Always be my baby

It’s Family Day Weekend, and my Boy is home for Reading week. February school break in second year, a very busy critical year for him – he’s been working so hard and we have really missed him. I’ve settled a little better as a Mom to a university student – having him away from home this year is easier than last – I’ve tried not to message him too often, I know what pressures he is under and figure that when he needs me he will text.

It was arranged that his Dad would pick him up from his girlfriend’s house (after all it was Valentine’s day).. and drive him home. I was uncharacteristically out at our friends’ house for after dinner drinks -where hubby would join me later. My son was happy to drop his Dad off before driving himself home around the corner.

We came home to him crashed out on the couch in the family room, half asleep, 6 feet 1 inch of boy/man sprawl. He groggily greeted me without getting up – mumbled and asked me for a back scratch, And a back massage. And for a head rub. Just like I used to give him when he was a toddler.

I was happy to oblige. And when I took my hand away from his head, he asked,

“Can you please not stop Mom?”

My heart.

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Precious Moments

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself spitting out ideas for posts, keeping them in draft, and then … keeping them in draft. If I’m to maintain this place as a way to keep track of the lovely moments in my life, I will have to do a better job of actually publishing. Procrastination at its finest.

So this was me in March 2018…

It’s been a little while since I’ve visited this place.  Let alone sit down and write … life gets a little in the way.  Especially when you’ve been training to be a dance hip hop cardio workout instructor at the ripe old age of 52, aches, pains, bone spurs, runner’s toe (OK now it’s TMI)…notwithstanding.  And a little bit of consulting work to round things out.

Outside of those activities, my fulltime (neverending ) job is really being mom.  Which is full of its challenges (teenagers!) … but still wonderful moments.  Moments when the kids are full of bravado.  And others when they just need their mom.

My little boy is no longer so little.  In fact he’s a strapping young MAN – at over 6 feet tall, not quite 18, but a workout fiend… he is definitely physically a man. We went to the pediatrician the other day, for a vaccination as he still qualifies to go there.  Our pediatirican is a great guy – we’ve been taking our kids to him since my son was 2 days old.  My boy is now about twice his doctor’s height… he thinks the doctor is so cute!  Amazingly the office was practically empty, so there was time for a checkup on life as well.  All 3 kids of the doctor are involved in medicine – the eldest interning now; the middle halfway thru med school, the youngest applying for med school.  And now his young patient has applied for universities and obtaining acceptances and offers of scholarships.

Yes, come September my baby boy will be away at school.  Not beyond province or the country.  But away from home, living in a different place, not in his room upstairs playing video games, doing homework, coming down for snacks.  Waiting for me to wade through the clean and dirty clothing intermingled on this bedroom floor to help him find the missing everything.

Flashforward to June 2019

My firstborn not only survived but thrived during his first year away for school. I can’t say it was without its hiccups (or major stresses for me while he dealt with major stresses and adjustments of post-secondary school and life …).

Gotta say though, now that he’s back for the summer, I’m still wading through clean and dirty clothing intermingled with boxes and remnants of residence life.

Some things never change… grrrr….sigh…

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People stories

It’s been a couple of very icy, snowy days, and we’ve been mostly housebound. With only one walk a day, my little Cody has adjusted well and has appeared to grow new brain cells that allow him to let me know that he needs to go out to do his business rather than doing it on any carpeted area he can access. Yes, he has diapers or man-band due to his bladder issues. And with my track record of not being able to walk without tripping or falling in the best of conditions, it was better to wait it out. (I already had an incident resulting in a bruised butt cheek, but let’s not dwell on it..)

After I dropped the G off for her regular visit with her best pal, I took the little guy to Mill Pond to walk for a change. It was still freezing, but some people were actually out enjoying the frigid sunshine. I must admit it was beautiful out -without the wind, being outside was quite do-able.

We saw a fellow walking with what looked like his son (upon closer inspection it appeared it was likely his grandson). They caught our attention as the toddler slipped and fell, needing a hand up. Tears dried, he continued waddling along in his snowsuit, dilly-dallying until his grandpa called “come on Liam, keep up!” And I had to smile.

It wasn’t that long ago that our own toddler Liam was walking, dawdling along the path at the pond. This is the very spot where we would go skating with him, and in summers past he would enjoy the playground that now sat empty, encased in snowy ice.

I wondered what my boy was doing at that moment. Likely sleeping in (it’s a Saturday, he’s 18 and had a busy week of assignments and exams) …I told the grandpa that we have a big Liam away at school. He mentioned that to the little guy, who wasn’t too impressed.

We walked past another older gentleman sitting on the bench, facing the pond with his face toward the sun. Cody and I stopped briefly, I said hello, he said hello back… and I said the usual pleasantry about the weather. I also said that it was nice to be back out again – and if it weren’t for my dog I would be at home with Netflix all day. He threw his head back and laughed. What a nice laugh.

As I said goodbye and we headed to the car, I got to thinking about stories, wondering briefly what the stories of these men were.

During my i chat earlier with the DH ( we have these almost twice daily now that he’s overseas… ), I asked whether people seemed to wonder about his story. Being a Caucasian in China — he said not really. I suppose it’s so cosmopolitan there that a random white guy on his own doesn’t spark any curiosity. He looks rather German and apparently there are tons of them there. Maybe it was just a boring question. Maybe I’m just so nosy and like to make stories up about people I see, situations that I think I am stumbling upon. I know he’s just stressed about where to get a haircut, so perhaps that’s why the thread went nowhere.

Then I got thinking about my own story, where I am in it, and where I go from here.

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Walk of Life

So – happy 2019!

It’s been a busy couple of months… since the last post, we had the holidays, the boy got through exams  at university (lots of drama there…), he got himself a new girlfriend, my daughter turned 14, and my husband and I spent a lot of December together while he used up vacation days.

Oh and while hubs was here at home, I felt rather slovenly during our morning coffees, watching him on his computer, filling up the coffee cups,  me taking our Cody bear out for walks … generally being quite lazy in between getting the holiday cheer going.  I would post my updates on IG of course, and spend time surfing (it becomes a black hole of hours on the phone, ipad, my Mac, Facebook, it’s getting ridiculous).

What was dear husband (DH – OMG haven’t used that acronym in a while! ) doing on his computer?  Why he was applying for a work visa for a special assignment.  Overseas!  And yes – this activity was fully and completely endorsed by me!

We’ve talked over the years about living somewhere else, working in another country. The world is a big place. We have both worked for multi-national companies with corporate offices housed in Europe or the US. Throughout our working lives, this has been a blessing, a chance to see more of the world and experience at least a few other cultures. The opportunity to travel for meetings gets you out to see different places -at least once you escape out of the meeting rooms. On the flip side, work travel can be highly overrated especially once you have a family. In fact, our fertility struggles were compounded by our work schedules and the travel associated with them. We actually finally conceived our firstborn while on a well-orchestrated fertility cycle combining a work trip to Montreal for me, and a flight from Europe for my husband to meet me there. The effects aren’t only felt by a young family – it gets harder the older the kids get. I learned this first hand.

The opportunities to work abroad have come to my husband’s colleagues and they have seized them. Although he protested the fact, I knew that he was sometimes regretful of not pursuing possibilities of his own. Often the timing to do something different was not ideal with my career in the picture. However, with this latest gig, the timing seemed perfect and the assignment a great fit with what they were looking for and the expertise he could provide. And I am on part two of my stint at home – no career barrier from me at this point in time.

So with that, he did the paperwork, he booked his trip, got on the plane, and is now overseas for a least a four month stint.

It’s been a month. We haven’t been apart this long since we started dating – oh, that would be approximately 32 years ago. Yikes. This is a major adjustment.

Hence I must blog about it.

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Take the Kids to work day

A rite of passage for grade 9s in Ontario is “Take Your Kids to Work” day – students starting high school get to spend the day with a parent/ adult to see what the real world of work is like.

My daughter : “If I were to go to work with mom, I would stay in my pyjamas, have a big pot of coffee, pull out my laptop and …”

“Type-y, type-y, type-y” .

Then pour more coffee.  Then watch Cityline on TV (blasting through commercials.

Then ‘type-y, type-y, type-y’.

Then walk Cody.

Then ‘type-y, type-y, type-y’.


She went to work with her Dad.


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Strong as a girl

“I’m not going this year.  I can go next. I don’t really feel like it” . about the semi formal at school this year.  Her friends are going but she’s not feeling it this year.

“Mama stop looking!” as I fuss over the pimples that have cropped up on her nose.  (I’m sensitized to this as I was the class resident Rudolph when I was 13 years old)

“I’m good, I still have lunch money from last week”…

“I don’t have homework tonight but I’ll work on assignments due later this term…”

” I love gym class – I did so many situps in a minute, and volleyball was so much fun! Can we buy a volleyball?”

Her mid term report card is great.  She loves school, she loves her friends, she loves her weekends, she loves and misses her brother … but she wears an article of his clothing everyday.

This self-assured girl has only missed 3 days of this school year so far due to legitimate sickness.  Legitimate meaning knock-out cold and fever.  By this time in elementary, she would have missed at least 3 times that the number of days, for stomachaches, for “I don’t know why but I feel bad”, for “just because”.  For anxiety.

This trajectory is amazing.  Her growing self-confidence and maturity are coming to the forefront.  The attitude of a teen is there but understandable and while sometimes annoying (Mom can’t catch a break on the criticism sometimes) … she’s being a teen.

A teen who communicates, a teen who will create lairs throughout the house, who litters her floor with laundry, who gets tummy aches from too many Halloween treats, who forgets to put dishes in the dishwasher, who hums BTS tunes when she thinks no one is listening.

My wondrous teen girl.  I am loving the transformation.

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25 ways to take a break

I’ve adjusted fairly well these early months of having my first child away at university.  To be honest, although the drop off on move-in day did make me cry (accompanied by the longest hug ever), I’ve only had the occasional sleepless night thinking of possible stresses and his anxiety during mid-terms.  I miss the daily routine of yelling at him to get out of bed, and then our regular 5-minute convo before school drop off  – (yes, he was spoiled with door to door service, more about why that became a “thing” later).

I have resisted the urge to text him every day, sometimes going even a couple days without.  My husband has picked up that slack though … turns out Dad is missing his boy a whole lot more than anticipated.   So technically I know what’s going on daily. Texts from me or his Dad can languish unanswered for days!  Apparently, a text sent from my son to either one of us counts as a text to both.  Hilarious the way he thinks… but he’s actually not far off.  I guess his dad and I have this team thing going pretty well.

I haven’t written much about the G and her transition from younger sibling to the only kid holding up the fort at home.  Although almost 5 years apart, and leading what on the surface are very separate lives – my boy and girl are incredibly close.  This is why our family vacations are precious – it’s the time when they are in their sibling bubble and they share laughs and experiences both with us and on their own.  With their differing school schedule this year, my heart is already hurting that those days are over for the next several years.

G has been dealing with her own shift as a teen moving into high school.  She is doing an amazing job, she’s got great friends and her marks are good… we are so pleased given her bouts of anxiety and her previous record of missing an average of 40-50 days of school a year for the last few (yes, a lot missed for “I don’t know why”). We’ve had her meet with counselors over the years, and she’s had wonderful elementary school teachers yet still, we were anxious about her transition.  So far so good – she appears to be keeping whatever stresses at bay such that she looks forward to school every day!   I have to believe that the stability of me being at home and not traveling across the pond 4 or 5 times a year is helping.

But how is she coping with missing her big brother?  For starters she’s raided his closet – she swims in anything of his as he’s a hulking XL at six foot 2, and she’s a slim XS ladies …but she’s in one of his hoodies, sweatshirts, flannel checked tops and even his Vans socks, every day!  She’s too lazy to text him a lot (self -admittedly) but he always responds whenever she sends him something.

My son needed his winter coat and boots, and my husband suggested that I take them up to him for a mother/son day.  We can feel the stress in his recent texts, things are a lot tougher for him than he thought they would be and we need to support him somehow.  University is such a big step, and we’ve been doing research about support services there … the specter of anxiety and depression is always there and we’re aware of some suicides that have taken place in some of the schools already.  Although my boy seems pretty well adjusted the stakes are really high for him this year.  We felt a visit would be good… and my husband was heading out for a work trip to Europe so we agreed I would go solo.

I asked G if she wanted to come with me but she decided to stay home until there was a better time for her.  She did give me a care package for me bring. She wrote out 25 slips of paper and put in a coin bank for him.  She included instructions that when he is stressed or needs a break, he just has to reach into the bank and follow the directions on the paper he pulls.  I don’t know what she included, but I suspect things like “have a chocolate bar” … “take a quick walk” were in the mix. I was happy to present it to him when I met him on Sunday.

When I got home after the long drive that night, I told her he liked it.  She said “I know” and showed me his text.

“Thanks for the present, G – it’s so nice.  I’ll use it,  I miss you lots.  I love you ”

Brother – sister love.  Can’t get better than this.



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