What really happened to 2011


Here was the update earlier this year:

My Goals and Wishes for 2011 Update

Surprisingly, some have come close or a reasonable facsimile.

So here it goes:

1. Cure cancer or help someone do it. Enough hurting good people.

My dear sister has had the great news that she is clear once again.


2. Have Bryan Adams follow me on Twitter. If Ellen can get on an Oprah cover, maybe I can realize this dream.

I came close. He tweeted me and a friend. Year is not over.


3. Develop my dream book and get a publisher.

In October I will be having an essay published in a great book about Mothers and Daughters. I will yearn to get a book written on my own.


4. Not cry when my oldest marches off to full-day kindergarten in September.

She did beautifully. The only blip was when she realized she would have lunch at school. She is in the same class as three friends from the neighborhood.


5. To doubly, not cry when my youngest begins 3 year old pre-school in September.

After two months, we pulled her out. She wanted me at pre-school before she would participate in the activities. She has now been diagnosed with autism. We are optimistic as she starts therapy. The next two years will be focused on her succeeding at kindergarten.


6. Actually enjoy my 38th birthday instead of wanting to skip the age my mom died.

I got through it. The black cloud was there lingering. I am trying to ignore the age and focus on goals.


7. Make a Me time a priority every day even if it’s going to the bathroom alone.

Occasionally I have met that goal. Usually when I least expect it. Just this week I went ice skating with my oldest daughter. It tripped me into the past that I buried. I ice skated for seven years when I was a young girl. I loved sharing that with my girl.


How are you on your wishes for this year? Any surprises?

Best Wishes and Dreams for 2012!


Bringing Back The Break, My Way


This is an entry to the Yummy Mummy Club contest they held recently. Obviously, I lost. I wanted to share with you what I do to give myself a break. J

We are in the kitchen of one my mommy friends. I just took a bite of a canapé she ‘just whipped up.’ My mouth waters at the just-enough melted cheese on top. I spy lunch fixings near her stove. My inner-mind shakes at the amazing feast she has planned. She has a part-time job and cooks. I am amazed that we are friends.

Full confession: I am not a cook, nor a baker. I flunked Home Economics twice. The teacher took pity on me and gave me a pass finally. I grew up with TV dinners and packaged foods. I think I turned out okay.

When I became a mom twice over, I was scared. Visions of what Supermom means gripped my panic full blown. I tried to bake and cook every day. After many failed attempts, I am still getting the smoke stains out of the ceiling. What worried me most was that if I was spending so much time in the kitchen, I was not playing with my young children. Time is going too fast.

That realization hurt my mama heart. I let go of Supermom ideal that I thought I could be. I am me. I am their mom, flaws and all. So, I began to think of what I could do to provide meals for my family and still play with my kids. Below are my now-not-secrets on how I do it.

1. I began to resort to making big batches of my limited recipes and freezing extras for a later date. For example:  I would take a veggie chili from the freezer to put it on top of a pan of tortilla chips, spread grated cheese and viola, chili nachos.

2. We have themed food days. Macaroni Mondays. Waffle Weekends. French Fry Fridays. Our kids know they can have their favorite foods this time of the week.

3. When time is super-crunched or sicknesses have run through the house, I utilize a local speciality food store called M&M Meat shop. They have an extensive menu. You can order online and pick it up at the closest location. Quick and fresh appies, main entrees to desserts makes it worth the reasonable price. You can freeze what you do not need right away.

4. Every Friday we have pizza and a movie at dinner time. If we do not have a pizza ready to be made at home, we do order out. At the end-of-the-week, I am done.

5. I am not June Cleaver, and nor Kathy Buckworth. However, I shade on the side of Peggy Bundy and purchase fruit bowls and veggie plates at the grocery store to balance my family’s nutrition.

I do not use a microwave and I do not know how to bake or cook from scratch easily.  I love spending as much time as possible with my children.

We continue to enjoy the feast our friend has made. She is a natural in the kitchen.  I am not despairing that I cannot reciprocate the delectable lunch. I know it is not in my genes to be Supermom (whatever that is.) It is my mantra that we all deserve a break. We need to let go of what we think we “should” do and live in the moment.



What I wish for Christmas this year


Hearing my tenacious five-year-old ramble off her list to Santa makes my nostalgic heart glow. I remember the anticipation in the days leading up to Christmas wondering what is going to be under the tree. My sister and I would be sent to bed early so we didn’t see Santa. All the magic and everything that goes with it made my childhood holidays special.

As I hit teenage hood my lists shrunk. Everything on a child’s wish list is a label. Sometimes it is the latest, hottest toy or a specific doll which changes over the years.

As an adult, I became jaded. It didn’t help that I worked throughout the holiday season.  Decorating and shopping felt like a chore. I missed out on many Christmas parties due to work.  When I changed jobs and had the holidays off I started to relax.

Last year our family canceled most of Christmas due a dear family member who became ill. That rocked our world and changed our priorities forever.

By the grace of a higher power, that loved one will be celebrating Christmas with us this year.  I realized surprises come in all shapes and sizes. What I wished for Christmas last year became true this year. All my family is healthy and happy, and still here.

Sure, if there is a gift under the tree I will be thrilled. Having my small family healthy is priceless. Having said that, I wished in 2010 to have a voice online. I now have many readers whom I call friends. Readers, you are one of the most precious gifts I didn’t know I wanted until you said hello.

Happy holidays!! May your wishes come true!


An Open Letter to Customers this holiday

Letter to the Public this Holiday

Dear Customer,

I am standing behind you with my youngest child while you rant to the clerk on why isn’t the hottest toy in stock five days before Christmas. The strain on the clerk’s face makes me want to jump in her defense. Yes, the crowds are crazy busy. Yes, Christmas is soon. Taking your stress out on the clerk is not cool. That clerk probably has been working all day with barely a bathroom break.

My sympathy for her and all clerks is personal. For fifteen years, I clerked in malls everywhere throughout the Christmas season. Many times there were so many customers that I couldn’t take my lunch or a coffee break to pee. It was how it had to be.

Hearing customers rage why we were out of an item days before Christmas made me boil. Christmas comes the same time every year. That is not new. The staffs in the stores are on the front lines. The supply and demand in retail is very tricky. That is up to the corporate headquarters and the buyers. It is not the clerks, whom make (in most cases) minimum wage.

I hug my daughter tight as he leaves in a huff. I take my turn at the counter and pass over my items to purchase. I give the girl a smile and tell her she is doing fine. I remark that she handled herself well with that customer. She thanks me. She tells me it is her first job and feels daunted.

As my purchases are bagged I smile at her and remind her soon, the holiday will be gone. She laughs a tired laugh and agrees. As I leave I grab a comment card and fill it out about the wonderful calmness I witnessed. I do not know if it will make a difference. I remember getting customer accolades after the fact. It motivated me to keep smiling.

So to all customers, please be kind. It isn’t about getting the latest cool toy last minute. It is about spending time with loved ones. There are many who do not get that opportunity.

Be kind. Happy Holidays.


A former sales clerk and now, a mom.

Repost: My first Christmas without my mom

December 25th, 1984


It’s our first Christmas without you. There are little decorations up. Dad told me last week that you left a lot of bills so I could only pick one present. I had to help him pick a few things for my baby sister because she still believes in Santa Claus. I have not believed since last year so I really didn’t care. I just don’t care to celebrate anymore. On top of it all, we are at your parents’ house for Christmas because Dad had to work or he did not want us home. I don’t know what else to say so I will say Merry Christmas. I have to help set up for the big dinner tonight.



Some of my favorite 2011 posts

As we wrap up 2011, I wish to share with you some of my personal posts that I loved writing:

This one from amotherworld.com is very timely for the season.



This one from the bethevoice.ca is my gift to my daughters.



Reflecting on the past year I realize how far i have come both as a writer and as a mom. I will continue to make mistakes and learn from them.

I will post more links as we wrap up 2011. As some of you know I am looking forward to October 12,2012 when i will turn 39. The age my mother didn’t. Our youngest will begin therapy soon to help her socially and in life.

Feel free to share your favorite posts in the comments below of yours or anothers. Let’s share.

From the Motherless Archives: Renewed Christmas

“Bye. Talk soon. I love you. “I hang up the phone. I just fleshed out the Christmas plans with my sister. She is the closest family we have near and will be spending dinner at her house. We are keeping plans and times loose. I will call her after my kids open their gifts. No pressure of schedules. We can spend the morning in our pajamas! This is new to us. We spent year after year rushing to get out of the house to visit family in the next city. Spend all day there and have to travel back in the same day. It made for an exhausting time. I can’t stop smiling at the new plan.

Also, what makes us giddy for this Christmas is last year we didn’t know if my sister would make it to this one. She spent last year in the hospital healing from her second cancer surgery. As a family, we spent Christmas lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Even though the kids had fun, it was the bleakest, darkest Christmas ever.

I once dreaded this Christmas for another reason. I turned 38 two months ago. It’s the age my mother died. Rationally I know that I might not have the same fate as her. The fear is still emblazed on my heart. Once my sister was in the clear for the second time, it was my wake-up call. Life is too short. It takes more energy to be negative than happy.

I owe it to my children to make their tinsel memories filled with delights, not darkness. My mom gave me that gift. I only knew what she really went through when I was older. My daughters are very perceptive to how I feel. That motivates me to be a better mom by being happy with the now.

I will work on giving my mother’s only grandchildren the same happy and positive mom she gave me. It feels so freeing to not only survive being motherless, but thriving by rewriting my story. I confirm the details with my husband. He, too, looks forward to not rushing on Christmas Day and celebrating our small and happy family.

Our daughters come running in and we make a family hug. I love how this Christmas will be the best one because we will be together, in happiness.

My wish for Christmas


Standing under the pale blue neon light of the toy store with my three-year-old’s hand wrapped in mine, and my 5 yo in tow, I breathe in the chaos flamed scent of it all. Around us are kids begging their parents to get the particular toy and no other. We are following my five-year-old through the Barbie/Princess section. It brings back so many memories of when I was a kid.

I recall dragging my parents through the toy store before Christmas. I would exclaim at what I really wanted. Promises of being good were spoken but never followed up. I remember the thrill of waking up Christmas morning eager to rip open the gifts to see if Santa listened.

As I got older, the gifts became insignificant. I was happy if I got gift cards or cash to get what I really wanted. After my mom died, Christmas became just another reminder that she was gone. When I became a mom, I worked hard to give our daughters the magic of Christmas. I peeled my ears to find out what they wanted. When they woke Christmas morning, I became a kid again when I saw the holiday through their eyes.

After the hard time of year, I wish this Christmas to be like the ones of my childhood. I can’t provide the busy house, however I can, with the help of my husband, make their day amazing. While I still not-so-secretly wish for a surprise under tree, I also yearn to make Christmas magic again. The legacy of the past can be our girls’ future.

I declare that it is snack time to my girls. We manage to get out of the toy store without buying one thing. We head to the food court to buy a snack. I plunk them down with their smoothies and banana bread. I watch them munch away and smile. What I want for Christmas is already in front of me. No money can buy the joy they bring me.

Search for my younger daughter’s label


I watch my youngest girl from across the room. Birthday party guests are buzzing all around her. Just when I presume that she does not know they are there, a little friend goes up to her and says hi. My daughter looks up and makes the briefest of eye contact. Her friend runs off and joins the others. All the while my heart aches even more.

Ever since I was pregnant with her she has kept me on my mama toes. I had severe morning sickness. My belly grew too fast in the second trimester. She parked her large head under my left rib cage and stayed there. Her birth was also a challenge. She was breech.  At the scheduled C-section the epidural and spinal tap didn’t work, so they put me under. I did not even get to see her for hours.

Doctors told me due to her big size that she would be delayed on everything. When she crawled at 13 months and walked at 15 months, I didn’t worry. When her baby babble didn’t grow to spoken words, I was told by doctors to wait. At two, we went to the doctor to have her refer us to speech therapy at the Health Unit. Then when she was two and a half years old we were urged to get her screened for autism.

It is now one year later, we are still waiting to be seen. The waitlist for the government paid clinic is a year and a half long. We put her in pre-school with a support worker to see if that would kick start her social skills. It failed. She wanted me there at all times. We made the decision to pull her out. She communicated that she wanted me.

It was that day that changed everything. After balling my eyes out to my uncle, he offered the money to get her privately assessed for autism. We can pay him back with the money we can get through funding. A label. No one wants to label their child, but in this case it is what is best for her. She can have the best game plan to learn based on her label. Autism.

That name brings mixed emotions. At the end of the day, I am relieved to know what we can do for her based on the diagnosis. Having it done opens many doors to get her the help now while she is still so young.

I watch her run around the room to the beat of her own music. She is such a great kid.  I am so in love with her. Her easy-going manner is a lesson to me to stay still once and awhile. I can miss the beauty of then and now, and still allow her to lead me her way.