Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Be a tea bag with me!

One of the darkest times in my life was during my separation and divorce.  Amongst issues between the girls and their father of a personal nature, during this period in my life false claims were made about me, my Pastor wrote an inaccurate letter, there were lost friendships, lost court papers and financial concerns as I was trying to manage a house that just wouldn't sell. 

At some point along this journey I came across a quote ....

 "A woman is like a tea bag, you cannot tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” 

 Looking back at that time, I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have been strong enough to discuss Defamation of Character with a Lawyer, contact my local MPP and Ontario Ombudsman as well as hold meetings with my Pastor and his team.  I would have probably told you that the thought of doing all that was nauseating.  Looking back I would have told you that you were crazy to think I could pack up our entire house in 4 days because of an extremely quick closing date and that the friendships lost obviously weren’t as special as I had thought.  And looking back I would have never predicted that I would be sharing all this with you.  With the help of my family and friends who stepped up when I needed them the most, I was a tea bag.

My daughter brought me back to that Quote the other tonight when, during the drive home from gymnastics, she spoke to us about being upset that a young girl in her class resorted to bullying her.  We spoke to her about how we would address this with the centre and encouraged her to address this with her teacher when and if it happened again and she said that she was not strong enough to do so.   She was scared to stand up for herself because she is petite and the other girl is taller.

And so it seems my role is to now teach my beautiful young lady that she is stronger then she knows!  Those little hands can do big things; the size of the person is nothing compared to the size of their heart and determination and that she has a voice!  Time to teach my baby girl that she is a tea bag.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Elmo Family FUNdraiser: .

Elmo Family FUNdraiser: .: "Join us at Taima Zone on April 29th from 5 to 9 pm for a FUNdraiser the whole family will enjoy. Proceeds to Benefit Zack's Dream Room at Yo..."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Late the other night while laying in bed and thinking about Zack Hamilton & Family I found myself reflecting on the various "gifts" people have...

My thoughts turned to music... and a young man, my friend, who was called Home to the Lord just a few years ago when hit by a drunk driver while trying to guide the driver of his touring bus into a church parking lot.   Warren played the piano and eventually was taught how to sing by his wife who is a beautiful singer.  When he was a teen we would watch and listen to him practice over and over again and when he and his wife toured as ParkerTrio we caught as many shows as we could... just so that I could watch and listen to him play "I'll fly away".  I still play his tape that he made for me back in our highschool days and close my eyes to "watch" him play... what a gift he had!

As one who is relatively new to twitter, my experience with those who write Blogs was extremely limited and unfortunately, the little knowledge I had about blogs was not so positive...particularly of people putting their "this is who I want you to think I am" face on.  Over the past 3 months I have read more blogs and truly appreciate the blogs so many talented writers offer and their ability to speak openly and honestly, sharing so many stories of a personal nature. I have teared up while reading  But I Don't Blog as well as while reading Zack's Dream.... Honouring Zack  and laughed while reading Speed Skating Mom....  and this is just a small sample of the amazing writers are out there! What a gift they have!

Drawn by Kaitlyn
Children offer more then I can put into words... the girls can often get me laughing so hard that I have streams of tears rolling down my cheeks.  I'm not even going to expand on what their hugs, kisses and "mummy, I love you's" can do; that is an entire entry in of itself.  And the children that I work with just have to smile, say / sign a word, make a vocalization or look at me a certain way and the "rough day" is erased away...I think they "give" much more then I could ever give them....children are beautiful gifts!

Our red head has discovered the gift of drawing.  She has come so far in such a short time! I still remember the family picture she drew of us all including my husband in a cape for some unknown reason! She certainly didn't get this gift me, being a strong "stick-man" drawer and all... 

And then my thoughts return to Zack Hamilton... a young boy who was born with a deletion of the 12th chromosome; the first recorded case in the world.  As a newborn he was a fighter, undergoing a procedure to repair his heart, and even with the odds against him he took his first steps.  While we never had the opportunity to meet Zack, like so many, we were getting to know this beautiful family and their story through Twitter and through reading his mom's blog when he passed away last month.  They experienced a parents' worst nightmare; one that my husband experienced as well many years ago.  Our family watched his father's video tribute, leaving us in tears, read the tributes, looked at his pictures; trying to absorb the loss this family experienced and wanting so much to wipe their tears and hug their pain and suffering away.

Drawn by Kaitlyn
This beautiful young boy endured much pain and suffering during his short lifespan and despite this he lived life to the fullest!  Along the way he impacted more people then many can through an entire life span and he continues to inspire others to raise funds to build Zack's Dream Room, a room at  York Central Hospital dedicated to Zack decorated with his favourite character – Elmo.
My guess is that after reading about Zack and his family many children got extra hugs, many families were reminded of what they should be thankful for and many reached out to others in need.  Because of his amazing gift of inspiring others several creative and generous companies have stepped forward to honour him by donating a portion of their proceeds to Zack's Dream Room.  So many families have been further inspired to purchase these amazing products, knowing that they too would be contributing to this amazing young man's "Elmo" room!  Zack inspired our girls, KKL Bracelets, to make bracelets with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Zack's Dream room.  And this blog started with my thoughts on Zack.....What will Zack's life story inspire you to do?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hello...Only Child Here!

Hello!!!!  Only child here... no, I wasn't "spoiled" as a child because of it, contrary to all the suggestions I have received as such.  I was loved by my parents as any child should be, didn't have everything I asked for purchased and YES, I paid my way through University.  While I grew up happy and healthy I really, really wanted a sibling to love.

Over the years, when the topic of being an only child entered the conversation, I often joked that, "my parents stopped at perfection".  Truthfully, while in the womb I was warm & cozy, well fed and really didn't want to come out.  I hung on for dear life and decided to come out showing the world what I thought of it... bumb first.  Along the way my mom's doctor never made the smart decision to complete a c-section, opting to try and turn me thus scaring my mom so that she could never carry another baby to term.

Fast forward *cough* years and here I am with 2 siblings and 1 step daughter and I am having difficulty understanding their trivial fights and taunting of each other.  Do they not know how lucky they are to  have each other? Is their mission to drive me insane?  Why can't they just love each other???

Ok, I know they love each other; am reminded each time one gets injured the other worries, with each hospital visit the other one's concern shines through and when they are working towards the same end... I can see their love for each other.  They make each other strong, are each others support system, whether they would like to admit it or not...

AND THEN THEY FIGHT... over seemingly silly things.... and HELLO I'M AN ONLY CHILD.... I don't get it!  How can kids who love each other fight over little things?

I'm told it is normal, and try to find comfort in the stories given to me by my mom of the fights she and her brother had; how she wrapped up a piece of cardboard disguised as a piece of gum and gave it to him... the false tears she was proudly able to create on demand and how he would clench his fist and plead to his mom, "just once mom please".  And my husband reminds me of all the tormenting he put his sister through when they were young...all normal apparently. 

So, here is where I am at today; I am having a great deal of difficulty embracing the "it's normal" attitude.  I've never experienced sibling rivalry... I want them to realize how lucky they are and even admit it to me and each other every once in a while.  Is that too much for me to ask? I am an only child and I just don't get it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moments that make me proud

Where do you start with your list of moments that make you proud of your children?  I could probably list several items each day, thinking of  the simple things like when they help me clean to clearing the table and helping each other out.  And the list continues to include watching them perform in a school play or in choir... how worried I was that lines would be forgotten or voices unheard;  to all of their "firsts" and with our youngest, all the times she was brave while in the Hospital.  

But then my thoughts turn to our wedding day... I was soooo proud of each of them, two girls walking me down the isle and the eldest walking down the isle by herself holding the rings!  The eldest was very hesitant about walking down the isle on her own and was given the choice.  She went down the isle, on her own and with a beautiful smile... I remember saying my vows, looking down at our beautiful three girls... so proud and teary eyed at that moment!

Of course, more recently, they have made me extremely proud with their making bracelets for Sick Kids Hospital.  When I sit back and think how hesitant I was with this endeavour of theirs I shake my head at myself.... the excitement they feel with each site visit, with each sale.... Of course, at each family meeting it is the youngest who wants to volunteer for EVERY task
Never underestimate what small hands can accomplish!!!!

And then it dawns on me... in one form or another they have been helping others long before KKL Bracelets.  Over four years ago, our "red head" told me she was going to grow her hair so that she could have it cut off and donate it to Locks of Love. http://www.locksoflove.org/ She was 8 years old at the time and I honestly thought by the time she grew it long enough she would have changed her mind.  Each month for over a year  we would straighten her hair after a bath and see if she had reached the minimum 10 inch requirement. 

Finally, in June 2008, she reached that requirement and off to the hairdressers we went.... proving me wrong again.... another moment that made me so proud!

And five years ago my husband asked the eldest what she would like for Christmas... her response was "To give poor kids toys"... that was her wish... 8 years old!  Dad took her to the store immediately and they went shopping!  She was so excited to bring her purchases to The Yellow Brick House.; An agency that rebuilds the lives of abused women and children http://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/english/tag/aurora/  He was sooooo proud of her!

I have no idea how we ended up with 3 girls beautiful both on the inside and out... but I am so proud!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Really, what have I to complain about?

Sitting down, enjoying a cup of tea and some yogurt, I found myself planning the day ahead and groaning partially.  Another appointment tomorrow, an ultrasound... drink 5,000,000 gallons of water and hold your bladder 1 hour before the appointment.  Ok, I know it isn't that much water but when you have to go pee, it feels like it! 

Truth be told, I have felt like a test dummy over the past year and have been to this specialist and that specialist and am often left wondering why I even go to my GP as she just sends me on to another specialist...  Thyroid specialists, Kidney specialists, OB/Gyns....I've had more blood drawn then I care to think about, which really sucks as I have small bouncy veins... Oh, and did I mention I faint easily at the sight of blood? 

Then there are all the tests that I have endured over the past year... and I must mention my favorite test, note the sarcasm; the Renal Scan.  A renal scan is a nuclear medicine exam in which a small amount of radioactive material (radioisotope) is used to measure the function of the kidneys.  The internet suggested that following this test, each time you urinate to flush the toilet quickly to reduce the amount of exposure to radiation.  Of course, this test was done twice.  Second on the list of "favorites" was the 24hr Blood Pressure monitor with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor attached to me.  I have gone for stress tests and more ultrasounds on different areas of my body then I care to count... again, all in a year.

Which brings me back to my original complaint... here we go again tomorrow!  But do I have the right to complain?  I am sitting in my comfy chair with my family safe and sound.  I am not burying a child tomorrow, my house hasn't been washed away, the nuclear plant near me is structually sound, I have not had a loved one pulled from my grip because of a natural catastrophe, I am not going to sleep on a piece of a cardboard box and the world, as I know it, has not collapsed around me.

Am I looking forward to tomorrow, no.... but in the grand scheme of things, I have nothing to complain about!