Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

Just last week, on a particularly crummy day when I was struggling to understand my role as a stepmom, my Mom reminded me that being a parent is extremely challenging and all too often, thankless.

For years throughout our childhood, and particularly during the teenage years, we take and take and take from our Moms (and our Dads too), without realizing the hundreds of small sacrifices they are making for us.

Fortunately, it is when we become adults (and sometimes parents ourselves) that we can finally begin to understand and appreciate everything our parents have done for us.  And on days like today – Mother’s Day – I often try to express just how much I love and appreciate my own Mom – although really there are no words that can perfect explain it.

My Mama, always there for me.

My Mama, always there for me.

For the last 35 years my Mom has loved me hard.  She’s laughed with me, scolded me, cuddled me, cried for me, worried about me, gave advice to me, and just been there for me every step of the way.  She’s been the best role model, the best source of support, and now, I am so lucky to say, she’s my best friend.

My mom knows me like no one else.  She knows when I need her (like the time when I was having a particularly bad day and she showed up at my house out of the blue to have a girls day).  She knows when I need a hug, when I need a shoulder to cry on, or when I’m better off to figure things out on my own.

Through all the stages, my Mom has been my biggest cheerleader.  She’s made sure I’ve had every opportunity in life and I am sure she often put her own desires aside to make sure I could have mine (like all those years she hurried home from work to make sure she could get me to dance class on time.  Oh, how I loved those dance classes!) I never lacked for anything and I still don’t.  When life gets tough, Mom’s wise enough to let me struggle but when I really need her, she’s there in a heartbeat to help however she can.

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I like to think I was a pretty “easy” teenager.  I always called to let my parents know where I was and who I was with.  I stayed out of trouble and tried hard in school.  But I know there were moments where I took my parents’ for granted.  Where I screamed “I hate you” when they wouldn’t allow me to do sometthing and slammed my bedroom door as hard as I could.  Oh, if only I had known then what I know now…

Now I know that I have the best Mom EVER (and Dad too, but in celebration of Mother’s Day we’ll just stick with Mom for now).  Now I know that I can never say thank you enough for the countless times that she’s put me first, for making me believe in myself and in the idea that I can do anything, and for loving me so hard.  Now I know that although my life has been blessed with so many wonderful friends, none of them will be a true friend like my Mom.  She “gets” me like no one else ever will and I am so proud to be just like her.

I’m not sure if other women love spending time with their Mom as much as I do but no matter the occasion, I absolutely love having my Mom with me throughout all of life’s experiences.  One of my favourite things to do with her is to go on little mini-holidays together.  For instance, I was thrilled to have her join my girlfriends and I on our trip to Toronto for my bachelorette party. My Mom was such a good sport and it meant everything to me to have her there.  A few years ago, we took a weekend trip together to Bracebridge to visit my old university roommate.  One of the best parts of that weekend was the car trip together – just talking about everything under the sun and having many laughs and silly moments along the way.  Other times, when Mom makes the trip up to Timmins to see me, we enjoy a lovely day of shopping and lunch, and just spending quality time.  Any time spent with my Mom is always so good for my soul.  She’s the best kind of company.  In fact, I always say that I am one of those people who could live right next door to my Mom and be perfectly happy for the rest of my life and it’s true (Although not sure what my husband would think of that…. )

In Toronto for my bachelorette weekend.

In Toronto for my bachelorette weekend.

I could go on forever about all of the things that make my Mom so amazing but as I mentioned earlier, no amount of words can precisely explain just how deeply I love her.  Mom, you are everything to me and I can never thank you enough for being the best Mom and the best friend a girl could ever ask for.  Happy Mother’s Day!  I love you.

 

Just a few of my favourites…..

At the pumpkin patch.

At the pumpkin patch.

Mom was with my every step of the way during my wedding planning.  I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Mom was with my every step of the way during my wedding planning. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Mom & Dad took us all on a trip to Wonderland - here's me, Mom, and Mariah ready for the 3D movie.

Mom & Dad took us all on a trip to Wonderland – here’s me, Mom, and Mariah ready for the 3D movie.

Mom was such a trooper when she came with me to see the Backstreet Boys & New Kids!

Mom was such a trooper when she came with me to see the Backstreet Boys & New Kids!

My pretty Mom with some mums.  Bracebridge trip.

My pretty Mom with some mums. Bracebridge trip.

Fun day at the Pumpkin Patch with the girls and the grandkids.

Fun day at the Pumpkin Patch with the girls and the grandkids.

Watching my Mom become a Grandma has been so amazing.

Watching my Mom become a Grandma has been so amazing.

Love her silly and fun loving attitude.  She makes me laugh so much!

Love her silly and fun loving attitude. She makes me laugh so much!

The early days.

The early days.

I love you to infinity and beyond!

I love you to infinity and beyond!

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To My Dad, on Father’s Day

Dear Dad,

In honour of Father’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly share just how much you mean to me.  Although, I often express myself better in writing, I still struggle to find the words to describe just how special you are.

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Your gentle, easygoing nature makes people of all ages love to be around you.  You’re quiet when you need to be, wise when you need to be, and funny when you need to be.  You’re an intelligent man that I look up to very much.

As the years have passed, I have watched you work endlessly for your family and for this I am eternally grateful. You were a dedicated worker and easily gained the admiration and respect of your co-workers.  You volunteer for your community and those who know you, know they can count on you. No matter, what members of the family have needed you, you’ve pushed your own wants and needs aside to be there.  From helping Mike through the most difficult time in his life – to being there every step of the way for Grandma and Grandpa as they aged – to endless home renovations and car repairs – you are always, always there when someone needs a helping hand.  Please know that your family appreciates this very, very much and I hope that I will never take it for granted.

DSC07689Another thing I love about you, Dad, is how you have become one of the most amazing grandfathers I have ever seen. Children have always loved you – they flock to you for your child-at-heart, entertaining ways.  Whether it’s hunting monkeys, trips to the park, or playing game after game of Hello Kitty Trouble, my children and nieces know they can count on G-pa for hours of fun.  You go out of your way to make sure they have everything they could need or want, and for this, I thank you, not only on their behalf, but also on mine.  Watching you as a grandfather is both admirable and amazing.

Not only are you a wonderful grandfather, I have also been blessed to have you as my role model for what a good husband truly should be. Mom once told me that she knew you were the one because of the gentle, kind way you spoke to her from the very beginning.  I am so proud to say that you are still this way.  You have always been there for Mom, just like you have for the rest of us.  You have stayed committed and by her side through all the ups and downs, and this means the world to me.  Thank you for teaching me how a woman should be treated, for always respecting Mom, and for being the perfect role model in your role as a husband.

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But most of all, Dad, I want to thank you for being the world’s best Dad.  I don’t know how I got so lucky to be born to such amazing parents.  There really are no words for how much you and Mom mean to me and for how thankful for everything you guys have done for me and our family.

Not many women can say that there Dad is one of their best and most dearest friends, but I definitely can, and am proud to say it.  I know that whenever we spend time together, it will be enjoyable, and filled with laughter and precious memories.  Now that I am grown, there aren’t many people I’d rather spend time with, than you.  Whether it’s camping, taking trips, or just spending time with family, I love it when we are together and look forward to making many more memories with you.

Of course, one of my most special memories with you, happened a couple of years ago when you walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.  It was a moment I had dreamed of for years, and as the last-second emotions and jitters set in, I had you by my side to take my arm and steady me.  You were my rock that day, just like you always have been.  Because you were by my side, I was able to feel nothing but calmness and joy as I walked down that aisle.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

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So, today, and every day, I want you to know how much I respect, admire, and love you.  I am truly honoured to have such a wonderful, loving, and supportive man to call my Dad.

With all my love,

Kelly  xoxo

 

 

 

Celebrating My Grandparents’ Love

GrandmanGrandpa

I have never liked the part of traditional wedding vows that say “Until death do us part”.  I’ve never really understood or agreed with that idea ~ Does it mean that once one spouse dies, the couple no longer love each other?  Certainly not. I like to think that a couple’s true love lasts for all eternity.  It surely doesn’t stop at the moment of death.  Surely after one’s passing, the living spouse continues to love the other with his/her whole heart?   I am thinking about this more than usual today because today – June 14, 2015 – would have been my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary and my Grandfather’s 89th birthday.

Sadly, my Grandpa passed away a little over a month ago.  But that doesn’t mean the love shared between him and my Grandma for all of those years no longer goes on.  I would like to believe that their love will always exist.  There’s no “until death do us part” in their marriage.

Although Grandpa isn’t here for the occasion, I still feel like 65 years of marriage is an amazing thing that needs to be recognized, celebrated, and cherished.  So this post is in honour of my Grandma and Grandpa – Ron and Esther Palmateer – and their many years of love and marriage.

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One of my favourite memories of my Grandpa, I mentioned in my eulogy at his funeral last month.  At their 60th anniversary celebration, my Grandpa was asked about the secret to a successful marriage.  With his keen sense of humour, my Grandpa chuckled and answered, “She worked inside, I worked outside.  And every now and then we’d meet up for coffee.”  All of those who knew him, loved Grandpa for his wonderful sense of humour and he took every opportunity there was to make others laugh.

After Grandpa’s passing, Grandma mentioned to me about her and Grandpa “not making it” to their 65th wedding anniversary.  But, to me, when you make it a month shy of 65 years, you made it.  In this day and age, so many people give up on marriage.  They forget the vows they promised and the commitment they made, and they let the struggles and stresses of life split them apart.

But Grandma, you and Grandpa made it.  Through the ups and downs, the raising of eight children, the maintaining of a 700-acre farm and homestead, through health and sickness, the good times and bad – you made it.  Your love was strong, dedicated, and true from the day you got married -and as one of your many grandchildren, I am immensely proud of the family and commitment you and Grandpa built together.

Although you lost your beloved husband, dear Grandma, I want you to know that you made it.  You and Grandpa will forever have a life of trust, companionship, and love that lasts for all eternity.  I know today Grandpa is smiling down at his “little Esther” with love and longing in his heart.

So Grandma, while Grandpa may not be here in body with you today or the next, please remember that he is always with you.  He is by your side today, just like he was sixty-five years ago, and as he will be for all of your tomorrows.  Although he is gone physically, his spirit and his memory lies in the place you’ve always held him – your heart – where he shall forever remain.

And while you hold on to these memories please know how immensely blessed I am to have had wonderful grandparents like you and Grandpa.  Your commitment to one another and to your extended family is truly something I aspire to and hold so very dear.

With all my love,

Kelly xo

 

 

 

My Completely Incomplete List of Favourite Books

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read.  In fact, I love books in general – old books, new books, hard covers, paperbacks, and more recently, electronic books.  I love reading magazines (for those of you who don’t have the Next Issue app and love magazines, get it now!), newspapers, and blog posts too.

reading I have loved reading since I was a young child with some of my earliest favourites being classics from Dr. Seuss.  My little brother and I begged our babysitter to read And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street so many times, she eventually had it memorized.    When I got a little older, I loved to change the story line in my favourite picture books to one of my own.  My parents often tell how I’d read these “stories” aloud (to an imaginary audience, I presume) which after a time, would drive them crazy.  “Read to yourself!” they’d remind me again and again.

Eventually, I did.  I started to consumer chapter books – first, much-loved ones such as Beverly Cleary’s Beezus and Ramona and, within a few years, series like The Babysitter’s Club, Sleepover Friends, and Sweet Valley Twins. My best friend and I even had dreams of starting our own babysitting business based on our beloved series.  I was definitely that kid that got excited when the teacher said it was “independent reading” time, and was known to miss a math lesson or two due to having my nose stuck in a book.

Not only that, but while most kids spent their allowance at the corner store on candy, I couldn’t wait to get to our local mall to check out Cole’s bookstore.  I’d stand there gazing at the neat, beautiful rows of books lined up perfectly according to their number in the series, and ponder forever at which one I was going to buy.  To this very day, I can still spend hours in a book store if you let me!

These things still get me excited!

These things still get me excited!

The only thing that was more exciting than a visit to Cole’s was when our school hosted a Scholastic Book Fair. Tables upon tables with shiny new books all lined up and a crisp five-dollar bill clenched in my hand.  I remember practically having a panic attack from worrying that the book I wanted would no longer be there by the time my class got our turn to visit, and the overwhelming joy I’d feel when I finally held it in my hands.  In addition to their book fairs, Scholastic also sent out monthly flyers full of their books.  While I don’t remember ordering from these much as a child, I re-discovered them as a teacher, and most any teacher will tell you there’s not much more exciting than a cardboard box with Scholastic printed on the side and your name on the label, arriving at your school!

As a child, I also loved visiting the local library.  Back then, the library was an old building in our town that seemed so mysterious and charming to me at the time. I vividly remember that old book smell that I still love (fellow readers, you know what I’m talking about!) and the silent hush of the carpet as I perused the aisles. I remember being thrilled that I could choose to take home any book in that entire building for free. To this day, I love the library.  I love browsing up and down each aisle, my head tilted, scanning the titles on the spines of the books.  I love selecting books that have grabbed my attention and building a stack that’s ready for me to take home and devour.

Perfection.

Perfection.

That’s another thing – I always have a stack of books on the go.  Some are new and waiting to be read, some are ones I’ve already started but haven’t yet finished, and there are always a few that are old favourites waiting to be read again.  I love owning books and if I could my house would be full of bookshelves stacked full of books of all shapes, sizes, and varieties (I currently only have two shelves- both of which I have to share with my husband’s DVD and video game collections.  Although I have mentioned to him more than once that we should get more bookshelves for our house).

It was rifling through one of those bookshelves tonight that inspired me to write this post.  For awhile now I have thought of compiling a list of my favourites, but have always hesitated because of the fear that I might forget to include one of my beloveds.  But thanks to apps like Goodreads which allows you to catalogue books you’ve read and books you want to read (among many other features), I’ve been able to keep track of at least some of my favourites.  So although this list is flawed, not nearly as comprehensive as I’d like, and completely incomplete, here it is…

Enjoy!

My Completely Incomplete List of Favourite Books

  1. North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person
  2. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  3. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
  4. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  6. The Birth House by Ami McKay
  7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  8. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  9. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  11. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  13. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill
  14. Little Princes:  One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
  15. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  16. The Night Circus by Erin Mortgenstern
  17. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  18. The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
  19. Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig
  20. The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

Oh and by the way, I am always looking for new book recommendations!  Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

 

To Brandon & Mariah, with all my love

Like many little girls, when I was younger I loved to daydream about what my life would be like some day. Who will I marry?  Where will I live?  How many children will I have and what will their names be?  Like other type-A, highly organized people, I had my path set out before me: graduate university in my early twenties, get married by my mid-twenties, and start having babies

The kids and I at the pumpkin patch - 2013.

The kids and I at the pumpkin patch – 2013.

(probably 2-3) by my late twenties.  Now that I am older, I have learned that life certainly doesn’t always work out the way we plan.  But sometimes, the unexpected can be just as good, or dare I say, even better.

When I met my husband about eight years ago, I had never dated a guy with children before.  Many women were hesitant to do so, but never having had the experience, and having a particular love for children, I found the fact that Brad was a father endearing and sweet.  I eagerly accepted Brandon, 3, and Mariah, 7, and spent many of our first weekends together playing rounds of Disney Monopoly and other kids’ games.

Our family, early days.

Our family, early days.

For the first few years, being a “stepmom” was easy.  At the time, Brad only had the kids every second weekend.  I stepped back when it came to discipline and let Brad and his ex, Julie, take care of that.  I didn’t have the day-to-day responsibility of helping with homework (although I loved to help Mariah learn how to read), carting them around to various activities, and making sure their household chores were done.

But all that changed about three years into my relationship with Brad.  The kids’ mom had a career change and asked us if we were interested in splitting custody of the kids (we’d have them one week, she’d have them the next).  I was reluctant for such a sudden change, but Brad saw it as an opportunity for what he really wanted – far more time with his kids, and so we agreed.

Suddenly, our fun-filled weekends of games, play time, and activities, with the kids turned into a much larger responsibility.  I was no longer just the “fun” stepmom with an endless supply of craft ideas; I was now a real parent with rules, a hand in discipline, and my very own set of expectations.

Toronto trip

Toronto trip 2009

That first year, as a new “mom” was rough.  As all new parents know, having kids is a life-changing, huge sacrifice.  It seems like your whole world is turned upside down.  You no longer operate under your own schedule and your own priorities are never, ever first anymore.  I was the primary breadwinner at the time too, so that meant spending a lot of my hard-earned money on things the kids needed (until this point in my life, all my extra cash went to shopping for clothes and beauty products!)  Most parents have at least nine months (or longer while they plan pregnancies) to wrap their heads around this idea – for me, it was different.  It seemed, I was thrown into motherhood overnight – and to make things even tougher, I was raising someone else’s kids.

Camp Kipawa

Camp Kipawa

There was definitely a lengthy period of adjustment for both me and the kids as we got used to living and being with each other in an entirely new way.  I vividly remember the day we hit the breaking point.  The kids, as kids sometimes do, had been fighting non-stop and just generally acting miserable.  I was filled with resentment and feeling unappreciated for all the sacrifices I had made to have them living with us.  I was at my wit’s end and as tears of frustration streamed down my face, my husband (boyfriend at the time), looked at me and gently said, “You know, Kel, there are guys just like me out there with no kids, you could go and find one.”   While I perfectly respected and loved him for the option of “setting me free”, the thought of leaving him tore my heart into a hundred pieces.  It was in that moment, that I had a major, life-changing realization:  if I was going to love Brad and have a future with him, then I had to 100% accept his kids and love them and treat them as if they were my own.

From that day forward, that realization has helped me to become a better, more loving and accepting stepmom.  It’s a unique kind of love when you’re raising

Family game night

Family game night

kids that are not biologically yours.  I don’t have the inner, maternal “bond” that many mothers develop while their babies are still in the womb, but I do love these kids the same as if they had my own flesh and blood.  I have the same expectations for them and want to teach them all the things I would teach my own babies (although sometimes it’s easier said than done, considering they bounce back and forth between two, very different households). And while I never held them in my arms while rocking them to sleep, changed their diapers, or experienced many of their “firsts”, we do have a very special history together chalked full of precious memories.

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Dancing with Brandon

Don’t get me wrong – there are still days when it is extremely tough – especially now that one is a teenager and the other thinks he is a teenager.  I still have extremely high expectations of how I think they should behave but am learning that kids will be kids, and for some things at least, I have to let it go.  I am learning to deal with the fact that I have to do excessive, endless loads of laundry, that I’m practically a personal taxi service, and that no matter how many times I tell them, they will never remember not to leave their shoes in the middle of the entranceway beside the front door.

For Brandon and I particularly, it’s been a challenging road at times.  For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why he insisted so much on pushing my buttons, and why I just couldn’t control my temper with him.  So many times, I ended up screaming and yelling at him (and he back at me), and then crying my heart out with pure frustration and guilt.  After much work, and advice from our family counsellor, I am learning how to be a better stepmom to Brandon. One thing I have realized just recently is one of the reasons Brandon and I have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye: we are actually a lot alike.  We are both tirelessly stubborn and like to have things done our own way.  We like to control every situation and aren’t very good at listening to others when we are fired up about a topic.  But while this has its obvious challenges, I have to admit, there’s a small part of me that’s proud he’s a little bit like me.

I was honoured to have Mariah as one of my bridesmaids.

I was honoured to have Mariah as one of my bridesmaids.

It’s funny now when I look back at pictures of the kids from that time when Bradley and I first met.  They are so little in those pictures – the amount they’ve grown and have changed, absolutely floors me. Then it hits me ~ I have been around for half of Mariah’s life, and Brandon probably remembers very little about life without me.  It makes me immensely happy to realize this, immensely happy to know that I am truly a real part of their life, and them of mine.  Not only that, but it makes me incredibly proud – I think of how much

Canada's Wonderland

Canada’s Wonderland

Brandon has progressed on the ice, from a little Timbit, who couldn’t even stand on skates, to a kid who dreams of playing in the NHL.  I think of Mariah’s smile as she lights up the stage at her dance recitals and dances so beautifully it makes me cry.

It’s true, I may not haven given birth to these kids, and it may not be at all what I thought I wanted out of life, but now, looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  From two, adorable little faces who smiled shyly at me the first time we met, I have learned so much.  I have learned that it doesn’t take flesh and blood to be a parent.  I have learned that parenting is by far the most challenging job in the world.  I have learned that there will be ups and downs, and some days you will feel like you just can’t go on, but that other days, your heart will spill over with love and pride, for two small beings that you can’t imagine your life without.  And most of all, I have learned that they are mine – my son, my daughter, who I love very much and who forever will hold a very dear place in the depths of my heart.

 

 

Lovely Things

If you’re anything like me, you have a “small” obsession with Pinterest!  No matter the topic (‘home décor’, ‘fashion’, and ‘popular’ are my most recent faves), there is something so relaxing about scrolling through all those pictures looking for something that speaks to you. Whether I’m looking for fresh, new ideas to bring to my classroom, clever tips on how to better organize my closets, or a recipe for a delicious dessert to bring to a potluck, I can find it.  But actually one of my favourite things to do (and a very relaxing Friday-night activity – yes, I’m getting old!), is to look for pictures that simply inspire me.  Check out some of my favourites below then see my post entitled Lovely Things (under Lists) which was inspired my Pinterest board aptly named “Lovely”.  What are some things that you find lovely and inspiring?

 

 

My Mother – My Best Friend

In honour of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share this post that I wrote awhile back on International Women’s Day….

My beautiful Mama

My beautiful Mama

My Mom (who I affectionately call “Mama” at times) is not only an amazing mother but my truest and dearest friend.  There is no love quite like the love between my Mother and I.  I have no way of re-paying her for the years of unconditional love she has given me.  I don’t have enough words to thank her for everything she does for me and our entire family.  And I will never have enough words to truly express the love I feel for her, or the thousands of happy memories I have of our time together.  But I will definitely try.

Like her mother before her (another amazing woman, my Grandma Hayes!), my Mom is the true matriarch of our family.  It is because of her that are family gathers together at every holiday filling our stomachs with her delicious meals 100_6026until we are about to burst.  I have seen her plan, organize, cook, and prep for days to ensure that every last detail is perfect, not because she has someone to impress, but because it’s her way of showing how much she loves us.  I have seen my Mom work tirelessly at the same job for over 35-years to give her family everything they needed, wanted, or desired and even when she didn’t get recognition that she deserved, she continued to work hard simply because it was the right thing to do.  I have seen my Mom put her own time, schedule, priorities aside over and over again, to make sure others are happy, cared for, and loved.  It’s just what she does.  I just hope she knows how truly appreciated she is.

As mentioned earlier, I have years of memories with my Mama, but one that stands out in my mind, happened just a couple of years ago.  I was in the process of shopping for my bridal gown, and had had a disappointing first attempt at it.  Anxious to try on more gowns, I made a quick appointment at a shop here in Timmins, on a weekday night.  The plan was to bring my step-daughter Mariah and if I found anything I’d like, I’d bring my Mom back on another day.  So that is what we did – we shopped, I picked out some beautiful gowns, and the lovely sales lady eagerly stepped inside the dressing room to help me get into one of them. Then as she pulled back the curtain of the fitting room, so I could step out to show Mariah, there she was, her beautiful smile beaming from ear-to-ear: my Mama!  Overcome with happiness to have her there on such an important occasion, the tears flowed and my Mom enveloped me in one of her incredibly loving, perfect hugs. Later, my Mom told me she couldn’t just sit at home knowing I was trying on gowns somewhere else.  So she’d taken the next day off work, hopped in her car, and had driven 2-hours immediately after work to be with me!  Long story short, I didn’t find my gown that day, but the fact that my Mom knows when I need her and will do anything to be there for me, will always stand out as one my most favourite things about her.

My Mom & I on my wedding day.  She was there for me every step of the way.

My Mom & I on my wedding day. She was there for me every step of the way.

This memory of my Mom’s love is just one of thousands or more that will forever lie embedded in my heart.  And I know in the years to come, we will continue to make amazing memories and become even closer friends. She will be there for me no matter what comes my way, and knowing that is beyond reassuring.  I will get to watch her spoil and love her grandchildren, and feel so blessed that my kids get to call her “Grandma”.  I will cherish every moment, big or small, that we have together.  And most of all, I will aspire.  I will aspire to be a woman truly amazing as my Mama and her Mom before her.  I will work relentlessly, give of myself unconditionally, and more than anything, I will love fiercely.

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In Toronto – I was proud to have my Mom there to take part in my Bachelorette weekend! She was a real trooper!

Mama and me - circa 1981

Mama and me – circa 1981