And like that she was moving on

I thought I was ready, but I was wrong, as I sit here listening to albums, trying to hold back the tears.

An old picture of when the children were young
An old picture of when the children were young.

You’re probably thinking I’m insane, I know my husband does, I mean, don’t all parents wait for that day when your children will move out? I know it is a loaded question. I look back at the pictures of when they were young, when they would just out of the blue hug you, run up and say I love you. I still get the hugs and the I love you’s often, but wouldn’t you like to go back and just watch them grow up again? I know I would.


The children sitting on the couch and watching a movie.
Watching a movie together.
The children picking apples.
One of my favourite pictures from when we went apple picking.
A picture of the children walking the dog
A walk in the park with our first dog Sheba.

Is she ready for her new life? I believe she is, we have hopefully given her the right tools, strength, courage, and love to help her make the choices that will bring her happiness.  She can still call me anytime, even in the middle of the night, her bedroom will always be hers even if I use it for the time being as my sewing room.

The eldest in her kayak.
The eldest in her kayak. Ready for anything.


The day they thought I had disappeared

After my mother married my father, the two of them moved to Hamilton, Ontario to start a new life. They had only been married a year, when I came along, then my brother the next year, and my other brother the following year, my sister then came five years later. To say the least my mom was pretty burned out and lonely since my father worked three shifts and most weekends. To ease her pain, my dad would take all of us to her mom’s most Sundays. I believe the only Sunday we would miss, would be when he worked afternoons.

I loved going to my grandmother’s house, and I was given the added bonus of being taken over to my Great Aunt Teddie’s (short for Theodora) house two blocks away, where I could comb my two older cousin’s hair over and over again. My grandmother was an amazing women, she worked six days a week and on Sundays would always have a huge dinner with a minimum of two pies for dessert (my mom’s two brothers were also there, with one brother being married with four kids). I honestly don’t know how she did it, but then again, she had a great work ethic. When my mother was growing up, to support her and her two brothers, grandma worked at the Right House (a higher end department store now defunct) Monday to Friday doing various jobs, one where she operated the hand-cranked elevator, before moving to the stock room. On Saturdays, she worked long hours picking Tobacco. My grandfather had a gambling problem, so it was mainly up to my grandmother to support the family of five.

My grandmother lived on Ninth Ave in Brantford, Ontario, in an area that was considered to be the “wrong side of the tracks – Eagle Place”. It may have been a war-time house but till this day, I loved that house because it brings back wonderful memories, except for the one day they thought I had disappeared or worse yet taken by someone. As I remember it was a lovely Sunday and everyone was over at my Great Aunt Teddie’s house for a change. I remember my grandmother, mom, Aunt Teddie, and Aunt Barb were all sitting in the living room with their fingers on a Ouija Board. The idea behind a Ouija board is you have your fingers on the planchette, questions are asked, and the planchette is moved by spirits to either a yes or no answers or towards letters to spell out words. Now I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but that Ouija board scared the hell out of me, so without telling anyone I walked the two blocks back to my grandmother’s house.

When I arrived back at grandma’s house, my grandfather asked if I wanted to go for a ride with him, apparently to give bones to a friend’s dog. Now, that was partly true, but he was also most likely placing a bet on the horses. Either way, I happily agreed to go along with him, and I remember saying we should tell my mom, but he said we wouldn’t be gone for long so all would be okay. The next image I remember is him telling me to stay in the car while he dropped the bones off at his friend’s house, then taking me to the fair where he bought me some cotton candy. Once we were at home again, my grandfather was yelled at by his wife and my parents were yelling at me for wandering off.

Now all of this happened at least forty-five years ago but the images are still very clear in my mind. I have also never gone near a Ouija board again, since it caused me to disappear for a few hours.

My memories of Valentine’s day are not positive ones, are yours?

My memories of Valentine’s day as a child are not positive ones. My mother always made sure that we had a card for everyone in our class and with four kids this was no easy task for her. She did this for a number of reasons, mainly though it was because of what had happened to my younger brother one year. In his class of around 25 to 30 children, he received one Valentine’s Day card. It not only broke my brother’s heart, but it broke my mother’s too.

My brother was born with a cleft palette so he looked different, looking different forty-five odd years ago was not a good thing and he was teased a lot. His cleft palette also added a lisp when he spoke thus requiring speech therapy (our other younger sibling copied the way our brother spoke, so he too ended up having speech therapy). The cleft palette needed numerous operations over the years, then he lost his hearing in one of his ears (due to an infection during one of his hospital stays) requiring more surgeries. So receiving one card at school in front of children who didn’t want to be your friend was at the time, the end of the world.

When my kids started elementary school I explained to them my reasons for always writing out cards to every single child in their class, friend or not. I would ask them how they would feel if they received only one card, because there were and sadly still teachers who allow this to happen. Of course you may ask how can they stop it? Well you could ban the practice of giving out Valentine’s Day cards, but I’m sure that would not go over well with some. Then there are parents who maybe can’t afford to buy cards for everyone and worse yet, there are parents who will say my child doesn’t like so and so, so I will not make him/her write a card out for that person. Whatever the reason is, we as adults should not allow it to happen.

When one of my children did not like someone in their class we would always talk about why? If they said that child was mean, we would try to figure out the reasons. Sometimes, I explained that a child may be a bully because they are unhappy at home, or their parents were bullies and they learned that behaviour from them. Now I am no saint nor are my children, who is for that matter, but I have always tried to let my children see the other side of the coin.

So when Valentine’s Day arrives this year, as adults let us try to make it a positive experience for every child in the classroom.