Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

In a Man’s World, Women Rock

It’s funny what goes through your mind sometimes, or rather my mind, especially when it comes to how men and woman are different. I think this thought has been brought to the forefront of my mind as I raise my kids, 2 girls and a boy. I hope that my influence and the influence of the men and women in my life is nothing but positive but I know that men and woman are treated and viewed differently in many ways. Things aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, and although many say it’s a man’s world, there are many reasons why I love being a woman. Here are six:

  1. You can cry if you want to. It might be a stereotype that women are emotional, crying at the littlest things, but I’m thankful for this gift. Sometimes a good cry can get you through a long night of being up with sick kids or express your feelings of joy or love that no words could do justice to. As a woman, I’m lucky that I can have a good cry, that I’m not viewed as weak or inferior because of it.  I’m saddened that people (including woman) feel it’s not something that men and boys should be allowed to do.
  2. Get in the pink (or yellow or black). Woman can wear all sorts of colours and colour combinations unlike men who are still lumped into a stereotype of not being masculine if they wear pale colours. And although I can wear pink and yellows, I usually wear browns and greens. They may not be very girly but I can wear them and I love that.
  3. For the love of mom. I’m fortunate to have both my mom and my mother-in-law in my life. My mom worked hard raising my sister and myself, trying to keep a happy household full of love and understanding. She showed me that if you work hard you can achieve a lot, no matter what the obstacles. My mother-in-law raised my husband who is caring, understanding and supportive of both myself and the kids. Not all men are that fortunate and I’m lucky to have found mine.
  4. To dress, or not. Flowy sundresses. Taffeta ball gowns. Not something I wear often (or at all in the case of ball gowns) but if I wanted to I could. Or I can toss on jeans or track pants. Basically anything I want to wear (though it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something I should wear). There aren’t too many men who have that dress code freedom and wearing a kilt at the Scottish festival one weekend a year doesn’t count.
  5. No yelling required. Have you ever noticed that some men resort to yelling or cursing to get their point across. Of coarse woman do this too but  it seems more expected with men, almost like a mutual understanding. The louder men get, the more control they have or think they have.
  6. Speak up. Many woman before me, before you, worked hard to demonstrate that woman are intelligent and a point of view worth listening too. Whether it’s sticking up for your child being labelled by school authorities, not standing for someone budding in front of you in line, running for office based on something you believe in, we have the voice that’s worth hearing.

I’m sure there are many other reasons women rock but these have been issues that have come in my personal life recently. I hope I can raise my kids, all of my kids, with the same attitude. I hope my girls will be strong and empowered to make decisions based on their gut versus being swayed by others. I hope the same for my son but that he also shines in his mutual respect and appreciate for the women in his life as he grows up. Why do you think being a woman rocks?

Big Boy, Little Boy

When my son transitioned into grade 1 at the beginning of this year that was a big milestone. It seems my little boy is growing bigger and more independent each day. This is all good. I love to see him take on responsibilities that were once too difficult for him to manage. Even conversations with him take on a more mature tone, excluding the occasional toilet joke.

Sometimes though this sense of growing up can be misleading. I sometimes think I expect too much from my son, grow impatient with him when he doesn’t understand something that seems so obvious to me, get frustrated when things aren’t done a certain way, the way I learned how to do them.

Yes he’s getting bigger and he certainly isn’t my baby boy anymore and I’m proud of that and encourage his growth where I can but sometimes it can be a fine line between the big boy he’s growing into and the little boy he still is.

When I was saying good night to my son one night I found myself just staring at him, eyes closed, peacefully sleeping. I looked at his blond curls on his forehead, his long lashes curling up against his skin, his small fingers clutching his bedtime buddy. Those little fingers, with their chubby dimples still there. Seeing these fingers reminded me that my son is still a little boy, that although being six and all that he’s accomplished so far is another step towards being big, six-years old in the scheme of life is still pretty young.

I’m trying harder to keep this in perspective, balancing his need for independence and growth with his need for patience and understanding. Trying.

Summer Camp makes Me Sad

This is a big summer in our house this year. Yesterday we took our oldest 8-year-old daughter to the bus drop-off for camp. She’s off to sleep away camp for the week, 7 days! This isn’t the first time my daughter has been away from home; she did go away for a weekend with her Brownie troop in May (Mother’s Day weekend I might add). I had some difficulty dealing with that too. But this camp, she’ll be away for a whole week, at a camp, where she doesn’t know anyone.

The days leading up to camp I helped my daughter label and pack everything. I was trying to stay upbeat and excited for her. I mean this is exciting stuff, going away to sleep in a cabin, rock climbing, camp fires, lake swimming. It all sounded great. It would be great. I told her it was okay to be nervous or a little scared about a new adventure, other girls would be experiencing the same feelings. Her response to me was ‘Nervous? I’m not nervous. I wish I was already there.’ I’m glad she’s not scared but I must admit the response wasn’t one I was ready to hear.

Even when we took her to the bus (we could drive her right to camp but she insisted on riding the bus and singing songs and making friends right away), she was eager to say goodbye and find her seat. It was us, her parents, who kept going on and off the bus to give her that one last kiss, again and again. We waited in the hot sun until the bus pulled away and watched it enter the highway.

I’m sure she’ll be fine. She’s a lot like her dad in that she likes meeting new people. My oldest daughter has always had the gift of finding people who are shy or new or nervous and drawing them in, making them feel at ease and comfortable. I mean the whole bus was practically empty and where does she choose to sit, right beside another first time camp girl. Before the bus had even pulled out of the parking lot the two girls were absorbed in my daughter’s Worst Case Scenario Book: The Weird Edition.

This is my daughter’s first real summer camp experience; this is our first real summer camp experience. I don’t think it’s uncommon for any parent to wish the best for their children. Last night, with tears in my eyes, I laid in bed thinking about my daughter, hoping she would have cabin mates she would enjoy hanging out with, that she wouldn’t be excluded or encounter any bullies, that she would enjoy every aspect of every camp day from when she wakes up to when she closes her eyes.

I’m sure when we pick her up next Saturday she’ll be disapointed to leave camp but will be brimming with stories.

As if dealing with my oldest daughter being away for a week wasn’t enough, my 5-year-old and 3-year-old started day camp today. My son is moving into the big kid camp and he’s thrilled. He’s always been very independent; even as a baby he slept on his own at 2 months and enjoyed it that way. It was no surprise to see him say goodbye and march into camp on his own, not a worry or care.

Then it was time for my youngest, my baby, to go to her camp. This is the first year the city has increased the camp hours for the 3 to 5 year old group. It use to be a half-day but now it’s a full day. My 3-year-old has spent all her time with me, no preschool, no other programs with the exception of swimming class. I’ve always thought of my youngest to be more like me, shy and introverted. If anyone would have issues with separating from me, trying new things, it would be my youngest. But she proved me wrong today. She was quick to say goodbye and head up the ramp to her camp. There was no running back for a last minute hug and kiss, no tears, not fighting and pleading for me to come in with her or stay for just a little bit. Nope, she’s been looking forward to this and she was gone.

As I walked home, alone, I couldn’t help but start crying. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for my kids to experience summer camp. I’m thrilled that they are adventerous and comfortable with themselves to take these steps without me. So why am I so sad? Why am I crying right now as I write this? And I’m not a big crier (though I did cry when my son graduated from Kindergarten this year and even when I watched and reviewed the new Toy Story 3 movie).

Working from home it’s kind of nice to not have the fightening in the next room or to run to the school for lunch pick-up. But it’s also so quiet that I’m having a hard time concentrating. I miss hearing their voices, even if it’s a dispute over Lego. All this independence my kids are showing is great and is a sign that they’re growing up. I guess I’m just not ready for that yet. So bear with me if I breakout into uncontrollable tears this summer. At least I’ll get lots of practice in before my 3-year-old starts school for the first time this Fall.

Three truths I can wait for my children to learn

Do they have to grow up?

Do they have to grow up?

I can’t believe my oldest is now seven. Okay, seven really isn’t that old in the whole cycle of life I suppose. But it seems old(er) when I think of her as a small baby. Seems like just yesterday. Getting to a moment seems like an eternity, until you reach it and then it’s gone in a flash.

My daughter isn’t that baby anymore. Along with loosing baby fat, baby talk and baby teeth there will be the loss of innocents. I don’t mean that kind of innocents. I mean the child-like wonder that all kids have that eventually seems to erode away as they are exposed to the outside world more and more.

Although I’m excited to see all my children grow and develop, there are a few truths I’d rather they never learn:

  1. Mom and dad are actually the Tooth Fairy – The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, all those mythical characters that kids believe in and make the holidays delightful. I know one day my oldest will clue in, if she hasn’t already. I think she has some suspicions about the Tooth Fairy, though I don’t think she’ll admit them for fear of loosing out on the reward. I dread the disbelief in Santa Clause and not wanting to write letters to him anymore. So many of our fun holiday traditions rely on these beliefs and I’m not ready to give up on those yet.
  2. Mom and dad don’t actually know everything – I know, another misconception. And yes, it is hard to live up to. But there’s a great feeling of sharing and helping and molding and just being a parent when your child asks you about everything. And yes, being asked the same question over and over again can become frustrating and trying to answer a question when you don’t know the answer (or when there isn’t an answer) can be difficult. But one day my kids will start asking their teachers and friends and strangers about things and stop asking me. Another step towards independence that I’m not ready for.
  3. The outside world isn’t like kindergarten – My kids love school. They love their friends and learning new things. School to them is what the outside world is like. But I know there will come a time, many actually, when things won’t be all fun happy games and laughing friends. I dread the tears that will come when a best friend doesn’t want to be a best friend anymore or when someone does something mean and hurtful just because they can. No parent wants to see their child sad or crushed, no matter how much it’s apart of growing up.

These are just three fears that have been swirling around in my head lately. I’m sure if given time I could think of more. It’s too bad these truths have to be part of growing up. And some might say that learning these is just a way of developing independance and personal identity, a step toward adult hood. But if you ask me, wouldn’t we as adults have more fun in life if we still wrote letters to Santa or didn’t have to deal with hurtful individuals. Heck, maybe if we didn’t have to learn these truths there would be less hurtful people in the world to deal with. Well, it’s a nice dream.

Are there any truths you wish your children didn’t have to learn?