Sunday, July 2, 2017

Change of format

I'm thinking about adding a little extra to this blog - a monthly post of family friendly events happening in the Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadows. I'm hoping this new addition will:

  • Keep me posting more regularly
  • Attract new readers (tell your friends!)
  • Bring some light during the darker times
  • Did I mention I want to post more often?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this idea. Leave a comment on the post about what you'd like to see here.


















~ H

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Seven Year Itch

My husband and I have reached that next milestone in our lives - the one where some of your friends start, to borrow from Gwyneth Paltrow, consciously uncoupling. We're past the expensive years of engagement parties, booze-filled destination stags and stagettes, and weddings that are all pretty much the same (rustic, outdoorsy, nature - it's all the same fucking thing okay?); past the gender reveals, the baby showers and almost past the epic over-the-top 50 person first birthday party. It's okay, I did it too. You're among friends. 

And now we're here. People slowly starting to figure out their marriages aren't working, they aren't the same people anymore, they want different things. And it's freaking terrifying for those of us on the sidelines. We huddle together, shocked when we first hear of inklings of discontent. "Wow, I had no idea. They seemed so happy. We just had a dinner/vacation/celebration with them. I never thought it was that bad" And as a husband and wife you begin to look at one another, critically, wondering what is going on beneath the surface. Wondering if there's something he's not saying. Wondering if there's someone else she is talking to. Wondering, "could that be us?" Because you thought you were close, you thought you were the same as them. You thought you'd have your whole lives together, though maybe you'd drift apart if your kids played different sports. Or you might have a disagreement over where to go on a joint family vacation. But you never thought that this could happen. To them. To you. 

Mind you, it's not happening to you. But something is happening to you. You're wondering, 
"Would I let get that far? 
How would I know when to say something? 
Should I change? 
Should he change?
Do we need a change now, like a preemptive change?
Am I overthinking this? (The answer is always, unequivocally, yes for me on this one)"

And undoubtedly, you're laying blame on these friends, as a way of supporting yourself. Telling yourself that perhaps they didn't do this, or they should have done that. And aren't you a big person for recognizing that. Pat yourself on the back. You know that by doing this you're a terrible friend. But the idea of being a terrible friend is slightly more appealing that the dark notion that you can do all these things and they might not work. They might not "save the day". That at the end of it all, no counselling, date nights, moves, new job, no job, more babies, is going to save you. Some marriages can't be saved. You don't speak your vows in front of 150 people at your rustic wedding (sorry, I had to) with the idea that your marriage might be the one. The one that doesn't last. You can have no way of knowing that 5, 7, 10 years later, you'll look at that person and decide you don't want to married to them anymore. 

So if you can't know beforehand, and by the time you realize it, it might be too late as evidenced by your surrounding friends and family, you can't not be terrified when you hear from a friend they are having "marriage problems". 

You can't not wonder, "are we okay?" But you can grab the wheel, you can continue to drive the car you are in, even if your friends aren't driving the same way anymore. You can say to your spouse "I'm scared and I want to be okay."











~ H

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Race Day

Race day
I know. I haven't written in ages. No excuses. I just haven't written. Let's move on. Because today is RACE DAY!
For those of you who have not had a race day, I want to explain my process to you. Because race day is like the first day of school. Increased by 1,000. The night before race day, I am silent. Don't talk to me because I am busy processing every iota of what will be tomorrow. I am laying out my swimsuit, sports bra, bike shorts, shirt, and socks. I'm making my overnight oats, while muttering to myself "don't forget your earbuds, water bottle, goggles, swim cap, money, change of clothes, wait, did I make a water bottle? WHERE ARE MY EARBUDS?!?!" I'm walking myself through the race, wondering where I should put my stuff so I am out of the way but not too out of the way. I have a bath to calm down, but it's not as comfortable as I would like in our 1970's small tub. I try to read, but my thoughts drift to my transition plan (exiting the pool and heading for the bike, as well as getting off my bike and starting to swim). I go sleep, and usually, thankfully, sleep deeply until 5:55 a.m. I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m., stupidly thinking that I can sleep that long. Yeah right. The first twitch and I am up, itching to move and get going, like a child on Christmas morning. I try not to rush, since the race isn't for hours. But there's nothing left to do, for I have prepped the night before. Read the news? Good luck. My eyes reread the same words over and over. I move slowly, sip my tea, eat my oats. And I check the clock. Five minutes have passed.

Fuck.

I got to the bathroom, the first of many nervous pees. I pee all the time on race morning. There, I said it. ALL THE TIME. It's a bit ridiculous. I pack up my stuff. Double check my list. Earbuds. Check. Water bottle. Check. Wallet. Check. Flip flops. Check. Goggles. Check. Shoes pre-tied so I can slide them on during transition. Nope. Do it now. Put everything in the car. Load up my bike. Double check my stuff. Get in the car and go, because I'd rather be early to the race than kill time at home. 

Itchy. Pacing. Nervous.

When I drive to a race, two things happen. 
One - I listen to electronic dance music or rap so loud I cannot hear myself think. The whole way. I do this on purpose. Because of the second thing that always happens on race day. 
Two - I cry on race day. Every time. My emotions are running on overdrive, close to the surface, and I always cry driving to the race. Sometimes about something specific, sometimes just because. 

I get to the race and I'm early. Always. Like somehow I think the drive will take me three times as long, but it never does. And I get there and I wait. And I wait. And I wait. The nerves get better and then worse and then better. And then it's time to line up! I make nervous conversation with the people behind me in line, attempting to sound more experienced than I feel. My stomach bounces and my hands open, close, open, as I desperately just want this thing to start. 

As whistle goes and I quickly to the front of the line as more people get in the water and begin to swim, one by one. They all seem so much faster than me. Some people pass others, some people almost crash into one another and then, all of a sudden, it's my turn. Wait. I'm not ready. Oh wait. Yes I am. NO, WAIT! 

"3, 2, 1, go!" 
And I'm off.

The race itself is a blur. Mouthfuls of water when I need mouthfuls of air. A slow sticky transition. Dead legs. A burst of energy. 
And it's over.
That's it.
I wander around the finish area, looking for my family. Sometime races I find them, some races they can't make it.
I slowly start to ease back in the world of the non-racers. I drink my water, eat my orange and pull on my warm pants and flip flops.
It's over. 
I post pictures, give race recaps, perhaps finish a blog post ;) 
But, in the end, it's over.



~ H


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Those old ladies were right

The Babe starts Kindergarten next week. KINDERGARTEN! I started this blog when she was 6 weeks old and I thought I might be going insane so I decided to capture my 3 a.m. musings here. And now she is four and a half and heading to school next week.

And the old ladies were right.

You know those old ladies. The ones who come up to you in the grocery store or at the mall and smile at your baby and say, "cherish them because it goes so fast". Those ladies who you silently flip the invisible bird to as they walk away because they don't know. They don't know how it took everything for you to leave the house and go to grocery store. That you were halfway out the door when the first diaper explosion happened, and then halfway in the car when the crying started and your boobs began to leak and you had to feed, and another diaper explosion and you would have never left the house except that there was no milk for the coffee and you had used the last of the vanilla ice cream as creamer yesterday. They don't know, or else if they did, they wouldn't tell you to cherish it. They would know that you are just wishing he would sleep through the night, that she would walk already, that he would go potty by himself, that she would get her own damn glass of water. Cherish these moments of insanity? Yeah right lady.

Except they were right.

Because now she can get her own glass of water, go to the potty alone, pick out her own pyjamas and grab a snack from the fridge and she does it all in the silly little ways that I don't want her to stop. But I'm scared they will stop. I'm scared that she will go to school and I will lose her and who she is now. I will lose her silly sweet self to her peers and to her teacher and her librarian and I'm devastated that I wished it all away.

Because you can't know until you're here. Just like you couldn't know about having a baby until you had one. And now you know what those old ladies meant but it's too damned late. And I'm grasping at straws having dance parties in the living room and reading all the stories, but it's like waking up Saturday morning and mourning the loss of the weekend before it's even over. But you can see the end, you can feel it, creeping up the back of your throat when you give her a hug goodnight and a kiss.

Tell me your silly stories and yes, I want to go to the library with you. I will do anything to keep you this young right now. To freeze this moment and truly appreciate it. To really see you and not want you to be older, faster, more verbal, less clingy. To just be with you. Before you enter this new world and you perhaps become someone else, someone I don't recognize as well.

I want to stop time. So I can cherish you, because it really does go too damned fast.



 










~ H

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tonight they broke me

Tonight my kids broke me. And it took me awhile to put myself back together. It was a normal chaotic Friday night, nothing unusual other than the heat. We have central air (yes, I am an asshole but in my defence, it came with the house) so the heat generally doesn't bother us too much.

After spending the day at work, all I want to do is see my kids. For 10 minutes. And then I want to go back to work because no tiny humans yell at me there. And then I shake my head and engage and read them a story and laugh with them and remember that I want to be with my kids. For another 10 minutes. And then I want to hide in my room because they're yelling at me AS I AM GETTING READY TO TAKE THEM SWIMMING. A TREAT. FOR THEM.

So I tell them to fuck off.

Not really. Just in my head. Loudly. Emphasis on the "fah" and the "k".

And then we are swimming and laughing and playing with the garden hose in the yard and I think "this is what it's all about". But it has to end soon, because bedtime is nearing and I'm tired from a long week. So we head inside and then the real yelling begins. And the stories and snacks get revoked. And the yelling turns into screaming. And the jammies can't be decided on. And the screaming now includes tears.

So I break. I cannot function anymore. I go in my room. I close the door behind me. I lay face down on the bed. And I just stay there. Broken. Done.

And then I take a deep breathe. And another. And I put myself back together. And I go out there.

And tell them to fuck off. (Just kidding this time)

I give one a kiss, put her pyjamas on, make a bottle, and lay her down. Then I go to the other one, put on her now clean bedding, put her pyjamas on, take her to the bathroom, comb her hair, and send her to bed. I head back to the first one, tuck her in, sing her songs, and give her a kiss. Tell them both I love them. And close their doors.

And then I lay outside, on my deck, in the heat, with a drink, and a sigh. And I watch the sun set.

Because "the world breaks everyone and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway

Tonight they broke me

Tonight my kids broke me. And it took me awhile to put myself back together. It was a normal chaotic Friday night, nothing unusual other than the heat. We have central air (yes, I am an asshole but it came with the house) so the heat generally doesn't bother us too much.

After spending the day at work, all I want to do is see my kids. For 10 minutes. And then I want to go back to work because no tiny humans yell at me there. And then I shake my head and engage and read a story and laugh and remember that I want to be with my kids. For another 10 minutes. And then I want to hide in my room because they're yelling at me AS I AM GETTING READY TO TAKE THEM SWIMMING. A TREAT. FOR THEM.

So I tell them to fuck off.

Not really. Just in my head. Loudly. Emphasis on the "fah" and the "k".

And then we are swimming and laughing and playing with the garden hose in the yard and I think "this is what it's all about". But it has to end soon, because bedtime is nearing and I'm tired from a long week. So we head inside and then the real yelling begins. And the stories and snacks get revoked. And the yelling turns into screaming. And the jammies can't be decided on. And the screaming now includes tears.

So I break. I cannot function anymore. I go in my room. I close the door behind me. I lay face down on the bed. And I just stay there. Broken. Done.

And then I take a deep breathe. And another. And I put myself back together. And I go out there.

And tell them to fuck off. (Just kidding this time)

I give one a kiss, put her pyjamas on, make a bottle, and lay her down. Then I go to the other one, put on her now clean bedding, put her pyjamas on, take her to the bathroom, comb her hair, and send her to bed. I head back to the first one, tuck her in, sing her songs, and give her a kiss. Tell them both I love them. And close their doors.

And then I lay outside, on my deck, in the heat, with a drink, and a sigh. And I watch the sun set.

Because "the world breaks everyone and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway

Monday, July 18, 2016

Birthday cake blues

So I am sitting in my car right now, feeling like a failure. A slightly poorer failure, because I just paid $31.99 for an ice cream cake for Baby Macaroni's 2nd birthday. (And yes, after her birthday I will drop the Baby and just call her Macaroni for the purposes of this blog.)

I have spent all weekend agonizing over whether or not to make her a birthday cake. I have spent more time thinking about that than anything else. Should I make the cake? Do I have time to make the cake? Can I make a Sesame Street themed birthday cake? Is there time to get to Scoop & Save before my husband has to leave for softball? Should I bail on my running group to watch a tutorial on icing? What if I make an ice cream cake, like the one I saw on Facebook? If the cake isn't Sesame Street themed, is the party still a Sesame Street party. If? What? Why? How.

Seriously.

My husband so kindly reminded me of the horror that was our kitchen last year with t-minus 1 hour until her first birthday party. The icing I made the night before was still rock hard from the fridge, then the piping bag broke, then I started yelling. Pretty sure I cried. Really sure I said never again, and that next year I would buy a cake.

And here we are.

But everyone around me, related to me, friends on Facebook, strangers on Pinterest, seem to be making their kids cakes. So if they can do it, I should be able to right? I can bake. I love to bake. Tonight The Babe and I made the cupcakes for the daycare birthday party, which in case you are taking notes, comes before the family birthday dinner and way before the family birthday party. Thank goodness we're not at friend birthday party age yet, because you might have to pull me out of a dark corner somewhere.

I never thought I would be the type of person who measures her parenting against other people's. I pride myself on doing what is right for us, and who gives a rats ass what everyone else is doing. When everyone else was buying dolls for their kids, we bought The Babe a toy workbench. But I made the cupcakes at that party. Why is this cake tearing me up? What about that tradition has got me so mixed up inside?

I'd love to make this a longer post, but truth be told I'm in the thick of it right now. And my husband's Blizzard is beginning to melt :p



~ H