Tag Archives: about me

And Mat Leave Begins!

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As of May 31st, my maternity leave began and I cannot express how happy I am.  It could be that working full-time while chasing a 4 1/2 year old around or the fact I’m pregnant, but I am TIRED!  No longer do I have to rush to drop off the Princess at school then rush to the subway to travel for 40 minutes to get to work.  Instead, I leisurely (more like waddle, but leisurely sounds better) walk her to school and then walk home.  I still do some aspects of my job, but fortunately I can do all of that from home and it’s only for a short period of time a day, so I can get in my noon nap.  I am very grateful that for the next year I will be home with my babes, enjoying every moment life will throw at us.

In the Final Stretch

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IMG_0642 I am happy to announce we are in our final stretch of this pregnancy.  We are now 29 weeks pregnant and so far everything has gone well.  We did have a bit of a scare a few weeks ago with some unexpected light bleeding, chest pains and fainting, but after going to the hospital (better safe than sorry), our Rainbow is doing really well and I am ok.  Turns out baby is sitting really low and sitting on a nerve, cutting off blood supply which caused the chest pains and fainting.  I now have to be constantly moving, like I’m not tired enough, to encourage blood flow throughout.  But overall baby boy is kicking like crazy, my dreams are more and more vivid, and we are anxiously awaiting his arrival.

It’s hard to believe that time is flying as fast as it is and that it won’t be too long before I’m off on maternity leave, holding my baby boy and chasing after my very active little girl.  I have fears of how I’m going to handle two children, a newborn who’ll be up all night and an early riser 4 year old who will be up all day.  In the end, I cannot wait to add to our family and start another chapter of our life.

Boy oh Boy oh BOY!!!

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I received the best birthday gift today.  Not only is Hubby and Princess cooking me a delicious steak dinner and I’ve got movie plans with family, but today I found out the sex of our baby.   Being 21 weeks and 2 days along, I had the standard 5 month test.  It ran about an hour as my doctor wanted to measure all the organs and check for other things due to our past complications.  Of course the baby did not want to cooperate and kept flipping over and refused to have its picture taken.  I was put in every position possible and told to go for a walk and “talk” to the baby and get it to be cooperative.  After all the measurements were taken they asked if I wanted to know the sex.

“Yes, I want to know.”

“It’s a boy,” she informed me.

“Are you serious?!”

They looked perplexed.  “What? You don’t want a boy?”

“No, a boy is fine.  Everyone kept telling me I was having a boy.  I thought I was having a girl.”

They then brought in Hubby and asked him if he wanted to know.  They told him and he is so very happy.  For my birthday I found out what we are having and for Father’s Day, Hubby will receive a son!  Turns out all those Gender Myths were right, I’m having a boy.

“You’re a Powerful Woman”

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Today I received a compliment, all the while gracious and extremely flattering, I am not sure that I deserve such a compliment.  There is one mother whose son is in the same class as the Princess and her and I have grown to know one another over the last few months.  Today, we were speaking and she said this;

“You’re such a powerful woman.”

I said thank you very much and was left flabbergasted.  The bell soon rang and we parted ways.  On the ride to work, I kept thinking in my head “Am I a powerful woman?  What exactly classifies a powerful woman?”  I perceive women who have persevered, sacrificed and conquered as powerful.  I have been very fortunate to have known many powerful women in my life.

My mother’s mother was one of the most influential people in my life.  A war bride during the second world war, she moved to a country and started a family.  That alone speaks volumes to me.  She was a stay at home wife and mother to 5 children when my grandfather died when my mother was only 5 from a heart attack.  She then had to find the strength and courage to raise 5 children single-handedly.  She would later retire, own her own home and at one point or another had 6 of her 12 grandchildren live with her.  She bought me my first dictionary, quizzed me on trivia and really instilled the love of reading I have now.  I was only 14 years old when she died, but her legacy will have a lasting effect on me for the rest of my life.

Next was my father’s mother.  A dutiful farm wife, she raised 11 children.  She cooked, cleaned, and worked in the field up until she gave birth to my father.  She never complained about the work load and even sacrificed her own education so her brother could go to school.   Family was paramount to her and for that I have an enormous amount of respect for her.  And she loved my grandfather.  At every meal, she always ate using the utensils my grandfather brought home from basic training in WWII.   I will always remember her rocking in her rocking chair, staring out the window, watching my grandfather work outside.

These women demonstrate and illustrate strength to me that I one day hope to possess.  While I may have been told I was a powerful woman today, I feel like I have big shoes to fill.  I do greatly appreciate the compliment.

2 Pregnancies, 2 Very Different Experiences.

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Today I went for some genetic testing to ensure that everything with my Rainbow is going well.  At first I was very nervous because the technician wouldn’t show me the screen.  She then told me that my “baby is not cooperating.”  Noooo that couldn’t possibly be a trait that my children have.  *Cue awkward silence*  Needless to say that whenever she tried to measure the nasal bone, the baby would either hide it’s face or roll over.  Once everything was measured, she let me look at the screen.  There I saw the flicker of the heartbeat, and this squirmy little joy using my womb as a romper room.

After I left the clinic, I began to compare the differences between this pregnancy and my pregnancy with the Princess.  They are entirely different in almost all aspects thus far.

 

PREGNANCY WITH THE PRINCESS

  • We don’t like to say “accident” but the Princess was an “unexpected surprise.”
  • Symptoms occurred almost instantly
  • Little nausea but vomited for 7 months
  • Heartburn and swollen feet were the only other symptoms
  • Gained a whopping 40 lbs
  • Felt like it was a boy, but a girl it was
  • Delivered the Princess via emergency c-section

 

PREGNANCY WITH THIS RAINBOW

  • Planned after 2 1/2 years of trying, 2 miscarriages and secondary infertility
  • Little vomiting but extreme nausea to the point where food repulses me
  • Tender chest, heartburn, blotchy dry skin, bleeding gums, bloody noses every morning, a round ligament tear, pregnancy insomnia and fatigue
  • I have lost 10 lbs thus far
  • People keep telling me it’s a boy, but I feel like it will be another girl
  • I will be attempting a VBAC
Baby Rainbow at 13 weeks

Baby Rainbow at 13 weeks

Princess us

Baby Princess at 20 weeks

Learning to “Grin and Bear it”

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Since learning that I am infertile, one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with is learning to ‘grin and bear it’.  I will admit it is not one of my strongest personality traits as I am one of those people who whatever I am feeling is almost guaranteed to show on my face.  If it’s annoyance, anger, disbelief, happiness, or sadness, the expression is there on my face.  I don’t like to hide, I don’t like to lie, but at the same time, sometimes the time and place for such conversations are not appropriate.  My Princess is almost 4 years old now and many of our friends and family are having children.  And with that, the question Hubby and I dread is being asked at every turn.

“So,” they cheerfully ask, poking me in the abdomen.  “When is she getting a brother or a sister.”

Cue the awkward smile and shift in my stance.  Most of the time they corner Hubby and I alone so we are unable to lean on each other for support or help with the answer.  I know they don’t do it out of spite or malice, but I cringe when I am asked it.

“Oh, umm, you know, hmm, when it happens.  We’ll see how it goes.”  I divert my eyes anywhere but in theirs.  I don’t want to have to see their expression when I don’t give them a straight forward answer.  How do I say, “Well my prolactin levels are extremely high and have drained my estrogen levels so my body is incapable of maintaining any pregnancy and my ovaries are not releasing any eggs.  My body is essentially going into early menopause and I’m only 26. Oh and my ovaries are covered in cysts.”  That doesn’t really make for a great conversation.  It is one thing for me to be uncomfortable, but I really wouldn’t want to be the cause of someone else’s discomfort.  I’ve had strangers on the bus ask me, teachers at my daughter’s daycare, coworkers, friends, family and everyone else in between.  I haven’t yet found a suitable answer.

So many people I know are having babies.  My sister is pregnant and so is a close family member.  My cousin just had a baby and her sister is due any day.  My hubby’s brother had a beautiful blue-eyed baby girl 6 months ago and my friend is having a baby as well.  I am all very happy for them, I really am.  I rub their tummy’s, ask them how they are feeling, celebrate the life the life that is about to be brought into this world.  But as I smile there is a dull ache that lies inside.  It’s not cramps from bad food or from menstruation or ovulation, it’s a dull ache from a fear that I may never get to feel another kick, hear the whooshing of the ultrasound, crave pickles, have heartburn radiating through my body or be hunched over a toilet praying to the porcelain gods again.

I’ve received so many comments from people who I know mean well, but they come off so inconsiderate and back-handed.

“You just need to go back and enjoy sex again.  Then you’ll get pregnant.”

I really wish it were that simple.  Out of 28-35 days, depending on your cycle length, you only have about 25 – 30% chance of becoming pregnant.  You have to determine when you ovulate, how long your luteal phase is, how soft and where your cervix is.  I took Siberian Ginseng, Prenatal Vitamins, Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai and Green Tea for their ‘fertility’ aid. I was charting my entire cycle.  I charted my basal temperature, my cervical mucus, how tender my breasts were, lower back pain, how heavy my flow, how long it lasted, basically acting as an ovulatory detective searching for clues when my ovaries will release an egg and when to approach Hubby and give a very small timeline to when we have to “enjoy sex”.   Nothing says ‘sexy’ like “We have to have sex right now and tomorrow and I have to elevate my hips for 30 minutes.”

“Just chill out, you are way to stressed.”

Unfortunately stress and infertility often go hand in hand.  Stress can lead to infertility and infertility only increases stress.  It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation.

“You should be grateful you have one child.  Some people don’t have any.”

I would have to say this is the most inconsiderate and cruel comment I’ve ever received.  I am very grateful for my beautiful brown-eyed, blonde curly-haired little Princess.  She is my entire world.  I look at her and thank every lucky star in the universe for giving her to me.  We almost lost her at 3 months, and the cord wrapped around her neck during labour and she was born via c-section.  I hug her and kiss her and tell her how much she means to me every single day.  Most of my happy moments are the ones where I am with her.  But I also dreamt of giving her siblings.  A house full of siblings.  I always wanted to be a mom to many children.  I took care of my sisters and babysat many children.  I love kids.  Their laughs, smiles, their attitudes, everything about them makes me smile.  They are so innocent and happy that it always boggles my brain when people say they annoy them.  The old adage “Barefoot and Pregnant” was my mantra growing up and I couldn’t think of a better dream for me.  I’m not talking about pulling a Dugger, but I wanted at least 4 kids, if not more.  Just a house full of children running around, me ragged and tired, but overjoyed.  The doctor says I’ll be lucky if I am able to have one more.

“There’s always adoption and surrogates.”

Generally it’s these people who know nothing about costs and legal matters.  These options are not always available to everyone.

I think what hurts the most is that I have to look at my little girl when she asks me where the ‘baby’ went and why she doesn’t have a sister and try to come up with some sort of child-friendly response and then look at my Husband, who wanted a house full of kids and try to articulate ‘I’m sorry’ that I let him down.  I am 26, at the supposed height of my fertile years and have to say “I’m infertile”.   I never thought that phrase would ever come from me.  I’m not embarrassed or ashamed.  I have come to know many people who are infertile and are suffering from what I am suffering from.  It’s just an overwhelming sadness, guilt and grief that is so very hard to explain, comprehend and come to terms with.

After 2 years of trying to get pregnant, I have found an online community that has truly helped me realize I’m not alone and one blogger in particular, Practical Katie and her post “When One Isn’t Enough” really did help me understand this.  And to my readers, your kind words have really helped pick me up when I have been feeling down.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My Lovely Weekend Away

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I was very fortunate to have been able to get away for the weekend to go visit a girlfriend in Ottawa.  We have been friends for the last 12 years and no matter how much time passes between our visits, it is like no time has passed at all.  Her main squeeze is in the Canadian Military and has been away all summer, so I thought I would go a visit her and we could have another one of our random adventures.  It would be a short trip, having left Saturday morning and home Sunday night, but it was a thoroughly enjoyed one.

After being friends with someone for 12 years, they have pretty much seen you at your worst and at your best.  And my friend has seen both.  We first met in grade nine, and then played rugby together, had classes together, went to the same university and even worked together.  In my third year of university, I moved in with her.  That had to have been one of the best years of my life.  We had a place that we shared with two other girls, partied whenever we wanted and even made a weekly get together of what we called The Tuesday Night Meeting of the Walking Vagina Club.  The basement was turned into a bar and we would mix random concoctions of liqueurs and drinks and dare each other to drink them.  Sometimes it would be whiskey and vodka, Sourpuss, Bols Blue and Creme d’Menthe, making up names for them as we went along.  We would go to the movies and even on one of our Random Adventures.  Her and I could always get in a car and not know the destination.  The real journey was in the drive itself.  We stole pumpkins out of a pumpkin patch, drove into Quebec to make our own beer, went to concerts, and even a Senator’s hockey game where my infamous line was “Hold my shoe.”  For St Patty’s Day, she would tirelessly make t-shirts for “Beer Quest” and we would stumble aimlessly through the Ottawa Market.

We refer to each other as our “Other Ovary.”  She even threw me a baby shower and one of the games was Pin the Sperm on the Egg.  She and my other girlfriends painted a HUGE poster of my Uterus and hung it on the back of a deck, clearly visible to the passing drivers.  She was the first person I told when I was pregnant both times and when I had my miscarriage last year, she drove 5 hours the next day to spend a couple of days with me at home.  She watched over the Princess, did my dishes and even brought me Beef Jerky (I love beef jerky).  She hugged me and let me cry and was the very best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Last year, Hubby told me he wanted to take me out on a date.  I thought this was weird because it was way out in the East end of the city.  He even went to all the trouble to make sure Princess stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.  My spider senses were tingling.  the girls at work were telling me he was going to give me jewellery.  I didn’t think so but he had something up his sleeve.  We finally got to the area of the restaurant but he told me he wanted to take me shopping.  First of all, he never likes taking me shopping so I knew something was up.  After some time, he finally said we could go to the restaurant and when I went to sit on the bottom level, he said “No, upstairs.” I was thinking to myself “What the heck?”  I was running over what he was planning and when I turned the corner, there she was sitting in the booth.  That was better than any diamond ring he could ever have bought.

I was so happy to see her.  We went for lunch and then we went back to her place, but first stopping at the LCBO for some Dionysian beverages for later.  She told me she had a surprise adventure for me later.   We had plans to go out for dinner to our favourite Fajita place but she said she needed to take me somewhere first.  She handed me a pair of socks.  What do I need socks for?  She smiled and told me to get in the car.  After some time, we were driving into Quebec and we pull into the parking lot of a leather shop.  Firstly, I was like “Why are you taking me here?  Is this some Fifty Shades thing?” She laughed and said no.  We went in and there was a lower level with some gates.  Behind it were helmets.  “Are you taking me to ride motorcycles?” She shook her head.  We got to the back of the store and there it was…a wall of the finest cowboy boots I had ever seen.  We had both always said we wanted cowboy boots and she had taken me to get some.  I didn’t buy any as I didn’t budget for leather on my trip, but the fact that she took the time to take me there was good enough for me.  We drove to another part in Ottawa to a place called the Butchery for some real authentic beef jerky.  Mmm.  We went to dinner and then I asked her “Have you seen Magic Mike?” She smiled and said “No, but I hoped we could tonight.”  We went and both agreed that only with each other would we see that movie.  We left red-faced and giggling like silly school girls.  Once we arrived back at her place, the drinking commenced.  She whipped out her blender and the concoctions of the past were in full swing.

She is one of the most genuine, uber chill, down to earth, funny, cool, witty person I have ever met in my life.  Her and I have never argued and can and do say anything, and I mean anything, that comes to our minds.  She is my best friend and I hope that our Random Adventures continue well into our 80’s.

Hubby and the Princess enjoyed their weekend together making cupcakes and having their own slumber party in the living room.  I hugged them tightly when I got home and asked my Hubby “Would you ever wear skimpy underwear and dance to ‘It’s Raining Men?”  He shook his head and walked away laughing.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugliness of Daycare

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My Princess has been in daycare since she was 18 months old.  I went back to work on weekend and nights when she was about 10 months old but didn’t go back fulltime until she was 16 months.  I moved from Ottawa to Toronto when I was 7 months pregnant and decided that when I went back to work, I wasn’t getting a transfer.  I knew I needed a job that paid the bills, left a little in the bank and would still cover the cost of daycare.  I searched all over Toronto but most were either inflexible hours, too little pay or ridiculously far away from where we lived.  So I found a job where I worked nights on the weekend.  Despite hating it, it put money in the bank and I didn’t need a sitter.  But eventually it just wasn’t enough, I really didn’t want it to be my career, let alone my job.  So I started looking again for another job.

Finally I found the job where I work now.  I am a food writer for a catering company in Toronto and I’m also the Head Catering Coordinator.  The hours are great, so are my coworkers and it is only a 35 – 45 minute commute each way.  Not bad for Toronto.  I began my search for childcare.  We found one woman who ran her own daycare out of her home who lived near us.  She was relatively priced, had children of her own, so it seemed like a great fit.  We went away the weekend before I was supposed to start and when we came home that Sunday I had a message on my machine.

“I’m really sorry to do this to you so last-minute, but I’ve changed my mind.  I’m closing down my home daycare.”

Are you serious?!  Thank goodness for my in-laws who helped us out extraordinarily with our search for childcare.  They watched her until we found someone else.  While I was searching for the first place, I had come across a Nanny (or so she called herself) that was fresh out of college.  She was currently working at a daycare, but wished to go into business herself.  She was willing to come to our home and watch her.  She was all up to date with her CPR and First Aid.  She graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at a Toronto College.  She had references from daycare, families and other related jobs and all the references came back stellar.  I even had a police background check done and it was clean.  I did my research and was thorough, she was the person.  It wasn’t long until we learned our lesson.

It started off fairly early that she was not showing up to work, or calling in sick.  Once she told me she couldn’t work on Monday because she “thought” her cousin was getting married.  Then we started to hear from our neighbours that there were people waiting outside for her throughout the day.  We had a discussion with her and told her that under NO circumstances was she to have anyone in our home.  She said she understood.  Next thing we noticed, food from our fridge was missing.  Not a little bit at a time, like cans of soup, tube of cookie dough, you name it, it started to go missing.  We started looking for daycare, because it was getting to be too much.  Then this (insert expletive) did something so atrocious that she will rot in a special place for what she did.  Hubby and I keep all our twoonies to put in the Princess’ piggy bank.  It goes towards her college fund and the Wednesday prior to this day, we had counted it and there was $100 in it.  Hubby suggested that we roll it and put it in the bank.  The next Monday, I came home from work and found numerous Tim Horton cups in our trash.  I remember she brought one when she arrived that morning, but there were three in the garbage and Hubby said he didn’t have any.  Then I went to the sink and found three bowls of Alphaghetti in there.  And none were of my daughter’s special children’s bowls.  Hubby said when he got home, there was someone waiting outside.  Hmm.  My spider senses were beginning to tingle.  I was going to call her that night to ask if she had anyone over.  But first, I had twoonies in my purse that I was going to put in her piggy bank.  Now I kept our laundry money, spare change jar and the Princess’ piggy bank in our bedroom with the door closed.  She was aware that our bedroom was off-limits and she was never to go in there.  So that night, when I went to put the change in the piggy bank, I lifted it up and much to my surprise, it was EMPTY!!!!  Oh I have never been so angry in my life!  I began frantically searching around my home for 50 twoonies.  Asked Hubby if he had taken them to the bank and he said ‘no’.  So I called her.  And this is how the conversation went.

“Hi (insert name).  Did you have someone over today?” I asked calmly.

“No.”

“Well Hubby said he saw your friend outside.”

“Yeah, they were waiting for me.”

“Well I found coffee cups in the garbage.”

“Oh, well they came up to use the bathroom.”

“Did they eat my food too?  I found bowls in the sink.” Rule number one for criminals, get rid of the evidence.

“Ummm.”

“Listen, the Princess’ piggy bank is empty.”

“I never went into your bedroom.”  Caught you!

“That’s funny, because I never told you that’s where the money was.”

Dead silence.

“Listen, you are fired and I’m calling the cops.  You stole money from a baby!  You are low.”

I called the cops and they came and took our statement.  I was assigned a detective and they tried numerous times to call her and go to her place of residence, however, because she lived in an apartment building, and she didn’t answer the buzzer, they couldn’t go in the building.  Robbed a baby and got away with it.  But I was offered this little tidbit of information.  Apparently, in Canada, if you have been arrested but never charged formally, these offenses never show up on your record and our dear sweet thief had been arrested TWICE for shoplifting and theft and ONCE for domestic abuse, but all charges were dropped.  So my background check did absolutely nothing to protect my child.  I did however, call her references and informed them of what she did and they were absolutely wrong to give such stellar ones when she was nothing but a thief.  I felt so guilty after that.  I left my child in the care of someone who robbed her.  Stole money that was to be for her education.  I felt like I made the worst decision of my life.

Soon after that, we found the daycare where we are at now.  It was close to home, reasonably priced and was professionally run.  That is not to say we were not without bumps in the road.  Three days after going into daycare, our Princess contracted Norwalk Virus, and had vicious diarrhea for 3 weeks.  She lost so much weight and her poor bum was so blistered that we had to put a steroid cream just to keep them from bleeding.   She was so miserable it was devastating.  The daycare fortunately refunded us 2 weeks of the cost, however, Hubby and I had to alternatively take days off work just to care for her.  I had literally just started a new job and was missing days out of the week.  I thought for sure I was going to be fired.  But I had no one else.  The daycare wouldn’t take her.  After she finally got over that, it was maybe a week before she got an ear infection that spread to her eyes, throat, sinus and lymph nodes and sent her into a fever that was so high I had to put her in bath of cold water.  She screamed bloody murder.  I put her on the couch naked to try to cool her down when she started to have a seizure.  Her eyes rolled back in her head, she started to shake uncontrollably and was gasping for breath.  I was frantic.  I have epilepsy, but to see it happening to your child is frightening.  She had 12 seizures that day.  She was rushed to the local Children’s Hospital where she spent days in and out of it for close to six months.  Any virus or germ or bacteria that was going around her daycare, she got it.  I never believed it when people told me that once you put them in daycare they get sick all the time, but they were right.  Her drastic change in health put a lot of strain on us emotionally, physically and financially.  I was starting to wonder if going back to work was the right thing to do.

She had lost so much weight and became so weak that she had troubling walking.  She would collapse for no reason, continued to have seizures any time she had a fever and we went for countless tests.  Seeing her hooked up to an EEG machine, with wires running off of her head was so heart breaking.  She went to visit a pediatric neurologist who gave us good news.  She wasn’t epileptic, although her chances of developing it later in life are increased.  He gave us pills that were to crush in her cheek if she had another one and to monitor all her fever’s closely.  Thank GOD she hasn’t had another one after that.  It took about a year in daycare before she was able to ward off any viruses.  But despite her not getting them, she brought them home to us.  Hubby never got tonsilitis until we put her in daycare.  But as soon as she went in, he was getting it every 2 months.  He could even tell before it hit that he was getting it.  Finally in January, after going to the doctors, he had his tonsils removed because the doctor said that his tonsils were basically working against him.   The surgeon said they were the size of meatballs they were so infected.

Now despite a tumultuous year and a half, there were great things about the daycare.  My Princess is a social butterfly and has so many friends.  We would have parents come up to us and say how much their children talk about her.  Kids would fight just to sit next to her.  Her daycare also had fashion shows, plays, puppet shows and field trips that has greatly enriched her life.  Just this week she was able to go to the African Lion Safari which is where you drive through a park of African animals and get to see them close up.  She got to see monkey’s and lions and loved how the monkey’s climbed on the car.  They provided her with life experiences and friends that she may not have gotten if I had stayed home.  I am not worried about her going to Kindergarten now because of how well she flourished in daycare.  I also know now that her immune system is stronger, she won’t be missing that much time at school.  I would recommend our daycare to anyone and if we have another child and I go back to work, we will definitely be using that one again.

I Hate Games!

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Oh I loathe them, despise them, stomp my feet, temper tantrum throwing hate them.  I don’t mean sports or board games, but the mind games people play.  Grrrr…it irritates me to no end.  I think it may be the reason that people waste time playing these games and they miss saying and feeling and doing what they really want to do, and what’s worse, is that they inflict it on themselves.

I have a few girlfriends who are in the dating world and they have asked me how they should say things on dates or how many days they should wait until they call said person.  My response is pretty straightforward.  Say what you want and what you mean and call them when you want to speak to them.  They have asked me when I met Hubby who said the “L Bomb” first and how did we have the “relationship” talk.  I tell them that I said “love” first and I brought up if we were “official.”  Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I don’t mince words.  I asked them why they had hesitation in speaking to their significant other and their response is usually that they don’t want to scare that person away.  Ummm, really?  My logic, perhaps skewed, is that if that person is scared away by you being honest, then they weren’t for you in the first place.  After listening to them, I realize I am so lucky that I am no longer in the dating world and Hubby is much like me when it comes to giving it straight.

From the time I was 14, I have been to a funeral, if not more than one a year, every year.  In 2011, I had 3 people close to me die within a 6 month period.  I believe that bearing witness to mortality from a young age has shaped my views and mindset but I didn’t allow it to affect me negatively.  Of course I mourned them and grieved their passing, but it didn’t leave me feeling like life is precarious.  I transformed it into the mantra that life is so so so precious and every moment should be valued.   These experiences can be as simple as witnessing the birth of a child, holding the hand of a loved one or a really great laugh.  I have air in my lungs, food in my stomach, a roof over my head, and a great family and for those reasons I am extraordinarily grateful.  I hate games because they literally rob you of what really really matters in life; the things that make you happy and fulfilled.

I have a quote that is so pertinent to my point and is a close favourite of mine.  I don’t know who said it but it’s direct and to the point;

“You only live once.  But if you do it right, once is enough.”

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

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I was asked today, if I could go back in time, what would I tell my younger self.  I sat for a moment and thought to myself, what would I say?  Study harder in school? Save more money?  Don’t date douchebag because he was one?  I didn’t want to be too flippant with my answer and disingenuous, so I told them I would think about it and get back to them.  The question weighed on my mind for quite some time.  It wasn’t one of those philosophical questions that leaves you pondering the great “what if’s” of life but I could not shake the question from my mind.  And after a few hours I have finally come up with my answer.  Nothing.

Most people are probably like “yea right, who wouldn’t tell their younger self to take out stocks in Facebook?”  But I genuinely, whole-heartedly would say nothing.  I would give her a squeeze and go back to my time.  And my reasoning being is I have absolutely no regrets.  Again, I’m sure some people are rolling their eyes, but I have no regrets.  Please don’t confuse this with I haven’t done anything in my life that has caused regrets, because I assure you there is PLENTY.  I swear to the great ever-knowing being in the universe that I have screwed up royally many times in my life, some of which still make me cringe in either embarrassment or give me “What the hell were you thinking?” thoughts.  However I don’t regret those choices, decisions, actions, or accidents for the simple fact that I learned something from them.  It could be as simple as learning that it is not a good idea to drink an entire bottle of Tequila or trying to scream at the boat driver to slow down while you are slowly going underneath the water while tubing (both true stories).  I have dated boys that looking back now were the biggest wastes of time, but back then, oh my, were they “like the hottest thing ever!”  If I had not dated my fair share of jerks, I wouldn’t have learned what I will tolerate and what I won’t, that I am perfectly fine in my own imperfections and I was just fine without them.  And I wouldn’t have met Hubby, and without sounding pukishly sweet, is literally my other half.

My parents both enforced a strong urge to want to learn.  My mother was always quizzing us on trivial facts, history, geography and she read to us even as we became teens.  She was a key person in my life that helped develop my love of reading, writing and the English language.  Her and I would play rounds of Scrabble, and I’ll never forget the day that “the student passed the teacher” and I beat her for the first time.   My Dad also taught me a lot.  He wasn’t that great at school stuff, although he did do  my grade 8 science project on hydraulics that won me the science award.  But he was more about life.  He taught me how to drive, catch a fish, skin a deer (no joke, I was allowed to take time off school to go hunting.  I would be passed out in the truck while he hunted, but I didn’t have to go to school, so that was the upside), and it was actually him that told me “If you have learned something from it, don’t regret it.”  I have lived by that motto for my entire life.  And to my parents credit, I tested their every nerve and patience.  I was that kind of ‘teen’ that if you told them not to do it, I would go do it just out of spite.  Like when my Mom told me not to tell my Dad about my first tattoo, I went directly outside and showed him.  Or like when I went away to University and decided I was going to get a “Marilyn” piercing on Thursday and post in on MSN.  My sister called me the Wednesday before, and told me that Dad told her if I get my lip pierced, I’m not to come home.  So what did I do?  Got it done that afternoon and went home on Friday.  But I brought a friend because you can’t kill me if there are witnesses.

The Marilyn piercing has now grown over but I still have a scar from it, which my mom reminds me “I’ll have for life!” Oh well!

Point of the story is, I have lived a great life.  I have had some lulls, valleys, peaks and fiery pits of HELL, but it is my life.  So I guess I wouldn’t say anything to my younger self because every misstep, stumble, trip, wrong turn and flat-out fall on my face moments I experienced while growing up, led me to who I am today.  And I know this may sound a little bit conceited, but I like me, actually I think I’m pretty damn awesome.  I have people who love me, adore me, like me, dislike me, hate me and loathe me with the passion of a burning sun, but the only thing that really matters, is that I like me, and I do.  And for those haters out there, keep hating because you know I’m fabulous! LOL 😉