#Soulmates


Dear Pip,
Tomorrow we leave the outrageously awesome week we've been having in Windsor to bring you to SickKids for your bloody-completely-not-fair-11th surgery.


Being here has thrown things off a bit. Normally, you sense this coming because at night I rock you abnormally long, letting tears fall once I think you are asleep, only to have you say nothing but wipe them away with your little hand. Normally, you know when I'm taking you out of your crib, we aren't eating breakfast, you're staying in pj's & we are driving while it's still dark out. Normally, we see the same receptionist who has a Teddy Bear for you and a few snickers for me. Normally, it's nurses we know, hospital gowns you've probably worn before & the operating team is used to my full-on-singing-Adele-like-I-am-giving-a-freaking-concert in my effort to send you off to sleep with something you love. Normally, I know what hallway I can collapse in tears in, before I pull myself together & start shovelling Snickers down my hatch till I get called in to see you in recovery.



But this week has thrown that all off.



This week instead I just watched you. With your grandparents & Aunt Donna. With your brothers & Dad. With my friends & their kids. With any and every stranger you met.



And my sweet girl, I was in awe.


  








I always am. Your light shines brighter than any light I've ever seen. And I'm constantly finding myself wanting to be more like you.



Plan & simple. You are my soulmate Pippy Layne.



You fill a piece of my soul so beautifully differently - That I wouldn't have found me without you.



So, while this time, things leading up to the surgery were outta-norm, I promise you a few things:

  • I will sing just as loud & own it like I have all the other times. And I think it's safe to say we are gonna go with your current favourite, thank you Kindergarten, "O Canada".

  • I may not have gotten to rock you all week, but laying & sleeping beside you was exactly what I needed. I couldn't take my eyes off of you. I tried to memorize your face. How you breath. The way you would wake up every time I coughed, pat my back and say, "You otay momma, you otay". The funny noises you make as you're drifting back off. Everything. Because I am so God damn scared. Like always. That I may lose you.

  • And I promise you that even though this surgery feels a little bit different, NOTHING, Absolutely NOTHING, on the planet feels as incredible than when you are back in my arms.


I need you back in my arms. Okay?

I need you.

Always.

Be Brave my darling.


Love Mom



And then I apologized...


Therapies for Pip have always been a sore spot for me. I wrote this years ago, but it rings exactly true to yesterday during a speech assessment when I lost my marbles:

"I have a love/hate, okay mostly hate relationship with Pip's therapy stuff. I love that it is available & we are being proactive instead of reactive. I love that the people involved seemed to actual care about Pip's progress & are helpful & supportive. I love that we really have seen her develop the last few months- almost as if catching up from the slow start she had at the beginning. But all that positive stuff being said- I still hate it. I hate that it even has to happen..."




Imagine...


Therapist shows Pip a drawing of 6 items & then asks questions to determine her comprehension. 


"Pip what do you watch cartoons on?"


Pip looking at me. 


Me: "I don't think I've ever used the word cartoon to any of my kids. Ask her what she watches shows on."


As soon as I said that, Pip points to the drawing of the tv-made-in-1967. 


So, my problem not only with the Dick-and-Jane drawings, is that, you apparently can't change the words or make any type of gestures - You can't possibly adapt in anyway. 



And these out-of-date-in-the-box-stringent-standardize assessments/tests kinda-sorta-make me cringe. 


My child doesn't get it-right-if-you-will, because she's never heard the word cartoon. 


UNFAIR. 


And I let her therapist know it. 


I ROARED. 


And then had to step back. 


I BREATHED.


And then I was assertive & voiced aggressively what I thought. 


I BECAME A prideful-bi-at-ch-of-a-momma-bear.


And then I sent the therapist an apology email trying to explain from a momma's-point-of-view, why I got-like-I-got. I explained that we have weekly specialist appointments & spend full days at doctors offices and in 2 weeks we are bringing Pip for her 11th surgery. That the handful or more of other medical needs in her life have taken precedent & that speech is something we took on a lot on our own. That through educating ourselves, Signing Times, Youtube videos & minimal speech therapy, she's come a helluva-a-long-way and that so many elements can affect her not wanting to co-operate or "perform" in that setting. And that while I realize she was doing her job, I hope she can understand that these "assessments/tests" sometimes feel like a real kick-in-the-balls...


#onwardandupward #damnyoudickandjane


#wingingithard


Just representing my home, The City of Kingston, that's hosting The Breakout Project


No pressure at all...
And in two days, I give an hour-long-speech at a Queen's University Philanthropy Conference, that I literally only have 5 key points to share, written with my kids marker on the back of a teacher's note. I'm going into it, the very definition of "winging it" for 56 outta the 60 minutes.
This could go ANYWHERE.
And public speaking is NOT my thing.
May I remind you:
I announced my 3rd pregnancy while giving a Ted Talk and told a tv host my ponch wasn't Doritos, but a BABY!

I blamed an entire country and it's magical ways, referring to our 3rd as #blameJamaica on a CBC radio show.
I gave a Huffington Post interview with no pants on.
And one news agency referenced, "Mom's ugly cry" when describing my reaction to seeing Pip's billboard.
So, I'm gonna go ahead and give myself some grace, bring my scribbled notes, my distracted-mommed-out-brain & face these big chats by simply sharing a wee bit of me.

#nowtheponchisallDorito

#RefuseToSink


Today I'm thankful for a partner who buys ice cream when he knows I've had one-hell-of-a-day... 


Yesterday, we waited over-an-hour to see one of Pip's specialist & the entire time, she was an absolute gem. Playing doctor, watching videos, dancing & even colouring with another kid for a bit. But, the moment the doctor came in, she went absolutely bananas. I mean, angrily signing & yelling, while somehow finding the most awkward way to drape herself all over me like a limp doll. She was just past her point. 



And I get it. Trust me, I do. 



Cause when the doctor said, "She'll have to get surgery within the year" in regards to something we weren't expecting, I kinda went absolutely bananas myself. 




In a few weeks, Pip has major eye surgery & we were just gearing up for all that it entails. The long recovery process, the emotional & mental stress it so kindly brings & the fact that it will be her 11th time getting put out. She's only bloody FOUR... 


Coming off the scary week we just had, her being dangerously low & fighting a virus with #T1D, was not the best time to hear she needs a surgery that will put her wee-little-legs in casts for 6 weeks. 



Sometimes, I seriously don't understand how God-the-Universe-Whomever, thinks that one child can handle all that she has. 



We are a little bruised, but we will fight on...






#refusetosink 

Instead of saying anything, I did nothing...


Today I'm thankful she teaches me to always be kind to others, even if I'm in a right-snarly-mood & want to teach someone a lesson. Yesterday, we had one of Pip's what-feels-like-bazillionth specialist's appointments & as much as I wanted to school this little old lady, I let my daughter do it instead. 



In a waiting room, no matter what, Pip always draws attention. Mostly, people smile or engage in small talk which lights her up. But every once in awhile, I get "that look" when they realize Pip has Down syndrome.



It's a look that I instantly pick up on now & if I let it, it has the power to make me want to cry-yell-shake-and-scream. It's a look of sheer pity with a sympathy smile added on top. It's a look that truly makes me cringe & want to get on a soap box to preach my daughter's worth. 



But this time, instead of saying anything, I did nothing. 



I let the little old lady watch as Pip and I giggled up a storm. I let the little old lady watch as Pip said hi to any & everyone who entered the room. I let the little old lady watch as Pip helped a baby when he fell & held the hand of a nurse she adores. I let the little old lady watch as Pip asked for music & then danced in her chair, making everyone instantly smile. And I let the little old lady watch as my daughter signed & said, "Love you Mom" over & over. 


And then when they called our name to be finally seen, I took off the imaginary sign, I felt like I was wearing around my neck that read, "DO NOT PITY MY LIFE" & turned to the little old lady with the biggest-smile-showing-my-upper-gum, proudly grabbed my daughter's hand & walked away... 


Why I share on Social Media... #WDSD


Being a blogger. Being a mom. Being a human - In today's world with social media, sharing your life is sorta the norm. Whether you write-snap-tweet or post, we all kinda open up & share our lives to some capacity.


For me - It's my voice. And because of y'all, it's become this really loud, outrageously awesome, strong VOICE, that has some how put a dent in the universe. It's helping create a world, where different is beautiful and people are proud to be who they are. It's inspiring an environment where all people are valued & encouraging inclusion as much as we possibly can. It's my platform to demand change, so that my daughter & others always feel safe, respected & accepted. 

[The Cities of Windsor & Kingston have proclaimed March 21st to be World Down syndrome Day #amazeballs]


And I'm so beyond humbled y'all have given it to me.




But, all that being said. Sharing stuff. Being a blogger. A writer. A proud-momma-showing-off-her-kids. A human in today's media age. It sometimes becomes a bit much. Or a comment will rub ya the wrong way. Or someone will be out-right-ignorant & write words so ugly & hurtful about Down syndrome, 
it sometimes makes me question why I do any of this. 



Why I share my life. My children. My everything. 



And then days like today happen. March 21st - World Down syndrome Day. And you can literally feel the "world" celebrate HER...



You see friends & their kids rocking #lotsofsocks. You see people posting pics in their Happy Soul Project shirts. You see people tagging you or creating hashtags with your daughter's name in them. You see your husband tuck his shoes into a pair of neon green, florescent pink & bright blue socks on his way to work. You see your son proudly ask the bus driver, "Happy Down syndrome Day Abby. You got your socks on?". And you see a school & a classroom come together and literally celebrate her so hard, she was giving out hugs like it was her birthday. 



[Hugging her Big Brother - #swoon]

And it all makes sense.



Why, when she was three days old, cradled in my arms and doctors were giving us the positive test results regarding Down syndrome, my life changed forever. 



One specialist looked at me straight in the eyes and said, "Don't worry, we can prevent this from happening again if you have a third baby." 


That man will never know the fight he created, the stir for change he inspired & the simple fact that there is no way a diagnosis can predict the extraordinary love a momma will have for her child. He could never possibly know, how his words would in turn create such divine purpose in my life. 


And that is why I share what I share and do what I do. Because I feel my daughter's impact on the world everyday. But, especially on days like today. 



Happy World Down syndrome Day...


Love 
One Lucky momma


#WDSD, #DownsyndromePROUD

#BOPPA - The Man, The Myth, The Legend...


Dear Dad, 

Not many can say they have a Dad like I do. And today on your birthday I just want you to know, that I truly believe God-Fate-the-Universe-whomever, definitely knew what it was doing, when it decided you were the man to raise me...







And as an added bonus you may just be the best grandpa on the planet - My kids couldn't possibly love or idolize you more...





I mean, come on.




Dad, my life has been thrown plenty of curve-balls & your constant support and positivity has helped me deal with it, as I have. So thank you. You equipped me well. I guess in a way, you kinda showed me what it’s like to live with a Happy Soul, regardless of what life brings your way.



I love you Peter Pan. Happy Birthday...









P.S – Working with you on our mural for the John McGivney Children's Centre in Windsor has been a dream come true. I can’t wait to work together on our Pippy Layne Book Series!



P.P.S – I can’t believe you found the other shoe...




P.P.P.P.S – Stop drinking so much Coca-Cola – I’m serious.



P.P.P.P.P.S - Watch out for this prezzie in the mail!!!



#BOPPA, #manmythlegend

Lend someone YOUR strength...


Day 1263: Today I'm thankful for friends who I am in awe of. 
Today after finding out Theo has croup & talking with a surgeon to book Pip's 11th surgery, I thought, "Holy feck Universe, bloody ENOUGH!"... 


But then the person who lost her little boy to what my baby has, reached out to me & in a way let me borrow some of her strength.



And I think that's the amazing thing about women. We lend everything we got. Literally...



Our bodies, our hearts & our strength. We raise children, scratch that, we miraculously BIRTH human beings. We then give all our EVERYTHING into making them good human beings. We are the GLUE that holds marriages, friendships & families together. And we are POWERHOUSES when it comes to heartbreak, difficulties & challenges in life. 

[Check out one-footforward.com - Sidenote: Noal is just one here & I'm 5 months pregnant with Pip]

I'm in awe of some women in my life. And I'm so thankful for that.
 





#lendsomeoneYOURstrength




[All that was going through my mind at the time, "DO NOT drop the bacon dip."]

[One year old Noal]

How a momma-of-three turned into a "Smoke-Show"...


For the first time since the baby has been born & since Pip's Type-One-Diabetes diagnosis in the summer, my husband & I got to go outta town for the night.



I left that morning looking like this: 




Feeling frumpy & normal & cute. 



I'm a momma of 3-kids-under-five. My life is chaotic, exhausting & it's to the point now, where I'm only putting on makeup once a week. I live in jeans & leggings, a rotation of 7 tee's & I've been box-dying my hair since last spring. I'm still carrying baby weight and can't recommend SPANX enough. But on the weekend my husband was getting an award for being so kick-ass at his job & it was a night I needed to step it up a notch.



But the thing is I'm so outta practice. 


I haven't been out to an evening where you get that dressed up in ages. Probably years. And my husband's "Cocktail-Formal" dress-code threw me right off. So, in a panic I bought 4 dresses planning to return the ones that didn't make the cut. Then the day before we left, a message was sent to remind people it would be rather chilly during cocktail hour because it was out in a winery. 



Bloody hell.



I didn't want to shawl or scarf or blazer it up. So I dug back deep in my closet. Back to 2003 when I bought this long sleeve marvel at Value Village. 



I then snugged my momma-body into it, got glammed up on the makeup side & was feeling pretty good until I went to put on my shoes. In my mind, they were the perfect pair of heels for the dress & a Christmas gift from my mom. Only problem - they were two-freaking-right-heels & I had no other choice but to contort my left foot into one.




The whole ordeal kinda made my confidence in pulling off a Value Village dress shake a bit. But then I text my girlfriends with my unbelievable luck & they totally boosted me up & sooooo many people asked, "Where that killer dress" was from - I mean I was even referred to as a "Smoke Show" - Hello, I don't recall EVER being called that!!! And my entire look from jewelry to two-right-heeled pumps was under $40 minus the miracle of Spanx.


So, the moral of the story gals, is rock whatever the heck ya can. Or be way the heck more prepared than I ever am.