Don’t forget!

Things to remember when I am older…

  • Keep your mind open, and don’t judge
  • Let your daughter find her path, even if you think you know it’s not the right path; support her!
  • Do not talk too much, there are other people who want to speak.
  • Listen and listen well.
  • You don’t have to know the answers, it’s okay to just sympathise and give a hug.
  • Let your daughter come to you, don’t guilt her into anything.
  • Encourage the people around you, build them up.
  • Don’t be too busy, it’s okay for friendships to fade!
  • A few good friends is better than too many!
  • Find a hobby!
  • Try new things!
  • Keep moving!
  • Just be kind, always.

Late

I hate being late.

I am always the first one to the party. Usually early, waiting in the parking lot until for the exact minute, so that I will arrive on time. Each morning, I am one of the first teachers to arrive to school. I hate the feeling of being rushed and worried about arriving late.

Today I took my 97 year old grandmother to pick up her hearing aid that was in for repair. I arrived to her house super early because she has a tendency not to be ready.

To my surprise she was dressed and looking sharp! She still needed to finish her toast and coffee but we had plenty of time.

As we were about to head out the door, my Nanny’s nephew came to the door. (He visits with her almost daily!) He knew we had to be at an appointment but he just chatted away! The time ticked by. It didn’t matter how many times I mentioned the time, he just kept on talking.

By the time I finally got him out the door, Nanny in the car and my two year old toddler buckled into her car seat, it was 11:30. The time we were supposed to be at the appointment. To add to my stress, it was pouring rain. Her hearing aid appointment was at Costco and as it is the day before Costco is closed for the Easter Weekend, it was a zoo.

Trying to get a 97 year old with mobility issues and a two year old into Costco in the pouring rain, is a difficult feat.

Stopping all traffic with my car, I managed to get my grandmother safely across the road and into the sliding Costco doors, as I scrambled to find a parking spot. Running through the parking lot with my daughter in my arms, we tried to dodge raindrops, unsuccessfully.

When we finally arrived it was 11:50. I was relieved that we made it but stressed and embarrassed that we were so late. Luckily, they were able to check that her hearing aid was repaired and working well but couldn’t do the extensive test that they had planned.

I had the urge to explain why we were so late but I didn’t want my grandmother to think she was to blame. I was hoping that by seeing a 97 year old woman with a cane on one side and a toddler on the other that they would figure it out. I’m not sure if they did though.

Long Lost Friends

When you live overseas for almost a decade, it’s inevitable that you lose touch with a few friends along the way.

You know you have a true friend when you cross paths after years have passed and it feels like yesterday that you were together. Today I was lucky enough to have an old friend drive three hours to see me and spend the day with my daughter and I. My daughter has this way of knowing who is special in her life. With just a short time spent together, she didn’t want to let go of her to say goodnight. She held on tight for a goodnight kiss! She isn’t one for cuddles, so this one was extra sweet!

When your husband packs the car…

“I’ll pack the car and you get Marlowe dressed.”

It sounds like the perfect plan to me. With the car packed and Marlowe dressed, we buckle up and hit the road. The airport is a 40 minute drive from our house and Marlowe happily sings in the back. She has been talking about the airplane to see Nanny for months and has had her little backpack ready for days.

When we arrive to the airport, I hop out to get a cart and Andrew starts unloading the car.

“Did you grab Marlowe’s backpack?” He asks.

Of course I didn’t, I think to myself.

“Nope, I thought you did?” I calmly respond.

“I’m sorry, I somehow missed it.” He apologises.

I knew there was nothing we could do about it at that point and it was just a short flight so it wasn’t a big deal. I thought Marlowe would have been disappointed but she didn’t even notice!

I was relieved that I packed the snacks in my own backpack!

That perfectly packed backpack (see yesterday’s post) will remain perfectly packed at our front door ready for the next adventure.

Travelling Toddler

When your child is born overseas, airplanes are practically your second home. Marlowe just turned 2 and she has been on 18 airplanes. The airplane rides include long haul trips  lasting up to 16 hours and shorter connecting flights. 18!  I don’t think I had been on that many airplanes until I was at least in my twenties.

As we prepare to fly to Ontario tomorrow, I have been busy packing. I think that I have this toddler packing thing down to a science.

In Marlowe’s backpack:

  • 2 light books
  • 1 stuffed animal
  • 4 small plastic animals
  • 1 little bag of beads and string
  • 1 water cup.

In my backpack:

  • 2 light books
  • 1 colouring book and a few crayons
  • 3 pre-stapled blank books
  • 2 changes of underwear (for Marlowe)
  • 1 change of clothes (for Marlowe)
  • 2 diapers and a travel pack of wipes
  • 1 sheet of plastic stickers for easy sticking and peeling on an airplane tray or window,
  • 3 clementines
  • 1 small bag of trail mix
  • 1 snack container of blackberries
  • 1 snack bag of crackers and cheerios
  • 1 banana
  • 1 small blanket
  • our travel documents
  • 1 pen

In my experience, less is more. Except for the food. There are enough random things in an airplane to keep toddlers busy, so don’t over pack on the toys and books. ALWAYS over pack on the food though. I used to pack things for me to read or write in. I quickly realised that I was silly. I will not have one minute to myself. Even if Marlowe fell asleep (very unlikely) I will most likely be holding her and unable to access any of my reading materials.

Luckily this flight is only 4 hours,  so I am not worried about it at all!

 

Nanny Phone

Anytime we see a phone in a book or in real life, Marlowe always says “Nanny phone” and proceeds to repeat this until we call Nanny. Nanny is her Great-Grandmother who Marlowe has only had the chance to visit a handful of times. Marlowe was born in Hong Kong and Nanny lives in Ontario, it isn’t fun going to visit when it is a 16 hour flight. Now that we live in Alberta, it isn’t quite as treacherous of a journey but it is still an expensive one. Despite seeing Nanny so few times in her life, she has somehow become Marlowe’s favourite person (aside from her parents, of course.) This makes me heart soar.  Nanny has always been my favourite person and somehow Marlowe just knows how special she is.

Marlowe and I have a daily routine when I get home from work. When she hears the garage door open, she runs to the door and knocks, shouting “Mama, mama!” As soon as I open the door she runs to the comfiest chair in the house, crawls up and giggles as she says, “Mama milk!” I wash my hands to rid myself of the germs of school and settle into the chair for snuggles and nursing. As soon as I sit down, Marlowe says “Nanny phone!” We call Nanny and chat while we nurse. Marlowe doesn’t say too much to Nanny but she listens and feels the love. It is a daily ritual. Nanny always says that it is the highlight of her day, I don’t think she realises that it is our highlight too! Every so often though, Nanny doesn’t answer. As soon as the answering machine picks up Marlowe starts to cry, “Hi Nanny! Hi Nanny!” It is the saddest, yet cutest thing.” Usually if I tell her that Nanny is in bed, she calms herself down by saying, “Nanny bed!”  a few times on her own.

In two days we are visiting Nanny and Marlowe can’t stop asking about the “Nanny airplane!”

Me to Our

It turns out that two year olds have a bit of an obsession with the word me.

“Me coat, me highchair, me book, me bed”

ME EVERYTHING

We have been working hard to encourage Marlowe to say our instead of me. It usually goes a little something like this…

“Me, chair!”

” Whose chair is it ?”

“Our chair.”

“Ya, it is our chair, Mama, Dada and you can sit in it. We can share it with our friends too!”

some time passes

“Me book!”

“Why don’t you try that again.”

“Our book!”

We have been having conversations like this for the past couple of weeks. Today, I was really excited because she independently started to say our without any support.

“Our car, our brrrrrr (elephant), our bell”

She finally understood and we wouldn’t have those same conversations every day.

Just as you think you have done something right, toddlers like to show you that you actually didn’t.

A half hour into Marlowe’s nap, she woke up and needed to be changed.

I started to take off her sleep sack and she said “our doo doo!”

laughing to myself

“No Marlowe, actually that is your doo doo!”

“Mama, Dada, me doo doo! OUR DOO DOO!”

“We do share a lot of thing but we actually don’t share doo doo!”

“OUR DOO DOO!”

“sure, let’s go with that for now, our doo doo…will you go back to sleep now?”

“Yes! Mama lub”

“I love you too!”

And she did go back to sleep.

Now I am left wondering how to undo my teaching or at least modify it slightly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to fill a silence

Silences. They can be awkward. Embarrassing. Stressful.

Instinctually you attempt to fill them.

Scrambling for words to fill the gaps.

 

What if you don’t?

What if you let them hang?

 

Like the sun hanging in the horizon.

 

What if you enjoyed those quiet moments?

Appreciated each others company?

 

Those moments become special.

Ones to look forward to.

 

 

Just Jump!

Taking risks is scary. Whether it is rappelling down waterfalls in a vietnamese rainforest or applying for a new position, it can be nerve racking. When it comes to outdoor adventures, I am eager to take risks. When it comes to my career, I tend to play it safe.

Recently I received an email from the International Baccalaureate Organisation, they are recruiting new workshop leaders and School Visit Members. Since then, I have been wavering like a seesaw.

Should I apply? Is it worth my time? I probably won’t be selected. If I am, do I have the skills for this? Will I want to leave Marlowe for days at a time throughout the year?

Throughout my internal debate, I have been coming back to a workshop that I attended, where Simon Breakspear said something along the lines of “You just have to go for it. If everyone listened to that voice telling them not to try, no one would ever apply.” He attributed his success to always taking that risk, even when we doubt our own ability.

I took the first step today. I asked my principal for her support in the application process. She enthusiastically agreed to support me in the process and thought that it would be a really great role for me.

When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s important to have people in your life who do!

 

Dear younger me

Dear younger me,

I feel like I hardly know you anymore. I hope our distance hasn’t left you feeling angry. Please know that I think about you a lot.

What happened, I wonder.

How did we drift so far apart? It has been a long journey that has brought us to this point but now that we are here, maybe we should talk about it.

I guess I should be honest. I wasn’t really happy with you. You never seemed to make the best choices and you drank a bit too much. You somehow seemed to get us into embarrassing situations. I think you should feel lucky that nothing too terrible happened to you during those years. I always wondered if you might have been drinking to overcompensate for something. Were you hiding a secret from the world or trying to impress someone?  I wonder what brought you to that point on your journey. Was it something someone said or did that left you questioning your self-worth?

Do you think we could have done something differently to skip over or change that part in our lives. Although, without those experiences and challenges, perhaps you wouldn’t have changed into the me, I am today.

I really like this me.  I hope you do too! I am thankful that you brought me here but I don’t really want to see you again. I hope you understand.

Sincerely,

myself