Life Happens

In these days of entitlement and helicopter parenting, I feel it is of vital importance to teach our youth about responsibility and independence.  Like any well-intentioned (and disillusioned) parent, I insist upon my children cleaning up after themselves and helping out around the house.  My boys, they are a wealth of knowledge they are, and I fully expect them to share this wealth in teaching their younger sister how to help with kitchen chores.  I’m proud to share the discerning advice my teenage boys bestowed upon their baby sister in teaching her acceptable methods for loading a dishwasher:

  1. “Just so you know, the dishwasher is a what, not a who. I know, I was confused at first too.”
  2. Make sure all the dirty cutlery is stuffed into the very first basket, leaving the remaining baskets entirely empty for no apparent reason whatsoever.
  3. Those prongs in the dishwasher rack? They’re apparently just a guideline.
  4.  Loading the dishwasher with greasy hands from eating pizza means less dishes to load… guaranteed.
  5. It’s better to feign ignorance later than ask for instructions now.
  6. “Do not empty school lunch containers of their left-overs; the dishwasher has a built-in garbage disposal.  Well, ok, it should”.
  7. “It’s not important to rinse off the dishes but if you do, make sure the faucet sprays tap water and food bits all over the kitchen window.  Extra points if you can reach Mom’s curtains.”
  8.  “Mom loves it when you use her electric toothbrush to get out that soured milk at the bottom of the glass.”
  9. “What are you talking about?! Of course it’s dishwasher-safe!”
  10. If the fork, spoon or knife has only been used once, it can go back in the cutlery drawer – don’t fall into their bourgeois trap about “clean” and all that.”
  11. When the food is really good and dried and caked on, apparently  Great-Gram’s [heirloom] carving fork works really well.
  12. Breaking my wine glasses is part of their seditious strategy to get me to stop drinking so much wine.  They won’t admit it, but I know their plan.

These kids are WIPs (works-in-progress) and it takes a lifetime to build a masterpiece. After all, Rome … blablabla. As you can appreciate, I’m not yet pushing them to do the laundry but we are working on vacuuming (“I know you’ve grown attached to it my dear, but that is a dust bunny, not a pet.”).

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Today I share with you a tale of a doomed relationship .

Looking back I guess I should have known.  All the signs of a deteriorating relationship had been there for months, maybe even years.  Maybe I saw them, maybe I didn’t.  I do know that I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, most of all myself.  As with many close relationships, I was blissfully unaware while “love” slowly slipped away.

At first, he just rescheduled a few of our dates.  Then, it progressed to his cancelling them outright without explanation.  Finding time to rendezvous was proving more difficult and onerous.  And when we were together, it was like he was really somewhere else.  Like so many other signs, I put this off also to his crazy schedule, and remained happy – grateful even – for the attention he did bestow upon me.  Still … there were some days he would barely look me in the eye, too busy with satisfying his own needs.  I slowly began to realize that all he saw was another woman.  I was just another woman.  Another woman for whom “doing the little things” was too much of a burden.

And so now I am faced with the grim and painful reality:  it’s time for me to find a new hair stylist.

I feel so naive. I’m not even sure how to go about this … what words to say to make it easier on us both. How did I not know that more than half of all relationships with hair stylists sadly end in split ends. This is all still fresh to me and a little hard for me to fully articulate my feelings, but this I know to be true:  I’ll be better off for it!  This is something I’ve put off for far too long.  Plain and simple, he no longer fulfils my needs either.  Instead of making me look like Meg Ryan, I look like Camilla Parker-Bowles.  It’s pathetic really; how much my own self-worth and acceptance relied on his judgment of me all these years.  Even more pathetic is the small fortune I’ve handed over to him, the mountains I’ve moved just to get in to see him, and the babysitters I have paid.  If my husband ever finds out… Well, then again, my husband is still barely speaking to me after I rescheduled our 21st anniversary dinner just so that I could take my stylist’s last minute cancellation (costing as much as our anniversary dinner).

A break-up with your stylist shouldn’t be messy, but it can be tousled.  I mean, it’s one thing to break up with my stylist, but I do now have to worry about the colour-lateral damage. I will no longer be able to show my face in that same salon again, so have to break up with my pedicurist and esthetician as well. These are the unfortunate side effects of a break – up:  it will sadly affect so many innocent nail polish colours.

And so? What now? How does one go about finding a new stylist? Is there a eHaircuty.com? LavaLocks.com? A stylist and his or her client are a match made in heaven, until dark roots do they part. I’m not sure if I can deal with an exasperated new stylist bending over me, prying for personal details like, “Oh my God, who did this to your hair?!”

No.  Maybe I should just stick it out.  Stay together with him for the sake of the highlights.  I’m so conflicted.  Someone please help me before I resort to blind appointments, clandestine one-afternooners, or an airport salon tryst [gasp!]!

I think need an intervention …

I hear there’s a new masseur at my salon …

Documentary?

Reality show?

Comedy?

Horror movie?

If you’re like me, chances are it’s All of the Above.

In keeping with my recent experiences with diminishing cognitive functionality (wait… did I have a recent experience with diminishing cognitive functionality?), I recently failed to follow-up on something at work and it really upset me. It was not an earth-shattering My Bad and no humans were harmed in the course of my forgetfulness, but considering all the ridicule to which my ever-vanishing short-term memory has been subjected to by my husband and kids, it bothered me. I am a champion multi-tasker and pride myself in my attention to detail, yet lately the detail is brain fog-inducing.

I recall a conversation I had a year ago with my doctor. I told her I thought I was losing my mind because I kept forgetting things. She didn’t bat an eye, responding, “If I had a quarter for every 40-something female patient I saw who said that, I could have retired long ago.”  So very reassuring, but not entirely helpful. She suggested adding Sudoku to engage my brain.  “Really, Doctor?  Since you’re adding one more thing to my To-Do list, do you think you could also prescribe some Ritilin?  Because honestly, Doc, there aren’t enough hours in a day.”  I briefly debated with her the merits of a midline catheter for intravenous caffeine injections, but soon let it go… at least so far she thought I was normal.

But if you pause to think what the average 40-something is expected to remember, it’s no small wonder we feel like we’re going crazy.  I’m sure you can you relate to the following questions I ask myself between 6:00 and 7:15am, before I even leave the house:

Did I run the dishwasher last night?

Did I close the garage door last night?

Is there any milk in the house?

Was I supposed to bring something to my 9:00am meeting?

What did I book this 9:00am meeting for again?

Do I need to take anything out of the freezer for dinner?

Are there any tampons in my purse?

“Who’s doing what and where today (aka, does my office attire have to be suitable for climbing bleachers)?”

“Were the dogs fed?

Was that my multi-vitamin I just took or the dog’s heartworm medication?

Did I miss my nephew’s birthday? Again?

“Why does everyone look at me when we run out of Nutella?”

Why is there a fork in my purse?

Will anyone really notice if I put plastic flowers in my garden this year?

How long have those clothes been sitting in the washing machine?

“Where the hell is my other shoe?”

Is there any gas in the car?

“What do you mean there’s no ink in the printer and your assignment is due today?”

Did I leave the dogs out back? Again?

Jeez, did anyone on that school bus just see me trip over the garden hose as I made my way to my car?

Did I remember to charge my cell phone?

Throwing my hand to the air and asking my family to remind me when I get home is no use whatsoever.  They all just look at me later and still say, “We talked about this yesterday” though I have my suspicions that we ever did.

Martha Stewart recommends this handy checklist of The 6 Things You Should Do Everyday suggesting that “With just a few minutes’ work, you’ll easily be able to keep chaos at bay.”  Her magic list includes making the bed, managing clutter, sorting the mail, cleaning as you cook, wiping up spills while they’re fresh and sweeping the kitchen floor.

Really, she’s a Saviour, isn’t she?  I simply cannot imagine a household that would permit a reckless procrastination of mail-sorting.  Think of the peace and harmony that would be vanquished.  Chaos, indeed.  Martha’s list does hold a powerful message for me however.  If I had only 6 things on my list of Things to Remember, no one would ever question my cognitive functions.

… And I would NEVER have to go to work in mismatched shoes again.

Do you have a Martha’s list that maintains your sanity?  Please share it with me!

I recently visited the Museum of Science in Boston with my family and discovered something rather distressing.  We went to the Hayden Planetarium’s presentation of  Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond our Sun which revealed to me in dramatic fashion and great astronomical detail by Harvard and MIT PhDs that I am, against all superior judgment, NOT the centre of the universe.  Okay, that was a bit of a cosmic shock, if I may say so, but I guess I had it coming.

For some people, it’s important to be one leap for mankind closer to answering the almighty question, “are we alone?”, but for me the answer to that question now points to more species slowing my high-speed internet and clogging my satellite TV.  Sad face.

In the two and a half decades since I have graduated from university, astronomers have discovered the existence of exoplanets – planets that are outside our solar system.  An unbelievable 800 or so such planets have been discovered. As astronomers find more of these exoplanets, like HD 142 b in the constellation of Phoenix (yes, that’s far, far, FAR away – farther away than Pluto), I am not only closer to realization that I am not a dominant force in this universe, I now also have to get used to the fact that I am really rather insignificant.  If  our sun is nothing more than a pinhead on a vast sandy beach in the cosmos, what does that make Earth?  More to the pinhead, what does that make me?  A tiny speck?  A speckle of a speck?  A “pinhead” used to be a bit of a derogatory term, but now I find out that being a pinhead at least has some significance in our cosmos … while I have none … barely even a speck of dust! This, on a Monday morning.

During the presentation, I found myself thinking Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, clearly providing some explanation why I am not an astronomer from MIT or Harvard.  Horton said, “There’s a tiny person on that speck that needs my help!”

In the vast cosmos, I am not even a tiny person on a speck.  I’m not even a speck.  I slowly started to feel invisible, like I do at BestBuy on the Saturday afternoon before Christmas.  Or when asking for technical assistance from my internet provider.  Or while waiting 45 minutes for my scheduled doctor’s appointment.  Or when having to wait for my kids down the street around the corner from their teen party.  Come to think of it, apparently I have a great deal of experience being inconsequential!  Horton, I just want you to know that I aspire to be more than just a pinhead.  I’m working hard to be the best terrestrial speck possible!  In the immortal words of Horton, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.

If there was a bright star in this cosmic disappointing discovery it was in reminding my family that THEY are not the centre of the universe either.  And that my star-gazing friends, made my starry, starry night.  Nananabooboo!

Do you wonder if we are not alone?  Or like me, would you rather be left alone?

Here is The Rule* I have with my daughter:  she’s not allowed to talk to me after 9:30pm.  The Rule exists for two reasons:

  1. It’s past her bedtime; and,
  1. I’ve learned the hard way that nothing good comes of a conversation between us after 9:30pm.

Naturally, she is permitted to say “Goodnight, Mom” from her bedroom, or “I love you – you’re the best mom in the whole world” or “By the way, the fire has now spread to the living room”, but I’m a little low on patience and empathy after 9:00pm and we both know it’s just better if we just disperse and converse in the mornings or after school/work, when our respective dispositions have not yet deteriorated.  Many a post-9:30pm discussion between the two of us has ended up with her being grounded until she’s 18 and me locking myself in the bathroom drinking wine on the toilet.

Besides, the late evening is my time to decompress, read and snore.

The other night she was in a particularly chatty mood about some epic middle school wrongdoing and I had to politely remind her of The Rule.  She sighed sadly, but off she went and that was the end of that.

As consolation, I woke her 10 minutes earlier than usual the next morning and whispered, “Wanna chat while I get ready for work?” and she jumped out of bed with an enthusiastic, “Oh yes, Mom!”  You know, surprisingly, the three males who live in this house have answered that very same question completely differently.  Odd.

We worked through righting the wrong that was the concern the night before (without any alcohol or any removal of privileges, I might add).  I then heard all about the unit on Mythology she is now studying at school and how she is part of a class skit.  She quickly adds, “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s a class skit, no parents allowed.” reminding me of my other maternal failing:  my developing irritation for school plays.  So I ask her what part she has in this skit.  “Oh, I’m playing Zeus” she says “Father of all the Gods.”  I’m about to commend her teacher for dismantling some gender stereotyping, when she quickly adds, “… and I need to make a white beard.”  This makes sense – Zeus had a pretty boss beard, and so should my daughter (for the skit).  “Sure thing, Cookie, when is your skit?”  I ask.

“Tomorrow”.

Why do I even ask …

I’m on my way to work; I have an afternoon appointment immediately after work and am then taking my son to his baseball game.  I won’t be home until 9:00pm which is dangerously close to the time of The Rule.  But really, how hard can this be? Cotton balls, Bristol board, glue, scissors, elastics.  Piece of cake.

“I’ll see what I can do, Muffin”.

I really do miss the days of Three Martini Lunch.  Not that I’ve ever had a Three Martini Lunch in my life except while on vacation.  Still.  Would be nice.  Working moms are single-handedly responsible for decline of the Three Martini Lunch because we’re out buying Bristol board, cotton balls, glue – and most likely toilet paper and ketchup.  Just once as a working mom, I’d like to have a Three Martini Lunch.  Come to think of it, just once as a working mom, I’d like to have a lunch where I actually eat lunch.

Nevertheless, the purchases are made and the Gods of Olympus gaze favourably upon me today, for the baseball game ends early and I am able to get home in time to deliver materials for the beard of Zeus before the hour of The Rule.

Though her creation is looking a little more Suessish than Zeusish, I still think she’s going to make one mighty Zeus.  As it sits on the kitchen counter to dry, she inquires, “Mom, do you know how to make a toga?”

I pause to think…

Yes, to make a really effective toga you must wrap yourself in a relatively clean, white bed sheet, walk across campus in aforementioned attire, attend a party hosted by fraternity boys of dubious character with questionable intentions, drink lethal amounts of really bad keg and wake up in a different bed sheet altogether with only a vague recollection of the last twelve hours.

“Mom?  Do you?”

“Hmmmm, I’m not sure that I do.  Go ask your Dad.”

The Rule is subject to change without notice

More in my series of Manhattan memories…

Back in 1986 I was living at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side of New York City. I was working on an internship during my first semester junior year of university. If you read about my first go at life in the Big Apple, you’ll understand that I had some pretty powerful misgivings about my choice to move here which hinged more along the lines of sheer terror. However, Life improved steadily after my first day on the job and I soon fell into a fairly predictable pattern with a pseudo-real job that occupied a good part of my time. Laptops and Blackberrys had yet to sap a working girl’s downtime so the evenings and weekends were still relatively mine to explore what this city had to share with me. Though a paycheque was now a regularity, money was as tight as a pair of David Lee Roth’s pants, and the shopping that many associate with New York City was well out of my reach. Nevertheless, I was still a student at heart and so my focus, particularly on weekends, gravitated toward booze and bars.

Free passes to Manhattan dance clubs occasionally landed on my VP’s desk and she generously passed them over to me. Her son was away at university, you see, otherwise he would have been the lucky one. Theses passes to contemporary Manhattan night clubs offered free admission and free alcohol …

the fine print being that the entry pass was only good until 7:00pm and the free alcohol was only until 9:00pm …

What New Yorker would dream of setting foot in a Manhattan club any time before 11pm? Well … um … me! Access to a hot New York night club and not paying for booze seemed like a pretty good to me at the time, and I could always find another “Y” friend to tag along. The only other patrons in these hot New York nightclubs at 7:00 o’clock on a Friday night were employees and other freeloaders like me. So what if only one bartender was on duty tending about 50 other pass holders? I was – and still am – very patient when it came to free booze. My drink of choice on these freebie nights was Stolis and Cranberry. Once the clock ran out on free drinks, we could afford maybe one or two beers (but definitely NOT a Stolis and Cranberry) to last us the rest of the evening. One drink in a Manhattan nightclub probably equated my entire week’s beer budget back on campus! We would often stay really late and dance the night away. If we were really lucky, some unsuspecting male would be the object of our attention for at least another drink. If that unsuspecting male expected some sort of repayment for his generosity, we’d hit the dance floor which was by then so crowded, it was pretty easy to disappear. The volatile success of a New York City nightclub would account for why I can’t, for the life of me, remember many of their names, but I do know we went to the Limelight a few times (as long as the passes were forthcoming). I’d come to enjoy these weekend forays into the night club scene and what late-night New York and its noisy food vendors had to offer in the wee hours.

Bars too have come and gone with the times but late night New York conjures up another boozy Manhattan memory for me: The Back Fence on Bleecker Street. A genuine no-frills character bar in GreenichVillage, I was saddened when I heard it was closing in 2013. I understand it was once featured in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” which is fitting, because I probably went there about 1,000 times in 1986! Arriving early enough meant you could get a table near the postage stamp-sized stage but came with a two-drink minimum. Then again, a glass of bad draught beer was probably under a dollar at the time, so we could manage. There was sawdust all over the floor and during the first set, we munched our way through dinner of the free peanuts in a shell offered by the bar. We carefully piled our empty shells into the ashtray only to have the biker-dude-waiter empty the ashtray onto the floor while asking us, “Two more?” I have no idea if he was a biker dude, but he had a pony tail, tattoos and a leather vest which my biker-dude edification up to this point in life meant he was a biker dude! The lead singer of one band could belt out BTO’s “Let it Ride” and when I saw the movie, The Commitments, I swear I was looking at the same lead singer!  Another guitarist played “Sultans of Swing” even better than Dire Straits.  Best live music ever, and the musicians encouraged the crowd to sing along. I always consented.

Ah, the Limelight, the Back Fence, and yes, even the subway. Start spreading the news, I was getting to like this town.

The Power of Words – Part I

 I am reading “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht.  This is not a book review.

I recently came to the realization that I am a lover of the written word over the spoken word.   I believe the psycho-educational world would suggest that my personal learning style is visual versus auditory.

How did I come to this conclusion a full 25 years after graduating from my post-secondary institution of higher learning?

I purchased an audio version of  The Tiger’s Wife for my recent 4-hour hockey road trip to Rochester New York with my 14-year old son, given the likelihood of a fairly long break in stimulating conversation.  Though I have occasionally been pleasantly taken aback by car chats with my kids during road trips, I thought it best to be prepared in case the usual teenager behaviour presented itself.  Conveniently downloaded to my iPod, I had quick access to alternative dialogue (albeit one-way) with a quick touch of a button.  Eye contact with a US Customs and Border Protection official without surliness is key to accomplish smooth entry into a foreign country with a bottle or two of undeclared adult beverage, so I did ask him to kindly remain conscious until we’d crossed the border.  My teenager reluctantly agreed and just as predicted, following unhindered entry to US with aforementioned beverages AND a token ‘good luck at the tournament’ added for his sake, Offspring is comatose soon thereafter.  So I switch to my iPod book and I’m ready to listen.

Turns out I wasn’t so ready to listen.

When I have a book in front of me, I read it.  I pay attention to it.  I am into it.  If I am distracted or otherwise called to be engaged (like falling asleep, for example), I put the book down and I no longer pay attention to it.   I turned on this audio book however, and I soon myself NOT paying attention to it.   I was distracted by the scenery, the other cars, my hunger, my coffee, my bladder, my to-do list, a passing inspiration … my bladder again.  I stopped listening to the book well before our I-90 turnoff.  I’ve listened to audio books before without this apparent lack of focus (my son called it day-dreaming but – puah -what does HE know?).  I wonder if perhaps learning styles change as you age and mature.   

I am finding now, it’s almost as if I have to see the word, rather than hear it, to fully understand, appreciate, and retain its message.  The book publishing industry is counting on the likes of me.  In fact, they love me because I now own  both an audio version and e-book version of The Tiger’s Wife.  Yet I couldn’t help thinking recently that learning styles and their consequences in communication might also have vast implications for therapists.

 [What is she talking about?]

Do you not think a marriage counsellor could increase their effectiveness and Saved Marriage Percentage (there’s no such thing in therapy, that’s just the goalie mom in me coming out) by ten-fold if they were to quickly determine which learning style and which media best served a couple’s communication style?  Think of how many relationships fall apart because of poor communication and misunderstanding.  A marriage saved resorting to communication-by-email, is still a marriage saved.  I have been told (though I protest) that my verbal communication with my dear husband is occasionally tinged with irrational emotion and impatience.  However, my texts, emails and Post-Its are calm and coherent, and they state my position and my needs without the exasperated non-verbals that men don’t understand anyway.  I have outstanding communication with my husband as long as we are texting (that’s Texting).  I think I’m on to something.  Imagine if counsellors take this a step further and introduce Parenting-by-Podcast.  Family counseling made possible through iTunes gift cards (written transcript available for the visual learner like me, of course).  

This is how my mind works sometimes – and then I wonder why it wanders during an audio book…

Do audio books make you day dream?

I love to read.  I love to talk about my reads.  I love to share my reads.  This is one of those ‘shares’.  There have been some books make me laugh, some that make me cry and some that make me wonder.   Isn’t it wonderful that books can do that to a person?  I read today, while wearing my HR professional hat, that 2 out of 5 Millenials (those born between 1981 and 1995) have not bought a single book in the last two years, besides school text books (2011 Cicso Connected World Technology Report 2011).  So sad.  Anyhoo, besides the books that make me laugh, cry and wonder, there are also those books that make me tremble andd shudder – more so because it is NOT a textbook – here’s one of them:

Dear Me is a book, an anthology of letters, written by famous present-day people to their 16-year-old selves. Compiled and edited by Joseph Galliano, the UK-based book contains the letters of such notables as Elton John, Yoko Ono, Jackie Collins, to name a few, to their younger selves.

If they could travel back in time to meet themselves when they were 16 years old, what would these Oscar winners, pop stars, best-selling authors, comedians, musicians and one Archbishop say to themselves? What advice would they give themselves? What would they warn them about and against? Well, some are short and sweet, while others are honest and heartfelt anthropological essays.  Just a few excerpts:

Liz Smith (actress):      ‘never mind if they laugh at you – hold on to your dreams to the very end’

Anne Reid (actress):   And stop thinking you’re an ugly duckling  You look great!  I wish I looked like you.

Debbie Harry (singer-songwriter):      That the most obvious is often the best choice and can lead to something wonderful and satisfying.

Alison Moyet (singer-songwriter):      You marry and have clever children and mess up just like your parents did.  Forgive them. You will soon need forgiveness.

Elton John (singer-songwriter):           Never chase love – it will find you when you least expect it

Archbishop Demond Tutu:      Don’t be infected by the cynicism of the ancients in your midst.

Roseanne Cash (singer songwwriter):            You deserve a lot better than the guy you are going to meet next year.

Adriana Trigiani (author):       16 is the new … toddler.

My oldest is about to turn 16.  If he were him 32 years from now, what would want to say to himself? What would his 16-year old self want to hear?  No, of course, he wouldn’t listen, anyway.

What would I say to myself, with now some 32 more years of experience on this earth?  Somehow reading this book (and it’s a short, quick read), I thought this might be an incredibly inspirational exercise. Then again, why would anyone subject themselves to reliving the torture of teenagehood?

If I thought for a moment that my 16 year-old(s) will take this letter to heart, I’m as delusional at age 48 as I was at age 16. But if for no other reason than it allowed me to remember and perhaps be a little more compassionate as they live through their teenage years.

Dear 16-year old me,

So you’re Sweet 16. What a birthday party you’ve had having a dinner party you planned and prepared all by yourself around the theme “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” from Billy Joel’s album which I know is your favourite album of all time, right now.

I know you like to cook. While many of your friends were drinking beer under the bleachers and ruining their parents’ knives heating them on the toaster, you put together some amazing dinner parties . Newsflash:  you will never be a chef. Sorry, I had to break it to you. But fear not, you’ll continue making messes in the kitchen for years to come and your kitchen will be the happiest place in your adult home.

Is there a reason you work so hard to be perfect? Stop now!  It’s annoying to others and bad for your self-esteem.  No matter how much pressure is put on you and how much more you put on yourself, you will never measure up to every person’s version of “perfect”. At the same time, you’re no better than the rest of them.  Stop try to be so high and mighty. It only serves to highlight your insecurity, which people will mistake for snobbiness.

YES!  FINALLY!  Contact lenses!! Not wearing those coke-bottle-glasses WILL make a difference in your life!

You’re about to take your very first airplane ride to New York City and vow that one day you’ll live there.  You will.

Later on this year, you’re going to quit ballet. You shouldn’t do that. It’s your only form of exercise. Who cares that you’re not going to end up in Les Grands Ballets Canadians. It’s fun and you like it.  Why do you want to give it up?

On that note, it wouldn’t hurt for you to put those textbooks away and get out and get some exercise. Those “Freshman 10” (oh – you might as well know now – it was more like the Freshman 20) might never happen if you embrace fitness sooner than later.

The diary you’ve been keeping?  Your daughter’s going to find it.  You should find a better hiding place or practice poor penmanship sooner than later.

It’s a few years off but don’t bother rushing sororities in university. You know it’s not “you”. The sooner you stop sucking up to people you already know are full of it, the better. On the other hand, being a “little sister” in a fraternity? Good one.  Free beer.

In a few years, your parents are going to tell you you’re making a big mistake by quitting a perfectly good job and high-tailing off to Europe for 5 months with your loser boyfriend. You’ll second-guess yourself, but don’t worry about. They’re wrong. That trip will turn out to be the best ‘mistake’ you’ve ever made. And that loser boyfriend has provided over twenty years of love and laughter, not to mention a lifelong security net.  But your wanderlust, however, will never settle down.

Friends really do come and go.  Sometimes you don’t take care of them, and this is a big mistake. You’re going to regret falling out of touch with some of those with whom you shared Life’s richest moments. Some of your friends will love you more unconditionally than even your family.

Love, Me (You)

There. I did it.  And now that I’ve done it, I think I could easily edit it another dozen or more times.

I can’t say that this was a life-altering exercise nor can I say that I relived all my life’s so-called regrets, either.  But for a moment, however brief, I do remember what “16” felt like…and I pray that sentiment helps me parent my own 16-year olds with a little more empathy.  Not ‘understanding’.  No.  There is no way they’ll believe you understand them.  No. Way.

What would you say to your 16 year-old self?

About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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