"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Think I peaked in grade three

Hemmingway was once famously challenged to write a six word memoir at a bar. So, on a cocktail napkin, he wrote, "For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn." Smith Magazine launched a contest and published a book of the best ones.

I was quite taken by this challenge and over the course of the Easter weekend which I spent with my brother and sisiter, celebrating his 40th birthday, I (with some brother and sisterly help) came up with, "Think I peaked in Grade 3." Guess that's more of a statement than a memoir but it hits very close to home.

The scary thing is that kids today are all being forced to peak early. There is so much pressure to get them into sports, music lessons and other extra curricular activities early (Baby Mozart and Einstein?) that they are burnt out by the time they hit their teens and then they don't want to do anything. Someone gave me a book called "Slacker Mom" and I took it to heart. I don't want to be the mother who runs around every afternoon from hockey to piano to Kumon. My kids (ages 6, 8 & 10) play outside after school (we do live on a cul de sac in a small town) and even, gasp, watch TV for a while before dinner. They are involved in sports, hockey, soccer and skiing and one just started guitar lessons. They go to an old fashioned summer camp where there are no iPods or video games and they swim , canoe and fish at our cottage when they aren't at camp.

I kind of pride myself on the "Slacker Mom" label. Someone once said to me when she found out she was pregnant with her third son that while she was excited about joining my "Mothers of Three Boys Club" what she really thought was important about raising boys was not that they should grow up to be great, but that they should grow up to be good. Because, as she pointed out, the world has seen lots of so-called great men who haven't done much good for humanity and everyone could use another good man in their life.

So if I peaked in Grade 3 then I guess I can go for a second peak in mid life. I won't call it a crisis yet, the world has enough of those going on right now, but I am going to start working on another memoir. Working title, "To be continued ..."

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