Breath momma, breath

My little girl started daycare today....Breath momma, breath. 

While it is hard for anyone to leave their babe in the hands of others for all the obvious reasons - For me leaving Pip is so much more - I mean besides going away for the first time last week with my husband, her and I have never been apart. 

I guess it's also the undeniable fact that while there is still issues, like her little eye contact falling out, developmental delays that come with having Down syndrome or her glasses getting broken - At the end of the day she is thriving and growing up and sometimes I still momma hen her because I remember moments when she wasn't...

Moments when she needed a feeding tube to survive. 


Moments where surgeries to fix her heart and eyes loomed over us. 


Moments when nothing else mattered in the world except holding her in my arms...So, to let her freely walk out of them caused some major momma tears this morning. 


And I know all the "it will be good for her" and "you need this time" and yada, yada, yada goodness that it all will bring. But today I choose to dwell in these tears.


Tears of letting my little girl go.


Tears of being so damn proud of her.



Tears of fear that she's going to be teased, bit, pushed or not accepted.


Tears of excitement to see the impact she has on all those around her.


Tears of peace that her big brother is there with his big, sweet heart and protective bull dog tendencies. 


Tears of acceptance that this is what is needed for our family.


Tears of thankfulness that I had 2 full years with her.


Tears of guilt because I'm a momma and that just undeniably happens. 


Tears of happiness that as soon as I put her down and let her loose in her classroom, another little girl went right up over to her and hugged Pippy hard. That little girl will never know how she helped ease a momma's heart. Because as rationally as I can be, I know this is just daycare, but I can't help get emotionally revved up imagining this all when it comes time for real school. The "will she get teased", "will Noal be there to protect her", "will she be okay" kinda thoughts swirled in and out of her today and her in a few years. So that little girl coming up and hugging her helped the swirls stay positive.


The amazing daycare director and staff sent me pictures and updates throughout the day and I think have already fallen in love with my sweet girl...Pip had a great day - A million times better than Noal's first day or any of my friend's kids days combine. She rocked it like I knew she would yet I still ate too many snickers and got emotionally-crazy-felt-the-need-to-ride-the-change-train-all-the-way and chopped off all my hair. 

I need help and more snickers.




"Throw caution to the wind" - #onelittleword


There is this whole "one little word" thing now that is supposed to simplify making resolutions, goals or your focus for the New Year...One word, sheesh, as a writer that is both excruciatingly challenging & utter nonsense...

I mean I could pick one of many words, that would carry me into 2015:
- Believe
- Shine
- Give
- Love
- Soar
Balance
- Create
- Grow

But hears the thing, while I could own and really try to live by any of these #onelittlewords that could be applied to my life right now - None of them sit well with me for some reason...What resonates with me and what I keep coming back to, is oddly "Throw caution to the wind". No clue why, but that's where my confetti little mind goes. 


For some reason on New Year's Eve I posted this pic of Pip with the words, "Today I'm thankful for the anticipation of all that is possible in 2015...Hope y'all have a year full of moments that knock your glasses off, make you laugh so hard you don't care about your double chin & is full of chances to throw caution to the wind"...


And I guess without knowing, when wishing it upon all of you, in turn I was wishing that for myself...And this week when I go on VACATION, a real vacation not just visiting family with the kids kinda vacation...I want to really think out what that means in my life and for 2015...


I'm hoping to be able to read a book, get drunk and dance with my husband, daydream & set goals for myself & Happy Soul Project and most importantly EAT. SLEEP. EAT. SLEEP. Repeat over and over.

Pip laughs at herself when she tickles her own toes...I mean, come on. Outrageous. 

I've never vacationed at an All-Inclusive-kinda-place before so I have no idea what I'm walking into. But whenever I pictured myself going and according to the sale items I buy at Target and convince myself in the changing room would be perfect in the Caribbean - I always thought I'd have months to get bathing suit ready, instead of going right off the plumpest season called Chocolate-Fest, I mean Christmas....Regardless, I'm squeezing this bootay & momma ponch into a one piece, enjoying every sun-filled second and getting my eat on, big time.


See, throwing caution to the wind...And so it begins. 















Happy Christmas....Traditions that are staying...


At 10:30 am on December 23rd, while still in pjs, baked goods from a Christmas party down our hatches for breakfast and on my second coffee, I glance at Noal's “school” aka daycare calendar & realized Sweet-Jesus-we-gotta-move...Every kid shares a tradition to celebrate with the class & forgottenly {is that a word?} Noal's was being celebrated that day.


video


 What do tell, might his tradition be? Oh you know the classic, "PJ's all day & Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Eve" - That is what I told the Daycare Director, Noal's very first Christmas there right after Pip was born & my mind was all over the map...Not making a gingerbread house, or homemade ornaments, or any of the other brilliant ideas that other kids had on that list. 


But ya know what I stand by it...I believe a tradition is what makes a family happy - And for my family growing up, since no one really cooked, it was all about having a spectacular Chinese food dinner. My scrooge-of-a-husband doesn't believe it counts as a tradition - Oh well, too bad-so sad, it is and it's ours and it's getting passed down.



Here's also what tradition means to me... 
  • Good times...Whether that’s playing games or growing up in a creative environment where songs, music, putting on plays was all part of my childhood...It’s so funny the differences between my family and my husbands - the thought of them all sitting around playing cards just would not happen...Mine however, we can’t get enough - Even if you are utterly exhausted, my dad will pour you another coke, get more chips on the table and start dealing out the cards. I beat him every time and I love it...I want my hooligans to grow up with fun, games, music, excitement and laughter, always laughter...
  • PJ’s and movies...I love that my 3 yr old loves the movie Elf...I may or may not have used the fact that his creepy Elf on the Shelf "Tinker" is Buddy’s Best friend...He walked around for a few weeks saying in Mr.Narwhal’s voice, “Bye buddy hope you find your dad.” Every morning the past, 4, 6, okay 8 days leading up to Christmas he would ask, “Tinker movie momma”...Ummm, ya, heck ya...
  • Chocolate...No need to explain and no need to judge how many Turtles, Pots of Gold or Toblerones were consumed.
  • Family & Friends...Just being with those I love and feeling so magically loved.
  • Speaking of magic, I guess magic...Whether that was believing in Santa, leaving out cookies and carrots for the Big guy and his reindeer, driving around looking at all the lights or feeling it swirl around as we decorated our tree...


    Now as a momma I am learning lots about how to pass that magic on, so these sweet memories will carry my hooligans through...So that when they look back and reflect on moments from their childhood, all they can do is smile.









    P.S - I also believe celebrating Fesitvus is a tradition - Last year my brother gave me a donation in my name to the Human Fund and a Festivus pole was put up in our house...You gotta love Seinfeld to love this...

Shake Away....


My Sweet Pip...
Two years ago when you came into this world, according to the doctor you were what they call a "typical" delivery...But baby girl, let me tell you something, you are anything but typical...


You are changing the world. Plain & simple. Changing it. 


In two years, your little life has shined and what you have accomplished is unbelievable...The lives you've touched, the people you've helped, the perspectives you've changed - Not a lot of people can say they've done that in a life time, let alone two years..


So, you my darling are anything but typical...


And I can honestly say, I'm so very glad...Two years ago that wasn't the case. Two years ago when we found out you had Down syndrome, Congenital Cataracts & a Congenital Heart Defect, I would have done or given anything for a typical baby girl...I was so scared of what "different" would mean.


So while I'm extremely proud of the fact that you are changing other people, it's me, your own momma, who needed changing the most. It's me who needed a change in perspective and it's you, who has done that. 

Pip, I would not want you any other way, you are who you are and I fiercely love you because of it. You teach us that different is beautiful, challenges can be overcome, hard work leads to greater rewards, giggling is good for your soul and life is better when you learn to smile, really truly smile where it starts in your toes...


Before you were born when I was creating your room, I made you a little painting that read, "Life is beautiful because you are here"...That little painting means so much to me, as it is a sign that something greater has it's hand in all of this. When I was consumed with fear, anger and sadness the first few days of your life - I walked into your room, saw that sign and fell to my knees. The message was loud and clear from Fate-God-Whomever, you were chosen to be mine and my life, our lives, would be more beautiful because of it. And my sweet, sweet girl it is indeed...Way more so than I could have ever imagined.


You were meant to be in our family Reid Layne - You were meant to be our daughter, You were meant to be Noal's sister - You were meant to be our Pip - You were meant to take a hold of the world and shake it...


So don't be like the rest of them darling...Ever.

Shake away,




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P.S - Last year, I went all Pinterest crazy and did up a Fancy Tea Party for you - I honestly felt that we needed to celebrate after the year we had...This year I kept er sweet & simple - Literally planned it the day before, gave everyone Starbucks Cakepops and let you play at an indoor playground - This year I felt different in the sense that I've learn to celebrate you all the time. And you are at that insane toddler stage where you will touch-break-destroy any & everything - So germ-infested playground it was...









Great Big Home Town Hug....Thank you Windsor...


Every night before I go to bed, my mind spins & spins about what I need to blog about, wondering where in the world, I will find time to actually put what's in my heart to "paper", if you will...


My husband constantly tells me my mind is like confetti blowing up with ideas, thoughts & dreams all the time. And while I agree with him, it's at night laying there, that the confetti seems to go wild - I mean I have blogs brewing all the way back from September that I want to still share, words I want to get out, stories I want to tell and moments that are important...But it seems the last few months have blurred by in a whirl of trips, tears and talks...


The past few months were filled with numerous road trips to Windsor, one including my best friend's little boy's funeral, so you can just imagine the tears involved there...But the visit before that one was actually quite special because I got to see him outside of the hospital, we even got to hang out with him on Halloween...Oh Halloween, you special, magical night you...

On this same visit I got to experience what I can only describe as a city "hugging" you...For two days we held fundraisers for Happy Soul Project and to feel the love that follows Pip & what we are doing, was utterly, uplifting...And to be honest just what I seemed to need...

I will for once, take a rest and let the pictures and words of others tell the story...But huge thank you's first to: 

  • Denise Cassidy & the Belle River TD Bank who organized an amazing fundraiser, got over 100 Kick-It-Capes, sponsored an outrageously fun night at Mr. Biggs with the band SieraSlave and went above and beyond...
  • Andrew & Karen from Group Hug Apparel who I was overjoyed to finally meet after corresponding for over a year. What an inspiring duo...
  • Margaret and her staff at Sweetheart Baby Boutique who threw just about the sweetest day ever for us - Opening her doors so that others could come out and meet us was so very generous and I'm so very grateful...
  • Kerry Trepanier Photography for coming & capturing both events so candidly - I'm in love with your photos. 
  • My friends & family who helped out whether that was folding shirts, making sure I drank water or beer, face painted, helped take care of my hooligans or simply came out to give me a hug. 
  • And every person far & wide who came to meet and support us...You coming gave such validation to what we are trying to do at Happy Soul Project...It lifted me up, more than you'll ever know. 

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By Stephanie Renaud

On a cold Saturday afternoon at Sweetheart Diapers in Pillette Village, something beautiful happened.  Dozens of people from the community came out to support Tara McCallan and her radiant daughter, the beloved "Pip" as she is so affectionately known. 
Tara and Pip's journey started not even two years ago with the birth of this beautiful soul.  Like any of us, Tara was not prepared for the diagnosis of Down's Syndrome that would closely follow.  Initially devastated, Tara's bold, brave spirit has led her to rise to the occasion with grace and courage that has inspired and touched so many lives.   
Originally from WIndsor, Tara seized the moment and created Happy Soul Project to celebrate the message that "Different is Beautiful".  At first through her blog and then through Facebook she reached out to the world, courageously sharing her story so that people might understand, and so that others in her shoes might not feel so terribly alone.  Little did she know that it would resonate so strongly with so many people. 
Here in Windsor, that Saturday afternoon it was clear that the message had been received.  The small storefront of Sweetheart Diapers burst at the seems with all manner of people, men, women and children of all ages.  Everyone was there to celebrate Tara and Pip's message and maybe get a hug from the little dynamo herself.  
The Project has many facets, including Happy Soul Project Apparel, the "Different is Beautiful" Calendar, the "Kick it" capes to encourage children who are struggling, along with many other initiatives and projects already in motion.  It's not just about Down's Syndrome either.  This message resonates with all people, and families that recognize something in themselves that makes them different - diabetes, learning disabilities, cancer, glasses, autism, adhd, all manner of behavioural diagnoses, skin colour..... if it makes you different, this message is meant for you.  
After the event had finished, Tara said that she felt like it was "a great big hug from the community."  This is what she takes away.  Not the number of shirts she sold, not the number of people who came, but the energy of the whole experience.  To feel as though she has been put upon this path and that it continues to resonate with so many and gain momentum everyday.  This is what fuels her journey. 
It is worth noting here that since this event took place another beautiful miracle unfolded in the face the tragedy and suffering.  Upon the loss of her best friends son Maisyn to cancer, the community in Windsor again rose to the call and provided "Kick it" capes for an entire family, as well as the staff of the funeral home that housed the celebration of this little boys life.  On a days notice.  The heroism and selfless service that has arisen through this project is and continues to be deeply awe inspiring.  
Visit Kerry Trepanier Photographer HERE to see full albums of events
As Happy Soul moves into the future Tara envisions touching more lives in more ways through more initiatives including (but by no means limited to) work program for disabled individuals,  speaking engagements, and perhaps someday, writing a book. 

Celebrate the message. 

Different IS beautiful. 

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So, like I said, it felt like one big hug - Thank you Windsor - You are a good Home Town.

Till the next time Windsor....