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Graduation Day!!

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Today was a day of mixed emotions…..the youngest of my four kids graduated from High School today.

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Invitation

Before the ceremony

Before the ceremony

It’s been a long road since my oldest started grade one 22 years ago so while it was a big day for Erika it was an even bigger one for me. Today marked the end of an era. The days of making lunches every morning….because I didn’t feel like making them at night, are long gone…..HAPPY :). Each of my kids liked something different in their sandwich, and of course they were in love with peanut butter but because of nut allergies in the schools I had to get creative and come up with something else they might eat. Creativity first thing in the morning did not always turn out so well, but they all lived. 🙂

Buying school supplies every fall, always was and still is one of my favorite things to do. It gets expensive for four kids but I have always loved looking through all the new accessories, especially when I went to school (a million years ago). Picking out that perfect pencil-case and buying all the pens, pencils and erasers that right after the first day of school were never again seen inside that pencil-case or were anywhere else to be found when needed for homework. Buying the math set every year that also never had all the pieces in it by the time they came to that section in their math classes (which is why I needed to buy a new one for them each year….I have never figured out where all those pieces go). And of course the greatest purchase ever…..the mandatory agenda that the schools insisted every child needed in order to stay organized all year and to be used for communication between teacher and parent…..which never had a single piece of information written in it and by the end of the year if they even still knew where it was still looked brand new. No more shopping for the indoor and outdoor shoes that was necessary for elementary school. Ahhhhh, what will I do with all that money that I will no longer be spending on school supplies?

I know every parent loves getting that phone call from the school in the middle of the day saying that your child doesn’t feel good and maybe you should come and pick him/her up. Ok so what I want to know is if they are projectile vomiting? or do they have a headache? or do they have a test in the afternoon that they just don’t want to write so they want to go home? I think I know my kids pretty well so if I could see them I would know if they were really sick or not but once I got permission to take the afternoon off from work to go pick up said sick child and I got to the school, even if they weren’t really sick I take them home anyway because it’s just not worth the effort of explaining to the teacher that my kid is not that sick and should just stick it out and maybe write the test they didn’t study for. Once I was away from work why not just enjoy the rest of the day.

Filling out the endless forms on the first day of school was also one of my favorite things to do…..not. Every year the school sent the same “personal information” form to be filled out for each kid in the family, claiming that the information in it would be kept on file. If that was the case then why did I have to rewrite the exact same information each year?  Their names and birth dates and heath card numbers didn’t change from year to year, granted other information might have changed, address, phone number….parents’ names etc. Oh those pages of forms, such a delight.

There are some things I will miss about my kids going to school…..I can’t actually think of a single solitary one right at the moment but come September I’m sure I will think of something.

This day also marks the end of minor sports and school sports. Again there is a huge financial saving to be had, but what will my husband and I do with all that spare time? The days when all four kids were playing sports and had to be at four different fields at the same time and trying to juggle drop offs and pick-ups with only one car to do it in took some ingenious planning and every once in a while it meant a child was forgotten at a soccer field….on purpose? No of course not. And do you really feel all that bad about it when you finally remember that you still have a child sitting in the dark waiting for you when you get there only to find she is sitting with a teammate whose parent’s also forgot to pick her up? No of course not, that’s when you tell your child that at least we didn’t forget you for as long as “her” parent’s did. 🙂

Today’s Graduation Ceremony was a happy but sad occasion. This is the first of my parent’s grandchildren, and the only one of my children to graduate that my Dad was not here for. My mom is here to see her granddaughter graduate and we are delighted that she could be here but I for one am noticing the empty place in the photos. When we moved from New Brunswick to Ontario, Erika had just turned 5 and whenever she talked to her Papa on the phone he would tell her how nice the bow/ribbon was that she had in her hair. It would always make her laugh because she didn’t actually have anything in her hair (it probably wasn’t even brushed) but it was one of those silly things that remain a memory years later. I like to think that if he was here today to see her graduate he would comment on the non-existent bow in her hair.

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Erika with her Nan

As I said today was a day of mixed emotions…..pride, joy, and happiness, watching my baby girl graduate but sadness that my dad was not here to take part in the day with us and to give Erika the words of wisdom that he gave to the rest of his grand-kids on their Graduation Day.

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So proud of our girl

Congratulations to my baby girl on her big day, so proud of you!!! Well done E! Well done!

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The High School Grad!!

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Vacation …..Day 3

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Well vacation day 3 got off to a great start. At 4:00am the dog barked, the kind of bark you think you might hear if someone is trying to break into your house in the middle of the night…..then the bathroom light snapped on, and then……the puking began.

It would seem that whatever Erika put into her system at the wedding last night was not agreeing with her. So being the good mom I am, I lay in bed listening for the throwing up to end, thinking to myself how glad I am that she made it to the bathroom in time. After a while I heard her go downstairs and start rummaging around so I figured she was getting herself a puke bucket to take back to bed with her. Ahhhh, I have trained my kids well, they are rarely sick to their stomach’s but when they are they know enough to get themselves a bucket in case they can’t make it to the bathroom in time for the next onslaught of vomiting. It was a proud moment for me….but short lived.

So now the light is on in the spare room….I was still lying in bed and I asked Erika what she was looking for in the spare room. She told me she wasn’t looking for anything; she was going to sleep in there. Now I was thinking why would she need to sleep in there? It is closer to the bathroom but only by a couple of steps. This room wouldn’t be cooler than hers since both rooms face the back of the house, so I doubt the spare room window would be getting more breeze than hers would. So I asked her why she was now sleeping in there. Her answer?…….So matter of factly? I can’t sleep in my room; there is puke all over in there. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I’m out of bed now!! In my head I’m thinking, “You are 17 years old, you don’t just throw up and then just leave it there and go sleep somewhere else and expect the puke fairy to arrive overnight and clean up the mess for you.” I guess I shouldn’t feel so smug after all about having trained my kids so well to know what to do when they are sick.

Just to make it clear, I am not a cleaner upper of puke and never have been. I’m grateful that I had 4 kids that rarely got sick and needed my help with the clean-up. However when they were I was next to useless.

When I was pregnant with my daughter Shana, my son Ryan was 3 years old. He was sleeping in my bed one night and in the morning he sat up in bed and threw up the baked beans he had eaten at my parents house the night before. Ok, so not to be gross (not true, I am totally being gross here) but baked beans look the same coming up as going down. I was never a fan of baked beans but became even less of a fan after this episode. I remember trying to get my poor little boy out of his little jammies and cleaned up but honestly, every time I touched him to try to get his shirt unbuttoned I had to run to the bathroom myself. I finally had to call my mom (shameful, I know) to come and help me get him cleaned up so I could get myself ready for work.  The other sick time that stands out in my mind (another shameful experience for me) was when our 16-year-old niece Amanda was babysitting for us, Ryan would have been about 8 years old at the time. When we got home Amanda told me that Ryan had been sick but he seemed fine and was back in bed. I apologized to her that she had to deal with that but she said it was fine, no big deal. I of course couldn’t imagine anyone thinking that dealing with a sick kid was no big deal. Well sure enough as we were sitting there talking Ryan came running out of his room to the bathroom to be sick again. Amanda asked me if I wanted her to go in there with him to make sure he was ok and of course I told her no, not to be silly, I’m his mother of course I can take care of him while he is sick. I walked into that bathroom, took one look at him throwing up and practically body checked him out of the way so I could have the toilet to throw up in. What a great mom… embarrassing. Now I had to tell Amanda I changed my mind, I couldn’t deal with it and I needed the 16-year-old kid to take care of it. I think I won Mom of The Year Award that night too (I have won Mom of The Year Award a few times over the years.) So that is a small glimpse into the history of me dealing with pukers…..not so good.

So there I was last night, attempting to clean up the puke from Erika’s floor. It really didn’t go so well and when my husband heard me gagging he asked if I was going to be ok and I assured him that I was not. Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? When he got up to take over the clean- up he was definitely my knight in shining armour. 🙂 Once everything was cleaned up and we were talking about it he told me he was going to let me do it but once he heard me gagging he decided that if he had to clean up after both of us that would have been even worse.

We finally got to bed around 5:00am only to have to let the dogs out about an hour later. I wasn’t ready to stay up at that hour so I sent them back to bed and didn’t get up again until after 9:00am.

Day 3 has certainly started out as a good one.  I’m hoping to spend the better part of this day sitting out on my back deck reading my book….maybe even sneaking a nap in there somewhere too.

 

Words From A New Dad-To-Be……

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My cousin is going to be a dad for the first time and they just found out that they are having a boy. This was his Facebook status yesterday:

“What an overwhelming feeling of life and responsibility for someone more important than me…..love my little man so much already. It’s not about me anymore..and I thank God for that …a much needed relief..and a reason to be here.” A.H.

If all dad’s felt his way about their born or unborn children I think our world would be a better place for sure.

Dad’s, do your kids and yourself a favour…….love them, and always be there for them no matter what.

Congratulations to A & A!!

Living Alone…..

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What would it be like to live alone? I sometimes think about this when I think about people who do live alone. Every once in a while I think how nice it would be to just be responsible for myself….but what would I actually do with no family and no pets around?

I realized today, because I was thinking about it, that I have actually never lived alone. When I was born I lived in the hospital for the first few days with all the other little babies, then I came home and lived with my parents and siblings and pets….obviously. When I went to College I lived with my sister and roommate, and then with my Aunt and Uncle and their children and their dog. After College I moved back home and lived with my parents again until I got married and then my husband and I lived together. It wasn’t long until the kids and pets came along and even after we separated I still had my children and my pets to live with. After our divorce I got remarried so today I live with my husband and two of my children and two dogs. I have never lived alone. 🙂

So I gave this living alone thing some thought because I often hear people who have families say they just wish they could be alone…..I’m not sure they really mean it. I think living alone would get boring fast at least for me. I would probably adjust but in the beginning I think it would be a bit like this…..

If I lived alone I would get up in the morning to my alarm clock and not to my husband waking me or my dogs whining to go out…..it would be very quiet. I would get up and start getting ready for the day. I would probably listen to music instead of the news while getting ready for work which means I would no longer know what’s going on in the world around me. Once I was ready for work, I would walk out of my house alone and say good-bye to nobody, no kids and no dogs to wish a good day to (and have to remember to lock the door). The drive to work would be quiet as the only conversation would be me talking to the radio….and I would hope nobody in the lane beside me noticed me talking out loud to nobody else in the car.

After work I would drive home alone (and have to dig out my own house key and not wait for my husband to unlock the door for me) and walk into an empty quiet house to be greeted by no one…..not even a wagging tail. The house of course would not be any messier than it was when I left because there would be no kids there to dirty dishes or leave their coats and back packs lying around, and no dog fur all over the carpet to have to vacuum up. I’m sure I would turn on the TV to make some sound in the quiet house and then I would decide what to have for dinner, alone. I could have whatever I wanted because I would only have to please myself  but how much fun would it be to cook for myself everyday and eat alone, most likely in front of the TV. I think I would probably become a couch potato and watch whatever was on TV whether I liked it or not because not only would I have control of the remote (once I figured out how to use it) but I would have no motivation to get up and do anything. No kids needing to go to their sports, no pups needing to be walked, no piles of laundry to do since it would be just my clothes. It would be just me and my TV in my too quiet house. I’m pretty sure I would go to bed early….yes even earlier than the 10:00pm I go to bed at now, and I would become a sleeper. I’m a pretty sleepy person now so with no reason to stay up or get up early I imagine my bed and I would become very close friends.

I’m sure that people that do live alone are adjusted to it and are not couch potatoes like I assume I would become. I’m sure they fill their days and evenings, but I have decided that living alone is not for me so I hope I never have to…an hour or two here and there would be fine but I appreciate sharing my space with my husband, my kids and my pets.

Bring on the chaos, the mess, the disorganization, the planning and preparing meals, and the running the roads, because I think it’s gotta be better than the alternative. 🙂

Grandmas…….

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Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.  ~Ruth Goode

Almost everyone I know that is my age-ish (give or take a year or two) is a grandma. Almost all of my friends from back home have at least one grandchild and some have many.

That’s what I’m looking forward to……the day one of my kids announces to me that I am going to be a grandma…….don’t worry, it hasn’t happened yet, and to the best of my knowledge is not happening anytime soon. None of my children are married yet, and I would rather have daughters-in-law and sons-in-law before having grandchildren. I’m not trying to rush anyone into anything just dropping subtle hints…..hint, hint. 🙂

This is how I see me as a Grandma one day.

My husband has been saying for years now that he is looking forward to having grandchildren…..(I have just recently developed the desire to be a grandparent). I think it’s different for him because my youngest child was already 5 years old when we got married. He never had the opportunity to raise babies. I however, raised 4 babies and was just working on getting them all grown up and able to take care of them selves. I wasn’t thinking about more babies, not even in the grand baby form. My youngest child is soon going to be 17, and my oldest 27, so now I’m thinking about it (not from my soon to be 17-year-old though, please and thank you).

This will be my kids reaction to me as a Grandma.....

I think that when I get the opportunity to be a grandma it will be one of the most exciting adventures of my life. Seeing the babies that are an extension of my own kids…..getting to babysit and let the grandkids do whatever they want (within reason), let them eat dessert before meals, play with them and teach them all the things grandmas teach their grandbabies (all the things my mom did with my kids)…….and then send them home with their Mommy’s and Daddy’s. 🙂

A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.  ~Lois Wyse

Yes I will want to wear the "Proud Grandma" shirt

Life can only be better with grandkids……but I will patiently impatiently wait for my turn……

Change much?……….

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I was browsing through some of my pictures and came across these two of my mom and dad. I think these might be my all time favourite pictures of them……

The first picture was taken on their Wedding Day in 1958, and the second was taken at the Toronto Airport after a visit with me and my family a couple of years ago.

My parent

My Parents in the Toronto Airport.....waiting for their flight back to N.B. 🙂

My parents will be celebrating 53 years of marriage on August 16th….big round of applause for that!!! I must say the most remarkable thing about my parents marriage…..(as a kid growing up)…..is that I never heard them fight or argue….it always just seemed that they were happy with each other and worked together on everything.

I can remember going to my friend’s homes as a kid and their parents would sometimes get into a little argument over something or other and I was always afraid that they were going to get divorced because they were “fighting”……it never occurred to me that parents sometimes disagree on things because the example I had at home was of complete and total harmony between the mom and dad. I am sure they must have had their disagreements, but if they did they never had them where I could hear it.

I appreciate the example that my parents set for me and try to follow it in my own marriage but I will admit that from time to time, although seldom…..my husband and I do have our own little disagreements. (I’m generally right though, it just takes him a while sometimes to see that.)  🙂

As you can see in the two pictures of my parents, which were taken 50 years apart, they are both still looking as happy as they did on the day they were married!! Apart from a few pounds, a couple of wrinkles here and there, some gray hair, maybe a little balding, 4 kids and 10 grandkids later……nothing has really changed!!

I LOVE my MOM and DAD!!