Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's Definitely Fall

Oh it's Fall alright!! Do you know how I know that? Do you want me to tell you how I know? Do you want me to let you in on the secret? The secret of knowing whether or not we are in the Autumn Season? The one, clear, unavoidable, undeniable tell-tale sign that we are in the middle of Fall? Do you want to know? Do you? Do you?


We spent all morning raking and bagging and mowing and raking again, bags and bags of leaves and filling compost carts and now...12 hours cannot tell that AT ALL. The ground is completely covered with lovely autumn foliage. I have to actually go out and look at the bags otherwise this morning seems like a dream, the kind of dream that leaves (no pun intended) you with a sore back and you are OUT of tylonel.

Oh, and the one other reason that assures me that YES, it is Fall...the knowledge that we will be repeating this morning's exercise at least two more times this season.

There must be a silver lining...there bugs. That's all I've got :o)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Brunch That Goes Until Suppertime

About four times a year I have Sunday lunch with four good friends. Three of these girls I used to work with and one is the wife of a guy I used to work with, all from the same office.

I love these girls. These are MY friends. We all met when we were just ourselves. Not wives or moms or church committee members or neighbors. We were work-mates who chose to become friends and even though no one still works at that organization anymore, we have chosen to remain friends. We have gotten married, divorced, had children, changed houses and jobs. But we stayed friends. It's hard to stay in touch even though we live relatively close to each other. Lives are so busy and we all have families but we still carve out the time.

When I visit with these women, they want to know about me. Oh yes, they are very interested in my husband and child, our lives, the day to day activity, etc. but if we spent the whole time talking about just ME, that would be fine too. I am the connection to these women, and them to me. Not school or commitments or bible studies or jobs or choir or neighbourhoods. Just me.

It's nice to have a group like that. We talk about parenting and careers and books and being married, being divorced, traveling and whatever we want. We are just there to enjoy each other. We just want to be with each other because we like each other for our girl-selves. We became a part of each others lives when our lives and choices were only our own.

I love them very much.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Braces Are On

Yes, that's right. Today is Saturday and it's been five days since my 13 year-old got her braces put on. I feel we've started a new right-of-passage.

"Moderate Space Management Issues"

That is the technical term for too many teeth, not enough room. So the braces have gone on. Generally though, I think her problems are pretty common and should be dealt with quite easily (in 18-24 months for a cost of half a good second-hand car), except for one 12 year molar that has "gone awry" and that's another story altogether.

And, as much as we tried to be prepared and anticipate/dread the new experience, we/she/me weren't exactly ready for the first couple of days of PAIN. I went through a series of retainers when I was a kid/teenager and I know about mouth/teeth pain, but I think this is much worse. Oh the swollen lips - just a sad, sad sight. The appetite has finally come back but not enough to actually chew a whole lot. It'll come, I know. The bonus is that the braces are purple and match her glasses and Ipod case, so if you have to have a mouth full of metal, at least be colour-coordinated with the rest of your look.

I, of course, being the mother of only one child, see this time in our lives a bit more sadly than painfully.

She is 13. I won't see her teeth again until she is 15. That is hard. When they come off, she will be a real teenager and contacts won't be far behind I'm sure. This year's school picture is beautiful and I especially like it because it is the last picture with her teeth all her own, as nature placed them. Eventually they'll be beautifully straight and lined up, but they will have been forced to move (for her own health I know).

I know I tend to be a bit dramatic. But I never planned on only having one child. So every "event" that comes along, I try to squeeze every last drop out of (the good, the bad and the ugly) because I won't have the opportunity to do it again. I try to see it from all angles so I don't miss anything. Everything is a one-shot deal. The hardest part is not being able to do it better/more relaxed the second time around, with the first as the practice time, since there is no second time. I can't practice what I've learned on the next kid. Everything is always happening to me, the Mom, the first time too, and no one gets any benefits of experience.

All that was the wave that past over me a couple of nights ago in between doses of tylonel and yogurt/applesauce/chocolate pudding. You just can't beat chocolate pudding.

I'm OK now. I just feel I spend most of my time at the end of a dock waving good-bye to someone heading out towards the horizon. "We had a lovely time but when will I see you again?" Never really. Always she is growing into the person she is and will be. A miracle to witness and be a part of. I'm loving every second, but I'm feeling that good parenting is a bit bitter-sweet. A child is to grow and evolve and mature and that is good. It's just hard when you miss who they were as well because you really liked them then too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Getting Hallowe'enie Out There

Ooooh it's been chilly the last few days. Cool and windy. Sunny and crisp. The leaves are starting to fall. Jackets are being searched for, hats actually worn waiting for the school bus early in the morning.

Apple-crisp for dessert and chili for supper.

And we had to turn the heat on...Sigh.

Hallowe'en is right around the corner. You can feel it in the air.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overwhelmed With Life In General

I am overwhelmed. Since I tend to be emotional, I try very hard to keep my life in balance, keep the stress in check and work to keep life and all that happens in perspective.

I think I am done with that. At least for now.

Last week, my daughter's junior high school had the fire alarm pulled and standard procedure (fire department, police, etc.) followed three times in one day by "pranksters" and then the school had 4 bombs threats and two school evacuations (but important to note: no school closures) in 3 days. Six arrests so far but little-to-no hope that any real action will be taken.

I called the school, talked to the principal and vice-principal, the Student Advisory Council, the Guidance office, several parents and any piece of furniture in the house that would listen to me. General response - "keep our fingers crossed" - that's a direct quote from the principal and "appeal to the students' sense of common decency" - that's the school board quote. No hard-balling it, no nothing but a notice too late. I'm exhausted just thinking about all over again and again, to no avail.

And then last night, when I was at Alpha of all places, my daughter was beaten up.

I am stunned.

She was playing outside and two kids wanted to wrestle and she said no, she doesn't play that way and kept trying to say no. The sister started to kick her and punch her (in the face) and the brother kicked her (and left bruises) and finally, my girl decked the boy and punched him in the face. The brother was encouraging his sister to "bitch-slap her" and Marly basically punched him, in self-defense, to distract him. And then THEY cried and my girl apologized. I asked why she didn't walk away but she said it happened too fast and she didn't really realize what was happening and, after all, she has to be able to stand up for herself at some point.

Oh My God.

My child is devastated, mortified and terrified. She has never been hit and has never hit anyone. She is so confused. "How can it feel so good to hit him and me be so sorry at the same time?" And she is terrified of "the older brother coming after her" because that has happened in her school before with other kids and the school goes into lock down and I can't believe this is happening and these are now the conversations that we have in our house. We live in a very peaceful school and home environment and this year, new kids move in and pow! we are on a different planet.

And I said to my husband, how do I talk to these parents (which I am going to do even though I afraid of them) about this unacceptable behaviour when obviously it is OK in their house since their kids didn't bat an eye?

I am overwhelmed by the evil in this world. The uncaring, the disrespect, the meanness, the intent to harm. I want to grab my child and stay in the house. Go nowhere, do nothing, be a total hermit. I know that's the wrong response. But I'm too tired to care about other people anymore.

I'm even too tired to pray.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Being At Home

I love being at home.

Today is nothing special. Just washing and ironing and straightening up after Thanksgiving dinner. Putting things away and tidying up the house.

I'm trying not to have the TV on as much. I usually do for the company it offers. If I play music, I love it so loud so I can sing and dance, but then I can't hear the phone. So I'm trying to be quiet.

I was putting the big potato pot away in the very back of the cupboard and my sweater got caught in my earring. I could not get it loose! I was desperate. So I went to the neighbor's across the street, praying that she was home and not on her daily walk. She was and freed me and we had a little chat and exchanged apple crisp recipes.

Then I walked home - which is across the street, second house over. A crisp, cool, fall day. Very quiet and still. I was the only person on the street and no one in sight. Everyone is either gone (to work, to school) or tucked up tight inside.

I love being home. Marly is 13 and in grade 8. I don't know how long me being at home will last. My goal is until she graduates from grade 12 (and my personal goal is to stay home forever. It certainly is better for my health).

But I'm loving every minute of while I can :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Today is Thanksgiving day.

This past summer we went to Plymouth Rock and Plymouth Plantation during our vacation to Cape Cod. I talked to my Aunt a lot about the American Thanksgiving. I know about the pilgrims, the harvest, etc. but it seems to be such a MAJOR holiday, which is a bit funny to me because as soon as it is over, it's full steam ahead for Christmas.

She told me, that in her opinion, many people almost like Thanksgiving more than Christmas because it's all about family being together, eating of course, but not the pressures of gifts, decorations, trees, outdoor lights, etc. It's just a great day.

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. The celebration of the harvest. It's all on it's own, no where near Christmas and a few weeks before Hallowe'en. Sometimes it's almost easy to overlook (for me anyway).

After our summer holiday, I decided that I liked the idea of day together with no commercial pressures. I wanted to go all out for this year's Thanksgiving.

So I hosted a Thanksgiving like I had never done before. It was TOTALLY from scratch. My husband was the chef and cooked an outstanding turkey, stuffing and all the fixin's, including regular and gluten-free gravy - what a treat! I was chief house-cleaner and then dressed my table in it's holiday best. We even sang "The Turkey Song" - a tradition for grace that has been in my family for five generations, originating with my Great-Grandmother in Boothbay Harbour.

And we celebrated with friends - not family. That was new for me.

I love my family. We have celebrated practically every holiday together my entire life - extended family included. We have driven, taken the train and plane, made every effort to be together. It's very important to everyone.

But this year I wanted to host Thanksgiving and I (meaning my husband and I) wanted to "do" it our way. My mother is a bit of a control freak. OK, she's a big control freak. My husband, who does an amazing turkey - his way mind you, has tried to lessen the turkey-roasting burden and as much as she professes to want to, she just can't let go. She hovers, tsk-tsks, "offers" suggestions, etc, etc. In fact, two Easters ago, my sister couldn't even entertain the thoughts of Mom "not doing the turkey", and we had Easter Salmon on the BBQ instead (my Mom doesn't bbq).

So I didn't invite my parents. That was hard - especially because I knew my Dad would have loved it. My husband and my father like "turkey dinner" the same way. In the beginning, I honestly thought my Mom was going to be visiting my sister and her family over the holiday and I knew Dad wouldn't come in on his own, so that was fine. Then I found out that my Mom was going to visit over Hallowe'en and that they were home alone. By then I had invited another family to share our table and I decided to keep it at that. It was hard. My Mom was happy for us, that we were going to be having a fun time in our own home. But I know she would have come. She even asked if it was because of "comments" she had made the last time Frank tried to cook the turkey and I didn't have the heart to say it was a factor. I probably should have told the truth, but I just couldn't do it.

But we had an amazing evening. Frank even made an awesome pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (gluten-free no less and yummy for all). My friends brought chocolate fondue with fruit, a sweet potato casserole and candied carrots. It was truly an evening shared and enjoyed. I felt very thankful. And even though the evening was with friends and not family this year, it felt right.

Happy Thanksgiving - although for many I may seem to be a bit early :)