The silence beckons
In the quiet morning mist
The smoke of my breath
On the wind, curls and twists
Luna is tired
She descends in the sky
Always missing her loving
The sun, ever passing by
The snow crunches
Breaking the still air
The fair folk stir
Magic is everywhere.
I’m a young mom, only 30 years old with a 13 year old. I thought I’d be exempt from the usual fate of parenting and not have to worry about becoming lame. In my early mothering days, I was a kid myself, and wore all the clothes, hairstyles and jewelry that was considered “in style” at the time. I liked the popular music, went out with friends (thanks to babysitters) and used the slang that my parents thought was weird. As is the way with most people when young, only what my age group thought was cool, was actually cool. Old People were not cool, and younger people, Little Kids, were definitely not cool.
So imagine my surprise when one day it came into my realm of awareness that I had somehow crossed over into being one of the Old People. That me thinking what kids like is silly, only made me more so. Making fun of their slang and refusing to jump on fashion bandwagons suddenly meant I was out of the loop and getting rusty.
The big moment of realization was when I mentioned posting something on Instagram and her eyes snapped up to mine:
DD: You have Insta?
Me: Yes, I’ve had it for years
DD: You? Have. Insta?
Me: Girrrrl, you do realize it was my generation that invented this shit right??
This was followed by her saying she thought only kids used Instagram, and that Old People (i.e. ME) used Facebook. Yes, you read that right, Facebook is for Old People. I wonder if Mark Zuckerburg is aware that his seemingly un-toppable empire may be at risk of being irrelevant in coming years.
My precocious teen
Nothing will make you feel aged more than a good cheese, than when you are faced with your teenager rolling their eyes at you because you don’t know what musical.ly is or who Lily Singh is (in my defense I did know her as ||Superwoman||). When you can’t understand half of what they and their friends are saying (and neither do they apparently. I asked them to explain what they mean when they say something is “Lit”–fyi its not what I thought it meant!). I usually have no idea what they are talking about or understand their jokes because I don’t know any of the references, celebrities or internet personalities that they do.
I was trying to figure out when it was exactly that I got old. Was it after I graduated from college? No I don’t think so, I was only 22. Was it after I got married at 24? Maybe, being married changed things a bit, but I think I was still pretty cool then. I couldn’t really pinpoint it. Apparently it happened sometime between age 25 and 30 that something changed in my brain. This weird switch of “little kids like dumb things” was now, “no, what you like is outdated, pay attention Old Lady”. Throughout those five years, I started wearing more clothes that I liked and thought were comfortable, and less what I thought was popular. I wear my hair in a style that’s easy to maintain; and I read, watch and listen to things that I’m interested in and not necessarily what others are. I thought all these changes was me becoming a badass that didn’t care, was rebellious to “the man” and maybe a little woke<–ha!
My daughter however, delights to remind me that none of this is true, and that if I really want to be cool like her I need to sort myself out.
While I have no intention of giving up some of my favourite Old People hobbies and likes, I have been paying closer attention to what “the kids” are up to. And you know what, it helps my parenting to do so. Understanding my daughter’s worldview makes it easier to relate to her, and easier for her to talk to me. Open lines of communication with a teen child is key right? Its hard to expect a kid to come to you about the Big Stuff like bullying, drugs, and sex, when you can’t even talk to them about their favourite Youtuber.
I’ve also noticed that since I’ve been trying to be cooler, my daughter is more willing to try things that I say is cool, even if its Old. Now we can share music, tv shows and movies with each other, bond and expand our own narrow viewpoints to see each others as well. If the tradeoff for me sitting through 45 mins of “Try not to laugh videos” is to be able to introduce her to Nirvana and Alannis Morissette than I’m ok with that.
Oh, and also. I am a Cool Mom.
This is our future people
With Halloween approaching (my favourite holiday!) all the spooky decorations, smiling pumpkins and fake cobwebs are popping up in neighborhoods everywhere. Of course in history Halloween was less commercial and was more about welcoming the beloved dead and warding against malevolent spirits. One of the ways to do this was to wear guises, masks and of course this is what lead to costumes.
Thinking about guising led me to thinking of how we move through life everyday. We all are a little different depending on the people we are near. Work self, grandchild self, parent self, partner self, alone self. The same person, many masks.
I think Shakespeare said it best:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts
There are few times in life you really see someone for who they truly are, stripped down, raw, vulnerable. I think birth is one of those times. Its a beautiful thing to be allowed to bear witness to a family in their most vulnerable moments. Its humbling to be a part of their fears, their pain, their love, their strength.
I think most people are really similar when you strip away all the differences. When politics and religion, gender identity, sexual orientations, skin colour and cultures are removed, you have a bunch of raw souls. All of them wanting very similar things at their core. To be safe and loved. To be treated kindly and with a level of respect. To be left in peace to work and play, to eat and sleep.
I wonder what would happen if more people stripped off their masks and got real with each other.
**Harsh Language Warning**
The hashtag #MeToo is all over social media. There have been news reports about it, countless opinions and blog posts about it. Well, I’m writing another one folks so strap in.
People are such assholes. I’m gonna leave gender right out of it (loophole against some trolls). We know that all people who experience sexual abuse and harassment are from all walks of life. Thank you, we GET IT.
But holy shit can you take a seat. Can you shut it and listen to someone else just this once? Stop interrupting, interjecting, explaining or worse typing your”opinion”on another person’s soul bearing #metoo post? If you are one of the few who are lucky enough to have NOT been violated, can you just please listen and hear the stories? The resounding #metoo from nearly every person you know? If you must write something, if you really can’t help it, send them a heart emoji and move on. Stop forming opinions about it. There’s no opinions on something awful that already happened. Stop trying to fix it for them. You can’t fix abuse that already happened!
If you want to help, go out into the real world and affect change there instead. Speak up when you hear gender slurs, call out sexism in all its forms (including forms against the opposite/other gender than your own!) Protect people that look like they are in a vulnerable position amd need help. Believe them when they admit they need help. Do not laugh at a person you perceived as “strong” that gets vulnerable with you. Ruin some fucking dinner parties when an inappropriate slur or joke is told. Stop judging amd questioning and nitpicking apart wounds that are already raw, wounds that are generations deep and fears that are real under every definition of truth.
I’m exhausted that people are arguing over even this. People and kids are being hurt….and apparently its easier to debate semantics than to DO THE WORK to create actual change. This isn’t a theory, this isn’t hypothetical. This is happening right now. It needs to fucking stop.
Canadian Thanksgiving just came and went and it brought to mind all the things hosts do, are pretty much expected to do. It also seems as though this role most often falls to the woman in the home, who has with little support or help unless it is given by other women. Let me tell you my experience;
My parents came up to visit for the long weekend of Thanksgiving. We hosted them, my sister and her family, and two of my husband’s coworkers for dinner. The torch has passed to me as the eldest daughter to do Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve done it a few years in a row now.
My mother’s role is now more of a sous chef than the head chef. The two of us shopped for, prepared, cooked, and served nearly everything for this big dinner. My sister (who just had a baby so is exempt from my ire) contributed rolls and a cake, another guest brought an hors d’oeuvre and another brought a lovely cheesecake and cornmeal muffins. While I appreciate these offerings, they do not make up for the scale of work involved in putting on a dinner like this.
In addition to the food; I also cleaned the house, rearranged the living room to better accommodate more people, and shopped for decor and then decorated for the season. This is many hours of work on its own, completely separate from anything food related.
After the meal is eaten, everyone brings their plates to the kitchen. My mom and I were left to the aftermath of piles of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and leftovers. I actually had to stop my mom from doing all the dishes so she could rejoin the family and visit with everyone else. I chose to leave most of the mess for the morning so I could spend time with everyone. Of course that means I wake up the next morning to a kitchen explosion. Now I am lucky enough to have a husband who did in fact end up helping with the dishes and a teenager who I can voluntell to help me. Not everyone has this and it leads me to my next thought:
How did we as a society get to a point where the host/ess is responsible for all the work involved in putting on a meal with minimal help from her guests? Are we, as the host/ess, resposible because we “allow” it to happen? Is it a throwback to the domestic housewife? Are people not raising their children to honour their hosts by being a guest that helps out?
I don’t know the answers to these questions (although I can hazard a guess). All I know is, in future I will not be hosting again without my guests being made aware that I will have higher expectations of their contributions. I enjoy having people I love at my table, sharing food and conversation. I want to keep doing this in a sustainable way. Burning out and thereby not wanting to host meals anymore is not what I want.
Tell me your hosting stories (good and bad) in the comments!