Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trying to accept change...

I have never been good with change that is not part of my master plan. Oh, I have plans. I am known to most as an obsessive planner, running and re-running contingency plans, backups and what ifs, many times to my own detriment. So, when I plan or envision how I think something should turn out, it is very disappointing when these plans do not become a reality. It’s not really earth shattering if my weekend plans don’t work out but when you are envisioning a life for your children and things veer off into a danger zone, it can be devastating.

I had always hoped that my kids would graduate high school and I would get to see them accept their diploma in cap and gown. I always planned that I would help them financially at college or university so that they could have an amazing career and accomplish things I never did. I thought that teaching them the value of education by going back to school myself would give them a role-model to follow. I hoped that they would have inherited my love of learning and reading which might help them with pursuing their studies. But I didn’t count on some of my other characteristics being passed onto them that might get in the way of my hopes for them.

I am very independent and often challenge authority, traits that I realize I have passed onto my children – either genetically if possible or more likely, by them watching me. I am also very stubborn, often following a course of action that I set in anger or defiance. I see all these traits in my son and daughter; they are both head-strong, following their chosen course even though that course might end badly.

When my son left home over 4 years ago, I thought my heart would never mend. I took it personally that he left to pursue his dreams of becoming a musician. I was worried about the lifestyle of a musician, the rock star life filled with loose women, drugs and alcohol. My son turned down a path that I could not control; a path that was not in my carefully thought-out plans. And he struggled with little money, he took up habits that will take a powerful will to break and he got hurt and hurt others along the way. Our relationship suffered greatly during those 4 years, and I am to blame for my share how some of our conversations ended.

Now, my daughter has chosen to leave home to satisfy her own independent streak. She is months from high school graduation and has been accepted into a very difficult program at a local college. A program that accepts a few select students; it’s like winning the lottery really. I believe that she is rolling the dice with her future while I am sure she feels like she is trying to get some freedom. She wants to be on her own, making her own way through life. I still see her starting high school, in a brand new uniform, fresh faced getting on the bus. I worry that she is not ready for this change, not equipped to handle what life might throw at her. I wanted her to have a few more years in school, learning, growing and experiencing life without the pressures that living alone might bring. But since I don’t get to make her choices anymore, I have to accept the change in our lives and hope for the best.

I have to stop trying to force her to live the way I want her to, and learn to accept the life that she wants to live. It might mean struggle and some heart ache, but it will also be a lesson learned about which choices to make. As difficult as it is to set her free (and I don’t think that I was caging her), she is clear about what she wants and who she wants to be with. I don’t want to make the same mistakes with my daughter that I did with my son. I don’t want 4 years to pass because I feel that my choices are right and her choices are wrong. As much as I want to teach my children the best lessons in life, I also have to open my heart and mind to learn from them as well. I will give my daughter the space she needs but not close the door to my love, my support and my friendship. I will let her experience the life she wants to live and be there if she needs to talk. I don’t intend to become a doormat, taking abuse and demands for financial support. But I will be kind to her; I will show her love and compassion. As someone experienced in the life she is choosing, I know that she will need those in spades.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, I have always believed that. And recently my son has been doing much better. He has found a nice place to live; he is getting himself healthy and looking for a job. He might never be the doctor or lawyer that I envisioned (and that boy could work a closing argument!) but I have hope for the first time in 4 years, that he might be ok. He is not walking on the path that I hoped, but he is walking his path and I will support his decision to do that.

I hope that in time, my daughter will also find peace and fulfillment in her life. She is lost, looking for her place in life. She is testing boundaries, looking for answers and trying to experience life in hyper speed. While I may feel that she will regret her decision to leave high school, I will be there for her and will always be willing to help her get back on track.

Change is defined as the ability to transform or convert, to become different or altered, to pass gradually into. As my family dynamic changes, transforms into what it has always meant to be, I have to accept that my children have grown up. The acceptance of change in my life and in the lives of my children is vital to the success of our family. As my children begin lives of their own, I can begin to appreciate them as the young adults they are. I can appreciate my son with his wonderful sense of humour and generous heart and my daughter’s take-charge attitude and winning charm. I will miss my babies, my little children, even miss the teenage monsters they became later in life, but I know now that change could be what’s best for everyone. It might be hard to let go but this change in our lives could open the door to some new opportunities for all of us.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vent to cosmetic manufacturers...

Vent to Cosmetic Manufacturers…why oh why do you have to change your packaging every couple of months? I don’t understand. For years, I bought the same type of mascara – normal black mascara. It came in a red tube but I can’t remember the brand. I liked it, used it faithfully every day and every 3 months, tossed the tube and bought a new one like the experts advised. Then, suddenly, the packaging changed and I forget which company I purchase from. Was it Revlon, Cover Girl or Maybelline? I can’t be sure.

I have sensitive eyes…just the slightest hint of dust and I am rubbing them raw. I never used to worry about putting on my mascara – my old trusted brand worked like a charm. It went on easily; no clumping, no irritation and it lasted until I got home from work each night. If I happened to touch my eye, I didn’t get black splotches down my face.

Then one day, I foolishly tossed my tube of mascara into the trash without studying the tube. Oblivious to my stupidity, I made my way to the nearest cosmetics dept to pick up the makeup I needed. I looked high and low for my red tube of mascara, shiny; slightly hour glass shaped…where was it? I wandered back and forth along the different manufacturers…but nothing looked the same. Where was my red tube?

I asked the salesperson but she didn’t remember a red tube…come on! She said that most mascaras were the same so I should test a couple and then write down the name of the one I liked so I would not forget it. Really? That’s helpful. So…I caved in, bought a tube of something and within days, I was back trying to find another brand.

This went on for several months – I would get a new brand, try it for a few days, get tired of being the raccoon lady with mascara running down her face and throw it away. I have tried waterproof ones – that sticks around like a tattoo! I have tried ultra thick, ultra length, false lash length and not found one I could live with. Some formulas are like glue and when you rub your eyes; all your lashes come off too. I know we live in a world where choice is king…but does the packaging on these choices have to change too? I am all for progress but I also want to live in a world where I have eyelashes!

My husband, bless his ignorance, told me to stop buying the stuff, if it causes my eyes irritation, maybe I should not wear it at all. But he’s a man and doesn’t get it – now that I have less eyelashes, I need mascara even more. So, I will continue to test these new formulas hoping for the day when I find one I like. And yes…I will write down the name. Until then, I am the girl with no eyelashes, mascara blotches running down her face.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dec 4 - 21 days until Christmas

Dec 4 - 21 Days until Christmas

I love Sundays, especially Sunday mornings before anyone is awake.  I love that my house is clean, the errands are done and Sundays are my time.  Sundays are spent relaxing and getting ready for the busy week ahead.

Today, I spent my Sunday morning catching up on my web-shows, my Craft Channel and reading through all the blogs I follow.  I am taking a class through Jessica Sprague called Mouse Paper Scissors Give - and I needed to get my projects completed.  The first project in the class was a really cool subway art project.  We got to create our own subway art using Photoshop - the class came with videos and step by step instruction.  I had so much fun making my subway poster and I can see more projects using these techniques.

I love that I could personalize this with all the addresses that we have lived at, the names of the cities that we grew up in and our kids and pets' names.

I was also able to sneak out to do some Christmas shopping - for the Children's party next Saturday and for my family.  The stores were crowded but I was able to find almost all the items on my list.  Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment shopping trip.

I am all set for a busy work week ahead - meetings, reports due, a board dinner meeting, a trip to Toronto to shop for toys and a vacation day on Friday...ok, doesn't sound that tough really.

Happy Holidays and more tomorrow...

Dec 3 - 22 days until Christmas

Dec 3 - 22 days until Christmas

Saturdays tend to be the busiest day of our week.  We have early morning shopping / errands and afternoons spent cleaning, tidying and finishing up home improvement projects.  And every now and again, we get visitors!

Today, Mum, Geoff and Zena were coming for a visit.  The main purpose of the visit was to introduce our pups to each other, so we might get them together at Christmas.  Zena is a year old, playful, busy and has the sweetest personality.  Bailey is an older girl, but has been lonely for a playmate since Bandit passed away.  Bailey is shy, very timid around other dogs but not mean or aggressive.

The meeting went over pretty well.  We started out with a group walk and Geoff was even able to walk the two girls together until Bailey wriggled out of her leash and headed for home.  Zena loved the fenced in yard where she could run and Bailey was content to let her run alone.  Once inside the house, the girls were ok, Bailey preferring to stick close to Don, Tori or I and Zena found the puppy toy box!  She kept busy bringing out toys and we would decide if that particular toy was Zena-proof.  Zena has very powerful jaws and was able to snap balls into pieces with one chomp!  But it was nice to see the toys being played with - Bandit used to be the one to bring us toys - Bailey has a couple of favourites and the rest get ignored.  When we brought out some ice cubes for a treat (yes...our girls enjoy an ice cube), Zena was able to power through them on one bite.  Bailey opted for smaller bites, chipping away at her cube.  Zena finished half a tray while Bailey nibbled at one cube!

I love visiting with my Mum and Geoff.  My Mum and I can be in a room for the afternoon and never run out of conversation.  I wish we lived closer to them so I could see her more often.  Geoff is amazing with Tori and made more headway with her in 5 minutes that Don and I could make in a year.  He has a way of getting straight to the heart of the matter, getting her attention and making her see reason.  Today's discussion was about college and helping her zone in on what is important to her future.  I know that there will be more discussions, but Geoff helped to spring board us past weeks of attitude.

Not much holiday stuff...I hung some lights on the front window...but tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dec 2, 2011 - 23 days until Christmas

Dec 2, 2011 - 23 days until Christmas

For the past 5 years, I have the pleasure of organizing our Children's Christmas party at work.  I am very fortunate to work at a company that does so much for their employees and helping out at the kids party may be extra work during the holidays, but so worth it!  Just thinking of the kids' faces as they open their gifts propells me into the holiday spirit.

Today was planning on overdrive - the final numbers were due to our toy supplier, and a few last minute details needed to be finished.  I am all set to pick up the toys on Dec 7 - all that remains is one last shopping trip for refreshments and we are good to go!

After supper, we "decked" our halls - our living room got a Christmas make over.  I had to find new places for some of my favourite decorations because we replaced our old entertainment unit for the fireplace unit last New Years.  This meant giving up Christmas decoration real I am hanging a few less this year.  I will probably continue to add as the holiday progresses, I can't leave well enough alone!

I transformed my bookcase to showcase those ornaments that I can't live without.  I am still on the fence about a large tree...maybe closer to Christmas we will get one.  But for now...our tiny house is fine with our little 4 foot tree in the corner.

Lots to look forward to tomorrow - some Christmas shopping and a visit from Mum, Geoff and Zena!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Countdown to Christmas 2011

Countdown to Christmas 2011 - Dec 1/11

In the past few weeks, I have received email reminders and blog updates from my favourite scrappy sites urging me to prepare for Christmas, get mini-books and journals ready to document the season.  The holiday season will fly by in the blink of an eye and each year I vow that I will take a picture each day in December...and life gets in the way.

So...procrastination aside, I pledge to post each day documenting the joy of the season.  I have so many blessings in my life and I want to make sure that I show gratitude for these blessings.  In recent weeks, I have not felt the holiday spirit and not been as prepared for Christmas as I usually am by this time of the year.  But today, December 1, the holiday spirit came flooding back!

I came into work thinking that today would be a regular Thursday for me, no meetings, lots of catch up to do.  But I had a little holiday surprise waiting for me in my email - a reminder to send my holiday video from Santa.  If you have not tried the Portable North Pole, I urge you to give it a try.  You can find it here  I made a video for my brother, Brian and for my daughter, Tori and sent the link home so I can surprise others throughout the month.  It put me in such a holiday mood.  I even shared it with some of my colleagues, spreading the joy around!

The next surprise was waiting for me in our office lobby.  These little lovelies - Mini Melt Away them.  Don't worry, I was good - only indulged in a few - smuggled them back to my desk and took a couple minutes of reflection letting them melt on my tongue.  (I is not comfort...but they were so good!)  They are from Hickory Farms and you can only get them at that must mean the season is upon us!  Yummy!

The last little holiday perk came after work when I went to visit Dale at Fringe for my holiday hair pick-me-up.  I love getting my hair done because I get to spend time with Dale and he is a master with hair!  But more than that, he is such a great person and since I have been going to him for over 15 years, he know me and my crazy ways and our appointments are filled with laughter!  He is very supportive, always offers great advise and calls me on my denial!  Tonight it was my crazy "trailer park trash" dark I booked a follow up appt and will have beautiful holiday hair in no time.

I know my day doesn't seem overly exciting, but it put me in a holiday-state of mind and that's very exciting to me!

Happy Holidays and more tomorrow!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Apr 5 - 11

Young love in a cyber age...this is what's been on my mind this week. Watching T and her sweetie in their relationship, noticing the changes that time has made on young love and remembering some of the things that remain unchanged as time marched on.

I think back to when I was 16, and I was totally and completely in love. I remember what it felt like, and the urgency that surrounded everything that had to do with being in that relationship. I know that things have not changed that much, that the feelings are similar, and that I did as T does, planned my day around being next to the object of my affection, the rest of the world be damned. frustrating as it is for me as a parent, reminding her about homework, telling her to get off the phone, and supervising their time together, I really do understand what it is like to be in love.

Back in the the late 80's for example...if you were "going" with hung out at the mall, or the community centre. Sometimes with your boyfriend...sometimes with your friends, watching him. (Stalking in its form today was not really a big deal back then!) Maybe if you were fortunate, like me, you would sneak your friends into the house when your parents weren't home. You made a mixed tape for your crush, and you spent hours on the phone talking to him, and talking to your friends about him.

Technology has made some drastic changes...the internet has certainly made having a relationship different. Today kids sign onto MSN or Facebook and cyber-chat - without hearing a voice. Words have been replaced by letters inticating words - laugh out loud is now LOL - and physical connection has been replaced by web-cam. T spends her time with her boyfriend via the net...on web-cam. It's truly bizarre to me...she was sitting on the couch beside me, with her computer in front of her. I thought she was chatting online and surfing the net...only to find that the web-cam was on. Her boyfriend could see and hear everything going on in our living room...kinds creepy in a Big Brother is watching kind of way!

They actually spend hours joined together via web-cam...which would be fine if that was the only way they were joined. But surprisingly enough, we still have to watch the kids when they are together, as teen-age pregnancy and STD's are still as real as back in my teen years. I trust my kids and know that they are smart and very aware of the dangers that face them. I have been upfront and honest about the challenges that I faced in my decision to have children young, and I know that they are armed with the facts. And when they look this happy together...who can come between that?