I’ve been a mother for almost twenty-five years, and during that time, I’ve raised three grown children, and contributed to the education of quite a few others who weren’t my own but who dirtied my furniture and ate my food just the same. Yes, there have been moments, weeks, years even, that were hard, VERY hard – debilitating almost. But what is it they say? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Well, I don’t know about that.
Anyway, in case you are hell bent on the idea of parenting – I mean nobody really believes it’s as hard as others who’ve gone before them may say and who may recommend a goldfish or gerbil instead – here are a few small tips (let’s call them “short cuts” or “stress alleviators”) that I’ve learned along the way. Practicing one or even of a few of them may prevent you from stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork to end the intense suffering at some point. On that day, do me two favours. One, thank me for the help. And two, admit that I was right. That alone could make it all worth it. OK, here we go…
It’s cold outside these days. Damn cold. So cold that walking to the bus or waiting for the train – without gloves or a hat – can be problematic.
But there’s my twenty-year-old son, running out the door with barely a coat on, no boots. To him, winter is only a suggestion. The minus-thirty-degree temperatures are NOT real, until he comes back and says that he nearly froze to death getting to school. “What did I tell you? You should’ve dressed warmer.” I say this hoping that next time he’ll remember. He doesn’t.
It makes me think, does giving advice even work? Most people just do what they feel like doing anyway, doesn’t matter what anyone else says. Sometimes, they get frostbite. For my son, it may take his hands turning black for him to remember to wear gloves.
Of course, as a parent, there are times when I’m going to put my foot down. There are times when I’m going to say my peace goddammit, when I’m going to bloody well tell those rambunctious and sometimes space cadet children to stop throwing the exercise ball around in the living room, that they are going to break something (else).
My oldest son’s girlfriend was over last night, and they were trying to pick a movie to watch. I dare say that the conversation that took place has been repeated throughout history (in some form or another) many, many, MANY times before.
“OK, so what do you want to watch?” My son had the flicker – typical male – and was scanning the choices. “How about Wolverine? Or Star Trek? Or Superman? Or I’d even watch The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp?”
“I refuse to watch anything that has superheroes.” My son’s girlfriend is smart and very strong-willed. She knows what she wants – no capes and/or hands with claws for fingers apparently.
“Not even Superman? I thought all women thought that guy was hot?”
There has been some talk over the past year or two about the idea of rebranding Canada. I guess if Jennifer Aniston can repeatedly and successfully change her hair style, then why can’t we – as a nation – overhaul our image a little, right?
Back in 2012, in an effort to get people thinking about Canada beyond the traditional clichés such as hockey, beavers, and maple syrup, Bruce Mau Design (BMD) – a team of graphic designers, architects, and writers with offices in Toronto and New York – created the “Know Canada” campaign. Their intention was for outsiders to simply get to know Canada better. Great idea.
I, for one, am proud to be Canadian.
We are a good country – a very beautiful land full of wide open spaces, VERY wide open spaces, sometimes SO wide open that it literally takes hours to get to good shopping. If you like camping though, you’ve come to the right place.
On the whole, we are a kind, compassionate, accepting, sexy, and yes, sometimes overly apologetic group of people. I did say sexy. Ryan Gosling. Rachel McAdams. Ryan Reynolds. Drake. Michael Buble. Shania Twain. Pamela Anderson. Don’t make me name about a hundred more individuals, most of whom will be complete strangers to you, but who are very attractive nonetheless…
We rank among the best in the world in a few very important categories as well:
We have a very low crime rate. You have a higher chance of getting eaten by a bear than you do of getting mugged. I’m just guessing about that, but still, it’s probably true.
Per capita, there are more records broken in Canada than in any other country. In 2012, the University of Alberta organized the largest dodgeball game in history, rallying together almost five thousand people. If we know anything, it’s how to have a rocking good time. Don’t even get me started on our beer.
We have lots of immigrant millionaires. That’s a relatively strange fact to be spouting, I know, but I think it says something about our accepting attitudes. You come here from wherever, and you want to open a chain of cupcake stores? You’ll probably do very well. We’ll eat them. We don’t care who you are.
Our humour is a little off the wall, at times. It’s called sarcasm. Deal with it.
We have the most sex, probably because it’s so cold for half the year that there’s nothing else for us to do. Seriously, that should count for the most out of anything ever.
Who doesn’t like a little loving in front of the fireplace, on a bearskin rug, a bottle of wine on the table, wearing a parka, visualizing Leo (or Kate or both) in the movie Titanic while Celine plays in the background? And how DOES one have sex while wearing a parka? Wouldn’t you like to know? We Canadians have to keep some things a secret.
Addendum: my friend Ross Murray – fellow Canadian blogger over at Drinking Tips For Teens – says that I’ve un-cooled us Canadians by admitting that we listen to Celine Dion. OK, forget her. I was laying around making love to Arcade Fire, or better yet, Drake. Is that hip/hype/hippity-hop enough for you?
This is a made-up news story, and no, my children would never do anything like this, I hope. If they did, my husband might have to remove their procreative organs. And he IS a surgeon. Read on…
Nineteen-year-old Chad Johnson of Burlington, Vermont has effectively sued his father for slipping on the black ice outside their house, garnering a payoff of just over five hundred thousand dollars.
“I was heading out to go to school,” Chad was quoted as saying. “It had snowed a little, you know, just enough that you couldn’t see the ground. I thought about shoveling it, but then I was like, nah, my dad will do it. Besides, I had to get to the gym.” Shifting his backpack, Chad then apparently popped a piece of leftover chicken into his mouth – a guy’s gotta get some protein before a workout – and the next thing he knew, he was “on his ass”.
“Why the hell does he need the five hundred thousand dollars, or even five thousand dollars?” asked his father – rather rhetorically – when questioned about the incident. “He lives at home for Christ’s sake. He doesn’t pay rent. He barely goes to school. His mother and I pay for literally everything.”
Chad claims his slightly bruised rear-end will prevent him from almost (but not quite) getting to class. “I’m going to feel bad,” Chad said. “It’s like I should be going to school, and even though I usually skip, I can’t go for sure now.” We hear you, Chad. It sucks when you are barely trying to make something of yourself, and you simply can’t.
Also, Chad says that his injuries prevent him from playing video games effectively because he marginally jarred his thumb in the fall. “What do you want me to do, read a book?” he said near the end of his one minute interview.
Even though Chad didn’t die as a result of the incident, Burlington police services now fear for his life, reporting that Chad’s father is being rather hostile about all of this. “I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy. He should’ve been the one out there shovelling and putting salt on the driveway in the first place. I work hard to pay for every goddamn thing he owns and does. The least he could do is help out more around the house. I woke up at five o’clock that morning – as usual – to get to my job at the airport. It must’ve snowed (covering up the icy spot) sometime after that. Chad doesn’t even get up until noon, like WTF? I swear to God, I’m going to kill that little bastard if he shows his face around here…”
Chad’s mother, on the other hand, seems to understand Chad’s plight, saying, “Don’t listen to my husband. Chad is a good, good boy. And the money’s fair. It WAS sort of our fault. We should’ve been more careful. The justice system just wants the best for all of those involved. Anyway, now I won’t have to go behind my husband’s back to give Chad money, not for a few months at least.” Mrs. Johnson has asked the public NOT to disclose that last statement to her husband, for obvious reasons. He does sound rather violent.
Chad’s father has since been seen shaking his fist wildly out the front door of their house and shouting, “Fuck that shit. In my eyes, you are dead to me now, Chad!” And then apparently, he mumbled to the letter carrier, “Seriously, five hundred thousand dollars? In what fucking universe?”
Lucky for Chad, he is now in Miami, “blowing up bitches” – which is Chad’s way of saying “having sex with them” – since his windfall came in. Friends say he’s not likely to return home anytime soon.