Sunday, 12 May 2013

Dear Mom

It’s Mothers day.

Wanna know what I want? I want to sleep. ALL. DAY. LONG.
No breakfast in bed. No flowers or handmade cards. Just me and my pillow.

Reality check, that’s not going to happen. Quinn’s Soccer game starts in an hour.
Oh who’s kidding who…I can’t wait to watch her play.

Even though I am a mother,  today is a day to be a daughter and honour my own mom. It will only be a simple phone call as they are enjoying retirement poolside down south. My mom always says if she had known how much fun grandkids were going to be, she would have had them first.

No shit Sherlock…I also think it would be way more fun to be able to spend a little quality time with the offspring, shove sugar down their gullets and then hop on a plane to the sun where no children need to fed and cleaned.  
Sign me up!

The first Mother’s day after the girls were born, I gave my mom a card with one simple sentence written inside.

“Mom, now I get it”

Now I get what it’s like to truly love someone unconditionally and worry about them NON STOP. I get what it means to say you would lay down your own life in a heartbeat for someone else’s safety and happiness.
And truly mean it.
I get what it is like to spend countless nights thinking of the “What if’s” and “What about’s”. To question every choice you make as a parent in charge of raising actual human beings. To wonder if you are really putting enough money in the therapy pot, what their future shrinks will think about you and what diagnosis will lay on your shoulders.

So today my post is a letter.
To my mom.
Perhaps it will give you insight into my own crazy, but I guarantee it will let you see how truly blessed I am.

It’s a long letter. You don’t have to read the whole thing. Except you mom, you need to read it through cuz I forgot to send you a card.
And then put a sticky note with my name on the big ring.

Dear Mom,

38 years ago you were celebrating the best mothers day of your life as you cradled the most perfect child in the world lovingly your arms. I can only imagine what you were thinking as you gazed into my beautiful eyes and breathed in my flawlessness.

No wait…not about me. Right. Lets try again.

Dear Mom,

Thank you.

Do those words express enough emotion for the woman who built and raised me? I really should buy you a steak dinner or something.

Don’t kid yourself mom, my own therapy pot ran dry a little while ago. But you did the best with what you knew.
I mean come on, look at me. Enough said.
Pat yourself on the back woman!! Gold star for you.

You took what you knew and changed what you needed. I will do the same and so will my own girls. I guess that’s how we keep getting better at this right? I figure by the time I am a great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma, our family line of mothers should have this all sorted out.

I want to honour you for the adversity you faced and the role you took to stand strong as our family journeyed its path. 35 years ago you and dad landed in Calgary with two little girls in tow after a company transfer across the country, only to learn all of our belongings had been lost in a transport fire. Guess what? I don’t remember and didn’t know how truly awful it was. You didn’t know a single human being in this city, yet you protected us from the tragedy and all I knew was that we were safe and our family is what mattered. I didn’t know it at the time, but at the tender age of three I had my very first lesson in treasuring the important things in life: my family.

You began to plant our roots with nothing tangible, yet you watered our family values and we grew strong.

FYI mom, I also know that this fire protected you from ever having to admit there were no minute-by-minute pictures of me as there was for my big sister.
The evidence, or lack thereof, had been destroyed.
Silver lining right?

I’ll admit it; your sacrifice to work outside of the home may have gone unnoticed and unappreciated. So today I want to notice it. And appreciate it. I would scrub stairs with my own toothbrush to be able to provide my girls with the extras. While you and dad struggled behind the scenes, we enjoyed private school and braces for a million dollar smile. You knew when it was important to buy the name brand jeans when in my teenage wisdom I felt that’s what I needed to fit in. But you made damn well sure my clothes did not define me and my self-worth was not extrinsically based.

Although I used to think that money just came out of the machine in the wall, because of you (ok, maybe more dad) I know the value of money. You made me get a job and earn what I wanted. But you also knew when it was time to open your wallet when I didn’t need a lesson. 
You house is hands-down the best value for groceries in the city.

Without a doubt my sense of humour comes from you.
 Ok, sometimes most times at the expense of you.
Thank you for your innocence and your ability to laugh at yourself. Because of you, I know how important that is.

Like when the attendant at the gas station asked what oil you use and you answered “Crisco”.

Or when on a tour at Universal Studios and everyone was asked what their favorite ‘Soap” was and you loudly piped up from the back…”TIDE!! It really does work the best on stains.”

Or my personal favorite, when at a high school parent-teacher interview with Mr. Grumpy Chemistry Pants and the underwire from your bra malfunctioned and ended up poking through your sweater. And you decided the best course of action was to pretend you were recording the interview and leaned forward as you asked the teacher with zero personality to “speak into the microphone”.
Located just under your boobs.

Or when you crashed into the garage for the fourth time or high centered your car on a parking block and bribed me with a chocolate bar not to tell daddy.

I still laugh when I think about the time our house was broken into and you were in hysterics as you described in perfect detail for the police report the diamond earrings that were stolen.
Only to have the officer ask you if they looked anything like the ones in your ears.

Yeah…those are the moments that I am talking about. They rock.

Thank you for carrying a wooden spoon in your purse. No, scratch that. I can only stir spaghetti with a spatula now. But I do know what respect and a healthy dose of fear are. Thank you for teaching me to think before I speak, especially with my own children. Again at your expense, but I learned that phrases such as “do you want to be grounded?" sound a wee bit silly as we all know the answer is probably NOT going to be an emphatic “Yes please mom! That sounds terrific. While you are at it can you take away my car keys?”
Thank you for passing on the tradition of cleaning up the dog shit to get out of grounding.
Best. Consequence. Ever.

I am sure in the middle of my teenage years you were not quite sure how you were going to make it through raising sweet little me. 
Thank you for not killing me when you busted me for sneaking out.

Or taking the car without a license at age 15.

Or having fake ID. How confusing it must have been to see me on government ID as ‘Jodi’.

Or not actually ‘staying’ at Angie’s house when Angie was ‘staying’ at at our house.

I learned creative parenting from you. I can only imagine your laughter as you took the pack of smokes I was ‘holding in my bag for someone else’ and while I slept, secretly poked 100 pin holes under each filter.
Well played Marg, well played.

Thank you for leaving work to hunt me down in the mall when the teacher called to ask when I would be ‘feeling better’ as I was missing a test that day. Although we could have done without you pulling me out of the shopping centre by my earlobe in front of my friends to drive me back to school.
Especially since school was over for the day.
If you had let me speak in the car…that’s what I was trying to tell you!
Calling dad for a ride home while the janitor waited with me was a bit awkward. Just to let you know, I feared for my life on those drives in the car with you when you were mad. That was scary shit man.

Mom you have many roles.

You are a wife of over 45 years. Because of you I know what the word ‘marriage’ means and that it is an action and not a feeling. Dylan and I are blessed to have such great role models. Packing up my toothbrush when the going gets tough is simply not an option.

You always say more is caught than is taught.
I caught it mom.

Although shocked when I introduced you to Dylan and then told you “oh by the way, congrats your gonna be a nana”, you have always shown Dylan and I nothing but respect and support. I can’t imagine how you must have felt as Dylan and I began our very uncertain path together. Having to adjust your own dreams and expectations for your child while you questioned your own parenting choices.

Quite simply mom, without you in our corner, things may have looked very differently.

You are a friend, a sister and an aunt. In all of those roles you know what love and work it is to keep a relationship going through moves and miles, distance or time. You have wisdom to discern when advice is needed or just a quite shoulder to cry on. You have a gift to help people see the funny or take them shopping when the only answer is a new pair of shoes. Or to know when your only solution for self-care is a new pair of shoes or a glass of wine.
Thank you Lord for giving me the same size feet as my shoe-aholic mother.
That’s one hell of an inheritance.

You are a Pastor. Even though you are recently and well deservingly retired, this role will always be a part of who you are. You have had the honour of welcoming new life into a hospital room in the wee hours of the morning. You have held hands in prayer as last breaths are taken, family tears are shed and life leaves this earth.  You have celebrated new couples commitments to one another, honored parent’s public declarations of faith for a new child and walked beside families as they mourn loss at a graveside.

You served through your faith at each step.

Mom, you were called into a role that I believe was chosen for you and you have made an impact on others in your humanness. And in your humanness you are loved.  You showed me when it was time to challenge my beliefs and admit when I was wrong.
And then fix it to make a difference.

I know that in my teenage years I didn’t make this job as spiritual leader very easy.  Although at times it did feel we lived in a fishbowl, I know people were watching you more…waiting for me to fall so they could pounce. You handled my short skirts, hidden tattoos and piercings with grace. You were my mom first. Thanks…and I am sorry.

As a woman in a man’s world, you taught me to push gender boundaries and that being a girl was to be celebrated, not hold me back or define my life path.
The world was mine because of you.

You are a grandmother. Quite frankly mom, I don’t think I could have made it through the girls first year without you. From the diaper and formula fairy arriving at my doorstep or calling you at 6:00am on a Friday to simply say “Ready” and know that you would be over within minutes to let me crawl back into bed while you filled my freezer with meals and kicked my laundries ass.

You have created a special relationship with each of the girls that spans their ages and stages. They love you with all of their heart and when people say it takes a village, well my girls got one hell of a village. Thanks for baking with them and allowing glitter at your house, it means less money for me to throw into the pot.
And you know what that means? More money for wine!!

Watching you be “nana” is awesome. You are happiest when all your ‘chicks are back in the nest’ and you are surrounded by those you love.
Don’t kid yourself; ‘Free-Food Fridays’ at moms house is my favourite day of the week.

But mom, to me you are simply my mom. The one who gave me life. Who raised me to know right from wrong.  To do good things in this world and love people without judgment. To dream big and then work hard to achieve it. To throw rocks at boys and know when ice cream is more important than being grounded.

You taught me how to tie my shoes and pee on a potty.
That’s been very beneficial, thank you.

You taught me when natural consequences were necessary even though it must have killed you to see me hurting while really only wanting to rescue me from myself. You showed me the meaning of firm loving boundaries balanced with the importance of a hug before anything else.
You taught me when to pick my battles or say ‘this too shall pass’.

Most of all, you showed me how to be a mom.
And for that mom, on this Mothers day, I am grateful.

Thank you.
I think we did ok.

I love you.

P.S. Don’t get too emotional and sappy…Shady Pines is still on speed-dial.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sprinkled Chocolate Balls

I have what some may describe as an ‘addictive personality’. No need for any under-your-breath comments about my wine drinking here. I do try to keep things under control and have learned that anything beyond the 25 cent slots are not permissible for me in Vegas. Sweet Balls do I love Vegas. It’s an addictive personality gals heaven. It’s a good thing any card related gambling confuses the hell out of me. Too much math and remembering.
I digress.

I am NOT a ‘gamer’. I hate video games and it would annoy me beyond all belief when Dylan and I were first married to come home and find his sorry ass planted in front of the TV with a controller in hand. What a waste of time. Seriously, you could have been dusting decorative candles and collecting socks for the past 8 hours. Although I do have a very cute picture of two newborn babies sleeping on his chest as he reclined in a chair manipulating the controllers around small humans to steal and crash a pretend car on the big screen.

However, you may have noticed that I have not posted a blog in a while. We all know my life is crazy right now and although I am feeling somewhat in the spring sports rhythm, something else has taken over my life.

I am not proud.

But I need to say the words.

My name is Jessica Stilwell and I am a Candy Crush-oholic.

There. I said it.  Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery right?

I call bullshit. All I can think about is candy.  Red candy. Blue candy. Striped candy. Packaged candy. Falling candy.  Exploding candy. Don’t even get me started on matching two ‘specials’ together and oh Lord, I never knew how a sprinkled chocolate ball could make me squeal.

I find it all very odd, as I don’t even have a sweet tooth.

About two months ago I was all judgy and making fun of one of my friends for her Candy Crush addiction. She didn’t know I was judging her for wasting her life away at the time...but I guess the cat is out of the bag now as she religiously reads this blog. Well, my friend I am sorry and since you are at level 346, you are now officially my hero.
Wax on, wax off Mr. Miyagi. I am your young grasshopper. Please teach me your ways.

I am actually having Candy Crush dreams. In a perfect fantasy sequence, the candy stars align and I can close my eyes and see not one, but two sprinkle chocolate balls fall into place. Side by sweet candy side while a packaged and a striped candy lay beneath. It’s like Candy Crush wet dreams. 
Dylan appears annoyed that I am not all that focused on him as of late…I told him when his balls are chocolate and covered in sprinkles we can talk. Ohhhh! That would be two side-by-side chocolate sprinkle balls. Imagine that explosion. It would clear the entire screen.

The game is designed to hook you. Or perhaps that’s just how pitiful I am. It is dazzlingly created to draw you in and spend money to buy more lives, extra moves and powers. It taunts you with its tempting ways. Chanting “Just one more chance. Come on Jess, this time you will succeed. I promise. It’s your lucky day. Special price just for you. What can one little purchase hurt? Come on, everybody’s doing it. Don’t you want to be cool? Good girl. Go ahead, breath deeply and match those candies. Now doesn’t that feel better?”

Ok…so my credit card bill may look a little odd this month but whatever, I totally kicked level 87's ass with a mere 24 dollars. You see, up until recently I was playing on the down-low. I was hiding my newfound addiction like a dirty little crack secret until I found out you could link that shit up on Facebook and get lives and gifts from friends who also play the game. I was wary and cautious at first due to my embarrassment. After all, I have been very vocal about my hatred for updates and invites from those stupid Facebook games junking up my newsfeed.

Like really…who actually plays those??

Well, as it turns out there are hundreds of losers players JUST LIKE ME!! And now I can play continuously. ALL. DAY. LONG.  All because of the bonbon love from my Facebook friends. It’s like fricken’ Christmas morning when I see a friend has sent me a Candy Crush ‘Gift”. 
I’m feeling the love people. Feeling the love.

I am so pathetic that I flip back and forth from my iPhone to Facebook as I think I am brilliant enough as to have figured out a way to leave one game open so it doesn’t sync with the lives I have used on the other device. Boooya Candy Bitches. I own you.
No...not really. They totally own me.

My nights used to be a glass of wine, some favorite shows and a good conversation with my husband.
Then I started blogging and it was a glass of wine, some TV and my writing.Now it’s a glass of wine and my candies. 
Just me and my candies.

My job and my children are really getting in the way of my confectionaries and I’m pretty sure I will eventually have to do some laundry and go grocery shopping. Why do they have to eat all the time? Didn’t I just feed them yesterday? They are so high maintenance. Why can't they just eat candy? 

Maybe Dylan will hire someone to replace me when I am taken off to Candy Crush Rehab.
Who wants to be my roommate? We shall decorate our room with stripes and sprinkles. 

Ok…you may go ahead and judge me now. But when you are done judging if you could be ever so kind and send me some lives and extra moves?
Much appreciated.

I wish I could give photo credits…but it was just going around Facebook.

xo J

Word of Advice: If this post makes no sense to you…GOOD! Keep it that way. If you have no idea what I am talking about and do not play the game then DO NOT START. Not even one little level. Trust me, consider yourself warned and you are welcome!!

Whatever you do DO NOT click THIS LINK
But if you do…please send me a life?
(do it! do it! do it!)

Ok, that one came off as begging. I’m sorry. The effects of the addiction are not pretty. This disease affects everyone. I’m sure there is a Candy-Anon close to you. Support is important.