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The Budget

A hard working FAMILY is forced to sit down at the table and discuss a difficult situation. This FAMILY has to revamp their FAMILY budget as PARENT A, the major bread winner, has lost their job. Parent B is still employed and working very hard but dramatic changes are going to have to be implemented. The “B” word, the dreaded, nasty, kicked in the stomach, budget word.

As most of us have done, unhappy choices and sacrifices are going to have to be made. The budget is going to be gone through with a fine tooth comb and life as they’ve known it is going to change. Through a multitude of circumstances the worst has happened. PARENT A is going to have to send out resumes and/or – reeducate/reinvent themselves to make their skills employable. This is going to take some time. As a FAMILY, a plan has to be put in place to get through this tough time. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done this and it’s not fun. Suck it up buttercup because reality is hard sometimes.

The budget conversations goes as follows;

The first thing that has to go are the credit cards, no brainer. Then budget and stick to it, come hell or high water. The FAMILY has to look at basic expenses for day to day survival. The FAMILY has certain expenses to simply exist. Pay the necessities first and bank the rest, if there is any “rest”. Do people deserve to eat steak occasionally, go to a movie, have a holiday, order a pizza after long day at work when they’re exhausted…..of course they do. Is it going to happen…..Nope! Does Parent B deserve a raise? Probably! Is it going to happen? Don’t count on it! You cannot spend money you don’t have. Everything, and I do mean everything, that involves spending $1 has to be scrutinized. The FAMILY has to go without a lot until PARENT A is back up and running. Period. It’s a painful time and we all have cried many tears at our kitchen tables, but we are a responsible FAMILY and in time this too shall pass. It’s so hard. It’s heartbreaking. When life sucks this bad all you can do is hug each other, support each other and for God’s sake don’t whine.

Is everybody with me so far? Makes common sense? Are we all nodding?

Now……Insert, Alberta Government as the “FAMILY” and Alberta Oil and Gas Industry as “PARENT A” and reread.


Daddy’s Shoulders

To my children,

If you notice that dad is beginning to walk a little less upright with a bit of a rounded shoulder, know this, his shoulders have carried a great life. His shoulders held the weight of a great deal of joy, sorrow and responsibility. He has paced the floor taking turns trying to pacify babies. He has walked in the door, reliably each night, for supper with a smile on his face to greet the happy toddlers who were anxiously awaiting big hugs and a toss in the air. He has learned the terms for ballet dance steps, Cabbage Patch dollies names and who the Backstreet Boys were. He has driven through snow storms to get to hockey games. Stood in wind and rain to do his best at coaching baseball. He has sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle with great anxiety teaching his people how to drive. He has proudly watched successes and quietly shared in disappointments. He has held firm in his beliefs of right and wrong and his commitment to raising honorable people. He has gone to work each and everyday for the sole purpose of providing his family with the best life he could. He forwent his own interests to accommodate the wants and wishes of the people he loved. He was the calming voice of reason during the ups, downs and every time things went sideways. His shoulders were dependable, consistent, while providing us with the stability a family needs. He provided a safe home where you were encouraged to speak your mind. We needed to be honest and open with each other and discussion on any topic encouraged. He has wanted nothing more than for you to be happy in your life. On this Father’s Day please know he is so very proud of you both. He continues to believe in your abilities and finds great joy in watching your lives unfold. Oh, what those shoulders have carried. He carried it all for you and he would do it all again. I ask you to be proud of him.

Love Mom.

Parents Make Me Giggle

When you get older you have to get your giggles where you can. Kids activities are the best source for pure entertainment at so many levels. First of all there is the obvious enjoyment of watching the child have fun and develop their skills. They are so proud of their progress in their pursuit. The second is quietly sitting, watching and listening to the parents craziness. The silliness use to distress me but now I make a game out of it. I have long since learned that trying to educate people who don’t want to be educated is a waste of time so the alternative is to enjoy it. Some parents like to sit far away from the crowd and enjoy watching the activity without all the ridiculous comments. Not me, I like to grab a perch right in the middle of the action. Hahahaha, I make an event out of it. A game within a game if you will. After 30+ years of children and grandchildren’s activities I have learned one thing for sure, the louder and more critical the parent the less they know. It just is, it is just so. If you don’t believe me just closely watch. The parent or grandparent who has either themselves played or watched their child play a high level of something will say almost nothing. Except for some appropriate cheering they are watching and enjoying. The parent who is coaching from the stands or asking “Why is ? happening,” or being critical haven’t got a clue. Not a clue! They’ve never played at any significant level or taken any coaching courses. It’s hilarious and mostly sad. I use to get frustrated but now I just feel really regretful for the kid because they have to go home with said crazy ranting about something they have no idea about. In teaching or coaching there are physiological and cognitive development considerations to acknowledge as to why certain skills are taught at a certain level. Thus the term progressive levels. Experienced people get this. Newbies…….not so much. There are somethings that are just irrelevant at the lower levels and the newcomer really looses their noodle over this as they see all things as life and death. The coach knows to just let it roll as that skill will be taught when the time is right. The good coach recognizes when the child is ready for new skills or new information. The good coach knows not to to teach above the childs level as it frustrates the child and creates bad habits that another coach down the road will have to fix. I have actually witnessed parents go up to a coach after an activity and make suggestions. Hahahahaha, I know right. That’s clue number one that the parent doesn’t have any experience. Here’s your sign. So here’s my game, it’s totally fun. Depending on your group you may need paper and pen but I usually just keep a mental tally. It works on a point system. You assign a point for every critical comment, every instruction yelled out, every comparison to another level of play. Points are also assigned to the yelling person who is trying to be heard over the coaches instruction because seriously you aren’t on the bench to see the bigger picture. There very well could be a plan in place you don’t have the knowledge to comprehend. Ooooor, maybe , just maybe, there is a teachable moment happening that is more important than the score. At the end of the activity the highest score goes to the person who has the least ability and/or knowledge in the activity. I guarantee you every single time.

Tell Me Something

Tell me something that excites you.

Tell me something you want no one else to know.

Tell me what keeps you awake at night.

Tell me what brings you joy.

Tell me what makes you laugh.

Tell me the best and the worst. The joy and the heartbreak. The things you’re the most proud of and the things you hope to never repeat. Tell me what you feel in your soul and who you want to be. Let me pour you a coffee and tell me who you are. Don’t censor, just tell me. Laugh out loud or cry until you’re weak. I am a safe place, so just tell me. Tell me your ambitions, dreams, intuitions, opinions and allow the energy to fill the room. I believe that when we say things out loud we have the power to take away the ugly and give great power to the fanciful. Allow me the honor of knowing you, for you are amazing. Tell me.

Did We Do Good?

My husband and I were sitting in our respective recliners discussing life when he posed the question. Did we make the right decisions? Should we have done things differently? I guess this is a topic we all wrestle with as we creep up in age. My first thought was, hell no. We made terrible decisions or not enough decisions or short sighted decisions or something but basically we sucked. (Giggles) Just as that thought was leaving my mind, I looked over at the man I have loved for 40 years and said, “Yes.”

Would we go back and be more than happy to do some do- overs? Absolutely! Some things we did right, some things we were headed down the right path and took the wrong fork in the road and sometimes we couldn’t have found the right road with GPS. So this is for my husband because he deserves a better answer.

We did good. We’re happy. Our home is the best place to be and a comfort to both of us. We can be honest with each other. We are clear on each others shortcomings and still love each other. After 40 years we still reach for each others hand automatically to feel reassured and safe. We can chat away about anything and everything or sit in silence with equal ease and contentment. Our relationship has always been easy and I like easy. Our children are good people. They married good people and are raising good people. We did good.

Did we make all the right financial decisions, do enough to plan ahead, provide our children with enough confidence and security or seriously create any kind of legacy for our lives…….that would be a strong NO. What we did do is love each other, cheerlead for each other, create a life where our children walk in the door and greet us with a kiss and hug and do the same when they walk out the door. Our children can sit us down and talk to us earnestly and know we will listen. So now I’m back to happy……..Did we do good? Yes, my darling, we did good.

What if…..

What if, you live for today?

What if, you just look at today and decide how your day is going to go? You just decide that this hour is going to be a great hour. I understand that you have to live responsibly and fulfill your commitments . I’m not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and just loose your noodle and go on a spending spree or speak irresponsibly or other destructive behavior. Where I am going with this is, the most common complaint I hear is how overwhelming life can be. So much to do and how to organize it all and when you have to get it done by and on and on. I completely agree, you have to get your shit together and know what has to be done. But…..once to have taken that hour to sort out the logistics of your day, just do it, one hour at a time. I have been guilty of fretting about what has to happen at 4 pm at 9 am. It puts me in a frenzy and completely ineffective for what is happening in the moment. To be honest, it makes me a bit bitchy in the moment. I know what I have to do at 4 pm so stewing about it at 9 am isn’t doing me a bit of good but taking me out of the moment. The only thing being achieved is stomach pain and stressing out everybody around me. From 9 – 10 am you do 9 – 10 am. I look at it as, “How do you eat an elephant?” You get it! Once I got this through my noggin I gotta tell you, I stood taller. Once I broke it down into manageable pieces, it changed everything. I never really got the whole “live in the moment thing” until I started looking at it from this perspective. I guess I thought it meant just forget about everything and immerse in the moment. Wrong……for me it means, I’m clear on my responsibilities and that will totally happen but for right now I’m doing right now. I will speak for me because I don’t live your life, so for me, I have been so guilty at looking long term and trying to control tomorrow, next week and next year. This has not worked well as I continually get thrown curve balls, I can’t hit curve balls, I can barely hit slow and down the middle balls. This mentality is like everything else in life, it takes practice, lots of practice. Just breath and tell yourself, “I have nothing to worry about but this hour.” I gotta tell you ahead of time, your spouse is going to look at you like you have two heads the first time you look at them and say, “Right now I am doing ________, I will get to ______, in a bit. If you would like it done sooner, feel free to go ahead.” If they are use to you being compliant, there is going to be some pouting. Well, suck it up sailor, who died and made you boss? One hour at a time people, one hour at a time. It is so liberating to know that you only have to focus on this hour.

My Grandma is “a lot.”

Grandma doesn’t just say “that’s nice” – she reels back and rolls her eyes and throws up her hands and smiles. I get my money’s worth out of my Grandma. Author Unknown.

There it is folks…..that is me, I am a lot.

I aspire to be a lot.

A lot of dancing, a lot of singing, a lot of hugs and kisses, a lot of noise and a lot of love. I want to greet these little people like I haven’t seen them in a year. I want them to feel like they are the most important people on the planet. I want them to feel like my house is the safest place on earth. Oh, the drama! I want to look deep into their eyes and hear every word they say. I have a need to pay such close attention that I can feel their little souls. I want to absorb the chaos and yes, perhaps contribute, for if I know anything, it’s that this day will go too fast. I want them to have no fear in trying new things, in new ways because as they are telling me about an idea or project I will be listening and energized. I want them to know to their deepest core, that they can come to me with their dreams and ambitions, as I hope I taught my children, I am all in. I will move heaven and earth to do all I can to support who they want to be. There is no downside to defining your direction and going for it. Sometimes, yes, that is a lot…..but I am a lot.

Someday, when my life here on earth is done, I want my family to say, “Wow, that was a roller coaster ride, she taught me how to have fun, how to love, how to be the best me and how to trust myself.” And that folks is a lot.

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