Spending The Holidays Without Someone You Love


I am reposting this just in time for Christmas! 

The holidays are a time to spend with those you love. With Christmas fast approaching the holidays can be bittersweet for me.

I am incredibly blessed. I have two parents that consists of a father and a step mom. And a set of in laws. A beautiful sister. Plus sister in laws and brother in laws and step sisters and step brothers. Plus a husband and my own kids. And tons of aunts, uncles and cousins. It’s a full family. But a gorgeous one.

Well, I’m not gonna lie, with this size comes some level of crazy. I joke many times and say “We put the Fun in dysfunctional!” But I know I’m blessed to have so many souls who surround me. Especially during the holidays.

Five years ago I lost my mom. My real mom. The mom who gave birth to me.

But I didn’t lose her in death. I lost her emotionally.

Five years ago I had to let my mom go. I had to release her from my life. I had to halt a relationship with her.

The truth is this relationship was never healthy. My mom was an abusive parent. Throughout my childhood she physically assaulted us and emotionally manipulated us and everyone around her.

I know she is unhealthy and needs help. And for many years of my adult life, regardless of my personal health, I set out to save her. To get her to a state of ok. To help her heal.

But as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water…”

After many years of personal investment into her well being I had to make a decision.

This decision came down to two parts:

1) Either accept her life that she was creating and stand beside her as she self destructed and blamed everyone except herself.

OR

2) Release her from my world.

I chose to release her.

In truth, the level of her emotional unsettle was affecting me more than anyone knows. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I sent money. I bought food. I created doctors and council appointments. I delivered her to said appointments.

Hell, I even let her move in with us after she struggled to get on her feet after a suicide attempt.

But despite all my doing, I was losing. Losing myself. Losing my marriage and losing my kids.

I was so damn set on giving her everything that she wanted that I was losing everything I wanted.

Meanwhile, she was fighting it every step of the way. Wanting more money. More time. More resources. Without ever taking personal accountability for self betterment.

One day, after several weeks of dating someone, she suddenly advised me that I didn’t need to bother helping her anymore because she had him now.

That was the day I got crystal clear on how this worked for her and that NONE of that worked for me. And never would.

I tried boundaries for awhile, but could never maintain them when it came to her. I wanted to. But somehow, whenever, she came around I was the 6 year old child wanting for her mama.

So I decide to release her. I have spent years and years working through the trauma and the pain she has caused, both from a child and then as an adult. And for the most part, I have healed.

Although sometimes the reality of my decision resurfaces.

During Christmas I know there is someone missing from my table. There is one person who regardless how she treated me, shares my DNA and is missing.

I would never change my decision. Not only did I make the decision to protect myself. I also made it to protect my marriage and my children.

No one will ever hurt neither of those things — regardless of their connection to my DNA!

And so each holiday season, I silently grieve. For the parent I have lost. For the parent I have had to release. For the parent who was never a parent at all. For the person who she will never be.

Today, I share love with all my friends who have had to make a similar decision of self preservation. I applaud you and hold you high as you stand in your decision.

I sit with you in your silent grief.

During the holiday season, there are many posts for those who have lost family members in death, but today I recognize all of you who have lost someone emotionally.

The grief is similar, but it also comes laced with a form of guilt that can be a burden.

Just please know, today and through out the holidays, you are not alone. And you are not being judged. Regardless of how or why you have made the decision you have made, know that I appreciate your struggle and am so damn proud of you.

No one can understand the choice we have made, until they need to make it. And my goal is never to validate my decisions to anyone, but instead to help others not feel alone.

So, to YOU, who have lost your parent emotionally, know you are not alone. Together, let’s share our grief.

And let’s share our love.

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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Homeschool: Day 29

Today I was a Maxed Mommy. We had a late start to our day by a few minutes because of kids who didn’t want to leave their beds. 

Plus, I had a furnace who refused to show up to work today so our thermostat was showing a balmy 15 degrees!

Not a great kick start to our day. 

Add to that the fact that my kids are fair weather kids. They don’t like too cold or too hot. They only like outdoor play when the sun is shining juuuuust right. 

They have not been wanting to play outside because it is “too cold” <Insert eye roll here>

For this reason, I had three kids who had entirely too much energy this morning. Circle Time was executed with about as much efficiency as that of one who is hired to hold an octopus in a paper bag. 

It didn’t go well. After 20 excuiating minutes of me endlessly reminding them to “sit down” or “pay attention” and “don’t lick your sister” I was losing patience quickly. 

 (Yes, I meant to type lick. Even auto correct is positive that I surely meant to type “kick” Unfortunately I did not make a mistake – I meant lick)

I’d like to say I was losing my sanity, but this morning I realized my sanity left the day I applied for the permission to homeschool from the Board of Education. 

So yes, indeed it was my patience slipping. My sanity left me 29 Days ago. But I digress!

After 20 long minutes I fly into full out Mama Hissy Fit. Toss our Library Book (*gasp* – I can’t believe I treated a library book this way) back into our Morning Basket. 

And assure the kids without their education they will assuredly live under a bridge without food or fancy clothes. 

Then I stomp upstairs and give myself a well earned time out. 

After several deep breathes and a couple flips through my Facebook to calm my nerves I realize, my kids have been wayyyy too cooped up. 

I come down the stairs, with outside world clothes (instead of the Jammie’s they now live in each day) draped over my arms for each child and announce “Anyone who has not eaten breakfast needs to do so now, because we are going to Get Air!”

Three confused, and slightly terrified children gape at me. I can feel their mini brains training to grasp what the hell is happening. 

B, ever the brave solider willing to fight a good fight, but still bewildered says, “Huh, what’s the catch?”

The truth was there was no catch. They needed to run off some energy. They have been bouncing off the walls for two days and they needed to burn that energy. 

So we spent the morning at Get Air where they bounced and jumped at their favorite Trampoline Park and I got to catch up with a great friend on the phone. 

Then we came home and did as much school as we could fit into a couple of hours. It was a win for all. 

I have read articles about days like this. Where homeschoolers blow off the day because it just isn’t working. And, if I can be so bold to admit, I judged the shit out of them. 

I literally have thought, “If your child cannot sit and listen to you like they would a teacher in school, that is 100% the parents fault.”

I know differently today and will publicly admit, I was wrong. 

My kids are not the kids who they were at school for their teachers. They are not the version of themselves they present to their grandparents on any given weekend. 

They are completely different for their parents. 

And as a result, they will not just sit because they are in circle time like they sat during circle time at school. 

So I had to honor my kids today. And our school schedule was meagre at best as a result. 

But they are rosy cheeked and tired and happy with a lot less energy buzzing through them than was present at 9am this morning. 

Now let’s just hope when they are living under the bridge without food and fancy clothes they remember that their mother tried. She had zero sanity and little patience, but damn it, she tried. 

Thank you for sharing in our journey!

On This Day, 8 Years Ago

    This picture popped up on my “Facebook Memories” last week. It was 8 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

    On this day, my beautiful friend was taking her daughter to the Pumpkin Patch and invited us to join them. 

    My friend is one of those incredible mamas who always does fun stuff with her kids. A woman who I looked up to in awe of how she could always manage it all. 

    And I felt like I could never be stack up. 

    (Before I continue, let me clarify that my friend would literally laugh her ass off at me, if I told her I had ever felt like that. Because she is truly incredibly without ever realizing how incredible she is!)

    Now back to my story: When we were invited I wanted to say no. I wanted to stay home and close up and sit with a book. I wanted to hide away. 

    Instead I said Yes. I didn’t say yes for me though, I said yes for B. And he had the greatest day full of corn mazes, pumpkins and laughter. 

    At the end of the day, we took obligatory pictures to document the day. Which is the picture you see above. 

    In the snapshot YOU see my son and his mama! I see so much more. 

    I see a woman whose smile doesn’t reach her eyes. 

    A woman who is fighting for her life.

     A woman who tries so damn bad to rise up only to have depression pull her under again and again. 

    I see a mama who is so wrapped up in ensuring her child is perfect and happy that she barely had the energy to do her hair. 

    A woman who held herself and her family to an impossibly high standard and was completely exhausted as a result. 

    I have to be honest, these pictures popping up on my memory feed created big emotions for me last week. 

    Emotions so big that the mere presence of the picture created a gigantic lump in my throat. 

    But the lump was not for me. It was for B. 

     As parents we all carry regrets and have moments of “woulda shoulda couldas”, and this is one of mine. 

    If I could go back and parent differently I would. If I could turn the hands back on the clock and gift B the same mom that C & E have now, I absolutely would. 

    Back then, he absolutely did NOT get the best version of me. I gave him everything I had, but unfortunately sometimes that wasn’t much. 

    I loved him unconditionally, but unknowingly my conditions were limited. 

    What does that mean? I never ever withheld love on purpose. But the truth is I don’t know if I was capable of the level of love then that I am capable of today. I just didn’t know how. 

    Yeah, I would have died for him or surely went to war to fight for him. But I have learnt that I could only love him to the level I loved myself. And so as a result, that (apparently) wasn’t much. 
    I believe we all chose our life before we are born and as a result, I understand this holds true for B as well. He knew what he was signing up for. And let’s be honest, that little man saved my life. He gave me a reason to fight and change and be a better me. 

    His face in this picture brings tears to my eyes. The love for life in his eyes. The love for his mama shining through. This child is someone who taught me how to love. Freely. Without fear and without limits. He just loves. 

    The irony of our pose doesn’t escape me…he is holding tight onto me without a care in the world. I grasping onto him for dear life, holding onto his smile and his love and his very essence. 

    It took me all day to find the positive in this picture. Nearly 12 hours had to pass before I could see the blessings of this picture rather than sit in the guilt. 

    I finally see a mama that’s a fighter. 

    A mama who knew she could do better. And a mama that figured out what that meant and aligned her life to go get it. 

    Mamas, when something stirs up big emotions we are presented with two choices:

    We can sit in it in the same form we always have: Guilt, hurt, sadness or whatever emotion it stirs up. 

    OR

    We can shift. Whenever an emotion presents itself it’s actually screaming out, “Hello? Can you hear me! I’m ready to move on!” 

    So instead of sitting in the emotion in the same way you always have. Hit the emotion head on. Let it bubble up. Greet the tears and the lump in your throat with courage and excitement. And then rise above the wave the emotions are creating. 

    Once you are atop the wave, look around. See it differently than you were ever capable before. See what is presenting itself. 

    And then, finally, allow this new awareness to replace the old emotions within your heart. 

    The truth is we are all doing the very best we can everyday. And perhaps your yesterday wasn’t as good as your today, but you certainly never meant to make mistakes. So don’t hold yourself accountable for them forever. 

    Rise up above the wave!

    Thank you for sharing in my journey!

    Homeschool: Well, He Is Learning Something

    I have 180 school day to teach my kids something this year. 180 Days for some sort of educational knowledge to saturate into their brains.

    I’m not going to lie, it feels like a tall order. I hope they learn something, but considered for the past 10 years my experience has always gone a little something like this:

    Me: “Hey buddy, how was your day?”
    Them: “Good” (Declared in their most monotony monotone voice)
    Me: “What did you learn today”
    Them: “Nothing”

    *Sigh*

    I don’t doubt that they learned something that day, but their fact retention abilities are clearly limited.

    So I have promised to not be upset with myself should they tell anyone we meet with that they actually learn nothing each day.

    Maybe that’s why this particular incident was so fantastic and exciting for me. So exciting and funny, in fact, that I had to share it with you.

    My husbands only stipulation regarding homeschooling the boys was to ensure they go outside daily. I think he can be directly quoted stating, “They must go outside and get fresh air into their lungs every day. I don’t want any pasty white kids who are suddenly sensitive to natural sunlight.”

    For the state of my marriage, I agreed and each day we go outside after we complete our school day.

    Right now we are working on Community Workers. What kind of community workers there are in different communities. And if they provide a good or a service.

    I have learned that Social Studies is no more fun the second time around. But I am presenting this material in a few different ways (books, projects, anything I can get my hands on) in order to keep me interested.

    Last week while I’m at the park with C & E a couple of city workers drive across the lawn in a Kubota Side by Side. They cut across the lawn, cross over the stream and head up and over the hill out of sight.

    C sees them and shocked says, “Hey! What are those two community workers doing?”

    I bust out laughing and say, “I don’t know, buddy. What do you think they are doing.”

    His curiousity peaked he says “I don’t know either. Let’s go see, Mom!”

    We cross the stream, which was no easy task for my Miss Priss, and climb over the hill.

    At the bottom of the hill is the two city workers pumping water from a backyard that backs the park.

    C was over the moon as he declares, “Mom, those guys are pumping water. Yep, that’s definitely a service all right!”

    I was laughing so hard I had tears. He’s learning something. I wouldn’t have known for sure until the city workers at the park.

    Woohoo!

    #homeschoolwin

    Thanks for sharing in our journey!

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    Homeschool: And Now There is Three

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    Tuesday was a day of tears and self reflection. Not for me, but for B!

    In order to assist my kids in the decision to homeschool or re-attend (is that a word) Public School I created a “Trial Run.”

    I created the Trial to portray exactly what our school day would look like. This would ensure that the kids would have no surprises to what they were agreeing to or perhaps, walking away from.

    C did the trial because he truly had no idea what Homeschooling even meant. After the trial, well you know what he chose.

    (For my new followers: He started homeschooling on Sept 1 this year)

    B never did the trial. The idea of leaving his friends and giving up his Public School Days was an emotional and difficult decision. He opted to continue where he was at.

    Until Tuesday.

    I don’t really know what pivoted the change in heart. As there was no major happenings that upset him. (We made sure).

    The only thing I know for sure is B has always hated school.

    Hated.
    With a capital H!

    When we ask him what he wants his answer always is, “I want to work! I want to make money.”

    That’s our B. Always has been ## going on 35! Always thinking about money and a career. He doesn’t want to waste his time doing frivolous things like art and drama and music.

    He wants to work.
    And make money.
    And have a career.

    Let’s be honest: Once he has a career he will beg to go back to 12 years old. But I digress!

    Let’s be even more honest: He did not get this need for a career from his mother. Nothing makes me happier than art and drama and frivolous things. Once more, I digress!

    But his desire for a career made me think. Why can’t he create a business now?

    We have all seen the articles linked to them. Those miracle kids who create a business at 12 years old only to be bought out by Google or Kevin O’Leary for 86 kafillion dollars.

    None of us have ever actually met one, but we’ve all heard of them.

    And perhaps this will be B.

    And perhaps not.

    All I know is, I’ve made it more than clear that in order to add up to kafillion or to balance a cheque book with those types of numbers, you need Math.

    In order for a bank to take your finance proposal seriously, you need Language Arts.

    In order to understand the government and current events and the social structures of the world, you need Social Studies.

    In order to understand chemicals or animals or whatever the hell else we will learn in Science, you need Science.

    Whether you take it at Public School or Homeschool, either way, you need to take it. You need school.

    But the cherry on the cake for my little entrepreneur is he can start looking into his career options. Whatever that looks like.

    He currently has a Door Hanger Business. Time will tell, if he continues down this path or changes it up.

    He chose Homeschool.

    He requested to finish out the week. Kind of a closure, in kids terms, I guess and we granted that to him.

    But he only made it two more days.

    Maybe he needed to sit in class for two more days to help him decide if he wanted to be there. I don’t know. We just honoured it.

    We didn’t tell the school until he was 100% sure of his decision.

    100% sure arrived yesterday on his at home lunch break. In order to ensure we honoured his teachers time and prep work, we called his teacher to tell her he would be homeschooling and that he would like to finish out the day. Or the week (whatever he chose)

    B had also requested no one knew, prior, of his plan to leave. He wanted to tell his friends after he had gone. And he most certainly, did not want any big deals being made on his behalf.

    His teacher helped us honor this.

    Its been one hell of a week so far. Quite an emotional one for B.

    I can only imagine the emotional decisions he struggled with between Homeschool and Public School. It’s not an easy one.

    His biggest fear was losing his friends. But we have created a plan to help him stay in touch. And will implement it as he needs.

    So…..
    Today was his first of Homeschooling and WOW!! I gotta say. I am pumped. This was one of the greatest days I have had with my kids, nearly ever!!

    They supported each other and loved each other through their day. They talked about how weird it feels to be able to go get milkshakes and play at the park in the middle of a “school day”. And bonded. In an surreal way I have never seen before. I’ve seen glimpses, but never to this scale.

    I am under no illusions that this journey will be easy. I know it’s going to have days where wine will become my BFF.

    But I am focusing on today.

    And today was a beautiful day of love between siblings and me bearing witness.

    It was a day of “Hot Fudge Milkshake” Cheers as we ended our first day with smiles and excitement.

    I have no idea where this journey will take us or what it means for the boys.

    The way I see it this has two outcomes:
    1) It will create a new way of life for my kids and myself. A life that will be filled with school books , and Milkshake Cheers and love.

    2) They will dislike Homeschooling, which will then restore their love of Public School.

    As I walked into the school today to clean out B’s locker, the sun shining brightly above me, I smiled to myself and thought, “Either option is fine with me. Either option ends in love.”

    Thanks for sharing in our journey!

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    Homeschool Day 3 & 4: And The Tears They Did Fall

    Since our decision to homeschool I have spent hours and months researching and reading and planning and pinning about homeschooling.

    I have savagely collected every resource I could to teach me how to homeschool and what to expect during this journey.

    And while I can confidently admit I have been better educated as a result, I can also say that some of the articles are flawed in one major way.

    Most of these articles are composed by people who have dreamed about homeschooling since the conception of their child.

    As they rubbed their swollen pregnancy bellies, they daydreamed about how they would one day created awe-inspiring science projects at their kitchen table.

    We were not these people. I dreamt of how I would manage school buses and lunch boxes and school yard bullies and parent teacher interviews.

    We have transitioned from public school to homeschooling.

    We have emerged from the swirling, twirling tornado of non-marking indoor runners that is Public School and have been dropped unceremoniously down at our dining room table. Yes, my dear child, we are certainly not in Kansas anymore.

    Through the hoards of articles I have become versed in the many scopes that is the world of homeschooling. Some pieces of information, seemingly, more beneficial than others:

    I have learned:
    1) To expect the first year to be the toughest
    2) Each child has a learning style
    3) There are resources which will work best in conjunction with my child’s above mentioned learning style.
    4) Baking counts as math, or reading or home economics or just about anything else you are creative enough to pitch it as
    5) There are people who sit in a field counting daisies and call it math or school
    6). We will never be #5’s
    7) Never say never
    8) There are hours of videos on how to choose the proper daybook
    9) There are people who actually watch the videos mentioned in #8
    10) How to deal with those who do not agree with our homeschooling decision (although we haven’t run into any yet…but I’m ready should they show up)

    But there is one major tidbit that no article mentioned. No author touched on the very topic to which our day spiralled towards today.

    No one.

    I feel like we embarked into complete, uncharted territory today.

    Day 3 created tears for this mama. Every single subject for three days straight he hated. He complained about spelling. He complained about math and Language Arts.

    Hell, at one point the little fart stain was, even, unimpressed by the selection of colours Crayola has manufactured.

    I should have guessed the course the day way going to go when circle time proved to be a stretch — and all we did was sit and sang songs.

    By 10:30 I was in full out sobs. Shoulder shaking, can’t even get up and compose myself in the bathroom, SOBS! It was on 10:30 and I had already broken down in tears.

    Shit, let’s be honest, I started to cry even harder when I reminded myself — it’s also only Day 3! Oh, sweet hell!! Only 177 more days planned!

    I thought he was being difficult in order to test the level of commitment required from him each day. I thought it was to see if I would send him back to school. I thought it was to see how much sass he could give me before my head popped off my damn body. But I thought wrong.

    Day 4 I came to the table Standing in my Power. Promising to not waver on what needs to be done. To explain and encourage. To help him understand that no matter what he puts me through we, as a family, are committed to homeschooling.

    Committed to him.

    He fought the entire schedule. Again!!!

    Starting off with large whining protests about starting at 9am instead of his self-proposed 10am start time, which had been declined.

    He then carried the protests through the rest of the day until such a point as we only had two subjects left to complete.

    During break time he started beating on his sister. C can be far from a model big brother. He can be bossy, overbearing and controlling. But he rarely hits anyone. (I say rarely because it has happened, but it’s not frequent, by any means)

    I give him a time out and he breaks down. He takes a page from his mamas book yesterday and showcases shoulder shaking sobs. But ups the ante by adding hiccup weeping and loud snivels. This kid is a pro. I envy his level of commitment in the creation of a meltdown.

    I gather him up and start asking him what’s wrong. And this is when I learned something no articles have taught me to date:

    When you tell your kids they have to go to school – otherwise it’s against the law — rest assured, they hear you

    Each morning last year as he cried with tummy aches and anxiety attacks he would beg to stay home. We would answer with our “as-good-as-any” response of “Sorry babe, it’s illegal if you don’t go to school.”

    Today as I gathered him close and soothed him. He looked at me with his big, brown eyes filled with a mixture of confusion and fear and asked, “Are we going to get in trouble for homeschooling? Is it allowed?”

    No article or pin or amount of research had prepared for this question. Most of the articles are written by parents who never sent their kids to public school, like EVER! They have barely a clue of the transition, and the lack of understanding this creates in a child.

    Sure, I did the paperwork to register us and celebrated with him when we received our Approval Letter. But I never gave a second thought to the “illegal” aspect of this scenario. But he did.

    My poor, little man truly believed we were doing something wrong. That we were pulling a fast one on our judisical system and it was only a matter of time before we would be found out.

    Of course, I explained to him “We are safe.” That the government has approved our right to teach him anyway we, the parents, feel is best.

    I explained to him that as long as we cover the subjects and he learns what he would in school that we have a right to learn in our Jammie’s and make pillow forts in the afternoon.

    He adds “Then why does it feel weird.”

    I then had to explain that sometimes we have to do what’s in our heart. And sometimes our hearts will tell us to do things differently than what everyone else is doing. And as long as it’s a good decision. A decision that doesn’t hurt anyone, we are allowed to make any decision we need for our hearts.

    But, let’s be honest, I was Blown. A. Way! This little man had such a fear for the past four days that weighed on him so heavily that he couldn’t enjoy his day.

    It had clouded him and confused him.

    On Day One, I had had the same feelings. It does feel weird. The first day of school when only one kid was dropped off at the doors. When only one kid left our house that day. It felt weird. Damn right, it did. But it never occurred to me that he would feel the same way.

    That being said, I’m 3__ years old and I have the ability to work through the emotions. I have friends to call and the ability to read and research and grow. He doesn’t have that ability when he doesn’t even understand completely how he’s feeling.

    Add to that the fact that he thought we were going to “be in trouble” he would NOT open up to just anyone with this doozy.

    So here’s my tip: If you are considering homeschooling and your child is making the transition from public school discuss with them the “weirdness” of it. That it will feel different.

    That the first time the bus drives by your driveway, and you aren’t on it, you will feel like you are cheating at a test that no one else knows is going on.

    And tell your child how it feels different for you too. Validate to them that you feel the weirdness.

    And assure them that together you are going to figure through it.

    As a result of the past four days I have formed the following conclusion:

    The first portion of your homeschool journey is focused, very little, on academics, but instead on the emotional transition required from everyone in your household.

    Not a lot of learning has happened so far. We have completed some subjects, yes!

    But mostly we have been merging together emotionally. We have been learning about each other and bonding as a result.

    We have been melting down to come back together and understand one another greater than ever before.

    And I guess I have no other choice than to embrace this portion of the journey.

    C is a brilliant kid. He truly is. And once we are righted emotionally and become strong in understanding one another, I am confident we will fly through the academics portion of our year!!

    Until then I will drink coffee and wine and take deep, deep belly breathes and blast music. Anything to keep the vibration in our home humming higher than the emotionally chaos we have been falling into.

    Thank you for sharing in our journey!

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    What I Realized Today: Our First Day Of Homeschooling

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    If you follow me on Facebook, it is not new news to you that we started our First Day of Homeschooling today.

    I have had many requests today for updates on how we did — so here ya go!

    This year we have our oldest, B, continuing with Public School in Grade 7. There was a lot of back and forth on what he wanted to choose, but in the end his friends and his “normal” won out. Honestly, I am sincerely fine with whatever his choice is as long as he is ok, emotionally, with whatever his choice may be.

    That being said, this morning together as a family we set intentions towards what this year will bring for each of us. What we are going to require of ourselves and each other. Which creates the energy of how this year will go moving forward.

    C had an incredibly difficult year with Public School last year, so the choice to Homeschool seemed like a no brainer to him.

    We did a two week trial during summer vacation for him so he would know what homeschooling is and if it was something he felt he wanted. Indeed it was.

    I had prepared our school year prior to the trial so he would see clearly how our day was going to go. I made sure to Create the trial days with materials that he would be using during his actual school year to ensure he received a proper preview of what to expect, as well as what was expected. He loved it. He said “yup, mom this is exactly what I need for me!” (😉He makes me giggle)

    E is four years old. Technically old enough for pre-school, so we have implemented some pre-school activities for her. Only about an hour a day to work with her and teach her letters and numbers and how to cut and paste. Nothing too stressful. She was the most excited out of everyone, last night, to start school.

    So that brings us to today…Day 1! Today greeted us with sniffles and sore throats for C! So I knew today was going to be more difficult — he’s tired and depending on Tylenol in order to smile.

    But let’s back up for one second — I dropped off B at Public School this morning, as I have done for the past eight years. But this year was different! I was filled with emotions that I have never experienced before. Contradictory feelings that kind of make me laugh, even as I share them with you.

    As he gets out of the truck this morning every fibre of me wants to grab him back and say “No! Stay! You’re making a mistake — you need to homeschool – just come home!” Instead I plaster my smile on and wish him a “Good day and good luck!”

    Yet, as I drive by the doors to which I normally would drop C, a part of me screams silently “Shit, what have we done! He should go to school! What if I ruin him?!” I grip the steering wheel and talk myself through in my head just as C says, from the back seat “Wow, mama! I don’t have to do that drop off anymore! This is the best day ever!” Small victory for both of us!!

    So this morning was a tough day. More of an emotional turmoil day than I would have ever thought. More difficult to stand in my power of the choices we have made as a family than I thought it would be. But we made it. With lots of Lego breaks (for the littles) and lots of deep breathes (for me), we made it.

    We finished our school day at noon. Yes noon! We didn’t jump into anything too major today as I’m sure the public school system was the same. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself to pump out something major for the first few days. Just getting them to the table and acquainted with the routine is a major win for us for now.

    After lunch we went to the Public Library to pick up our reading material for our Morning Circle Time and part of our Morning Work, which includes Read to Self/Someone.

    Then I treated my kids to the new playground that just opened over the summer. It was barely packed, but still quite hopping with people as it was 32degrees today! Still low crowd numbers was another major win in my books.

    It was truly such a weird experience to “play” today. It was like we were doing something wrong. I felt as though I was looking over my shoulder waiting to justify why my kids weren’t in school.

    Then I realized something. Something so big that I had to share.

    We all carry programs. A program is something we are taught to keep us safe. Some programs are taught to us through the advice of others. And these programs we never have to test out in order to know it’s a good program to have such as “Don’t lick a knife.”

    While other programs are created from our past hurts or from the actions of others. Our bodies create these programs so we don’t get hurt again, such as “Don’t rely on anyone, except yourself”

    As I sat today and watched them frolic through the water, I realized. Public School is just a program we are taught. We are taught that in order to be successful in life, you must sit in a classroom between 9:00 and 3:30. You must sit with children your age. We are taught that you will learn with this group of kids and you will be graded according to the specs and perimeters laid out by the school system.

    Now let me be clear: As I stated before, I still have a son in public school. I have no problem with it. He is surrounded by a fantastic school and this school has always been more than wonderful to us. We , also, experienced outstanding support last year with C and his anxiety.

    And so Public School works! For my oldest son!

    But it doesn’t work for C.

    That being said, I am confident he will be fine with our homeschooling curriculum. I have spent HOURS, literally, on his curriculum. I have spent months researching resources in order for him to have the very best of what’s available to him. We have also been blessed beyond our wildest dreams, with people who are assisting in making this a great year for him. AND I am committed to making this work.

    Public School is the social norm aka The Program we have all been taught. But it’s also not the only way to learn. It’s not the only way to be successful. I am confident C will learn this year. In the most unorthodox way, he will learn. And we will be ok.

    We are schooling differently than I ever thought I would. But he will learn. He will learn his subjects by noon each day. And then he will learn at the park, at the pool, or wherever our afternoons lead us. And I will do it all without looking over my shoulder. And we will be fine. We will stand in our power and stand in our choice. For C and for us all

    Thanks for sharing in our journey!

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    The Participation Ribbon: Don’t Worry Kids Know The Difference

    Participation Ribbon.png

    I was never particularly good at sports. In fact, I never excelled at athletics of any kind. I was clumsy and didn’t possess much rhythm.

    Trust me, I tried to play volleyball or floor hockey, but my fear of getting hurt far outweighed my desire to crush a ball or wrestle my way into the fight for the puck.

    Anyone who has ever taken a floor hockey stick to the knuckles or the shins knows the pain. It stays in your brain forever.

    Each year, as an entire school we competed in Track and Field Day. An entire day dedicated to high jump, long jump, 100m sprints, relay races and other sports.

    I never placed in the top three. Never was I adorned with the coveted red or white or blue ribbon showcasing to my small social nucleus that I was the Top Three in any given sport throughout that day.

    I received a participation ribbon. I can’t recall what colour it was for two reasons.

    1) I didn’t want the damn ribbon. It was a beacon, shining bright pinned to my track suit (yep, we actually wore track suits) declaring to everyone, “Sorry folks, I didn’t quite make it again”

    2) I never saved a single participation ribbon. Not one. Because the value of such a ribbon was worthless.

    So?? What’s my point???

    Memes like this …..is my point!!

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    I have been out of school for 20 years. We have been giving out participation ribbons since I was in school.

    And to the point I made above….we all knew the damn difference between winners and participaters.

    We didn’t need anyone to tell us we didn’t do enough or that we didn’t win. We knew. Just like kids today know!!!

    It didn’t fog our vision and make us think we deserved anything more. We knew we wanted to win the red, white or blue. And we knew what to do to get it.

    In Grade 8, I discovered I could run, not fast, but far. I excelled at 3,000m and 5,000m. Upon my discovery of these events, I finally began to receive the red, white and blue ribbons. I worked hard to win those ribbons. I ran practically nightly in order to be able to run it without dying lol. Oh and guess what…the participation ribbons still didn’t mean anything.

    Someone said to me once, “Allowing them a participation ribbon does not prepare them for life. There are no participation ribbons in real life!”

    Ugh, shit, give me a break!

    There isn’t a Santa Claus and Easter Bunny or, even particularly nice people in real life. But we let our kids all believe the contrary until they decide they are old enough to know different.

    There are, unfortunately, murders and rapes and kidnappings and ugly in this world. Does it mean I’m going to plop my child down in front of CNN, you know … just to get them prepared for the real world. Absolutely not!

    In my opinion, a participation ribbon isn’t making them self righteous little bastards.

    Its teaching them, instead, that if you show up and complete a task people will notice and you will get a small satisfaction from that. The very same satisfaction you get from putting in a day’s work.

    But, just like in real life, if you want to feel the rush of being the best– that’s available too — but you will need to create a goal and go for it!

    Let’s not forget, it’s our job as their parents, their teachers, or their mentors to pat them on the back. To fill their little buckets of self worth so full, so when they get into the “real world” — the world that can be completely unfair and unforgiving — we have built them up enough to be strong in who they are. So they have self worth and self acceptance — so the real world doesn’t break them apart within a few short years of leaving your home of love and nurturing.

    If a participation ribbon does that for my child., then by all means, pin it on him!!

    But of course, this only my opinion from a girl who received partipcation ribbons and as a result was ill-equipped for the real world!! (100% snark intended)

    Ps – I will leave my spanking opinions to myself (for now).

    What’s your thoughts? Do you think a participation creates self righteous kids?? Why or why not?

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    Twelve Types of Parents You See At Dance

    I am a self proclaimed people watcher. Perhaps it’s because of my work as a Psychic and therefore, my ability to read nearly anyone, all the while appearing perfectly “normal.”

    Or perhaps it’s because people are downright fascinating.

    I’ve come to realize that every crowd can be divided into groups. Each crowd has the same “types” of people.

    If you watch. If you sit quietly and just take it all in, you begin to see the same dynamic over and over.

    Within crowds, we all find ourselves within the others present. Our tribe. The people who we resonate with. Those who we understand.

    This weekend was E’s first dance class of the season. And our first dance class ever!

    All us parents dutifully sat shoulder to shoulder politely waiting for our little darlings to complete their 45 minute initiation into the world of dance.

    Once E is no longer visible on the big screen provided, I start to look around.

    What a riveting group of people seated around me.
    So just for a giggle, I divided them into types, in my mind.

    And I thought I would share them with you:

    1) The Purse Protector
    This poor soul is convinced she has something magnificent in her purse that we all would want; her purse is the envy of us all and it’s only a matter of time before someone snatches it.
    As a result, she clutches her purse tightly to her chest, for the entire 45 minutes of wait time.
    She also either complete avoids eye contact. OR will glare at anyone who is a suspected Purse Snatcher.
    Sometimes, if she senses she can trust the crowd, she will place her purse on the seat beside her. Thereby, taking away an available spot for another human!

    2) The Posse
    aka The Click
    aka The Cool Kids
    This is the “in crowd”. Usually consists of no less than five moms. All their daughters dance and their sons play soccer, TOGETHER. And on weekends, they drink wine and host dinner parties while their husbands drink in the garage, TOGETHER.
    They can be found huddled in the corner together sharing coffee and laughing loudly; paying no attention to their dancing child on the TV screens provided.
    When their child emerges from the class, one will state “That was fast” and all will agree!

    3) The Socialite
    She seemingly floats around the room to greet everyone she knows.
    And she surely knows everyone.
    She is mistaken for the studio owner or hostess (or whomever runs the event she’s currently at) but she is actually not affiliated in any way.
    She will eventually make herself comfy seated in The Posse/Click.

    4) The New Mom
    She has guilted herself into registering her child for dance. She is clearly exhausted judging from her sweatpants, slept in pony tail and bags under her eyes.
    She is convinced that if her child misses this, it will surely result in family therapy sessions for her in the teenage years. So she pushes herself to the very brink of her existence.
    She will also have another child on her hip and stains on her shirt. (Child on her hip will be dressed in a sleeper and sporting major bed head)
    This woman needs a friend. This woman needs coffee. Oh hell, this woman would weep for both. Smile at her.
    Encourage her.
    Support her.

    5) The Pro at Being a Mom
    She rolls in with a state of the art stroller housing two tiny babies, while hoisting an infant on her hip, a coffee, a dance bag and a toddler trailing behind her.
    She is dressed in brand name clothes, tasteful makeup, perfectly placed hair and manicured nails.
    The only reason you don’t throat punch her type of perfection is because she has spit up on the shoulder of her shirt and her toddler has decided to throw a full tantrum and you can tell she’s close to tears. Who wouldn’t be. This woman is a god damn super hero! The only reason she’s not wearing her cape is, clearly, because one of her kids barfed on it.

    6) The Soft Talker Mom
    This mom delivers all messages to her children laced with nouns like “Darling,” “Sweetie,” and I’m pretty sure I even heard “My little pigeon poop”. But all are carried out in just over a whisper. This Mom is also prone to frequent eyelash fluttering and nose dabs.
    These types of moms make us question if our own children would respond better if we lowered our vocal octave.
    Maybe they would pay attention.
    Then we quickly decide, “Nah, they would never take us serious.”

    7) The Deer In the Headlights Dad
    Self explanatory: The Dad who has been elected, by his wife, to take his child to dance for, very obviously, the first time.
    They can be found smushed up against the wall doing their best impression of a chameleon.
    Often you will see DITH Dad “saved” by The Socialite. The Socialite will have never met the husband, but absolutely knows the mom (his wife) and the child.
    The Socialite will place DITH Dad’s child in line and fix her shoes.
    DITH Dad will look relieved.
    BONUS: May sometimes appear as Wife is on Holidays Dad. The major tell tale characteristic of a WIOH Dad is the dancer will usually be dressed in an inside out bodysuit with tights OVER (not under) said body suit. In addition to the wardrobe malfunction, all other traits remain the same.

    8) The Ultimate Snack Mom
    This mom’s purse is the size of Costco and equally as stocked. She will continue to pull out Pintrest perfect snacks for her and brood for the entire 45 minute wait.
    I forecast that Snack Mom will become part of the Posse before long.

    9) The Former Dancer
    She sits with poise and straight posture, her head held high and toes pointed.
    She was on her way to the Olympics until she blew out her knee in practice and her dreams shattered.
    She has a daughter now, who she hopes will carry on her dream.
    She sits glued to the big screen as her “Mini Me” learns to tap while holding a scarf.
    The Posse talks about her. But it’s only because she’s so damn elegant and well, they wish!

    10) The Organized Mom
    She comes armed with snacks, toys, iPads, crayons, colouring books, sand toys, blankets, games, playdoh, a puppy, a generator, a DustBuster and who the hell knows what else.
    While her purse size rivals Ultimate Snack Mom, her snacks do not.
    She is more than happy to encourage her children to “share” with EVERY other kid in the entire studio, much to her own kids dissatisfaction.

    11) The Unorganized Mom
    May be confused with The New Mom, but make no mistake these two are completely different.
    She comes BOLTING through the doors ten minutes AFTER class has started only to ask her child, “Where are your dance shoes.”
    She leaves her child inside while she runs back out to retrieve missing shoes from the back seat.
    She returns, this time puffing, to drop her child into class.
    She then hands the infant in her arms the car keys to chew on because she forgot the diaper bag, with his toys and bottle and diapers, at home.
    She stares longingly at Organized Mom’s toy set up and spends the 45 minutes working up the courage to ask if her child can play too.
    She also, silently prays that he doesn’t shit himself while they wait.

    12) The Newbie
    Her chaos started when she made this mistake of waiting until the week BEFORE dance class to get her child’s outfit. She had no idea how popular dance class is.
    She shopped armed with the outfit list provided by the studio. And followed it to the letter. But the trauma from the last minute shopping trip still haunts her.
    She follows all the rules of the studio ie: removing all shoes at the door and having her child’s hair in a ponytail or bun as was suggested in the pre-class email.
    She is secretly annoyed with anyone who thinks they are above such rules and allows their child to wear different outfits than stated or *gasp* pigtails. How dare they?
    She spends her time people watching and trying to figure out what types of people she is now surrounded by.

    Guess which one I am!!Although, I honestly feel like I have been many of them one time or another. In one group or another.

    Which one are you?

    Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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    Why My Husband and I Need To Have A Chat

    A few weeks ago my husband takes the kids out to run some errands with him. He somehow gets convinced to purchase the hilariously, funny “pile of poop” emoji pillow for the kids.

    (Contrary to my first belief — it is NOT a sweet little
    swirl of chocolate ice cream. It is indeed a pile of poop lol)

    My kids are estatic! They burst through the door holding the “prize poop pile” high above their heads and E states proudly “Look Mama, Daddy bought us a SHIT HEAD!”

    I laugh. Loudly! And say, “Umm I don’t think you should be calling it that?!!”

    All the kids together inform me, “Dad said we can as long as we are only talking about the shit head”

    Ohhhhh kaaaayyyy!!

    Two short days later, I take E grocery shopping and just on the other side of the check out stand is a HUGE basket of shit head pillows.

    E can hardly contain her excitement as she shouts from the seat of the cart “Mama, look at all the shit heads in this place!”

    Ughhhhh

    I bleakly look at the strangers in line and try to assure them she’s NOT talking about them.

    Ughhh!! My husband and I will be having a chat!!

    Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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