a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Apr, 2019

Thoughts from a blogger and parent of older teens young adults

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|parenting

At the end of my previous post I linked to a very old blog post, an 18-year-old blog post, to be exact. It’s so old it’s not even part of the archives. I actually had to go and find it on my computer and upload it.

I had to laugh at a sentence I had written at the top of the page: “Welcome to andrea’s blog. Here for no reason in particular. May or may not be here tomorrow.”

I guess I really didn’t plan on keeping it going for this long.

When I first started blogging it was primarily to keep my friends and family updated about our family life and how our girls were growing. It wasn’t technically meant to be a scrapbook of milestones, just some random jottings, but I guess that’s what it was in those early days. The eldest is walking! Talking! Reading! The youngest ate solids! It was ultimately around those milestones that a sort of community was formed. And I also learned that I was not alone in this parenting thing. There were other people out there who were walking around like semi-living zombies with crumbs in their bras and dried patches of baby spit down their backs! Amazing.

Today I have almost 20 years of journal entries. It is, in a sense, a scrapbook of our lives.

A few of you who are reading along have been here since the beginning and watched our kids grow up. You have also probably noticed that I wrote a lot about them when they were small, and less so as they got older. I thought they deserved a greater degree of privacy and I’m happy with this decision.

We are hitting a few milestones this year and for those of you who know us best and have been reading the longest, I wanted to share a little bit of where we’re at right now (while keeping some degree of privacy intact).

The eldest is in her second year of university at Queen’s. She’s studying to be a primary school teacher. We just helped her move to a new place with new roomies and there will be four young women living in the same home. When she first moved out on her own (a.k.a. left the relative shelter of university residence life) I was worried she wouldn’t feed herself very well (eg. get enough veggies and remember to pack a lunch) but I am very pleased to report that she’s doing ok! She knows her way around the grocery store – and the kitchen – and even sends us the occasional photo of stir-fries and other tasty concoctions she cooks up. (Thank you Pinterest!) She has been working part-time while completing her studies. Exams are happening right now, and her tales of studying and revising have reminded me why I DON’T want to go back to school, even though sometimes I think I am craving more higher education. When exams are over she’s jetting off to British Columbia to stay with friends for a bit before coming back to Ottawa and looking for summer work.

The youngest is finishing grade 12 this year and will also be at Queen’s in the fall. I repeat: Our two kids will be going to school in THE SAME CITY. I’m pleased for them, of course, but I am doubly pleased for Mark and I. Easy drop-offs, pickups, deliveries, impromptu dates and dinners! I am excited about this.

The youngest recently told me about some of the courses she’s interested in taking within the faculty of Arts & Science and it’s a very long and interesting list. As I mentioned before, she just got her driver’s license so the car is getting a lot more use now. I am glad she’s driving but I tell ya, it also worries me. New drivers tend to drive a little slower and with extra caution and it will take a little more practice to gain confidence. It’s the other drivers I am most worried about. Both Mark and I have been in the car with them when other drivers honk and rage and pass them at furious speeds. It’s scary.

We are super proud of both our daughters and look forward to seeing what the future brings.

Mark and I are starting a whole new chapter soon, which is weird to think about. The “what will you do when the kids are gone” question is one that I’ve been fielding quite a bit, along with “did you have children when you were TWELVE??” (haha). I haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer to the first one. I do know that I enjoyed every stage of parenting and will likely enjoy the next one too. Mark and I have a few ideas. As for what the blog will look like, I can’t say for certain. On one hand, I am asking myself what a parenting blog looks like without kids in the picture. But on the other hand, I know the Fishbowl isn’t really about parenting. It’s about me, essentially, and the topic matter is as varied as the ideas that are swirling around in my brain. Maybe it’s always been that way, too.

We shall see what the next chapter brings, but in the meantime, thank you for reading. xo

2 Responses to "Thoughts from a blogger and parent of older teens young adults"

1 | Claudette

April 17th, 2019 at 6:27 pm


Such a great milestone for you! I haven’t read along since the beginning but I have been by for 10 years, if that counts. ;) Happy too, you’ve been very inspirational.

You know, quite a few regulars on my blog are empty nesters, some quite recently, others a bit longer and either first-time grandparents or about to be. And, these people are avid bloggers! I also have quite a few regulars who are in their golden years and it’s been fun conversing with them too.

Your blog’s topics may shift a little now, or get completely revamped,which is kind of exciting to think about.

You know I’ll stick around to find out. :)

2 | Sue

April 18th, 2019 at 8:06 am


I’m about a year behind you! One finishing his first year away and the second finishing Gr 11. We’ve had many discussions about life on the “other side” and recently bought a trailer, so that we could get away on the weekends and eventually do some longer road trips. We also got a dog a little over a year ago and she’s made the transition much easier. Like you, there are not many stages of my kids lives that I’ve not liked. Doesn’t it feel great to watch them spread their wings and not fall flat on the ground?

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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