Monday, 12 May 2014

Corn Flakes

Papa loved Corn Flakes.

As a kid, I never understood their appeal but I would proudly sit next to him at the old kitchen table and dig into my bowl as he did, while he sipped his tea, knowing full well that he'd soon put on his boots and cover-alls and walk up the hill to feed the animals. I can still see his worn plaid shirts and Dickies and hear him singing funny Gaelic songs when I close my eyes.

We ate lobster together. We laughed together. We restored the horse harness he'd built with his father and grandfather together. We daydreamed and picked berries and sat on the step watching lightning together. He was everything a grandfather was supposed to be, and then some. My favourite memory of all is seeing him hold F for the first time. His great-grandson. His Dandy Boy.

I'd lost people I loved before, but nothing compared to the loss I felt when Mom woke me on May 3, 2010. I knew before she spoke and the pain and emptiness has stayed in my heart since then. To know Papa was to love him, and his funeral proved that: it was standing room only. He was buried on the Saturday before Mother's Day, and so it's a holiday that brings mixed emotions each year. I spent my first Mother's Day with a broken heart. 

While picking up groceries last night, I spied Corn Flakes - the Family Size box - and memories of Papa flooded my memory. F was too young to remember him, but it's never too late for him to know the man that shaped our lives and loved us so much. I couldn't help but smile as I put the box of bland cereal into my cart and pushed on.

And after eating my breakfast this morning, I can safely say that I share Papa's love for lobster, coconut cream pie and Corn Flakes. 

Monday, 5 May 2014


"I feel bad saying I'm tired, I can't believe I'm complaining to you."

"I shouldn't say anything, I know I'm lucky to have her Dad with me."

"Do you ever sleep? Seriously, when do you sleep? When do you have time?"

Yep. I'm busy. I work full-time. I write part-time. I have a preschooler, who I raise alone. I volunteer. I'm on an advisory council. I might be picking up another part-time job. It's called life and while it might not look just like yours, I'm not comparing because it's really apples to oranges, isn't it? Let's just stop comparing.

When Mr Hockey Coach exclaims that he's tired and I nod empathetically, he immediately retracts his statement because he "can't be tired" because he's not me, he's not raising a kid. Wait, what? No, honey, you can be tired.

When my girlfriend vents about how hard it is to be a working parent, she suddenly bites her tongue and says how lucky she is to have her partner with her - someone to share the load. But it's still hard. Parenting is hard. Juggling your workload is hard. Maintaining a social life is hard. It's all hard.

I'm one "try being a single parent" meme away from my head exploding because we're all comparing apples to pineapples and watermelon to walnuts and it's gotta stop. It's useless. It's tiresome. It's time consuming. And we single parents aren't superior to the stay-at-home moms or the work-at-home moms or the parents who have a partner to help raise the kids. (Sorry, single parents. Our shit stinks, too.)

I have friends who are stay-at-home moms, and their lives are busy and rewarding and they are no easier and no harder than mine. They're different. Same goes for my work-at-home mom friends. Shit, I've got friends who don't have kids whose lives are as busy and hectic and stressful and awesome as mine. 

We all have routines and when they are interrupted, it throws us off. 

We all have challenges. We all have needs. We all have ups and downs.

I'm not invincible. I just have different priorities. Not bad. Not better.

 Just different.