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Dear Mom May 11, 2014

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Mom,

   I thought about wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day on Facebook, but you are not on Facebook, so you would have to hear about it from someone else.  Instead I will do it here.  Because you DO read blogs.  And I believe, if I bother to write in mine, that you read MY blog.  🙂

   I am thankful to you for the way you mothered me.  I am thankful for you being a stay at home mom, in a world where it was not the norm anymore.  You taught me that regardless of the poor pay and lack of social credit, that it IS a worthy endeavour.  Although I felt horribly deprived NEVER having a house key (I NEVER needed it!), I definitely benefited in other ways.  I got to have my mom look after me when I was sick (and the odd time too stressed out to go to school).  I remember sitting on a bus on our way to a field trip and I was SO proud that my mom was a parent volunteer.  I was always excited to have you at the school serving my classmates and I hot dogs.  I was less excited to have you at school for fluoride day, but that wasn’t your fault 🙂  

  I didn’t know growing up, but I have come to see, parenting my own ADHD LD kid just how much MORE you did.  School meetings advocating for me (and my siblings), and ultimately teaching me to advocate for myself, and now my own child.  It has really been the school of experience that has showed me the time, effort, research, and tenacity that was involved in that role.  Still today you are doing it, as you talk me through some of my plans, and gently guide me.  And you are still teaching me the finer art of advocacy as I advocate for my child in a crazy school system that does not meet his needs.

   You have taught me to care about people, and to listen to people, and Dad and my husband might also say how to talk to people.  And talk, and talk, and talk.  And although it is fun to joke, the fact is that while you are talking you are listening, and while you are listening you are caring, and you have a way of following up on things, and being able to talk them out to a resolution.  I remember days in the rough storm of teenagehood when you would sit on the kitchen floor with me with tea, and we would talk.  Now my oldest, and sometimes my second oldest, while in the throws of an emotional storm will say “I want to talk to Nana.”  I believe that it isn’t because they think you can change anything, but rather they know you will listen, and will likely understand them.  I am glad that my children have you as a sounding board.

   As much as you listen to my kids and hear their woes, it is wonderful how you don’t undermine me.  You always respect me as their parent, and in those times where you are not sure you agree with my approach you always bring it up gently and privately as to not create division.  I am constantly learning how to parent from you, but I am also learning how to grandparent, and I can only hope to have half the grace and wisdom of you.  

   That said it is always an encouragement to hear you say that you wish you had done something the way I am now, and you must know that any of those things were ultimately due to your example.  Thank you for the example you were (and are) to me.

   As I prepare to spend my Mother’s Day surrounded by my brood (who have been whispering and scheming…), yours is more scattered.  I hope that through all the cards, visits, and calls, that you remember that we all love you.  Thank you for the giving us the gift of you, your time and your energy.  Thank you for continuing to give that to us whenever we need it.  

  All this to say – Have a very Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you for being you.

 

Days Like This February 10, 2014

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It is days like today that are just plain hard to get through.  Between it being difficult to sleep with a little keeping me up last night, an early morning that I slept late on, kids were antsy from too much time in the house (-15C makes outdoor fun not… fun), and just running late on everything today, finding out that I missed an appointment with a friend this week, and finally cancelling a Dr’s appointment for this afternoon when it was obvious that it was more stress than it was worth.  Oh sigh!

It’s on days like this that I really wonder how to stop the spiral.  How do you press reset and get back on track?  Seriously – if anyone reads this PLEASE post your ideas!  Today I resorted to chocolate covered almonds (and now the diet is out the window for today!), and going to bed with the hope that tomorrow is a new day (hopefully preceded by more sleep), and to try again.  

No. Really. I HAVE ADHD… January 30, 2014

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I was at an appointment today and found myself in a conversation that left me feeling like banging my head against a brick wall.  It started as a conversation about caffeine, and its use as a performance enhancing drug.  I commented that I believed that I rely on it to self medicate as I have attention deficit.  In response someone in the room asked me how many kids I have.  “5”.  They inquired how many were under 10 “4”.  To which they said “I think THAT might be why you need caffeine.”  And a discussion ensued on how tiring children are, and how he feels like he has ADHD somedays.  

Whether it was implied on purpose or not, I was left with a sense that my claim of ADHD was overstated, and that all my trouble staying on top of things could be explained simply by how many children I have.  I watch people with similar sized families, and I WISH this was true.  I have to say that I have gone through various stages in my life of accepting my ADHD as a part of me and how I operate, and writing off my symptoms as other things.  The fact is that I have always had it, and the nature of it is that I always will, and that although I can control a number of things in my environment to make it less problematic, that I need to function in the world where it is not the norm.  Someone who simplifies my thought processes or behaviour down to the number of children I have clearly has no clue.  

I showed my husband this video I saw on Facebook the other day…

My husband and I laughed, because many of these things are very realistic.  The part at the end when the friend suggests that she might have it – that is so common and true that it is almost not funny.  It is like me stubbing my toe and saying I am just like a guy with no leg.  Being busy is not having ADHD, nor is being lazy, or hyper.  ADHD does not just pop up here and there to make my day more interesting.  It is there all the time.  It is why days will go by where I won’t eat until dinner because I get distracted and forget, despite feeling physically ill.  It is sitting trying to figure out what to do for supper and not being able to THINK at all through the chitter chatter – even if in the next room.  It is standing in a room, trying to force yourself from curling up in a ball because it is a mess, and you can’t think of how to start to clean it.  It is impulsively agreeing to projects that are too big, and spending hours neglecting your life, up until 5am working to get it done so you don’t disappoint someone, or worse – fail.  It is NEEDING appointment reminders because I rarely am in tune with what day it is, and WILL miss it.  It is looking at a form and not being able to focus on the fields I need to fill out, or figuring out which one to do first.  It is spending your time being constantly pulled from one thing to the next, like you are being pushed down a river with a heavy current, and not finishing anything. 

The list can go on and on.  Although my husband and I can tell you that those things are very true, I am not keen to.  I don’t want people to know that I am that close to failing on any given project.  I don’t want to hear about how you think ADHD is made up to handle troubled kids in school.  How you didn’t think adults had it.  About how you thought you had it when you had trouble studying for your Chem320 exam.  Lastly, the last thing I want to hear is that the only reason I have trouble keeping up in life is NOT the Dr diagnosed ADHD that I have had my whole life, but rather that I have too many kids.  If that was my problem, I sure wish someone could have told me in university.  Maybe I would have finished ONE of my three degrees that I started…

One of Those Days January 9, 2014

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You know the days when you are out on your own with 5 kids and people stop you to say how wonderful the children are, and how wonderfully behaved they are?  This was not one of those days.  Today was one of THESE days…

Image

Now – there was certainly some mess there before the untimely arrival of the tree in the middle of the living room.  This was a result of none other than Wild Man (who else?) attempting to turn on the Christmas lights that he has been told over and over and over, and over to leave alone.  Sadly one of the casualties was Monkey Man’s treasured ornament given to him by his grandmother several years ago.  It was a glass ball with kids playing pond hockey in Canadiens sweaters.  There were more than a few tears over that.

This was after a HORRIBLE day of the kids being wild, and me being unable to cope or keep up with it.  Hardly a surprise.  Sigh. Along with soothing myself with adages that tomorrow can only be better, I am finding that I NEED to find a new, creative way to deal with the wild misbehaviour.  It is not a usual thing, but it is becoming too frequent, and breaking too many hearts.  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Snow Day! January 7, 2014

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When I was growing up in rural southwestern Ontario, just on the southern edge of the snow belt, there were few more highly anticipated days than the snow day.  With Monkey Man attending school, the tradition of hoping for snow days every time there is a flake in the sky has been passed on.  This winter he got more than he could have hoped for.  Just as the Christmas break was ending a blizzard hit, we only narrowly got home from visiting family before it really settled in.  On what was to be his first day back the school after the two week and one day holiday, the first of the snow days was announced.  Oh the rejoicing!  It was CERTAINLY a snow day.  The snow fell and blew, and the temperatures plummeted.  All the snow day fun was indoors this time!  Having gone to bed, and feeling more ready, perhaps, to go to school today – We got the message “Jan. 7, 2014 – ALL buses have been canceled and ALL schools are closed due to drifting snow, high winds, road closures and extreme cold.”

Growing up this was like the impossible dream!  To have TWO snow days sandwiched up with Christmas break!  Again – it was an indoor day, as the temperature with windchill was -40C.  In fact it was a snow day for everyone, as all the roads in the county were closed.  That was not as fun for the adults.  We are getting low on groceries, and the Husband is more than antsy to be at work doing work things.

For the first time ever, that I am aware, I do believe Monkey Man went to bed hoping to get to school tomorrow, and the Husband is gathering up things to be ready to head out in the morning for the conference for work that he so desperately wants to be at.  As much as I applaud their optimism, I fear it will be for naught as the county road department tweeted

and

and

No.  I don’t think the roads will be open when the Husband has to leave at 6am, and I don’t think the roads will be open when the school is making the call at 6:30am, and I think we have at least one more day of family togetherness before things get back to normal.

Look for more thrilling adventures tomorrow, if the snow day pans out, while we ‘take down the Christmas Tree’.  Expect the cabin fever to play a major role.  🙂

Round and Round we go… August 3, 2012

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It has – as usual – been a while. It isn’t the usual too busy, too harried, doesn’t get to the blog too long though.  It is “I don’t want to do that right now.”  There has been some heavy duty hurting going on, and the ever constant search for joy in a world of pain.

One month plus one day of Hannah’s due date I miscarried.  Again.  This time it was early.  6+5 days.  Hardly the same, but the kick to my gut is the same.  Disappointment is the same.  Regrets are similar.  Loss is loss.  It isn’t just the loss of a baby, though – it is the loss of a dream.  Here we have been hoping for more children, and we are hearing a resounding “No” – or “Not yet”  That pains me – but I can’t help but see some of the wisdom in it either.  I can say that the baggage I have is a result of the losses, but if I am really honest with myself I can see the issues with what I have set as my timeframe.  MY timeframe is bound to my age – ironically.  I know I want more, but I know I am getting older, so that clock is putting the pressure on with the TICK. TICK. TICK.  The fact is that I am not THAT old, and the irony is that I am named after a woman who was barren through all the traditional childbearing years, and laughed when in her old age she heard she would have a child.  Yet she did.  I am confident I will too.  I doubt that God would set this need in my heart without a plan to see it through.  Trust, trust, trust.  Yes.  Trust.

I trust that God has the souls of my lost children, I trust that God has a plan for me, and I trust that if I submit to his will that I will see the fruit.  I will be blessed.  Today I pray that my path will be straight.  That my eyes will be on him. That I can trust in the goodness he has for me.  That I will carry out his plan in my actions.  I THANK Him for His presence, guidance and care.  I thank Him for the hard things, just as I do the easy.  I thank Him for all the situations He has put me in – good and bad – so that I can become the person He created me to be.

And it took me a while to get to the place where I was okay with saying that and meaning it – but I am there now.

Back To Reality March 12, 2012

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Between my own drive to take the time and space that I needed and the nature of our family circumstances at the moment, I was able to just step out of life and deal with me, and my emotions, and Hannah’s birth head on.  As the last of the big ‘first time back at’s wrap up I am noticing that I took my time, and dealt in my way with what I was being handed – but that others didn’t – certainly not in the same way.  I don’t know what I expected, but it isn’t really what I get for the most part.

Some people are aware of the obscure (to them) emotional path I took as they were in and out of the house, connecting on Facebook, or reading my blog.  Others have either not had access, or chosen not to connect with me – and that is where the biggest gaps tend to be.  Maybe it isn’t so much whether they know MY journey through pregnancy/infant loss – but rather where they are on theirs.

Maybe they are one of the ones who don’t have a personal story of loss, and have just seen it in others, or only in their deepest fears.  Then there are people who had a loss, that was glossed over, and they never got to FEEL it – roll it around and make it into something they could use in their life.  Then there are people who have lost and feel it so deeply that they know only a deep pain that they try to never let see the light of day… Oh who am I kidding – I can’t describe all the manifestations of this that I have seen – it is an endless ocean.

What I have realized is that even though I have taken this cup of pain, and let my God turn it into a blessing for me – that I can’t expect others to have done that.  Or to understand it.  I have to face the reality that the same birth that I look back on with a smile and joy – that for others it stirs up pain, fear and tears.  The same experience that I count as gain, others see as loss – stealing speech from their lips, and bringing tears to their eyes.

When I run into this emotional incongruence I find myself smiling awkwardly and fumbling through their sadness, and I have never been quite sure what to do with it.  What I figured out today is that I have to accept it as their sadness.  Maybe it is sadness over Hannah’s death, or maybe it is but an echo of their own pain.  It is not mine reflected back – but their being offered forth.  Knowing that, I can give the comforting hug, and I can look them in the eye and say it is okay.  I don’t need to fear their sadness any more than my own – I can offer it all up to God and ask him to heal it.

To be honest I have a harder time with the people who won’t talk to me at all.  The people who avert their gaze, and avoid conversation or connection.  I know that it is driven by pain, but it is one that is being with held, and with it the person feeling it.  But again – I need to take that pain and offer it up for redemption.

Basically – I thought I was going back into the world that I left – but I didn’t.  It is a new one where emotions are more raw – pain is closer to the surface – and in case I didn’t shed enough of my own, tears are shed for me, my baby, and for the journey I have started out on.  BACK to reality is a misnomer.  Rather it is ‘Finding A New Reality’.

With that realization I pick up Hannah’s strand and keep weaving it into the fabric of my life.  A place that honours the life that was, and is – the change in me that she brought, but understated and gentle – as to not demand attention as soon as you see me.  I sit and survey the creation happening before my eyes and I smile.

Hannah February 20, 2012

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Today I birthed a tiny little girl.  She was not quite 15cm long, and had laid lifeless in my womb for about 3 weeks.  I never met her face to face, but shared her blood.  Today I saw her for the first time.  Not that long ago I thought that moment would kill me.  It didn’t.  She was amazing, and her body was intricate. I was ready to move on.  I am ready to let go.

I chose the birth for my little girl to be at home, and with the support that I wanted.  Today I birthed my daughter Hannah Heaven.  Today I said good bye.

Oooohhhhh. Now I get it… November 3, 2010

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There was a time that my idea of being green was putting on a green shirt.  Oh!  You meant environmentally friendly?  Um….  I knew about recycling, but hated the idea of SORTING my GARBAGE.  Then I moved to a town, and became friends with granola types.  You know the ones…  Recycle everything, only buy organic, from there the spectrum widens out, and it is a bottomless definition.  One of my friends stopped eating meat becasue it isn’t a ‘green’ food.  One lived in a yurt – got water from rain and the river, and lived without things like hydro, and other modern conveniences.  One tended to be involved in all those ‘grassroots’ groups that granola’s tend toward.

So how far down the rabbit hole am I?  Well – much like my homeschooling method, I am…  Eclectic.  I am big on natural birth, and infant feeding, homeschooling, organic unprocessed food, recycling, composting, reducing, reusing, fair trade…  Most recently I have learned more about natural medicine, and about the evils of all things plastic, and been trying to eradicate it from the house.

About six months ago I read a friends post about not being able to sustain the lifestyle of a granola.  At the time I thought “What!  She is abandoning a crunchy lifestyle!”  Okay, so she wasn’t the one that was living ‘off the grid’, but she was surrounded by granola’s, and seemed to think that most things were a good idea.  This friend is (not to offend any other friends I have but…) is one of the most practical people I know.  Although I can’t adopt everything she does (mostly because that would be irritating 😉 ) she is ONE friend I would like to be more like.  She is practical, positive, and has been nothing but a blessing to my life.  In addition to appreciating a similar lifestyle, she is Christian, and she is a flybaby.  I read this post, and I couldn’t see it, and wondered how this would play out.

Since this post that she wrote, I can honestly say that I have not seen her – between us having lived in another province when she came to this realization, and having not been able to catch up with her since moving back, I am not sure how this new philosophy translates into her lifestyle.  What I know is that this family invested a lot into bicycles for the bulk of their transportation (another way I would LOVE to emulate her…).  Have they tossed the bikes out for driving the family van everywhere?  Nope.  I don’t know for certain what didn’t make the cut, but here is what I do know…

She made the decision to cut the crunchiness for practical reasons.  She has not changed who she is (from our Facebook, Twitter, and blog connections).  Exercise, and biking is still important.  Kids are still important.  Their education, happiness, and character development is still important.  Yup.  She hasn’t changed.

After the last move where the ‘company paid for everything’ and I realized that it is somehow still REALLY expensive.  Add to that the expense of trying to live green, and we were clearly buckling under the pressure.  Trying to replace all the plastic, and replace things with ‘greener’ alternatives – we couldn’t do it.  Not on my husbands pay, and not with the end of his contract looming over our heads.

Oooohhhhh.  Now I get it…  Are the things I want to do noble?  I think so.  Are they all doable?  No.  Somewhere you have to draw your line in the sand, and say “This is what I can do.”  For us that means that we will be storing food, and other stuff in plastic.  It means that I will buy the best food I can with the money I have.  It means not throwing the baby out with the bath water.  I think my blogging friend would be proud.  Well.  Really I expect her to say ‘It’s about time!’  Now I will spend the next few months figurng out what this realization DOES look like for our family.

Recently I have had the opportunity to become friends with a person online who is the poster child for the dark side of activism, among other things that she never asked to be a part of.  It has made it clear to me that bandwagons can leave a lot of destruction and carnage in their path, and we need to consider that when deciding which ones to be a part of.  I am sleeping better at night knowing that I am moderating myself a lot more closely.

Birdy!  Wait up!  I’m jumping off too!

Getting Down To Business October 18, 2010

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As you can tell by the throngs of people who visit, never mind follow my blog (trust me – your it), this is not a super popular blog.  Why should it be, really?  My commitment to write has been sporadic at best, and to be honest I have done little to increase my readership, short of whining to the empty void of the internet.

Okay, I USED to have it linked to my Facebook – but decided that I might not want people I know reading EVERY post.  So I quit that.  If my Facebook people didn’t hunt me out, they think I just didn’t post at all.  I have never referred it on Twitter – I guess I feel like maybe it doesn’t measure up to those that I read from the Twitter crowd.  From “Natural Mom Loves Prada” to “The Feminist Breeder“, there are some REALLY good blogs out there, who have important things to say, and in a great way (I still love the TFB entry that broke the internet – who doesn’t!)

Long and short of it is I have not spent time dedicated to writing.  I have not put in the work to make mine a blog that people seek out.  Why am I going on about this?  I was looking at signing up for getting free stuff from a company for reviewing their stuff – who wouldn’t like stuff.  In the process of signing up it asks what your blog is about.  EEK!  Looking back, large spans are about… nothing.  There is nothing there.  No entries, or one that sucks – sure there are a few gems, but not many…

Finally I decided that I need to not sign up.  I need to spend some time working on writing more often, and increasing the quality of the writing.  I need my blog to say something about me, other than I am flighty (because I don’t think I am).  So.  My gentle Reader(s).  I am going to try to start writing more, and am going to work on making it mean something.