There comes a time where most parents aspire to recreate the family vacations of their youth. Interestingly it is not the warm memories of bonding and sing-alongs that drive this mission, rather the horrifying flashbacks of urban fathers wrestling with tent poles, being stuck in the middle seat or having to share a rollout bed with a grubby little brother. The grainy Kodak photos of awkward adolescent misery instruct us to know better, yet we persist in this self-inflicted initiation to the complete parenting experience.
Last month, our family took our fifth Club Med all-inclusive vacation. Over the years, we have vacationed at Club Med Cancun twice, Club Med Punta Cana once, and this year marks our second visit to Club Med Ixtapa Pacific in Mexico.
Reflecting on this allegiance, I thought perhaps it only fair to provide Club Med with some positive feedback. Selfishly, I hope this tome of praise might result in absolution from charges related to ten towels we pitched into a dumpster late one night after a certain kid (Bad Baby), exploded from drinking too many smoothies.
The current North American political and social climate has increased the internal pressure I feel to raise my children, especially my daughters, strategically. Advancements in gender equality are visible but so is evidence that girls are still standing on the same uneven rocky ground of our generation. Furthermore it now seems that they may need to fight some of the battles their grandmothers took on.
I love crafts, and I especially love the idea of them. I cannot resist art stores, what with their bounty of colourful supplies, or strolling the virtual halls of Pinterest for my latest big idea.
Sadly, my passion for crafts deeply conflicts with my lack of patience and hand-eye coordination. I have often thought I should voluntarily give Michaels a poster of my face including a staff warning to turn me away for the greater good.
On the night of November 8th I held an election party. It was planned as a celebration. We all thought she would win. There was a cake, decorations, and lots of celebratory drinks in the fridge.
And then she didn’t and the lump started to grow in my throat. Not prone to tears or public hysterics, I toted that dumb lump around until yesterday when I got on the treadmill, put on the wrong music and all the anger, sadness, and fear came pouring out.
“Behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women that have her back.” Unknown
Recently I returned from the 14th girls’ weekend I have taken with a group of women who I have known for 18 years. This year, to celebrate our 40th birthdays, we pulled out all the stops and headed to Scottsdale, Arizona for three days of talking, lounging, eating, drinking, laughing, and trouble making.
As usual, I returned refreshed, recharged, refocused, rejuvenated, and possibly in need of a partial liver transplant.
When my husband and I really want to reconnect and relax, we book the grandparents and take off to a meeting of the American Urological Association, held each year in a major U.S. city. While there, he indulges in hours of lectures on the latest advances in urological care while I roam our destination solo and delight in the temporary status of being Mom Uninterrupted.
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
Recently our son spent five nights at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario following a very successful heart operation. Despite a bounty of overnight medical staff, I refused to sleep at home until it was certain that he was in the clear. Luckily I had the support to be able to do this — thank you grandparents — and my husband was able to switch spots with me later in the week.
I am a continuous work in progress and usually have some sort of self-betterment project on the go. Currently I am working on wearing sunscreen, keeping track of my jewelry and not becoming accidentally drunk at parties by drinking too much too quickly.
“Self-esteem isn't everything; it's just that there's nothing without it.”
I got into bed so happy and invigorated last night, I couldn't sleep. My daughter and I had just finished hosting a Dove #InspireConfidence party and my eyes were opened — both literally and figuratively — because of what I had learned.
The grooves between my eyebrows are definitely deepening. With the birth of each child, most of us also receive a big basket of worry. Are they okay? Will they be okay? Am I okay? What have we done? I am pretty sure it's a package deal.
When I think of what friends in my age group typically worry about, cancer ranks high. And it's no surprise. In 2015, an estimated 76,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed in Ontario and about 28,500 Ontarians died from the disease.
Busy family life can involve a lot of socializing with friends and family. As the spring and summer months approach, we begin barbecuing with our local pals and prepare to hit the road for reunions and cottage visits. Something I have noticed, after hosting a few recent large gatherings, is the return of the hostess gift. Wine is always the way to my heart but gifts such as a Roseanne Barr t-shirt, beautiful tea collection, coasters, and more make a girl feel like the star of a primary school birthday bash.
Valentine's Day might be evolving a bit for me. I still want a themed present and treats of course, but this year reflections on my favorite holiday went deeper than my desire for all things sweet, glittery, and fuchsia.
I started thinking about love, gratitude, and of two gentlemen who shaped my life and made me feel, even as a little girl, that I was equal, capable and cherished. Grandpa and Papa were my grandfathers and since I can no longer mail off two glue-covered doily hearts or scribbled Snoopy cards, this is my long overdue Valentine to them.
My husband and I are the children of physicians. This commonality broke the ice early in our relationship as we delighted each other with stories of neglected illnesses, injuries, and a childhood mostly devoid of empathy for pain!
My husband is also a physician and we now have three doctor’s children of our own. They are familiar with having to display a journal-worthy infection, or exposed bone before someone looks up from the paper. Treatment usually consists of a prescription to “walk it off.”
It is the time of year for change, resolutions, and order. For me this entails an endless quest for a neatly organized house.
My desire for such a home used to be based on a 50s notion that a good wife and mother should present a tidy abode. Now that I have cheerfully found other means of fulfillment, I realize that my need for order is likely psychological and should be prioritized.
For years I have noticed that for three hours every Wednesday, before the children return and following a visit from my housekeeper, I feel my most sane and mentally productive.
A few weeks ago I overheard my husband bark at my daughter, “Just choose an outfit. It shouldn’t take this long!” My sweet tween flower was having a fashion crisis because finding the right outfit to feel safe and comfortable in at school was challenging her. Knowing that this situation was so much more complicated than creating a look, I sent him to feed the dog and took over.
Recently the term Nutscaping began surfacing in my online world.
As a writer, I feel it is my duty to stay abreast of world events and social phenomena. My dedication is such that I fear if my search history is ever publicly revealed, I will have to go abroad to lead a life of dark glasses (e.g. “naked Bieber”). My craft is one of great sacrifice, so I felt compelled to delve deeper into this latest selfie trend.