Sunday, 9 March 2014

Blah Blah Blah: FEBRUARY - It's Over, It's Finally Over!!!


Why is this blog post appearing in March?  I like to think that I was furiously busy with time-urgent projects and random acts of kindness.  
Admittedly though, I was, in reality, curled up on the couch, trying not to whine about the never-ending month of February, buried in good old Canadian snow. 

As a closet introvert, I am as comfortable making small talk as I am comfortable getting a root canal.  When in a pinch, the weather is my "go to" subject and I am pretty much set.  However, this winter I got so tired of "talking about the weather" as a form of chit chat, I just wanted to start every conversation with "can we just agree that it is snowing again and move on?". 

I like to think we are on the other side of winter.   I am hoping February was "Hump Month".  Please tell me I am right!! February, the shortest month of the year, can be a killer.  It is known for its dreariness and it's subsequent effect on one's psyche. Moods are low. They give students a "reading week" to ward off the blues.  For some it is even clinical as a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which I understand is to a major degree,  a function of diminished sunlight exposure.  

As February began, we were not yet at the point that we could even begin to fantasize that "the worst is over and spring is on its way". No matter what kind of Polyanna you are, this does not fly in Canada in February. To add to the regular snow shoveling,
ice scraping and tramping around in wet boots, this year the snow flew so unbelievably that  Dufferin County declared a "State of Emergency". Roads were closed.  Out of towners were trying to stay somewhere other than
their cars and school buses were cancelled. Kids slept at school and my heart went out to teachers.  I wanted to be home waiting for the arrival of some Mounties, or at least a few "men in uniform", but  I was actually at a conference in Toronto. Everyone from across North America seemed to want to chat about this "State of Emergency". As an introvert this was great as it made small talk easier.  Normally I would prefer to be a Keynote Speaker in my underpants than chat with people I bearly know, but this weather topic was golden.
 I had a simple ready topic for casual, witty banter.
 Once this topic was exhausted however, I hid in the cloak room among the boots.  On reflection, a State of Emergency is kind of an introverts dream. All social events are cancelled and it is a time spent partying with myself. 

Now it seems the rest of February includes "fun-inducing" activities, which I am sure were plopped there with good intent by those whom I will refer to as "they".  I am sure "they" meant well,   however, when we are buried in snow, without sunlight to cheer us, 

February may not be the ideal time to be reminded that romantic love is not blooming.  On Valentine's Day, I expect "they"  would have had the Facebook status "in a relationship".  For those who are not, Valentine's Day can be unpleasurable.  I am not sure if a Valentine's Day spent alone is a stress in the  lives of single men, but I know as a sister of sisters, a mother of daughters and an aunt of nieces, Valentines day can be a cruel reminder of love gone wrong, to many "independent, strong and confident" single women. I even remember this as a child. As an introverted child Valentine's Day was stressful, both on
the giving side and the receiving. My Valentine paper plate was less than creative and never as full as I imagined everyone else's might be. As a mother of young children, Valentine's Day meant daughters jumping right in on February 1, with special cards for special people and little candy hearts and chocolate for the cool crowd.  Pressure was there from the girls to make the teacher's Valentine's Day special as well.   As a mother of a son, Valentine's Day meant cranking out 28 little "cards of love"  at 8am on the morning of February 14.  

I saw this year a new tradition becoming popular. It was Galentine's day. Celebrated just prior to " the big day" it was a chance to appreciate February as strong, confident and independent gal's. I also saw a new brand of cards. Instead of missing that special card, why not send yourself one?  Liz Lemon has got this right each year. 

Thank you !

I still maintain that as a woman in the month of February, nothing says I Love You like filling up my windshield wiper fluid. Kudos Derek.

Now, we get by February 14 just in time for another wallop. In 2007, Ontario embraced  a new statutory holiday called Family Day. Again, a great idea for people with warm, loving,  super-fun families, but a kick to those who are not so blessed.  For those who do not have the blessing of close and cuddly relations, or even for those who do, this day may serve as an added stress in an already dark and stormy month.  Our children were not brought up with Family Day, but I can just picture the 
The Ideal
conversation on February 15. "So Mommy, what are you planning for Family Day?"  Would  we have skiied or maybe taken a Day Trip driving through the snow to somewhere where all other young families were trying to cram in a day of unbridled fun. Would we have had a "Staycation", playing games, baking and doing crafts?  Would I have spent family day waiting for Family Nap Time. 
 I guess I will never know what we might have planned, leaving me free to make up something wonderful. 

By the time Family Day was introduced, our kids had opted out of anything that included a blood relation. I never called it "Family Day". I have always referred to it as "Kids Sleep in Late and Borrow the Car Day".  As such, no one has Family Day expectations in the O'Rourke family. We just take the day off and puzzle as to 
Our Reality
why this new statutory holiday could not have been assigned to a different month.  Maybe an Easter Monday or a 4 day Thanksgiving weekend would have been nice?  I puzzle as much about this, as I do about the 29th of February. Why, every leap year, did they extend this particular month.  What would have been so wrong with the 31 of June? 

To add to February, in 1991, I decided to be 10 months pregnant. I wrapped up February that year with the blessed birth of our son Kevin. I started March off with wider, child-bearing hips, 25 extra pounds and 2 healthy children.  That was a memorable February. Worth every bit of the wait. However this choice has haunted me.

Since 1991, Kevin has had a February birthday. As a result most Februarys now included the bane of my existence: BIRTHDAY PARTIES.  I have ranted previously about
Louder, Happier and Messier days
hosting children's birthday parties. The difference was that in February,  I was throwing a party for a boy. The only downside was that it was winter, so outdoor revelry was limited. The upside was that a party for boys has guests with much lower expectations.  Little boys generally don't string beads or enjoy glitter glue. They are just happy as long as they are not told to be quiet or sit down.  When Kevin was 3, Kate was 5 and decided to assume control of his birthday party. When she found that the party's structure included jumping on the couch and throwing stuff she proclaimed that "no one was listening to her" and that "this was the stupidest party ever". 
In all the years of birthday partying. Kevin was never fazed. He accepted whatever plan as long as there 
Kevin's 23rd Birthday
were gummy worms on his cake. One year, we did a "survivor" theme when the TV show Survivor was at its peak. One little boy heard the plan and announced, in a condescending manner, that he "didn't watch TV". That kid didn't get a gummy worm. 

Since his birth, Kevin has often shared his big day with Derek's Dad.  February is a special month for both.  This February included a special celebration of Granddad's  80th birthday. 
Pat and Patricia

This party was planned by 2 guys, George and Derek, who specialize in last minute successes. The Brampton Irish club was the perfect venue for Pat O'Rourke's "lot" to gather and a good time was had by all. Everyone's strengths shone. Catering by George. Entertaining the ladies, by Derek. 
Derek and some of his Lady Friends.

I guess to draw to a close my February negativity, I will now embrace March.  It's time to move on.  It's over.  Despite good intentions,  "they" have taken a cold dreary dark month and tried to spruce it up with "fun".  Valentine's Day breaks up the month with many anticipated disappointments. They created Family Day to, again, set expectations that many cannot meet. To top it off, every 4 years they throw in an extra day. I am not sure who " they" are, but I hope they don't mess around with July.