May 23, 2014

a journal entry: ethel firmalino

This beautiful journal entry was sent in to us by the lovely Ethel Firmalino -- mother of two beautiful girls living in the great white north of Calgary, Canada. Below you'll find a story of family; simple and heartfelt, this excerpt, in Ethel's words, "is just as much a love letter to [her] two little daughters". Thank you for this glimpse into a chapter of your life.

Most families have their dining table or their kitchen as a place to gather. Our family has our couch. It is where we gravitate and gather and where life tends to unfold. For now, it is the heart of our home.

Our couch has seen our oldest daughter grow from a sweet, tiny and somewhat serious baby into a smart, slightly silly, thoughtful, inquisitive, stubborn (at times) and fairly serious toddler. She loves to give random hugs, has a penchant for learning new words and an imagination that is legendary.

It is on our couch where our oldest would often snuggle next to me or sit on my lap and kiss my very pregnant belly, and probably not fully comprehending the meaning of all these changes in my body. Each of us waiting in our own way for our youngest to be born and join our family.

We welcomed our littlest at the crack of dawn on a hot summer day eight months ago. She made our family even more complete, even fuller. As with all babies, the cycle of breast feeding, growing, changing, soothing, rocking, singing (off key), snuggling, hugging, loving, kissing, smelling, cooing, making faces and laughing began all over again. All the joys of motherhood, parenthood, if you take away breast feeding and off key singing that is.

Raising and taking care of a baby and a toddler at the same time can be challenging and difficult - two little beings with different needs and wants. Having to endure a long and cold Canadian winter on top of it all has made these past few months twice as hard. Juggling physical, mental and emotional needs can be taxing, but is an interesting exercise in creativity. While we sit on the couch, one hand is feeding or holding the littlest and my other hand is either turning a book’s pages or is engaged in an elaborate role play with our oldest. Sometimes this works but, other times, not so much. Thankfully, my husband shares in the awesome responsibility of parenting when he is home.

Our couch has been a silent witness to our journey as parents and as a family, an ally of sort. Our couch got sat on and sat on and jumped on and stood on and crawled on and sat on. It got drawn on and coloured on and marked on. It got spilled on, puked on and peed on (purely by accident of course) once or twice.

We've eaten on our couch more than we've eaten at our table. We've shared both big and little moments on our couch, some ordinary and others not so ordinary.

It is here where we went to sit quietly and be still, to be alone and just be, only to be interrupted moments later.

Our couch is always near to hopefully catch us or at least soften our fall if we happen to trip or stumble.

When exhaustion takes over our bodies, it is here where we stretch our weary limbs, sometimes drifting off to sleep.

Perhaps dreaming of eating a sweet, juicy mango.

Or a sea of yellow flowers as far as the eyes can see

Or being lulled by the rhythmic sound of the waves crashing against the rocks.

When we wake, the rhythm of our everyday life will resume and our family's story will continue to unfold.

- - -

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- e. e. cummings


  1. This is a lovely journal entry. I've never given our couch or sofa much thought but Ethel is so right! All of the things she so eloquently describes our sofa has seen too! The hours of feeding, the days of it being jumped on, the spills that are mopped up! Very relatable!

  2. This is such a pleasant surprise! Thank you for having a snippet of our family's story be part of this lovely space.

  3. I love this entry, so beautiful and definitely sings to my own family! In the past we have tried to make our table the centre of our house and our gatherings, but it has and is always our couch. We snuggle there, talk, laugh, read, sleep, gather, and watch the fire is most definitely the centre of our home, where our hearts come together.