Monthly Archives: September 2013

Count down to middle school – we have blast-off!

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Epic Rocket Launch

Epic Rocket Launch (Photo credit: jurvetson)

 

The beginning of school is a particularly nerve-wracking time for me. I never know how things are going to go for M. Even if the principal doesn’t have me on speed dial by the end of week one, I’m reluctant to say he’s off to a good start. In my experience, that’s a sure-fire way to jinx things.

 

However, after nearly a month into middle school, so far so good. M is getting back and forth to school by himself.  I still have to remind him to check to see if he has everything he needs for the day, but so far he hasn’t forgotten anything important at home or school. He’s been dong his homework, with limited parental prompting. He’s adapted surprisingly well to coming home alone – at least 2 hours of unsupervised media time seems to keep him well occupied. When he called me one day last week to tell me he was home, he was making himself popcorn, something he never does when one of his parents is home.

 

Compared with previous years, M seems to happy at school.  One of our neighbours remarked that he looks like he’s grown about a foot taller in the last month. He hasn’t , but he is carrying himself with renewed confidence. One of his buddies in his class and he seems to be hanging around with a group of boys during breaks and lunches. Some of them were classmates in elementary school and are very familiar with his past behaviours. But M seems to have discovered what I’ve been telling him for several years – other kids are more likely to want to hang around you when you aren’t poking them or yelling at them. While M has some definite quirks, he’s a pretty likable kid. His problem has never been making new friends, it’s been keeping them. I’ve been convinced for quite some time that if M felt that he was part of a group, rather than an outsider, he’d probably be better able to cope with the normal lumps and bumps of life. In other words, a strong social network would help him feel better about himself, thus increasing his resilience.  Like most 12 year olds, M’s relationships with his peers are one of the most important things in his life. But no matter our age, everyone needs to feel connected to other people (cue the cheesy pop song – People who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world).

 

I’m not so naive as to believe M won’t have some challenges are school. We’re still in September – we’ve got 9 more months to go. The teachers are still getting to know the kids and haven’t started piling on the work yet. For the moment, the kids are getting outside at break and lunch which helps make them all get through the day. Wait until winter comes and M is stuck inside from 9 to 3 every day with 500 or so restless 12 and 13 year olds. If we don’t have some drama. there’s probably something wrong with my child.

 

But why borrow trouble? For the moment, I’m not going to worry about what might happen. M is making friends and is happy at school. Can’t ask for much more than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My morning commute

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Between April 1 and the end of September-early October, I ride my bike to work as much as possible.  While it takes less time to get to work by bus, there’s no comparison. The bus is usually over-crowded and most of the passengers and the bus drivers are cranky. On my bike, I don’t have to worry about being bumped by a massive knapsack or having my arm jerked off by a bus driver who has aspirations to be Mario Andretti. I live relatively close to a river and there’s a bike path that runs along the edge of the river, almost all the way to my office. A short jump across a busy bridge and I’m at work. About 25 mins and 7 km each way. My building has change rooms in the basement, which means I can shower at work and not worry about being smelly all day. While it only takes me about 20 minutes to get to work by bus, I need about 45 minutes to get to work, shower and get to my office. It takes a bit more organization, but it’s well worth the effort. Oxygen and fresh air clear out any cobwebs.  I always arrive at work in a good mood. The return trip gives me a chance to unwind a bit before I’m thrown into the evening routine.

Loaded up and ready to go

Loaded up and ready to go

Cup holder - forget the water bottle

Cup holder – forget the water bottle

 

The best thing about riding my bike is that the scenery changes daily. Every so often, I’ll see a heron standing just off shore as I ride past a shallow inlet. In the spring, there’s gaggles of Canada geese with fuzzy little goslings waddling around after their parents. every so often, the bike traffic comes to a stand-still as a mama goose leads her pack across the pathway in search of a more succulent patch of grass (Canada geese are big and ill-tempered, so always a good idea to let them go first). Recently, I saw a hawk fly over my head, clutching a small rodent in his talons – it was close enough that I could see its beak and the tail of its breakfast.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

 

 

Traffic jam on the ride to work

Traffic jam on the ride to work

View from my bike

View from my bike

Public art gallery

Public art gallery

More wildflowers

More wildflowers

The road ahead
The road ahead

A view from the ground

A view from the ground

Just another reason why riding a bike is better

Just another reason why riding a bike is better

Parking lot

Parking lot

 

19 years

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English: Woodward family wedding, 1911 William...

English: Woodward family wedding, 1911 William Henry John Woodward married Clara Emily Woodward at Armstrong Creek, Dayborough, 1911. (Description supplied with photograph). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is our wedding anniversary. Nineteen years ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon, surrounded by family and friends, Mr. Magic and I got married in his parent’s backyard. it was a low-key affair – my mother made my dress, my brother catered the lunch and his mother-in-law (also a friend of mine), made the wedding cake (carrot cake – my favourite!) which my mother decorated with fresh flowers. It was a lovely afternoon.

If you had asked me back on September 10, 1994, if I thought I would still be married, 19 years later, I probably would have been a bit dubious. Not because i didn’t love my husband, but because most of the married people I knew were separated or divorced, at least once. My parents split up after 21 years. Most of my close friends had similar experiences. A number of my cousins had married young and had already re-married before I even contemplated getting married at all. My parents-in-law were about the only couple I knew who had been together for more than 25 years.  At the time of my own wedding, I didn’t see marriage as a long-term proposition.

Looking back now, I can hardly believe that much time has gone by. In that 19 years, we have moved cities and jobs, bought a house and had M. We’ve attended the weddings of family members and close friends and shared lots of milestones – births, deaths, and even a few divorces.  In the last couple of years, my cousin’s kids have started to get married and have children of their own. Mr. Magic and I have supported each other through some difficult times, including unemployment, depression and family disagreements. We`ve also experienced incredible moments of joy, not the least of which were the moment we found out we were expecting M and the day he was born. We`ve had lots of moments in between too. Some days are a struggle – we both work full-time and while we love M to the nth degree, he`s not an easy child. As Mr. Magic said to me recently, “some nights, after supper`s done and the kitchen is cleaned up and M`s in bed, there`s not a lot left over.“ I expect that sometimes, both of us are just coasting.

One thing I`ve learned over the last few years, is that life is unpredictable. Things change, often without notice. Living in the moment isn`t always easy but if we don`t, we may miss the small victories and events that give our lives meaning and texture. Like watching M learn to drive a motor boat, playing cards together or walking to the ice cream store or the local Saturday morning market.

So today, I`m counting my blessings. I`m married to a wonderful man who is incredibly loyal and protective of his family. He’s smart, well-read and has a good sense of humour (a highly under-rated ingredient of a long-term relationship and parenthood). So what if his favorite TV show is Top Gear?  Since my secret vice is cheesy romance novels, I`m not one to cast too many stones. Mr. Magic buys my favourite potato chips and spends most of his holidays at my family cottage. He loves me even when I don`t love myself.

I used to think that nineteen years was a long time to be to be with the same person. Now I know it`s not nearly long enough.