Worth it...

Days like today make me re-hash everything she's been through medically, discover where she falls developmentally according to doctors and makes me want to punch the word "milestone" in the neck.

Days like today make me understand how her needs will likely be met & hope special equipment & accommodations will be provided. 

Days like today make me re-live what I don't often reflect on; surgeries, illnesses, hospital stays & medications. 

Days like today make me feel the heavy of heart defects, Congenital CataractsHypothyroidism, Celiac Disease & all Down syndrome carries along for the ride.

Days like today I feel myself on the verge of slipping into a rut. 

But then I think of her. I think of what she brings to the table. I think of her how she's changed my world. I think of what she does for our family, our hometeam. I think of all the walls she's broken, milestone development charts she's proved wrong & the fact that she connects with me, with us, so deeply simply by being herself. I think of all the joy she brings, the contagious smile that no one can refuse & her need to get down to a beat, as much as humanly possibly.

 I think of her this morning, as she patiently waited for me to "find her." How she'll never really know, how nice it is to start my day with her face just beaming of love. 


I think of her this morning, as she tried so very hard to communicate. Her "toooo-ast" that she demanded for breakfast, followed by her ferociously signing "music" & then yelling out "Ma, Momma, Mom" cause I took too long for her liking. 

I think of her this morning, as she proudly picked out her own sandals, took her dad by the hand & led him to the front door to take her to "school-aka-daycare."

I think of all the way-too-many-to-count beautiful moments that she brings into our lives every day. And all I know, despite days like today, is aren't we ever lucky...

It's not just a sign...

In our home, there is this one wall, that for over a year now, I've imagined the perfect piece of art to represent my little family. And for some reason, I kept coming back to the idea of a Subway sign. 

I wanted a symbol to look at daily, of how this all started, the journey we've traveled on thus far & the love it's brought into our lives. 

When I met my husband in Windsor, I was a cocktail waitress & he was a poor University student. We had barely any money, a whole lotta love & some big, adventurous dreams. 

With a suitcase each, we kissed our family & friends goodbye & moved abroad to Dublin, Ireland. We lived in literally a one room apartment, I used the 4 kitchen cupboards to store clothes, we drank way too much Guinness, met amazing people & made memories, I'm sure we'll talk about till the end. 

Since then, we've had three kids, moved a bunch of times, lived in numerous cities and discovered a love so beautifully chaotic it makes me believe in fate. My husband often tells me that he knew after our first date that he loved me & I often question if maybe deep down I knew too. 

Maybe that boy who tried to give me a high-five after the "best first date he's had" was always the boy for me. Maybe fate knew this was the boy I needed. This was the partner who balanced me out. This was the man who makes our Hometeam work. 

And this was the sign that reminds me of it all. Can't thank Art By Kelly for getting it so perfect. 

"Doctors & Astronauts"

It started last night, when I rocked her to bed. When I whispered, "I love you sweet girl" and she "whispered" a bumble of words I take as "love you too".

It was there as we took one last twirl, the last dance if you will, for the day & she continually signed for "more".

And then today, picking out the perfect dress, braiding her hair & finding sandals that would stay on her bloody-Houdini-feet.

It stuck around as I watched her hug her brother with 110% effort & then quickly kiss me to bugger off & play as I dropped her off at daycare.
This strong feeling of overwhelmingly pride & sense of fear in learning to let go, consumed me - Such a mix bag of emotions having my sweet Pippy Layne graduate Preschool/Daycare today...
We sat at the very back of the room, cause I was on the later side arriving. Shocker!!! The Director started talking about how these little 3 and 4 year old's are the next generation of "Doctors & Astronauts" and if I'm being honest, I kinda twinged a wee bit inside. Maybe Pip, like she always does, will surpass all my expectations, but a part of me kinda knows those professions, just ain't in the cards. Before, I could dwell too deeply, the graduates entered the room. And Eagle Eyes spotted her momma.
And then pretty much game over. The songs she learned with her class, not a chance. Practicing walking up to get her diploma, good try. Watching the adorable slideshow, forget about it.
She wanted nothing to do with anything, except me.
For awhile, I had to bend down at the front of the room with her in my lap and I thought my dress was literally gonna split open, which would have been just super.
Point is, today isn't at all what I hoped. I pictured her smiling and goofing off, waving proudly and loudly to us, showing off the songs she's been working on with her class. Instead she was shy, clingy, in a bit of a mood & refused to let me put her down.
Today I had planned to learn to let go, but turns out, that's not what Pip needed. And I'm okay with that...
I figure we've come this far together, me & her. So, maybe it was fitting to walk today hand in hand, knowing all that we've been through. Maybe before we open the door to what's next, we needed to close this one together.
And don't y'all worry, I explained everything to her. I mean, who needs to go outta space, when you're leaving a significant footprint on this very planet.

The Short Bus...

Dear Mariah in Grade 5, "actually a Grade 5/6 split class", who wants to be an "artist & writer like me". Who has been "talking to Noal" & can't wait to see Pip next year - "I mean I can't wait it's like when you order something amazing but it takes a long time to get here." 

Your sweet, little letter & handmade presents made my day. Noal & Pip were like you predicted, "happy to get mail". Thank you for making Noal feel so special on the bus & for being so excited for my little girl to start Kindergarten. What you did was really, really thoughtful.

But you will never understand the perfect timing & way it kinda eased a momma's heart. You see Mariah who believes, "What makes you different is what makes you beautiful", not everyone does. 

And my momma heart was kinda sad & stressed about that lately. 

Pip as cute as she is & as confident as she is, is still just my little girl. And some people don't see the world & the beauty it holds as clearly as you do. Some people don't see Pip for who she is but instead for the differences she has. 

A few weeks ago Mariah, I had a meeting with your school. And while it made me feel happy knowing how much the teachers there care, how much they will look after her and keep her safe - It also brought up issues that made it blatantly apparent that my little girl is different and has different needs. 

Take the bus for example - You so kindly offered to look after Pip, to "sit with her and keep her safe". And I so wish, I could take you up on that offer Mariah - But this is one of those times that sometimes makes me a little bit sad. You see, Pip will have to take a different bus. A bus that is guaranteed to keep her safe. One that has seat belts and less people. It's a smaller bus, some might call it the "short bus". 

The "short bus" Mariah is what makes me sorta sad. I'm sad in this scenario that Pip has to be "different" - I'm sad she doesn't comprehend bus safety yet. I'm sad she is too little to climb the big stairs on your bus. I'm sad no one can guarantee that my son can go on the bus with her until closer to September. I'm sad she won't get to wait at the bus stop and meet cool, girls in the older grades like you. And if I'm being 100% honest I'm sad because the term "short bus" holds such a stigma & I'm scared other kids will tease her. 

But the really amazing thing is, I'll only be sad for a wee bit. That's the magical part about Pip. Sometimes you feel sad about a scenario for a second or two, but then Pip surprises you with how awesome she really can be. And you realize there was nothing to be sad or worried about in the first place. 

And your letter Mariah, believe it or not, held a bit of magic to it too. 

So thank you...

Love Pip's momma

Happy Soul Project Non-Profit Organization

A few months ago I put out a "call for help" to re-design & work with me on a new website to launch Happy Soul Project as a Non-Profit Organization. It's with the happiest of hearts, I introduce you to the team at Hurricane & Harbour {More on them in a later blog post} who spend countless amounts of time making my vision become a reality.

Friends, launching this new website today, is like releasing a dream that somehow has always been within me. It's such a powerful and personal accomplishment in my life.

I've come to understand that Happy Soul Project is my purpose & I'm hoping the new site shows that. Now you can read the blog, shop or visit the non-profit side of things all on the same site. You can nominate a child for a Kick-It-Cape, help the cause & donate or check out our new initiative, Change Makers.

In a way all of this feels surreal. Sometimes I wonder how in the bloody world, any of this happened. I mean there are days I literally don't have time to brush my teeth or I literally don't have the energy to get the kids outta pj's. So, the fact that I run a blog, shop & now a non-profit organization truly blows my own mind.

In a few hours I am giving another school talk - This time at the elementary school I attended as a child.

I'm sure it will be weird to walk the halls again, to remember the classrooms as a little girl, I would daydream about becoming a writer in. To see a part of me from that time & now stand before students telling them that dreams with hard work really can come true. Cliché I know, but so undeniably true. I also want them to understand though, that sometimes you have to be open to opportunities in different ways. Going to college for Journalism & writing for a newspaper, was what I thought would make me a writer. That "kind of writing" though was not for me - My heart was not in reporting the facts, it was in sharing my story. So while, dreams can definitely become a reality, sometimes ya just gotta get creative in getting there.

I hope today the little girl sitting in the room I once did, the little boy daydreaming in the spot I use to sit & the kid in trouble about to go to the principal's office, like I use to have to, realizes & finds their purpose one day, like I have.

I hope you love it as much as I do...Click HERE if you haven't already linked to new site.