Posts tagged ‘family’

July 28th, 2010

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect, Mom!

What? It doesn’t have to be perfect? This is news to me. And while my twelve year-old Little Miss seems quite comfortable with this notion, it is one that I have yet to fully embrace. Over the past weekend I was twice, quite correctly, singled out as a “Perfectionist.” Who knew, after all this time, that I don’t have to be?  Bear with me while I tell my little tale. It goes like this…

Just last weekend, my husband, Little Miss and I were visiting family friends at their lovely lake-front summer home in the interior of B.C. Our hostess, an out-going, welcoming, vivacious blonde, with an eye for designer fashions but an easy, friendly nature that makes them seem irrelevant, had gone to a great deal of effort on our behalf. Among other obvious preparations, she had baked. When it became apparent that not all of it would be eaten right away, the simple task of wrapping the banana loaf for freezing fell to me.

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June 26th, 2010

My Journey to Contentment

“Cafe Americano?” I ordered, with more of a question than a statement, when the waiter tossed his long, deep-brown hair and turned his brooding Gaelic features in my direction. We, my mother, daughter, husband and I, were seated at a table at Chez Janou, a side-walk bistro in the Marais district of Paris, and I was suddenly filled with regret at my decision to drop French 101 in favour of yet another junior philosophy class. All around us people hustled down narrow, cobble stone streets, gesturing madly with a speed that was surpassed only by their speech, while the smell of French cuisine intoxicated our senses and our desire to just sit and people-watch intensified. In perfect Francaise, my Little Miss placed her order, beaming with pride at the french language skills she has acquired at such an early age, knowing that her ability in this regard will forever trump mine. The sky was grey and the breeze cool for June in Paris, but none of this mattered. I was with my family and we were in Europe, together. I was content.

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June 14th, 2010

The Mother Spider’s Reward

http://headacheandmigrainenews.com/news-images/the-spider-web.jpgThe sun was high in the June sky despite the early morning hour the day we saw it. It was perched precariously atop our car antenna and neither of us—my husband, my daughter nor I—was sure what it was. The consensus: Garbage. In the midst of grabbing a tissue to swipe it away, with my stomach in turmoil and my nose upturned, it moved. It was subtle at first but unmistakable, and the motion increased with the intensity of our stares. It was an egg sack. It was small and silken and perfectly shaped, and in the nascent stages of presenting to the world its swarming contents. As we stood transfixed, thousands of minuscule golden spiders wriggled their way free, crawling over each other in mayhem, uncertain as to what to do next with no mother near-by to guide their way. But quickly, like a scene from the ending of Charlotte’s Web, instinct trumped chaos and they departed, en masse, floating away on the ends of fine, glossy filaments to face the world alone.

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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.

•••

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 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.

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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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March 29th, 2010

The Phantom in the Other Room

I am lying awake in bed in the early hours of morning, my husband lost in dreams beside me while darkness shrouds the spring-time day soon to explode outside my window. I am sleepy-eyed and cozy and still in that blissful, transformed state that occurs only when you’ve just woken from a deep and restful sleep and the details of daily reality have yet to flood back into your consciousness to shock you stupid. That’s when I hear it. Like a phantom menace from my daughter’s bedroom emerge the sounds I have come to dread most: Cough-cough, sniffle-sniffle, cough, sniffle, cough-cough. “Please God, please,” I silently pray, “Please, don’t let her be sick again.”

My prayers fall on deaf ears. By the time I reach her bedroom the coughing is intense. Her child-cum-young-lady’s body is convulsing in rhythm to the spasms in her lungs, her cheeks, flushed and warm to the touch, and her face contorted in an expression that screams “Help me, Mom.” She is twelve. I am not new at this. I should be able to keep her healthy. I should be a better mother.

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March 28th, 2010

Getting to Know Me

For those of you just getting to know me, my life as a mother has not always been quite as straight-forward as it now seems. Rather than reinvent the wheel, or in this case re-write it, please read My Guilty Heart, which I published on HybridMom.com in January of 2010, to learn more:

My Guilty Heart

“Ooooooh,” the sales lady coos through her saccharine smile, her doe-eyes, heavily-lined with black eye-liner, glancing expectantly in my direction. It seems a new mother, adorned with all of the divine accoutréments of motherhood—stroller and diaper bag; sweet, milky smell and dark, sleepless eyes; beatific expression and brand new baby girl—is cruising blissfully amongst the aisles, and she has captured our attention. Suddenly the floor-to-ceiling rows of embroidered denim, vintage tee’s and Boho-chic dresses that just moments ago were the critical, final pieces to the puzzle of my new-fall-wardrobe, feel constricting and claustrophobic and there is a very real danger that I just might suffocate. read more »

March 23rd, 2010

Little Miss Posted Her Thoughts

My Little Miss Know It All has, for the first time, posted her thoughts.

To read her response to my March 23 post, Getting Started, click http://theknowitallmom.com/thoughts-from-little-miss-know-it-all/.