Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today, on multiple occasions, I cleaned poopy underwear. Not something I can say I really enjoy doing. My one year leave of absence, to take on the job of "stay at home mom", is slowly coming to an end. It has been a year of change, reflection, transition, tears, smiles, scraped knees, kites, and many many toilet adventures.

I've relished this time with my kids and can't even fathom a different routine on the horizon. It has been the toughest job I've ever done.

No pay. No breaks. Broken sleep. Free, unlimited whine.

Spending a full day with kids makes all other jobs seem... simple. After this stay at home mom position, I can do any job, blindfolded, with both hands tied behind my back. Bring it on!!!

Thinking back to those long winter days, training for the Olympic event of Snowsuit dressing, brings on a sudden hot flash. It's post traumatic stress disorder. How I felt like cursing every time I had to get them into their boots, snowsuits, hats, gloves,and scarves before the school bell went or someone had to go to the bathroom.

I admit, it was a hard year. I didn't always enjoy it. (Am I allowed to say that out loud?) The monotony of the household chores is pure drudgery. I had to remind myself everyday to take it one hour at a time. Enjoy the moment. Breathe. They will not be throwing sand at each other, or pooping in their underwear, or spilling their milk all over the table, wall and clothing when they are 17. Hopefully.

They are growing and this time will soon be behind us. September brings grade 1 and Kindergarten. The mommy groups, play dates, the glasses of red wine while reading a good mommy book helped get me through the rough patches.

Here are the top four. Each of these books describe how chaotic motherhood can be. My favourites are Everyone is Beautiful and Mitten Strings for God, Reflections for Mothers In A Hurry.

Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Centre

Mitten Strings for God, Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison

The Yummy Mummy by Polly Williams

The Secret Life of A Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill

Monday, June 14, 2010

High School Reunion

Can friendship survive a 20 year hiatus? Returning this weekend from my high school reunion, I sit pondering the phenomena of friendship. As I walked through the door and saw all the faces, so familiar, yet changed, it brought back a flood of memories and emotions. Bonds forged over foolish pranks, shared cigarettes on the sidewalk, the white cabriolet and the daily banter at the lunch table.

Math class held some of my favorite memories. The whole class seemed to participate wholeheartedly in the mischief. A silent pledge made between us. A connection that made us giddy. One day, our ring leader emptied a can of sardines behind a cabinet. The stench was unbearable. In our infinite wisdom, we thought the only solution our teacher would come to, would be to cancel class. We sat waiting. Mr. Macintosh (God bless him for he was really tolerant) ignored us as we all looked at each other. Misery loves company.

"Operation O" needs to be mentioned as well. It illustrates just how wonderfully creative the teen mind can be. A group of boys decided to put an Octopus corpse, courtesy of the local Knob Hill Farms Meat Department into the piano in the school Cafetorium. After rotting for a few months, the smell in the lunch area was simply, rank, fetid, foul. Although we could no longer eat in the Cafetorium for a period of time, the students didn't mind. Our little secret created a bond. Us against them. It was a time when we were free from any real responsibility, yet bound to the school. We all survived the raging hormones, final exams, and cafeteria food. And as our valedictorian pointed out, "Amazingly, we all turned out OK."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I've Lost The Car

Motherhood has many ill-fated side effects. Varicose veins, sleeplessness, sagging, the tendency to wear stained t-shirts and track pants from the 80's in public to name a few. I don't want to scare too many future mothers away from the mommy club, so I won't list them all.

The most profound effect however, is on one's memory. Whether it is a result of post pregnancy hormones bathing your brain or being woken up countless times during the night, one cannot be sure. After one year of maternity, we mothers have realized that our normal adult vocabulary has been completely forgotten and replaced with new words, such as potty, dah dah, poopie, and wee wee.

Although most parent guide books promote routine and schedules for the benefit of the child, the sad truth is...it is actually for the parents. It ensures that the kids are not forgotten at school. That groceries are purchased, homes cleaned, the fish gets fed and that the car is not lost. Stray from the routine, and suffer the consequences....

Last Tuesday is a perfect example. After driving my son to school, his teacher asked if I could stay and help out since one of their volunteers was away. I'm a stay at home mom with an afternoon of leisure on the menu. Cue the crazy laugh.

After school, we played outside, walked home...our normal routine. Later that evening, peering out the window, admiring my beautiful garden, I suddenly realized that the car was, well, missing.

Panic, screaming, deep breathing, hyperventilating.
Someone has stolen the car!

Think Think Think....when did I use it last?...can't remember.....what day is it?....can't think straight. Husband is going to kill me...

After the initial hysteria passed, I finally calmed down enough to review my schedule. Again, thank God for schedules and routine. This led to the memory of parking it at the school.

There it stood. Relief, and gratitude to St. Anthony.
Not only was my car in the same spot that I had parked it, but my open purse still sat on the passenger seat....

Cue the angels singing “Hallelujah.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life's Little Moments

I'm sitting on the sidelines- I guess this is what mothers do.

My kids soccer season is just beginning and I ponder how fast they are growing. Over the last two years, my six year old's soccer skills have gone from picking flowers, stopping to gape in wonder at the butterflies, to recently, kicking the ball.

One of my proudest moments as a soccer mom happened in his first year when a little girl brought a ring with a pink plastic stone to practice. Totally taken with the ring, he convinced the girl to let him wear it. He spent the entire practice running with his hand straight out in front of him, offering up his pink stone to the heavens. He was in his own imaginary world. I love this world. I'd like to climb into it with him, and share his fantasies. Now, I watch him as he giggles and kicks the soccer ball.

Max, my three your old is tiny. His soccer uniform t-shirt hangs well below his knees like a dress. His shin pads extend past his knees making it difficult for him to bend his legs. He is insistent. He can't play with out his shin pads. His face is red from exertion. His strawberry blond hair wet with sweat. His enthusiasm for joining soccer with his big brother is brimming over. He is so happy, he literally can't stand still.

I sit in awe watching the raw joy that emanates from my kids. Maybe by midlife, we have started to lose our sense of wonder, our lust for living. Bogged down by our daily chores and responsibilities, our kids give us a precious reprieve, a window opens to a world we used to live in. I feel the warm breeze blowing through the window, caressing my face...I've decided, I'm climbing through...

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Lee Ann Womack “I hope you dance”