Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. 👵

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🤦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. 🕊️

Father’s Day 2020 – Part 2

Happy Father’s Day to all those Dads out there. I hope your day is special.

A lot of men, like my husband Dan, are ready to marry in their mid-thirties.
Dan was even ready for a family (fortunately for me – because I had one).
A couple of years later Dan was ready for his dog Casey, followed a few more years later by our first grandchild, Genevieve. Genie and Grandpa shared a special bond from the day he was in the delivery room to welcome her into the world. Over the first few years, Genie spent so much time on Grandpa’s shoulder that a few years ago he got his one and only tattoo – a ladybug on his left shoulder. He got it for Genie to remind her that in good times and bad, happy or sad, his shoulder would always be there for her.

Genie has been followed by eight more grandchildren – all of whom Dan welcomed with open arms and a loving heart.

Rory (with Genie & Kat)
Gabby
Brook
Maddy & Prim
Cousins Dominic and Lucas
Last but not least – Cason

Having a family is great, except for the times when it is hard, and we have had our share of both with our family. Dan is there, in good times and bad. I cannot imagine doing this without him. He makes the good times better and he makes the bad times tolerable. I love you Dear. Happy Father’s Day!

I can’t let Father’s Day go by without honourable mention to a few more fathers today.

Mark with Erin and Dominic
Son Dan with Lucas
Son-in-law Charlie with Maddy
And my Dad (with Danny, Mark, Jennifer & Mom)

Father’s Day 2020

Dad and my son Danny

My father was a good man.  He was kind and peaceful.   His life was never easy but he dealt with it – whatever it was. 

Dad was born premature, weighing one and a half pounds.  His father bundled him up, put him in the sleigh and hauled him off to town to be baptized.  On the way to town, the sleigh hit a rut and overturned.  Dad was thrown into a snow bank.   He survived (obviously).  If I know my Dad, he was laughing when they found him.

When my Dad was old enough, he was sent to a convent where his classes were taught in French.  When he was in grade two, his mother suffered a serious stroke.  My Dad went to work for a storekeeper, spending his days sitting in the basement of a store removing eyes from potatoes.  His father needed help feeding his family and paying medical and care bills for his mother.  As always, Dad did what he could do to help. 

As a teenager, Dad went to the city to work with his brother, Herman.   A few months later he returned home with Herman’s body.  Herman had died a victim of tuberculosis.  Dad was by his side, holding his hand when he passed away – then he brought him home to be buried in a grave marked by a concrete gravestone that he designed and made for him.

Dad’s grave in front of the cross he made for Uncle Herman

After Herman’s death, Dad stayed home to help the family.  He became a licenced bartender and a true craftsman at applying stucco.  Although his formal education had been so short, Dad never allowed that to limit his options.    After my parents married, Dad went to work at an Airforce training base during World War Two. (At five foot nothing and color blind to boot, the army wasn’t looking to send him into battle).  After the war, my parents moved up north, where Dad supported our growing family with his stuccoing skills.  When they moved to southern Manitoba, he entered the auto body trade.  When I was three, we moved back to Saskatchewan. My parents purchased an autobody shop which they ran until they retired.

Dad, my niece Teenie (Jeanne Christine) and I

After retirement, my parents enjoyed a few easier years.  They would visit my siblings and I on a regular basis.  At my home, Dad could always find yard work to keep him happy and occupied.  When we moved to a home with a large, neglected yard, Dad was in his glory for years!  

In 1989, when Dad was eighty years old, just months after celebrating his fiftieth anniversary with Mom, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the sinuses.    He passed away four years later, on December 17th, 1993. Losing a loved one is always difficult, watching my Dad waste away for four years from this insideous disease was heart wrenching  beyond belief. It was also incredibly inspiring and such an honor to witness the strength, grace and dignity that he displayed throughout his final years.

Final visit with Dad. He was joking about running out of time before Mom had the camera focussed.

Rest in peace, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Fyi Father’s Day is on June 21st. At least one of my sons keeps track. Same son who informed me I was 59 when I was pretty sure I was 48🙄

International Day of Hugs

Today is the International day of hugs.  I have to admit, I am not the most touchy feely person and I am rattled more than a little when someone spontaneously hugs me, especially if it is someone I have just met or someone I do not know very well. Occasionally, someone will ask if it would be ok to hug me. I generally agree although there have been times when I have just declined with a simple “No, I’m good”. Actually it was one time and he was a pre-plan funeral salesman. It was just wierd.

Despite my reluctance to hug willy-nilly, there have been a number of studies that have shown that hugging has potential benefits – physically and emotionally. Newborns, are known to thrive when the they are hugged, compared to those who are deprived of such physical interaction. The same theory must also be popular with seniors. I am pretty sure one of the prerequisites for working in a nursing home is the ability to pass around hugs like hard candies – which is another story of mine altogether.

I honestly do admire people who are capable of giving out spontaneous hugs to anyone in their immediate vicinity. I had a brother-in-law who gave the best bear hugs. He was an amazing man with a big heart and a total joie de vivre. Unfortunately, he died in a vehicle accident many years ago. The likes of Paul are few and far between. My kids are all good and natural huggers but they are all a little cautious about who they hug. My grandchildren hug anybody, their friends are huggers, it is somewhat of a ‘thing’ with the lot of them.

& kisses

Happy ‘International Day of Hugs’! It is only one day of the year, make the most of it.  Hug your mother, your friend, your sister, or your dog. Hug a stranger – but like not me. I’m good🤗

Peace

There are a lot of posts on social media these days about the power of happiness. Happiness is today’s key to prosperity, health, love – all that is to be strived for in this life. I have nothing against happiness. Being happy is pleasant, but personally I am a huge fan of peace, above all else.

I love silence. There is nothing as soothing and spiritual and beautiful as silence. Peace exists in silence.

I love the infinite depth of peace, that feeling of absolute immortality.

I love the security of peace. I cherish opportunities to spend peaceful, happy, quality time with loved ones.

I love the kindness of peace. I love those moments that touch your heart with sweetness.

I love the simplicity of peace. I love how easy it is to focus and think and create when there is peace.

I love the strength and power of peace. I love the ability to rise above all challenges to the place where everything is natural and stress free.

Wishing all a beautiful, happy and peaceful day💖