Latest Posts

What I Am Reading Now

A Brilliant Deception

A Brilliant Deception by Kim Foster

As I have written before about the AB&T series, I have loved following Cat Montgomery in her chosen professional career. I have obsessed with the triangle of Cat, Jack and Ethan. Cat has done some pretty dangerous heists and she is ready to say goodbye to that life.

Despite her wanting to leave, she is recruited to retrieve the Lionheart, a legendary medieval ring from the finest gold. It was excavated from the grave of Robin Hood. Cat allows herself to retire with a BOOM.

The pages will melt away as you see what Cat will do for work and love. You might want to check out the first two books for the entire backstory. The trilogy is available at your favorite e-book store.

miss emily_smaller

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

Nuala’s American debut novel reinvents the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s endeared poets, in her own distinct voice through the eyes of the Irish maid, Ada Concannon.

Deep in the heart of Amherst, Massachusetts, Ada strikes up a valued friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted, elder spinster daughter living at home. Emily’s passion for words begins to envelop her. She avoids leaving the family home.

When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, Miss Emily faces her own demons to help her only friend.

This is a refreshing take on beloved poet Emily Dickinson’s life. Its pages flow with a nostalgic, yet contemporary vibe that will shock you.

Come Away with Me

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

This tale will inspire you to order out for dinner, make sure the Chardonnay is chilled, and put a DVD on for the kids.

Tegan Lawson has everything: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next moment, a patch of black ice sends them spinning on life they never planned. She is consumed by grief and anger towards Gabe for causing the accident. He then brings out their Jar of Spontaneity in efforts to help them heal and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Come Away With Me will take you from Thailand to Italy, and even to the surf in Hawaii. Follow along as Tegan and Gabe try to find their way back together and heal from heartbreaking loss.

Will they find love amongst grief?

 

I highly recommend all three books mentioned for your book club. All books are available for pre-order/order at your favorite bookstore.

Summer Schedules: To Have or Have Not?

#KCT 1Holy crap! It is June. The kids will be out of school shortly. With all the year-end activities at school, time flies by. Shoot! I didn’t book any summer camps! I almost drop my iPad as my fingers fly across the keyboard, Googling local day camps for summer. I find so many are fully booked. ARGH!

My pulse is heightened. Panic sets in. I see the past 10 months of the family calendar full in my eye. Most of the days were filled with all the activities, schedules and appointments. June is still just as full. It is exhausting just reading the days of the month.

I flip to July. Its blank spaces shine like the hot summer sun. Flashes of no alarm clock mornings, random park visits and picnics fill my head. No schedules sounds like a perfect dream, one I want for my girls. I will see how far we can make it without a busy schedule.

Wish us luck!

Have you tried a full break from schedules during a holiday time?

 

My Top 10 Happy Places

Us2015There is no question that 2015 has been a rough year for me. When the word ‘mindful’ came up with my health adviser, I knew that I needed to reframe my thoughts and be present. So, I made a list of my top 10 happy places to reference when I need to lean on them.

They are:

  1. My husband’s hugs. Nothing more powerful than to be surrounded with unconditional love.
  2. My writing desk. It was my grandfather’s, and my mom and aunts did their homework on it.
  3. I love swinging with my girls. You always need a reminder that your feet can touch the sky.
  4. A Netflix date with my hubby: couch, popcorn, good wine, and a fireplace is medicine for my soul.
  5. My feet up wrapped under a blanket, and a good book while listening to the rain. Reading is my perfect prescription for relaxation.
  6. I love eating alone in a pub with my journal and a current book. I can be by my own best date.
  7. I adore the sounds of my girls playing and enjoying each other’s company, especially without me.
  8. I love staying still in the sun. Closing my eyes, I can imagine I am anywhere.
  9. Solace to my soul is the melodic sound of my older daughter reading to her younger sister.
  10. I crave to learn about the craft of writing. I used to fidget in class in boredom. Put me in a class of a creative writing, and hours melt away.

 What are your happy places?

 

5 More Minutes, Please. #YMCCommunity

Pacific Ocean When it’s time for Mother’s Day, all the old wounds and the grief come crashing down on my heart and soul. I know it’s not fair for my girls for me, mommy, to be sad. Every year it gets a little easier, and yet a little harder. I give myself permission to let all the emotions come in.

So many loved ones have gone too fast. Never does a day go by that I regret things I didn’t say to those gone too soon.

Let It Go

If a loved one passes too soon, it is hard to let go of regrets on what wasn’t said between you. Even if it was an argument, anger is a result of hurt. You need to not only forgive the dearly departed, but forgive yourself. Once you do that you can let it go and move forward. You can do it.

Talk About Them

There always seems to be a pink elephant in the room when a loved one passes. Their name is never spoken. It is OKAY to speak their name, perhaps share a memory or an anecdote. Look at photo albums and remember the good times. This is how the loved one is kept alive in your heart.

Grieve. Grieve. Grieve.

It may have been over 30 years since my mom died, but I still think of her. I want 5 more minutes with her. I long for 5 more minutes with my Grandmas and my foster mom too.

If I had 5 more minutes them, I would say:

I love you for always.

I’m sorry I never appreciated you enough when you were here.

I can’t wait to see you again.

 Who do you wish you could spend 5 more minutes with? What would you say to them?

 

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye Sucks: A Poem

One minute you’re here

We laughed, we cheered

I turn for a second,

when I come back

you were gone.

I crane my neck searching for you,

not a trace of you to be found.

My heart stalls it’s rhythm

and rips out it’s old wounds.

I ache at future without you in it

I forget how to move my feet,

frozen in time.

My heart begins again.

My breathing returns..

My feet move forward.

Saying goodbye sucks.

Mother Holding Child's Hand

Say Hi

Just as my shoulders relax into the normal position, I see a mom watching us from a corner of the playground. I feel her eyes heavy upon us as I help my daughter on the Monkey Bars. My girl runs off to the slide and I stroll back to the bench to take a break. Knowing the other mom is still gazing at me, I realize that I am in fight mode. Ready to jump at anything she might do or say.

  1. Grab her kid and leave if my girl approaches or goes near her kid?
  2. Wait for their head tilt and whisper, ‘Does she have autism?’
  3. Hear all the stories about how she knows someone with autism or fill the air with diet and vaccine stories?

I truly welcome sincere questions about my daughter. By talking it means educating. Which means, parents talking with their kids. Hopefully it will lessen the stigma. Then, it can be less about the kid at school with a helper and more about their classmate who likes Cars too.

That is what gives me hope in the world, where my daughter and all children grow up in: friendship, kindness and compassion. It is really easy to guide you kids to what they may have in common, not just what is different.

Autism can be very isolating. As my girls main caregiver I miss adult conversation. I crave to talk books, Netflix or even the weather.

I am so lost in my thoughts I didn’t realize that the other mom came over to me. I turned around to face her, with a smile plastered on my face and guard up.

She speaks first, “Hi. I’m Laurie.”

Transitioning Your Special Kid into Kindergarten

A+ Rubber Stamp on Notebook PaperAfter my youngest was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, kindergarten loomed like a big black spinning hole. The next two years were crucial in preparation for kindergarten, in order for it to be successful for her. I built the home therapy team with professionals that I trusted, and most of important that my daughter trusted. I got every referral and jumped on every waitlist for extra resources available outside of her funding.

I found a local pre-school that had an opening for her to enter in at age 4. I secured a support worker to be with her at the pre-school. (My daughter was non-verbal so one-on-one was imperative.) With OT, SLP, ABA, Floortime and every social opportunity we could find, we armed her ready for school.

It was a success! Here is why and my two cents:

  1. I started the school conversation early where she would be attending, asking for short visits if possible.
  2. I took pictures for a storybook to look at throughout the summer: including a desk, teacher, toys, gym, playgrounds and where my child would be at during the school day. I found an anchor toy in her class that became her motivator to visit her classroom.
  3. Don’t let Mama Bear out too early. I realized that by not coming in with guns blazing right out of the gate, we were able to thread a support team on both the school and home front. I asked A LOT of questions. I asked for their thoughts on what her home team can do to help. Kindergarten teachers are experienced. Write out a list of questions before any communication or meetings. You wont be the first parent to have a list. Ask if half days are an option. We did, and saved therapy sessions at home for after lunch. Full Day Kindergarten plus two hours of home therapy will make any kid burn out. Ask if you can talk to another family from the school as well. You can learn a lot from those who have been through, and are going through the system. We started out by having her go to school for one hour until she made it clear that she wanted to stay longer.
  4. Save Mama Bear for the red flags. Schools are there to help your kid, so having a calm presence to start will help everyone be on the same page.
  5. Enjoy the prep time. It will be okay. Show your kid pictures of when you were in kindergarten and share some stories.
  6. Ask the school if one last visit in late summer is possible. It would be great to reaffirm what is happening, so your kid can get excited about what is to come.
  7. Get a first-day fun outfit for your kiddo. Pick out a favourite character backpack and lunch kit. Pack certain yummy snacks only for school. It helps for their visual cues on what is to come as well.

The “What-ifs” are scarier than reality. You have done well in doing what you can to raise your child. It will be okay. You will start to breathe easier after the first week. And by all means, treat yourself to the first-day hot coffee/tea at your favourite spot, ALONE.

How I Survive Mother’s Day

cropped-me-and-my-mom.jpgThe bright morning light awakens a new day. I am standing in the kitchen, heavy hearted, facing the calendar. With a long deep cleansing breath, I flip the calendar from April to May. The date stares out at me as if it had a spotlight on it. 30 years ago I celebrated my last Mother’s Day with my mom.

Since then, I have spent years blurring out the day by taking extra shifts at work, or by many other self-made distractions. It was just another painful reminder that my mom was not here.
Mother’s Day became a new mixed bag of emotions when I became a mom. One half of me craved the joy of celebrating with my girls, and the other half still wanted my mommy. How can I miss someone I barely knew?
I posed the question to my social media circle whose community embraced me. The virtual loving support I received from cyberspace broke the isolating wall that surrounded my heart since I was ten years old. Many other motherless moms made themselves known. We continually keep in contact, especially when anniversaries and Mother’s Day approaches.
The feeling of belonging made me more empowered to do more things positive to celebrate my mother, instead of grieving all the time. She loved purses. I remember playing with her boxes of purses while she napped post-chemotherapy. My girls now play with mine. Every weekday afternoon I watch The Young and The Restless (her favourite show). It makes me feel connected to her.
I see my oldest daughter looking at my childhood album. I sit beside her and tell her stories of when I was younger. She asks questions about my mom. I find myself smiling when I share reflections of her grandma. My mom was a school teacher. Subsequently, I had to do homework right away and never leave it to the last minute. My daughter closes the book and goes to play with her dolls.
Feeling lighter, I move on with the morning activities. I realize that I need to share with both my daughters their grandma. Just the past five minutes reminds me that there were good times to cherish. I spent years in anger that she died. I still get emotional at the injustice. It never changes anything. She is still gone.
I owe it to my children to cherish my time with them, because life is too fragile. The passion to repair my story by writing new chapters motivates me to be the mom I don’t have anymore. That is the best gift I can give myself this Mother’s Day.

Wishing you the best wishes and dreams this Mother’s Day and every day.

The First Motherless Mother’s Day

I am standing in the hallway with my teacher, who is explaining to me that I can do my book report in the library. I shake my head saying that I want to stay in the classroom.

“The class is working on their Mother’s Day projects. I thought you would be more comfortable doing something else.” He can’t even look me in the eye.

I mumble. “Ok “and slink back into the classroom to get my notebook and book materials. I avoid the looks from the other students. My cheeks feel like they are bright red. I close the door behind me and walk down the hallway to the library. I look around and find a quiet corner to work. Spreading out my things I feel so alone. With that, I miss my mom so hard it hurts.

She has been only gone less than a year and it feels like it was yesterday when I last saw her. She was in her hospital room and couldn’t talk. Breast cancer took her from me and my sister. I pause to wonder what the rest of my class is making. I remember making her a homemade card in my Grade 5 art class. I gave it to her at dinner which she loved. I didn’t know it would be our last Mother’s Day together then.

As if overnight , my friends faded into the sidelines. I was the freak who didn’t have a mom. No one knew what to say or do when they were around me.  My teachers excused my poor grades because my mom had died.  I try to smile my way through the days when all the while I just want to go back to how life used to be.

A classmate enters the library to tell me I can come back. I realize I never even did any work. I collect my books and follow him, enter the classroom behind him. My eyes dart around the room to see what they had made. I couldn’t see anything. It was as if Mother’s Day didn’t exist anymore.

I guess it doesn’t for me anymore.