Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy 12th Wedding Anniversary (the day after)

It boggles the mind to think that 12 years (and one day) has passed since we said "I DO!"
There is something funny about writing this blog today. Yesterday would have been more appropriate and yet yesterday I could not write this blog and it is because of yesterday that I appreciate 12 years of growing together.

Friday night Landy and I attended a wine and tapas party, it was great food and conversation with friends, a much needed night out in a house of six boys. Before I knew it I had had a phenomenal amount of wine. Needless to say Saturday morning (our true anniversary) I was in no shape to wish anyone anything happy, let alone acknowledge a pivotal day in the my life.
If I would have done this on our 8 year anniversary I would have possibly been met with a scowl, an underhanded comment about how inconsiderate I had been or how much work the kids were. Lucky for me this was my 12 year anniversary and Landy simply rubbed my heaving back saying in all sincerity "my poor baby" and kept the kids downstairs until I could manage the hollering, running and chasing. He even cleaned the toilets (along with my brother), vacuumed the house and did all the dishes.
I finally dragged myself out of bed around noon to get ready for a first birthday for our neighbour's daughter, our anniversary would have to wait a little while longer. I thought of our 1 year anniversary and the need for Landy to come home from Minnesota for that weekend on the threat that it would be his first and last anniversary if he didn't and here we were putting aside our 12 year anniversary to celebrate a pinnacle moment in a child' life. It took all the energy I could muster to make it through the party but I did.
When we got home it was time to acknowledge that this day was also my brother's 32nd birthday and so our anniversary would need to wait again so that we could celebrate a day that came way before our marriage was even a thought.
I thought about our 10 year anniversary, the amazing poem that Landy had written for me, something that will hold more value than anything purchased in a store, a testament to the depth in which his love extends. After dinner and cake for my brother it was time to put the boys to bed and get through the evening tasks of the family: pj's, teeth brushing, story time, etc.
When the boys were tucked into bed and the house went quiet I looked at the clock and realized that 12 years ago at 9pm, Landy and I had been husband and wife for 2 hours. By 9pm on September 26, 1997 we had done our speeches, cut the cake and started the dance that would begin the life that we planned on spending together. Those two young people with big dreams, passionate aspirations and wild and crazy love would one day become the two adults that would have four beautiful children, careers they could be proud of, a house that is built on family and a love that has sustained them through the tough and tougher.
Yesterday, with a volatile stomach and a throbbing head this post would have been difficult to write because I would not have been able to put the love and admiration that I have for the man that chose to marry me 12 years ago into it. Today I recognize just how great that man is and how lucky of a woman I am.

The Funeral Shower

As a society we celebrate the love and the expressions of love in our lives. We come together as a family and as friends to embrace the people expressing their love through the purchase of a family home, the wedding, the addition of children. We publicly acknowledge their love through ceremony and we support their love through the housewarming party, the wedding or baby shower. We make sure that they get a good start to this new endeavour in life maybe because we ourselves have been there and know how difficult a start in life can be. We want to let our loved ones know that they have our support.

So why don't we throw a funeral shower? Isn't a funeral a public ceremony to show people the love and grief we feel at the death of our family or friend? Is it not a new start in life, one without that person, an adjustment in identity, a need for support? Wouldn't our society look at death differently if we celebrated the love in the life at the time of death?
Imagine a funeral shower as a coming together of people (family and friends) after the death in a poignant celebration to honour the life of that person and support the people who loved them.

You may think that is the funeral. A funeral is a ceremony run mostly by a funeral home and funeral director, people who never knew the loved one, trying to memorialize them based on pictures and memories pulled together possibly under traumatic circumstances by grieving individuals. A funeral is a necessary event to publicly acknowledge the death but it does not necessarily give the family the love and support they need to sustain them.

Maybe the funeral shower could have a theme (like fishing/hunting for someone like my dad) and people would bring prepared dishes for freezing, groceries and gifts that the family will need to cope and manage through the next couple of months. There could even be games, activities that gave people the opportunity to tell stories about the loved one, play on nostalgia, allow people to express love for that person in a public display of affection through the sharing or memories.
What if the gifts at a funeral shower were gift certificates toward the headstone (they are costly), handyman services, lawn maintenance packages, home grocery services, all bought and paid for. What if a funeral shower honoured the life of the loved one by ensuring their family was looked after for the start of this new life?
What if like a honeymoon period, where newlyweds have excuses for their cuddling and public displays of affection, we acknowledged a bereavement period where family and friends were allowed to act out of character, express their grief, have excuses for erratic behaviour? Granted grief stays with you much longer than a honeymoon period but it would be a start for society to acknowledge grief as an expression of love and death as the start of a new life for those that loved that person.
Imagine if we allowed death to be a celebration of the love we had and the grief we are experiencing where the expectation is that these things exist and need our love and support to provide a healthy start for those grieving? Something to think about.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lets Talk about Sex Baby

Thanks Salt-N-Peppa for the song that inspired conversation!
I have been looking for an opportunity to discuss sex with Rhys (our ten year old) and this weekend the moment arrived.
In April Landy and I attended a seminar on "How to talk to your kids about sex."
I knew that we needed to be proactive parents but the words that were needed eluded me constantly. The seminar was really informative and scary, they suggested age 8 was a good time to start the talks, we were already behind! As we left the information session I looked at Landy and said "Well this one is up to you, good luck!" and I left it at that.
Throughout the summer I have asked Landy if he had a chance to talk with Rhys and sadly Landy seemed at a loss on how to begin the conversation. Possibly being the third boy in a family of four meant that the talk had just been passed down from brother to brother. By age 13 Landy's father had died and maybe he never got the talk (I should have asked him that). I know in my house the talk happened at 18 and I had already learned more from MuchMusic than anything my parents shared with me.
This weekend Rhys and I were driving and were in the car together for half an hour, this seemed the perfect opportunity to touch on the subject.
I started with the topic of body changes: perfectly normal, nothing to be afraid of, sometimes confusing and he could always talk to us. I outlined how boys and girls bodies change and briefly on why they change.
Then I moved onto the touchy subject of Touching. The butterflies in my stomach could have lifted me off the ground. I talked to him about the importance of loving and respecting someone and how at times peer pressure and hormonal urges would make it hard to make good decisions but that I knew he could. I thought I did a good job talking about sex without going over his head. Rhys even shared with me that he had a crush on a girl in his class but that he did not want to kiss her. Turns out he is not interested in that yet, PHEW!
When I was done talking about sex I asked Rhys if he had any questions, he instantly came back and said "Mom, what do you do if your body likes one girl and your head likes another?" GULP! (in my head I am screaming go with the one you like with the head on your shoulders son!) I should have left this too Landy, what was I thinking?
"Well Rhys, if you like a girl with your body, you probably do not know her well, therefore you cannot love and respect her and that is important in relationships, if you just like her with your body, you only like one thing about her. If you like a girl with your head, you like everything about her, that is the basis of a loving and long relationship." Secretly I am thinking 'TOO SOON!'
"That is what I thought too mom." Thank goodness! A point for mom and a point for son who had a great question even if I could have waited 8 more years for that question.
This weekend it became clear that my baby is growing up before my eyes, but this weekend I realized that if he can handle that responsibility, maybe so can I.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Song

Why is it that a beautiful song, a presentation of music, an orchestra of sound can fill you up, move you, bring tears to your eyes?
Since I was little I can remember music moving me to tears, not sobs, just cascading drops of admiration, inspiration at the sound of something truly magical (did I mention the shivers that can accompany the tears). It was actually a very joyful liberating feeling, an outward expression of appreciation.
After my stuck mood last night I awoke this morning to find I had received an email from a friend with a link to a song, something nice to listen to and I have to say I played it until my family left the room, it was a lovely song by a great singer. So I sent her the above song back; a song, that when I first was sent it by a different but equally wonderful friend, I was moved. Inspired, changed, moved from my moment by a song, notes on a page, a beautiful voice, well thought out words. What a nice way to become unstuck on a Saturday morning.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I am having a stuck week. Not stuck in anything in particular, just not moving forward in anyway.
This happens to me at least a couple times in a year. It used to happen more frequently, it used to be more symptomatic of a problem or in reaction to a feeling but now it just happens sometimes. It could definitely be the lack of Canadian Summer, the endless days of rain, or it could be the sense of a long winter looming in the near future. It could be the back to school routine or a busy workload. Of course the weather is amazing right now and the kids needed the school routine, but I read somewhere that when "things" get better is usually when people feel their lowest.
I find it hard to write about being stuck. I have been raised to believe that we are not supposed to broadcast our problems, we are supposed to quietly take care of them, get over them or get help for them. Acknowledging that problems exist only make us weak and vulnerable, right? Of course that is sarcasm as I truly believe that it takes more courage to admit to our imperfection and embrace our uniqueness than conform to unrealistic expectations.
Well I get stuck. Stuck in a mood, stuck with a feeling, stuck in a moment or just not moving forward. For a high energy person such as myself, sometimes stuck is a welcome break from a crazy speed, but it is also hard to feel stuck.
I will move again, I can already feel a sluggish momentum forward beginning to swell below the surface, maybe acknowledging my pause has helped. I won't be stuck forever.