Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Balance

Parenting is like being in the center of a see-saw. You help your child with both the ups and downs. It also means you need to find the balance between holding on too tight, and letting go; guiding and manipulating; allowing freedom and giving boundaries. There will be times when we will be a little off balance.

"Your hair would look so great if you put it back behind your ears, darling." "You can go to the movie, but I don't want you to hang out afterwards." Many times I have questioned myself, my motives, my reasoning. At times I have wished that "Because I said so!" would suffice as the answer. It wouldn't with my kids. They have honed their skill of banter and debate, reasoning and logic. They have questioned our decisions, our conclusions and our protectiveness.

I like this, most days. I am proud they think. I am proud they contemplate deeper than the surface. Some days I just want them to sit on the end of the see-saw and let me move it up and down, or find the balance. At times they want to be the ones in the center...or just off center...enough to find the fulcrum to move the plank themselves...to find that point where where balance and wobble meet enough to offer the rush of adrenalin; yet still safe from tipping too far to the left or right. Balance.
To say I have understood this week would be untrue. Family issues and stories circulate and wander through dinner conversations and thoughts out loud. Most things have been discussed so many times that the more it is rehashed, the harder it is to break out of the rut of negativity.

I wish this wasn't so. I wish I was able to steer them in a different direction....off the path of destructiveness. I have used humour, logic and reasoning to dissuade the chatter, only to feel like I am the rudder on a toy boat trying to turn a freighter around.

I am ashamed to admit that I have participated, and perhaps even added fodder to the maligning. I stop part way through and say I am judging something that isn't mine. I correct what I should and keep quiet. My arsenal is large. I could barrage with injustice, misunderstanding and not being appreciated, as well as with pandering, patronizing and insensitivity. I choose not to.

Lest you think it is all noble; it isn't. I wish it were. The truth is I know it will go nowhere. To point out others' faults means that three fingers are pointed back at me. I notice that now. Each time I judge I am aware that this is something that is evident in my own life. Each time I feel superior enough to point out another's flaws, I will be humbled by the frequency and severity for which I myself am imperfect.

How we ventured into this sea of repugnance, I do not know. To find the cape that will lead us to calmer waters is what I strive for.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Everything is not as It Appears

It seems logical to say the above. One could be closer - as my side mirrors indicate. One could be further - as my heart indicates. We all recall our stories...some with facts...some with feelings. The intensity and truth of both are equal. I don't feel loved is not wrong. But, it is not true that I am not loved. I can feel fat while simultaneously not being fat. I can feel poor until I am compared against eighty percent of the world. Thoughts cannot really dictate reality, nor truth. Thoughts are fleeting. Everything is not as it appears. I need to remember this.
After I have spent time with them, I recall much that has been repressed and buried for years. Within an hour we have tried to find cell phones and glasses. Some could blame their age, but, in my family, I always remember looking for things. They leave to meet my brother while I call around to see if they were left somewhere along the way.

My daughter is listening to the conversation. She knew the who...and that when Grandma and Grandpa are visiting there will be a search for something. The blaming is hard to hear. "You must have moved them," equates to an accusation of intense emotion, as though there was some nefarious reason to hide the item. I am transported back to childhood when I wanted to make it all go away. I wanted to find the treasure and move on, instead of having the tension climax just before a sweater is moved to reveal the clandestine object, relieving the agony.

I may have found the glasses, we need to drive to find them....and I am okay with that. I am okay with the find...it is the loss that just seems to get so out of control.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I try to pretend I am not...but I know it is a full blown addiction. I plot and plan to get my stuff with lists, notes and emails to myself. Perhaps it was the lure of $4 off toilet paper this week. It could be that I am having a large family dinner....but it never seems to fail that my car heads for Costco with the intention of 4 or 5 things and translates later into several hundred dollars.

It could be the size of the packages lures me into thinking I will shop less. It also might be the thought that I might be missing out. The wool jackets are only there for a week, the yoga pants are $5 off for a few days...and tuna....I go through tuna by the case so the savings multiply with the number I throw in the cart that I have now had to go back and find, erroneously thinking I might have been able to carry my few items to the cashier.

I stuff my cupboards full to the brim, my husband tidying them after me. And then, one of my delightful charges says there is absolutely nothing to eat in our house. My mandate is set to go back and hunt and gather once again, the perpetual cycle of the ancient man and modern woman.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ivy Again

The thing about Ivy is she needs to be watched all the time. I thought I had pulled it all up, only to find a vine twisted surreptitiously around my hosta - choking out all life. When I followed the trail of the vine I could see there was a tiny hole in the weed barrier. Ivy are opportunists. One ray of sunshine or hope and they are back to thriving again. Had I not inspected the plants wilting leaves I might have been too late.

I would like the persistence of Ivy. I would like the tenaciousness - the don't give up attitude, even as some are trying to bring you down. I don't like the sneakiness of Ivy - nor the predatory nature. So, I have liberated the hosta and looked for any hint of green vines extending their tendrils throughout.

To think I saw a woman buying a flat at the garden store. I warned her. "One is more than enough," I offered. "It is for my rock garden, which is rather large," she replied. "I left my garden of quite a size untended with one lone vine last summer. My garden this summer was completely covered and creeping to the north side of the yard...over my diving board," I offered without exaggeration. She furrowed her brow and said, "They are only $1.49 so it isn't going to break my bank." Fair enough I thought....knowing that she will remember the conversation when she is trying to find a hint of a rock in the garden.

Most likely I ignore wisdom that would save me a lot of time weeding too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Clock Watcher

I had no idea that I was a clock watcher. And when I say that, I mean I reference the time a lot. Perhaps it is early dementia that I forget that I glanced a minute before, but I know I do it. I realized this after the battery of my analog clock was dead. The time was stuck on 3:45 and has remained there all week. The number of times that I have looked up, knowing I need to change the battery astounds me. I seem to have such patience with this right now. Normally it would drive me nuts. Normally the battery would have been changed right away, but for some reason I am in a different place right now. I am in a place that allows me to know that it needs changing and not do it. I am also in a place that continually looks at the clock for a cue to eat or prepare dinner, or pick someone up and even though I know it is wrong, habit makes me glance above the door for orientation.

So, I will now go change the battery, with the awareness that two hands and a face seem to provide me with more direction than I ever expected.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mom..Mom...Mom...MOM????

Have you ever wondered why mom's have a sense of radar similar to bats? We seem to be able to locate stray socks, deli mustard hidden in the depths of the fridge, transcripts from years ago....We are also called upon to remember everything. "Remember when I fell down and hurt my knee Mom?" I struggle to sound truthful....."Which time are you talking?" I ask for some kind of clue....."The time when we were playing tag and it was almost dark and.." I haven't the faintest recollection of this traumatic event but must quickly cover with placating sympathy. "Oh, you really did hurt yourself then.." seems to suffice for the moment.

We are called on to remember numbers...."Mom what is my Social Insurance Number......my medical number.....my student ID...my login.....?" "Mom what is the number to Translink....the bank......the gym?" Somehow, I expect they think there is a filing cabinet within this brain of mine. It is sorted and organized by frequency of use, name of child, date of last use. I sometimes need these clues....."Where did you see it last?" I might ask....or "Where did you use it last?" might be another.

Then there is all the information we are expected to know off the top of our heads. "Mom, how do I get rid of this stain?" "How do I wash the lining of a leather purse?" "My stomach is churning after I ate those lentils....should I take papaya enzyme with probiotics?" "Where did you get those mangoes....shampoo....sunscreen....?" or "How much were those mangoes...shampoo....sunscreen?" "How do I make that cake you made for my tenth birthday....last year....at Grandma's birthday?" "Where do you buy your vanilla....your quercetin.....your quinoa..?" "How do I cook quinoa.....steel cut oats....black beans?" "Do I need to soak quinoa? Wash quinoa?"

And so, after a days worth of questions that are not rhetorical, I am often asked....where would you like to ride....watch....walk, to which I have no answer. I have used up my quota. I possibly cannot seem to make a decision decisively after deliberating, recalling, explaining and then recanting or revising my response. I am not wishy washy...I am not swayed by popular opinion.....I am just tired of having all the answers!!