Did you know you are my hero?

My mom. She has always been my rock. My support. She doesn’t pull any punches with me, she never sugar coats it, the truth as she sees it is always laid bare for me to absorb. For me to learn from. When I was that horrid teenager I really did not care for her much and I made her life hell. Even in my twenties, we had a very rocky road. Now though, now we talk about everything and I realize just how many of her lessons I absorbed throughout my life.

As I have mentioned before my mom was the first and probably only woman on our block to be on her own in 1979. I remember when I was older she admitted to feeling guilt at leaving my father because some of the mothers of my friends would not let me play with my friends after that. But can you imagine how strong she had to be?

She left my dad, kept the house and began to raise not one, but two children. On her own. Without any help at all.

She learned how to drive a standard with my grandfather as her teacher. I am sure that I can imagine the conversation, the yelling that came from my grandfather, but she did it and got her license to boot.

She became the Nursing Unit Director of the psych unit at one of our hospitals. And than proceeded to work her way up and into career choices that to this day hold me in awe. She is so smart my mom. Anything she decided she wanted, she worked her ass off and got.

Her reward. The ability to retire at age fifty-five and move to Mexico. This was her dream and this she did at the end of 1999. I cried when she left. I cry every year that she leaves. I cry when she comes home. She is my mom, my best friend and I hate leaving her.

When I am with her, she gives me courage. She walks me through the plans to make my life happy. She steers me in the right direction and than wipes her hands clean and tells me that I am to get off my butt and just do it. JDI, her favorite three letters.

However, there is one thing my mom has given to me that I am failing to see in the younger generation that resides in the town I live in. I will not paint all those in this generation of 20-27 year olds with the same brush, but I see a lack of independence and cutting of the strings.

My mom, she never wanted me hanging onto her apron strings. She never wanted the bro to hang on. He just chose not to let go until she booted him out. Granted she probably did not want me to move out of the house at age eighteen but she allowed it. I mean how could she stop me?

I have stood on my own two feet forever it feels like. My mom fostered a strong sense of independence in me and a desire to do it on my own. I have some difficulty in asking for help because I should be able to do it on my own. My mom did how come I can’t?

I look at the dreams that I have. To write. There really is no other dream. I just want to write. Maybe make enough money so I could at least go down to Mexico to see my mom. Even if I do cry when I leave. (As an aside, every time I leave and I am sobbing, tears rolling down my cheeks, my middle aching with pain everyone is so concerned about me. And there is mom, assuring them that really I am fine, this is just me.)

I misinformed you. I have one other dream. My dream is that I will be a hero for my son the way my mom is my hero. We all imagine how our lives would be different if small things changed, but I know what I would be without my mom. I would be a selfish whiney girl child who blamed others for the misfortune in my life. I know this, I know she resided in me at one point and time. But mom drove her out as sure as if she was exorcising the devil.

She taught me to stand tall and firm in my beliefs. She taught me to have the strength to admit when I am wrong but to fight when I am right. She taught me to accept my weaknesses, embrace and learn from them. She did not teach me how to cook though, I can tell you that one! (Asked for the recipe for her banana bread and cookies and she could not remember either)

My mom, she has taught me all I need to know about being a strong independent woman. A woman who still needs her mom sometimes to reassure her all will be fine. A woman who has still crawled into her mother’s lap and cried her eyes out. My mom, she is awesome.

The Invisible Brake

I am sure that as every teenager passes into that realm of being a responsible adult by learning how to drive every last one of us….we have driven with our parents.

I am unsure if when a father teaches his daughter or son that the same things occur when a mother teaches the same children to drive. I will actually never know. My mom taught me how to drive. Kinda. I mean, because of her, I learned how to drive a standard. The rest of it, I learned in an automatic. Most cars I drove were automatics because well my mom did not trust me enough to let me drive her car.

When I was 14 we took a trip down to Texas. My mom allowed me to sit in the driver’s seat in a McDonald’s parking lot and practice shifting gears. Totally awesome right. I am one of those summer babies. So while all my friends hit their landmarks in school, I hit them all before the next school year started. (Try being the only 17 year old in your group of friends graduating, sober, boring and watching everyone else have a grand time) PSA Drinking does not lead one to have a good time. But in moderation and with good friends, it can enliven an evening and make for good memories.

So while all my friends were getting their driver’s license’s I was held back by my age restraint. And than the fact that the first time I went for my driver’s test, my brake lights did not work, second time I failed everything but the parallel parking aspect and third time is the charm. Got my license.

Alright, I have my license. Hey I even had a job. I was well on my way to becoming a responsible and active adult member of society. But mom, well mom had some issues.

The first time we drove together after I got my beginner’s was in the Kmart parking lot near our home. There was a lot of shouting. It was a Sunday. (This was before Sunday shopping was a thing, so the parking lot was empty.) I stalled a lot. Do you know, that really to shift gears is so easy, 20, 40, 60 and 80 and 100. Learned that from a boyfriend. Prob only good thing cause I don’t recall his name.

Mom yelled. I slammed on brakes. A lot. Not the invisible one. The real one. I stalled. She drove home.

Which leads me to this recollection.

One Friday evening mom is going out with the girl friends. I am going to babysit for one of them. Mom decides that I should drive from one end of the city to the other. Back in my day it would take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes depending on how I hit the lights. Today, it would take us close to an hour and a half.

Hyundai Pony. A blondish gold color. Very basic. Had the radio on to my station. Yes, mom allowed me to have my radio station on. She sat in the passenger seat which underneath the glove box had a shelf that held the interior warmer. This is an item that you have when you live in Manitoba. Β One plugs it in along side their regular block heater. This one though kinds takes the chill outta getting into a car in -40 degree celsisus weather.

The drive from home to the downtown area of Winnipeg is uneventful. It is twilight and I have made most of the lights so it has been clear sailing. Part of my route is a known route for it is the way we drive to my grandparents every week. Mom and me we are talking. Laughing. Having one of those really rare mother daughter (when she is a teenager) moments. Where all the animosity, the ‘you know nothing attitude’ the exasperation because well how do you understand a daughter who is nothing like you? That night mom and me, we were in a groove.

We are driving up Donald Avenue. This area is center downtown Winnipeg. It is a bus route. It is Friday night approximately 7ish in the evening. Traffic is enough to make mom a little nervous. So we are cruising along. I am doing all the right things. I am, for one, in the damn lane I need to be in. Two, I am watching all angles of traffic…..including the buses to the right of me. And yes, I am aware that the bus has it’s flasher on. Yes mother I am aware, I am watching.

Well mom had very little faith in my ability to gauge traffic. To this day she still grabs the door handle if she thinks I might be about to kill us all. First she says ‘Jay, watch out.’ I look at her and say nothing. (From the corner of my eye) ‘Jay-lyn do you see that bus?’ I glance at her and return my concentration to the road. Please note, the bus is 50 feet in front of me, edging out and I have already taken my foot off the gas because a) my depth perception is a little off and would rather be safe than sorry b) mom is starting to panic.

The bus swings out into my lane. There is more than enough room to spare. I am no where near crashing into and killing not only ourselves but the bus riders. Mom shrieks. I look at her in dismay. Radio is playing Bon Jovi. And mom slams on her invisible brake.

Her invisible brake? The shelf that held the interior warmer. She slammed her foot into that shelf like it was going to bring the car to a complete and utter halt. My head whips around and in a split second I gape at her than return my attention to the road. The bus soars off into the distance and four cars are able to slide into the gap.

I glide to a stop at the red light. And my head swivels to look at mom. Mom stares back at me. I cannot even ask the question. But I do. ‘Mom what do you not trust me?’

Mom looks at the the shelf. She looks at me. (and this is poetic license)

‘Onward Jeeves.’

**If memory serves I think there was a lot of giggling and accusations shouted in fun. I demanding to know if she didn’t trust my driving skills or what? And her defending her actions……’but that bus was soooooo close.’**

It only took a year……

T and me, we started this new journey of life a year ago this month. I upset his daily routine by moving from the home I shared with his father into an apartment. I upended his life by falling out of love with the man I thought I was destined to spend the rest of my life with. Shit happens. Wrong people marry and to carry on would have resulted in a child who would have had commitment problems as he aged. (Look at myself and the bro……children of divorce, father was a total louse and neither of us were/are interested in marriage.) So two years ago this upcoming October I told my ex that I no longer loved him and well……how could you not see the problems?

That is not what this is about. When T and me moved, I had my mattress (a king size that I still am not use to sleeping in alone. Am finally beginning to sleep all over but for the passed year I have still been sleeping in ‘my’ spot-makes it easy when I don’t want to fold clothes, they go on the other side ha ha ha) T had a mattress. I got my bed frame, a romantic piece of work. All curly curves and open and a light color!!!!!! My ex liked everything dark thus I am rebelling and everything I now have is a light color. (This includes my new clothing save for yoga pants and shorts. They are still black)

Let us fast forward through a year of trying desperately to get T to sleep in his own room. I have bribed him, I have cajoled him, yelled at him. There have always been excuses. The ‘moo moo’s’ have returned to live in his closet. (Imaginary scary animals that are not cows from when he was 3) The angry people living under his bed despite it being on the floor. It has been a disaster zone from day one.

I promised him that when I received some money this weekend that we would go to Ikea and finally get him a bed frame. Only problem is the money was suppose to be deposited into my account and instead they sent a cheque to my ex. (Long story short back pay for ex for last year’s CTC from government) so no money in my account. I was going to wait until next weekend but M finagled the truck from her son so I decided what the hell? The ex will give me my share next week and off we went.

As seen in the picture up above, T is pumped. This is the same bed frame that we looked at last year. Exactly the one that he wanted. It was 15% off. Done. And than we walked around Ikea. And I listened to T whine and mutter about how he was dying of thirst. No word of a lie, he followed behind me panting and pulling at his shirt like it was 600 degrees in there. I am pms’ing. I was ready to kill him. When I had to go and get the trolley to lay my large boxes on I told him to stay with M. And she knew so she kept him for me.

Got home and a friend came over to help me put the bed together as opposed to M and me doing it. And thank goodness I asked. I would still be attempting to put that bed together right now had he not. M would be cursing my name. Cursing T’s name. But sometimes I can be a little smarter. My bed frame, king size was so easy to put together, here I was assembling some bomb or something because oh my god!!!! The directions were so complex and really why is there nothing in writing? Why all pictures? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

As you can see though, T has his bed frame and loves it. Bed time last night and in he went no problems. And his room is clean. Today I am going to Rug Doctor his carpets and move his couch in there. Once I have a table for him, I will bring out the spare t.v. and hook the Playstation up for him so he can watch Netflix and Youtube. Despite the way I was feeling yesterday I am thrilled that T is happy. And it isn’t like I can’t use the newly purchased bed frame to milk a few chores out of him. ‘Cause that is just how this parent rolls. (LOL)

Parental Secret Society

T comes into the house. He has been with his dad for the last week. Immediately he zones into the empty pizza box on the counter. His head swivels around and he glares at me. I have broken some sacred law that exists when you are a single parent. Thou shalt not have any fun or take out when your child is away from you. Not sure who wrote the law but am certain that it was a child.

I can only buy my favorites when he is not home. Chips. Cheese. Cookies. For if I were to buy when he was home I would never get a taste.

Is your eyebrow raised? Are you doubting me? If you are a parent and skeptical, than I am pretty certain that your child has not yet reached the treat stage. They are like 2 and you can still control them. Wait until your child turns 3. You will never again be able to enjoy your favorite foods without hiding it from them. From your child. From your spouse or significant other. Hell, from your parents. Everyone will devour the snacks that you have bought for yourself.

You mock me right now.

So listen to this story.

It got a little busy at work this morning so I had to jump on till. One of our regulars comes through. She has two younger children who are with her, and a teenage child. As I scan through her items there are a few chocolate bars. I ask if she would like them for herself. Would she like to hide them? As a treat.

And she looks at me and bursts out laughing. She knows what I am talking about. Explains that the bars cannot go into the ‘school snack cupboard’ because she would never even see a morsel. Has to hide the chips too because if she does not, her husband will eat it all.

‘I like chips too,’ she tells me and I agree.

This is the parental secret society. It is not limited to women. Men are also involved in this group. Generally they are buying the donuts, one only and scarfing them down in the car. Licking their fingers clean before they even start the car/truck. No need to get the steering wheel sticky and give away the fact that……a donut was consumed, without your knowledge.

I have a week to eat my treats. And I have learned to toss out the evidence prior to T coming home. You all only have minutes. And I bet sneaking that wrapper into the garbage is going to become a skill you hone all so you can enjoy a single treat.

 

Evolution

It has become very apparent to me that I like being solitary. I enjoy my me time and making my own decisions. I like how I only need to consciously think of myself and T. I may be becoming a finer version of myself! Having said that there is nothing wrong with a little male company now and again, so long as they don’t stay too long. πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Of late I seem to have these wonderful insights within myself. There is usually a trigger but today as I sat sipping my coffee and checking my emails, I realized I like being alone. I can sit in silence, enjoying my coffee, stalking my friends on Facebook, playing games. Reading other blogs that I follow. It is not a busy day, I did all my housework yesterday as I wanted today to be just a simple day for me.

It is 2:18 p.m. and I am still in my bathrobe. So decadent. This must be what the life of luxury I have only read about, is all about. My home is clean so why not just have a day of me. That aside, let me get back to my thoughts about myself. After I wrote the above post I had the following conversation with a friend. (I will only post my half. He did think the line that they don’t stay too long was hilarious.)

“You know what I mean. Become clingy and whiney or don’t appreciate me. I am a damn good woman who has wants, desires and needs. I am not going to waste my time with someone who wants to mold me into their idea of me.

I learned a lot about myself in the last little while. Reflecting on who I have morphed into solely for the gratification of others. So they would not be uncomfortable with the woman that I am. I realized that I cannot be that person. That I need to be myself. True to myself. And I realized how lost I had become. How hidden the real me was. Much like when I was with my ex.”

Never mind that I am more creative when I am not dispensing so much energy on being the false me. My poetry is ever evolving and not always about me or my feelings. But about the scenes that I see in my mind. I find that I am finding my voice as I write my blogs and am able to see more within myself.

Insights that would be the word. And with each insight I evolve, and I grow. I am so far away from the woman that I was just one year ago as I stepped into my new life. And I am even further along than that woman of just a few weeks ago.

I am choosing to embrace life. I am choosing to embrace myself. All of me. The deep depressions, the empathy and caring spirit. The fact that I enjoy being happy. (What a weird concept, having to learn to enjoy being happy) My laughter is so much freer. I am learning about my own wants and desires. I am learning how to just be.

Forever evolving I hope to be, for stagnation I do not want to see.

 

 

 

 

Mother and Son 2…

Having a boy is hard. Not because well, I am a woman and do not understand the whole car and what not aspect. Not because I am watching him evolve, and girls are becoming more of a ‘thing’ in his life. T has a girl who is friend, not a girlfriend. Boys are just hard because I have to learn a whole new language and discard some of my ideas and proprieties. Case in point a conversation between K and T yesterday.

K to T: Do not waste your diamonds on a ho!

M: What is a ho? (Cause y’all know that is what she is thinking.)

K: You do not know what a ho is?!?! This is a ho! (Total exasperation because mom is such an idiot)

T: No that is a booty slapper! (Hint it is a shovel but he believes it sounds funnier calling it a booty slapper.)

M: Do you even know what a ho is?

K: (with a look of total disdain) you use it to hoe grass mom!

They were playing Minecraft. The conversations that we hear with these two boys often includes slang that we just are not sure which context it is being used in. I have also discovered this week that my child has a bit (okay a lot) of my sarcastic side comments. He though does not mutter them under his breath the way I do, he just blurts them right out there for everyone to hear and acknowledge.

M has been mulling over the possibility of getting herself a motorcycle. Not entirely sure why and when she announced it to the boys, they were flummoxed. Her point is that prior to their appearance, we both did have other lives. T’s response was to state “That is not going to end well.”

His babysitter has two daughters. Both older than T. He is like their little brother and it is different for them to have a little guy around. On Friday as everyone is in bathroom whether blow drying their hair or brushing teeth and hair, there is my child banging his balloon around asking someone to play with him. K (his sitter) slams it hard and it bounces out. T is dismayed until it is pointed out to him that it is right behind him. Than they are all getting ready for school. Well, T’s bag is already to go and he is leaning against the door waiting and waiting for the girls. K says to them to make sure that they have everything as she has an appointment and will not be home. T’s response “Yeah like that is going to happen.” Death was almost instantaneous from the laser eyes except for the wall between him and H. J just snorted because she knew he was right.

Lastly, Saturday after suppper, M and me are sitting talking. I am telling her how with my spending spree that I am into my overdraft. Not hugely, I can live with the amount over I am but still I just got paid lol. All gone. But the bills are all paid and the fridge and freezer are full. T is playing on the floor when he suddenly looks up at me, worry etched on his face. “Mom am I into my overdraft?”

There is never a quiet or dull moment in my household. T has so many things he wants to know, or has an opinion on. I love all of them. Because no matter what, he knows how to make me laugh. And I treasure the smart ass quality that appears every now and than as it reassures me that a small part of me is in there. It also means he listens when M and me mock others. Not sure if that is a good life lesson, but he would learn it anyway. As long as I teach him, he can be kind in his mockery and absolutely never ever mock the person to their face. Unless a close friend who gets you. M mocks me all the time and vise versa.

He makes me laugh

Of late, T has taken to talking to me more. Whether he is making mock of me, like when we started exercising and he poked me in the belly and said ‘mom you are getting fat too.’ My response was to blame the whole belly thing on him. It was because I carried him for 31 weeks that I am rounded out. He thought that was hilarious. Or when he lets out a really loud fart looks over at me and says ‘mom you might want to move.’ Two seconds before the aroma hits my nose and makes my eyes water.

Yesterday, I was ill. My head didn’t feel right and I was coughing nonstop. I ended up calling in sick and sleeping the whole day. T gets home and we need to run to the store for cat food and drugs so I am able to go to work today. ‘Mom, I have like a really good immune system. I never get sick when you and dad do.’ Now, I have no idea how ill his father has been but I have had a rough year with colds/flus. I look over at him sniffling away, only wanting to go to sleep and crankily tell him it really is all his fault. Him and his grubby little friends all covered in germs. With great disgust he looks over at me and informs me ‘mom my friends and I are not covered in germs. We are clean! We all take baths or showers.’ Not even sure what I can say to that.

On our way to get our hair cut this afternoon I ask the age old question every parent asks, what do you want for supper. T hems and haws and than announces pizza. I am skeptical of this choice because I was sure we had just had it. We finally determined that it was actually last Thursday that I broke down and bought it. T looks at me and states ‘mom if we had pizza the very next day, that would be to soon but it is all good, it is almost a full week later.’ Again how do you argue that?

I love that T is starting to talk to me. Our conversations are wacky and insightful. He doesn’t really believe that I know anything at all, so we tend to spend a lot of time arguing the facts until I pull out the all knowing Google and we google it. We giggle and we laugh, and we enjoy one another’s company during the time that we are together. He will go back to his dad on Sunday and I will miss a full week of laughter and conversations. Until he comes back.

For when he comes back to me, he has a week’s worth of adventures and pent up stories to tell me. He will instruct me and ask me to confirm or deny his facts. And he will most likely pull some numbers out of the air (like 50% of all men will go bald) and I will laugh and argue and giggle and help him to grow. I just hope that I have a few more years of these conversations, before he decides that I am just to uncool to talk to.