Holy Crap – I’m FLYING!

wonder womanWhen was the last time you did something for the first time? I read that question in some magazine’s “finding personal satisfaction” or such quiz recently. It gave me pause; I don’t think they meant trying a new recipe or walking the dog on a different route. I think there’s a time in your life when you do LOADS of things for the first time, then the firsts kind of taper off as you get older and more experienced. And more nervous, and anxious, and self aware. Bungee jumping seems freakin’ awesome when you’re 19, young and single, but throw in a couple of mini-me’s and it’s downright irresponsible.

So… 3 kids, all teenagers now and getting ready to launch. And what have I done lately that I never did before? Not a lot, except use a more intense eye cream and get botox.

Mexico…zip lining. Yes. I drove an ATV, rode a whole bunch of really high ziplines, did a bit of rapelling and I FLEW LIKE FREAKIN’ WONDER WOMAN! That’s what I said. I rode 3/4 mile on a zipline in Puerto Vallarta that has you suspended on your belly, arms by your sides, flying through the tree tops at 60 miles per hour. Bam! Never did THAT before! That was pretty great, actually. Pretty damned great actually (at least aside from the Go-Pro camera strapped to my helmet, staring me in the face at alarmingly close range)!!

That was really scary… scary and exciting and new. And they were right, those quiz writing people. Doing things that are scary and exciting and new is a zap… a jolt.. a blast of power and a reminder that there’s a whole lotta living left to do.

I am 46 (shhh). I am young, strong, healthy and a tiny bit braver than I was 5 minutes before I flew like Superman. Now I just need a cape, and I’ll be unstoppable.

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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…

Countdown to Mexico!

ImageThree weeks from this very moment I will be in Mexico. In the very place you see pictured above. The house there on the left is where my husband and I will sleep, the teenagers in the house on the right. Ahhhhhh. I need to take a moment to let that really soak into my psyche. Three short weeks and my toes will be deep in warm sand, my fingers wrapped around a cold glass, my eyes squinting into the hot sun. Amen.

Doesn’t that just sound like poetry? Sand, sun, water, relaxation, no work, no phone, no emails, no chores. Just 4 teenagers. Wait. Right… 4 teenagers. Better make that TWO hands wrapped around nice cold glasses…!

I’ve reached that point in pre-holiday delirium where every thought is framed by the holiday… need to make sure I buy cat food “for the housesitter”; better call the doctor’s office to make sure I have antibiotics “in case someone gets sick in MEXICO”, gotta get that project finished before I take my HOLIDAY etc.

I’m glassed over. I’m checking the weather in Yelapa, talking the kids through what to do if someone gets stung by a scorpion (as if I have a freakin’ CLUE!). Anyway, we are adequately supplied with Immodium, Benadryl, hand sanitizer and electrolyte replacement packets. We’ll be golden.

The one regret I have, of course, is that I’ll have to come home. When we were waiting in line in Mexico two years ago to come home, a lady in front of me stepped out of line, said “sorry, not ready to go home” to her friend and did NOT go home. How awesome is that? I have had dreams about that for the last two years. When I moved to the north (the REAL, top of the world Canadian north) 22 years ago, my actual intent was to move to Mexico for a year. Yep, I know… went the wrong way. Took a one year job, met a man, got married, had babies, etc. etc.

So each time I go to Mexico, a BIG part of me wants to just…stay. I walk around wondering what the hell happened… why is it that I don’t live there?

Yeah, yeah. I like my life, I like where I live (love it even), and can’t imagine what life I’d be living if I hadn’t taken the path I did but there’s that part of me that wants the parallel life… why can’t I have both? My real life, my Mexico life… I guess it’ll be a goal then. Sell the house here in the Yukon and find a way to live that dream of so long ago. Yes… that’s what I will dream of.

Dream of, work toward, plan for. Pronto.

Adios, amigos. Hasta Luego!

On Being Grown-up, Real Life and Happy Endings

ImageI was having a drink tonight with a friend, a fairly new friend who is deep in the trench I was in 10 years or so ago. She’s got little ones… 3 and 6 years old. Her life is all about breakfast, school, pre-school, laundry, shopping, her work, play time, sibling rivalry, toys, and bedtime. Her focus has gone so far away from her own needs that she can hardly remember what they are.  And she works from home.

That’s such an intense time, when kids are small and needing you so desperately. Never a moment to do much for yourself.

What I didn’t expect was how long the intensity would last. Mine are B.I.G. and I still feel consumed by their needs so often.  I work in my office from 8:30 ’til 5 every day, then come home for the second shift; the shift of preparing dinner, cleaning up, taking people here and there, soccer practice, drop off at so and so’s house, shopping, laundry, etc.etc.  That’s not unique, I know… Moms everywhere do the same thing every single day. We know it’s part of the deal.

What surprises me is how it surprises me, even after all this time. I’m still looking around for the grown up when life gets crazy or tough or scary…it’s still a shock when I realize it’s ME!

My friend and I were talking about all the things women friends talk about: kids, work, money, marriage, sex, life, health, time, stress, worry. Both of us have had lots of crazy things happen over the last few years; deaths, financial pressures, moves, transitions, illnesses, job changes, etc. etc.  Both of us have had what you could call a “difficult year”. The truth is, I don’t know anyone who HASN’T had a “difficult year”.  Every year has so much stuff in it, so much good we forget and bad that we remember, that we seem to mostly remember the bad (I am choosing to believe that so I don’t believe that the last few years have been solid bad stuff).

Suddenly it hit me that… crap… maybe it hasn’t just been a rough few years… maybe this is actually REAL LIFE! Maybe it’s just the way  it is…always.

I’m not saying every day is dreadful, only that every few months seems to bring another tremor of some kind, minor or right off the Richter scale. Sometimes there’s a chance to recover from one quake before the next hits, but sometimes the tremors just keep on coming ’til your knees are weak and your head’s spinning.

I think I’m going to stick with my first theory; it’s been a pretty rough few years. That way, I know there’s sure to be a bit of a break in the storm really soon. Maybe that’s my Hollywood movie upbringing….rainbows, silver linings and happy endings. Maybe it’s my innate optimism. Maybe it’s desperation…

But all this “stuff”… all these “challenges” that make me strong, make my family resilient & build my character?  They’re starting to piss me off.

So reality, take a hike…I’m going to Mexico. And you’re not invited.

Vacation Planning Intoxication Syndrome

I have developed a serious case of VPIS. This happens to me about this time of year every couple of years, and it has a significant impact on my ability to perform my normal day to day activities. I am often dizzy, heart racing, flushed, distracted and prone to long periods of time I fully cannot account for. 

VPIS, or Vacation Planning Intoxication Syndrome is pretty much my favourite malady. Around Christmas I begin considering options, tossing out destination ideas to my family and seeing what bounces back. This year I started with Istanbul…”Hey!!! Let’s go to TURKEY!!!!!” They looked at me like I was mad. I went on about the history, the friendliness of the people, the complete “other-ness” of the experience, etc. etc.  The girls wanted to know if they would be allowed to wear shorts or if they’d get arrested for doing so. Hmmmm. I’m feeling a bit dizzy now….

Okay, how about a week in Paris, go through the Chunnel for a week in London then fly to Rome for a week in Italy?! Awesome, said the girls…eyes glazing over like Mom’s as they anticipated gorgeous Italian boys on vespas and the romantic possibilities of such a holiday (VPIS is contagious) Husband looks baleful and comments on the weather in March… not hot. Son says something like “I don’t speak French. Let’s go to Mexico”. I reminded him he doesn’t speak Spanish either. He says “but if I don’t know what to say at least I can go to the beach”.  Valid point. So now I’m a bit woozy….

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The eastern most tip of Isla Mujeres, stunning, fierce and so beautiful.

So it’s Mexico. I adore Mexico, have travelled there 5 times and am happy to return. The selection of a country however does not a vacation make. So…. where? At last we’ve made our decisions, planning to fly to Puerto Vallarta, stay in Bucerias, Yelapa and Sayulita. Lots of beach time, lots of family time and lots of relaxation. Flushed, heart beating out of my chest… sweaty palms… we’re GOING TO MEXICO!!!!!

And every day, I’m online researching. Researching condos, activities, restaurants, modes of transport, possible day trips etc. etc. etc. I can talk of little else. My husband, who never complains, concedes I am driving him the tiniest bit mad.

Fair enough. I will wade through the dizzying options myself, relish the flutter in my chest that comes so regularly when I consider the possibilities, imagine myself in the VERY SPOT that stunning photo was taken from, and remember the feel of the gorgeous Mexican sun on my winter weary face. 

And the countdown begins in earnest… is it too soon to pack?!