Silver Linings

silver linings

Do you ever have a thought, feeling or emotion that rattles around in your head for, oh, let’s say, weeks?  Maybe months?  The problem is your not sure how to express it.  Or even if you should?  Here’s mine.

This year my son will turn twenty and I’ve missed half of his life.

Let me explain.  If I can.

I left my first husband when our son was three months old.  Within the first year I agreed (begrudgingly) to a custody arrangement that was a 50/50 split of time.  Over the years that has meant alternating house every three days, four days or seven days.  At times it was confusing (mostly for other people) but it seemed to work.  Bottom line, my son has spent half of his twenty years living away from me.

There’s no blame here.  No looking back in anger.  It was what it was and its history.

But here’s the thing.  It’s a weird feeling knowing that so many things that your child has experienced were not with you.  That during those days away you had idea where he was, who he was with or what he was thinking.  There are so many experiences, emotions and moments that I have no history of.  No pictures, no memories, no knowledge what so ever.

I’m not wallowing in pity either.  I know that he grew up loved by so many people and so far has had an amazing life.  It’s just an observation I’ve made in the past while.  I was struck one day by the fact that for days at a time I had no contact of any kind with him.

The hardest thing to do every week was not to pepper him with questions the minute he walked through the door.  Sometimes I was successful and sometimes not so much.  I just wanted to know what he had done.  What had he eaten.  How had he felt.  Had he been happy?  Had he had a hard week?

at school

Boys, as some of you may know, can be….um….lacking in details when it comes to what they’ve been doing.

“How was school?”

“Good”

“What did you do?”

“Stuff”

“Who were you with”

“Dunno”

Sound familiar?

I’m not sure if it is despite of or because of our arrangements that he has grown up to be a smart, caring, happy young man.  There have been trying times for him but I believe the same could be said for other boys his age who have grown up in a more conventional setting.

He’s not home much anymore.  Between work, school, friends and having his own car we are lucky to get a dinner once a week.  Oh and the odd “what can I eat?” at 1:00 pm after rolling out of bed.  Again, not judging, just observing.

I also know that going forward there won’t be as many family vacations, day trips or ski days and that’s okay.  I’m happy that he is happy and moving on into his adult years.  A parents job is to ready their children to make it on their own in the world and I am confident that he will do just that.  I’m hoping that when that happens there will be the odd phone call home to say, ask how long to roast a chicken?

walking away

It’s so hard to put these feelings into words.  The feeling that I’ve missed a lot but have still been given so much.

I suppose in some ways it has prepared me for the next stage of our lives.  I’m not that worried about him not being around all the time.

The Best Thing in Life is silver linings.

 

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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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Regrets

rome

I don’t have many regrets in life. Wait, that’s not true. That first walk down the aisle was way wrong. Okay, so maybe the perm in the ’80 wasn’t my best choice either. Oh, and that time I forced my son to wear socks and sandals to the beach. (Sorry honey. I really do still feel bad about that.) Well then I guess I do have some regrets. My biggest regret though, is that I didn’t keep in touch with a friend.

I met Kathryn Murray in the summer of 1984 in Banff. We both worked at the Banff Springs Hotel. I worked in the kitchen and she worked in the laundry room. I think we met through her roommate? Regardless, we hit it off and spent almost every day off and evening off together. She was from Ottawa and had just finished a year of psychology at Queens. Her dad was a captain in the Canadian Navy and was stationed in Esquimalt. Kathryn was so chill and we just clicked right away. Working in Banff was great but meeting new people was probably one of the best parts.

At some point, after a few Malibu and orange juices one summer evening, we decided we wanted to go to Eupore. We had stolen a couple of large oval trays for the main dining room and were “surfing” down the grass bank behind the staff residences. Life is good when you’re young isn’t it? I would imagine the conversation went something like this…. Me: Hey, pass the Malibu. Her: Wanna go to Europe next summer? Me: Sure. Her: Any orange juice left? Done. We were young and didn’t have a care in the world other than making sure the head waiter didn’t catch us with his serving trays.

banffThat’s me “surfing”

Working in Banff was a lot of fun but it was not a good avenue to save money (most of it was spent at the bars) so at the end of the summer Kathryn went back to Ottawa and I went back to Vancouver and in August of 1985 we met up in London and planned out the next four months. We spent the first month exploring Scotland and Western England. There was a great wine bar in Inverness that my uncle had suggested we try. (this was our idea of exploring) We had been staying in hostels for almost two weeks straight by that point and making our own meals, so the promise of good food and wine was all the incentive we needed. I can remember that evening so clearly. We talked about so many things and drank so much wine. I can still hear her giggling as we stumbled back to our bed and breakfast.

greece

After an amazing month in Greece with a group of crazy Aussies, we made our way up through Italy and then on to Austria, Switzerland and Amsterdam. We eventually made it to Paris in late October and were staying in a really sketchy hotel on the left bank. We were traveling with a girl named Barb from Edmonton that we had met in Austria. I was feeling a bit run down and bummed out and realized one morning that I was done. I was tired of sleeping in a different bed every 3 or 4 nights and eating from street vendors. (Although the crepes in Paris are phenomenal) I made the decision to go back to England and stay with my uncle for a couple of weeks before flying home. Kathryn decided to stay in Paris with Barb and I lost touch with her.

paris

At the time I didn’t think much of it, but now that I am writing this it seems so odd that we could be so close and have such unique experiences together over that year, yet just stop communicating. Well, we were pretty young I suppose. I have tried over the years to find her. I wish I could get in touch with her again. I miss her. I regret not making more of an effort. Would we still have as much in common? It would be one of The Best Things in Life if I had the chance to find out.