The Gift of a Step-Mom

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Once upon a time, I met a woman named Gil. She was an unexpected addition to my life, an add-on to a cherished relationship. I was polite during our first meeting. I behaved as graciously as I could, considering I didn’t trust that she would stick around. She was my Dad’s new girlfriend, and while my Dad was a handsome and charming fellow most times, he also hosted a dark, brooding side. When he slid into that state of dispiritedness, the demons that haunted his past eventually escaped into the present, and he would become a miserable man. I knew from experience it would take a strong woman to put up with this type of episodic behaviour. So, when Dad brought Gil into my life as an unexpected gift, she was a gift I didn’t ask for, and one I thought was fleeting at best. Boy, was I wrong.

My mom died twenty years ago, and in her absence, she has missed watching my kids grow up and graduating, she has missed chiding me over my tattoo’s, she has missed encouraging my pursuit of writing, and she has missed meeting her great-grandchildren. My mom missed so much by dying too young. Yet, despite the absence of my mom, I was fortunate  enough to share all of my family’s milestones with a wonderful woman named Gil.

This once upon a time stranger, became a treasured friend enriching my life with her never-ending wisened words and exuberant laughter. Our relationship deepened even further when my Dad became housebound with cancer. After his treatments were done, and all hope for recovery was gone, the only wish he had left in his heart was to die at home. Gil made that final dream come true, and while I often went to help, it was Gil that bore most of the burden. She never complained, and her empathy for him was inspiring. It is only in the most difficult of circumstances that we finally come to understand the true nature of people in our lives. During this terrible time, Gil was a stone of strength.

So, it is with great sadness that in the midst of this chaotic world today, the best gift my Dad ever gave me became tattered and worn, a thin shadow of her former self. She was diagnosed with cancer, and in only a matter of months, it had extensively invaded her body, and quite soon after, death rapidly spirited her away. 

Gifts, as I have learned, come in all shapes and sizes, in all styles and wrappings, in all colours and patterns, and the best ones are people. In honour of my step-mom, Gil, I hope that you become one who steps forward to offer themselves as a friendly soul in difficult times. 

It changes lives. God bless you, Gil.

An Absence of Sun

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Welcome friend, it’s come around again, we have officially entered the seasonal shift when morning light has attained a later state of being. These days, when my alarm sounds out, and I battle to pop my peeper’s open, I am greeted by a dungeon-like darkness. The only thing missing is the shackles. And to be truthful it’s not the pitch-black mornings which bothers me the most. It’s the possibility that crude creeping creatures might be hiding in the lightless space. That idea quickly ignites my imagination and brings to life the horror of unexpected slippery touches, bony grasping fingers, and weird grunting noises… And then I remember, my husband is away at work.

And so it begins, the return to the dark and dismal rise and shine time. The absence of the sun has throttled the very breath out of my fun loving demeanour. I find myself prompted to drag the life size skeleton, Mr. Bones from our garage and have him sit beside me on the couch. We lean in towards one another, fleshy humerus to naked humerus and listen to the top ten hits of funeral music. We silently mourn the death of my chirpiness, although to be frank, Mr. Bones seems quite unsympathetic to my current state of being.

I glance out into the blackness of the early morning hours, and summarily decide the stars are grieving too, as they are veiled by a thick coverlet of clouds. The only light in the room is the orange glow from my Himalayan salt rock. I could turn on a real light but that would interrupt the mood. And in all truthfulness, I’m not quite miserable yet, I’m simply setting the scene. I figured I may as well wait and see what happens, after all, misery loves company. I ruminate for a while longer, and soon realize it’s not coming. Misery has snubbed my overture. I drag Mr. Bones back to the garage, and set him on his sled with his sunglasses positioned over his empty eye sockets. His day won’t get much worse than it already is, and at that bright thought, I feel myself smile.

Paddleboard For Peace

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I’ve been contemplating the world from my secluded slice of heaven for a while now. Our lake invites a reflective state as you can see from the photo above. My daughter’s dog, Mica enjoys a good paddle on the water, and I am happy to oblige. My hubby occupies the other board and he struggles to keep up. I revel in the fact that I am faster than he. On land, he is the fleetest of foot, his legs compare to the stilts of a caribou running in front of a wildfire. If he strapped on skis, he’d be akin to a bunny on steroids. If you give him a pedal bike, his legs spin in a blur like the roadrunners in the Looney Toon’s cartoons, “Meep Meep, try to catch me.” So I admit, I practically glow with satisfaction when I look back on him as he wobbles in my wake. He blames it on his weight and the length of his paddle. I, however, patiently tell him, “Your paddle is fine. It’s the way that you use it that counts.”

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Anyway, my grand dog Mica loves to go cruising on the lake with me. She is oddly at ease, sometimes she stands up, and sometimes she sits down, and then there are times she lays across the bow like the July playmate in a Playdog magazine. She trusts me. She believes  I will do my level best to keep us afloat, and so far we’ve done well. We are two different species cooperating for a successful experience.

The contemplative nature of steering across the lake has caused me to toss around the notion that the most troublesome of the world leaders should be required to paddleboard. It should happen on a remote lake in the middle of nowhere. They should be instructed to ride together and then switch up partners taking turns at being the paddler, and then being the passenger. It would be a good teambuilding experiment. It might instigate a sense of trust— no rocking the boat on purpose here. It would be an excellent time to remind them of the beauty of our planet, and how well an ecosystem survives when there is little to no manipulation from human kind. Maybe all leaders should heed the words of Mother Teresa,  If you want to change the world, go home and love your families. (love your people) Just imagine if everyone stopped throwing spitballs at each other, and went home to hug their family and pet the cat?

Out here on the lake, I see no imaginary lines determining countries or property. It looks to be open access for all. On the water, the voice of the wind speaks gently to the trees, and the willowing cry of the loons echoes in the dusky evening light. We see the fish leap and land with a splash causing circles to ripple outwards. The dragon flies glimmer and sparkle in the fading glow, as they dip and dive consuming mosquitos that would feed on our blood. Out here there is a sense of freedom, and a definite detachment from the over populated parts of the world. As we sweep along on the wrinkles of the lake there is no phone by our hand, and no call to be judged or judge. Our hearts are open and our minds are free.  Our particular section of the world is shaded in splendiferous colors and glows offers abundant hope for tomorrow.

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What You Do.

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Photo by Fröken Fokus on Pexels.com

We all begin at the same place, as wide-eyed innocent children, full of wonder, exploring our amazing and magical world. More often than not, it’s the people and the expectations from our culture around us that banishes the sparkle from our existence. We begin to give our attention to what everyone else wants for us as opposed to whatever we might desire. It happens through dogma and brainwashed beliefs. It’s taught to us when our sponge-like minds are ready to soak up knowledge like water from a sink; be normal, work hard, and don’t fool around. Society wants typical, well-behaved, tax paying citizens. Don’t listen. I dare you to ignore the propaganda of all news related feeds. If you want to read something worthwhile, read psychology books, so you can become familiar with human thought processes, and as a result you will find the clarity to live your own future.

I’m here to remind you that living within the constraints of society’s ‘normal’ is soul sucking. It leads you into the robot factory. Rise and shine, eat, have a big poop, go to work, eat, work, come home, eat, watch TV or play video games. Intermittently, you will shop and buy stuff you need; food, clothing, and toilet paper. Much of the time you purchase extra hogwash you don’t really want, or need. Usually, it’s because the television recommended the product, or a fashion magazine demanded you to buy it to remain en vogue.

Let me ask you, what did you do last night? Did you do anything that fed your inner spark that leads to feeling alive? Or did you simply zone out in front of the television while it brainwashed you into new purchases that will max out your credit card? Listen, I don’t want to be a nagging voice. I’m pretty sure you already have one of those. I simply want to say, you are potential incarnate. Don’t settle for where you are, or you will find yourself on autopilot sporting a vapid stare.

Let’s pause for a second my confidante, consider the fact that our bodies are simply blood and bone with some muscle and gristle thrown in for good measure. Consider also, that we are all on a continuous path to the compost heap. Looking at those facts, I have to wonder why we get stuck in the robot life? Why don’t we have some fun while we are here? As a matter of fact, why not have a whole heap of fun? We don’t need to be so serious about our lives. I seriously think we need to drop all the frowsy faces. As a matter of fact I’m going to insist. I’ve changed into a kickass desperado. I’m a brigand with a black balaclava on, fighting for fun. I pump  my 12 gauge shot-gun and fire it into the air to wipe away the vapid stares and frowns faces. “Listen up folks,” I shout. “I’m taking all your frowns. You figure out how to put a smile on your face without using money, because no one goes to the grave with all their stuff. The pyramids are closed for business.” A ray of light shines through the blast hole in the ceiling, dust drifts down like the sparkles from a diamond. I rip off my balaclava and stand in the glittering glow like a fairy godmother in the sunlight. “Tick tock, my friends, the compost heap is near. Decipher what brings enchantment into your life before the clock strikes twelve.”

One last bit of useful advice, ignore all your shoulds, coulds, and woulds that will undermine your ability to create your chosen life. You know what I speak of, I should do that. I would have done that. I could do that. Should, would and could are words that will hold you back because they attached to the energy of a big fat BUT. Speak no more buts, instead, ask yourself; what’s holding you back? Why are you hesitating? How can I make my dreams come true? Grab a hold of your desires today. Begin your plan today to manifest the best life you can imagine. Keep in mind however, that I am not condoning acts of self-mutilation or murder.