Recently our dog dragged in a small animal skull. Excited about the find, I wanted to gift it to one of my friends who fight in Live Action Role Playing Games with Underworld LARP. These guys have a thing about bones and skulls.
I also assumed that my granddaughter might want to bring it to her kindergarten class. As I searched the internet for tutorials on how to clean and identify the skull, it occurred to me that my granddaughter might actually be grossed out by this find. As a grandparent, I’d be all over freaking her out, or letting her stay up late and filling her up with sugar before sending her home, but we can’t do that now since we’ve recently become her parents.
I don’t know how long she will be living with us, but we are preparing for her post secondary years. Like most parents, who she will become and how we can help is on my mind. Thinking back, it was about grade seven when I noticed that I was different than most of the kids in my grade. I was eager in social studies, especially geography and history, but not smart enough for anyone to suggest my teaching or doing history research. I loved problem solving in math, but couldn’t remember my times tables or formulas. I was handy in workshop and home economics, but my projects were always a bit shoddy. When it came time to pick classes for high school I knew there was a problem, but I didn’t know how to solve it. The school counselors kept pushing me towards social work, nursing and clerical courses. My parents didn’t have any solutions either, but trusted that it was my journey not theirs.
I soon left home and while the majority of my friends went onto traditional college courses, I stayed in retail and worked my way up. After reaching manager position, I changed gears and got a job as a file clerk. I rose to a coveted position as the executive assistant to the president, but after several years I left the city and the job. Arriving in Toronto, I found another clerical position this time in an advertising firm and then I crossed over into creative production in their public relations firm. After two years I quit to work as a freelance agent in the entertainment industry.
Some people stay their entire lives in one job or one industry and I really admire that. It usually comes with a steady pay cheque and benefits. There were times when I came down hard on myself for being a flibbertigibbet, but then again I never woke up bored or thinking I suffered from brain cloud.
I married and left work to raise two children, ultimately finding my way to York University. It was here again that I waffled about which program to enter into, but the registry office just said “circle all the courses you like and the program will find you.” She was right. I graduated with a Honours BA in Anthropology and this degree informs everything I do. At 46 years of age I wasn’t prepared to do a Masters or PhD in order to practice anthropology, so I did the next best thing.
I opened a costume business called FeeFiFoFun Costume Concierge, as well as this blog, Off the Porch. After I read All In, by Arlene Dickinson, I realized that I am an entrepreneur and it was an incredible relief to recognize myself. I still don’t have a steady pay cheque or a dental plan, but I wake up every day eager to dream, write about and photograph things that I love, and to sell amazing costuming products to incredible clients.
As for my granddaughter, I did offer up the skull which she joyfully took to class. Yippee! The best parenting lessons are slowly reintegrating themselves into our new family – to introduce your child to as many new things as possible and to be prepared to let them take the journey.