Monthly Archives: September 2013

“Where do you want me to park now?”

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I am 30 years old and I am preparing for what most 16 and 17 year olds prepare for.  My G2 road test.  As to the reason why it has taken me so long to do it, a combination of anxiety and laziness have been the culprits.  Through my late teen years and early 20’s it was likely best that I not be entrusted to operate a hair straightener let alone a motor vehicle.  Now, as a mature mother of three and wife, I no longer wish to belong to the “bus pass of the month” club.  It’s time.

My attempts to become a capable driver began with our Nissan Versa about a year and a half ago.  The vehicle had been purchased a year or so prior and to my chagrin it was a manual transmission.  My wonderful husband took me around the block a few times and although I was able to get the hang of getting the car into first gear, the lesson ended in tears.  Wayne was encouraging, highlighting that I was able to get it into first which is great.  I decided though that the only thing first about it was that it was my first and last attempt at driving a standard car.  What can I say, other than I have no inner race car driver begging to get out.  I am an automatic-car-lovin’ girl.

As luck would have it, I got knocked up…. twice.  Therefore it became clear that we would not be able to fit all of our children in the vehicle, let alone double strollers and basic necessities.  So we were on the hunt for a van.  What we purchased was more than just an ordinary van.  It was written in the stars that it would soon become the mom mobile.  It was then that I decided I would take the plunge, face my fears, and get my driver’s license.  The mom mobile was crying out to be driven, and there was only one mom for the job.

Fast forward to today.  I am a capable driver in the opinion of my husband.  Parking is the next evil that I am overcoming one driving lesson at a time.  Now for those of you that know me (and even for those of you that don’t) you know that when I do things, I like to do them perfectly, or not at all.  Suffice it to say that as a result of this expectation of my ability to be perfect, I have not accomplished many things for one reason-that I have never attempted them to begin with.  I attempted to reverse park a few times and was obviously frustrated that I was not able to perfectly reverse park our Dodge Caravan.  It was only after Wayne said something to me that everything changed.  He looked at me with the look that he gives me that lets me know that he knows me better than I know myself most of the time.  He said, “You do not have to do this perfectly.”

After hearing what he said, I laid on my horn in the nearly empty parking lot and repeated out loud to myself those words, “I do not have to do this perfectly.”  It’s amazing how powerful a remedy those words were to my dilemma.  After having that moment to accept that I am not now, have never been and never will be perfect, I attempted the reverse park.  I nailed it.   Twice more and more success.  Parallel parked in downtown Kitchener on a busy Saturday afternoon at the park.  Success.  Gas station reverse park, check.  And the final test was reverse parking when I got home in the spot right next to my nemesis, the Nissan Versa.

I will tell you that the feeling that I felt when I got home was amazing.  To most, I am sure that it seems silly.  But the fulfillment that I felt from facing my fear of not being perfect in yet another area of my life was overwhelming.  In asking for help and accepting my limitations with attaining perfection, I surpassed the expectations I had of myself to fail.

I kicked parking’s ass.  Thanks Wayne.

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Caution: May not play nicely with others.

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I took the babies to a play group this morning so that Isaiah can begin the age old journey of learning how to play nicely with others.  For those of you that know me, you know that our precious Isaiah is adventurous and does not often fear much of anything.  He has had to adapt in order to keep up with his 11 year old brother.  He is a bruiser for lack of better words.  Don’t get me wrong, Isaiah is a gentle and loving little boy.  He has amazed us with how gentle and loving he is with his little sister.  But if there is child holding something that he wants, or he would like to cut the line for the slide, he is not shy about it at all.

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This morning there was a set of twin boys who were 14 months old playing nicely and quietly on the mat with their mother.  Isaiah cut in between those boys like a knife and snagged one of the toys that they were playing with.  He then proceeded to trip and decided to use one of the little boys to break his fall.  We had only been at play group for 5 minutes, and already there were tears and they were not Isaiah’s.  Once Isaiah heard the tears, he went over to the little boy and gently rubbed the little boy’s arm as if to say sorry.  Wait….. that didn’t really happen.  That’s what I imagined that my kind, loving little boy would do..  Instead what he actually did was run across the gym to play with the hoola-hoop while giggling, leaving me behind to apologize and feel like the worst mom on the planet.  Thank goodness that the mom was incredibly laid back about it, because I will tell you that not all parents are.

I first had a taste of life with a bruiser when Thomas was a youngin.  I was in my second year of college and was in a midterm exam. Thomas was 2 1/2 at the time.  My cell phone rang repeatedly and finally I excused myself, explaining to my professor that it was my son’s daycare calling and I was worried that it might be an emergency.  I checked my voicemail and this is what I heard.  “Hi this is so and so calling.  We just wanted to let you know that there was a fight over a bike with a couple of the kids today, and Thomas appears to have lost.”  When I arrived, I was shocked at what I saw.  Thomas had a bruise under his eye, a bite mark on his cheek and a cut on his lower lip.  What took the cake was that the following day was picture day.  I will never forget that incident because I have his daycare photo as a fond reminder of my rough and tough Thomas going after what he really wanted without consideration of the other child’s feelings or the potential for injury.

So I suppose that it is fair to say that my boys will definitely be boys.  Wayne and I will continue to attempt to teach them how to play nicely with others, while they learn how to be loving and gentle with women from me and life with a little sister.  Thomas is 11 and he is still learning to play well with others.  Isaiah will have lots of opportunities to learn how to play with others at the weekly playgroup down the street on Wednesdays, while I perfect the art of apologizing on his behalf.  At the end of the day, no bones were broken, no self-esteem damaged and everyone made it out alive and home for nap time.

There’s always next week.

“Welcome to the Twitterverse….”

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Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my cyber life.  I finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon that has been rolling through town for quite sometime without me.  I’m not exactly sure why I resisted it so much in the first place.  Maybe it was my fight against the “social media man” that has totally obliterated our ability to converse with one another.  I find myself texting my husband while he is in a different room of the house, or tagging someone on Facebook so that they feel as though I am still making an effort to communicate with them. In addition I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the site and the mighty hashtag. I had no idea what a hashtag was or what it’s true purpose was until today. All I knew was that my Facebook friends had their statuses infiltrated by the irritating symbol.  So like any person who has access to the internet would, I went to Google for some answers.

The “Hashtag” is a phrase or word that is has the “#” symbol prefixed to it.  This is a means of tagging metadata so that it can later be located in a search for specific words or phrases on a social networking site, the most popular being Twitter.  When a specific hashtag is used often or becomes popular, using it is referred to as “trending”.   If, for example, you were to use #FeelinglikeAHero (as I did in one of my first hashtags on twitter yesterday), your tweet would later appear in any search containing that hashtag.

Seems simple enough, right?  Why is it then, did I feel like a 95 year old woman on my laptop yesterday trying to figure this all out?  It reminded me of my mother about 12 years ago when cell phones were becoming a bigger commodity and text messages were becoming the newest trend.  My mother, sister and I were in the car one morning and my mother asked my sister “What is that envelope for on the top of my screen?”.  My sister responded, “Mom, that means that you have a text message.”  My mom then retorted with a puzzled look on her face, “Text Message??!!??  What the heck is a text message!!???!!”.  My sister and I just chuckled and attempted to explain to her what a text message was and attempted to defend its purpose.  So here we are about 12 years later and text messaging is the new means by which most of us communicate.  And here I am feeling an awful lot like I’m sure my mother did in the car that morning.  Confused, unsure and a little resistant to the constant changes in technology and social media.  Yesterday when I started to attempt to figure Twitter out, I heard my mother come out of my mouth when I asked out loud to myself, “Hashtag!?!? What the heck is a Hashtag??!!!??”.

The reality is that Twitter is another excellent means to connect with people around the world, learn about things that I have no idea about, and will be an excellent medium for continuing to pursue my passion for writing.  So the decision to get left behind in the stone ages vs. jumping on the bandwagon suddenly became a simple one.   My friend Sarah, also known on Twitter as @SarahSassyChick, was the first to acknowledge my walking out of the stone ages with the following, “Welcome to the Twitterverse @LadyWicks1”.

It’s official.  I have arrived.

The “ARK” Dilemma

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I had a very interesting visit today with my Father in Law. Our visits are always pretty fantastic. The topics of conversation that tend to emerge vary from family history to colourful humour and everything in between. Today though, a topic came up that I have often struggled to live out. Today we spoke about what I like to call the “Act of Random Kindness” dilemma. I am not talking about whether or not we decide to donate 2 dollars to the Sick Kids Foundation or the Cadets at our local grocery store. Nor am I talking about buying a few extra items and donating to the food drive blitzes either. What I am talking about are the Random Acts of Kindness that we live each day.

During our discussion it became very obvious that doing charity work in our community is often encouraged by large corporations such as Sick Kids, Unicef or World Vision to name a few. These organizations do great work, and they make it very easy for the masses to give a few extra dollars a month and feel as though we are doing our part. However, we also discussed that the most amazing acts of charity are the ones that we do when no one is looking, and the ones that impact the people that we encounter everyday.

My Father in Law and I talked about the opportunities that we have had in our recent past to impact the lives of regular everyday people in our communities. He shared with me an experience that he had providing back to school supplies for a single mother’s two daughters. I shared with him the coffee and sandwich that I bought for a man living on the streets of Kitchener. Both acts were done when no one was looking, and both felt amazing because they were done in secret. The acts that I perform in my life when others are looking are often done out of concern for my image. The acts that I perform for others that are done out of my innate love for mankind are the ones that have truly impacted my spirit. I will never forget the man that I spent only a few moments talking with in line with as we bought his food. I have already failed to remember the things that I have done in hopes to impress others.

So I suppose that there is really no dilemma at all. The truth is, I have the opportunity to give something to someone else everyday-be that my time, an ear to listen, a cup of coffee, a pair of mittens or hat that I knit, or a few dollars. If I think about how much time I spend worrying about what others are doing for me, I know that I could find just a few moments a day to focus on what I can do for others. When I doubt that taking the time to do something small could even make a difference in the world, I remember one thing. As Morgan Freeman say’s in Evan Almighty, “Noah built the ARK one Act of Random Kindness at a time”.

“Can I just get a minute?……”

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So it’s 4:01 pm.  My 2 month old Elizabeth is chugging her bottle, and my 16 month old Isaiah is up in his crib staging a nap-time coo.  My hubby Wayne and 11 year son old Thomas are currently embarking on a paintball extravaganza, no doubt running around like ninjas avoiding the potential for “getting taken out”.  I on the other hand can’t help but think about the extra load of laundry that will follow.  All the while, I sit here and ask myself, “Can I just get a minute?”.

It’s amazing what I can accomplish in one minute.  It doesn’t seem like much time to the average Joe, but to me it’s an eternity… when it’s uninterrupted of course.  For example, it may seem like I wrote the above in just a few moments, after all I have written less than a paragraph.  However I have made a bottle, changed a diaper, made several trips upstairs to soothe the coo-leader, and changed another diaper.  All the while, silently asking myself yet again “Can I just get a minute?”.  I think it would be fair to say that most mothers I have spoken to also tend to wage the war of parenthood vs. solitude.  The moments when my children look lovingly at me, or do something silly to make me laugh are the moments that reaffirm the incredible gift that I have been given to be a parent.  However, I must say, that the moments of fingers under the door trying to get in the bathroom, the screaming for just one more cracker, and the calls home from the principal’s office, leave me longing to re-live my teen years.  I remember when deciding what to wear to the mall was my biggest problem.  These days getting to the mall requires 1 hour of planning, 1 hour of prepping the kids, possibly getting an opportunity to shower, and then loading everyone up and hoping that nothing was forgotten at home that will cause a future meltdown.

Yet alas, here I am at 4:21 p.m. in silence.  The crib prisoner upstairs finally succumbed to sleep, and the bottle chugger is slow-blinking.  The house is quiet just for a moment, and upon me is the minute I have been wondering about since this morning.

My mother was recently visiting us from Texas and her and I were talking a lot about marriage and parenting.  My sister and I are 1 year and 11 months apart.  I like to say 2 years, but my sister enjoys pointing out that I am not a full two years older than her.  Anyways, my mother used to nurse us both, make our baby food (including yogurt), wash our cloth diapers and hang them to dry, and work the night shift as a nurse.  I don’t know how she did it.  And I am sure that there are many times that she too asked herself “Can I just get a minute?”.  I do know though, that like my mother, we just do what we have to do.  I may not make my own baby food, or wash out the cloth diapers.

I may not always have the opportunity for a moment to myself.  What I do have though, are children that know that I will always put them and their needs before the dishes getting done, or the laundry getting folded.  They know that I will stop and laugh at their silly faces and soothe them to sleep.  One thing is for sure.  One day I will have so many uninterrupted moments that I won’t know what to do with them, and I will be wishing that someone was here for me to fawn after.  I guess I have many minutes, they just aren’t spent alone wishing that I had more love in my life.

So I have gotten my minute.  I guess my mother has gotten hers too.  I’m off to enjoy it.