Birds in Flight

A little less than two months ago Jill came to the kitchen and with a bit of trepidation (it seemed to me) said, “Mom I want to move out.” I sensed she thought I would resist this, perhaps suggest it wasn’t the right thing to do. But how could I do that? To be honest, I was relieved. It meant positive things were percolating in Jill. For a long while Jill has been playing things safe. That is what she needed. It seems evident now that Jill needed some space. The demands of high school, the ranch, Covid nastiness, grief and being a teenager all piled up. Jill grabbed some time for herself and good stuff flowed from that time.

What followed from that kitchen conversation was action. There was a hunt for an apartment which had some dramatic parts to it. The hunt for a job. The need to assess what she needed and what she had and then packing. Finally this past week, on December 1st, she got moved into her own apartment in Regina.

It’s quiet around here.

10 days ago all three kids were here. We are down to Morgan. Gina is having a good start in Toronto, Jill seemed delighted after her first full day in Regina. I am appreciating the quiet sometimes. Mostly it all seems hard to believe.

Jill starts work on Monday, she has a week of training and soon will be a Barista on duty at the Starbucks in the Chapters bookstore. She is thrilled by this.

I am proud of these girls. Russell …. well if you know Russell you know….he is beside himself with pride and missing them. I said to Russ on the way home from Regina on Thursday, “Russ, Tanya said Gina is quiet, Jill’s interviewer encouraged her to loosen up and be less self conscious, but you know what’s cool, we both know what will flow once they do relax and open up, the people around them are in for a treat, it’s like they are unwrapping something precious.” Jill is so zesty and funny when she is ready. She is soooo caring. Gina is passionate and principled and loving. They are both brave and curious and capable. I know once they each take the awkward steps thru these beginning days they will be okay. I think I will be ok. I think Russ will be too. And Morgan, well, he is enjoying trying out being an only child, so far it suits him okay. I suspect though that we all have some bumpy days ahead.

Some favorite teachers and their families joined us for supper the night before Jill left.
It was a decent day to pack a car.
Grandma Shirley sent us off with some of her delicious cookies!
We dealt with a train derailment and some pretty heavy snow before getting to Regina. Safely arrived, here Jill waits to meet her landlady.
Meanwhile, Russ and Morgan left super early with the Expedition loaded. They took in Agribition and then met us at the apartment. If you read last week’s post about Morgan’s roping obsession you will understand this quote from Morg who sauntered in with his recent rope purchase in hand, “Well Jill, is it time to break in your new apartment?”
He made his loop.

Russ and I are super grateful. Kids that grow up in rural Canada often have to make big changes happen to get access to broader opportunities. Jill has decided the changes are worth it. She has flown our coop and seems to have landed well. I love her apartment. She has a cozy place in a great location. It has character, a mid-century modern vibe. Jill will be stretching her wings beyond her comfort zone, she is poised to discover much about herself and the world. This is life and it is so good. Our nest will always be here.

Topics for tomorrow’s Coffee Date

Our family was in Regina today, minus Gina of course. She is in heavy duty rehearsals for a show in Victoria. We were there because Morgan so badly wanted to attend Agribition. It was the only day we could make work. For those readers outside of Saskatchewan, Agribition is an annual event where all aspects of prairie agriculture are on display, rodeos and stock competitions occur and merchants get to show their products.

Ford Canada was there and that meant that Morgan got to sit inside his most favorite vehicle for a while, a Ford Bronco.

We have attended Agribition a few times over the last number of years. When Morgan started talking about going this year it just wasn’t something I wanted to do. After some deliberating and negotiating we made a plan, then when Morgan’s volleyball team advanced to provincials we revised the plan. It was on short notice that we all headed into Regina. As it turned out I would actually be spared Agribition this year because Jill needed to finalize her shopping for her grad dress. I regret that I am not wired for things like Agribition, it would make me a better ranch wife, but being honest, I just don’t like it. With diverse needs being met everyone had some interesting moments.

First off, Jill had a gift shopping spree coming to her and that was fun. We were at a store that inspired me to try on a few things. One item was a dress that when I held it up and asked Jill for her opinion she said, “it looks like Laura Ingall’s dress for going into the jungle.” That was a zippy and fun reply but fairly non committal. I figured I better try it on. Partly that was because a friend of mine recently told me that my grade 8 grad dress looked like it was from LIttle House on the Prairie. I wondered how far I could push this Laura Ingalls look in my life.

Ready for my grade 8 graduation ceremony. I am standing between my Mom and Dad.

I sent Russell a picture from the fitting room. Lets just say he was not in favor. At this point I can’t help but think something that makes me sound like my Nanny. She used to work at the Bay in Saskatoon, when she retired and still shopped there she always noticed something that could have been done better, the racks being too close together was her most frequent concern. Anyways, I looked at this dress and thought, “in my day this dress would never be put out for sale with all these wrinkles, don’t they have a steamer?” It might have looked a little more appealing minus the wrinkles. Anyways, Russell was relieved to hear I had not bought it.

At the next store we went to we had exceptionally friendly and eager help but it came in an unexpected way. I had a salesgirl ask us if we were in town for Agribition. That started a fun few minutes of conversation which included her swearing, alot, like in those few minutes the f word was used repeatedly, the sh word used and then right at the end she had a sentence that had both these words and the g d swear. My brain was processing the content of what she was saying, talking about agribition and black Friday in the same week, but it was also spinning as I asked myself, “did she really say that?”, “what if I was someone who was offended by this, how would this unfold?”, “why am I not offended by this?”, “how can she use such usually harsh words with so much smiling, they sound kinda nice”…… It was one of those moments that made me happy, being in the city, encountering people that are unique and kind, finding the unexpectedness of it funny.

Russ left Morgan at Agribition and joined Jill and I for the grad dress shopping. It was great. We had a very skilled and kind helper at NWL, Jill was having so much fun and had great options. She made a decision. We got it ordered. People who do their job so well and bring such a lovely human dynamic into it really make a difference in the world.

Jill and her sales woman.
This felt special. It was a grad dress meeting to discuss the top two or three options and give Jill time to make a decision. We don’t often get time alone away from the ranch with one of our kids. Jill is a delight. This cafe across from the dress store is expensive but so nice to experience.

Russ and Morgan had themselves a good day. Morgan bought himself a new rope and got to hang out with one of his friends who was showing cattle. They talked with lots of different people. Russell reported that he heard a few people whining about the masks, he commented that its alot better than last years Agribition (it was cancelled) and that ended the whining. On the way home Russ said to me, “I enjoyed agribition, but I missed you, there was stuff I would like to have shown you and talked about, like the manure spreader of my dreams, you should have seen it.” So much romance in that statement. Actually there is. Its wonderful to be valued and wanted but its comical (at least to me) when romance and manure merge in the same phrase.

Our trip home is not quite complete, we should pull in the yard in about 10 minutes, the trip home has been hard, sortv’e. Jill is, by necessity, part of an online group where people feel incredibly free to say things that are very hate filled. She has processed some of that with us. It is troubling. It leads me to feel more convinced than ever that we have to keep putting love and light and love and light and love and light into the world. I am thankful for my faith. In it there is instruction, reminder, inspiration and fuel to keep tackling the worlds troubles with love and a way to confess and start again when we don’t rise to the challenge.