Being Gigi

Being Gigi

Being a mom is hands-down the most rewarding–and difficult–things I’ve done in my life. It’s such a huge part of who I am, even now that they’re all grown up. I really didn’t think anything could match it. But, I was so wrong. When you’re raising kids, there’s no time to stop and reflect. You put one foot in front of the other, and if you’re lucky, you find a nice bench somewhere and you sit for a minute. Your main focus: do what you need to do to keep them safe, and (fingers crossed) try not to mess them up too much. And then this happens: You’re teaching one kid to ride a bike and another to tie his shoes, and you lean over to wipe the drool off a third kid and, when you turn back, they’re all grown up. And that full-time job you’ve held for, oh 30 years or so — the one where the pay sucked and the hours were long  — yea, that job has been phased out. Your services no longer required. Sure, they tell you, they’ll call you if they need you, but don’t call us (too much) — we’ll call you. C’est la vie, right? So here’s what I know about life: When you get to the point where you think you’ve figured out what your life is — what it looks like — something comes along to shake it all up. And for me, that rattling came in the shape of a newborn baby girl. And then another. And then, you guessed it, another. I am the proud grandmother of three...
What is home?

What is home?

We moved from Canada to Atlanta in 1999. It’s hard to believe that of the nearly 25 years that my husband and I have been married, Georgia has been our home for more than 17 of them. And home it is. As much as I have a deep love for “my country” – and miss my family (and, well,  Tim Hortons coffee…) — when you move to another place, you have no choice but to make it “home.” Sooner or later, even if you’re fighting it, your life starts to morph and mold around this new place. Not just the geography of it – the entireness of it. Things sound different. Smell different. Feel different. Are different. And you become…well, just a little different. You settle into what becomes your new normal. The grocery stores that I visited at “home” were Loblaws, No Frills and A & P. Here, I shop for groceries at Publix and Kroger. The Mac’s Milk variety stores don’t exist here. If I have a hankering for a Coffee Crisp or a scratch ticket, I head over to the 7-Eleven or RaceTrac. Oh, no, wait… no Coffee Crisp bars here. Those chocolate bars (aka candy bars) don’t make their way this far south of the border. And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’ve had to wean myself off my double-doubles. The hydro bill is…I quickly learned, called a power bill here. And while I’m on this rant, I want to make a note that a toboggan is not a hat, people. It’s a sled. You slide down snowy hills on it. You can imagine how surprised I was...
Leaving home

Leaving home

“How selfhood begins with a walking away, and love is proved in the letting go.” ―C. Day Lewis It’s when they take the bed out of the room that you know it’s all over. A few years back, my youngest kid went to college. And I was a suck about it all. As proud as I was that he was “all grown up,” I hated that those childhood years were behind him. Behind me. Me. Yes, it’s me everyone should be thinking about. The mother. When he left for school, his room stayed pretty much the same. The closet still held his yearbooks, and basketball trophies — the clothes he’d outgrown years ago were still squeezed between his Varsity jacket and lone black suit. The room was still a bedroom — with a bed, dresser, desk. It was still his bedroom. And that made the leaving part so much easier. And now, in just two days, that bed will be packed into a U-Haul and carted off to Alabama. Five hours away. When I tell people my son is moving away, I get a lot of “Wow, that’s exciting. What an adventure.” And what I want them to say is this: “Oh my God, I can’t believe he’s moving so far away.” Yea, again, it’s all about me, right? And yes, I’m excited for him. I am. As the youngest of four, he wants to fly. Be on his own. Start his own life. I get it. He’s got this. But I’m also nervous. And, yes, I’m sad. I’m really just kind of sad that it’s really happening. I...
From the Bench

From the Bench

I had just settled myself into our empty nest when our youngest son, Dylan, decided to ditch dorm living and move back home. It had been a rough entry to University for him — with pain and back surgery overshadowing his first year of freedom — so while I knew that his return would ruffle some of our routines, I was secretly breathing a sigh of relief to have my youngest child near me again. The kid had barely unpacked his suitcase and I was back into full-time mom mode. “Did you brush your teeth?” “Have you eaten anything today?” “Did you study?” “What time did you go to sleep? You need more sleep.” “When are you going to get a haircut?” “Didn’t you wear that yesterday?” “Where ya going?” “Who’s going to be there?” “Drive safe.” “Drive safe.” “Drive safe.” And so on. Dylan humors me, most of the time. Thankfully he’s well past the eye-rolling stage of teenage-hood, and a tad more understanding of my necessary mothering (I think?) He knows I can’t help myself. He knows I’m  just looking out for him. And I’m sure he knows that one day he will be free from my constant reminders to brush his teeth or pick up his clothes. What he doesn’t know–what none of my children could possibly know — is that it’s not the act of letting go that I struggle with, it’s the being let go of that does me in. And the letting go usually starts with the “I got this.” “Do you want to talk about it?” “I got this, Mom.” “Do you want me to go shopping...
I Am In Love

I Am In Love

I’m in love. It’s that sweet kind of love that makes your heart swell. The kind you want to share with the world. The kind of love that makes break into a stupid grin at the most random moments –as though you are keeping the most delicious secret. I was quite unprepared for the immediate wave of emotion that washed over me the first time saw her. And every day since she entered my life. The last time I felt this kind of immediate, intense love was more than 18 years ago. It was late in the night when he came into my life. Sweet and warm.  The moment I saw his face, the world simply fell away. Pressing him close to me,  I knew that he had my heart forever. Just as the three who came before him did. Being a mother has always been my most treasured role in life. I was 19 years old the first time I felt all those wonderful warm emotions that come with motherhood. I remember looking into the eyes of my first child and thinking “You are gorgeous! Are you really mine?” Eleven days ago, I was swept back in time. With the arrival of our first grandchild, I was reminded at how deeply you can love a new person. This brand new being has already reeled me in. With her baby soft hair and sweet breath, I’m captivated by her. During the months that we awaited the arrival of our granddaughter, friends who are already in “the club,” have shared the many perks of this new role. The typical “You can spoil...