Monday, June 30, 2008

This and that - Second edition

So far this morning, I've written three blogs that I know I'll never post. I just can't seem to get into my writing groove. I have a dump truck of things I want to talk about but can't get it all out in a sensical way. Maybe a bullety edition is called for:
  • I love the gays. More specifically, I love my boy Phil and I love Pride. As Phil describes it, "Pride is like our Christmas!" and it's so true. The air of anticipation, the playful atmosphere and the prickles of excitement are like what you felt as a child on Christmas morning. Everyone is happy, hugs and given to complete strangers and for one day, there's a little peace on earth. But what really made Pride fun was spending it with Phil. That boy is truly my long-lost brother. I love ya Philly Dilly.
  • Good gravy - those boys put Shakespeare to shame with their dramatics. But, like a good play, it's incredibly entertaining to watch!
  • Leaving my son for 24 hours was harder than I thought. I've left Hayden for a few daytime hours and even overnight. But this was the first time that I was gone for a whole day. Every time I'd see a child around his age at Pride, I'd get a little pang. He really is my heartsong. Seeing his face light up when I pulled in the driveway was priceless.
  • God bless my husband for understanding that I needed a "girl's night out" and taking care of Hayden. Not every husband would be cool with letting his wife hang out with a bunch of lesbians and sleep in another man's bed. But Adam gets it. I love ya baby!
  • I'm really proud to see how Canada as a whole has accepted and embraced the gay culture. The parade had celebrities and politicians marching, the booths along Church were hosted by everyone from the military to the local police forces to Universities and even Crest!
  • I hope that one day being gay holds as little stigma as being a woman. Society has come a long way since the 40's, but we still have a way to go. I can't wait for the day that people stop caring what colour, race, sexuality, gender or ability people encompass. And I really hope that it happens in my lifetime. I'll be teaching Hayden this lesson in the hopes of bringing us one step closer.

So to all of you in the blogosphere - Happy Pride. Spread a little love in celebration!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Argh! Idiot!

*Warning - parental rant ahead! *

I am amazed and sickened by the number of completely clueless, irresponsible parents out there. Last night I went shopping for hubby's birthday and saw some things that just infuriated me! Now, as a preamble, I'm no perfect mother myself and people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But screw it, I'm tossing some rocks today.

Sunscreen - When your child is unable to apply sunscreen themselves (let's say 5 and under for argument's sake) it is your responsibility to do it for them. And when your child has red hair and fair skin, you must be extra vigilant and teach them young that it's very important to protect your skin (being a red head, I know this lesson well). Last night I saw a little red-headed boy of about three who was so red that it made me wince. His little eyebrows looked like white streaks against the burned background. I know that it could have been a number of circumstances, but please people - lube up your kids for goodness sakes!

Seatbelts - It's just common sense that whoever gets into your car has to wear a seatbelt. But when you're driving a convertible and your child is four - STRAP HER IN for God's sake! Some complete idiot was driving down the road with his preschooler sitting on top of the seat waving at everyone like she was in a freaking parade. Where are the cops at times like this?!

Gum - It was not invented for babies. I don't care who you are or how much they complain, you should not feed gum to a child who can not yet walk!

Pop - Again, this is not a drink that was designed for children who don't yet have all of their teeth. Buying your baby a Coke is never a good idea.

Whenever I see parents being so bloody clueless it reminds me of the process people have to go through to adopt. You are screened and need to give references from everyone you know and have to go to classes and then get screened again and your house is inspected and on and on and on. If all parents had to go through this process, maybe we could weed out these people who obviously left their brains in the delivery room.

*Rant complete*

Monday, June 16, 2008

Six words

In the shower this morning, I had an epiphany about why I am who I am. It stems from a moment when I was just on the cusp of the precarious childhood-adolescent line, maybe 12 tops. I was arguing with my mother about the unfairness of life and how if only she had done this differently and done that differently, I could be a genius and my artistic talents would be masterful. I was ranting and launching pointed accusations about the perceived failures of my upbringing. I remember my mother staying very still and quiet through it all. When I was done and looked to her for justification of my imperfect life, she gently shook her head and with slightly misty eyes said six words that have never left me.

We did the best we could.

I’m not sure that she knew just what an impact that phrase had on me. Through these simple words, I suddenly became aware that my parents were not mythical beings who had all the answers and resources I ever dreamed of. They didn’t make choices based on whether to torture me or hold me back or deprive me, they made them out of love and need. They were just humans. Humans who were doing the best they could with what they had. It’s weird, but it changed my entire outlook on life.

For me, the teenage years were an egocentric time; One where you were supposed to live without any concern of how your actions had an impact on others. In that horribly judgemental and materialistic age, it was all about us and our lives. Every thing that happened to those around us should only be important because of how it could impact our lives. Screw your parents, they were only there to f*ck you over and make your life unbearable.

I saw this attitude in many of my peers and was often pulled to adopt the same mentality. But I couldn’t. Because I’d seen the other side. I knew…

They did the best they could.

I think this was the secret of how I avoided those horrible, selfish, over-dramatic teen years. No, I wasn’t an angel and yes, I gave my parents their fair share of heartache and panic. But overall I was a good kid who, deep-down, always kept my family’s best interests at heart. Like most of my cohorts, I came from a good, loving family. But unlike most of them, I didn’t blame my parents for my shortfalls or see them as the ones who ruined my life. (And don’t get me wrong, these were not unusually horrible kids. They were just the quintessential teenagers.)

A lot of kids never have this “Ah ha” moment. And the sad thing is, you can’t force this knowledge on your kids. You can’t make them see that your very point in living and being is to make their lives as wondrous and fulfilling as humanly possible. That you bust your ass every day at a job you hate so that they can go to art classes and drama camp, play soccer, have a safe home and clean clothes. Children can’t see it. We need to keep this information from them to keep them innocent through their childhood. And then in the blink of an eye, they’re surly and self-centred and don’t want to see it.

But I did. Thanks to my mum and her six words and her perfect timing. I saw it. And I never forgot it. And now that I’m a mum, I know that in about ten years I’ll be desperately looking for that brief window of opportunity so that I can let Hayden in on this nugget of knowledge. Wishing and praying that I find that perfect moment for his “Ah ha” revelation and that he too becomes a better person for it.

Thanks mum.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Great deal for mamas of little ones

Get a FREE Avent sippy cup! For real - I just did it and it took all of two minutes! Just call the number below and say you'd like a BPA-free sample. They'll ask you what kind of cup you want, give them your address and you're done! How cool is that?!


We mama's have to share the wealth (or lack thereof)! Share your freebie contacts or deals to spread the happiness around!

This and that: 1st Edition

Life is too crazy lately for my regular rambling, so I thought I'd update everyone in a quick bullety form.
  • Thank you to everyone for their well wishes for my dad. He's recovering really well and got a good health check from the doctors earlier this week. It really was the best care scenario: his heart attack was big enough that it made both the doctors and my dad stand up and take notice, but not so much that it caused irreparable damage. Hopefully now that his arteries are all clear again, he'll be around for a long while to come!
  • I got my first comment on this blog from someone who isn't a family member or good friend. I was filled with this wonderful feeling of connection and also a slight panic as I realized that my words are out there for anyone to read. It's a weird combination. I'm proud that people who don't know me find my musings interesting enough to read. And somehow it's easier to post to people I don't know and don't have to answer to. Lord knows Mama Mugs lets me know if I've stepped over any lines - and it goes way past a mere comment on here!
  • We've finally finished our vegetable garden! It may have taken us two months to get it made, but now the fence is up, the soil is tilled and mixed with compost and I even have some veggies planted. All that we have left is to plant the celery and a few odd veggies...and I have to work at keeping everything alive. That's the real challenge!
  • Hayden has become what we now call "Horrible Hayden." It seems that along with all the other milestones, he's entering the terrible two stage early. He has his daddy's quick temper. When you piss him off (which isn't hard to do) he will either throw himself to the floor and flail around while screaming like a banshee or with a very determined look, he'll wind up and smack you. This happens at least five times a day. Thank goodness he's so darn cute and has long periods of tender loveliness or I'd go crazy.
  • My nephew turned two last weekend. That kid is going to be a rocket scientist. At two years old, he's talking in full sentences, making jokes and solving problems. He can sing the alphabet song and count to ten. I don't know what my sister feeds him, but I'll bet it's some sort of mental steroid. How else does a kid get that smart so young?!
  • For said birthday, I made my little Gagers a little something special. I wrote and illustrated a book about his adventures with his dog and then made the t-shirt and cape that plays into the story. I was pretty darn proud of myself. Except when I tried to put the iron-on letter on the shirt and screwed up twice and then had to buy another shirt and a whole new pack of transfer sheets and start all over again. Argh.
  • Storms here suck! I'm so used to the mild pitter-patter rain storms we'd have in Ottawa. Now I'm in southern Ontario where every time a drop of rain falls, they issue a tornado warning.
  • I love spray-on sunscreen! I bought some of that continuous spray stuff and don't think I'll ever go back to the sloppy goo of regular sunscreen. This stuff is so fast to apply that even Horrible Hayden doesn't have time to complain before I'm done. Plus I can get the weird crevices easily (like when he ventures stark naked into the yard...don't want his little member getting sunburned!).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Matters of the heart

On Saturday, my father was admitted to the hospital after having a heart attack. When my mum called me to let me know, I was strangely not surprised. It wasn't as if I was expecting the news, but I have feared this call for quite some time. Dad is certainly not the picture of good health, although he has made great strides in improving his lifestyle over recent years.

I'm happy to share that he has been diagnosed and treated with two stents to relieve the blockages in his arteries. No open heart surgery or lifetime supply of medication, thank god. He is recovering well and is now resting at home with my mum as his nurse.

Like a cheap metaphor, I find that whenever I get these calls of illness or accident, I view life a little differently. You don't know what you have until you lose it, right? I've always been more than open about my love for my family and I live a relatively healthy life, so I'm not tempted to drastically change how I live. It's my husband I obsess about...

Adam treats his body the same way that most young men do - with reckless abandon. He smokes a pack a day and indulges in more than his fair share of wine at the end of a long day. Given his crazy schedule, he doesn't get much of an opportunity to exercise. (And he definitely doesn't share my enthusiasm for walking.) He never wears sunscreen and has battered his bones and muscles over the years with hard labour jobs.

Mentally, Adam is a high stress kind of man. He internalizes a lot of things and takes life pretty personally. Although he lives in the moment with his body, his mind jogs ahead of time, constantly dreaming of new ideas and wishing for the day when our struggles are finally behind us. He wants to be the 50's dad who went to work and brought home enough bacon to pay the bills and allow his trophy wife to stay home and raise babies (which just happens to be my dream). Adam keeps me hopeful about our perfect future through his fantasies. But my realist side sometimes doubts that he'll ever see that rosy time...

I worry that someday I'll be the one calling our children to deliver the news that their father is in the hospital. Or worse, I'll come home some afternoon to find him expired.

He is my other half in the most literal of ways. He understands and loves me like no other has. Through his tenderness, love and thoughtful nature, his essence is tattooed on my soul. How does one ever recover if their soul marker is taken away? I don't think I would. I think I would dry up and fold into myself like a leaf in autumn.

I tried to tell Adam all of this last night, but instead it somehow came out as a hideous nag about his smoking and drinking habits. It seemed that I couldn't put into words the fear and anxiety behind the matter. I couldn't express that I never want Hayden to worry about losing his father the same way that I do. That I'm not the unwavering rock my mother has become; staying strong for everyone and keeping us from seeing her pain or trepidation. Instead we argued and I pointed out his faults like barbs. But bless his heart, he somehow saw through my verbal assault. Although my intentions and dread remained unspoken, this morning he wrapped me in his arms and promised to live a healthier life. He had pushed through my angry insults and found the cowering child silently hiding within. I suppose words are just noise when you live in someones soul.