Monday, November 10, 2008

single shoe sale

I went shopping today and found a pair of shoes that I really liked, which in itself is odd because I don't like to shop, and I really don't like to shop for shoes. But anyway, I've lost a fair bit of weight in the last few months and don't know what size I am anymore. Even my shoe size seems to have changed! So I tried on a pair of 8's and they were too big. Then I tried on a pair of 7.5's and one fit great, but the other was uncomfortably tight. So I tried a pair of 7.5W's and the one that was tight was now perfect! But the other one was too loose. So one foot is a 7.5 and one is a 7.5W.

Does anyone know of a store that sells shoes as singles instead of pairs?

Monday, November 3, 2008

How many kids do you have?

Who ever would have thought that such a simple question could cause so much heartache, confusion, guilt and pain. It's a natural question to ask anyone new that you meet, but if you've ever noticed someone briefly hesitate before answering this basic question, this is what may be going on "behind the scenes" as they answer the question.....

First of all is the visceral grief that this question evokes. Panic as you realize that you have to answer, and quickly, or your entire ability to communicate will break down. If I can't answer this question, the conversation ends, and if all conversations end at this point, I will never be able to function in society. So how many kids do I have? My heart and my gut tell me I have four children. They are all beautiful children, loved beyond any love I could have imagined before I had kids. My Jayme, Carter, Kaity, and Thomas. Such a simple answer. I have four kids.

But that isn't the end, and as I deal with the instantaneous grief and panic, I have also gone ahead to the next step that this conversation will have..."wow, four kids - you must be busy! How old are they?" mmhmm. how old are they? This question at least has only one possible answer right? One would think. But no, one must then decide how much truth to provide - the answer could be "9, 6, 4 and 6 months".....but the answer is really "9, 6, 6 months, and our third child would have been 4 but she died when she was a baby". So if you go for the easy but less than truthful answer, you open yourself up to more questions that become impossible to answer "Do you find that the girls are a lot alike and the boys are a lot alike? Does your younger daughter try to imitate your older daughter?...." At some point you find yourself either fessing up to the full truth, or just simply trying to escape. Fessing up makes you feel that you are slightly crazy, as if you were trying to deny the fact that one of your children has's awkward. Trying to escape could be a solution, however if the person is someone you will come across again - a parent at the school, for example, the escape will likely only be a temporary solution.

So when that first simple question comes, the decision has to be made in an instant how to answer. The grief and panic come in an instant but at the same time the other side of your brain must asses "will I ever see this person again? might this become a relationship in which I would want the basis to be truth and openness? Is this the time to say "3" and leave it that, "4 - truthfully" or "4 - fudged"?!

It may seem like a no-brainer. The simple solution is to just say "3", and if this turns out to become a relationship that lasts longer than a few minute chat, then deal with the truth later. But it's not as easy as that. I have answered "3" in the past. And I have suffered through guilt that brought me down to a sad, dark place in my heart. Like Peter denying Jesus, I felt that I had betrayed my little girl who I love dearly and always. I felt like I had stolen something from her life and her memory - to not acknowledge that she lived and is a part of me still, feels wrong. But is it fair to the person you are facing who has no idea that this simple question has wrought such a storm in your soul, to make them face the sadness and grief that you live with each and every day?? Is it better to do what is easy for them, despite the pain it causes in you; or is it better to do what is awkward for all but feels right in your heart?

I often think I should decide once and for all how to answer this question so that I can avoid that instant of panic, but I think that it is something that can't be decided ahead of time - it is too reliant on your mood at the time, how close your memories and grief are, and whether your intellectual or emotional self is in control. So the next time you ask this question, think of those who don't have a simple answer, and send a happy thought up to all of those children in heaven who are watching over us, to let them know that they aren't forgotten. Even if the answer is "3".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hello, My Name Is....

...Mom. At least that's the name that I respond to quickest these days. The saying is that a rose by any other name smells as sweet, but is that really true? Does it matter what I am called to who I am? If Madonna went by the name Hilda, would she be the sexy 50 year old star that she is today?

It took me years and years to lose my name. I gained a name when my first daughter was born. Suddenly I was two people - I was Mama/Mommy/Mom - changer of diapers, maker of formula, rocker to sleeper, spider-killer (OK, maybe I never mastered that one) but I was still Sharon - contributor to the Canadian economy. It wasn't until my husband accepted a job out East and we moved cross country that I lost the name I had held for 33 years. Not wanting to put the kids into daycare on top of the huge change we had imposed on them, I was suddenly a stay-at-home Mom to a 5 and 7 year old. I had spent most of the previous 7 years admiring stay-at-home Moms and saying that I could never do it - I needed to work, I needed a pay cheque and performance appraisals, and tangible signs that I was doing a good job. But if there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that you never know what is coming next, and clearly a new career in domestic engineering was next for me.

So here I am staying home with our six month old while the now 6 and 9 year olds are at school....this is why I always hated that question during interviews or performance appraisals "WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?" well, certainly not here! I've given up predicting my future, and am trying to just take life as it comes.

So do I miss my old self? Sometimes. I won't lie, I still don't think I'm a natural to this staying home thing, but I am doing my best and I think that's enough. Do I love my new self? Yes. I love that I am home for my kids after school. I love that I can finally volunteer occassionaly at the school. I love that I am using home-made baby food instead of commercial for the first time. I love being Mom.

Now, you may be wondering about my blog title... Mom times 4 ....when I have only mentioned a 6 month old, 6 year old, and 9 year old. While my husband may be a child at heart, no, he isn't the 4th. But that story is for another day.