Wednesday, September 14, 2016

finding the time

I love when autumn meets summer.  That small few weeks when pumpkins are out, the trees are turning, the weather still is in the high 20's but instead of breaking out pools and sprinklers, you cherish the warmish cool and embrace the merging of two seasons for the brief moment they pass by each other.

There's an urgency not to let one warm day pass because all too soon it's going to be chilly and darker, meals will be heavier and warmer, clothes will be layered, walks will be a little more hurried.

As the warm breeze filled the kitchen last night after dinner, I roused my two littles and urged them to come with me for a walk.  We loaded up J's bike and despite the kitchen still untouched from our meal, we went outside.

I needed that.  I listened to my body when it reacted to the smell of the trees and the touch of the wind on my arms.  I knew I needed to be outside in it and let go of everything that had happened to me yesterday.  The kids needed it too.  We would push bedtime 15 minutes later and enjoy a warm evening.

The trails are my favorite, I love that they bustle with people because I'm not looking for solitude, I am looking for solidarity.  Other parents out walking with their children.  Other people who felt the need to get out and enjoy the evening.

Big breaths.  Be present.  Let my shoulders relax and feel my chest rise and fall.  Mindfulness.  Being in the moment and not in my problems.  Holding my daughters hand and feeling it in mine.  We come home renewed and happier for taking the time to live.

no filter needed. 

searching for a bull rush

she's so vibrant she skips and runs everywhere

a helpful push up a big hill

setting sun

I just love this walk

J said "look mom, I bet that's heaven"

"hurry up mom"

my favorite feeling

Monday, September 12, 2016

The struggle to balance

It's a blur.  The alarm goes off and I climb over the two bodies asleep in my bed.  I shower quickly before rousing them and beginning the dance of the morning.  Visual checklists, routines, structure, some days it works and other days it's a struggle.  Clothes laid out, they have changed their mind from last night and now the skirt is too itchy and these pants are too tight.  I hear spongebob and out goes the warning that we eat and brush before we watch tv.  The familiar reply of "I'm not hungry" echoes from the living room.  I turn it off and shoo the angry child into the kitchen.

Waffles, toast, cold cereal, yogurt, whatever I can entice them into trying I prepare.  Teeth brush, bags grabbed, water bottles filled, lunch kits out and off to the bus stop.  When they are on the bus I breathe a relief but life doesn't stop.

Make a coffee, or indulge in my daily take out cup, and start the chores.  Make beds, gather clothes, complain about toys, scrub bathroom, gather breakfast dishes.  Glances at the meal plan to see what needs to defrost or be prepped.  Always errands, always phone calls.  A little break, maybe an outing with a friend.  I glance at the clock and it's later than I expected.  Meetings at school, lawyers, resumes to send, job bank to check.  Pay some bills, momentarily freak out about bank account balance, check with Trudeau money is coming and count off days on calendar.  Notice dance dues are due and cirriculum night is happening soon.  Mentally prepare for the onslaught of activities about to start.

Pick out books for reading tonight, not based on theme but a conscious choice based on level.  Get kids, prepare dinner.  Check bookbags, read notes, break up fights, allow ipad time, wonder where cat is, find cat outdoors, feed cat and apologize for closing the door on her.  Scrape half eaten meals into the garbage and pile dishes into sink on top of other dishes piled into sink.  Check dishwasher...damn it's clean...close door and ignore.

Kids are relaxing, tv is blaring, they are fighting, clock is ticking.  Start warning it's almost bedtime.  Baths, wet hair, combed out knots and lots of tears.  PJ's, never a fight.  Story time, log it in homework book.  Snacks and brushing of teeth.  Two hugs and two kisses always, music on, night light, quick tidy of room with warning to keep it never will be.  Downstairs, pile of dishes mocks me, make lunches for two and recess for two, ice packs and yogurt drinks, make room in the fridge for the bags.  Laundry, laundry, laundry.  Snacks, netflix, crash into bed at 10 and wonder when did this become my life.

I love it.  I love it all even the hard.  But I never thought I wouldn't share the burden.  I never thought so many decisions would end up on my shoulders.  Lately they buckle under the immense responsibility they carry.  But one foot in front of the other, embrace the mistakes they aren't a sign of failure but a sign that you tried.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

the last one leaves the nest

My youngest has started school.  I've just done my last ever  very first day of school and I am beyond overjoyed to know that I had the privilege of walking my children into school on the first day and experiencing all this with them.  I surprised myself by starting to cry as we pulled into the parking lot of the school, the kids laughed at me.  It's a big year of change.  This year the kindergarten kids will go full day and all the kids will eat lunch at school....goodbye lunch time child care WOO HOO.

J has made some big changes for this year and it was all so overwhelming.  His sensitive nature causes meltdowns easily and it's a challenge when you see your child so upset when all you want them to be is strong and assured.  J changed from French to English this year after being diagnosed with a reading/learning disability and expressing that he found the dual languages too hard.  Because of this he started with a fresh class of new faces.  On top of that he got the brand new teacher in the school and it's a male!!  J broke down before even getting his indoor shoes on.  Thankfully his teacher seemed amazing during our small interaction and I have great hopes for a wonderful year.

E was a little tentative as she clutched my hand and tried to edge her way onto my lap in her classroom.  She had the wonderful experience of meeting her teacher last year and many of her classmates so this was a little familiar yet slightly daunting knowing I was going to be leaving her.  Like the brave girl she is, she let me go without tears and when she bounded off the bus at the end of the day she was exhausted but ecstatic.  Wearing her first day of school crown she made she told me about her whole day finishing with "it's a lot of work to be a big girl."

J also sprung off the bus and instead of the Eeyore attitude I was expecting, I was greeted with a kid who seems to love his teacher and tolerate his classmates (a huge accomplishment for J).

E bounded off the bus in love with all things school.  She told me about her new friends (so far her favorite is a boy named Oliver) and all the things they learned (like where the toilets are.)  Her teacher sings her praises as being one of the first to help, a kind gentle girl, very eager and very focused.  I think she might be the kid who gives me an easy time in school.

There is such a dichotomy about the new school year for me.  A mix of pride watching my kids grow and progress but a longing for them to stop and slow down.  A selfish need for me to keep things exactly as they are but daydreaming about the adults I want them to become. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hello September

My facebook and friends are all about the pumpkins right now.  They are wishing the cooler, slower weather where life falls back to routine and schedule.  I am not.  I am holding tight to summer and soaking in every last moment.

Where I am normally strict to our routines, I've let them slide.  Night time we take our time, we go outside in the warm summer air, we have fires that last forever and we find our way to bed well after 9.  We sleep in and let our bodies wake us.  This is a summer where I am not working and that means a rare summer for my kids where daycare and summer camps aren't happening, they are truly having a care free summer.

Once the travel to Toronto was over, August and September have become our playground.  We've been visiting with our cousins from Alberta and they love to be outside in nature.  There have been so many trips to the ice cream shop, swimming at the swimming hole, dying our hair with spray dye because we can, hikes in the woods, fresh foods made with farmers market items or stuff we grew.  Travels around the Island to places like the insectarium to hold bugs and watch butterflies.  And a fun dye and run to celebrate back to school because really why not!!

This summer has been magical for me.  The 5 weeks they were away from me really made me stop and think about my role as a mother.  I know it is special and sacred but there were days when the sheer responsibility of it overwhelmed my pure joy.  I was thrust into the role of single parent and took to it running, never for a second stopping to let an ounce of my grief and devastation overtake the lives of my children.  Crying, venting, grieving, logistics....all that stuff has been placed into areas of my life hidden away from the children and dealt with in adult ways.  So during my 5 weeks apart from them I learned in myself that I enjoyed being a mom.  I truly love the playgrounds, the messes, the family fires, the feeling of my children snuggled up against me.  I love being a mom and from that point on summer became a free for all for us to enjoy each other, to make wishes come true, and to make memories that last a lifetime, and strengthen our souls during the bad.

Summer has been revitalizing for me when I am currently swirling in a sea of confusion and uncertainty.  Through it all I vowed to give summer my all and I think I kept my vows.


cozy nights during backyard fires

trying out some fun hairspray dye all summer long

me and my girl at our back to school run or dye

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Well I've officially completed my degree and can now say I AM a social worker.  It's been probably the greatest achievement I have ever made in my life and something I did truly and utterly for myself.  I gave up the dream of being a social worker to travel with X for his career, putting myself on the back burner, working at jobs that satisfied my other education but never what I truly wanted to be.  Maybe it was some sort of innate intuition or what, but 4 years ago I got an itch to find a way to finish my degree and there was an urgency in that need.

I found it through the University of Manitoba and a complete online program that they offered.  Designed to be part time, I was free to take up to 9 years to complete it and they took my previous education into account leaving me with just core social work courses to complete.  I've since learned that it's insanely hard to get in and by divine intervention I made it the first time.  In fact mail was so slow in the Yukon that I got my phone call wondering where my tuition was long before I got the acceptance letter that had been mailed out to me.  I distinctly remember sitting on the couch with tiny baby E in my arms in Teslin getting the news I was accepted, crying with a joy and a fear I hadn't anticipated.  I remember he gave a lack luster hurrah to me, I was accustomed to it.

I worked hard.  I parented and worked throughout my degree.  First I worked part time but eventually when X walked out on me I had to work full time.  I always parented the majority of the time and my school work was never given a priority by anyone but me.  I truly feel he thought I would never finish it.

One semester I had a very sick baby, another semester I threw my back out and wrote an exam very high on pain killers after just being discharged from hospital.  I moved across the country another semester, I separated from X and moved my entire family to Newfoundland (this was the hardest semester of my life).  Through depression and upheaval I trudged through.  My transcripts reflect the periods in my life that were tough.  Through the B's and multiple A+'s come a barrage of C's...these mark the hard semesters and the hard times in life but those C's were hard earned and hard fought for.  They mean more to be then a sub-par academic achievement.

Through it all I found tremendous strength in not only knowing I had to now provide for my family, but that I had to become the person I wanted to be.  I had to form an identity, be my own person, be proud of who I am and have my kids proud of me.  Every semester brought their own challenges and as a single mom I struggled hard to balance.  I put the kids to bed at 8:30 and then started papers.  They were so tolerant of my web conferences and quietly agreed to an earlier bed time and no disruptions during them when they coincided with our nightly routine.  They respected the evenings that I really had to do papers instead of movie night, they never complained.  They don't truly understand what I've done, but they will.  Tonight E asked me if I was "in school" while checking e-mail and when I told her no I was done school she beamed and said "So now you social work??"

Yes baby girl, now I social work; now I am a professional.  I have completed my dream and I can't wait to work in it.  I can provide for my family and feel fulfilled in what I do during the work week when I am away from my children. I succeeded despite the obstacles thrown at me, despite the negative energy around me, despite every reason to not.  I succeeded and there is no one who can take that away from me.