The Student & The Teacher

Ten Lessons My Sons Taught Me About Living.

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Eleven years ago everything changed when I became a Mom.

Almost twelve years ago you were born and since then my world has never been the same. You have brought so much joy, love and adventure to my life. Thank you.

Thank you for your curiosity, patience and the many lessons you continue to teach me on this journey together. Here are just a few of them.

1. On love

You have taught me what love is. What loving with my whole heart looks like and holding nothing back. And through this love, I have learned to love myself again. By taking care of myself, physically, emotionally, spiritually, you learn about love. You learn how to treat yourself, by how I treat myself. You learn how to love yourself, by how I love myself.

When faced with a decision, the answer is love. It’s always love.

Your openness and compassion has reminded me that when given an option, to always choose love.

2. On Courage

I thought I was courageous before you came along. I’d bungee jumped, skydived, hand-glided and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I went scuba diving with sharks, tented in a game reserve and lived in huts with no water source for miles. I even went on a silent 10-day meditation retreat — which presented it’s own challenges. I like to physically push myself, but it turns out I have limits when opening up and being vulnerable.

But I see you. I see you stand up for your friends. I see you empathizing and speaking up about the environment. I see you sharing with me when you are disappointed, excited or angry. You risk, knowing that you may not get the answer you want or the support you deserve, but you do it anyways.

I’ve learned that I can’t fix everything for you, nor should I. You learn through your experiences.

3. On Imagination

There is something magical about the way you revel in the simplest of things. Your awe and wonder fill each moment — a tiny bug, a fallen leaf, the perfect climbing tree. Your curiosity is contagious.

Never stop exploring…

Thank you for your gift of curiosity and teaching me to slow down and dream BIGGER.

4. On Exploring

You’ve taught me to revel in natures beauty and to savour each moment, regardless of how small it may seem. Simple things like laying in the hammock and examining the clouds, watching the sunset or eating dinner and on the paddleboard.

You have always had a strong connection with nature and seem to spend most of your time on all fours, marveling at a shiny rock, a piece of bark or a slimy critter. Everything continues to be a wonder.

5. On Presence, Not Presents

From the moment you were born it was clear you wished to be held and steeped in cuddles and love. And you wouldn’t take no for an answer. You demanded everyone’s presence. You wanted to be seen, heard and know that you matter. You’ve taught me that this is what we all want.

For the first couple years of your life, we lived in a small community in Panama and had a very simple life. We didn’t have a lot of ‘stuff’ but we had time together and that was, and still is, everything.

Being back in Canada has not come without its challenges. The pace and sense of urgency to do and get, what at times felt like, everything, left me conflicted.

It became clear from the beginning that you had a different pace of doing things, which usually involved digging, climbing, running or laying down to admire something. A three hour outing would very easily turn into six.

Initially, it felt like I went from sprinting to crawling and it hurt.

For you, there is only one time zone, the present. There is no where to go. And it’s your presence with each moment that continues to bring me back to my true self and away from the worries of the future or regrets of the past. You’ve taught me to slow down, focus on one thing at a time and revel in the beauty of simply being.

6. On “The Process”

Much of my life has been spent searching, both externally and internally. Always working towards some goal, whether it be a degree, diving the blue hole or trekking to Everest Base Camp. I was focused on getting ‘there’ as quickly and efficiently as possible.

You have brought a stillness to my life that I never knew before. I recall fluttering from one activity to the next when you were little. Afraid that somehow you might miss out or fall behind. Never wanting to fail at providing you with an opportunity to achieve the next milestone while working towards some artificial goal.

But there is no goal, no where to go. There is only right now. In order to fully enjoy this moment and every moment, I need to be here. You have taught me to honour the struggles and enjoy the learnings along the way.

7. On Feeling

“Its OK to cry Mommy.”

I feel myself holding on particularly long as we hug goodbye. Tears streaming down my face, despite all efforts to mitigate the flood that ensued.

“I feel better when I let my feelings come out Mommy. You will feel better.” These words ensure more tears follow and I strain to see your eyes through my blurry lens. “I will miss you sweet P,” I stammer out.

“I will miss you too Mommy. I love you.” With one more hug and kiss, I feel you take a deep breath, silently reminding me to stay open and connected.

And with that, you turn and skip into the airport, surrendering to this new moment. You hold nothing back and the excitement of the adventure that lies ahead with your dad is calling.

Despite my fears and puffy eyes, I am thrilled for you.

Since you were born I’ve struggled with having a piece of my heart walking around outside of me. My incessant need to protect you while trying to not be a helicopter parent has been a balancing act that I continue to work on.

8. On Healthy Habits

Healthy food was not always important to me. In fact, there was a time when I was addicted to sugar. So much has changed in eleven years and after studying good health habits and nutrition, I’ve since swung the pendulum in the other direction.

Your infinite potential has accentuated the importance of a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition. This includes a sleep schedule with adequate hours of shut eye, exercise/ movement, self awareness and nutrition.

As we continue on this often bumpy road, I begin to see the shift. I watch you educate your dad, grandma and friends on healthy food . Admiring in awe, as you eat things I never would have touched as a child. I see you roll your eyes when I ask you what vegetables you’d like for dinner, but secretly smile as you begin cutting up healthy snacks of cucumbers and celery.

9. On Perfectly, Imperfect

You’ve taught me how important it is to practice self compassion and embrace my own imperfections. I can’t give what I don’t have and I’m learning to love my whole self and not just select pieces.

Sometimes this is still difficult. It’s as much about embracing my own imperfections as it is about acknowledging and accepting yours. You continue to teach me that you are not me and not a reflection of me. You are your own unique self with your own purpose to fulfill.

Part of this process has been forgiving myself and others. As we know better, we must do better. And you’ve taught me to do a little better :).

10. On Laughing

You’ve taught me to smile often, laugh more, and not take myself too seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed!

Through your eyes everything has the potential to be fun – even when stuck in traffic or waiting in line. There’s always an opportunity to laugh and play!

11. On Gratitude

You’ve taught me that the little things are the BIG things and how important it is to appreciate and be present for them and savour these moments because they are what matter.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the love I feel for you. I am so grateful for your being and for choosing me to be your mom. Thank you for going on this this journey with me.

Happy Birthday Sweet P — I love you.


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