Friday, February 19, 2010

My Tween is Like, Almost a Teen. Seriously.

Today my daughter has taken another skip toward teendom. Toward the era of darkness, as my boy so wisely predicts. Her 12th birthday is exciting for her, bittersweet for me. I've had an entire year to consider her maturity, the changes she will experience, the excitement, the agony that begins for both her and her parents. And yet, it snuck up on me. Damn.

I spent the week thinking about how to celebrate this birthday. Should I take her out for a nice meal? Should we do the typical trip to the mall? A meal at home with the family wasn't in the cards. Hubby was gigging and I had an appointment around dinnertime. I wanted it to be special. She had talked about a sleepover or a night time party, but her best buddy was out of town and so the party would have to wait.

As the day neared, we scrambled to get her the most important gift of all, a cell phone. As much as I dreaded the foray into triple digit texting frenzy, she was now of the age where she could stay after school for football games. This meant another step toward independence for her, which means we had to find a way to stay tethered without her feeling or knowing it; a cell phone, unfortunately, is a solution. Let the texting begin! I am afraid. Her best friend sent over 100 messages HER first day. What on earth could they say???

I soon found out. Immediately after picking her up from school I was told she'd been invited to a movie with her friends. We would go pick up her phone so she could text, not call, and get the details. We headed out to her favorite bakery where we indulged ourselves with pastries and text messages. Yes, we sat directly across from each other and texted our plans for the rest of the day. As ridiculous as it was, I went along with it. Kids today! As weird as it seems, it makes her happy and feel connected. To me it seems like a total disconnect but what do I know?

On the way to pick up her brother, we took a detour to a home decor/consignment store which was great fun. We found a dresser and a cool table for the foyer. And some great chairs, outdoor set and a pinball machine. We didn't walk out with any of those items, but instead purchased a $2 pair of purple earrings for Cyre. Happy Birthday!

Next on the agenda was a visit to the doctor. The kids were great. They played with toys, read books and played with cell phones Sometimes technology had its moments and this was one of them. If it could keep the peace for an hour, then I was down with it.

We grabbed homemade pasta and Chinese at the grocery, a movie to watch and headed home. We had only moments before the texting began. Where, when, how would she meet her friends? The constant beeping indicated a new text was just received was enough to develop a new tick. And this was day one...

As I pulled into the movie theater and saw her friends huddled together with laughter, it hit me. She had crossed into another time zone, another stage, the era of darkness. This was a huge moment. Remember your first "alone" movie with friends? I do. Westwood Theater, Etobicoke. That was hard to swallow.

At least I still had my boy. We celebrated the evening with a dance/military/marine party. After wearing me out, Keller suggested we watch a movie with a "hero" which meant I could request James Bond. A win/win for everyone!

Shortly thereafter Cyre came home and answered a slew of "Happy Birthday" phone calls. She has since spent the rest of the evening setting up voice mail, texting and celebrating her new found youth.

A happy birthday indeed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

She's a Dancing Machine

Dancin, dancin, dancin!!! She's a dancin machin-ine...

That's right, I'm back at it. It's been a long 15 years or so since I've attended a dance class or hit the floor in a serious manner and it's wonderful. Part of the new year, new world order is that I take care of myself and do something just for me. Some folks buy gym memberships, hire personal trainers or train for marathons to get in shape. I'm doing the foxtrot, the rumba, the cha cha and the west coast swing.

Sure, I need to tone up, drop some pounds and get fit. But truthfully, I'm taking dance classes first and foremost because it makes me happy. Not just put a smile on my face happy, but singing inside, dance around like Snoopy, happy. Why have I let it go for so long if that's the result? Have I just been a miserable person for the past 15 years? I don't know and no. I haven't been unhappy for the past 15 years, but I could have been happier. And now I am.

Since moving to our home on Burtonwood, I pass by the Fred Astaire Dance Studio twice a day, going to and from work. And for the last six months, I've told myself I'm going to stop by and sign up for a class. But, life gets busy, the holidays were approaching, money got tight, time slipped away...shit happens.

It took a really busy week at work and an even busier weekend for me to get grumpy enough to take action. After complaining about my schedule for the umpteenth time, it dawned on me that only I could change things and that doing something completely for myself that would make me feel good in every way, was the ticket. I called and signed up for class.

Most of the folks taking classes are either young couples working on learning to put on a decent show at their wedding, older couples looking for some new element to add some spice to their lives, or single guys looking to improve their chances of meeting a chick. Oh, and a couple of single ladies looking for...I don't know. I can only speak for myself. Happiness.

And, as luck would have it, once again I have a dance teacher who has a fabulous Latin name and hips that do some serious damage. I fondly remember Fernando, the Fred Astaire of Chile who was so hot, even extreme hetro guys had to stare. My current teacher doesn't have quite the same effect, but he's got some incredible moves and is excited that I don't step on his toes too often. It's a good fit.

My husband does not love dancing, and understands that these classes are really just for me. He's not at all interested in coming to class and I'm sure totally relieved I haven't asked. However, once I told him about one of the female dancers who was showing everyone the west coast swing and forgot (I hope) that she was wearing a full skirt and a thong, and gave us all a FREE SHOW, his ears perked up. He may show up one day unexpectedly...

All this time learning to dance is going to help me more than physically. It's going to help me mentally as well. I'm forever being told to do something for myself, be nice to myself, and enjoy life. Learning to spend some money and time on just me is tough. I'm used to putting the kids first. Their lessons/activities always take precedent. But, all work and no play makes for a grumpy mummy and that doesn't make for a happy household. So, I'm learning to indulge. Just a little. I'm a dancin machine once again.