that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.

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Being home has its perks. My mom, being my biggest fan by obligation of giving birth to me, is home every day when I get back from school to tell my tales of woe and harrowing adventure to (she’s also there to ensure I clean up after dinner and put things away). But it’s all fun and for the most part, probably all of my part, I enjoy being home — especially when it means I have my mom to talk to when I get home. Sometimes Jayme and her friends but this whole “being teacher” and almost being 25 has exempt me from being cool in her eyes. That’s another issue.

Anyway, I took my mom to school on Monday. Yup, show and tell of the greatest type. She just sat in the back of the room, walked around and took pictures, and then smiled a ton. Harmless. I introduced her as a “special guest — my MOM” which was met with excellent comments like

Ohhh Miss Stam, you needed your Mommmmmmmm to hold your hand and bring you to class?
Yes K. Just like I saw you kiss your Mom goodbye in her van in the parking lot yesterday.

That wasn’t his mom Miss Stam.

Uh oh.


Still, other questions about “Hey, are you bringing Daddy tomorrow now? Or your little sister? Or the rest of your parents’ kagillion (?) kids? Bring your nephew Weston (yup, he’s famous Jes), although you might have to hold his hand? Can’t your friend that…” just went on and on and on. Either way, it was pretty cool to have my mom come to work with me.

Another thing about going to high school again brings me a little ways back into the archives of my own experience. An exceptional perk of being home is…yup…Mom makes my lunch. And they aren’t heinous lunches, they are epic — with tupperware containers filled to the brim of watermelon and other fruits I love, sandwiches I can’t fit my mouth around, homemade cookies, and the list goes on. When I was in high school, my lunches were coveted. I remember Suzanne creeping through my backpack to take food while my locker stood open during the lunch break.

Every so often, Mom would leave us treats or, my favourite, little notes of encouragement so that when we went for our snacks or lunch it would be a SURPRISE! Mom is thinking of me (Or in my case, SURPRISE! Mom is checking in on me and making sure I am staying out of trouble)! Anything from bookmarks to little toys to notecards with blessings and sweet love on them. Sometimes she would mangle with our food, like heart-shaped sandwiches for Valentine’s Day or taking a bite out of a sandwich and wrapping it up so I wouldn’t notice. The most hilarious one was a sandwich that she put all the grossest condiments on accompanied by lunch meat, some veggies, and a lollypop. That’s right, I didn’t know what was coming when I took a bite, it tasted worse than anything, and I all but broke my tooth on the lollypop stick.

Thanks mom.

Anyway, yesterday I was minding my business in the staff room when I sat down with my lunch and found a sweet little note of encouragement from my mom. My food was not tampered with but receiving the note felt a little like transference or a time warp… only instead of standing in the hallway with Jocelyn and whoever else, being obnoxious, I was sitting in the staff room, on a comfy couch, drinking my coffee with my legs crossed and glasses on my nose, perusing a (WICKED!!) new resource for teaching, overhearing (and sometimes adding to) a conversation about American Foreign policy from the other side of the room… thinking, oh wow…have I arrived?

Yup. And I still need my mom there with me to hold my hand. That’s alright, isn’t it?


hi, Mom

Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother”…

Edgar Allen Poe

Being the national holiday of celebrating MOM, I wonder the proper way to acknowledge my very own mom…in a way that she might truly get how appreciated she is. I bought a book, candy, a soap scrubber, and some tanktops for her… but somehow, it doesn’t really seem like enough.

When I was younger I never listened to my mom… and if I did, it was because I had no other choice. “You can go to the movies with the boys as long as Joce and Sarah are there” or “Come home right after work” or “You better not miss church again” or “Be polite; did you say thank you?” or “No you can’t go over to (so and so’s) house after the game, it’ll be after 11” or “You better not be driving Jocelyn’s parents’ vehicle, even though you have your ‘N'” she’d say, and I would go along…with most of it. I didn’t get it then, I had a case of ‘all my friends parents let them do it’ in the worst way. But my mom’s gentle persistence and guidance…and sometimes downright anger… controlled me when I did go over the edge and start partying and getting into trouble… because I still maintained some responsibility, and quit almost as fast as I began.

I think when I was younger I prided myself on being the “bad kid.” Dad would shake his head because he couldn’t believe that what I did or what just came out of my mouth was from his kid. 🙂 Mom on the otherhand, told me once that I was the easiest to get angry at because I was the quickest of her children to forgive. I like that. NO I didn’t like getting yelled at… but now, my old age (haha), I’ve been empowered by that and an inability to hold a grudge. I am quick to forgive but I think it’s because I learnt from my mom because I know with the trouble I have been, Mom has always been quite forgiving. I needed that.

My mom has six children and we are all vastly different. I know about myself, and Mom knows too, that I need to figure things out on my own. It doesn’t matter how often she tells me to get a parking pass, I still need to get X number of tickets before giving in. It took two letters and not getting my tax return after Mom told me to deal with it, before I phoned BC Health to get coverage as a student. It took tough love and not trusting me anymore for me to recognize that I didn’t want the party lifestyle for myself. It took 4 days of agonizing and unbearable pain for me to finally go get kidney x-rays and ultrasounds, after Mom had told me to from the get go. I need to, my personality and who I am, figure things out solely on my own. It’s really nice knowing I have a mom who understands that…and lets it be so.

When I was 11, I got a nasty report card about how I treated two girls in my class (God’s forgiven me since… I was a callous, catty, popular grade 6er…) and dealt a LOT that year with girl “problems.” I remember the first thing Mom asked me whenever I would come home with a story or tears would be “Well Kate, what did you do?” That used to drive me crazy! Here I was crying and wanting her to hug me but Mom would always ask me what I did in order for me to take responsibility first. I appreciate that more than anyone could ever know. I am sure there are parents out there who take their kid’s side all the time, every time, but I am so thankful mine doesn’t. She plays for my team but she wouldn’t sideswipe my opponent, even if she thought they were wrong or mean first, she’d make sure I was or wasn’t an instigator first. At that age, I usually was… but now I am always questioning myself first. It’s good and I owe it to my Mom.

I gave my mom a card this morning that said something like “I love how you don’t have to ‘get me’ to love me.” I think a few years ago my Mom submitted to the fact that I was a rare breed and rather than let it confuse her, she decided to love me for it. I used to feel suffocated because the things Dad and Mom could get angry at me for never really made sense (some of them anyways!). Often, their anger would rest on things I came by naturally and innocently, simply because that’s who I am! I remember yelling that at them once “I HONESTLY DIDN’T KNOW… I don’t think like that!” Whether it be a blessing or a burden, I like telling my Dad “Like it or not, I am YOUR offspring. Some of this I got from you!” Whereas with mom, I know she loves me because of who I am. Nothing surprises her anymore, she’s a pillar of stability for me in my life. I need that. Someone like me needs that.

Since moving out and going to school, I see in my Mom the things many other people have known for years. In high school, I never cultivated a relationship with her simply because ‘I had no need for her.’ I was on a fast track to freedom and independence… who knew that the only independence and freedom I’ve found is one with a friendship with my parents, especially my mom, at the core.

So she cooks, cleans, takes gorgeous photos, feeds our friends when they come over, hosts amazing family get togethers and spoils her nieces and nephews rotten, threw a beautiful wedding for my sister, takes care of my Dad, loves phone calls from her friends and sisters, favours the Body Shop’s Satsuma scent, watches Little House on the Prairie, Hope and Faith, and Reba a little too often, looks pretty in the summertime with her stylishly bright tanktops and her dark Okanagan tanned skin, chauffeur’s the kids who can’t drive, loves Willow Tree Angels, cuddles Jayme at night, puts other people ahead of herself all the time, every time, supports us even if she doesn’t get it, keeps her head up when most people’s would’ve fallen down.

But for me, she’s my new friend, my dearest friend, who’s sage advice, experiences, love, kindness, forgiveness, laughter, sincereity, and vulnerability has given me not only the best type of friend but the best type of woman as an example for me to aspire to be.

I love you mom. You rock.