50 Something Moms


Solstice came and went earlier this week and already I notice daylight beginning its steady retreat toward the long winter.

But for the near daily late afternoon or evening rain showers, the weather sings. Temperate, mostly sunny and gloriously Albertan, the gamut of the blues competing for dominance behind clouds that seem smashed flat against an invisible ceiling.

School is out today. Normally I would lament ten weeks with child underfoot, but this year I am looking forward to having Dee about 24/7. Eight – nearly – is a wonderful age. Probably the best era of her childhood so far if I factor out the social intrigues.

She danced at the school assembly after all. Went off without a hitch. The mother of her little friend was prevailed upon to allow the girl to perform with Dee though that was not my doing or intention really when I clued the classroom and music teacher to the issue.

I’d sent quick notes just letting them know why Dee wouldn’t be dancing. No blame or hysteria or pleas to intervene. I really was okay with Dee not dancing and she seemed okay too – mostly because she didn’t know the real reasons behind it.

But the music teacher took it upon herself to call the friend’s mother and pointed out that Dee and her daughter were friends and that should supersede everything else. And the mother agreed.

Which also doesn’t surprise me. She’s a decent and reasonable person. She and I just approach life and motherhood differently.

I went to school and helped Dee into her costume and did up her hair before the assembly. I saw the mother whose non-reaction – no smile or wave – pretty much summed it all up.

Awkward, as Dee would say.

I suppose so. Less and less do I care about other people’s take on me as a person. As my mother constantly pointed out to me while I was growing up,

“What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Dee performed in front of the whole school and didn’t miss a beat. The audience was enthralled.

But they are also quite well-trained. As I have mentioned before, the staff and administration at Dee’s school are stellar. I still don’t understand the hesitation on the part of some  parents I have met here about sending their kids there.

Yes, some of the population is working class and some more are quite needy, but none of that really matters at the elementary level. When kids begin to be more influenced by peers than family in the pre-teens is when environment and peers need to be monitored closely, but even then I would argue that a strong teaching staff and an administrative office who lay down the law in a clear and even-handed way is more important than anything else in selecting a school.

But I digress.

Family picnic was yesterday and Rob cleared a bit of his day to attend.

On Wednesday I taught my second yoga class. Everyone in attendance was nursing injury.  A lesson for me in thinking on my firmly pressed into the mat feet.

Teaching yoga continues to be totally awesome.

I had a scare, however, the other night where my future as a yoga instructor is concerned.

Kat sent me an email asking me to redo a question. I’d completely blown it. Didn’t get a single point. And it was a major question.

When I reread what I’d written, I could see right away what I hadn’t done but I also know why I missed it. It was on actions: simple, complementary and counter. A concept that only really started to be clear after the in-class review for the in class test on the Friday of our last session.

That’s the problem with learning – and teaching for that matter. With things needing to be tested and verified for grading and granting of this or that certificate and degree, the real time needed for each student to digest and integrate information doesn’t neatly fit into arbitrary time frames.

You can parrot back facts and theories without really making sense of them.

I know what a simple, counter and complementary action is. Definitions are easy to remember. But actually coming up with examples by pose? That’s just starting to make sense within the last week and a half.

Teaching that first class was a major eye-opener for me. It’s too bad that YogaWorks doesn’t have a component that requires teaching classes outside of the training. Teaching each other within the workshops was never quite the same thing.

But, I wrote the take home a month ago and then moved on to studying for the in-class test and preparing for my sutra presentation and the teaching of my pose.

I passed the last three, by the way.

Kat told us that most people who fail, failed the take home. And I think I know why now. We had a study session for the in-class, but there was nothing comparable for the take home. The reasoning being, I’m sure, that a take home let’s you use books and notes. What it doesn’t allow for is the give and take of the study session. We weren’t supposed to help each other.

There are valid reasons for not allowing people to read each other’s take homes and offer suggestions and ask questions. My personal opinion though is that they don’t apply to yoga – which is collaborative in the training process to a large extent and fosters the idea that we learn from each other through discussion, practice and collaboration.

Awk, the teacher in me is coming out. I see and I critique.

I haven’t heard back since I sent in my reworked question and rather than continuing to hyper-ventilate, I chose to believe that all is well.

As Rob says, the worst thing that could happen is I have to rewrite the test.

So true.

I managed to write for Care2. My posts are both in the hot topics this morning. I’d be pleased but they were written to incite mindless raging commentary and I am certain my poor karma is wilting as a result.

Nothing more for 50 Something Moms though. The blog is closing. The SVM partnership hit an iceberg and as they are unable to resolve it, they are closing. I am torn as to my feelings, but I think it was time for me to move on from it anyway. So, it’s all good.

Stepping away from the keyboard now. Sunshine beckons.


My not quite seven year old daughter refers to my husband by his first name for the most part. To her friends and teachers he is “daddy”, however, and though I went through a phase of referring to him as “daddy” for her benefit – as well as my own – I don’t anymore at the request of my husband. He felt that the relationship he has with Kat should progress as it progresses without undue influence from me.

The other day as I lay on my flu/death bed, Kat came into the bedroom to inform me I had spelled her last name incorrectly. She had just collected her “mail” and was holding up the little note I had written to welcome her home from school. Kat loves mail. She has attached a small box to her bedroom door and instructed Rob and I to leave all mail for her there. All mail that we are expected to write her on a regular basis that is. I have to admit, Rob is far more diligent a correspondent than I am.
“I spelled it the way I always have,” I said as she held the paper out for me to see.
“But that’s not right,” she told me.
It took me a moment, but then the light went off. She expected to see Rob’s last name.

Early on in our relationship Rob and I discussed him adopting Kat though we have yet to begin the paperwork. Kat was consulted then too and assented without any fuss except for one thing – she wanted her last name to stay the same. That was fine with Rob. He believes she shouldn’t have to change her name and that she is too young to make the choice even if she expressed an interest in taking his name. 

Until the other day, Kat hasn’t had any interest in Rob’s last name.

The experts say that it takes three to five years to successfully “blend” families in second marriages. My husband thinks that families don’t blend as much as they simply get used to and grow accustomed to each other. Or not. I think that the idea of blending applies to all families regardless of their formation.

As far as family goes, our three girls – his two adult daughters and my wee one – have folded into our new unit with far less trauma than I have observed in other situations. Rob attributes it to our presenting ourselves as a united front that comes first but more so to the fact that our girls have been raised properly. I think we deserve a little credit too. We have tried to listen and accommodate and give the kids the space they needed to adjust and acknowledge that there is still adjusting to do. In any event, they have grown used to our situation much more gracefully than than some of their elders in the extended family have.

It has not always been as easy as it might appear to anyone simply peering in. All five of us came to this new family as a result of the death of a loved one and that grieving is ongoing and, with the kids especially, it will manifest over and over as they encounter the normal milestones in their lives. But we are no different from any other family in that we are five individuals with needs and wants that will not always match up perfectly.

Kat’s declaration caught me a bit off guard. I never really expected her to want to try out Rob’s last name at such a young age. As a middle school teacher, I encountered many children who used their step-father’s last name even though all their official paperwork had the name they were born with on it. Teens, and pre-teens even, are prone to identifying closely – or completely shunning – a step-parent in my experience. I didn’t think the name issue would come up before Kat was in junior high.

I know there is a sizable majority who would counsel against allowing Kat to change her last name. They would cite her age, but most would insist that her late father’s last name is something she owes him. Fortunately, this is not a decision for today. It’s not one we have to have for a long time to come. And ultimately it isn’t a “we” decision. It’s Kat’s decision. And I will honor that decision, no matter what it is.

She and I talked about it a bit and then I let the matter drop. She hasn’t brought it up again. Rob raised an eyebrow when I told him but hasn’t said anything one way or another. I don’t have to wonder what Kat’s late father would have thought. He would have hated the idea. And I wonder just how much I have to take this into account because, frankly, he’s dead. This isn’t his life; it’s his daughter’s. At this point, Rob has been her father in the active sense longer than my late husband was. Rob is the one she consciously imitates and seeks to impress. It’s his world view she will absorb before utterly rejecting it as a teenager and then re-embracing the parts of it that mesh with her own as a young adult. Being a parent is more than DNA and being someone’s daughter is more than sharing a last name, or not.

 

 

This is an original 50 Something Moms post.


I started running in college. I was nineteen. I took a PE course on jogging because it was the only one I could find with openings and I had yet to work up the courage to take ballet. Somehow the idea of a shapeless t-shirt and baggy shorts was less intimidating than pink tights and a skin tight black leotard.

Despite the fact that I was not fast and was so flat-footed I took to running on the balls of my feet like a sprinter, I took to running like a gazelle on the open veldt. The freedom of limb and the sensation of time melding with movement was addictive. Read Full Article


“What does it mean to stand on guard for thee?” Kat, my six year old, asked me recently.

The teachers at her school had been relentlessly preparing the kids for a spirit day assembly – which I missed – twice.

“Don’t you remember anything anymore, Mom?” was the stinging rebuke I took for that.

But getting back to Canada, the schools here do an excellent job of laying the Canadian pride groundwork at the elementary level, I am guessing the superiority complex and intense disdain for Americans will come during the upper grade levels. Read Full Article


The writers’ foundation I belong to had a table at the arts council fair this last weekend and, since I am a board member now, I spent a few hours of my Sunday handing out brochures and answering questions there. Mostly though I chatted with the foundation’s new president because writing is not a visual art and we sort of got lost amid the quilts. sculptures, painters and cloggers.

Leah is a teacher at the French immersion school in a nearby town. Single mom with a young teen, her life is familiarly hectic. I lived it once for a time in between husbands, but before marriage and children were even a remote possibility, I was the epitome of the single working girl. My life revolved around my career and my hobbies and interests. I was independent and self-sufficient in every way. In truth, more of my adult life has been spent with me as the sole breadwinner than not and even after I married for the first time, I was still the chief hunter-gatherer.

As we talked, Leah became aware of the dilemma I continue to have where it comes to work. My husband, Rob, has a job that allows me to stay home with our six year old and for the first time in my life concentrate on my writing. But writing and teaching are competing passions and coupled with the unease I feel about not dragging home pig meat for the family larder, I go back and forth about returning to teaching.

“I hate to tell you this,” she said, “because you really are a great writer, but teaching is your passion.” Read Full Article