Hello, My Friends

It’s been a long time since I have written – since May, I believe. We have a lot to catch up on! I hope the spring and summer months brought many moments of joy and happiness to you and that those moments have turned into treasured memories now!

Hubby and I had a summer to remember as well, although ours was bittersweet. We spent our moments taking care of his Mom who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last fall. The disease progressed quickly, and by late spring, she needed someone with her every moment. She moved in with us while hubby searched for a nice senior’s residence for her that included memory care. One was found, and she has been there for just over a week. The months spent caring for my Mother in Law were precious, though overwhelming. I would compare it to the first few months of caring for one’s first baby – exhausting, life changing, and definitely a sacrifice made only out of love. I ended up referring to her as “my little girl”, as she reminded me very much of a toddler who is very sweet but also needs constant coddling and attention. I feel for families dealing with a loved one diagnosed with this disease which alters the life of not just the patient, but the surrounding loved ones.

I learned a few things during this journey that I would like to share with you.

  1. You never know how much time you have left to do the things you are dreaming of, so do not put these things off! What comes to mind for me is my plan to take writing more seriously. When I am retired. In 10 years. But, what if I can’t? What if, within those 10 years, something unexpected happens that renders me unable to write? I’m thinking that if we have a dream, we should live it to the best of our ability. Right Now! The future is not promised.
  2. It really is true! Joy IS found in the small things that occur naturally each day. I will never ever take these little things for granted again. One example is how much the hubby and I love to share a series on Netflix together. We find one that interests us and spend evenings watching 1 or 2 episodes together. I never realized how important this little ritual was until Mother in Law moved in and (I say this with love) took over the television. Other little things include: spontaneously going for dinner and movie together, having friends over, going on motorcycle rides … There are so many little things that we missed this summer and I have realized how important they actually are. I mean, it would be great to do something really big like travel around Europe together! But, in the end, it’s the small routines that serve to bond us together and ground us.
  3. It’s not selfish to put yourself first sometimes and, in fact, self care is necessary. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty bucket! Again, I’m saying this with love, but the Mother in Law required a lot of care and attention. This summer there was a point where hubby and I ended up absolutely exhausted! I had to step back and say “no” to a few things in order to tend to my own needs. And I have emerged from this with even more respect for my own self care. I am an introvert that needs time alone. I replenish my spirit when I spend time laughing and goofing around with some close female friends. I require quiet times to read and ponder. I am out of sorts without my daily brisk walk and yoga routine. My body is nurtured through simple whole foods prepared at home. The life changing thing that I have realized is that if I don’t set time aside to put myself first and tend to my own needs, then I will get lost in all the other pressing needs of the world. I will disappear. I have a friend with a schedule so busy he has to use a daily planner. He told me years ago that he pens in the times reserved for himself each day. In his own words: If I don’t schedule time for me, then nobody will.

There is so much more I have in mind to share with you. But I will leave these for future blog entries. After all, I have made a commitment to myself to stop by here more frequently!

The door

Footprints in the Snow

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Just over a week ago, our little neck of the woods experienced what was probably the worst snow storm of this winter. Actually, ice storm is the best description. So many of us wondered when will this winter ever end! After all, it was late April!

Yet, here we are today, the first day of May, and that snow and ice is a distant memory. I see a robin in one of our oak trees as I write this. The sun is still shining where, a couple months ago, we would be enveloped in darkness. All the remnants of that late ice storm have melted away! We thought winter would go on forever. But it didn’t. It left as quickly as it came.

And this got me to thinking about life.

This past week-end my Wild Child, along with my darling Grandson, moved into an apartment of their own. They have been living with the hubby and I for over 3 years now. The Little Man was only 1 and 1/2 when they first arrived to stay! And now he’s almost 5. And, though I am so thrilled for them and proud of my daughter, suddenly this home is very quiet (I hear the clock ticking madly). Things are a little less tussled and becoming more and more adult as each day passes. Wow! What a change!

I have blogged about my wonderful Wild Child before. One thing this family can always count on, is that life will never be boring with her in it! Things change suddenly! Flash back three years ago, and we had little warning before she moved home again with her baby boy in tow. A couple weeks to be exact! I recall rushing around (at Christmas time, no less!) preparing the place for a little one; thinking about what is safe to leave out and what must be stored. I had an adult home and it was going to change in a hurry! In the end, adjusting to the full house and toddler-fun came easy.  We all settled in and it seemed like these circumstances would last forever (or at least for a very long time!)

That’s not how it happened though!

Suddenly, with less than a month’s notice, things have changed. But isn’t that how life goes? Circumstances change the way winter quickly gives way to spring. When the time is right, things fall into the place that is right.

This is a good thing.

I’m happy for my daughter. She’s 25 and ready to have a place on her own. And the Little Man has grown to be a strapping young lad of almost 5!

It’s just that today, I feel in a ruminating mood. I’m thinking that we should never take for granted, our circumstances, or the people, or the time of life we are in. At the end of the day, count it all joy. Because when things change, they will change quickly.

Early this morning (this very quiet morning!) I awoke and wondered about my Magical Garden that I have blogged about here. Specifically, I was wondering about that wonderful tulip that appeared suddenly, unexpectedly, and from I’m-not-sure where. I questioned: would it still be there? In that moment, it was so important to me that it would be there again this year. So, I rushed to the garden and – Yes! – it has pushed it’s way up through the soil and is starting to grow! I silently said a prayer of gratitude. That little tulip has brought me joy for many years now, right around the early spring. I’m so pleased it’s still with us!

I wish you all joy in your individual journeys

and

I wish us all balance in the ever changing constancy of life! 2018-05-01 18.32.46

 

 

 

 

There is No Pity Party Here

Yesterday evening I received a message from a well-meaning friend. She went on quite a bit about the latest antics of my Wild Child (my youngest who I blogged about Here.)

How I must be “suffering”, my friend lamented, at the “odd” behaviour of my free spirited hippie baby girl. How “horrible” for her to not attend the latest family event. Then the whole diatribe was summed up with the not so subtle accusatory statement on my “silence” regarding this episode, which I suppose was odd as well. Why ever would I have not yet contacted her to discuss all the sordid details of my latest apparently very public and extremely strange family drama!

My reply to her was short. We are doing fine as a family. We are no more nor less disfunctional than any other family out there, truth be told. In fact, I believe we put the proverbial “fun” in disfunctional!

And now I am taking to blogging over this, because I know in my heart this issue is simply an advanced form of the same old “Mommy bashing “ I and others experienced with our toddler and preschooler delights tantruming in grocery stores, at schools, and appearing in line-ups everywhere, to a rapt audience of “perfect “ on-lookers who have never seen the likes of such a scene. (Ya, right! You know you are secretly thanking god it’s not you this time and, in fact, you know it probably WILL be you next time!) But I digress. My point is as follows.

First of all, no one member of this family holds the key to control the ENTIRE emotional temperature of the rest of us. Yes, we care about and love each other. But we are healthy enough to know we are each separate individuals and we don’t judge ourself on the other member’s behaviour. We accept our differences. We may not like and support the other person’s actions, so we are quite willing to hand over the consequences of unacceptable behaviour to the person at fault. Hey, maybe we even need to distance ourselves for a while. But make no mistake, when the chips are down, each member returns to their roots. My hubby and I just received a call from said wild child alerting us to the fact that her sister needed us and was trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with us. And then she gave us a curt “good bye” hanging up promptly. Perfect, we are not, but family we will always be.

Secondly, to my concerned friend (and anyone else who feels beyond reproach enough to offer an opinion), please give me the courtesy and space to figure out and experience my OWN feelings. Maybe I am reserving judgment on my Wild Child because I want to wait and see how things progress over time. As my beloved late Father in Law used to say, “You don’t know if something is a good thing, or a bad thing. In the end, only time will tell”.

And, you know what else? This instance of a family member missing an event is only ONE THING in a plethora of happenings occurring in our life. Many events are actually very wonderful. For instance, my eldest daughter is marrying this May and she just achieved her Masters in Education. Not to mention the fact she has held a full time job for the last 8 years. I would describe this as a successful launch into adulthood! Something to rejoice and be happy about! Let me also mention, that at this up-coming wedding, I have my own very special friends and former bridesmaids in attendance! How blessed am I to have kept connections throughout a lifetime with these wonderful women! Oh, and this July? My hubby and I celebrate 30 years of marriage – for better and for worse, we honoured that, all of that, and we are still together. Something to be proud of, I would say.

I could go on and on about happy blessings, but I won’t. At the end of the day, my life is as beautiful as it is difficult. And may I suggest, if we were all honest, this is true of everyone. So let us all suspend judgement on each other’s families and the situations that arise within them, and instead let’s just replace all this with grace. Let’s call each other, of course. But let us simply say hello and ask how the other is doing.

Let us give each person the grace and space to narrate their own story.

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Dancing in the Rain

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This morning I have been thinking about how things can change so much in a year.

Coincidentally, my facebook newsfeed was showing flashbacks from posts I have done in previous years on this date. I feel so blessed at the wonderful Labour Day week-ends I have experienced.

September 5, 2011 – Beautiful cottage week-end

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Last year on this date we had a huge rain storm. I and one of my daughters along with a good friend of mine, found cover in my backyard gazebo, hooked up an Ipod to a portable speaker, and we spent the evening dancing in the rain. It was a great way to celebrate the end of the summer and the changes to come in the new fall season.

September 5, 2014. See the song I was dancing to Here

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This year, the daughter I danced in the rain with, has freshly moved to her own new apartment (first time leaving home), and is creating her own cozy home. I am so happy for her and wish her all the blessings in the world on the new adventures she will have. I will also be joining her later this week-end for a little visit. I wonder what new memories will be made for this day? I wonder what will be shown for Labour Day week-end 2015 on my facebook newsfeed in the coming years?

Nobody knows what the future holds. This is why change can sometimes be a little frightening. But when we embrace the changes, with all the emotions that come with them, and trust that we are exactly where we should be at any given moment, we open ourselves up to all the blessings, adventures and lessons in love that life has to offer.

This is such a wonderful thing!