Monday, March 5, 2012

And with that, birthday season is a wrap!

"Boys are sons until they're married, girls are daughters until they're buried, ."

I take exception to that. As close as I am to my precious, wonderful daughters, I must admit I have a different kind of bond with my son.

Perhaps its because he is my only one; perhaps its because his size allowed me to pick him up and hold him on my hip much longer than I was able to with my girls. Maybe it was because he let me do just that and they didn't. I don't know. But I will say that of all three of them, he is the most like me. Of course our different genders give us some very different looks and personality traits, but of them all, he is the one I see myself in. From his soft heart, to his perceptiveness of situations and other people's reactions, his need to plan things out and be secure in his surroundings before he is comfortable; we come at the world in a very different way, but react to it much the same.

Now my baby boy is eleven years old.

In case you're wondering, no I didn't forget to blog on Owen's birthday.

The truth is: we were busy. Not "I had to work" busy, not "the laundry had to be done" busy, but honestly, truly busy - spending time with our birthday boy. He is at an age where conversation is interesting rather than an excercise in manners and word correction and his humor keeps me cracking up all day. It was a Saturday and it was a day spent entirely with him. It was so nice to watch him show genuine gratitude for the gifts he was given and to realize how fortunate he is to have some great friends around him.

Even his party was relatively stress free compared to years past. Gone are the days of a dozen kids climbing the walls, wrecking the house and leaving me cleaning up their trail for days. Gone are the expensive and pointless loot bags I always dreaded having to be creative enough to make and the opening of countless spiderman toys (not that they weren't all appreciated at the time!) Now we can enjoy watching him and his buds being pals, chasing eachother with nerf guns and taking turns on his newest video game. We order a pizza, cut the cake, open gifts, and send them down stairs. Done!

I say this every year, but it never loses its truth: I am so shocked another year has passed. As I watch all my kids grow, I am incredibly proud of the great people they are becoming and so absolutely, positively, grateful they are mine :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

30 something...

Today marks another year of life. Another chance to accomplish my goals, to enjoy the ones I love and to try and leave my mark on the world.

Today I am officially in my mid 30's.

I'm not someone who gets hung up on age. I have many friends of all ages and seem to fit in just fine. My health has not been the greatest since turning the big 3-0, but I don't necessarily blame it on age.

So I went into today excited to be with great friends who had come to visit, and secure in the knowledge that I would be spoiled by my family and maybe get a little extra attention from a few friends. What I didn't expect was the onslaught of messages, the veritable outpouring of love and good wishes from the vast majority of my several hundred Facebook friends.

I heard from new friends, old friends, local friends and those very far away. I heard from people I have known for almost my entire life and from those who only come out of the woodwork once in a blue moon. I got love from all corners of the world and from people I never imagined I meant anything to. And not just the simple greetings either. I got beautiful, sincere, heartwarming messages from so many.

And my heart was indeed warmed.

As the messages filled my Facebook wall, my email, my phone from texts and calls, I realized that this is my mark on life. This is one thing I know I'm good at, that I treasure above all else - that I am nothing without: friendship.

No words can describe how loved I felt today. On top of a wonderful day spent with my truly wonderful family, the best present I received was in knowing that I was surrounded by so many well wishes and words of friendship. Each memory recalled was a gift. Each person, someone who meant a great deal to me in some way. I sincerely hope they all know just what today meant to me; something tells me that they do.

With that thought in mind, I just may get through the next 35 years!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Confessions of a busy mom

I'm drowning in a river of guilt.

After a busy start to the week, we got up this morning and realized that both Rhian and Owen had skating with their classes today at the community center. Not only did I not have their skates and helmets unearthed from last year's skating trips, but I was totally unprepared for Rhian to burst out with, "So are you coming Mommy?"

True, I was off today. True, I didn't really have solid plans. But when I have one day off in a week, thats a full day. Between groceries, laundry, dishes all over the kitchen, floors to wash and several errands to run - I had a full day.

But didn't I have one hour to spare?

Of course I did. But I didn't really have another one later on in the day to go with Owen's class (and I'm very careful to do for one what I do for another), then come home to make supper before making sure all homework is done and then rush out the door by 5:30 for dance and cadet drop off, only to run home for cubs pickup. Geesh, when did life get so busy?

So I didn't go. I thought about her at 10:45 when I knew she'd be getting her skates on. I tried to forget her telling me not to worry about how she'd get them on since another one of the moms she KNEW would be there would help her. Yeah, that one hurt.

But during that hour I was at the store getting the cereal they asked me for and replacing the bananas they told me were gone. I came home to wash the skinny jeans she asked me to clean and to make the cookies I know she will be very happy to discover after school.

So I can't do it all. I guess I'm going to have to accept that. In the meantime I will meet the kids at the door when they arrive and ask about their day over warm cookies. I will listen to the stories about skating and hope they don't hold it against me that I wasn't there.

There truly is nothing like a mother's guilt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Only the Good Die Young

Death is not something I'm good at.

Some may think that's a good thing. I for one, think its pretty scary. I am about to go into my 36th year and have never lost anyone close to me. There was my grandmother, 5 years ago, but even we had not been close for many years. I remember flying to Toronto for her funeral, something I felt strongly I had to experience, having no idea how hard that was going to be. Then panic struck me: what in the world would it be like to lose someone I had actually known and shared happy memories with? I've been to funerals before of course, but always for people I had barely known.

All of a sudden I began to feel like I was "waiting for the sword to drop", so to speak. My parents are in their 70's and have a myriad of health problems, all our family is now far from us, and lets not forget we watched my mother in law battle lung cancer a few years ago. Surely it will be my turn to experience a loss sometime. I'm not certain anyone is ever really prepared to deal with death, but what to feel when its never really touched your life?

Today we received news that a friend from back home in Greenwood passed away very suddenly yesterday, following a tragic skiing accident. This was a man we spent a lot of time with, who has coached my kids, who played Masters soccer with my husband, who was the President of our small soccer committee on which Steven and I both served for years. He was a fixture in our lives for a long time and I am having trouble understanding how he can be gone. I can't get my head around the fact that he has passed, never mind how his wife and two young sons will pick up their lives and live with this.

I've learned a lot in the past year about losing a loved one from a very strong friend of mine who lost her husband 5 years ago in Afghanistan. She is possibly the most solid, grounded person I know and through her I am pleased to know that hearts do heal and although one never forgets, one can continue living a very fulfilling life.

That is what I wish for our friend's wife and sons. I wish them peace, serenity, much love and support to get through the next months. I wish strength also for those of us who had the privilege of knowing such a funny, life-loving and giving man, and who will always feel his loss. He was a well known figure in the community; a person would be hard pressed to find a resident of Kingston/Greenwood whose life wasn't touched in some way by him. I, for one, feel very lucky to have known him.

For the record, I no longer feel that dealing with death gets easier as you experience it.

RIP Dave Morse.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

King of the Castle

Owen had a bad day yesterday.

He walked through the door full of tales about the intricate system of snow forts in their school yard, who controls the various pieces of real estate and how a mean spirited group were systematically taking them over.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

Not only is this a story straight out of my childhood elementary school, but a very simplistic example of the "real world".

There was ranting, some very real frustration...and then a plan was made. No way was my son being pushed out of a fort he'd worked hard on, nor was he allowing it to be destroyed. I felt like I was watching a disgruntled employee formulating a plan to secure his much valued job...or possibly planning a takeover! At the very least, he would defend his territory at all costs.

Today he came home from school smiling. The first thing I asked was, "How go the snow fort wars?" He beamed and told me, "Great, we joined the group that destroyed ours....then when the bell rang we kicked it in!"


My first reaction was to berate him for stooping to their level. Then he went on to describe the new set of rules the VP had devised. New laws, of you will. Seems there were far too many territorial squirmishes going on and they felt the need to regulate things a bit. This idea amused me and I will admit, impressed me more than a little. Owen wasn't nearly as impressed. But after a good discussions on the need for rules and the parallels between this childhood angst and real life situations, he conceded to the necessity.

So in the end we turned it into a teachable moment, and I was secretly proud that my kid came out on top. Is that the right approach as a parent? Who knows. But for today all is right in the world, or the playground I suppose, and here in the real world we know that sometimes that's all we can ask for!

I'm the king of the castle, and you're the.....well, you get it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tales of a Birthday Girl

There's a teenager in my house.

I remember a time, not so long ago, when I had a little girl with pigtails and brightly colored fingernails dancing through the living room on her way to change her outfit for the 10th time that day. I recall birthday parties with 14 classmates dressed in full princess garb descending upon us for a tea party fit for a queen. Years of makeovers, princess cakes, movie-themed sleepovers and marble cake. Always marble cake.

This morning I woke up on January 11th, and as I do every year, watched my little girl eat her birthday pancakes and tried to see her through someone else's eyes. While she will always be that tiny girl in ringlets, holding my hand and singing a song, its important I remember she's growing up and becoming a person in her own right. What I saw made me smile.

Today the little syrup-smeared birthday girl of the past was replaced by a young lady who neatly cut her pancakes with a knife. She carefully blew out her candle and cleaned it before setting it on the table. She laughed at something her little sister said with incredible patience and reminded her brother to sit up so as not to get syrup on his sleeve. She smiled at me like an adult when I sat down to eat with them and talked excitably about the day to come. She began receiving birthday wishes via text before her feet hit the floor and expressed genuine gratitude for all the messages on both our facebook pages. After a careful outfit selection and meticulously applied layer of makeup, she was ready for her big day. I was happy to see there were pigtails in her hair today; some things never change.

She headed out the door then with two of her friends, bursting with excitement....but not before she stopped to give me a huge hug and a big sloppy kiss. She may be my height and headed into her teens, but we both know she will always be my baby girl.

And now the fun begins.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Less is More

So a new year has begun.

I am not going to launch into an apologetic diatribe about how much time has passed since my last post, or begin spewing promises to be more attentive to my blogger buddies in the new year. I do not believe in resolutions nor do I ever make them, for one simple reason: I never keep them.

I will however, resolve to revamp my previous blogging philosophies in hopes that I may find more time - and, lets face it - interest, in writing more often.

In the past I have used this site to rant and rave on a specific topic, express my feelings of the moment or to merely to update anyone who may be interested in the never ending chaos we call life. That all sounds fine here in type, but I so often found my posts becoming longer and longer and thus needing more and more time and concentration to get it all out. I eventually found myself writing in my head - as I have done all my life, as my way of sorting through things - and then feeling too tired or overwhelmed to sit and write it down. And taking my readers into account, I also realized that not everyone has the time to read such lengthy, detailed accounts of inconsequential events every day. I myself follow several blogs, and understand the need for short, concise, to-the-point posts.

So no more. From now on my intention is to write more often, but write less. I find getting my thoughts down on "paper", as it were, is my way of processing and discovering all angles of any given situation. Its how I express myself and how I think. I truly miss the time I used to devote to this stress-reliever and am hoping this year will bring simplicity to all areas of my life, most especially my writing.

Who knows, perhaps this will be the year I open my blog up to the public.

Nahhh, probably not!