Dear um… You,

Hi. We need to talk. I want you to imagine something with me. You are a baby. You are loved and treasured and feel pretty good at home. You grow and at some point you start to feel different. Not sure what’s different exactly but there’s something. You try to forget about it and just pretend that something isn’t there.

You go to school and as the years pass you learn about the social part of school. What’s cool and what’s not cool. How important it is to fit in. How to shun or make fun of those who don’t. You feel bad but not enough to stand up for him/her/them or yourself. You love your parents and your extended family. You cousins are the best and you can’t wait to hang out with them. Every once in a while though you see or hear or feel things that don’t fit with the status quo.

As you grow in life and patterns shift and change you become aware of the different part of you. It grows and takes shape. It clouds your awareness, you become sure that you must make sure no one finds out. You wish and pretend with all your might but it doesn’t change. You want to be like your cousins and friends but you are not.

Imagine hard now my friends. Close your eyes and feel how that would feel. So so scary. To have a secret so big that you aren’t sure if your loved ones will still love you if you told them. When I imagine that I feel panic and dread and I feel so alone.

You are almost done growing. You can’t keep this lie. It’s too big. It’s eating you. You start to acknowledge that part of you. You give in to it. You mourn what could have been.

You meet people you identify with. You see they are not scared or ashamed. You decide that telling people and dealing with the outcome has to feel better than walking around with this secret. You know that some don’t make this choice.

Imagine how much bravery you would need to muster to say something to your friends that you know will make some of them leave or hate you. Imagine looking your parents in the eye and saying something to them that you know might make them reject you and stop loving you.

That’s all. I just wanted you to put yourself in the shoes of an imaginary gay person. I wondered if you had ever thought of what that might be like. You make jokes and say hurtful words and I don’t know why.

If the thought of loving a member of the same sex sounds appealing you might be gay. If the idea of loving a member of the same sex doesn’t sound appealing you probably aren’t gay. I don’t know a soul who chooses one way or another.

The idea of caring what another person does in their bedroom, straight or gay, is weird to me. If someone being gay bothers you I think you should try to identify why. It’s kind of the same as someone telling you they are diabetic, in the sense that it really doesn’t change your life at all. You might worry about them and hope they make good food choices.

So, you, I wish you could know someone gay and get over it and just be able to see them. They do weird things just like you. They have jobs and car payments and pay taxes. They get hang nails and stub their toes and walk their dogs. They have families and friends. If you are judging them based on your religious beliefs then leave it to the man (or whatever) upstairs.

I wish I could understand your need for the comments and hate, even if it’s veiled in humour. Are you scared? Do people different than you make you nervous? When your family member or friend comes out are you going to realize how ignorant you sound making your comments? You know the people you talk to have gay friends or family members right?

The story above could have been or could be you/your child/your sibling/your friend. Your words have an impact on the world. Chose to spread love instead of hate tomorrow. Don’t pass this on to your kids it will not serve them in any kind of positive way in their lives.

To people that have or might come out my hats off to you. I feel like if we drew straws on the path of life you kinda got the short one. Only because of the way society works though, It’s like being left handed and all the scissors and gadgets are built for righties. Be patient with your people. You’ve had time to get used to your news and they might need some too.

Namaste – or some shit.

Aside

Awake

I’m laying here
Tossing and turning
Waiting for a day
That they say will come

I’m wondering
I’m replaying
I want to know
But I’m not sure I do

While they slumber
I lay awake
I want so badly to move on
I wonder if they even know

I’ll close my eyes
I’ll close my hurt heart
I’ll wait for sleep
I’ll wait for peace

I swore I’d never tell anyone about this…

To use the language of the youth, last night was a “mommy fail”.

It was my daughters first dance recital and it stated at 5:15 on a muterf’n Wednesday. 5:15 is an almost impossible time to be anywhere. It’s just got home from work time and everybody in the family is being an asshole cause they are hungry time.

So I rush home and roll in at 4:40, it’s a mad dash, I clean the kids best I can, shove food in their faces while yelling -EAT PLEASE. She is to wear tie dye on top and black on the bottom. Oops mommy didn’t do laundry so we are wearing 2 sizes too small faded black pants for this evening’s performance.

So at 5 we call it and we get in the car and try to go a place none of us has been to before. We fight about where it is then sorta find it and go in the back door and walk all over the place then find the gym. Whew. We made it.

“Mommy my pants are wet … and it smells like pee”. Shit.

We go to the bathroom and clean up and attempt to dry the pants with paper towels and a sub par hand dryer. So now its 2 sizes too small pee pee pants for tonight’s performance.

We come out and find her group. I look around and every kid looks like they spent the day getting ready, hair is bunned, outfits on point, tutus ruffled and my kid looks kinda homeless. Sigh.

So her group performs last so we sit wait and clap for 50 mins in a gym that I think had the heat on. The two year old starts to kick up a fuss but we manage.

I also started to notice some parents had brought flowers for their kids. I thought “hmm that would have been cute – oh well, next time.”

So it’s her turn and I hold my breath as I wasn’t sure she would even go out on the stage but she does, and she does beautifully. I swell with pride over my little paper bag princess.

At the end I go meet her as she gets off the stage and I go over and give her a hug and start to say what a good job she did and she looks at me and bursts into tears.

Then she goes full. nuclear. meltdown.

Why? Because we didn’t get her flowers. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t pause to grasp this teaching moment. I feel every other parents judgement and stares. I drag both my screaming kids to the car buckle them up and stand at the back of the car to swear for a bit.

I tell her in the car that she should feel accomplished and proud of herself for learning to dance and being brave enough to show the world. I may have even said flowers don’t mean anything and they just die. I tell her if someone gets you flowers you should feel lucky but it shouldn’t be the reason you do things. She just cried the whole time.

We get home. I’m furious, she’s exhausted and hungry and needs a bath. We take care of all her needs and I start calming down a bit.

I figure we’ll have a heart to heart about being gracious when I can figure out the right words so I tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

She says sleepily “Mom are you really never going to sign me up for dance ever again?”
Me: ” we’ll see, mommy was pretty angry when she said that so we’ll talk tomorrow”
Her: “I won’t cry at my next recital I promise”
Me: “well that would be nice”
Her: “ya, I’ll just remind you to pick up the flowers on the way there”

Facepalm.

I can’t eat this it’s too yucky

Picture it: the year is 2035. My young adult daughter will have just moved out and will invite me over for dinner. I will graciously accept.

She will come up with a menu and go out and buy the ingredients. She will spend time preparing the food and will be excited to have me over as a guest. She will tidy her place and wait for me.

I will arrive with a bottle of wine and some bread. We will chit chat while she plates the food and then I’ll settle into the seat she’s chosen for me at her table. Maybe some conversation music is playing.

She will set the plate down in front of me and smile proudly. I will look at the plate then look at her, look at the plate then look at her.*

Me: Ew
Her: What!?!
Me: I can’t eat this it’s too yucky.
Her: Mom, don’t be ridiculous. You haven’t even tried it!
Me: It looks disgusting.
Her: It’s one of your favorites, just take a bite!
Me: No. If I eat that I’m afraid my tongue might die.

She’ll get frustrated then mad. I’ll continue to refuse it. She’ll yell at me and I will run away, tell her she’s mean then go in the bathroom and pee my pants.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

*I won’t do any of that. I will eat it all while marveling at this beautiful creature I made out of lemons, blueberry bagels and artichoke hearts.

Relax already

We went away for the night recently to a cheesy family hotel with an indoor water park and playground and family friendly dining. Basically Mecca for kids.

We had a great time. We came, we swam, we conquered. We left covered in chlorine and 3 out 4 of us slept on the way home.

The only thing I struggled with was the other parents. Almost all of them were so hard on their kids. I saw a mom punish her child for being scared of going down a slide and making her (the mom) stand there too long. One set of parents told their almost three year old “Gavin, remember to share now…” before my kids had even got in the pool.

I view my role as a mom as a watchful bystander in my kids lives. I just watch them. That’s all. I encourage them to make good choices and ask them to reconsider when they are not. I offer them options and help them understand the consequences of their choice. I cheer them on or redirect when needed. The only “rules” at my house are:

If you hit, you sit

It only fun if its fun for everyone

Everyone deserves to be listened to

I wish these moms would let their kids just be. I watched two sisters playing happily and the mom yelled at the one to stop throwing her shoe around, thus ending their game. I felt sad for those sisters. One girl was climbing on the play structure and yelled out to her mom “look mom, I’m being so careful”. Sigh.

I feel strongly that we underestimate kids and spend far too much time and energy talking at them, telling them what to do or discouraging them. Maybe your kid would surprise you, give them a chance. Maybe Gavin would have shared or maybe not but that would have been between him and my kids. I do know for sure they would have worked it out.

At one point a mom was asking her kid not to splash. At a water park. She looked at me sheepishly after her kid splashed my kid and I wanted to splash her.

I want to talk to these moms, I am craving connection and friendship as much as anybody but I’m not connecting. I wish I could find a way to encourage the moms to sit back, relax and for the love of Pete stop saying “be careful”. Seriously, that’s a useless thing to say.

That time I punched my brother in the face

We had this psychopath bus driver who must’ve enjoyed the sound of children fighting and crying rather than laughing and singing and having fun. The rule was you had to sit with your sibling rather than your friends.

I had this major crush on my co-bus patroller and he sat with his sister and I with my brother. One day out of the blue my brother says “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these!” And lifts my shirt and shows the love of my life my little pointy bee sting new boobs.

So, naturally, I punched him in the nose and made him bleed.

The lessons I learned that day were:

Boys in grade seven get a bad rep because this boy kindly lied and told me he wasn’t even looking (even though I knew he was – and did).

Little brothers are the worst.

Even though he did a horrible, epic-ly embarrassing thing I still felt terrible that I made him bleed.

That became the bench mark for embarrassing things so from then on all embarrassing things are measured based on surviving that event and none have yet to top it so I no longer get embarrassed easily.

I like people

One of the most rewarding things about blogging has been reading other people’s blogs. I have followed a few over the years but I wasn’t often getting the authenticity or the power that some of these posts have.

I love to read and my favourite novels are the observational type. You are dropped in the middle of these characters lives and just watch and read and the facts and events are presented without bias or judgment.

I now spend time laughing, crying and most importantly thinking about these posts. Sometimes I leave a comment and sometimes I have no words. I read about their loves and losses and regrets and anger and I am moved.

Teach me about life, make me decide my position on things and then make me look at it from another angle. Remind me of the things I am taking for granted and teach me how to let things go. Anger me so I can decide why I don’t agree with you.

If you were wondering if anyone is listening or if anyone cares, I am and I do.

I used to collect frog figurines but now I collect stories and feelings.

And magnets.