The job of Mom-ing holds so many stages. There is nothing earth shattering about that observation but it IS so true. The woman who once carefully color coordinated the clothing and spit bibs of her firstborn child is the same woman who will sit in a theatre this weekend and watch that same child sing, dance and act til she has my eyes streaming and my heart pounding…I predict. The same woman who often crammed a life sized stuffed lion into the back of her vehicle on road trips sat in a fancy Regina dress shop yesterday and watched as my girl who used to adore all big cat animals, (for years and years) tried on the dress we ordered for her grade 12 graduation, there have been no mandatory lions on roadtrips for a long time. As I experience life alongside my girls they are taking me into new territory all the time. This is a huge reality. It certainly is not easy. I miss what was but these days there are big realities filling the gaps, stirring big feelings. Because this blog is so much about them they both read it over and gave me their permission to post it.
I have been wanting to write about this all week but have not had time until today. I want to write about the words wow and pride.
I am on a plane right now. It was terribly hard to pull myself away from the ranch and leave Russell, Morgan and Ron with the load there. It would have been harder to miss Gina’s debut as Fiona in Shrek the Musical. It is extremely extremely awesome that she landed this role. Thinking about my inner world right now I notice that I am not so much proud as I am in a state of “wow!” I am this girls Mom! Practically speaking, it’s because of me that this girl even exists. When I think about sitting in the theatre watching her do her thing, thinking these thoughts, I automatically feel so connected to my ancestors. If it’s because of my existence that she is there, it’s because of amazing people with the last name Kyle, Carlton, Tubb and Thompson that I am here and basically an amazing genetic story is unfolding before my eyes. And of course, that’s only half the story. As surely as some of Gina’s music potential is the signature of my family I think of Gina’s dance ability as a gift from her Dad. He is like a butterfly on the dance floor and embodies music in a way much more thorough than I. The Watt, Bayliss, McIntyre and Wheeler families are on stage this weekend too. I think Gina’s strong stage presence is a result of the example set by her Dad who pretty much every day shows up for the people and events of his day with a solid message, “I am Here!” That’s Gina on stage. I am not sure what my direct influence is. I feel proud of parts of my parenting. I always used to tell the kids, “cry until you’re done.” I think there are subtle messages within that, about honoring feelings and trusting yourself. I think that might impact stage work. Anyways……how did our girl who had so little prepatory training in our little town land so well? I am not sure but I stand in awe of it all. When I say “wow!”, this is the story behind the word.
Jill…..my grade 12 graduate. This week she brought me such feelings of pride. She has had a hard couple of years. Was it Covid in the world, the fast loss of her Nana, regular growing up challenges, coming to terms with her orientation in life, or other things, or a combination? Likely a combination. She has been struggling to work it through and it has not been easy.
On the weekend she participated in the recital for her dance school. I was so impressed with her. Having missed a couple recent classes and not feeling super comfortable in her costumes she was uneasy as the day began. She did what was within her control and showed up. Her makeup was perfect, her smile bright, her presence strong and confident. Any parent who has stood near as their teen struggled knows the behind closed doors side of adolescence. It’s literally painful for all involved. I think for me, its knowing that side of things that makes those feelings of pride so vivid. Maybe too there is a connection to my own times of struggle. I can appreciate what it takes to show up and be strong. As I assign the word “proud” to how I feel about being Jill’s Mom this week I think it’s because this stuff she is tackling is the big stuff. Are you going to be proud of who you are? Yes! Are you going to be yourself? Yes! Are you going to claim your unique place in the world? Yes! Are you going to show up for your team? Yes! Are you going to do this even when it’s hard? Yes! In those moments it was all there, not perfect, but all I could have wanted. I couldn’t talk with Jill about this afterwards without welling up. I was so so proud of her. Another piece of the pride puzzle happened a couple days later when at her student led conference her teacher told me “Jill always says hello and goodbye, she asks how I am and tells me have a good weekend, it makes a difference, she is sweet.” Jill, are you going to try and really see the humans in your life? This teacher feedback says yes! Russ and I are so proud.
So Jill and Gina have been leading me into heart-filled places.
A Jill anecdote…. In the later hours of our 94 hour power outage I said an absolutely ridiculous thing to my friend Jackie. I told the guys what I said. Morgan then told Jill and he reported back to me that Jill said, “JUST when you think your mother is normal she says THAT!” It was all so fun.
Gina is in a position to help me. During the power outage we were talking on the phone about the blog. I was doubting myself. She said, “Mom its your blog, it’s your voice, you can says what you need to say.” I needed to hear that. That is the reason I decided to initiate this series on the blog. Being analytical and talking about innerstuff is who I am. If my graduating daughter can rise to the challenge of “are you going to claim your unique place in the world?” With the answer “yes!” Surely I can too. I mean the calves are cute and everything but …..
There are tenderlands within and I like visiting there.
So until chapter 2 emerges….
….you can find me at the edge of the Tenderlands in Shrek’s swamp and forest.