Saturday, June 23, 2018

What If It Had Been You.......


Let me tell you a story.

There was this woman. A wife, a mother of three small children. She existed within four walls, paralyzed by fear. Her husband ruled with a heavy and abusive hand. At one point, he raises one of those booze-fuelled, hatred-filled hands to one of the children, they had made the mistake of walking in front of the tv while he tried to watch the game.

She knew she had to get out.

In the dead of night, she gathers her children, facing the cold dark dangers of the unknown, filled with hope, and faith that where they are going can only be better than what they were leaving behind.

After blurred days and nights spent hiding from headlights, deflecting, protecting, going without sleep, without food, battered, weary, they reach the shelter.

The light beckoning through the windows promises warmth and safety. They made it.

As they cross the threshold a horrible reality awaits. The tear-stained, terror-filled faces that depended on her for everything growing smaller in the distance. Their destination not considered pertinent information for the person who birthed them by those who wrenched them from her arms.


Of course, I write this as I can't seem to escape the gut-twisting, grotesqueness that has been taking place at the United States' Southernmost border, as of late.

I make this analogy because the justifications for any of this are irrelevant to me.

I have been the caretaker of children for most of my life. I've had to love countless toddlers through the anxiety they feel when their parent drops them off for the day, to go to work. For the day. Over time, they come to understand that they always come back, and they are fine.

This was in a situation where they were being cared for in my home, they had warm hugs, lots of snacks, songs to sing, games to play, naps in soft, safe places. Loved as though they were my own.

My heart breaks for the torture these poor littles are going through in a place where they are stripped from the arms of their parents after a perilous trek to escape a situation dangerous enough that those who love them most were willing to risk it. The life that led them to the border carries enough trauma for 6 lifetimes.

Then, to be taken away, to an unknown place, not understanding the language, by strangers, put into cages, pens, structures confined by wire, whatever you want to call them.

I think of my grandbabies. None of us decide where we are born, nor do we decide the situation we are born into. What if these were my grandbabies disappearing into the mist. My kids.

What if I had had to, as a young mom of four little girls, what if I had had to leave to save us. What if I had had to run. What if the very place that was to be our refuge, became a whole new nightmare.

What if it had been you...

I've heard the calls to "fix this."

It's too late for that. There is no "fix" for this. These kids are permanently scarred by this, there is nothing that will "fix" that. You might be able to help them deal with the scars, give them tools to deal with the monsters that will now follow them throughout their lives, but please don't kid yourself.

If your goal to foster future criminals, just go ahead and keep stripping kids from those who love and support them. Take away their safety nets, their kisses goodnight, the only people on the planet that make them feel safe. Do that. That will help create the criminals you so desperately want everyone to believe these people already are.

If that's the "win" you're aiming for, looking for, longing for congratulations.

There is plenty of room for everyone, we have enough to share, I promise.

Now, before you begin to stroke your keys in hopes of informing me of how naive I am and how not all of these people are legitimate asylum seekers, how bad guys are trying to use kids as tickets to entry, and so on, let me preemptively answer your messages.

I don't care. Kids are kids are kids. It is up to the adults of the world to care for them, ensure they have the love and support they need to thrive. I don't care if they are white, black, brown, pink, purple, yellow or green. I don't care if they speak 7 languages or none at all. I don't care if they come from halfway around the world or next door. I don't care what brings them to my doorstep. All I know is this. They are human beings who need their loved ones and help, that should be enough.


That about does it for now.......

May we get to the other side of this hatred and fear with some of our conscience intact.
May we get to the place where we, once again, have each others' backs.

May we work toward a place where trust replaces fear, wherein there is an absence of intentional pain.
May we truly understand that by doing this, we really have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

May we allow ourselves to love beyond our borders, beyond our race, beyond our beliefs.
May we see this can only expand our joys, and share the burden of our griefs.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Daddy Day!


It takes precious little to become a biological father.

Only an inherent, boundless inferno of love, patience, and understanding can forge something so precious as a Daddy.

A Daddy is a fierce protector, a life skills teacher, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen.

He is the chaser of monsters that hide under the bed, and those that don't.

He teaches you to change a tire, change your mind, but never change who you are for anyone.

He is the shoulder you come to when your world caves in.

He is the ear that listens, and hears everything, especially what lives between your words.

He is your unconditional biggest fan, whose only wish is your greatest happiness.

These are the gifts a Daddy gives each and every day, and I am forever grateful that the universe saw fit to have such a man walk beside me, the love of my life, my partner in crime, the Daddy to our girls.


Over the years of writing these ramblings, I've received many messages from Dads, some are humorous, filled with sweet anecdotes about precious moments. Some are from those struggling with the responsibilities and pressures of being a Dad.

There are those to feel the pressure of providing material things, the coolest bike, the best toys, the brand name clothes.

The most precious gift you will ever give your child is your time. They need to know there is nothing that you would rather be doing than spending time with them.

There are those who struggle with discipline, on both ends of the spectrum.

Discipline is for teaching, not punishment. Use it to teach kindness, empathy, responsibility, not fear.

There are those who are struggling as single parents.

Hang on. When it gets the hardest, when your patience is threadbare, when you feel you can no longer take a full breath, reach out. If you feel you have no one to reach out to, dig deeper. Giving up is not an option. Today may have felt impossible, but tomorrow is another day. The love you have for your children has no bounds, has no limits, has no expiry date. You are capable of so much more than you could ever think possible. You got this. You have to.

You are not alone. If there is no one within your immediate reach, reach further. A friendly hand is likely closer than you think.


That about does it for now,

For My Dad......

May you, as you watch over us, tongue in cheek, and goofy grin, be proud of what you see.
May you witness the lengthening of your legacy, as yet another generation of smart asses comes to be.

May you find that although you were not perfect, you were what it would look like if integrity had a face.
May you know we learned resilience from how you came through some of life's hardest challenges with grace.

May you know the memories you helped create, indelibly shaped who we've become.
May it help those who get to know us, to understand where our brand of humour comes from.

Love and miss you Dad.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Depression And The Rest Of The Dysfunctional Family......


In this twisted world, it is easy to feel alone.

It's easy to feel that the world we are walking through is getting darker by the day. It can be easy to feel like you're being swallowed by quicksand.

Suicide touched the world of celebrity twice in the last seven days. Though no one life carries any more value than another, when the horrible result of mental illness touches those in the spotlight, it throws one on the subject, at least for a while.

When this happens to those who seem to live charmed lives, have success in their careers, have families, travel the world, have stacks of money and beautiful homes. When this happens to the people that have limitless accessibility to every kind of help. When this happens to those who seemingly have everything.....

Depression. It doesn't care how much money you have, how many fans you have, how many homes you have, or how many times you have lapped the globe. It's a cancer of the soul.

Although, in the eyes of the world of medicine, this is a relatively new disease, the medical community seems to to be getting further and further behind in finding any kind of real answers. It seems they just keep throwing drugs at it in hopes it will go away,.They don't seem to know what else to do.

Don't get me wrong, in a lot of cases, probably most, medications are very necessary, and can help a lot. but, I don't think that is the whole answer. The side effects of these medications can be pretty horrible.

Those who have been prescribed anti-depressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, etc. should never adjust or ditch meds without serious discussions with their health care providers. Better answers aren't available......yet. But that doesn't mean they won't be.

You often hear about strides and breakthroughs made in research about cancer, MS, heart health, diabetes, as we should. I don't remember the last, or maybe any, news story about strides or breakthroughs made in regards to depression, or Bipolar disorder, or Bipolar 2 disorder or, or, or...

There is certainly no shortage of commercials on tv touting a multitude of new medications with side effects that seem almost worse than the symptoms they are supposed to help. Gratefully, there are also spots for suicide hotlines, and mental illness awareness, which, I think, are helping as far as alleviating some of the stigma that has been traditionally associated with mental health, or unhealth.

Maybe it's because there are some that are still of the mind that you should be able to pull yourself out of it, shake it off. Some that simply don't understand that the disease takes possession of your every thought, filters the way you see the world, buries you.

Medications can help you cope, but they are not a cure.

Maybe there are real cures for schizophrenia, bipolar, and all of the members of their very dysfunctional family. Maybe the cures are out there just waiting to be discovered, maybe we simply need to look harder, further and deeper to find them.

Maybe someday, we will get there. But, the only way to there from here is through dogged research by the capable minds that will push enough, fight hard enough, care enough to do so.

In the meantime, let's do what we can as the non-scientific medical researchers that we are. Let's remember to be kind with our words, with our actions. Let's smile at passersby instead of stare at the screens in our hands. Let's connect with those we know are struggling. Let's pay attention to each other. Let's ask each other how we are, mean it, and really listen to the answer.

Let's do our part in untwisting the world, even if it's just a little.


Tears of fire scorch my cheeks as I bury yet another friend.
Answers are vapour, life-smothering darkness, a thief of souls.
We push on, treading water, chasing reprieve, hoping for brilliance.
And then there is another........


Until next time...

May your kindness pierce the dark armour forcibly thrust upon gutted souls.
May you realize yours may be the only kindness they experience, spirits filled with holes.

May you see that the power of a simple kindness can change the course of a life that's tenuous.
May you see it as the lifeline it can be, use it often, use it always, it's free, be generous.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Privilege Of Freedom Of Speech...Use It Wisely


So, Roseanne Barr took it upon herself to spew garbage, and it came back to bite her in the ass.

When, as recently as 1906. the United States tolerated a black man, namely Ota Benga, being kept in a cage in the Bronx Zoo alongside exhibits of monkeys. When as late as the 1960's, black citizens had to jump through ridiculous hoops to exercise their right to vote. When, in present day, police are being called because people of colour are doing mundane things like sleeping, having picnics, or hanging out at a Starbucks. When the scars are this fresh, with new abrasions still being inflicted, wounds tend to bleed at the slightest provocation.

Let's be clear, words dripping in racist slurs are not slight provocation. They crack open a wormhole that takes society back to a time filled with twisted misconceptions, hate, and abhorrent actions that prove the evil that can thrive in humanity if those that know better don't stand up.

As a person of Anglo European descent, with the translucent skin tone of an anaemic, albino unicorn, I know that is impossible for me to truly understand what it must feel like to be on the ugly end of the "N" word. That does not mean that I can't empathize. It doesn't mean I'm not sickened by it. It doesn't mean I can't recognize racism. It doesn't mean I should turn a blind eye and pretend it doesn't exist.

We are but one race. The human race. As the world gets smaller, with travel becoming more prevalent, the lines of black, white, and the countless tones in between become more and more blurred.

The intermingling of cultures, bringing the best from all worlds, will, someday,  bring forth a humanity devoid of the ability or desire to differentiate.

Borders are imaginary lines that were drawn in the sand by greed to divide the planet into yours, mine, and theirs. I can't help but think that isn't how the universe initially intended the world to be.

There has always been the need, by some, to make others feel "less than." The need, for some, to have others put in positions of servitude. The need to build themselves up by stepping on the backs of others. As these ideals have filtered through history, the colour, shape, and pedigree of the positions have shifted, but the basics are the same.

Push a segment of society down, for if you don't, it becomes impossible to feel superior.

The intermingling of cultures, bringing the best from all worlds, will, someday, bring forth a humanity devoid of the ability or desire to differentiate.

But I don't know if I am willing to wait. Don't spew racism and try to call it societal commentary or a joke. Have the courage to call it what it is. Don't tolerate it within your life. You don't have to. It's not impolite to call a racist remark racist. It's necessary.

Then, there are those that immediately tried to equate a misguided insult by Samantha Bee, aimed at Ivanka Trump to the Roseanne garbage.

There are two very distinct differences. One was racist, that other, was, at the most, distasteful.

One referred to a human being as an animal. The other, a human being, as part of a human being.

They are simply not even close to the same thing. If you can't see that, you are actively trying not to.

Just keep this in mind the next time you are cut off in traffic, or somebody rams a shopping cart into your car. I'm sure there are a few choice parts located on the lower half of the human anatomy,  that, even if they don't leave your mouth, come to mind.

If anything resembling the racist garbage that came from Roseanne is threatening to form in your mind or take shape in your mouth, under any circumstance, well, then you know, don't you? Time to rethink which human body part you would like to resemble. Heart and soul? Or are you aiming lower?

We live in a society where we have the privilege of freedom of speech. Use it wisely. Use it with care.


This week I had the privilege to hang out with some people who took the time to read 'Once Broken" and then invited me to participate in the discussion, thereafter. Thanks to the "Bookies!" for inviting me!


Well, that about does it for another week.....

May we all come to see that race is not a race at all, there is no prize for who gets to the end on top.
May we see that it's only by ripping off the blindfold, being willing to see, that we can make it stop.

May we be willing to truly learn from the mistakes of the past, fix ourselves, forge forward, creating a path clear of thorns.
May we be better, do better, for a history ignored is one repeated, the past has proved it, we've been warned.

May we learn to look at one another absent the lens of misconception.
May we learn to truly look at our treatment of others absent the lens of self-deception.

May we find the courage to call a lie a lie, racism, racism, the truth, the truth, be upfront.
May we always be able to see the difference between being called an ape and a ..........

Until next time....

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Incomplete Truth....

For those who think of Saskatchewan as flat....

Oh, I don't deny there are places within our province that you can, indeed, see your dog run away for days etc....  there are also places like this.

Sometimes, when you repeatedly think of something in a certain way, you tend to make assumptions. Then, over time, you simply begin to believe everything within those assumptions are true. But, when you take the time to dig a little deeper, look a little closer, most assumptions, although they may not be proven completely wrong, they, more often than not, prove to be incomplete.

From a distance, Hollywood looked like a shiny symbol of what a lot of people aspire to. In recent years, the curtain has been pulled back, revealing to us a more complete truth.

Bill Cosby- One of the most popular TV Dads of a generation.
Harvey Weinstein- A movie project dream granter/career maker.

From a distance, they looked shiny too, but when the curtain was pulled back, the masks pulled off, a more complete truth was revealed.

Predators, wielding power as weapons, manipulating people and situations for the sole purpose of hunting future survivors, feeding endlessly their gluttonous appetites, devouring the self-worth of countless innocent souls.

Unfortunately, the previous paragraph could be used to describe many, far beyond the reaches of tinsel town.

Predators hunt for different reasons, use different weapons, plan different outcomes for their prey.
They manipulate, intimidate, threaten, willing to anything to get what they want.

From a distance, and through a fear filter, stringent border security can look like safety, but when you peek behind the curtain, you find screaming children being stripped from the arms of their sobbing parents.

A glimpse into the rearview that frames a horrible history no one should ever want repeated. Prey of a different kind for a different sort of predator.

From a distance, it's easy to look at all of these predators being brought to light by the shining bravery of their survivors and see the world as a place infested by evil.

But if we look behind the curtain, we find random acts of kindness, people selflessly giving of themselves to make the lives of others better in whatever way they can.

In all cases, in every case, we can only hope justice is truly served. That karma feasts upon the bones of those who prey on the unprotected, and bestows every imaginable good fortune on those who live their days in the pursuit of gifting joy.

Without looking behind the curtain, every truth we get can be nothing other than incomplete.


May you have the courage to look behind the curtain, to face the complete truth of what you find.
May you consider beliefs unencumbered by assumptions, stepping ahead with an open mind.

May you be willing to accept the complete truth, whether shrouded in darkness or bathed in light.
May you see that even though it may not be what you first perceived, the truth is always worth the fight.


Friday, May 18, 2018

When You Need Light, Look To The Littles........

As I sat down to write this, news of yet another school shooting came across the tv.

More souls stripped from this earth, more lives broken, more grieving to endure.

This is a habit of tragedy that is unique to the United States. 

I have no words left to express the senselessness of this. Since the beginning of 2018, you have had more children get shot and killed in schools than military people in combat. You are the only country in the world that continues to do nothing to protect its children from gun violence. Just fix it. Before the next time, please do something to ensure there won't be one.

From the outside looking in, it's getting harder and harder to convince ourselves that you care as much as your continuous thoughts and prayers would lead us to believe.


When the world shows its darkness we need to find light, and who shines more light than the little ones in our lives.


A six-year-old and his haircut...

So, this week I had the opportunity to take our little grandson for a haircut. For the summer, his mom usually just buzzes it off really short with a set of clippers. This time, being six and all, he decided that he would like a fancier, more grown-up haircut. A fade.

For those who don't know, a fade, in his words, is when it's almost bald all the way around the bottom but, at the top, there is more hair so you have to do it.

He sat so still as the hairstylist worked away. He has a LOT of hair, so it was a bit of a project. When she was done cutting, she gave him the full treatment, including a blow dry and hair product. He took it upon himself to find out what the product was, hair wax, and watched pretty closely as she applied it to his little head.

With that, we were off. It was a hot, windy day, yeah, this raised some concerns.

"Grandma, the sun is shining on my head and making it sweaty, I think it's gonna mess up my hair."

After assurances that it would all be ok, we went to the store to pick up a second after-school snack because his tummy was telling him he was hungry again. As I'm helping him get strapped in his seat in the car, "Grandma, I dig my haircut." Then, we were off to help Grandpa for a bit at the shop, then, were on our way home, dropping him off at his house along the way.

The first thing out of his mouth as we greeted Mom was "Mom, we need to get some hair wax!"

I know it doesn't seem like much, but to him, at that moment in time, this haircut was a dream come true. It lit him up. The dreams are bound to change and grow as he will, and it will become more difficult to help him turn those dreams into reality. I hope for many more opportunities to try.


A four-year-old and her dead bird..........

Sayings become sayings for a reason, right? Case in point. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Meet the tree...

My youngest daughter, now, Mom to the children from both of these little stories, used to drag in every half-dead, or all dead creature she would find in hopes that we could make them better. Most of the time this was an unsuccessful venture. We held many little critter funerals in our backyard. Birds that fell from nests, or slammed themselves into windows, mice that had lost a game of chicken with a car, crickets that didn't enjoy being trained to create a cricket circus......I think you get the idea.

Now, the apple.....

Finds a dead bird outside, she knows it's dead because she poked it with a stick. She remembers she isn't supposed to touch it, so she picks it up with her hat, buries it, and puts the hat back on her head.

Now, keep in mind we have no idea at what stage of death this bird is in. It may have died ten minutes ago, or it could very well have been lying in the sun for days.

Oh well, nothing a shower with some disinfecting shampoo can't cure.


When you need to find light, look to the littles.


May you find some light when the world wants to throw nothing but shade.
May you embrace every little joy, every little dream, don't let the light fade.

May you allow every day to show you the beauty it has in store.
May you let it in, every day you do, the next day will only bring more.

May you seize each day you are privileged to greet with open eyes.
May you see that celebrating your blessings makes you not just happy, but wise.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Mommy Day!


To my kids,

As they laid you upon my chest, I knew I had become what I had always been meant to be.

When your smile began to include your eyes, the first hints of your personality began to make themselves known. You were so sweet and funny, and just mischievous enough to make life interesting.

You were on the verge of taking your first steps when you became a big sister for the first time.

As they laid you upon my chest, I knew I had become what I had always been meant to be.

When you were no bigger than a minute, the fierce, yet somehow quiet independence that would one day become your secret superpower, was unmistakable. You shared your sister's mischievous nature, each coming up with new and wonderful ways to find adventure every single day.

You were on the verge of graduating from diapers when you became a big sister for the first time.

As they laid you upon my chest, I knew I had become what I had always been meant to be.

When you were not yet even able to utter a single word, you were already beginning to develop and put to good use, your powers of persuasion. Your sisters would bring you toys, laying them within your reach at the first sign of a discontented squeak.

You had just taken your first steps when you became a big sister.

As they laid you upon my chest, I knew I had become what I had always been meant to be.

When you were so small, often surrounded by toddler filled chaos, your calm, content nature and willingness to be entertained by the busy beautiful noise was an awesome gift. You loved to giggle at your sisters' antics, listening and learning in a state constant observation.

You were the last to be laid upon my chest.

As the years have sped by, I've been in awe of all of you. Your strength, your resilience, your character, the fundamental kindness with which you approach the world astounds me. The four of you were why I was put on this earth. I know that with everything I am, and would not change one crazy second.

As they laid you upon my daughter's chest,  I knew I had become what I had always been meant to be....


For the Moms...

May your day be filled with breakfast in bed, observed closely by the excited eyes of sticky-fingered, tiny chefs of questionable skill.
May you absorb the sheer joy as you receive the macaroni jewelry, plaster of Paris handprints, and glittery cards covered in frill.

May your day include some time alone, with not one bang on the door as you rediscover what it's like to soak in a tub.
May your hands get a break from all chores, your mind relief from answering questions, your feet a deep and soothing rub.

May you, even when it all seems too much, remember this is the best thing you can ever hope to do.
May you, even when it all seems too much, remember this is the best thing you can ever hope to do.