I’m being reminded of how important it is to be grateful for my many blessings.
I was driving with the girl today and she was talking about one of her friends and an issue she was having. My girl looked me in the eyes and said “I think what the difference is is that she (friend) doesn’t have the relationship with her parents like I do with you. We can talk about anything, most of my friends can’t do that”.
That’s the relationship I’ve always wanted to have with my kids. It’s why we have uncomfortable conversations, so that they will know they can have them with me. It’s why we spend so much time together, so they learn that family is important and they are loved. It’s why we talk about God, and everyone’s individual relationship without judgement, so they know that they are part of something greater than themselves.
I am so grateful that I get to share my life with them. Whatever I have given them, they have given me more back in spades.
These last few weeks have been a little rough. The end of May meant that it had been 5 years since Dad died and I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing him. Even more than I miss him for myself, I miss him for my kids – they still needed him.
It also marked 5 years since his funeral, which was the last time I or the girl saw Mr. X. The boy saw him one time a year later in a therapy session that went horribly wrong and neither kid has any contact with him at all since. My kids deserved better, so did I. Such is life.
But more than I regret what Mr. X won’t do, I miss what my dad was so wanting to give them. He wanted to be an active part of their lives, he wanted to provide guidance and love and protection. He wanted to see them both fail and succeed and watch how they learned from both.
My dad really was an exceptional man. He was involved in our lives, and he was a master at being fully present and doing what we were interested in. It’s a skill I admired about him, one that I strive for while I’m raising my family.
Now when I see sunflowers I associate them with Dad. I happened to be out on the anniversary of his funeral and came across a giant pot of sunflowers that was calling out to me to come home. So it did. Now when I look out of the kitchen window I am greeted with a bunch of bright sunshine-y yellow faces smiling in at me. It brings me joy and peace, and while I miss him, I know that he gave me all the tools I need to know how to get through things.
I know I can’t be that for my kids, but I sure hope his influence shines through in what I do.
Years ago, one of the schools that I subbed at had a saying that it wasn’t “practice makes perfect”, rather it was “perfect practice makes perfect”.
I had a riding lesson earlier this week and it was awful. He doesn’t like to bend, and when we get into it he throws his shoulder out, his head up, and I lose him to the outside. What that means is that as I get to one particular corner, he won’t turn, and tries to mow me into the end of the arena.
Now to be fair, he’s broke to death and about the kindest horse I’ve ridden, so I don’t feel like I’m in danger, but as we are barreling towards the end of the arena my brain has panic moments.
My panic moments are really what screws me up – I start messing around with the reins and that makes things so much worse. I get focused on the end of the arena, instead of focusing on where I am at that moment and what I can do to change things.
So this lesson…. what we ended up doing was send Melissa and horse into the corner over and over ( and over and over and over) with my instructor explaining to me in various ways what I needed to do.
What I did was get frustrated. Like so frustrated I wanted to just stop and cry. I was like – I’m 49 years old. I’ve been riding since I was in diapers aside from the years I couldn’t ride when I was married. Why the f*ck can’t I get this well broke, well mannered horse to turn the damn corner??? So my instructor proved to me that I was wrong and that in fact, if I kept practicing and working I could do it.
You see, my corner issue comes from a lifetime of bad riding habits that I’ve picked up. Ones that were helpful to me when I was riding less broke horses, but really are just getting in the way of me being able to have a good ride now.
Much like life. I have some old habits that I’ve developed that were needed to keep me safe when I wasn’t. But that now are kind of getting in my way.
It’s hard to let go of old habits. Particularly when they’re ones that were developed to keep you safe.
However, if I want to enjoy the horse I’m riding NOW, I have to develop new, better, healthier ways of riding.
If I want to enjoy the life I have NOW, I have to develop new, better, healthier ways of living.
And this is where perfect practice comes into play. Practicing over and over – whether it’s on horseback or in life. Practice, practice, practice to change the old habit and replace it with a new one.
Over and over, until the skill is mastered.
Then a new challenge will present itself and I will start again with that one.
The wild beast – as you can see he’s a gentle soul and omg I love him.
Mother’s Day can be a weird one for me. It’s my third one since Mom died and that still pings my heart a bit. As a single mom it puts stress on my kids to figure out how/what to get me. And with us staying home because of Covid, I’d decided to just have a quiet day at home.
Really, I don’t feel that mothers (or fathers) need one day to be celebrated. We should show our appreication to those we love every day of the year, and I truly feel appreciated by my kids.
Oddly enough, today was one of the best Mother’s Days I’ve had. I did a few hours of homework, I tried to do yoga and when my kids didn’t leave me alone I turned that time into “let’s clean the house and get chores done” time. We ended the day with a family supper and watching some tv.
The Christmas before Mom died I learned a lesson that I had only held as a theory before. We shut everything down and just spent the holiday together – me, my kids, my mom, and one of her caregivers. It also was one of the best Christmases I’ve had.
The lesson? I really don’t need more than those who I love near me in order to be happy. All of the other things are just icing on the cake. And don’t get me wrong, good icing is important – but it needs the foundation of the cake.
The boy and I went for a walk with the dogs and when we came back found my niece sitting on the deck, visiting through the window with the girl in her bedroom. Brilliant. I’m so happy these cousins had the chance to have a bit of a visit – everyone is getting a bit lonely. Everyone except the pets who all think us being home is the best thing that’s ever happened
Usually when I finish a class we celebrate with pizza from Community Flatbread in Cochrane.
My last class ended March 15 which was just when things were beginning to get real here. In the last 5 weeks things have changed and Community Flatbread is offering pre-made food for sale (as well as some grocery type food).
These little things are what brings some normalcy to a situation that is anything but normal, and I’m so grateful we are able to enjoy them. (We also bought Shephard’s Pie from them that is absolutely to die for).
Community Flatbread is also one of the businesses in town who are taking donations so that those in our town who can’t afford groceries at this time can receive some as a gift. I ❤️ our town and the amazing people in it!!
We have to be creative with our travels these days. So this afternoon, we took the dogs out for an adventure that involved seeing Niagara Falls and pretending we were on the Titanic and heading towards an iceberg.
I notice how much these walks mean to our mental health and I’m so grateful we live where we do. I also notice how much quieter the roads around us are and I appreciate how we are all working together to make the world a safer place. It’s not easy, but it’s sure important.