Twenty six years ago today we stood before our family and friends and made a lifelong promise to one another. It was a promise to become partners and to love each other unconditionally, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.
It was a promise of friendship, a promise of commitment, a promise of forgiveness, a promise of kindness, a promise of laughter, a promise of honesty, a promise of trust and a promise of patience.
We may have weathered many storms since then and we may have tested many of those promises too but still, twenty six years later there is no one else in the world I would rather weather any storm with than with you.
Thank you for keeping your promise to me; especially during the storms.
I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day!
I love the way you roll over for a belly rub every time someone is near.
I love the way you run and hide when I say I need to brush you.
I love the way you sit beside me at the dinner table with a “please sir can I have some more?” look in your big brown eyes.
I love the way you come running as soon as you hear someone unwrap a piece of cheese, even if you are upstairs in a deep slumber.
I love the way you chase away the bunnies and squirrels in the backyard.
I love the way you get so excited when we take you on a car ride (until you realize you may be going to the vet or groomer!)
I love the way you hide all your bones under our pillows or in the laundry basket thinking no one will ever find your clever hiding spots.
I love the way you get so excited when it’s time to go for a walk unless of course it’s snowing or rainy or windy outside!
I love the way you have a gazillion toys but only want to play with the same two.
I love the way you get camera shy and turn your head away when someone tries to take a selfie with you.
I love the way you snuggle up beside me at night, leaving no room for me to move in my king size bed.
I love the way you jump onto daddy’s pillow every morning as soon as he gets out of bed.
I love the way you peer out the window, always on the lookout for an Amazon delivery or to bark at the neighborhood dogs as they pass by.
I love all the ways you engage in our conversations and know just when I need some extra TLC.
I love the way your brother and sisters still vie for your attention every single day or when you cuddle with them on the couch.
And I love the way your tail wags uncontrollably as you jump to the sky and screech in excitement when you see daddy pull up to the driveway or open the front door.
I could go on and on all day about all your silly antics. You bring so much joy to our lives and have been a constant source of unconditional love, emotional support and healing to us all. I ruff you to the moon and back, forever and a day.
P.S. wait til you see what we’re having for supper tonight! 🥩
I’m pretty sure that last night’s interview between Oprah, Prince Harry (can I still call him that?) and his beautiful wife Meghan was met with great controversy and so many mixed emotions but I am here “on record” to tell you that I have adored Harry (I’ve even voiced it several times in my blog) and have been rooting for him ever since he was a little boy who tragically lost his mom.
My adoration for him has only grown stronger and stronger over the years since he began living his true authentic life and even more so once he started opening up about his own mental health struggles and becoming an advocate for change.
I had been really looking forward to watching the 2 hour special with Oprah all week long and it did not disappoint. I thought the interview was both genuine and very real and it further validated for me what I had already felt about the royal family as an institution. I hung onto every word that both Meghan and Harry spoke but of course it will come as no big surprise to anyone which segment of the interview stood out most in my mind for me.
Last night Meghan so bravely revealed to Oprah that not long after she married Harry she began to contemplate suicide and felt as though she just didn’t want to be alive anymore.
As Meghan’s thoughts of suicide grew stronger and more intense she knew that she couldn’t fight her urges any longer on her own and needed some help. Asking for help when you are feeling suicidal takes great strength and courage, even for a “Princess” but when Meghan reached out to the royal family for help, pleading with them to send her to a hospital she was boldly told NO because “it wouldn’t be good for the institution”. My jaw dropped to the floor.
No one should ever be made to feel as though they are not worthy of living their best life or that their feelings are not validated and my only hope after watching Meghan tell her story last night is that millions of other people understood her message to the world as well.
Too many of us are afraid to speak up when we are feeling as though we don’t want to live anymore. Meghan did speak up and although she didn’t get the response she deserved at first, she persevered until she did.
Asking for help may look different for everyone but it is not a sign of weakness and even though she felt like a burden to her husband she knew he would listen attentively to her and with great compassion and most importantly without judgment. And boy was she right!
Whatever ill feelings some people may have of Harry for seemingly abandoning his duties as royalty he did what any good husband and great father would do for their own family. He did what he felt in his heart was right and what he had longed for someone to have done for his own mother all those years ago when she felt just as unprotected as Meghan did by the same institution who also denied her the help she too so desperately begged for.
No matter what comes next for the couple and their growing family, Meghan has definitely found her Prince Charming, Harry has definitely found his Princess and I have no doubt that their fairy tale will have a happy ending.
*If you or someone you know is in crisis please reach out for help immediately to a trusted friend, confident or loved one. There are also many online resources to help guide you. You are not alone.
Today I had planned in advance to write a blog about the colonoscopy I had this afternoon which has been triggering my lifelong battle with an eating disorder all week but all that changed in an instant yesterday afternoon when I received a frantic and hysterical phone call from Jacob while he was at work, crying and gasping for breath, he uttered the words that no parent ever wants to hear and words that can never be undone. He shouted into the phone “Jesse just died”; his lifelong friend and our family’s friend had just suddenly passed away at the age of 22.
So today instead I want to pay tribute to our dear friend Jesse Benudiz who was taken from all of us way too soon. Jesse was the most loyal and generous friend to everyone who knew him. I can recall countless times he proved that to me and my family, including when he so generously hired Hannah for her very first lifeguarding job at the Fitness Club he managed, or when we smuggled Jesse into camp one Visitor’s Day after he had stopped working there and when approached by head staff as to what he was doing there he told them he came to visit his “cousin Rachel Fluxgold” and another special memory I can recall of Jesse was the time when he so selflessly spent many hours talking Jacob through some very personal life altering decisions of his own while he was struggling to find his path in life during his first semester of University.
Jesse was also by far the most amazing and loving son and big brother to his twin brothers. I was lucky enough to witness this myself many times over with his mom KC, whom I am honored to call my friend and his incredible brothers Justin and Jamie. He was an inspiration and shining light to anyone who he met and he had the most empathetic and genuine heart of anyone I know
Last spring when the world was trying to cope with the onset of Covid-19, Jesse learned that he had a brain tumor and for the next six months or so he began the fight of his life on an entirely different level. He spent countless weeks in hospital all alone due to Covid and underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments followed by brain surgery; always smiling through his pain, but a few short months ago Jesse got the best news of all; he was now in remission.
Throughout the past year, Jesse continued to inspire us all, managing to finish his Degree, raising 20k for Princess Margaret Hospital (a world renowned Cancer Institute right here in Toronto and the same place that had saved his life just months ago), but he didn’t stop there.
Now that he had beat Cancer’s ass he wanted to continue making his mark on the world and started a Podcast called “The Blessed and Breezy” where he talked about his own personal journey and struggles and discussed many of the challenges among youth and mental health today. And there were so many other endeavors on the horizon for him as well.
My entire family is truly heartbroken today and there are no words to describe our pain. He has left a void in our hearts. We had a very special bond and even through his own struggles he would reach out to me regularly to talk, he would comment on many of my blogs with encouraging words, he would send me information on different podcasts or YouTube videos that he thought would be of interest to me and just last week we spoke about collaborating together on one of his upcoming Podcasts.
No parent should ever have to go through this kind of loss, EVER and my heart breaks for KC and Max and the rest of Jesse’s family and his many, many, many friends. He was and will always be remembered as the shining light he has left behind for everyone who ever had the honour to know him.
To me family is always having someone in your life who has your back and sees your shortcomings yet still loves you unconditionally.
Family is showing love and support for one another even through the difficult times and having a strong connection with others who want nothing more than to lift you up and inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
Family is having a feeling of security, unity, acceptance and a mutual respect and understanding.
Being part of a family doesn’t have to mean that you are related by a bloodline or always having to share the same interests or opinions with each other either; it just means that you always feel a sense of belonging, a willingness to embrace your differences and the ability to value them no matter what.
*I was asked to do a writing exercise and write a love letter to myself and so I couldn’t think of a better day to practice some much needed self-love than today on Valentine’s Day.*
Dear: Myself & I
You and I go back a really long time and I guess if you wanna be a bit more precise, it’ll actually be fifty years come this June. That’s pretty noteworthy, wouldn’t you agree?
Looking back on our almost fifty years together, there’s no denying that we’ve created alot of history. We’ve made so many lasting memories together, we’ve cried together until we’ve nearly collapsed from exhaustion, we’ve laughed so hard together that our belly’s ached and we’ve shared a bond that runs deeper than any two people could ever truly imagine.
But I know I have let you down a alot over the last many years (and several more times throughout our life together I’m sure). I feel like I have disappointed you by detaching myself & I from you and leaving you to fend for yourself while having to rely on the strength of others.
I should be the one showering you with the love and kindness you so deserve and make you feel empowered. I should be the one encouraging you, rooting you on, embracing you, appreciating you and seeing your own incredible inner strength.
I should also be the one who is always praising you and admiring your courage and I should be the one who sees how smart and creative you are or how strong and truly brave you are and I should be the one who sees what a caring and huge heart you have.
I should not be forever telling you that you are not good enough, that you are worthless, that you should do better and that you should be a better wife, mother and friend. I should be the one who is there for you and who wants to take care of you and protect you and adore you.
I want to apologize to you for not fighting harder for you, for not feeling like you deserve me, for making you feel like I have failed you and for making you believe that you are a burden, that you are unlovable and that you are undesirable. I want to apologize to you for making you feel like you don’t belong, that you don’t matter and that you are no longer needed. I also need to apologize to you for allowing you to believe that you are anything less than the amazing and kindhearted and beautiful, worthy soul that you are.
I know how difficult life has been for you over the last many years and so I’m writing you this letter today to let you know that even though you may not be able to see it now I need you to know that you are worthy, that you do matter, that you are beautiful, that you are smart, that you are creative, that you are strong and brave and courageous and kind and desirable and that you are more than enough.
Myself & I
P.S. wishing my beloved Rich and 3 beautiful children Jacob, Hannah and Rachel a very Happy Valentine’s Day today. You are my heart and soul and you fill my heart and soul with so much sweetness and love (and Maggie too!).
I love you all to the moon and back, forever and a day ❤
P.P.S. I hope you all have a very happy Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love and inner peace.
“Love isn’t about how often you say I love you, it’s about how much you can prove it’s true.” ~ unknown ~
It’s easy to say I love you, they are just words; people can tell you anything they believe you long to hear but it’s their actions that will truly tell you everything.
There are many different kinds of love we will experience in our lifetime but just remember, that no matter what, the only kind of love you ever deserve, is the kind of love that doesn’t come with conditions, prerequisites or agendas attached to it.
Despite the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, for many humans though, February can often feel like the longest and most depressing one as well; and especially this year.
Aside from the most obvious reasons why February can feel like the longest and most depressing month of the year when it’s actually not is due in part to many of us having to suffer through bitter cold temperatures and shortened hours of daylight each day; most of which seem filled with grey skies and falling precipitation rather than sunshine and rainbows. For others, February also feels long and dreaded because of holidays like Valentine’s Day that can bring with it a feeling of sorrow instead of love.
Of course this year February comes with an added bonus. We are now eleven months into living in a Global Pandemic and that in itself is enough to make any month feel like its never ending and for any human to display some signs of depression.
But what about our pets? Can they feel similar effects due to the winter blues or maybe even the effects associated with living in a Global Pandemic? In short, yes they can and we have started to notice lately that Maggie seems sad and possibly even a little depressed.
She has never been one to enjoy the winter weather or bitter cold temperatures (she’s just like her momma) but still it’s difficult to know for sure if that is what’s causing her sudden change in mood and several odd behaviours without first ruling out anything that could potentially be physically wrong with her because it’s not like she can really vocalize her sadness to us.
But once we have ruled out all other potential issues, I may have to call upon the world renowned “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan for some much needed help.
A few days before the new year I wrote a blog where I talked about how making resolutions only leads me to further feelings of failure and defeat so instead this year I decided I would try to write down one small simplified goal or daily intention each day in my newly purchased 2021 daily planner instead
Well we may only be 5 days into the new year so far but I’ve decided to give myself bragging rights today because I have kept a promise and followed through on that promise to myself every day since the new year began.
These simplified goals and intentions may seem like no big deal for some or “not good enough” to others or even super silly but for someone like me, these baby steps are a stepping stone toward a path of healing and self-love.
And hey, haven’t we always been taught that it’s the little things in life that matter the most?
My illness lies to me all the damn time but it’s so hard not to believe its vicious lies after everything we’ve been through together in the past six and a half years.
One such lie that it repeats over and over and over again is how much of a burden I am to my family and how much better off they would be without me.
It constantly triggers countless negative thoughts and emotions in my head that pull me in a million different directions which can strike at any moment, especially during the dark and lonely nights.
Last night I shared with you one of the most meaningful and proudest moments any parent could ever imagine. A moment that should prove to all the untruths once and for all that my illness is nothing more than a big fat liar because I must be loved, I must be needed and I must truly be cherished.
When we first become parents we aim for perfection and we strive to provide for our kids a near perfect life, but how realistic is that really when we live in such an imperfect world?
And truth be told, there is nothing wrong with being an imperfect parent, infact being such is actually perfectly perfect even if my illness tries to tell me otherwise.
I have been overwhelmed with so much emotion since Jacob unveiled his tattoo to us last night. My kids have been living in a pretty imperfect place for the better part of six years now and although my illness keeps telling me that I am a burden to my family and that they are better off without me this gift from Jacob has shown me that being “good enough” or being “imperfect” may just be the greatest and most perfectly perfect gift you can ever give to a child after all.