I Want My Children to Know…

If you found out you were not going to be in your child’s future to talk to them about life and love, what would you want to say?

I remember seeing a Documentary years ago of a Mom who was dying of cancer. She recorded videos of herself where she gave her daughter encouragement or advice at specific milestones in life, like getting her period or her first date. It was heart breaking to watch. It must have been the most difficult thing she had ever done in life besides say good-bye. To have the courage and mind set to sit down and gather your thoughts let alone articulate advice you are not ready to give is overwhelming to even consider.

Her daughter would watch the videos when the time presented itself. Although it must have been difficult for her daughter to watch I am sure every word spoken was savoured. The strength of this woman was amazing and stayed with me for years. A Gift…

Things I want my Daughter & Son to know;

~ You’re perfect just the way you are.

~ Stay true to self.

~ Express your feelings no matter what they are; to whom ever they were meant to reach.

~ Never go to bed mad…

~ Always, always kiss your partner before they leave.

~ Never hold a grudge and never seek revenge no matter how hard it is.

~ Always forgive even if you can’t forget. In time you will.

~ Don’t spend too much time crying over the opposite sex, they are worth it but things always work out the way they should and only experience will show you that is true.

~ Never say never, because one day you will…

~ Love with your heart…reason with your head.

~ Touch is something that should never cease with your partner.

~ If you would rather be alone…make it happen.

~ Don’t let anyone take advantage of who you are.

~ Be open to everyone who walks through your door.

~ Don’t judge, it’s just not nice.

~ If you are going to say something about someone, be prepared to say it to their face.

~ If you are unsure of a situation and it involves making a choice…imagine me standing by your side and ask yourself…would I do this if my Mom were here? If not think about it a little longer.

~ Don’t gossip words hurt the most when used to make someone else feel bad.

~ Inspire one person everyday with something you do or say.

~ Your actions will speak much louder than your words.

~ Only marry for Love, not money, love will be there when money isn’t.

~ Never let anyone manipulate your heart. They shouldn’t want to.

~ Love deeply it is the only way.

~ It’s okay for a man to cry, it shows they will be a great Father.

~ Don’t fight unless you are truly passionate about what you are standing for.

~ Do unto others as you would have others do unto you…it’s a Golden Rule for a reason!

No one really knows how much time they have left on Earth. It’s so important to communicate and talk to those you love when the opportunity presents itself. I think what I would miss most was my kids sense of humor in the moment. The spontaneous sparing of funny things said…kind of like the old saying ‘I guess you had to be there.’

Be there because you can and are!

Svaha ~

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Is Santa Claus Real?

Tracy“Is Santa Real?” Here’s a question all parents are hearing as we count down from weeks to days before the most exciting day of the year for a lot of children around the world.  I have an 11 year old son and a 8 year old daughter who have obviously been talking about Santa as the excitement builds with Christmas morning arriving soon.

I still remember the the Christmas Eve my cousin Sherene was in my room looking out my window in hopes of seeing Santa Claus.  She was much older and I had a hard time sleeping, as most kids do on Christmas Eve.  Santa was en route so how could anyone sleep.  All kids wish deep down that they might actually get a glimpse of Santa each year coming down the chimney and so we try our hardest to keep our little peepers open as long as we can.  Sherene was looking out my window when all of a sudden she exclaimed “DO YOU SEE HIM, DO YOU SEE HIM!!” her eyes bulge open like saucers as she pointed into the sky way off into the horizon.  I squinted with all my might and there he was Santa Claus being pulled in his sleigh by his 8 reindeer!  I still remember the excitement that filled my entire being.  Ahhh to be 7 again…pure magic!

SantaSleigh

My son asked me years ago if I believed in Santa and I told him my story once again.  He smiles each time and I can tell by the look in his eyes he is swept up in the magic and spirit of Christmas.  This year he asked me again, knowing what I was going to say ” If you don’t believe you don’t receive”.  That wasn’t quite enough for him this year, he took it one step further as I thought he might at 11.  He tried to put it back on me.  He said okay Mom but when I have kids and they wake up really excited Christmas morning and you didn’t tell me it was you and there is nothing left for them under the tree it will be your fault!!  I  assured him there would be gifts under his tree for his little ones.  He told me then that he too believed in the “Spirit of Christmas”. My 8 year old daughter on the other hand put it like this,  she looked me straight in the eyes and said ” Are you Santa, not waiting for a response she carried on, cause if you are that would be really really disappointing” and she walked away.

If you have kids who are questioning the spirit of Christmas you need to watch “The Polar Express” , it will set everyone straight!  When either of my kids ask me if I believe and I expect it to happen each year I take a moment and remember back the night I saw Santa in his sleigh with his reindeer in the horizon and I tell them that I believe because I saw him with my own two eyes.  I was one of the lucky ones, and I know I am not alone.  Christmas is about giving so this year make sure you do your share of giving to others in the Spirit of Christmas!

If you would like to track Santa this Christmas visit “Norad Track Santa” there are lots of fun things for kids to explore on this site!  Another great site for kids is NorthPole.com.  And if you want to find out if your on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list check out Santa’s Nice-o-Meter.

Happy Holiday’s Everyone !!

Tracy signiture

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What Do You Call A…

Bonnie Johnson's PostThere should be another word for “step-mother”.  Step-mothers are usually portrayed as evil in fairy tales and movies and the word “mother” is too sacred on its own.  When you throw the word “step” in front of it the whole meaning changes.  Damn whoever wrote Cinderella!evil step mother

I’m a step-mother to three adults, one of whom is only ten years my junior.  So uttering the word “mother” as part of my title is not only uncomfortable but really just sounds wrong too. The oldest is married to a wonderful woman whom I’ve become very close to.  It gets awkward when I try to introduce her to others though. “This is my step-daughter-in-law” is a mouthful.  Sometimes I leave off the word step for fun but then I get those funny sideway glances of confusion.  My step-daughter-in-law, by the way, is also a step-mother to one of my step-grandchildren.  Confused? Welcome to the modern family.

I came on the scene after my husband;s children were all grown up and living away from home.  They’d had a few years to get used to their parents divorce and had seen their dad “dating” before.  I wasn’t a home wrecker and I’m grateful for the timing.  It allowed my relationship with his children to start on solid ground.  I remember being pleasantly surprised by the natural affection I had for his three kids right from the start.  I realize it was mostly because they are all such kind and accepting people but a part of the reason came from being in love with their dad. They are, after all, a very big part of him.

Most important to me was that my own son would be accepted as part of the family.  I didn’t need to worry.  Over the years my husband’s kids have developed their own strong relationship with James and there is no doubt that we are all family now.

I feel so blessed to be a part of a large diverse family like ours and excited that it is growing 😉 as I write this.  Yes, there is a new baby on the way!

It’s just the titles I struggle with.  My step-grand kids call me “Bonnie” and I guess that’s ok, but I wish there was a more intimate title to describe what I am to them.  I just don’t know about being called “Bonnie” to this new baby. “Grandma Bon?” But is it ok to change it up with one child when the others are used to another name? If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

I guess the relationship we share matters more than what we call it.  As the years go by I feel more and more “related” to these special people and I’m so grateful to have them all in my life.

Bonnie

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Oops! I Took The Wrong Baby Home!

The scenario:

You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mix-up at the hospital, not yours.  Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?

babies switched at birth

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie ~

After doting on and loving a baby, any baby, but especially one you believe is a part of you, for a whole year to then be told it doesn’t really belong to you?  Ouch!  That would be a major shock, wouldn’t it?!  The bond between a mother and child after a year is iron clad, and not something easily broken.  This would be a heartbreaking situation to find yourself in.

I researched “babies switched at birth” and discovered that it does happen occasionally but not often.  Hospitals take fingerprints, foot prints, or palm prints of newborns in order to prevent babies being mixed up. Nurses also double check with the mother, checking the identity of that person as well, in order to prevent errors.  Hospitals also have policies in which a medical record number is assigned to an infant at birth, and bands with this number as well as the last name of the mother of the infant, the gender of the infant, and the date and time of birth are placed on the infant and the mother immediately after parturition before the mother and child are separated.  And yet I still found a few cases of this happening despite the policies.  Mistakes were made and when they were discovered the hospitals were sued.

What struck me most when I read about these cases was for some reason the majority of these mix-ups were not discovered until years later.  In most cases the mothers all had a feeling early on that something wasn’t right but were convinced by hospital staff that they were mistaken and everything was as it should be.  Listen to your inner voice, believe in your intuition!

So, would I exchange the child after a year to correct the mistake?  Yes, I would.  It would probably be the hardest thing I would ever have to do but for the sake of both children I would.  Again, after reading about stories where this really did happen, the saddest part, once the truth was discovered, was how the children themselves often felt.  Some discuss having the feeling that something wasn’t quite right and the feeling that they didn’t quite fit in.  One woman, when she found out the truth at 43 years old,  felt like her whole life up until then had been a lie and now she felt torn between two families.

I would have a very hard time giving up a baby I had loved so deeply for a year but I would also want to be the one to raise my own child.  If faced with this scenario I think I would ask that I still be allowed to continue a relationship with the other child too.

Post Insert JacquieJacquie ~

My daughter Emilie was one of 50 babies born at North York General Hospital in Toronto on June 12, 19……… not tellin’.  I’m a very trusting person and it never occurred to me to worry that she might accidentally get switched with another half Asian/half Caucasian baby girl.  The security on the maternity ward was unlike anything I could have imagined, and I remember having to go through at least two check points where our hospital bracelets were scrutinized before the staff would allow us to leave the floor.

I know an awful lot of bonding takes place in the first few years of life but I have to say, if this terrible situation happened to me, I’d want to get my biological child back.  It definitely would be heart-wrenching to give up a child I’d cared for and loved for a year, but I believe it would be the right thing to do.  Truthfully, I’d want to keep both babies, but I guess that wouldn’t be fair.  I wouldn’t be able to handle someone else raising my child due to hospital error.  I would hope that the other family would feel the same way and really, in a perfect world, we could all be part of an extended family group.

PS.  I have a teenager I’d be willing to trade for …let’s say… a 21 year old right now, if anyone’s interested? : )

TracyTracy gives back ~

I remember being concerned about this with my first child.  I wanted to be awake during my C-section because I had heard of this happening.  Lets call it first child paranoia.  I remember my Mom telling me in the operating room when the ID band was secure on my son’s wrist.  I think she may have double checked to make sure it couldn’t slip off.  My son was the spitting image of his Dad so no one could have made a switch with us not be aware of it.  He was also 10 lbs 3 oz and the other babies in the nursery were triplets, with the largest one weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs.  The nurses nicknamed my son baby sumo because he looked 3 months old at birth.  Any other Mom would have felt ripped off had my son been sent home with them by mistake,  kind of like getting a puppy at 6 months old.

mine!!!

I can’t imagine having to actually go through this in real life.  Unfortunately it has happened, more than once.  This topic made me reflect back on the first year with both my son and daughter.  Time goes by so quickly, and the first year is monumental for bonding with your baby.  I would have to take the perspective that I was a surrogate to this child for the year we spent together.  I am certain the mother of the child I was given would absolutely want their child back, as would I.  I would have complete confidence that she gave my child unconditional love.  When you have natural motherly instincts you love all children.  I can’t imagine not loving ‘a’ child no matter whose they were if I were responsible for it’s welfare.

Bonding in hospitalAll children are special and unique.  I would want to make the change gradually so that both children were able to adjust as naturally as possible.  I think that the babies would sense a mistake with how they are known to recognizes a mothers smell and and how they react to the sound of their mothers voice from having heard it from inside the womb.  A mother’s love is pure and unconditional so I know that after spending time with my child everything would be just fine in no time.  I would hope that after an experience such as this you would form a friendship with the other mother that I would last a life time.  Everything happens for a reason and I would just embrace it for what it was.

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Be Something You Love And Understand

Bonnie Johnson's PostAbout four years ago I heard the song “Simple Man” by Shinedown and it really spoke to me.  I know that Lynard Skynard was first to do this song but I really liked the way that Shinedown sang it…and with so much soul.  I love the words and I told my son, James, who was a teenager at the time that I wanted him to listen carefully to the lyrics because those words were exactly what I wished for him.  It really is quite simple.  Be something you love and understand.  The rest will fall into place then.

Fast forward three years, James is home from school visiting and playing his guitar.  He has been practicing a special song that he wants me to hear.  I almost cried when he started singing “Simple Man” with as much soul as Shinedown.  Now, another year later he is home for a short visit again (he leaves for Tampa tomorrow : (  …after only one week…sigh) and just finished playing his repertoire of old and new favourites.  He finished his session with the one he knows means a great deal to me…Simple Man.  I wanted to share it with you but he refused to let me video him so I’ll have to sneak the camera on him another day I can only offer you this “simple” video of Shinedown singing with the words scrolling.  I think it’s fitting.  I have also added a picture of James playing just a few days ago.  If you squint your eyes you may be able to imagine him performing it.  Enjoy!

james guitar

Bonnie

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