Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

outside my window

there is a robin couple who are building a nest
right outside our living room window in one of the shrubs.
the shrub has become a bit of a tree
and it rests along the last window so we are able to have
a first hand, close up experience with this little robin family.

it has been a few days now of constant activity
and the robins spend the majority of their day transporting little items to the nest
and stopping to eat worms and hang out in the grass.
it needs to be cut but i am thinking we should wait a few days until they are done
their building because long fresh grass is much more appealing that lawn mower clippings
for nest construction.
and besides, there are more places for bugs to hide in long grass
and that translates into more food for the robins.

it seems ridiculously hopeful to me. this nest building.
they are preparing for an event that has not yet occurred.
there is no egg at the beginning of this process. just the hope of one.
the expectation that there will be eggs. maybe one. maybe three.
who knows.
no guarantees by my goodness these robins are tireless and they seem so optimistic as they hop around on the grass and flutter from tree to ground and back again.
they are preparing.

i am in a place of hopelessness today.
where it seems like there is nothing concrete to continue to build.
where all the resting and the special eating and the not working and the medicine
all those things that i was doing to prepare for recovery. for remission. for getting to the other side of this disease. are not working.
it's as if, like the robins, i've been dancing around with hope and optimism and then the baby robins didn't arrive.
the nest remained empty.
the colitis didn't go into remission.
the hopeful behavious seemed not to matter.
that's where i am today.

i love the robins and while i know they are bullies in the backyard sometimes,
and i want to go out and say
"play nice with the little birds-play nice!"
i love them because they are tireless in their hopefulness.
i am watching them carefully and trying to extract some of that energy and take it for myself.
soon, i am sure, there will be eggs, and lots of nest sitting and then one morning
we will have a noisy serenade that goes onfor days
as the baby robins demand from their parents
everything they need and want for their survival.

i am hopeful for those red chested robins;
and thus, i am hopeful for myself.
what choice do i have to be anything but?
it's just super hard some days.
days like today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

what i didn't know a year ago...

looking back over this past year,
these are the lessons that have been woven deep into my heart.

finding a tribe is easy once you start being authentic and vulmerable.
 We want to connect with each other.
 Genuine friendships are born through the acceptance of ourselves.
We need each other. I need to have other women in my life.

Reframing and gratitude
 are the most valuable daily tools i have.
 Every circumstance contains goodness.
there is always a gift. always.

Love and kindness cannot be overdone.
Constant, daily authentic exhcanges and offerings of these to each other does soften hearts and restore relationships.
Love is always the right response.

Speaking our truth, our pain, our joy, our gratitude, our confusion and our love frees up so much room to grow and bless.
to wiggle within ourselves.
 Our stories help others with their own stories.
We grow together.

It's okay to storm heaven, to bombard God, to beseech Him.
He's up to the challenge.
It's also okay for me to make peace with my own definition of faith.

and finally for me,
remembering the moments, the details and the mundane
honouring the daily. rejoicing in the dishes.
recording my days through journaling, photographing, arting.
i want to remember as time goes by so fast.

these are my lessons from my 43rd year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

look! this is where i was born.
this is the very building i spent the first ten days of my life in.
the building seems old and serious and very well behaved doesn't it?
this journey to piece together some of my birth story has been so freeing.
my emotions and reactions have bounced from shame to elation to anger to outrage to peace to
 "how dare they!"
and i know that the pieces are falling into place for me.
i can't change the past. i can't undo the harm and sorrow that my birth mother experienced.
what i can do is honour her.
 and the 100,000 other women who passed through the maternity home in the long years it was open.
the last one was in 1986 i believe.
(i'm still researching that)
every girl there gave up her child for adoption.
it wasn't an option.
that's alot of heartache.

" the 1960's were a very dark time in birthing
 with the twilight sleep, generous episiotomies, forcepts, the husband stitch..."

most every woman who gave birth in the 1960's didn't have the greatest time.

in all fairness, in 1990 in my birthing room there was some pretty dark stuff going on too
with an inexperienced doctor, a baby Caleb who had no interest in being born
and a young mom who didn't know any better.

these are the stories i find when i google about girls giving birth in the 1960's and coming from maternity homes.
these are the abreviated stories that outrage me.
i've had long labours...4 of them.
fully supported by loving people but grueling and painful all the same.
so i know the backdrop these snippets are not telling us.
 and i was blessed. rewarded. honoured with a beloved child at the end.
not with empty arms.

" at Maywood we were not instructed about pregnancy, labor, delivery;
we were left alone during labour and delivery."

 "The matrons would drop us off at the door
or send us in a taxi."

"(A nurse) started strapping up my right wrist. I was puzzled, I didn't know what she was doing, and then she secured me to the side of the bed... I became unconscious. And I don't know how long I was unconscious for, but when I eventually came to, my daughter was gone."

"we were refused to see, touch and hold our babies"

heavy stuff. hard for this momma heart to read and imagine and hold for these girls.
there is room for sorrow here and i am willing to sit with it for today as a way of remembering my birth mother and her story.

here's what i have pieced together
about my birthday
and it is very little.

i presented posterior and therefore,
would have given my mother a painful back labour
(if she was even awake..which is unlikely by the readings i am doing)
i was born  on April 26th
(that's today! yay!)
and i weighed 7 lbs 12 oz,
was 20.5 inches long
my birth orders were for immediate adoption.

my mom and dad got the call
and came and saw me through the glass window within 24 hours of my birth.
they went home to "decide"
 but i know they decided immediately they wanted me by the memories they share with me.

 For 10 long days I waiting for them.

those ten days shaped me more than i reilized.
there's more  to share on that subject

but right now, i am off to be spoiled at the garden center by my son.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

piecing together a story.


because it has never been my desire or intention to search for my birth mother
i have access only to the public files that are held of my birth, my parents adoption process and my birth parents non identifying information.
it still makes up for 50 some odd pages of reading.
i ordered them years ago and have read them a few times
but when i read through them again last night
with fresh intention and bright eyes
i found enough nuggets of information to answer my questions and piece together a story i can make peace with.

my birth mother's name was Jaynee.
i should not know that.
it is whited out on every line except in one description.

" 5'2" tall and weighs  about 105lbs. she is a very cute, bright looking young girl with brown hair worn short and bright, and bright, shiney brown eyes. Although              considers her complexion to be dark because it tans easily, worker believes her complexion would be medium to fair. It is very clear and Jaynee has rosy cheeks much of the time.

hello Jaynee! Thanks for taking such care of me for 9 long months. I appreciate you.

"since her arrival at Maywood some three months ago, she has had weekly telephone conversations with her parents...her adjustment to the maywood maternity Home has been good in that she gets along well with alot of the girls there and has done her best to keep herslf active in the activities they provide and involved in their program so that she does not have excess amount of time on her hands."

she spent a long time at the maternity home and interestingly, her parents moved to the entire family to Mission just before she went into the home in Vancouver. Despite their close proximity there was only one visit between Jaynee and her family during the three month confinment. I was so happy to see that she was able to talk on the phone with her mom so often.

"              and                   dated steadily for a period of over a year. Her family moved to Mission, late last summer and since that time she has not seen                in person, however, they have corresponded regularly.               and his mother are providing full support during the time she is in the Maywood Maternity Home. In addition to this,                has been sending her spending money which he has earned on his part time job."

this sounds to me like two teenagers trying to do the right thing the only way they knew how.
i can weave that nicely into my story. i believe strongly in doing the right thing the best way you can. even if it is hard. and at 16, this was hard.

so there she is.
and i believe that having just enough information is enough for me.
there is more of course, but these are the passages that stood out to me as i read.
i feel like she made the best of a tough situation.
that she found the gifts in being where she was, she reached out and she remained connected.
those are characteristics i am proud to share with her.

tomorrow, she gives birth.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

freeing up wiggle room

the unravelling continues
and i am becoming increasingly aware of the gifts of vulnerability.
the whisper i breathed outloud in the restaurant
has freed up wiggle room in my heart.

being able to speak truthfully
and not have the world crumble at my feet
allows me to continue forward and face my story with bravery and firm footing.
in just a few days time,
i have gone from a whispered confession of
"it wasn't a happy day"
to a humble
"my birthday is sad for me. i am changing that"
but i am able to say it clearly, without shame to anyone who might inquire.

my empathy for my birth mother continues to overwhelm me at the most inopportune times;
this of course, keeps me humble.
not being in control of my emotions all the time cements in me the reminder that vulnerability and fragility are the foundations of strength
when i am willing to follow them through and receive the gifts that are waiting.
and the lessons.
(there seem to be a lot of lessons here.)
i feel stronger even though i am raw and tender.
i can imaging myself at peace with where i came from
and i am able to translate some of my emotions and awareness into concrete activity and words.

with my birthday taking center stage these days,
i neglected to call and rebook my treatment date until yesterday.
they seem eager to see me and i am going in a few hours..
this does not thrill me at all.
and like my resistance to celebrating my birthday
i feel a resistance to going.
i am freshly reminded that strong resistance on my part usually means
 something is going on below the surface
(and perhaps it means that for everyone)
so i am sitting waiting to find out what is happening in my head and my heart.

there is so much love and support that flows into my life and i am so grateful for the blog comments, the emails and the facebook comments from you, my friends.

Monday, April 23, 2012

leaning in.

"Lean into the sharp points and fully experience them.
The essence of bravery is being without self-deception."

those words sum up pretty perfectly what has been going on for me this past week and particularly on Saturday.
i have been compelled to sit with the grief i am feeling this year for my birth mother and the newly discovered  emotions i have about the day of my birth.

 Saturday night i sat across from Owen, desperately trying not to burst into full on sobs
(we were out in public) as he gently pushed me on the subject of not celebrating my birthday  this year  i felt my strong resistance rising to the surface again, i knew there was more going on than the
" i'm too tired to do anything" reason that i have been using heavily this year.
there was a new awareness and when i was finally able to recognize and articulate and accept it,
my heart found room to breath again.

i continue to be amazed at how hard it can be to speak out our raw is a fight. i become silent and quivery and my body does this dance of denial. i shift in my seat and feel hot tears under my eyelids and i know in my heart exactly what it is i need to recognize and honour but i just don't want to.

this was what Saturday night looked like. and it didn't help that we were at the end of a trying week, and we were out in public and i was hungry and tired and full of unseen pain. non of those circumstances helped but they are not  reasons for me to igore my story and to lean into the emotions that come with.

i need to clarify here that growing up, i loved my birthday. i often celebrated with my brother as we have birthday's a week apart. celebration, cake, presents, balloons, love and joy were a constant source of delight on my special day. my family and friends made sure of that. i also love to celebrate other's birthdays..
i am not a hater of the birthday.
i love a good party. i can throw a pretty decent one i am told.
and there is nothing much better than presents tied up with pretty ribbon.

but as the years have gone on my birthday week has become a time of sadness for me
and this is the year that i lay it all to rest. this is the time in my life to face my birth story and make peace with it.
it's a lot of work. that i didn't expect. but i am grateful for.
and i share it here
because this is where i come to work out my days. and to honour them by putting words to the emotions.

my birthday was not a happy day.
there wasn't any rejoicing or celebrating.
family wasn't waiting to hold me and whisper love into my ears.
i spent my first days of life, swaddled in a basinette in a hospital
(thanks for getting there as fast as you were allowed to mom and dad)

this reality breaks my heart.
this is what i sit with. i started my life alone.
and i know that i am the sort of person that needs to be held in the shelter of others.
i always have.
so, on saturday when i was able to whisper to owen
"my birthday wasn't a happy day. how can i celebrate that?"
we both looked at each other with tears in our eyes and resolved to change the story.
i think i have a plan
(and i love a good plan)
more tomorrow about that.
this is a slow unravelling of my heart going on here. patience is necessary with myself.

Friday, April 20, 2012

my thoughts turn to her.

- forget me nots -

i think of her  each year.
 the days leading up to and after my birthday.
and as i grow older,
instead of forgetting
i am
understanding what must have been unimaginable heartbreak
a bit better.
as i experience my own mother heartache
and remember my babies birth stories
and celebrate in the birth of a new family member today
i feel raw for her.
all these years later.
raw and achey and all jumbled up inside.

my birth mother was just a child really.
sixteen and sent to a maternity home in a different province
to spend her last few months of carrying me
in the company of strangers.
shamed. alone. oh so young
taught to knit but not how to grieve.
taught how to repent but not how to forgive herself i bet 
facing the thought, the inevitability of childbirth 
without any familiar love and support.

my heart breaks for her.

not for me.
i was chosen by a beloved family whom i call my own through and through
but i, as a mother,
know that one does not forget the child they bore.
one does not forget.
 time fades. yes. but forget?
and i grieve for a young girl.
 alone and vulnerable and scared
 asked or told to do what i can't image every having the courage to face.
to give up her child whom she carried so bravely for nine months.
so for this week and next
my thoughts turn to her
and i am grateful.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

updating my list

it's getting closer to my birthday
and that means i need to revisit my list

i have decided that i am not going to make a new list
next week but am going to do something different this year

 but i am curious to see how i am doing with last years
birthday ideas.
i can remember so clearly writing the list out.
owen and i were at Wilderquest and we sat together on the couch and the ideas came so easily to me.
now, almost a year later i look at them and
 some of them make me laugh
(get a tattoo with owen-what was i thinking-ouch!)
 some cause me to feel some sadness
(go on an all day hike-walking up the stairs is a challenge some days)
and most just show me what i really love to do
(paint, journal,write)

i think i crossed alot off this year!

host a dinner party
grow perfect tomatoes
paint a big canvas
find my tribe
go on an art weekend
whiten my teeth
lose ten pounds
learn to swim
get away to Seattle with Owen
girls time away with hannah
family weekend away to Wilderquest
BBQ a roast on a rotisserie
keep writing snail mail
buy Vayda pretty dresses
make Maddy's mom a photo album
go on an all day hike
tea with my mom
tea with corrie
paint rocks for the garden
learn to cook Indian food
learn to make coconut milk icecream
go on a picnic to the beach
sleep under the stars
play with glo sticks at the beach
call an old friend
paint my toe nails bright pink
wear more dresses
get a tattoo with owen
learn to make delicious ice tea in the sunshine
eat more veggies
shop at the farmers markets as much as possible
walk when i can instead of drive
visit Lisa in Vancouver
journal more often
wear high heels
buy myself flowers
go on a train trip
do a photoshoot with a ridiculous amount of balloons
celebrate Canada Day
collect mismatched china dishes
go to a yoga class

i am most proud of the fact that i went to Yoga.
that has been years in the making and it felt so great!
maybe i can squeeze in a picnic to the beach, with my mismatched china,
before my birthday arrives.
and hopefully, instead of doing a photoshoot with a ridiculous amount of balloons
i'll be doing one of a brand new baby.
(keep going on those walks Dorothea!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

truth as i feel it today.

the truth for me today is that i cancelled my treatment appointment.
(insert heavy sigh or concerned intake of breath here)
i just really, really didn't want to go today.
i didn't want to have the iv in my arm and sit there for the 3 hours
and i didn't want to pretend that it doesn't bother me and i just didn't feel like making small talk with the others in the room.
i didn't want to feel all doopy from the allergy medication and sore from the remicade.
i already am sore.
(and somewhat doopy all the time)
so i cancelled.

that's my truth for today.

i am conflicted about this situation i find myself in.
i woke up this morning and could barely get out of bed.
i am flaring
but that i am sure is because i ate way too much good for you fiber yesterday.
it hurts.
i needed to not go today.
i can feel this deep within me.
i need to wait until i am mentally and heartfully able to participate in my treatment.
and that will be soon.
but it is not today. my heart is not there. and it was the last few times.
i will be there next week probably and back on schedule and this week will stretch my body more than i even know,
and i will be thankful to be filled with the pain numbing medication
and i will smile cheerfully and be so grateful for my caring nurse and i will feel empathy for the others in the room and we will make small talk and all will be well.

i know this to be true
but not today.
i just couldn't do it today.

this worries people close to me.
when i told owen and hannah that i was cancelling my appointment a few days ago,
owen had that careful look he gets when he is deciding the best course of action to take with me.
does he say what he is thinking or does he listen to me and then decide to speak or not.
and hannah, well she is a straight shooter when she has something on her mind
"don't you want to be well mom?" she shoots at me, with a look of
slight exasperation on her face.
i love these two anchors in my life.
they both keep me real.
but this time,
they accepted what i needed to do.
even if they don't understand me.

today i rest.
and i walk gingerly.
tomorrow i rebook my appointment.


Monday, April 16, 2012


art journalling, sun sitting, hard work and garden eating
is what my weekend looked like.
how was yours?

Friday, April 13, 2012

what would she say?

sometimes i need to have a chat with myself
and use my "wise self" voice.
you know the one?
"what would the wise self say?" is a very helpful tool for me
when i begin to feel overwhelmed, discouraged or just start to lose my head.

on a particularly challenging day i will write out all the thoughts and false ideas that are swirling around in my head and my heart and then
i will take a deep breath and pick a different colour of pen
and respond to all that i have just spilled all over the paper.

in my wise tania voice.
the wisdom that i share with others when they ask,
that i know deep down in my heart to be true and kind and helpful.
the wise voice speaks love and acceptance and truth.
the wise tania is understanding, sometimes quite firm and always forgiving.

it goes something like this:

the house isn't clean and pretty these days.
the house is alive and full and has pretty corners. look at those flowers on the counter. i love the sun shining through them this morning.
my brain is full of hard, unanswered questions.
yay for being brave enought to ask. the answers will come. trust the process.
i am having headaches so much.
headaches are so unpleasant. drink more water and take tylenol if you need to.
use the tools available to you. go. now. drink more water.
i feel like i haven't had any time to be creative for myself.
i love your creative self. Schedule some time on the calendar right now to look forward to.

i found those examples in my journal from last year when i was feeling particularly sick and overwhelmed.
reading them now, i notice a theme.
i was complaining. this is okay. somedays i need to complain.
i also see, and this continues to be a struggle for me,
i wasn't taking care of me. of myself.
i would wait for owen to come home, complain about my headache and he would give me water and tylenol.
i am quite capable of doing this myself you know. i just don't like to.

my wise self encourages others.
my wise self encourages me.
i just need to remember to listen to her.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

a new project.

i have a new blog project for the next few months.
it's right here
if you want to join us.
this is still my daily space where i come to record my stories.
the garden blog is a place to display my photos and to keep my garden basket program friends anticipating what we are growing for them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

i love it when...

my day is filled with so many great activites
that before i even reilize it
the day is coming to a close and i'm just sitting down at my computer.

i love it when tea with a friend involves 4 cups and a trip to the garden store.

i love it that Caleb's special peppers have germinated and that there is a big row
of colourful garden signs drying on my counter.

i love it when we all gather around the TV and cheer on the Canucks
even if all of us don't love hockey and some of us don't love the team.

i love it when i pick up my camera and a picture just works.
i love that.

i love planning photo shoots that involve bare feet, pregnant bellies and daffodiles.

i love that tomorrow i will plant multi coloured radishes,
just because they are pretty.

i love it when it all just comes together for one more day
and i love it when plans change and get better than imagined.
i love that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

long weekending

family brunch stretched over two hours.
the six of us.
talking, laughing, making future plans.
it was perfect.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

there's often a story.

(those bracelets and that starbucks cup tell a story)

i am changing.

i am an observer and always noticing.
"did you see that? wow! look over there!"
this is how my brain works.
i am very engaged in viewing my world.
this goes for the sky, buildings, signs, the trees,
what's in the ditch,

and noticing people, well, there is so much to see!

their clothes and how well they fit or perhaps how sloppy the shirt is, hair and the perfect cut or perhaps the lack of hair product, fabulous shoes or holey ones, lack of makeup or too much makeup or just the perfect amount for her, piercings and other jewlery adornments, physical stature and size,
freckles, wrinkles, chipped nail polish or perfectly manicured hands, muddy, worn work pants or a business suit.

all those attributes we see and then catagorize people almost without even reilizing it.
(that list makes me sound like i am very focused on outward appearances.)
i am not.
 but i do notice and often, sadly,
 there has been
assumption and unintentional judgement attached to my observations.

this is changing. somewhat deliberately and also as one of the gifts that arrives with life lessons in humility.
i am trying to see the story behind the person before i decide that the person is just what i am seeing.
i am trying to remember that the clothes, the hair, the pericings, the shoes, the size
whatever it is i see and register as meaning something in my mind may not be, often is not all that accurate.
i might actually want to reserve judgement and assumption until i  become aquainted with the person and who they are.
it's very presumptious of me to make judgements based on appearance and yet i find that it is something that i do.
innocently enough and without malice but judgement it is all the same.
i know better.
i have felt the sting and loneliness of false judgement.
the judgement that comes when people forget to ask my story.
and i watch it happen time and time again with my own children and other people i know.

there must be a balance.
i know. i can hear some  of my dear friends and family gently telling me that it does matter and we need to care about the impression we make. i get that. i do. really.
i know that life is hard enough and for individuals who express themselves through alternative dress and adornments, judgement is going to come faster and they are going to have to work harder to show their true selves.
opportunities may be limited and there are enough limits already right?

we get caught up by all the outward stories we tell and see
forgetting about the inside verses.
the ones that make us really who we are.
because if we took away all the clothes and the hair and everything else,
wouldn't we still be who we are? wouldn't our true selves still exist?
of course we would.
that's what i'm trying to get to.
seeing the true self of someone.

i guess i just want to change. i want to be someone who doesn't make quick decisions about people because of what they look like. i want to see their heart first, hear their story, learn from them, share with openeness and i want to stop getting caught up judging others.
i want to see the story first. retrain my eyes to see differently.

but, i also really want a good hair cut soon,
and i would love some brown tights so i can wear that hippy dress i bought.
so you see, it's always a process with me.
finding the balance. figuring it out.
trying to become truer to me.