And then love happened.

Hand on mouse, fingers hovering over a keyboard. Ready. Waiting. Ideas tumble out of my brain. Vortices of possibility twirl towards the 4am sky. 80 words to go. Will that be enough? This morning my thoughts have tuned to love and in my core, at the very base of me, I know that not any amount of words or finely tweaked sentences will be enough to bring these thoughts to fruition.

Devotion is an enigma wrapped neatly in decorative papers of blue and gold.  We tie bows around love like it is a package that once passed along will provide some predestined shroud of unending happiness. The very idea of falling in love encapsulates us. It is somehow protective simply in its impression. Let us fall. Fall from where? Fall from one intended to another? Fall from a tall building and have hope that the recipient of our ultimate adoration feels that same way we do. Heroically coming to save us from our plummet.

Some of us do get lucky. Some of us, somehow, in the cosmic wilderness of modern day romance find the love we had sought out for. It begins with shyness. Everything does. The coy wariness of perfect strangers meant for something more. Lightly fingering our way through the idle and awkward moments of the first few years of the togetherness. We will whisper wants to one another. Furtively, with a nonchalant air about our words because God forbid our new and shiny dearest thinks us odd.

We silently chant mantras of normalcy and routine ourselves. We are super-human people with no foibles or flaws because that could be undesirable and if even one of these idiosyncrasies flops to the surface, this tentative thing, this love thing, will surely wither and die. It is a wonder any of us survive the initial staging process. However, after an undetermined amount of days, weeks, years, millennia moves past we become easier, more ourselves. The weirdness leaks out onto the floor whether we like it or not. And the floor hasn’t been mopped up in days. The cautious stroking of yesteryear has evolved into a weighty hand on familiar skin. A comforting presence among the constant chaos of the everyday.

This love will manifest itself in the tiny places we never think about. It is the intense light between the bulb and the shade, only those inside the lamp’s protective cover can understand its brilliance. It is brown leaves pressed delicately between the softened pages of an ageing book. It is a blanket placed over chilled shoulders, a promise of warmth when the room seems subzero.

Love is not grand and glorious. It does not lift us up out of the depths of depression or carry us over the puddles of sadness which accumulate over a lifetime. It is not like the songs say. It does not fix our worries but usually causes us more worries to worry about. It is not magical or almighty.

Love is small and sacred. It is to be nourished. Grown from nothing over a lifetime of trial and error and strife and hardness. Love makes the difficult certainties of life a bit easier to live with. Love gives us the courage to try the new things. Love holds us tight when the new things do not work out as we had planned. Love comforts. Love soothes. Love does not define who we are but grows alongside us as we determine our unique paths in life.

Love is not our life preserver but the warm cup of coffee after we’ve fought off the flood. And if you should be lucky enough to find this sort of love, do not take your fortune lightly. Know that it is delicate and rare and beautiful. Hold it carefully and cherish it always. And in turn, it will have you too.

 

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To Whom it May Concern,

 

If my life were the water that fills a five gallon bucket I would currently be overflowing. Between my beautiful husband, kids and our family business I have about a 2 inch depth left for writing. And that’s okay; that is more than enough to work with…until I want to focus on growth.

A few days ago Sophie told me that she didn’t want me to write on the computer about her anymore. It came to me as a shock and at first I wanted to cry because that is what The Blogging Mama’s foundation has been built upon. It’s right there in the name for fuck sakes. What the hell am I going to do now? I thought.

I always told myself that as soon as the kids said that they wanted me to stop writing about them I would. No questions asked. But I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Well it is and now I have to come to terms with it.

However it’s a good thing someone up there is looking out for me and my compulsion to string sentences together or I’d be a bloody headcase right now. The entire point of writing is, A) because I couldn’t not write and B) because everyone needs something that reminds them of who they are.

A few months ago I really started going strong with some fictional short story writing. It is going well despite the fiction market being a tough barrier to breach-worlds more so than non-fiction platforms. After all anyone can write a funny blog about parenthood (well, mostly anyone) but it takes some special (Steve King) talent to transform an entire world into fictional lore over someone’s home computer screen. Ahem, challenge accepted I do say.

Which brings me back to the damn bucket. Yeah of course I could keep writing funny stories about me, Jamie and the shop. I could perhaps slip a few quips in regarding the small humans. I could keep doing what I’m doing and stay the same forevermore.

Or, I could try something different. Hone in on a new set of literary skills. Follow every urge in my body that is screaming at me to challenge myself to see what the results could bring. Maybe I am not made for fictional writing. Maybe I just won’t make the cut. But if so, at least I will have tried. At least I will know as I lay dying and decrepit on my hospital bed in 60 years from now (I’m very healthy) that I put myself out there and I did all I could do.

So with that my friends I bid you adieu, for now at least. I am going to take an indefinite hiatus from The Blogging Mama in hopes of finding the time, energy and creative well in which to pen a new kind of story.

Adios Amigos, I’m sure we will meet again (because I’m going to use most of you as fictional characters in my cool new stories. MWAH MWAH MWAH—evil laughing: going to have to work on that.)

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The Fundamentals of Making Future Friends

I’m not socially awkward in a wearing dark clothing and mumbling in tongues kind of way…actually, it is quite the opposite. Which may be worse. I don’t really know yet.

I’m okay at taking orders and playing it cool at work. You know, mention the weather and talk about the weekend festivities, boring monotonous small talk I can do—begrudgingly.

It’s when that special thing happens and I feel a click with a fellow human being that things tend to get a little strange.

Have you ever met someone and within minutes of talking with them you’re thinking, “I like you! Now Imma be your best friend.”

 

You start imagining the two of you on a bowling team rocking out in eighties style bowlers shirts with a wacky name like, “Lord of the Pins” or “Ball Burners.” High fiving and drinking beer. Oh how wonderfully odd it would all be since you don’t even like bowling!

No? This never happens to you? Huh, I see. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.

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Happens to me on the daily. I get super creepy about it too. I start making all kinds of deep and intimidating eye contact. Really just getting right in there because I feel like if I look at my target hard enough I will be able to tell if they want to be friends too. I’m not going to lie, hasn’t worked yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m close to perfecting the method. I’ll tell you about it when I do.

If staring at them wasn’t bad enough, I start babbling. Small talk doesn’t cut it when it comes to the friendships of Lindsay’s. I don’t want to know how your damn weekend was Best Friend. I want to know what your political views are; let’s fight about it for a while then agree to disagree and come out of our conversation both a little better for having expanded our brains and mindsets.

I want to hear about your views on all of the hot topics in the world today. What sparks passion ablaze in your soul? What gets you talking and doesn’t allow you to shut up? And more importantly than most anything else, do you watch Doctor Who? Are you a 10 or an 11? Me, personally I’m an 11 kind of gal. I just can’t get past the whole Doctor, Amy, Rory team—greatest trio in television history. Oh how my hearts (I wish) swell when I think of those three. And well, now that we’re on the subject, can we please talk about the fabulous River Song? I mean, if I could be one woman in all of the fictional world…Yep obviously it’d be her. Oh the adventures! But I shan’t say too much because, you know, spoilers.


 

Wow, okay so that paragraph sort of got away on me there. Ahem, I apologise especially if you have no idea who, in fact, the Doctor is. That was just a bunch of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. Jesus, what am I doing here? I’m sorry I have a serious fandom problem—nothing a little fish sticks and cust…OKAY, I’m seeking help.


 

Back to the question at hand though, so what does one do when they are trying to drag out all of this intimate and vital information from their future friend of fantastical proportions? Well duh, you start talking about really really personal stuff that’s happening in your own life. Obviously, they will reciprocate the sentiment and the two of you will become the Bestie Bests while revealing your innermost secrets within the first few hours of meeting. It’s not brain science guys.

I do like to make a habit of taking my own advice whenever possible. So when attempting to befriend a person I fancy I will begin by staring at them in an intense manner. keeping in mind to smile, because people like smiles.

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This picture has not been distorted…That’s just my face.

I then proceed to ramble about what brought Jamie and me here to the city and what our goals and aspirations are in this great big universe. Often I will tell them my woes of living with psoriasis and how I forget things quite often. I will divulge my love for watching cats videos on You-Tube right off the bat because, who doesn’t love a good ol’ cat VS cucumber vid?! And I use words like universe, humans and fantastical a lot while engaging in said conversation.

So in conclusion you guys, if you ever happen to be in my midst and I start acting like this, I’m not having some sort of an episode or anything I simply want to be your friend.

I’m not saying that my friend finding technique works every time, but there are a group of select weirdos peppered throughout time and space who’ve succumbed to my peculiar bonding rituals. For that small wonder I will always be thankful.

We sail through this life with premeditated and superficial conversation at the tip of our tongues. It’s called common courtesy and I suppose it’s something we must all pander to sometimes.

But isn’t it a beautiful thing when, occasionally, life plops in front of you a fellow human who wants to chat about something a little more significant? Never take that for granted. It could be the beginnings of an exquisitely unusual friendship.

“I hate having to do small talk. I’d rather talk about deep subjects. I’d rather talk about meditation, or the world, or the trees or animals, than small, inane, you know, banter.”

-Ellen DeGeneres

 

The Art of Generosity

My parents are coming, my parents are coming!! This is the single most looping thought I’ve had all morning. They are coming to see me (I guess the kids and Jamie too) and I couldn’t be any more excited. Well, I could be but I have to save some energy for work today.

Colleen and Dan Sawyer are pretty much the greatest parents in the entire fucking universe! The proof is in the pudding (did I just actually use that phrase!?) when it comes to how unbelievably supportive they’ve been through our current year’s life changing events.

As you well know these last few months have been trying. There were times when we weren’t sure we would be able to pay the bills and moments where failure was a precipice we tottered on often.  I would call my sister-in-law and tell her my woes.  I would cry to my brother about how scary this thing we were doing was. I would straight up avoid talking to Mom and Dad because I didn’t want them to see how unsure I was about absolutely everything in our life.

However, like families do, when Dust and Ashley would be over at my parents for dinner the topic of Jamie and I and our panini problems would surely come up. Nothing malicious, just general concern about how we might be doing all the way down here in the thick of the Southern Alberta heat. Literally and metaphorically.

Except Dad, he would hold strong in his resolve that we will be just fine. Dad is and always will be the voice of reason when things start getting dramatic (something that can happen quite often with me and Moms active imaginations). He would say, all they need is to get the word out, it is going to happen for them. It’s all about word of mouth.

One thing about my dad is when he is not dreaming up some outlandish plan of action he can be impossibly logical. He’s wonderful like that.

So the day I phoned my parents to tell them we had to close early because we sold out of all of our food at the shop, the words did not come as a surprise to them.

As I told Daddio how busy we’ve been and how the people of this city seem to be falling in love with our sandwiches I could hear a smile on his face. This was quickly interrupted however with ideas and thoughts on how to keep up stock and prep so closing shop early doesn’t have to happen again. Better to be open and making green than closed because we were not prepared adequately. Oh how I adore that guy!

As usual Mom had a plethora of questions to ask about the shop. From how early I go in in the morning to what kind of characters we meet on a daily basis. My mom, like me, is a junkie for people. Who will they be? What quirks make them tick? She wants to know what fascinating history has brought them to where they are today. And she will indeed get this information out of them, in the most subtle of ways all the while making a person feel like they are undoubtedly the most important human on the face of the planet.

Her enthusiasm when it comes to me, Jamie, the kids and astounds me. She has this unbelievable way of making us feel like we are doing god’s work. Even if it is just pressing paninis for a living. We spoke for hours that morning on the phone. After I hung up I realised that I need to call them more. Talking with them brings me this extraordinary feeling of triumph. An overall sentiment that is better than it was before I heard their voices.

Besides the hundreds upon thousands of life lessons my parents have taught me, one that sticks out as I sit here today is the lesson of generosity. This, they have shown me time and time again. Generosity doesn’t have to come from a bank statement or a wallet. The kind of generosity my mom and dad have so aptly doled out to my brother and me over all of these years comes from a kind and steadfast spirit. That extra push saying that you can and in fact will do what you’ve set out to do. Their generosity has been as simple yet profound as building our confidence up (sometimes to, perhaps, obscene levels) when everyone else is rooting for us to flop.

Generosity is an art. If you give and then immediately feel you need something in return I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re doing it wrong. Generosity is about giving what you can without expectation. It is about being rewarded by the knowledge that you’ve done something good. And true generosity is a beautiful thing. It proves that there is still so much good in this world, in the human race.

Now, as I sit here and read over these words my heart is eager to see the two people who have selflessly had a hand in giving us the strength and confidence to make it to where we are today.

Only a few more hours!!!  421008_561102740585388_1187082580_n

Dream It

It was less than a year ago when The Hot Wire was just a silly idea drifting in and out of two dreamer’s brains. But when dreams become reality; this is the stuff of magic. My husband and I are dreamers you see, we always have been. We sit up late, sometimes drinking beer and eating popcorn, and always talking about the things that may be one day. It is some of my favourite moments with him.

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when you just know that you are on your (and I really mean your) right path? I don’t know about you but it will start out as the faintest tingling in the very deep of my gut. A flood of positivity becomes my brain—waylaying the creatures who say I cannot achieve what I am setting out to do. They are left where they stand, ignored and forgotten–just as they should be. It is a strength that resides firmly in my chest. Said strength moves me to reach further, do better and try harder in achieving my goals. It is a resolve that is impossible to ignore.

And it is one of the very greatest feelings a human being can have.

Some people will live their life telling you to, “get your head out of the clouds” or to, “stop dreaming your life away.” I say NO! Absolutely do not remove your head from that mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere! Dream and imagine, write it all down and back it up! BACK IT UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Then, once you’ve got your game plan, once there is nothing left to imagine, go out and do. Be the dream because as impossible as it may seem sometimes, “there is always a way out” (that was a Doctor Who reference for all the laypeople out there).

Anyways, what I’m really trying to say is please, I beg of you, follow those beautiful, impractical, adventurous, tentative dreams.

There will be shitty, I mean REAL shitty days along the way. There are points in which I worry that we might fail. Maybe we will fail. Maybe we will fail at achieving this dream in this particular way. Perhaps we will have to pack up and begin again. We will have to look for the alternatives and brainstorm and inspire to be better. But that is just part of the game. That is the process. 

Whether you attain what you are looking for the very first shot or you must try over and over again until you get it right—I promise you, it will be worth it. To know that you had only a glimmering of an idea in your mind and to bring that minuscule thing to fruition is a true marvel. It is a striking thing to know you’ve achieved.  

The other day Jamie and I got this little note in our comment jar.

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I can’t really explain to you how much significance this piece of orange paper with words on it holds for me. It WAS me only a few months ago. It was us. Unsure of how to move forward but hopeful that there was something to move forward to.

Now there are so many moments where I find myself silently thanking the forces that be in assisting Jamie, Lars, Sophie and I in what has been our most crazy, uplifting, insane adventure yet. And we will keep on doing what we do. Despite the pit stops and the delays. We will find a way to keep moving on.

And my hope is, that the writer of this note along with anyone else who has ever had a dream can find the grit and guts to do the same.

Wednesday Rambles

 

The house has a muggy calm about it this morning. Today is supposed to be devastatingly hot and I’m not entirely sure I am ready for it. I’m not entirely sure I am ready for anything anymore. For someone who used to be chronically prepared for just about everything, I’ve sort of dropped the ball lately.

Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe it’s my brain being overloaded with menial tasks. Perhaps it’s my brain being overloaded with all of the non-menial tasks that’s getting me down. The worries and what-ifs about the future. I find myself daydreaming all of the time about what’s to come.

Like, I wonder when that multi-billionaire is going to stroll through the doors of The Hot Wire and give us an offer right then and there that we can’t refuse. He will say something along the lines of, “Boy Howdy I do declare this is the best éclair I’ve ever eaten!” or “Well, I tell you what, I’ve never seen a more original and downright delightful sandwich shop in my whole dang life.” I am imagining this person to be from the Deep South with an accent reminiscent to Foghorn J. Leghorn.

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However right here and now I am reminded that none of this has actually happened yet. A wall of heat is currently pressing up against my back and I feel as though I may be slowly melting away into oblivion. I do hope it’s not so hot there.

Usually I don’t mind the heat. I like to bask or whatever. But working in a kitchen when it is 30 above, I’ve come to discover, is most likely the closest impression of Hell that any human being will ever know.

I literally just turned around to see if I could physically see what the “heat” looks like. I am assuming that because it is so god-damn hot in here (at 6 am) that surely I would be able to spot its wrath. I’m really considering stripping down to the buff and going to sit in the cool garage for a few before I head off to work.

Okay by now I’m sure you guys are asking yourselves where in the good and glorious name of Jeebus am I going with this blog post?

Well, to put it right out there; I’ve been a bit of an asshole lately. I’ve pretty much been the assholiest asshole in the history of assholes (but not the literal kind…because that would be shitty. Ha!)

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In these last few weeks I’ve pulled away. I’ve withdrawn because let’s face it, things got scary and things got hard. We were struggling to get the business where we needed it and doubt plus many misgivings were running rampant. I stopped calling my friends and family because I just didn’t have anything positive to say. I didn’t text, and when they texted me I shot back with insincere one word answers.

Assholery I tell you, pure assholery.

Now, it is time for an apology! I’m sorry dear loved ones…I love you all. Love, love, love, love and some more love. Yes, this is in fact my idea of an apology. They’ll get it.

The smouldering and fiery facts—that accompany my current state of sweltering alive—are that I was a little depressed for a brief moment there, and it scared the holy molies out of me.

But then one day not too long ago something happened and although it doesn’t solve all of our “starting a business stresses” it gave me that little bit of oomph I was in need of to get up and get on.

A dude sitting in the shop so very nonchalantly muttered to his Panini one random day, “I love you. I never want you to end.” And in that moment our suspicions about failure vanquished. We realized that we have something here, something good. It was about at that time when grandiose delusions of talking roosters paying us millions to franchise our panini palace came into play.

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Maybe that’s a little much, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I cannot allow the down days to affect the relationships in my life. Our humans, the ones who get us through the everyday, are our everything. There are going to be bad days. Days when the bread doesn’t rise and the cakes all fall. There will be days when the equipment brakes. When the kids act up and lash out. There will be days when we want to tell the whole entire world to just fuck right off.

And then, there will be days when we find a grown ass man telling his panini that he loves it. There will be days when we feel invincible. Some days we will find that we have the ability to do just about anything.

These are the days we must hold tightly to. The days that remind us that we are doing something wonderful and fulfilling.

Some may even go as far to say; these, are the days of our lives.

*mic drop.*

Lindsay Out.

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Taking a Breather

Quickly I run the mouse over the red X in the right hand corner of the screen. If I am going to get anything done I have to pull myself away from the tantalizing grips of my Facebook world. As I watch the screen disappear I feel a momentary melancholy because all I really want to do right now is mindlessly scroll through a sea of Selfies and dumb political opinions. I don’t want to think, or read or have to conjure up anything from the foggy depths of my brain because I am just too damn tired for that.

It’s been about two weeks now since I’ve sat down at this computer and wrote anything at all. I force myself to put my fingers to the keyboard because whenever I happen to go this long without writing a sneaking fear begins to burrow its way into the better judgement section of my brain. What if I forget? What if I lose the ability to sling sentences? What if I lose interest in the art of wordsmithing altogether? What the hell then?!

As much as I don’t actually believe this will happen, there is a small part of me that will probably never let go of this completely irrational worry.

So here I am, writing. I don’t really know what to write about at this very moment but my hands seem to be clicking away at a good pace so I will just let them do the work I suppose.

Everything has been going pretty swell at the Panini factory. Our doors are open and every day we seem to be gaining more happy customers which is truly a beautiful thing. I think one of my favourite parts of this new adventure is meeting all of the people who walk through The Hot Wire’s doors.

A few have been back several times and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that our little shop is a place that people just like hanging out. This is what Jamie and I always envisioned when we talked about opening The Hot Wire. Now, it is coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier.

Of course it hasn’t all been a pleasure cruise. For the first few days we were pretty dead. Like I mean NOBODY new about us at all. Here I was thinking I was such a marketing wizard with my awesome Facebooking skills. What I’ve learnt about Facebook advertising is that a whole lot of people can “like” your page and that does not mean jack when it comes to them coming into your shop.

On grand opening day we were packed to the roof with prep and bread from the hordes of people we imagined would be fighting each other (literally just destroying each other) to get a mere taste of our sandwiches. In reality we had about ten costumers. It was not very glorious at all. So in the days to follow Jamie and I would be mentally willing the people who walked past the front of our shop to pop their head in and take a whiff of the delicious treats we had on display.

Now, by “mentally willing” I actually mean awkwardly staring down anyone who came near our doors as we wore ridiculously large smiles and expectant expressions on our faces. We were probably scaring more people away than anything. I would have been scared.

However a few humans did brave the weird vibe we were giving off and ended up loving the food. This is exactly why you shouldn’t judge an oddball book by its cover people!!

And there it began, the infamous word-of-mouth advertising. Seriously it works like a charm!

Each day our numbers are growing. We are becoming more confident in this huge endeavour we’ve taken on. And damn does that ever feel good!

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Distance and Hearts and Such

His voice cracks as he says goodbye to me. If he was some other person or if I didn’t know him better than I know myself I could have mistaken it for a bad connection. However that’s not the case. Hushed tears are now dribbling down my face but I try to keep my composure. I have two children in the basement who I can hear sobbing because talking to Dad reminds them that they still have another five days before he comes home. I have to be strong for them. I have to be strong for my husband, who is silently struggling. He is too proud to admit that all he wants to do is drop every last obligation and run as fast as he can towards his family. I have to remain steady for the humans I love.

This move has taught us a lot about ourselves as a family. What we can endure together and what we must suffer by apart. To give ourselves the best shot at this new future Jamie will have to stay working in Sylvan Lake on a rotational schedule until we establish our new business prospects here in the city of Lethbridge.

The first week wasn’t bad. We had some moments of doubt and a few minor meltdowns but nothing that doesn’t happen on the regular anyways. It was once the tough stuff started getting thrown at me, like troubles at school and “fix-it” jobs that I had no idea how to fix; I realized what I had gotten myself in to.

Ever since I became pregnant with a little lad named Lars Jamie and I have always been in it together. We do everything together. We cook together. We make financial decisions together. We raise children together. We will soon be building an entire business together. I colour coordinate our outfits on date night for the love of God! And many might feel the need to criticize our ridiculously codependent existence—perhaps with valid points. But it seems to work for us so I say, “do what makes you feel right.”

But right now, at this very moment, as I sit in our new home typing on this laptop that holds so many stories of our family I feel at a loss. It has been so 15 days since all four of us have been under the same roof. Typing it makes me feel vaguely silly since it doesn’t really sound like that long. It sure as hell didn’t sound like it would be that long a month ago when we were hashing out this master plan.

It is long though. It is too long for kids who are used to having Dad tuck them in nightly. It feels so very long for a wife who hasn’t slept a full night in fifteen days because every creek and crack of this new house startles her awake. And when she sleepily moves to hold her husband all she finds is a cold pillow. It is devastatingly long for a man who has just been told by his five year old daughter that she doesn’t want to talk to him on the phone anymore because it makes her miss him too much. It is just so damn long.

The children have now settled and Jamie and I have set in to a rather racy thread of text messaging (which I will spare you of). I find myself constantly giddy over the thought of my husband coming home to us. I daydream about the grin he will be wearing and how tight he will hug us as he walks in the door. I think of him asking Lars about his new schoolmates and getting Sophie to show him all of her new drawings that are fastened to the refrigerator. It makes me smile to think of how whole I will feel once he is here with us. And I wonder how other families do this on a regular basis.

Then it dawns on me. Nobody chooses this type of a lifestyle. There is no family unit that wishes to be separated from each other. But we all do what we must to survive in this world. We work away. We distance ourselves from our loved ones. We make sacrifices and go without to achieve what it is we truly desire.

Family is our most important entity and we will forever journey to the ends of the universe for their wellbeing. So once the tough stuff has been conquered and we are reunited with the people who mean the most all of the heartache and strife will have been worth it. And one day when we look back on these moments we will realize that it was the “tough stuff” that made this beautiful life that much sweeter.

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Lean on Me

This was a piece I wrote for Me Plus Three just before we made the big move. Now, the kids and I are in our new home (and settled in quite nicely by the way). However to assure that this transition went smoothly Jamie has had to stay behind to finish up a few more weeks of work. So needless to say I am very much missing my husband right now.

 

A moving check-list hangs on my fridge while I feel as though I am sinking into a bottomless pit of worries and stress. Damn stress is a nasty thing isn’t it? It can make a person crazy. It can make you sick and take away all of your good and common sense. It can make you do things you never would in normal day life.

I just drove Jamie to work this morning because right now to add to my delightful mood we are down one car. We are in the midst of registering the new-to-us truck but let’s just say there have been a few pit stops along the way. Anyways, as I was driving him to work a silent list of must-do’s usurped every corner of my thought process. I hear Jamie mumble something and I bark the word, “what?” at him.

“You’re in the wrong lane…This is a turning lane.” He again mutters because he knows how much I hate it when he backseat drives me.

“No I’m not,” I begin saying as I look at the road sign that hangs on the traffic light ahead of me. Sure enough I am most definitely in the wrong lane. Like seriously, how did this even happen? How thick can I be? Who forgets how to drive? There isn’t anyone behind me so when I get the green light I dart into the lane I need to be in all the while feeling like the greatest fool on the planet.

When the kids and I arrive back home I still have a looming checklist to get done and now I seem to be carrying around a newfound weight of self loathing. It sometimes seems like with every step of progress we make another twenty things come down on us. Life can be a major pain in the butt sometimes.

I sit down at my computer because even though I know I have little time to spare today, writing is the one thing that is going to get me through with a bit of sanity. There is a familiar sound coming from my phone. Jamie is texting me.

“I love you hun. Sorry I’ve been such a grump lately- we are doing okay and we are going to get through this stronger than ever.”

And he is right. We are going to get through this. There will be more stresses along the way. At some point or another I will probably lose faith again and the endgame will be difficult to believe in. I think about what we have accomplished thus far and I am so grateful to have my husband to walk beside me in this huge journey we are taking on.

“I’m sorry I almost killed us with my crap driving skills. Love you too sweetie.” I text him back. I can just imagine his smile as he opens this message up at work.

It is funny how a marriage works. When things get tough and one of us is finding it hard to cope it is almost a natural instinct for the other to stand up and find the strength to be a leaning post.

Whether it is a simple joke that needs to be cracked to lighten the mood or the words “I’m sorry” when emotions are running high. To me, this is one of the greatest strengths of mine and Jamie’s relationship—we know when the other really needs us.

There will always be disagreements. There will always be difference of opinions in the many ways of life. The pressures of stress will sometimes top us up with feelings of inadequacy and short falling’s. These are things we can be sure of. But the goodness will always outweigh these times.

Later that night Jamie and I cuddled up on the couch and put on our favourite show, The Twilight Zone. After a few episodes he hugged me and said, “You know, in fifteen years from now, when we are sitting on our private yacht in some remote tropical place, we’re going to laugh and wonder what we were so stressed out about all those years ago.”

“Yeah I think you’re right.” I replied.

“We’re a team Lindsay and when everything is said and done, it’s going to be you and me. There is no one else I’d rather grow old with.”

I wanted to say something but for once in my life I couldn’t find any words, he had literally said it all.

So instead I leaned into my husband and I kissed him.

Summer 61

Letters For The Past

January eleventh nineteen eighty six a baby was born. She was five weeks premature, had a skull full of thick black hair and even back then was a stubborn little bugger. This baby’s name was Lindsay Rae Sawyer (that’s me!).

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Thirty, can you believe it? It astounds me how quickly thirty years has come and gone. I can remember being a child and thinking about how my teen years couldn’t come fast enough. Once those hit it was pretty much a blur for an undetermined amount of time but once I pulled my head out of my you-know-what I found myself quickly nearing the terrifying twenties.

Turns out this age was way more fun than the teens because you’re legal to do whatever (well, mostly whatever) you want. For a time I took full advantage of this. These last ten years have taught me so many life lessons. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, my life has so far been exceptional.

And now my family and I have set off on our new adventure. The new place has been painted, the city explored and we have said goodbye to the house that had felt like home for so very long.

I think about the young girl who once stepped into that house, still only a child herself—pregnant and terrified for what the future held and I cannot help but smile. If only I could tell her that it would all work out. If only I could write a letter to the person I was so many years ago, explaining that this is exactly the way that life is meant to be. I would tell her to embrace every moment.

I would tell this naïve and scared person that raising an infant is difficult even in the best of times. However there will be nothing else she does in her life that is more important. Also take pictures; there can never be enough pictures of these moments in time.

I would tell her that despite being young she and her spouse will be strong. They will go through the toughest times she has yet to see in a relationship and only come out of it sturdier than before. And somewhere along the line there will be a realization. After all is said and done, once businesses have been built and entire lifetimes have been lived it always comes down to the two of them. Friendships will have come and gone and the children will be embarking on their own journeys—these two people who so long ago began a journey with nothing more than an infant and a pile of dreams will still be holding hands and venturing off into the sunset together.  It will be a romance that endures the ages.

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However I would also have to say that these next years will not only be sunshine and puppy love. There will be more heartaches and strife than she will know what to do with. Whether it is her parents, siblings, the children, in-laws or friendships—there will be upheaval. After all what is family for? There will be moments when this woman will assume that she will never again speak to some of those she has come to love. The heartache of the matter will be so grand that it will seemingly take up every spare minute of her life. She will discover herself downhearted and glum dwelling over what has went so terribly wrong to cause such turmoil in her life.

These times are painful but entirely necessary. They are there to assist us with the essential growth we need to move on to our next journey in life. And if it is meant to be the relationships we’ve broken will become mended bringing us closer to those we love.

Throughout a lifespan I can imagine how many times we think back and say to ourselves, “if only”. If only I would have said ‘this’ instead of getting angry. If only I could have told them I loved them once more. If only I might go back in time to tell my former self the lessons I have learnt.

Yet it is not really about the “if only” is it?

At some point or another we are all just a terrified person not knowing how we will possibly get through this next hurdle. I think that if we can embrace the scariness that is inevitable in life, we can find peace in knowing that one day it will be something we merely look back on.

And maybe uncovering this knowledge will not assist in comforting a young and scared Lindsay Rae Sawyer but it certainly makes me feel better about what’s ahead for a certain Lindsay Rae Brown and her family.

 

The Beauty of the Season

There was once a time when I loved Christmas. I loved the smell of cinnamon that would waft through my grandmother’s home while we tore through gifts piled high under the tree. The fun my brother and I used to have stuffing ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes until we were ready to explode. The laughter that we’d share with the people who we loved was so unforgettable in those days of carefree Christmases. There was just something about that time of year that brought smiles to faces and a feeling of cheer to the air.

But then adulthood hit and the reality of this god-awful month became painfully clear. Let us remember the fact that you will probably be plunging yourself into thousands of dollars of debt in order to achieve the “perfect” Christmas experience for you and your family. Not to mention the high-stress state of affairs that is the “family get-together”. All of the scheduling around each other’s plans can be enough to drive a person bonkers.

And please don’t get me started on the “one-upping” of the Jones’ at this sacred time of year. Right down the street we have our very own Griswold family who seem to think it is appropriate to drain the electricity grid every evening to show off their superb light show. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that? Here I am with a pitiable Charlie Brownish wreath that hangs lopsided off my front door and I am calling myself Martha-fucking-Stewart!

Well, don’t I sound like the Grinch? Before I know it I am going to be growing green body hair and people aren’t going to want to touch me with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole.

Each year when this month rolls around I tell myself that I shall not succumb to the scroogery. However every year once the pressure of Christmas envelopes me there I am yelling at Christmas carolers to get off my porch and telling the children that the Elf on the Shelf was too tired to get into any shenanigans the night before. Ugh it makes me guilty even writing it. Christmas is a difficult time of year and it only seems to be getting more and more complicated as I get older.

I had been telling the kids for weeks that after Lars’ birthday we would put the tree up. This is yet another Christmas event that has become more of a task than a treat. Each year it always seems to be a fight over who gets to put up what decorations and where on the tree they should go and how the proper way to string a strand of lights are and how much tinsel is too much tinsel—you get the point.

So begrudgingly I pulled out the tree from our storage area and began to set up. Something happened however as I placed the synthetic thing together…Some might say my, ‘small heart grew three sizes that day’. I watched as Sophie sorted eagerly through the antique decorations that my Mom had given to me several years back. Any other year when the kids have eyed the priceless bulbs I’ve stopped them in their tracks and told them that those decorations were for adults only, they’d be left with the paper-chains and popsicle stick picture frames they had made in preschool.

Maybe it was the way she ever so gently handled them or the gleam of wonder in her eyes as she sorted through these very old treasures but I decided to let Sophie and Lars do all of the decorating this year. After setting the tree up and stringing the lights (which seemed surprisingly easy when you forgot about the stress of it all) I found a seat on the couch.

I took that time to appreciate the joy that they were getting out of this tree decorating occasion. I played Christmas carols and made hot chocolate—the real kind of hot chocolate that my mom used to make for us.

After all was said and done the tree looked beautiful! All at once I didn’t care about coordinating the colors of the decorations or if the bulbs were evenly distributed, my heart was too warm to feel anxious about anything.

It was then that I realized that it isn’t childhood that makes Christmas a carefree and joyous time. It is having the ability to let go and simply be grateful for the people you love and the delight of the season itself.

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Siblings? Yeah, they’re pretty great.

Today I walked into the kitchen to find Lars gently brushing Sophie’s hair. They were concocting a plan to meet up at recess later that day.

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“When you come outside go right to the twisty slide Sophie!” Lars was getting a bit frustrated from Sophie’s inability (or blatant refusal) to recognize what slide he was talking about. As they nattered at each other I couldn’t help but think back on a time when my own brother and I used to be an oddly unbreakable force.

Dustin and I were close, there was no denying it. We were stuck together on acreages our entire adolescent lives. That’s bound to make two people learn to enjoy each other’s company. Dad worked the oilfields and was gone frequently while Mom was left with two kids and acres of open land. We only had one vehicle back then which Dad usually took to work. So more often than not when I say we were stuck out there, we actually were.

We made due. We journeyed through the back forty’s wood and made blanket forts out of Mom’s plentiful collection of crocheted blankets. We had secret languages that weren’t languages at all but somehow we knew what the other meant. There was always an inside joke being created or chuckled over. And because of all of our cryptic laugh attacks due to nonsensical sentences, people often thought of us as a little strange.

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I can’t imagine why…

Did I care what people thought? Nope. Well, not until I did I guess.

There comes an age in every young person’s life when they begin to take notice of what the other humans around them are saying. We start to recognize when people are talking about us. We begin listening more intently and taking to heart the details in which others perceive. For some reason once this time in our lives comes to pass we begin deeply caring about what our peers think. We will do just about anything to assure that we come off as “normal” to the squad (as the kids nowadays call it).

It was a little after my thirteenth birthday that I stopped hanging out with Dustin so much. I wanted to be with my friends and according to them; it really wasn’t cool to have your kid brother tagging along to the beach with you. So with a heavy heart (that was masked by layers of blue eye shadow and heavy mascara) I told my brother to hit the road.

I wonder about the day when Lars will find himself too cool to hang out with Sophie. Perhaps because their age gap is only a few years apart it will never happen. Maybe they will manage to stay friends throughout those awkward teenage years. For their sake, I hope so. I know looking back I could have used my brother in those uncertain days.

Lars and Sophie are still sitting at the kitchen table, he has finished brushing her hair but she is still mulling over the complexity of her brothers plan. There is something so special about the way they sit and talk, almost as if they know what the other is about to say. Their conversation flows without the complications or worries that are often veiled in so many other aspects of this life.

Once again my thoughts are drawn back to my brother and I realize how special the sibling bond can be. There have been many moments when we have had that same uninhibited conversation. We will talk early into the morning around hazy campfires, recalling childhood memories that only he and I could possibly understand. What a wonderful thing to have someone in this world that can place a value on those early days in the same way you can.

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Lars flings on his backpack as though he’s been doing it for years and his sister follows suit.

As we approach Lars’ school doors Sophie moves towards her brother for a hug. “I love you Lars, have a good day.”

“Love you too Soph, remember, twisty slide at first recess!” He says then runs off towards his classmates.

As we walk towards Sophie’s classroom she looks up to me and says, “Don’t you just love Lars Mom?” I smile and reply in kind.

I am thankful that my children have each other. It is reassuring to know they have a friend in one another—especially for first recess meet and greets at the good ole twisty slide.

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The Arrival Home

The house was dark and still when Jamie and I rolled our suitcases into the front foyer. As we made our way into the house all of its usual smells sprung to memory and I realized that even after a short week I had begun to miss this place. Or perhaps it was just the thought of the small people who lived here that had my heart skipping a beat.

Daniel, Jamie’s brother, was asleep on the couch. The hallway lights were turned off and I’m positive at that moment I had never felt quiet quite like that. The time was somewhere around eleven o’clock at night as I made my way towards the children’s bedrooms.

After all of these years of parenting, all of the frustrations and meltdowns, I really didn’t think a week long break would be that difficult to endure. And believe me I’m not complaining. You know, the sun, the sea, the amazing quality time that my husband and I got to experience in our seven days of childfree time was very much treasured.

It seemed however that so many of the activities we participated in while visiting the Mayan Rivera would remind us of our little darlings back home. As I snorkeled with sea turtles I could only imagine how elated Sophie would be to meet those massive sea creatures too. Or whenever Jamie and I would stumble over one of the hundreds of iguanas that roamed our resort we couldn’t help but think of Lars and how fascinated he would have been with the small reptiles.

Needless to say our flight home was filled with anticipation. We both couldn’t wait to give those first initial hugs and kisses to our babes after what seemed like a lengthy time apart.

As it sometimes happens we got a bit held up in our arrival back to Canada and found ourselves at home much later than we expected. Despite my efforts of “accidentally” waking the kids up by clumsily dragging the suitcases up the stairs and flicking on every light in the place, that evening they slept right through the night. Go figure.

I decided to unpack the suitcases that night, because well, I’m that kind of a type A human being. As I created a mountainous pile of beach wear that needed washing I wondered how the kids’ time away from us went. If you remember a couple of weeks ago  I had poked fun at the fact that they were so excited for us to leave that they couldn’t help but verbalize it in their honest adolescent way.

A major part of me expected that this is exactly what happened. I was sure they had hardly thought about us or our absence at all and they had had the time of their lives while we were away. But I must admit there was a tiny part of me that hoped we were missed.

The saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” I’ve come to discover is true in so many different circumstances. Here, I realized how our time away from the kids has made me appreciate their beauty and uniqueness in a way that I think we all as parents can sometimes overlook in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I have to wonder if children experience that same kind of logic and reasoning when away from the people they love?

“Daniel?” Sophie called from her bedroom faintly. I rolled over to look at the clock, 6:30am. Jamie’s brother Daniel had tucked her in the night before and she must have forgotten that we were coming home.  I moved eagerly towards her room.

“Good morning my love.” I said.

“Mom?” She asked.

“Yes, sweetie, it’s me.”

“Mama, it’s you!” Tears began to immediately stream down my daughters face as she jumped out of bed and ran towards me. “I missed you so much Mom! I love you.”

I knelt down to hug her; I too was now crying because of this unexpected emotional response from her—the kid who usually is least likely to show this kind of sentiment. She grabbed my neck to pull me close to her, “I really love seeing your face right now Mama.” Lars then joined us from his room and we all moved towards mine and Jamie’s bed for a cuddly family reunion.

I guess it goes to show that distance certainly does makes the heart grow fonder and that is true for any age group.

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The Trusted Words of a Friend

In my experience, the humans who run in my usual circle of friends do not seem to like the idea of me writing stories about their personal lives. Weird, right?! Since my literary debut I’ve had a plethora of acquaintances utter the words, “this better not go in your column Lindsay” on several different occasions. So I’ve come to accept the fact that I simply cannot use the real names of the people I write about.

None of this however applies to my friend Janelle. We’ve been through way too much together to worry about details like that.

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Janelle and I have been friends for longer than Justin Beiber has been alive. We endured all of the embarrassing moments of puberty side by side. We’ve fought over idiotic things. We’ve cried together for no reason at all and nearly wet our pants during adolescent laugh attacks (who am I kidding we were well into our twenties and still peeing our pants laughing at one another). We were there for each other’s pregnancies and the aftermath of birth. We have surpassed many of the milestones that lifelong friends ought to.  I’ve always been the eccentric one that on occasion tends to blow run of the mill situations sky high. And she is the reasonable one who usually pulls me back to earth.

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So a few weeks ago when I had had a headache for three consecutive days I decided to phone her to dictate my Last Will and Testament. Yes, I had one foot securely plunged in the grave. The doctor I had spoke to about the situation told me that if the migraine meds that had been prescribed did not work our next course of action would be a CT scan—to rule out a brain tumor. Well, obviously this was not my usual doctor and she did not realize my, I’m going to be kind and say “slight” case of, hypochondriac tendencies.

I literally wrote out the first paragraph of my own obituary. It was good. You would have cried.

“Stop being stupid, you’re just getting old.” Maybe those weren’t Janelle’s exact words, perhaps she was a tad nicer (probably not) but you get the gist. I proceeded to tell her my entire list of woes and exactly why I thought I was probably going to die of a brain tumor or meningitis or some other fatal brain related doom. How could Jamie raise the kids alone? How could he handle work and our full time school and extracurricular schedule? What about Sophie’s particular hair-do requests? What would become of mine and Lars’ wacky breakfast conversations? What of the hopes and dreams for the future that I may never get to witness!?

“Look, you probably just need a massage.” Might I add Janelle is a massage therapist. Sometimes I think she thinks that massage will solve ALL of life’s problems and this was one of those particular times. I didn’t want to hear that a massage would relieve all my fears of an untimely death; I wanted her to wallow with me in my preconceived misery!

“But the doctor said…”

“There are tons of reasons that could cause a headache. Book a massage and if it doesn’t help you at all then you can start to worry.”

So I booked a massage. And yes if you were picturing me to be that awkward first-timer who asks if they need to take of “all” their clothes and then proceeded to make inappropriate and very unfunny jokes throughout the entire process then you are pretty much right on the money.

But after it was done, my headache was considerably less. My back felt better even though I didn’t know it was hurting in the first place. I have now been back to the massage therapist several times and the headaches are almost all gone and for all intents and purposes I now know where they were coming from in the first place. I am indeed getting older and a combination of dreadful posture and a bit of stress has managed to wreak havoc on my upper back and shoulders.

So I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it’s beneficial to have those levelheaded comrades in our life. And if Lars and Sophie inherit this particular worrywart trait of mine then I will have to make sure they have a few friends like Janelle around. Because everyone needs that special someone in life who’s not afraid to tell you you’re simply getting old.

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Removing The Energy From Kids…Or at least trying to.

The kids are bouncing from wall to wall. Their shrieks of merriment are carried easily throughout this otherwise peaceful house. They are currently playing a rambunctious game of hide and seek. Sophie makes her way, rather surreptitiously, into another room to hide but when discovering her ideal spot she continues to giggle explicitly until Lars follows the sound uncovering her location. I’m not sure if this is part of the game or if it is just Sophie’s inability to keep her glee under wraps.

Upon learning her whereabouts, they will both let out an ear piercing screech of surprise and then proceed to run at top speed back to the living room to start the game over again. It looks like fun, but at the moment I’m too exhausted to give it a go.

Yesterday I spent the day at my parent’s house in the garden hilling potatoes. I have the blisters on my palms to prove it. It was hard work but, of course, worth it for that oh so lovely yield that will be soon to follow.

I woke up this morning with the idea that I would tire my babes out today so we could get at least one early night in on these summer holidays. So I decided we’d walk. Enough walking in a day will drain the excess energy from anyone…Right?

We walked down to the lake for our morning swimming lessons. This was a good enough plod in itself not to mention their strenuous half hour lesson fighting against the hammering whitecaps of Sylvan Lake. Well, maybe the conditions weren’t that dire, but the water did look awfully cold.

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Any sane person would feel like this was enough for one day, not me however. I was on a mission and I needed to secure my success. It had been awhile since we had paid a visit to the kids’ granny so I decided we would hike over to her place after lunch. This was an even longer journey than our beach jaunt so I told the kids they could ride their bikes. Now keep in mind this would be our first long ride of the season with Lars on two wheels and Sophie riding her own bike. It was going to be interesting.

We started off on a good note. At least while we were journeying on the bike paths, far away from other human beings and cars and various dangers of that sort it was good. There are three rather long bike/walking paths we take to get about half way to this particular granny’s home. After these paths ran their course however it was nothing but sidewalk—a sidewalk that ran parallel to a very busy street.

Lars is still a bit wobbly on his two wheeler and there was more than one occasion where I was sure that his handlebar was headed straight for the shiny paintjob of a parked car. When there weren’t any parked cars around he seemed to gravitate straight towards the road and the oncoming traffic. Luckily the kid is phenomenal at stopping short when I cry, “LARS HOLD UP!”

Sophie on the other hand was painstakingly laid-back on her bike. Whether it was her seat felt weird on her butt, her handlebars were bugging her or a bird in a tree above us was singing a wondrous princess song and she just had to stop to enjoy the beautiful melody the distractions the girl discovered were plentiful. I actually fear when the day comes that she begins to drive because if her concentration skills while bike riding are any indication of what kind of a driver she will be then anybody on the road in those future days had better watch out!

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Eventually, after a lot of, “HOLD UP LARS!!” and “Hurry up Soph!” we got to Granny’s house and had a wonderful visit.

The way home seemed to actually go smoother since everyone was moving at an acceptable pace. I was sure that the near nine kilometers that we journeyed around town that day would have tuckered the kids out so my anticipation was growing as we neared the house.

However my high hopes have been shattered as it is currently 9 pm and the tiny humans are still at it with the high pitched laughter and hyperactivity. And here I am simply struggling to keep my eyes open and my body from collapsing into a calling bed.

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Moral of this story; children are much too unpredictable to promise yourself a relaxing evening of rest simply over of a few kilometers trekked. Now please excuse me while I fall into a deep and comatose slumber. Until next time friends…

Soccer Mom

Soccer season has officially begun. If I was feeling apprehensive as the days before Lars’ first game approached then I was an all out wreck by the time we arrived to the field the day of. But, like any good mother I swallowed up my nervousness and pushed it down to that same place that houses our inadequacies as parents and the mystery meat I ate for dinner the other day.

There was no particular reason I was brimming with anxiety over a small child’s soccer game, it was just that I somehow knew what was to surely unfurl just before the game commenced. Because though I was worried, Lars was even more so. This is something I’ve come to learn about my son. He gets nervous. Whether it be a bunch of children at the park he doesn’t know, trying out new hobby or starting an extracurricular, tension usually gets the better of him. Jamie can tend to be a nervous person and I seem to get flustered over anything that has to do with the children, so perhaps, Lars has learnt this behavior from us—I’d like to think not, but the possibility is definitely there.

However like most road bumps we’ve learned a few tricks of the trade to conquer and prevail. Mostly the ability for Jamie and me to veil the anxiety we are feeling over whatever anxiety Lars is feeling. In other words, my husband and I have become masters at faking serenity. Or so I thought.

The soccer field was filling up quick and it occurred to me that Lars seemed to be one of the only kids on his new team that hadn’t previously played the game. All of the soccer moms huddled together and the majority of the boys on the team were fist bumping and excitable.

Lars was kicking the ball around when the coach called in the boys to begin. The kid had literally stepped a foot onto the field when he was accosted by a flood of tears and terror (perhaps terror is a strong word…To me it felt like terror.)

“I—I just can’t do it…I’m too nervous!” He was saying between hyperventilating and compulsively tugging at the laces of his cleats.

“Oh you can do it buddy.” Jamie was saying supportively to him.

I had known this was coming from the moment we enrolled him in soccer and yet I was completely unprepared. I should have begun thinking up positive things to say as soon as I noted how tight-knit this soccer field and its patrons were, instead I just stood there rubbing his back uselessly.

I looked around at the other moms. They were yelling stuff like, “Get your foot on the ball!” or “Force them down to the other end of the field!” to their soccer star seven year olds. Hell I didn’t even know what half of it meant. These cheering mothers were sitting on fancy collapsible chairs with makeshift coolers as tables, it made my blanket strewn messily about over the ground seem rather inferior and incredibly novice.

I did the one thing no parent is ever supposed to do when faced with a similar situation. I said to my son, “You know Lars, if you don’t want to do soccer, you don’t have to.” It might have possibly have been the lowest point in my parenting career thus far. The pressure of soccer had gotten to me and I was ready to flee.

Thank God that Lars is the mature one out of all of us though. After the words came spewing regrettably out of my big mouth he seemed to have a change of heart. He wiped away his tears, grabbed a ball from the sidelines then ran in without anymore hesitation.

By the end of the half hour game he was just as enthusiastic as his teammates when someone would score a goal. He bragged for hours afterwards that he had kicked the ball six times (exactly) and next game he would definitely get it in the net. He was ecstatic.

As we drove home Lars said, “Mom, I’m really glad that I decided to stay. I really like soccer.” It was in that moment that I stopped worrying about Lars’ nervousness. I stopped worrying about how I was feeling in comparison. I stopped worrying about our inexperience in soccer and the other soccer moms, and I told Lars how proud I was of him.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your own nervousness. That night, my son taught me how to face your fears in the best kind of way.

The Famjam Endgame

I woke up this morning with poetic sentences yodeling from the tip of my tongue. Of course, I didn’t have the wherewithal to write them down while snuggled cozily in my bed.  With a six year old sprawled across my legs, a four year old subconsciously fighting him over who gets the cushy area of my hind quarters,   a dog in my face and a husband spooning me, it was impossible to get to a pen and paper. So now the words have been carried off into oblivion.  Figures.

Poetry is too ceremonial for how I am feeling today anyways. Thoughts of family float in and out of my skull as I pound on the keys of this old laptop. My dad in particular. I think of the years I appointed him as my hero, the moments I inked him as the villain.  I think about how on and off the two of us have always been. Since the birth of my children we’ve been on, which, by the way has taken great care on both of our parts as we are perhaps the two most stubborn people I know. Nevertheless, despite all of our shortcomings, I love the pigheaded man dearly.

Now forgive me if the following gets a little sentimentally sloppy, I’m sick with a cold and the Feels have caught up to me in my weakened state of mind. I always tend to gravitate towards writing about my family when feeling at odds; don’t ask me why, I’m not a brain doctor.

When I was 19 years old and about to set off on my first real journey, I hit a road stop before even taking off the parking brake. The problem at hand was that my mean old landlord at the time wouldn’t give back my damage deposit—I needed that money to get out to the west coast where I had decided to start my life, you know, like really really start my life. I cleaned the place spotless and pleaded with him amicably (as amicably as I get, I suppose) but he still contrived reason after reason to withhold the four hundred dollars from me. Back then, that amount of money was worth a small fortune. Hell, it still is!

Many things from my past have faded, now just morsels of memory suspend between conscious thoughts and hopes for the future, but not this. This recollection has always stayed clean and detailed in my mind. I had gone to my parent’s house after a particularly angry yelling match with this blasted landlord and I told Mom and Dad about my troubles. Dad was appalled. No one treats his family like that.

We hopped in Dad’s truck not ten minutes later and drove to my apartment building. With some words of conviction on Dad’s part I had the four hundred bones in my pocket before dinner time, and the next day I was off to Vancouver Island.

Dad is always unthinkably humble when I bring up this specific moment in time. “Oh well, that’s what family does.” He will say, or something textbook like that. He and Mama bear have always been firm believers that one must stick up for their own. “If you don’t have family, you don’t have anything.” They told me and my brother that a lot when we were kids.

Now that I am, admittedly, older and hopefully a little bit wiser I understand what “family” my parents were always preaching about. Perhaps they may not always be blood related. Maybe we fight with them, maybe we butt heads. Maybe we don’t share the same ideas and that can sometimes cause friction between us. Maybe we go months without talking or seeing each other. Families are the people that can participate in all these things and still love unconditionally.

I look at Lars, Sophie and Jamie and I know that they are my family. I can truly see what my mom and dad meant when they talked about family so many years ago. I guess my parents did have some pretty important things to say as I was growing up.  Funny how those like-minded ideas begin coming to light at a certain point in one’s life.

Now however, as I teach my children and help them grow into the human beings they are meant to be I will take this meaning of “family” one step further.  I want Lars and Sophie to know that they can treat anyone like family. To help those in need as though they were their kin, because in some universal way, we all are. Imagine the breathtaking world we could live in if we all had a “that’s what families are for” approach to one another.

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Pretty, Pink and Proud: A Response to Pathetic in Pink

For the first year of my daughter’s life she was surrounded by Thomas the Train and dinky cars. Her room was painted a fresh teal green and her nickname was Soph-a-loaf.  The only thing that Sophie cared about was the boob, watching her dad make funny faces and when she was going to have to endure her next bath.

I cannot recall shoving princesses and self-riotousness down her throat but according to a newspaper column I’ve recently stumbled upon I realize I must have. Surely her love of My Little Pony, magical lands, and makeup must be an instilled trait. Because as it seems, my 4 year old does not have the competence or wherewithal to possess her own agenda.

Aside from the shit storm of unbelievably rude and uninformed ideas this writer was putting forth in her article I was especially taken aback by the fact that she portrayed it to be the parent’s fault that little girls idolized princesses.  Right off the hop I take two offenses to this statement. First being that there is no fault to be had. And secondly as I have already mentioned, 4 year old human beings are more than capable of having their own likes and dislikes. My daughter has watched many an episode of Dora the Explorer and still does not especially enjoy the program. It is simply not to her taste. Whereas I try to keep Caillou as far away from her as possible, simply because I can’t stand his annoying voice, and yet she loves the guy!

The author of the viral article, Robin McGrath, admits to disliking young girls with blond hair; and how her repugnance intensifies when a tiara or gown is thrown in the mix.  As you can imagine the internet went mad when this article hit newsstands. Twitter exploded and Facebook, of course, devoured the gong show like it was front page news. But in all seriousness why wouldn’t we? McGrath went as far to say, “I react to them [little girls in princess dresses] the same way I do when I turn over a log or stone to find creepy albino bugs wriggling around underneath.”

I suppose in some way however I take enjoyment in the fact that my blond haired, blue eyed, princess can frighten this kind of an immoral, atrocious and appalling human being to such great lengths.

I loved princesses when I was young. Hell, I still love them- loud and proud baby! They have voices like angels and their hair flows like freshly fallen lilac petals. My mother never once recoiled in horror when I would exit my room decked out in pink from head to toe and ready to walk to the school bus. She allowed her daughter to make her own decisions. I enjoyed pink, just like my best friend enjoyed blue- and I cannot believe that that made her any better than me.

In truth I have relented from my frequent pink wearing since, well, turning about 13 or so and realizing I enjoyed all of the colors of the rainbow. And no, unfortunately for Robin McGraths theory, I did not turn out to be a sparkly clad supercilious attention whore from wearing pink and enjoying the company of princesses in my early years. In actuality those days proved to be no more than a miasma of tea parties and tree climbing. Some days I would lovingly slap on some play makeup and pretend I was Cinderella while others I would climb the rafters of our barn and chase puppy dogs around the farm.

And not to brag but I turned out okay. Just as my daughter will. These are the facts I know for sure- these are a few of the things that do not keep me up at night.

What I do worry about is Robin McGrath. I feel sorry for any person who could have such an unadorned hatred towards children. Girls, boys, brown or white- they are children plain and simple. It is unnatural and upsetting to say the least. Maybe this tirade of hypocrisy was simply conjured up in the depths of her mind in spite of misfortunes that have come across her own family- and if that is the case, she truly has my deepest sympathies. However fighting hatred with hatred gets us nowhere; especially when we involve the children. She speaks frequently about her daughter in the article and it begs the question: What kind of morals are you instilling into your child with this kind of a malicious approach?

So in ending, yes my 4 year old daughter is a princess, but she is also so much more.

For the link to the ‘Pathetic in Pink’ article Click Here.

Embracing the Wild Child

It is always her bedroom that has muffled sounds of mischief radiating from it long after the bedtime rituals are through.

She is the one singing her tune loud and unabashed as I desperately try to hear what my Mother-in-law is saying to me on the other end of the telephone line.

She is thunderous not only in voice but also in spirit. At any given moment her hair flows freely and untamed. And each time she glances in my direction her glinting eyes capture me with a knowing waywardness.

She is my wild child.

On any given day I can recount about a hundred times where I find myself pulling my hair out in accordance to her antics. Maybe she managed to lock the dog in the 1 X 1 square enclosure that is her dollhouse. Or perhaps she has divvied up her play dough and buried it in the many many remote places of her bedroom and is now calling it hidden treasure.   The point is, usually, we live in chaos.

Just the other night I was writing this exact post. I sat propped up in my bed and looked across the hallway to where my daughter should have been sleeping. Instead of doing such however she was standing atop her princess sheets attempting to reach the shelf that hangs over where she lays her head.

“Sophie go to sleep- it is an hour past bedtime!” I say not even wondering what she is doing because at this point I cannot care to.

“I can’t until I lock up the beast!” She screams back at me. She sounds extremely put off that I would even question the very actions of her plight.

“Lay down!” I begin to get perturbed.

“BUT THE BEAST!!” She counters. You see this is the thing with the girl. She doesn’t relent. She doesn’t give in. If she finds herself in the midst of a quest- it is all- there is no nothing.

“Sophie this is ridiculous! It is getting too late to be screwing around.” And this is where we butt heads my daughter and I; because I do not enjoy relenting either.

The next thing I know a four year old is stomping her feet towards my bedroom while her hands are compressed into fists and she wears this scowl that is about to implode an adorableness computing device somewhere.

She parades right up to my bedside and looks me dead in the face and says, “Look Mama. Barry (her huge stuffed bear) has a pet beast. But he needs to be locked up at night because if he isn’t…” A pause- I’m assuming for dramatic effect. “Well, he’ll eat everyone in the house. And sorry- but his favorites are Moms.”

Well there it is. There is that pivotal line that comes discharging out of the kid’s mouth that makes me laugh and suddenly all is forgiven. She peruses back to her room, gets the beast in its cage and seconds after her head falls upon her pillow she is asleep.

She is my wild child.

She lives to push boundaries and play center stage. She is abrupt, forthright and utterly honest. It seems as though trouble follows her and around any corner I could find my Sophie in some sort of mind-boggling shenanigans.

Time and time again I’ve told myself, it’s just a stage- this too shall pass. But as I get to know my daughter more and more with each passing day I realize it is no stage- it is her.

She is free. She is free from the worries that many children have. She could care less what other people think of her. Her mind is of one in its own and does not seem to be easily swayed. She is strong in her resolve when it comes to anything at all.

And it is all of these things that make me realize that I cannot wish away these traits of hers. Yes it can be trying walking into your bathroom with a four year old covered in blush and sloppy mascara lines running down her face. And yeah sure, it is a little depressing when she tells me that she is better at doing her own hair because she likes it in 7 hair clips haphazardly positioned around her skull. The sheer ideas that float in and out of her head are pure genius and absolute absurdity all at the same time.

But when all is said and done- I am going to let her be her. I will embrace the unique human being she is and enjoy the beauty she creates in this world.

Because she is my wild child- and she is my daughter.

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Tell Your Tale- #003 Birthday Edition

I woke up this morning with one of the best ‘day of birth’ gifts anyone could have ever given me- words! And what’s even more exciting is that these specific words were written solely for me! (Yes, I can still be a little narcissistic at times…)

My sister-in-law and (not to mention) amazing friend, Ashley, had written me a post to blog on The Blogging Mama! What a truly superb lady! Just the thought of somebody writing about little ol’ me gets the warm and fuzzies just a brewing in the ol’ tum and I am feeling mighty awful loved right now.

So instead of me blabbing on and on and on and…Okay, okay,  here is the awesome guest post Ashley wrote for my 29th birthday!

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She was born on a nipping cold January 11th afternoon… Central Alberta in the mid 80’s… So you know it was really cold. 12:34pm to be precise… That’s 1,2,3,4… Is your mind blown? 

Mine is!!!! 

Well well Lyndzee Rae, allow me to be the first to welcome you to 29! Scary isn’t it? I can distinctly remember as if it was yesterday- the two of us huddled together under a blanket topped tent, laying on the warmth of the bedroom floor, thinking of the day we would be grownups… We thought we would be so sophisticated didn’t we?

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We assumed by then, we would be well beyond our mediocre dreams, only to be focusing in on new adult type things.

 

Kids? What are those? That wasn’t a part of our big plan… Something we never really thought of in our young and selfish 8 year old minds.
However, seeing you now Lindsay- you have nailed it girl. You are the epitome of success. Besides from travelling afar, as you once hoped, you still lived the lifestyle you expected your travel days to entail.

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You’ve swam in deep oceans, hiked enchanted lands, met exotic people, and had your mind blown by a few REAL hippies throughout your journeys. You’ve hitchhiked. You’ve learnt what it is to be down on your luck (I’m one to know- I was right there beside you!)

 And you probably had some of the best independent times of your life in the slums this world has to offer. You’ve ruffed it. You’ve been on many an adventure. Thinking back, there were so many adventures we had just in our own back yards.

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You’ve fulfilled your dream of becoming a writer. You even went as far as becoming, “columnist”, “author” and “blogger”. You have fans. You have been recognized for your work and you, yourself have been written about. Small as you may see it be, you have done what any writer should hope to accomplish; to be appreciated and recognized for your work. You’ve left an imprint on people. 

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You have found your soul mate!!!! How many people can say the same? You’ve grown to be a loving wife, opening your once narcissistic self (I’m sorry for the harsh description, but let’s face it- you know it’s a good word for what you once were!) into a duo. I couldn’t be happier for the woman Jamie has helped shape you into.
You’ve given 2 amazing new lives to this world. Bizarre, I can’t even imagine life without those two precious souls. You’ve raised babies into children. They too have helped shape the woman you are today. What would your blog be worth without the “Mama” what would ‘Me Plus 3’ be without the 3? They are your inspiration, your models, and that is simply beautiful. The way you can just roll with it. You find beauty and craft out of everything that comes your way. You can tell a story and have people in tears of sadness and laughter. You have the ability to intrigue the mind and that is something you have taught yourself.

 
You’ve made the claim lately that 30 will be your year but I’m thinking 29 is looking mighty fine!!! You have accomplished so much these past few years between writing your first novel, to potty training 2 toddlers. (I’m still not sure what would be MORE difficult) you’ve taken advantage of every moment of spare time to work on your skills and talents. You’ve made over 4,000 meals for your kids… You’ve become quite the chef (well, slow cookerer).

 

You’ve overcome obstacles of humility, morality, self-acceptance and even loss. And you’ve learned something about yourself and the world through each of these bounds. 
So for your 29th, I wish you a day of reminiscence of your 20’s. To take a glance back on the road you have paved for yourself. To truly recognize the success you think you are still waiting for. Give yourself nothing but credit and sit back and absorb the fruition. 
30 will be good… It may even be GREAT, but don’t forget what 29 will have contributed to creating those perfect 30’s. 
You have been an amazing friend through our journey together. Your laugh alone has picked me up from some pretty dark places. You’ve cried with me, you’ve even cried for me. You’ve been there for so many important days in my life. You’ve been a crutch and a loving shoulder. You’ve been an open door, which I never thought I’d have again. This is the kind of friend you are. This is the kind of person you’ve always been and I’m so lucky to have had you throughout all these years. 

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I wrote this for your blog today to give your audience just a glimpse of the woman behind the blog- from a different person’s perspective. You’re a truly inspirational woman who knows what she wants in life. I wish I could be more like that. A person that has helped put my mind at ease when I’ve felt alone and trapped with my thoughts and given me a feeling of acceptance in my new world of motherhood.

Thank god for you, and thank god for the friendship I have been so lucky to have had throughout my life.

Happy birthday m’lady. I love you beyond any words. 

Your sister, friend, P.I.C. If you will,
Ashley Blackburn