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Ruminations on Judgement

This is not a new thing, considering judgement, it’s worth and it’s impact.  I mean, you’ll see several quotes littered throughout this post talking about just that.  Judgement has been on my mind a lot lately, especially since the middle of last week.  I wanted to share this with you immediately, but 3 kids, visiting family, summer vacation and back-to-school preparations…  well, time is scarce.  That said, what I have found most surprising is that it’s Kate Moss whose words resonate most with me on this subject.  She says:

“Everyone’s projecting onto you, or you feel like everyone is judging you. I feel like I’m being judged a lot of the time. You become really self-conscious.”  ~Kate Moss

Last Wednesday was the last day that Connor went to day camp.  There is a free, drop-in program in a park fairly close to our house that he’s been going to since the first full week of July.  It’s about a 10 minute walk from here, and most of that walk is on the nature trail that runs across the foot of my street.  Sam had been spending 4 mornings a week in a kindergarten prepatory program (also free) in the school that he’ll begin attending in just a few short weeks, which is why Connor went to this day camp.  Because Sam was away, and it gave me some time alone with Ellie to bond, or sleep, or maybe even run a few errands.

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

So yeah – I let my 8 year old take himself to and from camp.  He did it every day for 6 weeks, and there were exactly zero incidents.  He’s ready for the independence, and frankly: it’s the way that things have worked out this summer.  I’m not making excuses, I’m not asking you to approve our decision and in fact, I really not asking for your opinion on it at all.

“It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.” ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Cue last Wednesday.  You’ll recall that it was the last day of day camp, of him walking himself to and from said camp.  What I haven’t mentioned is that there was a wasp nest in the part of our roof that overhangs our garage.  Both of my kids have been stung this summer (although, not here at home by these wasps, but still: a sting is a sting) and as a result are positively terrified of these creatures.  So on Connor’s last day, he came home early from day camp and when he tried to open the front door, he felt that he was being swarmed by the wasps.  Was he?  Who knows.  It’s irrelevant really.  It’s what he perceived, and perception is truth in the eyes of the beholder.  His response was to run screaming from the house.

“That mess about judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin—that’s some bullshit. Nobody has the right to judge anybody else. Period. If you ain’t been in my skin, you ain’t never gonna understand my character.” ― Emily Raboteau, The Professor’s Daughter: A Novel

Cue the neighbours.  Immediately next door lives a man about our age and his parents.  His parents are home through the day, and were outside when Connor took off running for his life.  Mrs K got him to stop running, asked what was wrong, and tried to calm him.  A few minutes after she encouraged him to sit on her porch so I would see him when I got home (which: I was) he took off running again.  Another neighbour – next to the K’s – who has children my kids play with, got home and he went to be with her.  That neighbour (we’ll call her Mrs H) called me, and answered the phone because I again: I was home, and she walked him back to our house.  I thanked her for helping him, she filled me in on the story as she knew it, and then Mrs K came over.  She filled in the blanks, I thanked them for their help, and for me that was it.

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

Cue the judgement.  I actually heard it in in the phone call from Mrs H.  She said that she would be leaving to pickup her children from their day camp, and that Connor needed to come home.  She actually emphasized “her children”.  Well if I’m honest, I perceived that she did.  Whether she did so with intention, or really whether she did at all, will never really be known.  What matters – as with Connor and the swarming wasps – is that I perceived it.  Mrs K took the time to tell me that we think our children are old enough to be on the street, but they are not, that any one could take them, and that I should ask for help if I need it, not let him be alone on the street.  All of it said with a look of sympathy that one reserves for mentally challenged people.

This absolutely enraged me.  Who are they to give me unsolicited opinions?  Was I grateful for their help?  Yes.  Do I appreciate that I live in a community with people who my children can turn to for help?  Absolutely.  Does this entitle them to opinions on what’s happening in my home?  I don’t think so.  They don’t know my children well at all, no one knows what’s happening in our house except for those of us who live here, and really: aren’t we all just doing the best we can with what we have?  Shouldn’t that be the baseline assumption of all people?

I’m not going to get into “when I was a kid” comparisons.  You were all kids once too and you know how different a world it was.  All I’m asking for is compassion and support without judgement.  And really: is that too much to ask for?

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hope Found

After my despair-wrought post from Sunday, I thought I owed you an update.

I took the advice of my aunt and planned to get Roxy to her mechanic today, in Oshawa.  I called CAA for a tow to the shop, and a very friendly man arrived at our door around 9:10.  He had a trick up his sleeve and was able to get our car started.  He told me in no uncertain terms that if I turned the car off, it would not start again.  The good news here is that the issue was – without a doubt – the starter.

Sam & I piled ourselves into the car and drove to the mechanic.  He is a very kind gentleman, whose easy-going demeanor immediately put me at ease.  I liked him.  He told me that most cars he deals with are 14+ years old, and that just the other day he had one in with 464,000 kms on it.  He noted that our car is a Toyota; he said, “A Toyota – I don’t often get to work on these!”  He confirmed that yes our car still has a good 5 years in it, at least another 200,000kms.  He promised that he’d have Roxy back on the road by 4:00 today, and it would cost about $300 (Toyota parts being more expensive than most American brand parts).

When I got back to get the car at 4:00, she was ready and purring like a kitten.  He had done a complete overview of the vehicle, and told me that he could see no major issues with the car, and that we should be good to go for a while yet.  What a relief!  I smiled and said, “That’s great news!”  His response?  “Maybe for you, but not for me,” as he smiled back at me.

Here’s the thing: this is the first time I didn’t feel like I was being talked down to by a car person.  I didn’t feel like he was patting me on my head, telling me not to think about these manly things.  Most importantly, I didn’t feel like I should scrutinize the invoice checking for “padding”.  He was honest, considerate and most of all, efficient.  If you live in Durham and would like a referral to a great mechanic, I’ve got one for you:

Family Auto
Mirza Bacchus-Misir
199 Waterloo St, Unit #4
Oshawa, ON  L1H 3W9
(905) 720-3834

He works on appointments, but you are welcome to drop in as well.  He has a son with special needs, and from time to time he needs to take him to appointments so he may not be in the shop.  Just make sure to call — he will return your call promptly.  He’s open from Monday – Saturday.

As for me, I’m happy to have the car back on the road.  After dinner tonight I’ll be heading up to Babyrama to check out their strollers, even though I’ve lost the chance to win one.  And yeah, I’m still excited.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

It Came Like a Lion

Today, my friends is March 1.  And if you know your old wives tales, you’ll know that March either comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion, or it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited that today – March 1, 2012 – it is snowing.  It’s staying on the ground.  Enough that some buses in our Region are cancelled (not ours — I would not be so happy about that).  So I would say that it’s absolutely a roaring lion out there.

Yay!  Bring on the spring.

I have some shoots in my garden, but these are not them. This is from someone eles'e garden. Perfect all the same though, aren't they???

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Help or a Hinderance?

If you have an active facebook life, as I do, it’s likely that you’ve read this post about “carpe diem“.  It went around a fair bit through my Mom facebook friends, and in part because some of us really do feel this way from time to time (if not all the time).

Like today, in fact.

Have I mentioned that I’m pregnant?  I am.  Expecting delightful, darling bouncing baby number 3.  Who will be the last in my line of offspring.  The combination of having a 3.5 year old (he’ll be 4 in 5 months and 2 weeks, not that I’m counting or anything), who’s in the process of trying to give up his naps, with a hormonal/exhausted/permanently PMS’y Mom can be a little much.  For the both of us, I’m sure.  It’s just that I am a little more communicative of said frustration.

And sometimes, some days, you just want to stop the world and get off.  Whatever happens in your world, we all have days were we just want to stop.  “Here’s your ball back, I’m not playing anymore,” kind of days.

Sorta like today.

No, nothing overtly awful happened today; in fact it was a lovely day.  My Mom was here around 9:00 so we could go to our appointments at the salon together (she’s entertains & occupies the little mister while I’m having my turn in the seat – thanks Mom!!), we had a lovely drive into the city with minimal traffic and nice conversation, fast and efficient service once we got there and in the end, we drove back to her hometown of Newcastle to meet up with a few of my aunts (her sisters) for lunch at a lovely little restaurant.  Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Well, it was.  Mostly.  Except that we had a 3.5 year old with us.

It’s not even that he was poorly behaved — he wasn’t!  He was perfectly normal for a 3.5 year old.  In part, I think I just want my kids to go to the Mildford Academy.  He had a butter knife and was sticking it into the line of general traffic, because he could I’m sure not so he could accidentally stab an unsuspecting waitress.  He talked to a patron in the restaurant and when she leaned in to talk back to him, he poked her boil and said, “What’s wrong with you?” He shouted at the top of his lungs – just once – because my very quiet rage finally got his attention.

Once one of my aunts advanced her application for sainthood (she offered to take him out for a walk while we paid the bill) the patron who I assumed my son had offended came over to the table to tell me that, “He was a delight – a very well behaved young man.”

This single, well-intended comment threw me off.  I don’t know why I felt compelled to… not “defend” my feelings exactly, but justify my frustration, to this stranger, but I did.  When really all I needed to say was, “Thank you,” and smile.  Instead I ran my hands through my hair, thanked her, and started to say that I don’t know why he wasn’t listening to me, and really just rambling.  This woman wasn’t saying, “Cherish these moments because they go by so fast,” as the author of the “Carpe Diem” article wrote.  She wasn’t – I’m sure of it.  She was trying to reassure me that she enjoyed interacting with him and I have done a good job.  I just can’t stop thinking about it…

So did it help or hinder?  How would you have responded?

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Uncategorized