stepping into the unknown

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This past weekend brought with it some acceptance. I’m laying this hiring nightmare (the “when difficult employers happen to good people” fiasco!) to rest and stepping towards what lies ahead. I’ve stopped dismantling these past four months, resisting the urge to pick it apart and look for answers that simply aren’t there. Of this I am certain: my well-being, my family’s well-being and my livelihood depend on me moving ahead. So, much ass-kicking is now in order.

Now that Kieran’s with his dad during the week (his high school is across town, in his dad’s neighbourhood), we’ve flipped our routine and we have weekends together. My boy loves being outdoors. Being surrounded by nature is where we both seem to find our centre of calm. We share a huge affinity for long walks, foraging in the woods and filling our pockets with sacred treasure.

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On Sunday we spent the afternoon winding our way through High Park in the city’s west end. Three hours later, we’d covered only a fraction of it. With easy access to the Beltline Trail and ravines near my home, and High Park only blocks from his dad’s, there’s an infinite amount to discover. I pretty much treasure every moment my 14-year old still wants to spend alone with me. He took me to one of his favourite places, telling me: You’re gonna love it, mum. Things are about to get seriously “neat”!  I love this kid.

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Last week I was stuck in a childhood moment, thinking about cold, autumn days and the old men who used to peddle carts filled with popcorn, gleaming candy apples and roasted chestnuts. They always warmed their hands while tossing the chestnuts. As much as I desperately wanted one of those candy apples, I loved the smell of the chestnuts roasting. When I came across a fellow with one of these carts in High Park, I was sucker-punched by nostalgia and completely taken aback. There can’t possibly be many of these left in the city. Kieran indulged me with such patience as I stopped to talk to this man. He told me that when he turned eight, he started taking the cart out with his dad. The way he talked about it just seemed so damn special. I wanted to warm my hands beside his over the chestnuts … We all laughed when a small boy (who presumably had never seen chestnuts roasting) pointed out the “deep-fried acorns” to his mum. Kieran and I reached the chip truck just as it was shutting down for the day. The sun was quickly setting and the cold air had gripped us. We set out for home, each holding a mound of piping hot chips, sharing our favourite parts of the afternoon between bites.

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