Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Less of a Parent?

The first time I realized my children really were growing up and their time with me was limited was when my third and last child didn't need me to go trick-or-treating with her. It was like a blow to the stomach to find out that this annual event was no more. Hallowe'en was my second favourite holiday, next to Christmas and without trick-or-treating I might as well don a robe and slippers and shuffle to the door to dole out candy.
It was in that moment, that moment when I realized childhood eventually ends that I felt like less of a parent - less of a mom.
So much that goes on in social media that's directed at parents speaks to parents of small children. I'm on the outside looking in. No, I don't want to enter that contest for the swim diapers. No, I don't want to read about the stroller recall or how to decide if French immersion is right for my child.
I want to find out how other moms talked to their daughters about the dreaded Aunt Flo (maybe by not calling it that). How other parents struggled with finding their eldest daughter had been drinking. What can I do to encourage my teenaged son to be physically active without making him feel put down about his weight?
Tweet after tweet and wall post after wall post I seek out parents who are still parenting - even if their children are no longer keeping them up at night or dressing up for Hallowe'en. We are no less of a parent. But it sure can be lonely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Handing Over the Trust

I recently had the chance to try ziplining, rapelling and snorkelling in a cinote (underground cave with water). This was in Mexico, for a trip I won, AND it was my birthday. Maybe that combination set the stage for me to be open to experiencing these new, scary things.
All I know is, when I ascended the wooden stairs of the tower to do the first zipline, I was handing over the trust. Handing it to our guide Roberto. Handing it to the tour operator. In that moment, the fear was replaced by excitement. I went on to love every minute of that and the rapelling without hesitation.
In the cinote, I lost that feeling for a moment. I thought we were supposed to dive under the stalactites that hit the water. I couldn't breathe. In THAT moment, I learned to breathe. The panic went away.
A little while after that I was snorkelling in Akumel to see the turtles. The waves were high and relentless and the fear returned. Once again, I made myself breathe and the panic went away.
At my birthday party back home this past Saturday, I had such a thrill when there were snakes, lizards, and even a tarantula to hold. I handed over the trust and by doing so, I could totally enjoy the experience: the touch, the look, even the smell.
What have the past couple of weeks taught me? By handing over the trust and remembering to breathe I can live, really live every moment of my life.