Category Archives: Parenthood

Roots and Wings.

I was thinking long and hard about what to write about this week, and the only thought that came into my brain was back-to-school. I tend to write about the happenings of my life, and the return to September, and now October, routines have been at the forefront lately, as I’m sure they have been for many of you.

This year was a bit different for us, as it was the first year of “nothing new.” We didn’t move, or switch schools, or have my work schedule change. The logistics of our life look essentially the same as they did last school year, so we knew what to expect from a timing perspective. My son entered grade three, and my daughter started into Senior Kindergarten. In Ontario, the Kindergarten program is two years long, and starts the year that a child turns four years of age. Back in 2014, the Provincial government rolled out full-day Kindergarten to replace half-day and alternate-day programs, so my daughter began full-time school last year, at age four. It was rocky.

Not having been a daycare kid (my husband and I have managed to work opposite hours so that one of us could always be home with our kids), she did two years in a three-mornings-per-week Preschool, to get her prepared for Kindergarten and used to the idea of being away from home, and most notably, away from me. Her and I have a special bond and she’s a mama’s girl through and through. Last year, all year long, even into June, she would be teary at school dropoff. “Mom, I don’t want to go to school, I just want to be home with you.” Oh, how she broke my heart.

We tried everything- special necklaces, “kissing hands,” pictures from home, notes in her backpack, meetings with the teachers. We were always told that her days at school were happy and settled, and she was always all smiles at pickup time; but more often than not, she would cry at dropoff. I would pull myself away from the school gate each morning and stand out of sight, watching her cry and wipe the fog from her little glasses, and I would cry too. I would walk back home alone and feel like a monster for the better part of the morning. “How was your day, sweetheart?” I would ask at pickup, “Great!” She would exclaim, oblivious to the torment that she’d put her mother through yet again. The daily text thread to my husband read something like this:

Me: Tears again. I’m dying. This is THE WORST.

Him: She’s okay hon, she’ll get through it.

Me: Why are we doing this to her? She’s only four! Four year-olds should be with their mamas. It’s nature!!!

Him: Her days are good, it’s just the first few minutes. She’ll be okay.

Me: I am the worst mother. My HEART IS BREAKING.  Sob…..

Okay, so I have a touch of drama up my sleeve. But honestly, watching your child cry while knowing that you can’t help them, is quite possibly the world’s worst feeling. If you’ve never been through this with your children, you may not understand what I’m talking about, and you probably don’t think this is quite the big deal I’m making it out to be. But when you’re in it, let me tell you that it’s a very big deal. I’m a bit of an attachment-parent, kind of on the hippie side of the scale- my kids regularly sleep in our bed, I nursed them both into toddlerhood, and I was a regular baby-wearer, so this child-away-from-me stage of life does not feel natural or normal to me. We have very carefully constructed our life to have me closer to our kids. This school-aged-transition was as hard on me as it was on her.

Fast forward to this year, and I was expecting more of the same from her. Through the Summer she spoke about how she was going to miss me when she started school and flashbacks of dropoff haunted me. And we have had more than a few tears over the past few weeks, but I’m happy to report, we’re on a streak of six consecutive cry-free dropoffs. She’s grown and matured, she’s gained independence, she’s built confidence, and I can see a different kid when I send her into the playground in the mornings. She wants to be there. The reluctance to let go of my hand is lessening, the quivering lip is all but gone, and the vulnerability of her foggy glasses has disappeared. Maybe she’s ready. Maybe I’m ready. I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve turned the page, and my baby grew up.

roots and wings

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

60 Adventures in 60 Days: Summer 2017

IMG_5659

To say I’ve had a great Summer would be an understatement.  I’m a chronic over-planner, and my family is always up for adventure, so we cram our Summer FULL of fun.  I’ve published two other Summer-fun lists, in 2013 and 2014, and now my children are eight and five years old, so our exploits and abilities are expanding as they grow.

IMG_6670

We’ve found some incredible hidden gems this year; check out some of our experiences, and keep them in mind for yourselves!

1. BlueJays game on Canada Day.

2. Canada Day fireworks at Spencer Smith Park.

3. Port Dover beach.

4. Golfing at Lowville Golf Club.

5. Both kids playing baseball with BOMBA.

6. Batting cages at Mainway Sports Centre.

7. Tri Kids triathlon at Appleby College.

8. Blood donor appointments at Canadian Blood Services.

9. Hockey Hall of Fame.

10. $5 movies at Cinestarz Burlington.

11. Hot yoga.

12. Honda Indy in Toronto.

13. 11-year anniversary dinner at DiMario’s Trattoria.

14. Half marathon training, including weekly long runs with my wonderful Michaela.

15. Sunday brunch with girlfriends.

16. Royal Ontario Museum.

17. A week at The Wave hockey camp for my son.

18. A week at Pedalheads bike camp for my daughter.

19. Weekly Monday-night dinners with cousins.

20. Monthly book club meetups.

21. Coffee catchups with friends.

22. Regular massage tuneup appointments.

23. CrossFit Kids Saturday morning sessions.

24. Food truck festival.

25. The Donkey Sanctuary, just outside Guelph.

26. Rainbow loom bracelet-making. (Thanks to family and friends who handed down their rainbow-loom supplies a few years after this trend passed; my kids were too young for it  then, but they both love it now.)

27. Fishing (Robert Edmondson Park and LaSalle Park marina).

28. Having nieces and nephews for sleepovers.

29. Evening beachside walks with friends.

30. 1-on-1 Date Days with our kids: BlueJays games, pony rides, Mountainside Pool, and bowling/laser tag at Splitsville.

31. Dinners on downtown patios.

32. Bi-annual optometrist appointments for the kids.

33. Checking out the newly-renovated Nelson outdoor pool.

34. RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.

35. Trips to Central Library.

36. Ottawa!

37. Helping at Wellington Square’s Friday Night Community dinners.

38. Lemonade stand.

39. Family reunion for my mother-in-law’s family.

40. Touch football league games for my husband.

41. Standup paddleboard yoga at Christie Lake.

42. CrossFit classes.

43. Assumption Sports Camp.

44. Bad Axe throwing with the Burlington Sports & Spine team.

45. Disco Dash 10k race.

46. Toronto Island sprint triathlon for my husband.

47. Fit in the Core outdoor yoga class at City Hall.

48. Burlington Children’s festival.

49. Backyard BBQs and fireside chats with wonderful friends.

50. Writing letters to Samuel, our sponsored child through World Vision. (As an aside, this is one of the BEST things we’ve done; we began sponsoring Samuel in the Spring, and we write to him often.)

51. Dinner and arcade games at QB’s Sports Grill.

52.  Family workouts at the Chedoke and Dundurn stairs.

53. A cottage weekend at my sister-in-law’s cottage in Muskoka.

54. Go-carts at Lakeland Kartway.

55. Assumption Football Camp.

56. Zac Brown Band concert at the Budweiser Stage.

57. Regular kid’s visits and chiropractic appointments at Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic.

58. Aspire Climbing gym in Milton (American Ninja Warrior course, climbing walls, and bouldering).

59. Family sleepover at our dear friend’s home in Kitchener.

60. Ribfest.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Let’s look out for each other.

My faith in humanity was severely shaken on Thursday evening.

You see, my kids were in a bike accident.

But, before you get too worried as you read my words, let me assure you that they are now both completely fine. However, on Thursday night I wasn’t so sure…..

My daughter had a baseball game at a nearby ball diamond, and my husband had another commitment that evening, so the kids and I biked over to enjoy a gorgeous Summer evening outside. After the game, the three of us rode home as a convoy on the sidewalk; me in the front, my five-year-old daughter behind me, and my eight-year-old son bringing up the rear. We were three-quarters of the way home, almost finished our short five-minute ride, when I heard a crash and a scream. I was only a couple of bike lengths ahead, and as I quickly stopped and turned, I saw both kids laying on the ground, bikes twisted, backpacks scattered, both of their mouths open, howling in pain. I ran to them immediately, yanking my folding chair straps off my shoulders, throwing my gear, and scanning the scene as my emotions built and my heart raced.

My daughter was lying at the bottom of the pile, her head turned away from me, crying loudly. As I approached, my son pulled himself off of her and I yanked his bike to the side. His cries, however, were frantic and distraught, and he was writhing and gripping his abdomen. My gut instinct told me that he was more seriously hurt, so I tended to him first. “My ribs, my ribs,” he was screaming, and I knelt on the sidewalk to hold him and try to offer some comfort. I called to my daughter from my crouched position on the ground, and she got up and crawled to me, desperately hanging onto my other shoulder, sobbing.

This entire sequence had taken less than a minute, when a neighbor across the street came to offer his help. “I heard the crash and saw you running,” he said, “is there anything I can do?” By that point, my son was standing, squirming, clutching his stomach, his panicked cries not slowing down. Over the next few seconds, I was able to decipher that the “rib” he was referring to was actually his lower abdomen, and that his bike wheel had turned as he fell, causing him to land belly-first into the blunt end of his handlebar. As my mind raced with right lower quadrant anatomy, the complications of blunt force trauma, and first-aid protocols, I thanked my neighbor, and assured him I could manage. Both kids were still wailing, but we were just around the corner from our house, and my main concern was to get them back home where I could better assess and tend to them.

The neighbor walked away reluctantly, leaving me amidst a 10-metre swath of bikes, lawn chairs, backpacks, and ball gloves. Our things were strewn along the sidewalk and the roadside, and in the middle of it all, I huddled on bare knees, with one kid in each arm, calming them, cuddling them, tears streaming down all of our cheeks.

Two separate cars drove past us, slowly, down our sleepy suburban street, seeing the carnage of the crash. They didn’t stop or offer assistance. Minutes passed and my kids continued to cry. I buried my face in their hair, in their necks, breathing them in, thinking about what should be my next logical step, grateful that the accident hadn’t been worse. When I looked up, two people out for a walk were passing by. They weaved in and out of our mangled bikes, stepped over bags, and continued to walk. They did not look at me. They did not offer to help. They walked right past us.

We got ourselves home, pushing bikes instead of riding them; partly due to pain, partly due to fear, mostly due to bent derailleurs and broken pedals. I phoned my mother-in-law, a retired nurse, to get her opinion as to whether or not a hospital visit was warranted; there was no abdominal rigidity, no vomiting, no blood in his urine, so we decided it wasn’t. I tended to the kids with warm baths and ice packs and tucked them into my bed so that I could keep an eye on them both throughout the night. My husband arrived home later that evening to a shaken wife and an angry rehashing of the accident. My fear and my panic had settled, and had blended together into rage and disbelief about the people that passed us by.

I can only hope that they chose not to stop because they thought I had the situation handled. I can’t let cynicism overtake me, and believe that they chose not to stop simply because they didn’t want to. I believe that people are good, and I believe that bad situations often teach us something. This was no exception. Let’s offer help. Let’s offer kindness. Let’s look out for each other.

Friday morning revealed a scrape on my daughter’s shoulder, an ugly purple circle on my son’s belly, and many recounts about how the accident happened and what we could do differently the next time (i.e. stopping too quickly and following too closely). We talked about the nice man who came from across the street to lend a hand. And we talked about the people who didn’t.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,