When A Blank Page Becomes The Next Chapter: My Thoughts On Preschool 

Friday morning… another blog deadline and I have nothing written. It’s 7am; I have a baby climbing on me and I’m typing this on my phone. Lord knows there’s no point dragging out my computer cause the kids think it’s  a toy. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on TV… that’s our staple first TV show of the morning.

I’ve been feeling completely uninspired as of late for my blog posts. Nothing comes to mind about what I should write about. My youngest brother got married at the end of last month and my mind was busy focusing on that. Then there was our annual family camping trip immediately after and my mind was busy packing for that. But those are over now. I suppose you could say my mind is now focused on back to school for my son. More accurately first day of preschool. Yes, it’s a big step. Next month my oldest will be going to preschool. I’m excited for him… I’m anxious… I’m a little sad. Another big step means another milestone means my little guy is growing up. Of course that’s inevitable but still, it makes my heart feel a little bittersweet. Even though he talks and acts like he’s a teenager, he still is so little. But he’s so ready for school. He’s been showing us plenty of signs: asking us to point at words when we read at night so he can learn them, pointing out letters he recognizing out and about in the world, acting up at home because he’s bored in the afternoon when he’s been stuck at home all day.

In my heart, I know he’s ready. I guess I’m wondering if I’m ready… ready to let him go out into the world. School is an overwhelming place. He’s going to face other kids and the cruelty that sometimes comes with it: being laughed at, being excluded, being bullied. Yes, he will experience all the good that comes with it too: learning, sharing, making friends. I just don’t know if I’m ready as a parent to help him face all the bad in the world. There will come a time when he will ask why someone  won’t be friends with him, why someone will be mean to him, why he can’t just stay home with Mommy and play. How will I answer those questions??? I believe in being open and honest with my kids but sometimes I struggle to understand the world let alone explain it to my kids.

I want to keep him a child for as long as possible. Kids grow up too fast these days. I want him to stay in the security of his familiar surroundings where he’s comfortable to be himself truly. All the yelling outbursts, the tantrums, the cuddles and kisses. One extreme to the other. I know here he feels safe enough to express all his emotions fully, be it good or bad. But that would be selfish of me to keep him. The world isn’t always a safe, comfortable place and my job is to prepare him one day to thrive on his own. So step one is preschool. I know he’s going to do amazing. He is destined to conquer great things in this world. He’s driven and convicted.

In a few weeks, I will put my brave mommy face on and walk him to the doors of his new school. I will hug and kiss him one more time while I reassure him that he’s going to have a great day. I will smile and blow a kiss while I walk away all the while holding back my tears.

Wish me and more so him luck as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

Until next time,

❤ Melissa

Advertisements

Driving A Father To Murder

newspaper-973049_1280If I am being honest, I hate reading the news; I try to avoid it. 99% of the new is tragedy and sometimes it can get overwhelming for me because I just can’t bring myself to understand why people have so much hate in their hearts. Every now and again though, there is a local story that grabs my attention. This happened this week.

A father, in a neighbouring city, charged with 2nd-degree murder of his wife, mother of his children. The full story by CBC news is here. It shocked and sadden me so much because it hits way too close to home. He allegedly set his house on fire, with his wife and five children inside. His wife died later in hospital but their children managed to escape with minor injuries, thanks to help from neighbours. That house is a house I have driven by more times than I can count. It is literally five minutes away from my home. I have never given that house a second glance or thought, but as I drove by it the other day my heart sunk. The police investigation team is there, part of the road is blocked off by all the police vehicles. You can’t help but stare at the police tent in the front yard and what is left of the burnt up house. My mind wonders what happened leading up to that moment of tragedy; what those poor children experienced being trapped in there; when they found out their mother had passed. All the while knowing their father was responsible for it all.

Immediately my thoughts then turn to my kids and about how much I love them. I would do just about anything for them. So I can’t help but think… what happens to a human that fills their heart and mind with so much darkness that they decide to kill?? How do you harm your wife and children; the people who look to you for protection and love? It breaks my heart apart. In a fit of rage or whatever might have happened that day that man has broken those children. How do they live with that? Their father murdered their mother and almost them.

The question runs through my mind endlessly, how is a father driven to murder… how is a father driven to murder…. How… is… a… father… driven… to… murder…

My children changed me. They filled me so much joy, filled me with purpose and responsibility. They made me see the world in a different way, made me want to be a better person, to seize the moment. Children are pure, innocent and don’t deserve the harshness this world gives out to some. I will never be able to drive down that street and feel the same way again. From now on, I will see sadness and evil there. The thing is, I have the choice to avoid it; I can choose to drive down another street and sometimes I probably will. But those kids don’t. They have no choice but to live it another day, somehow. I wish they didn’t have to. I will never understand some things in this world, maybe I’m not meant to. I know life isn’t perfect but why does it have to be so ruthless cruel sometimes?

As insignificant as it may seem, I still would like to leave this post with a quote.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

*image courtesy of Pixabay

No I Don’t Need A Daughter: My Open Letter To The World

What I am about to say is probably going to ruffle some feathers, but it needs to be said. I need the world to hear me out. Let’s talk about gender when it comes to having children. In my first pregnancy, we found out we were having a boy at my twenty week ultrasound and when we shared the news everyone was happy. In my second pregnancy, we found out we were having another boy at the twenty week ultrasound and when we shared the news, everyone was happy, but as their excitement faded I knew there was a question lingering… so are you going to try for a girl?

My life has been blessed with two beautiful little boys and I couldn’t be any prouder that they are mine. I have the incredible opportunity to nourish and raise them. Our house is symphony of chaos: Cheerios scattered on the kitchen floor, toys strewn about, pillows and blankets in a pile on the floor, kids laughing or screaming depending on the moment. As a parent you’re always wondering and imagining what kind of people your kids will grow up to be. Will they be strong? Will they be happy? Will you have given them the tools they need to survive and better yet thrive in this world?

Boys get a bad rap for being rough and reckless. And sometimes they can be. Wrestling and rough housing is encouraged in our house. I rolled around on the floor with them; I smash monster trucks; I investigate bugs. But boys are also sweet and affectionate. Every day at least once my oldest son will come up to me and give me kisses just because. He asks if I will sit beside him to watch cartoons while holding his hand. We cuddle, snuggle, hug and kiss all throughout the day. There is never a second of the day when either of my boys are within arm’s reach that I’m not hugging or kissing them. It is my goal to encourage their softness; to make them believe that showing physical affection and telling someone how you feel every moment you can is just normal. I don’t want them to ever hide their feelings because ‘they are a boy’. My oldest and I talk about feelings all time; we talk about why we get mad, sad, frustrated in different situations and I always let him know that no matter how he feels or I feel in the moment I will always love him. I want him to feel safe to express himself. I want my boys to feel special and to treat others with respect and kindness. I want them to know their value and to treat men and women as equal as if gender doesn’t mean a thing.

But how am I supposed to build them up to be confident and self-assured men when the world keeps asking me if I’m going to keep trying for a girl? As if my two boys aren’t enough… as if my life is incomplete because I don’t have a daughter… as if having boys isn’t equally as wonderful as having girls. All the Moms I know who have sons have been asked time and time again if they are going to keep going until they have a daughter. And it’s frustrating and angering. So I ask of you- STOP ASKING! STOP COMPARING! Ask me if I’m thinking of having another baby… ask me if I feel my family is missing another child. Do not ask me about having a daughter.

I was blessed with the immense responsibility to raise two boys. I am going to teach them about gender equality, race equality, human equality. Step one to that is never ever letting them wondering if their Mother was disappointed because they didn’t turn out to be girls. That seed will not be planted in their head. I won’t let it. Because it is the furthest thing from the truth. I would chose my sons time and time again if I had to do it over. If I decide to have more children, I would take a hundred more boys. I treasure my sons and our special bond. Did you know boys implant their DNA on their mother’s brains during the pregnancy? They do. They are just as much a part of me as I am a part them.

So the next time you have the urge to ask if someone is going to keep going for a daughter… just stop. Keep it to yourself. And I’ll thank you for showing my kids that boys are equal to girls, girls are equal to boys. Then we can stop placing stupid expectations and restrictions on gender going forward. Maybe, just maybe, the world will then have a glimmer of hope for a better, more accepting future.

❤ Melissa
*exceptionally proud mother of two CHILDREN

Book Review: Thrive… By Arianna Huffington

Huff bookIt’s book review time again! The latest book I read is by Arianna Huffington entitled Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder. Despite the title being a real mouthful, I felt like this book had lots of offer.

Huffington is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. As a result of suffering a fall at work from exhaustion which left her with a nasty gash on her head, she began to wonder what the meaning of success was all about. Through personal stories she shares moments of her life that defined her and helped her remember what is really important in life. Money and power are traditionally the two metrics of success but Huffington goes on to explain how well-being is the third metric needed to keep us from toppling over on the “two-legged stool.” She offers research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sleep and physiology that show the effectiveness of meditation and unplugging from the online world. Being connected to social media 24-7 is slowly killing us. She also goes on to explain how giving to others will show us the way to revolutionize our community and our way of thinking in every aspect of our lives, home and workplace.

I have always been a fan of reading inspirational quotes and this book is filled with them. I enjoyed this read and found myself being uplifted by the time I finished it. The book flowed from topic to topic really well and I fully believe in the advice she offered in the book. This book will stay with me for a while and serve as a reminder to what is truly important in life: all the things that make us happy and fulfilled. I would recommend this book as an easy read to anyone looking for a book with a good message and tips on living a better life. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.Happy reading!

❤ Melissa

*Note- I received this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review

 

 

Victim Of Circumstance

It’s 5:30am in the morning and my baby’s awake. Consequently so I am. What else is there to do at this time of the morning than sip a coffee and contemplate life? We have just come home from a family holiday in Kelowna. I went up to celebrate my soon-too-be sister in law’s stagette, but I decided to stay a few more days to have some family time with just me, my husband and our boys. During those couple of days together I managed to sneak a few minutes to finish reading Ariana Huffington’s book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life of Well Being, Wisdom and Wonder. I’ve seen the reviews online of this book were split equally; people either think it’s a good read or a terrible one. (Stay tuned for my official review of the book soon) Lucky for me, I liked it and found I could take something away from it. Basically the point of the book is to seize the day and remind yourself what is really important. This got me thinking about how we can become victim to our situations too easily. All too often we make excuses for the things that don’t make us happy or that don’t bring positivity to our lives. Our jobs, our homes, people. We make excuses for why we can’t change or eliminate these things from our lives. Like… I’d quit my job but I need the money. I’d love to live somewhere tropical but that’s not reasonable.

20160620_200411

In the three and a half hour drive up, my son asked me about fifty times, “are we on holiday yet?” He was so desperate to be there. I was too for that matter. When I was a child, Kelowna was the place my family went every year for our family vacation, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s like a home away from home for me. I remember all the fun times I had with my brothers on the lake; paddling our boat, swimming trying to avoid the “seaweed” below us, jumping off the dock. We were free. We loved it there and now here I was sharing this love of Kelowna with my sons.  When we finally reached our accommodation, my oldest was so excited. The place we rented was right on the beach with the lake steps away from our door. Immediately my son grabbed a few of his toys and ran to the beach to play. I didn’t hear a word from him the whole time we unpacked the car and set up everything. He was completely at peace playing in the sand and discovering this new world. The four of us were at peace there together. We played, built sand castles, swam in the pool, played hide and seek for days. I was blessed with having a moment to relive my childhood with my sons.

20160620_134734

Before we went away, I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I was sick of looking at the same four walls of my house, of all the renos still left unfinished, the giant hole in the ceiling from our leaking master bathroom, the basement filled with stuff I have to deal with. I even contemplated moving just to escape it. But when we arrived home after our holiday, I felt like I was seeing things in a renewed light. Instead of problems I see potential. I see how happy my boys were to be back in their own beds the first night back. I see that I really actually love my house. I love the layout, the creativity it sparks in me. Yes it’s older and needs work, but I can once again see the good in it. I have the power to create it the way I want.

That’s the power of getting away for a few days to unplug and unwind. I feel like I have taken a step back  to really appreciate that life is short and we really have to take a good look at what is important. Staring at the lake, the mountains, the beach and reading Ariana Huffington’s book really reminded me we are not victim to our situations. We have full control of where our lives go. We can choose to change things we don’t like or at very least change the way we see them. I need to unplug more and appreciate the small things… hearing my sons giggle together in the other room, close my eyes and appreciate the taste of my glass of wine, the softness of my pillow as my head lays upon it. There is so much beauty in the simplest of things. The more I see the things that make me happy the less space there is for the things that make me unhappy. I don’t want to be a victim of myself today. I might not be able to run away to Kelowna every week, but I have my imagination.

That’ll be my gift to myself today… it’s my birthday today on a side note… and I am going to love every second it. I survived another year and it’s going to be a great day no matter where I spend it.

Until next week,

❤ Melissa

When The Tether Snaps

2016-06-14 16.13.35To me writing is like speaking a foreign language; you need to use or lose it. It’s far too easy to walk away from the blank page staring at me and say I don’t have time today. Before I know it suddenly a month has passed and the blank page is still glaring at me. Empty. I know my blogs have been absent for some weeks now and I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry to myself and to my readers. I have to admit that I was kind of in a weird head space the last few weeks. My kids were both going through a transition period and I was along for the ride. My oldest moved on to the “big boy” bed and consequently stopped napping during the day time. That was a big shock to my system considering he used to nap at least two to three hours a day. My youngest has gotten four teeth in a matter of three weeks. To anyone who has lived through a teething infant, you know that it can be hell! He was getting up three times a night and still waking up around 6:30 in the morning. I was up all night with the baby and spent all day with both my kids. As my oldest transitions out of nap time, he still gets very tired during the day time, but refuses to sleep. Have you meet an over tired toddler that refuses to nap?? Let me tell you the epic meltdowns I’ve lived through are rough. An hour of crying for ANY reason, ANY: I told him he had to share with his brother, told him he couldn’t have a treat, told him he could have some quiet time in bed, I looked at him, I looked at his brother, I stayed in his room, I left his room… the list goes on. I was so exhausted. Dealing with the tantrums during the day and then a crying baby all night will wear on your nerves especially when all you want is a little alone time.

I have always been the type of person who enjoys her own company. I need alone time to reboot my system and process my thoughts. It keeps my sane. So I suppose I have been going a little insane as we all adjust to this new daily life. I have insisted both boys are in bed at 7:30pm every night which has given me a little more time at night, but I don’t really get that to myself because my husband is there. While I love his company, sometimes I just need to be alone. Last week I tried to get my oldest to give me thirty minutes twice a week to go for a run on the treadmill while the baby naps in the afternoon. We are still working on that. He tries to “run” with me or just throws stuff at me to get my attention, but I’m confident eventually he will get bored with it and just play while I have my quiet run time.

So needlessly to say that given my afternoon writing time has disappeared, I haven’t been able to do much. It’s been a tough transition for me to accept that I don’t get a break in the day to collect my thoughts and maybe even sit for a few minutes uninterrupted. But I will adapt. We all will adapt. We will find another way to co-exist happily and I will have to find another slot of time to write.

Sorry for the gap… once again. I can’t promise there won’t be another on the way because I’m certain there will be. But I do promise myself to try to write. I will try to keep that writing tether intact, so my creative juices keep flowing as much as possible. I have so many ideas in my mind and I will find the time to put them down on paper. I already have a blog post lined up for next week that you won’t want to miss. Trust me!

As always, thank you for sticking with me, for reading and for commenting. Your support is amazing!

Until next time,

❤ Melissa

Special Mother’s Day Edition: Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day weekend everyone! I hope you have special plans to celebrate your Mom. Trust me she deserves it! I can honestly say that I have learned two very important things in life.

1. You never stop needing your Mom, no matter your age.

2. After having kids, you will appreciate your Mom more than ever.

You won’t stop needing your Mom, ever. At least as far as my experience goes. When things goes bad in life, I want my Mom to hear me cry. When things goes right in life, I want to tell my Mom how great it is. You want to hear your Mom is proud of you, that constant reassurance that someone no matter what is always on your side cheering you on.

Being a Mom is just about loving your kids unconditionally. That’s it. Just love ’em and tell them that every chance you get. And to the kids out there, just love your Mom. Forgive her for her shortfalls because believe me she did the best she could. There isn’t one perfect Mom I know… we get tired, frustrated, angry, but I know we are all doing the best we can to give everything to our kids.

So to my Mom whom I know will be reading this not knowing I am writing this. Thank you for being a great Mom! I consider myself lucky to have you. I know if and when I needed you, you would do your best to help me the best you could. Thank you for loving my sons equally as much (maybe more… haha) as me and for spoiling them as you do. I know one day when they’re older they will look back on all the gingerbread cookies and think fondly of those memories. Over the years I know we’ve maybe not always seen eye to eye, but I want you to know that I will always love you and appreciate you for everything you have done. Being a mother is the hardest and greatest gift in the world and now that I am a mother I see you always did the best you could to give me a great life.

To my mother in law whom I’m sure will also be surprised to be reading this… thank you for raising a wonderful son. The reason my life is great is because one day he was kind enough to invite me to come hangout  with him, my brother and their friends. His kind heart is the reason we became best friends and eventually fell in love. Thank you for always supporting me and being there. Our boys are so lucky have a Nana who cares so deeply for them.

To my two special little boys Dylan and Ethan… thank you for making me a Mom to two of the best. Dylan, in the three years we’ve had together you have challenged me, pushed me to be a better person but more so you have simply filled my life with such joy. I love that you are full of such energy and life; that you are so driven to accomplish things or should I simply say you’re stubborn. I secretly love the fact that you challenge me, argue with me and are set in your ways because I know it means you won’t take shit from anyone and won’t stop short of reaching all your goals… I admire that about you. I also admire your kind heart for it is filled with so much love. You are always sharing food or toys with all those around you and you show such compassion when someone is upset. I hope you keep that sensitivity to spread kindness to the world around you. To my sweet little Ethan… we’ve only had six months together and already I see your sweet soft nature. You are my happy-go-lucky little man and your sweetness fills my heart. I can’t wait for each day ahead to see more and more of your personality come out. Your cute smile is unmatched in this world.

To all the Moms out there… Happy Mother’s Day. Though every day you are and should be celebrated… you created, carried, birthed, loved,  nourished, protected, kissed and hugged us. That is more than anyone could ask for. So make sure all of you out there, take time for your Moms this weekend. That’s all she ever wants… just your time. Presents, flowers will never ever come close to just being with you or hearing your voice if you can’t be together. Never take her for-granted!

Happy, happy, happy Mother’s Day!

❤ Melissa