When your husband is a military historian (but not in the military, let me be clear), you don’t remember soldiers only on Remembrance Day. You talk about them at the dinner table, you discuss Vimy Ridge Day and Battle of the Atlantic Sunday and so many other anniversaries. When there is an article in the newspaper, you follow along and listen to the context of the events presented. When the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is discussed, you are proud to know that your husband and his colleagues worked to bring the Unknown Soldier home, to represent all the soldiers - named and unknown - who lie in graves on foreign soil. You are proud as well, that your husband has contributed to the identification of soldiers who were unknown for decades but through historical, genealogical and DNA research, have been restored their identity so long after their deaths.
But on Remembrance Day, when everyone is remembering the armed forces personnel that have died and been injured in military conflicts, when your historian husband is in Kandahar working to gather the documents that will allow people decades from now to understand the history of the present conflict, you think of the families of those soldiers, sailors and armed forces personnel who were so worried for so long about the safety of their loved ones. You try not to imagine their sense of loss when they didn’t come back.
My husband is in a war zone. He is relatively safe. I know this. I know also that he has a helmet and flak vest to wear during rocket attacks. I know that he received training on gas attacks. I want him to come home. I am proud that he is committed to preserving the history of the sacrifices that our soldiers are making. I am sorry that there are so many family members of these soldiers who are mourning the loss or injury of their loved one and I want to say that my family will not forget – that my husband is working to ensure that our country will not forget.
Reid complained about one of her teeth on Monday morning. I checked the tooth in question but all was well. The next tooth over, however, was wobbly. I told Reid that her tooth was loose and she was ecstatic. She stared into the mirror and poked her tongue around. I had to confirm which tooth was wobbly, since it wasn’t an extreme case – it’s on the bottom, just to the left (stage left, as it were) of the gap in the middle of her bottom teeth.
At breakfast, I was told to serve only soft food “because of my …[insert drama here] tooth.” I packed an apple for an afterschool snack because (a) I always do and (b) loose teeth creep me out. I don’t like to watch them be wiggled, I don’t like to touch them and the idea of dealing with a freshly-freed tooth makes me shiver and make a face.
I told Reid that she should stop wiggling her tooth and keep it in her mouth until her dad comes home. Reid didn’t like the idea. Not even when I explained that I wasn’t ready for her to be a big girl who lost her teeth. Reid tried to reassure me that adult teeth would soon replace the lost baby teeth. That only makes it worse!
Reid must have spent the day wiggling her tooth because, by supper, it was noticeably looser. She wondered how long it would take for her tooth to come out. I have no idea. With all of the drama, wiggling and soft food requests, I’m warming up to the “not that long” school of thought.
We called Grandma Joyce so that Reid could share her news. Reid said, “I have a loose tooth!” (which sounds like toof, I’ll admit, and Reid *was* talking on the speaker phone) Grandma Joyce said, “You’re having stew?” Reid repeated her original statement and soon Grandma Joyce understood the excitement. She also told us that her mind was on stew because that is what she was having for supper. I was sad to miss out on Grandma Joyce’s stew but it turned out Aunt Karin and Uncle Roger were there and so Reid got to tell her story a couple more times.
At bedtime, Reid was worried that her tooth would fall out while she was asleep. My confident pronouncement that teeth don’t fall out like that was not believed. I wouldn’t mind if it did, though. She checked her tooth as soon as she woke up this morning as was pleased to find it present and accounted for. Reid is hoping that the tooth falls out at school because she’d be the first grade 1 to have that happen to her. I’d send my wishes that way, too, but what if it falls out and gets lost, all before I see it. Reid would be very upset.
All in all, this first loose tooth has provided for a lot of drama, on Reid’s part and on mine. I’m becoming resigned to the ickyness of a bloody tooth and (I hope) that Reid is finding the whole thing less worrisome than yesterday. Remind me how many more teeth she has to lose? On the other hand, please don’t.
Reid wore her costume to the Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat concert at the National Arts Centre on Saturday. There were many other kids in costume and even most of the orchestra members were dressed in costumes. I restrained myself to a usual outfit plus a headband with witch’s hat and purple braids attached. On Sunday we went to a Kids in the Capital Halloween party at Boston Pizza and so I put my costume on to be a wizard to Reid’s witch. (For reasons not clear to me, Reid decided that a wizard was a witch’s helper and, since she is the star of the show – I.e. our life – I was the wizard.) A lovely lady named Julie took Reid’s picture and I’m hoping one turned out well. We arrived late (surprise) and so our food came later than the others. I had to coax Reid to eat a bit but her food looked good. The other kids were more interesting, though. After lunch, I called and invited Ben to see Opera Lyra Ottawa‘s Hansel and Gretel with us. It was a good choice – just a bit scary – for Halloween afternoon. We drove straight to Melissa and Peter’s for supper.
After supper, Peter and I took the four kids out trick or treating while Melissa passed out candy. I hadn’t planned ahead well enough and was without boots on a night with snow on the ground and an icy wind. Fortunately, I was able to get my feet in Melissa’s boots or I’m sure I’d still be complaining ;+) The kids resisted staying in a group but threats of returning home convinced them that togetherness has its merits. The only real hiccup was that both Reid and Ben like to ring the doorbell and he is faster than her. She complained because, as an only child, ringing the bell is usually her prerogative. He resisted because, as the youngest in his family, ringing the bell is usually his prerogative. Turn-taking ensued (more or less smoothly). I learned, though, that witch hats aren’t practical for windy night. Reid’s kept blowing off and I was soon carrying it. About half-way through our trip, Reid said her wings were uncomfortable and I carried them, too. She was surprised that people asked her what she was, wearing only a purple and black tutu, wild colours in her hair and a snowsuit. She’d answer, “I’m a witch,” as though it were perfectly obvious. Sometimes I’d show the hat but mostly I didn’t.
Back at the house, Reid chose a treat to eat, had her picture taken a couple of times and then we headed for home. She fell asleep on the way – win! – and stayed that way while I carried her to bed. I resisted the urge to raid her treats bag. Double win!
On Monday morning, I asked if Reid thought it would be okay if she took candy to school. She wasn’t sure and asked my opinion. I told her I think it’ll be okay this week. I hope the teacher agrees. Once supper was cleaned up, I suggested that Reid dump her treats on the table to see what she’d received. The treats in the big bag were even more impressive when they were spread out. We sorted them into chocolate, chewy (gum), sugary (most candies) and round (Swedish berries, Smarties, m&m’s) according to Reid’s direction. I suggested that she should be identifying candy that she could give away. Reid pointed at the entire chocolate pile and declared, “I don’t like that. I don’t like chocolate.” She even separated the round pile into candy and chocolate and put the chocolate-based candies in the giveaway pile. I pulled the plain chocolate bars out for fondue (because I’m cheap that way) and saved a sandwich bag-full of chocolate bars for Ken and me. The rest are destined for the Ottawa Food Bank. Okay, I should confess to having eaten a Coffee Crisp, a pack of Reece’s pieces and 2 mini marshmallow broom – my favourites. I felt queasy by the end but I’m done eating Halloween candy and I enjoyed what I had.
There are so many types of candy that Reid has never eaten before. She took Starburst Chews for a treat today. She’d never had them but I like them enough for both of us. There are other gummy candies and gumdrops that she’s never had, too. It’s good that Halloween is a learning experience, even after it’s over.
I’ll close with a joke Sarah told me while we were out trick or treating:
Q: What do bloggers do on Halloween?
A: They trick or tweet.
(I suspect Peter had a hand in that but have no evidence.)
When Reid woke up on Monday, I reminded her that it was November 1st. “I know!” she said crossly. “But do you know what it means?” I asked. Since Reid was only half-awake, I was going ahead with my excitement. Her eyes got wide and sparkly and she said, “Daddy might be home this month. Or next.” Apparently I’d forgotten to tell her that we were now preparing for a November return. Imagine how Reid was even more delighted to hear that her daddy would be home THIS month.
We still don’t have exact dates and if we did they’d be subject to change right up until he’s on a plane on the last leg of the journey.
But it is this month and so I say, “Welcome, November! I’m so glad you’re here”.