nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala


Visiting Her Town – Part 1

My favourite things

My favourite things

A few weeks back, Alex texted to invite me to visit her during Dal’s November long weekend. She would have two days off school, and would be playing two ringette games. Right away, I found awesome deals on both room and flight, and replied, “Absolutely, I’d love to!” that same night.

Because Alex’s burgeoning independence has manifested in her staking her ground when I attempt to swoop in and solve, plan, or take things over, I was cautious to not try to schedule my time in “her” new town. Making this easy was the fact that I’d be arriving on my birthday – she would plan the weekend.

When I arrived, Alex presented me with a birthday gift (Mason jar filled with my favourite things in it). Then she took me to her favourite restaurant, and pulled out her debit card and treated.

The next day, I got to watch the Dalhousie Tigers play two ringette games and Alex, her friend Megan, Megan’s mom and I took a late-night walking trip around the waterfront area, finishing the night with 1am pizza and drinks. Loving this trip!


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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Alex on the Metro X express bus from downtown Halifax to the airport - I love this service.

Alex on the Metro X express bus from downtown Halifax to the airport – I love this service.

When you miss someone, being there is so much more important than getting there. That said, the “how” does factor in cost and time, important when you’ve got a child away at university.

I drove Alex up to Dalhousie when she was first starting school because she had a lot of things to bring to Halifax. The 18-hour drive was beautiful and fun, and I was happy to see so much of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We did the drive over two days, which in hindsight was a tad ambitious. Next time, we’re going to space the driving out over three days each way.

We brought Alex back for Thanksgiving on a flight because she didn’t have a lot of time off, which we’ll do again at Christmas, because we don’t want her road-tripping in slippery conditions.

If you’re certain of your child’s days off (don’t assume – I learned the hard way), check the airlines in advance for good fares. I got excited to hear about Via’s ‘Crazy Tuesday’ sales, only to be left deflated when I learned it didn’t include all their destinations. Hopefully they’ll consider the money parents spend on travel with kids away for post-secondary, but until then, the train’s a no-go for us.

Alex invited me up to see a few of her ringette games next weekend, which also happens to coincide with my birthday and an airline seat sale. WIN! Can’t wait to hang out with her in beautiful Hali and watch her and her team play the game they love.




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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?