This is my mom, Nellie. She'd laugh if she knew I put a photo of her in a bathing suit online -if only to hear her laugh about that. Mom would have been a young 69 today. Today, I consider that woman who didn't think twice about swimming in a waterfall in Killarney Prov Park, made me eat homemade bread (but with no sugar) and homemade yogurt (sadly no sugar here either), and challenged me to see that rain is liquid sunshine. She wasn't perfect- in fact, it has been said that if things didn't go her way when she was a little kid, much of Embro could hear her cry - but she was my mom, and she gave flesh to the word home.
I have missed (and still miss) Mom now that I am a mom.
Today, I have my feet planted in two worlds - the normal parenting sphere and the not-so-normal parenting sphere-that-is-not-a-sphere-because-we-don't-know-what-to-call-it.
Em and Soph keep growing older, and their experiences remind me of things I dealt with at their age. Our conversations are taking more mature perspectives; though I grieve that loss of innocence (no more I want to wear my princess dress today), I know our girls need both the freedom and guidance to grow into independent, compassionate people.
And then there are Rachel and Janneke -whose experiences are not familiar to me. I've read articles recently that talk about the ache that comes with parenting older children with special needs. One mom wrote about her fear of her son outliving her. Yes, I think about that. Another mom I met was frustrated with the lack of options for her adult son with regards to living arrangements, so she and two others bought a house that they are seeking to staff and fund.
I wonder about this week's election. On one hand, I am irritated by the shaming and bickering that we see among the political parties. We've talked about it as a family - and laughed about it with this video from kidsnippets. We want Em and Soph to see the importance of choosing good leadership and being active citizens who advocate for others and work with whatever system is put in place.
Yet, on the other hand, I consider the election and how it relates to services for kids like Rachel and Janneke. Will the results of the election change the future for how I can provide for my dependent children? Will the government see the value and importance of caring for and supporting those who are more vulnerable? Everyone talks a big game... Time will tell.
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Proud parent moments:
The button you see by Rachel's foot is attached to her foot pad, and it is connected to her sequencer button. When she touches the button, it activates the message. Right now, the message is "read some more" which she uses when we read her stories. She pushes the button when it's time to turn the page.
It's pretty much awesome.
I loved watching Soph with her high jump accomplishments at a recent track meet. There is no way my body could jump backwards over a pole, but she does it with finesse - and loves it. Off camera is a proud papa.
Our wiggly Janneke is getting stronger and more agile with walking. She still spends too much time laughing at her feet and holding her g-tube, but I wonder if it won't be long before we can put her on a field with a soccer ball.
Emily had a softball tournie yesterday with school. It was great to catch two games and see her hit the ball. I can remember worrying more about the ball hitting my face than the glove.
Off to the parent-must-do list now. I am thankful for this day, and I remember my mom with happy-sad feelings. How ironic that she was taken from this earth while working with VON, en route to a client - and now I wait for VON to come help me this afternoon with my girls. Right now, VON is helping the girls at school, something Mom did when she wasn't assigned to homecare. The coincidence of her also being employed at Mac and Chedoke - and me having to take Rachel to both hospitals this week for appointments is not lost on me. I am thankful that her experiences created a sense of familiarity with medical care for me. When I pull into the parking lot of either hospital, memories of visiting her at work come back, and I feel as if I almost catch a glimpse of her when I walk the hallways.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Thanks for inspiring me to live out my faith as best I can and for reminding me that people matter.
And to you... have a super week. If you are in Ontario, don't forget to vote!
peace for your week,