nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala

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Her First Visit Home

Little sister's idea: make Big sister's homecoming a really big deal. Big sister thanks little sister by a Starbucks coffee date, just the two of them.

Little sister’s idea: make big sister’s homecoming a really big deal. Big sister thanks little sister by a Starbucks coffee date, just the two of them.

Six weeks after drop-off and I’ve made it – Alex’s first visit home.

After she enjoyed an uneventful flight with lots of learnings: online check-in, bus to airport, security, finding your gate, landing, figuring out where to meet your mom who’s driving around the Arrivals area (hint: don’t wait for her at Departures – lesson learned!), my university student got into my car and I could breathe again. Both my babies were with me.

Although we texted often while she was gone, we never Skyped nor phoned. As such, her sister and I thought Alex’s voice sounded different: more mature, more worldly-adultish.

But, once we got home, I recognized her immediately: happy, preoccupied, already making plans, and hungry. I fed her leftover cheese tortellini in rosé sauce at 9pm and she ran off to meet friends, returning around midnight. She crawled into my bed to catch up, just like she always had.

We’re still in the throes of a super-busy Thanksgiving weekend… my sister is moving, my pregnant cousin and family are travelling in from Ottawa and Montreal for her baby shower, and Alex is finding time to spend with all the people she loves: Mom, stepdad and sister, Dad & family, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Alex has showered us with gifts and love and time and soon it will all be over.

Until Christmas 🙂


(Empty) Nesting – Part 2

What? She needs things for her room!

What? She needs things for her room!

If you recall my first nesting post and the amount of stuff I bought to quell my growing anxiety about my daughter leaving, this post will not come as a shock to you.

Since I dropped her off, I’ve thought of many things she needs. Lightbulbs, a boot tray, a door stop, handsoap, baskets for her kitchen supplies, etc. etc. etc. You name it, I’ve thought of it.


Tonight my daughter texted me…

DD: “Hahaha so embarrassing!”

Me: “What is?”

DD: “Getting packages”

Me: “Huh?”

DD: “Haha I just picked up two packages, and the guy at the front desk was like, ‘Oh you’re Alex! I’ve always wanted to meet you. You get so many things.”

Me: “OMG. So sorry. Just tell him your mom has trouble coping with you gone and this is how she deals!”

DD: “I did, and he said, ‘Well your mom must miss you a lot. You’re the talk of the front desk!’ LOL”

Yeah so that’s how my week is going.


How’s yours?

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A snippet of her day.

One of the many things that makes my independent girl so special: she appreciates that her mom is not so independent, so takes time to send me snippets of her day, which I need right now, because she’s three provinces away and I miss her. She’s mature enough to recognize my needs and subtly satisfy them without pomp and circumstance.

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The stairs I won't soon forget

The stairs I won’t soon forget

Drop-off was from 9:30 to noon on the morning of August 31st for first-year students. It was great to be greeted by teams of 2nd-year kids, costumed and cheering and offering help with our gear. After a few hours of unpacking and getting partially-settled, Alex came to me and said, “Okay mom, students have to be at quad for an important meeting at 11:30, so you should go now.” I said, “Okay but Auntie Arlene has my purse and went to get a sandwich. Can I wait until she’s back?” to which Alex replied, “No. I don’t want to be that kid whose mom stayed all day.”

So I said, “Alright, I’ll go wander around outside, I suppose this is goodbye.” to which Alex gave me her cheek and skipped off, saying “See you at Thanksgiving!”

Stunned, I made my way downstairs and stumbled into the sunlight, happy kids and nervous parents still all milling about. I sat down on a set of stone steps framed with a wrought-iron railing and a sign that read ‘FOUNDED IN 1818’ and wept.

15 minutes later, I got a text:

Alex: “Where are you?”

Me: “Outside sitting on some steps.”

Alex: “I wanted to come say goodbye again.”

Me: “Okay come outside.”

Alex came out and said that she didn’t feel good about our other goodbye. I suppose she didn’t want the memory of it to remain awkward. She gave me a big hug that I didn’t want to let go of, but that made everything better (it really did).

Then she skipped off again, off to her new life.



Road Trippin’

Road Trippin'

Road Trippin’

My Aunt Arlene joined Alex and I for the road trip to Dalhousie. We drove from Mississauga to Halifax over two days, staying in Quebec City mid-trip on the way there, and outside Edmunston, NB the way back.

Everyone we met along the way was so great to us, and we loved so many of the towns we visited along the way (we’re looking at you, Perth-Andover!). Quebec and New Brunswick quickly became favourite provinces.

The cutest calf! Go Veggie.

The cutest calf! Go Veggie.

The drive was fun, lots of laughs along the way, mostly stemming from how silly excited my aunt and I would get when we passed a car, brimming with eagerness to help Alex make friends with other kids heading to university.

What? They were from Ontario, too!

What? They were from Ontario, too!

Given that it’s a 19-hour drive, we were surprised at how enjoyable the drive was. That said, after the drive back, we decided that it would probably be better-enjoyed over 3 days rather than 2, which is what I’ll do next time.

Did you drive your kid(s) to uni? How long was the drive and did you enjoy it? Did you manage to fit all their gear in your vehicle?


Moving Out

It fits. She's happy. I'm....?

It fits. She’s happy. I’m….?

Not gonna lie – it’s hard.

This… all of it…

I know she’s going to enjoy university, I know it’s time, I know she’s totally ready and excited and looking forward to all that moving to Nova Scotia and attending Dalhousie will bring, but…

It’s hard.

My friend Joanne is also going through the same thing, she was excited, she said, until she was at the supermarket, loading her basket with her daughter’s faves, and then realized she would not be there to enjoy them (Joanne’s daughter is going to King’s also in Halifax).

My other friends, Kim and Jane, have lived through this with their sons leaving for university last year (Bishops and McMaster), and their daughters following this year (Guelph and Waterloo) and have helped prepare me for the feelings I’d have. They told me that it wasn’t the end, it wasn’t “my kid moving out” but rather, “my kid living elsewhere for a time”. That made it an eventuality easier to accept. Knowing that Alex would come back.

Although we’re only leaving on Thursday, we packed the car today, to ensure we had enough room in my SUV and wouldn’t need to rent something.

It all fit.


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University Shower

How awesome our family is.

If you read my About Me page, you’ll see that I am blessed with a close extended family. So close, that during the summer months, we reserve Fridays as ‘Family Fridays’ and everyone comes together to swim, eat and be merry. It is on these Fridays that we usually celebrate summer birthdays and other events, because why not? Plus, with all the babies and little ones around, we think it’s important for the little second-cousins to grow up knowing each other.

Two of my aunts suggested that we throw Alex a university shower, knowing that many of us would want to send her away with gifts and well-wishes, so we did it on a Family Friday.

I can’t tell you how touched I was with the lovely send-off my family gave Alex, and how loved and appreciated she felt. I have no doubt in my mind that Alex knows how valued she is, and how proud we all are of her and her accomplishments thus far.

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Teenagers: They’re Just People

Hoodlums :)

Hoodlums 🙂

When I meet people whose kids are younger than mine and tell them I have a teenager, they sometimes react with feigned terror, “wow you’re brave!” or sometimes I see tweets or status updates that read, “not looking forward to when my kids become teens” or comment about passing by a group of “hoodlum teens” loitering at the corner store.

I find this funny. Don’t these people remember being teenagers?

If you take the time to get to know some, you’ll see that teenagers are just people. People who haven’t been around as long as we have, but people just like us in every other way.

My daughter and her friends are funny, feisty, independent, smart, opinionated, passionate, and kind. They challenge each other to think of things in different ways, they protect one another, they love each other, they socialize, they play games, they celebrate each others’ accomplishments, they provide unwavering support and help boost each other up when feeling down.

I’m so curious to find out what these young people are going to grow up to do in life. I imagine future activists, athletes, social workers, business people, teachers, coaches and police.

In the meantime, I want them to have parties with their red cups and ping-pong balls, loiter at the dairy queen, and enjoy their youth.

I did.



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As You Go To University…

Now university-bound, my then 6-year-old athlete

Now university-bound, my then 6-year-old athlete

Dear Alex,

I won’t begin this letter with “I’m going to miss you”. You know that already.

I also won’t regale you with stories of my youth and my lessons learned – you’ve heard them all before and make much better choices than I ever did. TBH, sometimes I just tell you them to see your face pale. Ha!

I know you appreciate the quality education you’re about to receive, and the gift of living in residence (because not all kids are as fortunate). You’re thankful for all the hard work that has gotten you here (your own included). I know you won’t waste it by getting poor grades.

I also won’t use this space to tell you how proud I am of you. Once you decided on a field of study, you worked tirelessly toward your goal. You’re probably rolling your eyes now with an exasperated, “Oh Mom!”

This letter is about the other people. The people you can’t expect to meet, the kind I wouldn’t want to ruin your excitement with by warning you about. They can enter your life in the form of biased teachers, grabby guys, thieving classmates, backstabbing friends, deceitful boyfriends, sneaky strangers. I want you to keep yourself safe from them.

They’re impossible to identify simply by their actions or words, you just have to be aware they could be anywhere. Think back to what I told you when you were learning to drive. Relax, but check your mirrors and blind-spots frequently. Drive defensively and above all, trust your instincts.

I love you,

Mom xo

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4 Weeks

My girl's new school!

My girl’s new school!

My heart! In 4 weeks, we will be making the 19-hour-long trek to Halifax, Nova Scotia to settle my girl into her residence at Dalhousie University.  She’ll be studying Commerce. We decided to do a road trip because it will be fun to have time to bond and because she’s bringing a lot of stuff for residence, including ringette gear. My daughter is keen to get there already, to get started with school and settled into her new life. Over the past few months we’ve felt both trepidation and anticipation with respect to the start of the school year and her university career, and while my anxiety level is growing because I am going to miss her so much, I also smile at how eager she is to experience it, so my heart is full. It’s a trip, let me tell you.