Category Archives: single parenting

tears

Some things bring tears to your eyes. Not because they are sad, but because they are memories in the making. Tears of happiness or of joy but knowing that these moments will not last. Tears of trying to make the most of the time in the moment yet trying to freeze the emotion and feeling so that it can be felt again when that memory comes to mind in the future.

Tears come to my eyes often. I am an emotional creature. Tears are healing. They help to wipe the past hurts away; to open the doors to new and healthier experiences. Tears are therapeutic. To soothe and hug you when you need consoling.

But tears in these happy moments are the ones that remind me that these things—these moments, are the ones to remember and cherish, because they are the ones that I will want to remember in years to come. These are the moments that life was made up of. The growing years and the happiness that made for a good life.

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all you need is love and a dog

Love comes in many forms.  Romantic, platonic, family, pets, and any other version you can think of.  Many things I do in my life now are the result of love.  I tend to my children with motherly love to give them the safe place they need to grow into the amazing humans they are.  I spend time with my friends and cultivate those relationships, being mindful to ensure they know that they are loved and appreciated.  And pets, well…it’s nearly impossible to not show a pet they are loved in my household, especially when they so easily give that love right back to you.

Love is a necessity for growth, no matter who or where you are.  Love is one of those undeniable components that change life from survival mode to allowing one to flourish.  Just as humans need a certain amount of hugs to survive versus to thrive, this is just another version of showing our love for one another.

Growing up and well in through the two decades that I was married, I found saying the words I love you to be very forced and painful.  It seemed as if I didn’t really know how to say those words and truly feel the meaning of them.  I know there is a lot of psychology and background history there that really isn’t something I care to delve into, but there came a time when I was going through my divorce that I discovered what love really is, and I felt as if I had never truly allowed love into my heart until that point.  The interesting part is that it wasn’t a romantic love that changed me; it was the love of my true friends who stood with me and helped me through the divorce.  They were the ones who showed me what love is and how to embrace those around me.  I listened and I learned.  I paid attention to their actions and saw how easy it was for them to give a piece of themselves to me.  Somehow my heart softened and I could feel real love for the first time.  I realized that real love didn’t have to be painful; it didn’t have to hurt.  Real love comes without consequence, constraints or ultimatums.  Real love just is.

Now that I know how love actually feels, it is easy for me to give that love freely to those near me.  I can say those words now and truly mean them, and I do.  My friends and family hear them routinely, and assuredly, they come straight from my heart.  Don’t underestimate what can happen in a year.  These changes happened over the course of the last six years, and I am a completely different person today than I was then.  I owe a good deal of that change to those who stood with me and those who cried with me, and I reciprocate the love that I received from those dear friends right back and without reservation.

easter

Easter is often thought of as a religious holiday.  This year, Passover occurs at the same time, giving many individuals reason to celebrate their given faiths concurrently.

I see Easter as more than a religious observance.  Easter to me is the time of renewal for myself, Mother Nature, and the world in general.  Living in North America, Easter falls at the start of spring.  While we still have plenty of snow around today, it hardly feels like spring, but the attitude and expectations are still the same nonetheless.  Spring brings about new life, and since Easter occurs during this season, the two are intertwined for me.

There are many times of the year where I feel the need to re-evaluate and refresh my goals and motivations.  Naturally, Easter is one of them.  I find with the days getting longer, and the sun feeling warmer as it shines through the windows, it is a good time to check in with my progress.  I look to see which goals I am on my way to meeting, which ones I have met, and where I need to go from here.

I get motivation at Easter because there are new beginnings happening all around me.  The snow is melting, the grass starts to grow and green up.  Tulips and other flowers start to wake from their winter sleep.  I see birds start nesting in their homes in my back yard, preparing for their new babies.  It sets the tone for the next few months, as we gear up for summer, then prepare for autumn.  Spring and Easter are one of my favourite times of the year.

I wish you all a wonderful spring, and I hope you choose to celebrate the season in whichever manner suits you best.

friendships

Friendship is something that can be taken for granted.  For many people, they have always had friends surrounding them, and it is a blessing.  Old, long-lasting friendships are truly a treasured thing for they have endured the test of time; a friendship that has grown and changed just as the people have.  It can be rare to find these days.  People tend to move with work opportunities and for the hopes of a different life.  These decisions impact those friendships simply because distance is a difficult thing to endure.

New friendships are forged, and they become equally as important.  They are based in what is relevant in their lives at the time they were brought together.  The great thing about new friendships is that they all have the opportunity to turn into old friendships, given enough time.  Neither one is more valuable than the other.  They are all equally as important.

I am grateful for all the friendships in my life, both new and old.  I look forward to these newer friendships growing and ageing along with me, and I truly hope they do.  I do not ever wish to take any of my friendships for granted.  For me, they are blooms in my garden of life.  I want to cultivate them, removing the weeds, and feed the flowers.

looking back, planning forward

I spent yesterday evening thinking back to what the past five years has brought me, and how my life has changed.  Yes, divorce will do that to you.  But, there is more to it than that.  I have realized when I look back at the past five years, I am amazed at how much I have done and how it has helped me grow as an individual.

Not only have I become free from a life (and marriage) that were strangling me, I have opened myself up and become more of who I truly am.  I have taken courses and completed two certificates, with the third and fourth ones to be completed shortly.  None of which have anything to do with my profession, I might add.  They are simply because I enjoy them and choose to increase my knowledge in other areas that interest me.  I have dramatically improved my photography skills through practice, mentorship, and coursework, and continue to do so.  I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and explored places I would never have expected to go on my own before these five years.  I have joined groups and met new friends that mean the world to me.  I have plans and aspirations for the next five years that have spiralled off of what the previous five years have provided me.

Something that I didn’t realize when I was in the midst of it all, but when I look back, I can see how much the little bits have changed me over time.  Tony Robbins says that people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year.  It’s true.  I have seen it in myself, and I believe what he has said.  I am grateful for my self-motivation to do more.  I am glad I have not allowed my life to become passive, but instead, take an active role in what happens in my life.  This is my journey, and I want to make the most of it!

self-improvement

The term “self-improvement” has always left me with a cliché sense to the term.  What exactly do you mean when you say you’re doing some self-improvement?  The term, to me, implies that you felt you weren’t enough as you were.  Harsh, I know.

It isn’t what it means at all.  In fact, I too, have been working on some self-improvement.  I do it all the time, even if I may not use that term specifically.

Self-improvement really refers to bettering yourself as time goes on; to compete with the person you were, not anyone else.  We all improve with age, don’t we?  Any time we pick up one of those self-help books, or an audio podcast designed to help us with one aspect of our lives or another, we are tuning into self-improvement.

Striving for more is self-improvement in itself.  Are you looking to learn a new craft, a new language, or try a new cuisine?  Anything that broadens our own experiences is a form of self-improvement.  It doesn’t have to be the inspirational, motivational speakers, or the life coaches, the woo woo, or even the subliminal tapes.  Anything we do to experience more that our world has to offer is a form of self-improvement.

So, call it what you will, but whatever it is, I encourage you to continue to be a better person tomorrow, than you were today.

whatifitis

This is my self-diagnosis.  It captivated me years ago and it keeps me hostage in my safe place.  Whatifitis is rooted in fear.  It prevents me from taking chances in so many areas of my life: my career, my hobbies, my love life, my dreams.  It keeps me frozen in my current state because it is a comfort zone, although comfort zones aren’t always as safe as what they appear to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I have conquered some of my whatifitis, such as taking solo trips and visiting new places with my sons, but it still keeps me in shackles when it comes to other aspects in my life.

It keeps me from taking the what-if leap.

What if I started that small business.

What if I allowed that man to come into my life and my family.

What if I didn’t overthink every single solitary step in my life?

Overcoming whatifitis isn’t an overnight thing.  The cure is hard work and determination.  There needs to be a realization and self reflection on what I am doing. Is there is any self-sabotaging behaviours present?  There needs to be a plan; a schematic to ensure whatifitis doesn’t return to take me back to that place.  I have had a glimpse of the freedom from whatifitis, and it is a beautiful thing.  I think I am ready to explore that further, and to find a way to cure myself of this condition.

self doubt

I am certain that we all have times where we experience self doubt.  The am I good enough, or the what if they don’t like me, or the I can’t do this feeling creeps into our lives at times of self doubt.  I know for certain these feelings come into my life often.  I worry about failure because of self doubt.  I might not even attempt to try what I wanted because self doubt tells me I can’t do it.

Then, there are times when I have allowed self doubt to win and I see someone else out there doing what I had wanted to do.  I realize that they are no better at it than I am.  The difference though?  They didn’t let self doubt stop them from going out and doing it.

Dreams and aspirations don’t need to be halted because of self doubt.  Put yourself out there.  You may be surprised at just how much you can accomplish when you put self doubt into the back seat and let confidence take over the steering wheel for a while.  Believe in yourself.

decisions, decisions

Decisions in life aren’t always black and white.  How do you choose which path to take when the answer isn’t completely clear?  Do you trust your instinct, go with your gut?  Do you make a pros/cons list for every option and weigh them out?  Do you gain advice from friends, family, and professionals?

Some decisions aren’t as monumental as others, but when they are, many things hang in the balance.  What compels you to choose one path over another is different for each one of us.  While I may be sitting in this situation right now, I am trying to gain as much information as possible from as many sources as I can.  I want to make the right decision, not just the right decision for right now.

So, while I am busy trying to make my best decision, I feel rather absent minded when it comes to other areas, pushing them to the back burner as it were.  Single parenting, while rewarding in itself, is also very challenging.  Adding major decisions makes it even more challenging.  To those who are sitting in a similar position as I am, my heart goes out to you.

spirit of the season

This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us.  There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day.  We decided to go and check it out.  We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies.  I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to.  He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas.  We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks.  He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself.  We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement.  We watched people as they came and went.  He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair.  I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.

Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too.  My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one.  He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season.  I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions.  And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts.  It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.

This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love.  My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart.  As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more.  He is becoming more like his older brother every day.  They both make me very proud.