It’s just not what it use to be

English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie.
English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at the university today in search of actual books. The kind made from paper, glue and ink. The kind of book you open up and sniff that distinctive smell of book. 

It has been a very long time since I read a paper book. I have become the new generation of reader – ereader. I have to admit, I love it. I love having 500 books on my shelf that I carry in my purse. I love that my carry on for airplane trips was light and had room to bring stuff back. In my bag for my last trip I had my iPad, charger cord, tissue, hand sanitizer, and a pashmina. My iPad had a couple of movies and tv shows loaded on it, my New York Times Crossword puzzle, pdfs for university, photo editing software and 500 photos before my trip, 682 hours of music and my beloved book collection. I felt like Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All I needed was a towel. I know there are a lot of you who will tell me you love your books and can’t convert. I am not trying to convert you, but I caution you not to close your mind of because books are going the way of the vinyl album, betamax and vhs tapes, cds, typewritters, tube tvs, space shuttles and Concords. This is just the way it is.

I had a hard time at the campus book store finding the required reading material needed for my next class. Seriously, those dudes are USELESS. I left empty handed and went to Tim Horton’s to drown my sorrows in a steeped tea (because Timmy’s coffee is VILE) I had my iPad with me and I started to google. I discovered the chapters I needed were available for download. SWEET! Into my ereader they went and now I have the added benefit of highlighting, adding notes and working right from the tablet. I found the other book I needed available at the campus library and now it also is installed on my ereader. The best part is, I don’t have to lug around a heavy bag filled with text books and note pads. I don’t worry about pens without ink or other crud I don’t need.

This was true of my kids this year as well. Both my kids have some sort of electronic device for school. The oldest has a lap top, the youngest a iPad. The youngest uses apps that connect her with the smart boards at school. The notes are available on-line, so time is spent exploring the topic rather than copying copious amounts of notes. They both email in their assignments, communicate with their teachers via email and have access to on-line learning labs. My youngest understands her need for some hands on work and notes so I bought her pens, pencils, a binder and some paper. The oldest didn’t need anything but his laptop and an ereader. His library has ebooks that he downloads on his reader. When the due date is up, they disappear. This is also possible through the public library. The need for text books is also going by the wayside. This style is perfect for my eldest’s learning style. He reads it, he retains it, he discusses it in chat rooms or clusters with his peers. It’s all very appealing to my children to learn this way. If they have their laptop, they have their homework. Things are saved to clouds and flash drives. Gone are the days of “I forgot to bring it home”.

Don’t bother telling me they way you use to learn is better. Things evolve and change. There is a huge debate on texting versus spelling out the entire word. Let me just say if we always did things they way we use to, I would be writing this blog on the walls with a chisel. Embrace change, maybe even marvel at it. Sure it isn’t the same but it opens up blocks of time for other things that expand the mind. Less time on core details opens up more time for extra curricular creativity. This helps my kids explore things I never had the opportunity to try.

Wednesday I have a class that takes place in my home. I will fire up my laptop, don my headset and microphone, and discuss stuff online, live with a visual of what my classmates look like. Technically I don’t have to change out of my pajama bottoms, shoulders up is all they see, so I’ll brush my hair, wash my face and wear a clean shirt. I can sit on my deck if it’s nice out. That’s right, I will be living my high school dream from 1984. I will have class outside in the sunshine on Wednesday at 5:00 pm and get stuff done. Give me wifi and I could be by the pool.

Who do I thank for this? Steve Jobs? Steve Wozniak? Bill Gates? If you ask me, they are worth their weight in gold because THIS is awesome. I don’t have to drive in rush hour to get to my class. I don’t have to pay for parking. I don’t have to pack a lunch. I don’t have to wear socks.

Now, I cannot WAIT for work to go all electronic so I can do it from my lounge chair while soaking up the sun.

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The dreaded first day of school

Today is the first day for school for most kids I know. Children everywhere are missing summer, feeling sick to their stomach and fearing the unknown.

Me too.

When I was in grade 3 I had moved 13 times. This was to be the final home I was going to grow up in. My parents carefully picked my school so I could walk every day and not have to take the bus like they did. My mom made my lunch everyday with fresh, good for me ingredients when all I wanted was peanut butter sandwich and an apple, everyday until I died. Never happened. She insisted on variety. She was concerned about what the other moms would think. News flash moms, other moms don’t come to school to judge lunches.

I had a milk card and could order milk or juice every day for 25 cents.

Hot dog day was the last Friday of every month.

I was sent to school with a new wardrobe and new shoes. My note books were fresh and tidy, I vowed to keep them that way. That vow lasted less than a week. I remember being nervous about not making friends. That was always hard for me. My brother had a knack for meeting kids and being instant best friends. That lasted until he became an adult and didn’t care if people liked him or not. I, on the other hand, worried endlessly over who would like me and who wouldn’t. I blamed my hair. To be fair, it was clown hair.

We all assembled into the music room. I knew not a soul. The teachers up front called out the names of children. I heard “Robyn” but didn’t budge. I looked around the room to see if the hundreds of other Robyn’s stood up to join the teacher. No one did. She looked to the other Teachers and said, “The new girl? Anyone seen her?” That is when I knew it was me. Here I was the new girl…again. Grade 3 and already been to 5 different schools, 2 of those 5 my dad was a teacher in. I typically bonded with the adults and not the children. Weird, still a problem for me. Most of my friends are much older than I. I am sure a psychiatrist will have fun with that one.

We were led down the hall and shown to our class. Ours was the one without windows. Part of a 1970’s fad about fluorescent lights being good for focus. Thank heavens the pilot project on “Open Classrooms” was done. 6 classrooms with no walls. I think the concept was for the students to mingle in non traditional settings but typical administration, you can’t possibly change the way things have been done for a 100 years. I emerged from grade 2 with chronic headaches and glasses. Still, a class of 30, no windows and a teacher who didn’t like her job and thought smiling might kill her was my destiny. I dreaded recess. I dreaded recess every day until Grade 9 when we didn’t have it any more because we were part of the high school.

School is a lot different now and yet exactly the same. Moms take care of details so kids don’t need to. Food is pre-packaged and not as nutritious so kids don’t have the capacity to stay focused. The teachers who now teach, are there because their school experience sucked and they want to make a difference. They become disillusioned with the growing class sizes, inclusion that doesn’t work and parents who are in your face with problems that aren’t really problems.

The culture of school in middle class communities is very different from when I was a kid. Good grades are expected. Children compete with their peers and parents are emailed if assignments are missed. It certainly is a different world. I remembering not caring about marks, some how as if by magic, good ones appeared on my report card.

The parts that will be the same are the kids the will walk into school with a parent, holding their hand and hiding slightly behind their mom’s arm. They will look on a board to discover what class they are in and see if their friends are with them. They will carry their heavy bags to their room and look for a desk with their name on it. Most teachers take away the scary bits by deciding that for you. They will talk about class rules, and decide which ones are important and help make up new ones. This creates a culture agreement they can live with. The younger grades will be paired up with buddies so recess won’t be scary.

Then it is time to go home. I remember walking home from school in grade 3 on my very first day. I lived 3 doors down from the school. I came home and my Grandma was there to ask me about my day, she made me a snack. Then my dad came home and asked me about my day and if I made any new friends yet. I said yes. Her name was Cheryl. We would be best friends for about 5 months until Carrie with the beautiful hair stole her away from me. I realize now, my shyness was the barrier between me and friends. By the time I reached high school, that shyness was almost all gone. I never showed it on the outside. Now, it is non existent. I had to learn the difference between shy and bold and walk the path in the middle. Not everyone figures that out.

Today is the big day for teachers and children alike. 10 months from now, we won’t even remember what the first day felt like because we are so comfortable in our classroom with the culture the classmates built with the guidance of the teacher.

Now if only I had a Muppet Lunch kit like my daughter has, it would be easier.

Things I learned in Preschool

Another year has passed by and I sent my lovelies off to kindergarten today. I cried during the good-bye song. I never do. 25 years and I can hold it together But this group was …. different. I cannot put my finger on it, but they were special in the way that I marveled at how smart there were. Not once did I have to say “It is not okay to lick the bathroom floor” Yes I have had to say it in years previous. I couldn’t trick these kids. They were on to me. Too smart for you Miss Tourist! It’s true, they were. I learned some cool stuff anyways. It is ALWAYS a good day when you learn something new, in this case -it was a good year because I learned 7 new things.

1) Kids don’t taste like cookies. One day I was sitting at the manipulative table talking with a young girl. We were discussing what made a nice person. We talked about being kind and helpful. I said to the child “you’re so sweet I bet if I ate you, you would taste like cookies”
The child replied, “no, I’d taste like skin”

2) Not all kids want to be teacher when they grow up. Shocking isn’t it? Around the circle we went asking what we were going to be when we grew up. I heard a Captain America, Teacher, Dad, but my favorite? A Psychologist. What 4 year old knows that? That was awesome.

3) When you live in a large family, sometimes you don’t know everyone. A mom brought a puppy to school to show the class the new family member. I asked the little boy (who was the owner of the puppy) what is your pups name? His reply with wide eyes innocence, “I HAVE A PUPPY????”

4) Four year olds know all about sarcasm. I often sit at the snack table and ask all kinds of questions. For example “what did you eat for breakfast?” The focus for me is to hear sentence length, content, vocabulary and if the child can follow the direction of the conversation. At the beginning of the year they would just look at me and blink. By June they would say “My mom made bananas and cereal. I then had cheese”. I would mess it up and pretend I didn’t hear what they were saying. So my reply would be “You had bananas, cereal and FLEAS? Is you mom crazy?” Today I knew they were ready to graduate because I received a sarcastic reply “Yes Miss Tourist I eat FLEAS for breakfast…”  That was AWESOME!

English:
English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Sometimes science experiments go very wrong and scientists never cry. We had 6 caterpillars this year and watched them change into chrysalis and then waited FOREVER to change into butterflies. Only two turned into beautiful butterflies. One had shredded wings. Two never made it to the chrysalis stage and one never came out of his chrysalis. The children decided that the butterfly with the shredded wings would be bird food. I swear to GOD that is what they said. “Poor little doody is bird food. Game over Miss Tourist” We talked about the other one that never came out, BIRD FOOD they all chimed in! Wow… practical yet heartless. No one cried.

6) No one likes food. We put a variety of fruit and veg on the table every day with the single rule of you must try. Try means touch, taste, sniff or lick. It does not mean swallow. Although swallow is what we hope for. We hear a lot of “I don’t like…” what ever is on the table and then we ask have you tried it today? Of course the answer is NO. Today we had a gift of Rainbow bread from student. I judged it just like my table companions. Only I never judge out loud. One gal said, I HATE RAINBOW BREAD it is DISGUSTING” I was inclined to agree, but we all had taste it before the ice cream celebration sundae social could begin. So we all poked it, sniffed it and then ate it. I am happy to report we did not die after swallowing it. In fact, it tasted just like White Toast. The young gal who denied liking it, divided up the Rainbow bread for her peers. She gave everyone a single piece, and 5 for herself. Apparently she didn’t hate it today.

7) I learned that this group was the very first group who really knew what it meant when you said, today is the last day. One fellow who was arguably the brightest in the class, didn’t seem to understand. He said, if today is the last day, what will happen when we get on the bus tomorrow? I explained to him, the bus won’t be coming. School is over for 64 days. Where will we go? he replied with a look of panic on his face. I held both his hands and explained again, Your mom will look after you. You don’t come back here anymore because today you are smart enough for kindergarten. He looked at me with a sad expression and said, but what happens to our school? Is it closed now for 64 days, just like the sandbox was when we put sand in our friends hair?

He walked away, and then came back to hug me. He finally understood – or perhaps he was in denial before. This was the class that cried when we group hugged, and didn’t want to run around the trees while we waited for the bus. They stood close to their teachers, held our hands and talked a lot about “remember when”.

Do Your Eyes Light Up?

This is it. My last day of vacation before I head back to the nuthouse I lovingly refer to as work. This is the most ready and excited I have been about returning to work since….. hmmmmm…. since…. Since I was disillusioned after graduation? Maybe. I am ready. What makes this new school year different from all the others? Good question. The classic teenage response is “Idunno”. Alas, I am not a teenager, those days have long since passed me by, and all I can say is THANK GOD, Who the hell wants to be a teenager again? Except I would kill for that figure I had when I thought I was too fat then. I wish I was that fat now…

Back to the “what makes me so ready this year”? Well, first of all I need routine. Sure I love two months of chaos but I need to get back in the saddle of predictability and timetables. I eat better, work harder and get more done. Secondly, I really miss my team. We went through an awful lot last year and I miss the support and friendship. I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow. Thirdly, teenagers are driving me bonkers, or to drink, or both.

I have to say, as my kids get older I do enjoy them more. Sure I miss their cuddly little bodies and cutie pie faces, but the humour, wisdom and just plain fun out weigh the kiddy years. My age has something to do with it too. Being a mom is just plain tiring. The less they need me, the more I find out about myself. Win/win.

I was listening to an interview with Toni Morrison, a brilliant author and wise woman. She was asked to depart with a gem of knowledge or word of wisdom before the interview ended. She said

Do your eyes light up when a child enters the room? Do your eyes sparkle with the love you feel for them?

Hmmm, good question Toni. Do they? As most of you know, I have worked with children for a very long time. I started my first day of “real” work in 1988. You do the math, just don’t tell me. In that time I know I have made a difference to children because they approach me now that they are adults and like to reminisce about wacky and fun things that happened in the class room. But did my eyes light up?

I can list on one hand the adults in my life whose eyes lit up when they saw me. With the expectation of two adults who have since passed away, I still have that amazing connection with those adults who felt I was important enough to them to show the love in their eyes. I still miss those two who passed every single damn day. My children have a connection with adults who se eyes light up. I know those relationships will last long into their adult life.

For as long as I can remember, I loved the energy of being around kids. I had lost that feeling in the past few years. Working with different teams that were not a good fit, eat a little bit of your soul every day. That makes it hard to love the work you do. Yet, somehow, my little pals always seemed to make me smile or laugh. They bring me a rock or dead flower, an apple core or a picture they drew and say it was for me. They would cuddle up in the library and put their little head on my arm as I read to them. They would hug my leg and yell “look at me!” every time they went down the big kid slide. I remember most of them. Every year a few make quite an impact on me and they stay with me. I can see their 4 year old face in the adult they become. I’ve tied a billion shoes and and have said endlessly, “if you are big enough to go to school, then you are big enough to do this yourself”.

On Tuesday morning the bus will come to school, filled with little ones and their mommies, they will be clinging to the legs of their moms and crying their little hearts out. I will make eye contact with them and smile. They will see in my eyes that I am happy they came, so when June rolls around, I will be the one crying. I miss extra squeezy hugs over the summer and stupid knock knock jokes.

When you take your kids to school the first day, look in the teachers eyes. Do their eyes light up when they see your child? Look in the mirror when they come home. Do your eyes light up?

Mine do.

Please Don’t Tell Me Anything, My Brain is Already Full.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

Today was one of those “bone weary” days. I know you get them. The kind where your joints and muscles ache, your skin hurts, and your eyes hurt to look at stuff. I brought it all on myself.

I had the intention of going to bed early-ish last night. Early for me is between 10:oo and 11:00 pm. I am a night owl. I feel recharged after dark and do not understand the need for early-risers to be so chipper ( yes honey this means you). Life got in the way last night, between writing letters to political members and watching Craig Ferguson, I procrastinated long enough that I went to bed 15 minutes before the pumpkin hour.

The stress is starting to build in my new Tourist Life. You know how I can tell? I cannot remember a single thing I am supposed to do. My brain fell out. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I have pregnancy brain. I don’t, there is no way I am pregnant. If I was I would give the baby to my sister for Christmas. No, that is not the problem, but I think I know what is.

My Brain is Full.

Who knew there was a capacity? I thought there was a potential for infinite learning! So the question now is, how do I let go of the stuff I don’t need? My dad calls it a fountain of useless knowledge. I know a lot of crazy and obscure facts. Like…Who holds the record for the longest Goal Scoring streak on the Edmonton Oilers?

A> Wayne Gretzky?

B> Dave Lumely?

C>Ryan Smythe?

D> Paul Coffee?

Nope you are wrong – except my friend from Jr. High who knows this stuff too. B> Dave Lumely. Or this one, It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Or did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. If you are playing trivial pursuit, you want me on your team. I caution you, I am very competitive and wont let you answer a thing, but we will win.

I use to remember everything from all the data reports I needed for team meetings, my kids schedules, my husbands schedule, school volunteer events and dates, every birthday of every person I know, my telephone number and bank money transactions. Now I can’t even tell you what my favorite colour is! I thank Steve Jobs everyday that I have an iPhone and I know how to use it! It is so simple to use, I don’t need to remember how, it just happens. PHEW! Because without the calendar,  notes, email and contact list I would be curled up in the corner weeping uncontrollably. A friend and colleague at work today said the brain works differently with a hormone fluctuation. Well, I AM getting old, and hormones work differently, but I don’t think that is it. My Brain is full and I need to do something about it because school work and day work needs to fit in there. Hopefully one day my brain will be back in top-notch shape

So here is the plan, I am not going to take responsibility for non-essentials anymore. If you need to get to volleyball practice, set your alarm or tell your dad. If you need to plan a baby shower for a friend, email me what I need to bring. If you don’t, I won’t remember and you will be disappointed. If you are unsure how to operate the data bases at work , look it up in the manual on the black shelf, everything you need to know is in that book , no in the white one. If you need me to buy groceries, sorry I can’t. I walk in and just stand there looking at the pretty colours and forget why I am there. Email me if you need something. edmtourist@gmail.com If I have it in my phone, I can do it.

Other wise, forget it, my brain is full.

Hi I’m Julie McCoy, and I’ll be your Ship’s Cruise Director!

The Love Boat
Image via Wikipedia

I have spent the better part of my Sunday engaged in homework for my University Course. I was at work long before the offspring decided to emerge from their warm cozy beds at the first sign of breakfast. By time Offspring #2 said good morning, I had completed 2 of 4 minor assignments,with research and reading still needing to be done for the day. The first thing out of her mouth was “So, what are we doing today?” I almost growled “homework” but the sound was much more civil than a growl. A large sigh emerged from her lips and she sat down to visit her friends via Facebook.

Flashes of my youth appeared before my eyes. The ages of One to Four of my life are remembered as “shhhh your dad is studying”. I remember Dad hiding away in the deep dungeon of a basement, surrounded by concrete walls, one insignificant window and the smell of damp basement. In the corner opposite the stairs, sat his desk, comfortable office chair and a desk lamp,with a view of the washer and dryer. Those were the days of typewriters, pens and paper. After dinner, I would sneak to the top of the stairs and peer through the railing to spy on my dad. Mostly to see if he was actually busy, but perfectly happy just to get a glimpse of him. On days that he was at the library, my brother and I would sneak down and sit in THE CHAIR. We would take turns spinning each other and giggling ourselves into dizzy oblivion. We could not imagine our Dad to be so lucky as to have this chair to sit in for hours on end.

In contrast, I am luckier I suppose. I am also located in the basement but my walls are dry-walled and painted White Chocolate. The light streaming in is from large windows in a “walk-out” basement. The floors are cork and possess in-floor heating. Over my work space is a rather large map of Disneyland that I look at from time to time to gain inspiration from all those creative spirits before me. I am thankful for the good fortunes that have afforded me these luxuries compared to my father’s study hall.

Friday Nights were designated as Family Night. Dad would emerge from the dungeon ready for a break. Our family would go in search of inexpensive and free things to do. I often remember going for drives through Millcreek with the final destination being Dairy Queen. My brother and I would be bathed and dressed in our pajamas. We would pile into the car either with my Grandparents or just are small family. Off to our destination we would go leaving the ‘burbs headed for the city. In those days, the Dairy Queen was just an ice cream stand. It was a seasonal shop where you waited in line outside. My brother and I would order a soft serve dipped cone, my mom would often get a small marshmallow sundae and my father, without fail, would order a butterscotch milkshake. We would take the scenic route home, driving around looking at people’s homes or beautiful gardens. Usually we were asleep before the car was parked for the night with mom and dad carrying us up to bed. Sleeping or not, we would fake it to get the lift to our rooms.

I loved the undivided attention of my parents. So does the Chatterbox. She often is seeking parental attention of some form. You can often hear her say “So, what are we doing today?” As if I am the Omnipotent Being responsible for her personal entertainment. She often makes me feel like I should have been born Julie McCoy, Love Boat’s Cruise Director.

Yesterday, the Chatterbox and I went in search of clothing specific to our impending trip to Europe. We spent the better part of the afternoon laughing and looking for items that would make our stay more comfortable. While walking through Edmonton’s historical district of Old Strathcona, we stumbled upon The Walterdale Playhouse Open House. Immediately she led me through the doors knowing I would follow. We were given a tour of the main-stage and back stage. Shown how they magically transform plain people into characters that fill your imagination. Shown how they use paint and light to create elaborate illusions of grandeur. The Walterdale Playhouse is located in the old fire hall and still maintains the bell tower. 10 minutes before each production the bell is rung, signaling the need for patrons to find their seats. Chatterbox was given the opportunity to ring the bell high above Old Strathcona, telling the community that she was indeed ready to be an actress. We left armed with information of upcoming auditions, tips and a sense that we really enjoyed our time spent there as well as with each other. Our day was far from over, but the Walterdale Playhouse did enhance the rest of our experience together. We found shoes, drank ice tea at Starbucks, took crazy self-portraits together. The moments that were memorable, were unplanned. Just like Friday nights to Dairy Queen when Dad would burst into song and sing the Tennessee Bird Walk, or my brother would tell a funny story about the trouble he got into that day.

I need to remember the importance of Julie McCoy. I need to keep scheduling family time together so we can create more memorable moments as a family. I can do that. I can take a night or a day off every week to have family time. Lesson learned Mom and Dad! Thank you again for being spectacular role models that taught me everything I needed to know about being a great mom.

You can always find time to do what matters most.

Next time LOOK with your EYES!

Did you ever have a conversation something like this:

(Picture me standing in the pantry and my mom down the hall in the “rumpus room”)

Me: MOM! Where’s the peanut butter?

Mom: In the pantry.

Me: Where?

Mom: In the pantry.

Me: Where?

Mom: IN THE PANTRY!

Me: Where?

Mom: Oh for Crying out loud ROBYN! In the pantry on the right hand, side three shelves up from the bottom behind the Ritz crackers to the left of the tomato soup.

Me: Well why didn’t you say so?

Mom: Look with your eyes next time.

My mom had details down to a science. She puts Walt Disney to shame. If you ask her what you were doing on February 17th, 1972, not only could she tell you, but she could tell you what you were wearing, what the weather was like, major historical events that occurred on that day and some funny story about dad. Mom’s details made the family and the house run smoothly. She is a savant really.Details are her thing. Details and multi-tasking. She is AMAZING! On Sundays she would make dinners for the week, several batches of cookies, cakes and squares, for lunches, and what ever potluck dish my dad promised his staff for the next day. She is an amazing cook. She can taste a sauce and tell you exactly whats in it, re-create it, improve upon it and serve it for dinner the next night.  A force to be reckoned with when it comes to details.  Mothers need that skill. It is a gift mother’s receive as payment for pregnancy brain. You know what that is if you ever were pregnant or knew a pregnant woman. No blood flow to the brain for 9 months = not the brightest bulb on the tree. The MOMENT you give birth your eye for detail is either A) Enhanced or B) granted to you brand new out of the box.

Details are not to be confused with “Helicopter Mothering”. The Helicopter Mother takes details to the next level at the Extreme Mothering Games. I can tell by the look on your face that have never heard of a Helicopter Mother. Have I a story for you!

Friday, as you may recall, was my big day! I went to the University and registered for the Fall Semester. I was the ONLY ONE in line without my mommy. I KNOW! You are thinking What the…..?!?!?! The first time I went to school, I went on my own, with my own money ( although I did borrow my mom’s car – but she was not in it) to register for school and pay my OWN tuition.  Novel concept, I know but that was the way it was done. Children, or Offspring toddle off to school on their own because at the age of 18 they are considered a legal adult here in Alberta. They are able to vote, AND engage in the ritual of Friday night Libation at the local Public House. The governing body believes that these young individuals are quite capable of making choices for themselves and therefore made it law. 18=adult

Someone forgot to tell their Mommy.

These 18 year olds had their mommies pay for their school, speak and answer ALL QUESTIONS the registrar had for them, spit into a tissue to wipe their lunch off their face and comb their hair before pictures could be taken for identification purpose. I was in a state of shock and horror. If this is what I have to compete against for marks, I am GOLDEN! I bet their mommy will call the prof too if their child gets a colourful comment or low mark on the term paper.If you are a Helicopter Mom, you are NOT doing your child a favor by taking care of ever detail in their life. They need to fall and scrape their knees at LEAST once. My 14-year-old son who is reading over my shoulder said, they need to learn to fail and learn from their mistakes. Preventing mistakes prevents a learning lesson. Pretty profound from a 14-year-old.

My Mom and Dad let me fall plenty! They were also there with a hand up. I learned the lesson, and from listening to my 14-year-old, he did too. So Thanks Mom and Dad! I think I will be pretty well equipped for school, and if I fall it will be okay because I have lots of hands to help me up. That is the point of this tourism journey. Take risks and see where that takes me.

“The Whole Universe was in a hot, dense state,” huh? Sorry I was Sleeping

big bang
Image by { pranav } via Flickr

You ever have that moment that every parent wishes for? You know what I am talking about. The point at which your offspring surpasses you. You hope for it from the moment they are born. You hope for them to be stronger, smarter, faster than you ever were. You hope they reach their full potential, unlike you did. Well, be careful what you wish for.

My 14-year-old is a self-proclaimed science geek. I had the pleasure of taking him and his friend out to the Fringe Festival last Saturday night. My kid is the type to automatically understand the workings of things. His friends know it. This young fellow says to my genetic offspring ( I only call him that to pump myself up with the knowledge that he is mine – I had a hand in creating this amazingly smart person) “Dude, I’m freaked, where is that light coming from? What is causing it?” Without skipping a beat, my genetic offspring gives him the direction and the full scientific explanation  of which I only understood, “over there”. His friend goes, “Ooooohhhhhh thanks man.” And thus new brainwaves were created in the friend. Wish it happened to me.

If you have ever watched “The Big Bang Theory” Sheldon is my son with the exception that my genetic offspring has a sense of social cues and a killer sense of humor. He gets sarcasm. This may be horrific  for some of you but sarcasm is the bread and butter of our family’s humor. Sink or swim. Eat or be eaten. We warn ALL outsiders who enter the inner sanctum, we WILL eat you alive if the opportunity presents itself. It is never meant as mean, occasionally it crosses the line, but it is dished out will love. At 14, my genetic offspring gets this and can give it full force. I love every minute of it!

The other day my genetic offspring was explaining to me some spatial concept theory he was developing. My eyes glazed over and he said, “you don’t understand do you?” HA! Nope not a chance! Then he said the nicest thing everyone could ever expect their own genetic offspring to ever say, “Mom, do you know what I love about our family? I love that you all let me talk about my scientific theories and encourage me to explore it further.” At this point I was welling up, he went on further to say, “I couldn’t ask for a better family, well who are we kidding, I could. I could have a family who was just as geeky as me and who would have a good time talking about science at dinner, but you’ll do.” That is when I burst out laughing. That’s MY BOY! Sweeten them up then smack them around the ears. I love it!

At this point I would like to publicly apologize to my parents for not meeting my full potential. I went to a seminar last night for old people who are going back to university. I was really nervous. It was a motley crew of potential students. But I got it, fully understood what was expected. It’s not like I am new to hard work, writing or research. Having 20 odd years of front-line experience will really help. I can feel the energy and am so excited to get started. I have high expectations and know I can meet them. They talked about post-graduate degrees. Then I remembered!I got a glimpse into my past. Everything flooded back. I recalled what my original dream was when I first went to school 25 years ago. I remember the road blocks, I remembered the feeling of a high-grade point average. I now have an even loftier goal today then with what I started out with June when I decided to go back to school. I am not sharing with the blogging world yet. I am going to share it with my family first. My honey knows, and then I’ll tell my parents. I am not going to look at my sister or other people with successful lives and wish I was them. I am going to be them – well, who are we kidding, I am going to be the best version of me.

I start today when I go to the registrars office and pay my tuition. Now what does a 43-year-old tourist wear to her first day of school?