 1?

1. My son, Martin, for all his help and support, not just with dealing with the ramifications of weather, but for helping me with computer stuff and well just being there. I will do a separate post on this in future.

2. The miracle of the trees and shrubs damaged by the cruel extreme winter and early spring weather (the latter was actually winter weather going to late April/early May). As mentioned in a previous post, two of my evergreens suffered extensive damage – that damage from winter burn from extreme cold when the sun gets lower in the sky (late April and into early May). Half the boxwood turned rusty brown and most of the big beautiful juniper. I gave God you know-what for that and it looks like he is making some amends. The juniper is slowly coming back – not sure if it will be 100 per cent. Despite my next door neighbour and the arborist saying “no it’s not,” I do not want it removed. “Over my dead body” is what I say to them. I’m not losing hope here…yet. I’ve watered the Juniper in between rainfalls (which works out to not often for the watering), added bone meal plus and those fertilizer sticks you put in the ground around the drip line of the tree. I also weeded around the tree as much as possible. One of my two patches of silverlace over by Tanya’s and Alex’s fence is dead. Alex removed the deadwood from his side and I’ve removed some from my side. The other silverlace on the fence and gate to the backyard is slowly coming back. Still lots of deadwood there but that will get removed in time. Which brings me to miracle no. 3.

3. My Good Samaritan. This retired gentleman who took it upon himself to just show up and shovel my snow (and other seniors – older than I – in the neighbourhood) again just showed up and offered to cut down and prune the deadwood. Turns out he is a certified arborist, now retired from the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation. This was almost a month ago. Still nothing done. But it is not his fault. We have had too much rain, too much of it heavy and with thunder and lightning, the area can’t get dry enough for him to do his work. We have also had a few too humid days to do tree work. I do not want him getting heat stroke or worse. So, God sent me a Good Samaritan but makes it impossible for him to do his work. Something is wrong here.
4. The miracle of the lost leather bracelet. I love leather bracelets, especially the wide one I wear all the time in the summer. Never wear more than my watch on my arms in winter when it is long-sleeved sweaters. A weekend ago I was gardening, removing a lot of dead rosebush (I can do most of that myself), weeding and finally getting the replacement lavender plant, and a few others, planted. When done I discovered I was no longer wearing the bracelet. Usually I remove it for gardening, but I decided I had forgotten this time. A thorough search of the garden areas worked in and the bin and yard waste bags (I emptied the latter three onto my driveway and rummaged through them three times) brought out no bracelet. I did find a sort-of replacement in Chinatown but it isn’t the same. It is smaller but has dome fasteners – not that that ever stopped my bracelets from getting lost. Yesterday morning while sitting on the veranda drinking my coffee I saw the bracelet sitting on its side on the other side of the veranda just past the other chair. I grabbed it and washed it. And also thanked God and a few saints for this miracle (Well, with this and the trees I had pestered God a lot – for blame and he had to make amends. Looks like he did).

Not so for the weather. This is what I am not thankful for. And I am referring to the weather Canada-wide, not just in my neck of the woods.

For the most part Canada used to be a good place to live weather-wise. Oh sure, we had the cold Arctic and cold winters and lots of snow in various areas. But only the odd severe weather storm in any season.

That all changed eight/10 years ago. Some people might say before that and I won’t argue here. Suffice to say Canada has joined the US for tornado alley and eastern Asia for monsoon-like weather. You can’t live anywhere in Canada without experiencing severe weather of some sort. If you don’t believe me check out The Weather Network on TV or online. The station now has a regular segment every 10 minutes (right after the local weather forecast) called The Force of Nature – highlighting the extreme weather all over. (It should be called The Force of God).

As mentioned in previous posts I know there is global warming and the theories behind that. Some of it is true, but even very religious people can’t eliminate the God factor. You know the will of God. God gave us humans free will and maybe, just maybe he doesn’t like what we are doing with it. The weather? He is either making it happen or letting it happen. Take your pick.

For now the brief heavy rainfall has stopped. But who knows what will happen weather-wise for the rest of the Canada Day celebrations.

Happy Canada Day.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Canada Day, Extreme Weather, God, Good Samaritan, Lost Bracelet, Trees and Shrubs