Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lucky Girl...Two Great Dads

You know those coffee mugs that say "World's Greatest Dad" that was my Dad...
My dad and I always had a great relationship, I was the light of his life and then the boys came along and they were too.  He loved us more then anything in the world.
I have so many great memories of him and things we did together, our season tickets for the Express, building shutters in the basement and out in the shop, family vacations, going to the dump to watch the black bears (red necks you bet!), going to Earla's for treats, calming him down on my wedding day just before we walked down the isle, seeing how much he loved my boys, our talks in the shop or the garage, and thousands more!
Then in 2007, I begged Dad to go get help for his drinking because I was scared it was going to kill him.  I can still remember telling him that if he didn't get help that I couldn't be around him and I couldn't let the boys be around him because it was killing me to watch what he was doing to himself.  He told me he didn't need help and I walked out of his apartment heartbroken on Jan. 3 and did not talk to him again until May 18 when I was told how sick he was.  I called Mom and we went down to see him.  I took one look at him realized that the next couple of months would be the last I would spend with him but they were also some of the best memories I have of us together. 
At the first of the summer I lost a job I LOVED...I was so upset.  Now I thank God everyday that I had those 4 months to spend with Dad and I spent everyday with him.  There were several trips and stays at the hospital, Dad always making me promise to take him home because he didn't want to die in the hospital and everytime I brought him home. 
We talked about everything...I mean everything.  Yes it was very hard to watch how sick he was and to see him in all that pain but it gave us time to tell each other everything we wanted to say to each other.
On Thanksgiving Day, he was really bad, he was laying in his bed and I got up beside him.  He told me that he thanked God everyday I was his daughter and that he loved me more then anything.  I told him what a great Dad he was and how lucky I was to have him.  Then he asked if I was going to be ok.  I asked "OK what do you mean?"  He said "without me?"  He said that he was in so much pain and knew that he was dying but was worried because I had never had to deal with anything like that and he didn't know if I was strong enough.  I sat there beside him knowing full well the pain he was in and holding his hand I lied to him and said "It will be the hardest thing in the world, but I can do it, you don't have to fight just for me." 
On Thursday of that week he had a doctor's appointment and everything was the same and when I asked the doctor if he thought it would be ok if I went to Moncton on Saturday night he said, "oh yes, just have someone look in on him"  So that was the plan.  I waited until 7pm to go down to Moncton to meet up with some friends.  I stopped in at Dad's got all his meds for him and got him something to eat, he was in bed so I sat there talking to him telling him that I would stay home and he said "No go...but when do you think you'll be home?"  I told him I'd be home around 2 on Sunday.
I gave him a kiss and a hug and told him I loved him and that I would see him tomorrow.  I walked down the stairs to leave and he said "hey...do you know how much I love you?"  I answered "I sure do! Love you too!"  Then he said "remember I'll be watching you!"  I laughed and said "you don't need to remember I'm perfect!!!"  He laughed.
At 12:17 pm the next day I received a call from Dad's friend, she had gone in to check on him for me and he had passed away.  To this day, I believe he wanted me to go because he didn't want me to be the one who found him.  I thank God for that too, I don't know that I could have handled that.
It will be 4 years this October and I still find myself thinking "I gotta call Dad and tell him that!" Or at the grocery store I'll put Cranberry Juice in the cart (we hate cranberry juice) but when Dad was sick that is all he drank.  I still think about him a thousand times a day.  I think how much he would love Cayden and enjoy him!
And I thank him everyday for the last gift I think he gave me...I think he knew I was lying and knew I needed a father in my life...I don't think it was just a concidence that day he passed away was the day I found out that Mom and Garrie were engaged.  So I have been twice blessed to have a great Dad and a wonderful Stepdad!
I'm so lucky to have Garrie...he is such a good man, he loves Mom so much and makes her so happy, he loves my boys and now is very taken with his new Great Grandson Cayden (who might have him wrapped around his finger), he is wonderful to Grampie and he loves me. 
What a lucky girl to have been blessed with 2 total different but equally great and wonderful Dads!
So this Father's Day you won't see me at the Keswick Graveyard, looking at Dad's headstone...don't get me wrong I do go there to clean it off after they mow the grass but it's not to visit him because he is not there.  He is in my heart every minute of everyday, he's with me all the time.  This Father's Day I will be spending it with my Stepdad and thinking how lucky I am to have him.  And I know Dad will be watching and smiling!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Some Pretty Amazing Teenagers

This year Zac is in grade 11 and he was involved in the making of a documentary for one of his classes.  This was something he really enjoyed doing (so much actually that he got detention because he jigged other classes to work on his film...but that is another blog!LOL) 

We have found over the years that if Zac likes something and has a passion for it he will put his heart and soul in it!  And he sure did just that for this project.

District 18 is trying to promote this for it's students and held a screening of the best documentaries from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Stanley High.  They held it May 26th at UNB and it was called "What's Up Doc?"  They even had awards that looked like little Oscars but they were called the Bunnies!  They had a panel of judges that judged the films on things like Best Producer, Best Editor, Best Picture, etc.

I want to tell you that these films were AMAZING!  The documentaries were about real things that high school students are facing.

Zac's film was about bullying, the traditional bullying that we all think about, but also about Cyber Bullying and the effect it has on kids.  It was very good and gave lots of information that I didn't know.

Another group of kids did their film on Eating Disorders.  They told their stories about why and how their disorders started, what it did to their families and how it still effects their lives today.  What impressed me about this film was that the main people in this film were males.  When I think of eating disorders I always think it something that effects mostly girls.  It was very interesting to hear from the guys how they have the same body image issues that girls have!

But the one that blew me away was the one on Drug Addiction.  These students set in front of the camera and told their stories.  These kids are 14 -18 year old and what they have gone through!  One girl told her story of doing any kind of drug she could get a hold of and living under the Westmorland Street Bridge for a week because at 14 she lost the apartment she was living in and was not allowed to live at her house!  I'm 38 years old and won't walk after dark because I'm scared, I can't imagine living like that.  I was so impressed about how these teenagers talked so openly about the problems and struggles they faced and still face after going through rehab. 

We have been so very blessed to have 2 wonderful, really great kids and I can honestly say that I have never had to worry about where they were and what they were doing.  As of now neither have come home drunk or stoned, they have never missed curfew and have never been in serious trouble.  I certainly know that we still have one left at home and that could change but I pray everyday that we are able to help Zac continue to live the life he has been living.   We are so proud of both the boys.

As I sat in that theatre and watched this girl telling her story and trying to educate teenagers on the dangers of drug addiction, I looked around to see how proud this girl's mom must be (she was in the film telling some of the stuff the family went through) but she wasn't there!  My heart broke alittle for that girl until I saw her in the crowd and seen the look of pride on her face.  Good for her!!!

I'm telling you about this for 2 reasons, first if you ever have the chance to go to this please do.  It took a lot for these kids to get up in front of a camera and tell their stories of bullying, eating disorders and drug addiction, they weren't scared of people judging them or making fun of them they just wanted to tell their story and help others.  And secondly, we are all very busy and have more things to do then there is time to do them, it seems now a days but always try to make the time to show your kids how proud you are of them.  My parents did and I try to do it as much as I can.  It builds their self confidence which can hopefully help them feel good about themselves and if we're lucky they will never go through these kinds of problems.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Look at us 20 years later....

Twenty years ago (May 11th) I married great funny, loving, sometimes moody, wonderful guy! 

Chris and I got married when I was 18 and he was 21.  Young you say, yes we were.  We had got engaged in December and planned on marrying in 1992 but then in January we found out that we were going to have a baby and to say we decided to move up the wedding date would not be totally true.  I think it was actually my dad who decided we were getting married before the baby came.LOL

I actually remember the night it was decided...my mom on the phone with Chris' mom talking dates, me in my room doing homework and Chris in St. Andrews at college.  Mom came in said May 11th is good for everyone call Chris!  So I did and my actual words were "Hey babe do you have anything planned for May 11th?"  He didn't so the date was set!

Chris and I had dated for almost 2 years when we got engaged but had known each other for years.  His grandparents were our neighbours until I was 14.  Then when I was 16 we started hanging out and then dating.  I remember one night after only dating for about a month, he was taking me home and he said "I think I'm going to marry you, Erica!"  I just smiled and thought to myself weirdo, I'm 16 and have no plans of being married until after college!LOL  Little did I know...how right he was!

Many, many people did not think that we would last 5 years (because of how young we were) let alone 20.  I can honestly say that without our famlies, my parents and grandparents and Chris' parents I don't know that we would have made it this long.  They have been so amazing, loving and giving to us.  We are both very lucky to have them to look to for guidence and support.

I'm very lucky that Chris chose me as his wife.  He is everything I have ever wanted and needed.  He makes me laugh...every night during Golding Girls (which he watches only because I like it, he hates that show) there is this one Family Guy commerical where the dog farts and every night it cracks him up and has for over a year!  He is always the life of the party where ever we go and he would do anything for anyone that asked.  He is the rock that I lean on and he is always there for me...from calming me down after Ryan's accident and telling me he would be ok, to holding my hand from the time I found my Dad had passed away and I don't think he let go that whole week to waiting up for me to get home until 3:30 am the night Nannie died so he could hold me when I cried!  He is a wonderful dad to the boys (he doesn't always have the patiences he would like but then again neither do I!) and loves our grandson more then words can say.

I'm not saying that the past 20 years have all been wonderful and that we haven't had our issues, but we always manage to work them out. He still calls me everyday from work to see how my day is going and after 20 years he doesn't leave the house or go to bed without a kiss and an "LOVE YOU"!  I think that says something!   And I if I had it to do all over again I wouldn't change a thing! :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Greatest Mom in the World

As Mother's Day approaches I'm sure everyone has the same feelings that they have the greatest Mom in the world!  And for each of you I'm sure you do.  But for me I feel I am truly blessed to have my Mom as a Mom.  She is the greatest!!

I had probably the best childhood anyone could have ever dreamed of having.  Not for the reasons that anyone who knew me as a child probably thinks, was I spoiled, YES (I honestly don't think I ever wanted for anything, one of the advantages of being an only child!) but much more important I was spoiled with love!  Not only did I know I was loved by my parents but I felt it every single minute of everyday and still do!  To grow up feeling and knowing that was amazing. 

Another thing that my Mom did was always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.  She still does that too :) 

She gave me the best memories growing up.  Here are just a few...
When I was 11 for Christmas my parents got us a Beta video recorder, up until then we had only rented them on the occassionally weekend (yes I said Beta!).  So for New Year's Eve they were having few people in, including my Aunt Gale and Uncle Paul which meant Laurie would be there too. (growing up we were together lots as we lived beside each) so Mom took Laurie and I to rent some movies for us to watch on New Year's Eve.  She let us get Friday the 13th and Porky's!  It was great.   We probably didn't understand everything in Porky's but we sure thought we were cool cause we got to watch it!  And after watching Friday the 13th it was weeks before Laurie could walk home at night alone!!

Another memory that I still think about is the "Haunted Tree".  Mom use to take Laurie and I for walks to Earla's for ice cream.  Down by Pugh's Crossing there use to be an old tree that we thought was scary (I'm not sure why we thought it was scary but we did!) and Mom use to tell it was haunted and that's why the couldn't cut it down.  Laurie and I never walked on the same side of the road as that tree, even as we got older and supposely smarter we still always crossed the road when we came to that tree!  It has since been cut down, probably because it was haunted!!!LOL

One of the greatest things she did for me was how she and my Dad handled their divorce.  Yes at first there were rocky times but after they both made it so easy.  I never had to choose between them, they didn't put me in the middle and I never had to have 2 birthdays or Christmas' for the boys because they had no issues being in the same room and never made anyone uncomfortable.  Maybe Dad was alittle uncomfortable when Mom and Debbie would sit together and talk!LOL

Then when Dad got sick, she was amazing that summer!  She would go get Dad and take him for drives, she was the last person to take him to the place he loved the camp, when he was in the hospital she would sit with him, when I had to take him in the middle of the night to the hospital she would meet us there to be there for me and ask the doctors the questions I couldn't or didn't think of.  And when Dad died she dropped everything to help me and Grampie plan his funeral and to be there for both of us.  I don't know what we would have done with out her. 

She is always there for me and everyone she knows from going to a Tina Tuner concert with orange hair because the dye didn't work but she promised me we could go, to standing in line for a Cabbage Patch Doll for someone who didn't have one, to giving money to someone for expensive medicine when they didn't have medical insurance, to going and getting Nannie at York Manor and taking her to MacDonald's for a cheeseburger all of which no one would have expected her to do but she did anyways.  I think my Mom is the greatest!

Everyone always says that once you become a mother you have a great appreication for your own Mom and I believe that to be true but now that I'm a Grandmother I think I appreciate her even more I find myself telling her "Oh Mom if I did that to you I'm so sorry, you were right and I was wrong!"  But I always hope that she feels I love and appreciate her even if I don't always show it!

I thank God every day that he decided she should be my Mom.  I only hope that I'm half the Mom she is and that I have giving my kids the unconditional love and support that she has given to me.  I hope that as they get older that they have as many wonderful memories of us together as I have with my Mom.

So to everyone who has lost their Mom, I can't even think of what that would be like and how hard Mother's Day is for you.  But to everyone who still has their Mom cherish her and make sure she knows how much you love her everyday and remember it's not the gifts you give her on Mother's Day it's the love and time you give her everyday!

Happy Mother's Day Mom....love you very much!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

True Love...

Today on my Facebook, my sister inlaw posted a song with a video that was about being a Mom.  It started out asking "If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before your first child was born what would it be?"  Then it has several Mom's holding signs they wrote with their answers on it. 

They were all good answers some were..."Imperfect is the new perfect", "Be brave", "Take time to fit back into your jeans" ( I did not do that!!), "Real men change diapers", "Take time for yourself", "Your Mom was RIGHT!" (you were too MOM!), "Your going to make mistakes" these are all very good and true.

Then there were a couple I didn't really understand like..."You can live with out sleep" (no I can't, anyone who knows me would agree with that.  I NEED my sleep!!!  That would be why at 2 weeks Ryan was on cereal and sleeping through the night!!)  The other one that I didn't understand was "Take time to fall in love with your Baby".  I loved both children long before they were born.  I remember being pregnant for Ryan and his little bum sticking out and rubbing it.  After he was born for the first year rubbing his bum was a sure way to get him to sleep! (I'm sure he will appreciate me writing that!)  And when I was pregnant for Zac his feet were always sticking out my side and I loved tickling them.  I loved both boys from the time I knew I was pregnant.

Which leads me to the one I thought was so very true..."Get ready to know what true love really is!"  Chris and I had been together almost 3 years before Ryan was born and if in those 3 years if you would have ask me if I knew what true love was I would have answered "Yes, that is what we have".  I would have been wrong because on October 11, 1991 at 10:07 pm I finally knew what True Love was.  It happened twice that night.  First was when I seen Chris' face as he looked at Ryan for the first time, tears in his eyes, describing him to me before I seen him and the second time was when Chris placed Ryan in my arms. 

I have been lucky enough to have know that feeling several more times.  Again on September 9th, 1994, at 2:20 pm when our second son, Zac was born.  And the lastest time was November 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm that is the day Cayden was born and on that day I felt true love on 3 levels...for Cayden, for Ryan all over again because I could see that he knew finally knew what true love was and for Chris all over again because he had that same look on his face as he looked at Cayden for the first time that he did when our boys were born.

PS Ryan and Bay...there was another sign that I liked to it said "Let Grandparents spoil the kids!"  I agree with that one also :)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

3 AM Cuddles & Smiles...

Who would have ever thought that I would enjoy getting up a 3 AM?  Now don't get me wrong, I know I would not enjoy it if I was doing it every night, but the one night a week I do it, is great! 
One night a week we try to take Cayden for the night so that the kids can relax, Bailey can work on her school work and they (well Bay) can get a full nights sleep!  Cayden isn't sleeping through the night yet so he usually gets up around 3 or 4 am for a feeding.  His crib is in my room and he cracks me up when he wakes up!
First, he starts stirring and then he starts talking to himself.  When I get up and go over to get him, he is all smiles...I put him over on the bed to change him and he still smiling!  I get his bottle and cheat alittle because he then gets in bed with Nannie for the rest of the night so we can cuddle! (which I never did with my own boys, just another one of those perks of being the Grandmother!)
He looks up at you with these eyes and a big smile as much to say "I love you, Nannie" and it melts my heart!
I remember the boys waking up for feedings but I don't remember enjoying them that much :)  I guess it's true what my Mom said Grandkids are better then your own!  I never really understood why or how she could say that...after all she tells me almost daily that I was a perfect child...of course there are others who would disagree :)  But now I understand what she meant...when the boys were little there was always so much to do, housework, laundry, groceries, work, getting them to hockey, baseball, friends houses, etc. and sometimes as parents we forget to enjoy the little things!  But with Grandchildren we are older and smarter and I have realized that our job with them is to love them and enjoy every minute with them.  Because as I've gotten older and smarter I have also realized that those dishes and that laundry will still be there tomorrow...but he is only this age for a very short time and I'm going to enjoy those cuddles and smiles :)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Best Years...

I remember when the boys were little and thinking "Oh things will be so much easier when you can walk, or tell me why your crying!"  Then they do and you wish they were babies again.  Then they go to school, your working all day, come home and get supper and then spend your evening helping with homework and before you know it, it's bed time and you haven't had anytime for yourself or got housework done!  And you think "Oh I wish you could do more stuff for yourself!"  Then they do and you wish they needed you more!  I think at every stage the boys have gone through I wished them to the next stage in their life and once they got there I wished them back until now.

Today, I had a great day, Zac and I picked Ryan, Bailey and Cayden, they had some running around to do and we needed to pick up a dresser for Cayden.  We all went for lunch and as we sat there talking and laughing (so hard at times we were crying).  I thought to myself, "Look at these great young men!"  They are funny, thoughtful, kind and so much fun to be around.  I like these guys, I mean of course I love them, I love them more then anything in the world, but I really and truly LIKE these guys.  They are people I consider friends.  We still have a Mom and Son relationship but I think for the first time we also have a friendship. 

I'm not sure why it just hit me today or why I'm so shocked.  I consider my Mom to be one of my closest friends!   So maybe that is the way with all parents and children when they get older.  And I'm sure if you asked the boys if they considered me one of their friends they would say "No, she just Mom!" and that's ok too!

I guess my point is that I have enjoyed every stage of life my boys have gone through so far, yes even the terrible 2's and the teenage years (one is still in that stage) but I can honestly say that this time in their lives is my favorite by far!  I'm not wishing them to the next stage and I don't wish them back a younger stage, I hope this is where we stay forever!

I honestly think these are the BEST YEARS!!!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Out Of My Comfort Zone

I've decided to start doing this blog because someone I admire very much does this and I enjoy reading hers everytime she puts one on.  She is so comfortable telling her feelings and her thoughts...she just lays it all out there, she is comfortable with who she is and is one of the strongest people I know.  So in my effort to step out of my comfort zone, I'm going to give this a try!  I'm not saying that everyone will find my blogs interesting, maybe no one will but I'm going to give it a try.
For me I think it will be hard to share things because I don't share my deepest thoughts, feelings and worries with anyone.  I share somethings with some people but they are selected, carefully thought out things!  With this I hope to be able to grow as a person and become a better person. 
So somethings I hope you will find funny and others I hope you can relate too.