The memory keeper 

My dad was the family photographer, in effect he was our memory keeper. Everything that we did that was recorded was thanks to his passion for photography. I appreciate it even more now that he’s gone and we no longer have someone snapping shots of the good moments in our lives.

Jenna needs a new computer for school this year and my mom said that she could use dad’s old laptop. For the first time in 2+ years it got turned on and we took a look at what dad left behind (as an aside – when I die I need someone I trust to go through my things and delete, delete, delete).

Here are some photos from their trip to Virginia in 2013 to visit us. Our lives took a HUGE turn sideways within a day of my parents going back home, and it was good to look back and see some really happy memories from a time I’ve tried to wipe out.

So, here’s a little trip down our memory lane. I’ve found it hard to look at Dad’s photos – they bring back such bittersweet memories. But today we looked at them and it was Jenna’s turn to laugh until she cried. There were a lot of good times. A lot of happiness.

This was Easter 2013


Neither Jenna nor I have any idea what this is. She says I look so proud of it, but it looks like poop. So there you have it.

Swimming was always a huge part of any grandparent visit. My kids inherited dad’s love of the water.

Day trip to Monticello – one of our favourite spots – I loved Charlottesville.

Jenna rode this scooter everywhere. Interesting that I made her wear a helmet here, but there’s no helmet on the toboggans at home.

Those of you who know me understand how emotionally scarring this was for me. Freaking mascots.

These girls love doing this still.


And these from 2010


These kids and these cats – good buddies. We lost Tawny last year in an accident 😦

I grew up being super close with my cousins – I love that this tribe of cousins has kept their close bonds even when we had thousands of miles between us.


The Friday tradition 

After what feels like a long break the kids and I did our Friday night shopping trip at the Italian Centre. It’s one of my favourite parts of the week. The boy has his list of meats he orders to make his favourite sandwiches and there’s always lots of other yummy stuff to look at. 

This week I got figs. I love figs and was kind of sad when I had to leave my beloved fig trees behind when we left Virginia. 

The boy sat and had an espresso with an older Nono type gentleman and they discussed Italy and what constitutes a good coffee. That was happiness. It was cute to watch them together. 


A person of worth

I woke up this morning feeling a little stressed and uneasy about where I am and where I’m going. We were supposed to have an emergency support hearing tomorrow which we have now had to put off until next week. The financial stress that he continues to put on the kids and I is unforgivable and unbelievable.  I have faith that it will all work out, and I know he’s just doing this to hurt me but still…. Even at the worst of our time together I never imagined he was capable of such deliberate betrayal and  cruelty. 

I was having mixed feelings about what it is that I will be doing next. The unknown is always scary and I feel like there has been so much unknown lately. My greatest joy in life so far has been staying home with the kids and helping to guide them into the awesome people that they are. It’s been a difficult and important job as well. I’ve been either the primary or sole parent for their entire lives,  and our relationship is as important to them as it is to me. They look to me for stability and security and after all the trauma we have been through that’s a job I don’t take lightly. 

This morning as I was getting breakfast ready for the kids they started talking about how much they loved all the homemade food I make to send to school with them. They laughed at how their friends in Roanoke would get very excited when I made banana bread and ask the kids for samples of the baked treats. It made me happy to hear that the hours spent in the kitchen are appreciated and enjoyed by them. 

Jenna has had a lot of leg pain after a skating fall and then a trampoline collision so instead of dropping her at school I took her to urgent care in Cochrane – thank goodness for this place the staff is awesome. 

After three and a half hours and some X-rays they determined that her leg was not broken, but that there was some soft tissue damage and muscle bruising. They told her to stay on crutches for the next few days and rest a bit and then she will be as good as new. Her doctor was amazing. He took a lot of time with Jenna and made sure she was comfortable and understood what the diagnosis was before going on to his next patient. 

What really impressed me with this doctor though was his consult with the patient before us. I don’t know all that was going on – I was trying not to listen, but there was only a curtain between her and us – but she was quite obviously upset and in a lot of pain. The medication that had been prescribed was not working and she was at the end of her rope trying to cope. The doctor was explaining to her that simply upping her medication or giving her a different, stronger kind was not going to solve the problem. 

As you can imagine, this was very upsetting to her. I could relate having had some bad chronic pain issues in my past. I heard him slow down his speaking and using a very  gentle tone said: it’s important to remember that you are so much more than this pain you are feeling. There’s so much more than just the body. You have a wonderful soul, and spirit and it is who you really are. This pain is just something you are going through. I wish I had had a doctor talk to me like that when  I was dealing with my pain. Actually my chiropractor talked a lot like that and it’s a reason why I am forever grateful to him for all that he’s done for me. 

I felt like bursting through their curtain and saying “Ayurveda can help you” I thought of how broken I was when I started learning about it and how far I have come now. It has seen me out of debilitating anxiety and pain, walked me through the death of my dad, and now is helping me stand strong when the person who was supposed to be my soulmate has ended up being my worst attacker. I’ve talked before about how Ayurveda  has saved my life and I don’t mean that lightly. It literally saved me and has made me so much stronger and better. 

While I was sitting with Jenna I got to thinking how grateful I am that I have this job of being home with the kids. Not only has it been a huge blessing for me, but it has provided immense security and comfort for the kids. My mind wandered to how unfair it was that Mr X has no respect or gratitude for how hard I have worked and what I have given up.  As my mind started going down that ugly spiral that would lead nowhere good, I picked up my book and did some reading. The first phrase I came to was this:


It’s true. Just because he thinks I have no value does not make it true. The reality is that I’m still a good person, parent, friend, sister,  daughter- I have worth. He has spent years trying to erase and devalue my worth, but that does not make it true. 

My happiness moment was appreciating that I am able to be there for the kids whenever they need me, and remembering that I am a person who has worth. It was also a good reminder of all the good that I can bring to the world by sharing my knowledge of Ayurveda. 


The pirate and the ladybug 

After sharing a bit of my marriage story in yesterday’s blog, it got me thinking about some of the good memories I have of our time spent as travelling gypsies. And there were some good times. A lot of my time was spent alone with the kids in Virginia, but in Rhode Island and Quebec we made friends pretty quickly and had some great times and good laughs. I still hold many of those friendships made as some of my dearest. 

When we were living in Quebec and Jacob was about 4, we were at church one morning during ladybug season. This meant the inside of the church was alive with ladybugs. The kids were called to the front for the children’s sermon and during that time Jacob made a ladybug friend. He put her on his finger and proudly walked all the way to the back of the church where we were sitting, waving his finger with the ladybug on it as he went. The only problem was the ladybug was on his middle finger. So he essentially walked all the way through church flipping the bird to the entire congregation. Thank goodness they were a pretty easy going crowd and the saw the humour in it. 

I told the kids this story once again his afternoon and we all had a great laugh thinking of little Jacob flipping everyone off. 

Of course then Jenna wanted a story about her. So keeping in the ladybug theme I told them of our first Halloween in Rhode Island. 

Jacob dressed as a pirate and Jenna, who was only 2 at the time, went as a ladybug. I got her all dressed up and was putting the finishing touches on her while she stood on the bathroom counter. Suddenly she leapt off the counter projecting herself as far out in the air as she could. Fortunately I was standing right there and I reached out to grab her. Once I had her safely in my arms I asked her what she was doing. She responded with I’m a ladybug now, so I can fly

Stories like these are the reason I will be forever thankful that I was home with the kids for all these years. They have made some of the happiest moments of my life and they’re the moments that have bonded us together as a family. It’s not the big things, but these little,  everyday ones that make the memories you hold onto through life. My happiness moment, sharing fun stories with my monsters. 



Being home. 

It has been a long ten year journey that brought us finally back home. I am grateful every day we are back here (sometimes fall down kiss the ground grateful), but we did get to see areas I had  only read about, or never even knew existed, in our travels. 

The last four years were spent in Roanoke, VA. While it never truly became home (we knew we were leaving after about two years and when I know I’m leaving I find it hard to put down roots), it was still a significant part of our lives. When we moved there, Jenna was only 6 and in kindergarten – still a little kid – Jacob was in grade 5. They grew up there in many ways. 

One of my favorite things about Roanoke was also one of the things that made it difficult to live there. People had deep roots. Most of the people we met had lived there their whole lives, their family was close by, they had childhood friends. All things that are wonderful, but things that make it difficult to be an introverted newcomer. Even more than that though, watching these settled people who belonged and had family made me so much more homesick. Because, at home we also have deep roots and lots of family and friendships that have lasted for generations. 

I felt sick this morning when I read about the lives that were taken there this morning. WDBJ7 was “my” news channel and I send love and prayers to everyone involved in the tragedy. There are many things that will be said about gun control among other things, and while I have my own opinions about that – I’m going to just offer up a moment of love and peace for that beautiful area we called home

My happiness moment today made me think of the deep roots so many have in Roanoke and that I have here. We had tea with my godmother, her daughter, and an old family friend. Back in the day in Cochrane, our families had the ice cream store, the lawyer’s office and the doctor’s  office – and they were all side by side on the Main Street. 

There were lovely old memories shared about past times. Friendships rekindled and strengthened. It is so good to be home. 


Hanging on the edge of a cliff. 

After posting yesterday about loving fearlessly I had a conversation with my mom about how I felt like I was also living clinging to the edge of a cliff. Generally I think I’m doing really well. I’m happier than I’ve been in years, I’m home surrounded by family in beautiful Alberta. I feel generally like I’m dealing with the fact that Dad died (I hate saying that) really well. 

Until something happens that makes me realize that even with all those wonderful things I’m living right now clinging to the edge of a cliff. I absolutely can not have anything more happen at this moment to the people I love. The mere mention of someone close to me having some kind of health problem is enough to send me into a free fall of tears. 

It actually does not even have to be someone I know. I was at Rogers yesterday sorting out my phone and a lady came in. She had just taken her husband to emergency and he had taken her phone leaving her without one. She needed to get something quickly so they could stay in contact. A huge stress purchase done under intense emotional duress. I wished the phone I was trying to hook up had ended up working and I would have just given it to her. But seeing her emotional pain was enough to send me to my car crying for a little while. 

I am respecting  the fact that I’m both in a really good and really strong place emotionally and at the exact same time in a really fragile place. The two places don’t seem like they should coexist but they are, so I know it’s possible. 

Two happiness moments today. We had friends from Virginia stop by for a visit. They were headed to a family reunion and went right by our place. It was so nice to see friends from one of our other homes. They’re a lovely family, a good reminder of some of the good things that came from our time away. 

The second happiness moment was getting Jenna’s phone hooked up today. She had my old iPhone but it got lost during the move so she’d been without one for about 3 months. Normally not a big deal, but without a home phone we need a way to communicate. Her grandma gave her an old flip phone that we hooked up. Jenna is so much happier with the flip phone. She says she loves the size, loves flipping it open and shut, and loves carrying it around. Impressive that it made her so happy when we have all been trained that smart phones are the way to go. I was proud that she liked this phone better because it was the best fit for her, not because it was what everyone said was cool. Smart kid!