Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!

If someone had told me at any point in my life that I would one day be living in Ottawa and loving it, I would have probably tossed my head back and roared with laughter. "Me?? Live in the East?!? hahahaa... you're crazy!" I used to watch the news in disgusted wonder at how people even managed to stay alive in such extreme temperatures or manage to maneuver their way over 5-foot snow banks.

I had never seen such a thing... let alone experienced it. And I certainly had NO desire to ever know what that felt like. Yet here I am. Initiation into Eastern living required the purchase of a few basic items. I am now fully equipped with a calf length down coat, insulated boots, scarves and mittens. All of which I put to good use for no less than 5 months of the year. Damn winter is long here….

2 years ago today, we hopped on a greyhound - destination Ottawa. After spending 6 LONG months in dirty, grumpy Toronto (my apologies to all those who love Tdot), my babies and I unanimously agreed that we would rather be eaten alive by hungry wolves rather than spend another day in a city where Prozac should be distributed through the city’s water pipes. Sure, there were circumstances that may have tainted my view of that hectic city, but the bottom line is that I did not want my children growing up there. And they did not want to grow up there. Going back to Vancouver simply wasn't an option. It felt a lot like going back to the abuser... I could have done it because it's what I’ve always known... but it surely wouldn’t help me achieve the original desired results... CHANGE.

So off we went!

I asked people what Ottawa was like and received the same answer. ‘It’s a beautiful city. It's a wonderful place to raise a family. Everybody works for the government!! There isn’t much to do after 9pm”. True on all accounts.
Somehow, in a city that is neither too big nor too small my children seem to have so much opportunity available to them. What is even more amazing is that they almost have it thrown at them. People here WANT to help. Goodness knows I am not one to ask for help. The house could be on fire and I could have stopped, dropped and be rolling. But I’d still be adamant that I’m just fine, thankyouverymuch.

I am just not treated as if I’m lesser than. We are not looked down at with sincerely pitiful eyes that make us wish we could be smaller than the 2 inches we already feel in that moment. We’re simply offered genuine kindness and support. The teachers in my children’s schools love them as if they were their own. If they see an opportunity to do something wonderful, they happily offer it. Maybe it’s because they know they can make a difference. Maybe because they see what an impact they have. It seems we have the gift of seeing people grow and change together. In a city where you see the same folks on the bus every damn day, you find yourself in the middle of a community. You participate in your community. You see how tiny efforts make the world of difference for someone else. What a beautiful way to live.

So here we are, 2 years later and still going strong. Yes, there were too many days where I contemplated selling the kids on E-bay and running off to Mexico with my Werdy.... but deep down... I knew I had to make this work. In the process, I have made some incredible friends….

Goddess... eSS kAy…. Ms. Jiggs... my world here is richer just in knowing you.

I'm putting down roots and creating the life I've always dreamed of for my children. The life I didn’t believe was possible just a few months ago. And what a feeling this is!!!

To know I can let my babies go outside and play in the back yard. To be able to let my far-too-stunning-for-her-own-good daughter go out when wants to unsupervised, (and without a GPS), because I know she's only a hop, skip and a jump away. I can go cycling to work along one of the most stunning pathways in Canada. I actually hear crickets in my backyard on smoking hot summer nights. Some days I can't believe I live in the city. Especially when I see random wild bunnies roaming the grocery store parking lots and neighbourhood! A river of ducks and geese just minutes from my doorstep. Okay… this sounds a lot like a tourism commercial. You get the picture.

It’s just all so foreign to me and just so lovely. When I wondered about moving back to Vancouver this summer, it was those simple things I knew I would miss. I was both shocked and grateful to hear my closest friends and family tell me that we should stay here. That no matter how much they would love to have us close, that we genuinely all seem to be happy in Ottawa and no matter how hard it is right now… that we should stay and keep trying.

They were right. My heart was right. My babies were right.

It's being here that has made us closer as a family. I am stronger as a woman... in my spirit and most definitely as their mother. I'm happier on my own… more than I've ever known. As we build our lives here, I am constantly reminded of the reason we came here.

All that pain… the suffering. The overwhelming grief I never thought I would live through. The anguish I almost allowed to consume me. Homeless and alone for months. But 2 years later… we are the living example of divine fortitude.

These have been 2 of the shortest and longest years of my life. The most difficult and challenging years yet. Where I questioned my sanity, my safety, my choices, my faith… my heart. I have never known such loneliness as I have here. I have never experienced such powerful independent bliss as I have here. I have never been more in love with my children. I have never been stronger in my light.

The roller coaster ride continues as I learn to find balance and structure with 3 very strong spirited children. Watching them grow into amazing people here and seeing them reap the benefits of positive influence all around them gives me hope. I see the 4 of us holding each other up without even knowing how. We simply complete each other.

I feel blessed to have been guided here. I have immense gratitude for all those hands that helped us reach this place, both near and far. BFF's, acquaintances, Werdy, baby daddy, BIGS, teachers, friends, neighbours, lovers, soul mates, my wifey, sisters, not so long lost family...

My gratitude for each one of you is plentiful and unique. I hope I have been able to express in some way, shape or form just what you mean to me and how deeply ingrained into my heart you have all become. Thank you for your thoughts, your efforts, your time, your energy, your support, your love and your light. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for sharing this journey with us, especially over all the bumps. I look forward to creating memories that are even more amazing with each and every one of you.

With much love... and respect...