Tag Archives: parenting

Let’s worry mom! (New Zealand edition)

So, my daughter and her fiancé are leaving next week to spend some time in New Zealand. Seven weeks, actually. As you can see by this picture she sent me the other day, she’s pretty excited about it:

photo-6 calendar

This is technically their honeymoon, happening before the wedding because that’s just how their schedules worked out with time off. Two weeks after they return, they’re getting married. I mean, c’mon, what else would you do during the two months leading up to your wedding, if not leave the country?

This is their favourite kind of trip, one that involves hiking and camping. The kind where you don’t even bring a suitcase. You just stuff everything into a huge backpack, including a tent and sleeping bag and your food and a stove and an emergency hobbit, and carry it with you at all times while you climb mountains. They plan to do five of the Great Walks, although apparently one of them is really kayaking rather than walking.

EDIT TO ADD:  My daughter informs me that all five Great Walks they’re doing are indeed hiking. The kayaking is a separate thing. Because of course it is.

Am I worried, you ask? Who me? Pffft, I never worry. Much.

Besides, she assures me there are NO BEARS in New Zealand. Of course I believe her. Nonetheless, I did a google search of my own and discovered this isn’t strictly true. Apparently there is one particular type of BEAR in NZ.

BEAR GRYLLS!  [I love this video, great promo by Air New Zealand]:

He looks relatively harmless, except maybe to himself, but did you see those mountains? They’re very . . . mountainous.

I’m actually more than a bit envious. I’ve heard nothing but good things about New Zealand and have seen video and pictures showing how beautiful it is. I know they’ll have a terrific time. Luckily, her fiancé is just a few months shy of being an MD and is entirely capable of handling any incidents requiring band-aids that might ensue.

Not that I’m worried.

Now I just need to find something to wear to an outdoor spring wedding in New Orleans. I’m thinking maybe something that accessorizes well with hiking boots and a camelback. Any suggestions?

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“Don’t worry, I’m fine”

My son called me Saturday night. He and his girlfriend were at the beach for the weekend so I was surprised to hear from him.

“Hey,” I said, “What’s up?”

“Not much.”

This is how ALL our phone conversations start. Every. Single. One. Comforting in its predictability. But frustrating, because this kid never calls just to chat for no reason.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing. Just driving back from urgent care in Morehead City.”

“Urgent care?” This is not nothing. “What happened?”

My imagination has kicked straight into hyper-drive. He sounds calm, so I’m automatically eliminating things like evisceration and dismemberment by shark or boat propeller and have moved on to the lesser circles of hell. Maybe sunburn. Dehydration. Food poisoning. Even so, I’m already halfway off the couch, ready to drive two hours to the beach.

“Yeah, so I got stung by a stingray.”

“WHAT?!” My brain has now stopped working. Well, except for the part that vaguely remembers Steve Irwin died after being attacked by a stingray. And Steve Irwin was fucking invincible.

“Bastard got me on the ankle,” he said. “It bled like crazy. But don’t worry, I’m fine.”

Don’t worry? Right. Never mind that he’s an adult and can take care of himself, I’ve been reduced to stammering incoherence between spikes of adrenaline. “But– you– what? Stung by– ohmygod– stingray– blood– holy fu– you sure you’re okay?”

“Mom. I’m fine. It hurt like hell for about an hour. Like an 8 out of 10.”

Okay, now I’m remembering Allie Brosh’s revised chart of pain and freaking out. I think #8 had something to do with imminent death but was just short of Ebola and being mauled by BEARS.

Allie Brosh’s chart of pain:

I’m trying to remember whether there’s enough gas in my car to make it to the beach without stopping to refuel.

But I’m doing my best to stay calm. Taking deep breaths. I remind myself that I am the mother of two kids who survived each other and childhood. And college. I’ve had lots of practice with near disaster.

Still. An 8 on the pain scale?

“That sounds bad.” I am the master of understatement with underlying tones of panic.

“Yeah, it was pretty intense. But it didn’t leave a barb, so that’s good.”

“A barb?” I think I might pass out.

“Nope, no barb. They cleaned the gash and put a band-aid on it and I’m fine now.”

Gash?” My voice emerged as a squeak. “A band-aid?”

My kid could have DIED and they put a freaking band-aid on it? I’m now incapable of speech and reduced to emitting high-pitched sounds of distress. But like any good dolphin child, my son is tuned to the frequency.

“Mom. Really, I’m fine. I just thought you’d want to know.”

And then I heard it. The voice of the kid who went flying off his bike while doing stunts and scraped the hell out of his palms and knees but didn’t cry. The same kid who sliced open his hand on a sharp rock and bled all over the place but was totally calm about it. So his mom wouldn’t freak out and worry. Not that I would have. Probably.

Okay, fine then. I wouldn’t freak out now either. Seemed the least I could do. If he could be all calm and collected IN THE FACE OF CERTAIN DEATH– ahem, so could I.

“Thanks for letting me know,” I said, with Oscar-worthy insouciance. “I’m sorry it messed up your weekend. And so relieved that you’re okay.”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “I guess I won’t be going in the ocean again this trip.”

“You’d damn well better not even think about it.”

He laughed again and it had the sound of indulgence. And love. “Don’t worry, mom. I won’t.”

I’m sure he’ll wait until at least next weekend.

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The sounds of silence, they echo

My DD and her BF and their dog and cat left early Friday morning to drive back to New Orleans. I miss them horribly. After ten days of noise and commotion, of various people coming and going, cooking and eating, talking and laughing and sleeping over, my house is almost spookily quiet.

Part of my brain apparently thinks they’re still here. I’ve had to stop myself three times now from getting up to let the dog in from the backyard. Their dog loved my backyard. Well, she loved the sticks. Which she piled up on the deck, right outside the door, like an offering to the tree gods. Or a barricade to keep us in.

I find myself waiting for the escalating volume of the spit-hiss-growl that meant the cats were having another close encounter of the curmudgeonly kind. And I swear I can still hear the faint chiming riiiiing of that Civ5 computer game — not quite a bell tone, more like someone running a wet fingertip around the rim of a wine glass. Over and over and over and over. Bells bells bells.

It’s not just me. My cat enters every room with extreme caution, not convinced the enemy has abandoned the field. She’s still spending the entire night snuggled up to my side instead of resuming her duties stalking odd noises in the night. This morning she hissed at a pair of shoes. Poor thing, she’s half-blind with old age and has to get right up next to a piece of furniture before she’s sure it isn’t occupied by The Intruder Cat, who is sort of like the Spanish Inquisition of cats. As you can see below. Totally unexpected.

I’ve been trying to get back into writing the past few days [yay. go, me] but the silence is distracting and I’m having trouble concentrating. Even as I sit here writing about how they’re gone, I half expect to hear the whir of a hair-dryer or the slam of a closet door or the sound of my DD yelling from upstairs, “Mom? Is there more laundry detergent somewhere?”

I know, wishful thinking on my part. But as much as I miss all that noise, I have to admit, the silence is rather . . . blissful.

Probably I’d enjoy it more if I weren’t suffering miserably with this sniffling sneezing aching shivering head cold from hell.

I’m telling you, allowing people to invade your solitude has consequences.

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Filed under just for fun, parenting

Unwelcome reasons for giving thanks

Today, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I am thankful that my daughter has come home to visit for several days.

My daughter is thankful that the nasty intestinal virus didn’t attack while she was still on the airplane yesterday.

I’m thankful that we had planned to have our big turkey meal today and that the turkey is still frozen enough that we can wait and cook it tomorrow instead.

My daughter and I both are thankful that, after almost seven hours of her being violently ill last night, it seemed the worst was finally over and we went to bed at 4:00 AM and slept for four hours without incident.

I am thankful that my bucket-emptying duties appear to be over.

My daughter is thankful to be home where her mommy can take care of her.

My daughter is also thankful for gatorade and chamomile tea.

Did I mention I’m thankful she stopped throwing up?

Both of us are about to be thankful for a quiet house and a long afternoon nap.

And I will be extremely thankful if I get through the next several days without needing anyone to empty a bucket for me.

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Arts and crafts and other trauma

I’m trying to get back to posting regularly over here, but I’ve been writing and am fresh out of ideas for a blog post this week. Not that I’m going to let a simple thing like that stop me. I figure I’ll just ramble on for a bit and eventually I might make some kind of sense. Or not.

My mom has been cleaning out cupboards in her house. She has lived in that house since I was five years old, so you can imagine there is a bit of accumulated stuff tucked into the odd corner. Stuff that isn’t necessarily hers. And some stuff that is, regrettably, mine.

Seeing as how her polite suggestions that we box up our stuff and take it with us (I have three sisters and we all happily left various childhood treasures behind) have been largely ignored over the years, she recently decided to just do it herself. But there is some confusion about which stuff belongs to whom. This prompted a few phone calls and text messages this past weekend and one of those was my older sister texting a picture of some “artwork” and asking, “Is this yours?”

Sigh. Yes, I made that. In middle school, I think. It’s plaster poured into a milk carton, which we then had to carve into some kind of thing using blunt instruments. Pure torture. I hated every minute of it. I asked my mom to throw it out, but I suspect she’s going to pack it lovingly into a box so I can take it home with me one day. She seems determined to make me appreciate a creativity gene I just do not possess.

I am not artistic. Not when it comes to arts and crafts like drawing or painting or sculpture. Or sewing. Or cutting and pasting construction paper. Or anything to do with glitter or beads or styrofoam or toothpicks as construction material. I’m not good at it. I’ve always known I’m not good at it — all of my sisters are very talented in these areas and the contrast is stark and undeniable — and that doesn’t bother me. Really, I just don’t care. I have other talents.

Those of you relatively new to this blog might not realize that I am in fact somewhat infamous for my [lack of] drawing skills. After one of the first luncheon meet-ups of Imaginary Internet Friends, everyone demanded to see pictures. I hatehateHATE having my picture taken and refused to let anyone take any. Yes, I am a tyrant. So I drew this instead:

Everyone agreed it was hilariously pitiful. [I’d link to that blog post, but it was on a different blog and we broke it anyway.] Delighted my drawing was received with the silliness intended, I’ve continued in those efforts.

Here’s one from a couple years ago, of me having a fine needle aspiration biopsy of my thyroid:

And the aftermath [blog post and more “pics” here]:

And then there’s the one of me imagining my daughter calling me, as promised, after being eaten by a BEAR [blog post here]:

Lest you think I labour over these things, these are all first drafts. No do-overs. Well, except the bear. After the first attempt, I realized I’d better draw the stomach contents first, then fit the bear around it, er, her. Whatever.

I really don’t care if people laugh at my lack of artistry. I’ve been laughing at it all my life. Although, inexplicably, I did manage to create some adequate pottery back in high school. Maybe I’ll round up a few pieces . . . here, I think there are a few upstairs too, but these are the ones I gathered up in a quick tour downstairs. I made these and I like them:

Anyway, back to drawing. I found this link through twitter and it totally cracked me up: Draw a stick man.

This is perfect for me! I’ve actually drawn several now and it makes me laugh every time when it becomes animated and moves clumsily through the little story, aided by other clunky items also drawn by me. I thought I was bad with a marker pen, you should see the results using a fingertip and the track pad on my MacBook. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

Is there anything like this you know you’re just not good at? Something you always hated but did it anyway because it was required at school? Can you laugh about it now or is it still a source of frustration or embarrassment?

Or are you really good at arts and crafts and wish you were back in school where you had unlimited supplies and an excuse to sniff paste indulge your inner artist? It’s okay to admit it, I won’t think less of you. As long as you don’t make me join in.

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Filed under creativity, laughter