You’re Going to Miss This! WISE Project 2017 #TenaciousTuesday

I wrote this four years ago but today it feels very relevant, as the world turns as it continually does, life as we know it changes quickly but one thing will always remain the same; the moments that at the time seem like nothing special or out of the ordinary are the moments that we would do anything to have back.

I wish you a Christmas season full of love, laughter and warm memories. xoxxo

Dancing in the rain!

I am sitting here on this frigid and snowy winter night thinking how quickly the moments of your life sail by and all the things you wished away that now you would give anything to have back. When you are five you want to be ten and at ten you just want to be a teenager and when you become a teen you can’t wait to become an adult. Then it happens, you legally become an adult and you just want to be a kid, you want to have the freedom to make your own choices but none of the adult responsibilities that come along with that.

Your parents inevitably told you to be careful what you wish for, they told you how quick it would pass by and how you would long to have the time back. What did they know? Old fogies! THEY KNEW EVERYTHING!

I remember how…

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In the still of the night-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Wellness, cabin in the woods, solar power, eco retreat, mara lake, british columbia, mindful, mindfulness, happiness, gratitude, Wise Project

I woke early to the soft tap of rain on the cabin roof. I boiled water outside on the bbq and made the most fabulous camp coffee ever made. I built a big roaring fire in the wood stove that has quickly lulled my husband back to sleep. My daughter is gently snoring in the loft. I am curled up with a soft blanket sipping coffee on a comfy chair by the fire. I am charmed by the crackle and snap and the serene quiet of this wooded retreat and I am full of gratitude.

I want to go for a quiet walk in the woods and find the little waterfall the owners told me about but I am a bit nervous knowing that there is a mama bear and her cubs close by. The owners of the cabin say they haven’t seen them by their house but they like to eat from the neighbors fruit trees. I would love to see them from a distance but not face to face alone in the woods. I circled the immediate area and delighted in birdsong and the sounds of nature instead of early morning traffic.

This cabin gives the illusion of being deeper into the wild than it actually is. It is a short drive or five minute walk into the woods so once you are here you feel very far away from the stresses of everyday. Our hosts Chantal and John put a great deal of love into this little getaway and it is evident in the little touches. The solar power is something that I wasn’t familiar with but besides a few common sense things it is pretty straight forward. Want not, waste not!

I know it is not my family’s cup of tea and they humor me a lot, but the truth is when you take away electronics, clutter and conveniences we are forced to live in this moment instead of the next one and we connect more as a family. They cannot deny it. The fact that my husband has drifted off into untroubled slumber several times this morning alone speaks volumes.

Last night we had a tasty camp dinner and played 5 second rule and charades. There were a lot of laughs and I was happy for the quality family time. Our daughter  was terrified of going to the outdoor washroom and hadn’t peed once between four and midnight. She is such a city girl. She insisted she didn’t need to pee at all but I dragged her out there and she managed to not get murdered or eaten by bears. She made us barricade the doors so that mice, bears and woods cabin murderers couldn’t get in and thank god because we are all living this morning.

Despite her fears she fell asleep almost immediately after settling down in the cozy loft. I caught her talking in her sleep several times. The still of the night here is very still. Though I was up early because it is light in here with all of the windows I feel extremely rested.

I am immensely enjoying this place. It feels like you are miles away from everything which is clearly more of a comfort to me than it is to my daughter. I do think it is a memory that as an adult she will cherish and hopefully she will take her own family on similar adventures. When you are an adult you really appreciate getting away from everyday worries.

Mara Lake Beach

She was quite excited to go to the beach today and though we originally thought it wasn’t going to be a beach day the sun won it’s battle with the grey clouds around 3 pm and it is quite gorgeous.  Mara Lake beach is located in Mara, between Salmon Arm and Sicamous in the Okanagan/Shuswap region of British Columbia. It  has a white sandbar and deep blue water that is refreshing and rejuvenating. It is the first time my daughter forgot that she doesn’t have wifi. I loved swimming with her and watching her build herself into a sand mermaid. You cannot have that experience in the city.

It is easy to be mindful in a place like this. The slower pace and lack of distractions forces you into it.  The quiet and the soft glow of candlelight is not so bad either.

I would highly recommend this place for a quiet retreat or for a couple looking to reconnect. There is no fridge or stove but there is a bbq with a side burner and the cozy kitchen is quite equipt. Frankly there is a coffee pot and a wine opener so I felt very much at home. I am fascinated by the tiny house movement and the “less is more” lifestyle so this was an enjoyable experience for me.

If you are planning on traveling to B.C. and would like to have a serene stay in a solar powered cabin in the woods check out this wooded retreat in Mara HERE

I talk about the Sweet sound of silence HERE, grab a coffee and have a listen.

Just a reminder that the W.I.S.E. Principles for July are Welcome, innocent, special and enjoy. I hope you are welcoming new and exciting experiences, seeking innocent and guiltless adventures and quiet time to rejuvenate. Treat each moment as if it is special and unique and live in the moment fully before moving on to the next.

Be W.I.S.E. friends. Chat soon.

 

xo Michelle

 

Romeo and “just a minute….” W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Kirk and I

Relationships are hard. I don’t have a PhD but I do have 18 years of experience in the same roller coaster relationship. So trust me, I know things.

We expect a lot from relationships and too often we expect to get more out of a relationship than we put in. The probability of getting credit for more than you have deposited is unlikely. If you put five dollars into the bank you can not withdraw twenty. It is not rocket science. We are all smart people here but admit it, when you got married you expected something a little more Cinderella-ish as opposed to a Hitchcock horror movie where you are constantly fighting for your life. You’ll make it, but not without work and sometimes it is harder than you can ever imagine. Sharing your bed and your bathroom and peeing while your spouse shaves looked a hell of a lot sexier in your head than it does in real life. Nobody told you that you might have to compromise…a lot. Even on stuff like pizza toppings! Nobody told you that you would face more fears and insecurities than you did when you were single. All of the cards we got at our wedding said “have a wonderful life together” They didn’t say that some days your greatest struggles in your relationship and your greatest frustrations would be an opportunity to not lay blame, but to confront yourself. It seems easier to keep a running tally of your spouses shortcomings and invest in the belief that their issues are the only thing standing between you and that fairy tale marriage you once dreamed about but if you allow yourself self awareness you will learn to be more compassionate to yourself, and in turn your spouse. You may not love finding dishes and socks strewn all over the house but it will not break you. You cannot change your spouse, no matter how much you cry, nag, scream or throw things; you will waste so much valuable time trying to change people. If you want change, change yourself!

I am devoted to my husband. I have been with him for almost half of my life. The experiences that we have shared together have been transformative to every aspect of our lives. We started out as these young fools that thought we knew everything there was to know about everything and we couldn’t have been more wrong. As we grew as individuals sometimes we grew apart and sometimes we came together. We didn’t always show each the other the consideration we deserved but somehow we soldiered through to the place we are now and it feels like a good place where my heart is safe and full.

I can’t say why I decided that my husband was the one, why I was willing to put in the hard work and to allow him to slowly chip away at the walls I had built up over the years. I am not even clear if it was a decision at all or if it was beyond my control. I do know that I had no idea what a real adult relationship was supposed to look like and wouldn’t for a very long time. We got married and exchanged rings bounding us together forever and subscribing to the age old notion that two had become one.

The fact that for almost 18 years we have committed to work through problems as they arise (and they keep coming) shows that we truly aspire to achieve full intimacy, the kind that is not corroded by years of stubborn resentment and abundant expectations. I have chosen to evict years of hurt and anger from my brain and live in the here and now. My husband will undoubtedly piss me off again and I will without question drive him to the brink of absolute madness. We will love through it; and move on until the next jackass thing comes up. Ahhh…marriage.

When my children were born there was nothing more miraculous than those experiences. I was overcome with such intense love and emotion for these wondrous little creatures with their perfect fingers and toes, soft bodies and faces that were so animated yet completely void of pretense or fear. I spent endless amounts of time just looking at them, entirely captivated by their very nature to just exist and be happy doing so. It is an incredulous experience to be overcome with a love so pure. I guess it is similar to the way I fell in love with my husband, it wasn’t something that I decided to do, it was unavoidable. I was weakened with this sincere and eager feeling that distracted me day and night. In fact I tried really hard to not fall in love with him, I liked being single and I was pretty determined to not allow the existence of mysterious forces to take that from me. Apparently my defenses were feeble against these enigmatic powers and would continue to be many times over the years when I tried to battle against them. Sometimes love hurts and I admit that over the 18 years of my relationship with my husband I would try several times to struggle against it to no avail. I have loved him through all of the times, even the ones I didn’t like him very much, often neglecting the importance of loving myself.

I would describe most of my relationship with my husband as fiercely passionate, amplified by the fact that my husband worked away for many years and we all know that separation makes the heart grow fonder. My husband is also a Scorpio so he can be ardently intense! However there are also periods of time that we are slaves to the mundane daily tasks of working parents. sometimes marriage is boring, but at a certain point you really come to appreciate knowing what comes next.

Romantic love often thrives on separation because of the fantasies that we create during absence. Unattainable love can be quite thrilling but it can also be impersonal and wrought with bitterness and distress. Though there is an incredible amount of energy in passion, if we do not have the courage to make a real connection, to allow ourselves the abandonment of our mental inhibitions and our selfishness then we will never turn our romantic love into true lasting love.

From the beginning of time there has been darkness at the center of passionate love. In classical myths and literature such as Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights, one possesses their lover completely in death only. Trusting in this type of passion glorifies a lifetime of unhappiness and life is too short to be anything but happy!

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I have been distracted on more than one occasion by the delightful agony of passionate love. We endorse this type of feral romance in books, music and on the big screen everyday. It can be torturous but it makes us feel wildly alive.  Though we use our bodies to connect and relieve loneliness and frustration, believing in the meaningfulness of our rampant romance, we rarely allow ourselves to  be open enough to  dissolve the walls we have built around our heart to protect us from hurt. So when the fantasy starts to fade and problems emerge we are left with the realization that we barely knew the person at all. The truth is we didn’t, we didn’t get to know them and we barely allowed our guard down enough for them to know us. When you look back on failed relationships were you ever willing to be vulnerable enough to allow true love to grow? If you are honest you might be surprised at your answer.

A long term committed relationship takes a certain amount of courage to let down your guard, to love, to forgive and to share your space. As a young woman emerging into adulthood I relied on a deceptive belief that to make someone fall in love with me I had to be everything they wanted. I had to like their music and share the same hobbies and beliefs. Compatibility is based on a lot of things but not on becoming a completely different person to attract another. It is an impossible charade to live up to and very damaging to our spirit to align our thoughts and beliefs with another to a point that we are giving up the beauty of what makes us unique and special.

There are so many things I wish I had known years ago but there is always something to be said for learning the lessons the hard way. The been there, done that, bought the friggin t-shirt approach gets you to the same conclusion eventually. If we have any intention of enriching love and deepening our relationships we really need to begin with ourselves. We are not responsible for our significant other’s happiness, decisions or well-being.  To be in a fully committed and loving relationship we need to relinquish our clingy need for dependency. Relationships thrive when we nurture and support our partner’s without solely relying on them for our contentment and wellness. Chains of love are chains just the same.

I am sure you have all been told on occasion “you cannot love another before you fully love yourself”. You may have even repeated it to a friend when you thought they needed to hear it. How much of what we hear, repeat and even believe do we put to use? I have said that phrase to countless people over the years. I was free with advice that I never seized myself.

When we are in a committed relationship, or a marriage, we do not become one. We share a common space of mutual responsibility, sharing and joy but we still preserve our individual space and we are completely independent individuals. I always wonder if couple’s with joint Facebook accounts truly believe that they are one person, sharing a mind? If you respect and trust your partner that will allow you to afford them independence, than being together and spending time together becomes a choice instead of a chore.

One of the most important things I have learned in my marriage is that love is being present. The most precious gift you can give the one you love is your presence.  Presence in the here and now. I spent a great deal of my relationship stuck in the past, tormenting myself with old hurt and agonizing over the future. I would allow these worries to invade good times and ruin them. To put it in black and white it seems ridiculous but I know a lot of you fail to enjoy the present moment because you are apprehensive about what tomorrow will bring or you are still clinging to the bad thing that happened yesterday or five years ago.

“The past is no longer there; the future is not here yet; there is only one moment to which life is available and that is the present moment” –Buddha

Nothing annoys me more than when I am having a conversation with my husband and I have to keep repeating myself because his attention is focused elsewhere. While researching relationships it was very sobering to realize that I am even guiltier of doing this. If you have ever spent a moment wondering why your significant other doesn’t confide in you more, ask yourself if you are present when they do? Are you playing with your phone, making a mental grocery list, thoughtfully planning what you would do if you won ten million dollars? If you are consistently not present, your lover will bore of confiding in you and you will get the same attention when you confide in them. We want to be treated equally in a relationship but often what we really mean is that we want what we want when we want it with minimal effort on our part. We are setting ourselves up for failure.

Learning to be mindful and live in the present we are not stuck revisiting the pain and the mistakes of the past or torturing our worried minds about a future that is not here yet. Instead we are mindfully enjoying our time together in the moment. It takes a lot of practice to mindfully embrace each moment with a willingness to accept things just the way they are. Once they have happened, we cannot change them but if we allow ourselves we can enjoy the moment or learn from it. Either way we accept the experience.

You can look for love and happiness everywhere which is the equivalent of looking for love in all of the wrong places. Love and happiness resides inside of all of us. My capacity to create joy and be in a healthy, committed relationship comes from loving and accepting myself. Loving myself and investing in myself really does allow me the choice to completely love another.

From the very beginning of my journey to be more mindful and create a life full of happiness and joy I knew that my relationship with my husband would need some examination. Looking back on what I have learned about marriage, from years of being in one, it is amazing how little either of us knew about relationships and what it meant to be in one when we said “I do”. I didn’t even know what the basic principles of a relationship really were and spent years of tortured angst believing it was my responsibility to make my partner happy, instead of subscribing to the notion that I was accountable for my own happiness, as he was his. Building enduring and gratifying relationships depends largely on our ability to extend warmth and kindness to ourselves. It is foolish to expect someone to love us unconditionally if we do not entirely love ourselves!

“They say marriages are made in heaven. So is thunder and lighting”

                                                                                  ~Clint Eastwood

Diary of a Whiny Bitch!

On my way to work a couple of days ago I found myself in tears at a red light; in fact I am tearing up just thinking about it. I was thinking about an argument that I had with my husband that morning that really shouldn’t have been an argument at all, it should have been two people supporting and encouraging each other but it turned into a pissing match over who was busier, whose day was the fullest, who put in the most effort. There wasn’t a winner and nor should there have been and at that moment I was feeling apologetic that those few minutes we are lucky enough to get together in the morning were wasted.

I was sitting at that red light with hot tears threatening to spill down my cheeks and ruin the make up I had carefully applied in the five minutes I had between making sure my daughters were out of bed and had something to eat before I ran out the door for work crossing my fingers that they would get to school on time. The haunting melody to James Blunts 1973 catapulted me out of my trance to answer the incoming call from my husband. 1973 is his ringtone not just because it is the year of his birth but because we have often danced to that the song when it comes on the radio. There just doesn’t seem to a be a lot of time to dance lately.

My husband had been working in the Alberta Oil sands for seven years. That is seven long years, working long hours in extreme weather and living in remote camps away from his family for 250 days out of a 365 day year. Circumstances led to him deciding to come home and try to run his business in Edmonton. It means even longer hours, a lot of worry about making ends meet and a great deal of faith but we all go to bed under the same roof every night and that is huge. I have returned to work full time as well so my job, my volunteer work, shuffling my kids activities and trying to make sure that my house doesn’t resemble a college dorm (and smell like one) gives me very little time to dedicate to my own sanity. My husband’s business is in infancy so he doesn’t have time to help me and I don’t have time to help him.

Insert frustration, lack of sleep, worry, not enough vegetables in your diet, yelling in place of talking, fear of epic mom failures and waking up with gray hairs where your eyebrows used to be and then the waterworks begin.

For ten days I have been promising myself a glass of wine and a kit kat bar. A “give myself a break” reward. In ten days I haven’t found the time. I really need to get my priorities straight!

As soon as I get to that last load of laundry, go on my fourteen year old daughters school zone which I haven’t signed into in six months (she swears she doesn’t have homework) and convince my 9 year old the importance of taking baths and showers I will get to it. The wine is waiting…..waiting….waiting. I hope it doesn’t turn to vinegar.

I was watching a show on my laptop in bed the other night and I remember the days where I used to envy an actresses hair, body or trendy clothes. Now I just envy how clean the houses are on TV. I am getting older by the second and my laundry is piling up, dust is accumulating in corners and the dishes that have not broken are in the dishwasher. The hot bath I had planned turned into a quick tepid shower followed by my oldest daughters forty five minute tropical shower.

I eat left-overs, I wear left overs, I pull grey hair out of places that shouldn’t even have hair, I calculate bills and schedules in my head as soon as it hits the pillows. I dream of days where there is nothing to do. I yell a lot and yet nobody hears me, I go to the store to get milk and come home with an armload of groceries and no milk.

I am a MOTHER, hear me ROAR, Ok I know, it sounds more like a yawn!! It’s 8 pm and I am yawning. My bottle of wine is looking at me disapprovingly, mockingly as if I’ve done it some disservice. I have no milk and no gas and very little patience.

I had a great laugh tonight with a friend about vaginas, penises, pasta salad and poop. I needed it and it is in those moments that I am reminded how lucky I really am. My kids are doing OK, they have food to eat, clothes to wear and they love their mama. Today they even cleaned the house and made cupcakes. I have a husband who works harder then any man I know and still asks me to dance at the end of the day. I don’t have a model’s body, a millionaires money, a show home, the patience of a saint or a mother of the year award but this whiny bitch has five free minutes, an open bottle of wine and 5 confetti cupcakes….dare me???

Love you all and happy Easter xoxox
Michelle

Mom’s everywhere, watch this and then pat yourself on the back because you ROCK!! Especially mine!

A Penny for your thoughts…

MYlife

How it must feel to pack up thirty years of memories into boxes, to decide what gets put in the trash pile and what comes with you to your new home. I remember six years ago when I packed up my house and moved 5300 kms away to Edmonton, Alberta. It was a huge process and whenever I was upset my Mom would say “take the memories!” They don’t take up a lot of room and there will always be a use for them.

I spoke with my Mom today and she is in the throes of packing up thirty years into boxes and I wish I could be there to share in every smile and every tear, I am sure there are many. I can’t even imagine the things you would come across and the memories they would evoke. I jokingly said “Don’t throw anything of mine out!” My Mom said she is sending me a little envelope and I am so excited to see what is inside. When I was home last spring she gave me a package with newspaper clippings, awkward school photos and poems I wrote. You really cannot give someone a better gift then a memory that transports them back in time. I frequently dig out that envelope and thumb through my past and though I always wonder what the heck my mother was thinking with some of those haircuts I was sporting I will treasure the contents of that package forever.

The house my Mom is packing up was my home since I was about 11. I believe we moved the summer I was going into grade six. If I remember correctly my Dad had lost his job and we put our house up for sale and when things took a turn for the better and my parents wanted to take it off the market the Real Estate company held us to the three month contract and though my parents wished it wouldn’t our house sold. I recall my parents apologizing to my brothers and I about the house they were moving to. It was a “fixer upper” and the rooms were much smaller but it had room for my Dad’s business ventures and he could be his own boss. We didn’t really care, it was a roof over our head!

We were about to embark on a humid Nova Scotia summer, we had endless sunny adventure filled days on our minds. Moving was no biggie for us, just a different spot to lay our heads at night!

Our parents even allowed us to attend the same school in the fall, grade 6 for me, grade five for my younger brother and the same Junior High for my older brother. These were the days when kids actually played outside and I really don’t remember it being such a big deal. I am sure it stressed my Mom out a great deal but we all adapted.

We only had a few short years at that house while my Dad was alive but it was great to have him with his business at home. I got to make him and the guys coffee and clean his office which for some reason I thought was super fun! I remember thinking how glamorous it would be to have my own office someday! Ha!

My Dad owned an Auto Body shop and he also had a dealers license so we grew up with several different vehicles. My older brother had a car from the day he turned sixteen and he never quite learned not to get attached. He took a shine to a Bronco Dad had brought home for him and was quite disappointed when he came home from school one day and Dad had sold it and got him something else. Anyone who knew my brother during those teenage years will recall how much he liked his cars. He had a black Monte Carlo that he treated better then anyone in his life. One day he bought another Monte Carlo, black as well but a bit newer, he decided to sell his original love to an acquaintance. Apparently my brother was getting reports that the new owner was driving the car erratically (burning the piss out of it) was the term he animatedly used to describe the treatment of his true love he had sold to another. I shrugged my shoulders when he told me. I really didn’t understand what this had to do with him. My brother couldn’t get past it though so he contacted the new owner and made arrangements to buy the car back! My brother now had twin black Monte Carlos. I secretly hope that in the envelope coming is a picture of me beside one of those sexy black Montes with my long glorious black permed hair and poufy eighties bangs!

I remember how my friends and I used to spray the product called “sun in” in our hair in hopes of getting au natural highlights and lather ourselves up with suntan lotion and lay on the roof of the spray booth during the July heat waves with L.L. Cool J beats playing on my bright orange boombox! In the cooler monthes we used to pack into the tiny hallway of the upstairs to play Risk afterschool and sometimes we carried on the game for days!

I’ll never forget the time my younger brother and his friends decided in their “everything’s a great idea” teen years to take a newly painted car out of the shop and go on a joyride when my parents were away. They got to the bottom of our road and panicked when they thought they saw my parents and put the car in the ditch. They took the smashed car back to the house, put it back in the garage and locked up as if nothing happened. My older brother and mother met us at the bus stop the next day and my brother immediately knew why and tried to walk in the other direction. There were a couple of tense days to follow in that little house. Later that night I tried to sneak my brother a peanut butter and jam sandwich but my Dad intercepted me. Under the circumstances, and I can sympathize with his frame of mind, he thought it best that my brother go without supper for the night! After awhile it blew over and we moved on, as a family in that little house.

Years later after my dad passed away and my stepdad came along to give my Mom a new lease on life and someone me and my brothers could count on always, we made new memories in that little house. We became adults, married and brought our own children there for family dinners.

When my mom and stepdad pack up those boxes I wonder what kind of things they will recall, what stories they will tell. Which ones will make them laugh and which ones will make them cry? Whatever they choose to put in the throw away pile, I hope it’s regret and sadness. I hope they take with them thirty years of memories from that little house and they pack all the love our family has for each other and fill each and every room in their new home with it!

Cheers! I am off now to open my wine and drink my book…or something like that.

xo Michelle

P.S. Always take the memories.

What’s up Buttercup?

Haley visited at work last week, I found this when I sat down at my desk the very next morning. It made my day!
Haley visitied at work last week, I found this when I sat down at my desk the very next morning. It made my day!

I am on week two of back to work full-time and so far I am liking it, even more than I thought. I like having a routine but the problem I am having is trying to fit everything in. With the kids having activities 4-5 days a week something has to give and usually it is housework. At 9 p.m. after I have ran around all day it is easier to close the laundry room door then to actually do laundry.

When I decided to go back to work I went through mixed emotions and I even cried my eyes out at one point. I think the thing that bothers me the most is thinking of the summer and not being able to drop everything and go to the mountains whenever the mood strikes us. There were times Kirk and I would decide to go to the Mountains at 3 am, go to bed till 7 am, wake the kids, tell them the news, pack a couple of bags and drive. I love those crazy, random, spur of the moment trips.

I do however like feeling useful and feeling like all the hours in my day are accounted for. I would like to have just a couple of extra ones that are not accounted for though, a couple of freebies. I also miss aquafit, coffee dates and p.j days.

Today my 9-year-old daughter called me at work crying to tell me that her older sister had eaten all the drumsticks and she didn’t get to have one. I was in the middle of entering schedules into the computer and though it wasn’t time sensitive in my head I had started it and didn’t want to leave it unfinished. I had five minutes to get everything I wanted done so I could chat with my evening staff, pack up and pick up my daughters friend and both my girls and get them to practice on time. This ice cream crisis did not constitute an emergency in my mind and it was a good opportunity to discuss when we call mommy at work and when we don’t. Truth be known if they are just calling to say I love you they can call anytime.

I rushed to practice, I brought the youngest home after hers and left the oldest to her two hour practice while I quickly cleaned the kitchen and folded laundry. I found myself staring into space after I inhaled a chicken sandwich and coleslaw and thought it was a good opportunity for an update. I HAD FIVE WHOLE MINUTES TO MYSELF!!

Yay me.

It’s -22 and I am bundling up to go back into the cold and get my oldest daughter from her roller derby practice. The fun it never ends.

Have a good night xx
Michelle

Help Me to Fly

It’s the last night of my “Dirty Thirties” and I am lying in bed eating a coffee mug full of Ice Cream. The last couple of weeks have been emotionally draining and my initial excitement about turning forty sort of fizzled and died. I am generally a pretty upbeat person who tries to see the good and the lessons in every day problems but there have been a couple of days lately that I had a hard time getting out of my pajamas and I curled up and cried.

I have a fourteen year old daughter.

I could stop here and for some of you another word would not have to be typed without you sighing knowingly and feeling empathy for me…a virtual stranger.

One day the little girl who once looked at me like I was more important than the moon and the stars decided she didn’t like me much. It came out in her words, her actions, her body language and her disrespect. It put a Valley between us, a river of tears and hurt ran through it turning compassion into compulsion. I have always been told that you can only be a parent or a friend, not both! I know my child deserves discipline and boundaries. I know that understanding accountability will make her a better person in the future but every day I miss the little girl who hung on my every word, who thought that the sun shone because of me, that I was responsible for rainbows, cherry flavored jello and all the other good things!

I decided to break the parenting rule, I miss being her friend. I found that it was exactly what we both needed. We needed each other. I found out that my scared little girl who likes to think she is all grown up is feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. At fourteen she is so worried about figuring out life and worrying about the future that she is miserable right now. I let my hurt fool me into thinking that she didn’t need me when in reality the more she pushed the more she wanted me to love her back! She wants to know that I will love her no matter what and when times are overwhelming will I just listen and not judge. Will I hold her and laugh with her and be happy for her? Will I treat her like a young lady but love her like a little girl.

Our expectations cannot be so great that our children will constantly fear disappointing us. Teenagers feel a lot of pressure in today’s society to be smart, attractive and popular and in turn we as parents want to do our very best to make our little humans into people they are proud of. There comes a time when we need to allow them to learn from their mistakes instead of making them fear taking chances. We need to be quietly encouraging and supportive, even if we don’t always understand. We have to remind them that life will happen, ready or not and they cannot plan their entire life in advance. We need to remind them that the biggest regrets they will have in life are the chances that they never took. They will make mistakes, we need to tell them that we will love them anyway.

The best we can do is help them to fly and let them decide where to go!

If you are a parent you need to watch this video. Sometimes the hardest thing is watching our children grow up but I believe that they will always need us as much as we need them!

A ticket to visit Mum