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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude
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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It
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When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs
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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques
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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School

From Sympathy There’s Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is so much to be grateful for. But with all the awful things—the violence, the tumultuous and surreal (I mean, can you even believe this has been allowed to go on this long?) political climate, not to mention the unnerving actual climate, it feels like we have to squint to see the good. But it’s there.  I’ve been watching it fill my Facebook feed. It feels right and affirming to see all the happy today.  But then I looked out my window and saw the saddest thing. It literally squeezed the air out of my lungs and made me dizzy with sympathy.  My family room window faces my neighbour’s kitchen window. We didn’t have blinds for a few months when we first moved in here thirteen years ago, so our poor neighbours were likely privy to way too much Thornbury in various states of undress. Tall trees, a substantial generation gap, and a language barrier prevented us from becoming close with our neighbours. But they’ve always smiled and said hello over the fence whenever we’re both out in our yards. And they happily throw back the balls and frisbees that ended up underneath[…]

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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It

I understand the parameters of reality, so why do I worry so much? It’s pointless and I know that worrying is harmful, so why do I keep doing it? I think I have an answer. The first time I recall being really worried was when I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot and one night his plane was late. I was convinced he had crashed and I worried myself sick. Of course he was fine. I had worried myself sick for nothing.   Over the years I continued to worry about a variety of things from A to Z — some realistic, some ridiculous.  They say only eight per cent of our worries are realistic. And of those, we can actually only do something about half. This means ninety-six per cent of the things we worry about are a useless waste of time. Why do some people worry more than others?   I have a theory that we worriers have three things in common:   1. WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL We dictate and delegate, but then end up doing everything ourselves because everyone else does it wrong. We like to organize and compartmentalize and strategize and basically orchestrate the outcome[…]

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When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs

  When strangers stare at my daughter I feel embarrassed, angry, defensive, indignant. I feel all the feelings in no particular order.  Sometimes I make direct eye contact with the starer. Sometimes I call them on it. Sometimes I don’t.  It’s emotional for us when people turn to look at our kids. And when their stares linger, it’s hard to handle.    But I try to remind myself that different draws attention. It’s human nature to be curious. People aren’t generally cruel. They’re just trying to figure it out.  So last week when my son’s gaze fell upon a girl with Down Syndrome and his glance lasted a few seconds too long, and was perceived as a stare, I understand why her mother glared at him.  He looked upset after swim practice. Not only were his eyes stinging from the chlorine, he was feeling the sting of guilt because he’d upset the mother of a girl in his class.  He explained that when he got out of the pool he noticed a girl about Avery’s age standing on the pool deck waiting for her sister. He spotted a school crest on her shirt and he was trying to get a better[…]

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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques

Jewel, right? She’s an actual gem. I loved her in the nineties. And I love her now with her simple approach to mindfulness. Clearly we’re soul sisters because we both use these easy breezy breathing techniques. ‘Counting Breath’ and ‘Box Breathing’ are my go-to techniques throughout the day—to calm my mind and squelch panicky feelings… hey, thanks PSTD. Sometimes I use them to simply relax and take a break from the multi-tasking mayhem that is my life.  I’ll just let Jewel explain. She’s perfection.  Try these tomorrow. It’s life changing.      Side note: My husband’s name is Adrian. We started dating around the time Jewel’s song “Adrian” was popular. It creeped me out and left with me an irrational fear of canoeing. But nothing a little box breathing can’t fix. 😉 

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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School

My daughter packed her backpack weeks ago in giddy anticipation of returning to school. She asked me to paint her nails and “do her hair pretty.” She couldn’t be more excited to start grade six.  My son was in denial that summer was ending right up until the end. He gave little thought to his first day of high school outfit. He wasn’t even planning on brushing his hair until I “suggested” it. I pleaded with him to let me take him shopping, but he refused. “Mum, I’ve got enough clothes. I’m fine.” Kind of hard to take him seriously when he’s arguing his point in mismatched socks and pants that are miles too short.  But he’s in high school now. He’s a big boy. In short pants. His pants, his choice I guess. (Mind you, I went to the mall today and bought him a few new things against his will. I can’t have the kid looking like he’s been stuffed into shrunken kahkis all year.) High school… no longer at our local elementary. He’s moved on and this is the first time his little sister will be at school without him.  At first she didn’t make the connection. “What?[…]

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