Naps and beaches and Yo Gabba Gabba family date.
“What are you doing with those books?” my three-year-old daughter asks.
I am kneeling in front of the bookshelf in the corner of my bedroom with a bag of books that I am ready to donate.
“I am all done with these books. It is time to pass them onto other readers.”
She nods with an adult understanding. “Just like the toys when I am ready to give them to another kid.” I smile, then pack my two young daughters up in the car with the bag of books ready to donate at our local library.
I never used to be a giving soul. After a lot of hard knocks in life, I realize now how important for myself to pass on material things when I am all done with them. They are just things to me. They may be a treasure to someone who cannot afford a new book.
As a book reviewer, I do get sent a lot of free books. My shelves in my corner of the house can only hold so much. All that matters to me is the sentimental things from my loved ones that have moved on. You can’t take it with you.
We step into the cool library and wait our turn in line. My toddler squeals in delight at the toys and books in the children’s section. I place the bag down on the floor to go get my tot who just ran out of my sight. I scoop her up and return to the line.
I find the bag is gone off the floor because my three-year-old has lugged it up to the counter. She stands proud as I overhear her explain how we are all done with these books. It is time for a new family to read them.
The librarian looks down at her.
“Thank you so much for helping us.” She says with a wink to me.
“You are welcome. I am happy to share. We borrow so much from the library so we need to give back,” my older daughter explains.
My heart sticks in my throat. There are so many days when I do not think she hears me. As I see this moment, it gives my strength as a mom. She learns by what sees as examples and in turn I learn to keep doing what I am doing as a mom.
My Fairy Godmother
“Mommy, read it again, please.” My toddler pushes the fairytale book open again. Her eyes stare at me with a puzzled look. I wipe my eyes quickly nodding and take hold of the Cinderella book for the second time.
I tell the story and get to the point where Cinderella is crying in the garden and her fairy godmother appears. I feel the tears bubble in my throat again.
It has been a month since I said good-bye to my fairy godmother. Ever since I can remember I thought that the fairy godmother in this tale was based on my own godmother, Judy. They both looked the same and taught unconditional love.
When my mom died, Judy was my go-to person to talk about anything or to just listen.
As my dad’s anger grew grieving for my mom, he focused on me as a target of his abuse. Judy faded away when she moved towns away. My dad’s abuse isolated me. I was afraid to tell anyone what was happening at home.
From the time I was eleven until I was almost sixteen, I lived in the pain believing that I deserved it.
After one extreme blow-up with my dad and stepmother, they took me to a counselor. They were concerned that I was depressed, my grades dropped and I had no friends.
After two months of weekly counseling, I turned sixteen. It was an un-happy birthday. There was an extreme fight. My stepmom took off. Dad slammed the door to his room after telling me my birthday party was cancelled (a half an hour before it was due to start.) I didn’t cancel it and fake-smiled my way through the room of family and the few neighborhood friends that came.
The next day I had my regular appointment with the counselor. After he asked me how life was going, I bawled my eyes as I poured out my heart. After I cleaned my face, he looked at me and informed me that since I was sixteen, legally I did not have to live at home as long as I had a safe place to go.
After dinner I got a call from my godmother, Judy, wishing me a happy belated birthday. I felt like Cinderella in that garden and told her everything. Judy told me that I could come live with her for two weeks. After she had a long talk with my dad, I left the next day.
After the two weeks, I entered the foster care system because she could not afford to keep caring for me. There was no way I was going back to my dad’s house. Due to the process, I had to temporarily live in group homes and smaller foster homes. Judy became my foster mother to help receive money to raise me.
When I left her house to get married, we kept in touch. Our ‘adopted’ family kept the Sunday night dinner tradition for several years, rotating hosting duties.
The day our daughter was born, a fairy godmother became a fairy grandmother.
When Judy was disabled with a bad hip, the relationship between her and my daughter deepened. I got pregnant a second time and was unable to help Judy as much as I wanted to do.
Judy died suddenly when my daughters were 2 ½ years old and 5 months. All the pain of losing my mom, my grandmothers and now her, came back tenfold. My daughters lost the grandma they knew. I lost the mother I knew all my life.
I break out of the memories to my daughter staring at me again waiting for the end of the story.
Hugging and kissing her tight, I am thankful I had one parent figure for as long as I did who loved me no matter what. Because of that gift, it is how I parent and love my miracle daughters every day.
Do you have a special person? If not-all you have to do is ask. They are there.
As seen in The Momoir Project
Life as a motherless stay-at-home mom can be stressful. Trying to add working at home is just insanity. On a really extreme day, I am staring outside my kitchen window, my arms half-way into the sink of dirty breakfast dishes. I am watching the cars drive past on the slick road.With a huge heavy sigh, I release out my breath trying to calm my fried nerves.
I am trying to distract myself from the looming deadlines and the piles of housework still to do today.
My back is towards my girls who are at the kitchen table finishing their lunch. The morning filled with my half-attempts to clean house and referee my daughters. My sleep-deprived brain is fuelling my frustration.
I wish someone can watch my daughters so I may nap. My husband works an average ten hour days to keep our household afloat. There are no relatives around to call to relieve me for an hour. All my pre-natal friends have since gone back to work after their maternity leave.
My body aches with the craving of my quilt wrapped over me with my head buried deep into my soft pillow. The writing deadlines will get done as they always do. Maybe with a nap I can attack the work.
I go through the motions of washing the dishes and drying them. My body feels so heavy.
My ears perk up to an odd sound that shocks me out of my inner monologue. I slowly turn to the view of my one-year-old giggling at her older sister’s silly face. The giggle pierces the fog that enveloped the room.
They turn to me once they realize I am watching. Happy tears spring from my eyes when I discover that we are all smiling at each other.
A calm feeling wraps me like a hug from a loved one. If I had the nap I so desired, I would have missed the sweet sound of a belly laugh of my youngest daughter. That would have been regrettable for the rest of my life. I can sleep later.
Courtesy of The Yummy Mummy Club we were able to go on our first family date to Yo Gabba Gabba in Vancouver this past Sunday. Our oldest daughter turns 4 on the 17th. This was a great way to start birthday week.
It is 3 days later and we are still glowing from a great time.
Thank you Erica and all the yummy mummies.
Watching my one and three year old daughters playing with the other kids at the park makes me wish I could freeze frame this moment. I can only hope that they do not have the mental baggage that I once had.
My toddler waddles over to grab a snack from the stroller near me. With a quick bite of cracker she races off to keep up with the other children. At this tender age of just eating when you are hungry is a great lesson. A lesson that took me a long time to learn.
Since my mom died when I was ten years old and my dad’s abuse that followed, I ate. Emotionally eating my way through the hard teen years, working at a desk jobs I despised in my early twenties, and trying to shine on movie sets in my later twenties gave me a rollercoaster ride on my waistline.
Now having two daughters, I managed to get my plate right by losing enough weight to be healthy. Because of the history of my mom dying of breast cancer and then later having my girls, it motivated me. Weight Watchers helped me eat well about 80 percent of the time.
At five foot ten and size 12-14 for the first time in my life as an adult, I am happy with my size. My doctor is proud of me. I am proud of me and earned these curves. I have amazing energy to keep up with life. I do have my bad days by enjoying chocolate, wine and French fries. I feel regret at all the time and energy I wasted worrying about how I looked.
In this era of starlets checking into hospitals for ‘exhaustion’, to the stick figures on magazines and TV, I am petrified for all young girls today. The stories of twenty-year-old reality stars’ getting cosmetic surgeries makes me want to run for a cabin in the woods with my kids with no television. Growing up I had Brooke Shields and Cindy Crawford was the supermodel. I am pleased to see a small shift in celebrityville: model Mia Tyler, Jess Weiner, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Hudson. I am optimistic when the public pays full attention.
With what I do serve at home and what I do eat I hope I am leading by example. Although I am the mom that allows the occasional French fry dinner, I worry about everything for my children, not just food.
My three-year-old rushes over to me to tag me. I race off to join in on the fun. Life is about moderation. I am proud of my body which housed my two miracle daughters. Having said that, some days bonding over an ice cream bar with my children are the memories as we live them.
I am entering my 12th year fundraising for Breast Cancer through the CIBC Run For A Cure..
My mom died at the age of 38. I am now 36 with 2 young daughters. I am petrified that I will have the same fate.
In efforts to squash that fear, I opened up my journals and changed names to protect my near and dear.
All donations I recieve through my personal donation page will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation at : http://bit.ly/bL1lD3
I will send you my ebook. Letters To My Dead Mother for free until Sept 30,2010.
For every donation of $50.00 I will mail you a hard copy of the book.
Please email me : email@example.com to claim your free book!
For a preview or order on your own: http://www.blurb.com/books/1546852
Thank you to Jacki Yovanoff from Yo Books (@JackiYo) my dear friend for Book Designing the book.
I look at the calendar, it shocks me that next week my darling older daughter will start her second year in pre-school. It has been a mild summer filled with many lessons and milestones.
1. It was brave of me to thing I can work-at-home with my two young daughters.
2.My three-year-old (almost 4) loves chocolate now and real life trains.
3. My 22 month old got her big girl bed and started to feed herself breakfast all in one day. For the girl who crawled at 13 months this leap is huge. She just needed to do it on her time.
4. Date nights with hubby is now on the couch watching a half of a movie before we fall asleep. Something cozy about being in your pjs at 9pm while the sun is still out.
5. Twitter remains rocking. the prizes and jobs that I have earned from Twitter keeps me still working from home ( as hard as that is.)
6.I guess I do not need an iPad.
7.Printed books still are necessary. Easy to take with me to the water parks and backyard.
8. By keeping writing about how I miss my mom makes me more present for my girls.
9. Typos will happen and grammar will be hit and miss. It is okay. I am not a professor.
I watch my young girls hoping to freeze frame this moment. The fall comes pre-school, both daughters birthdays, Halloween and Christmas.
Being a parent keeps taking me on a wild ride. Every day is school day for this mom.
What was your favorite moment this summer?
Oh, Date Nights
The dark, quiet room is only lit by the candle illuminating the pine table at my knees. The sweet smell of popcorn fills the air. In my right hand, a chilled glass of chardonnay. When I place the glass down the candlelight bounces off my sparkling wedding ring on my left. The room is blissfully silent.
It is a crazy, busy day and I have been looking forward to tonight.
My date enters the large room and sits down beside me while placing the bowl of popcorn and the baby monitor on the table. He grabs the remote and presses play as we sit back and watch the beginning of the movie.
Within ten minutes the piercing cry of the baby monitor fills the room. My husband presses pause on the remote as I race up the flight of stairs to the baby’s bedroom on the top floor of our townhouse which she shares with her two and a half year old sister. I breathe a sigh of relief that she calms down before she awakes my older daughter.
With a loud burp, she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep. I gently place her down in her crib, tip-toe out of the room and close the door to a crack. I settle back on the couch as my darling husband of seventeen years starts the movie again. I kick my pajama clad leg over his lap.
Within minutes, we are relaxed. The joy of not talking and just hanging out with my guy reminds me of the yesteryear before kids when our date nights involved theatres and pub nights afterwards. We would sit for hours talking about anything, everything and nothing.
In the early months of being parents we forget about each other. We expect the other to know how to help but we do not know how or what that is. Parents who take time out to just be a couple carry that to being great parents. Kids feed off on it and thrive. Even if it is a scheduled date night on the couch in our pajamas with a bowl of stove-top popcorn and a bottle of wine, it will make this mom more recharged by having time with my date.
Within an hour the baby is awake again. Before I react, my husband bounds up the stairs to get her, giving me a chance to stay still. By the way, helping your wife out is the new foreplay.