nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala

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Visiting Her Town – Part 2

Would love to walk through the Halifax Public Gardens. But first, let's take a selfie!

But first let’s take a selfie!

So. Much. Eating! When you’re in a new town, it’s important to taste the local cuisine, right? Not to mention, these girls are pretty much over university meal-plan food already. We have enjoyed lots of lobster and sampled many local restaurants.

It was a great weekend all around. Loved spending the time with my girl, shopping, walking, eating, movie-watching, bus-riding, and being tourists in Alex’s new town.

I also really enjoyed the fact that Alex’s friend Megan invited her own ringette-loving mama (Nancy) for the weekend. Nancy is super-cool and had the same philosophy as me: to let the girls direct, and follow their lead. It was such a good call, because we got to see the town through their eyes, run for a bus we thought we’d miss (only to burst onto the bus in a fit of gasping laughter and probably scaring the other riders), source cute guys (for the record, anyone Nancy and I pointed out was a No), and just enjoy each others’ company in a totally relaxed, unplanned way.

I highly recommend it.



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.



Sex Ed

Mama and her babies

Mama and her babies

I am not shy about sex. Not even a little bit. I laugh at a culture that is okay showing our kids movies full of non-sensical, gratuitous violence but that blushes at showing people enjoying sex, which is something that happy, healthy people are hard-wired to do.

One of my favourite documentaries is Let’s Talk About Sex due to it advocating a frank, open dialogue within families, and I read Dr. Laura Berman’s book Talking To Your Kids About Sex so many times that I probably need a new copy. It’s thanks to her that sex is an ongoing, open topic of discussion at my house (rather than a single, awkward “talk” to get through). I highly-recommend both, if you have kids and don’t ever want them to feel ashamed of their emerging sexuality. I’ve even talked with writer friends (sometimes using a pseudonym, based on how embarrassed my kids might be) about my views on parenting and sex education. Check out my points of view in Ann Douglas’s article and Emma Waverman’s article.

Sex talks at my house include the nuts-and-bolts of sexuality, reproduction, sexually-transmitted infections and contraception/protection – as well as pleasure, love, expectation, the future, risks, rewards, feelings. I think they all go hand-in-hand and should be discussed together. I also make sure to pepper the discussion with some first-hand experiences of my own, letting kids know that there were things I had been confused about and experiences that had surprised me when I was a teen and what I learned.

I want my kids to know that nothing embarrasses me about sex, they can ask me anything, at any time. I also tell them they should not be embarrassed, but that a good rule of thumb is that if they aren’t comfortable talking about sex with a boyfriend/potential partner, it’s probably a good sign that they aren’t ready to take that step.





So blurry but taken by a kid! My friends & I. We met at our kids' ringette games!

So blurry but taken by a kid! My friends & I. We met at our kids’ ringette games!

One thing I’ve discovered over my 18+ years of parenting is that it’s important to have allies. Allies in the form of friends and family who “have your back”. Sometimes an ally comes in the form of your child’s friend’s parent, forming naturally by virtue of the amount of time you spend with the same people. Other times, you meet a parent who just seems like “your kind of person” and you make the effort to become their friend.

Even though a few of the kids’ friendships have waned a bit with their evolving interests and groups of friends, I’ve remained friends with certain parents. Other friendships I’ve also let wane, as some relationships are finite and have a beginning and an end. I’m okay with that.

Allies when parenting are amazing. Being able to text your friend about the naughty thing her child and your child just did on their playdate at your house (come on – it was funny!), and know you’re both on the same page and “get it” is invaluable. Having someone you can call in a panic because you won’t be home in time to get your kid after school is also comforting (yes this has happened to me). And car-pooling? Don’t even get me started. With all the driving around we do, it’s nice to have someone to take turns with, or someone cool to share a drive with.

Allies. Get some!


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(Empty) Nesting

The pile that will one day live in her new life - the one I'm not a part of

The growing pile that will one day live in her new life – the life I won’t be a part of


Expecting mothers “nest” in preparation for the impending arrival of their children… amassing clothes, receiving blankets, furniture and gear. I’ve been fortunate to have gone through it twice, and it helped deal with the flurry of emotions I was dealing with.

I’ve come to learn that mothers preparing to send their child to live in residence at college or university also go through a similar roller-coaster of emotions. This time, I juggle feelings of happiness, sadness, pride, fear, excitement and dread on a daily basis. Spending time helping my daughter make lists of what she’ll need, and preparing the trunk of stuff she’s bringing to Dalhousie from home really helps me deal with my emotions. It’s nesting, in a way, and I get that.



Link to Rob Lowe’s Unprepared on


Yesterday a beautiful excerpt of Rob Lowe’s latest memoir, Love Life, was published by Slate magazine. Having thoroughly enjoyed his first memoir, Stories I Tell My Friends, I’ve already pre-ordered Love Life after reading this.

Unprepared is a touching window into Rob’s thoughts on sending his firstborn son on to college across the country.  As I read each excruciating line, the lump in my throat grew. This is exactly how I feel about sending my girl to Dalhousie University in the fall. No matter how grown up they get, no matter how prepared for independent life they are, no matter how confident you are about the place to which they’re moving, parents love our children as young adults just as much as much we did when they were babes in arms, and the loss we feel when they go off on in the world is profound.

“My work here is done” feels too… final. Unfair, even.