Sunday, June 25, 2017


There are 5 more days in June 2017.

5 more days. 

And in those days David has Prom and then flies to Kelowna for the summer.  

By the end of Friday, June and I will be done with each other and I will declare that June has won again.  

If by winning we mean taken me for a ride of multiple highs and lows at breakneck speed and in a permanent emotional spin cycle.  And tired. 

In a family of students and teachers June is always a crazy month.

But this June was especially so.

This past week we declared "Byres Boys Week" 

David had 2 graduation events - in one he gave a valedictory speech and in the other he won a scholarship.  For us, his parents, it was over 6 hours of watching this boy of ours and his peers stand in that tenuous space between school and whatever comes next, between childhood and young far from when we sent him off to Kindergarten and Grade 8 but still so young.  So much growing still to do.

It is in these moments one lives the reality of how ones heart can be so happy and proud and so sad at the very same time. A happy sadness. 

I am dreading him flying off on Friday.  I am going to miss my sweet, smart, sassy, kind boy SO SO much.  He will only be home for 4 days between working and heading back up to Kelowna for University.  And by then Lindsay will likely have moved back to Victoria.

So on Friday night after a busy day of party preparation after a busy week of events, we sat, the 4 of us, under a darkening sky and in the cooling air, in the backyard, drinks in hand, chatting, reminiscing, recalling vacations we took when they were little, talking about plans for the future, laughing.

For a moment I felt like I was standing looking at the 4 of us, the lights casting a warm glow over us and I wanted time to sloooow down.  I wanted to capture the moment in my heart knowing it will be a long time until a moment like this will happen again. 

I didn't take a photo of us - they all refused - but I will have that mental picture of us and that feeling of being together as a family in my heart for a long long time. One of those unexpected, beautiful moments that make life rich. And happy/sad.

And if that rollercoaster ride wasn't enough - Mr Allan Byres finished all his course work AND assignments on Saturday and is now a free man!  With an M.Ed.  It is truly amazing that these 2 years of study and papers and reading and collaborating are OVER.  A relief but also some sadness at the end of the journey with colleagues and friends.  I am so proud of not only his incredible academic record but also his perseverance and sacrifice to get it all done.  He loves to learn and he embraced this opportunity to the full and it has been a wonderful experience.  

We had a party to celebrate their journey and it was great - a house full of people, lots of chatter, lots of food, a hot sunny day - Team Byres in top form hosting. Entertaining like that is so much my happy place - I love it.  Happy to have a couple more big events and a BIG birthday party still to come this summer.

So while today was about quietly cleaning up, some needed time off my feet, it is a very temporary rest before the week of Prom and packing and all the other last week of school things. Lindsay starts her summer job at Terra Nova Nature School doing day camps with kids out on the land.  Allan wraps up another year in the classroom and prepares for a fishing trip with his bestie at a lake that is special to them - a greatly deserved few days of recreation. And I'll do some work, a lot of driving, more entertaining and doing my best to be present, to sort out the emotions, get to the gym and put June 2017 to rest. 

Maybe, in the end, I was the winner of the bout of June 2017 vs Nicky Byres - I got to live another month of memories and events and experiences with my nearest and dearest, summer arrived,  the garden is bursting with abundant harvest, the dog has recovered, we had much to celebrate.  

On July 1 Canada turns 150 and I am getting up very early and escaping for 2 days because no matter who won June I am tired and I need to take some deep breaths of sea air and slow down and rest my heart and body.

I can't wait.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Perspective from a Puppy

Last Sunday night I had one of those moments that fills my heart with so much joy. 

We had a beautiful family evening at the beach. 

I used a gift card for takeout.  We found a perfect table.  I used my trusty red check tablecloth.  We ate yummy food. We went for a long walk under a warm evening sky.  The light was perfect.  The dog ran and caught his ball in the ocean and we all laughed at his antics.  We walked back two by two - David and I and Lindsay and Allan.  We chatted about important things. 

It had been a challenging week and a busy weekend and it was a perfect way to start a fresh new week.

It was, I knew, one of the last family beach walks we'll be having for a while. 

We came home, bathed the dog, settled into the family room with ice cream and were content together. 

By Monday night the boys had been rear-ended by a texting driver and the dog was clearly in a lot of medical distress. 


Without even time to shower after the gym we were dashing to the emergency vet in Vancouver knowing pretty well that things were "not good". 

Many of you already know the rest of this story did not go well.... vet hospital admission, emergency surgery, another night in hospital.....

And yet... and yet it went very well.  We got great care, Spanner is well on his way back to his usual self and we're pretty sure our pet insurance will cover 80% of the 4.2K bill.  
The cone of shame? The daisy of dismay? 
I found myself back and forwards between guilt and relief.  Guilt that we could be so invested in a dog both emotionally and financially and relief that we could help this creature that has brought so much joy to our lives.  Also relieved beyond measure we opted for pet insurance - such a first world decision in itself. 

I have shaken my head many times this week that I may have become that "dog person" who talks to their pet as if they might answer, who really is emotionally attached to that dopey eyed head tilted look he gives me.  I know this is not a disney movie, I know he doesn't "love" me but... I readily signed the papers and swiped my credit card to help him. 

And I'll probably do it again.

I guess what I have struggled with is perspective.   

And I could argue both sides of this.  

In the end, as he sighs deeply at my feet right now, I am grateful more than anything. 
Spanners Mama and other distant relative sent wishes - SHB = Spanner Hudson Byres

Not just that he is well but that the people in our life cared for us as we cared for him.  If you rolled your eyes at my FB status I totally get that, I really do... but ... if you reached out and showed your concern, brought wine, checked in on the mutt and on how we were doing... I am thankful.  Deeply thankful.

In the end, as is always the case, these moments are greater than themselves.  This moment was greater than a sick puppy.  It was a moment of vulnerability for us and our tribe had our back.  We met some amazingly caring vets and veterinary nurses, we learned a thing or two about dog anatomy and pet insurance forms, we worked together to make decisions and care for Spanner and each other and we felt held up by people near and far.  

The truck has a dent but the people are fine.  The dog has some stitches but he lives to pee again.  The other big things that happened at work and in our lives and in the dental surgery and in the Masters went as we hoped they would.  And if insurance pays before the credit card comes this will be another one of those Byres Legends we'll tell for years - "remember when Spanner had 500 stones in his bladder.....and everything was fine."

Deat Tribe - we love you!
Dear Spanner - we love you too!

PS: I am not going to worry about this week - whatever it dishes... we got this...right?