Monday, February 9, 2009

Questions? And Answers.

The lovely and talented Multi-Tasking Mommy, of "Circle of Life", recently sent me five questions to answer. Here, at long last, are my answers, MTM-- hope everyone at your house is feeling better soon.

And if anyone else has more for me, feel free to ask...
My life isn't quite an "open book", but I'll do my best!

1) If you had unlimited resources, where would you travel to and why?

Oh, my... child-less, or with children??

Child-less, I would tour France and Italy. Because, let's face it, they have it ALL: art, food, fashion, and WINE. This is a trip that I would like to do alone, because I would love the opportunity to comb through every. square. inch. of the museums... to savour every. single. flavour. of the restaurants and wineries... to peruse the fashion houses (and drive the shop-keepers MENTAL by turning the garments inside-out to examine how they're made!!) without worrying about anyone else's bliss BUT MY OWN.



But it would be ABOUT TIME.

And, with my children?

I would go back to The Beach... THIS BEACH. I have never been to such a blissful, relaxing, and beautiful place. This family holiday is perfection.

2) You have to give away all of your material possessions, not including the roof over your head, but you can keep three things. What are they?

Of course, the maternal impulse is to say that I would let each of the girlies choose one thing... I can live without any of my material possessions, so long as I have the three of them.

But, if I HAD to choose, it would be my desk-top computer (it has all of my music and photo files on it, and there's NO WAY I could live without email), my make-up kit (how shallow is that??! But seriously, NO ONE should have to see me without my "personal armour"), and my Scottish grandmother's beautiful star-shaped pearl brooch, which was bequeathed to me when she died. That brooch is a story unto itself-- it has been lost countless times, and even stolen by burglars once... but amazingly, it has always been returned to whomever in the family has been in possession of it. It has a very special place in our family lore, and I am honoured to be its' keeper, for this generation. I'm guarding it with my life!

3) How has your parenting style changed from having your first to your third child?

It has changed in nearly every way imaginable... except for the fact that I have always approached parenting with as much light-heartedness and humour as I possibly could. When I die, I want my kids to always remember the laughter, the fun, and the FUNNY we had together.

That said, I remember how completely paralyzed and terrified I felt as a first-time mother. My eldest child and I are survivors of post-partum depression, and I now try very hard to reach out and support as many new mothers as I possibly can. Becoming a mother is an incredibly overwhelming experience, and it takes time to "unclench" and relax into the role. I remember the days of endless worry, of sterilizing and laundering everything the baby touched, of obsessing about food-intake and poop-output... Of thinking that everything had to be perfect for my child-- especially ME.

But now, two more children later, I understand that there is truth in the saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!!!" The mother sets the tone for the household. And "perfect" simply isn't within the realm of anyone's ability.

The ideal of the Perfect Mother is a myth. A myth most likely created by certain Victorian men, in an attempt to control women. (And don't challenge me on this theory, I have studied the history of the family ENDLESSLY during my academic career, and am prepared to defend my argument to the death if necessary...)

The FACT of the matter is: the mothers who make a real effort to be good parents, and who do the very best that they can for their children, are perfect in their children's eyes. And let's face it, no one else's opinion matters beyond that.

I am absolutely secure in the fact that my girlies love me. I adore them, and I do the best I can for them. My personal best varies from day-to-day, and I am far from perfect (believe it or not-- I know you're all reeling from THAT little confession...) But after thirteen years, and seeing the happy, bright, relatively well-adjusted fruits of my labours, I am pretty confident that my best IS good enough.

4) What is your favourite activity to do with your family/kids?

Thankfully, my girlies enjoy doing a lot of the same things I like doing. I love being able to share my interests with them, and they are very creative little souls. We love going to the theatre, and watching movies together. I have taught them to sew and to knit... We often combine a few activities, and knit while watching an old musical on TV!

We also enjoy gardening together-- we comb the nurseries every spring, and each choose plants that we would like to grow.

The girlies and I also love to cook together-- mostly baking, or sweets and candy! They have inherited my sweet-tooth (much to our dentist's chagrin).

5) Name your top 5 favourite children's books and/or authors.

"Lucy Brown and Mister Grimes", by Edward Ardizzone. Long out of print, but one of the most-loved tales from my childhood. It is a simply beautiful story of a lonely little orphan girl, who is adopted by an elderly "grandfather". The trust, respect and friendship that develops between the child and the elderly gentleman is so beautiful, and so heart-warming.

"Milly-Molly-Mandy", by Joyce Lancaster Brisley. Another book that my parents read to me, and I have passed on to my children. It is a collection of tales (there are actually three books combined into my "Omnibus") about a little girl who lives in rural England, early in the last century. The stories are delightfully short, simple and absolutely charming.

"The Wind in the Willows", by Kenneth Grahame and illustrations by E. H. Shepard (no other illustrations will do. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.) My paternal grandfather died the same year I was born, but the way in which I have been able to come to know him has been by listening to the hours and hours of reel-to-reel audio tapes he made during his lifetime. He faithfully recorded weeks of installments of a radio-drama version of this book, made for the BBC in the 1950's. The performance is so completely perfect, it defies description. My family has listened to it from start-to-finish, every Christmas, for as long as I can remember... It is the reason why I know so much of the book by heart. A few years ago, my father made copies of the recording for all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren... I do hope that my grand-dad somehow "knows" that he has given us all such a gift-- such incredible pleasure-- over fifty years after he made the original recording.

"Weaving the Rainbow" by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Stephanie Anderson. This book is a story about a woman who raises sheep, and not only spins and dyes wool, but then weaves it into beautiful tapestries depicting her sheep in the glorious Kentucky countryside. This story is a feast for the eyes, as well as being an homage to the creative spirit.

"Library Lion" by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. The story of a lion whose passion for literacy leads to a "job" at the local library. Everyone learns that sometimes "rules" are made to be bent, if not broken! A lovely and light-hearted read.

Would you like me to send you some questions to answer on your blog? Here's how it works:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


painted maypole said...

i think you need to write a post as a narrative from the point of view of the brooch

Leeann said...

Interview me.
(I LOVE when you do personal posts like this one.)

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Thanks for those awesome answers. You write so well and I knew I would learn something new.

merinz said...

A lovely thoughtful post - as always.

Nan said...

*Gasp* who was your Grandfather?? We have 2 different recordings of "The Wind In The Willows", and one... Where the heck is it, is old, BBC, on casette tape. I gotta find it!

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