nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala

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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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My sister and I sometime in the early eighties, and my two girls at the same age

My sister and I sometime in the early eighties, and my two girls at the same age


I am 8 years older than my sister, which is the same age difference as between my two girls.

My family moved to the suburbs of Toronto from the West Island (Montreal) when I was eighteen, and I stayed behind for love, school, work, friends. I didn’t consider that at 10, my sister was entering her formative years, and frankly at the time, I probably wouldn’t have cared.

When I re-joined my family four years later, the kid sister I had left behind was gone, and in her place was an angsty, funny, ironic-T-wearing, Pearl-Jam-singing fourteen-year-old. I enjoyed getting to know her again.

My kids are currently 18 and 10. With my elder daughter is heading off to university in 3 short months, I can’t help but draw the parallel between them, and my sister and I at the same ages. No matter my fears about preserving their bond, I know this is their path, and will try not to interfere.

But… they don’t call me “helicopter mom” for nothing.