My Hero

I have a bit of a Wonder Woman complex.

I can do it all.

Wonder WomanAnd not only can I do it all, I can do it better, faster, safer, more effectively and more efficiently than anyone else can.

And, for heaven’s sake, do not offer Wonder Woman any help…she simply does not need it!

This afternoon, I discovered that my adorable youngest son, Zachary, does not share my propensity for ‘heroic’ self-reliance.

Zachary coaches young skaters every Monday evening. Simon gently informed Zach this morning that, unfortunately, neither of us would be able to get him to the arena this afternoon so he would have to take a pass. When Zach got him from school, however, he was bound and bent that he was going to get himself to the arena.

And it took him less than ten minutes to make it happen.

Zach found the phone number he needed from our neighbour (who happens to be the convenor of his hockey league), called a mom that he barely knows (whose son is also a coach), and politely asked for a ride to the arena. Fifteen minutes later he was picked up and on his way with nary a backward glance.

Kid SuperheroWhere does this child come from?

Extraordinary!

As the car pulled away with a happy Zach in the back seat, I realized that I was absolutely mortified. I was so uncomfortable with Zachary asking a parent (that I have met only once) for help, it was all I could do to resist dragging myself off the couch to go fetch him from the arena myself.

Seriously, I would rather compromise my own health than ask for a relative stranger for a favour.

Oh dear, some Radical personal work required, I think.

It seems that this truly heroic ten-year-old has some invaluable lessons to teach me! 🙂

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Passion

Max is out skateboarding. That is his passion.

Zachary is at the hockey arena for select team tryouts. That is his passion.

PassionI am writing. That is my passion.

Passion…that feeling of compete and utter purpose and joy and delight.

Michael has not yet discovered his passion. Today I took him to a karate studio for a tour and a lesson and, for the first time, I saw a glimmer of passion. He kicked, he punched, he blocked. And the look on his face made my heart sing.

If there is one thing I want to do with my kids, it is to help them explore and discover their own unique brand of passion. I want them to go through life knowing that feeling of deep and thrilling purpose.

I want their hearts to sing.

Today is an extraordinary day because Michael caught a glimmer and I could feel his heart take flight! 🙂Follow Your Passion

My Extraordinary Mom

Just gotta share my latest mom story…

I am in Toronto for two days running workshops and, having been in bed for twelve days, it is a bit of a push.

I Love My MomMy mom phoned me yesterday afternoon because she was cruising around Union Station in Toronto to find the perfect place to pick me up from the train in the morning.

Mom didn’t want me to have to struggle onto the subway with my suitcase and use up all my energy for the day just getting to work. We agreed on a place and mom picked me up this morning and dropped me at work. She took my suitcase home with her and then met me after work with a cup of tea waiting for me in the car. She brought me home to her house where my darling dad was waiting. We just finished a delicious dinner of lentil, tofu and sweet potato and my cozy bed is just waiting for me to fall into.

In the morning, mom is going to take me back downtown and then meet me when I am done to take me back to the train station with my suitcase.

Am I cherished, or what?

Isn’t it extraordinary that at the age of 46, I am still so tenderly and lovingly nurtured by my Mommers?!?!? 🙂

To Make or Not to Make?

how-to-style-a-bed-bedsThat is the question!

And the answer is decidedly ambiguous. In our family we are in two separate camps. And there is very little grey area in the middle.

I make our bed every single morning. I actually love the process of making the bed. The fluffing of the pillows, the smoothing of the sheets, the order out of chaos of the fluffy duvet.

On an early work morning I often leave the house before our bed is vacated. Making it is one of the first things I do when I get home. I will even make the bed moments before climbing into it at night just for the feeling of it. There is something about climbing into last night’s bed that just doesn’t appeal to me.

And this week, as I have been down with pneumonia, I have not missed one single morning.

My husband is on the other side of this bed-making equation. Simon likes an unmade bed. He actually prefers that the bed is not made. He likes to climb into bed at night with the pillows already smushed and the duvet in wild disarray. As far as Simon is concerned, the work to get comfy has already been done and he can just drift into happy slumber.

Thankfully, Simon has conceded to my preference and has turned the care of our bed over to me.

Phew!

Unmade BedBut that’s not where my bed-making stops. I make Michael and Zachary’s beds too.

But, truly, it is not what you think!

I started making their beds because I just like the look of a tidy bed. And, bed-making, for whatever reason, is just not high on my list of parenting agendas that I feel a need to push. Believe me, I have lots of other ones to make up for my laid-back-bed-making expectations.

Michael and Zachary love stuffed animals. And, between them, they own at least two hundred (and that’s after a serious pare-down before our last move sixteen months ago). And although they own lots of them, they have their absolute favourites that have earned the privilege of not just sharing shelf space but sharing bed space as well. It is these favourites that have turned my bed-making into a delight rather than a compulsion.

After smoothing the sheets, fluffing the pillows and pulling up the duvet just-so, I arrange their stuffies. And I don’t just throw them in a big pile, I take time and effort to make them look like a happy gang of pals just hanging out on the bed ready to welcome the kids back into their rooms whenever that may be. And, I vary the arrangement from morning to morning so that the kids are surprised.

photo-3 copy 2This practice started when we moved into this house just over a year ago and has become a delightful little morning ritual. It has also become yet another way for me to say; ‘you matter to me and I love you.’ I don’t need them to thank me or even to notice the effort I put into their beds because it just makes me so happy.

Turns out that the kids have noticed. Michael particularly.

A few months ago when I had back-to-back workshop days in Toronto, I stayed in town at my brother’s house for the night. When I returned home just before bedtime on the second day, Michael was up in his room.

When I walked in to greet him with big hugs and kisses, Michael told me how homesick he had been for me. And when I asked him why, he told me that his unmade bed had made him feel lonely and my absence that much more pronounced. He went on to tell me that when he walks into his room after I have worked my magic, he feels like I have left him a wonderful love note on his bed. And that he gets a warm feeling and knows that mommy has been there and has spread her love just for him.

Oh boy! Talk about a heart-melter!

Needless to say, the bed-making continues and fills me with delight, love, warmth and playful fun.

And…if you are wondering why I have not mentioned Max in my maternal bed-making, it’s because he lives on the third floor in ‘scary teen land‘ and I only venture up there if I absolutely have to!  Gotta show Max my love in other ways!

And what brings this topic into the fore today, you may ask? With all this time stretched out on the couch in healing mode, I have had the opportunity to get sucked into Facebook with no guilt. This piece caught my eye this morning so I just had to share…enjoy! xo 🙂By91WTjIgAEXKsY.jpg-large

Mom

A busy Sunday night when your husband is in Seattle and you are leaving for work at 6:00am the following morning…

What do you do?

You call your mom for backup!

What would I do without my mom?

Here is what mom has done tonight;

  • Shopped for dinner
  • Made a peach crisp
  • Made a Sunday dinner to die for…roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob and peas
  • Folded laundry
  • Driven Max to work (and will be picking him up at the end of his shift at 10:30)
  • Put clean sheets on Michael’s bed
  • Put away dinner food
  • Done the dishes
  • Tucked in Zach and Michael

Really…what would I do without my mom?

Extraordinary!

I love you Mommers! xo:)

The Radical Act of Bearing Witness

This weekend is Hamilton’s James Street Supercrawl which is a fabulous annual street festival to promote music, art, dance and culture in Hamilton’s north end.

SupercrawlMichael is two weeks into grade 7 and is right back into the swing of his social life after a fairly quiet summer. He has been out every day after school this week until at least 5:30 and is enjoying the freedom and fun of friends. After a quick check-in after school yesterday we didn’t see him until well into the evening (and even then, he was texting his friends while playing on the Xbox).

When Michael arrived home last night, he announced plans they had all made to go to Supercrawl this afternoon. My initial reaction was one of those non-committal parental responses that is so annoying to the child; ‘we’ll see‘. Michael told me that Max had been allowed to go out with his friends to Supercrawl in grade 7, so why shouldn’t he?

Michael knows me well enough to drop the subject and to give me time to think. And, it was after 8:00pm!

By the time I went to bed last night I had given it some thought and (pending Simon’s agreement) had decided that there was absolutely no reason that Michael should not be allowed to go down to Supercrawl today. It will be broad daylight, he will be in a huge throng of people (lots of them friends and neighbours), and in a big group of friends. He also has a phone and could reach us at any time.

Nervous MotherAnd so, a few minutes ago, I dropped him in the north end.

As Michael was getting out of the car, my stomach started to tighten with the angst of letting my baby boy take yet another step farther away and I found myself getting a little fluttery. To cover my nervousness I started firing ridiculous safety tips at him; ‘don’t get separated from the group’, ‘if anything happens I can be there in 5 minutes’, ‘don’t eat anything you are not sure of’.

My parting safety pearl was that I would wait in the car until he texted me that he had made contact with his friends and to call if anything happened. Michael gave me an adorable grin complete with eye-rolling and said; ‘mom, I’m in grade 7, I have a phone and I’m fine.” I agreed that I was being a little over protective and a tad nervous. He gave me an awkward hug and a big kiss through the window of the car and turned to walk away.

He did turn back once to give me a little wave and my heart broke with love for him.

I will admit that I watched Michael until he rounded the corner. And as I drove home I reflected on the Radical act of bearing witness to my children growing up and learning to fly on their own. There is absolutely no rational piece of me that wants to hold them back. However, there is that little corner of my heart that wants to wrap them all up and keep them close like a fierce and protective mother bear.

I must say, though, that there is nothing quite so adorable as watching your child walk away from you with a spring in his step and the heady feeling of freedom bursting in his heart.

Go, Michael, go! 🙂quotes-thich-nhat-hanh-02-600x411

Closed for Business

Early BirdYou parents will love this one…

I love mornings. My energy is high and I am bright and alert. My very best work is done early in the morning and, in terms of productivity, I can probably accomplish a full day’s work between the hours of 4:00am and 6:30am.

Tired BirdThe other end of the spectrum is the evening. I am tired, completely drained of energy and cannot make decisions (even chocolate or vanilla could send me into a tailspin…!!!)

Part of being the parent of three children is the hours of administrative work every week. Trip forms, party RSVPs, money conversations, play date arrangements, agenda signing, homework.

The list goes on.

Calling MomOne of the things I find the most challenging about parenting is those just-before-bed surprises; “Oh mom, I have a 20 page trip form for you to sign”, “Oh mom, I told Jacob’s mom you would call her tonight”, “Oh mom, I need money for my lunch tomorrow”, “Oh mom, I have an assignment due tomorrow”, “oh mom, I’ve got a wart on my foot that’s been there for six months”, “Oh mom, we are supposed to wear a costume to school tomorrow.”

It took me many years of parenting before I realized that I actually cannot deal with these nighttime demands. And so, I have let my family know, in no uncertain terms, that I am ‘Closed for Business’ after 8:00pm. So now when one of the kids approaches me in the evening, I don’t even have to say anything. I just look at the clock and they sigh deeply and walk away.

I have also made it clear that I will be ‘Open for Business’ again the next morning as early as 5:00am and that they are welcome to float their request or demand at that time.

Funny though, none of them have ever taken me up on it! 🙂Closed for Business