On the road

The first lie that parents-to-be tell themselves is that nothing will change.  Let me give it to you straight, everything changes.  You don’t sleep the same, you don’t eat the same, hell, you probably don’t see the same because you’re so tired.  But they make you better.  You love in a boundless way that you never thought was possible.  I would do anything for my son.  If running in front of a moving vehicle meant that he had more time to reach his potential I would do it gladly because I’ve lived plenty.

One aspect of my former life that I am not willing to part with is my love of travel.  I very much take on Angelina Jolie’s philosophy when she says: “Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare.  I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see.”  Being forever rooted sounds like an absolute nightmare.  My husband feels the same way and has consequently chosen a career that is conducive to these types of dreams.  So when we planned for a family these intentions remained.

There are things that you cannot plan for though, like timing and the temperament of the child.  At certain ages it is much easier to travel on long-haul flights.  Granted, they may cry at times when they’re an infant, but you don’t have to walk up and down the aisle for hours on end like you would with a toddler.  Our neighbour once said that our son is full of beans.  He absolutely loves people and draws so much energy from them.  While saying this, he is not the best at waiting and biding his time.  For these types of children, a 12 hour flight is not the best idea till they are a bit older and can rationalize why it’s taking so long.  Hell, I’m 32 and I still find 16 hour flights to be killer.  But, those places will wait for you so bide your time too.

We’ve taken a few vacations and his grandparents have graciously cared for him in our absence.  But moving to Massachusetts has once again changed everything.  We just bring him everywhere now, from the bank to the grocery store.  We do so many more activities in small-town America than we ever did in Toronto.  This has shown us that if we raise our expectations for his behavior, he will rise to the occasion.  Of course it’s a learning process but with every road trip where he doesn’t ask to get up or event that he leaves without a fit, it builds our confidence that he’ll be ready in time for more major trips.

My advice to parents who are thinking of taking on these endeavors is to always have snacks and do activities that work with your child’s personality.  We always agreed that he will join our adventures because it’s an integral part of building his cultural capital.  Seeing the different ways that people live out their everyday lives transforms your perspective on privilege and contentment.  The other day I said to Andrew that when we’re in LA this summer we should take C to Disneyland.  To this, C replied, “We should go to China.  I want to go to China.”  I think he’s game non?

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To be social

In my twentieth attempt to quit gossip I decided to become more savvy in social media.  I figured if I spend so much time using it to gain information I might as well also be a source of one too.  I never realized how thrilling it would be.  There are so many different platforms to meet your every need but here are two of my favourites.

Have you ever felt like there are too many tabs open in your brain?  Pinterest will help you store some of that inspiration and in a format that is accessible anytime and anywhere.  If you’re a control freak like me this is an online version of one of your to-do lists but the best part is that there is no temporal limit.  Who cares if you don’t get to the file on “Decor inspiration” till two years down the road when you’ve actually bought a home.  Also, if you’re a shopping fiend like me a file called “Products” can help keep track of what is on your radar.  But trust, it’s dangerous for your cash flow because you will remind yourself of things you want.  You can follow my Pinterest boards here.

Tumblr helps to make up for Pinterest’s shortcomings.  My two most active boards on Pinterest were “Style” for my fashion inspiration and “Mapping beauty” where I posted images that I find beautiful.  But without an archive button it is difficult to locate that Emerson Fry jumper or Neil Patrick Harris’ photo.  With Tumblr you can upload these photographs but can also find them again later.  I started one of these accounts when I was looking for news about a certain Canadian ice dance pair.  US weekly doesn’t really cover the lives of figure skaters and fans always have more information.  So amongst the outfits, plates of food and travel destinations their faces would pop up every now and then.  Now I’ve kind of lost interest in them so I’ve purged my account, short a few images, and the blog reflects my current interests.  See but this is the strength of Tumblr, it allows for this type of flexibility.  That and the ability to control your content.  In Pinterest one way to garner followers is to follow individuals who re-pinned one of your items.  The positive aspect of this is that your feed reflects the preferences of so many different people form various backgrounds.  The limitation in this is that you sometimes have to weed through spiritual quotes and crafting instructions.  With Tumblr there are endless amounts of fashion bloggers to follow and they provide the type of content that you’re looking for.  There is less filler.  I run my Tumblr account found here as Kate Smith.  Surprise, surprise.

Although distinct this and other social media platforms are just a way to mold your online brand.  Of course most of us aren’t selling anything but our day to day life requires putting forth a certain identity.  Just like you had that cork board of notes, photographs and postcards in your youth, it’s here again, just online.  The best part is that you can create or erase, alter or keep whatever suits your needs in the present.  We all know that it’s written in ink and will last forever, so of course take care.  It goes without saying that one must educate the kids for sure but perhaps an extracurricular activity would also help.  There’s nothing better than going out and having an actual conversation.  But I almost feel like it’s become so banal.  Like with anything, your past actions impact the now, with or without the photos at the bar being hammered.

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