My Motherhood Paradox

Of course once I’ve already said my summer goodbye I think of something I need to post. I’ve never learned how to say goodbye gracefully.

Anyway. So life is crazier than normal around here as I get the kids ready for camp and for Israel. This year I really felt good about the kids going away. They missed camp last year because of our Israel trip and I know that they are all so excited to be going back. I also know that my eldest will have a great experience on the Biluim trip with his good friends. This is one of my favourite things about parenting. I love watching my kids grow up and achieve new levels of independence and gain new experiences. For me, my goal as a parent is to raise well adjusted, independent young men and woman. There are times that I jokingly refer to myself as a smother. I’m all over those kids and completely in the face of those who affect their lives. However, as they are growing up I realize that I need to pull back to a certain degree. I’ve been surprised to discover that I actually enjoy this withdrawing phase. It allows me to step back and to take a good look at the people my children have become and are continuing to evolve into. When they were little it was my sworn duty to make sure that everything was cut into small enough pieces to keep them safe from choking. All that cutting gets tiring. I like watching them fend for themselves and seeing how they deal with things. Don’t get me wrong, if they really need me to chop I’ll still chop for them. No one will choke on my watch even if they occassionally bite off more than they can chew.

Even with this subtle withdrawing there is still a lot of demand from four kids. They each need to know that they are important to me. Some times that message can be hard to deliver. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and tired and I just want to be left alone. With four kids there is always someone who is not doing exactly what makes him/her happiest in life at any given moment and they seem to see that as my problem. There is always someone who wants to know something; what’s for dinner, what’s for lunch, when are we going to Toronto next, can someone sleep over, can I sleep somewhere else, can we bake, can we eat, can we get new shoes, can my bedtime be extended, can we get a dog, if we could travel back in time what would the stars look like, what really happens when you die, how come you and Dad have the nicest bathroom when there are only two of you and there are four of us, can we go to the beach with friends and will you pick us up later, can my friend stay for dinner, do I have to eat at home tonight, what’s the difference between algebra and trigonomotry, why do we even need to take French anyway, why do girls care so much about their hair? It’s exhausting and I often don’t have the answers (I’m lost on math, science and girl-hair).I say that I have 10 months a year of decent parenting in me, this leaves us with a two month problem. Fortunately, six weeks of camp lessens the problem to two weeks a year, more or less (probably more to be brutally honest).

So I’ve been pretty excited thinking about my upcoming holiday. All this time to myself. Days to do whatever I want and evenings to reacquaint myself with my husband. What could be better? So why the other day when one of the kids mentioned going away did I suddenly find it difficult to breathe and felt my eyes fill with tears? Camp is great for my kids, great for my marriage and a great break for me. Why has the feeling of giddiness for my finite period of freedom deserted me for a feeling of loss and sadness? I really don’t want them home for the summer but I don’t want them gone either.

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Almost There

So this is what’s been happening;

My eldest has written and finished all of his exams and is now hanging out until he goes off to Israel for a month long program with Young Judaea.

The twins have had their grade 8 graduation and are now in the big city on a year end class trip. They are ready for school to end and camp to begin.

My youngest is suffering through the last days of school and counting down the days until camp.

I have managed to get the luggage off and will now focus on preparing the artiste for Israel.

We have decided to do all of the packing ourselves so that we can edit as we go along. This will not be the overwheliming task that I thought it would be as without the kids around I can focus on this one thing.
After moving day I have to drive to Toronto to spend the evening with my son and then take him to the airport the next day. I should be exhausted but it’s just the way it worked out.

A few days later my wonderful niece will be coming up to spend some time with us. I can’t wait. I’m planning for lazy days on the dock, swimming and kayaking if she’s game.

It’s going to be that kind of a summer. Swimming, running, kayaking and we’re taking our bikes out to the cottage so we can bike as well. It has been so many years since I’ve been on my bike I hope I still remember how to balance.

It’s now been just over one year since I started my Blog as a birthday present to myself. I’ve very much enjoyed the creative process of it. It’s so rare that I formally write anything any more. There are times that it has left me feeling quite narcisstic. There have been other times that it has left me feeling quite empty, nothing to say and not all that interesting. All in all I’m still enjoying it so I shall continue. We don’t have internet at the cottage and with the house under renovations I’m not sure what my access to a computer will be like. So posting will be very sporadic. I hope to spend the summer coming up with ideas for future posts so that I can be a little more consistent next year.

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful summer and I’ll write when I can.

Enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer everyone.

Ya Know Kid, You Got A Mouth On Ya

Yesterday morning (we were at the cottage) when I was cleaning the kitchen after breakfast my eldest turned to me and asked what I had tucked under my arm. Without a thought I responded that it was my Kindle. He then asked why I was guarding it. A little bit of guilt and some defensiveness began to prickle at me. Although my explanation was perfectly reasonable to me it was just possible that some people might not see it the same way. So I firmly explained (you have to be extra firm when you are not so sure that you are right) that last night his dad borrowed my Kindle and started reading a book once I went to sleep and I just know that he’s going to want to borrow it again. I don’t want to give it to him because as soon as I finish cleaning the kitchen I want to go down to the dock and read.
My beloved son looked at me with a smile on his face and asked, “Did you even pass kindergarten?”
“What?” I snapped back at him – it was a snappy kind of day for me.
Still smiling the little snake responded with, “Don’t you only need to learn to share with others to pass kindergarten?”
“I was raised in a society without junior kindergarten and this is the result! Get back to studying for your exams.” then I exited the cottage none too graciously.

Later that same day as I was very happily sitting on our dock reading and enjoying my moment of solitude when that same eldest child appeared not unlike a circus parade in a library. It was only fair that I give him a warning. “Listen, I’m having a cranky day, so be smart and give me some distance.”
Undeterred he beamed me his most charming smile, “Oh yes Mom, you only have a husband who loves you and kids who are crazy about you. You have so much to be cranky about.”
There was only one response left to me, “Exams, you, study.”

Whatever happened to: Children should be seen and not heard? Or at least heard a little less?

My Cheating Heart

I am a loyal person. I have known this about myself forever. If you are my friend or someone I care about I will defend you to the death. Don’t even think about dissing my family, my friends or my tribe. Gosh, even if you are a book that I love I will fight for you vociferously (not all book club experiences are pleasant ones).

So it is a very rare situation that I find myself in right now. I am experiencing feelings of disloyalty and guilt. In general, I don’t do guilt it is a waste of energy accomplishing nothing. But here I sit, disloyal and guilty.

My family doesn’t know what I am going through and if they did I know that they would forgive me. They love me that much. I can even see my eldest simply patting me on my back and shaking his head. My husband would probably roll his eyes. There would be no anger on his part but not much empathy either and who could blame him? I was honest with him, never going behind his back and yet the guilt is there. I put forth my argument for the new relationship, he saw my logic and agreed with a simple kiss and a word of encouragement to “Enjoy” and I have been enjoying. I have been enjoying daily until the guilt began.

You see this is how it began, we were at the cottage a few weekends ago. The weather was sunny and beautiful. I sat on our porch in my favourite Muskoka chair ready to relax and to read from my iPad. I put on my sunglasses then remembered that you can’t wear anti-refective sunglasses and read from the iPad. I took them off, it was so bright out that it was impossible to see anything on the screen. Not to mention that the iPad heats up in the sun and you get a message on the screen to turn it off. I have many, many books on my iPad that I had planned on plowing through this summer. Now, my husband never gets to read his subscription of the Economist that we ordered for the iPad because to be honest, I don’t share all that well. I am the youngest after all. We could always get him his own iPad for Father’s Day or for his birthday which we never really seem to celebrate OR I could just get myself the new smaller much, much cheaper, outdoor friendly Kindle for my own birthday this month.

Which is exactly what I did.

Did you know that you can add your library to each and every Kindle that you own? Yes, you can. I didn’t have to delete my Kindle library from my iPad, it just automatically added it to my new Kindle. Exact same library, two locations. I adore my new Kindle. It is small enough that it easily fits in my purse and it is light enough that my back doesn’t suffer. Now any spare moment that I have I can spend it reading. Supermarket check out, gas station, school parking lot. Yay! It’s so small that I just slip it back in my purse and have not forgotten it anywhere. Yes, I have left my iPad behind too many times to mention.

So this is where the disloyalty and the guilt comes in. I feel as though I am cheating on my iPad with my Kindle. Instead of recharging iPaddy nightly he only gets a boost about once a week now. I am no longer obsessing about my stats and my email. My husband is caught up on the Economist and anything else he chooses to read in bed at night.

I guess I need to state publicly, I still think the iPad is sexy, cool, innovative, creative and all around brilliant. Although I miss the touch screen and I prefer to peruse the Amazon Kindle store on my iPad I have to admit that my heart now belongs to a different ereader.

I never though that I was fickle, but there it is.

Who am I? I don’t even know anymore.
What will come next, a new brand of bagel?

I Have A Problem With This

Something happened last week that I can’t stop playing in my head.

My twins came home from school (grade 8, 13 years old) after having an in depth health class with a guest speaker. The speaker came equipped with freebies for the kids. They all got condoms. Flavoured condoms. Flavoured condoms to 13 year old boys and girls.

Now, believe me I am all for education. I want them to be well informed so that they can make the right decision, however, this seems like a bit much to us. I don’t want them ruining their lives nor anyone else’s because they weren’t protected. But condoms at 13?! Someone put it well when she said it’s like giving them free tickets to the show. I didn’t throw the condoms out, I just told the boys to put them away and save them for university. They’re not illegal and they’re not mine, throwing them out seemed to me as though I would be closing the door on any further discussion of this issue. Two days later one of the twins (Destroy) came to me and said the following; “You know what was really weird? They made us each lubricate a banana and put a condom on it. Wow, Mom, I’ve never seen you look so shocked.”

I don’t even want my son using the word lubricate let alone using a condom.

I know that kids are sexually active at a very young age but I cannot help but wonder if giving away condoms doesn’t condone this behaviour. Is there any kind of discussion about it not being O.K. to do this at their young age?

As much as I don’t want to I have to talk to my boys a little more about this subject to find out exactly what was said about the permisiveness of this issue. They must know how we feel but I think that I need to say it again.

Why the heck did they have to be flavoured? What’s that all about?

Whatever happened to Charms all day suckers?

Update

Here’s what’s going on:

Our contractor says we are ahead of schedule and now need to be out of the house even earlier. GASP

Basketball league finished last night and we now have our evenings back. Yay!!

My daughter had to write a mystery story for class and she named he main character Lola : )

Today is the city wide track and field meet so I will spend the day there cheering for Seek in his events until I have to take his sister to the doctor for her camp medical.

Isn’t that just life? Stressful, busy and amusing all at once along with those small opportunities to cheer for our favourite team members, our kids.

Organization 101, Anyone?

Well I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed and kind of panicky lately.

Here’s what’s going on; my kids’ luggage has to be packed and ready to go to Toronto for June 23rd. I’ve done that so many times before. I don’t like doing it but I know I’ll get it done. At around the same time we have to be ready to vacate our house so we can begin our renovations. We’ll be moving to our cottage 1/2 hour away so I’m not stressed about our living arrangements. We do have to completely clear our main floor of everything and put it ALL in storage. This is what is causing my concern. Have I also mentioned that I am not a very organized person? I really have to focus on being organized. It’s something that I am still learning to do. Lists help, as long as I don’t lose them. Have I mentioned that my husband is a VERY organized person? He doesn’t get how this can overwhelm me. He always knows how to tackle the big jobs whereas I tend to shut down because I have no idea where to begin. I procrastinate and then I work like a crazy, cranky fiend to get it all done. I asked him how I should begin. He told me to get some boxes and do a little every day. That sounds like a plan, kinda, sorta. But it doesn’t sound like enough of a plan for me.

I need a better plan. So I’m thinking start with camp. Get the kids completely packed up by the end of next week and then move on to the house. Do the kitchen last. I also have to clear out the kids’ bathroom where my big linen closet is. I think there are still some diapers in there and a baby bathtub seat. I can only imagine what I’ll find.

Does this sound like a plan? Suggestions? Anyone out there?