Church music (another rerun)

Let me preface this by saying I have no issue with any religion. I was born a catholic and will likely die one and I have only a very healthy respect for all religions. I have no designs on converting anyone nor do I want anyone else trying to convert me. I do however, have some questions about certain practices within specific religions; namely mine, and only because it’s the only one I am familiar with.

The catholic church has its’ traditions, with age old ceremonies and countless hymns, most of them thoroughly depressing. I was always led to believe that my faith is what will save me. If you’re struggling with life, go to church and God will help you. If you’re struggling with guilt, go to confession and God will cleanse your sole. If you’re looking for solace, comfort and peace, you will find it at church, right? I think that’s how it’s supposed to work, but does it? Is that the environment they’re creating in the church? One of peace and love and mercy? Cause if they are, I’m not feelin’ the love!

I went to mass every Sunday growing up and I sang in the choir. I dragged my 3 children to church every weekend (with a pile of toys to keep them quiet while I repented for my sins) but for some reason I never felt happy after attending a service and I could never figure out why.

Then I happened upon a Baptist service on television one Sunday morning and it got me thinking because it didn’t leave me feeling bad about myself when it was over. Granted they too have one’ preacher’ who dominates the service and does a lot of screaming, but it didn’t seem accusatory.  What I found uplifting was their music. They’re all dancing in the aisle, clapping their hands and pounding tambourines – they’re having a ball! The catholic church on the other hand, has put more than half of their mass to music, and I don’t mean happy, upbeat, make you want to come to church, music. This stuff is tuneless, morose, and has the enthusiasm of a speed bump.

Further, the catholic service consists of a lot of lines like “I am not worthy” and “ I have sinned”. I know that, I’m no saint, but do I need to advertise my short comings? I come looking for solace and mercy but I get berated, and told to get on my knees and say 50 Hail Mary’s. And by the way, if we can all talk to God, anytime, anywhere, why do we have to go to confession at all? I’m all for cutting out the middle man so I go straight to the big guy and to date I’ve not been struck by lightning. And who are you to tell me I am not worthy? I lead an honest life, a Christian life, and if occasionally I falter I think I’d repent more effectively without having the snot pounded out of me. I think God knows that, and while I still consider myself catholic, I do not attend regular mass and the big guy and I have both made our peace with the arrangement.

I have to admit there are times when I long to go to a church service. There is a sense of peace you walk away with when you’re in Gods house but I fail to understand why they can’t make it fun. Religion should be a joyous thing. Just once I’d like to see someone boogie up to receive communion, and maybe they should hand out tambourines and maracas to the congregation. Put a little life into the service, get people up on their feet, singing and clapping, celebrating religion instead of fearing it. Make people feel good about themselves and the church, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll come back.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from the Baptists and Gospel Church goers and if I could muster up the courage (and a few conspirators) I’d crash the next catholic service with a mariachi band – bet that would blow the priest right out of his papal clompers!

Mothers Day – the rerun

Thanks to Covid my family have been busier than ever juggling work-from-home, child care (or lack thereof) and isolation. This has left me little time (or energy) to write a new blog and given our situation is unlikely to improve in the next few weeks, my husband suggested I post some ‘repeats’ to maintain my momentum. The blog below was originally posted 4 years ago, and while I am not hosting any grand parties this year, my sentiment is much the same. More than I ever I hope you can find a way to show a mother in your life how much she means. Stay well.

Mother’s Day – 2017

Last Tuesday my husband turned 60 and my mother turned 87. Two days later my daughter turned 30 and last night I threw the mother of all parties to celebrate their mile stone birthdays. It took weeks to coordinate, days to prepare the food and the house for out of town guests, and a small fortune was ‘invested’ in our local liquor store.

This Mothers Day like so many in my past, saw me cleaning house, changing beds and sorting empties, in between airport runs. I’m exhausted and a tad hung over (ok, self inflicted) and while there will be no fancy dinner out for me today, I feel a sweet sense of satisfaction and joy in my lot in this life.

This routine is not new. Mothers Day at my house was always overshadowed by family’s birthdays and over the years I always threatened to move Mothers Day into September, where we have no family celebrations and the day would be mine and mine alone, but I never did it and today for the first time I wondered why I hadn’t. Something feels different.

In truth, I’ve come to realize I really don’t mind my annual Mothers Day celebration (or lack thereof) because I’ve come to appreciate the occasion from a very different perspective. It was my husband who made me a mother – he can’t help that he was born so close to a national holiday that celebrates them. My daughter too is the reason I am a mother and that she arrived the day after Mothers Day 30 years ago simply reminds me that she was a gift, one of the best I ever got. (my other 2 children had the decency to arrive at neutral times of the year)

Instead of complaining about what I thought I was missing, I find myself enjoying the fact that I have these annual chores because they remind me that I have these people, these gifts, who made me “Mom”, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

However you celebrate Mothers Day I hope you take the time to reflect on those who made you a mother. You don’t need flowers or jewels, just the reminder that these people love and appreciate you, and they do. As I put my third load of sheets in to wash and prepare to mop my kitchen floor (if wine stains are any indication of a good time this  must’ve been one helluva party!) I feel a wonderful sense of love for my husband and children who make every day of the year Mothers Day and if running myself ragged once a year to celebrate them in lieu of celebrating me, is all I have to do, I’m good with it. Thank you for giving me a reason to celebrate with you at all!

Happy Mothers Day!

My ‘Ahha’ moment

I have spent the better part of my life trying to ‘improve’ myself because I was always so sure my purpose in life was to accomplish something great. After years of trying to find my groove I’ve come to realize that maybe I never lost it.

I set very high targets for myself, expectations that put a lot of pressure on me (and often those around me) and in the end I am either unsatisfied with the final result or too tired and frustrated to appreciate it. I’ve always had that sense I needed to ‘do’ something but never quite sure exactly what it is.

I’m painfully disciplined in my routines, taking a walk every day, but not just a walk, an aggressive one, because I’ve always believed there should be a purpose to the walk; fitness, weight loss, something. Then I came to realize that taking a walk didn’t have to be a chore. Maybe occasionally a shorter walk, with a friend, and no motive would be of more value to my psyche. (Why did I feel the need to break speed records?) Was I out of balance?

I could never just dust or vacuum, no not me. I had to move furniture, wash curtains, repaint walls, because simple cleaning wasn’t enough – it had to be a major project. Several years ago what started as a simple paint touch up of my staircase bannister resulted in my taking out the entire floor of carpeting (it no longer looked fresh next to my newly painted bannister) and  of course I can’t lay nice new carpeting into rooms with tired old paint on the walls so yet another major project evolved. Finally after 3 years I ran out of rooms to redo (which is a good thing cause I’m pooped!) I was so driven to tackle monumental projects that usually overwhelmed me not long after launch because I felt I had to accomplish something big. Then it hit me,,, it was my ‘ahha’ moment.

Who was I impressing with this aggressive to-do list? (ok, I was impressed with myself) My loved ones appreciate me for everything I do, big or small, and they don’t seem any more impressed when I super-do something, so why do I kill myself? (ok, some of this can be blamed on personality – I’m probably just one of those people who can’t sit still) The realization hit me hard, partially from the wisdom of age and experience, and partially from a lack of steam. I think I lost my stamina but in the process found a new groove, and that included finding balance. (Or maybe I’m just getting old).

I am learning the art of letting go, setting reasonable expectations for myself. Now instead of rushing to dust the furniture, I write my name in it, or draw a happy face, then make a mental note to tackle that,,,one of these days. I am finding satisfaction with what I can accomplish even if it isn’t substantial. Enjoying simply what I have instead of aspiring for more. Wow, with age really does come wisdom. Wisdom that helps us to set priorities and accept things as they are without the need for improvement.

I finally found my ‘ahha’ moment, my realization that I am where I was meant to be, and what I do or do not accomplish is also, meant to be (so I can stop stressing about what I haven’t done)

And it only took me 60 years.

Time Flies

My father is 91 years old and I talk to him every day at 5:00, and because we speak each day we often struggle for new conversation. He’s elderly, somewhat frail, and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, so it’s not like he goes anywhere. (for that matter, neither do I) We focus instead on what he’s read, what he watches on TV, and what he had for dinner. Most days the conversation is predictable, but every now and again he catches me by surprise with how really ‘with it’ he is for 91. He follows current events and sports, providing intelligent comments around both, but what truly amazes me is his recollection of things. Life, actually, his recollection of life. It is startling detailed.

My father can recount the details of his life 75 years ago, more even. He knew a time without cars, microwaves, washing machines, and he remembers with vivid accuracy the events of world economics and politics at the time. Most recently, when I marveled at just such a conversation, I noted how he recounted these memories as though they were yesterday. Time seemed to disappear and he was ‘in the moment’.

Yesterday, as I went for a walk through my own neighbourhood, I passed a house with 3 young children. They were playing on the driveway and their mother was sitting in a chair nearby supervising,,,,exactly as I did some 3 decades ago. My children, all in their 30’s now, have their own children, but I could swear only 2 weeks ago they were playing on the driveway where I sat watching. How can it be that so much time has elapsed?

Like my father, I can recall the details of the most mundane events 25 years ago as though it was yesterday, and while it’s delightful to revel in the memories, it’s also a stark reminder of just how quickly life goes by. Events you think leave a permanent etching in your brain eventually fade, until something triggers the memory and suddenly you’re reliving it all over again….in your mind. Where did the years go, and why did they go so fast?

I’ve always believed we are here for a reason, our own predetermined life and learning path, and that includes an expiry date. It’s baffling to comprehend why some die so young, or so tragically, or why some seem to suffer a life fraught with loss and pain. Then I remind myself, we all choose our path, and perhaps these are souls who’ve elected to come into this world in a role of suffering to facilitate the learning path of another. There’ve been cases where I just can’t justify it in any other way. These are the lives most challenging because the memories they recall are often difficult, but necessary, and I wonder do they too recall events of years past with vivid detail and accuracy?

The older we get the faster life goes by which is ironic because it is in our later years we want to take the time to reflect – slow things down. We stop sweating the small stuff. We laugh at the things we would’ve been shocked by. We lament all we neglected to do or say. And we berate ourselves for things we did do or say that we now regret. (seems we’re awfully good at beating ourselves up)  

Listening to my father recount the details of life 75 or 80 years ago reminds me to ‘stop and smell the roses’. Now when a memory of something my child said 35 years ago springs to mind, I welcome it, let it linger. And as difficult as it is, I also let in the harder memories, because they too bring comfort, even if it doesn’t make me smile, because any thought that tells me my brain is working is a good sign (If we didn’t suffer the lows, how would we recognize the highs) and often recalling painful memories helps bring closure.

Life really does go by in the blink of an eye so all we can do is reflect when we need to, regret nothing, and live in the moment, because all too soon we leave this place and our opportunity to effect change is lost.

Life really is so very good. Celebrate in it.

Partnerships

We all have someone on whom we rely for laughter, support, companionship, even money (I’m still looking for my sugar-daddy) but such partnerships are a two-way street (at least they should be)

We protect them when they are weakened, defend them when under assault, and love them unconditionally (ok, maybe not ‘unconditionally’ but a lot) What is it about these individuals that sparks our protective instincts? (Parenting aside, a child is a whole different kind of love….kids and pets)

My husband/partner is my soulmate. He defends me (most of the time) supports me (when it suits him) loves me despite my very few flaws (I can hear his guffaw of laughter here) and is as loyal to me as an old Cocker Spaniel. In return I do his laundry, cook his meals, clean his house, bear his children, nurse his health, schedule his appointments, entertain his friends, welcome his family, mend his socks, endure his golf, and print off his puzzles every day…. so yeah, it’s even….you know, the ‘partnership’.

Funny how very differently we all view partnership and our role in it. My husband likes to think he is my provider, mentor, friend and lover. (that translates to budget police, know-it-all, back-up companion when his friends have bailed, and physical outlet….I’m so proud)  Now, by contrast, I think he sees me as his conquest, challenge, and ultimate burden (which translates into ‘the only one who said yes’, ‘the one who tests him’, and ‘the best thing that ever happened to him’) It’s all in the interpretation…..and I prefer my version.

The tricky thing about partnerships is making them work, and that takes fortitude and patience. (In my experience people aren’t always likeable so it’s been more of an effort for me) Personalities are so finicky, and it’s one thing to put up with it when it’s a partner or a friend, because you made the choice to be with them, but when it’s someone who’s been forced upon you (like a boss or a neighbor) it’s not easy to take. These ‘partnerships’ can be difficult and much of the difficulty in accepting them is knowing you have no choice. (I have a boss in my past I’d like to see slide bare-assed down a razor blade and land in a pool of iodine,,,,ah, but I digress) Acceptance is critical, and the key. It’s also a total pain, but it’s reality.

At the end of the day partnerships are work, a lot of work. And they require sacrifice and tolerance and patience and compassion (ok, this is already too much work, I’m outta here) but the reward is comfort, acceptance, understanding, kindness,,,,,and yes, love. Regardless of the type of ‘partnership’ we engage in, it all comes down to loving and wanting to be loved. (Ok, I’m still holding out for money)

The Best Guest

I love to entertain and do so frequently. Welcoming friends and family into my home and laying out a spread gives me a total rush, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Now it doesn’t come without effort or expense, but it’s where my husband and I choose to spend our ‘entertainment’ dollars. We really don’t go out to dinner much, nor do we frequent any pubs or bars, preferring instead to stay in with friends so we are very selective about those with whom we like to spend our time, effort, and money.

We have one set of friends who stand out above the rest because they are the BEST guests. They eat everything I serve, never complain, have yet to advise of any food allergies or preferences and rarely leave me with left overs. Now THAT’s what I call good house guests!

I love to experiment with new recipes and often refer to them as my ‘guinea pigs’, and I keep waiting for criticism, an expression of likes or dislikes, but nothing comes. They eat everything with relish, shower me with accolades and welcome all invitations. We should all have such gracious houseguests.

I suppose much of their behaviour is a matter of courtesy and manners. I was raised to eat what was served without questioning or criticizing (now this advice also came with the threat that if I complained there’d be NO food) and never ever was I to say I disliked any particular food, which meant choke it down no matter what (hence my violent hatred of liver…vile, foul stuff….I’d rather chew my shoe)

I’ve come to realize too, that part of being a good houseguest is showing appreciation. People (like me)  take time and energy to plan a menu, set a table, create an atmosphere, and seeing my guests enjoy my efforts with appreciation is the ultimate reward.

Fortunately I’ve never been made to feel undervalued by a guest….(guess I know how to pick my friends) and I hope I never do, so until such time, I will continue to open my heart and my home to good friends. And should the day dawn that I inadvertently host an ungrateful guest…..mmmmmm, I was going to say it’d be the only time, but no. I’d invite them back just once more…..for boiled sneaker, or worse….liver.

Where’d the water go?

For the past 20 years that we’ve lived in Atlantic Canada I’ve struggled to find a cottage rental that is on a fresh water lake. Growing up in Ontario, where there’s nothing but fresh water lakes, it’s a comfortable swimming hole for me (I love to frolic)  and I love salt water to swim in, don’t misunderstand me, but I also like a body of water that stays where I left it.

About 3 years ago I finally found a rental that I thought would suit. It was on the ocean, so salt water was a given, and that’s fine, but the pictures showed a beach that looked perfect. The photos even showed young families frolicking by the seashore, so I booked it.

My daughter and her 2 young children came up to stay and we wasted no time getting our beach adventure underway. The shoreline was across a narrow country road and through a field of tall grass but it was a short walk so we packed up our picnic and donned our inflatable toys and started through the grass. When we emerged onto the shoreline we were shocked to see the beach was gone. The lovely lapping shoreline was about 200 feet away and the ground in between was mud. Ahha,,,,,, so I didn’t factor in tides.

We walked along the muddy under-beach for a bit but as it was too wet to sit on our towels and too muddy to play we soon trudged back to the cottage. I found a sprinkler in the shed and we turned that on for the children to play in, and while they seemed no less content, I felt short changed (where’d the water go?) And how’d they get that picture in the advertisement, night cameras? Who frolics in mud?

I noticed a poster on the wall in one of the main living areas that listed tide levels and schedules and realized, only for the first time, it was going to require some strategizing to coordinate our ‘frolic’ time with nature. (I hate a holiday that’s work)

Interestingly I found over the next 2 weeks that tides really don’t care about frolic time – they do their own thing. And because the timing for our beach adventures had to work around nap times, we really didn’t see much ‘beach’, accept from a distance, so while we ended up having a wonderful vacation (it’s all about the people) it wasn’t the seaside holiday I had envisioned…..so my search continued. (and I had my work cut out for me) They don’t call Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground’ for nothing, because despite the fact that there are fresh water lakes inland, they are largely uninhabited and those that are built up are carefully guarded.

It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to find a cottage rental that’s on a fresh water lake and I can hardly wait because this time I know when I go to the beach each day, it’ll be exactly where I left it, and that’s how it should be…..stupid tides.

Sports

I’m not a big sports fan (course you’d never know it by my monthly cable bill) but because my husband is we subscribe to a number of sports channels, so I get my fill of sports, like it or not, and some are easier to take than others.

Golf, tennis; these are gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s sports and certain ‘behaviours’ are expected. Protocols require that the spectators remain quiet while play is on. You never make noise when a golfer is in his backswing, and during a tennis rally the only sound heard is the grunt of the players as they whack the ball. Seems like these are the sports for the more refined in society?

Football, hockey, soccer, baseball, on the other hand, are the sports for the masses, Crowds are loud and unruly any time, all the time, and players spit and scratch themselves without a care about how it looks or who’s watching.

I watch some sports half-heartedly largely because I can’t keep up with what’s going on. Football never seems to have more than a minute of play  before they all pile up on top of each other and a whistle blows. How they accumulate the eventual score is a mystery to me but I suspect it might have something to do with how many guys end up in the pile and who’s on top.

Hockey is hard to follow only because the puck moves to fast, and just when I think I’ve got it in my sights it disappears across the ice, but that’s ok cause fans can be distracted by the players who’ve thrown off their gloves and are pounding the living daylights out of each other (apparently that’s part of the sport?) and the crowd goes wild.

And baseball is just boring. Too much time is spent watching the guys in the field (those are the ones scratching themselves) and when play is interrupted again, for God knows why, cameras move to the dugout where we can watch the benched players chew their cud and spit,,,,pretty.

Basketball, volleyball, badminton; these are sports that require cooperation. Teamwork is vital and violence is not tolerated the way it is in hockey, but these sports too are somewhat monotonous. Too much back and forth.

Now I know I am in the minority with such opinions because fans and sponsors pay ridiculous sums of money to watch these players and that’s where I take real issue. The money paid out to these sports superstars is staggering,,,,,and embarrassing. A top notch scientist researching life saving cures that directly impact humanity will clear a couple of hundred thousand a year, but some uneducated kid from Nowhere Indiana shows a flair for baseball and he’s offered $50 million dollar contracts and hero worship. What are we thinking?

Sometimes it’s not just a walk in the park

I’m an avid walker. In fact, I walk every day and hike once a week, weather permitting. For the most part I walk alone but every now and then I find a friend willing to keep up with me (apparently I walk too fast)

This past Friday was forecast to be lovely and spring like so my husband caught me by surprise when he suggested we do a walk together. (He walks regularly with his golf buddies but rarely walks with me because he prefers a slower pace) He suggested we walk the golf course – it’s a pretty setting, quiet….good idea….or so I thought.

As we were preparing to go he advised we’d be going in his car instead of mine, which we rarely do when we go out together. (He drives a honkin’ big ole Buick, the kind you see in southern states that are usually driven by 80 + men wearing Tilley hats and orthopedic sandals. It drives like a big clumsy animal and I have lovingly dubbed it ‘The Geezermobile”) I asked why and he replied, “My clubs are in it and I thought I’d hit a few balls as we walk and you can fetch them”   Ahha,,,,ok,,,,,, no. (If you want someone to fetch balls get a cocker spaniel) Sensing I was not enamoured of his suggestion he pulled my car out and we headed off to his golf club for our walk. Once there we parked and started out on one of the cart paths. There were still patches of snow on the course but the strong sun was rapidly melting it. (Now that should’ve tipped me off)

Eventually he suggested we go off the path and walk on the grass because ‘it was sunnier on the greens’. I thought nothing of it. By the time we hit the middle of the fairway it was noticeably soggy and it wasn’t long before my sneakers were flooded. Great. These are new sneakers and my custom, prescription orthotics aren’t supposed to get wet – but it was too late.  I suggest that perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea so he navigates us to a cart path again but not before I slip on the wet grass and land flat on my ass in several inches of water. (Are we having fun yet?)

We walk in silence (by my choice) staying to the paths where possible but occasionally we had to tromp through snow. Why not…..what’s a little snow in my drenched sneakers?  At one point he advises we were half way (thank God, the end is in sight!) but I still manage to fall on slippery grass, not once, but twice more, and by now I’m soaked from the waist down (If he laughs I’ll have to kill him)  and the last fall was in a patch of grass that was muddy. Nice. (How come he hasn’t slipped?)

By the time our car is in sight we’re walking a good 20 feet apart because I just want to get my soggy ass home and in to a hot shower. I put a grocery bag on the front seat to protect the upholstery then cover that with his jacket and sit on it, mud and all. (OK, ok, petty I know but at this point my pride was as bruised as my ass)

Now I get that it really wasn’t his fault, not all of it, but he should’ve known the grass would be soggy and perhaps advised me to wear  boots instead of sneakers. Or maybe not suggested going off the paved cart path at all? And I’m not impressed that I am I the only one to fall here. (OK, my ego hurts more than my rear) At the end of the day it was not the relaxing walk I had envisioned…… …..had I not landed on my ass in mud three times maybe it would’ve been.

So,,,, note to self. Walk on your own – it’s safer (avoid wet grass) cleaner, and nobody is there to witness anything. And if I do walk with my husband again, I’ll have to remember my hip waders. Until then I’m stickin’ to the paved roads.

Can you hear me now?

Sometimes it seems as though I can’t be heard which is impossible because I’m not exactly soft spoken.  In fact recently I noticed I wasn’t the only one not being heard – most of my female friends admit to being somewhat inaudible. A woman’s voice, it appears, is easy to ignore, more so a mother’s voice. Why is the male voice so revered? When a woman hollers nobody listens but when a man raises his voice everybody scrambles.

I can ask my husband about his day and will listen intently. When he reciprocates the courtesy I’m not 6 words in when I see his eyes glaze over and I know he’s tuned me out. (course it doesn’t help that he’s scanning the tv listings as he listens…..)

I remember when I was a young girl my mothers ‘lectures’, as we called them, tended to be repetitive so yes, I tuned her out. My father, on the other hand, commanded attention, because he so rarely disciplined us. When he spoke sternly to us, we froze.

As children we learn to recognize who the heavy is and in most cases it’s the mother. (as a demographic we mothers are so screwed) Fathers are always the hero. They step in with discipline only at the eleventh hour when all a mothers attempts have failed and he sees that things are spiraling out of control. And even then he only intervenes because the kafuffle is delaying his dinner or interrupting his tv viewing.

My mother used to yell a lot then throw her slipper at us. It was one of those flimsy satiny slippers so it never hurt. On the contrary after she flung it at us and left the room we’d burst out laughing because the attempt was so lame.

Like my mother, I was something of a screamer (preferring to keep my slippers on my feet). It was the only weapon I had – I wasn’t in to spankings, and for the most part screaming worked. My kids maintain even today that my screaming is still ‘scary’  (who said fear is bad?) This is in memory of course because I stopped screaming when they all grew up and moved out (or they stopped listening). Now I’m as mild as a kitten…..ah, but I digress!

My issue here is that we women are still largely ignored. We are seen as the ‘nag’, the one who repeats herself, over analyzes situations, worries too much, asks too many questions (am I missing anything here?)

And yet interestingly enough when the kids are grown and living on their own they frequently call home to check in, get advice, complain about their partners, rant about the job,,,,,,and who is the recipient of this dumping? Dear old mom of course! And suddenly all the ‘nagging’ has become sound advice and welcome information (especially when they have kids of their own) And dear old dad is relegated to being……the nice guy, again. And the kids feel for him because now that they’re gone there’s no buffer for him from mom. Poor baby. Sound familiar?

What are we doing wrong that we are not being heard? Or, what are men doing right, that they are? A friend I knew was a ‘slipper thrower’ like my mother, and she maintained that whipping that slipper at your target of anger regardless of who you hit was good, because even if it missed the guilty party, the recipient was likely to commit an offense sooner or later anyway. Now there’s foresight!

I think fathers push their children and encourage risk taking which can be a good thing when it comes to ambition and confidence. They are also more likely to tease their child building character and a sense of humour. Mothers by contrast are nurturing and more protective, preferring to minimize any risk taking because they don’t want their child to suffer. (And that’s a bad thing?)

Today my children ‘hear’ me, sort of. At least they appear to. And they seek out conversation and advice from me because they’ve come to realize all that nagging had some value after all. And that’s a good thing cause my next strategy was to strap a brick to my slipper before I throw it at you – can you hear me now?