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

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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

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.

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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.

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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

Why My Heart Shatters

There are the happy moments in life; those moments seemingly frozen in time in your memory… the day you got married, got your acceptance letter from the university you wanted to attend, your first steps on a tropical beach. These are the ones we like to think about as much as possible. But on the other hand, there are also the bad ones; the really bad, heartbreaking, life altering ones. Those are the ones we try to avoid thinking about, but when you’re inside it, in those terrible times, that’s all you can think about.  I am in one of those times. I wasn’t going to blog this week, heck I probably wasn’t going to blog next week or the week after. I was going to avoid it because when I write it forces me to sit down and self reflect. Then I take that self-reflection and put it down on paper; my emotions raw, staring me in the face.

Last Friday was an awful day. One I can’t forget since. I relive those moments over and over again in my mind. The day I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat. To some a cat is just a cat, but to those close who knew my cat, he wasn’t just any cat. He was an amazing soul. He was so sweet and so loving that he made people want to be around him. Simba had such a calm, quiet nature. He just wanted to be near you, to be stroked a little while, maybe steal some food off your dinner plate. On sunny, warm days he just wanted to lay out in the grass, peacefully observing the world go by. Simba is the fur baby love of my life.

A few months ago his health started to decline; I could see it but couldn’t admit it. I told myself that he was just adjusting to life with a newborn in our house again. He started losing weight; his beautiful orange coat that he always kept in perfect condition was starting to look messy; his nose went from a cotton candy pink to brownish. In my heart I knew what was happening, but it couldn’t happen. I wasn’t ready for it. Sure he was fourteen and a half years old and had a medical condition, seizures more specifically that he had to take meds for to keep them to a minimum; meds which cause liver damage. Another day would pass and I would see him get weaker but I had to write it off to just a bump in his road and he would get better. The next week would come and he would be weaker still; it was ever more obvious he wasn’t doing well. Then early last week he started having seizures every day, some times twice a day and I realised the end was nearing. I knew he had to go to the vet, so we scheduled an appointment for him. The morning of his appointment I spent every spare moment I had cuddling him and talking to him. I knew there was a good chance he wouldn’t be coming home. But when the time came for him to go, I said goodbye, but not like forever goodbye because I told myself maybe he just needed a check up, some meds and he would be just fine. I must have checked my phone a thousand times in that thirty minutes waiting to hear from my husband. When I finally read the news, it was the worst case scenario. He was dying. There was nothing else we could do for him. My husband and I agreed we would take him home one more night and have him put down the following afternoon. I will spare most of the details from that night and the next day partly because it is still too hard to write about and partly because those are moments I want to keep special between me and my kitty. I will say however one of the hardest things I ever had to do was put him in his carrier to watch him leave. I knew I would never share another snuggle or give him another kiss ever again. Having him apart of my life was over. And my heart shattered while I sobbed. I kept telling him over and over again how much I loved him, how sorry I was this was happening to him and how much I would miss him always. And I do terribly. I see his presence everywhere still. I see him sitting in the kitchen eating from his bowl, I see him sleeping in the corner of my closet, I see him running through the grass in the backyard and yet I see him not there at all. A piece of my life is missing and they say it will get better. People have told me one day I will think of him and smile instead of cry. But I am not there yet.

I am not really sure what this life is all about; I’m not really sure why people and animals are placed in our lives only to be ripped away from us. It is pretty harsh. I only know this is just how it is. It’s all just temporary. I don’t say that trying to be depressing or morbid rather I say it because again I was reminded of the beauty and frailty of life. I was blessed with an amazing furry friend who enriched my life for over fourteen years and am terribly sad that chapter of my life had to end. But I can only keep going on and appreciating the people in my life still. I am just taking it day by day and enjoying the quiet times with my sons. I cuddle them a little longer, kiss them more often because those are the times I can forget the sadness and just smile.

To my sweet kitty out there somewhere, may you rest in peace and be free. No more pain anymore. You will always be in my heart Simba.

 

Children, Masters of Time: What They Taught Me

2016-03-31 10.51.32Kids are purely amazing. They will teach you so much about yourself if you are humble enough to let them. I read this quote by Lao Tzu once that really resonated with me, “If you are depressed, you are living in the Past. If you are anxious, living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment.” It explained so much about myself.  As someone who has suffered with anxiety throughout my life, I finally made the connection that I was all too often living in the future.

I am guilty of over scheduling myself. I sit every Sunday and look at my week ahead to ensure I have something planned for every day. Multiple events in a day are not uncommon in my life. I get bored sitting around the house even if for a few hours; it feels like a waste of time when I could be accomplishing so many other things. I prefer my schedule to be packed almost to the point of being overwhelming because to me that feels like I am making the most of my life, getting the most out of my life. No wasted time.

During the week I have errands to run and chores to do. Most times I have to drag my two sons along for the ride, much to their dismay. Of course by the end I have tired, grumpy kids to which I am saying just a few more minutes; just one more stop; stop whining; just let Mommy do this last thing. It always ends in bargaining and pleading from both parties just to get through my mile long do-to list. My mind is focused on the future, on the things I have to do, the events coming. Cards I need to buy for birthdays coming up, screws I need to buy for the project I am planning, those pajamas I need to buy cause my eldest has grown like a weed lately. But when I stop and look at my kids, I know they are miserable. They are living in the present moment and that moment sucks. Who wants to go grocery shopping to actually buy groceries? They want to go because there’s  awesome fish and cool lobsters to look at. Who wants to go to the mall to shop for that birthday present when you could be riding the glass elevator or pretending the stroller is a race car. Kids live in the pure and innocent present. If you are able to get out of your head and into the present moment, magic will happen.

Tuesday I decided was my ‘present’ day. The glorious sun was shining and I’d planned to take my boys for a walk to the nearest coffee shop and after we’d spent the rest of the morning playing in the backyard. During our walks, my boys are always calm and happy; my eldest and I talk about all the trucks passing by and my baby just plays and smiles at me. We reach the coffee shop and I pay for my coffee and muffin. My son says to me, “mom can we sit at a table outside?” He’s never asked me that before. “Sure, of course we can,” I reply. We find a table for two outside and he climbs out of the stroller and into the chair across the table from me. There is a special twinkle in his eye as he sits there chatting and eating his muffin; he is so excited to be a big boy, my coffee date, but he is nowhere near as excited as I am. There is no one else in the world right now that I’d rather be sitting across from than him. This is a coffee date I want to remember forever. Bashfully he asks me if we can go to the park on our way home. I figure he thinks there’s a 50-50 chance I could say no cause we don’t have time. Today we have time, so I say yes. Immediately he gets so excited and wants to jump back into the stroller to go to the park right now. I follow his lead. At the park, I stand back and watch him climbing, running and admire how fast he is growing up; pondering how he doesn’t need my hand guiding him up the chain ladder to reach the top of the slide. There’s no one else at the park except for the three of us and in that very moment I know why. This is my precious reward for just living in the moment with my boys. I get this time just for us and don’t have to share. They don’t have to share my mind with my lists; they have all my attention. We are perfectly at peace together. Happy, pure happiness in these moments.

Kids have the amazing ability to live in the moment and do whatever strikes them. It’s truly magnificent their pureness. My kids are certainly showing me the best and not so best of myself. They are the happiest when I ignore the rest of the world and just play with them. My love and attention is all they ask.

So I humbly acknowledge that I am aware scheduling every minute is not truly living life at all. Life actually happens in the unscheduled moments while living free. Those are the memories we make, the ones I treasure. My kids are teaching me more about life than ever before; they make me aware of what is important. There will never be a blessing greater than my two amazing boys. I hope one day they grow up to read this and know firstly how much they are loved by me, but how their Mom was humble enough to admit that sometimes maybe they did know better.


 

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

(John Lennon, 1980, Darling Boy)


❤ Melissa