The journey.

21 07 2011

A complete 180. That is what my son has done. On his journey to adulthood, he is approaching the teen years at a mad pace. Suddenly, I am horribly embarrassing to him. My arm, casually slung about his shoulder is an act that warrants shrugging it off, a glare and walking away. You see, I laugh too loud. I can’t dance. My jokes tank. I have ugly wrinkles and jiggly legs that are obviously so repugnant, he finds it necessary to inform me of my disgraceful human form in some sort of desperate need to distance himself from me.

I am not even worthy of a celebratory fist-bump.

This has happened so quickly. I went from the top of the list to the very bottom within weeks. For the most part, it is funny and we do joke about this a lot. I remind him to be kind. Even his mother has feelings, you know.

He hangs with his Dad. He seeks him out, he watches Dan’s moves. He stands like him. He adopts his mannerisms. He is identifying with the hidden man inside of himself by disconnecting with me and cementing the bond with his Dad. Dan can do no wrong. Nick includes himself in minute activities only to be closer to him, like standing around the truck talking to other guys, hands in pockets. Leaning casually against the truck, taking it all in, these manly ways of conversation.

As he should.

I cannot begrudge my son this important move in life. After all, the delicious baby boy I gave birth to will one day be the man I hope him to be. Solid, kind, caring, courageous. He needs to do this. He needs to move away from Mama Love. He needs to define himself through the masculine world in order to become the man he needs to become.

Dan is worthy of the fist-bump, complete with “blowing it up” too.

As much as it hurts my heart to let this go, I see the joy and light in my husband’s eyes when our son only wants to hang out with him. I forgive my child the little digs at my unfortunate error of being me because I know truly that he doesn’t mean it. It’s just simple biology.

Plus, he has to drive me crazy so I’ll want to let him go when it’s time to leave the nest.

But still, there are times when he chooses to sit close to me on the couch. His hugs are still just as tight, even lingering sometimes for an extra few seconds or so.  I am still needed and loved, only now in less blatant ways.  I take it all with gratitude. I will always be his Mom….

Kicking some @ss.

19 07 2011

During the majority of my 20s, I was a blob. I drank lots, smoked lots and generally had the motivation of a sloth. A lazy sloth. My friend Sandi would drag my reluctant (and jiggly) ass to aerobics class where I would huff and puff in the back of the room, swearing at the instructor under my breath that I was sick and f*&^ing tired of this bull%$#@. It never failed to amuse my friend, who loved exercise as much as I detested it.

Thankfully I grew out of that.

I had joined a gym when I quit smoking and did weight training and some cardio on the stair climber. I discovered yoga when my son was a baby, clumsily following a daily half hour yoga show and then venturing out to actual classes. Ashtanga Yoga and I became good friends. I learned to enjoy the sweat. I fell in love with achey muscles. I reveled in feeling good. I’d plonk Nick in the stroller and walk, on purpose, up hills.

Then I decided that I wanted to start running. I’d run and get so tired I’d feel like yakking in the ditch. I couldn’t seem to ever improve to the point where I could run longer than two minutes. Serendipity prevailed for me and a running clinic was offered in Nelson. Every Sunday morning for 12 weeks, I dedicated myself to the clinic. At first, we ran 30 seconds and walked for four and a half minutes, doing that a bunch of times. During the week, it was up to me to stick with it and keep up with the interval running. The following week, the time of actually running would increase and walking would decrease. By the end of the 12 weeks, I was giddy and overjoyed because I could run for an hour without stopping. The following week, I completed my first 10k race, with a  time of just over an hour. Not the fastest, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t racing anyone other than my Self.

I’ve kept up with running. I picked up skiing. I got new cross country skiis. I delved into a deeper and stronger Yoga practice. I’ve been enjoying Bootcamp twice a week. (I really thought I would hate it, but found out that working your butt off with a  bunch of women has a real inspiring flavour to it.)

I’m fitter than I have ever been in my entire life, here in my 40s.

And I like it. I love to sweat. I love to push myself harder just to see what I can do. Truly, I feel that I am honouring this body, this temple I am inhabiting. When I can’t exercise, I feel out of sorts. I actually crave it.

I have a friend who is a certified fitness instructor and I find great motivation from him and his stories and his dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. He has great tips for getting started, staying motivated and stepping it up when you need to. He used to be a fat-ass like me, so you can actually believe what he says!

If you feel like this is your time, go for it! Be realistic, take your time, set goals and have fun!!!


How to live in the moment.

9 07 2011

This winter, my Shepherd/Retriever cross dog, aka Tutter The Mutter, aka my Best Friend Forever, started to make some funny sounds every once in a while. Sort of a throaty sound, like he was hacking up a giant loogey.

It happened very rarely; not enough to warrant concern since he was in every other way totally fine.

Then his nose began to run only on one side. He started to have sneezing fits.

I called our vet, a trustworthy “country” vet, who upon hearing his symptoms asked to see him right away. He told me this was “of concern”.

My heart dropped into the pit of my belly. I knew, then. I knew.

We tried some antibiotics, Pat did a tear duct drainage test. He called a vet he knew down at the Washington State University vet program in Pullman, WA. He pulled no punches when he told me what he and the other veterinarian thought.

Tutter has a nasal tumour. We were advised that treatment would not only be costly but would only extend his life by a mere 6-8 months. These months would be filled with uncomfortable and painful treatments. He would be very sick while going through chemo and radiation. There is no remission, only a slight extension of life.

We live in a relatively rural area where these sorts of treatments are not readily available to us, even IF we wanted to pursue it.

All my explanations aside, what I truly felt in my heart was this:

Tutter deserves a life free of agony. Free of confusion and pain and nausea caused by our selfish need to extend his life only to allow us to enjoy him for a few more weeks or months.

He does not deserve to be treated like a warranty program.

We told the children last night after my son asked point-blank if there was something wrong with Tutter. Dan and I wanted to wait until after school and after Elisabeth’s birthday to tell them. It was very difficult. There was tears and sadness and lots and lots of hugs and an epic walk with our family and our beloved dog, where we feasted (Tutter included) on the first of the season’s huckleberries.

But most of all, we all talked about living in the moment. Tutter is HERE right now. He is with us still. He is alive, loving, devoted and sweet. Every moment we have with him is precious. Every chance for a walk, a grooming, a cookie, a snuggle will be taken with open hearts and a realization that our lesson in all of this is how to BE present, in the here and now. Let’s not worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Today is happening. Our dog doesn’t care about what will happen the next day. And neither should we.

As my family ventures down this lonely and sad road, I know we will have some rough days ahead. But we owe it to our dog, our funny, sweet, smart, goofy, loving dog to give him the best possible life, no matter how long or short it is. Our compassion and empathy allows us to grant these four-legged family members nothing less than what they truly deserve: kindness, love and dignity.