Tag Archives: Suburbia

Never Say Never (Especially When It Comes To Parenting)

2007

Husband to me: “I will never allow a mini van in my driveway.”

Me: “Thank God. I hate those things.”

Christmas 2007

Husband: “I hate those tacky inflatables that people put on their lawns. My house will always have the classic white lights. We can drive around in the evenings so our kids can see those things.”

Me: “Ok.”

Fast Forward to Today:

Christmas 2014.   Not one, not two, but three inflatables on our lawn, a random assortment of coloured and white lights and of course a mini van in the driveway.

Christmas 2014.
Not one, not two, but three inflatables on our lawn, a random assortment of coloured and white lights and of course a mini van in the driveway.

I swear that our names are not Griswald. Honest!

We hope that maybe one day, when our youngest (now 22 months) is old enough that we can go back to the classic white lights, that I can give up the van and drive anything else again…. before we have grandkids!

That time frame could potentially be very small though as by the time our youngest is a teen the older two will be in their mid-twenties… and the cycle will start all over again ūüôā

Just another time where I’ve learned never say never.

7 Things I Never Thought I’d Say Before I Became a Parent

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a city far, far away (well a 45 minute commute anyway) I had a life. It was civilized, and people spoke politely to each other (with the exception of road rage) and we never spoke of body parts unless we were drunk or laughing at some celebrity who forgot she wasn’t wearing underpants. It was peaceful there. And drinks at noon were cool.

Then I became a parent.

black mini van parked in my driveway

black mini van parked in my driveway

And I found myself saying all manner of strange things. Things that once repulsed me were now topics of everyday conversation. In fact, I often find myself desperately seeking some adult conversation. A mere sentence or two that has nothing to do with the contents of one’s diaper or where the damn permission form has gotten to now.

When I stop to think about it, some of the things I’ve said are pretty horrifying. So, just to brighten your day a bit (as you revel in not having to say those things, or that you managed to escape them), I thought I’d share with you some of the most awful things I’ve found myself saying:

7.  A mini-van? Really?

6.  Yes, someone needs to be sober in the house at all times.

5. ¬†No the baby doesn’t count.

4.  Oh, that diaper smells delightful! Think we can make it home without causing another rash? That mom over there is about to ram us for our spot.

3.¬† Seriously? You’re picking your nose and eating it? At the table? Instead of this¬†dinner I slaved over?

2.¬†¬†I know it’s fashionable to wear tight shorts, but honey, do you know what camel toe is?

1.  Sure I can take three more kids in the van. Pile them in!

 

 

Chance Encounters

Last week when I was driving our daughter to dance we saw this license plate:

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

And it prompted us to talk about the fact that vanity plates are often about being vain, yet this person chose to spread positivity to complete strangers wherever they drive.

And then it got me talking about Chance Encounters which I learned about 11 or 12 years ago when I attended a conference hosted by Toastmasters. Each session was with a person embarking upon a career as a motivational speaker.

The session I remember most vividly (actually the only session I remember) was about Chance Encounters.

The speaker (If you know who he is please contact me as I would like to give credit where it is due) spoke of the concept that every choice we make in life affects someone one else. And he called these choices Chance Encounters.

For example, a driver cuts you off in traffic and you respond with a hand signal and some choice words. You then go on about your day. But this driver knew he made a mistake and tried to say sorry to you. He just got fired today and yesterday his wife left him. No one, not even random strangers (you) can’t stand him. What’s the point in living when no one thinks anything of you? When he’s driving over the bridge, he takes a sharp right and drives into the river.

Take the same circumstance, the same driver with the same crappy day. He cuts you off. And he tries to mouth “sorry” to you. You nod your head, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes. You continue on your way not realizing that you just showed him that strangers can be kind and that life is worth living.

It’s a pretty dramatic example and of course not every situation will lead to such an awful outcome. The point though is that everything we choose to do from hitting our snooze button to letting a driver in to going to bed early has the potential to have an impact on other people. And most often we will never know the implications of that impact.

Every Chance Encounter/choice we make is an opportunity. We can choose to be positive and forgiving or we can choose to be negative and spread misery.

And this driver ahead of us chose to make our day a little brighter ūüôā

Best 2 U

The reason I don’t win anything

This past weekend I was doing what all competitive team parents must do at some point:
The Pub Night.
I know some people really enjoy it, and honestly it wasn’t bad at all–the company was fun!

It was also the first snowfall of the season that day and it kept a lot of people home. (Why do the forecasters always create so much drama over the potential maybe’s of a storm and basically shut the town down for a couple of cm?)

So it was quieter than we had expected and the bids on our silent auction items weren’t quite as vigorous as we’d hoped.

We were joking that with the lack of bids we would all end up going home with something, and I turned to my friend beside me and said that it wouldn’t matter, because I never really win anything.

She said to me that she never did either and that was ok. Because we have everything that we need in our lives, so we don’t need to win anything

Well. Um. Yeah.

So instead of complaining any further about it, I changed my view. I have everything I could possibly want. Three awesome children, an incredible husband, a silly dog, a four bedroom home, a van (yes I’m even grateful for the van!), and wonderful in-laws. Who could honestly ask for anything more?

Thank you to my fantastic friend for pointing out the obvious when I obviously needed it.

Wisdom of a child

I try to be a good mom, walking my kids to and from school each day. This is not always an easy task… if we lived 0.4 km farther away from the school, then the kids would be entitled to take a school bus. But the walk, even if it is uphill (no not both ways ūüôā is good for all of us, especially my hips.

It also has the unexpected side effect of giving us a great opportunity to talk. Sometimes it’s about the trees and squirrels and what happens in each season to them, sometimes it’s about what happened in class, and other times it becomes a fascinating conversation in philosophy.

Take last week for example. 10 year old K wanted to know why I wouldn’t let them walk by themselves to school. Good point, and I talked of “bad people” and although I don’t forsee anything happening in our neighbourhood, I still prefer to know they got to school safely.

Somehow this morphed into a fascinating talk about what would happen if bad people didn’t exist. After exploring various sides of this, we decided that as awful as bad people are, they are necessary for our continued evolution and growth as a race. That without our reactions to their bad actions that we would have no desire or drive to make things better. Pretty deep thoughts for before 9am.

Then out of nowhere, my daughter started talking about the butterfly effect. (did I mention that she’s 10?! Where on earth did she learn about that?!) So we chatted about that for a while and how everyone’s actions can impact someone else and we may not even ever know how.

And then we got to the school, and I did our little fistbump routine (fistbump for hug, hand clap for kiss, and hand to heart for love)

And went on with our day.

Seriously? Me driving a mini-van?

A mini-van. I swore I’d never, ever drive one.

Be careful what you swear you will never do. (Wonder how many times I’ll have to learn *that* lesson before it sinks in?)

I LOVED my Xterra. Sure it was tall and everyone joked about me needed a rope ladder to climb in. Height is not a blessing that I can count. But it was fun to drive and none of my friends or family had anything similar.

It was a wee bit tight with the two older kids, B and K, before H came along. It was tighter still when Chelsea the Portuguese Water Dog joined our family, or when we were car pooling for dance.

It was an absolute sardine can when we went camping and had tent, food, rooftop bubble, canoe and bicycles plus four people in it.

I loved the stick shift (yes it *is* way more fun to drive than an automatic), and putting it into four wheel drive meant I wasn’t sliding around unploughed corners in winter.

But then we were expecting our third child, H.¬† And we had The Talk. It was so awkward, because neither of us thought we’d ever have to say the words¬† “Time to drive a mini-van”.

We were about halfway through the pregnancy when the decision was made for us when an idiot driving behind me hadn’t noticed that traffic was completely¬†stopped. She hit me doing about 60 km/hr. After much freaking out (did I mention that I was pregnant?!)¬†and a circus at the hospital, H and I were pronounced fine. Whew! The Xterra actually sustained much less damage than we had expected due to it’s rigid frame and steel bumper. But, neither of us felt comfortable with our family¬†in it anymore.

So, the next week I found myself test driving a van. A few days after that, we picked¬†it up.¬†And you know what? It drives beautifully, everyone fits comfortably, and the sound system is miles ahead of the old one, plus I have hands-free cell and GPS. So, I can’t complain. I certainly fit in at the school yard and¬†at the dance studio.

Though¬†if you see me staring at your Xterra at a stop light, I’m not staring at you, I’m just remembering the most fun vehicle I’ve ever¬†owned.