Jewels: As I enjoyed my last few days with Tatjana before she returned to London for her father’s gig in Hyde Park this weekend as part of the Olympic opening celebrations, guest blogger Rachel Cree-Lowe was also

Tatjana at one of her father’s concerts as a wee little one

realizing how quickly daughters grow up, and wrote this beautiful guest post. Thank you Rachel for sharing such a poignant story with us, and for giving me some extra free time to savor my last moments of the visit with Tatjana while grappling with our own rites of passage.

Rachel: When I had my first child, there were a few complications which required a two week stay in the NICU. Near the end of her stay, I had been released from hospital myself but was able to stay with her in the unit. I was tired, emotional and just wanted to take my baby home but there always seemed to be another hurdle to jump before that happened. One day I was disappointed it was not yet cleared to remove her feeding tube. The nurse said “don’t worry… she won’t be starting kindergarten with it. It will come out before you know it.” Starting kindergarten seemed a lifetime away yet it came and now this fall, her younger sister will be starting kindergarten as Holly starts grade two.

Both girls attended a Performing Arts Preschool. Great emphasis on art, music, dance and acting. Wonderful teachers, parents contributing their own artistic talents with the children and excited, wide eyed children  who became fast friends. Now that they will be starting kindergarten at different schools in the city, these friendships will take a little extra effort but it’s well worth it as these girls have formed such strong bonds.

Daughters Ava with friend Cordelia

When our youngest, Ava, entered the pre school, she was painfully shy and I worried she would never take part but the opposite was true. She flourished in the arts rich environment and made so many memories and friends … so much so, today, the shy little blonde that would burst into tears if someone spoke to her stood in front of the audience gathered for the year end show and sang not one but two songs. Once with friend Serena and once with best friend Cordelia. I’ve spent the majority of the day doing my best to hold back bittersweet tears as she moves on to her next step in life. I pictured her suddenly starting university and moving away, and no longer needing me. I longed for the days of diapers and sleepless nights but today,  as she ran to me and wrapped her little arms around my neck, I realized she’ll always need me on some level and that’s fine by me.

This afternoon, big sister Holly sang in her school concert. The smallest in stature, she can easily boast the most vivid  imagination and loves learning. I looked at all those little faces and wondered if their parents wished they could slow time too. Keep them at a certain age forever, if that were possible. Then I started wondering what each of them would do as adults. There could be the mind that solves world hunger, cures AIDS, negotiates world peace or holds the hand of a friend that needs a lift up. The possibilities are endless.

Holly (the shortest cutie with the cheeky grin) in concert

Life is full of changes. We learn, laugh, cry, get angry, learn, move on  and laugh again.  It reminds me of that song by Joni Mitchell “The Circle Game” If you don’t know it, look it up . We are all at different stages of the mommy train, life train etc., and thanks to PCA™, I’ve learned to make mealtime another way – making memories without worrying about what to make (or being preoccupied with making it each night).

I can help with homework, paint pictures, do crafts up to ten minutes before we sit down to eat. There are rarely the old battles trying to get them to eat, and they are eating better. Life has its own set of unavoidable challenges. Why let dinner be one of them? I suggest including Jewels turkey cheddar burgers (it’s how my girls get their veggies), and Jewels… Ava loves them!

Turkey Cheddar Burgers

Turkey Cheddar Burgers in PCA™ cooling bathes

These juicy turkey burgers have been a staple on my A-list action-hero clients’ menu for years. Lean and fighting mean flavor that satisfies his children too. I promise you will not be asking “where’s the beef?”

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 pounds 7% ground turkey
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
4 hamburger buns, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

1). In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, onion, zucchini, and cheese; dispersing the vegetables and cheese well within the ground turkey. Form into four patties (not too thick) and season on all sides with the Montreal seasoning.

2). In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the burgers, and cook 5-6 minutes on one side, then turn, and cook an additional 5-6 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

3). Serve the burgers on toasted buns with toppings and condiments of your choice.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve with garlicky roasted broccoli and crispy oven fries.

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  • July 24, 2012
    11:22 am

    Rachel, this was a beautiful post!

    As each of my children goes through their rites of passage it’s a bittersweet experience for me as well.

    It’s wonderful to see how our kids always blow our minds. We expect them to react one way and not only do they do the opposite, they teach US a few things.

    Your photos are adorable!!

    • July 24, 2012
      12:47 pm

      Holly and Ava are positively edible, they are SO cute, and Rachel not only captures the emotions exactly in her prose – she is one step ahead of us all imagining “There could be the mind that solves world hunger, cures AIDS, negotiates world peace or holds the hand of a friend that needs a lift up. The possibilities are endless.” That absolutely blew me away, and speaks volumes to the kind of woman she is!

  • July 24, 2012
    11:36 am

    Rach:

    Words cannot express how much I adore your girls. They are bright, talented, funny,beautiful and fantastic souls whom I adore as much as if they were my own children. I am truly a better person to know them. And I thank you and them for that.

    I look forward to whatever their future may hold. It will be extraordinary and amazing wherever the world takes them; or wherever they take the world.

    Much love to you and yours.
    ~K
    xoxo

  • July 24, 2012
    12:48 pm

    Aw, how lucky you are to have known each other all these years.

  • July 24, 2012
    8:16 pm

    Thank you ladies. I have my days as I’m sure you all have had with kids but each day I am thankful that I’ve been entrusted with these beautiful lives.

    As an aside, the boy in the photo with Holly (he’s in the black top and towers over her) was in her class this year. She was a grade one in a grade one and two split. Nawaz was in grade two. She came home with stories of him losing ‘tickets’ (their reward system) getting warnings etc just for boisterous behaviour etc so I assumed he was likely ADHD. At meet the teacher, the teacher told us how Holly had been quite upset during a lockdown drill (they drill for fire, school lockdown, tornadoes etc) and that Nawaz (who she described as ‘lively’ LOL) had gone over to her and comforted her – gentle as can be. What a kind heart and from someone you’d least expect so imagining what these kids could go on to do. Even if it’s helping ONE person, then they’ve accomplished something.

  • July 26, 2012
    8:16 am

    Rachel, such an amazing post! It’s clear how much you love your girls and I can see the love is returned. Keep dreaming of what they might be when they grow up, but don’t be too shocked when they tell you what they’ve been thinking about. The two minds don’t always come up with the same answers! LOL But, the main idea to be shared is that helping someone is a wonderful move and leads to the best choices in life.

  • July 26, 2012
    3:43 pm

    Thank you Ruth! Holly has wanted to be an architect since she was about two… and a garbage collector. School teacher, Aikido sensei and school bus cleaner now top the list. Ava just wants to be a princess. LOL

    • July 27, 2012
      8:40 am

      I think there’s a princess in all of us that wants to get out at some point. Just think of all the occupations they haven’t thought of as yet! LOL Zoo keeper, pet walker, snake charmer, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of these occupations! I’m just saying, little people are so imaginative when they talk about what they will be and do when they grow up. And you know, the best thing is to let them dream whilst they are little and just try to give them guidance when they’re older.

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