I am 1 in 3

I, along with many other women in Canada sit with a knot in the pit of our stomachs today as we learned about the verdict concerning  Jian Ghomeshi. Some of us sit here and realize that there are major issues with the way in which we treat victims of sexual abuse and assault and that our systems are not set up to protect them.

1 in 3 girls will be the victims of sexual abused/assault in her lifetime, the majority by someone they know. 1 in 3 girls will not tell anyone it happened out of fear. 1 in 3 girls will tell but instead of going to the police, it will be handled “at home”. 1 in 3 girls will still have to have contact with their abusers at school, church, home, workplace or other “safe” place. 1 in 3 girls will never get validation for an experience that inherently changed them forever.

At seven years old I told my mom that my 16yr old uncle was touching me. I felt like what he was doing was wrong but wasn’t really sure. I felt like I would be in trouble if I told, even at 7, it occurred to me that somehow I possibly should have been able to stop it from happening.
My mother, a survivor of on-going abuse of every kind, questioned me to understand the details, which is normal, but somehow did not know how to proceed.
He didn’t deny it, yet he wasn’t kicked out of our home. He was given boundaries in our home but I still had to sit beside him at dinner every night. With the people and friends she consulted, the concern was more about him finishing school and not hindering the progress he had made going to church, “we don’t want to discourage him from being baptized”.

Why…because at 7 there were “inconsistencies” in my story. Like the fact that I said he would kiss my nose before he left the room. The abuse would happen when he was babysitting me and apparently there were times when my parents would come in from being out and they also would kiss my nose…so, this apparently created doubt. Even though he admitted to doing it…my inconsistencies created enough doubt even from myself, that it wasn’t until I was in my teens and he apologized to me at a family reunion, wanting to “finally deal with the skeletons in [his] closet” that I knew it had actually happened and it wasn’t all in my 7 year old dream world.

That same summer, I would have been turning 8, I was sent to visit my aunt and when I got home he was gone. I was sent away before he was sent away. I know for certainty that this event and how it was handled changed me and much of my life.  And it taught me the unfortunate truths at a young age about how we as a society deal with these serious incidents. We don’t.

Today our stomachs are sick because 1 in 3 of us have had to live in a society where our abusers are given a pass because we didn’t present with a black and blue face and could offer the opportunity for a rape kit. We are saddened that 1 in 3 of us, regardless of age is put in the situation to have to “prove” beyond a reasonable doubt that we are in fact telling the truth. We are the 1 in 3 who have sat in police stations telling a police officer, probably male,  what happened, only to be told “I believe you but I don’t think you would win this in court based on what you have told me” (this happened to me twice). We are the 1 in 3 that has the hard work to rebuild what was taken with the very first inappropriate and/or non-consenting touch.

We are now the 1 in 3 mothers who are raising daughters and sons – who today were reminded that our children are no more safe than we were. That if our girls happen to wear bikinis, a short top that shows their mid-drift or tight pants – all those choices will cast doubt on whether they gave consent for a sexual encounter. That innocent flirting will be scrutinized and blamed for offering ‘mixed messages’. Today, we received the message loud and clear that unless we as victims show up in hospital with physical evidence of assault, it’s likely we are making it up, blowing it out of proportion or are too sensitive. The unfortunate truth for most of the 1 in 3 is that these are not viscous violent attacks, these are quiet smothering assaults.

Today, is a sad day because 1 in 3 girls was told she is not protected under our legal system.

Horkins added that while the evidence in the case raises a reasonable doubt, it “is not the same as deciding in any positive way that these events never happened.

~CBC.ca

#Iam1in3

With hope,
S. xo

 

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let’s start counting…

 

4

the number of pounds of lipstick an average woman will consume during her lifetime

11

is the percentage of ingredients of over 10,000 that have been tested for safety in the U.S.

11

the number of ingredients currently banned by the FDA in U.S. personal care products

12

the average amount of personal care products a woman uses daily

13

1 in 13 woman are exposed to a carcinogenic ingredient via their
personal care products daily

17

the average number of personal care products and cosmetics that a
teenage girl will use daily.

20

the number of lipsticks the FDA tested for lead – all 20 contained traceable
amounts of lead.

22

the percentage of personal care products including childen’s products researched by ewg.org found to contain cancer causing ingredient 1,4-Dioxane

24

1 in 24 women are exposed to known or suspected reproductive and developmental ingredients through their personal care products.

26

the amount of seconds it takes for the ingredients in your personal care product(s) to enter your blood steam

35

is the percentage of children’s personal care products labelled as “natural” that contained one or more synthetic preservatives linked to concerns.

46

the percentage of ingredients contaminated by 1,4-Dioxane

60

is the percentage of product that is absorbed into your skin when applying
personal care products

61

is the percentage of 33 name brand lipsticks that were studied and found to have detectable amounts of lead

75

is the percentage of Americans that have been found to have the anti-bacterial ingredient triclosan in their blood steam

99

is the percentage of breast cancer tissue that tested positive for parabens

168

the average amount of chemicals a woman will put on her body daily (there are some sources that list it much higher at 515)

287

is the number of chemicals that have been found in newborn umbilical cord blood

600

the number of ingredients on Canada’s “hot list” which are prohibited or restricted

650

the amount of products that could contain lead, including foundations, nail polish, and whitening toothpaste.

1328

the amount of ingredients banned in the European Union for use in
personal care products and cosmetics

10,500

the number of possible chemicals used in the cosmetic industry

12,500

is the number of ingredients possible that make up the term”fragrance”.
These do not have to be listed or disclosed as fragrance is considered an
industry “trade secret”

25,000

the number of products estimated to contain parabens in the ewg.org database

So now what….

Here are some other numbers:

1500

the amount of ingredients Beautycounter has put on their #neverlist – that will never be used in any of their products.

80

is the percentage of ingredients they use that are organic, natural or naturally derived.

33

are the number of Beautcounter products that are currently ewg certified

5

is the number of steps in their screening process when formulating new products.

3

the highest rating for any of their products on ewg.org database

You can make a #switchtosafer. You don’t have to compromise on performance. You can have both. Beauty meet Safety. Because the very most important number is:

1

You.

Living Health,
S. xo

Click here to #switchtosafer

 

 

 

 

common sense ratings

I think I’m getting to that age of thinking ‘I miss the good ol days…*deep longing sigh*. You know the days, were the rules were simple, you were idealistic and well, everything still seemed hopeful.
Um, well…those days are gone. The world is moving at the fastest pace ever, information is available to us like no other time in history and for me anyway, it doesn’t always seem hopeful BUT it will always be worth it.

About 14yrs ago I was encouraged to learn about the ingredients used in personal care products and cosmetics. It was disappointing to say the least but I embraced the task of reading every label, of every product and food item we brought into our home.
Even now, all these years later we still do. But the fact is that as time has gone on, this has become much more difficult as many new ingredients have been and are introduced to the industry every year. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but the easy rule of:

“…if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it.”

isn’t as relevant as it was 14yrs ago. The fact is, that there are many ingredients derived from natural sources that can be harmful but there are also many that are not harmful. But how am I supposed to know which is which when I’m standing in the aisle of the grocery store?

For many of us, this information can literally be at the tips of our fingers. There are now apps available via ewg.org (app: Healthy Living) and Think Dirty (app: Think Dirty) that allow you to scan bar codes and get ratings for thousands of products currently on the market. So easy peasy right? Um, no unfortunately.

I am a real advocate of common sense and taking the time to do your own due diligence when it comes to navigating the topics of health and wellness.
Nothing in life is black and white and there is no exception for the areas of health.

This past week I looked up a product out of curiosity and it was rated as a 4 on ewg.org. Their rating system goes from a 1-10:

ewg_2

This is pretty close to the halfway mark of their rating system, so for me that would raise a bit of red flag, enough to look further, which I did. What I found is that within the ingredient list ‘fragrance’ was listed, and on ewg fragrance is rated at an 8. Here is why.

The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. i Fragrance is an obvious ingredient in perfumes, colognes, and deodorants, but it’s used in nearly every type of personal care product. Even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may in fact contain fragrance along with a masking agent ii that prevents the brain from perceiving odour.

Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.

Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients.

~DavidSuzuki.org -read full article here.

Fragrance is on our personal #neverlist, the list of ingredients or terms we avoid when possible. Everything else about the product could be a go but if it’s listed we don’t buy it. Period.
So, while the product was rated at a 4 overall, it didn’t rate for me at all.

Now, when we look at the same product on the Think Dirty app we find it rated as a BUT fragrance is listed as a 0 based on the brand’s company claim that:

THIS BRAND’s fragrances are natural and contain certified organic botanical extracts.

via: The brand’s company website

So my question is then, why not list them if they are natural and organic. Lack of transparency raises a question mark for me personally. So, it’s possible that they are being up front and there is nothing harmful in their product but I have no way of knowing that for certainty.

So here we have two trusted organizations trying to help the average, caring and conscientious consumer make better, healthier and safer choices. This is something I love, but as we can see, we as consumers need to ensure that we stay alert and don’t become complacent, expecting companies or third party organizations to do the work for us.

Here is another example:
I looked up another currently popular brand on the Think Dirty app. I was surprised to see most of the products of this brand listed very low. I clicked on a children’s shampoo that was rated at a 2. I opened it up to find the first ingredient listed rated at a 4…um, this is puzzling as they claim:

By default, products receive an overall Think Dirty® rating no lower than the highest rating of any individual ingredient.

~ThinkDirtyapp.com

So, in actuality, this product I was looking at is actually rated at a 4 based on their assessment.
Another thing to consider when researching on the Think Dirty app is that they don’t list ingredients in order in which they appear on the label but by their rating. This is important to note when researching what an ingredient does and how much of it is actually in the product.

My point here is not to bash companies that are possibly trying to offer more natural, safer products. My goal is not to bash these organizations that are providing busy consumers information that would otherwise be very time consuming to source. My objective here is to encourage you to create your own personal standards for what you put in and on your body and then use these points of information as tools to help you make the right choices for  you and your family.

Life is not a clear cut rating and nothing else either. Take time to create your never list (if you need a starting point click here), use all the information you currently have and make your own common sense rating.

Peace, S. xo

Hey Crunchy, why you so grouchy?

We all have ‘that’ friend. They post images about their jar fermentation that look half alien. They start sharing articles about placenta encapsulation. They are forever posting recipes with the status “best. dish. ever.” but that seems weird…there’s no meat in it *scratch head*. They can’t be like normal people and just buy stuff at the store, nope they make their own milk and toothpaste, because you know “those chemicals“. They have an herb or an oil that can fix any status you post, because really, lavender is the answer to everything, right?
But there is something else that sets them apart from all your other non-crunchy, non-fermenting, non-meatless, basically…non-weirdo friends. Something that you often can’t put your finger on but is always buzzing in the background…oh yeah, they are grouchy.

You: Hey, I bought a new moisturizer yesterday – my skin feels amazing.
Them: Did you check ewg.org to see it’s rating. *pulls out homemade lip balm*

This is not a rant about people who are granola, extra crispy crunchy. I am one. I make my own milk, homeschool my kids, have read every label of any food or product that has come into our home the last 14yrs and of course use oils, honestly what else is there *wink wink* . We are not vegan but we do limit how much meat we eat and when we do eat meat we do our best to make it organic. Yup, I am a shade of granola.

But there is something about people in our lives who are making choices that are not currently mainstream that seems to come off as grouchy. And I say grouchy, but it could also feel judgmental, negative and insensitive. It’s possible that your friend is all those things and possibly you need to re-think that relationship, but for most of us that have “those crunchers” in our life – they just kinda come off as grouchy.

You: Mmmm, hubby made the best hamburgers on the bbq last night…
Them: Oh, that’s nice. Have you ever seen the documentary Cowspiracy? *inserts carrot stick into mouth*CRUNCH*

I’m here to tell you why.

The simple answer. We care. We don’t want to see those we love and care about suffer when there could a loving, tree approving solution.
And this is not to say that we are the only ones who care, I believe everyone cares at some level – I just think that we all care about different things. And I don’t even think that one belief is more important or better than another, except when we start suffering physically or mentally.
In every walk of life you will have those that come close to failing even the basics but then you have those who are so “on it” that it becomes extreme. And the same goes with your crunchy-granola friends. They are on a scale and it may be hard to believe but there is someone out there even more crispy than your friend.
But these passionate people just really care. They want to share what they have learned and has worked for them, so that people, especially those they care about, live healthier, better lives.
They are actually not for the most part conspiracy theorists, the information is out there, from reputable sources…click on a link sometime – it’s probably not as far out there as you think…yes, even placenta encapsulation.
Our goal is not to make Birkenstocks the next best investment and many of us still believe in bathing (with soap) and using modern day appliances.

You:  Ugh, I’ve had a headache all day.
Them: Have you tried x EO? Sigh. *takes out her lavender mist *spray*spray*

Change happens slowly, and if you know anything about granola, it cooks fast. We want to add the water, heat you up and get you cooked. For us the entire world looks like rolled oats just waiting to be cooked.  But people are not rolled oats and no one likes being cooked. Forgive us for our enthusiasm and zealousness…it’s really not about world domination.

If you have a seemingly grouchy granola friend, give them a hug…let all that lavender oil rub off on you. Listen to a bit of Enya together and remember, we aren’t really grouchy, we just really care about you.
 

something new

As it goes, myself with millions of others, I started the new year with the quest to conquer the clutter. In the first few days of the year I noticed several of my friends posting on facebook about limiting their shopping, cleaning out closets and like us, heading in for battle into the dreaded dungeon, the basement. Our basement, the catch all for the ‘i don’t have time for you’, ‘I don’t know what to do with you’ or ‘I want to keep you but I don’t really have room for you’, things. It was time to tackle it, all of it.

I went into it optimistically and feeling like this would be fairly straight forward. I had done a major decluttering two years ago and had felt that I had laid the ground work for being able to let go and to see all this stuff as just that, stuff. Well… I was wrong.

I had been down for a bit during the process and was considering that I might be depressed. But I know depression and even though I was exhibiting similar traits it didn’t feel like that…it just felt, off. It felt heavy. It felt unfamiliar. Which for me, being someone who likes to feel in control, was unsettling. And so I mulled it over. Doing my best to still achieve my goal and push myself to continue the quest but honestly not motivated to do anything productive. Taking it in stride, trying to understand why I was feeling this way when mostly only good things were and are happening in my life and while slow going, I’m successfully dealing with this clutter. Why was I waking up feeling like a bomb is going to drop any second.

I was having a quiet moment and it ended up in a ah ha moment. I realized in a swirl of emotion and the dizzying certainty of truth, that the reason I have clutter and the reason it’s so difficult to get rid of it is because I had, at some point allowed these things to define who I was and what it meant my life could be or maybe should be. This was surprising to me. It never occurred to me that I had that much personally and emotionally invested in all this stuff. I had watched numerous decluttering shows with Peter Walsh and read his books and was reading Marie Kondo’s book on tidying, which was the inspiration to start the project. But actually dealing with clutter is different than thinking about clutter. And dealing with years of clutter is different than doing a yearly clean out of your clothes closet. AND, dealing with clutter effectively is different than what we have done most other times and what  I think most people end up doing, a glorified ‘sort and organize into new shiny storage systems’ – type of (non) decluttering.

One weekend we had a huge pile of items for goodwill. The logical part of me was happy to see it go, knowing it was no longer going to be taking up room or energy in our home. But as I started scanning the items I could feel myself feeling emotional. Logically I knew that we didn’t need these things, they have been in the dungeon for over 2yrs, not used. But they are items that were still very usable, helped for a time to create the vision of what we wanted for our life and then many of them were physical representations of years of poor buying choices, which is never a good feeling, regret.

I think most people know that the important things about life are not made up by stuff but for most of us, our lives are made up with “stuff” things. As I put a crocheted blanket that was given to my son as a birth gift in a garbage bag, my stomach in knots, I had to remind myself that giving it away didn’t take away from it’s importance or how special it was to us at the time. Fact is, we just can’t keep every. single. thing. ever given to us.
One thing that helped me to understand the power of letting go and to focus on the the memory of the thing, not the thing itself, was that I could not remember who specifically had given it to him. Sadness. But the emotion held by that blanket was part of celebrating his arrival and was a memory that someone loved us very much. It was difficult to stuff it into a garbage bag on it’s way to goodwill but I did it and felt relief.

Along with numerous items related to my current life I also had to deal with my late mother’s belongings. Sifting through memories of my life growing up, her life, things she had hoped for her future, things she had done with my children, books related to projects she was doing or wanted to do. This was by far the most difficult part of this project but it taught me and reminded me about the importance of living in the moment and that the important memories will never be taken away. As an example,  I had a small piece of paper on my vanity that had her old address on it that she wrote down for me when she moved  – I have it because I don’t want to forget her handwriting or what it looked like…fear. I had to really embrace Marie Kondo’s simple rule of asking myself “does it bring me joy?”. The answer was no, it made me sad to look at it, and there was no way or reason to keep it in a place of honor. I chose to let go of the fear and throw it away finally.

In that split second that day I understood the reason I had been feeling off the last few weeks – because I’m letting go of everything I know. I feel this “unfamilair” feeling because by letting go of all this stuff puts me in a place within myself that is unfamiliar. I don’t know anything but this stuff. Sadly, I realized that there is comfort in what you know, in the clutter.

Also, letting go when you don’t know if that space will be filled with something of equal value is scary, and in that moment I figured that out. Whether the items are serving me anymore or not, I knew them. I knew what they represented, I knew that no matter what I may never gain, whether in material possessions or happiness, I would still have those things, memories, and proof that I have done my best to make a good life…but in that moment, I also realized that because of those things I can’t have the best life, and that’s why they needed to go.

Just becoming aware of the feelings of regret, fear, uncertainty, sadness, and fear of letting made me feel better almost instantaneously. That heavy feeling was gone and I felt like I could resume the task and finish it successfully. It’s not that letting go of the stuff becomes easier – it just becomes a choice of living with stuff and fear, or letting go and believing that something will fill that space, even if it’s only the gift of space. Believing that something new like courage, openness, joy and love will choose to reside here…with everything item I throw out or re-home, I bet on, something new.

how a natural mom ended up going under the knife

People who know me, know that I use a doctor if I need a diagnosis – but will likely treat at home and that if we are at the hospital it’s a serious or chronic situation that we need help to support – and I can count how many times we have done both – rarely.

So on Friday when I was rolled in to get my appendix removed this was a little shocking to most close friends in my life that I was at the hospital and all I can say is that I’m really happy I have an unlimited texting plan – pretty sure people thought I was on my death bed. Sure, I suspected something was wrong but I didn’t look or feel like the typical appendicitis patient but none of my friends knew that…all they knew was that the girl who never goes to the doctor is at the hospital.

I’ve always thought it interesting how people seem to think that natural moms take a lot of risks with our health and that of our families. That our quest to avoid antibiotics and medication, blurs our motherly common sense. That we would rather see our children die instead of giving them any allopathic intervention. Which of course is absurd to me and I’m sure most other natural moms would agree.

So I share my story only to share how I, a natural mom ended up going under the knife and the reasons that led me to do it – they might surprise you.

When I arrived at the ER Thursday night I had been quite sick all day. I had been sick to my stomach in the morning and then it subsided but I still had pain on the right side. I thought it was a spasm in my muscle and didn’t think too much about it because I I was so overwhelmed by how sick I felt. I could only lay in bed.
When Mr. hubs came home he mentioned that I felt hot and I did have chills so I took my temp which was just a low grade 99.5. I had also mentioned to him that I only had pain on the right side and that got me thinking – ‘hmm, wonder which side my appendix is on‘. So looked it up and realized that I had several of the symptoms of appendicitis. So asked Hubs to bring me to a walk-in while our girls were at an activity. All the walk-ins were closed so I called TeleHealth from the car – a phone service that is supposed to help you assess whether you need to go to the hospital or not – of course it was recommended that I go and see a doctor within a few hours. So we picked up the girls and headed to the hospital.

Let me say that I didn’t feel I was in an emergency and wasn’t in that much pain. Normally I would have just waited till the next day and go and see my doctor but not knowing how quickly appendicitis could worsen I felt it was important to go rule it out.

Three and half hours later I was pretty much better which was exactly how long we sat in the ER. All the symptoms other than the pain on the right side were gone. No fever. No chills. No achy pain in my lower back. No nothing. So it wasn’t surprising when the doc looked at me and said –

“well…most people that come in look really really sick. You don’t look great but you don’t look really sick. So it’s probably a bladder infection. We want to make sure – so come back tomorrow morning for an ultrasound.”

This seemed completely reasonable to me because honestly I felt fine and thought to myself ‘well that is 3hrs I’ll never get back…’

Next morning went back for an ultrasound – felt completely fine except now I was starving from not having eaten the day before and told not too eat so in case it was appendicitis and would need surgery.
I was really feeling that this was a bladder infection and I would be sent home with a scrip for antibiotics – which of course I wouldn’t fill because I know I can handle a bladder infection naturally.

Waited in the ER for another 2hrs to find out that the ultrasound found nothing. They couldn’t even see my appendix but saw no inflammation around the area so he assumed that it was a bladder infection and recommended antibiotics.  He was about to send me home when he took a minute and asked about my symptoms the night before. He looked at me and said

“hhmmm…you know those are pretty common symptoms of appendicitis and we really want to rule it out – how do you feel about having a CT scan?”

Ugh, dye injection and radiation…. “ok” I said.

So now I have an IV put in and in the course of waiting for my CT scan proceed to get 2 bags of antibiotics – in the event of needing surgery. Okkey Dokkey…first time for those in 20years…
Finally do the CT scan and back to waiting for results.

Result came back. It was appendicitis although very early stages and he said he could treat with antibiotics but his recommendation would be surgery. I agreed without hesitation. And I left to get prepped for the ER.

Now normally if a doc told me that I was at the beginning stages of anything I would go home and deal with it on my own. So what made my little appendix different? A few things:

TIME. It had taken 13 hours in total to get a diagnosis. We have 4 children at home all day everyday. We have limited help when it comes to situations like this. I found it very stressful to have them be home for alone for such a long time. Now don’t get me wrong – we have a 13 and 11 year old and the hospital is literally less than 5mins away – I wasn’t stressed that they were at risk – it was just a long time for them to be on their own. From their point of view they thought it was great to have almost all day where they could watch movies and play video games – *groan* but the unknown of how long everything would take stressed me out.
If I could avoid spending another 13hrs in the ER in the future that would be good and it seemed probable that in many cases it would flair up again – meaning this whole process again which would likely include more antibiotics and possible CT.

RISK: It seems that no one knows the real purpose of the appendix or why it gets infected. Two of the things I count on when deciding if I can treat it naturally on my own.
There is also no way of knowing how quickly or how long it would take to flare up to the point of bursting.
There are a lot of perceived “risks” I am willing to take – a burst appendix is not one of them.
I did look up briefly how to treat appendicitis naturally and what I found was recommendations to “flush it (the infection) out” and to do juicing. I could see the benefits of this but intuitively it did not give me the confidence to feel that it wouldn’t come back. And that leads me to my last reason:

INTUITION/FEAR: My cousin’s daughter had just been in the hospital a few weeks before with what ended up being a burst appendix she had for several days. It was a very serious situation and thankfully she made a full recovery. I don’t believe we hear or see things happening to other people for no reason so took heed of the warning.
My fear was that I would try and treat naturally or not…I could be outrageous and take their antibiotics but he had just told me that they didn’t have a very good success rate with that treatment…and would end right back here in the ER. Not that I would ever suggest surgery to avoid inconvenience but something just told me that having it removed was what I needed. (And I was right about that, but I wouldn’t know how deeply till later – which I will share in upcoming posts how this was a huge wake up call.)
I also didn’t want to live in fear. I don’t think of it as a free pass to now do whatever I want – but more to move forward with peace.

So that in a nutshell is the story of how a natural mom ended up under the knife. It’s how a natural mom who firmly believes in the body’s ability to heal itself chose the allopathic root – intuitively. And for me – it’s a short story of how we sometimes get to a natural place by unnatural means….but that my friends is a story for another day….

 

 

annual apology

Tomorrow I will have a 13yr old. So as it goes, a few days ago I did my annual “You are the first born – we know we are making mistakes – we are sorry” apology. I do this at least once a year and sometimes it’s in jest, sometimes that is just the sad honest truth. I do it so that I am reminded of this truth and that hopefully he’ll remember when he’s thirty paying for therapy.

This has been a difficult parenting year for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I am nearing the end of my 30s and/or if I woke up one morning and realized that I was already halfway done raising one of my kids – and holy crap, he doesn’t seem halfway baked yet.

While I don’t condone 20yr olds who are not ready for a child to do so willy nilly – I had him days after I turned 25. I have to say that I miss that feeling of “hey, we all made it another day – I must be doing something right”. The sweet oblivion of your 20s. The innocence or perceived selfishness of taking as much as you give. Having limited vision into the future and dreams as big as the sun – living just above minimum wage.
I know for me, my 20s were about loving life, being responsible, but totally loving the adventure and fun of life – and that didn’t change because I had a child.

I miss those days.

It seems that I blinked  and life shot forward and there I found myself – caught up in the strings and debris of Life. With each breath – everything matters. In a big way.
Every decision ever made seems to have it’s own calculations of failure or success – but I don’t have the equation to solve it. Time seems endless from second to second, yet to remember seems like a lifetime in each minute.

Time – our greatest resource. Taken for granted.

Thankfully, I believe that all things are meant to be. That somewhere, sometime in the cosmos we and my children decided that this wild ride we are on, would. be. fabulous. and we wanted to do it together. We saw it, we loved it and in turn decided to love each other.
That gives me some level of peace, and a glimmer of hope that there are bigger reasons and lessons for the parenting flops – that are way beyond my scope.
With that hope, I open my eyes, take a breath of Life deep into my chest and try again another day.

As I said my annual apology I hugged him tightly and held back those big ugly cry sobs. He says: “It’s ok mom…” in which I replied: “It’s not really ok, but you’ll only understand when you are a parent. We love you SO much  and we are doing our best, we’ve never done 13 before so we are probably going to make some mistakes…” A few more hugs and I look around his room and regular ol’ mom comes back online and says “hey, let’s start this year off with a cleaner room – ok“?

I suppose some may question the wisdom of apologizing for events that have yet to occur or may never happen. I have no idea if putting myself in somewhat of a vulnerable position with my son will come back and bite me one day. It’s what feels right for my relationship with him and where I’m at today as a parent.
I have always felt that the greatest gift I could ever give my children is the ability to be authentic – REAL. I know already that I will not be able to teach them or give them all the life skills they need or may want to be their version of a worldly success. But I can be the best example of REAL – so that no matter what they take with them when they leave my door, they can hopefully feel confident to be themselves, at any age.

Being Real,
S. xo