Friday, 11 August 2017

The Scars That Make Us Who We Are

I will never forget the day I sat down at the doctor's office and the doctor told me I would need to deliver my son via c-section. Safety was what mattered most to me, but a sudden rush of fear pulsated through my body as I thought of the idea of intensive surgery. All I wanted was a healthy baby, but my hopes were that obviously surgery wouldn't be an option. I left the appointment more scared and nervous than anything.

I had never had surgery. I actually had never broken a bone and had only had stitches once in my life while barely conscious. Visions of "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" flooded my brain and I feared everything about the procedure. 
For weeks I worked through my feeling pretty much on a daily basis. I told myself daily, my mom had done, my friends had done it, I could do it. Finally, that Sunday arrived, and I remember the panic as we walked into the hospital. I couldn't stop shaking.

In the OR, they move fast, almost too fast. A part of you wants everything to slow down but it doesn't. You follow behind as they lead, they ask you more than a few questions and sign papers in what feels like a matter of seconds. They lead you into the room alone, have you lean over for the needle and with a quick pinch you are laying down, sheet up and the whole thing begins. I didn't even have time to think it all through and honestly a part of me is grateful for that. If it had slowed down, I would have panicked but there just wasn't time for it. Within 15 minutes my son was out, and although my fear of everything happening to my body was not over, what I was there to do was and I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was in the best hands possible. 

The following hours after surgery were some of the best in my entire life. Holding my first born and connecting with him like no one else. Within a couple days we went home, although the basics of new parenting were hard, it was all so memorable in a good way. Within a few days of arriving home, I received a call from the Health Unit. I was struggling with breastfeeding and due to my c-section, I struggled to leave the house. The nurse kindly offered to come to our house for our first apt. She sat down with me when she arrived and went through a few basics. How I was feeling, how breastfeeding was going, just basic self and baby care. I think she had possibly read on my file that at some point I had struggled with an eating disorder in my early 20's because her next question were, "how are you feeling about your new body?" I was a little caught off guard. I had just had a baby days ago and was for sure not thinking about my "new body", nor my scar. She asked me if I had taken a good look at my new scar because it was going to be there forever, and this was my new body, scar and all. Right away, I thought hard on the question. Was I bothered by my scar? Was I going to be bothered by it as month go on? This is my new body, am I ok with this? 

I thought hard.... and thankfully, nothing. I felt nothing but in a good way. I didn't love it but I didn't hate that day.

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As months went on though, I reminded myself of that question as I looked in the mirror. As my body slowly changed over the months and my scar slowly healed looking more and more like the scar I would have forever. I told myself often, how do you feel about your new body? 
During this time my mind kept slipping back to that one other scar I had from my mid-teens. I have a scar that stretches about two inches and that scar comes loaded with unhappy memories, memories of one of the most difficult times of my life. A time full of anger, confusion, sadness, and hate. I despised that time of my life and that tiny scar was packed with a whole lot of those emotions. I always wanted to tattoo over it and would have done anything to have it disappear.
For whatever reason, I feared I would feel the same way about this one and ultimately maybe not love my post-mom body that I before children had worked so hard to love.
But no, this time was different. Although I didn't love my scar in that moment, I sure as hell didn't hate it.

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As my son grew, and we bonded more and more over the years something happened. My love for my scar grew. I always felt as if I was supposed to hate it, that it was some ugly thing on my body no body wants. Why is it we feel ashamed? As much as I was not capable of changing the outcome of my son's birth, my scar somehow communicated at times on those hard days of comparison and envy, that I didn't try hard enough. The silliest thought one could ever have about going through massive surgery to bring a human into this world that most of the time is what would save their lives. For most this is their only option when it comes to saving the lives of their children, how does that say you didn't try hard enough? Damn, I think that is the definition. Ladies, we all sacrifice our bodies through the act of 9 months of pregnancy and childbirth whether born naturally or via c-section and with that, we should be proud of our bodies. And over the months this is what happened when I looked in the mirror. Instead of hate for my scar, a reminder of how some stupid messages of me not trying hard enough, not having some bond with my child someone who had a natural birth would have that so many articles I read would say, a hate for my "new body" scar and all, and some lifelong ugly scar that would need to hide away from the world or maybe even my husband... no.. that scar became a symbol of so much more. Of strength and sacrifice. Of love and importantly life. It became a beautiful reminder of the best day of my life and the birth of my child who otherwise may have died during birth. That day I would do over and over again and wouldn't change a thing. There was no room for dislike for the scar, whatever that healthy unit lady was referring too I wasn't feeling it, I knew that scar came with so much more than just what it looks like. I am so excited to live my life with this reminder beautifully carved into my skin. I truly fell in love with that sweet spot just above my pelvic bone that reminds me daily of that special day and the incredible person I brought into this world. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

5 Reasons We Will Be At The Air Show This Year

It is that time again! Every year I look forward to one event and pretty much one event only (not including Christmas obviously). The Abbotsford Airshow!

We started attending when I was just a little girl. My dad lived in Abbotsford and I remember attending it more than once. However, in my teens... not so much, I pretty much forgot about the Airshow until my mid-20's when Sean and I got married my dear sister-in-law had offered us some tickets and we thought why not. 

Our first year there, I was hooked and after our first year taking our boys, I knew we would be there every year till they refuse to attend with us (which will be never because it is that awesome). Our youngest was only 6 months last year and we strapped on his ear muffs and spent our Friday evening watching their incredible light show. 

This year we are going again, obviously. I am even more excited that there will be an extra addition to the airshow this year. Brew North Strong Craft Beer Festival! Sure maybe it is not a kid event, but hey, all the more reason to get a three day pass like we are and heading one day to the airshow and one (or two because you have the tickets) to the Beer Festival for a great day/night out with friends! 

So here you have it, my top 5 reasons to attend the Abbotsford Air Show 2017!

1. The Show.... duh!
We are pretty much obsessed with the really loud shows! We bought our kids some noise canceling ear muffs from the hearing clinic off Gladwin Rd. We took the boys to watch the WHOLE show last year, including the biggest, loudest planes of them all. Pretty much my favorite reason to attend the Airshow!

2. The NEW Craft Beer Fest (19+)
The list of suppliers that this beer fest is incredible: 
  • Old Abbey Ales
  • Ravens Brewing
  • Deadfrog Brewing
  • 4 Mile Brewing Co
  • Granville Island Brewing
  • Category 12 Brewing
  • Two Wolves Brewing
  • Chaos and Solace Craft Brewing Co.
  • Highway 97 Brewing
  • Bordertown Estate Winery
  • Cannery Brewing Company
  • Sunrype Premium Craft Cider
  • Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
  • Hathi Brewing Co.
  • Ripples Winery
  • Stanley Park Brewing
This event is new to the airshow this year, and we are more than excited to check it out. Not only that there, you will find premium runway seating, lawn games, chairs, tables, umbrellas for shade! SHADE friends!

3. The Mini Donuts
When are these not a reason to attending an event? You will find us stuffing our faces! 

4. The Airplanes
Every year my kids are growing more and more into airplanes. The first few year they were a bit nervous to go inside but this year our oldest is jacked to check them out again! So many to take a look inside, the pilots are incredibly nice and knowledgeable and I have always been so impressed at how special they make it for the kids!

5. The Light Show
Friday night they have an incredible light show! I am not going to tell you too much because I want to you to go see it for yourself!!! But Friday nights... nap your kids and stay till it gets dark, then send your kids home with a sitter and go to the Beer Festival:p Just saying.

So there you have it, this will be our 6th year attending, and 4th with our kids. We love it so much, and hope you too will when you come out this weekend, August 11-13th!!!

IMPORTANT: Please note, if you plan to attend the Beer Festival,  DO NOT drink and drive. If you plan to attend the event, please arrange transportation. I hate to make it a serious note, but drinking and driving kills, drink responsibly. 

Photos by myself and Creative Wife & Joyful Worker (BIG thanks for giving me the opportunity to be in front of the camera)

More info:
IG @brew_north_strong
Twitter @brewnorthstrong

Thursday, 20 July 2017

I Wish You Hadn't Noticed // An Open Letter To My Mother

Dear Mom,

We have always had a complicated relationship. You have always said you thought it was because we were too much a like that made it as hard as it was. I had always wished we had something more than we did, but we sadly did not. We lived our lives very separately. We lied, we yelled, we pushed each other away when things got hard and we pretended often like nothing ever happened. 
Mom, through it all, there were a few things I so desperately wish we had done differently. Now as a mother of two, I almost obsess over the way I act and the things I say, that may forever affect my children. As much as I would love to have a daughter one day, a big piece of me fears the parent I will be to her. The subtle words I say under my breath about my body, the outright potential dislike for growing older in the years to come and the messages she will forever remember if I am not careful and conscientious of the power of my words.

Every day we look at ourselves in the mirror. We watch as our bodies change over the years, as our kids seem to somehow age us extraordinarily in a blink of an eye. Before we know it we have wrinkles and grey hairs. Mom I watched you stare at yourself in that mirror asking me over and over if I could see your lip wrinkles, the comments of how "fat" you were getting and the constant need to look at everyone else's body shape. You were always watching what you ate, and I listened to every word of how much "fat" was in most meals we consumed. I wish you had not. I wish you had seen yourself like I had seen you. Those grey hairs that made you look like the mother you were and those lines that were a simple reminder of how much you smiled at times. I wish you had seen yourself as I had seen you. Because every time you asked and I sighed with another "do I have to tell you again?" sigh, I meant every word: Mom, I don't see them.

When I was a teenager and my body started changing I wish you hadn't noticed. Telling me I was getting chubby or that the kids at dance class would finally see I was filling out, made me confused. Why does it matter what I look like? Who will care? What value does my size have on anything? I learned quickly through it all, my shape meant a lot. It meant a lot to you, it meant a lot to my dance teacher and it meant a lot to a lot of guys I went to school with. So I started to look at it more. Eventually, it meant a lot to me. I suddenly saw all the things you always pointed out about yourself. Sure maybe I didn't have wrinkles yet, but wasn't my body changing like yours and from my perspective that wasn't a good thing? I already was popping out grey hairs and I worried. At 16 I worried about grey hairs. My breast size had doubled over a summer and they didn't go unnoticed. I grew insecure. I enjoyed McDonald's like every other kid and yet I didn't notice the minimal weight I had put on that you had so easily pointed out. I wanted to go back to the girl who never worried about her body. Before that, I didn't see all the little things you saw in yourself and eventually me. But it was inevitable. Because we are women and our negative body image is an epidemic in our western culture. When I heard it from you, you heard it from the magazine covers, the movies, the posters and more. 

Mom here is the truth. Don't believe them. You have always been beautiful to me. I didn't see any wrinkles, I didn't see any fat, I didn't see your greys, I didn't see any of it. I saw you. I wish you had taught me how to notice that my kids wouldn't see my flaws as well. I didn't learn it from you, but I did learn it after years battling a deep hate for my body and the sweet moments my eldest son tells me "mommy, you are so beautiful". And now, my large scar across my belly will always be a beautiful reminder of my eldest's birth. My grey hairs will always be embraced as the time I spent redeeming my body hate and the early years of my sleep deprivation and toddler battles that will all fly by too fast. My smile wrinkles, I promise my kids, they will know it's because of them I smiled so much. My kids will always know my breasts were made to nourish them and woman's bodies are truly incredible, they grow tiny humans and so much more. I promise my kids I will always wear my maturing body with pride, and on the days I don't feel it, or I feel the weight of the world pushing me to look at the imperfections of my body I promise to not put it on them. Because who they see me as, will forever be so much different than I see myself. And what they see their mom as, is perfect.

Mom, I know you did the best you could. Know you are beautiful, despite your age, wrinkles, weight, and grey hairs. We aren't perfect, none of us are. But that doesn't mean people don't see perfect despite our imperfections.

Love your daughter.

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