Well all 2 of you that might read this - chances are you already know what has happened in my life since July, but I guess I might as well make it real and put it in writing...
In late July, I came home from a week's vacation with Vaughn in Montana to find out that Tim had been unfaithful. He swears it was only one time, but if he lied to me about what happened, why wouldn't he lie about whether it was more than once? I can put up with a lot of things, but if I can't trust him, I can't be with him.
So August 1, my life changed forever when Tim moved all of his things out. Our split was suprisingly amicable, and we still remain good friends. We have to, we have a really special little boy that we are both parents to, and Vaughn doesn't deserve us fighting. What's done is done, Tim is sorry and I know that.
It was really difficult at first, I cried a lot, I still cry. I never thought in a million years that Tim would cheat on me. I thought I was a good wife, a good mother and a good friend. He continually tries to tell me it was because he was drunk, but I don't believe that. Too many things have to happen before you end up in bed with someone else, and I think he wanted to do it and didn't think he would get caught. Surprise, you're caught. And now there's consequences. I think for the first time in his life, he's realized that when he screws up, he'll have to pay for it.
I decided to still go through with the condo purchase - I qualifed on my own so why shouldn't I? Why should my whole life stop because the man I loved stepped out on me? My son deserves a good life and I want to be the one to give it to him.
I had a family reunion a week after Tim left - it was really embarrassing and emotional. I found a lot of comfort talking to my cuzzies and my Auntie Donna - family really is awesome and I'm so glad they were there to listen and help. It was so good to meet some of my family from Australia and New Zealand as well - some of them I haven't seen for a long time and met some for the first time as well. That weekend rocked the party!
In September I decided I wanted a new vehicle. I was trying to find one that suited me and saw this little car buzzing around and loved it. It was a Nissan Juke. I did my research on line and decided that was the car for me. Two days later I was going on a test drive and two days after that, I was picking up my brand new car. Happy birthday to me!
October was great - I spent almost a week in Seattle and Portland and it was so nice to spend time with David and Gonzalo. Gosh I miss those two - they are so easy, so fun and I've never had somebody who knows absolutely everything about me and still loves me like David does. Friends like David are hard to come by and most valuable.
I have other amazing friends too - I don't think I could have gotten through this whole thing without my friends. I was a little disappointed in my family - nobody really seemed to understand that my life was falling apart and I was having trouble keeping it together. Of course, after I put something on facebook that it was just me and Vaughn, people sure wanted to know what was going on but nobody called me to check on me or see how I was coping. That hurt.
I have friends though that dropped everything to come and hang out with me, listened as I cried and kept me busy so I didn't dwell on all the negativity. I've always said friends are the family you choose and boy, I chose some good family.
Tim through all of this though has been a tremendous daddy to his son. I think it hit him hard and he realized he took our life for granted. He spends time with Vaughn at every opportunity, shows up even when he's not "supposed" to and is all too happy to come and stay with him if I need to go on a work trip. He's involved, interested and really made himself an important person in Vaughn's life.
I don't know what the future holds for me and Tim, but my true friends are the ones who have told me they will support me no matter what. And that's the message I'm getting. Of course, it will be hard for people to forgive him, as none of my friends (except Leah) have seen Tim since all of this went down - he's so embarrassed about what happened and just not sure how people will treat him. He knows he doesn't deserve forgiveness but if he really truly does change and that is what is in the cards for us, then I hope my friends can get past it and move on with us.
Which brings me to yesterday. When Jen, Jason and I were out partying in Vegas a few weeks back, Jen and I decided we were going to get tattoos. Alas, we were unable to but the idea didn't leave me. I haven't had a tattoo in a long time and so much has happened I wanted to do something to remember it by. I also knew that I was extremely proud of myself for a lot of things - 6 years ago I had creditors calling me constantly and I was avoiding their phone calls at work, it was so stressful. I have worked really hard to get myself out of that black hole and never thought I would drive a new car again, let alone be a home owner. I did all by myself - I worked really hard to earn commissions to help me pay down my debt. I could have told Tim he had just "one more chance" because I knew just how hard it is to be a single parent. How many "one more chances" can you give someone? I will not be treated like that and will not be taken advantage of. And there's more too, but only those closest to me know anything and ever will know the whole story.
Suffice it to say, at the end of it all, I am proud of myself. I have screwed up beyond belief, but I'm still here, and I am doing it. So my tattoo had to speak for my pride and what is more proud than a peacock? I was going to get a whole peacock done, but then Jen wrote me an e-mail saying something about my feather earrings that I have and it was then I decided on a single peacock feather.
So my tattoo is a beautiful, colourful, and artsy peacock feather. It is there to remind me to be proud of myself, despite my shortcomings.
Quite pretty isn't it? Paul at The Arthouse did a great job, despite missing our consultation on Wednesday and starting it late on Friday night. He is a perfectionist, a great listener and a true artist. I'm looking forward to seeing him again in a few months when I get my paisley yin-yang tattoo to cover my tattoo on my right arm.
Tonight I am going to help celebrate Jason's 30th birthday. I think there will be tequila, but I'm not sure...
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Last night was an emotional one for me. I entered the Relay for Life with 10 friends from work. We raised over $10,000 and you could just feel the love everywhere. I was honoured to speak for our group at 2:00 AM - we were asked to talk to how our group got together and why we were relaying. Here's my speech:
I have yet to meet a person whose life has not been touched in some way, shape or form by cancer. Whether you are or know a survivor, have lost someone close to you or know someone who is currently receiving treatment, it affects you deeply. That is the reason we are here today – to support, understand and try to help as best we can.
I have been with Cole International for 6 years now. My position has always been a “salesy” one and much of what I need to know in order to sell my company is what makes us different than our competitors and also what makes us a great company to work for. That’s an easy answer – it’s the people. If you don’t have good work mates chances are you are not going to like your job and your clients will suffer because of it.
We have people like Lorna – someone who never asks much of anyone but does so much. She is the “go-to” person for so many things and enjoys arranging events for the office to get together in a more social setting. You give her a project, it’s done. Her patience, kindness and willingness to just step in is hard to come by and appreciated probably more than she knows.
Also with the Cole Crusaders are Vickie and Kim from our Edmonton office. Both of these women work under a lot of pressure, but you would never know it. They always have time for a chat and make you feel like you’re on the top of their “to-do” list. Every customer (both internal and external) knows that they matter, and it’s because they do.
Walking with us today is Lori – a mom to 2 boys. Lori’s infectious personality has been a great addition to our office. If you can listen a mile a minute you’ll have a great conversation with her. I know she’s so proud to be on this team, and we’re proud to have her.
Tammy has been described to me as a hard worker, responsible, intelligent and dependable coworker. I have also been told she deserves a raise. When Tammy is not at work, she is devoted to her family. She loves doing crafts and sewing (as is apparent by the capes she whipped up in a weekend for our team) and is so excited for the camping trips she’ll be taking this summer in her new trailer. As we walk tonight, her mother will be on our mind. Cancer took Tammy’s mom last year and I’m sure this walk is most personal for her because of it.
We have Joy – a lady who does not say much, but also doesn’t miss much either. Joy is bright, warm, and her clients adore her. Joy is always smiling and really fun to talk to if you get the chance.
I got to know Betty-Jean a lot better this past weekend at our Cole Family Camping Trip. BJ is a punk rock girl at heart, so you know she’s good people. She has lived a life you usually only hear about but because of that is grounded, wise and accepting of people’s differences. She has an ability to make you feel comfortable and I get the feeling nothing would surprise her. We love having BJ at our company.
Shelley is a real straight shooter and would give you the shirt off her back. Shelley loves her dogs and her daughter (in no particular order). Kidding aside, Shelley is very proud of her daughter and her accomplishments. Shelley lost her mom to cancer when she was just 15 so it’s not hard to figure out why she would be here with us today.
Lisa is very outgoing and loves to share (especially bringing in treats for her coworkers). Outside of work, Lisa is a soccer mom and a hockey mom to her 5 year old son Riley. She also loves to spend time plucking weeds out of her garden.
Last year, right after the Relay for Life, our team captain Pat lost her friend Trudy. With true resolve to beat this disease, Pat and her husband Ron entered the team again this year. They are both so giving, patient and have tried really hard to beat my boyfriend and I at crib but just can’t seem to do it. I never hear Pat lose her cool, even though she has a job that one would understand if it happened. She works so well with her clients and the staff at the branches she oversees. Ron is an easy-going take-it-as-it-comes kind of guy. How they have the dog with the disposition she has is beyond me, but I sure do enjoy sitting down with these two. Thanks Pat for organizing this and rounding us all up to help you.
I guess because I offered to speak this is also my opportunity to explain why I’m walking. I know my story is just one of millions, but my mom is one in a million and it’s my honour to speak of her tonight.
I was just 20 years old when I got a phone call from my mom and dad. I was living in Edmonton and they were home in Saskatchewan. I had just talked to them the day before so I knew something was up. My mom told me that her doctor had found a lump in her breast and it was cancer. She needed a mastectomy and while they were performing the surgery, also had to remove the lymph glands in her underarm because there was a concern the cancer might spread.
I took a trip home that summer because I wanted to be with my mom. It just happened to be during the time she was doing chemo and I accompanied my parents into Regina for the day. I’m sure many of you have been in a room where people are getting their chemotherapy treatments, but as a 20 year old self-absorbed young lady, let me tell you, that was one of the most impactful memories that will stay with me.
There were maybe 20 people in the room of varying ages, all sitting in a chair that was meant to give them as much comfort as possible. Each one was sitting with an IV attached to them and what looked like enormous bags hanging from a pole. Not a one was smiling, no one was looking at anyone else and there was a pall of sadness over the room. When a girl who was younger than me walked in and sat down in one of those comfy chairs, it hit me and it really hit me hard. Everything became so real to me and I ran from the room with tears streaming down my face. I wasn’t ready to lose my mom.
Fortunately, the treatment worked and my mom recovered over the next 5 or 6 years. Year 7 came – the year you are officially declared “CANCER FREE”. Well, fate wasn’t so kind and this time I was living in Seattle when the call came. Another mastectomy. I flew to Calgary and drove down to visit Mom in the hospital. It seems as though her mental state was better the second time around and she was able to cope with what was happening. No chemo this time, just pills.
I’m lucky. I still have my mom. For all our ups and downs, she loves me. She’s proud of me. I know this now.
I have a son, a beautiful 2 year old little boy. I want him to know a world free from pain and free from disease. I walk tonight as a tribute to my mother but also as a hope for my child. For me, it’s all about family – the family I couldn’t choose and the family I have the privilege to work with every day – my Cole family.
I know everyone has a story and I thank you for letting me share a little bit of mine.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
In case you didn't know, I'm not a big fan of licensed children's products. I'm okay with some clothing (especially clothing that reminds me of my childhood - things with Dr. Seuss characters, Sesame Street, etc.) but must everything a child owns have a cartoon character on it?
I see kids in the mall wearing Transformer sneakers, a Spiderman t-shirt with a Batman backpack. I know little girls who have to have everything Dora. O-ver-kill.
I think the problem I have with them is they are so fleeting. Something becomes very popular and in an effort to be the best parents ever, mom & dad spend hundreds of dollars on plates, spoons, cups, sippy cups, t-shirts, jackets, bedding, toys and backpacks.
Then, 6 months to a year later, the kid is either on to something else or the sequel comes out and a whole slew of new products comes along with it. Vaughn has been in the Disney Store a grand total of one time and he was sleeping. I'm totally okay if he doesn't even know that store exists.
Products that are licensed are more expensive because the company manufacturing them has to pay the company that owns the rights for the use of their character. Then, if the goods are imported (which most of them are), the licensing fees are dutiable. To top it all off, they are not always the most well made products.
I can just imagine what people are thinking - "just you wait". Well, you know what? I'm going to try and do for Vaughn what my parents did for me - I'll provide him the basics and if he wants to get something for himself, he can buy it with his own money. And when he runs out of money, well, then he can't buy it.
I'm not saying I haven't bought him licensed products, but I'm proud that my house hasn't turned into a Disney explosion. There are plenty of small businesses and companies that manufacture unique products that I want to support. Disney and other big companies do not need any help from me.
I grew up with Tonka trucks, Cabbage Patch dolls and Weebles. I loved loved loved the Smurfs and I cherished the one stuffed Smurf that Santa bought for me. If I would have had everything Smurf then it wouldn't have meant that much to me. I had one Cabbage Patch doll that my mom sewed one outfit for.
I guess at the end of all this is that I don't see a problem with one or two things but I don't want all my money going to big companies that charge us to advertise for them. It just feels wrong.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Goofy me. I thought dance classes for me and Vaughn started today. Nope. I was really looking forward to seeing him shake his thang. He's got a few dance moves down:
1) Head bob (think Butabi Brothers from Night At The Roxbury)
2) Spin until you fall over sideways and hit your head on your table and then cry
3) Stiff arm raises
4) Walk in a circle with one leg straight and one leg bent. Straight leg must stomp when foot hits the ground.
5) Most recent - raise the roof with a whoo-whoo
I'm not exactly sure those are the skills they are looking to enhance but I love how Vaughn just feels the music and goes with it.
He appears to enjoy the more urban style of music, but I'm glad he also has an ear for the Dark Wave tunes that I love. I have yet to introduce him to Erasure, I'm sure he'll go nuts for them like I do.
I'm also admiring my new diamond earrings today. Tim bought them for me at Spence Diamonds for Christmas a year and a half ago. Spence has a great deal that if you want to upgrade, you can return your current pair and as long as you are purchasing a new item worth one and a half times more you can just pay the difference. No matter how long, the full value of the item you're returning is put towards your new shiny article.
Last Mother's Day, my son was generous enough to upgrade them for me and then this year, Tim convinced him to do it again. But Vaughn had to wait for daddy to get paid so he could borrow the money. I can't wait for him to start making me macaroni covered toilet paper tubes and cotton ball covered plates. I will so cherish arts and crafts made by his chubby little fingers. It will be so fabulous to see the excitement in his face when he hands me something that HE made and couldn't wait to show me.
Even though the weekend didn't turn out exactly as planned, it got off to a great start. I might take Vaughn to the circus today but if the wind dies down I'll take him to the tennis courts with his tricycle instead. Tomorrow we're having friends over for brunch and then Jen and I are hitting the spa for massages and pedicures. Yes, another pedicure. I have horrible feet, but I'm also hoping because I had one last week they won't spend so much time on the pedicure as give me extra massage time.
Okay, back to laundry. I knew I shouldn't have put it aside this week because now it is waaaayyy piled up and I have a lot of work ahead of me. And if you get a chance, dance dance.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Ha, I bet you thought this post would be about summertime (the season). Nope, it's about my tap dance recital piece. It's called "Summertime".
In September, my friend Karen and I took the plunge and started tap classes. Neither one of us had even taken tap before but love to dance. Our class was a pretty good size (about 16-18 people) and our instructor is this amazing young man named Kris.
Kris made everything so fun right from the beginning. If we were having trouble, he would go back and work with us until we got it right. He spent lots of one-on-one time and through these past 8 months made me feel like I belong in a tap class.
I love all the different people and personalities that are in our class. There is a kindergarten teacher named Katie who is always bright and bubbly. Then there is a glass artist named Ada who took a little while to come out of her shell but is a lovely person! We have a high school student, a registered nurse, and then a gal named Amanda who does some shoe buying for Gravity Pope (my favourite shoe store in the whole world!). It makes for a very interesting mix and we might never have met eachother otherwise.
I decided not to take tap through the spring and summer because I signed Vaughn up for Mom & Tot dance classes starting end of May and also bought 20 dancefit classes through a dealfind thingy for $20.00. I've also decided to start training to do Roller Derby and that will take up some time over the summer as well (more on that later).
So... here is a video Kris took of us after an hour and a half long class last week. I'm in the first minute and a half or so and don't expect you to watch the whole thing. We'll be performing this piece at our recital tonight.
I think we look and sound pretty good for a group of people that have never had tap shoes on until a few months ago.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Mother's Day - a day for mothers to bask in the glory of our grand achievements. We are told that we should be pampered, get to sleep in, have a lazy day, and our kids will be perfect little angels. And then there's Mother's Day at my house. My darling son woke up at 7:00 (which for him is sleeping in) and Tim wouldn't get up with him. Excellent start to the day. Vaughn, however, was in good spirits and we had some excellent cuddle time in the big chair before I woke Tim up at 9:30 because I had to start getting ready to go.
At about 10:30 Tim decided he was going to start putting together Vaughn's new tricycle that my Mom and Dad got him for his 2nd birthday. It's an incredibly cool trike and I know Vaughn is going to have a lot of fun riding that bad boy around. However, it requires a lot of patience to do something like this and even more patience when you have a toddler trying to grab at all your tools. Not sure if Tim had that and I had to get going.
Leah and I decided to go out for brunch and pedicures which I thought was an awesome treat for Mother's Day. We had beer with breakfast and a lovely relaxing time at VJ's nail salon. The only thing I don't like about these "express" mani/pedi salons is how they don't even say hello to you when you come. Their greeting is "pick a colour", then "sit down here" and that's it - they get right to it and don't even really look up. But my feet are happy today because of it, so I'm not going to complain.
After that was done, I dropped Leah off and she was off to Costco - she was going to pick up Tim and take him with but when I got home he hadn't even showered yet. I decided to go along with her because I didn't want her to have gone out of her way for nothing and I did have to get a few things for our barbeque later in the afternoon. I bought Leah some flowers and she in turn bought me some flowers. At least my home would have a little brightness and a small reminder that Mother's Day did actually happen.
I got home from Costco to a red-face child who apparently had been screaming since I originally left. He didn't nap, wouldn't eat and Tim was at his wit's end. I got Vaughn a snack, sat him down and he gobbled it up. He was super happy and a cheerful earful. Huh. However, I wasn't really looking forward to taking him anywhere if he hadn't had a good sleep - we all know how a well-rested child is a happy child.
We made our way over to Leah & Steve's place and Vaughn was actually really good for the first half hour or so - we were playing Rock Band and he was sitting happily on the couch. That didn't last long and he wanted to get up and move around - he danced with Madison while I sang but then that got tedious and he decided that all the buttons on the stereo system looked really neat and the control for the game was fun and so on. Vaughn got himself banished from the family room and started to lose his little marbles.
We decided to start cooking the kids' food because we didn't think Vaughn would last very long and sent everyone outside to play. He had a great time, was having a ton of fun but of course, was testing the boundaries and touching things he wasn't supposed to. This is when Leah said to me "boy, he just goes renegade when you guys are around" which I heard "you have no control over your child". And this is where my day went completely downhill.
It's hard being a full time working mom - I don't get to see my child near as much as I would like. So maybe I am a little more relaxed with him. I certainly do not let him run wild and if he is causing problems, I have no qualms about putting him in the corner to chill out for a bit. We're at the house he comes to every day with the woman who gets far more of his time than I do and she's unintentionally making me feel like I'm the worst mother in the world. It's hard to be his mother around her because she steps in and disciplines him before I get a chance to. Her house, her rules, but when I'm there, shouldn't I get to be his mom? It breaks my heart to hear my baby call someone else "mom" because he hears Leah's kids call her mom so isn't she mom too? I know Leah corrects him but he still doesn't get it.
And to top it all off, whenever Vaughn was having a mini-meltdown, Tim was trying to soothe him by offering him 20 different things to get him to calm down. What he needs to do is put him somewhere and ignore him. Toddlers don't always know what they want and the best thing for them is to not have a big deal made of their episodes and move along. The more attention you give them the more they will freak out. He was super tired and I'm sure a little confused being with both Leah and I and wondering who was the boss.
I was able to get Vaughn to sleep about 6:45 which was awesome and then we set to work on our dinner. We didn't eat until about 8 and then at 9 after the hockey game was done we headed home. Larry had puked on my bed earlier in the day and Tim took all the bedding downstairs and didn't replace it, so when I went up to bed at 9:30 there were no sheets on the bed and I had to make everything up before I could pass out.
It really truly was a Mother of a day.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
2 years have gone by since Vaughn came into our lives. We didn't want to find out what we were having so he was a totally wonderful surprise. I was so happy, so proud. What an incredible amount of pain, hard work and strength it took to get him here with us.
I was so excited to share our news with the other couples from our baby group and e-mailed them all within minutes of getting home with Vaughn. It was about a day later that I received a message from one of the other gals to call her because she had some news that she would rather not send by e-mail.
The first thing I thought was there was a birth defect of some sort - what could have gone wrong - she was young, healthy, and one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. I never expected for her to tell me that she and her boyfriend were home but they didn't get to bring their baby boy home with them. He would never come home with them because he didn't make it.
At the time, they weren't entirely sure what happened, just that the blood supply to the baby had been cut off when she went into labour. Since then, it was determined that she had a condition called Vasa Previa that had gone completely undetected.
We were both in the same hospital at the same time only I got my baby and she didn't. I can't even begin to tell you how screwed up that is. Imagine going in to the hospital knowing your life is going to be forever changed only to have to everything turned upside down and your first job as a parent is to arrange your baby's funeral.
It is f*cked up.
2 years have gone by and my heart still aches for J & J. Vaughn should have a best friend named Spencer. They would have been rough and tumble wrestling buddies, muddy little boys.
I think often of Spencer, his parents and their love. Their love. What an amazing young couple. If you didn't know them, you would think they have it all. Spencer will always be missing for them and it hurts my heart.
So on Sunday, when everybody is eating chocolate, finding eggs or talking about a guy who came out of a cave 2000 years ago, I'll be thinking of my beautiful friends and their gorgeous dark-haired baby boy who never got to come home.
Spencer, you are remembered and you are so loved.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
I can be pretty judgy at times. My judginess (or perceived judginess) got me in trouble this past year and I think I've lost some pretty good friendships because of it.
I am sitting trying to think what makes me so much better, and it's really not that. Judging comes from being uncomfortable in a situation and trying to make one feel better about one's self. It's so much easier to pick apart someone else than pick apart yourself.
I struggle a lot in my life to just chill the frig out, and it's hard. I've made a lot of mistakes in the past and I'm trying to be a good person for my son and for me. Not everything I do now is right but I'm trying. Some decisions I've made or things I've said or done have been taken the wrong way, but I do have the best of intentions.
I don't have the same life as a lot of my friends and I think that's also gotten in the way. I can't go out at the drop of a hat. I can't party until the crack of dawn - in fact, I'm lucky if I make it past 2 drinks. I feel like people have stopped asking me to go out because I can't always do what they want to do. But I try, and sometimes I wonder why people can't put their lives aside for a few hours when I ask them to do something so we can spend some time together.
I try too hard to be friends with everyone. I know that. I struggle with that. I want everyone to like me and often stretch myself too thin to be the one that people like. To my detriment. I know that not everyone will like me, but if I feel like I've offended someone, it's always me that apologizes even when I don't feel like I was in the wrong.
Not to say I don't have good friends, because I do. I have amazing friends. Some of them are new and some are old but all are cherished. If I don't tell my friends enough how much they mean to me, that's my bad.
So why write this now? Well, I've had one particular friend in the past while who I thought had become very close but she is now being very distant. Her friendship means a lot to me and I wonder what I've done or if I've done something or if it's nothing to do with me at all. So I started thinking about other friendships and how I almost never hear from some people and yet seem to talk to others all the time.
All I'm trying to say is that it's hard to think a relationship matters more to me than it does to the other person and it's really hard for me to let go. I get really emotionally invested in people and it hurts when they can take me or leave me.
So, 2011, I'm going to try and just focus on the friends who are good for me and try so hard to just let go if someone is obviously just not that into me. Easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a go.