I'm 39 years old. I'm not all that proud of my behaviour as a teenager and young adult. It's been years since the last time I viewed a woman as a sexual conquest, but the impending arrival of a daughter has me swimming back into my past, and I feel the riptide of guilt pulling me under. Like the conman who becomes an FBI agent, maybe I can use my ingrained flaws and experiences as a method to shape my daughter into a young woman who could see a guy like me coming a mile away.
As a three-year old child in the mid-1970s, I was allowed to play outside on our street by myself. It was taught that I should "never talk to strangers" and "never go with strangers". Only one year later, I was granted even more freedom, and was allowed to roam freely throughout our entire neighbourhood... How did I know when it was time to come in? Once the street lights turned on, of course!
I see so much of myself in her; it's both heart-warming and heartbreaking. I don't want her to suffer socially like I did growing up, but I've realized I can't keep her in a bubble, either. Sometimes when I'm with her, my memory casts back to my own childhood, and I remember a fleeting instant in time when I was free to be myself without shame.
The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.
My baby, my long awaited precious gift from heaven, was being taken from me -- as was my dream of being a mom to twins. As cold as it may seem, I was heartbroken about the loss of my dream too. I was devastated over the fact that my son would never know his twin and never find what could have been a beautiful relationship.
It's daunting to be responsible for another life. But it's also selfish... to pass on one's DNA. To have someone who looks up to you. To feel the pride and joy that comes with the pain and tears. Some say that parenthood is the most selfless of "loves" one experiences in one's life. In our case, it wasn't selflessness that drove us to the decision. We chose parenthood because we wanted something out of it.
As you gain distance from the early days of babies and toddlers, preschool and elementary school, from this place above the trees you can finally see. Like that mama bird sitting up high in the tree, you stand now as a humble mom of 17 years, better able to discern where you've been and where you're going.
Here is what really concerns me -- it's infected my social media feed. Instagram is full of half naked fitness models of both genders, all fighting for my attention by showing as much skin as possible. If they are in my feed, chances are they are in your feed, and worse yet, they are in your kids feed.
My husband and I recently received a note home from the school teacher of our eight-year-old son, Casey. She wanted to inform us that Casey had been caught lying about a misdeed, and that this wasn't the first time. Our response? We whooped and high fived. Yes, that's right -- we gave each other a high five. Why?
Raising a child is hard, and raising a child with special needs has even greater challenges that often leave parents feeling fatigued and depleted. Yet every day we find renewed energy and we continue to push forward and advocate for our children who cannot advocate for themselves. So when I tell you "I'm fine," it can mean a lot of things.
Through infertility I became a stronger person. It taught me patience, determination and perseverance.... Your baby is worth fighting for, so although this may feel like hell, keep going. I wouldn't wish infertility on anybody, but I can't say I'd change it now. My little man wouldn't be the same person if I hadn't waited. And nor would I.
The media spotlight has long dimmed on the recent unraveling of Goodwill. But the realities remain. In their own way, each embody a range of significant issues that most of us take for granted. One of them concerns the health, wellness and livelihood of people with disabilities -- many of whom formed Goodwill's very own staff.
From my earliest moments as a new mother, I'd longed for my daughter to experience the same enjoyment from reading and falling into a good book that I'd felt in my youth. I pictured us walking in tandem in our mutual appreciation for stories, unpacking plots and characters for each other as we bonded in conversation.
These wondrous creatures love life. Fully and whole-heartedly. Every morning my daughter wakes up with a smile on her face, ready to conquer the world... At five-years-old, her journey is a blank slate. Each day my daughter's little feet make their mark in this world, and she finds simple joy with every step. Cheers, five-year-old, for living life to the fullest!