Strength Through Adversity

Our knee jerk reaction as parents is to rescue our struggling children.  It’s hard to take a breath and a step back and lay witness to the battles, all the while feeling helpless and useless.  That’s not what we are conditioned to do.  We are the parents and as such, are responsible for the well-being and care of those innocent little beings that we brought here. The urge to protect, shield them from harm and difficulty is innate in all mothers and fathers.   We’re not supposed to throw them to the wolves knowing full well they’ll be hounded and forced to fight back; made to stand up and withstand the baring teeth and the all out assaults of those that wish them harm.   It’s hard to listen to them cry and shout in frustration, fear and anguish.  Fear of failure, fear of hurt, fear of losing.  All valid and all the more reason for us to retreat into the shadows and wave our flag of support.  

The adults in this world are nodding their heads, knowing the struggles are real and totally worth it in the end.  It’s enduring the struggles and watching them unfold that’s hard.  It’s the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’ and fighting one’s way to theend is the only way to finish, that holds us back from donning our Superman capes and flying to their aid.  “Sorry, kid it’s in the wash” I said in an email to D2.  The email to inspire her to move onwards and upwards despite the late night crying and homesickness and the “I hate I can’t…”   Me too.  But, it’s your attitude through this difficult patch that will make or break you.  It’s your positive keep-that-chin-up and soldiering-ondespitewearingthatbootonyourleg-that-youhate; despite not being able to do what you innately feel you must do.  Be the bad-ass I know you can.  Lead the damn parade anyways.  March in drill class like you own it.  Remember, hard work and dedication gets you winning regattas and your name in a history book.  That same hard work will get you through this, too.  

I can do nothing but sit here, several provinces away, and hope you hear us cheering you on.  I hope you know you have the guts to do it.  You are strong enough, brave enough and smart enough.  Feeling sorry for your current predicament does nothing but waste precious time.  

Parents are put in the unique position of witnessing progression, triumphs and failures simultaneously.  Struggle is a part of being alive.  It’s through adversity that we truly learn how strong we are.  Taking away that struggle, or trying to diminish it in any way from our children, leaves them with nothing to gain; upon which nothing to build character.  I hate being a spectator to battles and I hate being here, not taking on my Sheldon-like traitof patting her back with a sympathetic ‘there, there’ and offering her a hot beverage.  Of course, I want to hold her hand and tell her it’ll be fine and to just come home.  But what purpose would that serve, if only to make myself feel better?  None.  She learns nothing.  

Struggle on, little bird and kick some ass.  Show your character by fighting through this with your wit, sarcasm and smarts.  If that doesn’t work, march, yell and lift the heavy weights.  Do all the push-ups, do all the chin-ups and do all the rowing.  This whole battle can be won or lost depending solely on how you respond.  This has nothing to do with me or your father; this is your war.  Your struggle.  Your life.  So win it.  

I’ll be over here in the shadows intently watching, laying out my Superman cape to dry knowing we’ve done everything we can, waving my flag of support and cheering you on.  Now, it’s your turn to fight for what you want.   Struggle on, my darling.  

Good luck parents.  Staying in the shadows is the hardest part, but will make the successes that much sweeter.  Let me know if you need a fellow spectator, I have LOTS of coffee….

Easy to watch when they are winning…

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Opinions About Opinion Pieces and Where To Put the Tuna Salad

I just finished reading an opinion piece in the Independent that sounded like, if I were British, and young and still cared about where I put my tuna salad or even ate tuna salad for that matter, it sounded like I wrote it.  It got me thinking how I should be writing more opinion pieces and stuff about more important newsy crap like tuna salad and Theresa May’s lipstick, and less about my trials and tribulations of being abandoned by children and having to struggle my way through Menopause.  It hit me like trying to remove a sweaty workout bra.  Smacking myself in the face while trying to pull the soaked yet suddenly rigid material up over my head.  The idea is a good one, it’s the execution that’s tricky.  Also, it’s a total piss off and funny as hell at the same time.

Then I thought if I don’t write about the daughter-who-left-me-alone-and-sad or about the Big M, what the hell will I entertain ‘the lot’ about?  That’s you all.  The Lot.  Sounds like a great title for a book.  The Lot, a continuing saga about wine-binging children-rearing sweary-sadists who revel in the Writer’s hardships with gravity and battles with people-who-think-they-know-better.   Anyway, what would I write about?  I’ve listed possible incoming topics to keep everyone happy.  They are as follows:

1. Meghan Markle’s ridiculous spelling of her first name and how I hate her hair.  Seriously, what the hell is the ‘h’ in there for?  Am I supposed to say it ‘Megawn’?  Or ‘Meghawn’???   Or Duchess of Sussex, which fills me with unending amounts of joy that it fucking rhymes.  I think the Queen did that on purpose as a joke.  And her hair!  Don’t get me started.  It always looks like she slapped it up in a bun completed by the Queen’s pissed off lady-in-waiting and then stood in front of a fan blowing 125km/h to finish the look.

I really just want to run over and spray it down….

2. The merits of reading the news on the internet vs watching that shit on T.V.  First, I can yell at the computer, raise my fist and protest in ire and everyone just thinks I’m having a bad day with spelling.  Also, I can say nasty things or laugh out loud and colleagues think I’m just reading a memo from the boss.  I can get various viewpoints from various sources who are questionable and be like the rest of humanity, and totally buy it.  I can also read opinion pieces that inspire me to write opinion pieces that spew my opinion and include tuna salad analogies and Magenta lipstick.  And judge Meghawn Markle’s hair.  Sorry, Duchess of Sussex.  That Queen is such a jokester!

3. Taking a cue from my dog and be done with petty life shit.  Seriously, that dog has got some issues with noise, laughter, people, kids, babies and other dogs.  She can’t stand loud ringing noises from the T.V., doesn’t enjoy the doorbell, she can’t stand my son.  At all.  She hates to have someone talk to her unless it’s me, then she can tolerate me in short spurts.  She will only eat her food when the dish is COMPLETELY FULL AND NO LESS.  Will NOT roll over, give a paw or lay down – those commands are just for dumb dogs who don’t know any better.  She cannot stand having her picture taken, doesn’t like baths, insists on diving under the covers because she is cold and sits on top of my head because she knows it pisses me off.   She sits on Hubby’s legs, then growls when he tries to pet her, defends her right to be perched on the softest pillow in all the land and DEFINITELY would NEVER eat off of anything other than your fingers or her dish.

“What?! Stop looking at me, Human”

I clearly need boundaries like these.

Now that I have some clear cut topics for future posts and opinion pieces, be sure to pop by to see how I delve into the complexities of these issues…or at least the mystery of where I put my tuna salad.

Of Wine and Womanhood

Being a woman has become increasingly agonizing.  I’m not talking about the current landscape of women being paid less (we are) women being victimized (we are) and the women who speak out only to be victimized again (yup), I’m talking about the ever-raging battle we have with ourselves; our total lack of control over our bodies’ ability to wage a war we can never win.  Or better, a war we knew was imminent, but chose to ignore or hoped it would just fade into myth and legend because, really, who wants to deal with that shit?  The Big ‘M’, as I now refer to Menopause and all its glory, is to blame for all the calamity that has been occurring in my world the past month or more.  At least, that’s where I’m laying the blame, but who can tell now that wine has currently replaced any beverage deemed socially acceptable after 9am?

I know you’re looking for proof, because in this day and age of evidentiary documents no one can just take someone’s word for something anymore.  There needs to be written documentation, witnesses called, a committee formed, stuff examined…that’s not happening.   I’ll just give you the run down and you can take it for what it is.  A warning to all ladies entering this stage of shitdom.  You. Are. Welcome.

  1. Once upon a time, when I was young, I was diagnosed with Psoriasis, mainly on my hands, which I dealt with routinely up until my first pregnancy. The Fertility Gods then shone down upon me and vanquished said psoriasis into oblivion.  Until now.  It’s back with a vengeance.  WHY BODY, WHY?!!  I’ve been scratching and reverting back to smearing petroleum jelly on them, because that’s the only thing that helps the redness, pain and yukkiness.    The hormonal change is wreaking havoc…

 

  1. I tried the root cover-up stuff because, of course, my grey hair was showing a bit tooo much for me to like it. So, on goes the box of root cover dye that says GOLDEN BLONDE.  I take off the towel and ITS NOT GOLDEN ANYTHING, ITS GODDAM BROWN.  Yes, I am now a brunette on top and strawberry blond on bottom.  And it’s not just roots that received the colour.  I’m talking THE ENTIRE TOP OF MY HEAD.  I’m going with the “oh, I’m ombre now” thing except I DON’T THINK THAT’S A THING ANYMORE. In order to balance out the difference, I decided to use my red-dyed-infused shampoo, so now, I have red splashed into the rest of the bottom strands.   It’s like Bozo the Clown dyed his wig just around the crown of his head and left the rest to chance.  I feel pretty!  Apparently, this is how my life works now.
Bozo

It’s like this, only minus the creepy smile…sometimes. 

  1. I caught the cold from Hell and had to stay in bed for almost three days because THE COLD FROM HELL. I’m better now thanks…except for the shit Psoriasis and the grey/brown/red Bozo hair thing.

 

  1. My hip refuses to relinquish to the squats I NEED to do as often as I want, so now, I limp like I’m almost one hundred and fifty. I can’t run.  I can’t walk.  I limp, like I’ve been repeatedly kicked in the ass by a pissed-off, well, ass.
anigif_enhanced-buzz-17297-1368614295-2

How I currently walk

  1. According to Web MD, because I know you all look shit up there too, I have something called Crashing Fatigue. Fucking awesome.  This little trip to crazytown goes down like this:  for a few days or weeks or months, however long YOUR BODY WANTS TO, bouts of fatigue can overwhelm ‘the patient’ causing her to want to sleep incessantly, because it’s not like I have ANYTHING ELSE TO DO WITH MY LIFE.  I experienced this a couple of weeks ago and it lasted for almost five days.  FIVE DAYS of waking up fine until noon, then *WHAM*  it’s sleepy-night-night time.  I actually left work one day and went home for a nap.  I very infrequently nap.  Then, I was in bed by 8pm and up the next morning.  I slept the entire night.  Every night.  It was ridiculous, really.  Apparently, I really should look for appropriate hormonal therapies.  OH, FOR GAWD’S SAKE I DON’T WANT TO.   I also have bouts of short temper, angry outbursts and temper-tantrum-like behavior.  Kinda like a rabid dog without the foaming at the mouth and baring teeth, although Hubby may agree with that description.

grumpy cat

I’ve decided to just go with it and see where this shitshow lands.   I may have to rely on liquid therapy and a lot of ‘alone’ time away from actual people who may find me violently unpleasant.

Great.  I hope you all find the right therapy for you, your friends, your friends’ wives, the bus driver…whomever.

Stay healthy and stay away from the hair dye!

 

Fall Feels

September winds are on the way.  Summer weather is hanging around like a bad house guest who refuses to leave.  Pretty soon we’ll be packing the suitcases and hastily pushing them onto the front porch, the awkward goodbyes impetuously tossed around like a kid’s unfinished homework.  It was good while it lasted, but for Fallies like me, it’s time to move on to the chilliness, pumpkins and spooks; AKA, THE BEST TIME OF YEAR EVAH.

I love autumn like Mags loves her donuts; fallen onto my lap and gobbled up with feverish joy.  The leaves turning colour, the frosty mornings and chilly afternoon sunshine.  Early fires and warm coffee with a good book.  Warm socks, cozy sweaters and candles lit with vanilla or cinnamon scent.  This is the time of year I start the bread making, D1’s birthday, a new school year with challenges and the preparation for Christmas ( I know, I hear you groan).  This year, D2 will be coming home after 4 months away and only 2 months left to go in her training.  IT’S GOING TO BE AN EPIC CHRISTMAS.  She’ll be squished so much, she’ll be begging to go back to the -40 degree temps and desolation of Regina.

The family unit is changing with thoughts of both daughters moving onwards and upwards and the boy starting his second year of Uni peering down the tunnel of med school, career and ultimate move to parts unknown.   We’re holding on to the last of the full nest, pondering the future of where they’ll be and where we will end up.  It’s a bit daunting, but the natural progression is unstoppable.  That train left the station once that new pink fat baby was placed in our arms and we dedicated ourselves to securing her future.

Now, three fat babies later, we have to let them all go.  We would rather it be a progression of one at a time, but like a sticky bandage, maybe its better it be ripped off all at once.  Maybe it’ll be less painful if all three decided to leave home en masse instead of one at a time.

Or not.

The boy will be home for the duration of Uni, so that guarantees me another three years.  Yay!  D1 has one foot out the door with the collecting of “things I’ll need when I move out”.  Huh.  Am I supposed to help her with that?  I think I’ve been suggesting dishes and pots and pans, instead of the marble coaster set and random pink throw she bought, but she looks at me like I have three heads.  I’ve clearly failed her as a mother.  “I CAN’T COOK”  Ugh.  My reply:  “LEARN. RACHEL RAY IS ON TV FOR A REASON”    “Okay, Mom.”  Of course then I regrettably say things like “Maybe you’ll get a nice boyfriend who can cook for you, then you’ll NEED nice pots and pans.”     She looks at me like this:

Ain’t parenting grand?!

As I hungrily await the first fallen leaf, the first bite of air, and the first murmur of “I’M NEVER COOKING MEAT.  EVER.”, I remain ever steadfast in my belief that I am one of the lucky ones.  The parent that GETS to see her children grow up and move on; I am one of the privileged ones that is allowed to see my fat pink babies have careers and be employed and be secure in their development.  I am ever aware of the unique honour it is to have the opportunity to be here for our children as they become adults, help them move out, and say things like “Gee, that handsome Cardiologist is single…”

And I am eternally grateful for it all…

Draw Like Da Jesus!

My conversations with the ever-absent D2 are infrequent and fraught with awkward silences.   We no longer have that day-to-day mundane interaction to share or joke about, so we get lost in the abundance of stuff and so little time within to tell it.  She’s monstrously busy and I’m monstrously trying to fill her absence.  D1 and Son give me sideward glances when I beg them to talk to me or sit with me outside and tell me about their day, or come with me to Walmart JUST ONE MORE TIME.   I may have to borrow a neighbor kid with whom I could drive around and tell sarcastic bad-driver stories.

The questions that I invent for D2 are different than Hubby’s, but then again they should be.  He was in her exact spot a mere 29 years ago, so of course he wants to know what it looks like, have you done this course yet, who is your drill Corporal, blah, blah, blah.  My questions are far more important and revolve on actual survival skills that only moms understand: have you made any nice friends?  Are you eating enough?  How’s the food?  Are you getting enough rest?  How’s that cleaning, ironing and washing going?  Need another bed-making tutorial?  (Yes, I actually sent her a tutorial on hospital corners that she shared with her troop mates, since I clearly failed her as a mother and neglected to demonstrate this in person during her ENTIRE LIFE AS MY CHILD) Don’t get sick.  Wash your hands all of the time, STAY AWAY FROM THE WEAPONS FIRING AREA.  You know, SURVIVAL.  I’m thinking for Christmas, I’ll give her a throw pillow that reads: JUMP LIKE DA JESUS.   It’s a bit kitschy.  She won’t be able to have it on her bed at Depot, since obviously, EVERYONE WILL WANT ONE.  I needed a short and catchy phrase, since my embroidery skills are as lacking as my motherly teaching skills.  Ugh.

Hubby is entering a new decade today.  Fifty is the new I-made-it-this-far-so-may-as-well-get-shitfaced, so there’s that to look forward to.  Not that he’s going to drink himself to all out oblivion, but I may be tempted.  This new age of being older-than-dirt in the eyes of the youngsters, quite frankly, sucks.  I get eye-rolls and the ‘oh, mom’ when I ask about something Millennials with their hipster jeans and Birkenstocks can only decipher.  By the way, WHEN DID BIRKENSTOCKS COME BACK AS COOL?!  They’re ugly as shit and I don’t understand the appeal.  They’re like wearing hard rubberized sole-deforming casts on your feet and if you were TOLD you HAD to wear them as punishment, one would rail against the establishment as being cruel and unusual and anti-freedom-of-feet!  I see you shaking your head and holding up your rubberized-foot sling as something I should try and that I’d ‘surely love them as soon as I wear them awhile’  NO.  UGLY. AS. SHIT.

I’ve also decided that being over fifty is life’s way of getting back at you for all the crap you said about EVERY ADULT YOU KNEW when you were in your teens. All your eye-rolling, oh-mom comments, ripped jeans, non-sensical friends….STOP DRAWING THAT CIRCLE.  I see it.

Your body decides to play games, your now adult kids make fun of you and you finally understand everything your parents ever said to you throughout your entire life and feel the need to spout same to YOUR children/adults.  Their time will come when they will say the same thing.

WHO BROUGHT FUGLY

BIRKENSTOCKS BACK?!

See?   Okay, you can draw now.

Cue the Lion King theme song.  I’m done.

Letting Go

The absence of D2 is strange.  I walk pass her room and see it empty and surprisingly, clean. There’s no coffee mugs on the desk, or clothes thrown onto the floor in a frenzied panic.   The car we shared is still filled with wanton coffee cups and rowing materials, tossed on the back floors reminding me of her once fluid presence.  In the trunk of said car, I found a cap, a sweater, a yoga mat and coloured tissue paper used for a friend’s gift, now forgotten and abandoned.  She’s still here, but isn’t.   I went through her drawers to find a top I could ‘borrow’ for work.  Instead, I ended up emptying the drawers, organizing pants and tops and putting some questionable things in the laundry.  I didn’t find anything to ‘borrow’, but she now has neat folded clothes organized in an efficient manner for when she returns.

But, if all goes according to plan, she won’t be returning.  She’ll be moving on.  On to another province and another life.

It is a good thing, of which I am reminded daily after everyone tells me she’s supposed to move on.  She’s supposed to get a life and have a career and not be in her room on the second floor.  The room that was once decorated with lilac walls and flowery wall paper; dolls lying everywhere and shelves with Beanie Babies strewn upon them.  Book shelves with Disney covers and old Dr. Seuss stories she should have given her younger brother ages ago.  The bunk beds she shared with her sister, a tv on the dresser, her stark white Tae Kwon Doe gee and colored belts strewn in the corner along with her guitar lying lazily on its side.

All of that is gone, except for the guitar.  It’s now in my room, hidden behind her grad dress and boxes of old photographs.

I am reminded that I shouldn’t be lamenting my loss, but delighted in her gain.  I should be happy for her, that she is doing something she wants to do and is securing a future for herself.  Yeah, yeah.  Easier on the other side when kids are still home and tucked in bed at a reasonable hour and you still make the rules and the meals and discuss how unfair math homework is.

It’s supposed to be easier when they get older, isn’t it?  Not so, dear friends.  Not so.  There’s university, then jobs, then careers, then…gasp, WEDDINGS, BABIES, HOUSES IN NEW TOWNS, NEW PROVINCES?!  WHEN WILL IT END?!

Aye, there’s the rub.  It doesn’t.  It’s the never-ending cycle of having babies and watching them grow up and move on and become the people we always hoped they would be.

And when they DO do it, you’re surprised and proud and sad all at the same time.  Surprised that you actually pulled it off.  You managed to raise a human being that contributes to society, is intelligent (although when she was 3 and proceeded to on the toilet backwards because “my friend Lucas pees this way” you kinda wondered…) has common sense, the ability to laugh and that ever-biting sarcasm.  Proud because she fought her way through school and work and negative old men who doubted her abilities.  Sad because she is gone.  How did that happen?  Hubby and I look at each other, full of wonder.  Wasn’t she just turning 4 yesterday?!

Then the worry of did you teach her enough, did you make her tough enough to fight back, did you give confidence to believe in herself and not to listen to the nay-sayers?  Did you fill her enough with knowledge of that big bad world, compassion enough to listen to the unfortunate, and creative enough to solve the problems she will face?  Did you?

Beats the fuck out of me.

I guess time will tell.  At some point, I have to say we’ve done all we can do.  It’s now up to her.  It’s all in her hands, not ours.  If she succeeds, it’s all because she wanted it bad enough to work her ass off to get it.  If she doesn’t, it’s all because she chose not to; she chose to walk another path and it’s ultimately her choice to make.  Not ours.

In the meantime, I’ll wait.  I’ll continue to walk passed that empty room, dust the furniture every once in a while, fold some more clothes that I won’t ‘borrow’, knowing we’ve done our best.

Soar on, little bird.  Soar on…

If I Could Read, I Wouldn’t Need Help. Also Wine

The winds are blowing heavy today; my brain seems to be melting in the heat and I’m having difficulty concentrating on anything longer than three words.  At least, that’s what I’m saying.  “It’s all of this heat.  I’m not used to it” when really, it’s all of this old age and peri-menopause crap that’s beginning to break down my will to exist with patience and some semblance of logic.  Intelligence has taken a back seat to convenience and I’m having a hard time concentrating.  It’s like I’m four years old all over again and if someone could constantly feed me and keep me entertained, I’m happy.  Piss me off and take away my favourite toy and watch out!

You better have a stick of chocolate in that other hand or I may punch you in the throat.

Coach put out a notice of how the new payment system is going down. I SWEAR TO GAWD I READ IT.  I really did.  I think.  Today, I spoke like I knew what I was talking about, because my erroneous brain decided I DID KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.  I knew shit.  I got it all wrong.  IF I HAD READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE I PROBABLY WOULD BE ABLE TO DECIPHER THINGS BETTER.  She may need to post stuff in all caps.  Or be more sarcastic.  Or have a caption that read WINE, and then proceed to print things in clear concise point form without all of the flowery language of using proper grammar

and words like “the” and “and”.  Ugh

Today’s post of PLEASE READ was okay, but she really should have specified it to be PLEASE READ then below that heading, have “AND WINE”.  That would get peoples’ attention.  At least the fifty-somethings like me would have shit to look forward to and not aimlessly read without concentrating on the actual context of the message.  We would be reading to get to the good part about the wine…IS THERE WINE?  Oh, look I have to actually pay her…IN WINE?  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.  EVERYBODY PAY IN WINE!!!  WHO WAS THE BRILLIANT PERSON WHO CAME UP WITH THAT?!

Nevermind.  That’s how I would decipher the entire message.  YOU HAVE TO PAY COACH AT THE END OF JULY IN WINE.  I READ IT.  ALL OF IT AND THAT’S WHAT IT SAID. NOW, DON’T BOTHER ME I NEED TO EAT MY CHOCOLATE.  DANCE, HEATHEN!   DANCE!

I also have issues with deciding if I should wear pants, so really, I should be excused from answering questions and deciphering texts.

Ps.  Dear Boss, if you want to pay me in wine, I’d be okay with that.  Thanks!  KJ