Thursday, April 29, 2010

Musings From an Almost 35 Year Old.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of looking through a kaleidoscope. It was a grey, overcast, winter day. The kind where the snow is wet and it's no fun to be outside. I was sitting at the front window waiting for my father to visit me on Christmas day. I was waiting anxiously for a flash of yellow to burst through the tumbled grey tones of the kaleidoscope. I waited a long time. And when his dingy yellow car finally appeared (not nearly the sparkle of colour I had been hoping for), hours late, my Christmas present wrapped in a black garbage bag, I remember being thrilled beyond belief. He didn't stay for long, leaving me disappointed and abandoning my mother to assemble the million parts of the barbie van he had given me. In one shape or form that scenario has repeated itself for every Christmas and birthday that followed. The anxiety, waiting and disappointment that is.

I share this memory with you not to be a colossal bummer, but as a personal realization I have come to. Even though I am hours away from being 35, an "adult" already for many years, somewhere deep down, I am still that 4-year-old kid on Christmas. We all carry some crap with us from our childhood. That's not to say the crap should be used as an excuse for not getting on with things, but it's interesting that over 30 years later, I still feel that same anxiety around Christmas and my birthday. I want so badly for these holidays to be perfect, for them to go as planned. I try to find the perfect gift for everyone. And now as a parent, I try to make sure my kids have good memories of their first Christmases. In reality, all I've wanted all these years is something 100% out of my control. I've wanted my father to go back in time and not disappoint the 4-year-old me. To not leave me waiting. To not break my mother's heart as she saw me left disappointed that he didn't stay longer. To not treat my feelings so casually.

Now that I have my own children, I just shake my head, because I don't understand doing that. I can't even register behaving that way towards my own kids. But maybe the 4-year-old in him has left him with his own pile of crap to muddle through. My job as a mom is to not let my crap affect my children. At 35 years old, it's time to let go of some of my crap and move on.

So tomorrow, I won't wait for his call. Instead I will
Enjoy my friends and family
Embrace my birthday girl, my Cameron
Thank my mother for doing such a terrific job raising me
Give my inner 4-year-old a hug and tell her "it's all good, one day this won't hurt you so much"
Drink a glass of champagne to celebrate the next 35 years to come

Happy Birthday to me. And Cammie.

6 comments:

  1. You know that I know exactly what those experiences do and mean to us as adults. It's a testament to our character and spirit that we've been able to draw on the strength of our mothers to become the fierce mama's that we are. Our babies will only know what it's like to feel loved, treasured, safe and secure - on special occasions and every day of their lives.

    Happy birthday to a beautiful mama and her baby girl!

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  2. Happy Birthday Katrina (and Cam)!
    I too learned a looooong time ago to not wait for Bday greetings from my dad. Funny that now, after all that time, I don't even miss it. Does that mean I'm a grown-up?

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  3. Anonymous5:00 PM

    It's a struggle to not let these feelings monopolize you as a parent, isn't it? I had the opposite: a very challenging relationship with my mother growing up. And now, as a mother myself, I constantly find myself scrutinizing all of my actions. Trying to compensate somehow.

    Anyway, you're doing an amazing job. Happy Birthday!

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  4. Anonymous11:50 AM

    Happy Birthday, Katrina & Cameron!!!

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  5. Anonymous12:05 PM

    I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that my birthday present to Kat was to take a vacation day off work so I could shuttle the kids to daycare, therapy, etc. while Kat went to the spa. It may not be something you can wrap up and put a ribbon on, but I think she enjoyed it.

    Scott

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  6. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Hey, don't forget that awesome Mom of yours. That woman RULES.

    I really wish I had a Mom like yours. Sadly, I only have the abusive, kick-me-out,icky family crap.And without the Mom part? It really sucks.

    I love ya, babe.
    xo

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