Normal is a four letter word. Extraordinary is the new black.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

68 days of bliss...

It's summer vacation. The kids are home and yes, I am one of those annoying moms who loves having her kids home for the summer. No, they are not perfect angels that play delightfully at all times. Yes, they do fight with each other; with me; with the dog; with the fly that dares to land too close to their cereal.

However, I look past all that and I am happy. Grateful to have them home. I relish those times when they are lost in playing with each other, laughing and creating memories that I know they will hold onto into their adult years. Those delicious mornings of rolling to a slow start, everyone in their PJ's late into the morning, deciding at the last minute to hit the beach, the river, or hide in the house and pretend we are camping in the backyard.

These are the days of no school lunches, no wrangling for a spot in the school parking lot. This is a time free from IEP meetings, homework and all the hubbub of the school year. This is a time of quiet, and family, when we close up shop a little and just soak it all in.

Today started with the knowledge of many changes for the coming school year. Next year there would be kindergarten for a little girl, new staff, a little boy entering intermediate classes. It seems that most people don't like change, even fear change. For me though, I think I've learned that I refuse to classify change as good or bad. Change just is.

There are 68 days between now and the next school year. You can do a lot of living and loving in 68 days, and I refuse to let any anxiety about change, rob me of one second of my 68 days of bliss. Arriving in the back field to get Graysen, everyone was looking up at the sun in awe. I looked up to see what they were checking out, and there was a rainbow circling the sun. Someone joked that it was a sign of the coming apocalypse. Meanwhile, to me, I saw an omen of good to come. Some people see scary, and some people see magic and some people I suppose, just see a rainbow formed by ice crystals way high up in the atmosphere. It's all about your perspective, or more so, the perspective you choose.

So, tonight, sitting on our back deck, I felt totally relaxed, and our kids seemed totally relaxed. Usually, it takes us all a couple of weeks to fall into a routine, to really chill and yet we were all just in it. I wondered what changed.

Maybe the kids picked up on our mood, and it set the tone for the whole family. Who knows? I heard a saying once, "Never worry for more than five minutes about things you can not change." I looked everywhere to try to find out again where it was from to attribute it to someone, but the message is one to hold onto. Sure, it's not an easy feat to master, but it seems to be, that not worrying about that which you can not change, gets easier with practice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moving forward

Over the years, I have found happiness in learning that, the past should always be a warm and fond memory, but we should never choose to live there. All the great adventures in my life involve moving forward, embracing the unknown. Over the years, it has been the times that the road has taken an unexpected turn, that have yielded opportunity for the greatest growth, and the most beauty.

Six months ago, a dear friend who is, actually more like my fourth sister, told me that they needed an adventure that they were moving. I naturally freaked out (quietly) for a couple of days, and then I embraced it with everything I have. I embraced it, because, always, always, always, the most amazing things in our life, have started with the feeling of, "wait, this isn't supposed to happen like this."

The more I thought about it, the more I realized, why wouldn't they do this? The world is big, life is short and there are adventures to be had.

Our first kids (both boys) were born nine days apart, and along with another dear friend, we have raised our children together, as siblings in an extended family.

There is a lot of amazing in watching little humans grow, when you strip away all the things that everyone tells you to worry about. That is the gift that came with these women. The ability to enjoy all the little seconds of our children growing up, because together, we could always remind each other that the big picture was so much more than, bottle vs breast and all the other polarizations of motherhood. This ability to maintain perspective, and focus on the bigger picture, was an anchor in the early days of parenting. More recently though, as life has thrown us all one curveball after another, that perspective has become a lifeline; a direct route to joy, through all the chaos.

When I think about it, that is really the simplicity of a lasting relationship; growing together, in differences, in challenges, in laughter and tears. Growing together, through everything.

When you find people that hold your children in their heart, safe; when they would go to the wall for them as they would their own little humans; when they see you children as they truly are; you keep those people close to you. Together you start your village and that village can take on most anything that life's roller coaster throws at you.

Years ago, the roller coaster got a little rough for my friend, and together, we discovered the beauty of taking breakables to the dump and throwing them in the bin. If I think about it on a deep level, it was probably healing to be in control of something shattering, instead of having to try to hold everything together as it all falls apart around you. However, at the time, deep was not our friend, so we went more with the whole, "Oooooooo! Things go crash! Make big noise! Funny! Take that world." Cue, hysterical laughter.

There was something cleansing about it all and that became our secret code. We knew when one of us said they needed a trip to the dump to smash some things that it was time for a little laughter.

Naturally, a highlight of the whole move was the promise of Auntie wanting to smash her dishes.
So, on moving day we did and we let Lorelei play too. It was a wonderful release of all the stress of trying to sell their house, and as an added bonus, it meant that she HAD to get new dishes for their next place. It also kicked off the laughter and the celebration and set the tone for the day. We were gonna smash those dishes and laugh. We were going to make this fun! We were going to celebrate and again, show our kids how to do hard, how to look forward. How to choose joy, and happiness and excitement over sadness, fear and holding back.
Disclaimer **While it looks dangerous, no little humans or fur babies were harmed in the making of this photo, and yes, clean up was a breeze.
Meanwhile, Lorelei would like us to move because "Mom, when it's time for us to move, can we smash our plates too?" 

When the big kids got home, they were sad that they missed out on the plate smashing. While it was weird that the house was empty, it was nothing a little sliding down the stairs on a mattress couldn't cure.

In that last day, we filled that house with laughter and silliness. Soon enough, that feeling carried forward and there was this communal feeling of being done with those walls, of wanting to pull away from this place, together.  We were looking forward, excited about being a part of  new adventure with our friends.

Only the address has changed. Four walls and a postal code do not dictate family, relationships or love.

In our need to move forward, the next day we planned to visit our friends at their temporary home. There was dinner, laughter, adventure and memories.

There was swimming in an awesome pool, warming up in a hot tub.

There was playtime, and there was a magical gazebo with neighbours and a roaring fire and s'mores.

Blood lines were blurred as kids crawled on Aunts and Uncles laps, and snuggled surrogate grandparents. People who had just met that day, sat around and shared a laugh.

Walking ten feet outside the gazebo and the singing of the frogs start to drown out the laughter. Standing outside, conversations disappear until it's all just a blur of happy chatter, backed up by the crackle of the fire.

Kids are fading fast after the days excitement and swallows looked down from the rafters, hoping for treats and trasures left behind.

Somone ran a line and a TV from their place so we could all watch a man walk across Niagra falls on a tightrope, but really that was a far second to the glow of just being together. Moving forward, one foot in front of the other, making memories, soaking in laughter and teaching the kids that physical distance was the only thing that changed.

****How do you move forward through the roller coaster of life? What village have you built in your life with family you chose?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Just be......

A quick post tonight. My wish list for the people that I love....

Go with love more, stop worrying about all the little things that you think are so big.
You have today, stop wasting your life in judgement, in the past, in worrying about the future.
You have today, live it.
When a child comes to you to play and you say yes, you are living today.
Laugh more.
Talk more about beauty and less about politics.
Stop judging what you think is wrong with the world, with today’s society and start learning to find the beauty in it, because you are not going to change people and you live your life in today so ride the wave.
For the love of all things holy, just be, for God’s sake.
If there is one thing I have been blessed to learn in my short life to date, it is that there is little that we can control and the more you try to steer life and hold on with a death grip, the more real living slips away.
Don’t spend time worrying on that which you can not change, it ages you and makes you ugly.
Spend time loving the people you love, knowing them, connecting with them.
Don’t waste time talking about the trivial things, about the negative. Spend time sharing what you find beautiful in this world, what you remember fondly.
This is my wish- do it now.
Live, let live and love.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Going Ostrich....

Like most parents, we have created our own little village to raise our babies. They have become the family we chose and like any family, we have our own little saying and jokes that we use along the way.

At some point, "going ostrich" became part of our language and it's a favorite of this momma's. I use it a lot. No, I mean, like, a lot! Sometimes I forget and use it around people that have no idea what I'm talking about, and then I have to explain.

Like ostriches, this momma hides her head in the sand when there is something that she isn't ready for, or doesn't want to face. That way, momma can enjoy the moment, until it's time to deal.

I talk about going ostrich all the time. Case in point, Lorelei starting Kindergarten in September. Momma is ALL ostrich baby. Sure I poke my head out from time to time, like when I need to fill out paperwork, or bring her to an orientation. I embrace that moment, feel what comes with it, acknowledge that it's happening, all that jazz. However, once the required steps are over, back into the sand goes the head, enjoying the moment, not dwelling on what is to come, but rather soaking in what is right there and now. 

Going ostrich is not denial. I know that there is a world outside my sand pile, with things to be done, sitting on the horizon. However, there is a lot of good going on in my sand pile. There is laughter, and kids, and memories to be made. Many many memories to be made in the sand pile, long before anything outside of it needs my attention. 

Sometimes, this momma goes ostrich for silly things, like not wanting to face the end of summer, or deal with the laundry. However, there have been times when momma has gone ostrich over bigger things.

Things like, having a Dr confirm a diagnosis for Tourettes, and several learning disabilities, for your oldest, while your youngest week old baby is discovered to have been born thyroid free. Working through the blood tests on a new infant, while your son is working through his school days looking like he's having seizures, is a bit of a hill.
Then take that new baby to her paediatrician appointment with your four year old son and have the ped stop the exam, look over at your son and say, "Does he often line things up like that?" True story!


Not forever, just a few minutes of sitting in the sand re-grouping, catching your breath and then back at the amazing wonderful that is this roller coaster. This ostrich time, it's a good thing. Just make sure you've always got a good friend in the sidelines willing to pull your head out of the sand if you try to stay too long.

Somedays ostrich time is just pure magic. A few weeks ago, after Lorelei's practice Kindergarten day, we went out for an early birthday dinner. On the way home, the sun was shining, the night was young and the laundry was waiting at home to suck me back in. I was thinking about our youngest starting school and I looked over at my hubby and said, "Beach?"

One word and he knew it was time to break out the emergency beach kit from the back of the car. We needed a sunny sunset, sand, and bubbles more than we needed folded socks.
Emergency beach kit- every car needs one. Kites, shovels, pails, bubbles, and a frisbee or ball or two. You never know when you are going to have a beach emergency.

Bubbles are magic. They make the world a happier place. Try it. Next time you are out somewhere, start blowing bubbles and look around. It's not just the kids that break into a giant grin at the sight of them. Bubbles in my car, always mean I have a fast track to a little ostrich time when it all gets too much.

There's magic in realizing that a setting sun makes for the best warrior/combat poses. The giggles that come from this game makes momma's heart float. See, there's good in the sand.

Sometimes, in the middle of the ostrich time, I poke my head out for a minute to recognize that Caylen's feet are no longer tiny. Grateful that he is growing strong I push away that wistful feeling of "he was just a tiny baby yesterday" and instead grab a firm hold on, "I'm so glad I get to watch him grow."

There is magic in the mixing of water and sand. Really, how can laundry compete with this?

Tomorrow, there will be time to think about what is to come, but for today, watching them play tickle tackle frisbee is all that matters.

How do you go ostrich?