Thursday, January 18, 2018

Learning to Let Go

At any given time, on any day you choose, it's likely you know someone who is boarding a plane or travelling abroad or in a different time zone. This morning, I woke up realizing that my firstborn was about to put an ocean between us and I started to panic. I mean,truly panic, like I would unpack his bag and lock him in his room kind of thoughts. I laid there for a moment, waiting for it to pass, and I thought that at this moment, I know that Carly and Kyle and Dawson and Lynn are all somewhere mid Atlantic and heading back to Canada. I have friends going to bed or tucking in children while I am getting out of mine and following the dog down to her bowl for her the first priority of her day - getting breakfast!

I realized that we live in an age where it's not uncommon for your children or your family to be on an entirely different continent than you and yet, I'm nervous and anxious despite knowing it's the result of our parenting that Jason and I raised a young man who wishes to travel and see the world. We instilled in him a sense of exploration and placed a value on learning by experiencing and we taught him how to navigate a bucket bath and a long-drop (outhouse) early on. We taught him that being invited into a new culture or community is a privilege and one that you can not take lightly. He knows that it's an opportunity not afforded to everyone to travel and see different cultures and taste different foods and smell different smells - both lovely and not so pleasing.

I hate when the values we teach our kids take them on roads that are uncomfortable for me. I'm still a mother at heart and my first reaction is to bubble wrap him and feed him well enough that he wants to live in my basement until he's married and has his own grandkids...and then we swap....he moves upstairs and I live in the basement when I'm old and grey. Alas, I am equally sad and elated this is probably not going to be our future.

Someone once said, not very kindly, that my mother must have done something to drive her children so far away as my brother lives in Japan and I was in the USA at the time. My mother replied, correctly, that she raised us to be independent. It's true. You give your kids roots and you give them wings. You nurture them and you let them go. You hold them and then release them.

I'm not sure how it's supposed to work. I want to hold tightly but I am so very proud of Aidan today. Seeing his excitement over the past weeks as he's prepared for this trip, knowing the cost of working hard and saving money to make it happen, and watching him say goodbye to some really amazing friends who showed up early, early this morning to see him off....I know he's ready to fly. I guess that means I have to learn to let him.
Brennan, Jake, Aidan and Lauryn. <3

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


It's 2018. I sat down at the computer a couple weeks ago and saw everyone doing a Top Nine photos 
challenge on Instagram, where the computer picks your best nine photos according to which were the most liked by your followers. I did it with a fearful heart, knowing it had the potential to be painful. It was...but it brought peace too. 2016 - 2017 were difficult.  The end of 2017 was devastating. I do not exaggerate when I use that word. Everything around me changed and I found myself completely at a loss of where to find my footing, how to heal my heart and how to carry on as a mom but not a wife. 
It brought beauty too, which I posted publicly on Facebook, again, with fear and anxiety. I felt that I needed to lift the lid on what had remained a secret for far too long.  I had carried many things on my own in an attempt to protect my husband and our boys and to try to save a marriage. The marriage is over and the story is ours. It's painful and it's humbling and it's not easy but it's ours. The details are private but the pain is shared. 

And then something really amazing happened, which should not surprise me, but my story allowed others to share their stories. Not only that, it allowed people to hold us up and bolster us with love and protection and caring. It showed us our community and it made me, and in turn, the boys a safe place to speak their truth when they want to and a safe place to say nothing when they want to. It gave us back our choices in a period of life in which we seemingly were not given many.

The boys are doing well. We are healing.  We are sad some days and hopeful on others, we're laughing some mornings and not some evenings. We're making plans and doing dishes, driving each other crazy and playing games around the island together. We're eating dinner and we're scraping together meals of cheese and crackers and Kraft dinner with Charlie at our feet drooling and begging for her share. 

We go to work. We do laundry. We tease the cat. We shovel the driveway. Sometimes the recycling is piled higher than the counter and sometimes you can't get in the front door for the number of shoes laying in front of it and the boys are downstairs yelling at the Xbox.  We go to friends' houses, the boys have girlfriends and they fill the house with a different tone of voice and laughter and I love having them around. Easton got his driver's license and Aidan bought a 6 month round trip ticket to Japan and southeast Asia. 

I pay the bills. I run errands. I grab coffee with friends and I sleep corner to corner on the bed because I can. The blinds are open at night and when I can't sleep I watch the sky and am rewarded at times with the northern lights or the orange glow of a full moon on the snow. The boys keep busy and Aidan is preparing to travel and I'm preparing to miss him deeply. 

We're living our life in a new way but there's plenty of the old to keep us grounded. We had to find a new footing and there are times where the ground shakes beneath us and we find ourselves slipping back a bit into despair but we keep on climbing out. I have incredible people around me that are a lifeline when I'm sad and hear me out when I can't find answers to the questions that don't have any. 

We made it through Christmas and it turned out to be a really good day that included Jason in the morning and a lot of laughter in the house for the afternoon. We ate well. We went to a movie and we put the last of the big "firsts" behind us with birthdays and Thanksgiving and we set our sights on 2018. 

And it is here. And we are nearly two weeks in and we are still just putting one foot in front of the other. Pulling each other up when we need to. Pushing one another forward when we need to. Carrying the weight of our new reality of being just three in this house - sharing it when we need to or carrying it alone when it's called for. 

We know we are loved. 
We know there are many who care deeply and are there for us. 
We know we're not healed but we are on our way. 
We love each other deeply and we're getting through this the only way we know how...

Thank you for being with us. This was our best 9 of 2017 and included a lot of great memories including Aidan's graduation, Easton's first date and the last family photo of the four of us.  I'm looking forward to 2018 and what it bring us. I know it won't ever make up for what we have been through but I hope the lessons we learned this past season will take us forward in the next.