Saturday, October 29, 2011

Birthday today

Today my oldest guy as of 7:55pm will be 6 years old. Having three kids, I work hard to make their birthdays special...mind you, those young enough not to remember their birthday cakes might end up getting cupcakes instead. Those who are 6 are getting the full deal with me hiring my wonderfully talented, but smart ass friend to make his ocean themed cake. So when my kids are in therapy, their birthday cakes are not going to be a subject for discussion.

All that said, there is something special for me for my oldest's birthday, because it marks the day when I first became a mother. Sure, you can say that starts at conception, but it's a totally different deal when you have a baby on the outside and you have to change diapers, nurse around the clock and get less sleep than you could possibly imagine. You also get to experience that love and wonder for the first time when you hold that little gift in your arms and not to over romaticize it, you also get to experience the panic that you feel when you have your first bout of "Baby's crying and nothing I can do is making him stop!!!" Me, I bravely reacted to that scenario by crying my eyes out, in my defense, I was 36 hours post partum.

Two more kids for me and I can say that this parenting gig is pretty hard, but I somehow manage to do it pretty well...if I do say so myself! Once in a while, you'll get a parent to be ask you for a piece of advice, my best tidbit of wisdom is be flexible. People get all sorts of funny ideas when they first find out that they are expecting. They map out the child's life from the birth plan to education to what food they'll eat, what friends they'll have, what activities they'll do. While I'm not saying to abandon the big picture, I'm also saying don't be married to it, and all the bazillion details, are not going to be set in stone. Sure, you can have a detailed birth plan set in stone about how you're going to have that baby, but when something goes awry, it's tossed out the door and being disappointed about that when you're safe and have a healthy baby in your arms is not going to set a good pace for the next thousand years of parenting. Like when your kid picks up a friend's blaster and automatically knows what to do with it, despite your no guns rule. Or when they discover junk food and demand candy every day after Halloween for the next three kids have even started early on that bent. Or even when the bigger picture gets nuked and your family changes altogether, how can you deal if you're not prepared to roll with the punches? This last year has been hard for me and my kids. I was recently criticized on my parenting and the old me would have taken that to heart and been upset, but I turned out indignant and came back at that person very strongly about my parenting skills. My kids aren't acting out horribly, they're doing well in school, socially and emotionally and as much as it is their accomplishment in rolling with the punches, it is also mine.

Parenting is a crazy job. I think a lot of people love their careers, but I can't imagine being as emotionally invested in any job as much as you are in this. You're never prepared, you always have to think on your feet. I once had to apologize to God and offer my explanation of panicking because I compared Santa Claus to Jesus. I'm sure God will understand, obviously thinking on my feet is not my forte. You can be brought to tears, experience profound wonder and laugh until your sides hurt all within a matter of a few minutes courtesy of your kids. Your endurance will be challenged in ways that would make marathon runners weep and the rewards are plentiful and amazing. With all of this going on, can you see why my advice is to be flexible.

So happy birthday to my oldest. He is a wonderfully sensitive and strong little fella. He's the first to offer someone a hug and tell them how much he loves them. He's brilliant just like his ma with an insane obsession for sharks, dinosaurs and all things prehistoric. He's funny, silly and very much the little boy who still loves to bring me bouquets of dandelions and bottlecaps. In looking at my blessings this year, me being a parent to three wonderful little guys is tops on my list, and it all started 6 years ago with my Ninja.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Being Thankful

Lets face it, I've had a rough year and at first shot, thinking of things to be thankful for bring a bit of a cynical snort. A friend told me to start a list of all that is good in my life, what I'm thankful for is a good starter because I'm thankful for these good things in my life.

My hair: Just kidding, though I do love it.

10. My health: I know this is cliche, but really, the fact that I'm upright and relatively healthy. That I can race my boys in an orchard or pick up my baby with no difficulty is pretty important. And apparently I own healing.

9. Financial wiggle room: Money doesn't buy happiness, but not having to live hand to mouth everyday (I've been there) keeps the stress at bay.

8. Canadian healthcare: I know, it's weird, but I've been going to the doctor quite a bit, and it's been much needed visits. I'm glad that I have that opportunity and don't have to think twice if I can afford another trip.

7. My age: My life as I knew it was pretty much blown apart in a big Hollywood Bruce Willis scene explosion way. However, the good news is, that I'm young enough that it actually seems fairly feasible to start anew.

6. My resilience: "I get knocked, but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down!" to quote Chumbawumba. I do have to say that some times I'm mighty proud of myself for getting back up again and not going Incredible Hulk smashing through any and all hurts. They say that divorce is like a death, it is in many ways in that you're grieving something that was very near and dear to you. However with death, it's final, done and you have to get over that one giant horrible hurdle. This is like one big giant hurdle, then a bunch of awful smaller ones, brings to mind the saying "death by a thousand paper cuts" and some days that is what it feels like. That said, I'm still here, getting out of bed everyday, being on for three very important little fellas and just in general, keeping on going on.

5. My kids teachers and caregivers: Someone once told me how important quality childcare is in helping you function during your day and it's so true. I can go along my merry business not having to worry if Ms A, Ms H or Aunty T needs me. I know my kids are safe and sound and in the hands of competent people with great judgment.

4. My therapist: Yes, I'm thankful for her. She's listen to me rant and rave, or tried endlessly to make sense of things in my insane Capricorn need to have order in the Universe, she's held me while I cried, she's scolded me for not relaxing while trying to massage me (she's multi-talented). She's built me up and praised me, and has constantly reminded me that I an a good person and very deserving of love.

3. My family and friends: Really, many of them overlap. I tell people that I would not be here if it weren't for them and it's true. They have the full time job (and believe me, I'm a full time job) of helping me through this. My family downtown has welcomed me home with open arms, the safety I feel there is like a drug and something I need so much now. My online friends and hussies have listened "read" me to me pour my heart out, to get my feelings out before acting on them and have offered much love, support and priceless feedback which always gives me such food for thought. I've had several new friends come into my life this year, they play a role because they know only "post marriage" me. They have nothing to compare me too and while this isn't a bad thing, the fact that they've only known post marriage me and will testify in front of a jury of their peers that I'm pretty likeable and not a bitter, ugly, jaded person is encouraging. My besties, well, what can you say about your besties...not enough! From force feeding me (food and once in a while booze), to coming to my rescue after I decided to take on a bus with my minivan, to pimping out their mates (for "icky man" jobs I'm unable or unwilling to do) to dragging me out for a fun night, to listening to me bitch, or holding me when I cry heaving chest sobs of despair. When people hear of the shit my friends have done for me, they look at me with awe and tell me how envious they are and they should be, because without them, I seriously wonder if I'd be here and as sane as I am...which is all relative, but I put up a pretty good front. 

2. My faith: Even at my darkest moments asking the inevitable "why me?" my faith has kept me on track. When I've wanted to do dastardly deeds, I would rely a lot on my faith to put me back on the straight and narrow. But it's also not necessarily just my faith in a higher power, but being able to open up my faith and just have faith in that things will turn out. It requires a lot of letting go on my part, and I'm not nearly at a reasonable level of accepting that I do not control every last thing on the planet, but I'm getting there. Letting go a bit does feel pretty good.

1. My kids: Some of you are wondering why I didn't start off with them...this is a countdown! Seriously, I love my guys, they are the lights of my life. I'm happy I get to spend my days watching them grow and develop. I admire them for coming through this hard year so well, they are little troopers. They always make me laugh...along with pulling my hair out, but they are quick to charm me back into adoring them again. My oldest won't get to escape this pain, he's not blessed with uber young age like the other two, but he's been trucking along like the best 6 year old survivor out there. His favourite song is Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he even sings it complete with the accent (my kid is talented), but he has handled this with such grace and love that he inspires me to continue going on and being a good person despite everything that has happened.

I hope to update this list frequently, but this good to start off with. I think it was a good exercise writing some of the things I'm thankful for, I encourage everyone to give it a go.