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The Writing Mother

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Saturday, July 30, 2005
The Art of Forgiveness
Have you ever harboured anger so tightly, so covertly, that you felt singed by its intensity? Where each flame of anger remains seared on your heart? You hold onto the anger, unwilling to release it, as it is often the only fragment you have left to prove your case. In our society, we are often told to “Forgive and Forget”. Outwardly, we may agree. Anger and hurt feelings are pushed aside, so that we may “get passed it” and “move on”. Often the offending party needs only to say they are sorry, and forgiveness is expected. Leaving the ball in your court. If you haven’t forgiven them, that is again your fault. After all, they apologized.

In our lives, we have all needed to forgive someone. Shouts of hate, demeaning comments, acts of violence, acts of indifference. We have all sought forgiveness. The friend you betrayed, the word spoken in anger, the lie you told. When you realize that you are wrong, you apologize. Must you spend the remainder of your days continuing to apologize and seek absolution? After all, you said you were sorry.

I believe we can find a middle ground.

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” It takes a great and courageous heart to forgive someone. To give them another chance at your friendship and love. Yet it is not for them that you must forgive. It is for you. To hold onto your anger shackles and binds your spirit. So much energy is spent on feeding the fire of resentment, that there is little left for yourself. Gradually, like the oxygen in a room of fire, your energy is consumed. It takes strength of spirit to douse the flames.

To forget, however, is entirely different. Shall we forget the smallest offence? How could we forget the largest? The answer is that we should not. It would be obtuse to simply put the offence out of our mind forever and blindly return to life. I once worked with a woman whom I considered a friend. As we got to know each other, we shared lunches, coffee breaks, and each other’s lives. One afternoon, when our department had been under a great deal of stress, she discovered a mistake I had made on a relatively unimportant document. Her reaction was to snap and bark at me. Coated with sarcasm and disdain, she questioned my work ethic and waved the paper in my face. I looked her in the eye, smiled, and offered to fix the mistake. I thanked her for catching it and bringing it to my attention. After all, I would hate to repeat the mistake. She declined and strode back to her desk, taken aback by my refusal to either defend myself, or fall on my knees in an attempt to seek forgiveness. Was I offended? Definitely, I had caught several of her mistakes in the past, and not once had I insinuated intent on her part to commit them. Did I forgive her? By the end of the day. Did I forget? No. I learned from it. She did not handle pressure well. She could get “nasty” with friends. She felt that the mistake had been above her level of competence, therefore, she did not have a good grasp on the work she was really producing. In her mind, at that moment, I was fallible and she was not. We continue our friendship to this day; she did not apologize. An apology is not a factor in whether or not you forgive someone. It is a factor only in determining how the relationship will progress and grow from that moment on.

“To understand is to forgive, even oneself.” Alexander Chase. When you understand the reasons behind why someone acts the way they do, you are on the path to forgiving them. This includes the person you see each morning in the mirror. Know your faults and spend time understanding them. Do not hold them against yourself! Just know them, do not forget them. An addict cannot simply forget what it is they are addicted to. They must remember.

You must remember what your faults and flaws are. Back in the file in your mind, remember what they are. And each morning, tell yourself that they are forgiven. Go ask for a pardon for the wrongs you commit and while you seek forgiveness, remember to forgive yourself.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

St. Francis of Assisi
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 9:04 AM

Friday, July 29, 2005
Why I want to be a published FICTION writer...
Because Lani looks like she's having too much fun!

Seriously, I think fiction writers have more fun than us poor non-fiction goobers. We get all serious about ISSUES and are wrought with pains about the FACTS and the TRUTH. But then these fiction people just make the world the way they want it and be done with it!
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 10:30 AM

Just thinkin'...
Be kind - Remember every one you meet is fighting a battle - everybody's lonesome.
-- Marion Parker

I'd wager that it's not just lonesome that everyone is fighting... but as I was reminded that I do infact have issues (because, honestly, raise your hand if you have NO issues so that you can be plucked out like the freak of nature you are!) and in fact everyone has issues that they fight for and against.

We have a responsibility to the things which we believe in to strive to be clear, inoffensive, and understanding.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 9:02 AM

Thursday, July 28, 2005
This is what I get...
God is saying... "you wore your asshat out around the internet over the last couple of days, so I'm going to keep you away from the computer for any productive length of time."

So my SI Joint locked up yesterday evening (while cleaning the bathtub - proving that cleaning is dangerous to your health!) and I writhed in pain for most of the night until I remembered that one, last Purcocet in my medicine cabinet from the accident... so I took it and managed to sleep. Unfortunately, other than moments like now when my curiosity makes me get up and check my email, I'll be in my bed for most of the day.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 9:38 AM

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I've been accused....
Of being THAT mom... you know, the one that lets all the kids come in and feeds them popsicles and fresh baked cookies...

And so here I sit today with SIX little boys in my house. Only ONE of which is actually mine (bought and paid for oh-ha-ha... where my subscription, I mean perscription...) and it smells not-so-faintly of little boy feet.

I live in a very multi-cultural area. There are three different languages being spoken in my house right now. Two boys are Sudanese and three are Iraqi.

How Canadian is that?
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 4:29 PM

Monday, July 25, 2005
Giving Myself a Break
I had intended to get on here and rip myself a new one. Go through all of the reasons that I suck and will always suck. Basically I was just letting my inner critic out for a few moments.

But I'll summerize. I suck because I never finish things and my dreams are too big and I'm too afraid to go for them.

Now that we have that out of the way, I think I need ot acknowledge why I don't suck.

I'm a busy (single) mother of one and I'm basically working two jobs. I do pretty good at both of them and if the trend of the last six months continues until the end of December, I'll make twice as much this year as I've ever made in a year before. In fact, my salary may be the combination of all the money I made from 1996 - 2000. Then again, I was a po' broke horse trainer then.

But it's not all about the Benjamins. Or in my case, the Queens (or whatever they put on Canadian $100 bills... I can't remember the last time I had one in my hand). It's also about the quality of life that I'm leading.

I have to admit, I COULD do more. I could get up earlier or stay up late. I could dedicate myself a bit more and push a bit harder. But in this whirlwind of my life I actually want to sit down and enjoy my son and my boyfriend.

For example I've done spontaneous things over the weekend with my son - gone to the Go Karts and gone to a movie, both a first time experience for him.

As a side note: I completely admit that I try to do 'first' things with him before his dad does it with him. It's a big party at daddy's house every weekend for him. Maybe not a party... but the kid is good and angelic and wonderful for the 12 or so hours that he's awake and doing things... then for the other 98.75% of the week that he's with me I have to do horrible mother things like enforce rules and instruct him on how not to poke his eye out and explain why the entire neighbourhood can't come in for popcicles.

So as far as I'm concerned I get to do some firsts.

On another side note: the ex is not a bad father, he wasn't a great husband but he's not evil or anything... BUT, does anyone else do the 'x number of years until I can dis-associate by choice' countdown?

As in, my son turns four next month so I have 14 years and 18 days until I no longer have to associate with the ex husband and can forget that I'm co-habitating the planet with him.

But we do get along... as long as I'm not responsible for anything that he says/does/smokes/ingests/crashes....

I'll stop while I'm ahead.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 4:07 PM

Friday, July 22, 2005
... tired ...
I am becoming one of those people that is SO TIRED all the time.

Almost every night I fall asleep next to my son after reading books with him. I try not to but he wants to read me a book and wants to talk to me and I can get away with 'mhmm' or 'uh-huh' with my eyes closed.

The verdict so far is that I need more exercise. Every time I say 'I have no time' some goody-too-shoes with a butt to bounce my foot off of pipes up with a 'you can ALWAYS find time!' Even my brother who said "you just gotta make time, you only need an hour and a half a day."

Ok bucko... there is NOTHING that I do for 90 minutes IN A ROW in a day. Finding 90 minutes is not going to happen.

What might happen is 20 minutes. I did start this other blog about running and have been trying to keep it up. Unfortunately I'm not really a RUNNER, so when it rains for weeks on end or I go on vacation... well, I just don't run. I'm not an addict or something.

I have the resources. I have an eliptical IN MY HOUSE now so one would think that I would get my butt up and use it. But the only time I stop moving is AFTER DINNER when my child is in the tub. You can't excercise five minutes after dinner!

The other option is at 6 am. My alarm goes off at 6 am so THEORETICALLY I could bounce out of bed like a Wheaties commercial and jump on the thing. But it's SIX AM and that is the last few minutes of sleepy sweetness that I'm trying to suck out of the night.

Back to work. But first.... a coffee....
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 12:54 PM

Thursday, July 21, 2005
Kira had a great post today about Piranhas.

It reminded me of the issue I am currently dealing with.

My son (M.) goes to day care each day from about 8-4. He likes his day care but it was a rough start. I did not 'socialize' him enough in the first 2.5 years that he was home with me because when he arrived at day care he was immediately labeled a problem child. He had no concept of boundaries with other children and consequently when he mauled them, they mauled back. He learned quite quickly that they way to get someone off of you is to inflict pain on them that causes an immediate reaction

So the biting began. For months we couldn't get him to stop. The day care labeled him as 'Angry' and applied to have a special teacher come in and help him. (The fact that this teacher is subsidized and can help out any where in the day care with other kids comes into play later...) But the thing was... he was a happy child, still is, he never cried when I left him, he was eager to play and be with the other kids.... it's just that as soon as there was conflict he would bite. HappyHappyHappyHappyHappyAngryBite. That quick.

But he's been there a year and a half now and it's generally smooth sailing. But recently he's started having issues with another child. Justin.

The boys are hot and cold. Best Friends then Mortal Enemies.

There seems to be an incident report each week where M has bitten J.. but after talking to the teachers they ALL state that Justin deliberately provokes M. NOT that it excuses my son's behaviour in any way. I continue to work with the day care to get M. to use his words, talk to a teacher, yell 'stop' or 'don't do that'.... anything but physically hurting the other child. But Justin continues to provoke him.

Justin has a crappy home life. Parents that are divorced and fight, week on and week off custody arrangements.... He has spit at other parents, has major attitude and is just a general BRAT. And I still want to take him home and cuddle him. He ACTS like a bad boy, but I know that he is just a hurting little four year old with parents who should be smarter.

Case in point. My mother went to go pick up my son and Justin's dad did not realize who she was... so within earshot he told a teacher that he has told Justin to hit back when M. bites him.

Is he an idiot? His poor child is going to be so conflicted. Dad says hit, Day Care gives me heck when I do it. So he's going to be frustrated which will lead to more conflict and more fights.

I am so angry at Justin's childish dad. Did he forget who the parent was? His child is on the road to be a big bully and all he can say is "well, he is a tough boy."

Since when was it tougher to pick a fight than to walk away from one?

The director of the day care suggested that Justin move to another day care, but his dad has said no. I already knew that they wouldn't ask M. to leave - afterall if he leaves they lose their subsidized staff member.

She confronted him on the 'fight back' issue and he totally denied it (never mind that one staff member and my mother say that he said it quite clearly).

I'm open to suggestions.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 11:07 AM

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I said I wouldn't blog about work... I don't want to be dooced, afterall.

Ok, the job thing has been logged with the correct people... so now I just have to wait it out.

But for today, I am playing Captain Peacemaker. See, there are two sides to my office: sales and support. Both sides think they are the most important. When in reality we are actually greater than the sum of our parts.

One side (my side) had been kvetching loudly about a certain member of the other side. Except she was within earshot and overheard what was being said. Now if it were me? I'd march over there and tell them that they all needed to get a set of balls or just shut the hell up. How Canadian are we?

Oh, let's just bitch about it and hope that someone higher up fixes it for us.

Anyways, because I'm a super secret spy and know who to talk to and when... I found out that this individual had overheard, had been upset and near tears.... and that my side of the table had been the cause.

So I went into my boss' office, told him the scoop and said that we had acted unprofessionally and we need to have the rules laid out. I mean, this isn't junior high people.

He did the right thing and called her into the office to apologize to her on behalf of us all because we acted unprofessionally. He explained that it was out of frustration and said sorry. Which puts a band-aid on the situation, but doesn't fix it.

I don't know what would fix it actually.

Maybe a team building session where we are all made to run three legged races and hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 9:51 AM

Friday, July 15, 2005
Deep Breaths...
I sort of applied for a new job. Not really... the same sort of job within the same company... but just a different category... (the one work person who reads this will know what I'm talking about!). I just sent an exploratory 'feeler' email to a specific manager and he replied back to me THREE MINUTES LATER saying he was going to be in town all week and that we should get together for a confidential little chat.....

Whoooweee I am a little nervous. Don't get me wrong, I like my job, it's a fairly easy job.... but I want a job with more FREEDOM and room for growth....

Cross your fingers!
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 12:50 PM

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Some people's lives...
Most of my co-workers came in today complaining of how tired they were after partying last night... It's the Calgary Stampede week here in good old cow town and there's partying every night of the week. It's sort of a western Canadian Mardi Gras... without as much nudity. And no beads. But lots of cowboy hats. Even the newspapers put these paper cowboy hats in the middle section and the tourists pull them out and actually wear them.

I'm a bit immune to the excitement. First of all, I'm a horse person so I'm used to smelling them and because I'm a horse person I realize that all the TRUE horse people that are actually down at the Stampede are busier than heck right now showing and preparing their horses.

Anyways, half of the sales force at work left early to go down to the rodeo last night. In fact an hour before the end of the day there were only two of us left! Having just returned from vacation I couldn't afford the time away, I'm behind. Well, not behind per se, but just not as far ahead of the game as I usually am.

I'm the total teacher's pet, I admit it. I like to get stuff done first, I like it to be correct the first time and I like to have all the answers. If the documents I sent to be approved came back with a big fat A circled in red with a happy face sticker I'd be happy as all get out.

So this morning as everyone is regaling me with their stories of their nocturnal adventures, I am wondering if a) I'm just really boring or b) I'm just more satisfied with life.

It's not like I haven't put my face time in with the great big porcelain god. Oh I was the par-tay girl from way back. But I think perhaps I've learned that money spent on alcohol is usually just thrown away (or up - in this case) and a full day moaning about how crappy I feel is a day I will never get back.

I mean I have things to do.


But there's a part of me that wishes I had that freedom, that carefree attitude of the 19 year old I used to be. Of course that's the same part of me that wants to be fitting back in the size seven jeans with the nipples that pointed closer to north than to south.

Last night I had dinner with the ex-SIL (who's my favourite person in my ex-in-law clan) and I picked the least child friendly restaurant on the planet. Crayons? No. Kid's menu? No. Small glass? No. Oh way, the bar has some... OK then. My son's dinner was larger than mine was, it was a HUGE plate of spaghetti that he will be eating again tonight.

Then I went home and put the kid in the bath. Then I put the kid in bed. Then I fell asleep in bed next to the kid and my boyfriend kindly woke me up around 11pm to tell me to come to bed.


But no matter how much fun my co-workers had last night, there is nothing better than falling asleep next to your little boy (Mr. I'm not a boy I'm Batman) and listening to the softness of his breath.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 8:48 AM

Thursday, July 07, 2005
I Heart America
Ok, first? I know I'm Canadian and I'm supposed to have a sort of "I'm NOT an American" thing going on. And second? I know it looks bandwagonish to jump on the 'God Bless America bandwagon' but really, I've liked America for a long, long time.

Ever since I realized that they were big and strong and sexy and my country was a little bit too nice and limp wristed. Oh and there was a guy I was all hot after in 1996 and HE was American.... and since I stalked him and am now dating him once again it's all good.

Anyways, I LOVED the 4th of July. These people love themselves some fireworks! All evening on the 4th. ALL EVENING... hours on end of fireworks coming out of people's backyards. And we're in small town Indiana.

Let me tell you though, about the fireworks in Chicago... for whatever reason they were on the 3rd of July... I think because it coordinated with the Taste of Chicago festival. Also, the fireworks company tripled the number of fireworks they were using. It was called the Indpendence Eve Concert and Fireworks with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.

We started the evening a little dubiously. I was unsure what 'watching the fireworks in Chicago' entailed, but at around 7pm I was sure it wasn't 'sitting in some crazy Chicagoian's apartment and watching them sneak off for a puff'. I am anti-smoking anything that is not tobacco anywhere in my vicinity so I was trying to control my rising hackles and reminding myself that I had no car and no way out of Chicago.... and there was this woman, oh my gawsh this WOMAN who had a speeding freight train where he mouth should have been... she was a sight to behold and a sound to be blocked out.

We left the apartment and headed to the L.... for those of you who have not been to Chicaga (see, I say it the right way) that's the subway/train thingy.... freight train mouth morphs into cruise director from hell.

"Ok people" insert clapping "we're moving out! This way, turn left, keep up Subway People! Ok, everyone together, let's regroup, everyone have their walking buddy?"

It was more humourous than not actually... though the boyfriend may disagree.

But the evening improved markedly when we arrived in the heart of Chicago. Let me sum it up:

We were at Grant Pier. On a yacht called the Eminence Front. Sipping cocktails. With the MOST perfect view of the fireworks. This is a picture of Grant Park Pier... SEE... we were in the heart of those boats, tied right to the pier so that the 'ones who were not as cool' could look onto the boat and wish they were so.

So I had my cocktail, my boyfriend, a cool place to sit (it was one of those very large cruiser style yachts with the fancy cabin below and People With Too Much Money up on topside) and the fireworks were GREAT. There were three big boat/yachts tied right together and the three owners did canonballs into the water during the finale. Well, one had a case of premature ejumpulation... but they all managed to get into the water.

There were other minor incidences to punctuate the night... we had typical obnoxious rich-boy who hadn't partied enough in his paid for college days who stomped off to hit the bong while his trophy Married the Money wife made excuses for him. We had the two 19 year old looking lesbians putting on a show on the boat next to us while a boyfriend of one looked on like he'd been replaced (the whole freaking pier saw that display let me tell you... my not so inner mother was screaming "put the clothes back on, what would your mother say, you're going to live to regret this", and many other motherisms that the hoochies needed to hear.

The evening was pretty cool.... more on the actual 4th of July celebrations later... I'm off for my morning coffee in downtown La Porte, Indiana.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 6:41 AM

Sunday, July 03, 2005
Greetings from Indiana
This post could be called, 'the story in which a couple tries to sneak back into Canada'.

We arrived in Indiana after a 2800km or 1800 mile trek from Alberta to Indiana. Exciting you say? Oh very. Prairie, some more prairie, woods in Wisconson, some rivers, some lakes. Chicago (yucky traffic and constructin zones) and finally cute little Indiana small town.

First, I should say that small town here is not like the small town I spent my summers in. That small town had less than 200 people and parents could allow their children to run wild and free. Here? Not so much. But anyways, it's cute and a bit quaint. And very American. Very small town America I'm told.

The 4th of July parade will run right by the office here, so - two days in advance - very quaint small town Americans have already laid out their blankets and weighted them down with rocks to save them. The bf's dad - bless his heart - has parked his pick up lenghtwise in a spot for us so we'll be perched up there for the parade. Woohoo!

I am a weepy sap so therefore - despite the fact that I am Canadian and not American and have the Canadian flag tattoo to prove it - I will get all teary eyed at the parade and it's blatant patriotism. I'm always struck by things that are bigger than I am. Things that mean more than just the present moment. America has that.

The bf has explained to me that the traditional way of celebrating the 4th is to 'blow stuff up'. Whether this is firecrackers, fireworks, whatever.... I guess it's a 'bombs bursting in air' sort of thing. We don't have that in Canada. It's more of a Kumbaya-fest where everyone makes themselves red and white and paints maple leaves on their bodies and then congratulates themselves and their countrymen/women on how NICE they are. And blowing up things is not nice. But it is American, so I like it.

Anyways, on our way here, the US Border guards were actually decent. See, I'm only staying 10 days, so they weren't too worried about me. BUT, because the bf and I cross together, they always ask if we are getting married. And if we do - when. And if we do - where will we live. I feel like I should have I DON'T KNOW tattooed on my forehead. So they question us seperately and seach my car... and search my wallet... examining every receipt and card...

I honestly don't mind, because I have nothing to hide.

But I'm concerned about the Canadian Border Guards. They seem irrational to me. They want to be as big and bad as the US guards, but they really aren't. They do have nicer offices though....

Anyways. When we return on the 9th, they will go through the whole routine of searching and asking and seperating... and again, we have nothing to hide so it won't be too terrible....

But they just worry me because they always want to try and find something... even when nothing is there. I'll keep you posted.
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 11:42 AM

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