Monday, 30 August 2010


Every few weeks I run into someone who says hey, I read your blog. It surprises me a little but not too much. I've made a link to it from my facebook page, and I also have pockets of people in the different parts of my life who have always read it and sometimes send the link on to their friends and family.

What does surprise me though is how strongly they feel about certain aspects of it. Strongly enough to make suggestions or backhanded critiques as if I am writing it as part of a job and they know how I can do that job better.
A blog is such a weird thing when you think about it. I mean I've always written in a journal, probably all of my adult life and most of my teen years. But a blog takes journalling to a whole new dimension. It's no longer something that might accidentally be read by a snooping parent or partner. Suddenly your life is out there for people to read, to judge, to agree or disagree. It's this aspect that is tough to take as the writer. It forces you to censor yourself, leave out parts of your life that would make for good material and it behoves you to consider your readers.

Mostly I write for the joy of writing and seeing my thoughts - well my life in that writing. I've learned a few things about myself so far in this lifetime. I need to excercise regularly, my house needs to be clean most of the time and I need to write almost everyday. These three things are what I need to feel healthy, that my day-to-day life is thriving.

Blogging isn't about writing meticulously - it's not an essay for university or college, or a business memo for work or even a book report. It's supposed to be informal and relatable and hopefully interesting to some people. My style on this blog is very matter-of-fact and as someone pointed out to me recently - conversational. I've just found that the blogs that keep my attention are a good combination of personal mixed with informational and they have to be written so that it's fun and easy to read them.

I try to write about what's going on in my life at that moment. Sometimes I've crossed the line into being preachy, or complaining, and often I've been repetitive. I figure that it's my blog, my choice of content. I'm happy when people get anything out of it but I'll keep writing even if they don't.

Shaune says he reads my blog at work almost daily and it thrills him to see a new post. See what I mean about censoring? Imagine the posts I could write if he weren't reading!

This is a picture of Deaglan and his three paternal aunts (Katie, Tanis and Chrissy) last Christmas.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Most of the time when I write a post here, I have something on my mind I want to express. Most of the time it's about parenting and family life. But that's not the only thing that preoccupies me - parenting I mean.

There is a lot on my mind these days. A lot of it has to do with my childhood. Since Matthew's death some of the more difficult parts of my growing up years won't leave me alone. Events and experiences I thought I'd made peace with have resurfaced and I'm re-evaluating.

Sometimes I'm shocked - and actually Shaune just this morning echoed the same feeling - truly shocked that I'm not more screwed up than I am. I'm certain that it's the reason I didn't have children till my late thirties, that I needed the extra time to process all those years in my family home.

I know all the right things to do and think. Accept it all and move on. Recognize that everyone did their best. Leave the past there. Live for today. Yada, yada, yada.

A tragedy challenges those well known axioms. A terrible beast of a thing like suicide stops you cold and forces you to be authentic with yourself. It gives you a knowing look when you try to say certain comforting things like ahhh but there was nothing I could have done.

The truth is that there was a lot many of us could have done and didn't do. We got too comfortable in our own lives. We preferred to ignore signs. We wanted to believe that the perfect circumstance would snap him out of it. We convinced ourselves that we were powerless over it. We wanted to talk about family and love and togetherness when it felt good but when ugliness showed up we decided it was best to let each person take care of themselves.

Lately when I dream about Deaglan or get an image of him in my mind, he always has Matthew's face at that same age. He was so funny at Deaglan's age - outspoken, wonderous and hilarious with a freckled nose.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Mommy can I?

There were a lot of kids in my family. It's not that we were poor, we always had enough to eat, lived in some nice homes, had decent clothes and went on vacations when it was feasible. But there were some aspects of being a part of a large clan that always bothered me. Like when we went out to eat whether it was to McDonald's or somewhere fancier, we usually never got our own meals. My mother would read over the menu and let us know who was sharing what.

When we weren't camping in a tent on our vacations, we were all eight of us crammed into a tiny motel or hotel room. As a kid I was always embarrassed by these features of big family life with a limited budget. There were other circumstances in my family that also made outings in general something I dreaded, but that's a whole other post.

When I dreamed of having my own family, I knew that I would have a small one. I wanted my children to look forward to things and get excited over time spent with family. I dreamed of vacations and outings filled with fun and a bit of indulgence.
And now that I am here, with a small boy who is quickly learning the ways of the world (Mommy can I is by far the most common phrase lately), I find it is a very fine line Shaune and I must walk. For instance, one day last week we were on our way home from the splash pad, it was hot and humid outside and the last thing I wanted to do was figure out lunch. Deaglan seeing the Golden Arches said Mommy can we go to Old McDonald's? I'm hungry.
We did but then the next day when we were passing by the same place even though we had already eaten lunch at home, Deaglan asked the same thing.
Often Shaune and I buy Deaglan things because we're so excited for him to have them. He's at such a great age, talking a mile a minute, telling jokes, appreciating his surroundings - put simply, he's captivating - that we can easily get carried away. Two weeks ago on an outing, Shaune scoped out aquariums and called me to get my agreement to buy one for Deaglan's room. It wasn't his birthday or Christmas. I easily agreed because I too had been wanting to get some fish for his room.
Lately though, we've noticed that every time we go out somewhere Deaglan will ask us what he can have as if he should have a gift or treat whenever we are out. Worried we are on our way to spoiling him, Shaune and I decided to start making a point of saying no to his requests more often.
As much as I disliked some of the inevitabilities of being part of such a large family, I do remember the thrill of a treat once in a while. I only ever had one Barbie who I played with for years and years. Most of my clothes until I had my own money were hand-me downs. I didn't have my own room until I was in university.
It's one of those challenges of parenting that we are facing right now. Wanting to give your children what you didn't have but at the same time wanting them to appreciate the niceties the way you did.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I love you today.

I've been trying to figure out what to say to you today.

Something meaningful and true. Because I'll be honest, you didn't have me at hello and I've never felt that you completed me. I didn't need you to save me, have never pictured you on a white horse or been after your money.

I'm pretty sure you weren't looking for some arm candy or a way to climb a corporate ladder. And you most likely haven't stuck around because of my domestic skills.

So maybe we wouldn't be considered the great American romance. People might not look at us and wish they had what we did.

But here's what I know.

Everyday I'm happier when you're home. I'm so grateful you are the father of our boys. Any victory I've earned is made sweeter when I can share it with you. I can't think of anyone I would like to get better at bickering with or share a funny story with.

And even though I didn't begin planning our wedding day in my head the day we met, I alwayys picture growing old with you. Even through these labour-intensive, sleep-deprived, grumpy days and nights, I would rather have you by my side than anyone else.

Happy Anniversary honey!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Food for my soul

Someone said to me this morning about having two kids under three, I don't know how you do it. The comment made me feel at once weirdly guilty, like I didn't deserve her sympathy since so many people I know have three and four and even five kids and at the same time thankful that someone noticed how hard this is at times.

Being on maternity leave for the second time has been a completely different experience so far. I'm different. Less neurotic, more relaxed, more humble and lighter in the soul somehow.

Having these kids has been the greatest joy I've experienced so far in my life. I've loved writing about it here because it has allowed me to reflect and record and then look back. The writing seems to increase my level of consciousness - like when I'm about to parent Deaglan in a certain way I ask myself if I would approve of my behaviour if I read about it later. Not that there have been times when I've employed questionable parenting techniques - not yet anyway.

This is a picture of my niece - my sister's youngest and fifth. Isn't she something?

Monday, 9 August 2010

Will work for sleep

Let me ask you this. How does one, so small, so cuddly, so smoochable, so scrumptious looking, wreak such havoc on a household?

I am desperately tired. I am taking advice from anyone dispensing it. If you know of a way that I can even get a quick cat nap please call or email or text or facebook - whatever!

I bought the Baby Whisperer's second book. I don't know how I ever got Deaglan to sleep, maybe I didn't, I can't remember a thing about that time. All I know is that this kid only wants to sleep during the day when Deaglan is full of energy and raring to go.

At first I was 'co-sleeping' but that stopped working. Naveen started wriggling and squirming and crying all night long so I tried the next thing.

Crying it out.

But he just cried and cried and cried. We didn't like letting him cry especially since he never actually 'cried it out' so I took some friends' advice and bought Tracy Hogg's book. For a few days it looked promising. I put him on her three hour 'E.A.S.Y.' routine but in the last two days all bets seem to be off. Somehow his nights and days are even more confused. So the two or three hours of sleep I was getting at night no longer exist.

Here are a few thoughts that have been rattling around in my overtired mind.

How am I functioning on such little sleep?

Why hasn't someone claimed to be the Marriage Whisperer and made millions focusing saving the marriages of parents of infants?

Wasn't the second kid supposed to be a good sleeper if the first wasn't?

Why didn't I sleep more before I had kids????

and also - Couldn't you just eat him up?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

From heaven

A friend who recently lost her wonderful mother said to me of grief - it will just hit you one day when you are least expecting it that he is really gone.
I'm not sure if today was that day but I woke up thinking about him, drove to and from my errands with him in mind and there were some moments where the pain of his absence rocked me to the core.
When I checked my email this afternoon, I had one from a name I didn't recognize. She said that she was a friend of his from way back and that they had even been roommates at one time. Over the years, though they kept track of each other, they barely saw each other. Her last contact with him was on Facebook a few months before his passing where he wrote on her wall - miss you - and she responded - me too. She told me that she loved him dearly and was in too much pain to introduce herself to me at his funeral.
I can't tell you how strongly I feel that this beautiful email in my inbox today was his way of comforting me.
Thank you Matt. I hope heaven is giving you all that this world could not. xoxo