Archive | May, 2012

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

30 May

I know this is melodramatic of me, but my Mac’s hard drive fried and for the past few days, I’ve been full of anxiety.  Will my photos be retreived?  What about all my documents?  And my book!?  That small document that encompasses everything I’ve learned in my life…I’ve not released it to the world or to you few who pop by and check in with me.  What is on my calendar for today?  Where am I suppose to be right now?  I know there’s something!  What about my e-mails? How will I ever communicate with people?  What will I do?

And I’m not even kidding. These are the thing I said to myself.

Have you ever found yourself in a panic, and you say a little prayer? You say, Dear God, if you do me this one favor and (insert favor here) I promise to go to church every Sunday, spread your message to the world, or become a devout Christian? I do that.  I do that a lot.  I’m sure He no longer believes me.

But I did this with my computer.  I said, Dear God, if Steve Jobbs is up there, would you patch me through to him? Thanks bud.

I continued.

Hey Steve. We miss you down here.  You made geeky super sexy.  Anyway, listen, I’m a pretty big  follower of yours. I have all your toys, I watched your Youtube Commencement speech, like, a dozen times.  I don’t even use the PC that’s in the rec room, I can’t stand it!  Anyway, my MacBook Pro needs your help.  See, I love it so much, I think I used it past it’s potential.  And now I need you to will your knowledge to the fine folks at Intelligent Choice Computers, because if it can’t get fixed, than I might die or at least I’d have to remember everything, and quite frankly, there is little chance of that happening.

I’m typing this on my MacBook Pro, with all the documents found.  And I’m relieved.

But before I got it back, I made a promise.  Yes, another one.  I said, if the things on my computer are that important, so important that I would mourn them if they went missing, than I would do something with them.

Usually I find myself lying to God, but I’m not sure I can do that to Steve.  See, God expects that of me.  Steve, on the other hand, believes in me.

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Meeting Craig

16 May

It’s rare, but on occasion, we have an opportunity to witness something extraordinary. I mean…something… life changing.  I had such an opportunity this past Saturday.

So, I think I’ve written here before how I’m not a big reader but I’m a big fan of what I affectionally call, “Shot in the arm books.” You know, books that you can read rather quickly that give you some insight on life, parenting, love or business.

A few years ago, I think after I watched Oprah one day, I bought the book, Me to We by Craig Kielburger. I read it, then gave it to Evan and he read it and I became an instant stalker fan.

Fast forward to this weekend, I went to my regional conference; a conference that I’ve been to a billion times before…or at least 10. And of all those conferences that I have been to over the years, this was by far the best one!

We heard some great news about our industry, we learned lots of great stuff, we ate great food,  I got to hang out with loads of my peeps, from Lighthouse and from around Atlantic Canada, and we even got to pick up some hardware, receiving such awards as Best Community Service, best promotion, Best advertising opportunity, even Best General Excellence, which is as good as they come.

And all of that didn’t really compare to listening to Craig Kieburger speak. He was…well there isn’t a word to describe him, except that I feel more relevant today than I did last week.  And I have no idea just what I’ll do with what he told me; how we can change the world, both on a local and global level. But I knew as soon as I met him, I was going to have a picture to show Evan that I met Craig Kielburger.

As adorable as he is, he’s even more authentic.  I told him that I loved his book and that my son read it and that I have passed it along to at least a half-a-dozen others.  I also told him that I was looking into his leadership camp for Evan this summer in Antigonish, but that I had to get a hotel to be close to the campus where he’ll be staying.

His reply: My mother let me go to Kenya when I was twelve.  I think you can probably let him go to Antigonish for leadership camp.

 Touché Craig.

Mental Health Awareness Week

9 May

I’m driving down the same highway that I’ve driven countless times before, the sky still red from the setting sun.  My van is filled with the smell of sweaty hockey gear still damp from a weekend tournament.  My boys are silently playing their iPods.  They’re happy, aren’t they? I ask myself, wondering if they know yet.   Wondering if they’ve figured out that their dad is different from the other hockey dads.

With a new hockey season comes new hockey families.  Different people asking the same questions. Where is their dad?  Are you still together? Why doesn’t he come to games?  And every season I offer the same hesitation as I try to read that person.  Will they understand? Will they judge us? Will they believe me?  I often don’t explain, but sometimes I have no choice.

We’ve turned our home into an oasis.  Pool, soccer nets and even a hockey rink and a putting green, trying to compensate for the fact that we don’t take vacations, anything to make sure our boys don’t feel cheated.  We throw great parties, making a home where people love to be.  Our friends come to us.

Our family of four is well adjusted despite the addition of a fifth who is rarely talked about.  It’s morphed into a full-fledged monster.  A perfectly wonderful life swallowed by something that can’t be seen or heard.  It can’t be identified or eliminated.  It lives within him. It’s part of him. It’s his panic disorder.

Not being able to leave our community without a panic attack means we have lost friends who don’t understand, not that I blame them. Sometimes, even I don’t understand.  Have you tried tranquilizers?  What if we just drove with you?  Have you tried therapy?    Why haven’t we thought of that? Good idea, we’ll try that. Thanks.

Our real friends, they understand.  They know about the countless therapy sessions, the tens of thousands of dollars lost along with the hope of becoming seemingly normal.  They offer help, not judgment.  They offer comfort, not a cure.

And for 12 years I have told myself I am ok.  I don’t need a man to hold my hand as I navigate my way to hockey rinks in rural communities with poor signage. I’m independent. I’m strong.  I have a GPS.   I can do anything that’s required of me and short of being two people and being able to be at two rinks at one time, I’ve managed just fine so far. Or have I?  Do my kids sense my anger as I accept an award at a convention and I have no date?  Do they feel my sadness when I see them celebrate after a goal, looking for their dad who isn’t there, wishing he’d seen it, wishing he’d heard the applause, and felt the excitement?  Do they sense that, despite telling myself that this is my life that I love, how sometimes, I need help.

While I can’t help him, I know he needs me. I know if I weren’t here his monster would surely engulf him into something far worse, into something I wouldn’t recognize as the adventurous, full of life, fear-free man I fell in love with.  This man that I chose as my husband because I wanted to have children exactly like him; his big heart, his infectious smile, his generous spirit.  And they are like him, in every way.  Will they have this?  This thing?  This monster of their own?  They can’t.  I won’t have it.  I don’t wish this for their future, for their wives or for their children.

So we drive these highways.  We take all elevators.  We run in every direction looking for an opportunity to meet fear head on.  We embrace fear.  We use it, we conquer it and then, we celebrate.

Does he know how much I want to take this from him? Take away his fears both real and make-believe?  Does he know that I wouldn’t give up even one of these sometimes-difficult days to spend in a different life?  Does he know that everyday when I wake, I thank him?  I say, “Thank you for this life; for these boys; for giving me the ability to see past peoples’ circumstances and see right to their heart?” Does he know that this monster has made me better? That, as it made him weaker it actually made me stronger; that it’s made me want to fight even harder? That’s what he’s given me.  What an extraordinary gift. Did he know any of these things before reading them here?

So, I continue to drive down this same highway I’ve driven countless times before, with still the same red sky, with the boys silently playing their iPods and still wondering if they’re happy; wondering if they know; but knowing that they do.