happiness

It’s an every day thing now

I came home this evening after dropping the girl off at a friend’s place to find a text from the boy asking for a ride back from my mom’s house. Then he decided he needed to stay longer and I would have to come later. It seems that they were watching a show and visiting and he wasn’t quite ready to come home.

That is one of the huge perks of living where we do. I have so many memories of going over to my grandma’s to have tea, a visit, or just be spoiled like only a grandparent can. Now my kids are able to do that as well. It’s not once or twice a year like it was for so long, it’s an every day thing now. And that is happiness.

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happiness

Who’s who? My dad

I spent a lot of time today with the memory of my dad. I feel like the past few weeks have been so filled fending off the poisoned barbs of hatred that I kind of lost focus on letting in the things that are really important to me.

My dad was one of the things that was really important to me. He wasn’t perfect, but he was such an influential person in my life. He was exceptionally unreasonable during my teenage years (I have no idea why…) and we could really get into it sometimes, but through it all I knew that he loved me unconditionally and always had my back.

Actually, my parents were/are such great examples of what unconditional love is. Even when I’ve been at my most lost and scattered, they have always provided me with a safe place to land. That security of having people who are there for me no matter what is so important, it gives me the freedom to take chances and explore who I am and what my purpose is.

After Dad died I had a lot of friends and family come up to me and express their gratitude for things that Dad had done for them. He had often stepped in and given support, and frequently free legal advice as well, to the people in our lives. He not only provided me with that sense of security and trust, but he gave it freely to so many others as well. He lived with a sense of abundance, not holding onto his knowledge or love, but spreading it around because there was enough for everyone.

He showed me what to expect from a man. Someone who not only worked hard and was successful at his career (and he was very successful), but who lived with integrity, spent time with his family, laughed, loved, and jumped full on into life. I think I took it for granted that because this was my experience all dads are like this. I will never take that for granted again. They’re not.

He not only took great interest in the things that we were doing – I can think of him sitting for hours listening as I babbled on about whatever was my current obsession, probably wanting to stab his eyeballs out, but smiling and encouraging – but he shone that same love and support on his grandchildren. My kids still talk daily about things they did with grandpa and how much they miss his presence. The way he lived his life has made a huge impression on Jacob, and he talks often about becoming the kind of man grandpa was. Jacob is already a good, honest young man. I have no doubt he will make his grandpa proud.

I realize the older I get how exceptional my dad was. I’m realizing in fact how exceptional my entire family is. I don’t know how it happened, but I won the awesome family lottery in that I have this ready made tribe of people who are so strong, loving and kind.

My mom sent me an email this afternoon letting me know that my dad was listed in this year’s Canadian Who’s Who. It’s so wonderful to read about his accomplishments, but to me his real achievement was the kind of person he was. The way he lived his life is something I can hold onto and aspire to. I will always have his tendency to have temper meltdowns (blow it out and move on), but that’s part of being human. To live with an open heart so that people can trust and depend on you as my dad did – that’s a real life achievement.

 

 I miss you Dad xox

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happiness

Kid-knees and whoopee cushions 

Tonight we celebrated the February birthdays in the family – my nephew (today) and my sister (tomorrow). After having missed years of these family celebrations I am continuously thankful that we are here now to participate. Having this extended family around us is so incredibly important in helping guide us and give us that sense of grounding and support 

  
While the entire evening of the family gathering together was my happiness moment, I had a couple of events stick out as especially funny ones. 

The first happened as I was reading a book with my niece about the different parts of your body. We were on the heart page which she was convinced was the kidney. Once she realized it was not (after her mommy confirmed that for her, because she’s still at the age where mommy knows best) we continued searching until we found it. Once we were on the correct kidney page, my niece put her bent  leg up towards me, pointed and said see auntie Melissa? Here’s my kid-knee. Priceless

Next, I walked in the room to find my nephew (who turned two today) jumping up and down on the whoopie cushion yelling fart fart fart over and over. 

There’s nothing like kids to being unexpected and delightful laughter. What a blessing that we have all these cousins around to enjoy. 

In a sentimental moment, I heard my uncle playing with my nephew, and the noises my uncle was making were exactly the sounds my dad made. For a minute I stopped and my heart thought dad was here. But my uncle is like another dad to me – in fact we call uncle dad – and it was so fitting that the laughter and joy were coming from those two. 

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happiness

It’s all part of the same family

Tonight we had a wonderful happiness moment in the form of a family supper. Jacob and I came late to the party as we wee back in urgent care getting his ribs checked (again). Arriving tired, emotional, and hungry, it was so heart warming to come into the house and see it full of family. 

That house has always been a multi generational home in my heart. As far as my memory goes back there have been grandparents, parents, kids, siblings, and cousins running around the place. The people may have aged and the generations shifted, but there we are all the same. 

Tonight once again there was laughter filled in the dining room by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and everything in between. Keeping these roots that help me grow strong is so important. 

As we were leaving, Jacob looked down the driveway and said there’s three different families all sitting here waiting for us to pull out (we had parked everyone in). And I replied and yet we are all the same family. 

Having those bonds with the ones I love is priceless. This is what being home is all about and I’m so thankful I can provide this kind of grounding and security for the kids. 

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happiness

Girls in the barn 

  
This old barn holds so many magical memories. Generations of my family have worked and played inside it. My grandfather handpicked all the logs and then built it about a hundred years ago. It is one of those special places that holds my heart. 

This afternoon Jenna had a friend over to play and the first thing they did was run up to the barn to play. They ran around looking for cats, and then just enjoyed playing outside in the corral. 

I love that I can look out my kitchen window and see this building that holds such fond memories of my youth. I spent countless hours either playing in the loft or grooming my pony inside while looking out towards the mountains. 

It was a great happiness moment to see my child enjoying an earthy, blissful moment in beautifully grounding and stable (haha get it) place. 

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happiness

To Grandmother’s house we go

We don’t have water at our house right now, which is one of the side effects of living in an old house in the country (still wouldn’t trade it for anything, I love our home). Fortunately, what we do have is a hero in cowboy boots in the form of my cousin’s husband who has been working hard the last 2 days (in -15 to -20C temperatures) to rectify the situation. It all falls under that Life is an adventure thing. 

Because I don’t do well without showering (and OMG the smell of teens and tweens), we headed into Grandmas for a visit and a shower. She has an endless hot water tank so it was pretty sweet. 

Speaking of sweet, when I got out of the shower I walked into a baking extravaganza in the kitchen. Jenna was rolling and shaping shortbread 

   
On the side of the baking sheet is Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. 

  Jacob walked right over to the fresh bread and made a grilled cheese. As he does whenever he’s in to see grandma.   
Not to be left out, he then jumped in and made gingerbread cookies. 

 
There’s something so special about the relationship kids have with grandparents. I have such fond memories of fun times with my Grandma, I am so happy they get to build memories of their own with their grandmas. I’m extra grateful they were able to make memories with my dad, they’ll cherish those forever as well. 

My happiness moment; hearing my son say life is good as he rolls out gingerbread while his sister hovers behind waiting her turn.  

Grandparents rock!

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happiness

O Christmas Tree

Yesterday we went out for our annual Family Christmas Tree Hunt  so today was tree decorating time. I realized when we pulled out what boxes I could find crammed in the back of the mud room (where I had stuffed them when we moved here last spring), that the last time we had used our decorations was likely in 2011. If we put up a tree in Virginia in the years since then I don’t remember it. We were always packing and coming home for the holidays and getting a tree for a couple of days enjoyment didn’t make sense, not when we were going out to get one here.

Because of that, it was kind of fun to find some of the old treasures we had forgotten about. Lots of ornaments that Grandma had given to the kids (she was smart enough to write on the back of each one who it belonged to… smart lady she is). There also were ornaments the kids made when they were little (a little wreath made by Jacob with a story written inside it about how Jenna ate an ornament when she was little).  Both kids really enjoyed the little trip down memory lane.

We cranked on the Christmas Carols and dressed up our tree. My favourite Carol may be Mary’s Boy Child (Jann Arden, why didn’t you put that on your Christmas album, I can only imagine how wonderful you must sound singing that one), but I had to fight for it to play over Jacob’s favourite O Christmas Tree and Jenna’s Feliz Navidad.

When we had put up all the decorations we could find we headed over to my Mom’s to decorate her tree. She had offered to get her assistant to put up the lights so we wouldn’t have to deal with them, but Jacob very strongly responded no, putting lights on the tree is part of the ritual. We are going to do it ALL. And do it all we did.

It was a different decorating experience without Dad there guiding us, and without my sister and her family helping. But, it’s a different Christmas and we are going to enjoy all the beautiful parts of it. I think we got the best tree we have had in years and it was really fun decorating it with Mom and the kids.

While my happiness moment today was decorating the trees with the family, we had a little side happiness moment while walking back and forth to Mom’s. It’s a beautiful, clear, bright night tonight. The moon is small, but shining strongly, there’s enough snow to really reflect those moonbeams, and my cousin has lit up the yard with their Christmas decorations (which I love) so the walk was amazing. We stopped part way and looked up at the constellations. Both kids can find the big and little dipper, we all need to work on a lot of the other ones. It was a beautiful time in nature, so healing for the soul.

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