January 23, 2017

How much of life is smoke and mirrors?

Over the last few days it seems that a lot of what has been going on in the media is just that. People saying and doing things to make you think one thing while they are actually going to do another.

Today my daughter tried to convince me that she was too sick to stay at school. We’ve all had that call. Tiny voice in the end of the line asking to come home *cough cough*.

“Okay I’ll come and pick you up but that means you won’t be going to dance this afternoon.”

Miraculously she overcame and decided that she could tough it it for the hour and a half left in the school day. Smoke and mirrors?

While I am by no means comparing my daughter to a certain politician…..okay, maybe I am.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe nobody ever called him on his smoke and mirrors as a child.  Maybe somebody should have.

The Best Thing in Life is solving the days issues in 150 words.

When I Was Your Age

snow

We all know that times have changed.  It is no longer normal, or sometimes even possible,  for kids to walk 10 miles to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways.  Yet we’ve all done it.  When our kids are whining about some insignificant first world problem that could mean the end of their world we’ve pulled out the “when I was your age” story.

Say perhaps the Japanese restaurant that we are ordering dinner from online is *gasp* out of ahi tuna.  We might say….when I was your age we ate whatever grandma put on the table and we liked it.

Or…..when we wanted to talk to our friends we went into the kitchen and called them on the phone.  That was attached to the wall.  And if they weren’t home we called back.  Because nobody had voice mail. And no, we couldn’t just text them.

Or….when we wanted to see a movie we took the bus to the theatre.  If the movie we wanted to see was no longer playing?  We were out of luck.  Yes, there was only one theatre, not eight.  No, Netflix was not a thing back then.

Or….when we had a research paper to write we had three options.  Got to the library and look up the book on the little cards in the file drawers.  Use the Encyclopedia Britannica that lined the walls of our dad’s study.  Find a Time magazine in the magazine rack that had something relevant in it.  Yes, that’s right.  Books.  Made of paper.

But then last weekend my daughter had the opportunity to dance in the West Vancouver Days celebration.  As we drove down the hill towards Ambleside I remembered when I was nine and had participated in the May Day Parade.  (The 1973 equivalent of West Van Days.). I found myself saying….. “when  I was your age”.  But this time it was different.

When I danced at Ambleside I wore a dress my mom had made for me.  Apparently in 1973 pink eyelet, high collars and long sleeves leg-o-mutton sleeves were all the rage.  I loved it!

may day dress
Olivia in my May Day dress

When we performed our special May Day for the May Queen and her court we did it on the grass and not on a stage.  The West Van Marching Band played our music and we had ribbons and everybody stopped and watched.

When the festivities were over we went for ice cream at Dairy Queen.  (Yes, they had Dairy Queen back then). Granny let me have a root beer float.

froyo
Olivia getting froyo after her dance

Yes, thing are different and sometime the “when I was your age” story gives our kids some perspective.  But it doesn’t have to be a “my life was harder than yours” kind of thing.  It can be a “we are both so lucky” kind of thing.

Sometimes the Best Thing in Life is watching your kids have the same amazing experiences you had.  Only different.

A Year in Review

Today marks exactly twelve months since my first post.  That post is now my touch stone for when I question myself or need some focus.  Finding My Thing has made for an interesting year and when I went back and looked at all of my posts, I am astonished at just how much I have written.  I actually had forgotten a few of them.  So I have decided to remind myself, and you, of a few of them.  It’s really just shameless self promotion but I’m trying to make it sound deep and introspective.  Is it working?  So take a look, click on the links and let me know your favorites.

yoga drawing

My First Yoga class was my second ever post and it still cracks me up to think about that class.  My friend Randi continues to help me understand yoga and I am so grateful for that.   The drawback is that I now don’t need to go and see my friend Wendy quite so much for massage.  A big part of finding my thing has been reconnecting with friends like Rob and finding out about their passions.  I hope in some small way I have given back to them what they have given to me.  Aimee’s cakes are continuing to amaze me and Sarina’s commitment to soccer for women is going strong.  Jane’s struggle with Brain Injury continues but Making Pastry with her was good for both of us.

vans

My family has been the subject of a few blogs and my son actually wrote one of the most read pieces I have ever posted.  Surviving Seventeen and In Response to Surviving Seventeen started a great dialogue and now months later I have realized that I am indeed very similar to my now Eighteen Year Old son.  My seven year old is still full of Piss and Vinegar and we often bond over our Addiction to Organization.  My husband (bless his heart) supports me and regularly acts as my editor.  In Finally Learning What Love Is you can find out how our love started and has lasted fourteen years through ups and downs.  Oh, and don’t forget to call Call Your Mom.

fifty cake

Really though, it has been all about me.  LOL.  Okay not in that way, but in a good way.  In the year that I turned Fifty I have put my Darkest Times behind me and have learnt to relax.  I’ve looked at my relationships with Friends.  I’ve talked about my Regrets.  I’ve made Marathon Decisions and ended up Happy?  I’m still running but rethinking spending 33 Hours in a Van again.  I am now Sugar Free (well, only if you don’t count wine) and have never felt better.  I have questioned my motives and direction but then a friend made me realize that I will Find My Way. 

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Here to another year of adventure.

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Piss and Vinegar

tri finish

The little strawberry blonde adjusts her swim goggles and looks around. “Mom, I’m a little nervous” she whispers. It’s 7:25am and she’s anxious to get in the pool. Finally the whistles blows and she off. Down and back. 50 meters. She quickly climbs out of the pool and races (walks quickly down the pool deck) to the outdoor transition area. Smiling. Dry off, t-shirt, shorts, shoes, bike helmet and she’s off again. Up the hill out of the parking lot, turn left, then right up another hill. Remember to change gears at the top of the hill. It’s a quick 1.5 km and she’s back at the transition zone. Helmet off and back up the hill on foot. She’s slowed down a little but still has a smile on her face. Half a kilometer later and she’s coming around the building. She surges up the slope and crosses the finish line with a huge grin. My six year old daughter has just finished her first triathalon.

From the day she was born…no actually the minute she was born….I just knew that this little ball of piss and vinegar would be a handful. She came into the world early and quickly and never looked back. Maybe it’s the red in her hair. Maybe it’s that she is just a teeny bit like her grandfather (okay, a lot like him). Whatever it is, I’ve known all along that life would never be boring with this one. She goes at everything with all the gusto that she can handle, talks a mile a minute (all the time) and lives to learn new things. If there were more hours in a day, she would want to fill them up with another activity. Constant, constant movement and did I mention she talks a lot?

vans

With this level of spirit, however, comes a certain degree of attitude. Shoulders set, hands on hips, eyes on fire kind of attitude. It can be a challenge, but I know that it goes hand in hand with having a strong personality. The question is, how do I deal with the attitude without squashing the fire? What does it take to raise a confident, well mannered, ambitious girl? With six nephews and not one niece, nobody in my family has really been prepared to answer that question for me. I’ve got lots of friends with teenage girls, so I’ve been picking peoples brains for tips and ideas on the subtleties of bringing up a girl. There are lots of things to consider in these days of social media and body image. I’m learning, slowly, that it’s all about building confidence.

She’s not alone though. And neither am I. Since she was about two, she’s been friends with a couple of other like minded little girls. Imagine three of them at the park all wanting things done THEIR way. As moms we weren’t so much watching out for them as we were refereeing. Girls, I’ve discovered, are not always the nicest of friends. Let’s face it, girls can be bitchy from an early age. And yes, even my little darling has had her share of moments. “You not invited to my birthday party.” Is a popular threat in the five to six set. We’ve been fortunate, that so far these comments have seemed to roll off her back. That may not always be the case. I like to think that I’m prepared for that day, but again, I’m not really. The truth is, I’m totally winging it.

So building confidence is the key. I get that. I want her to be strong and stand on her own, but I also want her to know that she can ask for help to. Something I’m not very good at. In a Forbes Magazine article by Samantha Ettus, she says that we should minimize the Princess for our girls, to avoid the belief that girls should just keep house and wait for their prince to come. I kind of agree but I don’t completely agree. Every girl (or woman) should have a little princess in them somewhere that enjoys being taken care of. Of course she also needs to be able to kick the Prince to the curb if he doesn’t behave properly.

So as I tread lightly through the early days of raising a girl, I often look back at my younger days. Was I this difficult? Yup, I’m pretty sure I was. Every time my daughter is stomping up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door in defiance, I remember what my mom said when I would argue with her. “One day you will have your own daughter and I hope she’s just like you”. Well, my mom got her wish but  The Best Thing in Life is having a daughter who is just like me….only better.

red team