TPM – new shoes


On Saturday I whisked my son away and took him to the mall to buy him some runners as his were falling apart.  I decided while I was there to look for a some new shoes for work, something sensible, black, that would match a variety of outfits.

This is what I came home with:

Best. Shoes. Ever.

And so, an ode to my beautiful new lime green shoes.

Blubells are blue,

My new shoes are green,

Sensibility be damned,

They’re the best that I’ve seen.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be a parent, and a mother. I have read a few blogs and articles here and there about people choosing to be parents, and people not having children and how it seems to separate us into these different categories of people. I am in my mid thirties, and I have equal number of friends with children, and friends without children. Friends who are married, and those who are still single. Some who are married with children, and some who are single parents. I find theses labels difficult.

First, let me say that I never “chose” to have my children (but I love them and wouldn’t change anything for the record). I was young (21) when I became pregnant with my son. I didn’t actively seek out parenthood. It fell in my lap. I did however choose to be his parent. A decision I did not make lightly, and a story that I am not ready to share yet. My daughter is my technically my step-daughter so I can say that I had NO part in the decisions leading to her birth. But I did choose to be her parent when I fell in love with her father (and her too). But I do not feel that that I “chose” my role as parent before these amazing human beings came into my life. It just was what needed to happen.

After my husband and I married we did “choose” to be parents again. When I became pregnant I was over the moon. Finally a pregnancy I was ready for. I was going to enjoy every minute of it! But it was not be. Our daughter had anencephaly and would not live. After her passing, we tried off and on for another five years with no pregnancy. When we decided to “choose”, the choice was not ours to make.

So when I hear people talking about the choices people have made surrounding children, and more specifically making moral judgments about people based on whether or not they have children, it gets my back up. Each story is different, each story just sort of falls into place, some people make choices and others have choices thrust upon them.

Would I have liked to have more children? I think so. But as my children get older and closer and closer to moving out of my house, I am looking forward to finally having some time alone with my husband. Something that we have never had. Does that make me selfish? Does that make me more selfish or less selfish than someone who “chose” to not have children? There are many days when I envy my childless friends, and their ability to fly off to warm tropical places for all inclusive holidays. But there are also days when I envy friends who have 5 or 6 children and their house is filled with laughter.

Running parallel to this train of thought for me, are some thoughts on how I view myself and who I am. When it comes to writing bios, the first thing that I often write is “mother”. I have been rethinking this. Not that I am not proud of being a mother, I suppose that I am, but I don’t know if I want that to define who I am, just as I am sure, that someone who does not have children wants to be defined as “not-mother”. Especially now that my youngest has turned 14, my time spent “parenting” is really quite low compared to the time I spend say, surfing the internet. I definitely do not put “internet junkie” as the first thing in my bio even though it tends to take up just as much of my time! But it IS conflicting because it does consume so much of who I am and what I do. I share stories of my children with the families I work with. It creates a common thread. So being a parent is an important part of who I am, but it not the only part of who I am.

What are your thoughts? Are you a parent? How big a role does it play in who you are and how you describe yourself? Are you child-free and how does that impact how others view you?

Posted in up on my soapbox | 3 Comments


Fourteen years ago I held him in the hospital, looking down as his beautiful face asleep on my chest.  I held him with my cheek against the top of his head and felt his pulse.  I never wanted to put him down.  I wanted to hold him close to me forever.  It was a bittersweet time.  Fourteen years ago, he was still “baby” because I hadn’t decided on a name yet.  To decide on a name was the beginning of letting go.

But I did let go, and then pulled him close again, and then let him go, and pulled him close.  But isn’t that what parenting is all about?  My baby boy turned 14 this Sunday, and is now taller than me.  In some ways he is still very much that little baby I held against my chest.  He is tender and vulnerable, the gentle shape of his face remains the same.  And yet at the same time I struck by the young man he has become.  He is bright, funny, kind and he makes me smile.

I have never felt sad on those landmark days, like the first day of school, or first trip away from me.  I know that he can do whatever he sets his mind to.  I know my belief in him has led to his belief in himself.  I know that each step he takes on his own makes him stronger.  But most of all, I know that letting him go inevitably leads to pulling him close again.

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My Apologies…

Two of the most common words to leave my mouth are “I’m sorry.”  I say it a lot.  I believe that there are two kinds of sorry: the apologetic and the empathetic.  The apologetic is for when you feel responsible for whatever you are apologizing for.  The second is when you feel badly for some misfortune that happened to someone and you want to express that.  Like “I’m sorry your dog died”.  This doesn’t mean that I feel responsible for your dog’s death, but rather I recognize that this is a generally crappy thing that happened to you and you must be in a great deal of emotional pain, and I feel badly that you are sad.

I am quick to apologize for hurting people’s feelings, even if maybe I was in the right.  It is who I am, and I am okay with that.  At the other extreme is my daughter, who rarely apologizes.  I can count on one hand how many times she has apologized for things that she has done. 

I also work with many children who have behaviour challenges, and one of first things that happens when children engage in an undesirable behaviour is an adult forces them to apologize.  I have huge issues with that.  I don’t believe that apologies should be made without the understanding of what “sorry” means.  I worry that apologizing becomes a practice of shaming and punishment, and that the real reasons why we apologize disappear.

Instead I would rather teach children empathy.  If I see a child hurt another child’s feelings I would much rather display that empathy.  For example:  a child takes another child’s toy and throws it across the room.  I would apologize to the other child “I’m sorry about that, you must be really sad that your toy is gone, let me help you”.  Instead of giving negative attention to child who through the toy by getting angry, use the opportunity to teach empathy and problem solving.  Not only does “sorry” not become a punishment, but social skills and play skills can be developed.

Anyway, I’ll get down off my soapbox again.  Thanks for listening.

Sorry if I wasted your time…

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TPM – open letter


An update from last Monday’s ode to the brick:  That evening my husband went out and purchased me a shiny “new-to-me” 2008 Nissan Versa.  It is cute and zippy, and I was thrilled.  Plus I didn’t pay for it, so that is even better. 

My pretty new car.

I insured and registered it on Wednesday.  On Thursday morning Calgary was hit by another spring snow storm.  Less than 13 hours after registering my car, I was rear-ended while stopped waiting to turn left.  I was 5 blocks from my house.   And so I bring you this: an open letter to guy who hit my new car

The last turn to drop of my son, stopped.

I urge the pedestrian to pick up the pace.


Were you texting?

Adjusting the stereo?

And now my missing bumper

Reminds me of your impact.

My poor bumper, 13 hours after registering my new car.

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A short story.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived with her one true love, and their two teenage children.  Each day she went to her job where she surfed the interenet and wrote blog posts worked diligently.  She was good at her job, and she was a good mother.  But little did her co-workers know, she had a secret power.  A power that few truly appreciated, but yet had saved her family on numerous occassions.

She always knew where everything was. 

It is true, you non-believers.  If her husband put down his keys, she could tell him where they were.  If her daughter was looking for her favourite pair of skinny jeans, she knew which laundry bin to look in.  When her son was searching for the mustard in the fridge, she could tell him that it was behind the yogurt, next to the leftover salad.  Her family did not understand how she could possibly be so wise.

Not only did she know where things were, but she also was able to memorize the personal schedules of all who resided in her house.  She knew when her son was out, what days her husband worked late, and when her daughter had musical rehearsals.  She knew how to schedule time surrounding their one bathroom.  And she did all this without breaking a sweat. 

But what would happened when she was not there?  Her family had come to rely on her super powers.  They counted on her to keep them on time and to find their crap.  A time would come when she would not be there, when she grew tired of there neediness was kidnapped by evildoers.  How would they survive? 

The answer is clear she must pass on her powers to them.  She must share her talents with her family so that they can share the good with the world.  But are they capable? Can they live up to these lofty expectations?  Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the family who could not take care of themselves…

Posted in just for fun | 3 Comments

TPM – please don’t die

I am afraid that my astro van, which I lovingly refer to as “the flying brick”, may not be long for this world.  It isn’t anything I can pinpoint, but it has close to 300, 000 km on it and I might be pushing my luck.  Which wouldn’t be such a big deal if I wasn’t driving to Regina this weekend for a Taekwon Do tournament for my son.  So my husband has been diligently looking for a reliable, affordable, and efficient used car for me, so far to no avail.  He has a couple to go and look at tonight, so I am crossing my fingers.   So here is a haiku, dedicated to my old van, as a tribute and prayer that it will get me home tonight.

Large, white, box on wheels

You eat my gas too quickly,

Please, please take me home.

Posted in terrible poetry | Tagged | 2 Comments