Archive for May, 2009

Memory Loss

I recently lost my Mother suddenly, and although I’m told the grief process is long and involved, comes in fits and starts and is unique to each person depending on the nature of their loss, the suppost system, circumstances etc…I am often surprised by the specific things that often shake me to the core.

I realize that aside from the obvious loss of someone I loved dearly, losing my Mother has actually meant losing a little bit of my childhood, there are things that only my Mother knows or can appreciate, certainly things that only she would remember. And pondering these things  often brings me intense sadness.  

No one else remembers every little detail of my childhood like my Mother. First tooth, first step, favourite pureed food, dates of all childhood illnesses, and which bad word I used (and which potty mouth taught it to me!)

No one can remember the name of every single schoolyard bully that picked on me. And exactly what she said to him and his mother to put a stop to it.

No one else in the whole world thinks that my children are as cute as I do, especially when they are naughty and cheeky, only my Mother would tell the world they were absolutely perfect.

No one else will ever want me to sit on their lap and brush my hair.

No one else will ever reminisce about stealing the “Board-Man’s” plank or remember why yelling “CASH!!!” is so funny.

No one else would collect every copy of my first published article she could get her hands on, and send one to everyone she knows, whether they cared or not.

No one else thinks to buy pyjamas and easter basket treats for my kids, b/c that’s what Nannie did.

No one else can remember the trips to Mexico and Cuba, because it was just the two of us.

No one else makes scalloped potatoes like her, no matter how many times I attempt it, they never come out that good.

No one else can pull off the giant white fake fur coat that looks like it was made from 50 pure white teddy bears.

No one else can appreciate how much my daughter loves the dog and can possibly be as pleased by that fact.

No one else can make a huge turkey dinner as perfectly and with all the elements hot and ready at the same time.

No one else knows that my children really DO get their rebellious streak from their father, b/c she KNOWS that I was NEVER like that!

No one else knows why my father was wearing a blue denim leaisure suit and bow tie to their wedding.

No one  else can remember what is depicted in the solid black painting I created in pre-school. A family? Flowers? Nuclear Fallout? Who knows?

No one else remembers how sorry I was the morning after I decided alcohol was a good idea, or remembers how hard it was to clean the carpet. No one else can confidently say, “Doesn’t your Mother know best?”

No one else wants to hear about every ache and pain I have, or bug me about why I went to the Doctor.

No one else will ever call me Gingersnap or say she “Loves me more than life itself”….no one else will love me like she did.

25 Random Things About Me

1. I am truly the MOST unorganized person alive! I couldn’t keep my house tidy to save myself, (without a little supernatural help)

2. For most of my life I never wanted to have children or be a mother and now I am a stay at home mother of 2 wonderful children and it was the BEST decision I ever made!

3. I have inherited what I call the “CookBook Gene” from my Mother and Gran…the ridiculous hobby of sitting around reading recipes in cook books. Recipes I will probably never make, but enjoy imagining…jeesh, no wonder I can’t lose weight.

4. I am inexplicably fluent in Spanish. After taking french for like 9 years in the public school system I can’t remember anything except the french teachers green sweaty armpits. And yet I have picked up the spanish language with considerable ease.

5. I am a vat of useless and trivial information…I retain a lot of things that I read and recall them at a moments notice and tend to have an answer for everything…a trait my husband finds particularly irritating.

6. I once spent 17 hours in the casino playing blackjack.

7. I can’t keep my clothes in drawers, if I can’t see them all out on a shelves, I go crazy.

8. My absolute favourite movies in the whole world are the “Barbie” movies. Rapunzel, Princess and the Pauper, The Nutcracker, Mariposa, Fairytopia and the 12 Dancing Princesses…

9. If I was dying of thirst on a desert island, I would choose Diet Coke or Coffee over water in a split second.

10. I am a compulsive photo-taker….the digital camera was the best invention EVER!!

11. I love the George Lopez show and nearly pee my pants every time I watch it.

12. I drink 12-15 cups of coffee every day (about a full pot and a half).

13. I don’t like to let my daughter play with her new Barbie’s b/c she messes their hair and they always end up looking like Bob Marley.

14. I get a proper haircut about once a year, the rest of the time I trim and layer it myself.

15. I love strawberry baby food and miss my children being small enough that I could by jars without looking weird.

16. I grit my teeth, when I am angry, stressed or hugging kids or dog! I grit them so bad my front teeth are wearing down.

17. I spent nearly a year in Chile, South America (which gives insight into #4) where I met the love of my life, who I later married and have now spent 10 years in wedded bliss…most of the time!

18. Both my childrens names came from television characters…so sad!

19. I think Penelope Lopez, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep are the most overrated talentless actors in Hollywood, and I don’t care what the Academy thinks!

20. My feet control my body temperature, they have to be free to breath or I feel like I’m suffocating…I wear flip flops from March till November. If I have to wear shoes and socks for too long my whole body gets overheated.

21. I am addicted to Dollar stores, I never leave without having spent at least $20.

22. My dream vacation is a suitcase full of books, pina coladas and a personal massage therapist.

23. I speed read, I can read a Harry Potter size novel in one sitting given the opportunity and believe it or not I actually enjoy and absorb what I have read. I thank my mother for my love of books and reading and hope that my children will appreciate the wonderful feeling of being lost in a book so deeply that they don’t notice the sunset and then rise again before they finish.

24. I love having my hair washed or brushed, and it will put me right to sleep.

25. I have NEVER seen any of the following Pop Culture movies, to the disdain of every movie loving friend I have…All 3 Lord of the Rings, The 3 Prequil Star Wars movies, Pulp Fiction, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Psycho, Jaws, Farenheit 9/11, Monty Python, Texas Chainsaw Massacre…

Perspective

Yesterday as my 4 year old princess sat on the floor of the ballet studio defiantly refusing to rehearse the recital routine; I was reminded that, less than 20 hours previously, I had been frantically searching the neighbourhood for her. While playing outside, Her Highness decided to come in and sneak upstairs to watch t.v, without telling anyone. It wasn’t until 30+ people had fanned out to search for her did we finally hear a quiet giggle from the upstairs window, and discover that she was not lost, but rather hiding.

 If you have ever experienced the terror that accompanies momentarily losing a child, then you know the overwhelming relief as you hold them tightly, showering them with tear-stained kisses while sternly warning them to never scare you like that again. These incidents have always served to put things in perspective for me, they remind me that I have been blessed with two amazing children; this is the perspective that stabilized me in the ballet studio yesterday.

Our children are so valuable, personally I couldn’t live without them, and yet they drive me crazy on a daily basis! How is it possible that the same small creatures that scrunch their noses up at the meals we slave over and spend hours whining and bickering about everything under the sun with their siblings, can grip our hearts so intensely?

 I believe the scary times as a parent are a gift designed to help me through the inevitable trying times. In my life I count 2 miscarriages, weeks in the neo-natal intensive care, falls down the stairs, disappearing acts and inexplicable high fevers among my “perspective-building” experiences. Memories of those times are what I draw on when I find the dog hog-tied or every stitch of clothing on the bedroom floor. It’s what I think about when I hear stomping up the stairs and the spiteful retort “You’re the Meanest Mommy EVER!” 

It’s good to have perspective sometimes…

Things I Swore I WOULD Do…

I often find that I deal with life’s difficulties, stresses and battles with various forms of humour; self-depracating humour, sarcastic humour etc. in an effort to not take life too seriously and to make light of the experiences that would otherwise drive me to insanity.

Recently, when speaking with someone after knowing them only a few days, I was told that I often come across as negative in my jokes or recounting of events in my life as a Mother. Perhaps she’s right, maybe I am too negative; or perhaps she needs to get to know me a little better, to understand my brand of humour. The truth is there is nothing in the world I would rather do than be a mother, and despite my short-comings I hope that I am doing a fairly good job; I just find humour an excellent way to de-pressurize any situation.

 

Nevertheless, in an effort to be less “negative” as a parent, and less critical in my musings I am compiling a list of things that I purposed to do before becoming a parent and have in fact…done.

Let’s call it a Counter-“Things I Swore I’d Never Do”-list if you will. So here it is, my Things-I’ve-Done-List (it’s not exhaustive, but anyways…)

1. Volunteer in my children’s school regularly.

2. Let my children jump on the sofa.

3. Take my children to the cinema, and buy the expensive snacks.

4. Purchase (and USE) Season’s passes at Canada’s Wonderland.

5. Let my kids play in the bathtub for a long time until the water is cold.

6. Take my children swimming in a pool, lake or slip-n-slide, regardless of how I look in a bathingsuit.

7. Go on any and all school field trips for which I am permitted to chaperone.

8. Do crafts with my children, involving glue, sparkles, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks.

9. Let my son collect bugs despite my phobia of all things crawly.

10. Act excited when I am presented with said creepy crawly things by a smiling child proud of his treasures.

11. Make the kids hot chocolate whenever they feel cold, and even add marshmallows.

12. Teach my children to use their manners whatever the circumstance.

13. Let my daughters hair grow uncut for as long as possible. So far so good…

14. Read as many books and magazines as possible with parenting advice and tips, researching my job as a mother.

15. Have at least two children…I didn’t enjoy being an only child.

16. Teach my children to address all grown-ups as Mr. Mrs. or Miss despite popular practice in today’s society.

17. Make a family tradition of picking out a real Christmas tree together.

18. Regularly have sit down meals together with all family members present.

19. Sign my daughter up for ballet…yes she is living out one of my dreams, but she seems ok with it…)

20. Teach my children to love reading and enjoy books.

21. Make homemade cookies and muffins, although I often cop out and get store bought cookies too.

22. Take lots of photographs of my children as the grow up…thank goodness for the advent of digital photography…

23. Play board games together as a family.

24. Carefully monitor what the children watch on television.

25. Let my kids “help” with baking, cooking, and cleaning despite that it take 2x as long and makes 2x the mess when they help.

26. Buy character bandaids even though Barbie and Batman are less practical and more expensive.

27. Pray every night with my kids.

28. Take family vacations, making memories that will last a lifetime.

29. Save every piece of artwork, crafts and drawings…although we will likely need a small storage unit soon to store it all.

30. Be flexible, teachable and constantly evolve as a parent, always striving to be the best Mother to my children I can possibly be.

As I look over this list I realize that I am successfully fulfilling my imaginary to-do list on a regular basis. I must not being doing as bad a job as I tend to think…perhaps I should be more positive!

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