Transitioning to Today


20 years ago, while holding a squalling newborn, I couldn't imagine what today would look like. 

Three years ago, while watching my firstborn graduate high school I didn't want to imagine what today would look like.

Four weeks ago, while moving my second child into his tiny dormitory, I shut my eyes really, really tight and tried to ignore what today was about to look like. A today without all my children living under my roof, thieving my ice cream, tripping over their dirty socks and finding wet towels on the bathroom floor. 

And now it's today.

It's very quiet. I think that's the part I didn't want to imagine. How quiet it is when your children grow up and move out of your house and into their futures.

But mostly it looks...cleaner. My kids are slobs. Knox and myself, well, it turns out we run a tight ship. Sure, I miss constantly nagging someone not to drink milk straight out of the jug, please close the refrigerator door, don't put an empty carton back in the pantry, just how long are you going to let this trash bag sit here before you take it outside?  Okay, so it is not the nagging I miss, more so the chaos that came before it. 

I miss momming my kids. I miss them. I should have had more of them. So I told my husband just that, this weekend. 

The horror on his face as I told him I think I'd like more kids is permanently etched in my memory. He wasn't appeased when I told him they didn't need to be biological, I'd be more than happy to adopt again. He mostly just sat in the chair, shaking his head back and forth while muttering "are you insane?" over and over again. He may need some convincing.

(The upside is, I'm pretty sure he'd be super amenable to me getting another dog or five if I had followed up with that request. Anything to divert attention from my almost empty nest.) 

Since my new today is terribly quiet, and clean and honestly, a little boring, I decided to help ease this transition by popping onto campus and surprising my grown up children with a unannounced visit. I hear young adults dig it when their parents randomly show up and invade their space

It turns out, there are a TONNE of kids hanging around the university! Some of them I know! And they actually seemed happy to see me! It was like I was the most popular student on campus, only I wasn't a student, I don't have a campus and I was never really popular. 

Of course, it helped that I walked onto the dorm floor holding a bag filled with Wendy’s® and the smell of fresh fries had an effect similar to chummy shark infested waters with fresh tuna chunks. 

20 years I've been a mom; I've learned a lesson or two on what makes kids tick. A baconater will do it every time. Turns out, it works for every other kid on campus too. I've never been as beloved as I was while holding a bag filled with fries in the middle of a university dorm lounge. 

For a short period today, I soaked up my kids in their new environment, getting a brief glimpse into their world while meeting their new friends and I then I hugged them goodbye and marvelled how amazing it is to witness them bloom into adulthood even as I've missed having them underfoot.

As I walked away I wished I could go back to all those yesterdays and tell myself not to worry about today. Because it turns out, today is pretty darn good, and my kids aren't gone, they've just relocated. Different is good, and it may in fact be better than I dared imagine. 

And because of today, I know that when tomorrow comes, I will see them again. This time, I'll bring more fries and maybe a Frosty Coupon Book or two for their friends. Call it a lesson in bonding with your children and their friends through ice cream. I'm not above feeding starving university students to gain affection. 

At least until I can convince my husband to adopt a few more kids and fill this nest back up. Or he brings home a puppy. Knox and I could use the company.

This post is sponsored by Wendy’s® . 

And just so y'all know, Wendy’s® is selling Frosty Coupon Books (which include 5 free Jr. Frosty® coupons) for $1 from September 19 through October 31. The proceeds from these sales will go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help find families for children waiting in foster care. For each Halloween Coupon Book sold, $0.85 cents will be donated to the foundation.

Help foster kids find permanent families while helping your taste buds out at the same time. (That isn't a Wendy's official motto. But Knox approves it, so I'm going with it. EAT ICE CREAM FOR THE KIDS.)

Sleeping Beauty

You ever just look in the mirror and suddenly see yourself? I mean, really see what other people see, and what you mostly have been oblivious to, for whatever reason?

That happened to me, recently.

Actually, it happened a few weeks ago, as my Snapchat account would tell you, but I've been up to my eyeballs with a wildfire and a husband who is up in the thick of it, and between freaking out over my friends' being evacuated, losing homes, worrying about my husband's safety and his job and you know, just generally freaking out as one does when the city your husband lives in for most of the year is swallowed by 483 000 hectares of out of control wild fire, resulting in 90 000 people evacuating out of a city, 1921 houses destroyed, hundreds more damaged, with no signs of the flames dying any time soon, all while your husband keeps getting evacuated and recalled back to work, over and over again like he's on a psychotic merry-go-round.

(That's a run-on sentence even a high school english teacher could appreciate.)


A few weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and was like, 'whoa, who is that old crone with the bad hair staring back at me?' I realized I had just spent a year of my life wandering around looking like a blind pioneer woman had just done my hair.  I'd have probably just ignored my reflection and continued to do what I did every day before, which was just pull my hair onto the top of my head in an ugly bun and then look away quickly, but the night before my husband rolled onto my hair and almost scalped me as I slept. Being jerked awake as your husband rips out half of your hair as he snores beside you is not near as romantic as it sounds.

It was time for a change. Life is short and hair grows. Mostly. If you have hair. Which I clearly did, since I choked on it every time it wasn't pulled up. 

I felt like I was being swallowed by hair. Of course, it's my own fault since it had been a year since I went for a hair cut. My laziness trumps my vanity. Good to know. 

So off I went, with no image in my head, no hair aspirations and no real clue as to what I wanted. Hair stylists love that. (No they don't.) The only thing I was sure of was I no longer wanted it long enough for my husband to yank. 

(So many dirty jokes to make, so little time...)

Bless you, snapchat filters. 

Of course, it was right about this moment in time, as I sat there, with a bowl full of bleach on my head that the power went out in the salon. Because that is exactly what you WANT to happen when you go to a new salon. You want to sit in the dark and ponder your future as the bleach seeps into your brain and the salon owner makes panicked calls to the power company. 

Luckily for me, (and for her,) the power kicked back on just as my stylist was really starting to twitch and my head was starting to tingle. 

Oh flash, how you whitewash all my wrinkles. I adore you.

When the towel came off, so did my stylist's poker face. My immediate reaction upon seeing her was to reach up and make sure I still had hair on my head and that it hadn't all burned off.


I'm confident but lumpy headed and multi-chinned. I'm not sure I could pull off a bald patchy look. I'm pretty sure I don't want to try.

My (novice) stylist was just having an extreme reaction to my newly neon hair. (Pro tip for novice stylists: Try to not visibly freak out when you are working on a client's hair, even if the results surprise you. It freaks the clients out.) I won't lie; I was beginning to wonder if maybe this haircut was ill fated.

The yellow really brings out my freckles, no?

It was right at THIS moment, when I was taking snapchat selfies and texting my daughter jokes about looking like an ear of corn that four men from the power company walked in to check on the power box out back. Conveniently located just behind where I was seated.

Four attractive men. Who took one look at my yellow head and all started to giggle. I had two options: I could make a crack about the price of vanity or I could wink at them and freak them out. 

I'll let you decide which route I went. 

Wink, wink.

In the end, it only took my husband trying to murder me in my sleep, 12 months of avoiding routine grooming, six hours, four freaked out men, several toners to hide the yellow and one black out to fry everyone's nerves and I walked out of that salon looking like a brand new person.

I still see a crone staring back at me when I look in the mirror. Hitting forty and developing new wrinkles every day will do that to a gal. But at least now my husband will have to try a little harder to kill me while I sleep. 

Parenting Two Point Oh


My kid moved out. Moved on. Moved away. 

Which roughly translates to "she grew up."

I didn't see it coming. I've got a particularly large set of empty-nest blinders on and they're hard to see through.

She's a sly one, that Ken. I'm pretty sure she's been plotting this move since the moment she realized I was never going to stop walking around the house buck arse naked. She's a smarter, cleverer version of myself and frankly, if I knew that's how children could turn out, I may have rethought the whole procreation business all those years ago. 

It all started shortly after I stopped blogging to take a short break. (Ha.)

She graduated from high school, went to India and then upon her arrival back home, she immediately moved into a dorm. She basically grabbed her diploma with one hand and her independence with the other, at the same time.

She transitioned from teenager to adult like a fish takes to water. *I* may not have been so graceful. Apparently, I had some co-dependency issues to work on. (If you picture me moping around the house while tearing up at odd moments and whispering "Mah baybeee," like a crazy woman, you have a fairly accurate depiction of what I was like in the first few weeks of her absence.)

It wasn't all horrible. Once we got through the first six months of her away at school and not being under my thumb, er, ROOF, things relaxed a bit. 

Of course, the school year is only 8 months long and six months into it I may have started looking forward to her coming back home, sitting next to me on the couch to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls and while she notices the complete similarities between Lorelai and myself. I would ply my daughter with home cooked food and braid her hair and she'd wish she would never have to leave the sweet confines of our cheery home.

Clearly, I forgot how an 18 year old thinks.

My daughter, probably after noticing the twitch in my eye whenever I started talking about semester end and coming home, did the only sensible thing she could: She found a well paying job that took her FAR FAR AWAY from home, for most of the entire 4 month break she had.

She popped in through out the summer; under the guise of visiting with me, but really, I'm sure it was so she could keep offering an escape route to her little brothers. I'm pretty sure I overheard her telling them what life was like as an adult but I coughed really loudly and offered the boys ice cream to distract them from any of that dirty talk.

Summer ended, fall began and school started once more. Nash had graduated high school earlier that spring, but perhaps after witnessing the grace and ease I had displayed when his sister moved out (the repeated viewings of Gilmore Girls until even Knox could quote the dialogue from every episode seemed to frighten him) he decided to stay at home and commute to the city as he started his post secondary journey.

Ken, however, was ensconced in the dorm so I consoled myself with the fact that 8 months isn't forever. She'd be home once more, soon enough.

As the months ticked by, I would be sure to send her thoughtful text messages asking her how she was and if she needed anything, but I won't lie, the occasional "I've fallen and I can't get up and if you never come home the dog will be forced to eat my desiccating carcass to survive," text may have slipped through.

(I'm a work in progress. Letting go isn't easy.)

The calendar page finally landed on April and with it, an end to the semester and campus residency. Visions of Netflix bingeing with my daughter danced in my head. I tried to play it cool. I'm loose. I'm good. I've worked through my dependency issues. My kid is an independent adult who works hard to provide for herself and her future and no, I won't squeal like a schoolgirl when she asks me to move her home. I will be BETTER than that.

I won't even make her make her bed every morning, I tell myself. I'll just make it for her when she's not looking. 

It's going to be the best

In my excitement to have Ken back I forgot one small fact: My kid is an independent adult who is working hard to provide for herself and her future. And she's almost 20. (How did that happen?!) This kid ain't coming home. She found herself an apartment and a summer job or two and she's working hard to be the person she was meant to be. The person I raised her to be. 

I'm super proud of her, even as I mourn the fact she's likely never going to live with me again. She's ready to be free. Her wings are flapping hard and furious as she soars away from me. Just as they should be.

Adulting is hard. Being a parent to an adult is weird and there is no manual for it. Okay, there probably is, but I've never been one to read instruction pamphlets and I avoid the self-help section of the bookstore like it carries the bubonic plague. I like to make life as hard as possible for myself, it seems.

These past two years, as she's been away at school, growing up, without me, I've been learning how to loosen my grasp on the parental controls and learn to spectate while supporting. It's a new type of parenting I'm trying. It requires less smothering and more standing back and encouraging.

I still love her so much I've thought about having a life-sized cardboard cut-out made in her image to chain to her childhood bed, here at home. My therapist says I'm a work in progress. 

So this week I'm helping my kid move into her very first apartment. 

Next week, I'm going to send my son over there so he can see life from the other side. Life from the adult side, without your mom telling you to stop wiping Cheetos dust onto the pants she just laundered for you.

This is what personal growth looks like, everyone. I went from fearing them leaving to pushing them out.  

Besides which, at this point, I'm starting to worry Nash may never move out and I'm tired of him hogging the Xbox.