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

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Betwixt and Between

That's where I am these days. I have three increasingly independent boys who come and go from my house but it seems that at least half of the time they still desperately need me. The first week back to school my Other Half was away and I worked until 6 o'clock two days so the boys were on their own after school and they did just fine. I asked Number One to make sure that Number Three either came home or checked in with him if he was going to a friend's house. It's hard for the youngest, most of his friends are the eldest and so their parents still pick them up at school and aren't comfortable with a nine year old making his own plans. I have no problem with him checking in with his older brother before he goes off to play and they all seem to be able to make it home before I do. Luckily we don't have any evening sports at the moment to rush through dinner to get to so if I get home at six I can still make dinner (but I do have to get better at planning meals ahead) and it is almost civilized eating at around seven. In fact, this routine seems to be working. Okay, it worked one week and this week we will try it again as the builder is off flogging boats in Northern Michigan.

It's trying to find a balance between being there for them and not being there too much. I know they fight more when I am around, vying for attention - good or bad. It is hard especially with the youngest because I feel like I am pushing him too early. The others certainly weren't making their lunches in grade 4 but then he also gets the perks of doing other things way before his brothers ever did. Number One will be travelling with his ski team in November to Colorado and after the fiasco that was the trip to the Provincials last March with tearful phone calls every night I will not be getting him a North American cell plan while he is gone. He will have to manage sharing a room with others, eat whatever is put in front of him and get over the fear that every other guy on the team is shaving while he still searches in vain for any sign of peach fuzz.

Number Two has gotten off to a better start this year, he likes his teacher and came home yesterday very happy that he had finished a math test second to the smartest kid in the class and thought he had done well on it. It was so nice to see him being positive about school after last year and although he doesn't have very many of his close friends in his class he seems to be okay with that. He knows he has to have a good report card at Christmas if he is going to be allowed to miss school for skiing and that coupled with a wish for a phone I think we have a great incentive plan in place.

Balance - parenting, work, socializing, health. We all want to do it all and we want to do it well. I am never going to be a Type A person despite the fact that I am the eldest in my family and an Aries to boot. I don't want to run a marathon or bike 100 miles. I am never going to start my own business and I probably won't ever write a novel (a memoir perhaps). I want to raise my boys to be young men who value school as much as sports and who appreciate one other. I want to be healthy and live long enough to know my grandchildren and be the mother-in-law I constantly make notes to myself about. I want to be able to spend time with my Other Half and see him achieve a balance in life and success in business. I want to be able to enjoy this beautiful place we live in and to travel again to the places I didn't get to BC (Before Children) I want to ski in New Zealand and sail in the South Pacific. All these things seem so unattainable right now but if the speed at which the last ten years flew by is any indication I know that the boys will be off living their own lives in the blink of an eye and my Other Half and I will have time for ourselves again. I often say that I couldn't have had children in my twenties like so many people did, I had too many things to do and and I wasn't ready for that resposibility. My thirties were hard with four pregnancies and three young children. My Other Half was seldom home and I ate, slept and breathed children.

Now I feel ready to begin to branch out again, test myself beyond familial waters, set some goals and dream a little of life BC (Beyond Children - I know there's no AC since they will always be my boys). And I know we have a ways to go, Number Three won't be launched for another nine years and we have the dreaded Teenage Years to survive first but in nine years I will be 54 and that doesn't seem nearly as old as it did even just a few years ago and from the looks and lives of the women I know who are in already their fifties - I can't wait.


  1. Your post resonated with me. (My) son #2 is getting married Saturday and while writing my speech, I was looking back on all those crazy years – the demands, trying to achieve balance… As tough as those times could be, it all worked out. Just let them know they are loved, that you’re there for them (even if it involves yelling!) and not only will your “own time” eventually come, but you’ll never lose them. They’ll be there for you, just as you were for them.

    Set those goals and dream!

  2. Excellent reflection on motherhood. I can relate to that independence vs. neediness of teenagers and the desire to live in the moment, enjoying nature. Your kids are lucky to have you as a parent. As for the future, my empty nester friends in their 50s are more fit than I am and less frazzled. Then again I enjoy the less rushed moments with my kids.


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