Deja Vu

Who knew parenting could be such a bittersweet endeavour? Not this girl.

It has been 13 and one half years since the Princess made her entrance into this amazing world and changed my life forever. Each year has brought it's own joys and challenges and this last year has been full of remarkable changes, seeing her mature into a lovely young lady. (see photo below... I know, right?!)

She has always been a very sensible girl and never one given to easily crushing on boys or centering her thoughts and life around their stinky boyish ways. And so it was terribly surprising when this past spring she was reunited with a childhood friend and fell hard for him. Their long-distance friendship has grown over the months following that time and the fact is that, well, she truly loves him and he appears to share the same kind of serious feelings for her.

*record screeching* Oh. My. Gosh. Would anyone have a paper bag they could lend me? I may momentarily be having difficulty breathing.

OK, calmer, now.

A little.

I'm finding this a very, shall we say, strange territory to traverse as a mama. I wanted to say "alien territory"... but the fact is that it's not at all "alien" to me. Because I found a Love very young as well. In fact, at about the same age as the Princess is now. And walking through all this with her, seeing this all unfold... is the strangest kind of deja vu that one can imagine. The scariest kind. I'm terrified that she will make my same mistakes. Terrified that we as parents will fail her. Not protect her enough. Protect her too much. Terrified that I will parent the girl that I was and not the girl that I have, if you can know what I mean.

We are trying our best to keep things locked down on this whole situation. There are lots of boundaries and conditions and communicating openly -- definitely the distance between our homes helps in that regard, as well as the fact that his parents are also keeping things together on their end in similar fashion. But the fact is that there is so much I cannot control. The heart wants what it wants and I'm not foolish enough to think I can control her heart. I feel that I am walking the fine line between honoring her as a growing young woman and protecting her as my child. Still, I'm so very scared for her. I know that sometimes approaching that precious thing you yearn for ends in broken dreams and a shattered heart. And I will absolutely die inside if I have to see my lil girl hurting like that.

Bag, please. Thank you.

I am reminded of some timeless parenting advice... "Just get them through it,". I just hope we can do a good job of that.


Things I Will Always Remember.

In five more days, our family cabin will belong to another family. My road trip a few days back was one with a purpose. It was time to gather up all our belongings and a few mementos, to get things ready for the new owners. Time to say goodbye.

I've been trying to remind myself this week, when my emotions get the better of me, that the cabin was just a location; that it's the memories that I love and that they get to stay with me. And so, it seems fitting to remember a few things in honor of this very special place.

-- I suppose it's worth mentioning that this cabin remembers me before I can recall time. Because before it was "mine", it was my Dad's childhood place. It was where he brought his high school sweetheart (my soon-to-be Mama) along with his family. And it was where they brought me as a baby. I don't remember those times, but there are pictures of my first stumbling "beach steps", hanging onto my Dad's hand at the water's edge, sitting with my Mum in the sand.

-- Some of my earliest memories there are of being asked to bring up some water for washing dishes. The cabin, in it's earliest incarnation was a three-room shack, no running water. I'm not sure if the women needed the water or if they just wanted to keep the little chatterbox from being underfoot, but I remember feeling pretty important toddling down the path to the beach with the pail in hand, trying to master the "art" of getting the pail full enough by tipping it in the shallow water. No running water also meant an Outhouse, of which I was deathly afraid of in the dusk/dark hours. And so, my Gramma found a pail -- yes, so classy -- young Flutterby got to use a honey pot instead of being swallowed alive by the snakes and monsters that lived in the outhouse at night.

-- The path to the lake is something that has almost taken on sentimental qualities in my memory. Not much more than a sandy path strewn with fallen pinecones (youchies) and wispy grasses and the odd gnarled, exposed tree root, it took great childhood grace to prance and tiptoe through the prickly bits and avoid the roots when one was running down to the beach. A number of times over the years, there was talk of installing paving blocks, etc... and my brother and I would always be adamant... Leave the path as it is. There is a sound that remains in my memory as a distinct "summer" sound, that of barefeet pounding irregularly across the hollow-sounding sandy-packed earth. I love that path.

-- I can't think of the beach without seeing in my mind my late Grandpa's balding head -- it was the view you would see from the cabin patio every afternoon as you looked down to the lake. Grandpa would drag a lawnchair down to the firepit and sit there in the shade, looking out over the water. Eventually his head would droop as he caught his "40 winks". Grandpa wasn't one to "play" with us kids -- not as our kids are used to playing with their grandparents. But the cabin was one place where he was eager to show us a good time. He was always quick to offer to take us boating, fishing, skiing, whatever. And there were certain hot days where we might even convince him to join us swimming. I'll never forget how he always wore his socks in the water -- as a kid I found that so strange. I guess children don't feel the rocks in the shallows the same way as an adult foot does... and there have certainly been times since spent in the water with my little ones, endlessly traversing the rocky shallows looking for special rocks and shells and watching the "perfect dive" that I have thought back my Grandpa and known EXACTLY why he wore socks in the water when swimming with us little ones.

-- Somewhere in my first 4 years, the cabin was added onto, a mad compilation of salvaged wallboard varieties inside and indoor-outdoor carpeting. We now had hot/cold running water and a bathroom with a toilet. My family spent just about every weekend and vacation up there through the summer. As a kid I loved May long weekend when we would go "open up" the cabin. A crush of activity and work and the novelty of the ice-cold lake water. I remember competitions with my brother to see who could bear standing in the cold water the longest. So cold it hurt your bones. I remember as we grew that turned into a competition to see who would be the first to actually swim. Not quite a PolarBearSwim, but the closest thing I've ever experienced!

-- Known as the family rock-hound, I was always on the the search for neat shaped, sparkly treasures. (To this day I am still a huge geek that way, sand is my personal LSD while sunbathing. I can get lost in gazing at that minute silica crystal world, letting it run through my fingers.) As a young kid I had a string of May Long Weekend finds. For about six years running, I would find a tooth in the shallows when exploring out in front of our cabin. A giant cow tooth, complete with roots and all. At the time I just thought it was incredibly neat; perhaps a sign from above that my rock-searching powers were a gift from on high. :) In later years (much later) I realized that there was a much more unpleasant reality, likely involving an old cow carcass washed up into the layers under the sandbed. Nature. *shakes head* It ain't always pretty. My Grandma was ever the encourager of my geeky rock-hounding nature. I think she was much the same as me, and it was she who gave me a box to keep my best finds in. Somewhere along the way, the box was finally discarded...but I do know that it was faithfully protected by her in the years that it counted to my young mind.

-- I can't forget the surety of waking up there in the morning to the sound of a noisy coffee maker percolating and the smooth rolling sound of the patio doors opening and closing as the early rising grandparents started their day amongst the still-slumbering cabin. The sound of the daily newspaper sections rustling and my Grandpa's grumblings. And always, the first thing I would do is peek out the curtained window in our room to see whether it was going to be a "good lake day".

-- Of course, there were also the sounds to fall asleep to. I loved the weekends when there was lots of family and family friends there. It wasn't uncommon for relatives or friends of my grandparents to bring up their camper and join in the fun. Those weekends, us kids fell asleep to the sounds of the fire crackling and card games, raucous laughter and the clink of bottles. Clearly, it wasn't something that was ever out of hand, else I'm sure it would not be a pleasant childhood memory.

-- Storms up at the cabin were something to be in awe of. The thunder could be tremendously loud, shaking the walls of the cabin -- the rain pelting the roof so hard you were sure it was bullets shooting from the sky. And some of the most awe-inspiring lightning shows around happened there over the lake. I can recall a number of nights being woken up by a storm, only to spend the next 45 mins or hour cuddled up in blankets on the couch or out on the porch with my parents, watching some of the most amazing, crackling skies. The smell of a kerosene lantern will likely forever be a "cabin smell" in my memory.

-- The cabin was always synonymous with Scrabble and board games and word games. There was no TV and radio reception was even sketchy that far up north. I was introduced to Word Searches by my Great Grandma who patiently sat with me as we would work out page after page on rainy days. My Grandma was the reining queen of Scrabble, ever patient and humoring when we were young and attempting to play the game with her, I remember the excitement when I grew old enough and realized that I was actually challenging her when we would play. Sadly, we also in later years saw her decline, when she couldn't play that game with the same finesse as in earlier years. It was Grandma who was also the queen of the rainy day. Solitaire, card games, homemade play-doh, mindless crafts... she would pull out the stops in her simple way to keep us busy and occupied for at least some of the day.

-- Kids screaming, trying to shake a leach off. Bad sun-burns and Noxzema cooling cream at night. Minor injuries and gaffes involving fish hooks and jumping when you should have ducked. My little brother howling cause he got stuck trying to climb through the space in a chair back and couldn't get out. Me getting seriously worried cause I told my little friend to sit in the sand pail and she sunk in and was horribly stuck, bawling her head off.

-- Learning to ski, my Grandpa and Dad patiently making the attempt over and over... my water-hating Mum standing waist-deep, holding us steady for take-off (a labor of love if I ever saw one!). My Grandpa, so eager was he to see us kids skiing, that we got paid a dime for every try and a quarter each time we got up out of the water and made progress. I remember it seemed hard... but once we caught on, we never looked back. Calm, hot days were spent tearing back and forth across the lake and I have so many great memories goofing off with my brother tandem skiing and learning a trick or two on the kneeboard, competing to see who could get the best air off the wake. I especially loved the hour or two after supper when the water would often be like a sheet of glass and Mom would shoo us off as soon as we had waited long enough after eating. Dad would grab the boat keys and us kids would run to get our gear together.

-- Growing older and bringing friends with us for the weekend. So much fun. Summers that seemed to never end. Evenings spent laughing til we almost peed our pants and days enjoying the sun. Sitting under the stars for hours with someone who made my heart pound like crazy. Nasty dishtowel-snapping fights with friends in the kitchen and music cranked up as loud as we could get away with.

-- All of that was wonderful, but nothing was really so great as bringing my first little one up there. I now have those same pictures of her toddling up on the sand, carefully holding onto her daddy's hand. It's been a huge joy to share my childhood place with them, to see them enjoy and love the very same experiences that I did, each in their own unique ways. My little girl/waterbug... so much like me. A little geeky rock-hound who needs to be dragged out of the water, even when she's blue and covered in goose-bumps. And my little action-man... building, digging, rock-throwing (just don't throw "Sissy's rocks"!!) never stop Nitro. The one who likes the water, but only if someone's in there with him. The Princess will tiptoe across the prickly path, attempting to keep her feet untouched by splinters and thorns. The Kid runs barefoot through the underbrush. They loved sharing a room there and often would talk and giggle way beyond the time when they should have been sleeping, even from a young age. The Princess who surprisingly loved to go fishing even though she hated that a fish got hurt because of it. And the Kid, who could only stand the wait because he knew in the end he got to clobber a fish over the head and then cut it open with Papa.

I am so sad as I realize that our time up at that cabin is done. But I am thankful for the time that I did have, for the weight of a thousand memories in my heart and mostly, for a family that knows how to make memories like that.



I don't often do road trips on my own -- but is it wrong to admit how much I enjoy them? There's just something wonderful and liberating about setting your own course and all the freedoms that come along with doing that... BY YOURSELF. It's the small things like only having to stop for bathroom breaks when YOU need to, or cranking the music as loud as you'd like... or, even having it as silent as you like (oh my, THAT's something that doesn't happen much when you travel with kids.).

Yeah, at the risk of sounding like a selfish mama... I totally enjoyed tackling this stretch of road on my own. I perfected my urban hip-hop-krunk moves -- no small feat when in the driver's seat. I reached new heights of ridiculous, sing-along fun and generally followed my every whim across all 200 XM music stations and 800 kms. :) A little bit of mellow, a little bit of party up in here, a little bit of metal, worship, funk, 80s... whatever my little heart desired. Loved the "Good Feeling" vibe, the classic sound of Usher's "My Boo"...

And I definitely can say that this woman can do no wrong. This song got a ton of airplay over a number of the presets I was rotating through and I never tired of hearing her amazing voice. Such an evocative presence and crafting in her songs... one of those artists who leaves you breathless and filled with the emotion she wrings from every verse, every word.


Stranger and Strangerer.

What the crappity crap is that!?!? I totally heard something weird that afternoon, too. It didn't last long and I kinda just figured my ears were playing with my brain, or it was the super big drop in temperature that occurred that night... anyhow, didn't think any more about it until a couple of my friends popped up a status on Facebook about it, along with some of these links.

Oh my word. Toooo crazy.

Most people think it has something to do with the tectonic plates of the earth shifting and the hum resonates up through the earth's crust. I'm curious to see whether their predictions of an earthquake in the next few weeks is accurate. And of course, there is a lot of religious speculation. I don't know. While it is certainly an awe-inspiring event and notable that it has been heard at many locations around the world, I'm kinda skeptical (WHO??? MEEEE??!? lol)... mostly cause I kinda think that any sort of trumpet sound would be something that each individual person would hear. Not just pockets here and there. And while I'm digging my hole in the fundamental soil of Christian beliefs, I'll also just say that I would lean towards thinking that the timing is all wrong (cause yeah, I have an opinion about that) and that it will be the sound of a shofar and not some eerie War of the Worlds soundtrack. Just saying.

And... NAILED THAT LANDING on the "crazy" side of religious blog talk. A first for Flutterby. Mark it in your journals, people. *grin*

Anyhow, yeah... weird sounds. And very interesting to see people I know who have no belief system to speak of get all spooked and instantly start talking either Bible or Aliens. Much as everyone likes to rely on their intellect as the god of the age, when things get squicky, the fact that we are spiritual beings becomes evident pretty quick.

What do you think? Heard of this in your part of the country?


Got Random? Heck yes.

Holy nice winter, Batman! I simply can't tell you how much I am actually ENJOYING winter this year. Moderate snowfall and incredible, warm temperatures (-10 degrees C or warmer) have kept a smile on my face for most of this winter. I don't know if it's just a weird slice of Winter Anomaly, or if there's actually a reason for it... but I welcome it with open arms. Come to mama, baby Winter... I will make you feel right at home here while I, oh yes... BBQ steak on my deck. In a hoody. That's right. Cause that's how we roll around here.

We also Zumba around here. Or approximate the general movements that are called "Zumba". Cause, frankly, we're not good, yet! The Princess and I scored the Zumba Fitness Wii game and have been shakin our booties whenever we have a chance! Who knew that flailing oneself around while trying to imitate great latin dance moves would be so much fun? I didn't. Score One for Zumba.

Over the holiday season we took the kids snowboarding. They took home some great experiences and memories, one injured wrist and maybe even a skill or two. What we didn't count on bringing home was one case of head lice from the rental helmets. To make matters worse, it was my Princess with her luxurious long tresses who was the new home to these pests.

No word of a lie... this has been HOURS of work for me. Cleaning, washing, treating and combing. Oh my gosh, the COMBING. We have never had lice in this family before and I was super paranoid about it. It's been over two weeks and I still am checking her regularly. JUST IN CASE! *eye twitch* Thankfully nothing spread to any of us... cause I swear I probably would've gone all GI Jane if even one little louse decided to move onto my head.

I am giving some thought to checking out our province's Homeschool Conference this year. I'm definitely in the homeschool game for at least another year and need to add some Canadian content to next grade's North American focus (cause, while I love all my American friends and all, I do need to teach the Kid a few things about his own country). With any luck I can check out some retailers and get that all sewn up. And, it sure doesn't hurt that my lovely sis-in-law and I can use it for an excuse to get together for some girl-time!

My laptop may very well be hashed. I'm bringing it to a friend for one last Hail Mary try at bringing it back... but I just have this sad feeling when I look at it. It's like it's just a shell. *sad tears* It's soul has departed, I just know it. LOL I don't know for sure what did it, but I think it has a lot to do with the Princess' habit of leaving it running while it's laying on top of her bed/quilts. I think it's been cooked. And I'm just a little bit steamed.

I'm taking a few tentative steps towards the edge of the Derby Retirement Cliff. I really think that this may be my last season. At least, I'm trying that sentence out in my head. Sometimes it sounds better than others.

This house is now on it's way to being a Gluten Free Zone. I've suspected for a while that the Kid has some troubles with gluten... so I guess we'll see just how much it helps him to get rid of the stuff. I can't believe just how big a change it all is. And how expensive gluten-free products are. I'm definitely gonna have to find some extra time to be all Martha Stewart up in here if gluten-free is gonna be a permanent change for us, cause I refuse to spend that kind of money on teeny-tiny loaves of bread, etc.

On a more serious note, there's been a lot of changes in my little world this past year. I've been amazed at how life goes on even when your heart is breaking. And how life, well, it's still good -- even when there is pain or grief. I've seen people I love come out of some tough, hard places. I want to think that the worst is over. I pray it is. I hope that 2012 is a really, really good year. God knows we all could use one of those. And as it all unfolds, I'm thankful for BBQ steak and Zumba and fun times and all those things that make up Life in between the heartachey bits.



Is it normal for a family doctor to go on holidays for a whole month, leaving his office closed, with no forwarding care or contact for test results? Unbelievable.

Apparently, for my doctor, this is entirely normal and OK. Apparently it's only OCD headcases like myself who are eager to find out if whatever the heck is going on inside of them is a simple matter of OkelyDokelyAllBetter or a more serious matter of HolyCrapNotGood.

Three more weeks and then I can get my results/treatment and my doc can get a piece of my mind.