Role Models

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts … A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  (Sophia Loren)

My parents are both gone now, but they will remain my role models for the rest of my life. They were wonderful examples of what it means to be good people.

When I was small I emulated their behaviour because I loved them without even knowing why. Growing up under their guidance was a priceless gift that I took for granted and didn’t appreciate until I became a parent myself. When they didn’t agree on something they still loved and respected eachother enough to compromise and to work things out. They wanted basically the same things out of life for themselves and for their children and they worked hard to get them. They were kind and generous and thoughtful and brave.

They both made sacrifices for us, but they never sacrificed themselves or who they were. They did what they believed in and they did the things that made them happy as individuals and what they felt would make the world a better place. They were the best grandparents to our children that it’s possible to be They were beautiful and they were loved.

How incredibly lucky and blessed I am to have known them – how could I not want to be like them and pass these things along to the next generation? The task is huge. Falling short looms large. They taught by example, and they never stopped trying. So neither will I.

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City or Country?

Living on a farm while I was growing up certainly had it’s good points, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t wish that I lived in a city or a town. To do anything interesting at all we had to GO someplace when it would have been so much easier to just live where interesting things were going on in the first place. Once I left the country life behind I’ve never wanted to go back to the isolation and the seclusion, or those wide open spaces or the dead silence in the middle of the night.

My dad was the only one in his family of ten who decided to farm for a living, so our house was a favourite meeting place and vacation spot for the aunts and uncles and cousins who wanted to get away from the city. They all said they envied us our rural lifestyle but I never really believed it. The barn smelled awful and the garden was enormous. There were farm animals everywhere and bugs and sheds and tractors and wild things in the forests. I felt stuck in the middle of nowhere and would have gone home with any one of my city cousins to live in a house with a sidewalk and street lights and neighbors on every side and shops within walking distance and schools with classrooms for every single grade.

Since then I’ve lived in high rise apartments and basement suites and town houses. There have been cities of all sizes and hamlets of no size at all, and a couple of growing towns, but a home in the country has never been on my list of places I’d like to live. The farm was forever a wonderful place to visit, but getting back to the city has never made me sad.

Where I live now I can walk to a movie theatre and a shopping mall and a coffee shop and a convenience store. There are schools and playgrounds all around us. We have neighbors who say hello and mail delivery to our door and an incredible recycling system with weekly pick up. I am lulled to sleep by the sounds of traffic and the wail of sirens and the distant whistling of the trains. I have a backyard and a big tree and a couple of bushes and some flowerbeds, and that’s about all the agriculture I can stand.

I like neon signs and pavement and big city buses and good restaurants. I like pizza delivery and high speed internet and supermarkets. I love that it’s a 10 minute drive to work and that there is easy access to excellent health care and that the UPS guy hands me packages at my front door.

I’m a country girl who left it all behind with no regrets. Now if we could just make it SUMMER in the city all year round, that would be sweet.

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