All Friendships Have Purpose

Friends come into our lives for many reasons – some are there for the long haul, some are there to teach us, some are there just for a blink. No matter the type of friendship they all have an impact. They all aide in our growth, whether we can see it immediately or not.

It’s easy to see the purpose of the long-lasting loyal friendships – it’s the one’s that end painfully, abruptly, or for no real reason at all that are tough to process.

It took me a while to find the good in friendships that ended. It took me a while to not take it as a personal attack on my character. It took me a while to accept that all friendships have different purposes in our lives. It took me a while to digest that some times there is no explanation and no rekindling.

Some friendships end like a breakup with hurt and no closure. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to change that.  Sometimes it’s hard to not take it personally. Sometimes you take on all the blame when deep down you know you shouldn’t. Sometimes you continue to make excuses for someone that doesn’t deserve it. And sometimes you try to fix something that isn’t worth fixing.

Somewhere a long the way I found my worth. I found my courage. I found my voice. I spoke my mind. I stopped investing time in one-sided friendships. I no longer forced it. I reassessed my friendships. I reassessed myself.

For me, it became clear that the quality of friendships means significantly more than the quantity. Being popular or liked is not a priority. Being surrounded by exceptional friends is.

Just like you shouldn’t settle for a partner, you shouldn’t settle for a friend. Only you can decide what type of friends help you thrive. Only you can decide what type of friends you want in your life. Only you. Decide the qualities you need in a friend and don’t settle  –  be surrounded by people that complement you and lift you up. Time is too precious to spend it with anyone but.

I know now that all friends, at any stage of my life and for whatever length were there for a reason. Whether short or long – they all taught me something. Some taught me strength, some taught me self worth, some taught me confidence, some taught me trust.

All of my friendships up to this point, the good, the bad, the ugly, the short, the long – I wouldn’t change any of them. They all led me to where I am today, they all provided me with something in my life at that moment, they were all there for a purpose and for that I will always be grateful to them, each and every one.

 

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That time I got shingles…

On my face. I know what you’re thinking – how old is she? I assure you I’m only 33 – not a spring chicken but definitely not over the hill either. Trust me I was as shocked as you – I mean shingles are meant to target “old” people – right? Wrong…very very wrong.

It all started on a cold and dreary day in October – I had what I only assumed was another miserable pressure induced migraine. One side of my face and scalp went numb and was sensitive to the touch. My normal trusty friend (good ol’ Motrin super strength) was not super that day and barely even touched the pain. This “migraine” continued into Sunday and then again into Monday.

Monday I could no longer take it and went to the hospital – the Dr gave me an IV of goodies to treat severe migraines and finally I had some relief. I mean relief until the Dr noticed what I had just accepted was adult acne – he said he had a hunch I had shingles and gave me a prescription for anti virals. Turns out his “hunch” was 100% accurate and I did in fact have shingles. For anyone that has had shingles – you know it gets worse before it gets better. And for all of you that haven’t, I’ll describe it the best way I can…

It’s like a bee is stinging you continuously and when that feeling subsides your face is on fire and when that eases a little the itchy feeling becomes unbearable – I think you get the idea – it’s not exactly a party. I feel like I could have handled it better if it was hiding on my back or blended in with the stretch marks on my stomach but alas that was not my reality. The nerve pain that lasted for weeks after was worse than the greasy hair or rashy face. Every time I would get the nerve pain I would panic and think the shingles were coming back and some times still do – I’m aware this is unrealistic and dramatic but to me it seems plausible. Shingles and anxiety definitely don’t mix and I wouldn’t wish it on any one.

The timing wasn’t horrible, a few weeks before Halloween, the Phantom of the Opera was a good back up costume idea. Many have reassured me it didn’t look “that” bad – just like they tell you you look great when everyone knows you look horrible and have gigantic bags under your eyes – but I do appreciate their efforts. Turns out – when your parents were told (back in the day) to ensure your kid gets infected with chicken pox so they won’t get it later in life was a downright lie – it means the virus lays dormant in your body until your body wants revenge on how you’re treating it and throws it back at you as a reminder to take better care of yourself. And what a reminder it was.

All exaggeration and joking aside, shingles reminded me of a lot of things. It reminded me to be grateful for the healthcare we have and the Dr for catching my shingles early enough so there wasn’t damage to my vision. It reminded me that no one notices your physical appearance as much as you do. It reminded me that wearing no make up can be freeing. It reminded me that so many people have it worse and aren’t fortunate enough to receive a pill that will make it all go away. I am grateful for a wake up call to take care of my body and keep my stress in control. Remember to take time for yourself and to cherish the body you were given.

Happy Wednesday!

Until next time….

 

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A little less judgment

Tis the season of New Years resolutions – and whether you make them or not, have good intentions or not,  keep them or not – we all have goals for the year ahead. The thought of a new year often leads us to think of a fresh start and if that is what you need for change – then great – but remember, you can change any time of the year, any day of the week, you don’t need a designated time to change.

This year, I challenge you – think before you judge, include instead of exclude. This may sound easy enough, but if it was – we would all be doing it by now. Over the last few years with my children in school, I’ve noticed that there can be cliquey mom groups and I’m sure you’ve noticed it too. Without fail, it makes me think of high school, where you would struggle to find your place, where you wanted to belong, where you didn’t want to be an outsider.

We are not in high school any more. We don’t know everyone’s story. Don’t pass judgement you don’t want passed on you. It’s a process and it’s in our nature to judge – but just think before you do. Let’s break the cycle of cliques. Let’s show our children that friends can come in many forms. Let’s show our children how to lift others up. Let’s show our children that we can be better.

We were not made to be divided into groups. We were not made to be the same. We were made to be different.  We were made to complement each other. We have different strengths and weaknesses for a reason, so that together, we can be a force to be reckoned with.

This year – step out of your comfort zone, ask another mom for coffee, talk to a mom you haven’t before, make a stronger connection with ones you have. You could surprise yourself and make an unexpected connection, or you may not. But, whatever the outcome, give it a shot, try not to judge, be inclusive.

Find your tribe – the moms that complement you, the moms that accept you, the moms that support you, the moms that raise each other up. You can find great friends, in unexpected places, you just need to be open to it. You don’t have to be friends with everyone you meet, but instead of passing judgments on ones you don’t click with, pass smiles and simple hellos instead.

Happy 2019 – Be kind and leave a positive mark on others.

Until next time….

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Grateful

Today, I’m grateful for air to breathe and a sun that shines

I’m grateful for little smiles and sweet warm hugs

Today, I’m grateful for adrenaline that keeps you moving

I’m grateful to be part of a kind community that steps up when you need it the most

Today, I’m grateful to live in a place where medical care is readily available

But most of all – I’m grateful for a sweet boy that is going to be okay and is braver and stronger than I will ever be.

Being a parent is the toughest job you will ever have but also the most rewarding. Last week, our 4 year old son fell off the school bus when he got to school – he suffered a minor concussion – but thankfully is okay. As parents, we have moments that we will always remember and images we will never forget. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad, sometimes beautiful, sometimes sad. But all of these moments make up who we are, they bond our family, they make us stronger, they make us one.

Last Friday is a day I will never forget, it was one of the biggest scares I’ve had as a parent – but what I will remember most about that day isn’t the fear and worry I felt – but the strength and bravery my son had, the way he rolled with the punches, trusted everything would be okay, and picked himself back up again. And, the way a community of friends, family, and especially strangers – showed us kindness and love, so extraordinary it made me smile on a tough day and left a mark on my heart that will never go away.

Look around you – there are so many things we can learn from others. Your children can remind you that strength will lift you back up again. Your community can remind you that kindness can be shown to any one, any where. Take advantage of the lessons others teach you – it happens every day – it will make you grow, it will make you thrive, it will make you embrace a life more beautiful than you ever imagined.

There is always a silver lining – it may be difficult to find or it may be shining right in front of your eyes – but find it! Be grateful – because, my God, we have so much to be grateful for!

 

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So, your little one is off to school….

It feels like just a few days ago you were bringing them home from the hospital – now they are off to face a new adventure – without you by their side. And whether it feels like it right now or not – you’ll both be okay – probably better than okay.

I may not be an expert – but I’ve been through this once (as my oldest started junior kindergarten 2 years ago). And for the purposes of this blog – we will pretend I know a thing or two about what this new adventure will bring for you and your little.

Let me start by saying – you have no doubt over prepared. You have likely researched every lunchbox, backpack and shoe brand out there. You have probably purchased a wardrobe for your 3-4 year old that is more stylish than ANYTHING you have ever bought for yourself. You have probably pinned so many lunch and snack ideas to ensure your child is well-nourished for their long day of learning. And, you have most definitely labelled every single thing you are sending with them to school.

So I will break it to you gently….

Kindergarteners don’t care who has the “best” lunchbox, backpack or shoes – brand names do not matter. Most of their classmates will usually love their stuff if it’s a colour they like, a beloved character, and for sure if it lights up when they run. I bet if you ask any 4 year old what brand name lunch box or shoes their friends wear they won’t know the answer.  But, they sure will remember if someone has cool shoes that light up when they walk – I learned that one the hard way. So take some stress off yourself. Buy what your child likes and what you can afford. It’s kindergarten for pete sakes – not high school.

Wardrobe is a complicated one and it doesn’t really matter what you buy them or how much you spend – I give it 2 weeks tops and most of their clothes will end up with some unremovable mystery stain. Don’t stress – Kindergarteners also don’t care about stains so don’t run out to buy them new clothes – they can continue to wear those mystery stained clothes to school – no one will notice. But beware – there will be something labelled “uncool” by a classmate or two that your child will then refuse to wear ever again. For my daughter it was blue jeans – it took one time for a class mate to inform her that jeans were not cool for her to never wear them again. And yes – that does start in Kindergarten. But take a breather – your child isn’t stepping off the runway. If they dress themselves in clothes that don’t match with their shirt on backwards – at least they did it themselves.

Lunches, lunches, lunches. You will all have good intentions. The first week your fridge will be organized – snacks prepacked, homemade muffins, everything organic. You will spend precious time cutting their sandwiches into dinosaurs and their cucumbers into hearts. You will pack a lunch that is Pinterest worthy and that you are very proud of. Then you’ll notice that your kids don’t care if their lunch looks fancy – in fact they weren’t even aware you were cutting things into shapes. Your evenings will get more chaotic with extra curricular activities, “homework”, school forms, running around to grab socks for crazy sock day – that things will begin to slide. You will throw whatever you can together in the morning – still a balanced lunch but for sure a prepackaged processed snack every day and cute shapes – they are gone too. And you know what – your child will be just fine. They will survive. And they will either eat or not eat the same way they did when you invested way too much time in packing their food while grabbing yourself an apple and granola bar for lunch.

And labels. Yes, label some of your stuff – backpack, shoes, coat, snow pants – but don’t go crazy. I am a recovering over labeller and I will tell you one thing – it doesn’t matter how much you label – they will still lose things that never resurface – even with the label. So, don’t make yourself go insane with labelling every little thing – if it was meant to get lost – it still will.

So, as you prepare this weekend – for a new chapter for you and your little one – here are a few tips:

  1. Bring sunglasses the first day – these are to cover up any tears that may leak out so your little one doesn’t panic when they see you cry. Try to keep it together until you walk out the door from dropping them off – this will be the best for both of you.
  2. Take a couple hours off of work – maybe even the whole day. School is a big adjustment for both of you – but more you than them. Us moms tend to get a bit sappy on the first day. So, take part of the day to reminisce, enjoy a hot coffee, vent with other moms, and cry if you need to. And then pull it together for when the school bell rings. Because that child of yours is going to have a lot of great things to tell you!
  3.  Do NOT and I mean do NOT watch baby videos or look at their baby clothes. This will only turn you or your spouse into a blubbering mess instead of being excited for them and their first day of school.
  4. Be easy on yourself. School is tough. There is a lot of pressure on parents to make it a perfect experience (*future post*). Just breathe. Do what you can. Don’t over-stress. Your child and yourself will be OKAY. You’ve got this, Mama!

And most of all – enjoy. It is a new and wonderful experience. You have done your best and will continue to do your best to raise your child into a lovely human being. They will make friends, they will learn more than you ever expected, they will come into their own and they will flourish. There will be tough times and challenges – but guess what? You’ve got that too! Just breathe, breathe, breathe and embrace this new journey you’re both on – it is unbelievable.

Enjoy your long weekend – and good luck on the first day! You’ll rock it!

 

P.S. If you’re looking for a great read – “The Kissing Hand” is one of our favourites for preparing for school.

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Laid Off – A Blessing…

It happens a lot – budget cuts, restructuring, mergers, technological advancements – all resulting in lay offs  – sometimes just a few people, sometimes hundreds. You may be lucky and receive a severance, or you may be left to find work immediately with no compensation and no direction.

The day you receive the news that they are letting you go can be a roller coaster of emotions – how you take the news, process the news and move on really depends on your individual situation. For me, it was the people – they made it the hardest to say goodbye. Leaving behind the security was a struggle. The uncertainty about what was to come next was and still is frightening some days. But I was lucky – 10+ years at a corporate company gave me the opportunity to take some time off – I know others might not receive the same opportunity – so I was determined to make the best of it.

Regardless if you receive financial assistance or not – being laid off can be a blessing for many – especially once the shock wears off. For me, it was exactly that – a blessing in the best possible way. Though I held many positions in my 10 years at one company (it was my first “full-time” job out of university) –  it was the job I took “until I found what I really wanted to do” and 10 years later I was still there. The excuses ran deep, the compensation, the benefits, the vacation, the flexibility when we started our family, the vast knowledge of the industry. But they were just that – excuses – I had become comfortable, too comfortable – happy to do the day to day to pay the bills and not take any risks. But was I fulfilled? Not really.

Being forced out was a blessing for me – it was the push I needed and probably wouldn’t have taken otherwise. It gave me this wonderful opportunity, it gave me a chance to soul search, to spend time with myself, to rediscover old interests, to be passionate again – to bring a bit of sparkle back into my life. Don’t get me wrong – being a mom is my life, the best job I’ve ever had and ever will and I would never trade it for anything – but I lost myself a little in the last 6 years. I stopped doing the things I once enjoyed, the things that made me smile, I stopped making time for myself and dedicated it all to my children –  because they are my priority. I’ve been off 3 months (with a bit of time left to go) and I’ve learned that I can be a priority too – and so can you. The stress that has been lifted, the sparkle that is returning, it all transfers to my children. If you are happier – so is everyone around you. Don’t ever regret taking some time for yourself – I never realized how important it was until I was given this opportunity.

If you get laid off and are able to take some time to yourself – do it! If you aren’t able – embrace the change of pace, a new company and/or a new role can bring so many amazing and unexpected things. I know it is very cliché but when one door closes another one most definitely opens. Make the best of it – it can be scary but the results could be earth-shattering.

Being laid off has been a blessing for me – it came at a time when I was worn thin, when I begged for a break, for something to give – it came – and I’ve taken full advantage of it. Do the best with what you are given – try to see the beauty through the darkness.

Until next time…

 

 

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Fear

Fear. It can cripple you. It can make your whole world stand still while everyone else’s keeps going. For some, it’s constant. For others it’s rare. But fear, is there for all of us – at some point, in some capacity. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of snakes. Fear of judgement. Fear of death. Fear of heights. Fear of being alone. Fear of losing control.

Fear varies from individual to individual. You could have one fear, you could have many. It could have formed from a past experience or be developed over time. It could blind side you and come out of no where, with no explanation. Fear has some good. In small doses it can be life saving – it can pull us away from danger. It’s the continuous doses that are harmful – they can be disabling, challenging, life-altering.

Fear does not discriminate. It is not kind. It does not judge. It is not selective. It is unpleasant and unwanted. It causes distress and panic, anxiety and worry.

Fear can come and go – but it can often be controlled. It can be profound but only if you let it. It can be overcome or at least minimized. Fear is what you make it – acknowledge it, but don’t let it define you, don’t let it dictate your life.  Regain the control – live your life to its fullest and find the beauty in every day.

 

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One Day

“One day” – two words that had become my crutch. Words I repeated over and over. Words that became an excuse for not pursuing my passions. Words I blamed on lack of time, being a busy mom, working full-time. Words that masked my insecurities, my fears. Words that made it feel okay to procrastinate my dreams. Words that weren’t a definite “never”, making them provide a small level of comfort. Words that began to hold too much power over my life.

These words no longer have the control. My “one day” is now. No more excuses, no more procrastination, no more crutches. Now, is my time. Time to dive in and not look back. Time to give it my all. Time to live in the moment. Time to explore the “one days”. And most of all, time to take a chance on a passion, to follow a dream and to take my own advice.

The advice I give my children – that they can do anything and be anyone. That they should follow their heart and do something they love. That they should not give up on their dreams and live their life with no regrets.

Now is my “one day”  – take the chance and find your “one day” too.  Don’t let it just become a phrase – make it happen – you will be glad you did.

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Come Soar with Me

We all have moments. Moments that define us. Moments that test us. Moments that inspire us. Moments where we are given a choice.

A choice that is our decision. A choice where the outcome is not guaranteed. A choice where we take a risk and accept that we might fall. And if we fall, that we will pick ourselves back up again. Because taking a risk could be worth a fall. And we might not fall at all – we might find our wings and soar – higher than we could have ever imagined.

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