Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Crazy for You….to the man I love and have loved for more than 25 years…


Yes, after all these years, I am still crazy for you. Or crazy because of you. Or something like that. J
Twenty five years ago in this very city, on this date, you and I were married in a lovely garden ceremony at the home of our friends Keith and Heather. It was a hot, sunny Saturday with temps well over 30 degrees C. While our guests were in shorts and summer dresses, we were in our wedding finery, exchanging our vows in front of family and friends.
Feels like yesterday. Feels like forever ago. I can’t remember when you weren’t part of my life, my heart, my soul.
It’s like marriage has melded us together invisibly as well as visibly. We may not wear matching Cpl’s Club jackets but our psyches match as do our hearts. Corny but true.
You are my better half, my foundation, my rock. You inspire me, encourage me, infuriate me and irritate the heck out of me. I am sure these feelings are completely mutual!
Yet I cannot imagine my life without you in it. Even before we were married, you were part of my life, my memories, and my past. There is more of my life with you in it than without you – that alone is something to marvel at, to cherish and to hold close.
You believe in me more than I believe in myself and you have never wavered in your confidence in my abilities. I hope that I have given you some of that back, if only in a small way.
Together we have our children and the life we have forged and honed. Our future looms ahead of us, bright, shining, and waiting to be discovered. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I can’t imagine growing old with anyone else. When I look in your eyes, I see our life together reflected there and it feels like home.
Happy 25th anniversary, honey.  I love you. Here's hoping we have 25 more....

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Last Friday in May

It was our routine the last Friday in May
to make the trip back to the past
a road trip through time though the present was now
we wanted the present to last

the first one for me was in May ’85
and it came at me out of the blue
so many sick people around every corner
I really didn’t know what to do

our first stop was blood work, the lab techs were funny
then on down the hall to x-ray
they all were so cheerful, so upbeat and helpful
while I could find nothing to say

my love was dead calm, he’d been through this before,
please be okay was my thought
when the doctor came in and gave the all clear
I dissolved into tears on the spot

in May ’86, the day before we were wed,
the tests all were perfect, no need to be sad
so we married in peace and said what we said
that’s when the good started replacing the bad

in May ’87 it was more of the same
and by May ’88 it was no longer a maybe
by the good grace of God and a doctor named Venner
we were going to be blessed with a baby

it was a long road for my husband and the cancer he’d fought
so the victory was made even sweeter
the May we went back for the final checkup
and handed our daughter to Peter

our eyes filled with tears and our gratitude flowed
for this place of such love and great healing
this doctor with patience and knowledge and kindness
knew exactly how we were feeling

there aren’t many miracles but I know we were one
and this doctor had helped us to cope
he had given back life to the one I hold dear
more importantly, he’d given us hope.
Dedicated to Dr. Peter Venner, Cross Cancer Institute


Monday, 23 May 2011

I Think I Love You!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to do something I had waited forty years to do and finally realized a teenage dream.  When I was thirteen, my bedroom walls boasted a multitude of pictures of David Cassidy.  Each month, I would wait anxiously at the drugstore for the newest issue of Tiger Beat magazine where I (like many other teenage girls) devoured every word written about this teen idol.  I dreamt of seeing him in concert but alas, I was trapped in northern Alberta while he toured the world and never came anywhere near Edmonton. This didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for all things David, although as I grew up, the photos came down and my dream was downgraded a few notches.

In 1983, I spent a week in New York City and was delighted to find out that David was appearing on Broadway in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Somehow I managed to convince the friend I travelled there with to attend the show (she wasn’t a fan) and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I checked off the box in my list that said ‘see David live’ and moved on, or so I thought.

A few months ago, I discovered David would be appearing at the River Rock theatre in Vancouver and I knew I had another chance to see him perform. This time he would be singing the songs of my teenage years. I also knew I had to go. And this time, there would be no coercing a buddy – I would go alone. The dream was mine and mine alone. My husband, wonderful man that he is, did not laugh – all he said was ‘is your plane ticket booked?” and that was that. I was finally going to see David live, in person, in concert.

Vancouver offered me no end of excitement – from the SkyTrain (I love trains!) to my marina-view hotel suite, I felt like I was living the high life. Even fire alarms sounding in the hotel just an hour before the show was to start didn’t dampen my enthusiasm even though it meant running down nine flights of stairs and hoping I’d get back into my room in time to change for the show. Fifteen minutes before show time, the issue was resolved and I was able to get back into my suite to change. The theatre was a 1,000 seat delight and every seat was filled. I was in row E, almost dead centre.

When David walked on stage, I forgot that he was 61 years old (and that I was older too!). When he smiled and started singing, he was 21 again and it was like I had always imagined it would be – his voice was still strong, his charisma engaging and the overall electricity in the crowd was downright enchanting. We sang, we danced, we laughed and most of all, we remembered what it was like to be a teenager in love with a teen idol. He invited people down to the stage, so I went and was able to shake his hand (yes, I have washed it since!). 

When he finished his last song and left the stage, instead of feeling let down that it was over, I felt exhilarated and validated. It was every bit as fun and corny as it sounds, as magical as it could possibly be. A teenage dream became my middle-aged reality.  Bucket list item #13, check, check and my rose-colored glasses are still in place.

I am learning that it is important to be true to your heart, even if others don’t agree with you. Life is short and we need to live our dreams as much as we can, each and every day.

I can feel my heart beat…and it feels so good!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Life is too short to be ordinary….

My sister and I have a tradition of sending each other packages every few months, filled with treasures that we gather as we go about our days. It’s such a wonderful treat to get one of these parcels especially on a gloomy day or if life is being especially dreary.
We find or make funny or thoughtful cards and write each other letters. Although I love email and texting, I must say that nothing beats a handwritten note from someone to help you feel connected.
Last month was no exception to this tradition. Lip gloss in funky containers, brightly coloured summer socks, a couple of books with interesting titles – Murder by the Glass and Murder Uncorked (Wine Lover’s Mysteries – how fun!). Sets of greeting cards made by artist friends, summer themed earrings and sparkly bracelets add a thoughtful and fashionable touch. Each time I use or wear one of these little gifts, I think of my sister.
The card had the caption ‘Life is too short to be ordinary’, showing a pair of feet in glittery thongs, each a different colour with big flowers adorning the tops and shiny nail polish tipping each toe. It made me smile and reading my sister’s letter made me smile even more.
It’s a small thing to do something nice for someone else but brings immense joy to both the giver and the recipient. We have been sending each other these packages for years and neither of us ever tires of either the thrill of gathering the items we send or opening the shoe box, awaiting the surprise of what is tucked inside the tissue.
It’s an extraordinary way to connect, to share our day to day lives and to keep our sisterly karma flowing.
I am grateful for this sharing and even more grateful for my sister.
She makes my life less ordinary.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

On Being a Mom

There is no school that you go to to learn how to be a mom or a dad - basically, when you find out you are going to be one, you read everything you can so you know how to do it properly. You swear you'll never make the same mistakes your parents did - with your own kids, it will be different because you know what you are doing. Then your baby arrives and from day one, you realize you haven't got a clue and basically you wing it from there, one day at a day. You put your heart and soul into it and hope it's enough.
Over the years I have received many Mother's Day presents, breakfasts in bed and wonderful cards. While they are all special, my favourites are from when our son and daughter were small. As I unwrapped the tissue (okay, it was really 'as I opened the Shoppers Drug Mart bag'), I discovered a package of Teddy Grahams and a juice box - apple, of course. Two small faces shone with joy as we shared my presents - two of their favourite things that they believed with all their hearts that I would love because they did. Fingers sticky with juice were placed on my cheeks as they gave me sweet kisses and mumbled 'appy mubbers day'.
Now those children are grown up and don't eat Teddy Grahams or drink apple juice. Their gifts are also grown up and reflective of the wonderful adults they have become. So sometime, if you catch me in Safeway in the cracker aisle, with tears in my eyes and a Teddy Graham box in my hand, you'll know why. They remind me of the sweet innocent love that only children can give you - the true gift of being a mother. Thanks for the memories, my beautiful children. Love you forever. XXXOOO

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Everyday Fairy Tales Or How Dreams Really Can Come True

Last Friday, Wills and Kate got married in a fairy tale extravaganza. Like millions of other die hard romantics, I must admit I watched the wedding, admired her dress and envied her the dream come true of marrying a prince. Hopefully she has other dreams that will also come true (although not all, perhaps, in such a grandiose fashion).
It got me thinking about dreams, passions and yes, even princes.

This month, I get to realize a few of my own dreams.

Dream #3: Writing. A short story I wrote last year is going to be published in Other Voices Spring 2011 issue. My secret dream for my whole life has been to become a published author. Each time I took a few steps forward, I also took a few steps back as life got in the way (and I let it!).  Now I am pursuing my passion and it is slowly bearing fruit.

Dream #2, Parts A & B: Hawaii and Swimming.  I used to love swimming but over the years, I developed a chronic sinus/middle ear situation that would flare up every time I went into a pool, ocean, lake or basically any body of water (including my own shower if the water hit my ear the wrong way). Two years ago, my husband and I fulfilled Part A of this dream when we visited Hawaii’s Big Island on our first vacation alone since we’d had our kids 22 years ago. We were able to snorkel because I had discovered custom ear plugs (blue!) which prevented the ear infections but I still had sinus problems while using goggles.  On our second trip last year, I purchased a prescription snorkel mask that covers eyes and nose and enables me to see underwater – a double bonus. In a writing spa earlier this year, I wrote about swimming and how much I missed it. I mentioned that I enjoyed at least being able to snorkel. One of the other writers asked me why I didn’t swim with my snorkel mask. AHA moment and hello, Part B of my dream! Now my purple snorkel mask, blue ear plugs and dear husband accompany me to the pool every other night to swim lengths. Felt silly the first few times but quickly got over that when I realized it was the perfect solution to eliminating my sinus/ear problems and therefore allowed me the pleasure of swimming.

Dream #1: My very own prince. Yup, got me one of those too. This month will mark our 25th wedding anniversary and I can honestly say that being loved by someone unconditionally is one of the greatest gifts people can give each other. While this man can irritate me in a heartbeat, he also surprises me with his gentleness, caring and insight on a regular basis. He has always believed in me even when I haven’t believed in myself and I am very blessed to have him in my life.

So while my life may not be the fairy tale that Will and Kate are living, it does have magic, love and happy endings...and all I had to do was believe.