Road Trip

April 24, 2018

My youngest daughter is 17 – and “all that” – if you know what I mean. Head full of the images of freedom, heart beating with creative ideas and endless possibilities. Her cheeks are perpetually flushed with excitement whenever she discusses her dreams – – but I am grateful that at least she shares her dreams….for the most part!

She’s chomping at the bit to break out – not to be mistaken with moving out. She is still happy to live here at home with us and be part of the family….but she is ready to Go and Explore. For the last year she has been talking about and loosely planning this fabulous Road Trip that she imagines taking with a couple of her friends – you know, hopping into a car and hitting the open road. Clearly, my first concern is the driving. Teenage driving…aimlessly and  wherever the wind blows them – with no real, concrete plan. Windows open, wind in their hair, music blasting…..hmm – where have I seen that before? Oh yeah – me – a million years ago.

it’s not that I against road trips….it’s just that this time, I’m the parent.

 

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Graduation

May 29, 2013

Today my son is graduating from university and  I can’t stop wondering just how it is that we got here – so fast. It seems to me that we were just playing Transformers and Star Wars, or building complex forts out of  Lego. I remember how exciting it was for him to take his saved up pennies to the toy store and choose a new Hot Wheels car.

I remember vividly, all the magic of preschool with its songs and mountains of art work. Then came Elementary school with  those sometimes painful concerts, creative fundraising events and the newness of homework. High school followed with emergence of a sense of  independence, intensive projects, and the newness of studying for exams.  In university, I haven’t had to ask him about his homework – just whether he’d be home for dinner or not.

I can still see us walking around downtown, it was probably about 20 years ago –  and passing the impressive gates and tree-lined road that leads to the  to the university which sits at the top of a hill.  He was about 4 years old at the time – still willing to hold my hand – and he asked me what that huge building was. I told him it would probably be the school he would go to when he was a grown-up man – a time that was so far into the future that I could barely make out its shape.

Each time my son has graduated from one phase in his life to the next – so have I…something that I’m sure he has never realized.

I wonder if he will take my hand today – even for the briefest  moment ….. as I cross another invisible stage, alongside him.

August 30, 2012

Remembering last year….high school this year and she was happy and excited to go…what a difference a year makes…..to your child, anyway.

Sassy Talk

My youngest goes back to school in two days, and I remember what that first day was like, last year…

The usual routine is that she walks into the school yard, sees some friends and  then they all line up for the bell. Each teacher then leads his or her class into the school and a few parents stand on the sidelines for a last wave. Day One – lots of excitement! Loves the teacher, same teacher she had last year because at her school, the children are in “split classes” – no surprises there, and she’s  basically pretty happy with the class. Being the bubbly type, she has a great big smile on as she tosses me a wave and a “see you later!” Day Two – the class walks by me and here comes my daughter – head down, hunched shoulders. I’m wondering, what could have happened in…

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Wondering Where I Stand

November 13, 2011

The time between having a 4 year old preschooler who hangs onto your hand and your every word and the 18 year old teenager that has no time for you is this cavernous space in time….it never seems like all that long ago to you, the adult.
If I just close my eyes…she’s 3 years old, baking cookies, waiting for Santa to arrive…I am right there, standing beside her.
…She’s 8 years old and getting braces put on for the first time – in any color of her choice…and I stand by her.
…Then she’s 10 years old….in the science fair, making prefect at school …she’s having sleepovers and we’re busy at the kitchen table creating crazy arts and crafts projects…I am there, standing by.
…She’s 12 and starting high school – all the uncertainty and trepidation, but of course … I stand by her – drive her and pick her up – even though I know she is capable of taking the bus….more school projects, new girlfriends….slowly venturing out into the world, broken hearts, broken friendships…she is growing up…quietly, I stand by.
…Then Graduation which leads to college and new friends….new expereinces…new influences…and carefully – very carefully, I choose a place to still stand by.
….at this point all I can offer up is our home, our bar-b-que…our open arms…then she’s 18 – I know that somewhere in the corner of her heart she is ready to fly – but not yet ready…and still I stand by… with my unasked for guidance and support…the only mothering tools that I have left to bestow…and I know that all I can do from now on is to quietly…..stand by.

I am the Authority on Nothing

February 22, 2011

It’s incredible to me  that somewhere along the way to turning 50 – I somehow became stupid. Every other day – it becomes more and more apparent that I know very little and am the authority of nothing. I used to be the one that they all relied upon to have all the answers – now when I give my answer or my opinion I hear the buzzer go off – you know, like on one of those TV Game Shows. BZZZ – No – that’s not it! My children are quasi grown-ups, so they, of course, have all the answers – but even my husband seems to hop on board with them from time to time so that leaves me to think that maybe I really have no idea of what’s going on…..makes you wonder how on earth I made it to 50 doesn’t it? Was it sheer dumb luck – or is it just a symptom of being a woman…of being a mother?

Alternate Universe

April 18, 2010

My son asked me if I’d take him over to the mall this afternoon – I reminded him that the stores will be closing earlier today and he still wants to shower. He rolls his eyes heavenward (of course I can see that) and sighs as he tells me that once he finishes clearing out the dishwasher he’s going to grab his shower and be ready – “20 minutes tops”…. In all fairness, I think that most teenagers live in an alternate universe where life speeds by, at the speed of light – but for the rest of us here on earth it moves quite s-l-o-w-l-y.

So, just for the record, in this time period I have loaded the dishwasher, hand-washed the other dishes, put away food, watered the plants and have done my nails AND am now “grabbing” a few minutes to write my blog….I think he’s still in the shower.

WHO’S THAT GIRL?

February 20, 2009

My teenager daughter left for Europe yesterday – a school trip (I know, I know…most of us went to the National’s Capital for the day when we were in high school). The tension was at an all time high at house all week long.While she did her homework (in advance) I did her packing – it is her first trip, after all. We’ve never been able to really afford a family vacation so  consequently, none of my kids has been in an airplane (my oldest son just went last year with his school).

Now, my daughter is a calm, quiet type – very much the girl next door – attractive but anti-make-up. She thinks you shouldn’t need make-up to be presentable. (oh honey – after 40 – you need the make-up – it hides the circles under your eyes, it gives you your eye lids back and puts color into those fading lips.)She is also a far cry from being a fashionista. T-shirts and jeans are her uniform. So imagine my surprise as I pack the 14 tops the school has requested and she looks into her bag and exclaims (with disgust, I might add!) “Oh – I am not taking that shirt to Europe! And those pyjamas – no way – they’re skanky!” I watch her walk back to her room in a huff to find something else and wonder Who is that Girl?

Two days pass and we are in agreement -we are packed. On the way to the airport her Dad and I try to cram in as much advice as we can. Arriving at the airport we are greeted by the teachers who are in charge of this trip (andI do mean “in charge”). We stand around making idle chatter – oh – let’s face it – I’m still doling out the advice….and then they group together to check in their bags. We say our goodbyes with awkward hugs (oh Mom…!) and they congregrate to the the Do Not Enter Unless You Are A Traveller area. My husband asks me if I’m ready to go home…I tell him”not yet”. I know my child and I know that she is going to turn around when her peers are not looking to see if I’m still there. She does – and I am. I wink – she smiles, and then turns back to her friends. My husband and I begin to walk away and I have to admit I feel a bit bittersweet. I turn back for one last look at her in the line up – but I can’t find her. My eyes rapidly scan the swell of people and fall upon a familiar figure. A tall young woman, obviouslya seasoned traveller – she tosses her hair back and laughs to the person next to her – then turns her head in my direction….Who is that Girl?  And then my heart catches in my throat…it’s my girl…my daughter…growing up.