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

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?


  1. Beautifully said as always! Love your perspective.

  2. This post is a bit bittersweet for me. My close friend who has set up family with hubbys second cousin has just moved to greener pastures to take advantage of the bigger choice of schools down south for her kids. They left in January and we txt but still haven't connected on the phone as its too painful for us. Unfortunately we can't visit as she is 2000 km away. Time will make it less raw and we will connect again but I do miss her terribly :-( I am usually good with change, heck I moved every 2 yrs until I met my DH, but for some reason this change has been hard to take.....maybe cause these last two years have had there share of troubles and she helped me see the laughter thru it all?

    1. Oh Jenni, that is so hard. I understand completely.

  3. You are an amazing writer, Lisa. Thanks for bringing your moments to life and sharing them. Deanna (Ian's wife), Graham, and Sara and I are going to Victoria to see Uncle David in August so will be in touch with your mom as we need to get together either on our way there or back. Hugs from me

    1. Thank you so much Mrs J. That is so kind of you to say! I think getting together would be fantastic! What a treat it would be to see you all again and meet some of your grand babies.


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