I was a party girl. Key-word: WAS.
You can ask anyone who has come to one of our parties, I know how to host a good shin-dig. Food, music, drinks, games, decorations. I love it. In college we would have theme parties. I owned an old, worn and not-at-all-pretty condo. Let's just say, it wasn't any prettier after our parties but I didn't care. It was a party-house and everyone knew that. The stairwell to the basement was our "art gallery". Every party we would put paint out and let everyone's creativeness flow. We had people re-create famous art (starry night) or just paint their name. I painted a giant Freakazoid above the stair-well to greet you as you went down to the "dungeon" (It really was a dungeon, there was only one window in the basement that even a child couldn't fit through if they had to escape. Don't worry, there were no children in my dungeon). So that part of the house was pretty, everywhere else was a bit of a war-zone. I got really good at getting vomit-stains out of the carpet which further proves my theory that drunks and small children are very alike. Were they helping prepare me for motherhood? What nice friends I have.
I didn't often go out 'clubbing' but when I did I danced up a storm. I drank, partied, danced and socialized. It's sad that I have to describe these activities as past-tense, but that is the way it is now. I've been thinking a lot about why my life has come to be a jumble of past-tense activties. Why don't I throw parties anymore? Why don't I go out anymore? Even something as simple as going to a yoga class. I used to do that. See? Past tense again. Why don't I go to fitness classes anymore?
Part of the reason is my own choice. I haven't gone to fitness classes or gone out clubbing because I breastfeed my daughter and up until a couple months ago, she wasn't sleeping through the night. I'm sure if I had tried harder she would have slept through the night sooner, but for our family scenario that is just how it worked out for us. For a lot of things, Sloan and her boob-addiction is the reason I don't get out of the house for more than a couple hours - alone. I am fine with it because I am willing to breastfeed her as long as her and I are still comfortable with it. That's my choice and it is in the best interest of my baby - for that I will sacrifice going out and doing "adult-stuff" sometimes.
It doesn't explain why no one comes to see me, or wants to see me. In the last 2 years we have barely had any visitors (except the first month after bringing Sloan home). When our friends come to our small town, they will visit everyone else. If I want to see them I usually have to go to someone else's house and when I do they talk with my daughter rather than me. I have joked since Sloan was born that I am the "after-thought" for everyone. I make a joke of it because it hurts too much to accept it as truth. No one puts me first - not even me.
I am no stranger to loneliness. I know it all too well. Maybe that is why it gets me so easily now. It brings back terrible childhood memories of being alone, living in the country, with no near-by friends to play with.
I was a kid with a lot of imaginary friends. They kept me company but not happy.
I'm an adult now and I no longer have imaginary friends to keep me company when there is no one else around (It sounds like I want them. I don't. That would be weird....right?) . What makes it worse is that I work from home. I interact with the children in my home child care, but it isn't the same as having an actual conversation with another adult.
I've always been a people watcher (probably why I make a great teacher. I am an observer which is a key skill in teaching.) I love it. Seeing diversity, similarities, the way people behave in general. It is fascinating to me. Living in a small town, there is not a whole lot of people watching to do. I miss it. Just being able to get out and be around more people would be amazing.
I feel like I'm not passionate about anything anymore (other than my family - I am tremendously passionate about my daughter and husband). I feel like I don't have much of a purpose anymore other than providing basic needs for me and my daughter. I don't really know how to shake this feeling. Is this postpartum? Have I been in denial about how sad I actually am? I was told in high school that I am an amazing actress. If they only knew how good I actually am, they would see I have been acting this whole time. I have been pretending to be happy when I am really not. This is not my first struggle with this un-shakeable sadness, but it's different this time. When I was a teenager, I could wallow in my self-pity because teens have time to do that. As a mother, I barely have time to eat breakfast let alone sit and cry and think about why I'm sad. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's a bad thing. I've been pushing my own feelings aside to make room for other people's. I am an after-thought even to myself.
I guess it really hit me when I realized that I used to (past-tense again) have 50 or 60 people at my parties and now there is no one. Last year would have been our 8th (or maybe it was the 9th?) annual Halloween party but since Sloan was only a few months old, we decided not to have it and just relax at home. I put up the invitation a few weeks ago for our Halloween party this year (I'm a planner) and I've heard so many excuses from people as to why they aren't coming. Maybe I'm being selfish. Maybe people are just growing up and moving on and I haven't been able to do that. They are finding new friends, new experiences....new parties.
I feel left behind. Even being surrounded with so much love, I feel lonely in motherhood.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
It has been 12 years since Mel passed on from a car accident. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Time does heal wounds, but sometimes they can easily be torn open again. My heart is heavy every year on her birthday and the anniversary of her death. I have a fear deep down that this type of tragedy might happen to my daughter. Being in 2 car accidents myself - one major, one minor - I already have anxiety about other drivers. Mel's picture, the same one I have shown here, is in my daughter's room. It makes me cry with happiness and sadness when Sloan says hi to Mel's picture. Luckily I have vivid dreams and Mel sometimes comes to visit. Love and miss you, Mel.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
I've been busy with one of my new projects lately. A not-for-profit group called Northern Wellington Young Professionals. We are business owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, executives who are between 20 and 40 years old. It is a project both my husband and I are working on together. It is nice to share something other than home life with him. If you have a minute, check out NWYP's social media and find out more about us. I'm excited to take this group to the next level!
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
I recently posted about being a fisherman in training and this is one of many Pike that I caught this year from our annual fishing trip. Its a small one that we ended up letting go. My husband had the catch of the week. Over 6 pounds! Check it out here.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
I believe it is important to have traditions with family. Something to pass down onto your children and say "I did this with my parents". Sometimes the simplest of things are the most memorable for a child. Popping a balloon on their birthday, getting the first piece of cake, having "wine" (spritzer water or ginger ale) with Christmas dinner. These are the traditions that are memorable and worth passing on.
My most favourite traditions are experienced in our family vacation we take every year.
Thirty years ago, before I was born, my parents started going to a place called Honey Harbour. They would take my sister to Trail's End cottages and go trolling in the boat, swimming and at the end of the day they would have a fish fry with what they caught. This tradition carried on after I was born. We would go to Trail's End every summer, until they leveled the cottages and built houses (that they call cottages) that they charge an arm and a leg for. After they changed, we stopped going. We found another reasonable place 5 minutes from Trail's End, called Picnic Island. We have been going there for the past 15 years.
Picnic Island is beautiful. There are cute cottages all with different names. This year we were in "Sunny Tuft" which is bright yellow. There is a small fry hut, a grocery store and a dock gas station built on a large rock which is Picnic Island. You get to it by walking over a little bridge.
This family vacation is filled with tradition. There are certain things we always do when we are there.
When we were at the cottage this year, it was chilly. The first couple weeks of September usually are. so having a fire at night was a great way to keep warm, but no matter how hot or cold it is we WILL have a fire. It's tradition. You've got to have a fire at the cottage. Even if it is 35C at night and you have to sit 6 feet from the fire, you have a fire at the cottage. My husband, Dave, is a "firebug" as his mom calls him. He constantly needs to be poking the fire. This year, he copied a friend of ours from years ago, and melted a beer bottle in the fire. The smile on his face made me think he was 10 again. That silly, childish smirk of "look what I did". He was so proud of himself. It is pretty neat to get the coals so hot they turn white and make a little furnace to melt glass. I guess I would have a goofy smile too if I did it.
I grew up a spoiled kid. I will not eat anything but fresh fish. No fish sticks for me. The fish I eat; I caught myself, my dad filleted, has only been dead a couple hours and when I take a bite, it is only one fish, not many fishes in one bite. People who say they don't like fish need to come to the cottage with me and my parents. My dad will show you how fish is supposed to taste, not that crap from the grocery store. This year, Sloan got to eat her first piece of fresh fish. She loved it so much she basically inhaled it, saying with a full mouth, "More!". She had awesome fish poops the next day. Grandma got to change that diaper.
In order to catch that delicious fish. We need to go out in the boat. My parents have a pretty nice fishing boat now, but we started out borrowing my grandpa's old tin can boat. I almost fell in the water on that boat. The chair at the bow broke (like the one in the picture - on a pedestal) and luckily I landed on the floor rather than in the water. It was terrifying. I still sit in that seat at the bow of the boat every time I fish though. It's tradition.
This boat is way more comfortable than the old tin can boat that tried to kill me.
This is my favourite part of the entire vacation. Sitting in the boat with my mom and dad (and the last 10 years - my husband), holding onto a fishing rod, feeling the gentle vibration of the lure while looking out over the cottages, and islands. I have learned an amazing amount of knowledge on fishing from my dad. He taught me everything I know about fishing and continues to teach me every time. He still gets excited every time someone gets "fish on!" The excitement of suddenly feeling a fish biting your lure, setting the hook and the fight to the boat is amazing. My dad told me I still get "the face".
Me: "What do you mean 'the face'?"
Dad: "You get your 'IT'S ON' face. Your "I'm gonna kill ya" face."
Me. "That's because it IS ON and I got that fucker in the boat."
Before the excitement of reeling in a fish, there are some things you need to know and do. Here's what my dad taught me about fishing:
Test your line before you put your lure on. I have lost a couple lures by forgetting to do this. If a big fish or even a medium sized fish strikes on a weak line, you're not getting the fish or your lure back. Give it a tug every once in a while after reeling in.
Get everything ready before you leave the dock.
Don't throw the weeds you catch back into the water. My dad told me not to do this because they will just end up on your line when you troll your line past them. My mom's reason is far different. When I was little my mom told me that her dad would never put the weeds back in the water because they had seeds on them. He kept them out of the water so not as many weeds would grow next year. Maybe his small action did help to create less weeds....back then. This small deed won't do anything these days - with seaweed on steroids - but I still put the weeds in the boat when I reel them in. It makes the fire smell like lake water when we burn them at night.
Keep your finger on the fishing line to feel the vibration or watch the end of the fishing rod to make sure it is gently vibrating. When your fishing rod doesn't move, it means you have a weed on your lure and you need to reel in to clean it off. Lures are specially designed to mimic the movement of a fish. When something gets stuck to it, it stops moving the way it was designed to and just glides through the water rather than wiggling its tail side to side.
Live wells are very handy. On our old tin can boat we had to use a chain that we clipped the fish to and kept in the water beside the boat. There have been a couple times where we forgot to bring the fish out of the water before we started to go faster...we didn't have a fish fry that night, let's just put it that way. Live wells are great because you can keep everything you catch and throw back the smallest ones at the end of the day. And you don't have to remember to bring them back into the boat so they don't become sushi.
|I was on a roll! 3 Pike and a bass all in one morning!|
My husband finally caught one! He has only caught a couple fish in the few years he has been coming with us to the cottage and this year he got the biggest one! It was delicious.
The end of Summer and beginning of Autumn (around September) the fish get a little crazy. My dad says that something just turns on in their brain when the water starts to get cold that tells them "I must eat everything that moves". So sometimes you catch fish that you don't think you'll catch. .....
Seriously? That little Bass actually thought he could eat that lure. It is the size of him! Fish are crazy.
This year I watched closely as my dad filleted the fish. I have never done one myself, but one day I will. I know the basic concept of it, I just have to practice. Almost every year he teaches other random cottagers how to fillet a fish. He gets really mad when people butcher a fish and waste most of the meat because they don't know what they are doing. This year he taught our neighbour cottager how to fillet pike properly.
If you like fish and prefer not see their guts, scroll down really fast through the next few pictures.
|We like to see what's inside the fish's stomach. Nothing this time.|
We don't keep everything we catch. We try and only keep the big ones (while following the fishing license rules) and throw the small ones back. Sometimes we have to keep a fish because it is wounded and won't survive if we put it back in the water. I gouged this one pretty good. The lure got caught in it's side which is really strange. We figure this fish had a blind eye and had to learn to strike differently. They usually follow behind the lure, it looks like this one followed parallel to the lure.
|Oops. Sorry fishy.|
|blind eye. First we've ever seen on a fish we caught.|
I learn so much every time I go fishing. The fish and their eco system is ever changing and in order to boat and fish the waters you need to adapt. When we first started going to the cottage, the water was much higher than it is now. It's scary how low the water is sometimes. This is a boat house probably built 50 or 60 years ago, maybe more. That's where the water used to be.
You can see the different levels of water over the years have stained the rocks.
10 years ago there was barely any water in between the dock on the left and the large rock island on the right in the next picture. 30 years ago, that rock island on the right would be mostly covered with water.
Up North you can see signs everywhere for stop the drop. Water is life and we need to respect it and the creature living in it.
I have been a fisherman in training since I was big enough to hold a fishing rod. I have learned and continue to learn so much. I have learned to respect the water, fellow boaters and the fish we catch. Before we eat our fish fry, we thank the fish for its deliciousness. My husband became a fisherman in training when he joined my family. My daughter will become a fisherman in training when she is old enough to hold her fishing rod. It's family tradition. That's how the Cameron's roll. For this year, we gave Sloan a great first taste of our traditions and memories and I hope she will enjoy them as much as I did growing up. For right now, she is more interested in the sand than being in the boat. That's okay, she's still in training.
|Grandpa dripping water on Sloan to give her the 'full experience'|
Thursday, 19 September 2013
I have an idea. A goal. A dream of sorts.
My husband mentioned that a small volunteer-based, local radio station might be put in our town.
Dave: You could have your own show. 'Saturday Afternoon in Robin's Nest'.
Me: Heck yeah! I could play so many Raffi, Fred Penner and fun kids songs and read stories and games and maybe turn it into a podcast too and..... (This went on for a while....)
It was interesting timing. I had mentioned to my husband a week or two before that if I could do it in our small town (not going to happen) I would completely love hosting a kids show. I loved watching Patti on TVO kids when I was little. Now they have 'The Space' on TVO. That is something I could totally get into. I love teaching and entertaining kids. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not afraid to be silly. I'll do almost anything to get a laugh out of someone - young and old.
|Free printable from hellodarlyn|
A radio program in my own town is a much more tangible dream....if it goes through. It is in the idea phase right now.
Of course there is funding, gathering volunteers and all the paper work that goes with setting a radio station up. I'm sure it won't be any time soon, which gives me time to put a plan in place. Maybe I'll watch Sesame Street and TVO to gather some ideas. Get books ready, song lists, rhymes....
I have a lot of work to do.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
September 6th and 7th we went to Niagara Falls, Ontario to go to Marine Land. We left early Friday morning, spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the theme park, checked into our hotel and toured downtown Niagara Falls. Sloan enjoyed the birds more than the Falls and seemed to notice the bugs on the aquariums rather than what was in them. Overall, we had a great time. It was everyone's first time at Marine Land. My husband and I didn't go to places like that as kids. In fact, our fourth (dating) anniversary - which was 7 years ago now - we went to Niagara Falls for the first time together.
I think she will enjoy a trip to Niagara Falls more when she is older, but we still had a great time!
I think she will enjoy a trip to Niagara Falls more when she is older, but we still had a great time!
|Watching the dolphin show.|
|Dolphins under water.|
|Killer Whale facts.|
This Beluga loved us!
|This bear waved to get food.|
|Half red, half orange ladybug. Strange!|
|Seals in their indoor aquarium.|
|Seal from below.|
|Sloan on her first ride! Mini Ferris wheel.|
|She wasn't allowed to sit on my lap for the ride.|
|Going on a boat ride with Daddy.|
|Saying bye to the dolphins.|
|After Marine Land - a tour of Niagara Falls.|
After looking at the Falls we toured downtown, stopped for dinner and found an old fortune teller. Daddy wanted some beer so we stopped at the liquor store . Sloan and I had a photo shoot while we waited outside. Then Dave carefully strapped his baby into the stroller.
Strike a pose.....
|Precious cargo, coming through!|
|Enjoying the fireworks at the Falls.|
|Sloan slept through it. She slept well after a long day!|
|Sloan got me up early enough to watch the sun rise over the Falls.|
|I still love you even though you have me up before the sun.|
|Being right beside Niagara Falls is powerful.|
|Thankful for people with foresight!|
|I love the fence along the Falls.|