Posts Tagged ‘high school’

Last night I was crying…and making lunches. 

I hate making lunches. 

I hate it more than I ever hated changing diapers or playing blocks or watching Caillou – and don’t get me wrong, I hated all of those things. 

But I wasn’t crying because I hated it. I was crying because we had just come home from my daughter’s high school orientation night. 

I had the night marked on the calendar for weeks and I was super excited about it. Have a tour of the school – amazing! Learn about the policies and rules – love it! Meet some of the staff and hear about all of the great courses and programs – can’t wait!

Of course, as is inevitably the way of motherhood, the milestones I so eagerly anticipate also end up being the ones that slap me in the face. 

I listened intently as the principal outlined course credits required for graduation, supports available from the guidance team, and the importance of each student “finding their own path.” I even chuckled a little (on the inside) comparing it to my own high school course selection process – pick what you’re supposed to pick and move on. 

I was feeling good as we headed out on the tour, my daughter walking ahead with a friend as hubby and I exchanged wry smiles at the back of the line. I soon became disoriented- hallways filled with lockers, stairs and more stairs, doors and doors and more doors. I was already lost. 

The lump in my throat started to form in the “construction” classroom. In my day we called it IE – industrial education. I’m not sure why I took the class in high school but the smell of the sawdust and the sight of the big saws took me right back.

I made a cutting board – which my parents still have – and I worked to perfect the look of “cool disinterest” when interacting with Clayton, my heart thumping crush of the time. Come to think of it, embarrassingly, he was probably the reason I took the class. I don’t remember what I did last weekend but I can close my eyes and clearly remember every detail of th day he asked to borrow a pencil. 

We were there for her – my daughter- but for 10 minutes in that classroom it was about me. Or at least the me I was back then. 

We switched gears and moved to the arts wing. The drama teacher ran through all of the great programs and I beamed at my daughter – this will be so great! – I mouthed to her beside me. A musical! A Spring play!!! I could picture it all so clearly for her – and in that excitement I also felt the first tear tickle the back of my eye. 

I mostly held it together on the car ride home. My daughter was venting about how hard it’s going to be and she’s not going to understand any of the math stuff and did I know she’s terrible in science and what if she fails gym and can’t get into university?

I nodded and hmmmmd and said all the things I was supposed to say. But inside my head I was screaming “NO”!

How can this be happening? How is it time? A single blink of the eye ago I was laying on the floor of your room with my arm stuck through the bars of your crib wishing – praying – that you would just go to sleep already!!!! And now we’re here. And in a few short months you will be there, in the school with all of the hallways and the stairs and the doors and big saws and musicals and I can’t. 

When I opened the front door I wanted to stagger upstairs, lay down in bed and pull the covers over my head. But, as is almost always the case, there were things that needed to be done first. 

And that’s how I ended up standing in the kitchen, cutting up cherry tomatoes…and crying. 

At one point I had to put down the knife because the tears blurred my eyes so much I couldn’t see. Hands braced on the counter, I was 5 seconds away from a full-on ugly cry. 

Then it hit me that this moment, this very juxtaposition of things, summed up motherhood for me in a way I could never articulate myself. 

Motherhood is crying…and making lunches. 

Motherhood is feeling all of the feels…while still doing all of the things.  

It’s holding hands…and letting go. It’s glimpsing foggy memories of who you were…while holding the light up so she can see all the possibilities of who she can become.  

It’s excitement…and sadness – woven so closely together that you can’t even see where one ends and the other begins. 

And it’s knowing that if things go the way they are supposed to go, it’s a million more moments just like this. 

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‎I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately.‎

My 20 year high school reunion is next week. Although I’m not attending, my Facebook feed is clogged with posts and updates and pictures of names and faces I had long since forgotten. Or at least I thought I had forgotten.

Now I hear songs and am instantly taken back to moments sitting on couches, riding in the back of cars, simultaneously carefree and angst-filled, in the way only a 17 year old can be.

I can see the funny sculpture his mom had in their living room, count the number of steps from the back door of the school to the front door of the house, remember the look of her handwriting on the notes she wrote and then folded into intricate triangles.

And I can even almost feel that sense of nervous anticipation in my stomach; the feeling that something, anything, everything, was going to happen. ‎

I re-live scenes from those days as though I’m watching reruns of a show I used to love, shocked to realize how many of the lines I still remember.

Sometimes I catch glimpses of her, that girl with the curly hair and the sarcastic wit, the one who liked to make people think she had it all figured out. Sometimes she even convinced herself.

I see her in the same way I see all of the others, like a wisp of a memory, the edges blurry and faded but still recognizable. I realize that she is me, or at least she is a part of who I used to be. I don’t miss being her as much as I miss knowing her.

I remember that she used to be a pretty good time. I wish we could have a cup of tea and chat, sort of like a big sister and little sister. I would try (and fail) not to give her advice.  Not so much because I think she’ll do anything wrong but because I know she’ll spend way too much time trying to do everything right.

Instead, I would try to instill in her the self-esteem and confidence that end up making everything else so much easier.

People like you.  Really, they do.  And if there are some that don’t, it’s not your job to convince them otherwise.

You are beautiful, you really are.  Believing it and living that belief make it even more true.

Make the first move, go after what you want, trust your gut.  It’s okay to kiss the wrong people sometimes, it makes you even more thankful when you kiss the right one.

Two weeks from now my reunion will have come and gone and the faces that faded before will fade once again.  A song will be just a song and I will stop asking “what if” and go back to wondering “what’s next.”

At least until the next time I find myself on memory lane.

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I like nail polish.

I love nail polish.

I’m obsessed with nail polish.

I’ve heard that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

When I’m feeling down, I buy myself a new colour of nail polish.  When I’m feeling happy, I buy myself a new colour of nail polish. When I’m feeling nothing at all, I buy myself a new colour of nail polish.

You get where this is going.

I now have a drawer in my bathroom that looks like this:

The sad part is that I ran out of space in this drawer about three months ago and there are probably 10 or more bottles that don’t fit.  These bottles have found homes in other parts of the house and now, whenever I open a random drawer or basket in my house, I can pretty much guarantee that there will be at least one bottle of nail polish smirking up at me.

The funny thing is that my nails aren’t even that nice.  I used to have nice nails.  In fact, in my Grade 12 yearbook I was voted “most likely to become a hand model.”  I’m not really sure what that says about me back then but it is what it is.  I guess in the big, horrifying picture that is high school, it could be worse…much worse.  It also goes to show that contrary to the belief of many teenagers, high school does not, in fact, determine the rest of your life.

One day not too long ago I decided to count exactly how many bottles I have.  I got to 25 and decided I needed to stop counting.  Of the 25 bottles I counted, there were 14 different shades of pink ranging from “pink chiffon” to “fuchsia power” and just about everything in between.  I would love to be the person who comes up with the names for nail polishes.  I’ve often wondered what kind of education and background you need to have to get that plush job.  Surely it’s something I’m qualified for?

A lot of the names don’t even describe the colour at all.  What colour do you think “mystery” is?  What about “looking glass,” “pret-a-porter,” “sew psyched” or “enchantress”?  Sometimes I even find myself picking the polish purely based on the name.  I once bought a colour called “skinny jeans” just because I knew it was the only time I would be able to get any type of skinny jean on my body.  I also once bought a colour called “commander in chic” because that’s definitely someone I want to be.

From time to time I attempt to “clean out” my nail polish drawer.  Of course, that means I end up purging a grand total of two bottles; usually one because it’s ‘turned’ narsty (yes, that is a word) and the other because I inevitably up buying two bottles of the same colour – occupational hazard for any nail polish addict.

I know it’s wrong.  I know that I really have all of the nail polish I really need (and then some).  I know there’s no need for me to spend one of my lunch-hours each week browsing the polish aisle at Shoppers on the off chance that I missed something last week…or that they’re having a sale I didn’t know about.

But I just can’t stop.

The warm weather is just around the corner and my toes will soon be exposed to the world, free from the shoe-and-sock prison they have been living in for the last six months.  This means I am in need of some new, pretty spring and summer polishes.


Yes, I need them.

I think I have to find a bigger drawer.


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