Erin's Journals

Friday, May 7, 2021

Just a thought… My mom told me to always invest in two things: your bed and your shoes. That’s what you spend the most time in. [A mom quoted in a recent @TorontoLife tweet]

Don’t miss the video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Hey – sorry I missed doing a new journal here for you yesterday. I try really hard to keep it regular on Mondays and Thursdays because, even though things are sometimes a little too predictable for you, there should be a few things you can count on in life. I just couldn’t carve out a few extra hours and in a few weeks you’ll truly get why. But for now, thank you for being patient. Huh. Maybe there’s something to this Mental Health Week thing after all, eh?

With this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I asked my sisters to remind me of some of our mom’s advice, as I couldn’t remember any in particular. Well, it seems most had to do with men: “Love doesn’t pay the rent,” “It’s as easy to fall for a rich man as a poor man” and “Don’t rely on some man to support you.” Those were nuggets of wisdom she told at least two of my three sisters. (And where were these so-called “rich guys” anyway? Sure, now Bill Gates is available….)

As for advice to me, I remember my mom getting into her third glass of Dad’s homemade wine and telling my much older and more worldly boyfriend that he was nothing but a “gigolo.” While he laughed and I was mortified, she wasn’t wrong and I had the prescription receipts to prove it, not that I ever told her. STD TMI?

My mom was a wise woman in a great many ways and I learned a lot of my “suck-it-up-itude” from her. A combination of being born in the Dirty Thirties, having a sense of humour and a healthy but not overwhelming sense of skepticism, she helped make me who I am today. But while I’m definitely a “glass half full” person, Mom was always remembering the fact that the glass was going to be empty sooner or later – so you’d better prepare yourself.

I’d like to think that in partnership with Rob, I was able to instill in Lauren, not only a healthy optimism and the ability to look at situations in a positive way or foresee how they could turn out well, but also the lessons I learned through reading and therapy.

After Lauren died, one of her co-workers posted on her Facebook page that no matter how insane things got for him as a reporter in the field, he’d call back to the newsroom and Lauren would help him make sense of it; just had that calming maturity and I would love to think we had a hand in that. I’m not proud of everything I did as a mom, but we did a lot of things right and I hold on to every one of those.

Our daughter-in-law Brooke will attest that I’m always spouting quotes (hopefully at the right times), but when something resonates, I tend to commit it to heart and to bring it up when the situation calls for it. Lately it’s been “people who can’t communicate see everything as a fight” (definitely not aimed at her) and that Dr. Frankl quote I love about our ability to choose how we react to any given situation.

Ah, Brooke. I’m so grateful to have someone who asks and wants to hear my take on things; of course, it’s up to her what she takes to heart, what she doesn’t, and on we go. Free advice is worth what you pay for it, right? It’s been a joy as we get to know each other better now that she and her family – our family – live just a seven-minute drive away.

Of course, I’ll never be her mom, nor she my daughter – both of those positions are or were filled, especially in Brooke’s case, as her mom is alive and well. We’re both growing together and becoming completely comfortable in the mother/daughter-in-law relationship, although I kind of wish there was a warmer term, one so much less weighted with negativity than “Mother-in-Law.”

But it is what it is and how we want US to evolve and grow is completely in our control and is, fortunately, limitless. Kind of like the incredible view in this picture Brooke took the other day. She was on a rare outing from the house and I took her to a nearby beach. We sat on a log, talked and looked at the view, both hardly able to take in that this is our home now.

Surely you can’t wonder how I see the world as glass half-full, can you?

Have a lovely Mother’s Day – may the good memories outnumber the tears (and the fears) – and I’ll be back with you on Monday. Or I’ll do my very best. ‘Cause every week is Mental Health Week, my friend.

Rob WhiteheadFriday, May 7, 2021