Then and Now

As many of you know, I occasionally include my newspaper column on this blog. It is the 14th anniversary of my column “On The Homefront….and Beyond”, so I thought I would share it with you. It appears on p. 5 of the Kingsville Reporter:

I have been writing this column for fourteen years now. It started out as a joint venture with another writer friend of mine, Liz Moore, but after about ten months she moved to London and this space became mine. A lot has changed in 14 years. I was a young (young being relative here) mother then, with a 7 year old and 12 year old. The topics I wrote about then were a bit different than the topics I write about now.

Then, I wrote about sending my kids back to the first day of class in September, and performing a ritual “happy dance” until my oldest asked me not to do it anymore because it made him feel like I wanted to get rid of him. I understood, and I stopped doing the happy dance. And I quit humming “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year” to boot. After a summer of wracking my brain to find things to do to keep my kids from being perpetually bored, I was probably ready to have them back at school, but I did not want them to know that. And if I were honest, they were pretty good at keeping themselves busy and happy.

Today, my kids are in their twenties. One is away at college and is a computer genius (which you have to realize that to me, anyone who knows the ins and outs of a computer is a computer genius— still, I think he is brilliant—but I am his mother after all.) I call my eldest son a Rock God, which he is not really comfortable with, but he is getting used to me referring to him as such. And he does play a mean lead guitar. His band is called Rodents & Rebels. Not a name a mother would choose, but hey, they like it.

Then, I would write about our adventures in the soccer field, at the baseball diamond, and on the basketball court. Today, my kids talk about being “buff”, which I think means there is a six-pack in their future, whether it be the liquid kind, or the “arrangement of six bulges in the human abdomen” kind (this definition thanks to all-knowing, all-seeing Wikipedia).

Vacations back then took the form of camping trips, which was and is not a favourite past-time of mine. But in retrospect, with the nostalgia factor kicking in, camping really was a great family time—even if you had to sleep on the ground and walk half a block to a washroom where the showers were always cold. I remember waking up in the morning to coffee and eggs and bacon being cooked over an open fire in order to get me to “stay just one more day mom” and of course I would acquiesce.

English: Camping by Barriere Lake, Barriere, ,...

English: Camping by Barriere Lake, Barriere, , Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, organized vacations take the guise of attending out-of-town weddings or celebrations together, and are not necessarily vacations, but as a mom, I will take any time together with my grown-up kids.

Fourteen years ago things were different. Fourteen years are admittedly a long time in a family’s life—we have all grown a little older—some us have to dye our hair now, some of us do not have as much hair as we did then, and some of us are not home all the time. Sometimes I would give my eye teeth to have that time back, but I also like things as they are now. We still have a long way to go on our journey, and I will continue to let you in on our lives as they change over time.

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57 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us. It must be strange, at this ‘Back to School’ time to reminisce about your children and their school days. I must admit that I fear the day where my daughter leaves home, not because I feel my life will be empty without her but because I can’t imagine not being with her every day and listening to her talk and laugh. Oh dear! What a sad thought! Lovely photo of the camping trip though. Whereabouts is Barriere Lake?

    • I know what you mean – the years just flew by — the picture unfortunately is just generic provided by the good people of WordPress

  2. That was beautiful my friend, thank you for sharing 🙂
    14 years is incredible! Congrats!

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. This was so sweet. I love to reflect on my own family’s history. The best part about the past is that you’ll always have those memories to cherish, photos to look at, and stories to retell over and over.

    • That is true — memories are certainly precious and made better by the fact that you leave the crappy stuff out

  4. Enjoyed reading your newspaper column, LouAnn. (Just had to read my husband’s column when he came home, you know, to proofread or offer suggestions or support or something.) I am smiling thinking of your family being in the public limelight for all those years. Just like ours…

    • you so know what it is like – I made fun of my husband a lot – but he took it very well – I bet your husband has been kind to you

  5. Beautiful… That is it! I am not that astute after all! 😀
    But, it is beautifully written and is really heart-felt. 🙂

  6. What a wonderful way to reflect back on those years of raising your children. I laughed at your mention of the happy dance when school began again, I was the opposite, I enjoyed having mine home and instead celebrated on the last day of school by watching for them with my finger on the stereo ready to push play as soon as the door opened, then we all sang very off-key and at the tops of our lungs to Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. After which we sat down to a meal and listed all the things we wanted to do together we couldn’t during the school year.

    • what a beautiful start to the summer–I too looked forward to it despite my dance story

  7. Thanks for the reminder to live in the moment!

  8. I’m still at the stage that you are so beautifully reminiscing about. I hope we look back at these years and remember them as happy. As long as the hormonal kid doesn’t hate me by then.. I think the difficult years are just starting.

    • there will be some difficult years – I remember them well,but they do not overshadow the good times

  9. I totally understand what you are saying about wanting those times back but also liking the way it is now. I am really enjoying the fact that my hubby and I can just take off in the car now and do what we want and the kids can fend for themselves, but I really really miss being their whole world :(.

    • I know – when they are little you think you will never have that chance again — it is bittersweet

  10. Nice post!
    How much things change between then & now…

  11. That was an awesome read! Thanks for allowing us a glimpse, and the things I have to look forward to in my next 14 years! 🙂

    • even if you go through rough times — the good times weigh heavier in your memory

  12. There are so many changes that occur in our lives and occasionally, like you I look back and have some longings for those times …but then back to reality and I do like the point that my husband and I are at now…..Diane

  13. I can imagine this would be how my mom would feel when the five of us kids will leave the nest. I hope I’ll make the most of our time together, right now I can’t imagine leaving her. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I know, it is hard to see into the future–especially if it is something you are unsure of — I think it becomes a sort of natural progression for you (at least I am hoping so)

  14. Congratulations on 14 years’ worth of writing! Definitely an achievement to be proud of. It’s good to look back and compare with how things are now, for the better or for the worse. 🙂

  15. I remember when you started at the reporter, 14 years ago, really? You reminisce beautifully.

    • hard to believe isn’t it – though I have worked there several times over the years–this has by far been the longest stretch–remember when Herb used to help me get the minutes for the meetings?

  16. 14 years – well done! This is a great achievement. I love the way you reminisce – so poignant 🙂

    • thank you – love that word poignant–especially when it is pointed at me 😉

      • 😀

  17. This is a lovely trip back and forth in time.

    • thank you – I was quite sick when I wrote this but made happier by the memories (flu sick-nothing life threatening except my cat kept coming over and wanting to sit with me, which made me think I had one of those cats that know when you are going to die)

      • Me too the flu! Your cat anecdote made me guffaw into my beer!

  18. Please accept this nomination for One lovely blog award. 🙂

    • I am honoured to receive this — thank you so much. I really enjoy your blog btw.

      • My pleasure. 🙂

  19. Lou Ann, how lucky you are to write about this! This is a writer’s dream and I wish I could get your paper so I could read more.

    • -when I first started this blog in August 2011–the only posts I made were my columns until probably March 2012 — so if you are interested you can read some of my old columns there
      -working for a small newspaper means that only the front page stories are online–some of mine are featured–but they all have to do with our local municipal council, so they are nothing to write home about
      -something I want to do is put my columns in a book or two or three (since there are so many) so maybe someday……….
      anyway thanks for the compliment–I think I have overanswered your comment

  20. Lovely post, congratulations on 14 years!

    • Thanks Krista–hard to believe it has been 14 years–a lot has happened in that time- xo

  21. How about if I just come to your place? Much simplier. It takes me while sometimes…

    • this afternoon at 2–I will have the wine chilling or the tea made–whichever you prefer

  22. Praising God & the Universe for you & your family Lou!
    You blessed beyond I can tell.
    Love your son’s band name. I can dig it! Mine’s name was Soma. Today there is a street drug called Soma. Go figure.
    And lead guitar, is there any better?

    • why thank you so much
      your band – what were you?
      you are such an interesting girl- I cannot carry a tune in a tin pail or whatever that saying is
      my dad was a musician, so that is where my son gets it–

      • Aww Lou than you. You know what you can amass in 50 plus yrs.

        My dad, my mom, my two brothers. I grew up around music. I am a vocalist ,and when I was with Soma I did mostly back-ups. An occasional lead. I also have sang with the University’s Women’s Chorale Society , talk about a culure shock. I have performed in a lot different ways.

        How awesome that your son got it,, gets the passion and will move it forward. Good job mom!

      • how cool is that? you must have a wonderful voice–I am so envious–I can play the radio and whistle a little

    • II so love you Lou. I love how you play tha radio girl.
      We all have ourt talents, one of yours is being the best critic you can be for you sons band an dhis playing style and technique. I know how much he counts on you for support.

      Have a fabilous rest of your day my dear friend.~ BB

  23. Congratulations on 14 years! What an accomplishment 🙂 And a great article, it makes me wish I’d been able to read more of your work.

    • thank you –what a lovely compliment– I am hoping to put it in book form someday

      • You definitely should!!

      • thank you – appreciate your encouragement

  24. I am so enjoying everyone I’ve met while blogging. What a lovely community of diverse thinkers and great writers!

    • it is such a nice community

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