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…

Riding Semis With Strangers

The wind is blowing, the sun is kinda shining and I’m not wearing a parka.  What a great Friday! The following tale is not for the faint of heart and one not wishing to lay witness to the winds of change.  An emotional upheaval of a woman fraught with anguish, ire and scant hormones that have left her (me) with little else but to rant and rave to the Gods of the Universe to bestow patience and lots of wine.  Here you go….

The inevitable is careening at me like a Denzel Washington train of disaster and I can’t move out of the way fast enough.  I’ve ranted and raved, threw my fist in the air to protest the injustices of errant hormones and still I’ve been relegated to bowing my head in disbelief and wanton despair.  Approaching 52 has never been so tumultuous.  I imagine.  I’ve never approached 52 before and never will again, for that matter.  Good thing.  I’ve had to reel in my tongue lest the innocent bystanders fall victim to my raging Norma Rae pontifications.  A little dramatic, I realize but that’s how it is these days. I’ve had to remind myself that someone being a little late is not an ‘idiot’ or a ‘fucking moron’ or anything other than just being late.  I’ve had to remind my body that I’M NOT THAT OLD, M*&^*F**&^CKER AND I CAN DO IT IF I WANT TO.  OR, maybe I should take a few days off and think about it.

I was forced to counsel Hubby on the upcoming personality disorder that will be defined as his former wife, due to the unfortunate incident of him answering my plea of being rescued from a place of employment with a curt ‘no’.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO?!  It started and thereto began the Great Conflict of Summer 2018 when Hubby had the audacity to suggest I keep my car and let D2 walk.  THE ABSOLUTE NERVE TO THINK I COULD KEEP MY OWN CAR.   With the windows open widely so the ‘hood could partake in the banter and loud yelling of I CAN NEVER BE ANGRY BECAUSE YOU JUST GET ANGRY THEN EVERYONE IS ANGRY. NO, YOU’RE OUT OF ORDER AND THIS WHOLE PLACE IS OUT OF ORDER AND WHY AM I QUOTING AN OLD 70’S MOVIE AND  JUST LET ME BE ME FOR ONCE!!!   GAWWWWDDDD.    Yes, a teenager-proud moment was never heard so well and as renowned as the plea for my emotional independence.  I Lost. My.  Shit.   What. The. Actual. Fuck was wrong with me?

I ranted on D2 about how she was driving too fast and if she doesn’t slow the fuck down, I’m getting out of the car and walking because I can’t take this shit.  I later drove the car to her employment place only to begin my long walk home.  Stalking along the street, I was determined that if a truck driver manning a semi with a lady tattoo and a penchant for beer stopped and offered me a ride home, I may agree. A true moment of being a statistic on a milk carton, only display that pic of me on a wine bottle so my friends could actually know I was missing.  WHO DRINKS MILK AFTER THE AGE OF 40?   A few minutes later, she stops aside the road pick me up along the way to say I was being ridiculous.  RIDICULOUS.  ME??

No, I was being emotionally independent of all the fuck that’s happening in the world and LETS GET COFFEE AND COOKIES, DAMMIT.

Because coffee and cookies are like the meth of menopause.  I use the ‘M’ word with bated breath and downcast eyes, lest I look directly at it and it blinds me.  I’m not entirely within its grasp, but rather on the outskirts, stealing fearful glances at its promise of further rages with opened windows and moments of hitchhiking with semis.  She carefully throws cookies at me like feeding a rabid dog and fearful of her hand being bitten.

I now know why divorce rates rise at this stage of life.  I HAVE LOST MY FUCKING MIND.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that this is my life for now and I have to filter my reactions to people’s utter lack of understanding and their predominant ability to be stupid.  I have to ask Hubby if what I just replied to someone could be construed as ‘snippy’ or ‘sarcastic’??  Me???   Or if I’m in ‘that mood’ now and should just try to shut up and stop talking? Look the other way?  Turn the other cheek?   I have to ask a neutral party if I’m being nasty or logical.  It sounds perfectly okay to me…but, apparently, it isn’t.  I’m not.  So, distract me by turning my attention to the shiny things and appease me with glasses of wine or chocolate.  Pretty soon I’ll be locking myself in a bathroom so I can’t wield hurtful words or ‘snippy’ retorts (that I’ve come to know and love) at random people with seemingly good intentions and no idea that the nasty ‘M’ is wreaking havoc.

Pass the cookies and the coffee.  The vat of wine over there is keeping me from wielding an axe and jumping aboard a semi with strangers… If I go missing, put a nice picture of me on that bottle of red Merlot.  It’s the least you could do….

No Dress Rehearsal

It’s now Oct. 18th, 2017 and Gord Downie, aged 53, has passed away.  I wanted to repost this one in honour of a life lived well with love.  Take care.  

This is the first post I’ve written since my Aunt died.  I haven’t been able to post anything since.  She read everything I wrote.  She commented on everything I posted.  Sometimes it seemed like she was my only ‘fan’.  I still think that. Even if what I wrote was total crap, she liked it.  She laughed at it.  She loved it anyway…at least, she made it look like she did.   I didn’t realize how much I wrote knowing she was there to read it, until after she was gone.  It’s weird she won’t read this.  I think she would have liked this one…

Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   

What an emotional week.  The Hip concert, our friend crashing his bike, another friend’s mother has heart issues and an old friend of our family died this morning…it seems that life is taking a journey into a roller coaster of ‘life is too short’ expressions and asking us all to take a good hard look at how we do this life thing and get on with it.  Move it, sista and get to whatever it is you need to do because tomorrow is not promised to you.  It is dangled precariously in front of your face, lulling you into a false sense of promised procrastination, all the while the edge of that cliff draws ever so near.

There is no waiting until tomorrow, or I’ll get to it next week, it’s now or never time.  It’s the time to do that massive thing you’ve always wanted to do because tomorrow is gonna be too late!  Never have I felt so urgent a need to appreciate a day in the sunshine or a day in the rain as I have this week.  To love my grey hair, (sorry bestie) my uneven walk and my penchant for junk food…hell I’m even relishing my descent into madness (via the other M word) and learning to cope with hot flashes and mood swings…Yeah, it’s happening and that’s a whole other rant.  I’m grateful…just to be able to feel something and relate and cope and struggle and rant.  I’m grateful for the opportunity.  I’m grateful for this day.

Saturday night, Canada closed down for three precious hours and said goodbye to Gord Downie and The Hip.  The band. The Canadian guys.  The guy who is dying, has his days numbered on a calendar and instead of taking to his bed and laying down, he got out into the spotlight and sang his heart out in towns across Canada to say goodbye and thank you to his fans and the people who supported his music and his life for the past 52years.  How awesome is that?  It must have drained every last bit of energy in him to hit that stage and sing, perform and dance for his fans, his people.  The mere act of standing must have taken its toll, but he did it anyway.  He cried, screamed, danced and sang all laying it out for the country he loved, to see.  He sang with humility, honesty and a great deal of force. There was no time to hold back, no putting it off until tomorrow or next week, it was now time.  It was heartbreaking and emotional and difficult to watch, but we did anyway.

That’s what walking through life is, isn’t it?  Singing, dancing, screaming, crying all with a great deal of humility, love, passion and power until finally you are no more.

With illusions of someday casting a golden light. No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

Get to it.  We have to crush this living thing…we owe it to the people who don’t have that chance, who will never have that chance.  We owe it to ourselves at the very least.

 

Gord

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.  

Parenting Tips For Surviving The Teen Years With Grace, Dignity and A Little Less Drunkenness

Adolescence, otherwise known as the slow descent into madness, or those lost years mommy raided the liquor store in search for more wine, or when the little darlings morph into bigger versions of Teletubbies gone awry, is a trying time for everyone; parents, teens, grandparents, teachers, babies, the dog, the mail-delivery person, the librarian with the big ass mole, the nice policeman who escorted you home after being caught outside the liquor store after hours banging on the doors pleading for them to “PLEASE OPEN I NEED WINE! I HAVE TEENAGERS!!!”….

The brains of average teenagers are still developing and pushing the limits. It’s one of the many fun and interesting ways they determine their place in the family; their role in the world and their intimate social circle. It’s also annoying as hell.

Limit setting and parents sticking to them is the key element to any good survival during this emotional roller coaster. They will yell, scream, slam doors and then use the ever favourite “Jan’s mom let her do it”. “AGAIN WITH THE JAN’S MOM?! I’m not Jan’s mom! I don’t care what Jan’s mom let her do! WHO THE HELL IS JAN?! Jan’s mom can stick it!! “ Natural and understandable responses to an illogical and peer-pressure kind of tactic that only ensues argumentative combative behaviour. BAD FORM, TEEN. But that’s what they know. Knee jerk emotional responses to having their asses slammed into a room with nowhere to go but to a ‘Jan’s mom’ kind of response. Stick to your guns! Not literal guns, but your limits. Stick to your decisions. You get it. DON’T CAVE!  

I could say here that communication is the key to any good relationship and speaking in quiet tones and providing a caring and open environment for them to participate in mature dialogue will assist in curbing the emotional upheaval….but that would be utter bullshit. Seriously. Teens are a ball of emotional crap wrapped up in a brain-fugue ire that speaking at all will only escalate the already shitty attitude they possess. I tend to throw my hands in the air and say “Jesus, help me with this child! Give him the necessary good sense that he needs to see the light!” and then proceed to speak in tongues. This generally confuses the shit out of the teen and he is so freaked out he turns around and goes to his room to try to call his father saying “Mom has lost it! Come home now!” And will never ask to go to another party/borrow the car/jump off a bridge, again.  

As a mother of three teens who are now adults, I can say you will survive. Motherhood be damned, the adolescent years are the most trying times; following of course after toddlerdom when the word ‘no’ was the prompt to put more toys in the toilet; the righteous pre-teen years where buying the right shirt was a major meltdown affair and of course the roaring twenties where there’s university exams, classes and staying out all night. Actually, now that I read that statement, being a parent kind of sucks. There is no decade safe where you can really sit back with your feet up and relax and say, ‘yep. We did it. We raised our kids.’ A parent’s work is never done and even now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’, I can say I still worry. We still argue (yes, Miss H even with Son), we still have to set the limit and toe the line and all that parenting lingo you read in all of the Parenting 101 books that kinda only work when the kid is already well-adjusted, graduated with a PhD and on his way to his own wedding. All those nice parenting books you bought will surely serve better as a nightstand where you can lay your bottle of wine after an afternoon of endless pleading and begging with the mail-delivery-person to please rescue you from your torment only for him/her/neutral to pry your death grip from his/her/neutral arm and run madly up the street….damned mail-delivery persons! (being politically correct is wordy, but not expensive)

Suck it up, Mommy/Daddy you’re a lifer now!

Ahhh, think back to the day when that adorable little pink baby was first placed in your arms and you promised him the world! And now, well now, he’s still kinda adorable and you would still give him the world if he wasn’t so damned stubborn like his father and have the intelligence of a snail. Then he comes home with decent grades and you think “Yesss. Finally, he has turned a corner. He is growing up” then he dents the car, or floods the basement with the garden hose or goes bowling with a frozen turkey and throws it through the front door.  

Yup.  

A teenager. The universe’s way of reminding you that young people can be stupid. We are the force that guides these young impressionable teens into adulthood with common sense, values and a wealth of information to make solid decisions; like bowling with a frozen turkey is way better suited in the basement using the hockey net. Duh…ANYONE KNOWS THAT.  

That’s why we also have wine. For when those guidelines are a little skewed, those decisions are a little off the mark and we struggle with guilt, ire and Jesus.

Good luck, fellow parents. You are not alone during this traumatic and challenging time. Remember, they will be around FOREVER. Also, the liquor store is open daily until 11pm. Make sure to get there early.

You. Are. Welcome.