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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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…

Nice Face! 

Hubby says I’m grouchy today. I’d like to say I’m verbally defiant. Borderline verbally abusive with a touch of snark that could be perceived as being passive aggressive if someone listened hard enough, but most people just slough it off as the weather being a bitch and mildly pay attention so I’m down with that. I’ve told more people to ‘fuck off’ under my breath today than I’ve said most of the year. Not sure the reason for my sourness. Could be the 4:30am starts to drive daughter to her job. Could be the monster pimple that has developed dead mark between my eyes making me look like I have hand drawn target for any wanton marksmen wandering around. My glasses sit right on top of it. It’s so big, they slip down my nose. Downrightmotherfuckingappallingandinsulting to have pimples at my age. Thanks, middleagedom. Could be the state of the world and neighbours to the south who have had to endure floods, fires, hurricanes and now mass shootings, mayhem and death. Could be that Tom Petty died. Could be the Ass President who never ceases with his pouting, whining and childishness. Could be my lack of patience, my overabundance of frustration and my unflinching ability to point out the obvious. Could be the lack of gas in my car and my defiance at filling it up. Could be Tuesday.  


At some point I’ll run out of gas.

And sentences.

Whatever the reason for my insulting verbiage, I wholeheartedly apologize to those who I’ve told to suck it, today.  

Even though you probably pissed me off with your talking too loudly or eating at your desk. Or having the audacity to sit there with your coffee. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE AND WHY ARE YOU NOT SHARING?!

Ugh.

I think I may have some wine left at home if somebody didn’t already drink it. AND, since I’m being so ‘grouchy’, I may have to have a glass or the entire bottle in order to sort out this wonderful mood I’m in. Whatever.

You know what? Just…never mind.

You go on with your life and never mind about me. I’m fine. My zit and I will be over here contemplating the state of the world and how we are going to move past everything without impending scars.  

Then you’ll be all “OMG what the hell happened to your face!”  

Yeah.  

 

Just NOPE

I’m a big ball of frustrations these past few days with little explanation for it. Not sure if it’s the adults who occupy my world, or if it’s just me. The weather may have some kind of influence on me. It’s a total shitball of crap. 

 The cloudy/rainy/drizzly/foggy/never-gonna-see-the-sun-again weather is getting exhausting, so I would rather be hiding under the covers in my bed with a bottle of Cab and some chocolate, than doing anything that requires my immediate and undivided attention. I don’t want to drive anyone anywhere, pick anyone up, cook anything, clean anything, buy anything or sell anything. I don’t want to order anything, pet anything, feed anyone, pick anything off of the floor, wipe the dog’s arse, clean the toilet, fill up a washing machine or have anything to do with any kind of motorized shitty moving appliance. I don’t want to sprint, run, jump, pull, push, sit up, sit down then stand up again, dance, flail, or otherwise move in an unconventional Gawd-did-not-intend-my-body-to-move-like-this kinda way. I don’t want to hear complaints, idle shitty gossip about the lady that didn’t like her husband’s car so she drove it off the ledge and into the bottom of the lake kind of story that I just made up in my head so don’t go looking for that headline in some newspaper because it doesn’t exist; I don’t want to hear a bad joke, good joke or any kind of humorous anecdote or “OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT” because, no. Nope. I don’t want to be nice, or mean or happy or sad. I don’t want to be excited or surprised; guilty or upset; worried or anxious; gleefully joyous or blissfully ignorant…

Although, I MAY want to be that last one.

That pretty much covers it.

Have a nice day….ugh.  

The Unrelenting Echoes of Summer

The ‘hood battles are raging and the summer days are stretching onwards and upwards. No one is immune to the reaching fingertips of ire and impatience emanating from cranky neighbours who refuse to admit their age is getting the better of them. If one is to listen to them, the kids are running amok flailing wildly among heathens and hoodlums destined to dethrone the king of badness. Nothing good happens past nine- thirty peeps, and children left to pillage and plunder the village into the abyss of indifference and permissive dismissal are future adults destined for the Presidency of an American nation. Alas how are we to survive the madness?!Calm down, peeps.

The children are children playing in the backyards of responsible professional adults paying their taxes, abiding the laws of society and contributing to the well-being of community and ‘hood alike.

There is no crime here, only that of youth being restless and young on summer nights that have magically become windless and warm. The days where summer seems to last forever, where any kid of any age can dream of digging for buried treasure, swim in the depths of a backyard pool and savour the taste of s’mores and burnt marshmallows on a backyard campfire. Tents, giggles, sleeping bags, practical jokes, stolen garden gnomes (oh, my poor Norman where art thou?) all a big part of childhood and growing up in a safe environment surrounded by loving parents and committed neighbours to raising a generation of well-adjusted, educated, intelligent, compassionate and community minded young people.

That’s what my idea of a neighbourhood is.

Watching out for each other against the rallies of the occasional late-night thievery, lost dogs, wayward cats, and kids out past the boundaries of the park at the end of the street. Local spring clean-ups, bottle drives for hockey trips, Mummering Christmases, barbeques and the fence raising- shed building- deck erecting- construction that brings friends and neighbours together.

We connect to support each other in times of confusion and debt reduction, lost jobs, raised taxes, sky-high grocery bills and illness and heart attacks and even the death of someone’s parent or relative. It’s what they mean when a neighbourhood becomes a small village.

We become each other’s indirect relative.

A communal leaning post.

Friends. Allies. Fellow compatriots in a world where we embrace differences and stand up for the underdog. Where we denounce bullies, raise up kindness and understanding and assist at all costs.

It’s in the DNA of every Newfoundlander to have this innate sense of community; to feel responsible for each other because, hey, don’t I know yer father? At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Let’s see more of that. Community. Fellowship. Understanding.

AND FUN.

Hey kids! Your loudness behooves me!

The kids running around playing spotlight after dark, the fires in the backyard pits, the barbeques, the late night dog walking, the chatting…

There is no room for fear of being loud or obnoxious. The sounds of laughter and squealing from children should be a sign of a healthy happy environment fraught with joy and the unending bounds of childhood activity.

It should be lauded as the epitome of strength of home and family; not sullied as unnecessary and appalling.

As the summer progresses, let the children play in the streets and wreak havoc in the backyards. Soon enough they will be grown and gone and our yards will echo with their lost squeals of fun-fueled delight from summers past. Youth is fleeting.

Let’s not wish it away.

 What?! I can’t hear you! Whispering sucks. 

 

 

It’s 5am

burpees-2-1024x683

 

It’s 5:00 am – The alarm rings.   I think I just made it to sleep at 3:30.  Surprisingly, I don’t feel tired.  I feel kinda… ready.  Huh.

5:02 – drag myself to the bathroom to change.

5:05- Make lunch for work.  I need coffee.  Kiss the dog.  Kiss Hubby.  Where’s the damned coffee?

5:20 – text Frankie to say ‘I can drive’.  Make coffee.

5:28am – after waiting for a response, realize I texted the daughter instead.  Oops. I send her a smiley face with a ‘mornin’ sunshine’ text.  That makes everything better at 5am.     Text the right Frankie.  Drain the last of my coffee.  I love coffee.

5:36 – Pick up Frankie.  It’s dark and mild and the pavement is shiny and black from the midnight rain.  Quiet and still.  We drive in relative silence.  Thinking is too much right now.

5:40- Bright light.  Cool air blowing from the AC.  Waiting in the studio for everyone to show.  It’s quiet.  It’s too early for conversation.

5:45 – It’s loud.   Music is blaring.  We start moving.  My legs are stiff and sore.  I do it anyways.

Sometime mid-workout – I watch the sweat drip from my face onto the studio floor and wonder if I am going to make it.  TRX mountain climbers.  Fuck you. Don’t stop.  Keep going.

Nearing the end – Burpees.  Shoulder presses.  I’m burning.  Lunges.  Did I take 2 different weights?  Ugh.  I’m better for choosing the heavier weights.  Always go for the heavier weights.

The end –   I think I cried a little when I finally worked my way through the last station and could fling myself onto my back for the cooldown.  I’m better for having finished the workout.

Cool down –I’m better for having listened to my alarm. I’m better for showing up.   I’m better for doing one last burpee. I’m better for not giving up.  I’m just better.  Better than a year ago.  Better than 6 months ago, better than last week.  Better than yesterday.  And I’ll be better tomorrow and better a few more times by Friday.    *sigh*

Always think, ‘I am better’…

 

 

 

Namaste and Other Yoga Words I Can’t Say

I attended my first yoga class evah, last night with Bestie, D and KS. We thought it would be a good way to start the New Year off right and it may be fun!  Apparently, ‘fun’ is relative.  The location was a small structure that I kindly referred to like this:  “OH MY GOD WE’RE DOING YOGA IN A SHED!”  Had it been equipped with a dart board and a wood stove, we would have rushed to the nearest liquor store for the wine and snacks, Yoga class be damned.  As it turned out, it was a small daycare complete with cubbie holes and manipulative block area.  The room NEXT to the daycare room was where I would experience the Downward Dog and the Tree pose ( I was more of a stick, than a tree.  Yeah.)

The dog is laughing at my downward dog.

The dog is laughing at my downward dog.

We managed to secure prime location spots at the back and to the right side of the room so as not to disrupt the rest of the class with giggling that may have escaped us during any portion of completing the poses.  We managed to be somewhat mature adults (yay us!) for the majority of the time.  There were some serious students of the Yoga practice who attended and we did not want to appear rude or inconsiderate.

Apparently, Yoga is a meditative and QUIET activity where they try to instill an aura of inner peace and tranquil contemplation.  Oh, yeah sign me the fuck up.  Sure…I can be quiet, in fact I AM quiet ¾ of the time…except, at the end of the class when we were supposed to lie down and be COMPLETELY STILL.   Yeah.   I reached for my water to have a sip before I fell into a near catatonic state of relaxation.  As I reached for my water bottle, it erroneously decided to explode in ma face sending water spraying into my eye like a whale expelling air from its blowhole.  Meanwhile, the instructor was going around the room dimming the lights and getting everybody blankets and pillows.  It was like nap time in kindergarten going on.  I was confused…and soaking wet from the spray of water in ma face.  I felt the urge to proclaim “WTF?!”, instead simply looked over at KS who was laughing, which got me laughing, but we were QUIETLY laughing, so no rules broken there.  We rock.  And then came quiet contemplation time and we had to be PERFECTLY STILL.  (which never really happened as I was hearing everybody else breathe and then some random bell started ringing and I thought I was hearing things or was that a poor excuse for a fire alarm?, and then some guy began to ‘sing’ and I use that term loosely ‘cause it was more like he was yodeling really…not actually singing.  My eyes darted open as I was half expecting the room to rise up and start getting their shoes on to escape the fire that was surely blazing out of control in the closet where all the cork bricks were stacked and the yodeler was truly hiding, but as I stealthily looked around the room so as not to get caught cheating, I noticed everybody else was laying still so I assumed this bell-ringing and yodeling was SUPPOSED to happen.  Ohhhhh.) No flames, no fire and no hunky firemen…damn, this Yoga thing kinda sucks.

Ugh…I bit the inside of my cheeks so I didn’t have to be the totally immature one and break out in an inappropriate amount of laughter.  It’s like that laughing disease people have…spontaneous uncontrollable laughter at the most inappropriate times.  KS thinks she is a victim of this disease.  I think I am a victim of KS’s thinking of her victimization and the impending laughter that will surely ensue if we ever stop biting various appendages…she her hands, me my inner cheeks.  AND, by ‘cheeks’ I mean the ones on my face.  I would be a Yoga MASTER if I could bite my own ass cheeks. I think I just invented a new pose….I’ll call it “Crunching Idiot”.

This ain't gonna happen any time soon.

This ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

That would be a feat of brilliance I’ll save for maybe my second or third class…AND the hunky firemen.  What?  I gotta have something to think about during Catatonic Rest Time.  Geesh.  (there is a more accurate yoga term for that, but I can’t remember what it is…and too lazy to look it up.)

Until next time, as Joanne and Hal say, keep fit and have fun.

I bet Joanne can chew her cheeks...betcha.

I bet Joanne can chew her cheeks…betcha.