Parenting Two Point Oh


My kid moved out. Moved on. Moved away. 

Which roughly translates to "she grew up."

I didn't see it coming. I've got a particularly large set of empty-nest blinders on and they're hard to see through.

She's a sly one, that Ken. I'm pretty sure she's been plotting this move since the moment she realized I was never going to stop walking around the house buck arse naked. She's a smarter, cleverer version of myself and frankly, if I knew that's how children could turn out, I may have rethought the whole procreation business all those years ago. 

It all started shortly after I stopped blogging to take a short break. (Ha.)

She graduated from high school, went to India and then upon her arrival back home, she immediately moved into a dorm. She basically grabbed her diploma with one hand and her independence with the other, at the same time.

She transitioned from teenager to adult like a fish takes to water. *I* may not have been so graceful. Apparently, I had some co-dependency issues to work on. (If you picture me moping around the house while tearing up at odd moments and whispering "Mah baybeee," like a crazy woman, you have a fairly accurate depiction of what I was like in the first few weeks of her absence.)

It wasn't all horrible. Once we got through the first six months of her away at school and not being under my thumb, er, ROOF, things relaxed a bit. 

Of course, the school year is only 8 months long and six months into it I may have started looking forward to her coming back home, sitting next to me on the couch to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls and while she notices the complete similarities between Lorelai and myself. I would ply my daughter with home cooked food and braid her hair and she'd wish she would never have to leave the sweet confines of our cheery home.

Clearly, I forgot how an 18 year old thinks.

My daughter, probably after noticing the twitch in my eye whenever I started talking about semester end and coming home, did the only sensible thing she could: She found a well paying job that took her FAR FAR AWAY from home, for most of the entire 4 month break she had.

She popped in through out the summer; under the guise of visiting with me, but really, I'm sure it was so she could keep offering an escape route to her little brothers. I'm pretty sure I overheard her telling them what life was like as an adult but I coughed really loudly and offered the boys ice cream to distract them from any of that dirty talk.

Summer ended, fall began and school started once more. Nash had graduated high school earlier that spring, but perhaps after witnessing the grace and ease I had displayed when his sister moved out (the repeated viewings of Gilmore Girls until even Knox could quote the dialogue from every episode seemed to frighten him) he decided to stay at home and commute to the city as he started his post secondary journey.

Ken, however, was ensconced in the dorm so I consoled myself with the fact that 8 months isn't forever. She'd be home once more, soon enough.

As the months ticked by, I would be sure to send her thoughtful text messages asking her how she was and if she needed anything, but I won't lie, the occasional "I've fallen and I can't get up and if you never come home the dog will be forced to eat my desiccating carcass to survive," text may have slipped through.

(I'm a work in progress. Letting go isn't easy.)

The calendar page finally landed on April and with it, an end to the semester and campus residency. Visions of Netflix bingeing with my daughter danced in my head. I tried to play it cool. I'm loose. I'm good. I've worked through my dependency issues. My kid is an independent adult who works hard to provide for herself and her future and no, I won't squeal like a schoolgirl when she asks me to move her home. I will be BETTER than that.

I won't even make her make her bed every morning, I tell myself. I'll just make it for her when she's not looking. 

It's going to be the best

In my excitement to have Ken back I forgot one small fact: My kid is an independent adult who is working hard to provide for herself and her future. And she's almost 20. (How did that happen?!) This kid ain't coming home. She found herself an apartment and a summer job or two and she's working hard to be the person she was meant to be. The person I raised her to be. 

I'm super proud of her, even as I mourn the fact she's likely never going to live with me again. She's ready to be free. Her wings are flapping hard and furious as she soars away from me. Just as they should be.

Adulting is hard. Being a parent to an adult is weird and there is no manual for it. Okay, there probably is, but I've never been one to read instruction pamphlets and I avoid the self-help section of the bookstore like it carries the bubonic plague. I like to make life as hard as possible for myself, it seems.

These past two years, as she's been away at school, growing up, without me, I've been learning how to loosen my grasp on the parental controls and learn to spectate while supporting. It's a new type of parenting I'm trying. It requires less smothering and more standing back and encouraging.

I still love her so much I've thought about having a life-sized cardboard cut-out made in her image to chain to her childhood bed, here at home. My therapist says I'm a work in progress. 

So this week I'm helping my kid move into her very first apartment. 

Next week, I'm going to send my son over there so he can see life from the other side. Life from the adult side, without your mom telling you to stop wiping Cheetos dust onto the pants she just laundered for you.

This is what personal growth looks like, everyone. I went from fearing them leaving to pushing them out.  

Besides which, at this point, I'm starting to worry Nash may never move out and I'm tired of him hogging the Xbox.


699 Days


699. That's how many days I took off from blogging.


I don't really know how that happened. What was meant to be a few days, stretched into a few weeks, then months and then a year had passed and suddenly almost two had gone by. 

In the meantime nothing has changed and everything is different.

I'm the parent to TWO adult children. Both Ken and Nash graduated high school and as of this fall, I'll have two kids in university. At the same time. In dorms. With no parental supervision. 

It's fine, I tell myself. They're adults, I remind myself. You were once that age too, I recall. And then I remember just what I was doing at that age and I'm suddenly wishing for a paper bag to breathe into. 

THEY WILL BE FINE. Ahem. (I'll resume worrying needlessly after I'm finished writing.)

I turned 40, which really isn't all that different than being 38, 699 days ago. The lines on my face indicate a certain maturity while my continued love of dog memes and internet gifs highlight a long and noble streak of immaturity. I've gained a pound or two, maybe ten, stop judging, aging is hard and eating chocolate helps.

Donald Trump happened. 

(I would have thought his political ascension would have taken longer than 699 days. Honestly America, you never cease to surprise and delight me.) 

I upgraded blogging platforms only to discover technology advanced and my skills did not. I'm still trying to figure out how to use this new layout and if my blog breaks, well, that's what happens when one procrastinates for the better part of two years, avoids her blog and then deletes it all by pressing the wrong button. 

Knox is still awesome, my dog still slobbers and my husband gets better looking the older he gets. 

I'm on Snapchat, (tanis_eh) and not only do I love it, BUT I KNOW HOW TO USE IT. (There is a sentence I never thought I'd write two years ago.)

699 days are both a blink of an eye and an eternity.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

I'm back. Disoriented by the newness of it all, comforted by the familiarity of it. Welcome. Hello. Pleased to meet you. Nice to see you again.

Donald Trump, eh? 

699 days. Whodathunk.

Blue Eyes

It was a picture perfect Sunday afternoon. The sky was an endless brilliant blue without a single cloud to mar it. The trees were showing the first hints of green and overhead, geese were heralding their arrival home with exuberant honking.

My husband and I had spent the afternoon running small errands but mostly we were just spending our day together, driving aimlessly without hurry, talking about this and that without any interruptions from teens or child or dog or neighbour. The day marked our 17th anniversary but we were exhausted from celebrating high school graduations and Mother’s day. It was enough to simply be together. Far too many of our days are spent apart.

We pulled into a gas station, the light on the fuel gauge blinking furiously, and as Bruce walked into the station I poured over Instagram and pondered the wisdom of flooding my stream with endless pictures of my children in their fancy graduation finery, wondering how many pictures of pretty dresses would be too many, completely lost in thought and remembrance, when suddenly my vehicle shook with a loud bang.

Startled, I looked up to see a woman hugging the hood of my car, peering at me through the windshield and grinning like I was her long lost best friend.

My heart thudded as my brain scrambled to reconcile the image of the person before me with a person I used to know.


I was nine when I met her. I had gone down to my bedroom to change into my pajamas and was standing in just my underwear when I made eye contact with her. She stood staring into my bedroom window with the bluest eyes I had ever seen, laughing at me, her short brown hair spiked up with blue mousse.

I screamed and ripped a shirt back over my head while racing upstairs to tell my parents about the weird peeping tom standing at my window but she was quicker than me and was already standing at our back door, grinning widely. 

“Wanna come out and play?” she asked through the glass.

So I did. We were inseparable from that moment on. Friends forever we swore.

Forever never existed for us.


Her eyes were exactly the same. The blue of them matched the incredible sky over head. But everything else about her had changed, almost imperceptibly. It was like looking at a painting when you accidentally put your contacts in the wrong eyes. It’s all the same and yet everything looks different.

It was her and yet she was not anyone I had ever known. Memories of our past came flooding back as she hugged me hard and stood back to examine me. 

She was my everything for so very long. When my world was upside down she was always there to get me right side up. Her family became my family and I practically lived at her house to escape the doldrums of my own.

I never really noticed the fractures in our friendship until they became crevices that couldn’t be over looked. The further we drifted the tighter I tried to hold onto her, not realizing I was choking the love out of her.

I thought I could save her, or help her, or heal her; all of it, until at long last, I was so swamped from anger and guilt that my love was not enough for her that I let her go. I released her. I turned my back on her because I didn’t know how to watch her suffer any longer. I didn't want to suffer any longer.

I told myself I had to protect my family but really I had to insulate my heart from her choices. I wanted to be there for her and I could never understand why she wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t accept the fact she found more comfort in a drug-fuelled haze than she did with my love.

I couldn’t accept her any longer.


The last time I saw her was the day I buried my son, eight years ago.

I remember very little from that day. I was numb from disbelief, cocooned with shock. There were so many people there to say good-bye to a boy most never really knew and I was overwhelmed. But I remember her.   

She stood outside the church, smoking one cigarette after another, trying to convince me to let her take my children for a night.

She was a shell of her former self. I hadn’t seen her much the last few years and I hadn’t realized how far she had sunk in the abyss of drugs and hopelessness. Medical problems combined with narcotics had taken a steep toll on her health, until the person she used to be was buried beneath this new unrecognizable child-like person.

I lost my temper on her that afternoon and as soon as I raised my voice with her, I regretted it. She didn’t understand why I was upset. She couldn’t comprehend. She wasn’t there even though she was standing in front of me. Brain damage took the person she was and twisted her into someone new.

We stood there facing one another, both of us broken, fractured far past the reflections of who we used to be.

I buried my son that afternoon alongside any hope of ever reconciling with the person she now was, missing the girl I once knew her to be.


There we stood, outside a gas station in the middle of nowhere, history flooding both our memories. Bruce came out, with slushies in hand, to find my past standing directly in front of me. If he was surprised he covered it well. He has always been more graceful than I could ever hope to be.

She talked and answered our questions, but she never asked any of her own. She didn’t want to know about my life but she wanted me to know about hers. She wanted me to know she remembered me.

That she loved me.

That she thought of me often.

She rambled as she wiped her makeup and sweat off her face, smearing it more. But in between the rambles were moments of clarity and lucidity and I could see her, my friend, as though she were trapped beneath a glass surface, ready to break loose.

She’d lift up her sunglasses to show me her eyes, telling me she was sober at the moment and working hard to get clean. That she’d been using this or that over the years but she is doing better now. Then she’d hug me again, and I’d feel her frailness once more and I’d marvel at her strength.

She talked fast and yet her mouth never really moved. She bounced from subjects and emotions faster than my brain could process, my mind was too busy trying to cope with the fresh heartbreak occurring within my chest.

For as much as she talked she didn’t really say anything. I still don’t understand how her brain works, or the pain she feels, or the choices she makes. I never did and I’m wise enough now to understand that I probably never will.

She battles demons I can’t even fathom, on a daily basis, and life has taken her down a path I can’t follow. Years ago I blamed myself for this. If only I had done something different, loved her enough, been a better friend. And then, years later, I blamed her, for not fighting hard enough, for not choosing wisely, for not caring enough.

I don’t blame myself anymore, and I don’t blame her. Addiction, mental illness, fortune, it all conspired to rob her of the life we once both dreamed of.

She isn’t the same person she used to be. But then, neither am I. I will always miss the person that she once was and mourn the person she could have been. I will always damn the addiction and disease that took her from her family, from me. 

She was my best friend forever, until we forgot forever existed.

I remember now. And I’ll forever hope you slay your dragons and overcome your addiction and your pain, Blue Eyes.