Three Little Birds-W.I.S.E Project 2017 #tenacioustuesday

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A few years back, possibly more as I am at the age that time is flying by in warp speed; I used to love the waterslides at World Water Park. They were exhilarating and I felt a sense of freedom and abandon as I was rushed feet first at insane speeds into the cool water. With age comes an awareness of our mortality and that feeling that we are invincible begins to fade away. Some people are very successful in defeating that feeling and proving that age is nothing but a number but as I stood at the top of the slide uneasily awaiting my turn to go on the slide aptly named “Are you fucking kidding me?” I imagined nothing but terrifying things and plunging feet first to my tragic death. My turn came way before I was ready and as I pushed off the side I was thrust into immediate darkness as the sides of the slide were completely enclosed. I struggled with several feelings that rushed to me all at once and though my mind and my body seemed to be going at a wild speed, some things seemed to be happening in slow motion. I coped by balling my hands into fists and squeezing until I was white knuckled, closing my eyes and bracing for the worst. Seconds passed which felt like years and I decided that if I was really going to die right now this would be the last exciting thing that I ever got to experience. I willed myself to open my eyes and embrace the darkness, I took a deep breath and un-clenched my fists and felt my body being rocked from side to side, the rushing water lifting me to the right side and then the left. Within seconds my entire body was dropped into cool water, rushing around my body and head. I felt this feeling of relief mixed with euphoria that filled my lungs and my limbs and shone through my heart. I didn’t just survive, I thrived. I had stared my fear in the face and on the other side of my fear was joy.

So many times over the years I have told my daughters that joy is on the other side of their fears. My oldest seemed to be so unwilling to embrace uncertainty and looking back seemed to have all sorts of irrational fears. Little things would cause an argument or a great deal of anxiety but for the most part she seemed like a loving, smart and athletic girl who had big plans and hopes for the future.

At ten years old when I couldn’t help her with math because she became too frustrated, once flipping the coffee table over or kicking the walls in her bedroom repeatedly when put on a timeout I assumed that it was goddamn hormones. Watching her struggle through the teen years was difficult and I accepted the therapist’s recommendation that she was a normal teen who just needed coping mechanisms. I agreed with that advice and would hear it and agree with it several times over the years; from therapists, doctors, school counselors and friends. I never once considered that my only coping mechanisms were tears, white knuckles or wine.

In her early teens she fell in with a group of girls who had little to no supervision so when I said No to her and we ended up in a screaming match and she later crawled out her bedroom window making me frantic with worry I cursed the damn hormones and those other parents who didn’t set boundaries for their children. At fourteen she struggled with her sexuality, but we loved her no matter what and genuinely just wanted her to be happy. We prepared for struggle as she found her way in the world and a therapist would assure all of us that she was going to be fine. She just had to learn to cope.

Over the years she would suffer ups and downs, I would see her dedicate herself to a sport she loved fully and completely and be filled with immense pride. I would see the amazing things that it did for her self esteem and her confidence but it all seemed like it hung in a very delicate balance, as if one bad game, play or unkind word from a teammate or coach could take it all away. Through it all I tried to encourage her to be herself and embrace her individuality and learn to love her differences and she did for some of the time…and then she didn’t. I saw as friends came and went and I told her that if she became the kind of person she would want to be around the right people would come to her life at the right time. She welcomed new opportunities and challenges; growing and learning new things and finding new passions, but on some of the days everything was wrong, very very wrong. She called herself ugly and stupid and she directed a great deal of her anger at me. She became disconnected from the things she loved and I blamed it on Netflix binges and encouraged her to leave the house and be active. I took her to the woods on a hike recently and she said how great it made her feel. The earth, the air and the trees reconnected her to something she had lost. Her anger in the weeks following seemed to worsen and those in between times when she was my sweet young lady seemed less and less. She started to lash out at her sister and what we perceived to be small things would make her feel rage. She told me she wanted to talk to someone, that she just had a lot to get out. I encouraged her to do her research and find someone she thought she could connect with as she had called the other Therapists stupid. One afternoon she called me after leaving the doctors office and said she had finally found a good doctor that listened to her and he was referring her to a Psychiatrist. We lucked out being the first people to answer the phone on a forty person waiting list and she got in to see the Psychiatrist without the typical five month wait. I took her to the train and she went by herself so she could feel confident in being completely honest about how she was feeling. I held back tears as the Psychiatrist called me and told me that he was shocked that Morgan had not been diagnosed sooner and that his diagnosis was clear without any uncertainty all. My heart broke as he told me that she had ADHD with underlying depression and anxiety, that untreated had also led to conduct disorder. The screaming anger, bad decisions and struggles with school and self esteem were all a part of a larger issue. The diagnosis was a bit of a blessing, but the fact that she had suffered for so long caused me an immense amount of pain. I should have known. I know that we cannot go backwards and we decided together that we would go forward. The doctor said that there was no way around medication; though he fully supports and encourages a holistic lifestyle he believes wholeheartedly the medication is needed immediately to help her, especially in school. She and I both believe that our Western society is way too medicated but we are also both tired and hopeful for a reprieve from the daily uphill battle that rages on and on.

We have been on this road for several years but our journey has just begun. Everyday brings something new and we are trying to find a way to stay connected as a family and face our challenges head on, without curling up in bed with ice cream and tissues.

There are things that are hard for her, things I cannot quite understand but I am trying my best. She is going to meditation classes with me and the first one she was so incredibly anxious I did not think she would make it through it but she was able to control her breathing and her anxious mind and find a little place where she felt safe. She actually fell asleep in class, which was the most amazing result for a first time mediator. She now refuses to go to any classes that are not facilitated by this instructor, she found a bit of safety and I am trying to understand.

She allowed me to share our story with the instructor, who is also a mom, and such a warm and genuine woman that people gravitate to her. When I explained to her that she had been told for years that she needed coping mechanisms she took a thoughtful pause and said “coping mechanisms? I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. How about thriving mechanisms?”

That moved us and encouraged us at a time when we needed it. We do not want to move through our lives white knuckled, squeezing our eyes shut, binging on ice cream and wiping away tears. We want to be fully engaged in our lives, to encourage and support and love each other, even when things are hard.

When she is ready, my daughter wants to get involved on this blog and in the Podcast so that she can be a voice for other people that are struggling and do not know why. Right now she is busy learning how to thrive.

“Every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise”

~Deepak Chopka

 

I have been working extremely hard on my own mental health, I know that if I am not healthy than I will not be good to anyone else. I find that floating (sensory deprivation) is an amazing way to clear my troubled mind and reset. I go to Modern Gravity in Edmonton Alberta. I have amped up my daily meditation practice by attending unlimited classes with Lifestyle Meditation here in Edmonton. They have a variety of different classes for relaxation, stress relief, movement, creativity and balance. I try to get enough sleep; the absence of good and restorative sleep can be harmful to our bodies and our minds. Our minds are powerful messengers and if something is wrong it will tell us. Stress can manifest in all sorts of ways and make us ill. Not enough sleep can keep us from leading full and happy lives. I do a sleep mediation nightly and I created my own Guided Journey Sleep Meditation as a gift to my Mom but I am hoping to convince my daughter to do it with me tonight after our hike in the woods.

The keys words in the dictionary definition of Cope are struggle, deal and face. The key words in the dictionary definition of thrive are prosper, grow and develop. Which would you rather do in times of stress? The answer is clear for me, even through my instinct during times of stress has always been to curl up in the fetal position and hope for it to pass I am finding healthier ways to deal with burdens and I am hoping to be an example to my family.

This morning I woke to three little birds outside my window singing a pretty song. I know that was the great Bob Marley’s way of reminding me that every little thing is going to be alright.

 

Be WI.S.E. friends and take care of yourself.

Our minds are powerful messengers and when the burdens that weigh us down rob us of the healing and restorative power of restful sleep we find ourselves sick with stress. Join me for a guided journey to create calm, inviting you to a deep and restful sleep.

 

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

Much Ado About Nothing

Photo courtesy of http://www.troll.me.com

I remember a day not very long ago that my goal was to get to 5000 views on my blog. After 5000 I wanted to get to 7000….it is good to have goals right?!

I used to blog everyday but I am spending time writing a book, a project I started long ago and never had the courage to finish. I don’t want to force out a post everyday writing about my problems and posting pictures of my breakfast so I have gone down to posting about once a week (or less…shrugs sheepishly!”)

So without any fanfare, confetti, sparkling lights or applause, this weekend I am proud to say that I surpassed 10, 000 views on my blog. It is a milestone for me and I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken the  time to visit my blog, to comment, to retweet me @ 1000acreheart, to follow me on instagram @ michd74.

I started my blog as an outlet to talk about having a child at the tender age of 16 and giving him up for adoption. The loss and heartache I suffered and the great joy it brought to my life to be reunited with him many years later. As much as it was an outlet for me to explore my feelings and to offer myself closure and forgiveness I was hoping that maybe I could help someone else who was maybe struggling with the same feelings or decisions. The feedback I got has been nothing short of amazing. I learned a lot about myself on this journey and I learned that everyone has a remarkable story to tell. Sometimes our weakness lies not in having fears but in admitting that we are scared or hurting and taking the necessary steps to fix ourselves. For me it was simply acceptance. Accepting that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and though I couldn’t change the past  I needed to be grateful and excited for the present and  very enthusiastic about the future. I have every reason to be. If you are interested and have not read the Thousand Acre Heart Series starts HERE

The way my blog has connected me to people all over the world, funny, smart, intriguing people has been such a pleasure. I really do get joy from talking to you, reading about you and I love it when you leave comments. Comments are validating for a writer, or at least they are for me. Perhaps that makes me a NEEDY writer. I have enjoyed writing about my experiences as a mother, a wife and a friend. Being honest, funny and daring. Being myself entirely. I also have enjoyed your feedback on my fictitious works!

I am getting closer and closer to the big 4-0 everyday (January 15 if you want to send presents) and in that time I have gained some wisdom that I would like to share with you today in celebration of over 10, 000 views in over 55 countries.

1. You can’t have a rational argument with a teenager, they know everything and you are stupid. The only thing you can hope for is that one day they will have their own ungrateful, entitled know-it-all’s and maybe they will feel so bad that they will get you really good Christmas presents.

2. There is a reason why an Esthetician exists. Have you ever had a Brazilian wax? Perhaps you just wanted to surprise your husband on his 40th Birthday which also happened to be Halloween so you were pressed for time!! Ladies’ in the house I am holding up the proverbial Stop sign!! Waxing your feminine fun parts is a delicate matter that should not be done in hurry. If I were to make a video about this experience it would star Sweet Brown saying “Oh Lord it’s a fire!”

3. In reference to the above, don’t spend hours in Hallmark looking for the perfect card for your guy. They don’t care. If you are going to spend time anywhere contemplating what to get your special someone make it the liquor store or adult superstore. They want booze and sex that they don’t have to work for…the dirtier the better.

4. Your mother really did know everything! Isn’t that a kick in the pants?You should have listened!!

5. Do you crave a good argument? Don’t be so concerned with getting the last word. Sometimes we get so focused on winning the argument that we say stupid shit we can’t take back. Sometimes silence really is golden.

6. If you think you are punishing your guy with the silent treatment, think again!!

7. If you spend all of your time looking forward or back you will lose sight of everything in front of you. You can’t store sleep, time, yesterday or tomorrows. Say it now, do it now, live today!

8. Tomatoes are good and good for you. I really just don’t get people who don’t like tomatoes.

9. If you want to be that annoying person don’t change the toilet paper roll when it’s empty. (FUCKER)

10. You’re Shit stinks, I don’t care who you are! Everybody shits and everybody stinks!

Words of wisdom for your Monday night. Thanks for coming by, I hope you come back soon.

xx

Michelle

Talking with teens

Photo compliments of http://imgfave.com/

“why fit in when you were born to stand out? -Dr. Suess

It has been a busy week and even though I have a beautiful new laptop and plenty to say on a multitude of subjects, I took a little hiatus to catch up with friends and hang out with my daughters. It may seem a little lazy but below is a quote taken directly from Facebook, it is advice I gave to my daughters thirteen year old friend after a post she made about society and it’s ugliness. So many teens feel that they are not good enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough, unloved and unwanted.

Why is this? Are we as parents letting our kids know how loved, beautiful and important they are. Are we teaching them the true meaning of beautiful?

I think of my children when they were first born, as pure as the mountain air. All of our children were born that way. Who taught them to hate themselves, dislike their bodies, feel they weren’t good enough? Who taught them to judge themselves and others by an unrealistic version of perfect?

Every single person that notices that something is wrong in society has a responsibility to help change it, man, woman or child. We will never right all the wrongs in the world but we can begin by loving ourselves and showing our children how important that is. If a person truly loves themselves they will love others, not for the clothes they wear, their body type or the way they wear their hair.

Self love is the most important kind of love. When a child loves themselves they make healthy decisions that are in their best interests as an expression of how they feel about themselves. People with no self worth make bad choices inviting people into their lives that can do them harm.

I could rant on about this for hours. I have a teenage daughter that I have to constantly prepare for the big bad world. I have found that the two best ways to teach my daughter how to love herself are:

A) Love myself. Show her I love who I am, with all my quirks and flaws, I embrace all that I am.

B) Love her. Love her enough to say no to her and have her dislike me, show her boundaries and teach her right from wrong. Love her even when I don’t like her much. Focus on the qualities that make her beautiful, her kindness, her enthusiasm, her compassion, her desire to help others. Teach her that happiness is beautiful and that true beauty shines through perceived flaws.

“Wherever you are in life be the soul of that place. The first step in changing society is changing yourself and realizing that imperfect is perfect. Beauty is everywhere and it can’t often be seen with your eyes but it sure can be felt with the heart. Be the light in a world of darkness…that will be amazing. ♥”

Lost- Chronicles of a Mom with a teenage girl

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I have been absentee from my life for the last week because I have been lost. Lost in a web of pain, fear, memories. ..
I have a thirteen year old daughter who overnight went from being a sweet and loving young lady to being an angry, hateful, spiteful entitled animal.

She wants to push the boundaries that we as parents put in place to keep her safe and to shape her into a warm, smart, caring and accountable adult and that I completely understand but she refuses to accept any of the responsibilities that come with the freedom she longs for. I try very hard to understand. I remember the emotional turmoil and anger, I was a teenage girl. Hormones suck and friends understand better then I do, I get it.

I talk to her openly and candidly, I accept her friends, I allow her their constant presence in my house even though I often long for a quiet night. I ask only in return that she take responsibility for her friends.  I am not a maid. When I clean up 20 water bottles with just sips out of them, popsicle wrappers, popsicle sticks, half eaten fruit swarming with fruit flies, slushies in the bathroom, dirty laundry everywhere I want to cry. I make deals, give ultimatums, believe the promises only to be disappointed on a daily basis. My sugar and spice and everything nice girl turns to fire and ice and won’t think twice about accountability or consequences if she is not getting her own way.

Don’t I have a responsibility as a parent to love her enough to make her see how important it is for her to respect herself and her family? Apparently not.

According to her friends mother I am wrong. I need to just accept it. What will be will be. That is basically what she said when she showed up at my door tonight with my daughter who had been missing for hours. I had called and messaged her with no response. As a parent if her child were here I would have let her know she was safe.

I had reached my tolerance level this afternoon when I asked my daughter to go. The blatant disregard for me became too much. Being cursed at, talked down to, told that she was going do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.

Her friends talk to me. They are here for days on end. I know what lazy parenting is doing for them and it is nothing good.
I miss my little girl. I realize that I may lose her for a little bit because right now I need to be more of a parent and less of a friend. It is my responsibility to make sure she is safe, not for me to be popular with her. I need to teach her that bad actions have consequences,  not rewards. Honestly is rewarded. Accountability,  learn it. It is a lesson I will teach everyday.  Love. I will love her to the ends of the earth no matter what, even the days when I don’t like her very much. I will teach her the importance of loving herself and being someone she can be proud of.

Maybe I won’t be cool or popular for awhile but I am tough, I will handle it. One day she will thank me, of that I am certain. 

Tonight when she came home expecting a fight I approached her with compassionate grace. I will thank a dear friend for that advice.

I am sad and heartbroken but I showed her that I love her enough to care about the person she comes. Trust me it would be so much easier to turn a blind eye. Parenting is not the easy way out but I refuse to believe it is the wrong way.

One day I will comfort this beautiful girl when her own child breaks her heart into a thousand pieces and I hope that she will step up and be the person she was raised to be.

Goodnight friends,
the uncool mom

THE IN CROWD

TASTE OF EDMONTON 2013

The time has come, I am no longer a part of the in crowd. They allow me to hang out with them at mealtimes, probably because I make them the meals. Sometimes they endure my sarcasm and my attempts at hip humor but one by one they disappear because I am apparently not as cool as them, except when i am baking or handing out money. You know the time is going to come but nothing can prepare you for it. One day you are all of the sudden on the outside looking in. My teenage daughter now prefers the company of her friends.

Look at me. I made chocolate chip pancakes and bought all your favorite snacks. I’m cool, ask anyone. In fact I was cool before it was cool to be cool.

My daughter now comes as a package deal. She no longer wants a quiet night in front of the tele while I stroke her hair. Nights in front of the tele include four texting teenagers and I generally am not invited to hang out.

So now i am going to smother my nine year old Haley with all my love and attention. She still thinks that i am the best date in the world and can’t imagine a time when that will change. I know it will, it is inevitable, but right now i am content to stroll hand in hand with Haleylujah at the Taste of Edmonton, enjoying the sunshine and eating treats till our bellies are full of goodness and our hearts are full of love.

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