Lower Your Stress…Send Your Kids Away for College!

I have a confession to make.EUREKA! (6)

It’s a big one.

Having a child away at university is not all bad.

There!  I said it!  (and naturally, I feel totally guilty, but I’m callin’ a spade a spade!)

In September, our first born left my well guarded and much cherished nest to start the next chapter of his life – to start school at St.F.X University.  I was, in true “me” form, pretty torn up about it.  I never doubted how important it is for him to experience being away and doing things on his own, but leaving him there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  I will point out, however, according to my sweet husband, I did much better with the whole transition than he ever would have thought (read: it was easier for him to deal with my emotional state than he had anticipated 😀 ).

For the first few weeks, I was pretty lonely for him and it was so different without him at home. I think what I missed the most was having him walk through the door at 4:00 every afternoon, after school.  Oddly enough, though, as time went on, we started noticing a strange state of “calm” in the house and even more so is the fact that I’ve been generally feeling the same way…calmer.  The other day, someone pointed out how much less stressful the mornings are, even though we still have three kids here (our oldest was the only one who was crazy hard to get out of bed in the morning).  So far this year, everyone has been on time, there’s very little stress, yelling, rushing…a very pleasant difference from what had been the norm for mornings in our house, for years.

The biggest change I’ve noticed since our oldest left for school is the lack of stress and worry I have over what he’s doing. He’s a great student, so I seldom fret about that, but his natural need for independence that’s been growing over the past couple of years has been challenging for me.  In spite of what was considered “normal” for most of his friends, I still felt responsible to make sure that independence came at a reasonable and safe rate. (My husband calls it “control”, but that’s such a nasty, negative word…I prefer not to use it. 😉 )  Whenever he went out, I worried about where he was, what he was doing, when he’d be home, how he was getting there…the usual.  Now that he isn’t at home anymore, it is no longer my job to stress about those things and I have (rather successfully) crossed it right off my list!  I’ll admit that I did spend a few of the first nights of frosh week worrying about just how many parties were going on, but since then, I’ve amazed myself at how easily I’ve been able to let it go.  I am most certainly feeling less stressed and in a much calmer state, overall…it rocks!

I’m positively gobsmacked (and a little proud) at how quickly I’ve adjusted to having one of my children no longer living under our roof.  I still miss him like crazy and his friends often tease him about how much we FaceTime (while waving to me on the screen 😀 ), but my husband and I keep noticing so many positives about it: the food in my fridge lasts longer – a LOT longer, we have one less work schedule to accommodate, lots more space in the house, and the best one, so much less worry for me!

Having said all of that, I’m driving up on Friday morning to bring my sweet boy home for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait.  We’re both counting down the days, which warms my heart that he’s as excited to come home and we are to have him.  My husband, who also went away for university, has warned me it’s likely going to be somewhat challenging for all of us to have him in the house again, but it’s only three days and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!


End of Summertime Blues – Can it really be over?

endofsummertimebluesMy Facebook page is flooded with pictures of children heading off to school this week. Our children do not return to school until tomorrow, and I am seriously not ready for summer vacation to end.

We had a remarkable summer. We went on a road trip to Ottawa. Travelling with school age kids, is AWESOME! We had a fantastic time. While there, my tween and I went to see Taylor Swift. It was her first concert and is was fantastic (the only thing we forgot was ear plugs!)

We purchased a cute, new-to-us tent trailer and went camping once! We absolutely love having it and hopefully next summer we will be able to head out on more adventures with it.

The kids were dedicated to their summer swim team this year. Witnessing them both excel, improve both inside and outside the pool was so wonderful. The little one is totally into soccer and has shown both skill and passion for the sport.So fun to watch a kid that actually wants to play soccer (our older kids were completely uninterested).

We went to the beach, the lakes, biking, hiking, swimming … we experienced summer to the fullest.

And yet I am not ready to let these days go. My kids are so close right now. At the end of the school year, they barely knew how to hang out with each other anymore. There is a 5 year span between my youngest and my oldest, so their school life is vastly different. Summer is a time that we center ourselves again, reacquaint ourselves with each other, strengthen that bond that stretches as the kids grow up and slowly grow independent.

I will miss the beach, however more so, I will miss hearing the kids giggle, play games, share interests throughout the day. We shared so much this summer. There was no social drama, no crazy schedules to adhere to, no volunteering obligations. My house was loud and messy. I worked out little and yet I am so content and feel so close to my children.

As the school year begins, so do a host of activities, swimming, soccer, hockey, violin, trombone, nightly reading aloud, homework and socializing with friends. Tomorrow morning will be the end of summer vacation, I will mourn these beautiful relaxed days. I am keenly aware I am the minority, most parents appear to be relieved that their children are returning to school, to the routines and structure.

Are you looking forward to school beginning or are you like me, mourning the beautiful summer days?



Taking a vacation without the kids – Dealing with the Mom Guilt

Taking-a-vacationIt took me 8 years to take a break from parenting and go away for a weekend with my husband. The first time we went away my husband’s mom came out to stay with the kids while we reconnected, relaxed and got away from it all. Except I kinda didn’t, I was stressed and sad and felt remorse for going. I felt guilty that I wanted to get away from my kids. Since that first time, my husband and I try to get away every year if we can, although we have always been a phone call away, never venturing more than an hour from home.

This year we are going farther and longer than we ever have. We have an opportunity to go to Hawaii and I never once considered taking the kids with us. Instead they will stay with their grandparents, who are over the moon excited. Yet there is a part of me that knows the kids would love Hawaii, the beaches, the hikes, the entire experience. It is by sheer determination that I am allowing myself to be selfish and do this trip with my best friend, my husband, the guy I chose to spend the rest of my life with. I know I am going to miss the kids like mad and I will allow myself to feel a teeny tiny bit remorseful that the kids are not with us to enjoy the vacation. However the benefits of us as parents vacationing solo are so worth it and outweigh the Mom Guilt.

  • A break from the pressure. Parenthood is hard. Everyday there is something to manage, influence, untangle, scoop, cook, decide, clean, organize, etc. I didn’t realize the weight of that pressure until we were away this weekend. I came back and I felt like I was stoned I was so blissful. It was so obvious I was in a different state of mind, my husband kept saying he wanted to do whatever it took to keep me feeling that way.
  • Reconnecting with your spouse. My husband and I are very close, and talk constantly. However on our weekend away I avoided talking about the kids, to free up the air time for other stuff. It helps that there were no interruptions, no talking about video games and no one to compete with for attention.
  • Enjoying the little things. We got to stay up late, sleep in, we listened to music in the car that we wanted to listen to, I got to go pee uninterrupted and we got to eat a variety of “adult” food. We also went for a 2.5 hour bike ride, we walked on the beach, shopped without worrying someone would break something. It was easy to remember why we got married, we are awesome together!
  • The kids have an experience too. This past weekend, my three kids stayed with another family with three kids the same age. It was a giant, awesome sleepover with friends they do not get to see everyday. They got to eat different foods, sleep on the floor, talk late into the night, watch movies and be somewhere new. We had hosted the three kids in the fall and it was such a great experience.
  • Making our marriage a priority. We are role modelling to our children what a healthy relationship looks like.  Marriage takes work, and I think it is important for the kids to understand that. It also gives the kids an added sense of security, knowing that we love each other and are working to remain in a healthy relationship.
  • Moms are people too. I want my kids to recognize that I am important too. I almost always put their needs first, and I happily do so. However, like I care for them, at times their Dad cares for me and takes care of my needs as a person.

We are all super excited to take a family vacation this summer to Ottawa and Montreal, as well as some camping trips. I think that it is important to travel with my kids as much as it is to do so without them. It will be a little more intense for me emotionally to go so far away from them when we go to Hawaii, however they will be in excellent hands. Again, the kids will get to experience staying with the Grandparents, something we live too far away for them to experience normally.

Have you taken a vacation without the kids?


Blessing My Kids with That ’70s Summer (and Getting Through my Summer Reading List!)

That '70s Summer

Last week, I read this awesome post by Scary Mommy: 10 Ways to Give your Kids a 1970’s Kind of Summer and I was laughing out loud by the end of the third paragraph because I am THAT mom…that mom that spends the few weeks before the start of summer, wracking my brain to come up with ways I can make sure my kids have the best summer yet!  I have to say…it’s freaking exhausting!!

I’m stay at home mom of four and for the most part, have been one for many years.  Even when I was working, I did most of it from home and was lucky enough not to have to work much in the summer.  That left me ample time to make every summer just perfect. Reading this post, I found myself asking that nut-bar part of me “What the hell were you thinking?!?”  Summer, by its very nature, is perfect.  No routine, no stressing over getting them out the door on time every day, racing to get their lunch into them and back in the hour, worrying about making sure they’re in bed early enough…etc.  Summertime really doesn’t need any help.

The post was incredibly effective in bringing back memories of my summers as a child and couldn’t be more on the mark as to how we enjoyed every single one.  I spent endless hours with our neighborhood friends doing just about all of the 10 things on her list and loving every minute of it (#7 was one of my favorites).  I realized how much my kids enjoy doing the very same things. I even felt a tad selfish by the time I got to the last paragraph because all I could think of was how relaxing summer would be for ME, if I followed this example.  I instantly pictured myself actually getting through my summer reading list, without feeling an ounce of guilt (I found this awesome one by Modern Mrs. Darcy here, and a minimalist version of it here!)…and perhaps, a summer beverage (or two) at my side, for those especially hot and sunny days!

Years ago, we were like everyone else and did the soccer and baseball things, but (thankfully) after a few years of doing that with the older two and dragging the younger two with us, we realized that life was busy enough for us in the wintertime. We needed the break in the summer,  so we stopped all the scheduled summer activities and have never regretted it. For us, it was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done.  It made for such relaxed evenings, but I still stressed about making sure my days with the kids were fun-filled and exciting – every one.  Oh how I wish I had read that post 10 years ago!

I’m always worrying about wasting time…I always feel like there’s so much I have to do (or should be doing) that I feel guilty when I’m not as “productive” as I should be. This post helped me realize that summer doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be about being productive – the rest of the year can be for that. It’s summer – there’s no snow and it’s light for more than 15 hours a day! Clearly, I don’t have to work so hard at trying to make it great.

Old habits die hard, so it’s not going to be possible for me to instantly turn off the old me and just sit and do nothing all summer. It’ll be a work-in-progress. But I am definitely going to spend less time making sure we have something cool planned every single day and more time listening to the sounds of the kids running around the yard (and in and out of the house) with the neighborhood kids…all while I make my way through my summer reading list, quite likely with a summer beverage (or two) by my side.

Feel free to join me!



Often Stressed, but Ever Blessed

“I call shotgun!”Often Stressed, but Ever Blessed

“No way!  I was here first!”

“Mom said you’re not allowed to call it”

(Me) “Just get in…you’re getting out first…let him get in the front”

“Mom!  That’s not fair!”

This was the conversation as they left this morning.  One would think this might be the conversation of little kiddos, or at the very least, my 10 and 12 year olds.  Nope, it was my 15 and 17 year olds.  I’m at the door laughing, thinking how funny it is to hear kids that age argue the same way toddlers do and wondering when it will stop.  Maybe never…and I think I’m ok with that.

I closed the door, still smiling, shaking my head at them and thinking how lucky I am.  I have four great kids.  My children are far from perfect – they leave every light in the house on, bicker like cats and dogs sometimes, spit toothpaste all over the sink (still haven’t figured out how that is even possible!), take 40 minute showers (yes, I said FORTY minutes) and have trouble hearing me a lot most of the time.  In spite of all these things (and there are lots more I could detail, but this is about how great they are, so I’ll save the rant for another post!), my kids are great.  They work hard in school, have huge hearts, and love each other very much – even though sometimes you have to read between the lines to see it.

With the end of the school year quickly approaching (yay!), I’m noticing that I’m much more sentimental than my usual “thank god the school year is over!”.  My oldest will be graduating from high school and I still can’t believe it’s happening, even though I’ve heard it from my parents, grandparents and anyone with older children how quickly time goes by. It’s so surreal.  I remember so clearly being absolutely frazzled with four little ones, for what seemed like so many years, keeping them occupied and trying to keep my cool, while also trying to make sure to do everything right.  Thankfully, I’ve since learned that it’s not humanly possible to do everything right and now I just try to get some of it right…ok, fine…I really try to get more than about 75% of it right (old habits die hard).

I think back to what seemed to be a very slooooow moving time in my life and am amazed at where we are and how quickly it happened.  My advice to everyone with younger children these days might sound terribly cliche, but it’s the truth — try to keep in mind that even though you’ll likely want to tear your hair out about 50 times in any given day, this too shall pass. Before you know it, you’ll be helping them find their first job, teaching them to drive, or going to look at tuxedos for their prom.  Like me, you’ll be left wondering how it all happened so fast, so be sure to enjoy every minute of it…even the minutes that at the time you’d rather forget!

I watch my kids now and am ecstatic to see that we seemed to have done a lot of it right – they’re wonderful and we’re so very blessed to have them.  I need to be sure to remember that when my stress level is soaring as I walk through the house and turn off umpteen lights, pull the straightener plug from the wall even though she’s long gone, and pick up the endless dirty socks that litter the floors.

I’m one lucky mamma.



It is time to prepare for summer!!

itistimetoprepareforsummerThe talk on the playground is that nearly everyone is ready for summer to begin. Perhaps it was the harsh winter we had, however I am so totally ready for summer break. Breaking free from some of the routines, not having to walk to school and back, scheduling absolutely everything and getting out and exploring. I find it harder and harder to get the kids in bed on time, we are all longing for this break. Around here that is still 5-6 weeks away, however here are a few things to do now to make the most out of this summer.

  1. Host a family meeting – Take the time to brainstorm as a family and create a rough draft for a Summer Bucket List. Ask the kids what they hope to do this summer and write it all down. For example, we inherited a telescope that we have yet to try out, so I hope this summer we will gaze at the stars.
  2. Plan a family vacation – We are headed to Ottawa this summer for our family vacation. The kids are really getting excited about exploring our Nation’s Capital and it will be a really fun road trip.
  3. Stock up – This is the time to load up on sunscreen, bug repellant, bandaids and first aid supplies. I am also stocking up on bubbles, sidewalk chalk and outdoor activities for the kids, as well as water toys for the beach and fruit freezes for the warm days.
  4. Mom time – I find it really tricky to find time for me during the summer. I love love love having my kids at home, hosting playdates and being active all summer however I do need to figure out a better way to have some time to rejuvenate. Most summers the ENTIRE summer goes by and I do not see Suzanne, that is how focused we end up being on our families.
  5. Clean the vehicle – This is something I am dreading! It has been a LONG winter and our vehicles desperately need a good scrubbing before we go on any road trips. I also plan to get the husband to look everything over before hitting the road to ensure we are safe.
  6. Yard prep – Now is the time to get the yard kid ready and sparkly! We have started by getting the deck furniture out and raking, but we still have some work to do before summer officially begins.
  7. Birthday parties – I have two summer birthday children, and I have traditionally hosted the oldest birthday party before school ended for the year. That ensured all her friends from school could attend, especially with so many families going on vacations. I will continue that tradition for my youngest now that she is in school.
  8. The last day – When my oldest started there was a group of moms that would meet at a local restaurant with all the kids for a Last Day of School Summer Kick Off lunch. It was so fun, unfortunately that tradition faded away. I would like to figure out something, even if it is just with my own kids, to mark the occasion.

Ok looking at this list I still have a lot to do!!! Are you excited for the summer vacation to start? Do you prep in advance?


Now that the kids are all in school – Remaining a stay at home mom

remainingastayathomemomNow that all three of my children are in school, I have been asked a lot when I am returning to work. I have considered it, I even seriously looked at getting a graduate degree in my field. Ultimately, we have decided that I will remain a stay at home mom for now.

This is the first year that my youngest has gone to school. I somehow imagined it to be different than what it has become. It has been a lot harder on her and me to make the transition from home to school. She did attend very fun and laid back, preschool however most of her interactions have been with her siblings and older children. We have stumbled and fumbled adjusting to her peer group and have found some wonderful friendships along the way.

I miss my children when they are at school, and yet I thought I would get more accomplished while they were there. Granted I spend a fair bit of time, volunteering at their school (which I enjoy doing for the most part). Large parts of my “free time” are spent prepping, shopping, cleaning and managing our busy household. There is still so much I want to do, painting, renovations, DIY. My Pinterest is overflowing with ideas and wants and desires.

I will remain a stay at home mom so that my children have less hurried lives. They can enjoy big chunks of time that have no responsibilities, there is no where they have to be. The children learn how to entertain themselves. Although I am home with them, I do not design their play nor do I entertain them with structured activities all the time. Over the summer, my children typically do not attend day camps, in part because they are expensive, more importantly because summer they have a chance to explore what they want to explore. We go to the beaches, we play in the backyard, we go for bike rides and hikes.

During the school year, I enjoy being here everyday after school. We invite friends over, I also care for a few amazing kids after school that have become part of our extended family. I know all of my children’s friends, and they all feel welcome here. I have gotten to know a lot of the parents at the school and I know my kid’s teachers well. I sit on the Student Advisory Committee, so that I have the opportunity to be involved at the school. After school we cook and prep dinner together, we do homework and extra work, we listen to music and we always read together. I cherish this time with them, the screens are off all week and we are truly bonded as a family.

I am fortunate to be good friends with other mothers that have made the same choices I have. Witnessing Suzanne stay at home with her older kids has been very inspirational and comforting for me. Quite often the message from society is that we should want to return to work. People tell me how bored they would be at home and I am at a loss for words on that comment. Seriously, I have yet to be bored now that the children are older. I do confess when they were babies, there were some mind numbing moments when I was watching the clock waiting for my husband to return from work.

Mothers with older children also have shared that as the kids get older, they feel that they are even more needed at home. Children entering their tween, teen and even adult years benefit from the support of having a parent at home. When I have asked my kids if they want me at home, without hesitation they want me to be here.

This is not a debate which is better, staying at home or working. This is just my experience and what we have chosen to do. Every family is unique. This is just what works best for us at this time.

I look forward to the next few years, as all of us get used to this transition of the children being in school. I hope that I can balance the time even better, so I can pursue more of my personal interests and prep for more enhanced learning opportunities with the kids. As I said this first year was much harder than I was prepared for. I think that is in part because I took too much on, and due to being so heavily emotionally invested in my children’s well-being. Seriously, I wouldn’t have it any other way!



5 Important Nutrients to Supplement in a Vegetarian Diet

A few weeks ago, Raechelle wrote this post about her oldest daughter deciding she wanted to be a vegetarian.  It must have been something in the snow this winter because my oldest daughter decided the same thing shortly after Christmas.  I was completely shocked at first because she’s always enjoyed meat and I couldn’t imagine her passing up a nice steak or yummy roast beef, but the choice made sense to her, so we went with it.  (Look at me…rockin’ the letting go thing!)

When she first started, I knew very little about eating vegetarian – other than not eating meat. I made sure we had an alternative for her to eat when we were having meat and we also worked more fish and seafood into our meals, which is a good thing for everyone.  As time went on, though, she became more committed to it and I could see I would have to dig a little deeper into how to make sure she’s getting the essentials in her diet that had previously come from meat.

For anyone who knows me, they’ll understand my first thought…”UGH!”  Coming up with one meal to cook every night is pretty much the bane of my existence at the best of time, let alone coming up with an extra dish every night!  However, I’m very proud of her commitment and even though I can’t imagine ever giving up meat myself, we’re behind her 100%.5-Important-Nutrients-to-Supplement-in-a-Vegetarian-Diet

Here are five important nutrients to supplement with vegetarian eating:

  1. Protein – This was the first thing that popped into my head when she announced she was no longer going to eat meat.  I found, though, that there are lots of ways for her to get the protein she’s missing from meat, and bonus – they’re not all strange things that we (as a family of rather plain, pretty much “inside the box” eaters) would never have house! Eggs, peanut butter, almonds and hummus are great sources of protein and are almost always in our cupboard. Phew! Greek yogurt, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa are also good sources – we may not always have them in the house, but have started buying them more frequently, to give her a little more variety.
  2. Iron – As a female, I am acutely aware of making sure my girls and I get enough iron.   Normal-ish foods that are significant sources of iron are eggs, salmon, tuna, leafy green veggies, tofu, dried fruits, and iron-fortified cereals. Iron from non-meat sources isn’t absorbed by the body as easily as when we eat meat, so it’s best to eat these with vitamin C (tomatoes, broccoli, oranges and strawberries).
  3. Calcium – At this point at least, my daughter has only eliminated meat and not all animal products, so I don’t have to worry too much about her calcium.  We’ve already made the switch from cow to almond milk, so that won’t be an issue if/when she takes it further. In addition to dairy, green leafy vegetables, yogurt, tofu and calcium fortified orange juice can all help to add necessary calcium to your diet.
  4. B12 – I think of this as a “feel good” vitamin, so I know how important it is, especially as a female.  I didn’t realize, however, that it was something to supplement in her vegetarian diet.  Eggs are a good source of B12 (which I had no idea) and she loves loves loves eggs, so that was a relief.  Dairy, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified soy milk are also great ways to get additional B12.
  5. Zinc – I had no clue how important zinc is to a body!  It essential to your immune system, improves sleep and energy levels, is an antioxidant, promotes brain health…the list seems to go on and on! Most people get their required zinc from eating meat, but for vegetarians, they can supplement with dairy, fortified cereals and breads, nuts and tofu.

Just to be safe, I grabbed a multi-vitiman for her.  I would much prefer for her to modify her eating habits and get the nutrients she needs from actual, real food…but then, I remember she’s a teenager and the mulit-vitamin will at least give me some piece of mind. Getting her to pay attention to all of this will be a challenge (you can lead a horse to water….), but I’m hoping as she learns more about the process, she’ll start to realize how important it is for her to balance her diet and get what she’s missing.

Stay tuned for some vegetarian recipes that come highly recommended – I’m hoping everyone in my house will love them so I can avoid making two meals now and then. 😉 If you have any recipes your family loves, please send them along – I can use all the help I can get!


Seriously Decluttering Your Digital Life

Seriously Decluttering Your Digital Life copyI am at constant odds with myself, wanting to be organized and ultimately being a free spirit. Honestly, the time spent to be truly organized, I tend to think is better spent out in nature, at the gym, painting, creating, reading or writing. Yet being organized is good for my emotional well-being and I want to teach my children that there can be a balance between being creative and being organized. Constant odds!

I have yet to find a system to keep my digital life organized. I am clearly an email, hoarder. If the emails I have sitting in my in box where on paper, I would be seriously overwhelmed and completely buried in the chaos. That is what it feels like in my mind when I open Mail and see the crazy 2000-3000 emails sitting there. Since it clearly is weighing on my mind, I have decided to full heartedly attack this pile of chaos.

I feel like I need to start with emptying the email so I can start fresh. Once I get there, I want strategies that will help me keep it to a minimum.

So I took the first step and moved ALL 2000 emails to another folder. I cannot bring myself to delete them but they are out of sight for the moment. My goal is to have no more than 20 emails in my inbox at any given time. In order to achieve this I am going to start using the following strategies.

  1. Stop using my email as a to do list. I find I do not delete something right away because I want to do it later, like go to a sale or use a coupon. So I am going to create a To Do folder if I absolutely need to revisit the email. I will also try to delete the contents of the To Do folder nightly.
  2. I am going to use the Delete button, a lot.  When I read something that doesn’t need my attention or action I am going to delete it an drove on.
  3. I am unsubscribing to emails that do not interest me anymore. I collect email subscriptions like some women collect gorgeous shoes!
  4. I will respond as soon as I read an email. All too often I have the time to write a quick response, yet I put it off to do when I can “truly focus”. It is rare that any response needs more than 2 minutes.
  5. Turn off email notifications on Facebook. I am on Facebook often (perhaps too often!) that I do not need email notifications as well. I could not do this on my phone, so once I was home I went to Facebook > Settings > Notifications > Email.

Rather than feeling like I am being buried and chaos, I feel calm, peaceful and wonderful when I open my Mail now that there isn’t over 2000 emails looming there. Now to tackle my digital photos!

Have you ever been overwhelmed by your email or other digital items?


They Like Each Other…They Really Like Each Other!

 I was starting to think it would never happen, but they’re coming around!

theylikeeachother-1Our oldest two children are very different people.  So much so that sometimes, it’s hard to imagine they came from the same two parents.  He’s the rule follower, careful, people pleaser, while she’s more of a bull in the china shop, throw caution to the wind, and get ‘er done person. In spite of their differences, they were very close when they were younger.  We lived away from home and as it was just the two of them most of the time, they always had each other and had so much fun together.  Their differences in personalities never seemed to make a difference, or hinder their relationship at all.

Then we moved back home and sadly, all that changed dramatically – I think, due to a combination of other kids in the neighborhood, starting school and just having such different interests (he loves hockey, she hates it…she loves horses, he’s deathly allergic to them!).  It had become pretty bad over the past several years and one of my biggest worries was that they’d never be able to be friends, even as they became adults. I never questioned their love for each other, but for the love of God, their bickering was enough to send me over the edge!

In recent months, however, for whatever reason, their relationship is starting to come around, full circle.  They talk.  They tell each other stuff.  And yeah, they even keep secrets from us (this one kinda bugged me, until hubby pointed out that them learning to rely on each other is not a bad thing. I can see his point, so I’m trying not to think about it 😉 )

One really cool thing is that their groups of friends (or “squads”, as they refer to them) have started hanging out together at our place. Given that they’re of different genders, I think it’s especially neat.  It’s so funny to see his friends flirting with her friends…and with her, much to her brother’s chagrin!  He really can’t seem to get over his friends flirting with his sister, even though his dad and I have been telling him for years it was inevitable. It’s providing us with such great entertainment – we can’t stop laughing at his reactions to it. Another really cool thing for us to see is how he (and his squad) takes care of his sister, quietly, so no one really notices.  He’s very aware and concerned of who she hangs out with, particularly the guys, and even though she makes a big deal of being frustrated with it, I think she loves knowing he’s got her back.

I have a great relationship with my siblings and I always wanted that for my kids. I think your siblings should be the ones you know you can always count on and/or go to when you need something…anything really, and I was worried that the differences between our older two were going to prevent them from ever enjoying that kind of relationship with each other.  I’m now thinking that’s one worry I can happily cross off my list! They still have their arguments and moments when each one simply cannot believe the things the other one does, but overall, they look out for each other and that makes me smile.

They’re already talking about her going to visit him at school next year – which hubby and I aren’t so OK with at the moment, but we’ll deal with that one when the time comes.  For now, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this very bright side of them getting older and more independent.