Tag Archives: women

Flying on your own

24 Dec

single-xmas

I went to Christmas Eve mass tonight in the small church where I was baptized and got my first communion.  Well actually, it is not the same church as a few years back the original building went up in flames and needed to be replaced.   It seems there was a local fire starter as that year 3 or 4 big buildings burnt to the ground in this small rural community.  Although no one was ever arrested in the words of my mother ‘something queer was going on.’  Most of the people in the church are related to me or I grew up with them.  It has always been a social sniff out – see who is home for Christmas, who brought a new  man/woman home, who had a baby, who looks better and who looks worse

Last year I wanted to go to church even less than I usually want to go as I had very recently broken up with my boyfriend who I lived with.  It was an absolute guarantee someone was going to ask me where he was or the real gassy ones might say ‘are you getting a diamond for Christmas?’  Nope, I gave him a different finger.  When you see someone you haven’t seen in a bit it is very standard to ask ‘what is new with you?  There are social norms for someone my age to respond with:

  1. I got engaged
  2. I got married
  3. I had a baby

When you have none of those things to report it feels so goddamn awkward.  It is kind of like the autopilot question ‘how are you’ to which we respond ‘good’.  No one actually wants to hear you say ‘my boyfriend and I just broke up, I don’t know where I am going to be living and I hope Mom and Dad give me a Christmas present.’  But that was a year ago and although that question still feels awkward I am completely confidant in reporting the fact that I am single and ready to mingle (if anyone reading knows a fabulous guy let a girl know).  My ever-so-thoughtful best friend is also home for Christmas.  She just had a baby so she has something to report this year. She was on a brain storm last night of who the guy for me might be and where I could meet him.  She said – tomorrow night in church look around and see if there is anyone there.  You never know who might be home or who might be single now.’  As much as I appreciate the gesture finding someone in church in Maryvale would be like having a sighting of The Lochness Monster or winning the lottery.  Very unlikely.

Tonight, in the middle of mass there was a commotion at the back of the church.  At first I thought it was the man of my dreams coming to find me.  Shit, my imagination got the better of me.    In reality someone fainted.   My Dad loves Rita MacNeil, a singer from Cape Breton.  She had a cleft pallet and was as wide as she was tall.  There were many Rita MacNeil jokes – she threw her underwear into the crowd at her concert and suffocated the first two rows. For a woman who outwardly looked like someone I would never relate to, her lyrics resonate with me.  I too love her songs.  If my dear friend Sacha is reading this she will be dying laughing at this point as she also is an in-the-closet Rita MacNeil lover. We have both increased the YouTube views of Rita’s songs. One song in particular is Flying On Your Own.  If Rita can do it so can I.

A steel fist in a velvet glove

9 Oct

mom-quote

The fall is always a nostalgic time of year for me – schools get into swing, the leaves turn color and Thanksgiving weekend rolls around.  Contrary to popular opinion I am not a lover of Thanksgiving dinner. So much work and so many dishes for a meal that (for me) is underwhelming.   Mom and Dads’ kitchen is not particularly large and Mom (how do I put this) is rather, ummm, bossy when she is in there.  Mom is not a chef with papers, but boy she can handle herself in the kitchen just as well as Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray or Mario Batali. This weekend it is just me home so we decided to keep it simple and not prepare a meal fit for a small country.  Over the years Mom has produced more food, for more people than Michelin produces tires.  On the topic of Mom and since it is Thanksgiving I will tell you about her.

My mother is an extremely capable, selfless and productive human being.  Last night we were invited over to friends of our family for dinner.  During our after dinner conversation Kathy (our hostess) said ‘Emilie, can you tell me if you’ve ever seen your mother just do nothing for a day?’ Honestly, unless she was down and out with some kind of an ailment I couldn’t remember ever seeing her just be lazy.  Mom was a nurse doing shift work until I was in grade 9 and after that moved to management where she worked Monday to Friday. It would be nothing for her to make us a gourmet breakfast, send us off to school with lunches all made from scratch (I often traded her homemade cookies for a can of caramel pudding or a Flaky- you always want what you don’t have), wash the walls, clean out a flowerbed and head off to a 12 hour shift at the hospital.  About 10 years ago Mom had to have her thyroid taken out.  The doctors said she had a very hyper thyroid (in overdrive), so finally we had an answer as to why this woman never seemed to run out of energy. After her surgery it took quite sometime to get her TSH levels regulated and so she felt tired and might fall asleep in the chair.  Very unusual.  My father (who could be described as being as laid back as a Saint Bernard) said he loved that Mom was exhibiting laziness as it made him feel human.  Fast forward to now, it seems that her natural determination has made up for her biological changes.  What this woman achieves in a week should be analyzed by productivity experts as I think she could teach them a few things.  One year Dad said he was going to get her a miners lamp for a gift so that she could continue working after dark.

I love how perspective allows you to see things more clearly.  At my age my mother had 4 children.  In fact, I am shocked that I was even conceived as mom had awful pregnancies with terrible morning sickness and many other complications.  Thankfully they went for a 4th and got me.  A few years ago on mothers day I took my Mom and Grandma out for lunch.  Mom said ‘thank you’ when we were done and I said ‘thanks for giving birth to me’.  To which she said ‘it was quite the strenuous affair, you were posterior’.  My 90 year old grandmother piped up and said ‘that is nothing you came out feet first Janice.’

On top of that a full-time job, a husband, a house, a massive property with gardens galore, and animals, she somehow managed to cook, pickle and jam it all, visit family, maintain friendships, keep a clean house, plan/host most any event happening in our lives, cart us around to our sports/after school bits, and keep my 3 gong show brothers in line. We always had friends over which meant she was cooking for more than 6 on a regular basis. She starts thinking about Christmas at least 11 months in advance – making quilts for each us or dolls for the grand kids.  Honestly, when I compare my days to hers it makes me feel a wee bit self absorbed… as I get my nails done and sip a latte.   I talk to Mom daily on the phone.  Sometimes it is 5 minutes and sometimes it is an hour. General gab about the day, what is happening at home, what we cooked for dinner and what is on deck for the next day.  Nowadays we are more friends than Mother/Daughter.

When I was a kid I didn’t look at my mother as leader – I looked at her as my mom.  As an adult I now see she has all of the attributes of a great leader – loyalty, patience, generousity, responsibility, determination, trustworthiness, supportive and selflessness.  When you have a great leader you are bound to be more successful in life.   On the outside she comes across as a total softie, but in reality she is a steel fist in a velvet glove.  Donald Trump should get an injection of her modesty.  In the words of Mother Teresa ‘if you want to change the world go home and love your family.’  Thanks for doing that Mom.