Monday, November 29, 2010

Go Read Someone Else's Blog

I have never done this before, and I don't even know really the in's and out's and rules and regulations about doing this but here it goes. I'm telling you, this moment, to go and read someone else's blog.

I just started reading her blog, clearly late to the blogosphere party, and I can't get enough. In particular, one post has moved me so much that I can't stop thinking about it. It made me teary, it put into words every single thing I feel as a Mother about love and letting go. It's beautiful.

I'm encouraging you all to go and read it. It's quite honestly one of the best pieces I've ever read.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Than Room and Board

My home life was often not only chaotic, but terrifying. My stepfather was a raging alcoholic. What that meant for us was sleepless nights and often emotional and physical abuse. I'm not being over the top when I say that many days I wasn't sure who would come out of my house alive in the morning light. That sounds dramatic, I know, but that was my reality. Even now, it's sort of a filmy surreal memory to me, and I've questioned how I survived it all (relatively) intact.

I know one way. I escaped.

My sister moved out at 16 to not have to deal with it anymore. I saw how she was struggling and working and not always eating, and knew that wasn't for me. Instead, I sought refuge with my friends' families.

Looking back as a Mother myself now, I'm truly thankful for those Moms and Dads that took me in. I don't remember ever once being questioned about "why" I was staying so long, or "why" my parents didn't care that I wasn't home for weeks at a time. These people welcomed me and made me feel like extended family. They fed me and housed me and took me on vacations. They never asked me for payment or rent. Trust me when I say they could have. More importantly, they never made me feel awkward about my own situation or like I needed to explain what was largely painful and unexplainable.

Some days, when my kids have had many a playdate, I sigh with relief that their friends have gone and it's just "us" again. The worry of another child's welfare ends as I close the door behind them and send them on their way.

Thankfully, there are people out there that take lost kids under their wings and help them learn to fly. They showed me what family could be and they made me feel like maybe I wasn't such a mess after all. They made me dream of the possibilities ahead. They did it all seamlessly and with tact and diplomacy.

At that young age, I realized the gift. I tried to be the model houseguest; tidying after myself and doing dishes and laundry. I was polite. I didn't take it for granted, and I certainly was aware of the need for it to continue.

The day to day reality of it all didn't sink in, though, until I had children of my own. Those families sacrificed time and money and food for a kid that wasn't their responsibility. I can't thank them enough, because the fact of the matter is, without them I'm not sure what would have happened or where I would have ended up.

I wish for kids out there to not have to live as I did. If it so happens that one seeks refuge in my home, I hope I can be as thoughtful and warm as those parents who opened their homes (and their hearts) to me.

To all of the O'Donoghues and Borts out there, I extend a huge grateful thank you. You may have thought you were just letting a teen hang at your pad, but you did so much more than that. I appreciate it and my life was changed for it. Truly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stealth Showering

Stepping groggily into the steamy water, I can barely muster the energy required to bathe. That's how tired and lackluster I feel on this chilly, brisk Monday morning. I stand for a moment, letting the jets pound down my back and warm my shivering skin.

I reach for the shampoo to begin the whole process that is required to cleanse away another day, and notice it is not there. Now, I'm fully awake and horrifically realize that the conditioner and body wash are also nowhere to be found.

Kids!!!! They've once again pilfered MY amenities into THEIR bathroom, leaving me....well, in the cold.

I, however, am not to be deterred! Rather than traipse soggily through the house, I decide the best course of action is to make do. Since the girls have done this to me before, I had the foresight to place some travel sized shampoo and conditioner in my shower. Almost chuckling with self-congratulation, I grab the shampoo. It's empty. Cursing, I begin to smack out as much as I can onto my palm. There is enough there to "maybe" do a portion of my head. I add some water to create a lather and plonk the minute cleanser on to my head. My thick hair usually calls for at least triple this amount, but I will NOT be swayed.

Satisfied that my hair is at least clean, sort of, I cross my fingers and grab for the conditioner. This hair CANNOT be left unconditioned. I can't stress this tidbit enough. Victory is mine as travel size conditioner is half full!

Smiling now, I decide that the best body wash will be the leftover candy cane bubble bath my kids have left me. How is this even possible??? Again, there is a trickle left in the Penguin shaped container. I again dab out as much as I can and start lathering up. I have enough to cover half of my body. This game of trying to outwit the shower powers that be is no longer gleefully competitive. It's tiring.

I have only one recourse left. I wash the rest of my body with my facial exfoliator. I kid you not. At least that skin will be baby smooth, after it's no longer red and raw.

Stepping out of the tub and wrapping myself in as many towels as there are at my disposal, I come to two conclusions. One being that it's time to buy duplicates of everything shower related. Two being that this whole shower drama may have been an omen of the week to come.

I climb back in bed, hair askew and frizzy, and pray for a re-do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Daughter's Lament

Two years old and running fast,
Escaping the house
By sneaking past.
In the driveway,
My Mom comes home.
It was the last time she left
him with me, alone.

Three years old and curious,
Threw the car into reverse
down a hill,
Father furious.
He was more scared, I think
than anything.
With me as a daughter,
You never knew what I'd bring.

Four years old and sad,
My Dad leaves home,
and it hurts so bad.
He marries again
and we move on,
though life has changed
and it feels all wrong.

From 5 through 25
(you do the math)
We see him on holidays
Each time a laugh.
And yet it never feels quite "enough",
I'm left wondering why?
This is so damn tough.

Something changes in me then,
With the birth of my daughters
It's more about them.
I make an effort,
a valiant try
to see him more often
To get to know this guy.

It's then that we suddenly
Become more in tune,
Back is the Daddy
That I thought hung the moon.
It's fishing and cottages,
Holidays and cheer,
It's singing and yodeling,
Over Caesar's and beer.

It's telling silly jokes,
and laughing at old times,
It's looking into eyes,
The same colour as mine.
It's mending some fences,
That whoo, needed fixin'
It's quieting the voices,
That made me feel like a victim.

It was a long struggle,
to get where we got,
misunderstanding and abandonment
were the demons I fought.
Yet, finally, at last,
this beautiful pair.
Still flawed, not perfect,
But at least mutual care.

Then moving away,
and sickness set in.
The calls got less frequent,
the hurt was to win.
Still, we knew then,
what we'd questioned before,
I was his daughter, he my father
Forever more.

Neither time nor distance,
Those facts could change,
We'd grown and learned,
our fate reclaimed.
We said "goodbye"
knowing it'd be our last,
On Remembrance day,
his last light was cast.

It has struck me more deeply,
then I'd prepared myself for,
The tears ever flowing,
the pain in my core.
He's always been Daddy,
even though I'm grown,
though far away,
he's always felt "home."

I am still that little girl,
face pressed to the glass,
Wondering when he's coming,
When I'll next hear his laugh.
Held in my heart, for safe keeping
he'll be,
Shared with my daughters,
Him, me and we.

His life will live on,
As best that I can,
What made him so special,
Who he was as a man.
I'll celebrate his life,
for in us it lives,
his death a reminder
with all that it gives.

To Daddy,
From Daughter,
some words from the heart,
We may be parted,
but never apart.

I love you Dad. I'll see you again.

Nov. 15th, 1935-Nov.11th, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Library Bliss

In exciting news that makes up my life, my husband and I finally checked out the library and got a library card. That may not thrill you, but oh how it makes MY heart go pitter pat. I did have to laugh at my OCD rearing it's ugly head as I started re-shelving books so that the ones in the same series were all bundled together. I guess my years as a Chapters employee are still coursing through my blood. We came home with 16 books. Now, my daughter and I will get through our 5 each in about 2 weeks. My husband took out three, which I counselled against, because I doubt he'll get through one of them in the 3 weeks. My youngest gets two books a night, or one chapter, so she'll probably read her few over and over.

Within those books, I got some fiction and some non-fiction. I have had the author Francine Rivers recommended to me, so I found some of hers to try. I also loved "The Red Tent" so I found another Anita Diamant title. I also got some meditation and life awakening books.

I'm still not feeling "settled" in our new home, mostly because my life is still topsy turvy. The daily grind is starting to become routine, but I still feel like I'm rushing through the weeks without truly being conscious in them. I also have a lot on my mind with my Dad. He's taken a very serious turn for the worst, and it's currently a waiting game. That occupies my mind most of my day, and frankly, I'm not getting a lot done. Reading is relaxing and non taxing, and books allow me to escape some of the "stuff." My bathrooms aren't feeling the library love, however.

Those meditation books are to help with some of that insanity. I figure if I can take 10 minutes out of each day to just sit and breathe and maybe read a short passage of inspiration, it can't hurt. I'm hoping it's a big help.

I'm currently about 3/4 through one of my books and am ingesting small bits of the meditation book each day.

Nothing brings me more bliss than sitting curled up on the couch, alone late at night when the house is quiet, tea in one hand and a book in the other.

The library has always been one of the best things to happen to me. It's solace in a stressful life storm. It provides hope when dark clouds loom. It teaches and it answers every imaginable question.

The library and it's hallowed halls are almost reverent to me. Books are a world away from all that holds me down or creates an ache in my heart. It fills holes that are left gaping and brings warmth to cold shivers.

Books and the library are my salvation from the ravages life can bring.

What about you? Do you frequent your public library? Do you feel a little high when you do? Or am I the only library nerd among us?

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Do I Have To Offer?

I've been reading lots of blogs lately, from a multitude of different circles. There are so many groupings of bloggers in my area of interest, which is namely parenting.

Parenting, however, includes a ton of other topics under that label. I muse, here, about them all. For me, that entails how to deal with beauty in my late 30's and those new challenges. It also includes diet and fitness and finding the time for both. I love cooking, so I'm always seeking and making new things. I'm a "Stay at Home Mom," so I connect with others on that path. I also got married young and had my kids pretty early on and that can be a different voice out there in this world of women climbing the corporate ladder before family. I've been with my husband for 17 years now, so I have a stake in the relationship debate. I ran a successful home business for 10 years and try to help others starting the same. Lastly, I'm Canadian and have lived from Kelowna, British Columbia to Ottawa, Ontario to Northern Ontario and now find myself in the Maritimes. That allows me to have opinions and discussions on the differences and similarities I've found along the way. (PS Canada Rocks, no matter where I've lived!) I've also been a writer since the first time I learned how to put words to paper. I've just started to open that area up to the world at large and see where it takes me.

What's my voice, then? What do I have to offer the blog world?

I started writing this blog a bit fearfully. I just wanted to write. I wanted a place to vent and an outlet for my thoughts since posts are often crowding around to standing room only in my wee head. I needed a space for them to roam free and be heard. I was nervous over my audience, though. I invited only a few trusted friends to read. I've never included location or any pictures.

It's been a process of a small step at a time. Now, I'm ready for the next steps.

I've put my blog "out there" to a larger viewing circle. I still haven't quite figured out how to push that even further, but I keep researching and joining and inviting.

I'm going to take a few more leaps as we go along, starting with some pictures to go along with content.

The blog, for me, has always been an evolving process. I haven't specifically had goals for it but I've definitely had hopes. As Christopher Reeve said, "Once you choose hope, anything's possible."

I continue to hope.

I know I have a lot to say. My Mom would tell you that I always have! I think I have a lot of life experience to draw from, and I think my voice fits in many niches. My dream is that someone will read and pay me to write. That would be the ultimate, for all of us who write. I can't even imagine being paid for what I love to do and would do repeatedly without compensation.

I write for myself, but I treasure when it's touched another. I'm stretching out now and dreaming louder and further.

Anything's possible.

Florence Nightingale

Once again I've been torn away from my writing due to my children's needs. How DARE they??? Truth be told, I don't mind. Actually, real truth? I'm a little obsessive, apparently.

I have been assuming that when children are sick, you just don't get much sleep or do anything other than hover over them constantly with a watchful eye. Little did I know that other parents don't do that. Say what?

My daughter missed all of the last week of school. She started with a reaction to her new earrings. That resulted in a big cyst behind each ear. It turned into a fever so off we went to the clinic. (side bar-as we are new to the city we have no doctor here so the clinic is our new best friend!) While we were there, they checked her slight cough and said to take the earrings out and put some Polysporin on daily. The cough? Likely just a cold starting.

We went home and started following the advice. That night, her fever rose steadily higher. I spent the night with her in my bed, kicking my husband out to sleep with a hundred Webkinz in a cozy, pink floral cloud. He LOVED it.

The next day, the fever was even higher. I spent the day bringing her drinks and snacks on a tray in my bed. We watched movies and napped. Well, she napped. I spent my time staring at her and wiping her face and brow with a lukewarm facecloth and trying to remember when I last gave her Tylenol.

We entered the clinic doors once more, this time to hear the news that her slight cold was a chest infection. She started Amoxicillan to combat the nasty germs and hopefully bring the high fever down a notch or five.

When my kids are sick, I basically don't sleep. In our house, if you have a fever or bad cough or a gastro deal, you sleep with Mommy. Yay me! Honestly though, it's easier for me that way. If they were in their own beds, I'd just spend the night walking the halls checking them over and over. I ensure they get meds consistently. I place cloths to cool them down and bring them drinks to sip throughout the night. At some point sheer exhaustion takes over and I succumb to a fitful slumber, despite my best efforts to valiantly stay on the alert.

I thought that was just the typical Mommy duty for those sickly times. I have come to learn that not all of my Mommy friends feel the same way! Many of them said they give their kids some meds before bed and close their doors. They tuck themselves in their own little nests and don't rise again til morning, or until their child might come to seek them out.

Really????? That's a completely foreign concept to me!

I'm not looking for some sort of Florence Nightingale Award for exceptional care taking. I know that my need to hover is just who I am and part of my OCD nature. Sure, some little part of me likes carrying trays and preparing chicken broth and toast and tea. I mean, how often do they need me and want me so sweetly and appreciatively? I credit it to my childhood aspiration to be a Pediatrician. I have a real need to nurture the people in my life. That's surprising even to me cause I'm such a non-sappy cynic most of the time.

We're all recovered here now and back to the daily grind. At least the rest of my family is feeling healthy and rested. Me? I'm starting to feel a little under the weather. I guess that's one of the hazards of sleeping with the sickies and letting them cough into your chest as you hold them close.

It's a price I'll be happy to pay over and over again. Hopefully I won't HAVE to mind you! (I wish health and wellness on all of us!) When the call comes though, I'll be ready-thermometer and cool drink in tow.