There is no point to this post

I am a weepy, sad mess today. I want to be invisible, quiet and alone. I won’t be though. I’ve felt it coming on for a few days now, but have ignored the signs and powered through my days, not allowing the tears to come, not allowing ‘it’ to win.

Today, ‘it’ is winning. Yes, I’m telling myself that ‘it’ isn’t real. That ‘it’ too shall pass. That ‘it’ is just part of me, a part that I control and doesn’t control me. But today, ‘it’ is winning.

I know this dance, it’s the one I know best. I will continue to go through the motions of my day. I will make breakfasts, lunches, dinners. I will mediate arguments, delegate chores, repeat myself numerous times, give hugs, soothe boo-boos and fold laundry. I will gather up my youngest four and head to Mass. I will smile. I will have conversations. All the while, I will be folding up inside myself, feeling the twisting and turning in my stomach, bending to the hold that ‘it’ has on me. I will argue with ‘it’ all day and into the night. And no one will know. I won’t share it with those around me, who need me, who love me, who are looking to me to make their worlds right. I won’t burden them with ‘it.’

Today I am especially grateful to have a home to hide in, an endless supply of music to help me steady myself, and access to language and words to write in a feeble effort to begin to untangle the furled crepuscular mass of anxiety, fears, sadness and uncertainty that is tightening its ever-strengthening grip on my inner world.

Yes, today ‘it’ is winning. But I know that ‘it’ won’t always win and that I will find my way back to the resplendent hopefulness and happiness that I know just as well as I know this darkness.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, 1914- 1954

Today I have thoughts but not too many, don’t worry.

The title is a little mis-leading. Almost every day I have thoughts. But today, I have the presence of mind and the resolve to torture others will them, so here we are. Random thoughts, up for grabs. Since we no longer have pennies in Canada, I’ll take a nickel for them.

First:

I generally do not blow dry my hair. This is probably less to do with the wash-and-wear habits I formed when I was under time constraints juggling four babies aged five and under and more to do with sheer indifference. However, I find myself with a daughter who is blessed with a head full of gorgeous, yet unruly curls and ringlets, which, left alone quickly become a tangled, matted mass of dreadlocks. So I decided to try to find a proper hairdryer in order to be able to (occasionally) tame her hair (the mini travel dryer just makes the chaos worse). Now, I am not sure if I have mentioned this a thousand or so times before, but I LOVE online shopping and hit up Amazon before ever setting a foot outside our front door (always keeping in mind that the best price will trump all else). So that’s what I did and this is what I was met with:
DUUUUUUDDE! I just wanted to buy a hairdryer with a diffuser (for her curls). I wanted to choose from a maximum of FIVE, reasonably priced, limited fire-risk hair dryers. When faced with 831 potential options, my commitment to the purchase (and by extension Miss Moon’s hair), wavered and I felt the need for either a strong drink or a good nap (spoiler alert: I had neither, go figure). I do not want, need or care to look through 831 products in order to buy a hairdryer. Honestly, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying our house and did not even look at five of those. Long story short, spoiled for choice, I folded like a cheap lawn chair and thus we still do not  have an appropriate hairdryer. Just thinking this through now and it occurs to me that she does look adorable with dreads…

Second:

Reading. Oh how I have missed you. In the past month, I have read TWO for real adult (not that kind of adult) novels and it has been marvellous. While I used to read five or more books a week, for now I must be satisfied with two books a month. I have now started two more and find that it remains so much more satisfying and therapeutic to lose myself between the covers of a book than it is to watch television, surf the internet or follow social media drama. For me, a good book wins, every time. Now that my children are older (youngest is almost eight – *insert crying face here*), I can sit in a room with them and read my own book while they read or do other activities and it is no longer considered neglectful or CAS reportable. I remain available to mediate my kids’ disputes, listen to their fart jokes and referee the inevitable outbreak of wrestling when one of them sits too closely to another, but for the most part, I can get a chapter or two read before any major wars erupt. This month, I read The Nest which, while not a challenging read, was enjoyable and well written. Family dysfunction is always entertaining, yes? I also read Two Steps Forward by the author of The Rosie Project (which I devoured and was completely obsessed with about a year ago). Two Steps Forward is a bit more intricate and challenging than The Nest, which I truly appreciated. In a nutshell, it is the story of two people, strangers to each other, who each choose to walk the Camino de Santiago, a Catholic pilgrimage from France to Spain, and how their journeys intertwine along the way. I plan on sharing more about this book in a later post, but for now, suffice to say, I was enchanted by this book, the story, the writing, the very idea of the Camino. Sign me up!

Third:

Thinking that one is funny and smart (in a witty, humorous way, rather than a brain surgeon way) while also suffering from a poor self-image and almost crippling shyness, is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who really, truly wants to entertain and share with others. Any thoughts around dealing with this one?

Fourth:

With five kids ranging in ages from 8 to 24 years-old, why am I still carrying around a purse the size of a diaper bag? I have so many cute purses to choose from (not a lot by hoarder standards, but I am not deprived of choice), and yet here I am tethered to carrying what is basically a suitcase with a shoulder strap. Just in case, I tell myself. In case of what? I have no idea. Has my purse become my security blanket? This is not good news. I am regressing. Maybe I truly did take the “Let’s Make a Deal” game show of the 1970’s/1980’s, that I grew up watching, way too seriously and somewhere in my subconscious I really do think that I will be out somewhere and a Monty Hall wannabe will walk up to me and offer to make a deal IF I can produce three blue elastic bands, a toothbrush, a toy car and a stick of gum from my purse, at any given time. “Um, I think I’ll choose what’s behind Curtain Number Three, please Monty!” What a numpty.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL, Host Monty Hall, 1963-76

Fifth:

Words and music swirling around inside my head like one of those kaleidoscopes children so enjoy. Day and night, night and day, awake, asleep, alert, distracted, always swirling, twirling, and spinning. So many stories begging to be crafted and told with those words. So much music waiting to be written. It is all *right here* inside my head, inside my heart, permeating my soul. And yet, here I sit. Stagnant. Helpless and hopeless. Neither creating nor creative. Powerfully powerless. Watching the words fluttering around my mind. Feeling the music, so clearly, that it turns my skin to goose-flesh. So many good intentions. So many plans, ideas, notes. So many days that pass with not so much as a journal entry to show for them. Why do I prioritize vacuuming, cleaning, care taking, above all else? Who will remember that my stairs were vacuumed this week? No one. Who might remember a shared experience, a shared moment in time or glimpse into the mind of a kindred spirit? Potentially many. I wonder what force will be great enough to propel me forward, to achieve the goals which I harbour within.

And those are my thoughts today. What’s on your mind?

Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos get everywhere, other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems).

~A.

This morning was hard and I owe them an apology. A letter to my smalls

Dear Mason, Deacon, Paxton and Miranda,

First, let me start by saying that I love you all, beyond reason and measure.

Second, let me admit to you all that I am human, incredibly fallible and flawed.

Thirdly, allow me to apologize for my outburst this morning. I could give you a hundred reasons why, lay blame on the four of you and others in my life, and make endless excuses for myself, but I will not. At the end of the day, I, just like everyone else, am entirely responsible for my feelings, thoughts, words and actions. This morning, I did not walk away, breathe, pray and ask God for the help that I needed in that moment. I did not keep my voice quiet and remain in control of myself and my feelings. I allowed myself to become overwhelmed by the chaos of my mind and my life and I brought you all along for the ride. And for that I am truly and eternally sorry.

I honestly do believe that as people, no one can “make us feel” or “make us do” anything. We have ultimate control over one thing in life. Ourselves. We choose our feelings, our reactions, our actions and our choices, and we always have more than one choice.

I promise to continue to strive to do better, to be better and to work harder to live the lessons that I try so hard to impart to all of you. Turn the other cheek, practice forgiveness and personal responsibility, be kind, always. Be kind even when, no especially when someone is not being kind to you. Think about what our purpose is in this life – to love, to take care of and be of service to others, to make our home, family and world a safer, better, more welcoming and loving place to be, for everyone and anyone who walks into (or out of) our lives.

I am enormously proud of each and every one of you, together with your brother Declan. The five of you, are collectively and individually, my entire heart, and are perfect both in your perfect and imperfect moments. Without you, there is no me.

You are, my beautiful babies, in three words, so wonderfully made.

Love,
Mummy.

Today is a good day

As an act of deviation from my usual modus operandi of bitching and moaning and generally wallowing in self-pity (and chocolate), I am here to share that today is a good day.

I am purposely ignoring my scratchy, threatening-to-hurt, throat. I am in denial that my youngest has screeched herself hoarse at her brothers’ every infraction, real and imagined. I have chosen to omit any and all parts of the day that do not fit in with it being ‘a good day.’

Because today is a good day. We are on day three of March Break. For the third day in a row, I did not make four lunches before 7:00am. I did not shuffle kids outside, in shifts, to wait for their school busses. I did not have to search through backpacks for notes home, permission slips, agendas and homework. I did not have to fill my dishwasher with countless containers and lids that never fail to fill with (and retain) water during the wash cycle. Today is a good day. My smalls (hardly small at all anymore, but I also refuse to admit that most days) are home with me. We had one friend over for a playdate, another friend invite one of mine to a movie, and there are plans in the works for the other two to meet up with friends over the next couple of days.

We are not on vacation, somewhere warm and wonderful, frolicking in the sun and sand. We are not en route to some crazy adventure (that would most likely end up with me being featured on ‘Fail Army’ – ” You alright, Cory?”). We are not throwing money left and right at our week to keep us occupied and busy. We are home. We are playing with friends, reading, seeing movies (thank you, Cineplex Family Favourites!), running around outside, eating at home, having sibling sleepovers and staying up just a bit past bedtime.

Um, you know what? I’ve changed my mind. Today is not a good day. It is a good life.

~A.

P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off. Life is good, not perfect 😂

Good bye, our Lucy

The Life and Times of our Lucy Liu, with us April 2012 – February 2018

The very thoughtful and kind gift from the 404 Emergency Vet clinic. Each of our smalls received one. Lucy 🐾

When we bought this house in 2012, it came with cats. Like fourteen feral cats with varying degrees of illness and disease. And in among the chaos of cats we were dealing with, was her. A small, black and white warrior, who survived despite her surroundings. She, who did not hiss, run or yowl. She adopted us quickly. The other cats were trapped and taken by Animal Control. Many went on to have litters of kittens shortly afterwards. Some were able to be adopted out. Others, well, I don’t know.

The bond between Lucy and ‘her kids’ was unbreakable, genuine and always loving.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not, by nature, a cat person. In fact, cats scare me, I never know if they’re about to attack. This cat though, was different from any other I had ever encountered. She very decidedly chose us. Lucy Liu (aptly named after the actress of the same name, by my husband, for her obvious, ‘Kill Bill’-esque ninja abilities) stayed with us and within no time at all, a matter of a few weeks actually, she gave birth to a litter of three kittens. We never even knew she was pregnant. She was just that tiny, undernourished and unwell. Immediately we could tell that she was an amazing mother. It was apparent that this was not her first litter. When the kittens were old enough to leave their mama, they were adopted out. But Lucy stayed with us. We had her spayed and microchipped and loved, cared and fed her back to health. She was amazing. She was also a bit blood thirsty, but only towards creatures we wouldn’t want in our house anyway. So we appreciated her huntress ways.

My husband snapped this picture on his phone a few days after Lucy had her kittens. We named them Squawker, Little Grey, and Butterball.

Lucy was never indifferent and uninterested in us. She trusted us with her kittens, she trusted us with her own care. She never fought or scowled at us. She would follow me down our driveway and along the road and around the corner to pick up our mail. She would respond to her name and come when called. She was the perfect blend of independent and social. She would join us in the living room for movie nights, lie on the floor with our smalls, she would even join us for bedtime story and outdoor movie nights. She was completely comfortable and at ease, blending in with our big family without missing a beat.

She was all in. Whether it was story time, movie time, playtime or sleeping time, she gave it her all.

Often in the mornings (during the months that she enjoyed the outdoors), she would walk with us down the driveway to see the smalls get on their school bus. She would check on the children at night, visiting each one of them after lights out. And sometimes she would stay with one or the other and sometimes she would settle in for the night in her own bed (a favourite cardboard box filled with baby blankets), or on a cold night, in front of the fire.

I loved when she slept like this.

She was definitely a cookie. If the box fits, sleep in it.

She would plank anywhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was an outdoor cat from April until October and absolutely agoraphobic between November and March. This always struck us funny, as before adopting us, she lived outside 24/7, 365 days a year. She rarely, if ever, really left our property. When other cats, both known to her and feral would approach her porch or deck, she would defend it with a fury that we otherwise never witnessed.

For such a tiny little thing, she sure knew how to walk menacingly.

She never grew to be much  more than 7 or 8 pounds, so stayed a small cat always. But she had the heart and spirit of a lioness and I often joked that one day we would look out and see her pulling a deer down the driveway after a day out hunting.

Lucy Liu, Boxing Day 2017.

Then, last night I had to rush Lucy Liu to the 24 hour, 404 Emergency vet clinic in Newmarket. She could barely breathe and was not acting like herself at all. She was immediately taken into an examination room and triaged and within 20 minutes of our arrival, Dr. Rebecca, very gently and kindly gave me the results of her assessment and the options available to us. There was very little doubt. I had to call my husband and let him know that it was probably best to get the kids (I had just put them to bed before Lucy and I left the house) and bring them down to say good-bye. Lucy’s chest was filled with fluid and making it impossible for her lungs to inflate, the most likely cause was cancer. Rather than putting her through endless tests and diagnostics and lengthy hospital stay with a poor prognosis and nothing but suffering on her horizon, we had to let her go. She deserved to go gently, without anymore suffering.

We were all with her to the very end, petting her, loving her and comforting her. When she was gone, we brought her back to the home that she loved and we will bury her here in the Spring. We miss her tremendously already. Today, our house is a little bit emptier and a whole lot more sorrowful.

Good bye our beautiful Lucy. We could not have asked for a better companion and friend than you. Thank you for all the gifts you brought to our family. We will love you always.

A disappointing find: Retail price cover ups in broad daylight

Oh Rexall, how you have let me (read: everyone) down.

I spend quite a bit of time making sure to find the best value for each and every one of our household budget dollars. I purchase very few things at full retail price and stockpile when regularly used items go on sale. I shop store sales, clearance racks, use coupon, price match and collect various ‘points’ programs in order to stretch our money further. This week, I ran out of children’s vitamin D supplements for my smalls, so while in Rexall (not my usual drug store), I noticed that they appeared to have a special on vitamins; some are buy one, get one 50% off, others are promoting an Airmiles special; spend $30, get 30 Airmiles.  I will also admit that after the big Airmiles shake up last year, they are no longer one of my go-to points programs, but still, if the price is the same or close to that of my usual store, why not take advantage of the Airmiles offer, right?

Wrong. So wrong. First of all, the regular price listed was crazy high, approximately $4 higher than other stores ‘regular’ retail price (and remember, I only buy on sale, so the listed price was around $5 more than I usually pay). I was curious though and lifted the ‘special’ sticker and this is what I found:

Soooooo. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that the ACTUAL, regular retail price for these vitamins at Rexall is $9.29 but when they run a sale, they increase the regular price to $10.49, or $1.20 more? This is feeling a bit shady. I am pretty  sure that I want to pay $1.20 above regular price for a bottle of vitamins for the mere ‘benefit’ of receiving 30 Airmiles, if I spend a total of $30 of over-priced vitamins.

Quickly deciding that I would not be buying the vitamins at Rexall today, I was curious if other vitamin prices had been similarly changed. I randomly checked four more labels on the same wall of shelves and two were the same on both labels (yay!), the other two? Not so much. Boo.

These are some quite significant price hikes on ‘sale’ items. It would appear that the premium for receiving those 30 Airmiles far exceeds the value of the products on offer.

Now, I am not an expert on consumer law in Ontario, but I do know that when I find a store is artificially raising prices to ‘pay’ for incentive programs or offers, I shop elsewhere.

I don’t know if this is fraudulent, acceptable or normal retailer behaviour, but I do know that these practices just feel wrong and dishonest to me. Like neon leg warmers, frizzy perms and parachute pants of the 1980’s; it may not actually be wrong, but it sure looks like something that someone should be apologizing for.

~A.

P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off.

Just sitting here raising a big spender, is all. Paxisms

I took my smalls on a mini-shopping trip on yesterday. They all had Christmas money that they were desperate to spend. So, at the second store, Pax finds exactly that he’s been looking for and it’s on clearance – bonus! This was our conversation:

P: Mumma, how much is this with tax?
Me: Um, just over $20, maybe?
P (looking impish): Well, I’m going to give her a $20 bill and tell her ‘keep the change’
Me: Hmm. Okay, big spender. Except that $20 isn’t quite enough, so there will be no change for her keep and you’ll owe her a bit more.
P (crestfallen): Well, I’m still going to give her a twenty. I’ll figure out the rest when I get there.
Me: (to self): Where’d this kid even come from? (While picture him wearing a fedora and making it rain in Mastermind Toys one day).

This morning, Pax came down stairs with a croupy-sounding cough and the saddest little face I had seen since he came downstairs yesterday morning. I felt his forehead, checked him over and asked him what he would like for breakfast. This was our exchange:

P: Mummy, do I have to go to school today?
Me: Well, probably Pax. We still have an hour until the bus, so let’s wait and see, okay?
P: (Tears welling up): But I’m really sick. My throat hurts and I’m walking really slowly.
Me: Walking slowly? Oh no! Well, let’s just see how you’re feeling after you’ve been awake for a while, okay?
P: (sniffing): Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m too sick to go.

Within half an hour, he had eaten, gotten dressed and made no other mention of staying home. Had I just listened to my heart when that sad little face that first appeared in the kitchen, he would have been home today and full of energy and jonesing for fun, while I spent the day trying to confine him to the couch. So glad I remembered to pause and think before blurting out the first thing that popped into my head (which is a bit of a trademark of mine).

Now if only I could do that in other life situations, I just know that I would start to make some serious traction on this adulting gig. As it is, I got the garbage and the recycling to the curb before the truck came, so yeah, I’m already feeling pretty grown up today.

~A.

P.S. Immediately after writing that big “I’m winning at being an adult” brag, I spilled my drink down my front and narrowly missed dropping the glass in the process. So, right then, never mind. Still a dork. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Guys, I think I’m making a pig’s ear of this parenting gig

Preamble:
Kids need to play outside. I mean, fresh air, physical activity, rosy cheeks and bright eyes, right? All good things that help promote healthy mental health (awkward, much?) and all that super popular back-to-nature stuff that I keep seeing posted on Facebook, right?

So, being a ‘good parent,’ my kids are outside. All bundled up and ready to frolic and play in the snow, fight with their siblings until eventually one of them breaks and tears and fists fly. Yes, I can see their mental health getting healthier by the minute outside these four walls.

So, out they go. Except one resister. My nine-year-old. He’s active and full of energy. Brilliant, funny, and cuddly as all get out. Unfortunately (for him) he was not built for winter (just like his mama, so believe me, I feel for him). He finds very little joy in sub-zero temperatures and being outside in the snow, just for the sake of it (again, I get it. I’m sitting bundled up in my kitchen and decidedly NOT outside improving my mental health) and while he won’t be openly defiant about going outside, he will delay the trip as long as possible. Someone else may let it slide and let him stay in. But I’m not that mother. One of the few perks that come with this title, is that I get to toss the kids outside to play every day and they have to do it. It’s in the rules.

So, now that I have (I hope adequately) set the scene, here is the exchange P and I just had at the door.

The exchange:
Me: No gloves? Here, at least take this one. I don’t know what you’ve done with the other one, but at least one hand won’t freeze. (Notice how much adulting I’m doing here. It’s breathtaking, yes?)

P: Nah. I don’t need any. I’m just going out to play dead.

Me: Um. Huh. Dead? That doesn’t sound like an awesome game, but okay. Take the glove. (Clearly, this kid is in dire need of outside play time. His mental health needs a boost. It’s okay. I am on it like he’s a cheesecake and I’m, well, me).

P: But I’m going out to play DEAD. I don’t need gloves.

Me: Well, when you decide that you’re not dead anymore, won’t it be nice to have at least one hand not get frozen in the snow trying to get up? (I’m on my June Cleaver game today, people. I’m owing this parenting thing).

P: Fine (taking the glove). But I’m telling you, I’m only going to be lying dead in the snow, Mummy.

Me: Okay, baby. Have so much fun!

He trudges outside with his sister who has been waiting patiently for him to get ready and I skip away, into the kitchen to wash pears and marvel at just how obvious it is that I was born to parent. When it dawns on me. “Um, did he just say dead?”

To make a short story long and back to short again, I am making a pig’s ear out of this parenting gig. Pray for my small humans. And someone, please. Start a GoFundMe to cover their future therapy bills. Those clinical hours add up quickly and the bills are going to be astronomical.

~A.

And today he would have turned 70 (fabulously, adorned in sequins, stilettos and feather boas, no doubt)

We get but one life. Four days ago it was my birthday (yay, me!). And today, the person who contributed 50% of my DNA would have turned 70 years old (and he would have lied about it smoothly, without guile or shame). He lived the holy hell out of the 42 years he was here with us. He blew mainstream society up, he opened minds, he got conversations started. He was unapologetic and determined to follow his dreams, on his terms. He looked at the way things were in his world, and what society told him that he needed to be and growled a resounding “NO.” He had the ability to make people furiously happy one moment and to the brink of irrational rage the next (a talent, it seems, I inherited, much to my mother’s chagrin).

He was ADHD personified, possessing that singular, obsessive hyper- focus on his passions, he was unstoppable by social norms or expectations. Pushing people’s buttons was a gift and he made good use of that gift at every opportunity, it would seem. He went where and when he wanted and he was stopped the only way he could be stopped. By the demons that lurked within.

At the end of the day, the only thing that truly has the power to stop us, to end us, are the demons we harbour inside ourselves. And his demons were even more powerful and larger-than-life than he was at the peak of his talent, career and life.

Craig, Carol, and Bette. They just don’t make stars like this anymore.

If we lived in a wish-based world, I would wish he had lived to see his grandchildren. I would wish that he had lived long enough to lie about being old enough to HAVE grandchildren. I would wish that my children could have experienced the incredible energy and talent their grandfather was and just how powerful his talents were, in part because he decided that he would be the best so he worked tirelessly perfecting his craft until he was the best. I would wish that I had been allowed more time with him – just as he was, after the stage lights dimmed and the curtain fell.

Alas, since we do not live in a wish-based world, I will take some time today to watch some of the YouTube videos of various live shows that people have generously uploaded over the years and be thankful that through my children, he lives on, in at least some small way.

~A.

Dear 2017, it’s been swell, but this is where we part ways.

Dear 2017,

As was true of your predecessors, I welcomed you happily, full of hope, motivation and gratitude, a year ago today.

We had a mere 365 days together (or is it 364 – I never get the count right for some reason), and in that time, the U.S. has been under the control an obviously deeply disturbed and possibly organically ill leader and his misguided and twisted cohorts. Canada has fallen deeper into debt while applying band-aids rather than real ‘fixes’ to the issues that plague our society and nation, and the rest of the world has watched the events unfolding in North America with a mixture of revulsion and disbelief.

During your reign, we have witnessed horrifying acts of terror against the innocent, senseless death and destruction in all four corners of the (round) world, and countless incomprehensible acts of aggression and injustice against the very people those in power purport to protect.

But it has not all been bad news during 2017. Babies were born, marriages were created and a multitude of successes were achieved. It can be our tendency to remember the painful, negative, or scary events and this sometimes taints our ability to fully appreciate the happiness, the blessings and sheer wonders that surround us.

For me, I have five healthy, intelligent, compassionate, talented and completely fallible and human children. I have a husband who works hard to ensure that the needs of his family are met, even when he would rather stay in bed. We have a  home that provides us with sanctuary from the outside world and we enjoy an abundance of food that keeps our bellies full (and fills out some of our thighs, hips and butts, but, I digress, and that really only happens to me 🤭). I have parents who are healthy and in possession of their wits and independence. I have friends who understand my quirks, rants and shortcomings and talk to me anyway, almost always happily. My smalls and I have found a faith that feels right for us, and 2017 was the beginning of this exciting journey of faithful discovery.

So, 2017, while you have a been cruel and harsh at times ( for example, like your sister 2016 before you our creative talent reserves have really taken a hit this year), you have also been kind and awe-inspiring. 2017, you helped to make it possible for me to say good bye to you with a smile rather than with an eye roll and huge sigh of relief. Thank you for making it possible for me to welcome 2018 with an open heart, a willingness to strive for better, in all aspects of my life and the ability to look at events and circumstances through a more open, a slightly less judgemental and harsh lens while I make the choice to look for the best in all people whom I encounter this year.

Good bye, 2017, thank you for your lessons, gifts and blessings. I will carry them with me while I navigate the unknown terrain of 2018.

~A.