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An Adult

I've written a thousand different beginnings to this stubborn blog post, but can't seem to express what I want to say. I've wanted to say something since attending Aunt June's funeral last month, but just can't spit it out. So I'm just going to throw whatever comes out onto my keyboard and hopefully it's comprehensible in some way, shape, or form.

I have these fleeting, existential moments where I realize that although I may not feel like I have "grown up," I am, in fact, a "grown up." I have kids and adult responsibilities and, heaven forbid, there are now people younger than me and more cool than me and still content in the luxuriant innocence of youth and a more young adulthood than myself. Which means I should now be gracefully stepping into the mature and sensible shoes of a full fledged adult.

Something that always seems to come to mind when I think of the memorable adults in my life as a child, youth, and young adult, is that they always managed to make me feel, for lack of a better word, famous. Like I was someone worth seeking out to speak to, interesting to know, and so much more than just some punk kid. Aunt June was one of those adults.

Aunt June was definitely not my biological aunt, in fact, I can only think of one family in my hometown of Raymond, Alberta, that could rightfully call her by that title, but that didn't stop the entire town from knowing her by that moniker. She came to my basketball games, my show choir performances, and my plays, but then again, every other kid in Raymond could say the same thing. She approached me and spoke to me without hesitation, figuring out who my parents were and then taking me under her wing. And with the limited perspective of a self-conscious teenager, I genuinely felt quite famous to have this woman who was little more than a stranger show so much attention to me. And I'm positive I'm not the only one.

(taken from her obituary, you can read here)

So in those moments I recognize my membership in the adult world and contemplate the type of adult I'd like to be, Aunt June comes to mind. So does Jane McMullin, another iconic woman from Raymond who could tell you how the two of you were related and then make you feel like a million bucks just because you got out of bed that morning. I want to make the people I come across feel good about themselves, especially the young people. I want to make them feel famous. Which, when I think about it, is really what being an adult is all about. It's about being grown up enough to realize that those still growing up need the attention and validation you once had while you were growing up. It's about realizing there are so many more people than just yourself and ignoring your fears about what someone might think about you in an effort to make them feel great about themselves. That's the kind of adult I want to be.

Summer Journal 2018

I'm taking a bit of a different approach to my journal this summer, if anyone cares to know. It was a huge commitment to journal everyday last year and I'm just not up for it again. Instead, this year I've created "Summer Passports" for my girls and then my own journal will follow along with them.

Essentially, the summer passports are just a bucket list of things to do this summer but given a passport type spin to make them more interactive for the girls.

The first couple of pages are for "tallies." There are a few fun things we do throughout the entire summer, so instead of marking it down just once, these pages are for them to mark a tally down every time we do it.

The rest of the book is filled with more traditional type passport pages, where after completing the activity we'll put down a sticker, mark the date, and I'll ask them what they thought of it and write that down in their own words.  There are four sections: playgrounds; nature; rainy days; and to-do.

Then in my journal, I have a page dedicated to each one of these activities where I'll put a picture taken while doing it and write out how it went.

I also have some other pages for items that I'd like to accomplish this summer that are just for ME, such as going on a day hike, going bridge jumping, etc. The lastly, I have a two page spread dedicated for each week of the summer so I can journal once a week.

Why the heck do I have this all done already? Because Jon is a student, so summer means May through August, whether the snow is melted or NOT! We plan to play hard this summer!!! Who wants to join us?

Go Away Winter

Last summer I made a goal to write in a journal EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have a Polaroid ZINC printer, so most entries also have a cute little photo taken from that day as well. It was a lot of work, but I did it all for one important purpose: so that when I reached TODAY, I could look at it.

What was today, you might ask? Today was the day I reached my breaking point of wishing winter would LEAVE US THE HECK ALONE!!! Last winter I barely managed to exist through a stupor of seasonal depression and I knew I needed to do something to prevent that from happening again this year. So I figured if I made a journal documenting every single day of the summer, I could look back on it for the strength to continue on until summer graced the planet again. There were a bunch of other things I did this winter that also helped with keeping the misery at bay, but when winter refuses to back the heck off, one can't help but have a day dedicated to despair. Here are some of the highlights from my little journal that lifted my spirits today.

One thing that stood out while looking at the journal was remembering just how utterly EXHAUSTED I was by the end of last summer. I spent most of the summer pregnant and then caring for a new born. I made the trip back and forth from Calgary to Raymond more times than I care to count, sold a car, and bought a new van. I printed over 400 t-shirts and spent a fat chunk of time selling and delivering them to help fund a high school reunion, which I also helped plan and hosted at my parents house. My beloved Grandpa Gibb passed away and was honoured with the most beautiful funeral I have ever attended. Our family went on a fun little vacation to Baynes Lake at the very end of the summer. I hate to admit it, but I was actually a little relieved when summer ended because the constant need to be going and playing as hard as we possibly could was over. Which made me look at winter in a new light. If I didn't have these months to recharge and hate the weather, I probably wouldn't enjoy summer as much as I do. Summer means soaking in every single day and doing as many fun things as you possibly can in those few precious months. And without winter coming along and making me absolutely categorically insane with cabin fever, I probably wouldn't have the same sort of motivation to cherish summer like I currently do. With that being said, I'm pretty certain that I have had enough of THIS winter to make me really, really appreciate this summer. So.. uh... any day now, spring would be cool.


A Fantastic Father Someday

One of the first things I remember knowing about Jon was the fact that he would one day be a great father. Obviously I knew a lot of more transparent things about him up to that point; he liked snowboarding, he was 1/2 Ecuadorian, he had just competed on an episode of Wipe Out Canada, etc. But the first time I caught a glimpse of the heart and soul of that handsome, mysterious dude, it was this: "He's going to be a fantastic dad someday."

We had just been flirting having a snowball fight outside his parent's house and had come back inside to get warm. We were sitting at a respectable distance from each other on the couch while watching an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos. You know what it's like to do something with someone you have a big crush on? How you're 50% invested in the activity, but the other 50% is invested in just soaking in every little thing about them; how they react, the way they smile, the sound of their voice when they say something? I began to notice a trend as the show went on; the home videos that Jon laughed at were always of little kids. The show continued and we laughed and we flirted and then suddenly a video was shown, and I would give anything to remember what the video was of, besides it being of a funny little kid, when Jon let out what I would later come to know as his most genuine, unadulterated laugh. His head fell back against the couch, his eyes shut tight, his mouth opened in laughter, and his hands both clutched at his stomach. And then the voice in my head said it. "He's going to be a fantastic dad someday."

Now, if you really, truly knew me back then, you would remember that kids and marriage and a life of domesticity were definitely not on my radar. I was having fun! And kids actually terrified me, so I told dead baby jokes to disguise my fear. Why in the world would I have thought of that?

Fast forward six months. I got to attend the Canadian National Recreation Summit in Lake Louise as a student recorder. It was a big deal for a student in my field, it was a big deal for me! But my heart just wasn't in it. I longed to be back in Calgary hanging out with my boyfriend. And then one afternoon, Richard Louv spoke on his book "Last Child in the Woods," and on things like "Nature Deficit Disorder," and a fire was lit in my heart. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to be a good one and I wanted to give my kids the kind of magical childhood that I had, outdoors. And then I remembered: "He's going to be a fantastic dad someday."

The rest is history, well, history and history in the making. He is such a fantastic dad. He is the better good cop and the better bad cop and I don't blame the kids for preferring to have him around. We live with my parents right now and while Jon is at school, they tell me almost daily how, "Jon is such a good dad." He plays harder and disciplines better and teaches more often and is more thoughtful and attentive than I could ever dream of being. And now that I have all this proof in front of me of the kind of father Jon is, I can't help but think back to that afternoon almost 7 years ago. It wasn't just a random thought, it was a witness and a prompting and one of the best directions I've been given in my life. "He's going to be a fantastic dad someday," is what the voice said, and what it didn't say, but meant is that, "No one is going to know this better than you."