The Art of Generosity

My parents are coming, my parents are coming!! This is the single most looping thought I’ve had all morning. They are coming to see me (I guess the kids and Jamie too) and I couldn’t be any more excited. Well, I could be but I have to save some energy for work today.

Colleen and Dan Sawyer are pretty much the greatest parents in the entire fucking universe! The proof is in the pudding (did I just actually use that phrase!?) when it comes to how unbelievably supportive they’ve been through our current year’s life changing events.

As you well know these last few months have been trying. There were times when we weren’t sure we would be able to pay the bills and moments where failure was a precipice we tottered on often.  I would call my sister-in-law and tell her my woes.  I would cry to my brother about how scary this thing we were doing was. I would straight up avoid talking to Mom and Dad because I didn’t want them to see how unsure I was about absolutely everything in our life.

However, like families do, when Dust and Ashley would be over at my parents for dinner the topic of Jamie and I and our panini problems would surely come up. Nothing malicious, just general concern about how we might be doing all the way down here in the thick of the Southern Alberta heat. Literally and metaphorically.

Except Dad, he would hold strong in his resolve that we will be just fine. Dad is and always will be the voice of reason when things start getting dramatic (something that can happen quite often with me and Moms active imaginations). He would say, all they need is to get the word out, it is going to happen for them. It’s all about word of mouth.

One thing about my dad is when he is not dreaming up some outlandish plan of action he can be impossibly logical. He’s wonderful like that.

So the day I phoned my parents to tell them we had to close early because we sold out of all of our food at the shop, the words did not come as a surprise to them.

As I told Daddio how busy we’ve been and how the people of this city seem to be falling in love with our sandwiches I could hear a smile on his face. This was quickly interrupted however with ideas and thoughts on how to keep up stock and prep so closing shop early doesn’t have to happen again. Better to be open and making green than closed because we were not prepared adequately. Oh how I adore that guy!

As usual Mom had a plethora of questions to ask about the shop. From how early I go in in the morning to what kind of characters we meet on a daily basis. My mom, like me, is a junkie for people. Who will they be? What quirks make them tick? She wants to know what fascinating history has brought them to where they are today. And she will indeed get this information out of them, in the most subtle of ways all the while making a person feel like they are undoubtedly the most important human on the face of the planet.

Her enthusiasm when it comes to me, Jamie, the kids and astounds me. She has this unbelievable way of making us feel like we are doing god’s work. Even if it is just pressing paninis for a living. We spoke for hours that morning on the phone. After I hung up I realised that I need to call them more. Talking with them brings me this extraordinary feeling of triumph. An overall sentiment that is better than it was before I heard their voices.

Besides the hundreds upon thousands of life lessons my parents have taught me, one that sticks out as I sit here today is the lesson of generosity. This, they have shown me time and time again. Generosity doesn’t have to come from a bank statement or a wallet. The kind of generosity my mom and dad have so aptly doled out to my brother and me over all of these years comes from a kind and steadfast spirit. That extra push saying that you can and in fact will do what you’ve set out to do. Their generosity has been as simple yet profound as building our confidence up (sometimes to, perhaps, obscene levels) when everyone else is rooting for us to flop.

Generosity is an art. If you give and then immediately feel you need something in return I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re doing it wrong. Generosity is about giving what you can without expectation. It is about being rewarded by the knowledge that you’ve done something good. And true generosity is a beautiful thing. It proves that there is still so much good in this world, in the human race.

Now, as I sit here and read over these words my heart is eager to see the two people who have selflessly had a hand in giving us the strength and confidence to make it to where we are today.

Only a few more hours!!!  421008_561102740585388_1187082580_n

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Dream It

It was less than a year ago when The Hot Wire was just a silly idea drifting in and out of two dreamer’s brains. But when dreams become reality; this is the stuff of magic. My husband and I are dreamers you see, we always have been. We sit up late, sometimes drinking beer and eating popcorn, and always talking about the things that may be one day. It is some of my favourite moments with him.

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when you just know that you are on your (and I really mean your) right path? I don’t know about you but it will start out as the faintest tingling in the very deep of my gut. A flood of positivity becomes my brain—waylaying the creatures who say I cannot achieve what I am setting out to do. They are left where they stand, ignored and forgotten–just as they should be. It is a strength that resides firmly in my chest. Said strength moves me to reach further, do better and try harder in achieving my goals. It is a resolve that is impossible to ignore.

And it is one of the very greatest feelings a human being can have.

Some people will live their life telling you to, “get your head out of the clouds” or to, “stop dreaming your life away.” I say NO! Absolutely do not remove your head from that mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere! Dream and imagine, write it all down and back it up! BACK IT UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Then, once you’ve got your game plan, once there is nothing left to imagine, go out and do. Be the dream because as impossible as it may seem sometimes, “there is always a way out” (that was a Doctor Who reference for all the laypeople out there).

Anyways, what I’m really trying to say is please, I beg of you, follow those beautiful, impractical, adventurous, tentative dreams.

There will be shitty, I mean REAL shitty days along the way. There are points in which I worry that we might fail. Maybe we will fail. Maybe we will fail at achieving this dream in this particular way. Perhaps we will have to pack up and begin again. We will have to look for the alternatives and brainstorm and inspire to be better. But that is just part of the game. That is the process. 

Whether you attain what you are looking for the very first shot or you must try over and over again until you get it right—I promise you, it will be worth it. To know that you had only a glimmering of an idea in your mind and to bring that minuscule thing to fruition is a true marvel. It is a striking thing to know you’ve achieved.  

The other day Jamie and I got this little note in our comment jar.

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I can’t really explain to you how much significance this piece of orange paper with words on it holds for me. It WAS me only a few months ago. It was us. Unsure of how to move forward but hopeful that there was something to move forward to.

Now there are so many moments where I find myself silently thanking the forces that be in assisting Jamie, Lars, Sophie and I in what has been our most crazy, uplifting, insane adventure yet. And we will keep on doing what we do. Despite the pit stops and the delays. We will find a way to keep moving on.

And my hope is, that the writer of this note along with anyone else who has ever had a dream can find the grit and guts to do the same.

Life: Open For Business

So going back to work has been a bit of a learning curve.

You know, I really didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to get back into the swing of things. I imagined I would breeze in there all like, oh yeah I’m Queen Bee of working and moming and I am the master of both my domains!

**followed by exaggerated maniacal laugh. **

Except this is not at all how it has been going.

Every day I drag my tired screaming body out of bed and wonder what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into. I think about how easy my previous life was in comparison. I fondly reminisce about all of my worry-free days of stay-at-home mom-ery and I fawn over those memories with longing.

However after a cup of coffee, I punt myself back into reality while I slather on some mascara and get on with life-as does every other person on the planet.

I do the mornings at the shop while Jamie does the long afternoons. I can’t complain. Jamie typically bests my nine hour shifts by two or three hours more each day. He almost lives there. But I do complain, a lot. Not about the fact that I’m tired and I am having a difficult time getting into a routine—these things will come. I complain about the tiny, minuscule things I miss about the ‘before times’.

I miss Sophie’s haphazard and dazed look when she awakens and trudges her way upstairs in search of cereal. I miss the way Lars would hide around the corner of the kitchen only to yell, “GOOD MORNING MOM!” as loud as he possibly can in those wee hours as I myself would be trudging into the kitchen. I miss Jamie rolling over still half asleep, putting his arm around me and whispering that the kids can wait just five more minutes as he nuzzles his cold nose into my neck.

These are the little things that I complain about not getting enough of anymore. And although they are small, the price seems like a big one to pay.

Aside from the mom-things that have been effected, there are a few other aspects of this new life that are quite daunting.

Let’s begin with the fact that Jamie and I are business owners! Do you know how different that is than being an employee?! When I worked outside of the home I always considered myself a pretty star wage earner. I’d show up early and stay late if needed. I went the extra mile. I was always friendly and courteous. I was one hell of a trainer when necessary. And I felt like I treated my position with as much respect as I would if I owned the place.

Except I didn’t. Not. Even. Fucking. Close.

The truth of the matter is, one doesn’t know what it’s like to be a business owner until you are, in fact, a business owner. Before, I never understood exactly how much was on the line if something (anything) happened to screw up. You don’t realize what one bad review of your company could mean. You have no clue how completely and utterly accountable you are until it is only you, you have to answer to.

We’ve done well thus far but the sneaking knowledge that our entire future is riding on this venture is always weighing in the back of our busy minds. It’s a large burden to bear to say the least.

So there’s that.

And about a hundred other things that continue to make me look back on the days before The Hot Wire, before moving, before everything changed, with fond recollections.

How easily it would be to slip back into those days of carefree living.

That is, until I dredge up how ‘carefree’ it wasn’t. Perhaps before the Panini shop (which now feels somewhat like a lifetime ago) we may not have had such *pressing* (see what I did there) issues but we did have issues none the less. We felt like we were standing still and not progressing in the life we were living. We felt like we were teaching our kids to sit and complain about all of the woes in life rather than going out and doing something about it. We felt lost because we simply weren’t doing what we were meant to be doing. We didn’t feel in control of our own lives and there is actually nothing worse than that kind of a thing weighing you down.

Now, those feelings are but a mere story of how we started on this current journey.

I think anywhere we go in life there will always be the learning curve. There will forever be challenges and worries that we aren’t doing right for ourselves and our family. There will be doubt.

It doesn’t matter how far you move, what new challenges you face, there will sometimes be moments of suffocation. There will always be moments of victory. I don’t think any successful human being can have one without the other.

So whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. Keep trying the new. Keep yourself on your toes. Be scared and excited and thrilled by anything. And do it every single day.

Life is weird and uncertain and totally terrifying at times. But at any given moment it can also be very very magnificent.

 

 

2 Cent Saturday

 

Some days I can do three loads of laundry, make a pancake breakfast, and get a week’s worth of writing done all before nine a.m.

Some days I find myself huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a bucket of Nutella attempting to scarf it down as fast as I possibly can without the offspring locating my whereabouts.

It’s all about balance you see. It’s about having the ability to discover what kind of day you’re going to have before it has even started. Will it be an “I am Wonder-Mom” kind of day? Or, more likely, will it be a pajama pants because you can’t even bring yourself to squeeze into the yoga pants kind of day? It’s about accepting the plight that is parenthood and giving into it gracefully.

Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty we can’t do the Wonder-Mom thing every God-damn day. Well not without a vessel of Valium and about thirty-five martinis that is. And you know how the Granola Moms frown upon that these days. So we are left with having to accept that some days we just can’t do it all.

It is either one or the other—slobby do-nothing Mom or Wondrous Wonder-Mom. Black. White.

Or at least that’s what everyone’s been telling me.

There is this strange mentality that I’ve noticed popping up lately and that is that everything seems to have to be all or nothing. Perhaps it has always been like this and I’ve just been too wrapped up in myself or apathetic to notice. But I’m noticing now, and it’s weird and makes me feel uncomfortable.

As parents we seem to categorise ourselves into these sections. Like “hover moms” “free range parenting” “no preservatives” “McDonalds parents” and we hang on to these stereotypes like they were our first born child.

Let’s get real here people. I try my damnedest to feed the Lars and Soph clean healthy food, however when I’m pressed for time or simply having a PJ pants kind of day they are getting a big ole box of KD with extra ketchup. I let my kids play in the backyard unsupervised because I’ve smashed “stranger danger” into the farthest depths of their brains. However I still go and check up on them every single night before I turn in to assure they are breathing. I’ve been doing this for eight consecutive years now and in all honesty I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Picture this if you will: me, sneaking into Lars’ apartment when he is 25 years old and stealthily popping my head over his bedside to investigate whether or not he has breath sounds. It will be when I ever so gently place the small mirror I’ve brought (because I like to think ahead) over his mouth to see the breath in question that his girlfriend at the time awakens. Resulting in extreme awkwardness. For them.

Motherhood is weird and poor Lars will never be able to keep a steady relationship with my crazy shenanigans.

I think as a society we need to expel this notion that when it comes to parenting there is only wrong or right. In most cases at least. Obviously some things are just downright wrong and some things are gloriously right. Like Tacos.

Ain’t nobody gone tell me tacos on their wrong list.

Ahem, Oh look once again I’ve been sidetracked by the fabulous thought of tacos.

Anyway, it’s the ego’s downfall that we are constantly at war with each other over issues like which parenting methods are best and what colour a dress on the internet is-I don’t know why I’m still on that, it was like a million years ago.

If we could for one moment set aside those big pulsating ego’s we could see that in most cases there is a middle grounds that we can all come to reside in and be overall contented with. And if there isn’t? Then allow your self-image a few moments of humility and try to see something from another’s point of view. The stubbornness we exhibit does not progress us as a society. We stay stagnant at an impasse because none of us can agree on what’s best.

If we open ourselves up we may learn a thing or two, moving forward into new potentials.

Or, you know, just go sit in the bathroom and consume copious amounts chocolatey Nutella, whateves.

Being Kind & Kicking Ass

It was painting day at the Panini shop. As of right now I seem to be bathing in a slew of Panini’s so you will have to deal with yet another sandwich-store related rambling. We had decided to scrimp a bit in the paint department since our bay has outlandishly high ceilings. We didn’t want to be spending a small fortune on paint, so we chose the cheapest orange (The Hot Wire’s logo colour) paint we could find.

I was pumped and I just knew it was going to be spectacular!

However after the fourth application of paint I began to get a little perturbed. By perturbed I mean sobbing hopelessly on the ground asking the thin air in front of me why I could still see every damn brush stroke and flaw that this stupid bastard of a wall had to offer.

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I kindly asked impatiently pressed Jamie to go down to the paint store to ask them what we could possibly be doing wrong. I would have gone myself but lately I’ve been trying this “kindness” thing on for size and let’s just say I wasn’t in a particularly kind mood at that moment.

It turns out orange is one of the most difficult paints to apply. Right from the beginning this detail in combination with our super insanely cheap paint was a cocktail for the perfect disaster. These were the “expert’s” exact words to Jamie when he explained our painting plight.

Would have been nice to know when we were in there yesterday buying all of this contemptible orange paint—but yeah, okay, thanks for the tip Tips.

Things started looking up however after applying the fifth and final coat to the walls.

I was feeling good until I looked at the time to find that I had about seven minutes to get to the kids’ school to pick them up. Now if you know me, you know that this would have sent my emotions reeling. I had to get across the city in seven minutes or else I was going to be late. Me? Late? NEVER!

As I spotted my car I contemplated doing the whole jump and slide over the hood spectacle but envisioned myself simply body slamming into the side of it as a feeble alternative. I’d probably dent it up pretty bad and end up smearing the still wet paint from my clothes all over its white exterior too. It would be a mess. So I just walked around to the driver’s side instead.

I was making good time until that sweet little elderly woman cut me off.

“Be calm Lindsay, it’s just a little further. Stay calm.” I was on one of the busier city streets and the ninety year old was topping her motor vehicle out at a whopping 30 kilometers an hour. I had what was adding up to be a damned convoy behind me of angry motorists some of who were even flipping me the bird.

I was about to throw down some pretty creative language myself when I remembered my “Quest for Kindness”. Earlier that day my friend Janelle and I were talking about how we wanted to actively bring more kindness into our lives and the lives of others. I’ve said that before, but I actually meant it this time—I swear. So I curled down my middle finger and gently put my hand back on the wheel.

Eventually I got to school. I wasn’t even late…by that much. It actually killed me a little inside.

On our way home the kids asked to stop at the park. As much as I just wanted to get home and wash the remnants of that dastardly orange paint off of my skin I agreed because I’d rather them blow off steam in the open fields of the park than in the small confines of our car.

Moments after I sat down I noticed a few of the surrounding parents staring at me. Some of them were having full out conversations and I seemed to be their subject matter. The anger was rising and if I were in a bad 90’s movie I would have said something catty like, “take a picture it lasts longer.”

I was worn down from a wretched day. Sodden in sweat stained clothes and shitty orange paint. My hair was whipping about wildly as I had lost my tie somewhere in the midst of it all. I probably looked homeless. No wonder these assholes wanted to style a few verbal jabs in my direction.

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I gave them a friendly/awkward smile and a wave. They looked shocked that I had acknowledged them and that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

Perhaps that’s why I then yelled in the grimiest of voices, “Come’n kids! Uncle Toenail gets out on parole today and it’s our turn to pick him up!”

And it occurred to me then that sometimes kindness can be as simple as giving the judgemental strangers on the next bench over something interesting to talk about.

The Toothpaste Predicament

My son has a certain way of doing things. He is stubborn and persistent and to tell you the truth he probably gets that from yours truly. The kid has a mind of his own and will most likely continue to do things in his own weird way. And it’s really never been a problem, well, until it was.

One of the small and seemingly insignificant things he does, is when putting toothpaste on his toothbrush he lays the tube on the counter horizontally over the edge while holding the brush directly beneath the nozzle. He then will lean his entire weight down on the tube, generating a magnificent surge of peppermint smelling sticky stuff onto his brush.

I have told him time and time again not to load his toothbrush this way since he is wasting paste, making a god-awful mess and not to mention annoying me to no ends. I have made him scrub away the caked on mess he gets on the counter, cabinetry and floor and I have showed him how to properly remove the toothpaste from the margins of its cylinder.

At the time he listens to my advice with knowing eyes and a complacent smile.

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However he rarely abides by my suggestions and when I am not glaring over his shoulder he continues to use his unconventional ways when preparing to brush his teeth.

This morning, like most mornings, I woke up and had the overwhelming urge to pee. I stumbled to the bathroom still half asleep, plopped myself down and let flow.

Maybe I saw the bright green gob of paste on the toilet paper out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I did not notice it at all. Or maybe at the time I simply did not care to comprehend what the effects of using that particular piece of paper would do to my poor nether regions. What I know for sure is that soon after, I experienced a kind of unease that no human should ever have to endure that early in the sunrise hours.

As I stood up it happened. The slight burning sensation commenced.

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I paused mid stance and thought, “Well that is rather uncomfortable.” But engaged in a little shimmy thinking maybe that would help.

To be clear that made it absolutely worse.

Before I could know what was happening to me, my entire front bum was encompassed with a burning awareness that would have made the depths of hell envious. I froze to the spot, wondering what in the name of Hades Torch was happening to my fuzzy peach. The tingle had evolved into a scorching attack of soft skin and tenacious pink flesh. It seemed to creep into every crevice of my cave of wonders, not missing a single cranny!

I let out a yelp and instinctually grabbed for my lady garden, but straightaway realized that that was a terrible idea. I’m not sure why the contact of my hand made my plight even worse but it did.

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It was then, as my entire hoo-haw was being consumed by the horror of this red-hot suffering that I looked to my right and saw the toothpaste container hanging guiltily over the porcelain counter. There was a gob of green toothpaste on the floor beneath the toilet paper roll…And slowly I began to put the disturbing pieces of this predicament together.

Without thinking I hopped bowlegged into the bathtub, cranked the cold water and began splashing soothing fluid onto and around my notorious V.A.G. Instant relief came to me and I began feeling a bit more relaxed. That was until I heard the doorknob rattling.

I considered the spot that I was in.

Legs spread as wide as the Grand Canyon, pelvic thrust towards the serenity that was the flowing cold water tap, and an expression of pure horror combined with an unsettling look of reprieve plastered on my face. I didn’t know who was on the other side of that door, all I knew was that I wanted NOBODY to see me in such a perilous position.

It was not my voice that next exited my person, but something else…Something from somewhere deep within me.

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A half-hoarse demented demon creature shouted in the darkest and most sinister way, “DON’T COME IN HERE! I’M BUSY!” I then continued splish-splashing the pacifying water on my Susie Q.

Finally the horror of it all had passed. Completely and utterly worse for the wear, I hobbled out of the bathroom.

I found my son.

I crept up close to him, leaned in so my words would hold a little more value and ominously told him that if he ever left toothpaste anywhere in that bathroom other than his toothbrush I would throw the thing in the garbage and he would never be able to brush his teeth again.

He nodded his head, his eyes were wide and I could tell he knew in the deep of his soul that something terrible had just happened.

To this day the bathroom has been kept incredibly tidy by the small humans I share it with. However I’m no fool, never again will I let my guard down and allow my velvet underground to fall victim to the dreaded toothpaste predicament.

Bedtime Struggles

There is this pivotal moment in all of our lives when we must sit back, stifle the urge to scream out in exasperation and simply give in to the methodical twitching that has currently taken over our left eye socket.

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It is the bedtime routine…No let me rephrase: It is in the aftermath of the bedtime routine and I am moments away from finding the closest underpass, befriending the patrons perusing the space and brown bagging a bottle of cabernet sauvignon with them simply to escape the lunacy that is Motherhood.

“It is an hour after your bedtime Sophie, you need to go to sleep.” This is what I say to my daughter who has been slumping around the living room for the last half hour. I think she thinks I don’t notice her.

The girl slinks closer to me as though apologizing in advance for the fresh hell she is about to radiate. She then places her lips about a quarter inch from my earlobe and says in a half whisper half scream, “I’m so hungry.”

What in the…I won’t finish that sentence as it is in no way appropriate for newspaper reading. I think you get the point though.

“You ate your dinner and you had desert there is no possible way you can be hungry.” I pause and look directly into her eyes which are unwavering in her quest for a midnight snack.

“HUNGRY.” She replies in that guttural, Paleolithic sort of way.

The eye twitch is coming back but I will it away by shutting my eyes tightly for ten consecutive seconds.

“What are you doing, you look weird.” I am attempting to ward off the insanity, I want to tell her.

I shove a piece of bread with butter into her tiny hands and tell her that will do for tonight. She looks greedily at it and moves back downstairs to her fortress of teddy bears and sparkly lip gloss. After a few minutes quiet erupts in the house and a cool shiver creeps every so steadily up my spine.

Now, you’d think that after all of my troubles with trying to get her to sleep, quiet would be a welcome change. But you see, you’d be wrong. At least not in a mothers psyche. Suddenly thoughts of my baby girl somehow forgetting how to chew and swallow food correctly flood my good sense. I imagine her choking on the bread and how she, at this very minute, could be coughing and sputtering and completely helpless down there. All because I carelessly gave her bread to shut her up and get her back into bed. It’s the ole ‘Bread in the Bed’ predicament.

So I make my way towards the girl child’s bedroom. All seems quiet upon first inspection. I can hear the soft snoring of Lars coming from his room which sort of makes my heart swell because at least I have one child who slumbers deeply throughout the entire night.

I pop my head into Sophie Anne’s Room. She is not on her bed—substituted for my daughter is a pile of ragged and torn looking bread pieces laying delicately atop her pillow.

I spot the top of the kid’s head behind her nightstand. She is crumpled on the floor and by the slump of her shoulders and the angled look of her head I can tell something is amiss. Before I can ask her what the problem is her head shoots up and there staring me in the eye is what looks like a war-torn Sophie. She wears crinkles of fret across her forehead and her cheeks are lined with a thick layer of tear streaked dejectedness.  “SLEEPY BEAR IS MISSSING!” She yells out in anguish. “HE IS GONE! GONE TOTALLY GONE!”

I look to my left and see the grimy leg of a bear wearing a familiar pink polka dotted jumper. He lays half under a pile of dirty clothes. I pick the thing up assuring not to hold it to close to my face because as much as my daughter seems to adore the ripe tang of the squalid plaything I prefer to keep my distance.

“You found him! Thank you!” She says as though he had been missing for years. I am about to tell her that if her room was cleaner Sleepy wouldn’t go missing, but instead I just smile.

At this point, after the night we’ve had, sometimes we parents need to recognise when to pick our battles.

Now, would somebody please buy me a bottle of wine and direct me to the closest underpass?

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Sophie’s Bus Ride

There is a bus stop that sits directly outside our home. Ever since we moved into this house Sophie has been pretty much obsessed with it. She plops herself down in our front room window and simply stares out at all of the people waiting for their transport.

I have a sneaking suspicion my daughter may follow in my footsteps when it comes to spinning a story. She loves to create tales about the humans who pause in front of our home. However it gets a little awkward when said humans happen to turn around to see a big eyed, wild-haired five year old gazing intently into their soul. Some have even went as far to move on to the next stop. This infuriates the child because it has ruined her ability to finish her deeply thought out yarn.

Once she told me that the person left because he was about to “diarrhea in his pants” it was then I realized she has indeed taken after ALL of my literary skills.

So imagine Sophie’s surprise when I told her that we would be riding on that very same bus.  She was elated! I may have even seen a single tear of joy roll down her cheek.

Lars on the other hand shrugged his shoulders and said, “oh yeah, that will be cool” in the most unconvincing voice I’ve ever heard. Soph didn’t take any notice however, she just skipped away with Sleepy Bear propped under her arm while speaking to no one in particular about how splendid the bus ride was going to be.

My family had come for a visit and it was with them that we ventured downtown on the bus. As we waited at the same stop in which Sophie had been staring at for the last month I could see the anticipation growing on her face. Of course, as with most public transit the bus was a little late.

“Is it not coming!?” She cried to her Uncle Dustin after we had been waiting for a considerable amount of time. Just as he was about to answer the sound of the buses massive air brakes came whistling down the street.

 

“IT’S HERE!” She screamed as the doors opened. It was from that point until we reached the downtown terminal that Sophie was the star of this specific bus route.

The population inside including the driver could immediately tell that we were newbies at this public transit thing. If it wasn’t me asking how much we owed him for boarding, Sophie definitely gave us away when she organized a joyful twirl while walking down the aisle and saying, “it’s so awesome Mom!”

I like to believe the seven of us were more of a humorous attraction to our fellow passengers rather than a disturbance. We were quite vocal in our queries of which terminals or stops to get on and off of but everyone seemed to be very forthcoming with information and assistance.

Meanwhile the only one of us who seemed completely at home on the large means of transportation was Lars. As my mom said it seemed like “old hat” for the seven year old. He had plopped himself down on the seat propped an arm up on the armrest and sat idly by waiting for his stop.

“Lars are you enjoying the ride?” His Auntie Ashley asked him about half way to our destination.

“Yeah it’s alright.” He replied.

“What do you mean it’s alright?!” Sophie screamed, “It’s amazing!” Her gusto made everyone smile and I had a feeling that taking the bus downtown would end up being a regular occurrence. This was fine by me since I had been swept away with nostalgia from the time I stepped onto the vehicle. Before having the kids and moving back to our small hometown of Sylvan Lake I was a bus riding professional in the cities I wandered. It was surreal to be brought back to those times but now hand in hand with the children I never knew I’d have back then.

We had a great time exploring City Center and some of its eclectic shops and cafes but once again Sophie’s real point of delight was sparked by getting back on the bus to ride home.

There are days in this new city when I miss Sylvan Lake. I miss our friends and the easiness of hometown living. But experiencing simple yet extraordinary moments like we did on this day allow me to realize how much this new home of ours has to offer.

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Distance and Hearts and Such

His voice cracks as he says goodbye to me. If he was some other person or if I didn’t know him better than I know myself I could have mistaken it for a bad connection. However that’s not the case. Hushed tears are now dribbling down my face but I try to keep my composure. I have two children in the basement who I can hear sobbing because talking to Dad reminds them that they still have another five days before he comes home. I have to be strong for them. I have to be strong for my husband, who is silently struggling. He is too proud to admit that all he wants to do is drop every last obligation and run as fast as he can towards his family. I have to remain steady for the humans I love.

This move has taught us a lot about ourselves as a family. What we can endure together and what we must suffer by apart. To give ourselves the best shot at this new future Jamie will have to stay working in Sylvan Lake on a rotational schedule until we establish our new business prospects here in the city of Lethbridge.

The first week wasn’t bad. We had some moments of doubt and a few minor meltdowns but nothing that doesn’t happen on the regular anyways. It was once the tough stuff started getting thrown at me, like troubles at school and “fix-it” jobs that I had no idea how to fix; I realized what I had gotten myself in to.

Ever since I became pregnant with a little lad named Lars Jamie and I have always been in it together. We do everything together. We cook together. We make financial decisions together. We raise children together. We will soon be building an entire business together. I colour coordinate our outfits on date night for the love of God! And many might feel the need to criticize our ridiculously codependent existence—perhaps with valid points. But it seems to work for us so I say, “do what makes you feel right.”

But right now, at this very moment, as I sit in our new home typing on this laptop that holds so many stories of our family I feel at a loss. It has been so 15 days since all four of us have been under the same roof. Typing it makes me feel vaguely silly since it doesn’t really sound like that long. It sure as hell didn’t sound like it would be that long a month ago when we were hashing out this master plan.

It is long though. It is too long for kids who are used to having Dad tuck them in nightly. It feels so very long for a wife who hasn’t slept a full night in fifteen days because every creek and crack of this new house startles her awake. And when she sleepily moves to hold her husband all she finds is a cold pillow. It is devastatingly long for a man who has just been told by his five year old daughter that she doesn’t want to talk to him on the phone anymore because it makes her miss him too much. It is just so damn long.

The children have now settled and Jamie and I have set in to a rather racy thread of text messaging (which I will spare you of). I find myself constantly giddy over the thought of my husband coming home to us. I daydream about the grin he will be wearing and how tight he will hug us as he walks in the door. I think of him asking Lars about his new schoolmates and getting Sophie to show him all of her new drawings that are fastened to the refrigerator. It makes me smile to think of how whole I will feel once he is here with us. And I wonder how other families do this on a regular basis.

Then it dawns on me. Nobody chooses this type of a lifestyle. There is no family unit that wishes to be separated from each other. But we all do what we must to survive in this world. We work away. We distance ourselves from our loved ones. We make sacrifices and go without to achieve what it is we truly desire.

Family is our most important entity and we will forever journey to the ends of the universe for their wellbeing. So once the tough stuff has been conquered and we are reunited with the people who mean the most all of the heartache and strife will have been worth it. And one day when we look back on these moments we will realize that it was the “tough stuff” that made this beautiful life that much sweeter.

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A Bit of Quality Time

Sometimes our lives get busy. Lately there has been a bit of an upheaval in the Brown household and our routine and schedules have been thrown for loop.

Unfortunately at this time the disruption is something that cannot be avoided. So I’ve decided to embrace it. Sometimes when unexpected change comes upon us the best thing we can do for our family is to show them how to roll with the punches.

It occurred to me lately that I’ve been so wrapped up in the “big things” that I’ve let the truly important stuff fall to the wayside. The best thing for my babes (and me for that matter) right now would be to make up for some much needed quality moments together.

Sophie and I set out on an early Tuesday morning and ended up having more fun than I think either of us anticipated. Our first order of business on that brisk November morn was to visit the lake and go for a, “beautiful autumn walk” (Sophie’s exact words). Sophie gathered all sorts of nature-stuffs; from dried colorful leaves to funny looking rocks to pieces of bark with moss growing off of it. We placed all of her goodies into an airtight container in which she was to bring for show and tell the next day at school. With every treasure that we stumbled across a bigger smile grew on my daughters face, allowing my joy to surface too.

We then took some time for a little park play. Sophie sat me on the car shaped jungle gym and asked where I’d like her to drive.  I told her Mexico was nice this time of year. She agreed and we took a left then a right and then went down a very long and winding road and in virtually no time at all we found ourselves in sunny Mexico. I asked her where she got her superb drivers training from and in true Sophie fashion she answered with a reasonable and matter of fact reply.

“Well of course Mom, I got it from the dollar store. Don’t you know that you can get ANYTHING there!?” And once again I think my frequent perusing of our local dollar store may be rubbing off on my daughter.

Lars has entered into a different kind of age where nature walks and pretend car rides to Mexico just don’t seem to cut it anymore. Sometimes I wonder if he is growing up too fast. I worry that the allure of video games, tablets and technology has jaded our children in a way that we never were. Maybe this is true, or maybe we just need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to raising our children.

I asked Lars what he would like to do while we spent some time together. To no surprise of mine he said he’d like it if I watched him play Angry Birds on the tablet. I met him halfway and offered to watch for half an hour if he’d do some reading with me afterwards. He seemed happy enough with this decision.

“You see Mom; if you just pull the slingshot back like this and aim right here…BOOM! OH YEAH! See that Mom I totally nailed it!” The kid’s pure enthusiasm over what he was doing gave way to most all of my reservations about the games. He is so confident when playing, I can see it is an outlet for him and that is most definitely okay in my books.

After a very in depth look into the world of Angry Birds we found a few books to read. He read to me and although we read daily I still am baffled at how far he has come.

Somehow we got on the topic of the Harry Potter books and how my mom (Granny Colleen) used to read the series to me and Uncle Dustin every night. I explained that it was a book about wizardry and a school of magic called Hogwarts. Immediately Lars was hooked, and just like that we found ourselves another “something special” to bond over in his growing years.

I think it is natural for our lives to sometimes become heavy with all of the “big stuff”. We are all human and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the daily grind. What’s important is taking the time to find the perhaps small, but extraordinary, moments that we can one day look back on and contentedly say, “what wonderful times we’ve had.”

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An All Hallow’s Eve Spooky Read

On a not so eerie and fogless night you find yourself sitting quietly in the front room reading from a thrilling Stephen King novel (maybe you aren’t as obsessed with Mr. King as I and if that’s the case… SACRILEGE!!!!!)

Ahem, only kidding.

I love you Stephen... *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.
I love you Stephen… *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.

Anyway, there you are reading away when you realize how peaceful the house actually is.

A little too peaceful. Things are never this quiet around here.

Your heart begins racing. It’s pumping so hard that you must consciously will it to slow down in fear you may have some kind of a cardiac episode. You’re not sure what kind of heart attacks young and virile people such as yourself have…But you’re sure you’ve heard tell of such incidents occurring.

You shoot up frantically from your spot on the couch. Immediately upon placing weight on the legs you had been foolishly sitting on for the last half hour you tumble to the ground, hard and loud. You let out an agonizing scream and think for a moment that this may well be it. The Charlie horse you are experiencing is currently shooting straight into your ass cheek and you don’t know how much more you can handle.

You begin recalling beautiful memories from the past, like when you finally murdered that pesky fly that was buzzing you the other day and the time you didn’t have to engage in the struggle to get into your favourite skinny jeans.

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Luckily your spouse comes to the rescue. He runs to your side. “What’s happening here?” He yells. He is clearly very confused from the scene he has walked in on.

“Butt cramp! House too quiet! KIDS!” You reply.

After he assists you with a bit of an awkward bum rub, you both realize there is no time to waste.

Hand in hand you move stealthily towards the hallway that leads to your children’s bedrooms. The lights are dimmed making your home reminiscent to a bad 80’s horror flick and you immediately regret installing all of those dimmer switches when you were going through your home renovation phase.

The hall looks much longer than you remember it and in the middle lays a solitary toy.

It is the rubber chicken that your daughter pleaded with you to buy her the last time you were in the pet section of Wal-Mart. You tried to explain it was a dog’s toy. That meant nothing to her so you purchased it anyways. But ever since then you’ve been having wicked dreams of clowns and rubber chickens…Like the two worst things ever to be invented.

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Your partner steps directly atop the things inflated belly and it lets out a long and exasperated squeal that makes both of you yelp! You can feel the slightest trickle down your inner thigh and you wonder how old you have truly become.

You turn right—towards the lavatory. You flick the light on without expectation and what you find terrifies you more than any amount of incontinence could explain.

“No!” you place a foreboding hand towards it, as though trying to telepathically push it away from your line of sight, “NOOOOO!!!”

Your husband appears seconds later and joins you in an ominous chorus of misery.

“Why? Oh WHY! What is happening in this house!” He despairs .

There, staring up at you menacingly is a poo that has coiled quite perfectly around the inside of the bowl. Some may ask what is so scary about a coiler. And admittedly it is not the fecal in which you shy away from, you’ve dealt with your fair share of shit before.

Photo credit: Google Images
Photo credit: Google Images

In truth it is the lack of toilet paper accompanying this turd that makes you cringe in the very deep of your soul.

Somewhere in this house there is a pair of underwear stashed away that holds a shart streak to end ALL shart streaks. It must be found, it must be removed.

You and the hubs look at each other for longer than what seems acceptable when standing over a log that is quite possibly the length your daughters arm. You are silently brooding over what to do next.

For a moment you wonder if you have developed the ability to telepathically speak to your spouse so you say, “Can…Can you hear me!?” silently…When he continues to just stare at you with a blank look you realize you haven’t quite got there yet.

So Instead you whisper, “What the fuck do we do now?”

He grasps your hand in a, ‘we’re going to get through this together’ kind of way. You shift towards the children’s bedroom. Again the agony of anticipation creeps to the forefront of your better judgement and you can feel the beginning of an anxiety attack.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BREAK!

You open the door slowly to really articulate the *creeeeeeeak* sound it ever so creepily makes.

There sitting in the dead centre of a clutter filled floor are your children. They are waiting for you. Your partner squeezes your hand a little tighter upon seeing their empty eyes, their vacant smiles.

You begin scanning the room for the underwear in question and you wonder if in fact it could still be located on their person. A slight tang of poop wafts past you in the stale air of the room.

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And in unison your spawns say,

“Hello Mother, would you like to play a game.”

Thankless Jobs; and Why They Are Sometimes Worth It.

As a writer one must adopt the knack to take criticism positively and use it constructively. It is a difficult feat sometimes, especially when you’ve toiled so hard on a project only to have to revamp and once again revise, revise, revise. Nevertheless the writer knows what must be done to achieve the overall fulfilment they will eventually reap from their work. And this entire process, I’ve come to realize, is quite similar in the long journey of parenthood.

Just recently I’ve decided to expand my reach by submitting a few short fiction stories to some literary magazines. I’ve had a severe love affair with science fiction and the fantasy genres for as long as I can remember so I thought it was high time to send some of my own fictitious tales of escapade out into this big literary world. For weeks I poked and prodded at the ten short stories I had decided were worthy for submittal.  I read and reread the overall storylines; I cut characters and added more interesting ones. I custom made my sentence structure; I was witty (but don’t worry not annoyingly so). I murdered, I schemed, and I plotted (in the stories of course) and I repented over none of it. By the end, these tales I had created were a part of me. They live in the depths of my mind and their characters will forever survive in the warm caverns of my imagination.

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Yet some do not see it that way. This morning as I argued with Sophie over why she must brush her extremely knotted hair I glanced at my phone to see I had received an email from one of the magazines I submitted to a few weeks ago. My heart gave a little skip but immediately thereafter faltered.  I opened the email to find yet another rejection letter. I’ve lost count currently but if I had to guess I would say it was about the twelfth or thirteenth, “sorry not for us” reply I’ve gotten.

This however is all okay, and that is because of one simple quote I’ve taken on as my personal mantra, “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.  Leave it to one of the great “king’s” of literature to craft such a vast beacon of hope for aspiring writers everywhere.

Now all of this talk about rejection has started me thinking about how similar the feelings that arise from parenting can be. We work so damn hard to be the mothers, fathers, and caregivers we have to be. We laugh with them, rack our brains to come up with awesome activities to keep them stimulated. We love them unconditionally. We’d murder, scheme and plot for them if it meant their safety and happiness. And yet we expect nothing in return.

Much like writing it can sometimes be a thankless job. We will collect unwanted, unwarranted commentary from our peers because they would do it a different way. We gobble up the criticism from the experts and call it constructive because what on earth else are we supposed to do with that information?

Parents and writers are constantly on the search for recognition, and yet in reality it is so seldom that we find it.  This morning after I received this particular email I quietly retreated to my bedroom. I once again thought about that famous quote from Mr. King and it made me realize that it not only applies to the rejection we feel as writers but also the rejection we can feel in everyday life. It occurred to me that no matter what has got you down, the key is to keep moving forward.

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Yes sometimes our parenting endeavours can feel unappreciated. It is a job we do out of candid love rather than for acknowledgement or praise. And even when the girl child refuses to brush her hair or the boy child tells you you’re the worst mom ever for not letting him play the tablet, you will still carry on. We do this because of that tiny voice inside reminding us to always do best for the small humans we are bringing up in this world.

And one day, just like my creative writing, our hard work and effort will pay off and we will hear the words, “You did great, thank you” and just like that we will fail to remember how complicated it once was.

When Everything is, “All Our Fault”

I woke up with a start. I was dreaming that in some perverse and twisted universe, my husband’s stinky work clothes had gotten mixed in with my whites. I’d tell you more about it but thankfully memory-loss has dulled the nightmare almost completely from my recollection. At the time however, the sudden awakening made me wonder about my own real life washing adventures. I ran down to the basement while still wiping the sleep out of my droopy eyelids. Perhaps it is a mothering thing, or a pinprick of OCD, but I knew something had gone awry in the laundry room.

Our roommate, as sweet as he was trying to be, had unknowingly swapped a load of my delicates into the dryer.  Some of items were unharmed, some salvageable and others…well, may they rest in peace. I shouldn’t have left them in the washing machine to hang dry at a later time; I should have just finished the job then and there. It was my own fault.

And that exact sentence seemed to become the ongoing theme of my awful day.

I had set out cleaning, doing some really great work on the kitchen floors as we were planning on hosting a get together that night. Lars had a birthday party to attend at one in the afternoon which was going to work out perfectly because I’d be down one kid to go and do groceries for said evening party.

By noon Lars was bugging me almost every other minute, asking when we were to set off to the party. I finally got fed up and walked over to the brightly colored invitation hung on our fridge to show him the time posted on it.

I froze upon opening up the card. It was not 1pm that the party started but actually 11am. It was as though my guts had swiftly moved up into my throat and any sudden movement would cause them to come pouring out of me. Eventually I would have to move- eventually I would have to tell Lars about my senselessness.

We raced to the car and sped to the party locale. We had missed the first half but we were just in time for cake and pizza. Lars didn’t let me forget that I was the one who made him miss half the party and guilt gobbled me up with every side-eyed look I received from the on-time moms. But what was I supposed to say- it was my own fault for being unorganized.

We go grocery shopping after the last half of the party; Lars is still stewing about his loss of partying time. He is being very uncooperative and Sophie has decided to follow suit with her big brother. I have two cantankerous children, a cart with a bum wheel and a dinner menu list in my head that is quickly being pushed out by mounting anxieties.

As I unpack all the groceries at home I realize I’ve forgotten more than half of what I needed. Need I say it? Sure, I’ll say it- it was my own fault; a list probably would have been a good thing.

I decide I can make due however and set in on peeling beets for my beet and goat cheese salad. To top my day off I have just finished wiping down some particularly dirty mushrooms and it seems that the purple beetroot combined with the excess mushroom mess on my fingertips makes for an extremely unpleasing visual. Thank God I was done leaving my house for the day.

Think again.

Lars rushes me while I chop up a rather juicy beet and says, “Don’t get mad- but there is a bead stuck in my ear.”  You’re joking right? No siree- no joke. And it is really in there too, so far back in fact, that it can only be seen if his head is tilted at the perfect angle with a very intense light shining in there.

As we sat in the emergency waiting room I glanced down at my disgusting looking hands. They reminded me of a marker explosion combined with a diaper job gone terribly wrong.  I should have washed them before we left. I should have checked the birthday party invitation twice. I should have been watching more closely so he didn’t stick a bead in his damn ear.

But as Lars lays his head on my shoulder I feel easiness between us. I am here for him now, and always will be when he needs me.  As parents we are going to drop the proverbial ball- let’s face it, with these 24 hour work days and the teeming pressure we face, it’s inevitable.

And even though some days, it seems to be all our fault, I’m just glad I can be the one who holds his hand and tells him that everything is going to “bead” okay.

And he laughs and tells me that I’m the best.

Storytelling

Have I told you about my two little parrots? I’m sure I’ve mentioned them in an article or two- I have come to quite enjoy their antics you know. These two little parrots currently reside in my home but once upon a time (at different times of course) they set up residence in my uterus, which is probably why I can never manage to get too angry when they start in on their tricks.

“Um Mama?” Lars begins in a tentative, treading softly sort of voice.

“Yes Lars.” I reply.

“So umm,” he pauses to gather his thoughts, “well I have some bad news.” This is never something you want to hear come out of your 6 years old’s mouth, I think immediately. “So you know how sometimes the toilet gets plugged?”

“Yes I am aware of that.” I say, desperately hoping I’m not actually hearing the sound of drip drip dripping water in the background.

“Well,” another long pause, this time I’m sure, because he does not know how to move forward in our conversation without getting in trouble. “Well, you see I didn’t realize it was plugged, and well, I flushed it.”

“Okay.” I say in a long hopeful and drawn out sort of way.

“Well the water started going up, and then up some more…” His eyes are wide now and I can blatantly see the pure exhilaration the ordeal has caused the small human. “And Mom it suddenly just went flowing over the sides of the toilet! It was like a waterfall Mom and it just kept coming and coming!” He is using grandiose hand gestures now- a telltale tale sign that one is at the heart of a great story.

I know I need to move. In truth, I should have been running towards the main bathroom as soon as he began telling me his restroom account. But it’s not really a restroom at the moment now is it? Seemingly, judging by my sons version I should begin gathering coupled flora and fauna, erecting a vessel and preparing to wait out a lengthy downpour. But perhaps in our specific case: we could call the trouble an Outpour.

If I am about to walk in on that kind of tempest I must have my wits about me. So I sit. I collect myself within the frame of a second or two. I cannot take longer than that because if I do I will have soggy floorboards to contend with and God knows what the contents of that seeping toilet water contain. My son has managed to keep such details behind his yapping gums.

Husband, with clearly a snappier reaction time than I, grabs an armload of towels from the linen closet and with words that are appropriate for neither a Day-Writers description nor the ears of a child, stomps his way to the bathroom.

I follow close behind him because I cannot be the weirdo spouse that does nothing except dwell on the utter horror of the untimely situation they’ve been put in. Well, not so much put in rather than pandered too. Who lets their kids hang out and create shenanigans in a bathroom anyways? So I get up and walk towards the mess.

“What can I do- is it as bad as Lars said?” I ask.

“There’s a lot of water- I just don’t understand how it could have came from the toilet. It is all under the sink and not even close to the toilet. I don’t think the floor slants that much.” This is an inside joke that we often mull over- referring to the shoddiness of our homes structural integrity.

“Lars are you sure it came from the toilet?” I ask realizing both of the parrots are right behind me.

“Well…” and it is not long before I find out the truthful story of how delightfully mesmerizing it was to watch Sophie fill cups of water from the sink and dump them upon the floor.

So you must be wondering where the parrot part comes in- yes often I call them parrots because unfortunately they seem to pick up on the less than lovely (albeit inspired) words I spit out in times of frustration. However I’ve also coined the phrase for the two because each day they exhibit another trait that I too can call my own.

Some may call it fibbing, but when you do it with the kind of flair Lars had this evening, I can’t imagine naming it anything other than polished exaggeration- and hell, there are a lot worse things in this world than a good story teller.

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Tell Your Tale- Guest Post #001

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Taste Hitch– I’m a Bangkok based British blogger who has an almost spiritual love of craft beer, fine food and alliteration. My blog is an offbeat look at living in Thailand as well as commenting on what it’s like to be a dad in the land of smiles. Sometimes people laugh at my jokes. Once, someone said I was witty and I hadn’t even paid them. 

The Tripple Whammy

My dad is a nurse and almost every day he saves a life. I’ve always admired his choice of profession. His actions help people in a real and tangible way, more so than any businessman could ever say.

It is a job that I didn’t think I could do.

If I’m honest, it wasn’t the stress or the hard work that made me doubt my suitability. It was the idea dealing with the bodily excretions of other people.

I’m not overly squeamish but the thought of having to clear up another person’s vomit filled me with a deep-seated repugnance.

And then I had a baby.

The other day I’d noticed a sour smell in my classroom. I’d assumed that it was just one of the many potent and unpleasant odours that Bangkok throws our way – often a heady mix of deep fried chicken, car pollution and an open sewer.

It was only at lunchtime that I realised that the boy had deposited a small nugget of vomit in my shirt pocket.

Six months ago there would have been histrionics if a baby had been sick on me, let alone if I’d been carrying around a fun-sized portion of it all day.

Now, I just straight up don’t care. I have developed a ‘whatever’ approach to the various discharges that emanate from my boy, regardless of origin.

I think I know the point at which my aversion was truly broken.

A month or two back I got home from work later than normal and raced upstairs to the boy’s room to say goodnight. His mother was running him a bath and so I lay down and stood him on my chest.

He threw up. Down my neck. As I lifted him away he decided that his bowels were full and defecated on my trousers. Knowing that, due to incapacitating and howling laughter, the wife would be of no help whatsoever, I held him over my head to stop him spreading any of his bodily evacuations around the room.

And that’s when he decided to pee.

Once you’ve lived through the triple-whammy, fretting about clearing up the more disgusting aspects of humanity seems almost churlish.

And whilst I still couldn’t clear up the bodily fluids of others like my nursing father, having the boy has given me a Zen-like appreciation of something deeply profound.

The purest love of all isn’t measured in gold or gifts; it’s measured in how much poop you’re willing to clear up.

 For more Taste Hitch tales click here!

Tell Your Tale- Submit a Story to The Blogging Mama Today!

Well here we are once again with a new and exciting development on The Blogging Mama!

Hold on to your hats ladies and gents because this is a doozy.

The Blogging Mama is calling for writers!

I am officially looking for fresh and fantastic content for the blog.

From funny facts to amusing antidotes.

Parenting predicaments and tantalizing tales,

Short stories that will wow!

Whether you are already a blogger looking for a new platform that will link to your site…

Or

Just wanting to tell your story.

The Blogging Mama is the place for you!

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We all have some great stories whether they are fiction, fact, funny or filled with excitement. Since starting The Blogging Mama I’ve had so many people tell me their stories of parenting- wondering if I needed some new material.

Well the time has come friends, send me your previously unpublished stories for publication and I will be happy to publish them on The Blogging Mama along with a short bio and a picture (optional) of the writer. And again if you are currently a blogger I will be very happy to link to your site. Great for advertising!

Remember The Blogging Mama is not limited to just parenting tales (however we do like those a lot!) Feel free to submit all kinds of creative works- Paintings, poetry, photography, etc. (Again not limited to words beginning with P).

So as they say let’s get this monkey dancing! *People say that…I swear I’ve heard people say that…*

Go forth and prosper by emailing submissions to lyndzeerae@hotmail.com Or Private Message your submission to The Blogging Mama Facebook page. Head subject line with “BM Submissions”- and yes I know how it looks.

Filled with anticipation in this new endeavor, The Blogging Mama

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My Daughter The Drama Queen

There Sophie was insistently slamming her hand down over and over on the Hideout Hut. You may be asking yourself now what in fact a ‘hideout hut’ is and why was I allowing my daughter to beat it. Have patience people and read on!

We were at the park and my darling daughter was attempting to wriggle her way in to some other children’s play.

“Hey! Hey kid! I’ll have an ice cream sandwich…Did you hear me kid?! An ice cream sandwich!” Yes this is what she was saying. And the tone you are imagining it in right now…Exactly the tone she was using. I’m her mother and even I felt it was pretty unappealing.

The other children were indeed doing their best at ignoring my girl which made me want to throat punch them all but I knew that would be a bad idea. Hey, I had a lot of conflicting emotions happening in that moment. It was a confusing time.

Luckily no throat punching/jail time occurred. Sophie being the brilliant little lady she is must have realized how irritating she was being and decided to shift her attitude.

She gently approached where the children were playing. I am watching from the picnic table on the outer edge of the playground. My heart is soaring with pride as I imagine her politely asking if she can join them in their juvenile performances. I can see my child growing before my eyes and I am humbled and awed at the wonderful little person she is becoming.

Too bad this all played out in the sanctity of my delirious mind.

In reality Sophie gently approached the kids and began screaming in their faces about ice cream sandwiches and it being rude that they didn’t take her order. I was on my way to diffuse the situation when Lars hopped out of nowhere and into the midst of the kerfuffle.

“Sorry about my sister. Come on Soph let’s go play over here.” Then Sophie’s brother took her by the hand and led her towards the swings.

Whether it was the children taking pity on Sophie or wanting to play with Lars and realizing Sophie was a necessary add-on I’m not sure, but they changed their mind and off the whole gang went to play tag.

It wasn’t even 3 minutes (THREE MINUTES!) later that I hear Sophie screaming bloody murder once again. I run towards their general direction to see what has happened. Once again Lars is leading Sophie away from the group. The girl is huffing and puffing about something and stomping her feet in an ornery way.

“What is wrong now!?” I ask throwing my hands up in a notable fashion.

“Those guys were chasing Yarsy (Lars) and I didn’t like it!” She screamed while alligator tears streamed down her devastated face. For a moment I even felt bad for her, then I was impressed that she could act so well, then I was annoyed that she duped me.

“Sophie we were playing tag, I told you that!” Lars tried to rebut.

We all decided to go home. We didn’t need any more park shenanigans bringing us down.

That night when I asked the children to brush their teeth for bed I received the same response I do every night from Sophie.

“Oh Mama my tummy hurts SOOOO bad!” Even though she was running around half naked with a Barbie in one hand and Pinky Pony in the other claiming she had the fastest pony Barbie flying team in the universe, only milliseconds before.

I responded to this by saying, “Fine don’t brush. See if I care when your teeth all turn moldy and black and fall out of your head and then you will look like a little old lady with no teeth! No big deal right!” And yes, I partnered this with the appropriate facial expressions too.

Finally once bedtime came a single tear rolled ever so swiftly down the girl child’s cheek. I asked what was bothering her.

She instantaneously began bawling reciting all of the woes that had overcome her three year old existence this dreadful day. I attempted to console her, but I too was beginning to get a little teary eyed as she was making it all sound so damn unbearable!

Throughout the whole ordeal she kept grabbing my hand and caressing her face with it. Finally I asked what and why she was doing such a thing.

“Because I want you to feel how big my tears are Mama.”

It was then that I realized my daughter is a drama queen. But I can’t for the life of me figure out where she gets it from…

It’s a Fast Life We Live

There are so many things I could be doing right now, things I should be doing right now. Unloading the dishwasher, hanging the clothes to dry, weed whipping, tidying all of the random toys from the living room…And the list truly goes on and on. And yet I do none of it.

No instead I sit on my deck with the sun beating down on me and a coffee in hand, reflecting on my life.

I think about how the kids have grown, how the struggles I face now with them were only distant imaginings only a few years prior. I think about this blog and my column and how at one point in my life I never imagined myself being able to accomplish something like this. And I think about my husband. The man who many moons ago was just a boy who I desperately loved yet bringing our relationship to achievement was a task that never seemed simple.

Now years later, as the house sits messy, the gardens need tending, and the children run rampant – high from the sugary popsicles I’ve just given them, I couldn’t be happier.

It makes me think of all the moments I’ve taken for granted in life. The times in which should have been documented through words or photographs taken. It makes me realize that life does move quickly and before we know it these children will be moving towards a future they won’t realize will pass so swiftly. And finally it makes me understand how I truly want to live the rest of this life of mine. 

Recently I have come to recognize a few things. Things that maybe I have always known but were just too immature to place into effect. Things that I now realize will undoubtedly make life better, happier.

I realize that I don’t care about the negative opinions of others. I am happy, I am self-assured, and I am strong and able- so why would it matter if some do not agree that I am? It doesn’t.

Life will not stop, I will not falter and fail if people do not accept me for who I am, for the person who I am proud to be.

I realize that dwelling will do nothing but make me sick with stress.

Throughout my life I have had this bad habit of dwelling on conversations I have with people. Whether it be an inappropriate conversation, an ill-at-ease one, confrontational or otherwise, for days later I will sit and think, “I should have said this…” or “I can’t believe they were that ignorant to say that to me” or “what did I do to them to deserve such a rude remark?”

I realize that maybe some people have a difficult time engaging in an intelligent conversation and these fowl remarks made nonchalantly are just their way of letting others know that they truly have nothing better to say. So why on this beautiful plain we call earth would I let such people rouse me? It is insanity on my part! And truly, I should have much greater things to occupy my mind with than their ignorant dribble. And I have realized, I do!

I realize that this body image epidemic we face today will probably only get worse and I have decided I will not be a part of it. I will not tell my children how ‘fat’ I am. I will not count their calories or mine. I will not put them or myself on diets but instead clarify healthy eating habits and teach them about moderation. I will not value myself or my daughter by the number on the scale and I will never allow anyone to speak like this in front of my children.

I realize that for so long I have been bullied into submission when it comes to conformity and I wonder why I’ve allowed myself to self-sacrifice?

I realize that my children are not mine, but their own. I will accompany them in their young years and help grow them into upstanding adults. I will do everything in my power to help them achieve greatness- whatever that may entail for them. But the most enlightening thing I have realized about these small individuals is that I am indeed Mom. And what I feel is best for them, is right. I can take the opinions of others lightly, but in the end, I am Mom.

So as I sit on this beautiful sun shining day I think about all of the awesome (and I mean that in the literal sense) realizations I’ve come to and it feels so lovely.

Life certainly does move fast. One day you will be dreaming of a perfect future and the next you realize you are running right through it. So why not make your realizations early in life? Figure out what rules you want to live by, and live by them well. Understand how to be good and moral, how to be genuine and beautiful in your own eyes. Learn how to make this life something your children will be ecstatic to follow you in.

I realize now that I do not want anyone to live my life for me. After all it’s a fast one- and I don’t want to miss out on one single thing.

The fight for Equality

There are moments when I look upon my sweet children and am taken away to thoughts of what they may become. I want them to be respectable. I want them to be happy. I want them to be self-sufficient and above all I want them to be moral.

Some of my first young memories are sitting around the kitchen table with my brother listening to my dad spout off the slogan that would later, in my teen and adult years, stick heavily in my mind.

The Golden Rule- treat others the way you would like to be treated.

I didn’t know it then, but these few small and seemingly insignificant words would later shape me into the person I am today.  They would help me get through some tough decisions and certainly get me out of a pickle or two.

I did not grow up in a religious home, but stridently try to understand the views of others. I never was touched by abuse, but find empathy for those who were.  I was born with the innate urge to be attracted to the opposite sex, but know overall that happiness and love is what truly matters.

I have never once met an individual who prefers same-sex relationships to rebuke me for loving my husband, so in turn I would never do such to them. I have friends who have admitted to me their struggle with their sexual preference and know of people who still hide silently behind a lurking veil of fear and judgment.

And it saddens me to no end, when I see what these people who I care for must go through in order to love freely and openly. It amazes me that same sex marriage is even a topic no less a hot topic in today’s media. Have we not evolved far enough in our culture to understand that love should know no bounds? Cliché yes, but nonetheless true.

This morning as I read an article berating homosexuality, explaining why it is an immoral, unhealthy and an unjust way of life I felt troubled.  It occurred to me that I should be feeling angry, as this man who wrote the article is flinging delicate attacks at people I love and care about. I should want to be outraged that the author is telling me that by supporting same sex marriage I have cheapened life as we know it. I should be disgusted that he implied that as the rate of same sex marriage increases society will undoubtedly crumble further into ruins.

But as all these thoughts splashed through my mind I realized I felt none of this. All I could feel was sadness. Sadness for this individual who did not have someone to instill into him The Golden Rule. Sadness that his children will possibly take on the same views as he. Sadness that my once fervent notion of equality has crumbled just the same as his self-proclaimed revelation of our crumbling society.

I take a quick look at my children who play on the living room floor. They engage in their fancy filled play and are none the wiser to my unnerved feelings from the subject at hand. I silently say to myself that I can only hope they will not become bigots of society. I stridently hope they will never judge their fellow man, but instead get to know and understand them- embracing the differences that every human on the face of this earth possesses.

It is then that I realize these qualities I want so badly to see in them will not come to fruition with hope.  Open mindedness, fairness, and an unbigoted opinion is something we all come into this world with. A quality that should be nurtured rather than opposed.  

Which is why I will continue this ritual of teaching The Golden Rule to my children. I will teach them that kindness must be rewarded with kindness. The differences in the human race are not something to belittle but something to rejoice. Diversity is a beautiful thing, even if sometimes you do not understand it.  

So with thoughts of The Golden Rule drifting through my head I bring this article to a close. I doubt that I have changed the views of those of you who do not agree with my stand on this subject. But what I do know this piece of modest writing will provide, is a reminder to myself as to how I want my children to move forward in this constantly evolving world of ours.

And as parents that is the finest plan of attack we can provide in the fight for equality.

Parenting- A tale to insanity and back again

An inaudible laugh that is small and weak escapes my lips. It is there to remind me that insanity comes in all shapes and sizes. I push it back down to the depths of wherever it came from because for now I have no time for such lunatics.

I wipe the non-existent dust off my pants, take a deep breath, and open the bathroom door. Sometimes I find myself hiding in that place just for a few moments solace. I tell myself that next time I will bring in scrubbing supplies to clean the dastardly habitat, but I never do.

“Maaaaama” the word clings to me and however much I adore the title, now, right here- I simply fear what my summoning is for. I slowly, oh so slowly walk towards the call. “Sister peed her pants again.”

With each word burning into me I can feel the uprising of the insanity once more. It bubbles in a place I can’t quite reckon, yet I know it is there always with me, always ready. The smell hits me as soon as it can, with a vengeance that seems to whisper menacingly in my ear about my failure as a potty trainer.

“I TRIED DAMMIT!  I TRIED!” I want to shout to the world. To the people who have never had to deal with regression and the childless adults who look at me with sideways glances when I enter their vicinity smelling of stale urine. “I TRIED!” Obviously not hard enough… The voice says. I do not let it say another word to me before I stuff it down to the dismal abyss of the same place I hide the insanity.

I scrub the pungent smell out of a stained carpet and think about how easy it would be to allow myself to fall over that teetering edge into the grips of madness.

I no longer daydream of mojitos and sunset beaches. Instead I find myself fantasising of padded cream colored walls, the security of strait jackets and tranquilizers that deem fruity beverages child’s play by comparison.

The girl child walks up to me casually, she does not look to have ill will intentions but asks for a chocolate treat in a singing kind of way. I tell her no, because dinner will soon be served. The look of pure loathing she fires back at me provides a tingle of dread throughout my entire body and I wonder, momentarily if she has the ability to shoot fire from her eyeballs.

The small human being then moves to turn away from me, but before she does, in a voice that is trifling and unnatural says, “I hate you Mama.”

A torrent of emotion sweeps through me. Anger- that I have allowed these words to be spoken in my home. Sadness- despite my knowledge of her uneducated vocabulary. And revenge. But how does one get revenge on a three year old that they love dearly?

My eyeballs quickly fill up with liquid, but again I push them back, deep down to the area I’ve sanctioned off for the insanity and the ominous voices in my head. I cannot let them see me cry. I am stronger, I am brave and I will fight on.

I tell the tiny one, who now runs around pant-less because she has soiled herself yet again to go spend some time in her bedroom. I explain why the words she has spit towards me are unacceptable in this home. She pretends to hear me, but I see her gaze every now and again shift to shiny things around the room. Things that undoubtedly are more interesting than her crazed mother.

I want to move towards the bathroom, my asylum. I want to sit there and cry that ugly uninhibited kind of cry. I want to smuggle in the telephone and call husband who will make things better I am sure of it. But I do none of these things. I am Mother, I am strong.

 

So instead I think about the possibility of parenthood. Possibly at times everyone has these innate feelings of insanity. These impractical notions that everyone they meet is judging them. That palpable sensation of underachievement.

There is a knock on the bathroom door. I don’t know when I made my way back to this place, but I find myself sitting on the toilet pretending to pee. The children and husband walk in. They do not recoil when they see me sitting there and I realize that privacy has become a distant memory.

They hug me. They tell me they love me, and I know that they mean it. It is now that I cannot recall where it is that I’ve placed my troubles, and in its place I remember what the power of unrelenting love can do.

I hug them back, and I wonder why I am in the bathroom in the first place.