T’s turning 9

My little boy is turning 9 on Monday, August 7th. (Just in case anyone is so lost in the summer that they are not quite sure of the date he he he) This is going to be a hard one for me as he is with his dad so I will not be seeing him. I lied. I just text his dad(at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning) to ask him to rearrange plans so that I could at least see T and give him a hug and kiss.

T is not so little any more. He was born two months premature. Due October 4th and decided to arrive on August 7, 2008. We were building the ex’s shop and joke that T wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I was scared.

When I found out I was pregnant.

Bear in mind I was 35 not 25.

It is a kinda funny story how it all started. At work I had been complaining that my boobs were killing me. Everyone joked that I was pregnant. I scoffed. We had been trying for 5 years, were in the final process for adoption (where they did home visit etc.) but damn when my 3 lb cat stepped on me I nearly killed her they hurt so much. Clue number 1.

I could not understand why I could no longer drink coffee. I wanted it. I would pour my cup and set it down. Take a sip or two and than allow it to grow cold. I love my coffee. There is life in my coffee. And niceness. And civility. Should have been clue number 2.

It was our first new long weekend in February. For non-Canadians, the government decided that it was too long for workers to go from January to March/April without having a long weekend. So in February we have Family Day or as in Manitoba, the province I live in, Louis Riel Day. A long weekend. My ex decided to go snowmobiling. I was excited to have Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday to myself.

Got home from work and set the groceries down on the floor to be put away. When I heard the first growl I snapped around. Oh shit! Odin my cross Great Pyrenees x Collie x St. Bernard and Nero my Rotti were about to go head to head. And I was on my own. I screamed and yelled. I threw a heater trying desperately to get them to stop fighting.

I had Odin on the porch and was kicking at him. Kicking him, hurting him, something I swore to never do. I had a hold of Nero. Almost had the door to the porch nearly closed when Nero surged forward bursting into the room. Now I am in the porch, desperate to pull these two dogs, who combined, weighed 200 lbs to my petite 115 lb frame, apart. They are snarling, saliva is spraying and I am screaming and yanking at them.

Nero hit the stand up tool box that we kept on the porch. Sockets rained down. I was trying to get the door open, because despite the fact it killed me, I needed to get them outside so the fight could end naturally. My socks were wet from the cream that someone had bitten and it had flowed all over the kitchen floor. I was not aware of this. I stepped on a socket and down I went. Hard.

Oh boy. Now I was mad. To top it off, as I stuck my hand out for balance, I managed to stick it in Nero’s mouth as he was in mid-bite. By the time that my brain even registered that I had been bitten, he had already let go and was looking at me. My anger and frustration, fear and tears turned to rage in that moment. Rage that my damn dogs wanted to fight. Rage that I was alone dealing with this. Rage that I had been bitten! I slammed open the door leading outside and screamed at them to get out.

Stood at the kitchen sink washing the wound while screaming out the window for them to stop. The entire fight lasted no more than 2 minutes, 3 tops. It felt like an eternity to me. I got Odin in the house, put Nero on the porch and looked at my hand. Yep, pierced right through fat and oh my god is that bone????????

Called my girlfriend up and she and her boyfriend left the restaurant they were at before they even got their meal, to come and get me. Hospital here I come. They could not believe my lack of fear and stoicism as my hand was cleaned and bound. Heavy duty meds to counter any infection and I was sent home. With a doctor’s note, I was now off work for the week. (As an aside my hand blew up to 3x’s its size and I could not move it the next day, or the day after that.)

Up until this point my periods had been every 28 days without fail. So when I skipped the Sunday after that fight, I put it down to stress. By Wednesday, I was concerned and I purchased a home pregnancy test. Took it and began to clean the house. Completely forgot about the test for an hour. An hour people!!!! When I did remember in I went in to be presented with 2 double pink lines. The first thing I breathed was ‘Holy Fuck man, I cannot do this.’

Called the ex. Called the doctor for a second opinion. They told me to come in as soon as I could pee again. I drank two bottles of water and off I went. I was scared as shit. I had lost my daughter when I was five months pregnant with her. There has never been any answers for me as to why that happened. This was 15 years prior. I was in shock.

T was an extremely laid back baby in the womb. Rarely moved, when he did it was in response to my drinking a Coke (which I had stopped drinking years ago, switching to Pepsi, but he liked Coke. Or I had eaten a chocolate bar) Or when Patches the cat draped herself over my tummy and purred away. He liked that. He was not a fan of anything with processed sugar so I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.

From day 1 I knew he was going to be a boy. Everyone warned me that saying he was a boy meant that I was having a girl. But I knew. There were a lot of differences between this pregnancy and my daughter’s. However, he had a strong heartbeat, when he chose to kick me they were good strong kicks. Yet still I worried.

Tuesday August 5th, 2008. I worked a normal day. Except I knew that something was off because I barely ate. Got home, made supper which I again barely ate and flaked out on the couch. I was exhausted. Could not keep my eyes open. Something was not right. The ex came in and I told him this as I was preparing for bed at 8 p.m.

Got up at 10:50 p.m. to go to the bathroom. Made it to the bedroom doorway when it happened. My water broke. Now I was terrified. I still had 2 months to go. And it just kept coming. An incredible sense of calm broke over me as my ex panicked. I dressed although by the time I got to the hospital my sweats were soaked.

At emerg I was asked if I was okay to walk down to admissions. My eyebrow shot up. Away I went only to be sent back to emerg 2 minutes later with papers in hand. The hospital is not outfitted for premature births so I was going to be sent to Winnipeg, if in fact my water had broken and I had not just peed myself.

That is right folks. The nurse on duty asked me if I was sure that my water had broken and I had just not peed myself. (Mom I love you and know you have mad nursing skills but I nearly decked this woman). Off I was sent to pee in bottle because well all pregnant women have to pee in little bottles for months and months.

Then came the test to ensure that my water had broken. This one a little more invasive and potentially could lead to infection. And they lost the first one. So I had to allow more invasions only to be told what I had already told them. My waters had broken. Ex was sent home to get me clothes to change into. Thank god I had my book with me. Although truth be told, I would read the same page over and over again.

I was fucking scared. T had been pretty quiet. I was set up on an i.v. drip to, I don’t even remember. I had no one to call. I mean yeah, I could have called mom or the bro. Truth be told, I wanted, I needed a girlfriend who would come running, hold my hand and tell me everything would be totally fine.  My ex was not really helpful in the face of an emergency so there I was deep breathing, trying to control my anxiety and wait.

I was taken by ambulance to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. By 5 p.m. Wednesday August 6th I was dilating and having contractions. Mom got a speeding ticket as she rushed to my side. My bro and SIL came to offer me encouragement. The ex’s mother showed up and wished she could go into the delivery room with me. Also made it all about her. The drugs were wonderful though. No epidural for this girl. No Morphine. They gave me Fentanyl which could be given right up until I went into the delivery room as it did not affect T. Epidural, I was pretty far along in my contractions because I had back labor, might not have worked. So why try?

Again my labor was fairly easy. My contractions were five minutes apart. Lasted a minute. The worst two I had, when T moved into the birth canal and his head popped out. When his head came out I was ready to quit until told all I needed to do were little pushes. Waved my hand at the doctor and informed him ‘I could so do that.’

I had been warned not to worry if T did not cry when he arrived. His heartbeat had been strong throughout labor. But when my little guy arrived and they laid him on my belly, he squalled and screamed. Tears filled my eyes as I reached down and said ‘Welcome to the world baby.’ And he grabbed my thumb and squeezed. 16.5″ long and 3.15 lbs. Six weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and then he came home.

Flash forward nine years later. To look at him you would never know that he was premature. There have been no delays in his development.  He is smart as a whip. Funny with a sense of humor that rivals mine. (He also has a dirty little mind that I am working very hard to ignore) His sarcasm is coming to a fine point. And I am sure that by next year he will be as tall as me, if not taller.

And on Monday, August 7/17 my baby is going to be 9. OMG I just realized that next year he will be a tween!!!!! Will I keep my hair?

 

 

 

This will not be an annual thing……

So the muses of my mind have been a little silent. With so much going on within the last week and the need to organize everything I can before I am on holidays next week, they are either taking a siesta or have gone on a vacation of their own. I am missing them a lot and wish that they would return from wherever they have gone but in the meantime I will do my best using my own voice to fill y’all in.

Last week between mom being here for a visit and T finishing off school it was hectic. It was also a long weekend here in Canada. However, our work week runs Sunday through Saturday so my stat was during the week, not this passed Monday which everyone else had off. I was at work for 6 a.m. And when asked if I enjoyed my weekend off I smiled sweetly because truth be told, it was already my weekend off as I had T.

Thursday afternoon I returned mom to the city. Via a massive amount of construction. I sailed through my confidence level good despite the fact I was driving in the city, in two lanes surrounded by angry people and pylons. We made amazing time. Hit every green light until mom stated the obvious. And jinxed us. After that I made every yellow light.

While turning onto Taylor to head to Grant (yes I know those who do not reside in Manitoba will not really understand but that is what google maps are for :)) this jerk decided he was going to try to pull across two lanes of roadway, cutting me off. He figured he was old and deserved it, I figured he was rude and could wait. I won, he called me a nasty name as I stared at him and I smiled. Again pure win on my part. That than lead to a discussion between mom and myself as to why her generation feels so entitled. As though the rules no longer applied to them. Mom was horrified to discover that this is a thing as well as flabbergasted that some many of her generation have become rude and arrogant.

Dropped mom off at my uncle’s with the promise that we would see her Saturday morning up at the lake. Until I returned home and mom started texting. It seemed that my aunt and uncle could not decide what time they were planning on leaving for the lake Friday. Mom was going crazy (like me she likes a time line of when and where and how) so it was decided that after work Friday T and me would drive to Winnipeg, pick mom up and head off to Matlock Beach for the weekend.

(Side bar: Thursday night as I was making supper, T and me are talking. I was making mashed potatoes and the fork I had used to fluff them was covered in white, steaming butter covered potatoes so I stuck the fork in my mouth, tines down to lick it off. The fork got stuck in my mouth, caught behind my bottom eyeteeth. I was frantic. I tugged and could feel my teeth sorta move so I stopped. Visions flashed before my eyes of me having to go to the hospital emergency to have a fork removed from my mouth. I would have sat there for hours while nurses made fun of me behind their charts. I eventually wiggled it free and will never ever do that again. Tines up from now on)

Friday mom wants us to leave by 2 p.m. I did not walk out the door of work until 2 p.m. I also was unable to head home at lunch to get anything ready so when T and me got home I was flying around the house. Dishes had to be done. Garbage taken out. Pack clothing for two days and whatever toys T wanted. T is meandering around the house. I am nattering away about clothes and move your butt when T announces ‘mom the more you rush me the slower I am going to go. And I will forget stuff.’ Grrrrrrrr the logic of 8 year olds.

Finally we left. And I was directed to take a different route to my uncle’s. One that would avoid construction. One that took me via a complex maze of streets, four lane highways, merging and the need to find side streets to drive down. Needless to say, it did not work out well. My anxiety ramped right up. I ended up in the wrong lane and I had to turn. Slight detour. Finally, despite having made a wrong turn again I reassured T I knew where we were and not to worry. I also discovered that unless it involved Minecraft or Scrap Mechanic his skill for detail and remembering pertinent info is still unformed.

Fast forward ahead and we arrived at the lake safely and soundly. T was excited. Mom used me as a mule and I schlepped things in, helped to unpack and than poured a glass of wine. I felt the week’s stresses melt slowly away and I was looking forward to a nice weekend at the lake. Maybe the weather gods would be nice and actually provide us with beautiful weather for the weekend. (They did not the lousy jerks until I was reminded that they required sacrifice, mainly bare skin for the oogling……not when the temperature is only 15 with wind and clouds it isn’t. The weather gods and me just did not see eye to eye although I did show a little leg for their amusement.)

T had an awesome weekend. His friend from last year was out. They spent Friday evening and all day Saturday and evening playing. Still trying to figure out what they found to talk about because neither one stopped once. They created plays and played war games. Who knew that sticks could be the source of great amusement?

Sunday rolls around and we have to leave around 12:30. Sitting on the deck with mom while T and his friend KJ (to differentiate from K) ran around playing. Which is when they spied the pieces from the Ladder Golf game and asked if they could play. Which lead to me having to put it back together. Missing pieces. Small pieces jammed into three way pipe and nigh on immovable. I groused. Mom insisted.

I sat on the ground looking at the pieces. Mom went in and Youtubed a video. Wanted to take all the pieces inside to put together. I glared at her. I swore. I told her as I sat on the damp morning grass that she should just let me be, I would get it. I swore some more, stared at her over the top of my glasses and stated the obvious: ‘If some dumbass takes this apart this year, it is going into the fire next year!’

Took me about fifteen minutes to get the two pieces together. T and KJ began their game while mom and me went back to our crossword puzzles. Me still grumbling under my breath that she had best not expect me to make this an annual thing. I would not be putting it together again next year. (I may buy some compound cement and glue it all together mwahahahahhahahahahahaha)

And than the weekend came to an end. T and me had to leave as his dad was picking him up at 4 p.m. After he text me to ensure that this was his week to have T and what time was he to pick him up at. I sorta stared at that text for a moment or two trying to process how someone would need to be reminded of their week with their child but hey……..

This week has been busy busy busy. I am working to get everything done at work. I have been working out 1 hour and 15 minutes every other day. I have cut all the bad stuff out of my diet, wine, tobacco (7 months for that one!!!) and am working very hard to become healthier and stronger. My energy level is up (as proven by my body’s desire to be up at 6 a.m. today despite being able to sleep in) and my dreams are beginning to return. (Not dreams as in things I want to do but those fun and wacky images that run rampant at night.)

Next week is holidays and apparently the weather gods are suppose to be being kind. Hot and sunny. If they are really kind I may even get into the bathing suit and go swimming in the lake with T. But only if they are really kind.

It is summer time…..

Not entirely sure who is more excited for summer. Me, T or mom? Me, I love basking in the sun. Lying on the lounger, reading, getting a tan. T, easy enough, there is no school. Mom because she is home and gets to see her grandchildren and children.

Last year was the first year that my ex and me were in different homes. Which lead to a lot of behavioural issues with T as he tested boundaries, came to grips with the different lifestyle he now had to embrace. And mom got to witness the issues which lead her to have some rather distant feelings towards her grandson.

I understand. My own grandmother and me had a relationship that did not warm until I was an adult. Why? Because mom shared a lot with her, just as I share a lot with mom. This leads to judgements because this is their child that they want to protect. And also it bugged(s) the hell out of them to see disrespect being served to their children.

This year is different. Mom again came out and spent a few days with us. During school. So she walked to meet T after school, went to his school picnic. The two of them were able to spend one on one time together and T is a very different child than he was last year.

For myself, I am more confident than I was a year ago. Between learning how to stand on my own two feet and growing into most aspects of my life, the confidence oozes out of me. I think it may be a little disconcerting for some, but since going back onto my meds and just embracing the joy of life, I am evolving into the woman I always imagined that I would be.

Which leads me to the summer break. And the desire to spend more time up at the beach with mom and T. Actually, just the desire to spend more time with the two of them, and to watch a relationship evolve between the two that I thought might not happen.

I am very close with mom. So when she and T had their differences (okay he was a little brat and mom was frustrated with his behaviour and I really was no help) it hurt me. I want them to share the type of relationship that I had with my amma when I was little, with my grandfather as a teenager and young adult and with my grandma as I became an adult. It is not anything that I can force because than the closeness was not there.

But this year. This year it is. I am watching a relationship unfold that is going to benefit both mom and T. There are no words to describe the relationship I had with my three grandparents. Each one of them treated me differently and I learned so much from them. I loved each and every one of them differently and to this day (amma died when I was 10, grandpa when I was 21 and grandma when I was 39) I still tell T stories about all three of them. Today on the way home from the city T and me, we had a great conversation about gg-my grandma, his great grandma.

There has been laughter, cheers and the two of them have started an Uno contest. I am sure it will last all summer long. So the reason that I am not sure who is more excited has to do with this fragile new relationship that is forming before my eyes. I saw mom’s eyes gleam with excitment as she told me not once but several times how different T was. I witnessed how T reacted to mom, cleaning up (his bedroom folks is walkable!!!!!) no arguing and he wanted to be with her.

As for me, well I am excited to take a week’s holiday in July. I am so excited to see mom and T talking and being together. And they are funny. This is an example (I chortled and chortled about this):

A gentleman rides by us on his bike. I had to remind mom to move over on the path. Tember watches him go by and looks at me.

‘Mom, he has man boobs.’ he whispers kinda loudly.

‘They are suppose to have bells to let us know they are coming,’ mom sighs.

‘You call them bells?’ T is very confused. (at this point I began chortling)

Both mom and T were a little confused. But they got it worked out. And I giggled.

So maybe, truth be told, I am looking forward to this summer more than mom and T. They might be looking forward to spending time together. I am looking forward to the conversations, actions and weirdness that is going to come from our spending time together. There are going to be a lot of funny blogs/ideas that come out from this.

 

A Mother’s Guilt

“Mom! Mom!” I bolted upright from a dead sleep sure that some new crisis had arisen. “What buddy?” I groggily call back trying to find my glasses. “I am all cured. No stomach ache, no headache!” “That is great buddy, but it is only 7 a.m. go back to sleep!” June 3/17 @ 6:55 a.m. 

This is my week with T. My heart. My soul. I watched him cry and sob as his head throbbed and his tummy hurt. I felt as though that pain would cleave me in two. I could do nothing to help him.

After our doctor appointment on Wednesday I text my boss to let him know that T was down and out for the next two days. I was in a way hoping that he would tell me that I should take the time and be with my son. For it is my week and he is ill on my watch. The offer was not made so I had to take my ex up on his offer to watch T for me. He felt that he ‘owed’ me.

Thursday morning he arrived to pick T up. T was still asleep when he got here. I woke him up and he stumbled up the stairs. Whimpering a little at the pain but a trooper still. I worked at 5:30 this morning so again asked what the plan was. Which is when I found out that T was not going to be home until today when I got off at 2. I walked down the stairs, my heart breaking in two and I cried.

Nothing mattered to me. I went to work, and thank goodness it was quiet. I spent my day tidying my desk and getting all my paperwork caught up that I had been neglecting for the longest time. Got organized. Do not need my boss to put down that the thing I need to work on is maintaining a clean desk. (In an aside, I have read that a messy desk is the sign of an intelligence person so who am I to argue?)

I text my ex. I tried calling. I could not get through. My heart begins to race. T never gets sick like this. The last time he was this sick was at about a year and a half, and we were in hospital for three days while he had pneumonia. I was scared sick, than feeling that I had failed him as a mother.

My evening was relatively quiet as I sat here. I text the ex a couple of times. I asked that T call me. I waited. And than he did. In tears. Telling me that his tummy hurt. Asking me why I had to go to work and could not come and get him. I tried to be so strong. I told him how great he was doing because he had not asked for Advil since 6:30 a.m. and it was 9:30 p.m. I asked how the pain was. Had he eaten? I could hear his fear. I told him I loved him and could I please speak to his dad?

I burst into tears when my ex got on the phone. I demanded to know what he was doing to help T. I was livid because I could tell that he had been drinking. His dad came out. It was a party. (Yes there is some lingering anger issues here) He tried to tell me it was all good. The I did not need to be there, he was. And I said to him “That is not what this is about. I am his mother. That I cannot be there to hold him, to help him kills me. When we get off the phone you go inside and you cuddle him. Promise me!”

He promised. I think he was chastened. I was sobbing. My baby needed me and yet I could not be there for him.

Do I not trust my ex to do the right thing? Not at all. However, I felt that he did not quite see how extreme this was. Our son is never sick. Sniffles, flu, but down and out? Never.

This morning I lasted until 9 a.m. before I text to see how T was. And was told he had not eaten. That he had puked. And I freaked. This was an escalation, not a getting better. Now I am panicking. I made an appointment with the Quick Care Clinic because, well, I am a mom and I jump to insane conclusions when my normally healthy child is so ill.

On Wednesday I got everything done before 8 a.m. Today, I was done by 7:30. I do what I have to do. But that is not where my heart is. I argue with my phone when I received messages that are not about T. I tried calling my ex and finally shot him a message saying that his house line was screwed and to please let me know what was going on with my son.

When I showed up at 2:30 to pick up T he did not come out to greet me. I was concerned. Asked the ex where is he? In the house.  I went in and he is laying on the couch his head covered and I look at the ex and say ‘He is still sleeping??????’ T pops up and looks at me. ‘Hi mom.’

Than he stood up. Oh dear lord, really? The pants he wore were six inches above his ankles. I looked at the ex and went really? What the hell are those? T bursts into tears and falls on couch covering himself with his blanket. I rush to him and apologize, brushing his tears away.

I tell him we will stop at home and change before the appointment at the Quick Care Clinic. That is when he tells me he does not want to go. His dad and I cajoled and he agreed. We walk outside and he trips falling head over heels. This has not been a good week for my baby.

His head is aching a little and as we drive along I try to hold his hand. He is not in the mood. Still a little weepy. When suddenly he announces that he is starving. I look at him and ask what he has eaten today? Nothing. We drive along and I tell him he has a choice. How is he feeling? Does he want to see the Nurse Practitioner? T tells me that he is feeling better. He is hungry.

I ask again what he would like for supper? He says to me you mean lunch right mom? Okay buddy what do you want? McDonald’s mom. I am really hungry.

I stared at him. The good mom is already nattering away, ‘Jay don’t you dare. He has not had anything substantial to eat in 72 hours. That is not the way to go.’ Mom who is experiencing reality and relief ‘Jay let the boy have whatever he wants so long as he eats it.’ T did ask for milk with his happy meal and drank it all. As well as eating everything.

As I sit here typing this, he is curled up in his bed, eating half a freezie watching Youtube. He was cracking jokes and making fun of me earlier so I know that he is on the upswing.

T is my life. Nothing and no body matters more to me than he does. That I could not be there for him each and every day that he was ill, when he required his mother to hold him and cuddle him, rips my heart asunder. The stress and fear that I felt because he was not in my presence, where I could ensure his well being, was crippling.

T is my life. He is my heart. He is my soul. He is my inspiration. He is the reason why I want to achieve and be a better person. And he is the only boy (man) who has the ability to rip the heart from my chest. And I will love him forever.

 

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.

Would you jump too?

When I was a little girl and well let’s face it right up until the time that I moved out of the house, I did not get all the things I wanted. Cabbage Patch Kid phase, I was the only kid on the block without one. One of my friends had two and I was green with jealousy. I cannot quite recall the other things I wanted in life that all my other friends had but what I can tell you is my mother’s comment on all these passing phases. (And yes I realize that having a Cabbage Patch Kid now would earn me some serious cash but alas, I am missing out. Thanks a lot mom.)

My mother was a single mom in a time era where divorce was still frowned upon. But that is a subject for another story. Here we are discussing her absolute disdain for popular phases and my desire to follow them. (Just remembered another one, in grade 7 it was Melissa Jeans with a white stripe down the side. Finally got them as they were on the down swing. And the pair I had were defective. The zipper refused to stay up. I walked around half the day with my zipper down, showing off my scarlet granny panties for everyone to see before one of my friends alerted me.)

Our conversations would always start off the same. ‘Mom I really really need a Cabbage Patch Kid.’ ‘Jay, it is really close to Christmas just wait until Santa comes.’ So I was excited. Ten years old and although I knew Santa was my mom, I had expectations. I wrote a letter I believe to Santa. And than came Christmas. There was no Cabbage Patch Doll under the tree. What on earth! Santa always got me at least one of my asked for gifts on my list. Why had he forsaken me?

Now every smart child knows that the time to ask for a much needed item is not during the holiday season. So I waited. And waited. My Amma passed away just before Christmas that year and in January I was struck with (as the doctor put it) good old fashioned Scarlet Fever.

Finally I asked again for a Cabbage Patch Kid and this was my first (probably not but the first time I recall it) introduction to what would become my mom’s famous last words. ‘Jay-lyn Anne you are not going to die without a Cabbage Patch Kid. If all your friends were to jump off a bridge would you do the same?’ I think I may have made a smart ass comment about knowing how to swim but alas, it failed to impress.

Let us fast forward 33 years. There is a new fad in town. It is called a Fidget Spinner. It is a plastic toy for kids to keep their hands busy. Are you kidding me? It is literally a piece of plastic that kids spin around their fingers. M has indicated to me that it is kinda neat but I am appalled.

She bought K one. I said when I saw it, no way in hell is T getting something dumb ass like that. His dad has agreed to ‘make’ one for him at home in the shop. Not sure if his dad is waiting for him to forget or will actually make him one. I do not care. I refuse to spend money on something this dumb. Which brought back the statement ‘If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?’ and I understand now where my mom was coming from.

T and his dad came to the store to shop yesterday. We had a conversation about the Fidget Spinner and how I most certainly was not going to buy him one. With a slight pout and whine T asked me why not? I did not use the statement my mom used on me but I did tell him that the reason why was because his interest would last as long as it did for his talking Elmo and Chuck the Truck. He asked how long was that? I said one day!

As I said one day to him, the statement if all your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too? And I finally understood what my mom meant.

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.  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.’**