Lessons of Life

Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we are here to learn. I think the past five years there were many stepping stones to the platter of lessons I have recently been blessed with. I say blessed like it’s a gift because quite honestly I look upon all things as gifts. Sometimes they are not gifts we would choose for ourselves, like opening a parcel with a nasty sweater at Christmas. Still gifts just the same. I have unwrapped a few unwanted gifts as of late. I won’t go into great detail due to the private nature and those close to me but to generalize the situations for the sake of soul-searching and allowing a connection with others that may possibly have recently opened a similar gift.

 

 

As a parent, I have been given the lesson of stepping outside my comfort zone. Not just the daily run of the mill parent craziness. Children are a supreme blessing in my mind. Swirling around them in constant motion are many things; love, chaos, frustration, joy, laughter, among so many other beautiful things. Sometimes though, a ripple in the smooth surface depicts an undercurrent that threatens menacingly. The demon reared its ugly head in my child’s life as Anorexia Nervosa. It was a slow and steady build up that went undetected by my cautious eye only to attack with a vengeance like an unexpected sucker punch. I struggled within myself originally, laying blame in my mind where I could. That route was fleeting as I stepped outside myself. This wasn’t about me and how I felt. This was about my child and how they processed things. The alteration to my thought process has allowed me to become the support structure this fragile Being needs. Simply, compassionately, I remain strong in the notion that I need to be the rock when my darling is feeling at a loss. There are those around us that still want to lay blame, find the root cause, or dissect everything to bits. I feel the process is about gaining back self love and control in a positive format. To know that love from those around the sufferer is unconditional. To be strong for them when they don’t have it within themselves to be.  There is a long road ahead to health and wellness for my child. It’s an all-encompassing disorder. Treatment is multi-faceted. To say I wish my child never had to deal with this is an understatement. However, taking this one day at a time makes this lesson a little easier to deal with.

 

 

Too often I hear people complain about their weight needlessly. Who truly thinks a thigh gap is remotely sexy anyway?  Don’t get your knickers in a knot if you are naturally thin and have a thigh gap. That’s a totally different thing. I’m referring to young girls (or boys) that starve themselves for this look that is not natural to their physique. It breaks my heart to see people think so poorly of themselves as to deprive themselves senselessly of proper nutrition. Learning to love and accept our bodies at their natural weight and shape is a practice in self love. We are all constantly bombarded by utter ridiculousness for the sake of industries to prosper at the peril of making us feel bad about our outer shell. Looking good is important for self confidence but being healthy makes one look fantastic! I don’t know about you but looking fantastic due to great health pummels the heck out of a mediocre “looking like everyone else” or not enough energy to do the things you want. I struggle when people ridicule others with differing figures. It matters not whether its an obese person calling a slim woman a bitch or an average built person being condescending to someone of heavier stance. Having hit many different weight points in my lifetime, I realize that every body shape and weight deals with some sort of stigma. When we stop ridiculing and scrutinizing others, perhaps we can all go a little easier on ourselves. Lets all just aim for healthy!

 

 

 

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Inner Child Visits Disney

Success at last!

 

 

After years of hearing, “When can we go to Disney, Mom?” and months of planning the dream finally became a reality. This was the only thing my kids had ever really asked me for and I was determined to make their dreams come true. I persevered through setbacks over the years while keeping the prize of Disney in my sights. It became about more than a child’s request. It morphed into a personal feat of determination to accomplish something that was slapped out of the air whenever the words were spoken by negative thinkers. Those that didn’t personally enjoy Disney, had already been there and lost their Inner Child somewhere along life’s path, or were hell-bent on being a dream crusher. I ignored them all…even though their words and actions hurt me and my kids I stayed focused. I reiterated over and over to my children that I was taking them to Disney. Then I went one step further and committed – I gave them a time period. I was now tapped into the reality and was not going back on my promise. It was happening.

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.”

– Denis Waitley

I am thrilled that it came together the way it did. My children are no longer tiny Beings that need to be toted or pushed in strollers, thank goodness, which made everything more enjoyable all around. I thanked my lucky stars whenever I witnessed parents struggling with over-tired and cranky wee ones, juggling diaper bags and strollers, and having to pretend they were enjoying all the kiddie rides when I know they were secretly longing for the Tower of Terror.  There is something to be thankful for in each stage of parenting and at present I am reaping the rewards of kooky teenagers. They are like aliens sometimes but they are so much more enjoyable to travel with than little ones. That said, last week my sister and I accompanied  my two kids on this magical journey and let our Inner Children run wild!

 

 

This vacation was more than just time away for me and my kids. This was about taking time to connect outside of the regular realm of our existence.  I have always had a wonderful relationship with my kids and this was another aspect to explore – travelling together for more than a few hours in the car. It was a fabulous experience! I am a Spirit that hungers for travel, adventure and fun so  who better to share this with? This excursion was also about strength and determination to accomplish a goal. To teach perseverance and to take part in making someone else’s dream come true. To share a joyful experience that they would hold in their memories for a lifetime. Time spent with my sister is always a blessing as well.  My parents gave my sisters and I the love of travel early on and we all feel grateful to them for sharing such a wonderful gift with us. I am thankful I can do the same for my children.

 

 

I have been asked a few times what my favourite part of going to Disney was. Honestly, I think the unspoken energy shift in my kids was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. I tear up with love for them as I type now. When a person lets their walls down and just lives for pure joy and laughter it is the most amazing thing to witness.

 

 

I must admit that I was a bit distracted at times with the beautiful plant life. So many gorgeous specimens that we don’t have here in southern Ontario. I was forever taking pictures of vegetation and spouting off Latin names as my kids just rolled their eyes at me and tuned out. Except when I said Monstera…that caught their attention. Go figure.

 

 

 

garden at resort

tree person

As we walked by a stand of trees in the Animal Kingdom Park this leafy figure stepped out of the gardens. They were on stilts and moved slowly and fluidly along the edge of the greenery.

These are just a few of the photos I took of the plant life – I wouldn’t want to bore you by sharing all of them. The gardens at Disney were spectacular and the amount of lush foliage and trees surrounding all the resorts, hotels and parks was a sight to behold. Disney certainly does it up right.

highway signs

Disney, here we come!

disney arch

It was all I could do not to squeal as we went under the arch. Seriously! I’m a big kid.

I think we were more excited than the kids!

I think we were more excited than the kids!

 

We have arrived!

Join me again next post when we get off the bus and get crack-a-lackin’ at having some serious fun!

 

“You’re dead if you only aim for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

– Walt Disney

 

 

Ties That Bind

The ties that bind us together. Family, friends and those that weave in and out of our lives to deliver timely messages whatever they might be. On my Path through life I am often reminded how we are all connected to each other by seemingly invisible threads. I have learned that there are many different types of bonds in life; the bond of genetics is strong. Within my heart is a huge section reserved for my family. My parents, my sisters and those that surrounded me by relation. I have an amazing family that I am very honoured to be a part of. My sisters mean the world to me. Although we are each very unique we are also very similar…eerily similar sometimes. We laugh at the same things without speaking or even eye contact and often feel that the other is in some sort of distress just by intuition. Sounds kind of hokey but I think it speaks loudly of our concern and respect for each other as well as the strong familial connection. As we mature, it seems as though we are drawn back toward each other. We don’t get the pleasure of spending much time together as all three of us live in different cities. A few recent family events through both loss and health challenges has brought us back to a common goal of caring for each other. It is interesting how Life throws us back together when we need each other without realizing it.

 

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with my family. My daughter and I went back to my childhood home to visit. On the way, we stopped off in Toronto to visit with my sister since she had flown in for work. I live fairly close to Toronto so this was a great opportunity for us to spend time together. Growing up, my sister was my closest ally. It was rejuvenating to get to spend time with her and my daughter together. This occasion allowed my daughter and I some time exploring on our own as well. We walked arm and arm down Yonge Street in Toronto and enjoyed each others’ company while we wandered aimlessly through the Eaton Centre. I am not a shopper by any means and I really do try to steer clear of malls and the materialism that is reinforced within its’ confines. However, the Eaton Centre is a really unique space. It is a landmark and focal point of downtown Toronto. It covers two city blocks and is four stories of shopping galleries while having a six-story glass domed ceiling. The Eaton Centre attracts approximately 50 million people per year with 25% of those visitors being tourists. It is a vibrant location in the heart of the city. It’s interesting how the mall itself still has the same feel it had when I visited it as a kid even though the stores have all changed. It is clean and bright and caters to eclectic tastes, not just the same stores and restaurants you find in every other mall in Canada.

 

 

 

Eaton Centre, Toronto

Eaton Centre, Toronto

 

Eaton Centre fountain

Eaton Centre fountain

 

 

 

My daughter was awestruck by Sephora while I just wanted to run as fast as I could away from it while plugging my nose! Sorry Sephora fans. Admittedly, it was a beautifully laid out store and the products are high quality. That is not the reason for my disdain. The odours of vanity hit my nose like a huge green cloud of toxicity. Nail polish remover, perfume, and masks of makeup on every female in the store hiding her natural beauty underneath. Makeup is meant to accent a woman’s beauty when worn on a “regular day”, not as though she were about to perform on stage! I guess I don’t share a flair for the (over)dramatic. I don’t think of myself as unkempt by any means but I felt as though I was totally naked walking through this establishment with my real face showing. I personally subscribe to the thought that we are each given something unique and beautiful, why try to look like everyone else? On that note, we carried on through the mall taking in all of the sights we aren’t normally bombarded with in our city which is surrounded by wineries and natural beauty. I love spending time in large urban areas. Seeing and experiencing how other people live is eye-opening. A reminder of why I have chosen the life I am living is essential sometimes.

 

 

 

Metal Sculpture

Metal Sculpture

view from 21st floor

 

 

 

Later that day, the three of us went out to enjoy dinner together. We found an incredible little place that served vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free pizza, pasta and desserts. Oh, and beer.  Jackpot! It was a great little hole in the wall that we all enjoyed immensely. If you are in Toronto and have the opportunity to eat at the Magic Oven I highly recommend it. The service was friendly, the prices reasonable and the food outstanding.  After dinner we headed to Chinatown. I love Chinatown, but sadly it was getting late and the shops were closing up for the night. My daughter had the shock of her life when she stepped on what she thought was a fish head (who knows what it really was) and I just couldn’t stop laughing at her reaction. If you’ve ever watched the show Pitchin’ In with Lynne Crawford and have heard her when her gag reflex kicks in, this was what my daughter sounded like. Hilarious. We booked it back to our hotel in the -10 degree weather as quickly as possible so we could warm up again. It was an enjoyable, if not frigid, walk. We stopped long enough to snap a pic on this extremely cool sculpture outside the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). I got stuck holding the bags of desserts while my daughter clambered around behind me.

 

 

 

Sculpture outside the AGO

Sculpture outside the AGO

 

 

 

Saying goodbye to my sister as we left was, as always, bittersweet. I love spending time with her but that was merely the start to our busy weekend. Two more family and friend-filled days ensued. I got to spend some much-needed time with my other sister and parents. Visiting at “home” was a much more relaxed pace which was enjoyable after the hustle and bustle of the two days prior.

 

 

Catching up with my dear friend Crystal (Change My Body, Change My Life)  after a few months apart was grounding. Bringing me back to introspection. She is so good at reminding me to ask myself the important questions in life. She seems to always be able to read me like a book which is very comforting. There is no need to explain myself but just to be who I am…whatever heart space I happen to be in.  I am honoured to know that I am also a safe place for her. We help feed each others’ souls with positivity. Thank you.

 

 

These are merely snippets from my weekend spent reconnecting. Pulling the ties that bind closer to my heart. My world is more colourful and glorious because of those that grace the stage of Life.

 

 

 

 

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” – Henry Miller

Black Friday

I don’t get it…I really don’t.

I understand the significance of the name Black Friday. There are a few different theories on where the “black” in the name Black Friday came from but the one that is most well-known is that of businesses making a profit or being “in the black” on their ledger books. Understanding the meaning of the name does not make me want to participate.

 

 

I am not a lover of shopping to begin with so the thought of a stampede of people sounds absolutely dreadful. I am the kind of shopper that makes a list, knows what I am looking for and I get in and out of stores as quickly as possible. Oh, except at grocery stores. I am like a kid in a candy store at grocery stores. I love looking at labels and investigating new products. The healthy food section can suck me in for an hour, easily. Sorry, I got off-topic. I remember too many reports of crazed shoppers to want to risk being anywhere near stores today. Living only minutes from the U.S.- Canadian border, there is always a bit of a whirlwind of excitement when Black Friday is approaching. We are bombarded by American ads announcing their fabulous sales. I say, “no thank you”. Every year after Black Friday we hear of those unfortunate people who get caught up in the insanity. Like the man who was trampled to death or the woman who brought her pepper spray. All for the sake of things. So sad. Consumerism at its worst.

 

 

Courtesy of Yahoo Images

 

 

Last week my son asked me if I would go “over the river” and get him something he wants at a Black Friday sale because it is so much cheaper than here in Canada. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic my response was,  “You would send me, your loving mother, into a pit of insanity for a thing? I could be crushed to death!” I may have over-reacted just a titch. Stopped the wanting in its tracks though. Mission complete. The other upside to this is that he revealed an idea for a Christmas gift. Oh, I’m so wily.

 

 

The thought of humanity getting so wrapped up in things is rather unsettling. Yes, I like nice things too but I’m not about to fight for my spot in a crowd or grab rudely.  I plan to wait a few days, saunter into local businesses without the panic of pushy shoppers surrounding me and enjoy the process of finding something special for those I would like to give a gift to over the Holidays. And, truth be told, a few gifts for myself as well.

 

 

 

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”   – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Memories

I am caught in a vortex of emotions.

Over the last few weeks there has been a few pivotal moments in my life that I have needed to focus on. I have been trying to juggle many things at once and it seemed like something was just going to have to “give”. It was at this point that I received a feeling of sorts. Out of nowhere, fleeting thoughts of someone dear to me appeared throughout my week. On the evening of Friday, November 2nd I had been out and upon returning home I received a message to call my father. I knew instantly in my heart what he had to tell me. My thoughts were confirmed. I was told with sadness that my grandmother had passed away. Although I was upset by the news it was not a terrible shock. My grandmother was 95 years old and had lived an amazingly full  life. She was is great health with only a broken hip to slow her down a couple of years ago.

 

If you don’t mind, I am going to reflect briefly on my sensational grandmother and who she was in my eyes.

 

My Grandma was extremely pivotal in my evolution as a woman. She was always full of positivity and  seemed unflappable. She had a “You have to eat a little dirt before you die!” attitude. She rolled with the ups and downs of life and adapted when she needed to. As a young girl growing up, I saw my Grandma as brave, independent and fabulous. She was a seamstress and always had stacks of “repairs” she was working on. A steady stream of customers were always dropping by to pick up their clothes that Grandma had fixed for them. Never judging that the customers pants needed letting out – again. She would just chuckle and do a quick little wave of her hand to signify that it really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I loved when she did that. I have since learned that the little things we can all get so bent out of shape over are neither here nor there. Let life flow as it may. Enjoy the ride and let others live their lives in their own way. Being non-judgemental doesn’t mean not having an opinion on things, it simply means that we are all different and others are not there for us to critique.

 

I learned early from my Grandma that sanity comes from acting a bit nutty sometimes. Laughter is the best medicine life has to offer. She would laugh with us when we told jokes, acted crazy or dressed up in her closet full of retro clothes. I see myself very much like her in this respect. I love to play and get kooky with my kids and friends just for the heck of it. Life is too short to be serious all of the time! When the weather is grey, put on some red high heels, sling a red purse over your shoulder and paint your nails to match!

 

I think the hardest part of saying goodbye to my Grandmother is that in my mind and heart she seemed immortal. I know better, obviously, but she had serious staying power. It seems surreal that her time here on earth is over. Memories of her will always be easy to come by since there are so many wonderful life moments that were shared with her.She showed me through her actions how to be kind and joyful. I was truly blessed to have her as my Grandmother.

 

Now I just have to learn to make raisin cookies the way only she could!

 

 

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”  – Mark Twain 

 

 

 

Snippets in Time…Thanksgiving

I think this year’s Thanksgiving weekend ranks at the top of my Thanksgiving memories. The weather was incredibly beautiful and autumnal. One evening being cool and rainy was a great excuse to bundle up inside with a glass of red wine, a cozy blanket and an interesting documentary. What? I love a good documentary! Monday morning  the sunshine and crisp air beckoned us outside to get the garden prepped for winter. There was raking to be done and the removal of the veggie garden plants. The whole family chipped in on the task which made it so much more enjoyable. We had some good laughs while working as a team to accomplish a goal. Things went slightly awry when the kids thought it would be fun to chuck green “grounder” tomatoes at each other. They quickly realized it wasn’t as intelligent as originally thought once put into action. A learning lesson was had – being pummeled with green tomatoes is like having rocks thrown at you! Those shenanigans died down without me even having to pull out the “safety first” speech.

 


We indulged in our quiet Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening and reported to each other something we were thankful for. I stated that I had a few things on my list and was quickly shut down after three. Well! (Insert huffy breath here.) I was trying to keep it brief. I didn’t even ramble. I guess everyone was just incredibly thankful for the good and plentiful food set before them that waiting to consume it was a hardship.  I had prepared everything  healthier and  lighter with a  whole food mindset although I don’t think anyone even noticed that all the “unnecessary  stuff” was absent. All I heard was a resounding “thank you for a great dinner”. Chalk one more up for eating clean.

 

 

After mentioning in my last post that I would be making a wheat-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie there was some interest shown as to how it would turn out. Truthfully, it was delicious. I have made pumpkin pie in many variations over the years and I think this has to be one of my favourite methods. I didn’t feel that drive to overeat or the icky feeling from too rich of a dessert. I have tried everything from store-bought to tofu pumpkin pie to made from scratch using local pumpkins. This year’s was the winner! A co-worker/friend of mine came across the recipe and thought it looked like something I would be into so she posted it on my Facebook page. So glad she did…thank you.

 

 

There seemed to be a lot of kitchen activity this weekend and I even managed to stock the fridge with lunches and snacks for the next few days. We started the day yesterday with quinoa crepes with fresh, hot applesauce and real Canadian maple syrup… Mmmm. Yesterday I whipped up another new recipe to me – Banana Prune Cake. Very yummy and not too sweet. The prunes were supposed to be dates but I only had prunes so I substituted. Last night’s kitchen adventure was a speedy home-made hummus with extra garlic. Sorry to every one of you in advance that I am in close proximity to over the next few days. I pumped up the garlic amount in an effort to try to rid myself of the lingering sinus/ear annoyance I have been fighting for the past week.

 

 

All in all, this Thanksgiving was wonderful and reaffirming of the blessings of Life. Sharing healthy, delicious food, enjoying nature, and being with those I love has made beautiful memories and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.

 

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”   – William James

Rainy Day Play

There is something so therapeutic about waking up to the sound of rain. The softness is enveloping. This morning was one of these peaceful awakenings. It  has set the stage for a wonderful day.

My usual cup of strong coffee with a touch of cinnamon was accompanied this morning by a big bowl of homemade applesauce that I made yesterday from local organic apples with, of course, loads of cinnamon. Yum. After breakfast, my daughter and I spent about half an hour or so braiding each others’  hair for fun while watching old episodes of Charlie’s Angels. We have been working our way through the original series which came out in 1976. We are enjoying and having lots of laughs over the clothing choices of the 70’s. I forgot how popular jumpsuits were!  Not that I was into fashion much in the 70’s since I was only 3 when the show premiered.  After the braiding, which we removed afterwards, we got down to business – and wrestled! Everyone should wrestle for fun at least once a month. It’s hilarious, as long as you are being mindful of your opponent. We  always end up in fits of giggles and trying to catch our breath. Good times. Playing is something that as adults we think we should forget about and be serious all the time. Until I heard Deepak Chopra once say that everyone should remind themselves to play, I forgot how important it was to just let go and stop being serious about everything. Life is meant to be enjoyed at the same time as being productive so why not relax a bit and have some laughs! If you know me personally you will know that I love a good laugh. Laughter is like sunshine for the soul.

Once we got ourselves together, it was time to shift into constructive mode. We had to SHOP! Yes, I said shop. I am not a “shopper” in general. Walking around slowly in mobs of people under fluorescent lighting is excruciating to me. If I have a purpose, such as I had today, I am fine. We executed our list quickly and efficiently so that we could stop into the local Greek Festival on our way home for some lunch. This is where we,yet again, gave thanks for a rainy day since the food line up was short and speedy. A parking spot was quickly located close to the festival so we could jump out, run to the food tent, then run back to the car to take our lunch home.

At present I am taking part in eating only whole foods and have eliminated wheat, dairy, and sugar for the month of September. This posed to be a challenge as I salivated over the thought of spanikopita, greek salad with feta and baklava. Groan. I did bend the rules today fellow “whole food poutine detox” friends. I ate a container of greek vegetarian rice with vegetables. It was perfectly cooked rice in a vegetable broth with cooked vegetables. No cheese, no wheat and no sugar – but there was rice and salt.  I am not beating myself up over this since I only have access to this dish once per year. For the record, it was amazing. If you would like to know more about the group and what we are participating in simultaneously while giving each other support, check out the Facebook page called The Whole30 Clean Month Poutine Detox.

In addition to yesterday’s post about the changing of the seasons I noted something interesting as I was in the grocery store this morning. The pull of autumn is definitely strong. My arms were  full of apples and squash. I’m in full Fall mode. Just thought I would share that in case you happen to be interested. I think a butternut squash soup is in order for dinner on this rainy near-autumn day.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”   – George Bernard Shaw

Re-blogged: The Reason I Detoxed My Home

I felt as though it was time to reconnect to the reason I originally started to blog. After sharing my experience with a few people close to me I was encouraged to tell others. Hopefully this might help shed some light on an issue for someone, somewhere and make a difference.

Thank you to all of you that have been reading my blog, liking my posts and commenting freely. I love to hear from you all!

livelovebegreen

As every parent knows, when something isn’t right with your child your whole world seems to come to a screeching halt. About two years ago mine did just that.
I really can’t pinpoint when it all started. I just know that it felt like an unending stream of sleepless nights and a heart-wrenching feeling of helplessness. It all started with a panicked, middle of the night cry of “Mommy!”
In the foggy world of half asleep and half awake I had bumbled into my daughters’ room to find myself instantly snapped into the here and now. Her face, pillow and hands were covered in blood. Fighting the feelings of panic, my daughter explained that she woke up with her nose bleeding. This was like no other nosebleed I had ever witnessed, let me tell you. After what felt like an eternity, we finally stopped the bleeding and snuggled back in…

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Stepping Stones

This week has been one filled with  many stepping-stones for my family and myself.

We have celebrated two graduations and endured a few personal challenges along the way. Changes in life are an essential part of the process. The process of bettering oneself, the process of growth (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and the process of learning to accept these changes whether good or bad and recognizing  them as part of your process. Change can be difficult or enlightening depending on your perspective.  Finding the correct perspective is the key.

With the graduations of my children to the next phase of their journey, my heart is wide open and joyful for them. I feel my Inner Mother wanting to feel anxious (or sad?) that they are growing so quickly but I instantly flick her off of my shoulder. There is absolutely no need to feel any semblance of loss that my children are no longer babies. There are those that wish they could keep their offspring as infants or toddlers forever…not me. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every phase my children have grown through. I make sure I revel in the little things with them. Celebrate the small stepping-stones just as much as the large ones. I don’t feel as though I have missed a moment because I have enjoyed each and every second I’ve spent playing, laughing. storytelling, and witnessing their “light-bulb” moments, to name a few.  Whether it be the first time my son rode his bike without his training wheels or when I watched as my daughter kicked and punched the bejeebies out of a heavy bag while practicing Mauy Thai combinations. These moments don’t need to be relived if we are present (not just physically)  the first time.  These are the stepping-stones of life. There is no need to cling to days in the past, wishing for more…I am living in the present, hoping my kids are too. With experiences and joy in each day, I hope they are learning the ability to be appreciative of the moments that shape them and find fulfillment on their life journey.

Moving forward with their education, my children do not hesitate or long for more time within the walls of their past schools. They are looking forward to new adventures in learning and a change of scenery. I am excited for them. They are experiencing life as it is meant to be experienced…as they want to live it. I will never force my children to participate in things they have no interest in; other than school, of course. Such as take music lessons or playing sports for me or any one else. I give them the choice to make their decisions about how they want to spend their extracurricular time. Kids need time to just be  kids, not have to perform to some unwritten standard that creates unnecessary stress or resentment into their forming minds. They also need to learn the essential tool of decision-making. Yes, obligations are a fact of life and those are not optional. Things such as helping around the house, cleaning up after yourself and not just lying around doing nothing constantly. I love to see my kids laughing and just being silly with their friends, experiencing intense hilarity in things that really aren’t that funny. Laughter is definitely the best medicine for so many things, and the craziness of life makes it essential in my mind.

As my loving and amazing children move forward on their path, I find myself smiling from ear to ear. I feel no need for blind pride, thinking my children are better than anyone else (although I love them more than anyone else). I feel intense, crazy love knowing that I have been blessed with them being a part of my life.

So, not only am I celebrating my son and daughter’s personal stepping-stones but my own as well. These experiences shape our life paths, making us richer in spirit.

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”    -C.S.Lewis

Wearing A “World’s Greatest Mom” T-Shirt

I do not own a “World’s Greatest Mom” t-shirt. Nor do I ever want to.

I strive to be inspirational and a guide along the path of life to my children,  not to blow my own horn as World’s Greatest anything. Isn’t life about learning along the way? Making mistakes so we can improve? Laughing at ourselves and the little things that tickle our funny-bone? That would be near impossible if we put ourselves on the “World’s Greatest” pedestal. I don’t always want to be serious and disciplinarian or on the flip-side a jellyfish with no backbone. I strive to be somewhere in between. To laugh each day with my kids but still be able to pull out “the tone” when needed. You know the tone…the one that makes everyone stop what they are doing and listen up. Or maybe you have “the eye” down to a science. Both come in handy periodically.

My main objective as a parent is to assist my children to become productive and confident adults that love who they are while always being open to learn new things. Closed minds will not grow, but stagnate at a certain point. To be accepting of themselves and others for who they are in the moment. To take ownership of their health and be armed with the tools to do so; and not blinded by the ideology of marketers and big business. To always have a dream that propels them forward. These are the basic principles that I hope to be instilling in my children’s thoughts and hearts.

A few of the things I love doing with my children are:

  • working together in the garden – although this meets resistance to the sound of “it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, etc”
  • baking and cooking – I love knowing that I am passing along necessary life skills
  • playing games – both board games and video games
  • spraying each other with the hose when the other person is least expecting it
  • chatting about nothing in particular
  • reading together
  • cuddling up in front of the fireplace on a cold winter’s night
  • laughing like we are unhinged

A couple of weeks ago I was out with my daughter at a grocery store and we noticed a family of three – a mom, dad, and a young child perhaps about 3 years old. We noticed them because of how both parents were responding to the little boy. He was innocently dancing and singing and just being generally happy. The mom was totally oblivious while the dad kept yelling at the little boy.  My daughter pointed out  how she thought that the dad yelling at the boy was unnecessary and that she felt sad for the boy who was so cute and just wanted to have fun in a place that was probably extremely boring to him. He wasn’t bothering anyone by being in the way or being loud. But here’s the kicker: the dad was wearing a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt.

This is the situation that really got me pondering the t-shirt pomp. What do we consider great parenting? To me parenting is not just about housing children to adulthood in our home but about caring for another person so much that we want them to succeed in the world after leaving our loving, nurturing nest. To love our children with not just our hearts but our heads as well. Guidance and problem solving, to me, is a huge part of parenting rather than trying to replicate yourself.  Having a parent that loves unconditionally with no-strings-attached becomes a safe zone for children. We all need a safe zone. Somewhere we can be free to say or think what we need to,  just because.

I’m hoping this Mother’s Day I don’t receive a “World’s Greatest Mom” t-shirt. I don’t need another dust cloth.