It’s the last night of my “Dirty Thirties” and I am lying in bed eating a coffee mug full of Ice Cream. The last couple of weeks have been emotionally draining and my initial excitement about turning forty sort of fizzled and died. I am generally a pretty upbeat person who tries to see the good and the lessons in every day problems but there have been a couple of days lately that I had a hard time getting out of my pajamas and I curled up and cried.
I have a fourteen year old daughter.
I could stop here and for some of you another word would not have to be typed without you sighing knowingly and feeling empathy for me…a virtual stranger.
One day the little girl who once looked at me like I was more important than the moon and the stars decided she didn’t like me much. It came out in her words, her actions, her body language and her disrespect. It put a Valley between us, a river of tears and hurt ran through it turning compassion into compulsion. I have always been told that you can only be a parent or a friend, not both! I know my child deserves discipline and boundaries. I know that understanding accountability will make her a better person in the future but every day I miss the little girl who hung on my every word, who thought that the sun shone because of me, that I was responsible for rainbows, cherry flavored jello and all the other good things!
I decided to break the parenting rule, I miss being her friend. I found that it was exactly what we both needed. We needed each other. I found out that my scared little girl who likes to think she is all grown up is feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. At fourteen she is so worried about figuring out life and worrying about the future that she is miserable right now. I let my hurt fool me into thinking that she didn’t need me when in reality the more she pushed the more she wanted me to love her back! She wants to know that I will love her no matter what and when times are overwhelming will I just listen and not judge. Will I hold her and laugh with her and be happy for her? Will I treat her like a young lady but love her like a little girl.
Our expectations cannot be so great that our children will constantly fear disappointing us. Teenagers feel a lot of pressure in today’s society to be smart, attractive and popular and in turn we as parents want to do our very best to make our little humans into people they are proud of. There comes a time when we need to allow them to learn from their mistakes instead of making them fear taking chances. We need to be quietly encouraging and supportive, even if we don’t always understand. We have to remind them that life will happen, ready or not and they cannot plan their entire life in advance. We need to remind them that the biggest regrets they will have in life are the chances that they never took. They will make mistakes, we need to tell them that we will love them anyway.
The best we can do is help them to fly and let them decide where to go!
If you are a parent you need to watch this video. Sometimes the hardest thing is watching our children grow up but I believe that they will always need us as much as we need them!
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and rang in a rockin New Year with those you love. My Christmas was very quiet, spent just with family. I had a couple of moments where I was very homesick for our family and friends in Nova Scotia, especially upon hearing some bad news from home but when I take a second to reflect I am always reminded of how incredibly blessed I am.
I have been absentee on here throughout the holidays to give my family my full attention. We have basically been hibernating. Late nights, late mornings, lots of movies, board games, card games. A whole bunch of togetherness!! Just the act of providing my family with three meals a day, cleaning up after those meals and laundering my families clothes seems to take up a great deal of time. The sleeping in may sound blissful but truthfully I am just trying desperately to sneak some shut eye in in between fighting for blankets and bed space. With hubby working away most of the time we are both very used to sleeping on our own. Most of the year we spend four solid days together at best and then he is gone for ten. Both of us are very used to our own space. I feel I adapt fairly well and respectfully to the addition of the extra body in my bed but it has been over three weeks now and in the wee hours of the morning while the moon hung low and the sun had not yet kissed the winter sky I woke to shots in the rib. I have no idea what my husband was dreaming of but he was lightly punching me in the ribs. I managed to roll him over but woke awhile later to an elbow in my face. He was spread eagled with his arms behind his head like he was lazily tanning on a beach hammock. He looked so adorably relaxed I settled myself onto a very small fraction of the bed, hugging the side so that I didn’t fall off. I dozed off once again and woke freezing. Hubby had all of the blankets wrapped around him tight and was snuggled in like a mummy. This is how I have been sleeping for weeks, here and there!
I came down the stairs to make coffee the other morning and found soil from my Mandevilla Vine all over the floor. It has started to dry up recently and I caught my cat in getting in it one day right in front of me. Today after seeing the soil all over the floor I inspected the plant to find that my cat has been using it as her personal potty. Unwilling to give up on a living thing I cut out the roots, disposed of the soil and I am soaking the roots to see if I can salvage them! My family thinks I am crazy. On top of this my allergic reactions to my cat are getting more severe so in turn she takes every opportunity to rub up against me and wrap herself around my neck with no regard to my swelled up eyes and congestion.
Our 9 year old Haley has been having Crazy eight tournaments with us in the garage. Her and I can not seem to win but if the mood strikes us we will keep playing till 4 am….NEVER GIVE UP!! I have great memories of playing cards with my parents growing up and I want to share that with my children but so far only Haley is interested. Morgan is fourteen so therefore not very interested in us at all!
We even did some Telus Christmas karaoke over the Holidays. I learned that after a couple of glasses of red wine I can do a pretty good rendition of Patsy Cline. Please note my standards are low and I am tone deaf.
As you can see nothing too exciting is happening and my brain is mash potato mush. I wanted to thank all of you for continuing to stop by during my hiatus and when my Staycation is over I will be back, I promise.
I figure by now most of you have sobered up and decided that your New Years resolutions were little more then drunk talk. I was stone cold sober on NYE so therefore I didn’t make a bunch of grand New Years resolutions. Too much pressure 😉
I am just going to fly by the seat of my pants. Welcome 2014, let’s have a fantastic year together!
I am a self diagnosed night owl and have a problem going to bed, in the same token when I stay up till all hours of the night (technically morning) I am not exactly excited in the morning when my alarm goes off. I do however have a great appreciation for the early morning hours the rare time I experience them. I like that the floor is cool on my feet and the weather hasn’t quite been decided. I like the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the warmth of a fuzzy robe. I like the sound of the traffic as early morning commuters start their day. However I also like the quiet of the late evening hours with pale shimmering moonlight struggling to peek through the slats in the blinds. I am writing by candlelight with the drone of classic rock radio in the background contemplating how I can manage to enjoy my late evenings and still manage to see early mornings. It seems a challenge, especially for someone like me who also enjoys sleep. It was 3 am this morning when I crawled into bed. I love that feeling of lying on my belly, stretching out my limbs and sinking into the warm comfort of my bed, quickly contemplating my day and taking a moment to smile and be thankful for the good parts.
This week I was extra thankful for a long weekend, it really seemed to last for an eternity. On Friday Morgan turned 14. Where does the time go? Hubby is away working so we decided to take off after the Remembrance day ceremony at school and have a girls fun day! Morgan had the opportunity to design her custom Antiks .
Antik Skate Boots are born of passion, design and quality, brought together by Mo Sanders aka “Quadzilla”, a lifetime skater who put his heart and soul into the process and design of the way roller skate boots were made. Morgan started Roller Derby when she was ten (almost 11) and these are her dream skates. They are pricey but I am told they are worth every penny.
After a day a Roller Skate shopping, clothes shopping and dinner we picked up a friend of hers and one of mine and we went to the local Roller Disco. My friend commented on how it appears that Morgan seems at home on skates and this is true. On skates she feels free and content. Haley as well loves the freedom of skating till your hearts content with disco lights and loud music. I admit it is hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere. I am not fearless like my girls but I strapped on a pair of vintage rentals and happily rolled around to classics such as I love Rock and Roll and Don’t Stop Believin. I really did have fun.
Morgan introduced me to the world of live streaming movies so I watched more movies in one weekend then I usually watch in a year. At one point Morgan and I were curled up in front of a roaring fire watching a romantic comedy while Haley gallivanted around the rec-room in her make-shift dance attire watching Dance Moms on YouTube and making her own dance routines. Then Haley would come hang with me while Morgan watched the WFTDA championships (Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Assoc.).
I got to hug my girls, stay up late, sleep in, make good meals, read stories of war recollections out loud so that they can truly understand the meaning behind Remembrance Day and share some big hugs and laughter too. I got to talk to them candidly about current events, issues that they will one day face and give them my special blend of Mom wisdom that I am sure they cannot get enough of. Alas all good things must come to an end and without a fight to stay up late they snuggled into their beds and fell fast asleep.
I immediately missed my husband. I realized that though we texted in the morning and when he got off work we hadn’t spoken on the phone. By the time I realized how much I missed the sound of his voice it was way too late to call. He will be rising early as he always does, facing a frosty morning and a full workload.
So as my candle flickers, illuminating the darkness I am a little lonesome but very thankful for my husbands work ethic and dedication and how it affords me the time to raise our girls and not allow society to do all their rearing.
I am thankful for so many things, not the least of which being the remarkable sacrifices those who have served our country past and present have made so that we can enjoy our beautiful country and live free.
For my Aunt Sylvia. A woman of great strength and grace, and to all the strong women in the world who are not afraid to shine, stand out and speak up!
A little over five years ago we moved our family across Canada making Edmonton our new home. My husband was already working an advancing job in the Oil Sands and he saw and seized an opportunity that wasn’t available to him in our small town in Nova Scotia. I was overcome with fear. Despite our struggles, financial and otherwise, there was a comfort in raising our girls in our country home just minutes away from the support of our family and friends. The thought of moving to a big city again, as a mom and a wife, not a young and carefree youth, crippled me with certain fear. The inevitable happened, people started telling me how much I would hate it and how I would be back in less than six months. The thought of slinking home after selling my home and moving my family 5000 miles away was even more unnerving then the alternative; trying to make it work.
As a young woman living in the city I saw beauty in the diversity of people and places. University students, rappers, professionals of every age and race, sharing space in a perfectly imperfect way. I loved the city, it offered me a place to be myself and the opportunity to embrace a way of life that was new and exciting for me. I remember living in London, Ontario and walking to the all night diner at 3 am for scrambled eggs. The diner wasn’t fancy and it didn’t have a clever name. The neon sign simply said diner, open 24 hours. There were only a few two seater tables and a large communal bar-like round counter with stools where you could grab a seat, order from a menu on the wall and watch the cranky, elderly gentlemen behind the counter quickly prepare your palettes desire. He was like the ‘soup Nazi’ from the popular Seinfeld episode. If you spoke out of turn or made a snide remark there was ‘no food for you’ and there was no changing his mind. He fascinated me, this old man with the hard shell exterior and a work ethic not matched by his youthful counterparts. The food there was amazing and I was careful to eat quietly and not interact too much with the other late night clientele, lest they didn’t know the rules I didn’t want their ignorance to reflect on me. There was a quiet respect between the old man and myself and I know I had gained his trust. On more than one occasion I caught him observing me with a hint of a smile.
As a parent moving her children to the city I didn’t feel the same kind of enthusiasm. We enjoyed lazy days at the beach and Sunday family suppers at home in Nova Scotia. I liked that there wasn’t a lot of traffic on our quiet country road and the sounds of the night were reserved for crickets and coyotes. I think what I feared the most was the unknown. Take away my home, my friends, and my extended family….who would I be? Would I belong? Haley was young enough to just want to go wherever we were going, she could appreciate the excitement of the journey. Morgan however was old enough to mourn all she was leaving behind and too young to realize that if you keep a relationship alive in your heart that distance doesn’t matter.
Quite quickly I realized that my attitude about the move would prove essential in a smooth transition for the girls. I ignored the people who told me how much I would hate it and grasped unto the enthusiastic well wishes from people I was close to. I would always have a hometown, a place where I was born and raised, and a place that would always have my heart. Embracing a diverse and dynamic city like Edmonton, immersing my family in its vibrant culture would not diminish my ties to my home.
That first summer we visited the grand Rocky Mountains. Their soaring snowcapped peaks reaching for the sunshine as their feet refreshed into iridescent glacier water. The mountain air that filled our lungs breathed a new life into our souls and motivated us for the journey ahead. The remainder of summer was full of sporting events, backyard barbeques and concerts. The kids loved the city, they loved city transit. They loved being a part of a grand scheme.
Summer faded into fall, Morgan started her new school while I stayed home with Haley. Morgan struggled with a place to belong in school and though she made new friendships quickly she suffered their ups and downs. She always enjoyed and excelled at sports but fought with the idea of being her best. She found that shining at sports didn’t always sit well with her female friends and I strained trying to explain to her the beauty in being the very best you can be. Somebody who is not afraid to shine will always be the brightest light in the room.
At ten Morgan was maturing into a sweet girl but her body and her emotions were at war with one another and I wrestled with trying to parent her through it. We had always been the best of friends and she felt she needed a friend, not a parent. I began to foresee a future of reasoning right and wrong with a pre-teen who knows everything.
One lazy Sunday we three girls were curled up watching Whip It. Whip It is a fun, inspirational sports film with a female dominated cast. It is full of charm, and good natured wit. The allure of the movie, based on Bliss, a former beauty pageant contestant turned Roller Derby player is that it isn’t sappy but it portrays women as strong, sassy, funny and real. The film explores the game of modern roller derby, albeit in an over the top way and studies female relationships in an entertaining way. In a tough as nails, action packed roller derby scene my ten year old daughter said “I wanna do that!”
“Really?” I replied, “Roller Derby?”
“Yes, definitely”, she replied.
She was a girl in love.
The next day I was driving the girls to school and we got a sign, in the form of an actual sign. There was a sign on the side of the road that said “Junior Roller Derby, ages 12-17, wanna try?”
Morgan excitably pointed out the sign and begged me to call. The age said 12 and she was only ten but I guess I could make a phone call.
Turns out it was a very important phone call. The lady said that they had been considering taking younger girls and to bring her to practice Sunday. I decided to take her Roller Skating at the old Sportsworld that Friday to see if she liked it. She was off like a shot with a smile on her face. I tried too, I hadn’t been on quad skates since I was a kid and my legs were super shaky. It was also hard to keep my balance with Haley hanging off me. Haley was six at the time and hated roller-skating. She ripped the skates off her feet so fast you would have thought they were on fire. Morgan however had found her new love.
From that first Sunday till now has been quite a voyage. A little league that was once the appendage of an adult league became its own society run by parents and volunteers with the common goal of empowering youth, allowing them to embrace their individualism in a fun, safe and respectful environment while learning the sport of flat track roller derby. As a founding member and board member I have been humbled and moved by the determination of these young skaters and the strong women who give their time to teach them a sport that they are passionate about.
As a parent I have always strived to teach my girls to be strong and independent and never be afraid to be the very best they can be. Traditionally females are taught to be feminine, quiet and sweet. Roller Derby is a non-traditional sport and it teaches girls lessons that are very valuable in today’s society. It teaches them to be strong and competent and competitive. A competitive sport such as roller derby teaches girls to embrace the skills they learn to be stronger individuals with healthy self-esteem and body images.
Often in society men are rewarded for strength, competence and aggressive behavior while for women it is frowned upon. Strong women are frequently viewed as a threat in today’s society and instead of learning to be fearless and independent they are learning that being feminine is measured in their ability to attract members of the opposite sex, not rocking the boat, allowing the men to do the heavy lifting, in sitting pretty so to speak. As a parent I prefer that my girls make their own definition of the word feminine. One that exceeds physical beauty and embraces independence, personality, uniqueness, strength and capability.
The sport of Roller Derby is played by strong and enduring women all over the world. Those that coach the sport are resilient and passionate. They are their own heroes, and heroes to the girls that they instill the same robust qualities.
Haley is a Derby girl now and she is navigating her way, finding a place in a sport that envelopes everyone.
I am proud of Morgan Mayhem and Haleylujah. They are flawlessly imperfect and definitely not textbook young ladies but I believe that they are amongst a movement of young women that will shove through the walls that society has built up, unravel and redefine the roles of men and women. They will know when to be strong, when to speak up and when to stand their ground. They will never be afraid to be “as good” as their male counterparts and in fact will struggle to be better.
They will never be intimidated by the term ‘male dominated’, they will believe that means ‘female friendly’
The definition of ‘feminine’ is in need of a serious revamp. Females in sport are changing what it looks like every day. From where I stand it looks like, determination, skill, endurance, passion and strength.
“why fit in when you were born to stand out? -Dr. Suess
It has been a busy week and even though I have a beautiful new laptop and plenty to say on a multitude of subjects, I took a little hiatus to catch up with friends and hang out with my daughters. It may seem a little lazy but below is a quote taken directly from Facebook, it is advice I gave to my daughters thirteen year old friend after a post she made about society and it’s ugliness. So many teens feel that they are not good enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough, unloved and unwanted.
Why is this? Are we as parents letting our kids know how loved, beautiful and important they are. Are we teaching them the true meaning of beautiful?
I think of my children when they were first born, as pure as the mountain air. All of our children were born that way. Who taught them to hate themselves, dislike their bodies, feel they weren’t good enough? Who taught them to judge themselves and others by an unrealistic version of perfect?
Every single person that notices that something is wrong in society has a responsibility to help change it, man, woman or child. We will never right all the wrongs in the world but we can begin by loving ourselves and showing our children how important that is. If a person truly loves themselves they will love others, not for the clothes they wear, their body type or the way they wear their hair.
Self love is the most important kind of love. When a child loves themselves they make healthy decisions that are in their best interests as an expression of how they feel about themselves. People with no self worth make bad choices inviting people into their lives that can do them harm.
I could rant on about this for hours. I have a teenage daughter that I have to constantly prepare for the big bad world. I have found that the two best ways to teach my daughter how to love herself are:
A) Love myself. Show her I love who I am, with all my quirks and flaws, I embrace all that I am.
B) Love her. Love her enough to say no to her and have her dislike me, show her boundaries and teach her right from wrong. Love her even when I don’t like her much. Focus on the qualities that make her beautiful, her kindness, her enthusiasm, her compassion, her desire to help others. Teach her that happiness is beautiful and that true beauty shines through perceived flaws.
“Wherever you are in life be the soul of that place. The first step in changing society is changing yourself and realizing that imperfect is perfect. Beauty is everywhere and it can’t often be seen with your eyes but it sure can be felt with the heart. Be the light in a world of darkness…that will be amazing. ♥”
The weeks leading up to Homecoming were as exhilarating as they frenzied. It was impossible to not get caught up in the enthusiasm and school spirit. The Cheer Squad had designed the most incredible Float that Lincoln had ever seen. It was a Hollywood Themed Float complete with a Red Carpet, cameras, plenty of lights and best of all the Football Team in tuxes and the Cheerleaders in their formal gowns.The excitement and general sense of camaraderie surrounding the Homecoming events was infectious. Even Brad and Johnny had worked together to make giant Academy Awards figurines for the float.
Lincoln demolished the winless Jackson Jags 34-3 to ensure that their homecoming game would be played on their own field against neighboring rivals Lisbon Leopards.
The excitement was so overwhelming that when Natalie recalled it in years to come it would be hard to focus on anything else but that euphoric on top of the world feeling that you get when you are having a great day and you are certain that it is only going to get better. It was a fantastic day to be a Football player, a Cheerleader and a resident of the small town of Lincoln.
Lincoln handled their business under the Friday night lights defeating Lisbon with a final score of 31-29, narrowly edging out the Lisbon Leopards with a 30 yard touchdown with 7 seconds on the clock in the 4th quarter, winning the game to a cheering hometown crowd.
Lincoln played their kind of offensive game with relative ease. Brad was not overly efficient on the ground, but Johnny had a bit of a “throw-back” game. He caught Lisbon a bit off-guard. He scrambled for his first rushing touchdown of the season on a read-option run. He ended up leading the team in rushing with 64 yards.
More importantly was the effective passing game. Although the wide receivers did not come together as they hoped, Johnny was able to make plays in the passing game, showing excellent touch.
The final score did not really reflect the Lincolns defensive effort. Brad had a great catch and run with both starting safeties out of the game. Lisbon added a couple of late touchdowns but this game was all Lincoln and the hometown crowd was wild. Lincoln made stops as needed, but claim they were never really threatened.
The reward of course was the final score and an exciting hometown win.
Long after the crowd filtered out and the moon began to take its place in the darkening sky, Natalie found Johnny before he left the field. He had already shaken a plenty of hands and rumour had it that there were some College scouts in the stands keeping a close eye on him during the game. He had played impeccably and the smile on his face spoke more than words ever could.
“Can I have an autograph?” Natalie asked jokingly as she approached. Johnny scooped her off her feet and held her in the air above his head. Apparently the excitement had not faded. He let her down slowly, her body sliding down the length of his before her feet touched the ground.
“Congrats,” she said, embracing him. “That was exciting!”
“That felt great!” he exclaimed, squeezing her ” Sorry I am a sweaty mess”
“Are you kidding” she joked playfully, “after that performance they are selling Johnny Miller sweat on Ebay!”
He laughed and flashed her his heart stopping smile “Don’t worry it will always be free for you!”
“I feel so special, she claimed, rubbing the back of her palm across her forehead and feigning a swoon.
“It’s been a great week. Wow.” he shook his head in disbelief.
“I am dying to tell you something that is going to be the icing on this sweet cake” she began.
He looked down at her in her pretty cheer leader uniform, her bouncy ponytail moving excitably as she spoke. He imagined her saying she had broken up with Brad and several scenarios filled his teenage brain. He wanted to pick her up again, swing her in the air, then hold onto her forever. They would walk off the field hand in hand and she would proudly wear his jacket around her shoulders. He would bend to kiss her before they went to their prospective locker rooms and when he looked back she would still be smiling at him and he would still feel the heat of her lips on his.
“Did you hear a word I said? Natalie asked, playfully punching him in the arm.
“I’m sorry. You have great news.”
“Focus Johnny. The man with Blanche tonight is an old friend from high school, he is the head couch at Alabama State. He couldn’t take his eyes off you. Can you change and meet us at the diner?”
Johnny looked like he was going to faint, “Alabama Crimson Tide is the top ranked University football team in the U.S.”
Natalie roller her eyes “Uh huh. Now go get changed”
Johnny made his way to the shower through a sea of high fives but even as the steaming water fell over him it couldn’t wash away the feel of her against him. He was nerved up about meeting the coach from Alabama. His coach had told him to expect some calls in the next couple of days from college scouts, apparently it was becoming more common for them to scout the smaller areas for hungry talent and Coach Jones had offered to help prepare him. Tonight he would be thrown into an impromptu meeting with a Coach he would never have dreamt of meeting and he couldn’t think clearly because thoughts of Natalie crowded into every spare inch of his brain.
The very smell of her intoxicated him. If asked to describe it he could only think of happiness. She smelled of sunshine, the soaring mountains, ocean waves hitting the rocks, a crackling fire, cloudless skies and lullabies, and her eyes, as green as fresh mowed grass and always so wondrous. Being with her gave him the same comforting feeling one would get when waking up and realizing it was the weekend and being able to close your eyes and sink into the soft warmth of your bed but at the same time his heart beat faster than a child during playground skip rope. He was nervous and conflicted but more excited than he had been about anything in a long time.
She looked up when he walked into the diner. It was for a brief second before she looked down again, desperately trying to conceal what her eyes were saying.
” The windows to the soul, always a certain giveaway to what the heart is speaking to the mind”, Blanche would often say.
The time has come, I am no longer a part of the in crowd. They allow me to hang out with them at mealtimes, probably because I make them the meals. Sometimes they endure my sarcasm and my attempts at hip humor but one by one they disappear because I am apparently not as cool as them, except when i am baking or handing out money. You know the time is going to come but nothing can prepare you for it. One day you are all of the sudden on the outside looking in. My teenage daughter now prefers the company of her friends.
Look at me. I made chocolate chip pancakes and bought all your favorite snacks. I’m cool, ask anyone. In fact I was cool before it was cool to be cool.
My daughter now comes as a package deal. She no longer wants a quiet night in front of the tele while I stroke her hair. Nights in front of the tele include four texting teenagers and I generally am not invited to hang out.
So now i am going to smother my nine year old Haley with all my love and attention. She still thinks that i am the best date in the world and can’t imagine a time when that will change. I know it will, it is inevitable, but right now i am content to stroll hand in hand with Haleylujah at the Taste of Edmonton, enjoying the sunshine and eating treats till our bellies are full of goodness and our hearts are full of love.