Celebration and Reflection – 100 Day Blog Challenge – Day 73

Celebration and Reflection

Today is a special day.  It’s hard to believe it’s already been 11 years.  On this day 11 years ago, we arrived on Prince Edward Island in Canada.  The journey actually started the day before on the 10th; actually it really culminated at the beginning of the year and finally came to fruition on the 10th and 11th.  Wow, moving from the biggest state in the United States to the smallest province in Canada.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!?

I remember the whole trip like it was yesterday.  Leaving Anchorage on a wet, rainiy day from our crappy apartment on Lake Otis Parkway.  There was construction going on and traffic was a mess. We called 2 cabs trying to figure out which one would get us to the airport in time for our 6:30pm flight.  One said it would take 45 minutes, the other said 40 minutes.  Well, in themidst of all the craziness, I forgot to cancel one of them.  I can’t remember which cab showed, but when we got to the airport, I got a call on my cell from the other cab.  Oops – my bad.

We get to the airport with minutes to spare, need to check our bags and we’re told we have to pay for extra bags.  I thought we were going to miss our flight, but thankfully, they accepted checks and we made it just in time.  There’s something about traveling and cutting it close that seems to follow me wherever I go.  Our first leg went from Anchorage to Atlanta, and when we landed that morning, I understood why the city is dubbed “Hotlanta.”  Goodness gracious, as soon as we stepped off the plane, my hair went “POOF,” instant afro.  From there, we headed to Boston and from Boston to Halifax.  

We landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, just after 4pm and had to go through customs.  That was the longest, most grueling event that whole trip.  Add to the fact, our bags were “randomly picked” for search and they cut the locks on the suitcases.  I was NOT a happy camper.  I think there were still some high alert post 9/11 and I think there was a level Orange during that time, too.  Anyhow, we went through customs, finally got the green light and were the LAST ones to be released from the flight.

I met Jean for the first time, and she looked just like she sounded.  She was all smiles, inviting and exactly how I pictured her.  I think I told her she looked younger than her age (she still does.)  The 4 hour drive to PEI was scenic and it was slowly sinking in that I’ve made another transistion in my life.  I really wasn’t sure what was in store, but I was looking forward to it.

Fast forward 11 years later, and my goodness, what a life we’ve created since being here.  We went from a 1.5 room cottage to a trailer to a 2-bedroom home.  We got engaged, found out we were pregnant, got the process going to get me a Health Card, got married, had a few pregnancy scares, almost lost our first born, had to leave the country (that’s a whole other story); moved into our new home, had 2 more babies, adjusted to life as a part-time Mom while hubby works out West (dubbed Alberta widow); endured a few hardships, experienced some deaths; have been tested time and time again and wondered if we wpuld come out fine on the other side.

I went and looked at my 3 boys while they’re sleeping (which I do every night), and I cannot believe how blessed I am and what we’ve accomplished.  I’ve learned a lot about myself as well.  I realize that I CAN handle more than I give myself credit.  I’m a pretty strong gal packed in a bite-sized chunk.  I’m very determined and when I set my mind on something, you better believe I’m going to accomplish it.  I’ve still got a lot of growing to do and I’ve met some amazing people along the way.  I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, sister, friend and much more in between.  

July 2011

We’ve still got a lot of unfished business, but we’re just getting started.  Everything that we’ve seen, heard and lived through is preparing us for greatness ahead.

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

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How Others See You – 100 Day Blog Challenge – Day 64

You, Through the Eyes of Others

How do you see yourself?  How do others see you?  More often than not, the two answers can be quite different.  I started thinking about this recently because of a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  During our conversation, she told me that I am inspiring to others and a strong woman.  She was referring to the fact that I hold down the fort while hubby’s away and she wanted to let me know her thoughts.  I was humbled by her words, and then it got me to thinking about how we see ourselves compared to how others see us.

In my eyes, I don’t see myself as a strong woman.  I’m doing what I need to do.  We both knew what we were getting into when he decided to work out West and that a lot of the burden of raising our boys would fall on my shoulders.  Some days are better than others and there are days when I want to pull my hair out (today being one of them.)  I’m doing what I’m supposed to do because I wanted to be a Mom.  I also wanted to be a Mom who was home to raise her boys as well as runa business from home.  It’s not easy, it’s a lot of work, it’s very emotional, but I will do whatever it takes to provide the best for my family.

I once had another Mom say to me that I seem to have it all figured out and under control.  While I was flattered by her words, I in no way have it all figured out or under control.  I make mistakes every day, I say the wrong things sometimes, the boys rebel from time to time (once again, today rings loud and clear.)  But, I won’t broadcast my problems for the world to see.  People can be funny in some ways.  There are some who thrive on other people’s struggles and are secretly glad when they have problems.  I learned that from Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog” where he states to leave your problems at home because you have some who don’t want to hear about them and others who are glad it’s happening you.

On the flip side, or adding to this last thought, there are those who may see you as a threat or someone they want to be, but are too afraid to go after their dreams.  In turn, they will insult, degrade, find fault in everything you do because they haven’t done it themselves.  We all know or have been aroudn these types of people who ALWAYS find fault in others or make it about them; they’re just toxic.  They bring you down, suck the life out of you.  In these cases, as the saying goes, “don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head.”  Get rid of those people because they will do nothing for you and your mentality.  When you continue to hang around these negative people, you start thinking these thoughts as well, and you don’t want that to happen.

There should be a healthy balance in how you see yourself and how others see you.  Feed off the positive vibes you get from others.  The majority of the world see you this way.  This is a work in progress for me.  Like I said, I feel everyone should be this way.

Traditions – 100 Day Blog Challenge -Day 21

Traditions

It’s Easter weekend.  This weekend has lots of memories for me.  One of my all-time favorite traditions is watching “The Ten Commandments.”  I can remember every Saturday night sitting in the living room with my family watching this movie.  I called my Mom this afternoon and mentioned it was on tonight.  She actually forgot!!!  The boys aren’t as excited about this.  In fact, they really don’t care.  I’d love for them to be part of this every year, but, I guess I still have time.

At the time I started writing this entry, the show wasn’t on.  The boys started watching, and my oldest was really getting into it.  He was knocked out within 90 minutes of the show, but, at least the seed has been planted.

This got me to thinking about traditions.  We all have them.  Some are very straight-forward; others take time to develop.  The beauty of traditions is that they keep history alive, sparks conversations and creates lots of memories.  

Isaac licking the
banana bread batter


Case in point…keeping with the Easter tradition (as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas), I prepare a turkey dinner with the fix-ins.  Where did I learn this?  From my Mom and Grandmother.  I’d be in the kitchen watching their every move.   Today, it’s my youngest who is my shadow.  He is ALWAYS watching and helping , mixing and tasting, asking lots of questions and ready to jump into the trenches.

We’ve started our own family traditions as well as adopting traditions from our childhood.  There are so many that come to mind, and they keep flooding my brain.  Call them whatever you like, but we each carry a memory and pass it down to our families. It’s how we keep history alive, and I have come to realize this importance now that I am a Mom.

What are some of your traditions?  What memories do you hold dear from your childhood that you have passed on to your families?

It’s said that it takes 21 days to form a habit.  Today is my 21st day blogging – let’s see if this becomes a new habit for me.  Thanks for reading and taking this journey with me.  It’s much appreciated.

Living on Borrowed Time

On Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 12:46am, my Dad passed away.  He was 63 years old.  First, my brother called and left a message (I fell asleep and didn’t hear the phone,) then at 4:07am (my time,) I heard the news from my Mom.  I felt numb when I heard the news.  I thought maybe I heard wrong, because there’s no way my Dad could be dead  Growing up, you have this belief, or at least I did, that our parents were immortal.  They were the ONLY people on Earth who would live forever.  Am I the only one who thought this as a kid?  As an adult?  It just didn’t make sense. 

I guess I should start from the beginning.  On May 24, 2012, our lives changed forever.  My Dad was working, tried to take a drink of water and couldn’t swallow.  He pulled over, called 911 and was taken to the hospital.  What turned out to be a small concern ended up being a stroke.  He was in the hospital for about 6 weeks and it was a whirlwind of events.   My parents and brother live in NY, I live in Canada with my family and I wasn’t able to be there to help.  You can’t imagine the level of guilt that I felt every day.  I realize that it’s not my fault, but, I wanted to be there and couldn’t.  Nothing that anyone will say will take away that guilt.  Anyhow, despite a few setbacks, he was improving and getting back to his normal self.  Just 5 days prior, the boys and I saw him on Skype and he looked really good.  There’s got to be more to all this, because it really doesn’t make sense.  Hopefully we’ll get some answers very soon.

I went home to NY to be with my Mom and brother and we have been going through his affairs.  It’s quite the toll, let me tell you.  This was an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The entire ordeal of the whole thing is a lot of work.  Be sure you are prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.  It’s really important to make sure all your “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed.

I saw my Dad and said my goodbyes.  I had my closure and told him what I needed to say.  Hopefully he is at peace and perhaps he heard what I said.  I really do hope that he is at peace.  I think the stroke and being immobilized was too much for him, especially since he was such a vibrant, active, hard-working man.  This pretty much stopped him in his tracks.  But, I’m not sure.  He looked good, almost restful.

Aside from my maternal and paternal grandmother’s passing, this is the third death I’ve experienced and it’s given me a huge wake up call that we are all living on borrowed time.  Tomorrow isn’t promised to us; nothing is promised to us really, except life and death.  It’s what we do in between the two that really matters.

These past 2 weeks have been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least.  Some things were revealed that I thought only happened in the movies and has really opened my eyes to how I live my life and how I will live my life from now on.  I’ve often heard that you go through a metamorphosis when someone close to you dies, and I believe that to be true.  I do know this…no one is perfect, we all have our flaws and we are not going to make everyone happy.  That’s not why we are here.  If you’re living your life trying to make everyone else happy, you’re going to be miserable.  If you’re living your life as if you are invincible, you’re in for a huge reality check.  If you’re living your life as if you are God’s gift to the world, let me be the one to burst your bubble and tell you, “No, you’re not!!!  Get that chip off your shoulder and be decent.  You put your pants on the same as everyone else, you bleed just like everyone else.  Get over yourself.” 

It was great seeing my Mom, Brother, family and some of my friends that I was able to see while I was back in NY for the week.  Right now, I’m sitting at the gate in Toronto waiting on my last leg home to PEI.  My Mom is worried that I might breakdown when I get back.  I don’t think I will, but the reality hasn’t set in for me yet.  I haven’t cried much, but did get emotional last week.  Does it mean I don’t miss him?  Who knows.  Am I in denial?  I don’t think so – I saw him and he’s really dead.  I’ll be home soon, and I can’t wait to see my boys and give them all great big hugs and kisses – all 4 of them!!!

I’m not one to give advice, but, here’s what I do know – if you’ve been meaning to contact someone, pick up the phone and call them.  If you’ve done someone wrong, apologize.  If you’re hurt, tell someone.  Do right by others; do right by yourself and don’t be a know-it-all.  Be decent; be genuine; be yourself.  Tomorrow isn’t promised to us.  We really are on borrowed time.