Dear new mom…

Wow it’s been a while since my last post. Life happens and within that time let’s just say a lot of life happened to me. I’m glad you’re reading this and I’m happy to …

Source: Dear new mom…

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Dear new mom…

Wow it’s been a while since my last post. Life happens and within that time let’s just say a lot of life happened to me. I’m glad you’re reading this and I’m happy to be back! So here we go…

Dear new mom,

I see you, talking to your babe like Tom Hanks talked to Wilson in Cast Away. You know your baby isn’t going to respond to you but you do it anyway. I know, I’ve been there. Well don’t worry, your baby will respond to you eventually and you’ll be wishing for these quiet days to return. You know those sleepless nights you’ve been having? A. Piece. Of. Cake. Enjoy your slice while you can. Although raising kids isn’t easy at any stage I thought I would enlighten you as to some things you might want to expect in the future.

You will forget stuff
Some people call this mommy brain or baby brain. Believe it. Whether scientific or not this is a reality. When I was pregnant with my first someone told me, “You never get those brain cells back.” Ten years later and I’m still waiting. Maybe it’s that we have SO MUCH to remember for everyone else that we forget — or maybe it is a loss of brain cells.

Either way, lists will be your friend from this day forward. Don’t lose your cool because if it’s that important you can just buy whatever it is you forgot to pack. Because you know there’s a lot to pack for that tiny bundle of joy.

You will lose your shit one day
I know. It sounds harsh but it happens. Seriously, we’re only human and our little, tiny humans can really get to us. How you lose your shit might be different from how someone else loses theirs but nevertheless it will happen. So be prepared. That baby who lovingly hangs on to your every word will be replaced by a little troll who wants things done his way – or no way at all at 5:55 pm. All while you’re trying to get out the door to your family dinner at 6:00 pm. You will feel bad. You will call yourself the worst mother in the world. But guess what? You can take that guilt and shove it. Yes, shove it deep, deep down because it will happen again. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next Thursday. But it will happen again. Trust me.

You and your partner will argue about the littlest things
Like who changes the poo diaper. Is it my turn or his turn? Who changed it last? I’m not talking about the sweet smelling breast milk poo’s. I’m talking the REAL stuff. Like your kid just ate chili and washed it down with a high fibre smoothie, poo. You get the idea. And you don’t want to change that diaper.

Going anywhere just got a little harder
Want to go grocery shopping? Pack the kid’s stuff. Buckle him in the car seat. Take him out of the car in the bucket seat. The bucket seat takes up the whole cart but you don’t want to throw raw chicken into your stroller’s basket. What to do? I just wait until I can go it alone, that’s what! Let’s face it, we can get a lot more done faster when we’re alone. It’s no joke when veteran moms say this is their alone time. There’s a method to the madness. And wait until he gets older and starts asking for stuff in every aisle. That’s even more fun.

Logistics. Having a baby in tow means you either have him in a stroller or sling. Strollers aren’t meant to go down escalators. I cringe every time I see a parent performing this feat. Especially when there are elevators just down the hall. Elevators. They are your friend. Use them. And if there are no elevators the sling is the way to go. Also, malls that have private rooms for moms are the best!

You will stop trying to be perfect
That perfect table setting for Thanksgiving? Who cares! That perfect matching outfit for picture day? Why bother! I used to work in a retail store where women (mostly) would spend hundreds of dollars on clothing just so their kids would look just perfect. The reality is that they will go to school and soil those perfect clothes and you will lose your shit. See how that works?

 

Live for today, not for tomorrow

A long time ago I had this vision of passing my beloved toys down to my children. In my case it was my first teddy bear (named Teddy, of course), my two Cabbage Patch Kids, Holly Hobbie and MonChiChi. I was overjoyed when I had a girl the second time around. I waited until the day that she would be old enough to appreciate and play with my old, well-loved toys.

The time finally came, about two years ago when I thought she would be old enough to take care of the toys that I loved when I was a child. She was excited at first but that excitement faded. Soon I saw them sprawled all over her room, begging for attention. Then one day we were doing a Goodwill drop and we were going through their toys. As she was sorting through the toys she didn’t want, she pointed to one of my dolls and said, ‘that one, the doll that I don’t like.’ I thought, ‘Oh no, now what?’ I waited all this time to pass down my beloved toys only to realize that my daughter doesn’t even want them!

That made me realize that sometimes life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to. Something as frivolous as wanting to pass down my toys to my children didn’t pan out the way I had thought it would. So when I was cleaning out my closet one day I had to make a decision: What do I do with my wedding dress?

It had been with me for about 10 years and three moves. I didn’t dry clean it after the wedding. Which meant it wasn’t ‘preserved’ in a lovely little vacuum-sealed box either. Of course, I thought of keeping my dress for my daughter but that thought quickly passed. So, instead of keeping it for my daughter I let her have a ride on my train as I tried it on for one last time before I donated it to a charity called The Brides’ Project.  I was donating to a charity that was close to my heart because at the time, my dad had just been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. This charity sells the wedding dresses and donates all profits to various cancer charities.

I was extremely happy I made the decision to donate rather than keep it for my daughter. I can’t predict the future but I can control the present. As for my children’s toys, we won’t be keeping them for their children, that’s for sure!

Did you save your toys for your children? What did you do or what would you do with your wedding gown?

The school of life

As parents, we often worry about how to explain difficult things to our children. Sometimes we stress out about things we shouldn’t. When my father was sick I was stressed out about bringing them to the hospital. When he passed away I stressed out about how to explain death to them.

Then one day this happened and I knew they were going to be alright.

7yo: Apong missed Lu-Ann’s birthday

Me: Yup, that means he’s going to miss yours

7yo: We won’t see him again until we’re in heaven

4yo: Yeah

7yo: Too bad for us. No presents in heaven. But we’ll be able to fly. That’s a present.

4yo: YAY! We can fly!

From my point of view it seems like they’re handling things better than most adults. As they say, children are resilient. I just love how they are so sure they’ll see their Grandpa again. This is something that age takes from you. They have no doubt yet adults are full of doubt most of the time.

I certainly hope to see my dad again but I can’t say I’m as sure as my kids. I wish I was. For the most part I feel like they’re teaching me more about life than I could ever teach them.

Today, and Every Day

A beautiful love story 😊😘

Jackie L. Gillard, Writer

Four years.

Four years since I first looked into those dark eyes and was lost forever.

Four years since the Magistrate signed the papers declaring me her mother.

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How can four years feel like four seconds and forty years all rolled into one?

What a ride those four years have been.

I used to think parenting was about teaching your children –

four years have taught me that I am the student.

She is the balm that soothes my wounds.

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One gentle touch from her can make my day, one shoved-away attempt at affection can ruin it.

She is my world.  My destiny.  My life.

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I never expected motherhood to be so incredibly all-consuming, so powerful, so hard, yet so full of joy.

I never expected any of this.

Yet I’m still surprised daily.

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Surprised at my own motherly instinct to protect her, no matter what, at any expense.

Surprised at how quickly…

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Don’t worry, be happy :)

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is write a eulogy for my dad. And even more difficult – actually delivering the eulogy. Even though I knew it would be difficult, I knew I just had to do it. And I’m glad I did. He was a happy, loving and selfless man who gave everything he had to his family and friends without expecting anything in return. Over the years I was fortunate enough to witness his kind and generous nature and learn from him. He will be missed dearly. I wanted to share it with you because the world needs more happy!

“Just be happy all the time” – Dad

*****************

I know what you’re all thinking.

How in the world are we going to understand her while she’s crying?

That’s okay, I’m used to it.

When I said I wanted to do this eulogy, my mom said, ‘you can’t do it, you will cry!’

Well, she’s right and if you know me, you know how it goes when you tell me NOT to do something!

So here I go… I’m known as the family crier, so bear with me.

Over the years, my dad was known by many names, whether you knew him as…

Mar
Marianing
Mr. Maala
Maala
Sevy
Severino
Uncle Vino
Bering
Pare
Kuya
Manong
Lolo
Uncle
Apom/Apon
Dad
Or, as my mom called him, Ssssst! (clearly a term of endearment)

I know he made quite an impression on you all, that’s why you’re here today.

My dad will always be remembered as a happy person who lived every day to it’s fullest.

He embraced new things with a child-like enthusiasm and was quick to talk to anyone, anywhere at any time about anything, much to the dismay of my mom.

He was so friendly that when he was standing outside the house, there would be a hello honk from EVERY car that passed by and a friendly wave from everyone who walked by.

I remember one day he came home with a bottle of honey after one of his walks.

When I asked him where he got it from, he said there’s a guy down the street that sells it!

Anyone who knows him knows how proud he was of his family.

I remember visiting Eaton’s as a child and being introduced to EVERYONE, EVERYONE in the store and even as a child I recognized how proud he was of his family.

After I married Charles he would beam with pride when he told random Jamaicans that his son-in-law is Jamaican – yup, that’s my dad!

He was also proud of his job, which he basically acquired within a week of getting off the plane in Canada from the Philippines, thanks to my Uncle Sonny, who knew they were hiring at the time.

When he retired from that job in 1998, 24 years later, I recall him saying, ‘I could die now, I fulfilled my dreams.’

He was such a simple man and that’s what made him so lovable.

He wore his heart on his sleeve.

Whenever my mom was out of his sight, he would say ‘where’s your mom?’

Even if she was in the same house.

Don’t worry, dad, we’ll take care of your princess! No, not Malaya, MOM – well, both.

And he tried to encourage Joel to follow in his footsteps on how to treat a lady.

Make sure you open the door for Lon and always make sure she has enough to eat and drink.

Let’s just say Joel has a long way to go to meet your standards for chivalry, Dad!

He was always more concerned about others than he was about himself.

On my 40th birthday in the hospital, he actually apologized to me for being sick on my birthday!

Dad, I’m just happy you were there to see me enter a milestone year.

Speaking about being selfless…

Any time he spent at the hospital, every day he would ask, ‘did you feed the fish?’

And he also babysat my Uncle’s fish when he went on vacation this year – his tank was your tank, Uncle.

My dad wouldn’t want us to be sad so I’m hoping you leave here feeling happy, just like him.

Dad, we will all miss your laughter but I know you’re up there spreading your happiness, telling funny stories and making everyone laugh – Say hi to all the apongs for us!

I could have gotten any dad in the world and I got you.

And for that, I’m grateful

As Maxwell wrote in the guest book, I LOVE YOU. I hope you feel better.

I {still} have a dream

Today is the 50th anniversary of the historical ‘I have a dream’ speech given by Martin Luther King. We have come a long way since that day back in August 1963 but we still have a long way to go in regards to achieving true peace between people of different colours, religions and ethnicities.

Here is the text of that speech. I hope you take the time to read and remember. And pass it on.

To see a draft of the speech, click here.

***

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

A whole new world

I attended a baby shower today which reminded me of how exciting a first baby can be.

That first load of laundry with tiny socks and onesies. Bringing home all that new baby stuff from the shower and not knowing what you’re going to do with it. Preparing the baby’s room, installing the car seat, figuring out what diapers to buy. So much stuff to do!

Breathe.

If there’s anything I’d like to share with a new mom, just one piece of advice, it would be just that. Breathe. You’ll be fine. Revel in the miracle that is your baby. Enjoy every minute, every second.

Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you’ll probably be sleep-deprived for a long time. Yes, you will feel like you’ve lost control of your once-perfect (and much quieter) life. But it’s all temporary and it’s all worth it.

Now, almost seven years into parenthood, those tiny socks and onesies are long gone. There are no more diapers to change, no more baby bottles to wash and no more mushy baby food to make. Like I said, it’s all temporary and it’s all worth it. I promise!

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Yummy baby shower cupcakes!