Tender Hearts

I just got back from dropping Michael and Zachary at their first day of sports camp at our local university. It has been their favourite camp for years and they look forward to the two-week session with great anticipation.  When you walk into the main gym for drop-off, the music is blaring and every single counsellor greets you with enthusiasm and warmth. The camp is staffed by uber-fit varsity athletes and the camp vibe is fun, pumped and seriously sporty.

Sports CampAbsolutely ideal for my boys!

I have confident, fun and seriously sporty boys. I don’t worry about them making friends, fitting in and having fun at this camp.

This morning’s drop-off, however, has left me a little shaky and a lot choked up.

After dropping Zach at his counsellor group I wandered down the massive gym to say goodbye to Michael. He looked a little wary but had already started chatting with some of the other boys. He allowed me to give him a ‘man-hug‘ goodbye and seriously brightened up when I told him we would get a frozen lemonade on the way home (the humidex is supposed to hit 38 degrees Celsius this afternoon).

I felt okay walking away from Michael but spotting Zach on my way out absolutely broke my heart.

Hug GoodbyeZachary is one of the most confident children I have ever encountered. Zach lives his life from a place of always fitting in. With his mile-wide grin and third-child-energy, he never exhibits any degree of shyness or reticence in social situations. He is the life of the party and the focus of the fun.

This morning, however, he looked lost.

He was standing apart from the group with his fingers together in a nervous fiddle. He spotted me and instantly brightened up. He gave me a hug and told me he loved me repeatedly. And as much as I wanted to pick him up and carry him home with me, I kept it very light and cool (nothing like a choked-up parent to completely undo an emotionally tenuous child!)

It took everything I had to walk away from Zachary and my heart felt like it was breaking as I made the long walk back across the football field to my car.

As I drove home I thought about Zach. I thought about the fact that by the end of the day he would have twenty new best friends, be high-fiving staff and coaches on his way out of camp and then be counting the moments until he could go back on Wednesday (after our Canada Day hiatus). I also thought about the fact that I have never had to worry about my kids coming out of their first-day-shy-shells. And I thought about how excruciating it would be to feel that my kids would struggle socially through the whole day, the whole camp, the whole summer.

I am just about to hop on my bike for a solo ride through the woods. And, as I ride, I intend to give my deepest thanks for my three extraordinary children and for this morning’s opportunity to remember that for all their gusto, confidence and energy, they have endearingly tender hearts beating softly within.Generous Heart




One of our most favourite summer pastimes is hurling ourselves off the Thornbury pier into the glorious waters of Georgian Bay. We have oodles of family pictures with various Geoghegans leaping from the pier and we always know that summer has arrived when we have made that first leap.

Well, today was the day!

Pier JumpingWe awakened this morning to a pristinely blue sky and hot temperatures and decided it was the perfect day. The only tiny drawback to our pier visit was the fact that, after the gruellingly cold winter we endured, the water temperature was, well, absolutely freezing!!!!!!!!!

As we arrived at the pier and I listened to the cries of anguish from the bodies hitting the water, I decided that I would be a lifeguard and not a pier-leaper. My teenager, however, had different ideas for me. After informing Max that the water was too cold for me, he called me a wimp.

Well, I’m sorry, but I am absolutely not going to be called a wimp by any of my sons!

And so I leapt.

The pier is about a ten-foot jump, which is not a problem for me. The problem today was the lineup at the only ladder to get my frozen body out of the water. Oh boy, was my skin tingling when I made it up that ladder.

I have to say, though, that the subtle and uber-cool nod of approval from Max at the top of the ladder was entirely worth it!

Go mom! 🙂download (17)

Playing Along the Way

I am driving north with Michael, Max and a buddy of Max’s for the weekend. We are heading to Thornbury to stay with my mom and dad and I am so excited about some time away. The past few weeks has been so nutty that a bit of R and R is going to be a welcome change.

I have been travelling to Thornbury for so many years that the car will almost do it on automatic pilot. And, without really giving it much thought, my philosophy of the journey is; just get there.

SkateparkAs we were approaching Orangeville a few minutes ago, Max told me that the Orangeville skate park has a reputation for being a kick-a** park and asked if we could stop for a few minutes.

My initial reaction was to refuse the request. ‘Oh honey, let’s just get where we’re going‘ almost slipped out of my mouth. There was something, however, that made me stop and consider.

And as I was considering, I realized a number of things; it is a beautiful afternoon, we have absolutely no time restraints and I would love to spend some time in a beautiful shady park while the guys get to chalk another skate park up to their list.

And so, the skaters are happily doing what they do best, Michael is playing in the playground and I am enjoying the beautiful shade of a stand of stately pine trees.

Isn’t it extraordinary how we often react to things without taking those few moments to consider another way?

My Radical act for today is saying ‘YES’ to playing along the way!

And I think that is a pretty auspicious way to start our summer holidays! 🙂



Exquisitely Tender

My sweet Zachary has been quietly weeping in my lap for the past 90 minutes. His best friend is possibly moving away and he is experiencing the pain of loss, sadness and grief as school is winding down and things are changing.

As I held Zach in my arms and held space for his process, I could’t help but feel extraordinarily appreciative of the depth of expressed emotion in my ten-year-old boy.

And now that he has cleaned out the emotional cobwebs, he is out playing road hockey with all the pure joy and passion that is Zach.

Talk about full range! 🙂

Exhausted Introvert

I was on an end-of-year all-school field trip with Zachary’s class today. Zachary spent the better part of the trip in a very difficult third circle and the highlight, or should I say lowlight, was when he and another (third circle) boy in my group were wrestling over a Yop drink. Zachary managed to wrench it from the other boys’ hands while standing right behind me.

YOPSo guess where it ended up? You got it…all up my back.

Wet jeans, wet underwear, wet t-shirt. Wet, cold, thick and disgustingly sticky yogurt drink!

Oh…did Zachary get an earful from his mother!

Fortunately, the field trip venue was attached to a mall so I left my group of insane children with the teacher and slipped into Vans to buy a new t-shirt. No time for new undies and jeans so I just got to enjoy my soggy rear end for the rest of the afternoon.

I am now home in my quiet backyard in fresh clothes. My tea is quietly steaming beside me and the introvert in me is just completely and utterly done.

Shutting down…