Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “vacation”

Hope, Terror Haze and Old German Tourists

Guess who’s too old to make Superhero poses? (Hint: Look for the Aviators…)

We went Fall camping, which is awesome if you can get two days off work, live 3½ hours from Jasper National Park, the daytime highs are 27°C and you have a tent trailer with a furnace.  Yes, that’s right.  Not a backbacking tent which is enveloped with condensation by 4 AM, but a nice cozy tent trailer with a kick-butt furnace pumping out the BTU’s all night.  This is necessary in the Rocky Mountains because, no matter how warm it is mid-day, come breakfast time it’s going to be hovering around 5°C.  From toques, to shorts, to fleece, to toques all in 16 hour period.  Nature is not that forgiving, especially to your wardrobe.

I would say that I was tough, but that would be a lie.  Hardy, in that I can take all the frosted breath and brisk hikes to the ladies’ washroom.   Dear Husband convinced me to take all the kids — including the small ones — up the Jasper Tramway, which can best be described as a tiny, metal box which zooms up the side of a rock face attached to a tiny, metal cable, all while your children press their oblivious faces to the window screaming, “Look how far doooowwn it is!”   Now I, sans kids, had hiked up this rock face and I thought it was quite tame.  However I had never considered what a sheer drop of 2400 odd feet combined with progeny with no common sense and slow reflexes would do to my adrenaline level.  We’re talking about a 3 year old who runs to the side of a cliff, starts jumping up and down, yelling:  “If you jumped off this cliff, you would be DEEEAAAAD!!!  Right Mommy?!!”  Or nearly crashes into the sliding glass doors that open onto the tram when it isn’t there, just an elevator shaft straight into Hell, to, yet again, demonstrate what one should NOT do in the name of safety.  When we finally touched down, unharmed, on God’s sweet Earth at the bottom, Dear Husband asked me if I was okay.

“A haze of terror.  That’s all I remember.  Children running to their death and sheer, unadulterated terror.”

He agreed not to take me back up there again.

Jasper, like all the Rocky Mountains, attracts visitors from all over the world.  English, Australians, Japanese (less and less), Chinese (more and more), Americans (varies from year to year), and always, Germans.   It wouldn’t feel like you hit the mountains unless you heard “ich bin…” or “Stimmt!” at some point when walking around town.  If the Parks are open, there’s a German somewhere in it.  Including all over our campground.  Which was the weirdest part of our trip.  All the sites in this campground are extremely open, including ours which was smack-dab next to a walking path to the showers.  All the nice Commonwealth types would walk by with a friendly greeting and smile at the children.  The Germans though, would return my hello, and immediately look away.  As soon as our gaze was averted, they would then start staring at our children.  When I caught them, they would immediately look away, and pretend to be really interested in a tree.  This happened over, and over, and over again.

Our way too young to be driving a rented RV site neighbours, were the worst.  This young couple could barely mutter a word to us, but would stand there — when they thought we didn’t see them — and gawk at us.  I couldn’t understand why they just didn’t come up and ask us where the kids were from.   But then it I caught one facial expression that I was not meant to see.  Embarrassment.  They were staring because they felt it was obscene to see a family with so many children.  They were watching a freak show, and they didn’t want to admit it.  No, these folks had no shame in driving around in a Granny-mobile in their 30’s, wearing uber-expensive mountaineering clothes to walk around handicap accessible groomed trails, and leaving their empty wine bottles at the entrance to the campsites for the “forest fairies” to collect for recycling, but were ashamed for us that we had too many children for their tastes.  Huh.  Auf Wiedersehen right back at you, Sweetheart.  (Did I mention the Australians were really nice?)

I have children because I have hope.  At one point I had no hope, and I had no children.  I do not believe that life is pointless, I do not believe that God will fail, and I do not believe that things will ever get so bad that I will wish that the human race would disappear in favour of the Dominion of Slugs.  There’s a trite expression, “Children are God’s way of saying the world should go on.”  They are also people’s way of saying that they should go on.  But if you have no hope, and then why should you go on?  Waste your money and time travelling around foreign countries, trying to fill your days with some pleasure and diversion, before it all comes to its meaningless end.  Staring at big families when they’re not looking.  Like I said, Auf Wiedersehen Sweetheart.

(Sorry for the rant.  Did I mention the Australians were really, really nice?)

Advertisements

That Which Does Not Kill You, Will Stop You From Blogging

Greetings from the Infirmary!  Know what it’s feels like when a toddler does squats on your chest?  Or at least some kind of chest infection that makes you think there is an invisible one there?  We do.  By “we”, I mean my husband and myself, and for now, just one kid.   But if the Law of Something Going Around holds, soon everyone else here will be part of the Royal We of Illness.

This is to be expected, because next Tuesday we are starting a new school.  Again, by “we”, I mean the four oldest, but after 11 years of Motherhood, I am increasing unable to separate my identity from the group identity of those I feed.  You get one, you get us all.   This sickness seems to hit my eldest whenever she starts a new school.  In Grade 1 she was sent home the second day with a sick stomach.  I took her to the Doctor, and was summarily humiliated to learn she had a fever and untreated bronchitis.  Later, I could hang my head that I didn’t realize that my 5 year old couldn’t hear anything.  The Kindergarten teacher tried to make me feel better.  She told me about the son of a nurse who didn’t realize he was half-blind.  I think we could improve parents lives by installing LED displays on the back of kids’ necks that give a read out of the complete health status at all times.  At the very least, it would solve the “stomach ache in the morning, bouncing on the Tramp in the afternoon” syndrome.

For a while, it looked like I was going to be the only healthy person in house of sickness.  This always strikes me when it happens, as a foreshadowing of what it would be like to survive one those apocalypse scenarios from zombie shows, and the Prime Time line-up of the History Channel.  You sort of wander around the house, dealing with emergencies, making your own rules while everyone lies around and moans.  The only time you can eat straight peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips for supper while watching a Weird Weather marathon and no one’s there to bother you.  It’s all fun until loneliness sets in, and by then, everyone starts to feel better.  The take away being,

The Apocalypse:  It’s Fun Until the Chocolate Chips Run Out

The other reason I’m sure I’m sick is that I’ve finished Back to School Hell Shopping.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this pic.

This is missing the indoor shoes, pencil boxes and a few boxes of tissue.

I’m so obsessed with back to school shopping, I even wrote a little article about how to save money by acting like a Civil War Quartermaster and submitted it to the nice folks at YummyMummyClub, who actually published it!  (Thanks so much, guys!)  I realize I am writing for a niche audience in this case.  I keep trying to tell my friends all my “strategies” and I can hear their voices glaze over on the phone.  But, if you ever have a very big event/holiday/group to buy for, this approach really does work.

For now, I am going back to lying on the sectional, wondering how I could feel like I spent 12 hours last night chain smoking in a bar, when I never left the house.  (I realize that I have excluded an entire generation with that statement.)  The kids are happy because Sick Mom vacillates between Easy-Going to Grumpy to Guilty to Buy Kids Off with Ice Cream every half hour.  Luckily, there’s a full carton of Cherries Jubilee in the freezer.  At the rate I’m going, I’m on schedule to dish up in about 15 minutes.

If It’s Mother’s Day, I’ve Already Forgotten….

Looking in the mail for your card, Mom? Don’t be silly! They’re right here on my counter.

Some years ago, (I think I was preggers with Big Boy,) we took the family on vacation to the sunny shores of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, an area known for hot, dry summers.  We were staying in a two bedroom “guest suite,” which is basically someone’s walkout basement that they rent out during the summer to tourists.  Late one sticky afternoon, we were watching TV in the tiny living room/dining room/entrance area, trying to get a weather report for the next day.  Tired kids whined, and Princess cruised, since at 14 months she refused to walk, and I was fed up trying to keep the under 7 set occupied.  But as the 10-Minute Update theme caught my attention on the Weather Network, I noticed something strange about the date.

July 3rd.  Wasn’t there something special about July 3rd?

I racked my brain.  I made that strange thinking face, where you tilt your head and furrow your brows.  What was so special about July 3rd?  OH I KNOW!

“HONEY!”  I shouted.  “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!”

This true story illustrates just how bad I am with dates.  (And so is my husband.  I guess that’s why we work well together. :-)) It’s not that I can’t remember them, though that is part of the problem.  There is just some part of my mind that doesn’t associate, oh let’s see, May 13th as Mother’s Day, with the May 13th that is the day after tomorrow.  So, I fully expect that on Sunday morning I will be awoken by proud children baring homemade gifts and wondering why they are giving me presents early.  Since it can’t be Mother’s Day yet, because that’s not until Sunday.

In other words, unlike other bloggers who are posting lovely, heart-felt reflections on Motherhood, and their Mothers, and their children, I will have forgotten — until the 14th, when it will be too late.  Combine this all with the fact that the Mover’s are coming to take all of our stuff to our new house on the 14th, and I’ve got a daughter away at Guide camp, and I have to get three sets of green clothing ready for a big park dedication at the girls’ school on Monday, well, Mother’s Day has been pushed off the radar for me and any other Mother’s I might owe due homage to on Sunday.  To all of you I would like to send my deep, heart-felt apologies.

And….thanks.  Because that is one thing that I love about Motherhood:  forgetting.  Forgetting about myself, and losing myself in the moment of life with my family.  Children have a way of drawing you out of your head, and the mundane, silly, disappointing world we live in, and connecting you to the greater, happy, hopefully world that we should live in.  Like when Big Boy shouts out with joy at McDonald’s that we “are the best Mom and Dad in the whole world.”  (They don’t call them Happy Meals for nothing!)  Or when Art Girl looks at me with her chocolate brown eyes and whispers, “You know what I want to be when I grow up?  A Mom.”

“Really?”  I beam.  “How many kids do you think you’ll have?”

“5.  No, 6.  No, 7!  I want to beat you and Dad.”  She giggles, and then grows thoughtful.  Looking down at the floor, I she says to herself.  “I really hope I have at least one.”

Yes, sweet girl of my heart, I really hope you have at least one, too.  Because Motherhood is a gift everyday, and I am very happy to receive it.

And one more thing before I forget:

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Post Navigation