A Good Neighbour: Sunborrowers and Watering Cans

In 2012, I participated in a local writing contest, held by Good News Toronto, called the True Story Contest. The challenge was to write about A Good Neighbour in 450 words or less.

I wrote about an unknown neighbour of mine who watered (and saved) my toddler’s bean plant this summer and about my parents’ neighbour, Colette, who does the same for my father’s tomato plants.  My piece won second place in the contest and was published online this month.

An excerpt from Sunborrowers and Watering Cans:

Armed with a watering can, Colette makes her way across her neighbours’ lawn and down a small hill to the vegetable patch. She carefully removes the mesh wire fence, which ineffectively keeps rabbits out, and steps in to water the thirsty plants and their cherry-red fruit. Once that job is done, she fills the watering can with the bite-sized tomatoes, ensuring none goes to waste. There are always more when my parents return, as long as Colette waters them.

Later, Colette drags a lawn chair onto my parents’ property for a well-deserved rest. Papa jokes that it’s only fair: in the afternoon, Colette’s place is in shadow, “so we let her borrow our sun!” A little water for a little sun; it’s a pleasant, reciprocal relationship.

Colette blushed when I read her the story, right before it was published online. I could tell she was surprised, yet pleased, about her role in this story. Now, my task is to figure out which of my 600+ neighbours helped along our ‘garden’ this summer and offer my thanks in person.


Naps and Cuddles

Rohan et Arianne, par Catherine Bonenfant
Early morning love cuddles with my toddler today reminded me of the golden days of maternity leave, when baby and I would nap together. It may have been the hormonal haze, but I got the impression that Rohan slept better when next to me.
By the time he was four months old (and me being awaken nights became routine), Rohan took his afternoon naps alone – and I took time to write. Given that I returned to writing in earnest while pregnant and kept at it during mat leave and beyond, my son will be able to claim that he is directly responsible for the effervescence of my creative being. (Double meaning purposeful.)
These days, Rohan is doubly-times-triply more active than his newborn self and his naps are shorter. But his funny, clever, demanding little self still lets his Maman write from time to time – though now is not one of those times. He is slapping my knee to draw me away from the computer screen; he requires Cheerios.

Writing Challenge

Newest writing challenge: write a short piece of non-fiction, no more than 100 words, ensuring to name actual names. Here’s a result:

Modern Family

Rohan becomes an iPad expert as soon as we get one, familiarizing himself with the apps and identifying his favourites. While I struggle to find what I need on the apparatus, Rohan swishes through the screens, surfing YouTube with one finger. We quietly confer with our Apple devices side by side, too often for hours before we interact again. Despite his own easy grasp of technology, he won’t let me indulge: he shuts my laptop onto my fingers and grabs them in his, saying: “Maman, cow.” And my toddler and I play with his toy farm until dinner.