Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pink Boy

What's your favourite colour?

Remember being a kid and asking your new friend on the playground, or on a date where the conversation hadn't gotten off to the right start? I've asked the colour question about 4.6 million times in my life, if not more. Mine is yellow. I like it's punchy, in-your-faceness and how it's bright and somehow manages to complement my skintone. I had a bright yellow room all through high school - it looked like a toddler's playroom, and I effing loved it.

Does our favourite colour say anything about us as people? Maybe, maybe not. Do you know what says a lot about us as people? Dictating that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. How silly is that? I like blue and green also, purple and pink besides. My adorable little guy - you may have heard mention of him, oh 9.3 billion times, he loves pink and I love that about him.

"Pink is for girls," my Mom tells him when he excitedly jumps up and down and says "No, Grammie! I want the pink one! The pink one!" His favourite cup to drink out of is pink. When I ask him what his favourite colour is, he almost always tells me that it is pink. "Boys should drink from blue cups or green cups," my Dad will tell him, but if my little F wants the pink cup, you can bet your ass no other cup is going to be up to snuff. He likes the pink train, Rosie, from Thomas and Friends and the case on his iPod Touch (Yes, my toddler has one... there's a reason and I'll explain later). At the end of the day, pink is just a colour and it's as great a colour as yellow, blue or orange if you ask me.

If F tells me he doesn't want to play hockey or soccer when he gets a little older, that's cool. Right now, he really loves cars, trucks, trains and tractors but if he decides he wants to play with dolls or dinosaurs, that's awesome. If he wants to do ballet, be a doctor or go to art school instead of college that's super. He has to be who he is, he has to love the things he loves and explore his interests. So, if my little guy decides that his favourite colour is puke green or sky-blue-pink, that's going to be my new favourite colour, too... It will be his colour.


I have a crazy idea.

Let's not judge people we know absolutely nothing about. Let's not even judge people we do know things about - because we probably don't know the full story.

I'm tired of getting the look. The one I got when I was trying to cope with a threatened miscarriage, when the nurse in the ER asked my marital status - as if only young, single women could possibly run into trouble with their pregnancy. The same look I got from the book store clerk when, at 21, I bought What to Expect When You're Expecting. The one I got at my first *real* ultrasound appointment, when my Mom and Dad - not the father of my child - came in to see. The look I got sitting in the hospital room alone, terrified of the idea I might go into labour without the support of my Mom and boyfriend.

I've tried to dress "grown up" when I'm out with F. Do my hair a little nicer, wear sophisticated clothing. I even wore my wedding band and engagement ring out shopping after my break-up, partially because I felt naked without them but mostly because it's a little thing people notice. At the end of the day, though, I'm still a young single mom. It doesn't make me less of a mom or less of a person. I've gone without the look  for some time now, or perhaps I just haven't noticed it. I was [un]fortunate enough to receive it about seventy times simultaneously on Friday. Have you ever experienced that level of mortification that makes you wish you could evaporate? Yeah, it was that bad.

After over five hours spent in the car, an hour of unpacking, and three days spent with a cranky, over-tired Mommy, F was not a happy kid. He was both anxious and confused, cooped up and uncooperative. I was stroller-less, and we were in a mall. I'm sure you can anticipate how this story ends. What you probably can't anticipate is the exact moment that led to the look.

"NO MOMMY!" he screamed at me. Both hands collided with my face at the same time, he stuck his tongue out and spit, flailing his arms and arching his back. At over forty pounds, I can barely carry him for any length of time or distance when he's cooperating. I pleaded with him to settle down, and then it came - out of nowhere. "FUCK OFF!" As clear as day, those two words echoed through the busy food court. Even over the buzz of people, my toddler was heard by every person around us. People turned and stared.

"We're leaving," was all I could muster. I clambored through the crowd as F cried and cried. We were both tired, hungry and frustrated. He was mad at me, and I was mortified. I could feel eyes burning into me as I walked away and I could just imagine what people were saying. It boiled over in the car in the parking lot as I collapsed into tears.

"Maybe I'm not cut out to be a Mom. I'm so mortified, and my kid is swearing at me. My toddler is swearing at me! Every person in there just looked at me like the worst mother ever. What kind of mother am I to have my two-year-old using the "F" word?"

That look. The one we all have, the one we make when we think no one is going to see us. The one that crosses our face as we lean over to point out what a plight on society another human being is, without having the slightest clue what that person's story is. Do you know where my sweet little guy learned the F-word? I don't. I'd love to. Was it when he heard me talking on the phone, angrily letting it slip? Was it listening to my brother, my Dad or even my Mom? Was it on a movie that I was watching and didn't think he was paying attention to? A song?

It's not the only bad word he has in his vocabulary, unfortunately. My brother, who I love dearly, is responsible for teaching him a fair few. He thought it was hilarious to see my two-year-old throwing out words like "shit" and "bitch". What he didn't realize is that two-year-olds don't have filters like we do: they throw those words out in the moments when it is least acceptable. Or maybe they realize that it's the absolute worst time to say the words, and that is why they do it. I'm not entirely sure on that one either. What I do know, is if I were one of the people standing and staring at me marching out of the mall with an F-word slinging, hysterical two year old, I was make the assumption that the mother was swearing at her kid.

And that's just not the case, but not one of those people will ever know the difference.

Monday, 29 October 2012


I saw God today.

Yep, that's a bold and dramatic statement, and no, I haven't lost my mind (or what's left of it). I really and truly, honest-to-goodness saw God today. I don't know what He looks like, but what I do know is that the God I believe in manifests in goodness, love and support. He manifests through random acts of kindness and a true sense of community.

Today was an average, ho-hum kind of day. It was also my Mom's birthday and we went out for a delicious brunch. We came home, I did some tidying and reading. I watched a movie with my little guy, My brother's girlfriend had a death in the family, and I had offered to meet her at the bus stop to help her get home. I originally had boots on my feet, but after walking around for a few minutes had decided I'd rather wear my new Toms and break them in. Besides, I was only going to be in the car, right? WRONG.

As we neared the cable-ferry I cross to get to and from the highway, my phone rang. It was my mom, and the sound of panic mixed with relief in her voice was immediately upsetting. "There was just a call on for the Fire Dept. Thank God it's not you. It's a car accident, near the shore. You'd better stop, none of the members have called back in." I got out on the ferry to tell the staff I needed to get across immediately. I had hit the ferry at shift-change, a procedure that takes 10-15 minutes, meaning you sit for that amount of time. They took us across immediately, and let me off ahead of nine other cars. With my caution lights flashing and R in the passenger seat, we were off.

My shoes, post-accident
I pulled up on the scene not knowing what to expect. I had no radio from which to obtain information, but I parked on the side of the road and hopped out. I ran across to see a group of strangers lining the shoulder of the road, an RCMP officer and two of my fellow Fire Department members near a badly demolished truck. That's when I saw the blanket on the ground. I stumbled and slipped down the embankment, wishing I had worn a better pair of shoes as I rolled my ankle and lost my footing. It wasn't until I was up to my ankles in muck - cold, filthy, smelly, gasoline-enhanced muck - that I was really sorry I'd worn these shoes. For a split second, I thought about not going further. For five steps, I tried to avoid the deep, squishy muck. Finally, I gave up. They're fucking shoes, and there's a woman lying on the ground.

As ambulances pulled up, I ran up the embankment to help them with whatever I could. Back down with a backboard, back up for more, back down with more. Up and down and up and down we went, myself and other volunteers - men and women who had been sitting down to their dinners, enjoying time with their families. There were only five people who had to be there, five people who had a duty to the public. Everyone else was there because they wanted to help. How amazing is that?

On my final trip up the embankment, which was slipping away beneath my feet I felt myself go. Shit, I thought as I lost my balance altogether. Before my knees hit the rocks beneath me, two hands grabbed my arms. Strangers. People who had stopped to see if they could help, people who'd stripped their cars of blankets and towels to help the victims of this accident. It was a minor act of kindness to stop me from falling flat on my ass, and yet it moved mountains. Twenty-five, thirty people stood out in the cold mist and darkness for over ninety minutes. Some scanned the ground with small flashlights, some hovering over the victims of the accident, others directing traffic, all working together.

When it was all said and done, not a single person could leave there without saying that was community. That was care and compassion and selflessness. That was God, and this community is blessed. Every time I feel like I'm losing faith in humanity, I can pull the memory of this night - this awful accident - and I can be reminded that there are still people who'd risk it all for their neighbour and that faith in my fellow man will be restored.

The scene from the side of the road, after the removal of the vehicle.

Both accident victims were taken by ambulance, but both were aware and seemed to be doing quite wel, all things consideredl. Less importantly, my shoes were salvageable and are hanging to dry.


I am terrible at puzzles.

I always have been. Growing up, I opted for a notebook and pencils over things that needed to be assembled. Blank paper is my friend: I can move the pencil across it and draw my image or use words to paint a story for my reader. Anything that involves following directions or precise shapes and sizes is just no good for me. Besides, if it falls apart there's only one way to put it back together. I like to mold it a little, switch it up... make it mine and make it fit. There no way you can fit a square into a circle, and I hate that.

It's devastating when something we love falls apart - whether it was the puzzle you spent hours putting together, a model airplane or your life, it all hurts. The time and energy is gone, you can't get it back. Pieces get lost, broken beyond repair and then what? Your puzzle is incomplete, model is flawed and life is empty. That's when grabbing that blank piece of paper comes in handy. Start over. Sketch it out yourself, make it your own. If it's not what you want, you can always erase or add to it. The possibilities are endless.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just yours.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


If you've ever heard the song Over You by Miranda Lambert - specifically, the first verse and chorus - you have a really good idea of how my year has felt:

"Weather man says it's gonna snow/ By now I should be used to the cold/
Mid-February shouldn't be so scary/ It was only December, I still remember/
The presents, the tree/ You and Me
But you went away, how dare you, I miss you
They say I'll be OK, but I'm not going to ever get over you"
And there it is, in less than 60 words. The song goes on to describe the grief of a woman whose husband has died. Truthfully, it would have been easier for me to move on had J died, and that might sound like a terrible thing to say, but at least I would have known that it wasn't his choice to not be with us.
Christmas is less than two months away now, and I can remember Christmas shopping with him last year. I can remember rushing to try to get into our new home before Christmas. We moved in December 23. We had my parents and Nanny for Christmas brunch, spent time together as a family. We were trying for Baby number two. Our Christmas family photo was the image of a young, happy family. By mid-February, it was just a memory.
I felt like I'd never get past that hurt. It washed over me like a tidal wave, a tsunami of emotion that knocked me flat on my ass every minute of every day. I couldn't sleep and I couldn't eat. Without F, I think I would have disappeared. The hurt is still with me today but it comes in little ripples, like when you drop a pebble into a pool of still water.
They were right: I got over him.

Alis Volat Propriis

I have five tattoos.

Five. All different, and all kind of the same. Each is mine, holding meaning and promise. Every now and again someone will ask me if I'm getting a new one, and the answer is usually filled with uncertainty. Maybe, maybe not, probably not, possibly. I think my poor mother will crucify me should I walk through her door with another one. (She's already threatened to disown me.) Sometimes, I'd really like to get another one but right now, I'm pretty happy with what I've got - in more ways than one!
I got my first tattoo when I was 18, in the summer between my high school graduation and my first day in university. I drew it out myself: a treble clef, eighth note and music staff for my love of music, and three little stars - blue, pink and yellow signifying my past present and future. It covers the top of my foot and I was fiercly proud of it. I felt that my foot was the perfect spot - I could easily hide or display it, a good trait for a tattoo when you expected to be in the public eye. It is big and my mother nearly threw up her lunch when she saw it, lamenting over and over that she "thought it would be smaller". I planned this tattoo for months, changing the design or placement, but eventually settling on what I have. Seven years later, I love it just as much as I did that first day.
My Butterflies
My second tattoo came just a year later, six butterflies down my spine - my own design again. One for each musical accomplishment I head dear to my
heart, from musicals in high school to singing on "real" stages. I hid it for two weeks from my Mom, until the day I forgot to let my hair down and she spotted it nestled between my shoulder blades. "One day, you'll get married in a beautiful gown and you'll have that on your back!" It's true. I did get married in a beautiful gown with it on my back and I'd be willing to bet no one noticed it. It was an impulsive tattoo, and I had decided on it just the day before. I've forgotten about it a million times only to be surprised by it when I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror. In spite of my ability to forget it being there, I always smile when I see it. I love it, too.

My third tattoo was a celebration of F: a birth dove carrying an olive branch, with the words Mo Stoirin (translation: My Treasure), in Irish Gaelic. He was six months old at the time, and I was so excited it was unbelievable. I put my own twist on this image, and wrote out the script by hand. It took almost two hours, and it was a mix between tender and ticklish. It's my biggest tattoo by far, set above my left hip, nestled among my stretch marks. My Mom hated it, naturally, but came to eventually say that it was "pretty" and since it too is usually covered, she's managed to cope. My uncle called me crazy for having another, but it is my favourite of all. No matter where I am, I will always have my baby on my hip.
The forth was extra special for me, as I got inked with my baby brother - my half-brother, adopted into the same home as I. It was done just a month before my wedding. We got co-ordinating tattoos, MACINNIS across his shoulder blades and nicaonghais along my ribcage - the Scot's Gaelic feminine MacInnis (Mac - son of/ Nic - daughter of). I will never change my surname. I may not biologically be a MacInnis, but I am as much a MacInnis as anyone else in the family. Both my parents were present for these tattoos, both acting disgusted but secretly pleased that their adopted children take the pride we do in our last name.

 My fifth tattoo is for no one but myself. Alis Volat Propriis - she flies with her own wings. My motto, my reminder that I can do this myself. There is little hiding of this tattoo - set right on my arm, just above my elbow. Only two people in the world have expressed any dislike for it - you guessed it - my parents. Strangers, friends and co-workers have told me they love it for the placement and the dainty font. It was a bold move for me - it means long sleeves in a conservative work place and a tattoo on my arm when I'm a granny. If I ever re-marry, I'll have TWO tattoos visible - what ever will my mother do? I see this tattoo 2.7 million times a day, and I love it a little more every time. 

I like what a lot of people don't like about tattoos. They are permanent: always with you. No matter how tough my day is, I can look down and be reminded that I fly with my own wings and make my own happiness. I am labeled with the name of my family. I will always have my son on my hip, my passion on my foot and my accomplishments on my shoulders. I love that no one else has these five tattoos: they are mine. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012


We've all been there: so overwhelmed with anger and frustration that, in spite of our best efforts, we just can't hold it in for another second. And then it happens, as we are powerless to stop it: we lose our shit.

Yesterday was what you might call a let-down. Big disappointment. I'll go one step further to call it an absolute piss-off. I drove five hours with my Mom and F to the new apartment. The building manager looked at me like a crazy person.

"We didn't have an appointment for today, did we?"

"Um, yep... I was supposed to take ownership today... I called twice this week to confirm. My power was supposed to be hooked up yesterday..."

Meanwhile I'm looking out the window at tenants in the building across the driveway smoking. In their apartment. Wait, didn't I sign a lease that stated I absolutely could not smoke in the building? Why is she still looking at me like I sprouted a second head? She scrambled around her office looking through paperwork, occasionally glancing quizically at me and then announced, "I don't know why this wasn't written down."

I watched her write it down the day of the lease-signing. I spoke to her last week. I called again this week, twice. Once to confirm my move-in date, the second time to confirm that the power corporation would be setting my power up. Somehow, she missed all of that.With a sick feeling in my stomach, I started wondering if I had made a mistake. Is this what I'm going to be contending with in this building, with this company?

The truth is that the series of events that led up to my gasket-blowing started long before my meeting with the building manager. I was overtired, feeling unwell and stressed out about moving. Finley was feeding off of my anxiety and acting up in the way that only two-year-olds can. I awoke yesterday with a heavy heart and a sense of dread. I snapped at Mom, Dad and F. I grumbled the whole way to the apartment, my bad mood stewing.

When I went to let myself into the apartment, I was greeting with the smell of fresh paint. YAY! They told me they didn't think they would bother repainting it when I had asked (three times). Sense of happy disappeared when I got completely through the door and saw that the apartment was in complete disarray. Shelves were laying on paper on the floor, wet paint all over them. The walls were tacky with their first coat of paint, but the ceilings looked fantastic! Cigarettes laid on my counter top and the lights were on. No one was there, but it was pretty obvious my apartment would not be ready for me to move in.

Nope. Wednesday. Great. My plans to get the apartment ready before I started classes on November 1 were thrown up in the air and smashed into smithereens. The only bonus is that a full carload of stuff has been unloaded into the middle of a bedroom and thus, that work is done. Angrily, I locked the door and drove away from the apartment. We went to the mall to walk around after five hours spent in the car, only to have Finley launch himself into the world's biggest meltdown. As I drove down the highway I could feel my frustration boiling over, and then it happened.


I cried and grumbled and yelled and then I felt instantly better.

For how mad I was about leaving the apartment, I felt like a million bucks (except for cramped legs and a soreback from sitting in a car for nearly twelve hours). I got to sleep in my bed, snuggle with my dog and after F's bad mood had also passed, we bought a new movie for the car DVD player.

Once again my plans fell through and things looked bleak, but once the cranky skies cleared I was able to reroute and snuggle with one floppy eared dog. Just one more blessing in disguise to add to the list.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


This moment played through my mind a million times last night. I can still see the lights of the delivery room, feel my mom's anticipation and J's tension. I can feel the fear I had when the whisked my son away from me without even letting me see him, and the relief that washed over me when I heard his first cry. Overdue, I had spent ten months feeling him grow, three days waiting to deliver, and one full day walking around the hospital trying to get things moving and ease the pain of the contractions. When my water (hilariously) broke in the hallway, I laughed so hard it's a wonder I didn't deliver then and there. At 7:30, my Mom went to find a nurse. At 7:40 I announced that I was delivering that baby. At 7:55, I was a Mommy.
It was the happiest and the scariest day of my life all at the same time. Everything changed in a minute. My life had new meaning, a new purpose. I had purpose. I felt the type of love that only a mother can feel, and it filled my heart so much I could feel it bursting. It now breaks about five times a day as I watch that little baby running around like a bull in a China shop. From small and helpless to the three-year-old teenager, I've cried when he cried, felt his pain when he fell, laughed at his smile and laid silently with him for hours. He is my greatest accomplishment, the wind beneath my wings and the roots that keep me grounded all at once. He makes me want to be a better person. It's almost 7:55PM on Thursday night - F was born on a Thursday night. Every time I catch the clock at 7:55PM, my hear skips a beat. It's my absolute favourite time.
My last full week with him has come to an end. Tomorrow morning will be a busy one, getting ready and hitting the road. In a week's time, I'll be alone in the new apartment. How do you prepare your heart for that hurt? How do you talk yourself through it? I am terrified and I'm not sure if I can, although I also thought I couldn't possibly raise a child at all, much less be doing it alone.
But, maybe I'll surprise myself. I do that a lot.

Drowning Negativity

Quick to anger; Slow to forgive.

Is it human nature, or just my own awful flaw? I have learned the hard way that you can't give your trust as easily as I once did. I've been hurt too many times. It takes time to earn my trust now, a long time. I find myself explosive with anger at the drop of a hat, but it takes time for my temper to be extinguished. I so easily let one bump derail an otherwise wonderful day, but I rarely feel better after a good thing happening on a bad one. And so ends my day today.

My day was super. I hung out in bed with F, my hair co-operated and I even sailed through the traffic lights. Although I had a long wait in construction, the hour-long drive to meet my awesome friend Sarah for lunch was worthwhile. (NOTE: If you need a shower of positivity, check her out at ... she's incredible and I heart her dearly.)We haven't seen each other since my wedding dance - much too long by any measure, and yet just the right amount of time also. We've both had a lot to contend with, big changes, personal issues... it was wonderful to sit and just be. I feel lucky to have formed an immediate friendship with her: an unlikely connection, as we're from different parts of the country. We met on the first day of Human Services Year One and forged that type of friendship that you only stumble upon a few times in life.

We had a delicious lunch, caught up and shared an absolutely delectable dessert (my thighs are cursing me as I type). I left lunch feeling fantastic, the type of fantastic that only comes from great conversation and company with a good friend. The air was cold but my heart was warm after our goodbye, and as sappy as it sounds, it's true. There's nothing in the world like a great friend.

With a positive attitude and a cheerful beat to my step, I hit Walmart to buy an inflatable mattress for the weekend in the new apartment, and then the mall to get Mom's birthday gift. I was scoring deals left and right, feeling pretty pleased with myself for saving money and getting a great array of goodies for my Mom! Things have just been going so well the last few days! When I stopped at the gas station, gas had gone down 6 cents a litre. HECK YES! I asked for a Deluxe Car Wash and then, very out of character, I bought a Lotto ticket for tomorrow night's draw. If I win, don't expect blog posts for a while.

I got a coffee and set on my way home, trying to call my parents all the way. I couldn't get them on either cell phone so I deduced that they were probably at my old house where there is - gasp - no cell service. I turned down towards the old house and to my luck, there was a line of dump trucks ahead of me. As I drove along thinking of how I'll spend my lottery winnings I heard a huge SMACK that brought me back to reality quicker than you can say "millionaire".

There it was. A big, fuck-off spall on my windshield. Really universe? Really? You couldn't let me have one awesome week?

Well, shit. Now I have a big spall in my windshield to go with the quarter dozen small spalls I already had to contend with - yay living in the sticks during construction season. FML. I spewed out a handful of hateful cursewords, many starting with "c" and "f". I pulled over, fuming.

In reality, that spall isn't that big a deal. I'm not hurt, my car is still driveable and there's still a miniscule chance that I'll be a millionare tomorrow night. I let a fabulous day be completely washed away with negativity. I ruined my own good mood by letting it get to me. In the future, I really hope I can avoid that. Shitty things happen, it's a fact. You spill coffee on your white jacket, get the hiccups in an interview and a massive pimple before a big date. It happens. It's going to happen. No amount of being pissed off is going to solve it, and I need to remember that.

In the meantime, should you be looking for me, I'll be drinking a big glass of wine to celebrate the new chapter in my life tomorrow, praying for a winning lotto ticket and drowning that negativity that completely effed up my day.



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

2.6 Seconds

I am envious of my not-quite-three-year-old's short attention span.

Yep, I said it. I am envious of the very same attention span that drives me completely bonkers 2.5 million times a day - and I mean certifiably crazy-pants kind of bonkers. From putting on socks to picking up toys, the kid switches tracks faster than you can say "attention". It's exasperating and hilarious at the same time.

Earlier today, I decided to approach the subject of my impending move.

"F, can you come and sit on Mommy's lap?"

"OK, but we need to rescue my toys. And then we need to play with Thomas and Edward and Gordon and have you seen Daisy Doo?"

This my friends, is what I'm working with.

I tried not once, not twice, but about thirty-seven times today to explain that we're going to be making some very big changes.

"Mommy is going to go back to school to make things better for us. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mommy. I want to make things better for you. Where did Daisy Doo go?"

In a split second, this kid can go from all serious to mischevious and back again. That was about the time I realized it. The thing I've been both praying for and secretly fearing:

He's going to be just fine.

This is what my heart looks like - Blue eyes, blonde hair and a mischevious grin.

Yeah, he's going to miss me and saying good-bye will be hard on us both, but he's got a million and one things happening in his little life all day every day. He's got his toys and his imagination pulling his attention all over every minute of his little life. It's not going to be so easy for Mommy. I'm going to be living five hours away from my heart.  For the first time since he was born, I'm going to be alone. Sleeping alone, eating alone, watching TV alone.

I'm going to miss him, and unless I can adopt his 2.6 second attention span, I'm going to be one sad little Mommy.


unapologetic: adj. unwilling to make or express an apology.

There are too few times in life that we are unapologetic as mothers, women, community members and friends. Mommy Guilt consumes us as we leave for work every day, spend time or money on ourselves, or say "no" to our children. We give time and effort to community, family, friends and we forget about ourselves. It's time to stop apologizing for every little thing. Here's a list of things I refuse to be sorry for anymore - not just as a Mom, but as ME.

1. Saying NO. To every guy I met in my teens/twenties whom I didn't sleep with, every girl who asked to borrow my stuff, every organization that asks me to donate time or money I just don't have I am not sorry.

2. Going to School/Work or NOT Going to School/Work. You are more than a mother, wife, daughter, sister. You are YOU. Embrace that. Yes, it's hard to leave your child behind but it's a lot harder to live with resentment and regret. Do what's best for you, your family, your happiness.

3. Having Dreams. I love my son more than words can describe. To be honest, I'm not sure if there are enough words for me to even begin but I want to be more than just Mom. This means having dreams and following them, working toward them. Don't give me any shit about being a bad mom for choosing to do so, either. See the above paragraph for further clarification.

4. Not being a Size Zero. If you are a mother who, like myself, looks in the mirror and cringes at stretch marks and jiggle, take a deep breath and forgive yourself. No more sorry. YOU HAD A FUCKING BABY ('Scuse my French). You've carried, birthed and possibly breastfed a child. You are raising said child, juggling your life, relationships and the responsibilities of parenthood. Pat yourself on the back and go eat a cookie. Seriously. Eat the cookie - and say Thank You to your amazing body for being amazing.

5. Going Out. You can't put your entire social life on hold. I've tried, it backfires. Let go of the guilt you feel when you carve out time to go and have that thing... what's it called? Oh yeah, FUN. Go have some fun. Spend time with your friends. Hire a sitter and have a date night with your significant other.

6. Staying In. Being tired is OK. This one is directly linked to Number 1. It's OK to pass sometimes (or most of the time, if we're being honest). Spend your Saturday night reading in the bathtub, go to bed or  curl up on the couch and watch cartoons with your kid[s].

7. Treating YOURSELF. Buy a magazine in the grocery store aisle and then lock yourself in the bathroom for an hour and read it. Headphones optional, but highly recommended. Buy nailpolish and paint your nails - or better yet - drop by the nail place and get a manicure. You deserve to feel good.

8. Letting Go. This is has been, by far, the biggest obstacle for me. It's OK when things don't work out. It's OK to let go of relationships that make you unhappy or a job you're miserable in. Whether you're letting go of emotional or physical weight, don't apologize for taking ownership of your happiness. It's yours.

9. Your Happiness. Yeah, it's hard when your friend is going through a tough time and you're on top of the world, but you shouldn't have to trash your own happiness in order to relate. It also sucks when the roles are reversed. Whether you're happy or sad, don't apologize to anyone for your emotions.

10. Being a Rock Star. Haters gonna hate. 'Nuff said.

Be positive and Stay Super! XO



The last ten days have been, um, interesting. You so easily forget the little bits of emotion you've hidden away in your mind, in your home and its contents. As I took paintings off the walls of my house, I also ripped the bandaids that have been covering the wounds left from my break up, from watching my life crumble around me. I waited too long. I should have dealt with some of it sooner, maybe it wouldn't have hurt so much. Every corner of that house was filled with emotion so great I could feel it buzzing around me, step by step.

Each room packed with memories, both good and bad. Filled to the brim with love, happiness, sadness and anger. Have you ever noticed the way emotions can intermingle in a space, laying dormant until you return there only to be completely overwhelmed? That has been the last ten days for me. I have laughed and cried, loved and fought in that house - I put my entire being into that house, turning into our home. New floors, painted walls, new furniture... it was financially and emotionally draining, physically challenging and worth every minute, or so it seemed. As I looked at the bare walls this week, I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me. All that hard work, and for what? For me to hate being there so much that I'd packed up our clothes and moved back to Moms? For me to be so afraid of the way my life turned out that I had to get out?

Hidden behind floor lamps and rich, red drapes were unspoken fears: Am I making a mistake? Should I be letting this go? Every dish, towel and blanket I packed had a memory - however big or small. The blankets we bought as a couple, the ones we received as wedding gifts. When the urge to cry became so great I could feel the tears threatening to spill over, I'd make a joke or walk away. I'm just so tired of being sad.

The truth is that right now, my life has a brighter future than it did a year ago. I have me back. I own my goals, my fears and my happiness. I always should have. It's easy to let ourselves go in relationships, easy to settle into the domesticated ebb and flow of parenting and marriage, but it's really hard to get it back once it's gone. Don't let it go. Let go of all the negativity, the sadness and anger of a lost relationship and relish in the joy and freedom of finding yourself. Reinvent yourself once, or twice or a million times, or stay the same.

Try, fall, and get back up and try again. That's what life is about.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ridin' Solo

I hate Roast Beef.

There are quite a few foods I'm not particularly fond of - a lot, actually. Roast beef is top of the list, possibly because it was almost always the meal we had when we visited my ex's family. It was never my favourite meal anyway, but I can remember crowding around that tiny table being pregnant and suffering morning sickness and making sure I didn't let my pregnancy slip because J's family wouldn't approve of it. I was after moving home with my own family before he told his parents - I should have clued in sooner, am I right? (Don't answer that).

I don't like red meat in general, tomato sauces or ketchup. I'm not particularly fond of spicy foods either. Pickles and hot sauce: yuck. I'm even super weird in that I don't really like bread unless it's hot and covered in cheese and garlic butter. Oh, and don't get me started on hot-dogs. Those foods were practically always in the grocery order when J and I lived together, both full and part-time. I always had beer and/or rum in the house for him. We always listened to his music in the car, and more often than not, watched his shows or he played PS3 during our down-time. I bought the stuff and listened to the music, read books while he watched stupid shows and I never once complained because I loved him. But between you and I, I don't miss a single bit of it. (Except for sex. I miss regular sex. With another person.)

Sure, I get lonely and occasionally miss having someone to sit next to on the couch and I would love it if someone else took out the trash, but I'm starting to feel like lately the pros of singledom are far outweighing the cons. Some of the things I'm enjoying about being single might seem like the little things, but they are pretty fabulous if you ask me:

1. No man shows, unless I want to watch them. This includes those ones on SpikeTV involving cars and motors and things I'm really uninterested in. AWESOME. This goes one step further to encompass those shooting/zombie video games that cost almost as much as my bloody grocery order.

2. Not Shaving. I don't have to shave anything unless I want to - which is a great time saver! My mustache is starting to get in the way when I'm eating though... just kidding!

3. Nobody complains about "stinky nail polish". FACT: I love nail polish. I love painting my nails, over and over. I would paint my nails a different colour every day of the week if I had the time and energy to do so.

4. Me-Time occasionally includes painting my nails, but it's also the time I like to spend at my computer, painting actual things, making jewelry, drooling over Channing Tatum and watching stupid shows like Breaking Amish. It's awesome, and as long as Finley is asleep or otherwise engaged, it's all mine.

5. One word: STARFISH. If you don't know what this is, you're missing out. Go try it. I won't bother waiting. Enjoy.

Probably the best part of being single, however, is knowing that I am free to pursue whatever I want. Sure, I have F to think about but I can make decisions based entirely on what is best for me because the fact is, what's best for me includes what's best for F. I don't have to take a job in a certain city based on another person's job, make a meal based on anyone else's preference and I am free to fall in love with whomever and whatever I want. That, my friends, is what I call liberating. And awesome.

So, if you're single like me and missing relationships or jealously stewing over your coupled up friends... rejoice! You can starfish every night! In the meantime, be strong and enjoy your independence and time alone - you never know when you might fall in love again! :)


Monday, 22 October 2012


I woke up this morning feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Two big suitcases sat jam-packed with my stuff against the wall, a third set on top of a rubbermaid container (mainly to hold said rubbermaid container closed), waiting to be filled. In a little under two hours last night, I managed to pack the clothes I like the most need for my first few weeks in the new place. How efficient am I? I thought smugly, and then I looked into my closet.

More clothes. Dresses, jackets, shirts, sweaters, shoes, pants, jeans, skirts... There is an entire wardrobe packed in my suitcases and another full wardrobe hanging in my closet. My bureau drawers aren't empty either. In spite of having not one but four white button-front shirts, last week I looked at one and thought how much I wanted to buy it. I didn't, and was reminded why last night. Given, some of the clothes hanging don't fit quite right but some were expensive items, and you never know when you might put on five or forty pounds, right?

More. It consumes our lives, day in and day out. We want more money, bigger houses, faster cars, better wardrobes, more vacation time. Some of us even lose sleep over it - I know I do. Want keeps me awake, need rarely does. Every now and again, want and need overlap for me. Going back to school is a great example of that. I could have done all of the schoolwork in the upcoming year in the time I spent worrying. All those hours didn't change the outcome though. They don't make tuition less and as far as I can see, worrying isn't going to make leaving any easier.

Wanting more this and more that has really only given me more stress, more headaches and less happiness. Worrying about things I can't have or can't change has only dulled my own life and taken away from all of the wonderful things I do have. What if, just for one day, I could swap wanting more with being happy with enough. I have enough. 

I have a roof over my head when thousands of others are freezing in the street. I have food in my cupboards, and electricity keeping my fridge running. I have an amazing support system of family and friends. I have a beautiful, bright and loving little boy and I have our health. New jeans or a shiny car won't make any of that better or worse.

When it's all stripped away, I really have it all - I have more than enough.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Good Families

You've probably read Good Families Don't by Robert Munsch.

This post really has very little to do with that book, outside of this line: "Good families like ours don't have farts. What would the neighbours say?" 

I can remember my mom reading it to me as a kid, and then to my brother. He thought it was hilarious, naturally: what little boy or girl isn't sent into a fit of giggles over the word fart? I can't remember if I found it hilarious, but the line above really haunts me today. The truth is that good families DO. Good families have all manner of "farts", those little bits we don't want the whole world to know. They have arguments, disagreements and full-blown fights. Pretty well every family has the weird aunt, uncle or cousin that they absolutely dread at holiday parties. Good families have bad things happen to them, they have a member or two who they don't necessarily get along with. Good families have mental illness and addiction, too.

I know mine does as sure as I'm sitting here. I've been diagnosed with mental illness. *Looks around* Wow - the ceiling didn't just collapse, and the sky is still up there. Mental illness doesn't make a family "bad" or make a person "crazy", and yet we all avoid discussing it like it's some form of contagion that's going to tear apart our perfect little world. Can we get over that already?

I'm tired of the way my own depression has been swept under the rug. "It's normal to feel down" or "You could never let things go" are the two comments I hear most often. Yes, it is normal to feel down. It is normal and healthy and only to be expected that you experience feelings of sadness, loneliness and anxiety from time to time. It is not normal when you can't cope with them. It is unhealthy to bury them underneath everything else so you can get up and get moving every day. And, letting things go isn't as easy as dropping a hot potato - sometimes, things eat away at you inspite of your best efforts to move on.

We've all seen that person standing in the "Self Help" aisle at Chapters, trying their best to be inconspicuous and feigning surprise at their being there should someone they know comes along and see them reading the inserts. There's nothing wrong with self help. But sometimes, self help doesn't help. I know that first hand. When I was overwhelmed with the negative feelings that came from the breakdown of my relationship, I didn't cope. I got busy. I volunteered and exercised and tried to rebound. My irritable bowel syndrome became so unmanageable that I had to mircromanage my diet. I went back to work and I buried myself in the responsibilies of managing a dining room. I threw myself into making friends, making a healthy lifestyle and putting on a brave face until it all came crumbling down around me, the fascade of a happy person.

I found myself sitting in the doctor's office waiting room, fearful that someone would recognize me. I sat shaking on the inside, tapping my foot and forcing myself to hold back the tears that were threatening to start up again at any moment. After spending 24 hours completely hysterical, I felt like the only thing keeping me from bursting was my skin. I sat in his office feeling out of control but worse than that, I felt embarassed. I'm almost mad at myself for feeling embarassed. I know better. I went to school to work with people who feel out of control. I pride myself on open-mindedness and my desire to help people. But there I was, eyes red and swollen from crying, feeling absolutely crazy. My family doctor walked in and hit the nail on the head within minutes. He's been there - he survived divorce.

"You need someone to talk to. You need to work on your coping skills. You're going to get through this, but it's obvious you're dealing with depression here."

He was right and I felt instantaneous relief - someone understood, finally. Someone realized that I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, I wasn't trying to dwell on the negative. I haven't had the opportunity to meet with my therapist yet, but I've made progress already - I've found better coping skills. This blog itself is a coping mechanism. I've been able to pinpoint both the negative feelings and the cause of them. I love being a mom, but I also felt burdened. I had been tired, sad, angry and resentful because John was free to do as he wished and I was home raising our child. I have felt worthless and undeserving of happiness. I have felt things I don't even understand - and that's a part of my depression. Some days are really great and some days are really not, but I try every day to put on a brave face for Finley and my family.

Mental illness is more than feeling sad. Everyone with depression doesn't sit around crying all day. Everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder doesn't sit behind drawn curtains biting their nails all day. Mental illness hits all over, regardless of age, wealth, occupation, race or gender. Mental health is important - it's as important as your regular physical or pap smear. You shouldn't feel dirty or ashamed if you feel like you need to reach out to someone, so don't.

Be strong and stay postive.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Fairies Are Real

At 1:07PM on Thursday afternoon, I was running around like a headless chicken. F and I were to get to town, run some errands and get back in time to pick up my brother's girlfriend. For the umpteenth time in the past few months, my cell phone lit up with BLOCKED dancing across the screen. I used to answer every call, sometimes no one was there, sometimes someone would be breathing into the phone. One call included a "You're a terrible mother" comment before the caller hung up, so I started ignoring them. I was about to throw my phone into my bag and let it go when I decided to answer it.

"This is Karen from Adoption Disclosure Services." I stood in the driveway staring at my car realizing that a phone call I've worked towards for two years is in progress.


"We have found your birth Mother. I wanted to let you know I got to speak with her. I read her your letter and it was very well received. It was emotional, but she is very happy and is preparing a letter for you now..." She's real. I was happy and sad, scared and excited all at once, along with a million other emotions I still haven't identified. She's really out there. I didn't come from the fairies - I'm not a fake kid!

In what was just another great example of how life throws things at you when you least expect it, the timing of this phone call was incredible. Just the night before, I posted The Fake Kid. A post about my adoption, about the uncertainties. One day later, I had the answer to my biggest question: Did she even want to meet me? She does.

I ran into the house to tell my Mom that the call had come. After sharing what details I had with her, I left for town. I sent about forty texts to friends telling them the call had finally come. I imagined our meeting, what would I say? What would she look like? Would I get to meet my two brothers, my dad? I let my mind wander with possibilities until I heard my phone ringing.

It was my Mom. "I was thinking about what you said. About that call."

I've always been afraid that Mom and Dad would feel bad about my decision to look for my birth parents. I hope they know that no one will ever replace them. I hope that they believe me when I tell them that. Biology doesn't make a Mom and Dad - love does. They have given me so much love that it's spilled over and we've all burst at the seams more than once. We have laughed and cried, fought and apologized a million times over and that is what makes us a family.

My attitude has changed a lot in the last number of years, particularly since becoming a mother myself. I used to refer to Mom and Dad as my "adoptive parents", and my birth mom and birth dad as my "real parents". I know now that this was wrong. Mom and Dad are my "real parents". Birth Mom and Birth Dad are just that - birth parents.

And Fairies are real.

XO :-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things your way, doesn't it?

For one reason or another it seems sometimes our plans just don't work out. Fall through. Fall apart. Sometimes they land in pieces at our feet. Sometimes you can put them back together, but sometimes you can't. So you take a step back, take a peek at your map and reroute.

I feel like I've been rerouting a lot lately.

A year ago, I wanted to be pregnant or delivering a baby by now. I wanted an October baby, preferably a girl but any healthy child would be perfect. Reroute. New path. I got a dog instead, and truthfully, she's more work than a newborn and signigicantly more expensive, too!

A year ago,  I planned on moving to Halifax now. I didn't have to reroute, just choose a new exit. Different destination. Longer drive.

This will always be my destination.
It's both exasperating and relieving, wonderful and heartbreaking the way our paths can change, crumble beneath our feet or keep on going for miles and miles into the unknown. It's unsettling and unnerving sometimes, but it's almost always worth the worry and the care.

A year ago, I thought I would have someone to share the load of parenting, finances and responsibility along the winding little path of life. I don't, so I carry it alone, holding a little hand along the way.

Sometimes I fall down and get right back up, full of mud and promise... but sometimes I make mudpies while I'm down there.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Standing Still

Ever since my disaster date with B, I have been feeling a little off.

I'm disappointed. Let down. Bummed out. I'm a lot of things, actually. The only thing I'm not is standing still. Letting it all sink in.

This date, unfortunately, isn't the only let down I've felt since John and I split up. What's that thing called when you try to avoid the loss you feel after a break up? Oh, yeah. Rebounding. Yeah... I did that. BIG mistake. I later found out that the rebound was dating my old friend from high school. I looked like an idiot, and I felt a million times worse.

After that, I swore I was going to be more selective... be more careful. That's when I met P. He was adorable, and I had an immediate crush on him. We met, rather embarassingly, at the restaurant I was employed as Dining Room Manager at for most of the tourist season when I served he and his friend. He kept coming back. I kept being the waitress. Finally, I gave him my number and then was overcome with the same foolishness and giddiness I recall from agreeing to sit with a boy at lunchtime when I was 14.

As I got to know more about him, I felt like I had met someone with whom I could have a great connection. There was just one thing I had to deal with: He didn't know I was a single mom. That was a big enough topic for me to approach. Next, I was going to have to tell him about that thing where I was married, and then separated, and headed for divorce. Oh, boy.

I was having an amazing day with P. My girlfriends from work (Thanks Liz and Shelbs!) helped me pick out my outfit, and Liz even let me stay at her place the night before to cut down on the drive time. We drove around together, talked about our plans, our work and hit the beach. We laid talking about our lives, and I decided to let it out.

"I'm a single Mom". Pretty simple statement, right? It was so loaded with emotion and anxiety I thought I was going to puke. The words hung on the salty air for what felt like forever before I got a response I really didn't expect.


Ummm... not what I was expecting. I was ready for "Oh, that's too much for me" or "That's OK". "Interesting", not so much.

"Yeah... he's two and a half. His name's Finley..." I laid on my towel feeling even more like I was going to puke.

"Did you marry the guy?"

 And there you had it.... it was all out in the open, and we'd only gotten ninety minutes into our day. Unfortunately, it kind of ruined the day. Our day wrapped up with the most awkward goodbye kiss of the century. We met for breakfast at a cafe up the road a week later, and again the following week. On the third "date" he asked me to accompany him to a party he was going to in a neighbouring community. I declined. He then asked where I saw things going, and I had to be honest... I didn't. All because of his reaction to my being a mom. That awkward kiss. *Sigh*

Am I dating now because I want a relationship? Do I want a relationship? I don't know. I survived the last eight months as a single mom and I've even been happy. Happy and alone? I can do that? Maybe I should just dial it down a little bit. Stand still for a while. I don't need to wear a pedometer and take X number of steps every day. I can just be, at least for a little while. 

Maybe instead of trying to walk into some one else's path, I'll let someone walk into mine.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Keeping Up

Do you ever feel like you're trying to live up to something you can't possibly match?

I do. Every. Single. Day.

My best friend and I were discussing the way we compare our lives to others'. It's stupid and does nothing but leave us all with a bad taste in our mouths and a sense of failure. Keeping up with the Joneses is useless - Keeping up the with the Kardhasians, on the other hand... get on that shit (kidding, I promise!).

I always though that I'd have my whole life figured out by now. HA! Not bloody likely. I don't even know what I'm doing on Friday, for crying out loud. Do I have a plan? Yes. Thank God plans don't always work out. I say this with a hint of sarcasm, because my plans haven't always worked out and while my life sometimes feels like a tornado, it's pretty awesome.

For the record, at 25 I was planning on being famous, beautiful, married and living in a big house. The good news is I'm halfway there, except the married part was kind of a bust. But, for the first time in my life... I feel beautiful. I've finally given up on micromanaging every aspect of myself and my life. I've got stretchmarks like it's nobody's business. I'm not tall and thin like I planned on being - yes, I planned on growing taller. Well, I wanted to be. I wouldn't say I'm famous, but I know at least one person who thinks I'm a rockstar. Hopefully more than one person feels that way. NOTE: I am not the one person.

Why did I feel like I needed to have my shit together at 25? I've got less than two months to get it sorted out if I'm going to, and that's highly unlikely. Are there people who have their lives together at 25? Yup, and they're really lucky. Am I envious? Maybe a little - I'd like to feel stable right now, but more than that, I want to explore every aspect of me. I want to figure out exactly what I want to do - I don't want to be guessing it.

I'm only just stomping out my little path. It's crossed loads of other paths, and there's still a lot of paths for me to cross. It will go uphill, down hill and around the hill. I will get stuck, and probably lose a shoe here and there, but I'm going to rock every single minute of it!

Fifty years ago, I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have today. My path would have been a lot smoother and would probably have rails along the side to make sure I didn't fall off. But guess what?

I like my path. I like a little mud on my shoes. That's why they invented rubber boots, duh!



Ten. I move in ten days.

If you didn't already know, I am flipping nervous. I have been preparing for this since mid-June. I'm torn between totally unprepared and chomping at the bit. Depends on the day time of day. In the line for cash at Wal-Mart today, the lady behind me commented on how cute the Thomas the Tank Engine plate set I had picked for Finley was. When I told her I had bought it as a special treat for when he visits me in Halifax, she stopped unloading her cart.

"That is going to be so hard on you, but good for you!"

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back and simultaenously throw up. It is going to be hard. It's also going to be pretty liberating.

A really good friend of mine also felt the need to tell me that, after reading my blog, I needed to remember that I'm more than a single mom. He's right, and I know it.

I've been using my single momdom as a security blanket. I've made it my identity. I've forgotten all of the other bits of me. I've put my hobbies on the back burner since those little feet hit the ground running. I'm going to miss him a lot, but there are a handful of things I'm going to really enjoy.

 -- The opportunity to do yoga whenever I want. This goes another step further in that I can enjoy my yoga practice for ten minutes or two hours, if I so choose.

 -- Running, sans stroller. Yes, I will have to bring the dog. She is a terrible running partner, but it's easier than the stroller, the constant stops to make sure he's not bored.

 -- Going to the ATM, alone. 'Nuff said.

 -- Not hitting the toy section of every. single. store.

Mostly... Rediscovering me. I'd be willing to bet that I've changed a little bit in the past two years. Actually, in the past six months. Definitely in the past six months. I can't wait to just be Ashley for a little while.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Leaps and Bounds

In only two short weeks, I am embarking on a whole new journey in my life.

I'm going back to school, as a single mom. Leaving my son with my parents.

And guess what? I am scared shitless.

If you haven't read Standing Up, you might want to do so to fully understand my situation. I shared my displeasure at being called a bad mom for trying to make my life, and in turn my son's life, a Hell of a lot better, but I also gave some insight into the fear I hold in my heart as I stare into the unknown. It's daunting, to say the least.

If it was simply a matter of leaving Finn with my parents, it would be a simple matter. I'd see him on weekends, he'd come visit me every couple of weeks and all would be well. But, there's a lot more to the picture than just that.

You see, I actually have a life here. I'm involved in my community, and I love this community. If I was willing to give up my dreams and settle, I'd never leave here... and sometimes, that's really tempting. This community is one in a million. A year ago, we were celebrated by the Lieutenant Governor for the province's Community Spirit Award. As an active member of the community and also several of the community's organizations, I received this award. It was the third time I received an award of this honour.

When I accepted my seat in school, I also had to accept that this meant a lot of sacrifices, beginning with being separated from Finn for 5 days a week. I also had to give up my position as Secretary and elected member of the St. Ann's Bay Health Group Society - but not just that. In addition to my position as secretary, I also cooked lunch for seniors every Wednesday. I founded and ran a youth group. I also created a wellness program focusing on easy ways to make your life healthier and happier. All of that went into the box of things I had to leave behind.
Devin and I, testing out our new turnouts!

Next, my position as Medical First Responder on the North Shore & District Fire Department, where I am a third generation member (AND I get to drive a firetruck - how cool is that?) along with my kid brother. We gear up next to my dad, uncle, cousins and neighbours. I'm the head of the Ways and Means committee, aka fundraiser, and a member of the Fire Department executive committee. I also took care of renting the fire hall.

After that is my involvement with the church - which, sadly, was the easiest for me to give up as my minister just retired. This woman shaped my faith and watched and helped me grow.

A lot of my identity is engrained in my involvement here in the community. I'm a volunteer, a fundraiser, a role model... am I really ready to give it all up? It's a hard question for me to face, and even harder for me to answer. Why? Because the answer is yes... and no.

I'm not ready to give up my identity. Even if I move away, I'm still a volunteer fire fighter. I'm still a Medical First Responder - I have Health Care Professional training that I will carry with me everywhere, up and down the highway, across the province. I might not be Secretary of the SABHGS any more, but I'm still involved - I'm turning that wellness program I spent hours on into a blog and newsletter for the winter. These things make me, well, me!

There are times when taking baby steps was all I could do to get by, but right now I need to throw myself into my future. Get out there and make things happen, because the truth is... no one else can do that for me. So here I go, with my Big Girl Shoes on!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Dating, for Two!


A far better writer and way cooler Mom than me (Cat Poland - check her out at recently pointed out that one of the things she missed about being pregnant was the food. I'm with her there, sometimes!

I have always, always, ALWAYS worried about my weight - and mostly for no good reason. I've never been overweight, and while my weight has fluctuated to a top of 157 and to under 100 pounds in my adult life, I've almost always been generally healthy. Like most first time moms living in the age of stick-thin actresses, thinspo and eating disorders, I put an inordinate amount of pressure on myself to stay thin throughout my pregnancy. (What a joke - and I didn't stay thin. I stayed healthy.)

Somewhere around month seven when I actually started to look pregnant - prior to that no one really believed my little bump was anything more than a big lunch - people started throwing the "Oh, here... you're eating for two, now!" comments out as they scooped a second helping of whatever was being served onto my plate. So, for the first time in my life, I shamelessly stuffed my face with whatever was handy. I kept this up throughout breastfeeding, throughout most of my life as a Mom to be honest.

Since I got pregnant, I've spent a lot of time "doing" for two - I've shopped for two, thought for two, planned for two, Lord knows I've eaten for two (even when I should have only been eating for one), bathed for two, cried for two... the list is really pretty endless. Lately, I've been dating for two.

I recently joked to my Mom about my (very real) fear that I'll be alone forever and she fired back a comment that has really made me think: "Maybe if you weren't so damn picky, you wouldn't be alone".

Shit. She's right. (Mom, if you're reading this... Well, there you have it. I said it. YOU'RE RIGHT. First time for everything.... Ha!)

I am picky. I think it's great, mainly because there was a time when I really wasn't picky enough. A younger me was easily swayed by well-versed flattery, and flash of a smile and toned biceps. If he was smart that was a bonus, if not... oh well. Did we get along? Well, as long as we did part of the time. Would he be a good dad? Pfft, who cares. Hit that bridge when we get there.

All of those nonchalant ideas of dating went out the window when I became a single mom. It took over two years of motherhood for me to truly be a single mom - in that I was no longer "officially" in a relationship. For all intentive purposes, as I once had pointed out by my amazing best friend, I've always been a single mom. But I digress.

Dating. It sucks. Doing it as a single mom? WHOOOOOOLE different ballgame.

The first big question is how the guy will react to knowing I'm a single mom. Some are good about it, some are weird about it, some make me want to take them and shake the stupid out of them.

I'm a single mom, but I'm still a person boys!

Maybe it's because my past dating practices were so pathetic and poorly worked out, I just didn't realize how difficult dating as a single mom was going to be. I pick guys apart now... just read #DatingFail for proof of that one, even if he did kind of deserve it. A LOT.

Even though I'm not looking to fill the position of Dad for Finley, the fact is that any guy I seriously date is going to be a part of Finley's life, and that is not something I'm taking lightly. If he drinks too much, he's out. If he swears too much, he's out. I've set my standards maybe a little bit too high, but I'm sure there's gotta be someone out there who fits the bill (other than my Dad).

So, future man of my dreams, take note:

I work out.

I am picky.

I like healthy foods that are made with love and shared over laughter and happiness. I like wine, but I don't think much of drinking to excess. I like Twilight - get over it. I would love to go to school at Hogwarts. I don't give a flip-flying-fuck what kind of car you drive, as long as you drive it sober, safely and you didn't steal it. Please cut your hair, pick up your socks and don't ever call me crazy, or woman or especially, crazy woman. It won't be pretty.

Don't lie to me. Don't lie to my parents. You must be willing to laugh at me, dance with me, walk with me and love the little things. I don't care how much money you make, but please have a job. That would be nice.

Don't try to be Finley's Dad, but don't be afraid to fall in love with him too. He's way cooler than I am, anyway. Loving cars, trucks, trains, planes and all manner of things that drive is not required, but it will probably help your case with him. You should probably also like dogs, and not have too many pairs of shoes. There's only so much closet space in this world, and I don't know if I can possibly love you enough to share... but I'll try.

If you need to be inspired as to why to love me... the photo should do the trick.