Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Those Moments...

“That moment...” memes have been all over the Internet for some time now. (Side note: I have to confess that although I’m usually amused, I can’t help but cringe at the fact that those “moments” are never described in properly complete sentences. Seriously, how hard would it be to tack on a phrase that explains the “what about it” of the moment instead of leaving it sitting there, alone in the dark, as an unsupported dependent clause, on the dangerous streets of bad grammar?)

Anyway, those moments...those moments are significant, and very often extremely relatable, and I realized this year that those moments are small, quick, bright lights of life that possess an unforgettable quality. Those moments can be a little elusive at first, but once you locate them, either within big events or during every-days, they will shine and become bigger than the flashes of time they were originally discovered in.

This post is about my “13 best moments of 2013” (in chronological order, and you bet I am going to write them out properly):

1.       February 14, at a Tragically Hip concert in Toronto: I laughed at that moment when I was convinced that everyone with seats close to us had to be enjoying themselves more than anyone else there because they got to watch us clearly having a better time than anyone else there, putting on a sort of complimentary performance ourselves. We even made t-shirts, which we proudly showed to everyone around us. We rocked out the whole way through, which ended up giving Joel rock-neck the next day. You could literally feel the pure joy and energy in the brightly lit air around our group of four—it was contagious.
2.       April 22, at work: I’m fortunate to work for wonderful friends of mine, and the business’ office is in their home. I was at work this Monday morning when coincidentally, my friend was in labour upstairs—like, she was having a baby upstairs. That moment when you can almost recreate feelings of labour pain in your mind because your own memories of childbirth are so vivid and so intense, knowing the very same thing is happening a couple floors up from where you are sitting, to a close friend, is really quite a distracting, exciting, heart-beating-fast-and-hands-a-little-shaky-most-likely-out-of-extreme-empathy kind of moment.
3.       May 19, at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery: Joel and I went with the boys to see Hayden perform there during a fundraiser for House of Hope. We’ve been fans of Hayden since Everything I Long For was released in the ‘90s. I’m sure you can imagine our excitement when we spotted Hayden himself chatting with people at the entrance when we arrived. We excitedly walked up to him and introduced ourselves. Joel asked Hayden if he could get a photo with him, to which Hayden agreed (he’s really cool). I was to be the photographer. I had a coffee in hand. The sun was shining brightly, and I was a little star-struck. I couldn’t see the icons on Joel’s phone, so it took me longer than it should have to get to the camera app. I finally did, and then with coffee still in hand, tilted the phone to the picture-taking angle, which also ended up being the pouring-coffee-all-over-my-dress angle. That moment when you pull a dumb blonde move in front of a musician you admire is a combination of embarrassment and hope that this event has made you more memorable to the famous person than just some boring girl taking a photo without spilling her coffee all over herself. (Hashtag: blondeshavemorefun)

4.       June 6, at my sister’s house, for my cousin’s bachelorette party: A group of girls, some family and some girls I had just met, were all dressed up and having photos taken by a photographer (which, by the way, is a fantastic idea for a bachelorette party). The photographer was trying to get us to relax and “act natural,” so we started fake laughing. The moment the fake laughter turned into real, pure, genuine, hearty laughter still makes me smile. The picture below captured that moment.

5.       June 8, at my cousin’s wedding: The song “Knights of Shame” by AWOLNATION was played at the end of the reception, and after having fallen in love with this song over the past few weeks, I completely let loose and “became” the song, together with a dance floor full of other people equally excited about it. During the song, a moment flashed by in which I felt so fully alive because I was participating in a collective celebration of a couple, of family, of marriage and of this totally awesome song. I loved that moment. I loved that moment and that song so much that I actually wrote a post about it earlier this year.
6.       June 29, in Tobermory: Joel and I were to be attending our friends’ wedding the next day in Owen Sound, so we had decided to make a weekend of it and drive up a day early and go to Tobermory for the afternoon (Tobermory is one of our favourite places). That afternoon, at around 2 p.m., we were on the beach at Singing Sands, the temperature was perfect, the breeze was light and gentle and the sun was shining. The moment that we heard a child’s cry riding on the wind and carried over to our ears, that sound registered as the most beautiful sound we could hear because it was someone else’s child crying. We did not have our children with us.
7.       August 16, at the Angel Inn: As Joel and the rest of Mosaik rocked out “Don’t Walk Away Eileen,” things got a little crazy on the dance floor, and in a burst of wild energy, I began fake punching a guy dancing near me to the rhythm of the song. This was all in good fun, I assure you, and of course Joel was standing a few feet away, probably wondering what was up with me and then quickly dismissing it as the legitimate behaviour of a mother of small children who doesn’t get out much. The moment I looked around and saw a lot of people laughing at me made me feel good, the way a comedian feels when people laugh at his or her jokes. As Gob said in Arrested Development, “They’re laughing with me, Michael!” (hopefully...)
8.       September 2, in Niagara Falls, on the Skywheel: This was Labour Day, and Joel and I had the opportunity to go on a date, but as it often is with dates when you have kids, and gracious grandparents offer to take the kids for a block of time which provides the opportunity for a date, the dates occur at unconventional date times. We went to the Falls and rode the Skywheel at about 9:30 in the morning that Monday. This was that moment when you are kid-free and you are riding a Skywheel cabin up, up, up, and the giddy feeling of being on a teenage-type date at age 31 dissolves slightly into a moderate nervousness because the cabin is shaking and you don’t remember this thing going up so high before, but then being glad of that fear because it means you did something “exciting” that day.
9.       September 8, at a Zusters rehearsal: We were jamming out one of our new songs, and what was originally a song that risked being left out of our upcoming album altogether, with a few adjustments, swiftly became a favourite. My sister and I had gone back to the drawing board, and I had edited the lyrics a bit, and she had made some changes to the verses. All of a sudden, on this day, when we started jamming out the song, a funky beat emerged that melted effortlessly into our revisions and then flowed into a chorus and a moving ending, full of strings, and tucked between the notes on the staff was a moment—that moment when you are participating in making music with ones you love, and everyone participating believes in the song with all the passion they can muster, which forms a layer of light that surrounds each sound wave and assures you without a doubt that this is what you are meant to do. Seriously, it happened just like that. 
10.   September 28, downtown St. Catharines: I was out with a group of friends to celebrate my birthday. While waiting in line for the bathroom with a friend, we asked a random girl to take our picture for us. We smiled, the flash flashed, we thanked the girl and then eagerly looked at the photo to see if it turned out. There was a blonde girl peeking out from behind me, who had totally photobombed us, and she did it so seamlessly that she looked like a legitimate friend of ours! The moment we saw that picture and marveled at the girl’s seamless photobombing skills was unforgettable—I still laugh whenever I look at this photo.

11.   November 1, at home, at night: Arcade Fire’s new album Reflektor had just come out a few days earlier, and I had been listening to the album nonstop. Quickly, the song “Afterlife” became one I would often skip to. Joel was out, the boys were asleep, and I went downstairs with a glass of wine, blared the song and danced by myself in the dark. There was a moment in there during which I stopped feeling silly, finally turned off enough lights to make me feel comfortable and let myself “dance like no one’s watching.” I may have looked a little like Greta Gerwig in the video below—which I am totally cool with (she is pretty awesome).
12.   December 7, at home in my bathroom (I hope this isn’t too much information): That moment, during the grueling process of toilet training my 3-year-old, after having fought a desperate battle with him all morning, and a losing war for the past four months, when my one-year-old dropped a deuce in the toilet after telling me he had to go—that moment was so hilariously ironic that I felt a little lightheaded when it happened and had to pinch myself to believe I wasn’t in Bizarro World. The leverage from that moment was ultimately the toilet training turning point – so in other words, my one-year-old helped to train my three-year-old.
13.   This moment happened with both of my boys, on different days, and on dates I cannot remember. With Emmett, it was a voluntary “I love you so much, Mama” when I was unknowingly hungry to hear those words from him, and with Lennon, it was a few minutes after his nap one day when he sat snuggled contentedly and quietly on my lap for a long while. Both of these small moments displayed the immensely satisfying and calming feeling only brought by the intersection of two things: both parent and child wanting to show their love for each other—to each give and receive that love—at the same moment in time. Of course, parents love their children always, and children love their parents, but let me tell you, the moments that these expressions reciprocate at the same time can be rare. My kids don’t regularly offer up that “I love you” statement (which is totally fine), and they often wrestle out of or run away from a hug when I just want to hug them (which is also OK). On the other hand, they sometimes really want to be held or to have my attention, and cry recklessly for it when I am in the middle of doing something else, and so regrettably, I pick them up out of frustration or tell them to wait until I have a minute. You see, the stars were aligned in those two different-but-the-same moments, those small moments that meant a lot to me.
There you have it. My 13 most memorable moments of 2013.

What were the tiny-in-time, brightly-lit moments of your year?