Today, I Got This

I got this. This mantra has played over and over in my mind for nearly a decade. It has gotten me through some rough days, endless nights and was a means to an end in sight. There is no doubt that 75% of the time, I most certainly did not have this, but as long as I kept telling myself I was in control, then I could fake it enough so I believed it.

I was that mother- the one that thought she could, and somehow miraculously was, doing it all. I was putting all my efforts into a career, I volunteered with the school PTA and community groups, I taxied the children to activities 5+ times a week while keeping the day-to-day operations of our home successful. But like everything that isn’t sustainable, two months ago I crashed- boy did I fall down hard. And it was then, that we made a decision that now really has me questioning my identity, my life motives- and frankly, everything I believed I could be up until today.

Today truthfully has been years in the making. Because today, I will stop struggling to put my career first, to perfect motherhood and be the poster-face of someone that can do it all. Today I will be content with walking away to just be a Mom for a little while.

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The complete irony is that my mantra is stuck on repeat even louder than ever. This is what we need- I got this. But I have this little voice that has me questioning what if I’m not cut out to be full-time Mom material??! What am I going to do when I can’t drown my overwhelming emotions in my career? My husband keeps trying to assure me that a career break will be great for our family, for myself and for us as a couple. And all I can think is- if I’m doing a mediocre job parenting part-time up until today, how on earth am I going to be successful at it around the clock!?

I really don’t know either- but for the first time in eight years, I’ve realized that I need to try. Phew- I got this.

Summer of ’18

While reflecting this passing summer, the words that I would use to describe it would be … terrible. And the overwhelming photos and posts on social media make me feel even more terrible. What really hit me and sparked this outpouring of building emotion, was an article I read last night called ‘Summer is nearly over- are you making the most of it?’ Nope, not even a little bit. I know I shouldn’t compare our life to posts on social media, but I was already feeling guilty enough without its influence. And if any of you reading this might be feeling these feels too- I get it, and maybe you’ll find peace in knowing you’re not alone.

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This summer has been utterly exhausting, and worse yet- unproductive. Due to varying life circumstances, this summer has led to both my husband and I both working full time. Which in turn means our ‘non-work’ hours are limited to yard-work, housekeeping and just the basics of living. This also means that those great summer memories with the kids/family are non-existent. Even a quick stop at the splash park, an evening of fishing at the riverbank or trip to the farmers market has been non-existent. 

The guilt, resentment, and regrets I have are overwhelming and it makes me angry

Don’t get me wrong- we’ve tried to make the best we could for our kids. We sent them away to the lake with Grandma, drove countless miles each early morning and evening to have them at a day camp, rearranged schedules to pick them up from family that has graciously offered to take them to an event. But as we are nearing the end of summer, we are now left with exhausted/shuffled children, burnt out parents, a longer to-do list than when we started, an empty photo album and with how events unfolded this summer, an uncertain future.

And all for what? To prove that we can do it all? To meet the expectation we are great employees? To put a little extra in our savings that will ultimately be spent on extra-curricular activities come September? To avoid disappointing someone? I’m reconsidering if raising our own meat or growing our own produce is really worth the sacrifice of a few hours spent as a family. Are my children’s tears at 6:30am when their bodies are utterly exhausted to get up for an hour of travel to day-camp worth meeting a quota at my job? Even our dog has taken up residence mostly at the neighbours because no one is ever even home, nevermind time to actually give him the attention he deserves.

And I hate it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! The guilt, resentment, and regrets I have are overwhelming and it makes me angry. My youngest starts school in a few weeks- and instead of building on his excitement, I’m scrambling with interviews for part-time childcare. Is dismissing his desire to share his feelings because I don’t have time to stop to acknowledge them really worth it? 

I’m measuring daily success on what I can cross off the ever-growing to-do list, not on our children, my marriage and certainly not on myself. When we are together, I allow the kids to distract themselves with technology, fight with each other for attention and everyone watches as I prioritize everything, but time with any of them.

Your partner and children are meant to be the most precious aspects of your life- yet here I am failing them all. Everything else became a priority this summer, and I’m now in a cycle where I don’t know even know how to stop it. While it wouldn’t be a surprise, my biggest fear is that my kids will look back at their childhood and say that they wish Mom (and Dad) were less distracted by everything else. And to foresee that… it hurts.

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Here’s the thing…

You-gain-strength-courage

I’ve been struggling on how to piece this together for some time now. It’s easy for me to write about events and internal battles that have now passed or that have at least peaked- but the vulnerability of putting something out there that I’m currently at war with, takes this anxiety thing I’m about to share with you to a whole new level. But writing helps, and if I happen to get a wave of strength to actually publish this, then maybe it will help someone else at some point as well.

Here’s the thing, I have anxiety, and more predominantly- social anxiety. I didn’t actually realize how bad it was until we started helping my oldest overcome some struggles he was facing- then all those similarities started to surface. Looking back, it’s secretly been there and growing since those “good ol’ college days” when the familiarity of friends, family and small town are all gone- and you are faced with a succeed or fail environment while manoeuvring down this path of adulthood.

So what does this mean exactly? Frankly it can either explain a lot or mean nothing at all- it really depends on who are you and our relationship. The other day I realized that I’ve always had my excuse crutch and it’s always been reliable and dependable. But my excuses in reality are just excuses and in order to raise honest children, the excuses have to go. I would always have great intentions of following through with plans and events, but as it crept closer I would inevitably use my excuses and back out.

So it’s time for me to be honest- to let you know why I do the things I do and why I don’t.

I work, and always have. Work is easy for me- there is no expectation to be social or engage in small talk, no requirement to share my thoughts/feelings, and above all- it’s easy to appear as though I have all my shit together. I fulfill my job, do the work, keep the peace and when I’m faced with personal struggles- work more and harder because it’s stability, it’s comfortable and it’s a distraction. I used to blame by social outcasting on my job, then I blamed it on my husband’s job and most recent years- my children. It sounds a lot better than stating the truth- that I actually don’t feel confident or worthy enough to be in your company. The most saddening part of all is that my partner of 17 years has just realized that I do this; I had him convinced all those years that I was too busy, too tired or couldn’t find a sitter so I didn’t have to engage with others.

But you know what’s not easy?

Conversation.

Purposely being looked at.

It’s the requirement to be off script, to make an error or speak out of turn. It’s the fear of being ridiculed for how you look, what you say (or don’t say), life choices, stature, where I live/don’t live, education level and most importantly- our opinions and stance. I believe in things that most don’t, I encourage diversity in ways others won’t and I’m so afraid to be a failure that I can’t stop giving everything all the time. Some consider that a good trait- but in my mind, I’m actually a failure if I can’t succeed at them all. And the perpetual self-doubt I’m experiencing, I perceive it as a failure to you directly my friend- so it’s best just then to avoid you. And now that the kids are entering school age- the moment I step foot on school ground, I can feel the palpitations starting with this whole new increased level of judgement. 

To save you from diving down a giant rabbit hole, I won’t even get started on all of the other anxiety sources- that’s a revelation for quite another day.

So the question becomes: How does one get passed all this? How do you deal with it?

Well mostly I’m still working that out (hence why this is not yet a passed issue). But otherwise, I use my kids. Yep- I just said that, now let me explain…

For anyone that has known me for a very long time (and might have some littles running in their circles too) may have noticed that I do more than I used to. Sorry friends- that doesn’t include group dates, dinners, weekend trips, online groups or events- those are still a giant taboo in my head. My outings are now the birthday parties (even those are tough sometimes), exploring, playgrounds and zoo trips. I know I have insecurities- but I won’t allow my perceptions to ruin the childhood experiences of my children.

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I will continuously swallow my stomach and silently shallow breathe if it means my boys get to ride on a monster truck or eat sticky cotton candy or tell nonsense jokes around the fire with their friends. This is my battle, and I will not allow them to be isolated from making memories or having a free childhood because I struggled to look in the mirror that day. I’m working on the self-assurance that not every person I encounter is judging, but it’s what I’ve always remembered knowing- so it takes time.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to ramble with my writing and keep putting myself out there (even it only means holding the hand of a child admiring vintage tractors), as one day I like to think that there will be someone else that knows exactly what I’m feeling and this may explain the things that they can’t.

 

It will never happen to you, until it does

I was really torn about whether to write this or not- until I recently met with a great friend and we were talking about how no one ever shares the photos or stories that go on ‘behind the scenes’. You know- the hour long tantrums, the silent treatment, the failed parenting moments- along with the anxiety, the rage- even the 746 pictures it took to get ONE where everyone is looking (or more importantly not screaming). We are so focused on appearing like we have our shit together, that we are adding to this image of ‘perfect parenting’ and well, let me assure you- I most definitely am not. Let this be my forewarning for family & friends- this year’s Christmas letter will include less fake smiles and undoubtedly more cuss words. So what I am about to share is as raw, honest and vulnerable as I can get.

  

December 28, 2016- that is a day I will never forget. That is the day that I nearly lost a bit of my soul, and should circumstances have been slightly different, I would have lost my son as well. We’ve all done a lot of things as human beings that we wish nothing more than to forget, accept and move on. And I like to think that one day I’ll accept and move on- but not today nor will it be tomorrow.

Our carelessness and need to constantly be rushing through every moment of life resulted in striking and pinning my sweet little angel between a vehicle and a ski-doo. I will never forget that terrifying moment I looked over to see his helpless body caught between steel, and both of us paralyzed in fear. I recall watching my husband’s super strength as he pulled off the machine and together, the two of us stripping him down in sub-zero temperatures to identify any broken bones and injuries. As a parent, we hurt when our babies are hurting, and let me assure you on this one- you’re breaking inside when YOU are the reason they’re hurting.

After initial assessment, imaging and testing at our hospital- it was determined that my little guy’s injuries warranted deeper observation and treatment from a paediatric team. I was at home trying to keep myself calm, while knowing that my child was hurting and I wasn’t right there beside him reassuring him it was going to be okay (I had to stay home with our other son). When my husband called to inform me of their decision to not only transfer him to the Stollery Children’s hospital- but air lift him via STARS for the matter of urgency, I needed to see my boy and I set off.

 

Just departing Red Deer in STARS
 

As I pulled into the parkade at the University hospital, I could hear the chopper still on the pad. I ran nearly half way around the building to the emergency entrance and it took me three attempts to say who I was and why I was there- basically, I crumbled. Security lead me to a room where I could watch them come by- someway, somehow I beat them into emergency, and he wasn’t going to be alone in a strange place after-all. During transport, I had received a few text updates from the STARS team letting me know his status, which I will be forever greatful for. As it was, they came right past where I was waiting and with waves of emotion, I was able to see my little boy for the first time since the accident.

Immediately we went straight into a trauma room and was overwhelmed by Doctors, Surgeons, specialists, introductions and questions. He was screaming out and my Momma strength was wavering. I vaguely remember overhearing a Doctor (one of the many whose name will forever be lost) indicate to bring in a social worker. Fortunately, I was able to pull myself together when we realized that his cries of discomfort were due to his folly and not his internal organs. While still disheartening, this was a tremendous relief.

Everyone was so kind to us, and I truly felt that we didn’t deserve to be treated so well as we were the reason he was there. Doctors brought him a book and added to the array of stickers and bandages on his abdomen. The STARS crew shared photos that they had taken during his flight for us to have and cherish- they had even given him a teddy bear for comfort on the ride to keep. In miraculous time, my husband appeared and together, the relief we had once we were told that no immediate surgery was needed was truly grounding. We were going to be there for a few days purely for observation and with the nature of his injuries, the hospital’s ability to quickly react should his body need some immediate intervention. 

 

The healing power of Lego
 

The three of us spent the next few days building Lego, cruising the halls in our wheelchair hoping to catch a Pokemon and encouraging our little guy to heal and strengthen. We’ve had a few stays now at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and each time I am so gracious for the care provided- not only for the first class medical care, but also the mental well-being of the children staying there. We truly are so honoured to have such a facility that is dedicated to improving the lives of children.

   

 

STARS has always been an organization that we’ve held dear and supported over the years. (Let me assure you there are no shortages of ‘helicopter bandaids’ in this house). They were there for my husband many years ago with his accident, and today we continue to hold our gratitude for their passionate care with our son. Not that we live in any kind of a bubble, but you never really think a situation is going to happen to you- until it does. And once it does, you re-evaluate what is truly important. 

  

His Adventure

On the eve of my oldest’s first real day of school (okay- Kindergarten), I’ve really stopped to look back at the last five years of this little man’s life.

 

We’ve had a lot of accomplishments and milestones achieved over his short life, and while him starting school is “my greatest accomplishment in parenting” (as quoted by my husband), it’s bittersweet for me. I am excited for him to start school and the amazing experiences and challenges that accompany it, but torn by the realization he’s no longer little.

 

I wonder- is he ready? Have all those little preparations we’ve been incorporating the last 9 months gotten him past his social anxiety? Is he going to crumble when he walks through the door with 30 other curious and unnerved children? Or will he be like every other 5 year old, excited on the adventure ahead.

 

We realized about a year ago that my oldest really struggled when he was faced in a new environment with new people, new sounds and without his everyday comforts. He could not cope and we realized this would potentially be a disaster when school started. Everything about us was structured- our dayhome and personal interactions were always consistent; our daily routine was exceptionally structured; and everything we did was comfortable and predictable. So we had to shake it up! We enrolled him in organized sports, took him without notice to new places, met new people- and hey, it worked!!

 

I think about the necessary life skills he will require in his adventurous months to come- did we cover them all? Letters- check! Numbers- check! Can spell his name- check! Toileting, shoes, manners- check, check, check! But then I stop and remind myself that I wasn’t the one who taught him all those skills.

 

Being a full-time working parent has it’s drawbacks- and at this point today, the only thing on my mind is that all the amazing childcare providers we’ve been with, were the ones who got to share that first congratulatory moment when he suceeded at learning something new. Don’t get me wrong- these providers have the patience of a Saint and are so very important in our lives; but that gleam a child gets in their eyes once they have the self satisfaction of accomplishing something was not a glimmer I was able to share often. And it breaks my heart a little today, on this emotionally charged day.

 

And I think ahead- the next 12+ years, he is going to continously learn new things that I had no involvement with. I know it’s part of learning and growing- and frankly why there are highly educated people that are substantially more qualified than myself- but it still makes me sad.

 

So tonight, I’ll take an extra moment to kiss him goodnight, tell him how he makes me proud, and remind him of his strength and courage. And then tomorrow, while waiving fairwell to the bus departing, and through misty eyes- I’ll wish him on his adventure.

Fighting to Win

Two years ago I would never have considered sharing my experience; even a year ago I wouldn’t say very much. But in light of Perinatal Mood Disorder Awareness Month, I am finally at a comfortable place to share my experience.

My Post Partum Depression (PPD) actually started during pregnancy of my second child as what is known as antenatal depression. I was that 10% of pregnant women what while wanting to be elated about the pregnancy and our growing family- I was the opposite. I did seek some counselling during my pregnancy and was given the ever popular advice of rest, sleep and do less (which is much easier said than done with a toddler, trying to sell a house and working full-time). By the 3rd trimester,  my emotions regulated and I was finally excited to meet this little man that would change our world yet again.

After my son was born, I was very observant for signs of PPD- I think specifically because of my experience with antenatal depression. Heck, I even encapsulated my placenta to help combat what would be the inevitable. We had a few medical obstacles to overcome in my son’s first few months, and I knew all along I had more than the ‘baby blues’; but I just kept telling myself that once we overcame the next hurdle, everything would be better. But the reality is that it kept getting worse. In hindsight, I know that there were some personal factors that probably fuelled my depression: 2 children under 2, a new puppy, new acreage and probably one of the busiest summers my husband had ever worked.

I vividly remember the day I realized that I needed help and couldn’t fight the fight alone anymore. On the news, there was a woman that had committed suicide after killing her 2 children, and for a very short moment- I could relate to it all. I hadn’t said much to anyone how I was truly feeling until that day, and told my husband that evening some of the dark thoughts that I’d been having. I was not met with the support and encouragement I had anticipated and expected. In fact, his angry response I would resent for years and would single-handedly nearly destroy our marriage. I vowed then that I would get the help I needed for my boys and I’d never bring it up my PPD again- this was going to have to be my fight to win alone.

So I embarked on a road to recovery alone. I immediately went to see my doctor and was given some anti-depressants and started to seek counselling again. My doctor and I changed up my medication and dosage a few times to try and find the best balance between the side-effects and my improvement. The funny thing about PPD and much of mental illness is that no matter what you are feeling, you will try to save face. To the world outside, everything is great! Your family is perfect, you’re out there doing things and making plans- but underneath it is just a facade. Nobody knew the struggle I had not to disappear, searching to find any reason to stay alive that day. I can confess that I am still here today because of my fear there would be no one to help my husband care for my boys, and didn’t want to put that burden on anyone else. It sounds pretty selfish now, but at the time, it was my inspiration to stay alive and keep on fighting.

After about a year, I felt comfortable in weaning off the anti-depressants and everything was starting to become more manageable. The boys were a year older and the dog wasn’t so much a puppy anymore. I had been back to work for a while and felt like a contributor to our family financially, plus I nailed down a pretty sweet routine for keeping up at home and on the acreage. The only thing that really never did get better was my confidence/anxiety of failing as a mother and the underlying betrayal I felt from my husband. Over the next year, I would continue to fight episodes of anxiety off the medication, and I regularly would question if I was truly doing the right thing.

It had been 2 years since I’d started that fight within that I confronted my husband with all the resentment that I had been building against him and the weight was instantly lifted. For the first time in a very long time, I felt good- I felt empowered and had self-worth. And that night I saved our marriage; there were a lot of tears, a lot of realizations and a lot of truth. Even today, I still struggle with my confidence and have anxiety in large groups- feeling like I am being judged and considered unworthy.

Sharing my experience with Post Partum Depression is not an easy milestone. I’m hoping that there is a mother out there that is battling her own internal demons and can find some familiarity and confidence in your fight from my story. You need support- and occasionally that support won’t come from your partner, so as a woman, a mother, and a human being- go find your support and maximize it for you. Use that support to fight your fight, because you are worth it and there is a little being that thinks so too.

 

* If you are experiencing tenancies of suicide or desire to hurt yourself or others, please seek immediate assistance by calling 911*

 

Helpful Links:

Family Services in Central Alberta FSCA

Perinatal Mood Disorder Awareness PPDA

Alberta Health Link (toll-free) 1-866-408-5465 or 811

Your Family Doctor and/or Primary Care Network

 

Helping our Neighbours

~ Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world ~ Howard Zinn

While I am speaking for myself- I know that there are many people, many Albertans, feeling the same. This last week has been emotionally exhausting- and I am safe in my own home, sleeping in my bed. I truly cannot imagine the physical and emotional turmoil the citizens of Fort McMurray are feeling and our amazing first responders that are our country’s finest heroes.

The compassion that the people in our Province have put forward to all those that have, are and will be affected by the ranging fire in Northern Alberta is beyond awe-admiring. I live over 500 kilometres away from the city and can proudly say how humbled and truthfully, emotional I am from the efforts our community is putting in to help those up north. Within 5 blocks while running errands in the City of Red Deer this afternoon, I saw 7 separate donation areas coordinated by everyday people wanting to collect supplies to send to the evacuation centres and front line responders. SEVEN!!! I can’t even imagine what the rest of the city had arranged, and across Alberta and even western Canada.

And the everyday people that are stepping in to help I believe is unprecedented. Our Province has taken a pretty big slam in the economy this past year, and our community is well known to be an oilfield service community, so was the first to be hit with lay-offs and business closures. It is speculated approximately 1/10 people have lost their jobs within the last 18 months- but by the outpouring of support and donations, you would never know. And I think that is what really gets to me- there are hardworking men/women/children and families fallen on hard times that are struggling for themselves and here they are giving what little they have to help those that have lost it all.

I have seen numerous lemonade, freezie/popsicle stands being set up in front yards manned by children of all ages, hoping to put their services to work and raise money for the Canadian Red Cross. I have seen posts of children from other parts of the world emptying their piggy banks to send money to help. I have seen oilfield companies that are barely keeping their doors open from the recession loading up their trucks/trailers/tanks with food, basic essentials, gasoline, water and driving 500 kilometres north directly to the fire to help those trying to get out. I have seen farmers load up their trailers with hay and drive to the opposite end of the Alberta to deliver for rescued animals. I have seen communities all across our Province banding together and cooking meals, opening their doors/restaurants/hotels, opening their hearts, raising funds in any possible way they can- all to help out extended neighbours. No one asks for anything in return, no one is wondering how this may benefit them- all we want is to help, and by any means we can. Even my own children, in their comprehension of the magnitude of the fire and evacuees have gotten involved- out of nothing but concern, grace and desire to help.

And yes, there are those individuals out there that may not hold the majority opinion of helping our northern neighbours. I had encountered one individual the other day and was very distraught on their perception- but after some time I realized that because of them, I was more inspired by the acts of others and to help. Because it is those individuals that we must show the strength in working together, and in caring together to rebuild a future.

It has never been a secret that we live in the most amazing place in the world- and when disasters like this unfortunately happen, the kind, wholeheartedness of Albertans, Canadians and the support from the rest of the world is what will get them through this.

Fort-McMurrayHow you can help:

Canadian Red Cross

Facebook Group – Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Page – lots of help requests, help offered, information sources and links to resources

 #ymmFire Fund – Front line charities

Here is a great article from CBC News in assorted charities and ways to get involved both currently and in the future CBC News – How to Help

Enough

I recently was able to admit that no matter what it was, I never quite felt ‘enough‘. As a Mother, a Wife, an employee, an attempted homesteader and lastly hidden way down somewhere an individual- I feel the strain of wanting to be everything to everybody, but truly only capable to give 75% at any given time to any specific thing.

Our modern day society puts so much pressure on ‘being’ that I believe you unintentionally get so caught in striving to do more that we neglect the basics and simplicity of life.

I don’t know where this image originated from that we could be a gardening housewife with a picturesque home accompanied with a hot, home cooked organic meal by 5:30, maintain a full-time career, regularly give to the community, keep up a fitness regimen, entertain the pets and still be the best Mother to my children- but damn, it’s getting tiresome, and this Momma is diving straight into a burnout. And friends- it’s not that I don’t want to see you, I’m still trying to schedule in a haircut sometime before next season.

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You are persuaded to be so much- be thrifty, be giving, be unique, be smart, be innovative, be an environmentalist, be opinionated, be conservative, be more- but caution! You should always, always be less. We live and work a 24/7 culture with so much persuasion by social media, which is a finger click away. Truly it is a wonderful resource to share, network, communicate and inspire- however it is also a gateway to an overwhelming desire to keep up with the Joneses. Only this isn’t your next door neighbour, it’s an entire community of friends, family and complete strangers. (Oh the irony that this is via ‘WordPress‘!)

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When I’m struggling within, I turn for advice to one person I know that has survived those very same struggles- my Mom. Her advice to me was ‘you can do anything, but not everything. Know your limits, appreciate them and work within your capacity.’ (I think this mentality is what makes her such a great nurse- and role model).

She also told me that ‘no matter what you do, it will always seem like something is falling through the cracks’. So I’m translating this to mean that some days the boys are probably going to watch too much TV, my house will remain in a constant state of disarray, my body is probably going to stay soft and squishy, eggs are acceptable for both breakfast and lunch (hey- and free too!) and one day hopefully, the boys will appreciate the real life experiences over some scheduled extracurriculars.

Don’t get me wrong- I would love nothing more than to do it all and keep up with ‘Super Mom‘, but for today, we’ll just settle for ‘enough’.

Giving in the Spirit of the Holidays

Now that the chaos of holiday excitement is nearing an end, I can take the opportunity to reflect on the feel good part of the holiday season- giving.
I recently had a discussion with my oldest friend about the origin of our community service and continued commitment of getting involved. Was this something that we were raised with? Was it related to personal relationships? Did we just wake up one day and decide to get involved? Really it was all of the above.
Growing up our family was heavily involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Canada- and as a member of these organizations, you are encouraged to take ownership within your community and getting involved in various causes. If I only had to take one small lesson from those 9 years of service, it would certainly have been the power of giving and helping others. There were also many other moments of growing up that while seemingly insignificant at the time, moulded us into the individuals we have become. I recall carving Turkey after Turkey alongside my Grandmother for the Mission’s Christmas dinner or wrapping gifts until 2 am with my Mom so all the residents on the Auxiliary would have something Christmas morning. All those lessons have allowed me to share the spirit of giving with my family today.
Throughout the years I have met varying individuals- some have become friends, others have passed through and the majority have presented experiences. There are so many fascinating people that have a wealth of knowledge and stories to share- if you can spare a moment and an ear, open you heart and listen. Unfortunately some of those have also undergone great struggles in life, and occasionally by no fault of their own. These are the individuals that inspire us to give more. The latter part of 2015 was very heart wrenching to see so many more families, friends and contributing citizens suffer with the economy shift.
Previous years we had started a tradition of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ whereas our concept was to spend less monetary on gifts for each other and redistribute to those in our community and in need. Because we were not exempted from the downward spiral in the economy, this year we were positioned to give much less than previously. Instead of clustering all our deeds into one month (as time certainly would not allow), we spread them throughout all of 2015 as they were to mostly be in the form of acts of service apart from generosity alone. And while there are certainly aspects of previous gestures that were enjoyable and missed this year, having the opportunity to commit all throughout the year to a cause is so much more rewarding.
Deep down we all find happiness in giving- it’s a satisfaction that cannot be bought, borrowed or taken. The spirit comes from within and when allowed, will spread more rampant throughout the holidays- or everyday throughout the year, than any other gesture.
From our home to yours- Merry Christmas and may 2016 bring you happiness, good health and prosperity.