As my “Class of 2021” graduation initiative comes to a close this week I will have sold AND delivered over a thousand lawn signs since it began last spring and raised over $15,000 for youth mental health.
During this time I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing and kind people, some of whom I now call my friend.
I’ve also made some incredible connections along the way.
I’ve started relevant, much needed and VERY important conversations.
And I’ve listened as many others have shared with me some of the most heart-wrenching struggles they’ve faced or are currently going through with their own mental health or that of a loved one.
Overall this has been one of the most purposeful, meaningful and rewarding experiences of my life, especially knowing that I have helped bring smiles to so many faces (both young and old alike) and maybe even brightened up their day. And it also feels really good knowing that in some small way I am helping to make a positive change for our young people today.
BUT, (and there is always a “but” with me), there have also been many, many days throughout this process where the overwhelm of what I do behind the scenes and the hours upon hours I’ve spent making sure that my campaign is the greatest possible success takes a gigantic toll on my mental health.
And this past week while already feeling vulnerable and defeated has been no exception.
As many of you already know, I was placing my final order to go to print earlier this week. This included a sign for someone who had literally contacted me last weekend only hours prior to my twelve midnight cutoff.
We ended up having a friendly chat back and forth for a good hour during which time she chose which sign she wanted to purchase for her son who is about to graduate grade 8 from the same elementary school that I attended, she gave me her address for delivery and before we signed off for the night (which was now midnight) she asked me if it was okay if she sent me her payment in the morning. I said sure, not a problem.
So, in good faith I put her order through with the rest of them first thing the next morning which she knew I would be doing. After our friendly chat the night before I saw no reason not to trust that she would pay me as she had promised (which I’ve done before for others).
Several days lapsed and my shipment would soon be arriving for delivery (which it did this afternoon) and I still had not received her payment so I followed up with a friendly reminder (people forget or get busy etc., I get it) and as though it was no big deal she told me that she had decided that she didn’t want the sign anymore and could I cancel her order. Like WTF!
She knew I was placing her order first thing the next morning.
Did she just think the sign and me would miraculously disappear?
Did she not think it would’ve been a nice and simple courtesy to let me know she had changed her mind at some point before I would have possibly delivered it to her?
Does she not have a conscience?
Did she not care that the money from the purchase of the sign was being donated to charity?
In case you’re wondering, I confronted her and asked her those exact questions and guess what; she didn’t care! I’m sure you’re not surprised “but” I trust too easily I guess.
It really set me back even though this had been my first time experiencing this during my entire campaign so I guess that’s pretty good odds eh?
I was really trying through all of my upset and anger to remind myself of all the positive experiences I’ve encountered talking to well over a thousand people over the course of my campaign “but” instead there I went right down the rabbit hole again.
I wish that the word “but” didn’t even exist in my vocabulary and that I could finish both my thoughts AND sentences before the “but”; “but” it always feels like an impossible task.
By connecting a sentence or statement with the word “but” for me is kinda like deflating a balloon with a sharp object.
Those words before the BUT, you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones where I praise myself, see my strengths and acknowledge all the good I try and do for others just end up feeling completely meaningless.
“But” I will argue that I have a really good excuse for it, I swear I do!
Or at least that’s what my depression and anxiety seem to want me to think.
The first shipment of my “Class of 2021” Graduation lawn signs have just arrived and I couldn’t wait to install the very first one on my own front lawn and show off how proud I am of my “Awesome Grad”.
And thanks to the incredible generosity and support of so many families and friends in the community (and beyond) I have sold close to 200 signs thus far and I am looking forward to delivering each and every one of them to so many other “Awesome Graduates” and proud family and friends. Just knowing that we are all working together to achieve the same goal of helping all children and adolescents in the GTHA have better access to more affordable and attainable Mental Health services and supports that they so deserve warms my heart.
It also just so happens that today is “National Child and Youth Mental Health Day” (May 7, 2021) so what better way to celebrate today than to help brighten up our neighborhoods, start some caring, stigma-free conversations in the community and let young people everywhere feel seen, heard and supported.
If you would like to honour a very deserving “Class of 2021” Graduate in your life or help make a difference in the lives of so many other young people who may be feeling vulnerable and alone right now please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Proceeds to be donated to Youth Mental Health programs*
I’ve been receiving an increasing amount of messages in recent days and weeks from both friends and strangers alike who are in need of some real emotional support for themselves or a loved one from someone who can relate to their feelings of debilitating anxiety, sadness and defeat; most of whom have never known or experienced these feelings before and they are scared and overwhelmed and vulnerable and unmotivated and lonely and helpless and stressed and angry and frustrated and sad and simply fed up. And they are not alone.
Covid-19 has affected us all in different ways and at different times throughout the Pandemic but living in Ontario right now (and many other beautiful places around the globe) it’s becoming increasingly more and more difficult to try and stay positive anymore or to find moments of joy in our life and it’s showing up in both our physical and mental health in one way or another.
Can we even find joy in our lives anymore?
I know that I for one could really use some joy in my life right now.
This picture (posted above) is pure unadulterated joy. Having my kids receive their first vaccines this week (because we live in a “hot spot”, woohoo!) felt incredibly joyful and I even went so far as to tell them that it felt even more joyful than the day they were first born.
Did I go too far? Was it too much?
I mean given that we’ve been living through a Global Pandemic for more than 13 months now I felt like my feelings were pretty justified, no?
It almost felt like a rebirth or a revival and that in more than a year I could finally see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been trying so desperately to get through and even though it’s only a tiny light for now, any light is at least a start.
What has been your moment of joy this week, even if it was for only a brief moment in time? Comment below and spread some joy!
P.S. I’m always here if you need someone to talk to.
P.P.S. Don’t forget to practice self- care.
P.P.P.S. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of Covid-19. Wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance and when it’s your turn to get the vaccine, GO!
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! 🥩
Today is World Health Day. Its campaign has become a day of recognition around the Globe since 1948 and was first created by the World Health Organization (WHO), a name that has become increasingly more and more familiar to all of us since the Pandemic started.
This year’s campaign is focused on building a “fairer, healthier world” for everyone but living in Canada right now it doesn’t feel fair at all.
The vaccine rollout in Ontario (and Canada) has been a complete and utter disaster (imo) and I can’t believe that I am actually about to say this after what we have all witnessed over the past year in the United States but I am beyond envious of all my friends and family living south of the border right now as I witness the success of how their vaccines are being rolled out (and Israel, well they deserve a fricken gold star!).
Earlier this morning both Rich and I were able to book appointments to get vaccinated simply because the Government has now deemed our postal code a “hot spot” along with several others in our region which has afforded us and anyone else in these select few areas who are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old to do so as well.
I’m not gonna lie, once we both received our confirmation emails with our appointment times set in place I became super emotional (surprise, surprise there were actual tears) that this was actually about to happen.
I am beyond grateful to be given this opportunity and I feel that it is my duty to get vaccinated when my time comes in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19; but I’m angry all at the same time.
I’m angry that teachers and admin staff have not been prioritized to receive a vaccination first or the factory workers, grocery store clerks, wait staff in restaurants, construction workers, immune compromised individuals, those in more marginalized communities, the 20 something year olds who have been blamed most for spreading the virus and everyone else who works in an essential service and CANNOT work from home.
I just hope that soon enough all Canadians (and many other parts of the world) can celebrate World Health Day together by actually building a fairer, healthier (and more united) world to live in.
This picture (which popped up on my Facebook “Memory Wall” early this morning) not only captures Jacob’s goofy, loveable personality but it also captures the true essence of what passion, commitment, determination and hard work all look like as well.
Seeing it quickly reminded me just how much I miss watching him play hockey (even if being a goalie mom is one of the most stressful things ever lol) and it also reminded me of a piece I wrote (before I started my actual blog) near the end of Jacob’s last season in Minor League Hockey and well, I just felt like sharing it with you one more time.
**Spoiler alert: he has never stopped being part of a team since leaving the Minor League Hockey world; that was until stupid Covid forced him to take a break last Spring.
*Original Post: Feb 1, 2016*
For the past 12 years being a hockey mom has been a huge part of who I am. I still remember putting Jacob on the ice in his first year of House League all dressed in his hockey gear and hardly able to skate and then, BOOM; the goalie skated by him and they accidentally collided into one another and Jacob broke his wrist.
Fast forward 2 years, Jacob waiting patiently for his turn to play goalie in a tournament. He did such an amazing job and from that day forward Jacob’s dream of becoming a goalie was fulfilled.
One year later he joined a more competitive level team with his friends which has now become our family for the last 9 years. He has improved and worked hard to become a successful goalie since then through perseverance, training, coaching and his love of being a goalie.
Throughout the years hockey has defined our family dynamics, always working our lives around where the next game or tournament is; yes, being a hockey Mom has been a title I will hold near and dear to my heart forever. The ups and downs, I wouldn’t change a thing. But now what?
With only a handful of games left in what is Jacob’s final year of minor league hockey (and hopefully a few more if they make the playoffs), I am sure he will continue to play for many years to come in the adult world but what about the hockey Mom? Where does that leave me?
No more schlepping from one end of the GTA to the other, no more car stinking like a pair of dirty socks, no more cheering when the team scores the game winning goal and no more hockey family.
I have dreaded this day coming for a long time now but I know that Jacob’s commitment he has made to his teammates and coaches alike through the last 12 years will help to define him as he faces many new challenges ahead of him and well, as for me, I will always be grateful for what hockey has given him, and what he has given me; his “Hockey Mom” ❤
As the new year quickly approaches I’m not gonna lie to you and say that I have very high hopes or any sort of expectations for the year ahead and if I’m to be completely honest here, I’ve felt like I’ve been walking on eggshells as the previous six new years approached too, so why set myself up for any further disappointment.
Around this time every year since my illness began in 2014 I have received countless, well intentioned end of year messages of hope and healing from friends, loved ones and acquaintances alike, all of whom confidently assure me that this next year things will be better for me or promise me that this is going to be my year!!
And I do sincerely appreciate each and every one of these messages (I really do!) because I know that they are all coming from a place of love and a kind heart but my track record thus far has been 0 in 6 and so when the end of each year nears and I reflect back on these words of hope and healing I can’t help but feel in a sense like I’ve let everyone around me down, AGAIN.
In all fairness though, this year has fucking sucked for all of us. It hasn’t been a very promising year for most of us and instead it was met with tremendous loss, uncertainty and immense tragedy for many more.
2020 has taken a lot out of us all and who could have ever imagined what was to come as the clock struck midnight on January 1st and we kissed and hugged our loved ones and sent messages of hope and healing for a better year than last.
I do want more than anything for 2021 to be my year, I truly want it to be a better year for me (I mean who wouldn’t), and for EVERYONE else too, but 2020 has broke me and it wasn’t all Covid-19’s doing.
By the time the Coronavirus was declared a world wide Pandemic in mid March I had already spent close to a month in bed with a concussion (starting January 2nd) during which time my mom then broke her hip, needed surgery and spent 6 weeks in hospital/rehab but the icing on the cake came when Rich lost his job.
Yup, all this happened before March ever even rolled around and it’s been one big shit show ever since including several new obstacles we’ve had to face recently, just as the year is finally coming to a close.
So maybe it’s best for now that we don’t make any special promises or declarations or speculations to one another; at least not yet. Lets see how 2021 looks upon first glance, at least give it a few days to settle in, let it get comfortable, ease it in slowly and take baby steps so we don’t frighten it. Maybe if we don’t make any sudden moves or let it see us coming with our overly confident promises, declarations or speculations, maybe if we just let it do its thing, then maybe we will all be pleasantly surprised!
Thank you all once again for your continued love and support through this past year and beyond. You will never know how much your words and actions truly touch my heart.
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and safe New Year and oh ya, please stay home too!
In case you didn’t get the memo, 2020 has been a pretty rough year for all of us in some way or another. For myself, this year started off with a great big bang and it honestly feels as though it never lets up. Infact, just days ago Rich and I found ourselves taking note of this after facing several new challenges of late which have only added on to the many recurring and verifiably overwhelming obstacles we have already been facing this year; all of which seem likely to follow us right into the new year.
Life fucking sucks right now in more ways than you can possibly imagine and in more ways than I’m willing to share publically at the moment. But as mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting as this year has been, today I am going to focus on the “Silver Linings” that have come about while being smacked in the face by so much adversity in 2020.
For starters the Pandemic gave me the push to get out and start walking almost every single day and explore my surroundings more than ever before. It also gave me the incentive to go on probably double, if not triple the amount of hikes than all the previous years combined and for a good 8 months I walked between 5 and 12 km almost every single day since the original lockdown began in mid March until about a month ago when the weather began to change. I don’t do winter very well!
Another silver lining and great accomplishment for me this year was when I decided to create my “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign Initiative back in April to celebrate our very deserving 2020 Graduates and give many, many families and friends a way to honour them as well. And thanks to the incredible generosity of so many of those friends and families in the GTHA I never could have imagined that I would also have successfully raised over $10k for Kids Help Phone at the same time. It was definitely a very proud moment for me in my lifetime.
And finally, 2020 has also given me the opportunity to spend actual quality time with my kids, something that as many of us know all too well becomes more and more challenging as they get older.
We have watched many movies together, taken several hikes together and engaged in many valuable dinnertime conversations together too. My kids have been great teachers for me this year and have taught me a thing or two about the true meaning of resilience.
What has been one of the silver linings in your life this year or one of the best things to have happened to you or for you this past year?
I finally finished this puzzle tonight. I’m pretty sure it was the most challenging puzzle I’ve ever done in my whole life.
My girls had so thoughtfully bought me this puzzle a couple of weeks ago knowing just how much I enjoy doing them and it’d been a while since I’d done one but then almost immediately upon opening up the box I became quite overwhelmed by it.
Normally I have no problem organizing the pieces of any size puzzle and then I excitedly like to get started right away but this time around I became easily frustrated right from the very beginning.
Puzzles usually take me at most a few days to complete but suddenly this time around I also found myself adding additional anxiety to my day everytime I looked at it and began pressuring myself to get it done RIGHT NOW, or else.
I’m not really sure why I always put so much undue pressure on myself for just about every single “piece” of my life, it really is quite “puzzling” to say the very least but in any case I was determined to complete the darn thing no matter what it took or even how long it did because I knew how rewarding it would feel by doing so.