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My Daughter Didn’t Dance

Today, my daughter didn’t dance, and it broke my heart.

 

Lily-Ann celebrated her sixth birthday almost a week ago.  On July 20th we had friends and a few family members over to the house to help her celebrate.  She’d decided on a Goddess Girls theme this year.  We all dressed in chitons, played games I created based on the characters in the books, ate ambrosia cake and drank nectar punch, and everyone wore the winged sandals we made as our party favours.  After her party, she told me that all her birthday dreams and wishes had come true.  It was an awesome day.

Click the photo to see the rest of her party pictures.

Click the photo to see the rest of her party pictures.

 

The two weeks leading up to her sixth birthday, the girl had been going through some rather big developmental changes.  It was clear she was becoming a “big kid” and leaving the “baby” behind.  I was so excited for her.  She was growing in leaps and bounds right before my eyes.  I was proud of the conscious choices she was making, and happy for those things that were changing even without her awareness.  As much as I loved my baby, my toddler, and my little girl, I love the big kid she was becoming even more (if that’s possible).

My little girl loved going to the movies.  She loves the stories, the action, the music, the popcorn…  cuddling up in the dark theater.  More than any of that though, she loved to dance.  Ever since that first movie we went to, we’d let her run up to the front as soon as the credits started, and we’d watch her dance.

Those first few times, she’d wipe out…  a lot.  We’d hold back though, and just wait.  Then, with even more resolve, determination, and grit she would dust herself off and dance her heart out.  Sometimes spinning all the way from one side of the theater to the other, arms held wide, face to the sky, feeling the entire world whorl around her.  And she would take my heart along for the ride.

It was secretly my favourite part of the movie too.

There were times, when others would get caught up in her passion too.  When individuals, couples, and families would stay to watch her dance.  Some would clap for her.  Others would tell us how amazing they thought she was.  And there were those who would simply smile, their eyes full of gratitude.

I think her dancing reminded people of joy.  We so easily forget how much of it there is in this world.  We get so caught up in things that really don’t matter and we forget how to be swept up in it.  Joy can fill the heart with rapture and our lives with light.  Lily-Ann gave that back to people, even if it was just for a while.

Today, when the movie ended, and she got up to dance, my heart soared – like it always did.  She got up to the front, and she stood there.  I watched her posture change, and watched that joy melt away.  Then I watched her walk back to her seat.  She sat back down and said “I’m not going to dance today.  Maybe a different day, but not today.”  And I started to bawl.  I wasn’t loud, but I couldn’t stop the tears.  They poured down my face.

Lily wasn’t sad.  She was happy.  But that pure innocent joy, without a care about what anyone could think, was gone.  She really is a big kid, and with that comes both good and bad.  I look forward to what this next stage has in store for us, but I desperately mourn for my baby – who was here with me only weeks ago.

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The Happiest Place on Earth!

For the last couple of years we’ve been scrimping and saving…  often as little as ten bucks here or twenty bucks there…  putting it aside in the hopes that we’d have enough money to take the girl to Disney World while she was still young enough for the magic to be “real”.  It’s a stupidly expensive trip, and we’re a low income family, so we knew we’d be saving for a few years (at least).  Then we sold our house.  Yes, we bought a new one.  And yes the new house has issues that we really should fix before doing anything else…  but instead of renovating the bathroom, insulating the walls, fixing the plumbing, or purchasing a new oven and dishwasher?  We’ve used the cash to top up our savings and we’re taking the girl to Disney World!

The problems with the house will still be here when we get back, and we can slowly work towards fixing each problem…  but the magic of a place like Disney World only holds true for such a short while.  And even by the time they are seven, kids know way too much to put their belief in actors and actresses paid to portray cartoon princesses and princes.

Kid kid is five and a half, and if we have a way to do it, I couldn’t imagine not taking her on this type of once in a lifetime trip.  So on January 28th Damon, Lily-Ann, her Auntie Jewles, and myself will be hopping on a plane and heading for Orlando – and we’re not coming back until February 6th!  Thankfully my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate have volunteered to stay at our place to care for our animal family, which puts my mind at ease over leaving them all for so long.

We're going to Disney World!

We’re going to Disney World!

When I decided to do the January photo-a-day challenge I could think of no better time to announce our trip than on the day we’re challenged to photograph “happiness”.  After all, what greater happiness can there be then seeing a dream come true and taking your daughter to a place where all her childhood fantasies can materialize right in front of her.  Pixie Hollow, Cinderella’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle, Belle’s Cottage…  and all the characters who belong there.  She’ll get to experience it all!

So yeah…  There may be smarter things we could do with the money, but there certainly isn’t anything more wonderful!

photo a day challenge for january

Nothing but a Passion for Joy and Love.

I’ll be honest, my brain has been swimming today.  So many possibilities to consider, so many opportunities on the horizon, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  Once I’m able to get a few things nailed down, and have made some decisions I’ll feel a lot better.  But for now, I’m a little scattered and unfocused – which isn’t great for writing.

I really do wish I could share some of this with you.  My blog is often times a way for me to unload, and I do use it (and you) as a sounding board when I’m working through things.  But this time, I feel the need to hold back… at least until I make some precursory decisions.  There will either be some major changes coming up in my life, or things will continue pretty much as they are with some minor changes.

Opportunities can be a difficult thing.  Some require a leap of faith, while others require you to jump through hoops… either way there’s a lot of action.  And possibly the most difficult thing can be choosing between multiple opportunities that come up at once.  That’s what I’m doing now.

While I may not have much worked out just yet, I do know one thing:  Whatever path I choose, I won’t change.  I will still make decisions based on joy and love.  After all, what’s the point of following our passions if they don’t include those two things?

That seems to be the one thing that has always remained the same for me…  a passion for joy and love.  I’m a very diverse individual, I wear a lot of hats.  There are a lot of things that give me purpose, and a multitude of things I could find happiness doing.  I don’t fit easily into a neat and tidy little box, and I’m totally cool with that.  In all things, my passions seem driven by joy and love.  And as long as you can find those two things in whatever you do, you can find peace doing just about anything.

Hows that for a long winded diatribe about, well…  nothing.  LOL

A cornball view of spirituality and a patch of dirt.

There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within.  Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials.  So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.

One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw.  And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful.  It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth.  My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool?  I can’t imagine the work it would have been.  With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.

There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw…  nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch.  Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump.  But the next step?  It makes it all worth the effort!

Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath?  It’s pure heaven.  Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does.  Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.

I’m not a gardener.  I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days.  But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth.  If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected?  There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil.  To create with it something amazing.

A bit cornball?  Maybe.  But that’s me.

A full life, a good life.

Tonight is one of those nights where if I were someone who actually planned out their blog posts I might have something to write about.  LOL  But I’m not.  The fact of the matter is that my muse is pulling me in a few different directions and I’m feeling somewhat scattered because of it.

I want to write about the fabulous Father’s Day crafts the girl and I have been working on…  but if either my Dad or hers actually read the post it would ruin the surprise.  I want to write about a MW friend of mine who’s ghost hunting stories got me thinking about all the things out there we don’t really know about.  I want to write more about Skippyjon Jones, and my surprise at how few people I know have heard about this fabulous series of books.  I want to write about the fact that kid-kid is going to be “graduating” from pre-k this month, and what choices we’ve made about our next step.  So… yeah…  kinda being pulled in a few too many directions just now.  😉

Do you ever have one of those days?  When you’ve spent time working on so many different projects, and thinking about so many different things, that you’re just left feeling kinda scattered at the end of it?  The girl and I do so many fabulous things (today we actually drew our own chalk zoo on the sidewalk in front of our house – complete with lion, 2 crocodiles who’s heads we created by tracing our butts and legs, a baby elephant who’s nose is too big for her face, a hippopotamus, a bear wearing blue jeans and loafers, and a bunch of people who came to see them all), and I always have so much on the go that the problem is rarely coming up with something to write about – rather it’s narrowing down to ONE thing to share.

I really do love everything I’m involved in, and the fact of the matter is, I’ve actually cut back a great deal.  I’m no longer the President of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, nor am I associated with Camp fYrefly, and I haven’t been dedicating the time to scrapbooking that I used to.  I’m also done with dog shows (at least for the next month or so – I doubt I’ll ever actually be done with them, I love them too much).  Yet my plate is still happily full.  And of everything I do?  I love the things I do with, or for my daughter the best…  and that includes a LOT of things.  😉

Whenever Lily-Ann and I get talking, I can’t help but emphasize to her how lucky we are…  in so very many ways.  But one of the simplest is that our lives are full of love.  We both have so many people who love us and care about us.  And that is a very big deal.

Yep.  It’s a good life.

The girl, posing on her “sitting rock” on our way to school today.

Ready for whatever comes next!

After the roller coaster ride the last month and a half has been, I can honestly say I’m ready for whatever comes next.  And you know what?  I know it’s going to be awesome.  It’s only the first day of the new year, and it’s already been flooded with exciting new ideas and opportunities.  It really is going to be a year filled with love and joy.

And hey!  According to the doomsday prophecies, we have until May right?  May is in the back of my head for some reason, so I must have read somewhere that it was May.  LMAO  So that gives us five awesomely fabulous months – and gives me my 35th birthday too.  Jeepers.  Okay.  35?  Wow.  Yikes.  That’s one of those big numbers isn’t it.  Oh boy.  okay… right…  back with the love and joy and stuff…  eeeps.

So yay!  2012!  Happy New Year!  (35???)

I have to say though, it may only be day one.  But it’s been a bang up year so far.  😉

Nothin’ but Love!

Yesterday I found my thoughts turning to the new year.  2012 hits in a matter of days – and yes, like many folk, I can’t say or think “twenty twelve” without thinking of all the doomsday prophecies.  It’s become so ingrained into our thought processes that it’s there, in the darker parts of our brains…  dwelling in a perverse little cave crammed away with the conspiracy theories and abduction stories from the history channel.  So, for the time being, I’m going to stuff that whole thing back into it’s dank little dwelling place and completely ignore it.

Twenty eleven was all about personal joy for me.  It was a roller coaster of a year – with three quarters of it being nothing but up, up, up followed by a real quick down.  Throw your hands in the air and scream!!!!  Then it started making it’s way up again.

I actually found it really hard to settle on a word or theme for this past year.  Right down to the last minute I was in a state of utter confuddlement (yep, another of those made up words of mine).  But I won’t bore you with that story.  It’s on my blog already, back from when it was fresh and new.  No point in rehashing.

Anyway…

After last years struggles for a word, the fact that a word came to me instantly was to my complete and utter amazement and shock.  It was very literally instantaneous.  The moment I thought to myself “guess it’s time to come up with a new word” I had my new word:  Love.  It came so easily that I actually began second guessing myself.  But honestly?  It’s a perfect fit.

2011 was about joy.  2012 will be about love.

Loving one self.  Loving others.  Allowing one self to love.  Loving without reservation.  Loving without second guessing.  Loving without embarrassment.  Yep.  I’m giving myself permission to feel things completely and fully, without holding back.  …so watch out!  😉  This one could get a little messy.

I can’t imagine giving up my focus on joy.  It’s changed my life in such a hugely positive way.  Focusing on love will merely be an extension of that.  I think it’s gonna be great!

So?  What’s your word for 2012?  Don’t do a word?  What’s your theme?  Or if you’re a little old fashioned, what’s your resolution? I don’t like resolutions, they’re just ideas that lack action…  but if they work for you, more power to ya!

the felt heart from my soon-to-be-released scrapbook kit "Sew Storm"

I love having family around!

I come from a big family.  Lots of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and a ton of siblings too.  And there is little I love more than being surrounded by family.  Last night my Auntie Risa, my cousin Oshyn, and her son Khalid all arrived in Saskatoon.  The wee girlie was at my mom’s to greet them (it was her Friday night sleepover), and today Damon and I headed over there too.

I can’t believe how big Khalid has gotten.  Seriously.  LOL  Little ones age so quickly, and when you miss out on some of it as a long distance family member… it goes by like lightening.  He’s almost three already.  When I got to mom’s, he and the girl were out on the trampoline, having a fabulous time.  And as any good mom with an iPad would do, I ran in the house grabbed mine, and took a quick bit of video:

http://gallery.me.com/greengrrrl#100014/IMG_0785

Hopefully it works all right.  LOL  I’ve never attempted a Me Gallery upload before.

Well…  I’m off to lay quietly in the dark next to my sleeping girlie.  She crashed while I was reading The Wind in the Willows (by Kenneth Grahame).  We’re on chapter 4, “Mr. Badger”.  The perfect way to end an absolutely delightful day.

Feeling Peaceful

I’m laying in bed next to my daughter, listening to the quiet of the house.  Besides the breathing (the girlie and the dogs), and the muffled click of my fingers on the keys, the house is silent.  That simply doesn’t happen very often.

The animals are all still.  My husband is out (fetching a movie and slurpees).  And I get the simple joy of solitude – without actually being alone.

Moments like these were once taken for granted.  Back in my twenties, when it was just DH, the dogs (and other sundry animals) and I.  These days though…  when the full of energy, high need, super creative, way too smart for her own good, kid is tearing around?  Yep.  These silent, calm, relaxed, pensive moments are few and far between.

In a house this small, with this many lives within it’s walls, you truly hear someone at almost every hour of every day.  Whether it’s the cat padding around the stairwell, or Thora (the Lurcher) running in her sleep, Zenora (our congo african grey) telling tales, or the turtle splashing into her pond…  even when the house is mostly still, there is still life to be heard.

And just like that my moment of calm surrender is broken.  Liz (the Miniature American Eskimo) started yipping.  I’m wondering if she may be coming into heat…  she’s being extra annoying.  😉

Happy Easter everyone!  Hope you too are able to find a quiet calm moment to just be present, somewhere, today.

Choosing to be Inspired.

I’m one of those people who has always found inspiration to be easy.  I’ve always been inspired by whatever surrounds me.  Whether I’m out in the grandiousity (I know, another one of my made-up words) of  Mother Nature or just laying on the floor with one of my dogs…  I find inspiration near by.

What is key, is choosing to be inspired.  Just as one can choose joy, one can choose to be inspired.  Even in a mundane task, like doing the laundry, our choice is there.  Do we feel the warmth of freshly dried towels (whether sun dried or straight out of the dryer) and choose to be taken in by it?  Relishing the fragrance and texture?  or do we power through, refusing to allow our senses any enjoyment from the moment?  Inspiration, like joy, is a choice.

We are constantly surrounded by opportunities for inspiration.  My daughter inspires me multiple times daily.  Now, what serves as her inspiration? LIFE!  Children haven’t learned to suppress their joy and their inspiration…  life just flows through them.  They soak up all they can, and like a sponge that is too full, it flows freely through.  You just have to be a willing vessel, there to catch it all.

Yesterday Lily-Ann painted me a horse.  Her work is becoming more and more true to life, while still retaining that immediacy and fluidity of childhood art.  I love that she uses found objects without any prompting.  In this instance a bit of cotton fluff became the horses blanket.  I’m sharing, in the hopes that a little of my current inspiration can also flow through to you.

Here are a couple other pieces she created for me earlier this month.  Her work requires less and less explanation these days.  It’s a pretty cool development, especially considering only four months ago we had just discovered straight lines.  Before that everything were circles that swirled indefinitely…

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