Just Us: Rhythms of Family

With Ella two months deep into school, weekends have become holy time. I revere them accordingly and work to protect the time within them. Time with just the four of us, time with friends, time with extended family, time for me to work and time to simply rest. Mondays come around so darn quick and like everybody tells us, the minute your child starts school, life speeds up so quickly that tomorrow they are 18, boarding a plane overseas while you stand there blinking at Gate 20 wondering where on earth your child went and if you even taught them how to boil an egg properly.

On Saturdays, we take Ella to aikido. She’s so tiny in her white uniform, so quiet as she watches, so focused as she follows. She looks over at us every now and again, flashes us a smile, sneaks in a wave. I feel that familiar tug on my heart from the string which runs directly to my soul. I turn and look at Joel. I see it in his eyes as he watches her, I watch how they crinkle, and I’m so comforted to know that there is not a single person in this world who knows how it feels to love these children like he does. In that moment, no one else who loves her exists. No grandparents. No family. It’s us. No one but Joel and I, with our exact same hearts, the drivers of our own little family, watching our girl with the kind of proud love only two parents can feel and share.

He turns back and smiles at me, like an invisible thread running from his eyes to mine and circling around these children of ours.

It’s binding in a way that no other relationship is.


And so it is that on weekends, we balance out with in, other people with just the four of us, doing with resting, and we are finding a great rhythm that works right now as we write the story of Us.

Want a fun, inexpensive thing to do with your kids on the weekend or after school?

Grab a table, grab a chair, make a sign and watch your child’s face light up when they make their first sale.


  1. Pop 1 1/4 cups of stevia and 2 cups of water in a pot on the stove and heat until dissolved. (You can find stevia in the sugar section of the supermarket — a great sugar alternative.)
  2. Once dissolved, pop in the fridge.
  3. In the meantime, juice a bunch of lemons (I think I used about 8), removing the seeds but keeping the nice juicy pip bits.
  4. Stir the lemon juice into the dissolved sugar mixture, then add another 10 or so cups of water, more or less depending on how strong you like it or how good you think it tastes. I think I put in 12 cups.
  5. Pop in the fridge until you are ready to serve.


The hard bit is waiting for customers.

We got two lovely neighbours and then there was a big lag in business. So I did a quick text around to friends and family who lived within 5 minutes of us and soon enough, business started trickling in.

It was the cutest thing.

She made a total of $23 dollars, mostly because I gave her $5 to start with, Joel gave her $5 for his cup of lemonade, and because our friends who came by tipped heavily. But you guys – success! So much fun!

Weekend aikido moments are our new favourite moments.

We also like to spend weekends allowing our kids to watch people put fire into their mouths because we believe this sends a clear, responsible message to our children about fire safety.

And lastly, most exciting of all, on weekends we get doctors to write down the gender of our baby in an envelope so we can go home, lay out a rug next to the mulberry tree we planted in the backyard, and open it together.

I have, for so long, held a silly childhood dream of having two girls, two sisters. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly wish this baby would be the sister I’d always dreamed of for my girl, but the past couple weeks at school, we’ve been working hard with Ella to navigate the hard, emotional, complicated world of girls and their friendships. Like Joel said, “With Billy, one plus one equals two. Move on. With Ella, one plus one equals a huge bloody emotional mess.” Girls with their relational aggression, their sensitive feelings and their social hierarchies can get really exhausting to help guide through and I’ve been so involved with it that several times I’ve thought that actually, maybe another boy would be nice. I bloody love Billy. And then in the end, I arrived at this place of not really caring either way because what we get always, always ends up being perfect for us. I just want my child, whoever they are.

Friends, we’re having a girl.

And when my eyes landed on that piece of paper, the rush of my childhood dream hit me straight in the heart.

And straight into Ella’s.

Billy was a little pissed, I have to say. But he got over it real quick and told me he’s going to give her his whale when she cries, which — if you know Billy — means he’s out to protect her and already loves her something fierce.

Photo by Billy, age 3.

Joel and I have been together for 8 years. We have been in silly young infatuation, we have been on the cusp of separation, and we have been everywhere in between. There will be more pain ahead, just as there will be more love and more redemption.

In the end, we keep our pens out and our hands steady, because this is the story of Us.

And it’s ours, alone, to write.

To weekends, to lemonade, and to tiny baby sisters, waiting to welcomed into a family who loves her.




4 Responses to “Just Us: Rhythms of Family”

  1. Jennifer Butler Basile

    Congratulations on the next chapter of your ‘us’ 😊


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