The dragon leaves the nest

I heard the sound of the garage door opening in the middle of the night.  Followed by heavy footsteps into the laundry room, further into the kitchen, the subsequent opening of the refrigerator … all accompanied by the blinking of motion-sensored night lights. 

A familiar pattern.  It was 2 AM.  He was home.  My boy.  So I could finally get my some sleep. 

Only this time was different.  This will be the last time,  in a while  at least, that he will wake me up in the middle of the night like this.  He woke me up with a pop of my water breaking, for the first time just over 18 years ago.  So he does this sort of thing.  And my world hasn’t been the same since.  Neither has my sleep.

It was harder last night, though.  Much harder.   We’ll be moving  him into his university dorm tomorrow. And the thought of this kept me awake, along with a few tears and suppressed sobs as it all hit me.  My baby is moving on, not a baby, not a boy even.  A young man.

I knew this day would come – I’ve been prodding, pushing, supporting, encouraging and nagging.  So it’s kinda my own fault.

When Liam was born, he was the golden child.  A golden dragon.  The year was 2000, the dragon particularly special as the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac.  Never had a child been so wanted.  It was a tough road getting him here, after years of infertility. But was he worth the wait.

A cherubic Buddha baby who came into this world a month early. The first grandson on both sides of the family; the first grandchild on mine.  A happy baby, a charming toddler, a sweet boy with this amazing openness.  He loved trying new things, meeting new people.  He loved using new words, eating different foods, making friends with young and old (amongst his first buddies were the seniors in our community, you know, his grandparents’ besties).  He loved sharing his Cheerios with them.  My parents loved showing him off and he had uncles and aunties galore as most Chinese children do.

He loved Thomas the Tank Engine, Star Wars, light sabers, Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, toy cars, more toy cars…his obsessions morphing naturally into video games.

A lovable boy with a wicked smile and sensitive heart.  And a natural athlete, first with all things soccer, and Phys Ed being his consistently highest marks throughout school.  Hard to believe given his mom dropped gym class as soon as humanly possible.  It was wonderful to help him channel this ability and affinity for people (especially children) to become a beloved swim instructor, lifeguard and camp counsellor.  This last year especially has brought some heartwarming moments  to see him interact with adults at another level,  working with the Abuse Hurts organization and sharing  the work that they do, to a wider audience and his peers. 

Sure he’s had frustrations (math!); broken body parts (he’s a boy); and he’s got a dramatic flair when it comes to complaining to his mom when life seems just so unfair.  Sometimes his mom fixes things for him – and pulling back to let him figure it out on his own has  also been a growing up process. He fixes stuff for his mom too.  Seeing how he’s navigated high school, university applications, life experiences up until now (including European travel without his parents!)  has been eye-opening but also confidence building.  For both of us.

A big part of his heart belongs to his little sister.  I cry a little for her as I know she will miss him in her everyday, her big brother, her protector, advisor, confidante and sounding board for how to deal with their sometimes weird mother. She’s going to have to do more of that on her own from now on, lucky her.

So back to my sleep.  In the end I had to take a couple of Robax under the guise of sore bones.  Eventually I nodded off, with more positive thoughts on what lies ahead.


Liam is excited.  This is his first major life decision and he’s made a good one.  It will not be too easy, he will need to work hard, he’ll need to develop better sleep habits and he will fumble a bit I’m sure.  But he will find a way to have some fun, make experiences positive and he will make us proud. 

He already does, and that will never change.

(Now off to label the rest of his stuff … )

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So much for posting every day and trying to get caught up. I officially suck.  What happened to all the writing I was supposed to be doing?  I thought I would squeeze out another post in today at least before November hits double digits.

How quickly did I forget that “Stay At Home” means anything but that?  Or even if I am physically home,  kids schedules and appointments, dog schedules, gym schedules, errands … all can get in the way.  As can social media – imagine that, social media getting in the way of blogging?!

When I started my original blog over 10 years ago, it was enough of an obsession just to write and keep up with all the bloggers in my reader.  Facebook was around, twitter was getting started, then along came instagram… which honestly is my newest obsession.   It’s easier to take a quick pic or selfie, add pretty filters or not, and post it to encompass a thousand words.  Even if it is a crap picture.  And much like comments from readers back in the day, “likes” or even a tiniest emoji comment to my post, is enough to keep me avidly trying to find the next instagrammable moment.  It’s heady.  Follow me and I’ll follow you back. How sad. But I’m getting sucked into it despite knowing what’s better for me.

To find some good content from the depths of my brain these days is difficult not only because of mommy clouded brain, but more likely because everything in this now mid-age mother’s brain is working overtime trying to coordinate with choreography and finding opportunities to practice with other instructors while trying to fulfill a decade long dream. More coffee just gives gut rot and although I’ve cut back on alcohol (don’t need those calories they just sit) I figure at this point in my life I’ve probably earned an extra glass after a long week.

Sprinkle that with some angst:   as we start the university tours, review high school requirements and test results required for entry for the big boy (the topic of where he will apply and actually go is a separate post altogether – hey, just thought of it! );  as I help my daughter navigate -pre-puberty and her increasing realization that teachers are actually humanish too;  trying to keep the household in order as the reno wraps up with some fixes that need fixing;  monitoring the dog and his post-surgery diet and weird middle aged behaviour;   as the husband is traveling again for work  and the year rushing by so very quickly into the holidays —  and we’ve got the bit of the mess that is me.

So a post a day is a real stretch.






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Two words, three syllables

No matter where the accent goes.

We will be there July 2018 at the ACC. With not bad seats, as apparently you can sometimes beat the bots.

Posted in Entertainment, funtimes, NaBloPoMo2017 | 2 Comments

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date…

NaBloPoMo – what?!!! I was just reminded via Facebook by my OG blogfriend Melisa that I am already behind, a tragedy if I were to try to re-establish my writing/blogging mojo. It’s November 3; I figure if I start today, I can sort of catch up by doubling up on posts.

I cannot believe that almost two months have passed since my ‘first day” post.

RIght after that entry, the whole month of September was sucked up by a major renovation for both of our upstairs bathrooms. The house became a dusty, messy busy place for a good five weeks. September saw the kids get back to school; programs starting again, the beginning to an epic year as both kids will be graduating in June – one from elementary and the big one from high school. I went to the university fair with my son – and was verklempt in the exhibition area as I realized that this time next year my baby boy would be away at school. Away from home. Trying not to think about that too much.

Now that the reno is about 95% complete, it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a bath in my own tub in almost 10 years! We thought we had a leak in the tub – turns out we had a leak in the shower… which we continued to use daily for the last 10 years. Sheesh.

New tub now in, I finally was able to have a bath, which came in handy because in October…

at the ripe old age of 52, I decided to celebrate my birthday by attending a training session to become a certified Bodyjam instructor. Much to my surprise the opportunity came up in September – training only happens every few years, so I had to go for it. Two solid days of dancing my ass off, to fulfill a bucketlist dream. I’ve been a huge fan of this workout for over 10 years … thinking of training year after year, always with schedule, work, travel, kids stuff “getting in the way.” Popping Advil like candy – armoured up with knee and ankle braces, toe covers, orthotics … I made it through the weekend.  So now Ive got until January to take a video of myself teaching a full class. Gulp. It’s given me a new appreciation for fitness instructors, though, especially those for dance based programs. My brain is not hanging onto the choreography or the cues nearly as well as it did perhaps 10 years ago. And figuring out how to breathe while everything else is going on? We’ll see what happens.

We also had to take our 9 year old shih tzu Cody to the animal hospital for bladder surgery. Turns out he had a whole cluster of stones on one side of his bladder wall. The procedure was a success so he hopefully will not need diapers as much moving forward. Even cool diapers.

And so I end my first November post on that note.

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The first day of …

The last first day of elementary school for my little girl.  It was so uneventful that I forgot to take the obligatory first day of school picture.  Maybe it had something to do with the switching of vehicles so my husband could pick up the tub with my car, on his way home from work later.  Or that the boy was still asleep upstairs as he has his last first day of high school tomorrow.  Or that we had charged the little one (who is not so little now) with wrangling the littlest one, 13 pounds of Pesci, into the Dad vehicle for the car ride to school.  So we’ll have to fake it with a picture later tonight.  And another one tomorrow for when both are off to school.

Then there is me.  I bought myself a back to school present this Labour Day weekend:


There is a plan associated with this.  First of all, Macs rarely go on sale, so early happy birthday present to me.  I’ve also got to decide on what to do with the rest of my life, on temporary sabbatical but not really as I’m looking at opportunities that make sense professionally that won’t take me away from the family life as much as before.  It’s tough especially when ambition is part of my DNA.

I am keeping up with my network –  thank goodness for LINKEDin, which didn’t exist the last time I was off.  I can keep looped in on major goings on in industry and my peeps. Familiar and comfortable.

Do I take a course on creative writing?  I’ve thought about this off and on over the years. Rather intimidating as I don’t like to be criticized (a character flaw that I’m hoping self-awareness makes me a better person for…) and writing is all about being critiqued, isn’t it?

Do I start another blog – based on my guilty pleasures?  Like shopping? Fashion? So far removed from my professional life its rather astounding.  I started an instagram account as a fun experiment, seeing how many followers I can gather/ likes, etc… Nothing gets an extroverted introvert going like over 100 likes on an outfit photo.  My top hits are of me wearing almost 30 year old dungarees. Go figure.

Do I take fitness to another level and consider training to be an instructor?  Wrecking my knee this summer was not helpful ..


That made it on IG too.  The call of social media.

I do know that it is a more crucial year for the kidlets than ever before, and they’ve blossomed in a way they could not have if I hadn’t made the decision I did last year.  No regrets.

Just moving forward now.  With my new companion Space Grey Mac and work, whatever that will mean for us going forward.




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Camp: the girl’s gone solo

Friday night was fairly typical of previous “the night before away camp” evenings.  There were the packing lists, the clothes strewn all over the floor, checking of the flashlights for batteries,the discussions about the pros and cons of bringing rain boots …  This is the fifth summer of away camp so my own involvement in the process is now quite diminished.

For my little one, who is not so little any more, there was sorting of the new pairs of shorts I had purchased for her earlier in the day.   The purchases had been at her request -I had been sent on a mission complete with research snapshots on my phone -when she had discovered she was short on – well, shorts -that fit.  Which store had which shorts at which price.   She also had a packing system this year, deciding an outfit per day for seven days,  putting each into a ziplock bag so all she has to do every morning is open up a bag and she’s ready!  Brilliant – and this is why she knew she was out of shorts.  And this is also why she was pretty much packed by Friday evening.

Her load was also a little lighter this year as she was bringing the red sleeping bag- her brother’s.  His has been the lighter one because he felt he didn’t need the the thickness of his little sister’s.  And while she was excited about having less to carry,  it was also bittersweet.  This is the first year of summer camp that she will be going without her brother.  The big guy is done his camp days – he’s too busy this summer with school and work.  She looked forward to camp but said it was “weird” not having him come up with us, that she won’t see him occasionally throughout the week.

It’s the end of an era for my son, but the camp adventures continue for my girl for at least for a few more years.

When we arrived at camp after the long drive, I’m sure the weirdness of the situation flew out the window the minute she spotted her cabin mates.  The girls launched themselves at each other, chattering and hugging each other excitedly.  They ran off to set up the bunk as we introduced ourselves to her new counselor.  

And thus began what we anticipate will be another stellar summer week.

It’s been a couple days now, and the boy has admitted that he misses his little sister.  

I know it isn’t that much longer until she comes home, but he’s not the only one missing her.

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Watching the days go by …

“Whoo – hoo!”  Thump.  Thump.

“Hey, be quiet up there, your sister is sleeping” the annoyed parents yelled up at the boy-man (irony, yes we were yelling at him.)

Six foot 2 inches of excitement came flying down the stairs into the family room, iphone in hand.

“I got it, I got the job! I can’t believe it!”

And with that, my boy-man progresses further into the category of man.  His first part-time job, as a swim instructor/life guard.  A perfect summer position, something I have been not so subtly pushing him toward since he first dipped his head underwater at the age of 5.  A role that seemed hard to convince him of when he decided he no longer needed lessons at the age of 12.  After all, he knew how to swim.  Why bother teaching?  What did it matter to a 12 year old boy, who had completed all the swim levels he could and was too young to progress to the lifesaving courses.  Who was also too busy playing video games.

So we waited it out.  By the age of 15, we started our gentle persuasion techniques (after my tiger-mom bullying no longer was effective).  His father brought up the fact that as a lifeguard/swim instructor, there would be other kids, it would be social.  And there would be girls.  Lots of them. Brilliant -only a man’s perspective will do in certain situations.

It worked.   Over the next year and a half, he finished his levels, CPR, lifesaving training, life guarding and swim instructor training sessions.   The training, as one should expect, was extremely rigorous. Candidates had to demonstrate swimming skills and stamina, as well as understand emergency situations, workings of the body / heart, legal liabilities associated with this role.  After every course there seemed to be another set of sessions he had to complete – but he tackled every one with determination. Begrudgingly, as the timing got in the way of  homework and more importantly friends/parties/girlfriend…but he did it.

After his aquatic interview mid-May, he was told his chances of summer employment were pretty slim because of returning students from university, and carryover from the current session.  Nevertheless, he sent a personal note to the supervisor of the closest pool, mentioning his contacts and his network, asking for consideration should anything come up.

And sure enough, a week and a bit later, he received confirmation that he was hired, and had a choice of sessions.  These sessions work perfectly with his summer school schedule.

I’m officially a proud mama bear.

They tell you that once your boys hit high school, you will see misery, complaints, grunting rather than communication, until a certain time.  Almost as if on cue, our son is hitting a sweet spot – in his third to last semester of high school. This time next year he will be looking at university applications and acceptances, hopefully in the program of his choice. He will be graduating.  I’m trying not to count semesters.

Incidentally he’s knocking these life milestones out of the park this month.  He also got his driver’s license 2 days after his first meeting with his manager.

How did we get here? My boy – our young man. He can still be a complete shit to me sometimes, but remember, he is still a teenager.  But he always apologizes and he means it. With a hug – and sometimes bubble tea.


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