Nostalgia

The holidays are rushing fast toward us again. This time of year always gets me thinking back over my life. Childhood memories and traditions. Years when my girls were little. Happy holiday memories that CBG and I have made in our 9 years together.

This year, the nostalgia is even stronger. I’ve been working on a special Christmas gift for my daughters; a book filled with cute stories from when they were little. It’s a project I’ve had in mind for years now, and have never undertaken it. I decided that this is The Year.

We have a lot of funny little stories that I tell the girls from when they were small. They love hearing them, over and over again. After all, who doesn’t want to hear about how smart, funny and adorable they were when they were young?

Fortunately for me, this task has been made a fair bit easier. Of course, I have this blog, with tales that date back to early 2009. Before that, when I was pregnant, through to when my girls were toddlers, I kept journals, filled with my thoughts on motherhood, and lots of stories about my daughters, after they were born. I was reading through those old journals last night, pulling out little tales and writing them down in a bit more of a story form.

Many of these stories were things that I’d completely forgotten – as one does in life. I found myself giggling out loud at their antics; it is so amazing that their personalities really started forming when they weren’t even walking yet. I also felt more than one pinch in my heart, as I realized that I miss those days. Not all of it, of course, and not that I would wish myself back there, but there is a definite ache there. There’s nothing like the smell of a newborn or a gummy baby smile or seeing your little one walk for the first time.

I love my girls. I love the age they’re at now, challenges and all, but there is a part of me that misses the little people that they were back then.  I’m really grateful that I wrote those stories down – it’s like having them back with me again, just for a little while.

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Protected: Looking in the Mirror

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Protected: I Miss My Boyfriend

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Don’t Be “Nice”

One of the things I love about being a mom is the fact that I get to impart my wisdom to my daughters. Wisdom that, in a lot of cases, took me a lot of years, a lot of mistakes, and a stack of bad decisions to gain. I’m not naive enough to think that they take in everything I have to say, particularly at 12 and 14, but my hope is that what they don’t use now, they will at least tuck away for future reference.

Not that I have all the answers, of course. None of us do. But I think that most of us can benefit in some way or another from the advice and experiences of others. I sure as hell wish that I’d had someone providing me with helpful advice over the course of my life.

Pfffft. What am I saying? I still wish for that.

One of the things that I often tell my daughters is that they shouldn’t be “nice”. Being “nice” is something that I feel got me into a lot of bad situations in my life. Being nice meant that being liked was made a top priority. Being nice meant not standing up for myself. Being nice meant that I should acquiesce to the wants and needs of others, for fear that I might be seen as NOT niceNice people are taken advantage of, railroaded, dumped on, and rarely respected. I know you know that old saying that “nice guys finish last“. Well guess what? It’s even worse for nice women.

Before you go thinking that I’m a crummy mother who gives terrible advice to her children, allow me explain. For me, the word “nice” conjures up images of a weak person, who is largely disregarded by others because hey, “they’re SO NICE”.  Nice just isn’t that great. It’s bland at best. Don’t believe me? Consider this. Let’s just say you had a great time in bed with someone. You’re happy, you’re satisfied, you’re feeling all the warm and fuzzies that you normally feel. They turn and look at you say, “That was nice.

Um….nice?

Seriously?

So I tell my daughters that they should not be “nice” to others….because there are many better things to be than just “nice”. They can be kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent, funny, considerate, assertive, brave, reliable, creative, compassionate, fair, loyal, polite, trustworthy…so many things.

…just never, ever “nice”.

 

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Resurrection

So I’ve been thinking about blogging again for a few months now.  It would seem that I still feel as though I have things to say, even though I’m pretty sure I’ll be saying them to relatively few people at this point. That’s okay, though. I feel like somehow the people who need to see my posts the most, will.

In the interest of privacy, I’ve made all my past blog posts private. Away from the prying eyes that recently scoured my blog with what seemed to be a fine-toothed comb. It’s no mystery to me who this person (or people) likely are. And that’s okay, actually. I hope you learned some interesting things. Maybe so interesting that you’ll take that info and bugger off to spread your negativity elsewhere. I have no time for that in my life.

Besides, the old blog feels a little too personal these days. Not that I’m embarrassed about anything that I wrote — far from it, in fact. This blog was once the place I retreated to work through the piles of crap that were weighing me down. I read old posts and see how far I’ve come in the last 9-ish years. And I’m proud of that. Seeing personal progress in such an obvious way is pretty empowering. But I’m a different person now, my life is different now, and I feel like I want to make a bit of a fresh start. Blogging may have vastly changed in the past decade, and is even dead for some, but it’s still a useful outlet. One that I plan to use.

So here’s to fresh starts. Because everyone deserves one, don’t you think?

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Happiness is Like a Pillow

(This is a bit of a long post, but bear with me — I reach a point eventually).

When I was in my early 20s I was in a pretty bad car accident. The kind where you see the wreckage afterwards and are amazed that the people involved walked away from it. I suffered from a major case of whiplash and unfortunately it’s one of those situations where I’ve “never been the same since”. I haven’t really felt “normal” when it comes to my neck and upper back since then.

Over the years I tried different things and found that some things seemed to help a bit. Getting regular exercise certainly made a difference. I tried heating pads and popping Advil regularly. In recent years I started seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist. And while all of these things certainly helped, I would still experience some level of discomfort on a daily basis.

The one thing that I always relied on was my pillow. I’d tried other pillows in the past but with no success. This particular pillow I’d dragged around with me for years, convinced that this was the thing preventing me from being completely debilitated. Over the past few months, however, I started to notice that my neck and upper back were progressively getting worse. It seemed to me that maybe it was *finally* time to throw in the towel on this pillow of mine, which was easily 15+ years old (I know, right??!!)

So we headed out to the mall and I (rather reluctantly, I might add) found myself a new bamboo filled pillow. It certainly seemed like it might be something that could do the trick. I was nervous, but convinced that perhaps this might be something that would help; after all, my old pillow certainly wasn’t working for me anymore. The first week or so was a bit sketchy, I’ll be honest. I woke up every morning with a soreness in my upper back and neck that I hadn’t experienced before. But then…as the day wore on, the soreness always vanished, and my body always felt better. And then as time wore on, as my body adjusted to the new-ness of it all, the daily soreness disappeared completely.

I realized last week that although not 100% “cured” (and I will never be), my neck and upper back feel better than I can ever remember them feeling. All those years that I tried all those things to treat my neck issues, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong thing. I was looking everywhere else for the solution to my problem, and missed entirely what was at the root of my problem: a scratty old pillow that I’d been desperately clinging to, for so long that it had almost become part of who I was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about CBG’s blog post yesterday about finding inner happiness. I’m convinced that he’s been looking for happiness in all kinds of places — in a job, in money, in weight loss, even in our marriage. He’s like me desperately trying all those things to cure my neck pain, hoping that maybe “this” would finally be it, but still never fixing the source of the problem. The one thing that I was convinced was helping me, was actually the one thing that was hurting me the most.

Honey, it’s time to sit down, say goodbye to that scratty old pillow you’ve been desperately hanging on to, and throw it out for good. I promise it will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off you. And sure, you can still pursue all those things that are a part of being happy — finding a great job, making more money, getting in shape and losing weight, hell, maybe even improving the state of our marriage. But none of those things are doing to mean a damn thing if you’re still laying your head down at night on a smelly old pillow.

It’s time to help yourself, instead of hurting yourself.

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2016: The Year of Joy

When I was out running the other day I was thinking about what word I wanted to be my focus for the coming year. Some years I struggle with finding just the right word for me, but this year it came leaping out at me, loud and clear, without hesitation.

Joy.

2016 is the year that I make the effort to both create more joy in my life, and to look for joy in those small, every day moments of life….moments that often overlooked and under-appreciated.

I started the year by doing something that I’ve done before and something that always bring me great joy: The Annual Polar Bear Dip. This was my third year taking the plunge and I daresay it was the best year yet.

DIP!The best thing about the Polar Bear Dip this year was the fact that CBG finally decided to come good on a promise he made to me seven years ago (!) when we were first dating that he and I would do this together. He’s been a spectator on my two previous jumps, and this year he finally realized that he needed the symbolism of this jump to wash away 2015 and welcome the coming year.

And he did it. Like a boss.

Todd jump!I can’t begin to express how proud I was of him for this. Not for the jump itself, but for his willingness to shake off 2015, leave it in his dust, and literally leap into 2016 with everything that he’s got. That takes guts, my friends. And that bravery and optimism and fighting spirit are just some of the many reasons why I love and admire and respect this man.

me and Todd post dipI can tell that this photo is going to be one of my favourites for a long time to come. For all our silly photos where we’re mugging for the camera, this one is about genuine emotion — and it’s written all over our faces. Happiness. Pride. Excitement. And most of all — joy. Which is what 2016 is going to be all about for us.

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