Last week I pre-recorded a segment for an episode of “Where Do The Children Play” on Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM which aired last Thursday morning.
The show which runs 3 mornings a week was created for kids and features story time and fun kid’s music.
The station itself was established and is operated solely by the students of Trent University in Peterborough Ontario.
I read my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” to their listeners and spoke briefly afterwards about why I wrote it and the importance of not only talking to children about a loved ones mental health challenges but also reassuring them that they are safe, loved and not responsible or to blame for it.
I have posted the segment below if you would like to hear it.
Thank you again to Skye Vasey for allowing me to share my story and for all your hard work and dedication to this program.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to purchase a copy of my book for your classroom, school library, a preschool setting or for yourself or a loved one.
Seven years ago I could never have pictured my life a certain way.
None of us ever can.
But from very early on in my diagnosis I knew I needed to somehow paint another picture by accepting the tools I’d been given and embrace each one of them, one stroke at a time.
These tools have helped me to understand that it’s okay if sometimes I colour outside the lines or splatter some paint on my shoes.
I may still be a work in process but no matter what we are all a work of art.
Not everyone is ready to start painting a new picture right away.
It may take some time (maybe even years) before someone is truly able to put on a smock, pick up their paint brush and make that first stroke.
Some people need to ease into it at their own pace because they are too afraid to change their picture or ask for help in creating a new one.
The question is, how does a person truly know when they are ready? What makes someone ready?
I’ve seen alot of people who struggle with this. They pick up their pencil thinking they are ready to start sketching their new picture.
But then they place their half chewn and sharpened down to the nub pencil back in the drawer.
They try again.
This time they start sketching an image but their picture gets smudged in the process so they desperately try to erase the smudges but the smudges just become more embedded deeper and darker into the paper the more they attempt to erase them.
And before they know it they have just crumpled up their hundredth piece of paper to toss in the waste basket.
But then one day, maybe even after attempting to throw away that hundredth piece of crumpled up paper into the waste basket they realize that what they need the most is some actual guidance and direction or maybe even an entirely new perspective; one that is outside of their abstract view of what their picture should look like.
It’s okay if you toss away a hundred pieces of crumpled up paper into the waste basket, using that stubby, chewed up pencil before you are able to create a new picture, one with more depth and composition.
Because only you will know in your heart when the time comes that you are truly ready to pick up that paint brush, stand confidently in front of your easel and begin painting your new picture; this time using the most beautiful and vibrant colours.
Tonight we celebrated Hannah’s Graduation from Ryerson University.
Her continued dedication, hard work, determination and commitment to succeed over the past four years not only earned Hannah a Degree in Communications but it also earned her a very well deserved placement on the Dean’s List for one last time this semester.
Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of all that you have accomplished and we can’t wait to see what awaits you this coming Fall (but first stop, CAMP!!!!) as you embark on the next chapter of your journey at Humber College in Event Management.
We know that whatever path you choose in life you are certain to shine.
~Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead ~ Nora Ephron
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 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.
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.
Watching the chaos unfold in Washington today is beyond comprehensible. It’s sad, it’s pathetic and it’s downright scary that a President could allow this to happen or should I say, could encourage this to happen.
But no one can be or better yet, should be shocked that this is happening. I mean lets face it, the entire world has been watching this President come unhinged for the last four years and he needs to finally be held accountable for his actions but first he needs to be helped for an illness that some may argue is not actually a mental disorder.
But in clinical terms the President of the United States suffers from a mental disorder which falls under the umbrella of “Personality Disorders” called Narcissism.
A “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” is a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” (Definition as per Mayo Clinic)
It goes on to describe an individual with a “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” as someone who may be “generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.”
People who suffer from a “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” often display many of the following symptoms: (Mayo Clinic)
Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
Take advantage of others to get what they want
Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Be envious of others and believe others envy them
Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office
“Narcissistic Personality Disorder” is a very complex disorder and many people who suffer with one are often unable to seek proper therapy or treatment because well, for starters, they don’t think anything is truly wrong with them.
There are no words to describe what a sad day it is in American history today but I think we can all agree, even those of us sitting by the sidelines from across the world that our hearts are breaking for you and with you as we watch your beautiful Nation destroying its democracy at the hands of a man who clearly needs psychological help.
Hopefully though he won’t get too lost in the system while serving time in prison and that he finally gets the proper treatment and therapy that we all as human beings deserve.
As my kids were growing up they were always super excited in anticipation of the first night of Chanukah and they especially looked forward to spending time with family and friends throughout the “eight crazy nights”, lighting the Menorah, making holiday crafts, eating and baking lots of traditional Chanukah treats, exchanging presents and of course receiving them too.
When they were younger we often gifted them with a small token gift each night of Chanukah after we lit the candles (not to worry, there were plenty of bigger presents to go around too). It may have seemed like they were super silly gifts, but seeing the excitement and joy light up their faces as they tore the wrapping paper from their new Dora the Explorer toothbrush or their funky new Chanukah pencil set is a feeling that will never grow old as a parent.
Tonight as we begin the celebration of Chanukah 2020 we will continue as always to honour the holiday by lighting the Menorah each night while enjoying the same traditional treats like sufganiyah (jelly donuts), homemade cookies and homemade latkes as well that smell up our clothes and home for days and days, but always totally worth it.
But this year the holiday season, whether it be Chanukah, Christmas or any other holiday traditions you celebrate are going to once again in good old 2020 fashion feel a whole lot different from years past.
Many of our traditions, celebrations or even vacations with friends and loved ones won’t be taking place this year and that is going to create a great sense of disappointment and a feeling of loss for many children and adults alike.
Maybe we can all try to create some new traditions or find different ways of celebrating the holidays instead this year as we focus our attention on the general theme of 2020 which is that “less is more”.
Maybe we can take some comfort in a more simplistic holiday season instead this year where we share our favourite memories of holidays past over a zoom call with loved ones or make holiday crafts to hang outside our door to brighten up the neighborhood or donate a toy to a child less fortunate.
However it is you choose to celebrate this year or as “grim” as the holiday season may feel for so many let us all be reminded that it is still the “season of giving” and the “season of miracles”.
And to all of us who will be lighting that first Chanukah candle tonight let it bring a “festival of light”, hope and unity for everyone around the world because that is truly all that matters this holiday season.
Halloween, like every other holiday or celebration since March is going to look and feel, well, in Halloween terms, something like that of a “Ghost Town” around here tonight.
The Government and Health Officials in Ontario have “strongly recommended” that anyone living in a “hotspot” area (which I do) refrain from taking your little “Witches and Goblins” door-to-door Trick or Treating this year or give out candy as well (and just to add further salt to the wound, it’s finally on a Saturday night!!!).
Well even though my 3 little “Pumpkins” may be young adults now and well past the “battiness” of Trick or Treating, I can’t help but feel a “haunting” sense of sadness today mixed with a “monstrous” dose of nostalgia.
Have a sweet and sugar-coated Halloween today everyone, however it is you may be celebrating! 👻🍫
**Feel free to share some of your favourite Halloween memories and pics!
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