Archive for May, 2010

May 28th, 2010

The Things My Mother Told Me

In the time since I began writing, I haven’t once yet written about my mother. My mom is a private person; part of me wanted to respect that. But another part of me, the writer part, simply felt overwhelmed by the prospect. How do you summarize a mother in brief essay format? I let Mother’s Day slip by this year without one written word, choosing to let others more brave than I take up the mantle, and I wish that I hadn’t. It was this post, http://www.themomoirproject.com/?p=992, by Danielle Christopher, that inspired me to follow the Nike creed and Just Do It. I don’t want to wait until my mom is gone to say what should be said.

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The Things My Mother Told Me

My mother always told me, “Christie, be a lady.” My mother always asked, “Christie, is your room tidy?” And, when feeling a little over-taxed by the non-stop demands of her three busy children, my mother could occasionally be heard to exclaim, “Why don’t you stick a broom up my butt and I’ll sweep the floor while I’m at it!”

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May 26th, 2010

Expand the Harmonious

…or, Life Lessons from my 12 Year-Old

…or, Patience, Thy Name is Christie….NOT!

I am not a patient person. I know this about myself. Lately, I have been less patient than I care to admit. My husband is away every week; my work obligations are soaring; my Little Miss’ year-end school commitments and activities are peaking in a flurry of assignments, dress rehearsals, recitals and concerts; and a beloved family pet passed on after a sad week peppered with multiple trips to the vet. I am frazzled. Case in point: Me, at the end of last week, attempting to fulfill the school-day-mom routine I preform Monday through Friday, September through June, in order to get my Little Miss out the door on time.

It went like this:

Me: Please hurry.

LM: I’m hurrying.

5 minutes later…

Me: Are you ready? Are you hurrying?

LM: Yes Mom, I said I’m hurrying.

2 minutes later…

Me: Is your bed made? Have you finished breakfast? Where are your shoes? Are you watching the time? We only have 5 minutes!

LM: (With a heavy sigh for dramatic effect) No Mom. Not yet. On my feet. Yes. I know!

Me: (Not listening) You know you need to make your bed and we have to leave and you’re not hurrying!

LM: Mom…I-AM-HURRYING!

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May 21st, 2010

Sammy

Sammy and Mikey

Families are about more than people. My immediate family consists of my husband, our Little Miss, myself and our two pets: Felines, both, named Sammy and Mikey.

Yesterday we learned that Sammy is ill. I have suspected something was awry for a little while now, but after procrastinating for as long as my conscience would allow I finally acquiesced, accepted the inevitable, and took her to the vet. My fears were confirmed.

It’s hard to deal with the loss of a pet, but even harder to be the one to explain it to your child. Having to look Little Miss straight in the eyes and tell her that this is the last weekend that Sammy will be with us, that early next week her Dad and I will take Sammy to the vet for the very last time, was, well…soul sapping. At her age, Little Miss understands death, she gets the finality of it all. She knows that “being put to sleep” is a pleasant euphemism used to camouflage the true nature of the act it describes, which really has nothing at all to do with sleep. And so, with tears pooling in the corners of her dark, almond eyes, I wrapped my arms tightly around her and mustered up the strength to issue the following pearl of wisdom and comfort: “I know, Honey. It just sucks.”

I am not a crazy cat lady, really. I just like my cats. Sammy was mine for 15 years, my longest relationship as an adult. Through my first marriage, my step-child, the birth of my own child, my divorce, my current marriage, and all that has followed, there was always Sammy, purring her loud, diesel-engine purr; pawing at my shoulder to remind me to keep stroking her calico fur; and following me from room-to-room, day-after-day, year-after-year, a subtle reminder of her constancy. I will miss her.

May 18th, 2010

Divorce is a Four Letter Word

I wrote the following essay for the BC Council of Families. It was recently published in their magazine, Family Connections, in volume 14, issue 2, Spring 2010. I am reproducing it here, with their permission, because it’s the truth and because, right now, I can’t write anything better to capture my thoughts on divorce.

• • •

An intense rain drummed down from tumultuous, black clouds. My husband and I were arguing again, and it was ugly. His response was flight, mine fight, but he was winning. He quickly reached our garage, car keys in hand, desperate to escape from both storms. I vaguely recall the hum of the electronic garage door inching upwards, focused, as I was, on my desire to not let him go. I was not ready for my marriage to end. Frantic, and with my options limited, I positioned myself bodily between him, now in the driver’s seat of our running SUV, and his escape route. I staked my ground hoping that my stance could convince him of what my pleadings could not: that he needed to stay. A vengeful wind ripped through my hair, long, Medusa-like tentacles encircling my head with the fury of the night while the cold penetrated my clothing. I shivered. Our infant daughter, our Little Miss, was in my arms.

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May 13th, 2010

Reflections in My Bathroom Mirror

From iStock Photo

This morning, as we prepared for our morning walk to school, I stood side-by-side with my daughter at our bathroom vanity. She fiddled with her hair, brushed her teeth and applied (with some need for re-work) her mascara. There she was, unaware of the scrutiny from my side-ways gaze and completely un-self-conscious. I was struck. The mirror reflection that I saw—not the one directly in front of me, but the one two feet to my right—was of a ghost from days gone by. There I stood, a young girl replete with newness, fresh and un-jaded, innocent of what lay in wait: challenges to be conquered, dreams to come true and expectations left unfulfilled.

In an instant decades long, I saw it all: Her future, my past, our present life together. The face of the young woman she will be, vaguely veiled behind the features of the child slipping away. I suddenly longed for the days of bed-time stories, bath-time frolics and hand-holding as we crossed the street. Approaching her thirteenth birthday, she reads herself to sleep, would rather die than have me anywhere near her bath and has crossed the street on her own for quite some time, thank you very much.

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May 10th, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award!

I just received a Kreativ Blogger Award from tomatotots.blogspot.com. Awe shucks! I’d like to thank the Academy, the Associated Press, my agent…actually, I’d just like to thank Megan at Tomato Tots.

So, apparently this award comes with strings. There are rules I must comply with, lest I be stripped of my title like a wayward, beauty-pageant queen gone astray.

Here they are:

1. Post the award. Check.

2. Thank and mention the person who gave me the award.

Megan at tomatotots.blogspot.com, I thank you. Check.

3. Pass the award on to seven blogs who I think embody the spirit of the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Working on it. More on this later.

4. Name seven things about myself that others don’t know.

Really? I’m so out there, what’s not to know? But if I must…

Here goes: I don’t eat meat (beef, pork or lamb). I don’t eat dairy. I don’t eat wheat. (Uh oh, I’m starting to sound like my last post!)  I own over sixty pair of shoes, only three or four of which are flats. I was once killed in a very bad horror movie. I am a closet Miley Cyrus fan: Party in the U.S.A. has been my ring-tone (01 Party In the U.S.A.- give it a minute to load, sit back and enjoy). And Megan, just for you, (feminists, cover your eyes) I was once Miss Teen Calgary and actually possess my very own tiara! Jealous much? Check.

5. Notify my seven Bloggers about their award and post a link to their blog.

Will do. See #3 above.

May 10th, 2010

My Body Image, My Daughter

I eat too many pistachios. This is the thought that repeats in my head as I stand at my kitchen counter, stomach rumbling, mouth salivating, hand immersed deep within my pistachio jar. Again: I eat too many pistachios. I look at the brimming handful of delectable, bright green nuts that I am attempting to extract through the narrow opening of the jar and swallow in anticipation, wondering if I will successfully convince myself that the mass encased within my fingers is equivalent to ten nuts, roughly, maybe eleven, close enough. Why ten? Didn’t you know? Ten is the maximum number of pistachios we are supposed to eat within a 24 hour period. I read this once in a book on diet and exercise, something related to Pilate’s if I’m not mistaken, and if I read it, it must be true.

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May 3rd, 2010

“Vicious,” or “Good Girls Making Tough Choices”

On the weekend I went to a high school drama performance. It was written by the roughly 24 grade-nine and grade-ten students performing, all of whom were girls save for the four, brave boys who chose to stand in their midst. It was a series of vignettes, scenes derived from monologues written by the students and based on their real-life, early-teen-aged experiences. The students collectively chose to title their presentation “Vicious, a representation, according to the teacher, of their perception of themselves: The average 14 year-old girl.

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