Facing a bully

It should come to no surprise to those who know me that angry men intimidate me. I think as a single woman this would probably be true anyway, but I lived in a war zone with a man who raged at and threatened me on a regular basis, so there’s a lot of trauma that I’ve been working through since I left (thank goodness for therapy).

Yesterday when we were driving home we saw that there were tons of swans on the slough, and that there were tons of people stopped to watch them. It’s a happy sight for the most part, the swans have been missing the last few years, and since we have all been home more I know they bring joy to so many people.

As we drove by, there were a few people climbing the fence to go in the field to get closer to the swans. Trespassing isn’t really a great thing at the best of times, but there were two newborn calves right beside where everyone was climbing and it’s not a good idea to get between a mom and her baby.

So we stopped and asked the people to please stand on the outside of the field. They were super polite and apologetic – and like I said, I get it- seeing the swans is so exciting and we need a pick me up now more than ever.

But, as I was chatting with them, a man who was probably 10 years older than I am walked by us and started climbing the fence. I asked him politely to please not go into the field. He looked at me and kept climbing. I asked him again, and he said well, he was just going to walk along the road (in the field) then. I said no, the road was IN the field which made it trespassing, and pointed to the calves right beside him and explained that it wasn’t safe to be in the field with the calves.

He then asked me if I owned the land. I said yes (I don’t but it’s family land and I live right beside it). He said he didn’t believe me, and started yelling that he could do what he wanted because I was lying. I pointed to my house and said I lived right there and that he was welcome to follow me home if he didn’t believe me (while crapping my pants because who wants a crazy person following them home?). He said the only way he would stay out of the field is if he had proof it was my land. I responded by saying if it wasn’t my land why would I be standing here being an asshole? He stood there glaring at me for several more minutes before taking a quick photo and leaving.

As this was going down I heard the other people standing there laughing, and heard them comment what a rude person he was and how there was clearly a gender issue going on. I have to say, as things got deeper I was pretty glad I wasn’t there alone because that man was going out of his way to intimidate me.

So, here’s the happiness moment in this. First of all, I stood my ground to the man who was trying to intimidate and bully me. Secondly, I had some great conversations with the other people looking at the swans. Thirdly, the people besides “angry man” who were there were really kind and nice people who genuinely seemed to enjoy being out watching the swans. Finally, I got to see swans and calves which really along with crocuses (still haven’t seen this year) is my sure signs of spring.


Crocuses and peanut buster parfaits

A friend sent me a photo of crocuses growing in his field this morning. Spring! I have such great memories of crocus hunting with my dad and sister. Then to celebrate the sun being out, the girl and I stopped in for peanut buster parfaits – because sometimes you just have to do these things.

We are all content. This is good.


Old memories, new memories 

Today was absolutely bursting with all kinds of different emotions. Before May 28, 2015; this date was just another day on the calendar. Now it is wrapped up with memories of Dad and the day he died. There was so much intensity those last few days, weeks, months… and then there are all the memories we cherish and carry with us of him and the light he shone in the world. To balance those intense feelings, we attended a huge family celebration for my uncle and aunt in honour of their 60th wedding anniversary. Life keeps on going, and there are always joyful moments and sad moments mixed in with each other.

Mom and I spent some quite time by “dad’s tree” in the garden. The last few days he was home the blossoms seemed to hang right over him, wrapping him and the rest of us up in the change of season. It seemed like a fitting place to sit for a while this morning and spend some quality time with memories of Dad.

Having a family party in the afternoon really brought perfect balance to the day. This tribe that we have – they are so amazing and we are so blessed to be part of such a group of people. The way this large family comes together is quite special an unique and I couldn’t imagine living life any differently – I love knowing that we are part of this huge tribe.

There is always happiness to be found if you remember to look for it. The happiness this afternoon was as clear and as loud as our laughter. The happiness this morning was more subdued, in the form of memories, and gratitude for a man we love so dearly.


Pre-Mother’s Day family time

We had a pre-Mother’s Day day today. My sister and her kids came down and we all spent some time together. I get to see them so much more often now than when we were living away, but it still does not feel like often enough. I’m grateful, however, because the kids and aunts (and uncle when he can come too) all know each other so much better.

I also spent some solo time in my garden this morning getting it ready. My garden is a huge source of joy all summer long and it’s really exciting to get it started. Seeds go in tomorrow and then it’s weeding and watering while we wait patiently to eat the produce.

We had a family meal this evening and I thought as I looked around the table how grateful that this is the family I come from. Everything I know about love, strength, trust, and faith is rooted in these people at the core of my tribe. That is happiness.

Oh, and finally I saw a crocus in our field – there have been others in the area for a while, but this is the first home one and that is special. It is spring!


Time to weed out

My nephew came over and tilled my vegetable garden, which makes me one step closer to having things growing again. I love my gardens – both the vegetable and flower – they bring me a lot of happiness and peace.

My only problem is I always want my garden to look like this:

Somehow it never does – but still it makes me happy.

I had a friend talk me off the ledge today and remind me of where I want to put my energy. I was having an episode about the fact that Mr. X has missed 2 months of support payments, knowing that this would have a huge impact on the lives of all three of us. I know the intention is to destroy me, but I think he forgets along the way that it causes damage to the kids as well. I was texting her and saying  that I was angry, frustrated, and disappointed and she said:

Making you judge him and be mad is your remaining relationship with him.
Break up with it
It’s not a good relationship for you
She is right – it is not a good relationship for me. I have extended too much energy towards him in anger because he’s let me down over and over, for years and years. It’s the last bit of energy I give to him, but it’s energy that I could be using for more positive things. He is not going to change, he has shown me time and time again who he really is – it is time I believe it. I have to have faith that the enforcement in place and the court orders will eventually force him to make the required payments. And until then we live as we are – on miracles, and faith.
Having the friends I do – women who have gone through or are going through the same situation and doing it with such dignity and grace – that is happiness.

Out the kitchen window 

This photo may not immediately look like a happiness moment, but it is – and I will explain why.

I was in the kitchen making supper and I looked out the window to see my daughter at the barn with my cousin and her daughter. There was a newly orphaned calf in the corral and my niece was feeding it (I think – it was hard to tell exactly what she was doing from where I stood).

The feeling that came over me was one of incredible peace and happiness. My girl is as drawn to the barn as I was at her age and it’s so awesome that my cousin is so patient and shows her what is going on during their very busy calving season.

As I watched them from the window (before I ran out to join) I felt so grounded and happy. This is the kind of moment I dreamed about, this freedom, this connection, this easy joy.

I am so grateful for happy moments like these. 


I’m glad I have a friend like that 

We finished off our Vancouver Island trip tonight with fish and chips by the water with my friend. They were perfect fish and chips, we watched an otter swimming around and shared stories while the kids played. 

When we were done we walked to her car and did our hugs goodbye. As she drove away I said to the kids I’m so glad I have a friend like that. And it’s true. Good friends are a real treasure and that is happiness. I’m thankful for my tribe. 

On our way to the airport we stopped and had one last goodbye moment at the ocean before heading back to what Alberta calls spring.  It has been a happy trip. 


First day of spring 

I am so happy that today is the first day of spring. I love this season for many reasons (the biggest being that it means that the cold is hopefully on it’s way out), but this year I find more than ever I need the reminder that change is possible. I need to change how I am dealing with things. It seems that Mr. X plans on spending a lifetime trying to keep us in a place where we are insecure and fearful. We just got through the emotional  episode he created a few weeks ago and now are in a financial one where he is apparently refusing not only to pay for the ordered treatments for the kids, but also the support payment for this month.  It seems to be the one way he figures he has left to cause pain and chaos and he wants to push it until I break.

Except I’m not going to break again. The last few weeks have really made me realize that I need to strengthen my coping skills when it comes to him. I can’t allow this kind of chaos to reign in our home.

Obviously I can’t change who he is or how he rolls, but I sure can change how I deal with it. I think I have finally realized that no matter how much I hope or pray (and I have for years) that he will turn into someone I could trust or even just have a basic polite relationship with, that’s not going to happen. I hope I have anyway – it’s painful to want someone to turn into the kind of person you know they could be but to know it’s probably never going to happen.

But, here we are in a season of change. I get to decide how I am going to handle things as we move ahead. I am not going to spend the foreseeable future feeling insecure and afraid.

I was reminded in church yesterday that loved people know how to love and that it is important that we receive love so that we know how to give love. The main focus of our home has always been love, but somehow fear and anger got caught up inside of that and it changed things.

I need to make sure that our home is once again filled with love so that we can go out into the world and share love. We all need to know how to give and receive love. So, I am going to hand off my feelings of fear and anger to my higher power and to the people here who can deal with it, and I’m going to go back to loving. Part of stepping out of my fear is being able to stand up to him and not allow the way I am being treated to continue any longer. It’s not ok.

Happiness today is knowing that the season is changing and so am I. It’s been a long ass road.


Splashing in mud

We took my car on a back road today and splashed in as many of the puddles as possible. Hearing my boy howl with laughter as the muddy water sprayed over the top of the car was one of the best sounds I’ve heard in ages. Deep and true happiness 

It’s starting to feel like spring – the days are getting longer, the eagles are flying, the people are smiling more. A season for change. 


The spring puddle 

Things are melting like crazy and our giant puddle appeared in the yard today. This puddle holds generations of memories of kids splashing and playing – my mom remembers playing in it, my generation did, and so do our kids. Maybe even my grandpa’s generation found time to sneak out and play in the puddle.

It means (hopefully) the end of the brutal cold is gone and we have survived another winter. I am ready to see things start to grow, the calves start to come, the swans return, and smiles come back to our warmer and happier faces. Spring… it is the promise of new life and regrowth.

I have been working on some personal development – funny how the dark times seem to generate even stronger bursts of learning and growing. The rainbow in the storm.

It made me smile today seeing the puddle come back. I will need to grab my boots and my kids and go outside and play in it a little bit. Happiness.