My child graduated from high school last week.  I suppose this means I've officially graduated into adulthood. Which is bizarre since I still feel like a kid myself. Perhaps I will finally start feeling like a grown up right around the time I'm eligible for senior discounts. 

I don't really remember much from my own graduation. I skipped the commencement services because I thought they'd be boring and instead focused my attentions on the grad banquet and dance. I remember regretting that decision at the time and wishing I'd picked up my diploma and skipped the dance. There wasn't much dancing at the dance and I spent most of the night feeling stupid as I tottered around in heels I didn't know how to wear.

Note the smushed hair style from having a nap after getting hair done. Note how I wouldn't let him touch me. Note the fact my mother let me CHOOSE that fabric colour. I must have been blind.

My grad night consisted of me trying to avoid and run from my escort (also currently referred to as my husband), and marveling over how tiny a Cornish game hen is. (Seriously! Tiny! It didn't help they served it with four baby carrots and two baby potatoes. I figure they must have decided starving the graduates was an effective cost savings measure.)

The only time in the evening I had any fun was when I left the dance with my best friend and Bruce and went to McDonalds in our grad finery. Nothing tastes better than eating a rubbery Big Mac while dripping special sauce on the grad gown your mother lovingly made for you. 

There may have also been a hot tub involved, but that's a story for another day. 

Ken's grad did not involve any tiny Cornish game hens, a McDonalds or a hot tub. 

It did involve a hand made gown lovingly sewn by her grandmother. It also involved her singing O'Canada at the commencement services and giving the 'Toast to the Parents' speech at the banquet. 

Her grad involved ruby red stripper heels, a best friend escort wearing a tux inspired from the movie 'Dumb and Dumber' and a boyfriend who she never ran from once. 

Her grad involved getting her very first manicure. Buying her very first pair of hosiery. Having her very first eyebrow waxing. Which was then quickly followed by her mother running through a liquor store asking for a big bottle of gin because she 'accidentally skinned her daughter's eyelids and needs to forget the horror.'

Note to the mothers of future graduates: Don't take your fair haired, sensitive skinned daughter for her first waxing three days prior to a big event. You may end up having to invest in stocks of Polysporin and Aloe Vera while praying to the Gods of Everything Good and Holy that the skin ripped off your daughter's eyebrows grows back before the big day. 

Luckily, it healed enough so the scabs could be covered with makeup. PRAISE THE POWER OF POLYSPORIN!

Her grad also saw her mother totter up the stage in heels she still has never grown accustomed to wearing to give a speech about aiming high and living boldly while trying to hold back the sea of tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks at any moment.

I don't remember much of my graduation but I know I'll never forget any of hers. 

Congratulations Ken. We love you to the moon and back. Whether you have eyelids or not.

Proof you can dress them up, but you can't take them out.

Congratulations to the graduates of 2014, everywhere. May life take you places you haven't yet dared dream exist.

Mirror Image

Since the moment my daughter escaped my womb I've had to hear about how much she looks EXACTLY like my husband, his sisters, his aunts, his grandmothers, his million-times removed fourth cousin, you name it.

I always knew this was said with love but that never stopped it from stinging my ego a teeny tiny little bit. Okay. A LOT. After all, my husband didn't just carve our daughter from play-doh in his image. My DNA is mixed in and my side of the family wanted to wrap their tree roots around her as well.

However, the older my daughter grew, the more unmistakable her lineage has become. 

It's as though Bruce's genetics and mine mud-wrestled until he was declared the victor and I was left sitting in a rubber tub scooping goo out of my eyes. Ken strongly resembles her father, she is a spitting image of one of his sisters, resembles the other sister, and heck she probably looks like both of his grandmothers, each of his cousins, and likely their family's favourite next-door neighbours all rolled into the shiny package I call my daughter.

I am older and wiser now, and for the most part, more mature, so I no longer get my knickers in a twist when someone points out how much she looks like her father or one of his family members. There is enough of me in my daughter that I can proudly take ownership of her. She has my figure. My facial expressions. My quirks.

She is my mini-me and for as often as she's told she looks like some member of her paternal family, I look at her and see flashes of me staring back. 

(And yes, I'm aware many readers think she looks just like me. And she does. But mostly she looks like her dad's side of the family tree.)

A few weeks ago I sat at the kitchen table, her grad proofs spread out before me, and emotion clawed at my heart. I recalled staring at her wee face as an infant and wondering just what she'd look like when she grew up while dreaming of the person she'd grow to become. All those years ago it was hard to imagine a time when I would be sitting at a kitchen table trying to choose which of her grad photos to buy.

"Mom? Are you okay?" Ken asked as she looked up from across the kitchen table where she sat doing her homework.

"I'm fine. Just trying to choose a photo from these proofs."

"You look like you were about to cry."

"I am. Have you seen the price of these grad photos? It's enough to bankrupt a family," I half joked, while wiping the corners of my eyes.

"Oh, I thought maybe the pictures were making you cry."

"No! You look beautiful in them!" She shook her head as she disagreed with me. 

"No I don't. I look like a stringy haired, goober. I hate them."

She hates them. Of course she does. I looked back down at them, trying to see what she saw. Apparently I was blinded by maternal love. I wasn't seeing the monster she professed to look like.

"You look lovely. What about this one?" I asked as I pointed to proof number 7.

"That one? NO! I have a stupid look on my face."

"You're smiling."

"It's a STUPID smile." Right. Of course it is. My bad.

"What about number 19. That's your dad's favourite."

She looked at 19 and shook her head emphatically. "No, my hair looks weird."

It didn't.

"I looove number 13. You look stunning."

She peered at the image I was pointing to and snorted, "You mean, I look STUNNED."

Hard to please. Yep. She's totally her mother's child.

"Okay," I sighed, "which photo do you like? We'll get that one. There are 22. One of them must be all right."

Ken shook her head. "I can't choose. I hate them all. All of my friends look a million times better than I look."

"Oh my vain princess. I'd have killed to have grad proofs like these. I can't choose a picture from your grad proofs because you look beautiful in every one. My mom couldn't choose a picture from my proofs because I looked ridiculous in every one."

"I doubt that Mom. You are beautiful."

"I've trained you to say that. Good job." Her indoctrination is almost complete. "But I've got proof. Hang on," I said over my shoulder as I walked to my bedroom.

A few minutes later, I thumped a dusty photo album onto the kitchen table and started flipping pages. My past stared back at me from yellowing photo album pages that were stuck together.

High school friends, crushes, birthdays, pets. Old memories that had been forgotten or fuzzed with time.

And then, my grad proofs.

"Here. Eat your words, child," I chortled as I slid the photo album over to her. 

And this wasn't even the WORST picture.

She didn't stop laughing for the rest of the night. 

Staring at her grad photos next to mine, I've never been more grateful my kid looks just like her daddy. There is only so much room on the wall for grad photos like mine.


Ken's official picture. My choice. Wisely, she never argued after seeing mine. Smart girl. Just like her momma.

Stupid Is As Stupid Looks

In what wouldn't be considered shocking by anyone who knows me or has ever waited for me to update my blog (sorry), I am what I like to call 'selectively lazy.' I often have the best intentions, but I have this annoying habit of putting off today what I can totally do tomorrow. 

In my defense, life is short, there are so many books to read, the laundry is unending and, well, anything that resembles work requires a commitment I'm just not ready to make.

This tends to drive my husband insane. It constantly shocks him what I will and will not do. Shovel out an entire flowerbed and replace all the soil, by hand? No problem. Answer the phone even though it's sitting next to me? No thank you. Clean the house from top to bottom? Of course, I am no slob. Pick up the mail? That would require energy I'd rather use to match sock pairs with, thank you very much.

I like to think I'm charming with my eccentricity but my husband would argue I'm annoying. It's that po-tay-to pah-tah-to syndrome. We're the yin to the other's yang. 

Over the years, my husband and I have managed to find a balance. He picks up where I slack off and I manage what he doesn't want to, or can't. It's a balance and it all tends to even out in the end. Which was why, when he was last home, I was shocked when he told me I had to go and renew my vehicle registration. Myself

He is upsetting the delicate eco-system my systemically lazy-self thrives in!

"What? You didn't do it for me? You always do it for me. I took the kids for their drivers' tests! I sat through 30 collective hours of drivers training! I pump my own gas! WE HAVE A SYSTEM BRUCE!"

"I know! I tried renewing yours when I renewed mine but there were FINES. And your registration expires today so you better get on it."

I tried acting shocked that there were FINES but my daughter helpfully remembered that time when I was caught speeding while taking her shopping and dammit, what good is it raising children when they won't contribute to any sort of plausible deniability you've tried to assert?

"All right, I'll do it myself. But the next child of ours who needs driver's training is your responsibility."

My husband ignored my tantrum and continued sorting through the mountain of mail I've ignored and left accumulating on the counter since well, forever.

"Did you know there are Christmas cards in this pile? I was beginning to fear we had no friends or family who love us. What is wrong with you?" he chuckled as he gleefully ripped into another holiday card three months past its prime.

"Mail annoys me," I huffed. I didn't have time for this. I had a vehicle to register, another broken hearing aid to get fixed and a medical delivery to pick up for Knox. And groceries! Someone has to feed all these people. Food doesn't find it's way into our pantry itself. Who has time to open mail? Send me an email if you require my attention. I'm busy being selectively lazy.

So off I left to run errands while stewing in annoyance that my day of leisure was being interrupted by the tedium of life. 

Hearing aide brought in to be fixed: Check.

Medical delivery picked up at hospital: Check.

Groceries purchased: Check.

Chai tea latte procured: Check check.

As I was leaving the city my husband called. I listed all my accomplishments, proud I had finished all the errands required and could sink back into being selectively lazy once more.

"Did you renew your registration?"


So I turned around and headed to the nearest registries office I could find. Being a responsible adult is hard work.

There was no line up at the registry and I thanked the Universe for small miracles as I walked up to the lady behind the counter and passed her my insurance and registration papers. "I need to renew my registration please." 

"I need to see your driver's license." Right. It had been a while since I've done this. I dug out my license and handed it over. She looked at it and then looked up at me.

"Your license is expired."

"What? No way."

"Yes," she said as she counted off fingers. "Over FIVE months ago."

That moment, right then and there? It's what I refer to as a 'wet your pants' moment. She pulled out a desk calendar and flipped back and counted months and days as I held my breath and prayed to every Deity known to mankind. 

"You're lucky. If you had waited a few more weeks, you'd have to jump through quite a few hoops to get your license back. Did you not get the reminder statement sent to you in AUGUST?"

The stack of unopened mail sitting on my counter flashed before my eyes.

I mumbled something and readjusted my toque and smiled winningly at her. I would admit to nothing.

"We will have to renew your license as well as your registration. And it appears there are fines which will need to be paid too."

"Yes, yes, of course." Shame and embarrassment coursed through me and I could feel nervous sweat trickle down my body. 

(Side note: Those fines? Turns out they were all my HUSBAND'S. How do I know? Because they were all photo radar fines from places he's worked and I've never been too. While driving a car also registered in my name. Booyah. Score one for this lawbreaker.)

"You'll have to follow me. We need to update your photo."

Wait, what?

"Um, can I keep my hat on?" I asked hopefully, knowing that I had two-day-old hat-hair hiding under my toque. 

"I'm sorry, no. But we do have a mirror you can use if you like." Great. So I can see the rat's nest I'm about to have immortalized. Helpful.

I took my toque off and tried fluffing my hair but I could see the lady try and stifle a chuckle. Surely this was punishment for letting my license lapse so long.

"You'll also need to remove your glasses."

"But the glasses are my best feature! I'm not wearing any makeup."

"Well you can smile, but you aren't allowed to show any teeth."

Double helpful.

So I swallowed hard, took off my glasses, refluffed my hair and hoped for the best.


The lady looked at my photo, and for the first moment in our encounter, offered me some sympathy. "We can retake the photo if you like."

I walked over and looked at the computer monitor. A greasy ugly triple chinned slightly drunk looking terrorist looked back at me. This photo makes my passport photo look like a super model.

Artistic rendering of what actual photo looks like. Only picture it WORSE.

I looked at her, and then remembered I'd been driving without a license, for FIVE months, with CHILDREN in my vehicle, and I stuffed my hat back on and put on my glasses.

"No, this will be fine. It will be my own personal hair shirt every time I look at it."

I got home, still slightly damp from sweating bullets and retold my story as I put away groceries. "At least I'm good for another four and half years before I need another license!" There is a bright side to everything, no?

My husband nodded as he passed me more groceries and then asked, "But did you remember to pick up the mail?"