Oooohhhhhh…..

30 01 2018

It was a long day at work: a good day, but long. I worked until 5, and then headed to the grocery store for my weekly shop. I drove home in the pouring rain, ensconced in the wintery January darkness. The visibility was terrible. I puttered along behind other drivers going far below the speed limit as slushy melting snow snagged at our tires and splats of rain beat down upon us.

I finally got home to face the (endless) chore of unloading almost $300 worth of groceries (so, like 1.5 bags… hahaha, no really, I kid, but holy shit y’all, it’s expensive AF to feed a family of four these days!!). I put things away, wondering morosely what I was going to do for supper, when I looked up to see my husband’s expression. He had eagerly helped me as we chatted about our day. He looked almost guilty as he admitted he needed help with uploading a back- up for the business from our bookkeeper. I wanted to sigh OUT LOUD… but he was too sweet in his efforts to make sure I knew he didn’t feel good about taking more time away from me than necessary. I swallowed my irritation, as I have accepted my IT position in this house. And so I put the groceries away and set off to the computer to fix the issue.

During this, my daughter came to me to ask for help for choosing a book for her AP English class. I wanted to grit my teeth: the exhaustion of my day, more mental than physical, seethed and boiled within me. Like, FUCK… I just want to relax and drink some of that nice Pinot Grigio I had chilling in the fridge but nooooooooooooo, I have to unload groceries AND help with the computer AND pick a book AND deal with whatever else will be coming down to land on my lap. I glanced at the clock in dismay. It was close to 7.30 pm and I hadn’t eaten and there was still a bunch of thing to be done because there was that 18 hour long power outage that left me unable to do what I usually get done. And then I started to think about appointments I needed to book, incessant chores that nagged at me, and I could just feel that pity party wanting to start.

It was then that I realized that I was the CEO of My Family Corporation. It lifted my spirits and made me smile to myself. I felt my irritation dissipate into a level of acceptance that allowed me breath. I fixed the computer issue. My daughter told me to not worry about dinner as we chatted about books. I poured that wine and took a luscious sip, reveling in the (maybe slight egotistical and vain kind of way) fact that without me this house and home just might crumble into a moldering, smelly, slightly slimy hot mess. I fucking OWNED this shit. Hell, I run this place like a tight ship. Right then and there, I stopped my Poor Me and said Girl, you are AMAZING. Everyone is fed and happy and looked after and it’s all because of me. ME.

So, hey… All you other amazing CEOs of your own corporations….when you get irritated at everyone running to you to help solve their problems, just take a seat and drum your fingers together and laugh in a maniacal way. And repeat after me: I run this, I own this, I kick ASS at this. Pour that wine, or tea, or beer. And sit back and know how truly indispensable and integral you really truly are..

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I admit it.

18 02 2016

One time, when I was in grade 10, I was asked to join my English teacher in the hallway for a little chat.

I likely rolled my eyes at her, which she might not have actually even seen. You know, because of the blinding glare from my giant 80s glasses, reflecting the fluorescent lights above. My perfectly back-combed hair stood rigid above my brow, and I was wearing my favourite skin-tight pink dress. The same kind of dress that I’d like to think Christina Applegate’s character on Love and Marriage would have worn. What was her name?

Kelly. Kelly Bundy.

Anyways. I don’t really remember exactly why I was in trouble but I do know that I 100% deserved it. Whatever it was. Mouthing off in class, talking, being rude. Just a regular day for me.

I stood in front of her, as she stared up at me, her furious little face pinched in hatred and anger. As I looked down on her, me: 5’8″. Mrs. C:  5’2″ or maybe 5’3″… I remember that I crossed my arms and gave her my absolute best version of the  epic 15 year old bitch-ass teenage girl STARE DOWNS. Oh, you know the kind. The glare.  The pursed lips, the sullen eyes. The sighs. I stared her at her little face with the Dorothy Hammill bob. Oh my god, I hated that hair-do, and I kept staring her down. I knew she probably wanted to haul off and slap my face off my face.

She had had enough and said to me:

“Kristine, you are a little BITCH.”

And I.. I was all… I… she called me a bitch…. I said to myself. I was left open-mouthed in awe of her epic rudeness. How dare she?

After our altercation, I think I left class and went outside, I actually can’t remember what I did.

This memory popped into my mind this week after dealing with an issue about personal accountability with my kid.

I remember being so indignant, that Mrs C was in the wrong and that I was so fucking hard done by and that she was the little bitch, NOT ME… But I do remember a few years later, that I realized… HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS….

I was a LITTLE BITCH.

It opened up dialogue about owning up to our own short-comings in relationships we have with people in our lives. Sometimes, I think about some person who pissed me off and like 99% of the time, I grudgingly admit and silently recognize a part of me that contributed to the situation.. Just like we are part of good laughs among friends, we are equally a part of the negative shit too.

Well, it’s a journey I am no where near mastering, this is for sure. It’s tough as hell to admit when you’ve helped create the bad stuff. To admit what you’ve put into that circumstance. To accept responsibility.

But then you learn from it and move forward.

 





Fewer and farther between

18 10 2014

I glanced over from the kitchen today and my heart stopped for just a moment.

There it was.

For one split second, a single heartbeat, with the autumn light cast upon my daughter’s face, there echoed her smile from years ago. I saw her three-year-old smile. I saw, only for a moment, the remnants of her child’s face. In a blink of an eye, it vanished, and there she was smiling at something, her almost grown up 13 year old face, as lovely as ever, glowing and beautiful.

I froze, my heart caught, my throat squeezed, tears rose up. I recalled that fuzzy bunny of mine, her white-blonde hair and stubborn personality, her fervent love of me, her kindness and sprays of giggles that she offered up every chance she got. Her joy when she was excited relayed through a delightfully excited way of walking, kicking each step as her feet couldn’t seem to contain her spirit. My heart ached with a depth I cannot convey.

Oh my lost little ones, I do miss you both so much…. yet here now they navigate through adolescence. My son’s voice as deep as his father’s, when once it was as soft and pure and sweet as vanilla ice cream. His face now rises above mine as I speak to him. How did he get so tall? His cheeks, once so full and chubby, they beckoned for kisses and his arms, soft and hairless, wrapping around my neck for hugs. Now his face is thinner, his shoulders broad, his chin sprouting whiskers. I wondered during his toddler years what his man-face will look like and now… now I look at it daily.

It is no slight thing to watch your children grow. Wobbly newborns, smiley buddha-babies, frustratingly curious toddlers: we bear witness to their courage and faults and uniqueness as they discover who they are.

I love the age they are now, I hesitate to even ponder the idea of having babies now. We have freedoms now as a family, freedom to allow us to go zip-lining and skiing and hiking. We can all get into the truck without diaper bags and car seats and sippy cups and barf buckets. We can watch movies together that aren’t of Disney or Pixar or Dreamworks. (I can’t tell you how glad I am that I never have to watch Frozen or Cars IV or whatever is out right now, these mass-produced money-wringing Hollywood ploys). I can now see clearly who they are, though their future is as fogged up for me as it is for them.

But that treasure the Universe handed me today, that tiny immeasurable gift of what once was and what is now has resonated beyond anything I can explain. That glimpse into the past as the present gave way for just one brief touch of time gave me such bitter-sweet joy.

 

 





Girl Power.

1 03 2014

Recently I was tagged by a friend to post a selfie, wearing no makeup. The idea behind this is to promote acceptance and self-esteem among our young women and girls who constantly struggle with being OK with who they are.

I really liked this idea and even being sick, I felt the need to post my No Makeup Selfie this morning…. I have a daughter who will turn 13 this summer and I am constantly aware of my influence  on her and her friends. She is lucky as she has a full range of Other Mothers to take cues from, to learn and grow from.

But still, even being adamant that I wouldn’t EVER talk about feeling fat in front of her, or put myself down or bemoan my jiggly ass or chunky thighs, she is still hard on herself. I hear her talk about how she hates her face, she’s too tall, her legs are fat, she’s ugly. It tears my heart out. Not because she is the exact opposite of all this, but because despite me doing all the right things like talking about media influence and self-worth and how truly hard it is to be a girl sometimes and promoting her wit and empathy and intelligence above her looks, she STILL does what I did, what we all did.

I wonder, is it an inherent girl thing? Is it something we all go through on some level regardless of our upbringing? I deflected it as much as I could and here she is, still on a journey of self-hate and personal degradation.

We talk, her and I. I believe there is a little tiny jelly bean of hope in her heart that truly listens to my words. I say to her that she is kind and fun. That her mind is strong and smart. Her body can run and swim and kick a soccer ball and she can ski 90 k/hour with a lackadaisical manner that defies logic. I say she is loyal and sweet, but with a touch of stubbornness and temper that can be pruned and urged into a powerful force, which means she will never ever be pushed around. And lastly, I do tell her she is beautiful. That her eyes are the colour of the lake on a summer’s day and her smile brightens rooms, but that is never her most important attribute. I think that she does hear me, and while there is more powerful influences in her life right now, she knows she can always believe her Mama.

 





I see your ______!!!!

10 05 2013

Happy Mother’s Day. Gather round. It’s story time:

My kids have had a deeply ingrained sense of modesty around their parents for a while now regarding basic nudity. No one has been purposely naked in front of each other for a very long time… well, with the exception of two people in my family *wink wink nudge nudge*. Nudity within a family is a funny thing, one that is clearly defined within the four walls that encompass every manner of family. It is measured within each person’s level of comfort and casual allowance. To each their own, I guess. As it should be.

Anyways, there was a casual approach to nudity in our family. We raised our kids with the subtle message that everyone has a body and it’s no big deal. But that all changed for us as our kids grew up a bit.

New rule: Absolutely no naked ick around!! That is the RULE. Parents are GROSS! They have BODIES! EW!!!

We all then began the purposeful knocking on doors, the respecting privacy, following the no nudity rule etc etc.

It was inevitable (obviously) that one day, I would open the bathroom door, positive that I was alone, to walk the four feet to my bedroom, sans towel or robe, only to see that lo and, yes, behold, there stood my unfortunate teenage son. I did the old “Oh My God, I’ve been seen naked pose” –  arms clasped in such a manner across my chest and inner thighs so to desperately deflect any visual awareness that yes, indeed I was NAKED. This was to no avail.

The thing about me is, though, that I see humour in almost everything in my life. I couldn’t help but take in the horrified expression on his face as he realized his worst nightmare had come true. There, in front of him was his mother, in all her birthday suit glory, naked as the day she was born. His jaw dropped open as if the gates of hell opened in front of him. He covered his eyes with his hands and shrieked a bit. As the horror slowly sank into him, I grabbed the towel, covering myself as the giggles hit. I started to for real LMAO  as he ran into his room, and I, doubled over maniacally howling, trying to wrap myself up…..

“My eyes” he yelled, as he lay prone on his bed, his face buried into his pillow. “MY EYES!!!”

I, laughing still, grabbed my robe and made myself decent before going to see him.

I could tell it was not only a horrific experience for him; he also, like his mom, thought it was kind of funny. Funny in a terrifying ironic kind of way. He informed me he needed some bleach to pour in his eyes just get that image out of his mind. I think I told him then that what was seen can never be unseen. And then we laughed.…. That, my friends, was oddly (and on the self-deprecating side) one of the best laughs I have shared with him yet.

🙂

May you Mothers out there always find the humour and laughter in the most mundane or insane moments of your life, as you raise your own unique gifts to this world. I love you all!





Fate.

3 02 2013

Impromptu drinks last night at a dear friend’s house was just what I needed. We sat around enjoying lychee margaritas (Mmmmm… YUMMY, I’ve never had lychee before….). There were three women there I had never met before but that didn’t stop any of us from jumping into the conversation and sharing like only women can do.

Obviously when mothers get together kids and the epic hilarity that motherhood induces was the main topic. We shared goofy stories around the table: life lessons imbued with laughter.

One of the women had us in tears, sharing a tale of rushing from the bathroom mid-tampon insertion to stop her precocious toddler from falling off the kitchen island. The honesty of the situation only made it funnier. “You see,” she said, giggling, “my younger son can’t talk, so I had to ask my older son what was happening…” She went on to shyly admit he was in speech therapy.

I asked her who she was seeing, telling her that my son once worked with a speech pathologist for years.

Naturally, it was the same therapist.

And of course, as fate works in its most magical and needful way, her son has the same diagnosis as mine.

There we were, two women who had never met, on either side of this mothering spectrum, walking along the exact same path in life, brought together by a mutual friend and drinks. It is always amazing, the way fate dances in our lives.

And so her need to talk about her worry and devotion and struggle with her child came out. She is where I was 12 years ago. Her fears of his uncertain future were as tangible as mine once were.

And I realized that I was there to help her. What a profound moment in my life. I was able to gift this young mother something I wish could have been gifted to me long long ago.

I was able to assure her that her son was going to be okay. I was able to tell her that my son, who once wasn’t able to say anything other than mama and dada now talks my ear off. I was able to comfort her with my own son’s progress that belied my own buried fears of him never being able to speak and be part of any sort of quality life. I too was once terrified that my child would never be able to talk “normally”, that he would skirt the edges of society, that he would be eternally picked on, excluded, that his suffering would be larger than he would ever, ever be able to contend with.

Her eyes filled with tears at my insistent assurance. Yes, it is a tough road to walk, this therapy, sign language and struggle. There will be days that you will feel frustrated, progress is slow and sometimes nonexistent with speech therapy. Yes, the arm chair critics who offer cutting words of negative judgement and unneeded opinions will be maddening at times and yes, deeply hurtful. Tears will need to be shed, prayers offered, hands held, support sought. But through all of this, that light at the end of the tunnel is bright and beckoning. Every word learned, every sign dropped, every little milestone will make that light shine a little bit more until one day you realize you are no longer walking towards it, but rather you are immersed in all of its dazzling glory.





For my son.

16 01 2013

In some ways, the memory of the birth of my firstborn child is so fresh it hurts. And in other ways it is so foreign and removed and so long ago that it is like a story I am telling that isn’t really mine, as if I am recounting a movie plot or a book I read.

Did I really do that? Grow a child and give birth, primal and bloody? Did I actually nurse him and marvel day in and day out at his emerging chubbiness and funny faces? Was his hand actually able to fit in the palm of mine? Was his first utterance of  “mama” as full of love and sweetness and breathtaking innocence as I imagine it was?

He is turning 14 in two days. He is now two inches taller than me. He gives me the side eye when I go for a fist bump. We laugh a lot, we drive one another crazy. He is a true teenager in all his loud music and sarcasm and angst and moodiness, but still with a surprising need for heartfelt mothering every now and then. He creates his art with subtle ease, sketches of dragons appearing on the paper like medieval dreams poured from his soul. He is nothing like I expected he would be and everything I wanted but never knew I did.

With all the days gone by now swept into the recesses of my mind, I find myself not regretting the passage of time with too much bitterness. Rather I find myself feeling lucky and joyous that I was privileged enough to experience all of this. All of this: the  joy and precious moments and frustration and exuberant kisses and true deep love. And what keeps me grounded and not frivolous in my sadness of time gone by is that no matter what, I will always get to be his mother. It will never be taken from me. My baby will forever be mine in my heart. And I can only hope that the experience of being his mother will be mine for years and years to come. So that I can witness his growth into whoever he may become.

And that will always be enough for me.

Happy birthday Nick.