Too old for tantrums…

This was the first time Jeremy and I have been to the Toronto Pride parade and, if he continues this behaviour, it could be the last.

Two months ago I sorted out what day the main Pride parade was on and made sure I wasn’t working. Two weeks ago I checked out the parade route and decided we’d go just north of the Eaton Centre to watch. Two days ago I sorted out the bus and train schedules. Last night I went grocery shopping for treats, bought sunscreen, baked the mini cupcakes, filled water bottles and placed them in the fridge, got out my big gym bag, and put all our supplies on the table for easy packing this morning. Here’s the cupcakes before they were packed…

purple cupcakes

I got up this morning, had breakfast, woke Jeremy, then looked at the clock while I packed the bags and cringed.

“Jeremy, we’ve got to go. Your breakfast is on the counter. I’m just getting dressed then we need to run to catch the bus.”

I quickly got dressed then went to hand Jeremy his bag.

“Wait, I just need to use the washroom,” he blurted then he hurried away.

Crap, I thought he’d just gone ten minutes earlier while he was in the bathroom, which would have made sense. I grabbed both bags and both water bottles then hurried to the front hall to slide on my sandals. Then I waited impatiently by the door. We’d had just enough time to catch the bus when I came out, I hadn’t counted on Jeremy; he takes longer in the washroom than most people I know. Jeremy finished then went into the living room and started rummaging through the stuff on the desk.

“What are you looking for?” I yelled. “C’mon. We’re going to miss the bus.”

“My cell phone. Can you call it?”

Crap again. My phone was in my pocket and I was holding two bags, two water bottles and our keys. I called and the phone started ringing just as he picked it up. We ran out of the apartment with it ringing in his hand.

We had two options for buses this morning. There’s a regional route which we needed to catch. It went by about two blocks north of our place at 9:07am but from there it takes a huge detour before coming back about 10 blocks south of us. We needed to leave our place by 9am to catch it.

Our second option was catching a bus in front of our building at 9:25am and it would connect with the regional bus at 9:29am. But, as I’ve mentioned before, we haven’t always had good experiences with connecting buses. We had no choice this morning, the regional bus went by when we were still half a block from the stop. Luckily we caught our connecting bus.

Jeremy was quiet on the bus and the train, preferring to listen to a book with his headphones on…

almost there

We got to Union and were immediately confronted with chaos. The whole building’s being renovated and we were routed to an exit I’d never seen before. Finally we got turned around and heading in the right direction for lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

This restaurant was a childhood favourite of mine and one I’ve brought Emma and Jeremy to countless times through the years. It is absolutely incredible (and the food’s good too)…


Lunch was enjoyed thoroughly by both of us and then we set off to find the parade. Jeremy was in an amazingly good mood and, like usual, the conversation got a bit odd.

“It’s so hot, I think I’m going to melt into a puddle,” I commented. “You’re going to have to scoop me off the sidewalk and pour me home.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Jeremy retorted. “You’re far more likely to burst into flames than melt.” Umm… thanks?

“It’s scientifically proven. I read that three people have burst into flames in the last…” his voice trailed off, he’d obviously forgotten that part. “Anyways, I learned about this in school.”

“Wait? What? You’re learning about spontaneous combustion in class?” I blurted. I wondered idly if the women in front of us could hear this conversation.

“Yes, we were reading about it in Rodney’s Believe it or Not.”

I figured that would be how you know your school board has really run out of budget money.

“Umm… I think you mean Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” I said dryly.

“Okay. Well the book said it happens to people who drink a lot of alcohol…”

One of the ladies turned. “Oh dear,” she blurted. Apparently they could hear us. I just laughed.

I turned back to Jeremy. “Hon, they call the book Believe it or Not because not every story is true. You have to figure out which ones aren’t true on your own. I’m thinking this would be one of the not true ones.”

We walked a bit further then I asked a police officer directions to the parade.

“Just down there,” he said and pointed. You can’t miss it.

The first thing I saw were huge pride flags. The second was the protesters. They were pretty lame. Two or three men, two banners, and a megaphone.

“Let’s cross the street,” I blurted. The light was about to change and I didn’t want to get stuck on the corner right beside the protesters.

“I want to punch them,” Jeremy muttered. “I wish this was a video game so I could punch them.”

“Well, it’s not and you can’t,” I replied absentmindedly. I was scanning the corner ahead of us for a spot to watch the parade. While I’d planned to wait farther up, the crowds made me realize that would be impossible. It didn’t take us long to find a spot though. It was in the sun but there were only two short people in front of us so we’d have a good view. There was a restaurant directly across the street, which would have been good, but there were also barricades. Behind us was a plaza offering some sort of VIP event. Hopefully neither of us would need to pee.

“Can I just cut their cord to their megaphone,” he asked a short time later as he glared toward the protesters. I was closing the cupcake box with no small amount of discouragement. I’d had no idea it would be that hard to give away free cupcakes. Only a handful of people had taken any. I’d long since tuned out the monotonous rant.

“That’s destruction of property,” I pointed out. “No, you can’t. Look, the parade starts in 15 minutes.”

That was when Jeremy looked up and noticed the patio…


I’d noticed it almost as soon as we arrived and immediately pondered it for next year. The pluses were space, a pretty good view, and those mist machines; it was really hot. The big minus was the view would be awkward from that many floors up.

“Mom, we have to go up there,” Jeremy pleaded. “Look, they have space over by the green window.”

The space was there but so were the barricades. Even if we found a way across both barricades, I had no idea where the entrance was or how long it would take to get up there, and chances were they’d probably booked for reservations months ago. I explained this all to Jeremy. He was still begging 10 minutes later. If this parade was anything like the Santa Claus Parade, we could be waiting for another hour until the parade finally reached us.

“Fine,” I sighed. “Go ask.” I knew they wouldn’t have space but it would keep him busy until the parade arrived. He grabbed his phone and left.

Five minutes later a cheer erupted from the crowd. Holy shit, the parade was almost here and Jeremy was nowhere in sight. How could it be here already? I frantically called him.

“Jeremy! Come back! The parade’s starting now.”

“No,” he replied. “I’ve found a better spot.”

“C’mon,” I urged. “The parade’s about to begin.”

“Mom, I’ve found a better spot,” he repeated irritably. “I’m right beside a fence and there’s no one around me at all.”

I hung up and went to join him. I liked the spot we were in but did not want to argue with him, not that we had time. I crossed the street, found him, then agreed it was a good spot. There was barely anyone over there, even though our spot was packed (that should have been my first clue), and we were in the shade. Moments later the police drove by…


… this was going to be great! I could see flags in the distance and then they turned. What the hell? We went running back to the intersection just in time to see them go by…


I looked at the narrow road and the lack of barriers and realized there was no way floats would make it down here. We were at the end of the route, all the walkers were going one way and the floats another. Our former spot was on the real route where we could have seen everything but now we needed to make a choice which we wanted to see more. There were more walkers, it wasn’t that hard a decision. But I still wanted a chance to see a bit of the floats.

“I’m going to move up a bit,” I told Jeremy. He didn’t feel like moving.

I ended up wedged against a barricade with about five or six people in front of me and at least ten or fifteen between me and the floats. I could see both if I stood on tiptoes. I rested my heels against the barricade leg and leaned back to watch the rest of the parade.


I had trouble seeing the floats but my camera has zoom which helped. You can see the protesters on the left. I’ve seen those lists of who’s going to hell in several atheist groups (people try to figure out how many points toward hell they’ve gained, with kudos going to the ones with the most points) but I’d never realized people really used them. Also, I have no idea what a “lukewarms” is.

The parade was very colourful…


I idly wondered how Jeremy was doing. We chatted briefly via cellphone and picked a meeting space for after the parade. A short while later he called wanting to know how to find me. I waved my hand repeatedly.

“Mom, you can turn off your phone,” Jeremy said from behind me. I hadn’t even seen him. “I want to go home.” His voice was firm and irritable. “Now,” he added.

“The parade’s not over,” I pointed out. “Plus there’s going to be entertainment afterwards.”

He crossed his arms. “I want to go home now.”

“Jeremy, I want to see the parade. Our church hasn’t even gone by yet.”

He complained that he wanted to go home repeatedly over the next few minutes. I quickly realized this wasn’t fair to anyone else around us.

“When the next break comes, we’ll leave,” I promised.

Soon the next break came and along with it came Jeremy’s rant. It was all my fault. I was stupid and hadn’t even bothered to make plans, so I was lazy too. Obviously I couldn’t have planned this in advance, obviously I’d never even tried, or I’d have known that was where the parade ended and I’d have warned him not to go that far. It was ugly, nasty, loud, and totally uncalled for.

On our way to the Old Spaghetti Factory I’d given away my full container of fresh Ontario cherries and half a bag of potato chips to homeless men. Now we passed a man sitting on a patio chair. A hand lettered sign rested beside him saying welfare didn’t pay enough. That’s not a surprise.

“See, that’s how selfish and self-centred you are,” Jeremy sneered as we walked by. “There’s a homeless man begging for money and you didn’t give him anything.”

I ignored Jeremy and kept walking. He continued to rant. I walked into Cloud Gardens, a small greenspace in downtown Toronto, for a chance to breathe. Jeremy trailed along behind.

“What are we doing now?” he yelled.

“Giving me some space,” I retorted. “Put your headphones on and calm down.”

There was all sorts of entertainment at Dundas and Yonge. My original plan was to head there after the parade and hang out for a little while, picking up veggie dogs from a street vendor for dinner. There was no way I was inflicting Jeremy on anyone though. The next train was in twenty minutes.

I knew there was a homeless man sleeping nearby, I’d noticed him as soon as we’d entered the park. Meanwhile he slept through Jeremy’s rant, through a police officer checking on him, and my approach.

“Excuse me,” I said quietly. He didn’t stir. He was dirty and exhausted. All his possessions were in a grocery bag beside him and one hand firmly clenched his cardboard coffee cup, in an attempt to keep someone from taking it. I placed the box of remaining cupcakes beside him and walked away.

“I can’t believe you tried to wake him,” Jeremy ranted. “And I can’t believe you gave him those cupcakes and not the other man. He was probably a hardworking person with a home who just happened to fall asleep while drinking his coffee.”

“He was homeless,” I said quietly.

“How do you know?” Jeremy snapped. “Have you been following him?”

“Yes,” I snapped back. “I’ve been stalking him for weeks now in my spare time.” This time Jeremy shut up.

We got to the station ten minutes before our train’s platform number was due to be released.

“I’m going to use the washroom,” I told Jeremy. “Your washroom is over there. Meet me right here beside this Dairy Queen sign.”

I was back within five minutes. No one was near the sign. Crap. How long was Jeremy going to take this time. I watched as the time ticked on then finally called him. I didn’t want to call him in the loo but I wasn’t going to wait for an hour in Union Station for the next train.

“I’m waiting for you,” he replied. He sounded cheerful, which was a surprise.

“Where?” I looked around and couldn’t see purple hair anywhere.

“By the nine screens,” he replied. I could see nine screens all together. I hurried over and Jeremy wasn’t there. Seriously? I was not playing hide and go seek with a seventeen year old less than ten minutes before our train left.

“Look, we don’t have time for this. Meet me at our original spot,” I snapped. That was when he came around the corner.

“You wanted me to walk too far,” he smugly informed me. “So I waited over there instead.”

“Jeremy, you waited in a spot I didn’t know about. We make plans for a reason. Wait in the right spot.”

I read our platform number and hurried off. Jeremy tried to tell me we were going the wrong way but I ignored him (we weren’t).

The ride home was uneventful. Jeremy fell asleep on the train and was quiet on the bus. He snarked about getting the desktop first but settled down immediately. I went in and uploaded my pictures then emailed them to myself so I could access them on my netbook. Then I came in here to write.

“Mom? Everyone’s saying this guy was wrong but I think the fire department’s being an ass.” Jeremy sat down on the end of my bed. I sighed internally. “He parked in front of his own house and they broke his car windows to get to the fire hydrant.”

“Good for them,” I replied. “He was in the wrong at least three times. He put other people’s lives at risk by parking there, it’s against the law to park in front of a hydrant, and he parked in a no parking zone.”

“You’re a fucking asshole and I’m not doing dishes,” he yelled as he stomped out of the room.

It’s going to be a long summer for the both of us. For me, because I’m stuck with Jeremy’s volatile attitude and for Jeremy because he’s already noticing I’ve dropped down to necessities. I refuse to buy any treats for someone who’s treating me badly. No cans of iced tea while I’m at the grocery store, no chocolate bars from the dollar store, no containers of instant hot and sour soup for a snack, no downloading a video game because it’s on super sale for just a short time, no iTune songs. He gets a dollar a chore for allowance and loses a dollar for chore refusal and bad behaviour. So far he’s minus four dollars and the week started yesterday.

I don’t know what’s gotten into Jeremy lately but it better get out of him soon.

Making a difference…

Was that crickets chirping?

I half woke as Jeremy went into the bathroom. The sound was too exact and repetitive to be crickets, plus we live too high to hear them. Maybe it was a toy?

“Jeremy?” I mumbled. “Is that a toy in your room?”

That was all I could come up with. He has a wide variety of electronics including a few circuit kits with various sounds, maybe it was one of those. It certainly was annoying enough.

“No Mom, it’s someone’s fire alarm,” he replied scornfully.

As long as it wasn’t ours, I didn’t care. Unless it was coming from directly downstairs. No one’s currently in that unit. How long would it take before anyone noticed a fire in there? I sleepily figured their windows would blow out before the fire reached us, giving us time to flee. I stuck a pillow over my head, blocking the noise, then shut my eyes.

“Mom? Mom? Where’s your camera?”

Holy crap… seriously? I opened my eyes again and looked at the clock. 3:45am. I’d used my camera at a wedding I’d attended that day then took it out of my purse and put it… I don’t know. Somewhere.

“I don’t know. Jeremy, I have to be up in exactly two hours for work. I need to sleep.”

“Fine,” he huffed. “I need it for the zoom. The alarm’s coming from the building next door.”

Well, that meant the apartment beneath us was fine. I closed my eyes yet again then opened them at a sound on my balcony. I could see Jeremy’s shape outside. I stumbled to the door and pulled it open.

“Did you climb through your bedroom window again?” I blurted. His window overlooks my balcony and he’d crawled through it a few times last summer, just for the hell of it.

“No,” he retorted. “Mom, there’s a fire next door. The alarm’s been going for less than five minutes and the fire department’s already there. Maybe it’s serious.”

“Hon, we live a block from the fire department. They were probably quick because they weren’t on another call. Get off my balcony so I can sleep. You can go on the main balcony if you’re that desperate to watch.”

If my balcony door wasn’t so stiff, I’m sure he would have slammed it. He stared at me in disgust.

“Mom. There’s a fire over there. People could be hurt and property could be damaged and you’re pretending it’s not happening. You need to show some respect and pay attention to what’s going on. You can’t make a difference if you’re asleep.”

Last night I was much too tired to argue with him. Once again I mumbled I was too tired and collapsed back into bed. My alarm bludgeoned me awake and I nearly fell back to sleep as I rolled out of bed. Good times.

Now I’m marginally more awake and hopefully more coherent. Jeremy’s heart was in the right place and I’m glad he wanted to be respectful and aware. I don’t think he’s realized that his effort needs to make a difference as well.

Let’s say his scenario was right and there was someone in serious danger in that building. Somehow, despite the heavy smoke, they manage to look out a window and see Jeremy standing in pyjamas on our balcony, a camera aimed in their direction. Is his action going to make a difference? Are they going to feel comforted by the attention? Probably not. In order to make a difference, you need to have an action that has an impact on the other person.

This morning I watched an example of what people can do to make a difference and I’m going to share it here too:

This Is What Bullying An Adult For Being Gay Sounds Like (posted  on Upworthy by George Takei)

Random Wednesday thoughts…

I found myself embroiled in a Facebook thread last night. It started with the following image…


This was posted in a parenting group and every single person who’d responded was female.

The first reply was “Really?! Thats just mean”. This was followed by “if it is just as it is written – no I doubt it would be rape. – but , yes, there is some info missing….” along with “I can understand asking him to stop and being upset that he didn’t but unless there was something else strange going on (bondage maybe) or he was being really rough, I can’t see it as rape.” and “The real question is, when does it stop being consensual? In this base scenario, I do not think it is rape”

I posted “It stops being consensual at the words no or stop. It’s rape after that.” and got these two replies:

“Well, the question is, are you entitled to finish, and what measures are you allowed to employ to ensure you do?”


“To me, that broad of a definition is worrisome.”

To recap. Grown adult women think it’s probably not rape if a man continues having sex with a woman (when she says stop) if he hasn’t finished yet and that sex after the words “stop” and “no” is too broad a definition for rape. That crashing sound was my faith in humanity breaking and I didn’t have much left to begin with.

At my last count, the thread was up to 80 comments (several of which were mine). More people than me chimed in on the “yes, this is rape” side and then another person jumped in to claim rape culture doesn’t exist in Canada and that the woman in the image deserved it because men can’t control themselves in a state of arousal. Besides she’d been enjoying it right up to the word “stop”. You know, pretty much proving the existence of rape culture right there.

I’d originally planned on writing a longer post last night; tying the conversation with Jeremy to the Facebook discussion but then I got to my question for Jeremy and ran out of steam. I could not write another word about rape, not if I wanted to sleep that night. Also, I hate 3am. Just saying. I’m not very awake today.

I was chatting on Facebook with a couple of friends of mine (about that thread) when Jeremy wandered into my room and flopped onto my bed.

“Do you know what doctors should invent?” he asked cheerfully.

Well, I can think of all sorts of things. That’s one heck of an open ended question. I just shrugged slightly, hoping he’d accept that as an answer. I don’t like playing guessing games.

“They should build a gender changing machine,” he continued. “You’d walk in and, poof, you’d be the other gender when you walked out the other side.”

He gestured wildly, sending puffs of orchid scented body lotion in my direction. He tends to put it on a tad thick so he can smell prettier. I could smell him from halfway across the room.

“And you could use it as many times as you wanted,” he added. “Would you use it?”

Putting aside the fact I wouldn’t want to be a man, we’ve been through this multiple times with his teleportation device questions. I would not be comfortable going through any machine that entirely rearranged my molecules.

“Michelle. Are you sure you didn’t come in here with an arm protruding from your back?”

While I’ve talked to Jeremy about the difference between sex and gender, it apparently hadn’t stuck. Considering he claims we live in a 20 floorie high rise (because he confuses stories and floors), this wasn’t a big surprise.

“Jeremy? Do you know what the difference is between sex and gender?” I asked, wondering what he’d remembered.

“Yes… mostly… well, kind of,” he said, squirming a little. “I know what it means but it’s complicated to explain.”

“That means no,” I said dryly. “Gender is up here,” I tapped the side of his head, “and sex is between your legs. I think you meant a sex change machine.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “That’s what I meant.”

He promptly moved on to talking about Doctor Who. I’d like to say I listened intently but the truth is he lost me within the first 30 seconds. I caught something about someone time-traveling into the Tardis but, beyond that, I was completely confused. He often forgets I’ve only seen four episodes.

“Oh! I can hear my airplane. It’s still flying! I didn’t think it would fly so long without me. I have to go check and see how it’s doing.”

With that, he bounded out of the room, snagging a cat on the way. And I went back to my writing.

I take it back!

I joked half a year ago (double checks the date, yes, it was exactly half a year ago today) that sex ed talks could be renamed “Why Mommy Wants to Drink”. I take it back. Plain, basic explanations on what people do together in private (you know, beyond sleeping and surfing the net) are easy.

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when Jeremy walked in. He leaned against the fridge and eyed me seriously.

“Mom. Some people say men can’t get raped.”

I put the knife down and stared at him, momentarily speechless, my thoughts colliding with each other as they went from organizing food prep to serious conversation.

“They say that men have to, umm, be interested in order to have sex.”

Really? I’d rather just go back to explaining anal sex. Talk about needing a deep breath. I was tired, hungry, and in no way ready for a conversation like this.

“Okay,” I said slowly, trying to corral my thoughts. “Something you have to remember is that nature has only one goal and that’s to reproduce. That’s it for every single plant and animal and that includes us. Nature doesn’t care what you think, feel, or want; it tries its utmost for a baby regardless. Men can have erections and women can have orgasms even if they don’t want to have sex at all.”

He nodded then added, “And women have it a lot easier because they get believed and men don’t. They get more help too.”

Jeremy rattled off a statistic which I promptly lost. Under ten rape clinics that worked with men and clinics numbering in the thousands for women. He had exact numbers, presumably from a video he’d watched.

“They said there’s more clinics for women because men get raped less but how would anyone know that if they’re not believed?”

Another deep breath. My doctor offered me Ativan last month and I turned him down. Which was probably a good choice because this was not a conversation to have while looped.

“In one way that’s true,” I agreed. “Men don’t get believed and often don’t report assaults. Plus there’s a whole different mentality. If a grown man has sex with a 14 year old girl, that’s rape. But if a grown woman has sex with a 14 year old boy, he’s considered a stud. And that’s not right.”

Jeremy nodded and stayed silent. So I continued.

“Sadly, women don’t have it much better. I read a story recently where a judge reduced the sentence on a sexual assault case because the 14 year old girl was too mature for her age and must have been willing. And the first things people ask when a woman’s raped are what she’s wearing, how late it was, and if she was drinking. You know, to figure out how much was her fault. Women might be doing a bit better when it comes to being believed but everyone’s getting the short end of the stick.”

Then a thought occurred to me.

“Jeremy? Has anyone ever touched you or done anything…” I had no idea how to finish that sentence. Luckily I didn’t need to.

“No,” he replied simply in a voice full of surprise. His expression was baffled as if he couldn’t comprehend that anyone would try to hurt him like that. I think everyone feels like that, until something happens at least, and I hope he keeps that feeling forever.

Acceptance helps everyone…

I can’t remember where I read this information originally. I’m horrible for remembering stuff then forgetting completely what article or blog it came from. Although, to be fair, it was over a year ago. Anyways, I read an article (somewhere) on transgender children and how they all did much better when their parents listened to them and respected their wishes.

The vast majority of the kids stayed firm with their gender but a few went back to the gender they’d been announced at birth. Those few also were happy and glad they were listened to, they felt confident they were loved and accepted by their parents.

Around the same time that I read this article, Emma came out as bisexual… for a day. I wasn’t surprised by her announcement but for different reasons than with Jeremy.

With Jeremy there wasn’t any surprise because he’d had crushes on boys for years, only stopping when he realized his peers’ negative opinions. Emma, on the other hand, came out at her father’s baptism into the Mormon church.

We arrived at the church with no small amount of nervousness. I was meeting relatives and friends of their father whom I hadn’t seen in a decade, Jeremy stayed silent on his worries, and Emma had heard a fair bit about the Mormon church through the media and had her own concerns regarding parental love.

Their father greeted us in a full length white pant and shirt set. His rumpled, ill fitting garments gave him the appearance of someone who’d just entered a hospital with secured exits and staff who were deeply concerned with his feelings and moods.

“Mom. Dad looks like he’s in a mental hospital,” Emma muttered. Apparently we were both on the same wavelength. They’d even taken his shoes.

None of us were allowed to witness the actual baptism, which was a disappointment. Their Dad has an extreme water phobia. We were all set to eat popcorn and enjoy the show. Instead we got ushered into a small room with stacking, but padded, seats to watch a bland and generic VCR tape on the Mormon religion.

I looked over to see Emma’s head bent over her cellphone, furiously typing a text message. I opened my mouth to tell her to be respectful and put away her phone when she handed it to me and gestured at the screen.

Mom. I think I might be bisexual.

She took the phone back then backspaced and handed it back to me, the blank screen ready and waiting.

Emma. I love you always.

She smiled when she saw it then backspaced and tucked the phone into her pocket. I squeezed her hand and we settled back to watch the rest of the video. After the whole baptism was completed, we stood and I gave Emma a hug. She bent slightly to rest her head on my shoulder.

“Thanks,” she whispered into my ear. “I love you Mom.”

“I love you too sunshine,” I whispered back.

She called me the next day. “Mom, I’m straight. I don’t know why I said I might be bi, I don’t like girls at all.”

I laughed. “It’s okay either way sunshine. You’re a teenager, being confused comes with the territory.”

“But I really don’t know why I said that,” she blurted.

“Hon, what does the Mormon church think about same sex relationships?”

“Umm… not good…” she replied hesitantly. “Oh, so I was testing you and Dad. You both passed by the way.”

And that was it. I’d like to say it was smooth sailing from then on but she’s a teenager with Borderline Personality Disorder. Life’s not that easy. But it did help.

As for why I accepted Emma’s backtrack on coming out and not Jeremy’s, that would be because Emma has never once mentioned any interest in girls. Whereas Jeremy and I have conversations like this:

“Mom? What are you and Lenny talking about?”

I looked up from Facebook in surprise. I hadn’t realized he was reading over my shoulder (again).

“Lenny and I were looking at some pictures I posted on the blog and we both think he’s cute.” I flipped through the link and clicked open the picture.

Jeremy studied the picture intently then shrugged. “It’s okay if you like him but I find him a bit too feminine for my tastes.”

I didn’t think he looked feminine at all but everyone’s got their own personal likes. That being said, I dare you to read that sentence then say (and honestly believe) the phrase, “Yes, Jeremy’s 100% straight”. So far I haven’t managed although I’m faking as best I can. Jeremy says he feels loved and accepted so hopefully I’m doing a good enough job. He also thinks I ask bizarrely random questions but he should be used to that by now.

World Pride…

Jeremy and I went to our local pride parade last June. It was… small. The entire parade was three blocks long and took less than five minutes. Most of the audience were under the age of five with the majority of the rest being their mothers. Jeremy was underwhelmed.

“That parade was really boring,” he muttered as kids ran around us clutching rainbow flags and wrist bands.

I shrugged. “It’s bigger than the non-existent one we used to have. Besides, you can’t expect it to be as big as the Toronto Pride parade.”

He turned around so quickly my first thought was he’d been stung. “Wait! What Pride parade?” he blurted.

“Umm… the Toronto parade,” I replied. “It’s a big parade, they have it every June.”

“Can we go next year?” he asked hopefully. He grinned as I nodded.

Jeremy came out as bisexual a few weeks later only to go back in the closet that winter.

“Are you still wanting to go to the Pride parade?” I asked one evening after Jeremy (once again) loudly informed me he was 100% straight.

“Of course,” he replied, as if that was obvious. Perhaps to him it was.

Then I started getting notices in my Facebook ads about World Pride. Yes, I share and like enough LGBTQ posts on Facebook to get Pride advertisements plus helpful suggestions on how to make my same sex wedding more special. Jeremy finds this hilarious. That being said, I had no idea what World Pride was. So I asked on Facebook and quickly discovered the whole freaking world’s been invited to go hang out in Toronto this week. Great.

I am not a people person. I like people in small doses and with lots of downtime so I can recharge. When I take those Introvert/Extrovert tests, I hang out right at the very edge of the introvert scale. The only way to score higher than me as an introvert is to extend the scale a bit more.

I posted this question on Facebook:

Are any of my friends going to the Toronto Pride parade next Sunday? Jeremy wants to go and I wondered if anyone wants to meet us. He’ll be the one with long purple hair and I’ll be the one hyperventilating into a paper bag (because I love crowds *that* much).

I knew my description of him was vague, heck this might be the only time ever that “long purple hair” does not immediately pinpoint him in a crowd. But I also share tonnes of photos of him on Facebook so I figured everyone there knows what he looks like.

The two replies I got about the parade were:

I’ve * thought* about it…but….it’s World Pride this year….it’s going to be SUPER busy!!


As much as I support PRIDE you can not convince me to go down there with that many people.

My friend P pretty much told me the same thing via the phone. There was no way he was going, he found the regular pride parade too crowded.

Then I got an email from our UU minister saying that anyone who wished to march in World Pride could march with the Toronto First Unitarian church; they have space for 100 people. That sounded perfect. I wouldn’t have to stand around waiting for hours, instead I’d be with a group. And I wouldn’t need to worry about being too crowded because I’d be walking in the parade. I excitedly told this to Jeremy.

“I don’t want to march,” he said dismissively. “I don’t like walking, it’s too much work.”

Okay, that ticked me off. I can handle a lot of reasons for not doing something but laziness isn’t one of them. I left the room to cool down then approached Jeremy later.

“Mom,” he said earnestly. “We wouldn’t see anything if we were in the parade. We’d see the backs of the people in front of us and maybe the people behind us if we turned around but that’s it. We wouldn’t see any floats or anything.”

“We’d see everyone who came,” I pointed out. “People are coming from all over the world to attend.”

Jeremy snorted. “Like I go to parades to watch the audience. I want to see the floats.”

Okay, he had a point.

So we’ve got a week to go until the World Pride parade. I went online last night and searched out the parade route. It apparently starts somewhere I’ve never been before and ends just north of the Eaton Centre. I know where the Eaton Centre is at least. There’s a park right beside the Eaton Centre with a waterfall and a meditation garden. We can eat lunch there and I can hyperventilate in relative peace.

I figure I’ll pack plenty of sunscreen and fill our water bottles. I’ll pack plenty of pre-washed fruits and vegetables, make wraps, and bake an entire batch of cupcakes. I figure if we’re going to be sitting beside the same people for two or more hours, I might as well have extra cupcakes to share. And I’ll take a tonne of photos.

Is anyone else attending?

Broken family…

I’d never kick out my child.

Those words sound so obvious and, in some ways they’re true. In other ways they stab me deeply, hurting enough that I’m surprised there’s no blood.

Our family never felt broken, even when my ex and I separated. His disappearance from home simplified our lives and brought calm to our small part of the world. Apart from his infrequent visits, we were at peace.

I posted earlier about Jeremy’s relationship with his father. What I only briefly mentioned was that I consider him the lucky one for this. Emma got most of her father’s attention and a lot of it was negative.

Their father was furious with me for leaving him, telling everyone I threw him out of the house like garbage. I don’t know if it was an attempt to get back at me or a desperate need to have someone on “his side” but he drew Emma in, telling her that I didn’t love her, he was the only one who loved her.

When Emma was thirteen she told him she was angry at him because of his infrequent and sporadic visits. He apologized then promptly blamed me; claiming I was cancelling visits and not telling the kids about his calls.

I knew something was happening that spring. Emma had always been sensitive and emotional, her mood bouncing between sunshiney charm and furious outbursts. Suddenly the only person who could calm her was their father, someone she almost never called before, and her outbursts worsened with every call.

Within a month she was gone. Jeremy had been declared a child at risk due to his sister’s behaviour and Emma was off to a group home for his protection. My ex promptly filed for custody, so quickly you’d think it had been planned.

Our first court date was the day of our annual family camping trip. Jeremy and I went on our own after my appearance, trying to pick up the pieces of our broken family. Meanwhile Emma was in a group home. That whole trip contained a huge feeling of “someone’s missing”. The feeling was half relief/half anguish.

Emma was home by the spring, my ex had long since lost interest in his court case. Then he dropped his bombshell comment on her, telling Jeremy he only loved him. That night Emma took one of her photographs off the wall and threw it, smashing the glass to pieces along the hallway. Then she grabbed a piece and ran to her room, locking her door behind her. It was the first time she cut herself; it definitely wasn’t the last.

That year was a frantic juggling act. Jeremy was in his final year of grade school which meant helping to arrange his high school placement, I was working full time and struggling to keep my home life separate from my job, and I was desperate to find help for Emma. Her counselor suggested an atypical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome; atypical because it was by the non custodial father. Her psychiatrist decided on bipolar disorder and started trying new medications. None of the medications made a difference.

I called in sick to work one day and took Emma to the hospital because she pleaded to be admitted; she didn’t want to kill herself but thought she should. Then I listened in horror while the on call psychiatrist earnestly told Emma that the only way people got admitted was bleeding to death in the back of an ambulance. Cutting, no matter how often, wasn’t good enough. The doctor basically gave my daughter instructions on how to kill herself, claiming that was the only way to get help. Every morning when I woke the kids for school, I was terrified I’d find Emma’s body.

Emma destroyed every framed photo of her, claiming I didn’t love her anyways so the pictures didn’t matter. She ran out of cutting space on her left arm and moved to her right then her legs and her stomach. And she went after Jeremy with a vengeance. When they were little, the two of them were best friends; people often commented on how good they were together. Now it was like they were in a caged death match. Jeremy was traumatized.

Emma’s last day living at home was shortly after Jeremy’s grade school graduation. I’d baked him a chocolate cake and sprinkled it with gold stars; with a little frosting left over. The cake went quickly but Jeremy’s frosting remained.

I was on our balcony when screams erupted then I walked into the kitchen to discover Jeremy cowering in the corner while Emma punched him and called him names. The frosting container was smashed on the floor. Judging from Emma’s screamed insults and Jeremy’s pleading comments, she was mad because he’d put his frosting in the freezer to see if it would taste like chocolate ice cream.

I watched them for a few seconds, unable to believe Emma was beating her little brother over a scant quarter cup of homemade frosting. That was it. I’d reached my absolute limit. I told her she had to leave. She bolted to her room then came back a short while later, a bottle of pain medication in hand.

“I’m going to take these and you can’t stop me!” she informed me then shoved a handful of pills into her mouth.

I called 911 and she proceeded to spit out the pills then pull a bookcase down over them. The police arrived to chaos. The bookcase was in front of the entrance to the living room and we had to step over it to get to anywhere in the apartment. Emma criss-crossed it randomly while telling the officers how she needed to pull it down to protect herself from me. I was violent and scared her. Then she walked over and calmly asked me to remove a sliver of glass from her foot. One of the things she’d broken had cut her. I removed it then the police removed her, saying they’d arrest her if they found her back there again.

It was Emma’s last day living at home; three years ago on Tuesday. She was subsequently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Emma is a wonderful daughter; exuberant, vibrant, and an amazingly gifted writer. I feel lucky to know her. And she will never live here again. Even after all this time people ask me if she’s finally home and the knife digs a little deeper.

And once again… way to go Vancouver!!!

“The new policy calls for single-stall, gender neutral washrooms in all school buildings so that a child will not have to tell anyone their gender based on the bathroom that they use.”

Interestingly enough, this is pretty much exactly what Jeremy suggested to me last fall. His idea was that schools should have a hallway with private single stall washrooms along one side (with full length doors) and common sinks on the other.