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Tough customer…

May 26, 2010

These duets serve a third function,

after mating and fighting:

to strengthen the pair bond,

and help the two stay close in communication through the densest thickets,

where it is often very hard for one bird to see the other…

— In Why Birds Sing by David Rothenberg

Some people move far away,

in attempts to extricate themselves,

from the influences of their families…

I tried to do that a few times,

but something always pulled me back home,

to this place…

An inner voice mixing with something from outside that said,

It is here that you will nest…

Just be patient…

It will all become clear…

I don’t argue with things when they feel right,

even if I don’t understand all of it,

or I don’t know the next step to take,

because I know from experience,

that things always work out,

the way they are supposed to…

They always have…

So instead of trying to move over hill and dale,

and open ocean,

to create space for my own nuclear family,

to grow on its own strong vine,

I started asking for help,

Dear God,

Please send my mother a man…

Almost as soon as the words popped into my head,

he delivered…

A man with a GD mega-house on wheels,

who took my mother south every winter,

so that I could start to experience a guilt free Christmas,

with my own children…

I hadn’t even thought about the part about taking her away…

This reminded me that when we ask,

what we end up getting,

is always so much better than what we can imagine…

When this man of my dreams and I first met he told me,

I just saw a movie about my life…

I couldn’t believe how accurate it was…

Holy eye opener…

I had no idea what I’d become…

I told him,

I’m going to make you a medal for bravery,

and heroics,

for dealing with my mother…

Thank you so much for coming…

They must have broke the mold when they made you…

The idea of the medal made him laugh,

and smile…

And one night he came to me in a dream,

only to say that he was grateful for the endorsement…

But before I could make up the prize,

my mother pulled one of her negative numbers on him…

And as he rolled his house on wheels down south without her,

one September,

he pulled over to the side of the Pacific Coast Highway,

reclined on his bed at the back of the unit,

and was found lifeless under the influence of cardiac arrest,

by highway patrol…

My mother never saw him,

his motorhome,

or the cookbook with all her traditional German Christmas cookie recipes,

ever again…

This weekend I was filling up a planter,

with the joy of summer flowers on my front porch,

and I heard a young woman say to a young man,

in the midst of her story about being stood up a second time,

by the same guy,

after she’d made him a dinner of mac and cheese,

I’m from Campbell River,

and Campbell River sucks a lot of bag…

I was relieved that my children were occupied inside playing The 39 Clues,

and not out on the sidewalk playing hopscotch,

because I wouldn’t want to have to explain that choice set of words…

People always say,

You live in such a great neighbourhood…

I just LOVE where you live…

There is such a feeling of community,

and the houses are so colourful…

Well sometimes it’s absolutely fabulous,

and other times,

I could coin a phrase or two…

Stepping on used condoms when I got into the car in the morning rush to work,

is akin to stepping on a banana peel…

We’ve all seen the cartoon,

we know what happens…

It’s a great way to start out,

when you’re on your way to spend the day with small children,

and makes a solid case for early instruction,

on the need to clean up after oneself…

If you’re getting a visual,

you haven’t gone deep enough…

This is an opportunity to go visceral…

Yesterday I took Starshine, Little Gem and their two Sisterfriends to the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre,

for a swim…

But we had to get back in the car because it was a Family Swim on the schedule,

and I did not bring my bathing suit…

Four children under the age of 12 who are capable and confident swimmers,

apparently do not constitute a family…

So we got back in the car and drove to the Karen Magnussen pool in North Vancouver ,

for their Public Swim…

At that pool,

children seven and under must be accompanied by a guardian over 16 years of age at all times…

Little Gem nearly lost her mind when I told her the rules…

So I used my panther smarts for the greater good…

Little Gem and her friend walked off by themselves to the change room,

to join Starshine and Sunshine who were already floating around the wave pool…

And as Little Gem walked away,

I heard her say this,

My dad tells lies all the time,

but I never thought I’d see the day when my mother would…

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