Category Archives: Motherly Love

2008~2009

At the time of my last post I hadn’t yet started my Christmas shopping. I was successful and the holidays were wonderful. The kids enjoyed themselves and all was great until Monday morning when I was trying to get them dressed for school. I lost it. Good news though. I found some help and next week I should have some new tips under my belt. The trick is to apply them consistently. I’m a good student and more than ready to learn.

The most popular question I was asked this year was whispered up close and under breath. “How do you two, you know, deal with Christmas and share the kids?” I always wonder if I’m being asked out of concern or sheer curiosity, like a side show. I wonder too if they then imagine themselves doing it too.

Co-parenting your children has it’s advantages from a distance. There’s the time to yourself that parents so dearly crave and not having to answer to anyone but yourself, which married couples sometimes envy.

A friend once told me that children will make you or break you. I think that’s true. I’ve seen it countless times. Seemingly great couples coming apart at the seams due to lack of rest, differing parenting styles and boredom with each others company after the children have shut their eyes.

What I would say to anyone contemplating a walk over here on the greener grass is that it is artificial turf. If you love your spouse and can find that spot that makes you want to be in their arms, then tough it out. Yes, children adapt and more than 50% of their classmates have a single or co-parent relationship, but it’s easier with two parents together, assuming you are not fighting endlessly and are able to be a good role model as a spouse.

This year, the kids’ dad officially became a live-in couple with his significant other. I’m still on my own. The conversation went something like: 

“Well, I’m scheduled to have them Christmas Eve.”

“Ah, no,” was my curt reply.

“Actually, I haven’t asked them what they want to do,” he said.

“Ask them? It’s not up to them. I want them here with me Christmas Eve. You can come and stay the night like last year. Your girlfriend is welcome too. But, they are not waking up with someone else Christmas morning.” I was friendly, but determined.

To my delight, when I did mention it, they said they wanted Dad to come over and stay the night and then go to Dad’s later. Korey pondered, “I don’t know what Dad will do with Kristen.”

Later, face to face, I told their Dad that if I wasn’t on my own, things might be different, but I am not ready to spend Christmas Eve alone. He said I could go to his place. “Maybe next year,” I conceded.

So, Christmas Eve I took the kids to my work party and then dropped them off with Dad around 2:30. I then went home to prepare the house and start the turkey for the next day’s feast.

The kids and their Dad came over around 8:00 and their Dad went to bed with them. I stayed up to wait for Santa, but fell asleep and dammit, missed him again.

The boys woke me up around 7 and we headed down to check the spoils.

The only weird thing that happened was that our Christmas tree, which had been up for 3 weeks, standing proudly in the corner, hit the floor unexpectedly just as their Dad’s girlfriend walked through the door.  When she left, she joked that she was going to see what trouble she could cause at her parent’s house. I graciously told her I didn’t think it was related, but have to admit, it was a pretty funny coincidence.

After dinner, Brian picked up his girlfriend and the 5 of us went to visit Brian’s parents who are both sadly struggling with illness. Brian was grateful that I went along as it makes his Mom happy to see the kids seemingly unaffected by our separation and that we can all get along so well.

I then had Christmas night to myself and most of Boxing Day, but I was on vacation until January 5 so had them everyday and boy did we have fun. Until, of course, Monday morning. I’m too hard on myself, I know.

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Revolting

After Justin’s first attempt to skip school on the third day of classes, he tried again the following Monday. I wasn’t with him of course, but his babysitter got a real taste of the sweetness I call “Jussy”. He stood at the back of the line and said he wasn’t going to school. Then another little boy said, “I’m not going either,” and then a little girl said, “me neither.” A little revolt ensued but they were all present for Oh Canada.

His Dad sat him down that night and told him that there are certain things Mommy and Daddy need him to do so he can do the things he wants to do, like play hockey. To get some major ice time this winter, he’ll need to attend school without trouble. The next day he was first in line and held the door for the class. A big job in his mind and one he was very proud of.

The trouble? Apparently, there is a little girl in his class he wants to play with.  I told him to ask her. He said he’s not allowed to talk in class. I said, “Well, just tap her on the shoulder and whisper to her.” His exasperated response, “Mom, we’re not even allowed to whisper.” My offer to write a note to the teacher received a very stern, “No.”

Last week the kids started the evening with the usual watering of my car and themselves. Then, they moved inside to extend the torture. I had told them I wanted to mow the lawn and they were both eager to help. But, dinner took longer to make and my choice of lunch was not Justin’s so, I had to skip the mowing. This didn’t go over well. Justin followed me around yelling and screaming that he wanted to mow. He smacked me on the butt from room to room as I got the wash going. When I came up the stairs, I was at my wit’s end. As I rounded the corner, I tripped and landed on the stairs, twisting my ankle.

I layed there in pain, moaning and crying. Justin stopped whining and came to me, putting his little arms around my neck, snuggling his face close and patting me on the back. “Are you ok Mommy?” he whispered sweetly, so full of concern. Korey stayed on the couch and very calmly asked, “Do we need to call 911 Mom?” I moaned that we should just wait a little bit, but it might be necessary if I can’t walk.

Walking on my knees and continuing to moan and wince with pain, Korey suggested I probably just sprained it. “Yeah,” said Justin, “You probably just sprained it…What does sprain mean Korey?” He was so scared, it broke my heart.

We made it upstairs and Justin got into the bath, urging me to put my foot up so he could cover it with a wet cloth to make it feel better. Korey followed later and got me to soak my foot in the water to relieve the pain. They both stepped up and got themselves ready for bed while I hopped around getting ready for the next day. My ankle very slowly started feeling better the closer we came to bedtime so 911 wasn’t necessary, nor was it necessary for Daddy to come over. Even still, Justin called him to let him know I had hurt my leg. I told their Dad I was just fine and there was no need to worry.

While Korey was finishing up in the bath, Justin and I lay together on the bed. At one point he asked, “Did you get hurt because I hit you?” I told him that it wasn’t his fault I got hurt, it was an accident, but I sure am glad he stopped hitting me.

I assured them by morning my ankle would be back to normal. They snuggled in and fell asleep. Next morning I think they asked once, but they could see that I was able to get around without any trouble. They haven’t asked since, about my ankle or mowing the lawn.

Are there academy awards for Mommies?


Back to the old grind

That’s what my mother always says when vacation is over. Both of my kids are now in school. Justin did very well on his first and second day. He had a little meltdown on the third day, but we got through it. Broke my heart to see him, arms outstretched, crying for me while the teacher carried him in. She said he stopped crying at the classroom door but when my friend and I peaked in the window he still had quite the lip on during Oh Canada. He was fine when I picked him up though so he’s ok, no lasting trauma.

I got my credit card bill this week. I have got to curb my appetite for boosting our local economy, or get another job to support my spending habits. Anyone need a writer, web consultant, massage therapist, hairdresser, a psychologist perhaps? Oh, there are no limits to my talents.

Korey’s soccer party was last Saturday at our friends’ house. They live just behind us so it was convenient to travel back and forth to grab clean, dry clothes, feed Mandy and get their jammies. The party lasted 11 hours (1-midnight). The kids stayed up the whole time playing in the basement. The adults talked, played cards and even had a little sing-song with Jimmie. I now have six layers of calouses on my fingertips, but it was worth it.  

Almost the entire soccer team was there, plus siblings: fourteen boys and one girl. At one point she and Korey went upstairs alone to play with her brother’s trainset. That’s Korey. Always ready to make sure everyone feels included and special. She’s in Justin’s class but Korey and she have become good friends over the summer.

It was a great time with some wonderful people who know how to have a good time. I feel blessed to have them so close. I was nervous because our friends just moved into a new house and I’m famous for spilling, scratching, dropping or otherwise marking new abodes, but I came away clean this time. I’m not sure what the downstairs looked like. I did hear the kids were throwing things at the ceiling at one point. Maybe next week we’ll have a painting party.

Actually, being in a fresh hosue made me long for new digs. Not likely going to happen soon (see above). However, I did pickup a good tip:  Instead of changing the colour of your paint (if you still like it, of course) simply use the same colour and then you don’t really need to do all that cutting in that’s so time consuming. I’m syked about this, can’t wait to spruce things up around here. Fall fix-up will begin oh, maybe this weekend if I don’t go to the cottage or have a date. Do you think I would attract any men if I put up a profile on a dating site looking for someone who wants to help me paint? Free beer & wings, after the painting is complete, that is.

Yoga classes started again tonight. It’s nice to see new people in the class and watch their amazement at how they can move into asanas so effortlessly. It’s almost like experiencing it yourself all over again. And, I’m back to guitar lessons tomorrow. I’ll walk to work, Jimmie on my back, entertaining the smiles from passers-by. Often people will ask, “care to play a tune?” The dumbest question is always, “What’s that on your back?” I’ve stopped responding. 

Maybe I could busk for some extra cash!


Gratitude

The boys have left for a camping trip with their Dad for the week and I’m missing them. Next week is my turn to have their undivided attention and I’m looking forward to being “just a mom”.

Justin starts school in September and I’m weepy about this. When Korey started I was so proud, I cried. With Justin, I’m crying because my babies are growing up and no matter how much time you spend, how well you document it, or how together you think you have it, the speed at which children grow is crazy lightening fast and completely out of your control.

My kisses are always followed by, “Lipstick?”

My hugs are interrupted by, “that’s enough Mom.”

My songs are cut short with, “not that one.”

But there’s still lots of “I love yous” and “I have to poop. Call you when I’m done.” So I’m grateful.

The other night Justin was crying over a dog his Dad’s landlord had to put down. Joe was Justin’s favourite dog…next to Mandy of course. He asked me what heaven was like. I told him I didn’t know. Korey interjected, “we are all going to die someday.” I said that is true, but I hope we all die of old age. Justin went balistic, “You’re not supposed to hope we die, we’re your kids.” He then turned over and asked if when he did die and came back he could have the same parents. I let the discussion end and didn’t get into the whole reincaration explanation or how we choose our parents and our children. I was sweetened that he would still choose me for his Mom. 

I must be more careful with my words. They are at a very literal age. I remember being five and paralysed with fear of dieing or not having my parents. My nightime prays went something like:

Please God, keep us all safe. Don’t let anything happen to any of us or our possessions. Please don’t let any of us have meningitus, leukemia, any kind of cancer, AIDS (added in the 80s) or any other disease. Please let us all live for a long, long, long, long, long, long time and please God, let us all die of old age. 

If I didn’t say this every night, I thought I wouldn’t wake up or something bad would happen. The security of my family rested squarely on my nightly petition.

Now I send devine wisdom to my children when we are apart and see them in white protective light. But every now and then I sneek in a petition, just in case.


Chillin’

Korey just woke from REM sleep crying that he needed to pee and saying something about Justin and that he couldn’t help it. I carried him to the bathroom and went back to check on Justin who was sleeping peacefully and, well, dry. I returned to Korey who was still sobbing and making strange noices. I stood with him while he slayed his demons. At one point he said very sternly, “Stop it.”

“What did I do?” I asked. “Not you,” he said and gestured in the other direction. Once he finished his business, he seemed happier, pain-free and the tears had stopped, but…

Whoa. That was weird and might I add, just a little terrifying.


The 5th Judge

My friend’s brother-in-law, Mitch MacDonald, is on Canadian Idol. Tonight was the results show and the boys watched with me. Half way through the group number, Justin turns to me and says,

“If you were on there Mommy, you would win.”

“Thank you,” I said, pride staining the carpet.

“There’s just one problem,” he continued.

“Oh, what’s that honey?”

“You wouldn’t look cool enough.”


Make-up

Last night the boys had a couple friends over to bounce on the trampoline. Two tear-pours resulted. One from a foot to the chin and the other from a slam-dunk on the leg. But, no blood or broken bones. Everyone was having lots of fun. After their friends left, the fun fell out of ‘er.

Justin spit on Korey and Korey punched him in the eye. Then the wrestling began. I had to physically break it up and drag them off the trampoline. 

They didn’t complain much about getting ready for bed. I stayed between them for the most part and distracted them enough to keep the peace. They both called their Dad to tell on the other. I know I ought to restrict these calls, but I’m mom-savy enough to know you don’t fight with two little people who are already tired and in the mood for a brawl. Besides, he is super-dad and super-heroes are always on duty, right?

As I lay between them on the bed, I asked who they loved in their family. Korey said, “I love everyone, except for Justin. I hate Justin tonight.” Justin responded in kind, “I love everyone but Korey, I hate Korey. I fuckin’ hate him.” Justin is the best swearer. When he lets loose on the curse-words, even I feel better. Then of course, as I am obligated, I tell him not to use them..blah, blah, blah.

I layed in bed this morning listening to them play. They came full circle. “I love you Justin,” said Korey. Within a breath, Justin replied, “I love you too biggie.”

I could hear the smiles on their faces.


Certainly

Korey turned seven yesterday and Justin is two weeks at five. I can remember being five and seven, so I’ve been thinking that from here on in my footprint on their lives is permanent.

In fact, I remember some pretty important moments from my early childhood. Many have stayed with me. Some for the better and some it’s taken me nearly 40 years to erase. I better choose my words carefully and make sure they understand how important their self-esteem is to creating a wonderful life for themselves.

When I was five my grandmother passed away and I saw my father cry for the first time. I remember him standing at the back door window, his face shielded from his daughters, but his shoulders told the tale. I didn’t see him cry again until he suffered a stroke when I was 20. I grew up with no appreciation for the fraility of the male heart.

When I was seven, there were two elementary schools in my area. Our house sat right on the cut-off line which meant I was separated from my street friends during my first year.  But, in grade one they sent me to the “cool” school.  After the first week, however, they moved me back. I was crushed. That day, the boy next door came over and we played crazy eights, crazy nines and crazy tens at my back door until our Dads came home for supper. I learned how important friendship is and how simply sharing yourself with someone can lighten their load. It made me compassionate.

That year I had my favourite teacher. She taught me how delicious reading is. More pivotal, I learned that good things do follow bad.  

I’m also reminded how important my back door was.

 


Taxing times

Friday JB has orientation for big school. His sitter (aunt) said she would take him because she is taking another child, but that news made me cry. I want to be the one to drop him off, lick his hair down, straighten his shirt, give him a good luck hug and kiss and then turn away with tears streaming down my face. I also want to be there to see his big grin when he bounces through those doors an hour later. He’ll be full of wonder and excitement and he’ll rush to my arms for a tender hug from Mommy, who showed up with a little less mascara.

Some things belong to me.

 


Icing on the cake

Monday was JB’s birthday. He turned the big 5 and we had a digger cake. The same cake he and his brother have chosen for the past three years. I think it’s the dinkies on top that get them. What gets me are the mounds of icing. See, I love icing, it’s comfort food.

Today, we celebrated their birthdays with a joint party at the Superstore. Ten kids making pizza and decorating their own cake to take home, plus two birthday cakes, one for each boy. That’s alot of icing, but we managed.

Later in the afternoon we went to another birthday party, a pool party. I actually bought a new bathing suit and joined in the fun because the boys gave me a hard time after I didn’t get in the pool at the hockey pool party. I enjoyed it, it wasn’t over my head. KD told me my bathing suit was too small though. Damm, knew I should have gotten the larger size. No one else complained though and the girls stayed put nicely, even when the waves crashed around us.

After two hotdogs, some chips, pop and cheesies, we had cake. A hockey cake this time, chocolate underneath all that delicious icing.

Tomorrow, we have another party to attend. My great-nephew is turning 4. I’m assuming there will be cake, at least I’m hoping.

Sugar is not my friend, however, so I’m dropping acidophilus by the handfuls to try to rebalance the fun zone and keep me from getting too spaced out to think in a linear fashion.

I’m also trying to work on my taxes, not a great mix.

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While I was racing through Wal-mart today picking up a bow and arrow set for the boys, I stopped short at the discount book bin. The title caught my eye, “You Can Heal your Life”. Strange I thought, that’s the same title as Louise Hay’s book. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was her book. I didn’t expect to see it there at 25% off. I love finding a bargain on things I’ve hummed and hawed about purchasing at full price and abandoned at “submit order”.

And, so I am, in real time, opening the book to the lesson I most need to learn today.

Make Room for the New (on the left). Right, ok, clean out the closets, clutter and stuff I haven’t touched in a while. I get it. A cluttered closet means a cluttered mind. Fuck, that’s what is wrong with me. I’m living in frustration because everywhere I look there is shit waiting to fall on me. Or, at least it feels like it.

Love Your Bills (on the right). This one is timely. I missed a power payment somehow over the past four months. I could have sworn I paid it, but the bank has no record, nor the power company, so I’m in arrears and that hasn’t ever happened before. It sucks because now I have to make a double payment next month and I have that speeding ticket (my first) to pay by July, unless I decide to plea NG. All these extras just when I was getting ahead too.

But Louise says we need to stop worrying about money, stop resenting our bills and be grateful that someone trusts us to pay. Only then can we release the beliefs that we don’t deserve and open up to receive the lavish abundance of the universe.

Which gets me to thinking perhaps I’ve been putting off doing my taxes because I’m worried about the outcome. And, that maybe I should clean out the clutter first and allow the universe to fill the empty spots with abundance before I settle in to count the beans. You know, just in case it ends up being a bill, which now will have interest attached and I’ll need some abundance to remit.

Yes, clearing the clutter feels good. Envisioning my dresser drawers closing all the way, being able to see the back of my closet, finding something, anything, in the junk drawer, organizing the medicine cupboard, nicely organized towels all facing the same way. The thought is making me calm.

Or, have I just found another good reason not to do my taxes tomorrow. This post was tonight’s.