Thursday, December 20, 2007

Being a Parent

Being a parent is the best thing I’ve done in my life – no contest.

I was far too young to be able to say that I made a conscious choice to become a mother, but I was naively happy when it happened. Adam and I struggled through it together and somehow he managed to grow into a son to be proud of, despite my youth and inexperience.

Being a parent was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I worried, made mistakes, shed tears and wish I could do a “re-do” of a few days that weren’t my best moments as a mother (or as a human being). But I never thought that my role as a mother was to make things easy for Adam or to give him material things that I didn’t have growing up. My role was to prepare him for life, and to give him the gifts of self-confidence, opportunity and love. If I somehow managed to contribute to the person Adam is today, despite any mistakes I made along the way, then I’ve done my job and can be proud of the interesting, witty, caring, reflective, remarkable man that he has become.

Adam is 30 now and living the life I dreamed for him, in Holland with his lovely wife Tara.

This post was inspired by Melanie, a young mom who is raising two beautiful, active little boys. With their mom's love, guidance and support, those boys will someday become the wonderful men they are meant to be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Contentment is a gift

I finally found the other quote I was looking for in the Eat Pray Love book.

"all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hilter-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”

I believe the gift is in truly being you – not about giving in or presenting a false sense of happiness to make others feel better. People who are content sometimes experience sadness, bad days (even bad hair days!), and occasionally go to what I call "the dark side". Contentment to me is when there is more good than bad and it balances out to be a pretty damn good life!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


When do friends cross the line and become family?

Maybe it’s when you’ve had a similar life-changing experience that only those who have been there can understand. Maybe it’s when you get to the point where you can truly be yourself and not worry about being judged. Maybe it’s when they've been there for you when you needed someone to go with you to an appointment or a shoulder to cry on. Maybe it’s when you share a variety of experiences together – dragon boating, travel, skiing, Nordic walking, disappointments, celebrations, cottage weekends… and the list goes on.

My 'breast cancer friends' contribute to my life in a multitude of ways. There is no way that I can thank them for the times that they have surprised me, encouraged me, challenged me, comforted me, cooked for me, laughed with me, and just been there for me.

Dear friends: There are too many to list (and to show in the picture!) – but you know who you are (Jen, Anka, Jill, Bev, Mary Lou, Patricia, Jean, plus, plus, plus). I could say ‘thank you’, but that seems trite - something you say when someone passes the butter.

I remember trying to thank my friend Peg for dragging her along with me to an oncology appointment and apologizing for putting her through the emotional trauma of being there with me for some bad news. She looked at me with love and kindness and said “Chris, just shut up”. She not only made me laugh, but she taught me that friends know how much you appreciate their support, even if you can’t quite express it.

So… I’ll just shut up now. Until next time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nordic Walking

Today is day 2 of the Nordic Walking Clinic and I’m feeling sorry for myself because I’m missing it. A rather ungraceful fall in the hallway at work last Thursday has rendered me out of commission. Ironically, I managed running on icy sidewalks the night before and skated at lunch on same day of the fall without incident. I felt fine when I started skating but couldn’t put any weight on my right foot a few hours after, so obviously skating wasn’t a good idea after falling that morning…

Nordic Walking involves walking with poles that have special handgrips and rubber feet on the bottom to help absorb the impact. I thought I could do it with regular hiking poles, but found out quickly that they can take a toll on your wrists and shoulders. I’ve joined a clinic that was set up for the Busting Out breast cancer survivor (aka thriver!) dragon boat team. (I’m no longer a member of the team, but it helps to know the organizer). It’s great to get outside and I’m hoping to benefit from the claim that it burns twice as many calories as regular walking.

No, the picture is not me, but maybe if I keep at it I’ll look like that by spring.