Monday, May 27, 2013

The road ahead. . .

Now that my husband has submitted his resignation letter and as we prepare to sell our home the travel bug is calling my name and he/she is calling really LOUDLY!

I was an armed forces child so I have travelled some.  We lived in Europe when I was very young and while there are terrific pictures I don't recall much of our time there.  I moved schools a few times and learned to make friends as I was often "the new kid".   Our 'vacations' at home always consisted of driving as far into the woods as the road would go, as long as there was a lake there, unpacking and camping until we ran out of food or out of holiday time.  I married young and had children young and those very busy years seemed to fly by without much thought to vacationing, never mind travelling.

I have vacationed in some beautiful places, most recently in Costa Rica but I have never "travelled".  Travelling to me means many maps with circles and notes on them, hours spent dreaming and planning (although the real planning generally falls to my husband) and discussions about where to go and when to make the most out of our journey.  It means strapping on a backpack, learning to use facilities that don't necessarily "flush" and eating food that I'm not quite sure what it is.  There must be a sense of adventure around it and of course, some challenges to overcome.  My heart must speed up a few times at the beauty of people and places I have never experienced.  The whole world is out there, including our own province and country and I can't wait to get started!

This little travel bug that sits on my shoulder calling my name has been further encouraged by some readings that I have been doing.  The first, a book called Sihpromatum by Savannah Grace really taught me a thing or two about travel.  If you have the pleasure of reading this book, keep in mind that Savannah's experiences are NOT the ones I am looking for.  I'm not 14 and I'm not THAT adventurous.  However, I do love how her family's travels shaped this young girl and her relationship with her family and changed the way she viewed both herself and the world.  I think that as I get older I wonder more about the world I have never seen and the person I will become after getting a chance to see the way other people live.

The other article that I read was called, Date a Boy Who Travels. I loved this article.
I was most astounded by the feedback on this article..  Many, many volatile women (and men) responded with comments such as, Instead of dating a boy that travels, how about just being a girl that travels?  Now, I've already admitted that I haven't travelled much but I have travelled enough (and alone a couple of times) to know that the journey is ALWAYS better when you have someone to share it with.  I'm not saying  you have to run out and find a boyfriend (wouldn't THAT get me in trouble?) but I am really looking forward to making more memories with my husband.  I'm going to love it that we can look back on our adventures, our challenges, our favourite places and people and the parts of the journey that weren't so great and talk about them with each other.  I like it that when I look down over the rolling hills of the Cotswolds on my bike that he will be there beside me looking down on the same hills.
I like it that when I'm sick or sore and tired or longing for home that he will be there to re-infuse me and remind me about what our adventure is all about.  I like it that when we visit our old friend in Switzerland that they will have childhood memories to share with me as we see her part of the world through her eyes.
I like it that there will be give and take on this journey, as there has been throughout our whole life.  I like it that he has already travelled to some of the places we plan on seeing and that he will have memories to share with me about those places but that we will also be seeing many things together for the first time.  I like it that we will travel to the home of his grandparents in England, a time and place I have heard so many stories about.  I like it that he's interested in the history and I'm interested in the people (and food!)  I like it that the things we want to see and do are different and that we will both experience things we wouldn't have if we weren't with each other.
Our course travelling for us will also involve many, many conversations with those who have gone before us.  Our kids have travelled extensively and have already been to places on our bucket list.  While they don't want us to go for long they are excited that they may be able to visit us at one or more of our stops along the way.  My niece is an expert traveller (again, not sure I want to travel the way she does) but her experiences will benefit us as well.  Then we have the ultimate traveller, my sister-in-law and her husband.  They are seasoned "travellers" and already taught me a thing or two about which clothes to bring, which medications to have on hand and how to pack efficiently for a longer journey on less travelled roads.  Facebook has been a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with friends who have settled in other countries and who are more than willing to help us find suitable lodgings and point us to the places and experiences that only the locals would know.

As I look out the window on the mountains that surround me I know the time is coming soon where this place that has been our home for 35 years will no longer be home.  It makes me more aware and more appreciative, knowing our time here is coming to an end.  I'm okay with that.  I'm ready for some adventure and I'm ready to see the world.  I also know when our travels end that I will be happy to settle into a home that will be our home for the rest of our days.  Not sure yet where that will be but that's another adventure for another day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blue days. . .

Every once in a while, for no apparent reason, the blues descend upon me.  That's what's happening today.  For no apparent reason. 

I had a restless night.  I don't remember my dreams from last night but I remember there were many and that I had to wake myself up to stop the feeling of urgency bordering on panic.  Those kinds of dreams always leave me with a bit of a dull headache and that's not a nice way to start the day.

As I sat down to read today's paper I heard birds chirping, lots of them and like my dreams, there was a sense of urgency to them.  I got up to look out the window and saw a bunch of robins chasing off a very large raven.  Last week I took some terrific pictures of three baby robins that were in  a nest sitting on the drainage pipe under the eaves so when I saw them chasing I knew they were protecting their babies.  I looked around for something to throw at the raven if it came near again and in the time it took me to do that the raven had knocked the nest off the drainage pipe and was flying away with one of the chicks in it's beak, with three or four robins giving chase.  I felt sick.

I wondered why mother nature had to be so cruel.  My headache got worse.

One of the pleasures of being retired is being able to have a leisurely start to my day.  I often get up and putter around the house tidying etc and then have a hot drink while I read the paper.  I love reading the morning paper, it feels like a luxury.  I can skim the negative headlines and settle into the stories that really interest me.  Today's paper seems to be full of horrible stories.  Now, to be perfectly honest, most days there are lots of those stories and I am able to just skim the headline and breeze on by them.  Today though they bothered me, even the headlines.  It just seems like that kind of day.

I have no plans for today other than to vote, clean under the sink and organize an upstairs room.  Today is a day I am wishing I had to go to work.  I am wishing for the noisy chatter of the kids and the million and one things that always needed attention.  Today I am not enjoying the quiet that I have learned to love.  Today is a good day to remember that the sunshine is always brighter after a few grey days.

The clouds are breaking a little so perhaps it's time to get on my bike so I can turn my attention to my sore butt and burning legs.  A little distraction is what I need.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I've been a mother for almost four decades now!  Four decades!  For all of you new moms out there I want you to know that this role you have taken on is the role of a lifetime.  It's the roller coaster ride you paid big money for, stood in line for and then as you got closer to the front of the line you wondered if you really wanted to get on..  And. . . as you all know, it's not the up on the roller coaster that causes that lurch in our stomachs, it's the downs.  No matter how good you are at this mom thing there will be downs, they are inevitable.  But this is where we lose the roller coast analogy for the ups of motherhood are so much more exhilarating, so much higher, in fact, they are the best part of the ride.

I am Jason's mom, and Christine's, and Carrie's, and Kelly's mom.  I am a proud mom.  I know along the way that I have made mistakes but I'm okay with that.  There's no manual for motherhood and anyone who knows me knows that I've never read a manual in my life anyways.  I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person and like it or not, this is how I've 'mothered'. 

I became a mom for the first time when I was 18.  What does any 18 year old know?  Not that much in the scheme of things.  So when my kids complain about things I don't remember and things I didn't do right I tell them that considering my age and my lack of experience they're lucky they're even around to complain.  I wasn't a worrier.  There was no internet so I couldn't consult Dr. Google on any of the issues that came up.  Not that I would have recognized an "issue" if one would have arisen.  I had no immediate family around and these weren't the days of mommy groups.  For the most part I did what I liked.  I picked my babies up when they cried, I spent all day playing with them and being amazed by how perfect they were.  I did things that nowadays would be frowned on but again, I wouldn't have likely cared what the 'experts' were saying anyways even if I would have known.  And as luck would have it, it all worked out for the best.  My kids are terrific!

When I think back on the early days of motherhood I think of the quiet times and in spite of having four kids there were many quiet times.  I can remember moments of snuggling a wee one in my arms and just smelling that wonderful baby smell.  I can feel the heat of my toddlers' bodies as they settle in for a story.  I can see the fingerprints on the walls and the windows and the fridge and the cupboards and in places you can't even imagine fingerprints could get.  I can hear the squeal of each of their voices as they said to their dad, "Do it again!  Do it again!"  I can feel the soft squeeze of  my babies' fists as they hold a finger while they nurse.  I can hear the sound a mattress makes as my children bounce up and down on the bed on the floor above me, waiting for that thump and cry that tells me that it's time to kiss the  'owie' away.  I remember each of their first days at Kindergarten and the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I wished for kind teachers and happy playmates, hoping they were ready for the 'real' world.  And in the blink of an eye the years have passed and I now have  the pleasure and the honor of watching each of these amazing people go through the same experiences with their own children. 

That's how fast motherhood passes.  Just like the roller coaster, the ride you've been anticipating as you stood in line, it is over in a flash.  Those wee babies grow up and make mistakes and learn from them, make friends, lose them and make new friends, fall in love, get hurt and fall in love again, leave home, come home and leave home again, love you, dislike you and love you again.  It's all part and parcel of motherhood and I wouldn't have missed it for the world,

Jason, Christine, Carrie and Kelly, thank you for surviving my ignorance and lack of experience.  Thank you for making motherhood so easy.  Thank you for all the hugs and kisses and tears along the way.  Thank you for being such terrific kids and now for being such terrific adults.  Thank you for sharing your own families with us day in and day out.  Thank you for making my motherhood experience such a wonderful one!  I love you!