My baby girls are 20 & 16?!

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What a crazy emotional week for me. My eldest turned 20 years old today and my youngest will be 16 on Thursday. How? How can this be? I swear to you that only a few weeks ago they were little and snuggly and damp, all sweet breath and need and warm cheeks and lullabies.

My first born is preparing to launch… this nest has grown too small for her. She’s off to a real city, a bigger city, a new fresh start…school, friends, the BEGINNING of it all. My youngest is still half mine, half belonging to the world. So hard for me to separate, she is so much more ready than I am. 16 is nowhere near as old as it was when her big sister turned 16.

When your first child reaches a milestone, a threshold, it’s HUGE. 10 is so mature. 16 is SO incredible, so grown up. Since you’ve never been there before, it’s all enormous, especially because the younger siblings seem so… young, in comparison. Now, as my “baby” turns 16, I look at her with shocked eyes and wonder how on earth this young girl can be so near to being grown. How can I imagine letting her do the things I let her older sister do, especially now that I KNOW better!

When I grew up as the eldest of 6, I was the trail breaker. I had to fight all the fights, win all the  battles, break down the door for my younger siblings. Once my parents got through battling with me over every living detail they had lost the will to fight… at least that’s what I assumed. Maybe they just decided they’d best pick their battles and trust in the universe a bit. Either way my younger sisters had it WAAAAY easier than I did.

In my house, it’s the opposite. I was so innocent, so naiive as a mother I let my eldest do things I will NOT allow my younger daughter to do. I know… now I KNOOW so much more than I did then. Poor kid 😉 Her big sister was supposed to clear the way, not alert me to the risks!

Either way I have these wonderful 3 kids, all of them growing up in their own way and following their own rocky paths. I want everything fabulous, magnificent, exciting, scary and exciting for them. I want them to be explorers, adventurers, life long learners, readers, do-ers, sharing kindness and their gifts along the way. Thankfully too, my son’s birthday isn’t ’til Fall, so I have some time to recover before getting all emotional again.

Can they possibly do that without growing up? Without growing away? Without leaving me? Please?  This is a week of joy, of remembering, of story telling… and of being a big soppy sobby emotional puddle. Happens to me this time every year. Hard to avoid; two birthdays in a week… Happy Birthday Emily, Happy Birthday Chloe.  Love you both bigger than sunshine.

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So not cool

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I sometimes humour myself (yes, there is a U in humor in Canada) that I am cool… cooler than moms were when I was a teenager, that’s for sure. I dress in clothes my daughters borrow, they almost never shudder with shame when I approach them in public and their friends think I’m “awesome”, at least sometimes.

So today in preparation for our upcoming holiday I went to the drug store and bought myself a couple of new pairs of sunglasses. One pair is pretty, more for around town in a sundress; the other is more serious, for out on a boat in the Pacific, or hiking in the blazing sun. So I put on the “real” pair… both of them burst out laughing…doubled over laughing. Ouch.

I am soooo not cool.

I was a 13 year old dork. A nerd. A dweeb-y loser in the wrong clothes from a weird family and I was a dancer… weirder and weirder. If there’s one sensation I remember clearly it’s trying to keep my head up while walking past the cool girls sitting on the cool bench in the front foyer of my high school. They laughed, snickered, raised their eyebrows, giggled. No matter how hard I’d tried to patch together an outfit that looked sort of like theirs it was never right. I had hand me downs (even as the eldest of 6) and didn’t have a hair cut in a salon until I left home at 17.  My look always looked like what it was; leftover, home made, a bit desperate.

Now as an adult and as a mother, clothes matter to me. Having nice clothes is important, and it was always important to me to make sure my kids had what they needed to blend in. If they want to stand out and wear something different, go for it, but at least for them it’s a choice.

And teenage girls giggling at how I look, even my own teenage girls, well that’s a sharp kind of hurt that I thought I was over. Guess not. And my girls certainly didn’t mean any harm.

So, just to prove to my husband that the glasses aren’t stupid I put them on. And he laughed.

Seriously. Who says they have to come with me to Mexico anyway…it looks like I have 3 plane tickets available…

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The glasses I bought…. turns out they’re for over prescription lenses. I don’t actually wear glasses…

Cheering for the Good Guys

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I have daughters; two of them. Beauties both…stunners in fact, and that’s a blessing and a curse. Or maybe that’s two blessings and two curses? (I’ll research the mathematical grammar or grammatical mathematics on that and get back to you).

Either way, my two daughters are as smart, funny, clever, witty, bright, sharp and amazing as they are gorgeous (yeah, I’m that mama…modest, humble, blah blah).  That means they attract a fair bit of attention from the opposite sex. Weird thing though; they’ve both had some pretty bad luck with guys.

But something unimaginable seems to have happened lately…they have BOTH begun tentative relationships with (shhhhh) NICE boys. I know! Can it be true? Can they really both have found boys who understand how to be kind, respectful, gentle, NICE, at the same time?! Are there actually TWO nice boys in this little town? Amazing!

Young boys don’t always seem to know a girlfriend is kind of a privilege; not just standard issue with your first job and your learner’s license! I’m sure there are plenty of nice young gentlemen out there, but recent experience suggests a generation of x-box cussing, rap video influenced, “homo” bashing gangstas have contributed to the low expectations of my daughters and their friends. What a shame.

It’s so beautiful to see them start to shimmer now. What a cool thing to see them honored. How wonderful to see them with young men who would rather talk than text, who take them on dates… dinner, a movie (even paying sometimes), and who aren’t looking to hear the punch line before the joke… As a mom, it’s so nice to know that someone besides me and their Dad is telling them they are beautiful, funny, smart…amazing.

These relationships might or might not last. You can be sure their impact will be lasting though. These “good guys” are going to raise the bar; they’re going to set new, higher standards for my daughters. It won’t be easy accepting crap treatment after being treated like a prize… and I’ll always be grateful to these young men (and their families who raised them well) for raising my girls’ expectations.

Cheers to the good guys!