Missing the little things…

Right now, one of my very favourite people is away, and I miss him a whole bunch. My son, Kyle, is spending the fall as a visiting scientist at Harvard and I really miss him and the little things….like how he checks in and asks how my day is going….how we chat about everything and nothing….sharing a meal…..

This is a great opportunity for him and, like his sister who lives across the country from us, I am happy he has found the life he is meant to live. Just wish there really were a way to be teleported!

In honour of my favourite scientist who happens to study ants….

Ants and peonies – a usual pair

Let us celebrate….

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words. – Plautus

Tomorrow we will celebrate our son’s 23rd birthday. It’s unbelievable because I truly can remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. It was a truly remarkable day and one of a handful that I can truly say changed my life. For the better, to be sure.

Kyle has often been defined by his remarkable memory and intelligence, but that is only one part of the wonderful package that makes up Kyle. He has a gift for teaching and sharing information with others that makes it accessible. He appears to be able to gauge your prior knowledge and interests and help you build upon them. That takes real listening.

Kyle talking to elementary students about his work

When you receive a gift from Kyle, you can tell that he has listened and observed you closely. The gifts are personal and kind and thoughtful.

His thoughtfulness extends into being one of the most encouraging people in my life. His support is genuine and consistent. 

Kyle makes me think and question and inquire. His attention to others creates a sense of confidence in them that only comes from a feeling that someone cares.  

How lucky I am to have a son and a friend all in one person. Happy Birthday Moon!

Kyle at our annual visit to Royal Botanical Gardens, 2012



Growing up….

Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others – Virginia Woolf

Twenty years ago, we headed to the hospital to begin a long night of labour before the early morning of September 13th, when our amazing daughter was born. I do remember the day she was born with great clarity and definitely count it among the best days of my life.

Laura has always been an amazing person – full of spit and vinegar, some would say. She lives life to the fullest and takes you along for the ride. We are lucky that, as a young adult, she is as much a part of our lives as when she was younger – always on our minds, always bringing a smile to our faces.


The most important thing in life…

The most important thing in life is to give out love, and to let it come in. – Morrie Schwartz

In the summer of 1981, I met the love of my life. He literally walked through a door, and that was it. Not that I had a clue, at 18, that this was IT. And not that the road has always been smooth, but it has been worth every moment, whether it has been a good, bad or indifferent moment.

Ours is not some tale of love lost and found, or full of great struggles or tragedy. Instead, it’s just a simple story of two people who somehow beat the odds and have come through the other side. Happy. Together.  

How it came to be that our paths even crossed was luck as my sweetie grew up in Ontario, whereas I was born in Alberta. Yet, he took a job in Calgary once he was done his first jaunt in the post-secondary world, and I happened to be doing temporary secretarial work at the firm where he was hired.

It’s funny. We never planned anything much. Things just happened. We dated for a couple of months, and then he needed a new apartment and my mother needed her space. (We always say it was my mom’s idea that we live together – so scandalous at the time; so “neh” today.) So, we got an apartment. We used furniture loaned to us by family or acquired from other tenants when they were too lazy to move it.

Somewhere along the line, I thought we should make it official. So I proposed. No big dreamy fairytale, just a practical decision that led to a short engagement and a (very) small wedding. My fairytale. Two days after the wedding, I was back at work.

Two months later, we were driving across the country so Tim could complete his degree at the University of Toronto. The first 6 years of our marriage included the degree completion, new jobs and a new home. And then we started our family, first Kyle and then Laura. So the adventures really began.  

This summer marks 31 years since we met. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and I feel like that 18-year-old. Generally, though, I feel like I have lived my life with my best friend and we have walked the path of our life together and he does so with my best interests and happiness as his goal. We continue to be very different people, but two people who laugh often and appreciate how very, very lucky we are.

In 4 days, we will celebrate our 29th anniversary. How lucky are we?

When you are a mother….

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” – Sophia Loren

This quote struck a chord with me as I have spent much of the past 22 years of my life “thinking twice”. (I think it’s what Oprah might call an “Ah-ha moment”.)

This has been one of the most significant shifts in my life over the past year – with grown children, you don’t need to think twice, or at least not often. And yet, I continue to struggle with that change. It explains the feeling of loss that new empty nesters express – you have lived your life for and with your children. And sometimes, overnight, a vacuum is created. Some people love it while others take some time to adjust.  

I don’t regret or resent the time spent raising my children, putting them on a level field with my needs, or even putting their needs ahead of mine. There are times I wish I had developed greater outside interests, pursued other opportunities, but I know in my heart that being with my children always did and always would trump any other activity or opportunity.

I know, beyond a doubt, that my children want me to think about myself first and foremost now. And yet, there are many times that they need some help and I am pleased to have the opportunity to return to familiar territory.

So, as we head into Mother’s Day 2012, I realize I am growing into this new life. Slowly but surely.


All truly great thoughts…

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking – Nietzsche


There is much to think about these days as I wander my neighbourhood, so it is wonderful that I live in a place I love , with so much to see. After 20 years, I still love to walk the streets near my home and today I stopped to take a few photos along the way.

I am feeling the weight of the empty nest very heavily right now. There is great potential that this will be my first summer with no children home to distract me and give my days structure. I don’t know what I feel about that.

And so, I shall keep walking.


Our whole life would change…

If we could see the miracle of a single flower, our whole life would change – Buddha

My daughter loves Grape Hyacinth. She has studied and feels connected to Buddhism. And her whole life has changed.

A year ago, in the midst of a challenging first year of university, Laura realized that she had started down the wrong path. Not that university was the wrong path, but that the university she had chosen possibly was not the right one. Although it was an excellent university and one that had been the perfect fit for her brother, Laura felt out of sorts, perhaps even out of place.

At 18 years old, she made the brave decision to follow her heart – and her head – and move to a university much farther from home, without much but thin threads to her life here. It has been a year. A year of triumphs, smiles, homesickness, adventures, great friendships, a few tears here and there – but without question, an excellent choice.

I visited her in March and had my greatest wish confirmed: she had found her place. It was like she wrote her life story and then jumped into it.

People often say, “it can’t be what you want”.  I disagree. What  I want for my children is what I want for myself: to feel at peace with who they are, find happiness and feel they are living their lives for themselves. To follow someone else’s wishes is not what makes for a life.

So yes, along with her life, my whole life has changed. And at the same time, I am at peace. I miss her, just as I miss the immediate presence of her brother, but I know that they are living THEIR lives. And so missing them does not consume me, but rather is a confirmation that they are on their way, confident in their relationships with us and confident in themselves.

A daffodil in every dustbin…

For me, there’s a daffodil in every dustbin – Eric Sykes

I love this quote and was so glad to finally have a photo to go with it. I found the quote when I was writing the eulogy for my father-in-law’s funeral in 2009. Dad Turner was a man who truly could find a daffodil in every dustbin, literally and figuratively. He was an eternal optimist and he found good in everyone. The literal side of that quote was that dad and is brother, Charlie, loved to go to the dump at the cottage (which they called the Trading Post) to discover “daffodils” – many “treasures” someone else had let go, they were able to put to good use.

I always felt so loved and accepted by my father-in-law and since I did not grow up with my own father, Dad Turner helped me understand what kind of relationship I could have with my dad. Fortunately, I did end up very close to both my “dads”.  They are both gone now and I miss them both keenly, though in different ways, at different times.

The photo above was taken at the family cottage this past weekend – a place that Dad Turner worked so hard to make special for all of us to enjoy. As Kyle said in his eulogy to his grandfather, Grandpa worked hard, but he worked hardest on us – building a family.

Hey dad – woo-ha!

I am not afraid of tomorrow

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. – William Allen White

English Bay, Vancouver

Being a parent is an amazing journey which moves you through the days and years at a speed that is astounding. Where you are headed can sometimes be unknown, but I have come to discover that the purpose of the journey is truly about helping and guiding your children to find their place in the world, wherever it may be.