Sorry I Didn’t Thank You for Bullying Me!

14 Oct

This year we are facing somewhat of a challenge with a new boy at school.  I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, even assholes.  I really do.  The mantra that I mutter to myself often is ‘be kind, you don’t know the battles someone else is fighting’.  It’s not original or even slightly creative, but it has served me well.  This new kid is testing my patience and my mantra.

I have two daughters.  One is nine and in Grade Four.  The other is twelve and in Grade Seven. I have taught my children to be kind and treat people with respect.  We don’t have to be friends with everyone we meet, but we need to be respectful and treat everyone the way we would like to be treated.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I am under no delusion that my kids are perfect.  They aren’t.  They can be complete jerks to each other.  Total and complete.  But one thing I can say with confidence, is that while they can rain proper shit down on each other, they are kind and respectful to teachers, adults – who are not their own parents; and kids – who are not their own siblings.  I have heard it enough to believe it to be true.  Like to the point that I think people might be mistaking my darling angels for other kids, but I digress.

I have never gotten a call from school saying my kids are being jerks.  I have gotten calls saying they are the first to step up to help kids who need help.  It’s the small victories that make me proud.

The first week of school, the new kid pushed my eldest daughter down and punched her in the nose.

The third week of school, during CPR Training, he told her she was fat and tipped her off a stretcher into the mud.  I figured that one out when she came home covered in caked on mud.  So ya, I’m basically like a detective.

The school assured me the matter was being dealt with.  I assured the school that if they didn’t deal with it, I would have a word with the child in my quiet, but scary voice somewhere in a quiet corner of the playground.

The Principal laughed nervously and mentioned a pesky school policy which frowns upon parents taking matters into their own hands.  To which my reply touched upon the ‘kids not being allowed to hurt other kids at school’ policy that seems to not be being strongly upheld at the moment.  So I wondered aloud if these policies were mere suggestions.  She assured me they are not.  Good to know.

Then last week happened.  The boy roundhouse kicked my daughter right in front of a teacher.  And that’s where things got interesting.  You know what the teacher said to my daughter?

“Take it as a compliment.  Boys do stuff like that to show girls they like them”.

Cue the record scratch!

I was instantaneously filled with white hot anger and knock me over with a feather shock.  I was shangry.  I quickly checked the calendar to confirm that we somehow hadn’t suddenly gone back in time to 1950.  I was filled with mixed emotions once I confirmed it is indeed 2015.

A female teacher had told my daughter to take being bullied and assaulted as a compliment.  My first thought was to go kick the teacher really hard and tell her “it’s a compliment because I just like you so darned much.  You. Are. Welcome”.  But I  didn’t.  As all good mothers do in 2015, I took to Facebook.  What I was even further shocked to learn was that lots of my friends had similar stories to tell.  I felt sorry for our generation.  We credit ourselves with coming so far and yet we are stuck with this caveman mentality.

As a child, I remember these sage words of advice from well-meaning adults.  “If he’s mean to you, it means he likes you”.  Back then, this message confused me and left me powerless.  There I was being bullied and grownups were telling me to be grateful.  What a confusing time it was.

Yet, here we are, 35 years later and still teaching our girls “if he’s mean to you, he likes you…oh and while you’re at it, be sure to thank him so he doesn’t think you’re a bitch”.  In this age of rampant cyberbullying, body shaming and teen suicides of epidemic proportions, authority figures are still telling our young girls to be grateful when somebody hurts them.  The message is so devastating on so many levels to girls who are just developing their own sense of self and just starting to find their way in the world.

When a female is told that being hurt is a sign of affection, it not only undermines her power to properly deal with the incident, but flies in the face of everything we try to teach them about standing up for themselves.  If a boy, or anyone for that matter, makes them feel bad about themselves and/or physically hurts them, instead of trusting their own instincts to flee, they start to assume they are just misreading the situation or being overly sensitive when really, shouldn’t they be just ‘taking it as a compliment’?

So, what, you may wonder, was my wise advice to my daughter about handling this situation?  You may want to write this down, it’s pretty complicated.  “If he touches you again’,  I said ‘it doesn’t mean he likes you.  It means he’s a big jerk.  If he hurts you again, and the teacher does nothing, punch him in the face and I will come to school and defend you”.  Before you judge me, please know that I realize this advice was not very mature of me.  But I meant it.

Because I have raised my girls to be decent people, I know she won’t do it, even though I secretly wish she would.  I need her to know that she always has an escape option if she needs to use it.  Always.  I will always have her back and will defend her if she cannot defend herself.  Always.  Finally, my girls will always know that abuse is not love.  Always.

Taking The Slow Road

14 Sep

A few years ago, on my birthday, not the BIG one, but close enough to the big one, I decided I’d had to make a change.  I was leading a life of inactivity that kept me fat and on the couch, getting fatter.

A bad back, that went out as easily as electricity in a lightning storm, was making my life miserable.  How many weekends was I okay to miss out on, flat out on my bed, in pain from yet another putting on a sock injury?  Always missing out on the simple pleasures in life like my husband taking the kids to fireworks, or tobogganing or out for ice cream.  How long would I be okay watching life pass me by with my hand, wrist deep in a jar of peanut butter?

It was time, to take control of my life.  I was terrified my children would develop my lifestyle of poor eating and making excuses for being lazy.  I can’t exercise today.  It’s too hot.  It’s too cold.  It’s too cloudy.  It’s too sunny.  I’m too lazy!

I was constantly telling my girls they could do anything they set their minds to.  “Be open to trying new things,” I would say.  “Girl Power”!  “Girls can do anything”!  But there I was, doing nothing.  I was a terrible role model.  And according to any of those self-righteous parenting websites the worst mother ever.  Side note:  I was a somewhat newish mom back then so I still cared what those judgmental harpies thought.  I thought I was supposed to.

My daughters were not going to grow up without a mom.  I made the promise to myself as much as to them.  I would be there for them for a good, long, healthy time. I wanted them to think of me, and me to think of myself, as an active role model they could be proud to look up to.

One brave day, I laced up my running shoes, and at 5 a.m., nobody else needed to witness my bravery, I went for my first run.

Running is quite a generous exaggeration of the motion that was really taking place.  I was actually doing more of a sloth, crawling through molasses thing.  Still I was proud of myself.  I had a plan!  I set out that morning deciding that 30 minutes would be a good solid start.  I’d take it easy for my first day.  No need to show off and make the neighbours feel bad after all.  I’d just go one lamp post to the next.


This is no problem.  Why hadn’t I done this years ago?


I quickly learned on that fateful morning that one lamp post to the next might as well be one mile to the next.  My heart was pounding, legs burning, breath wheezing mercilessly in my ears.  But I gave it my all.  My “all” was three lamp posts and about seven minutes.  For anyone who might be curious, you could actually walk three lamp posts in under a minute.  But I digress.

As I walked slowly home with my head hung in shame, face red and sweaty, heart still racing, legs and lungs still burning, I checked for my healthcard.  I figured when they found me out there in the dark at that ungodly time of the day, they would naturally assume I’d been murdered.  I at least wanted them to be able to identify the sweaty body on the side of the road.  No need to inconvenience anyone with a splashy investigation.

Looking back, I realize I was way too hard on myself and that what I accomplished that day was pretty awesome.  Okay, maybe not awesome for a lot of people, but awesome for me and where I was at that time in my life.  I had gotten my lazy bum out of bed at 5 a.m. and had the willpower to take the first steps toward my healthier life.

You know what I did the next day?  I got up at 5 a.m. again.  And I did it the day after that and the day after that.  Each day increasing my run by a lamp post.  It wasn’t too long before I could run around my block.  It took me 45 minutes but I did it.  I couldn’t have been happier that day if I’d won an Olympic gold.  In fact, I didn’t say it out loud, because I didn’t want to jinx my chances, but I was pretty sure, Team Canada was going to call and ask where I’d been hiding until now.  So, yes, I was a little pumped about that first block!  If you’re wondering, I’m sad to say, Team Canada never did call me.  But I had moved recently and changed my number so you know, maybe they tried.  I guess I’ll never know.

By the end of two weeks, my attitude started to shift.  I started to really feel like I could take on the world.  I went from a couch potato with a bad back, and a thing for Criminal Minds Marathons to a runner.  Obviously, I only called myself that in my head!  Because I thought people would laugh and tell me I was out of my mind.  Also, real runners ran real marathons, not the Criminal Minds kind.  So there was that little detail.

By the end of that first month, I set myself a loftier goal.  I would run my first 5K by the end of one year.  A pretty daunting thought for a one lamp post, at a time kind of girl.  Then it hit me, I wasn’t that couch potato anymore.  I was a runner!  I went on line and signed up before I gave myself time to chicken out.  I felt nauseous the moment I hit send!  Once it was official, there was no turning back.

After participating in several “Couch to 5K” clinics, and experiencing a gamut of feelings from self-pity to euphoria and everything in between, running finally clicked for me one day.  I started to really love it as my running friends said I would.  And wait!  What?  I had running friends.  Friends who were runners.  My social life had become less about getting together with friends over food and more about getting together with friends who I had never eaten with!  Some of my food loving friends, slowly turned away because they weren’t sure how to relate to me anymore.  I hear that happens sometimes when people make major life changes.  In my own mind, my street cred was at an all time high.  So was my self esteem.  I was getting control of my eating habits, my weight and my overall health.  I felt amazing.

Less than a year later, I ran my first 5K race.  I lost my group at the start line.  I had no music.  It was hot.  I ran the entire 5K behind a hunched over, man I later found out was 92 years old.  I paced myself to his pace, staying behind him because I couldn’t catch him if my life depended on it.  To this day, that man has no idea how he helped me, a reformed couch potato, meet a goal I never dreamed possible.  He crossed the finish line right before me and then I lost him in the crowd.  I wanted to thank him but couldn’t.  My girls and my husband cheered me on at the finish line.  When I saw them, I cried.  My friends, who I had cursed for losing me, but instantly loved again at the finish line, greeted me with victory hugs.  It was a fantastic feeling.

I’ve run many miles since that first three lamp post run.  I’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s and a few half marathons.  Every one of those runs has been important in my journey.  But I truly believe my first three lamp post run will always be the most important run of my life.

They say the first step is the hardest one you will ever take.  I wholeheartedly agree except I would add, so too are the next thousand steps.  Some runs are harder than others.  I don’t think that will ever change.  But now there are more days I feel like I could run forever.

Running has taught me so much.  I have learned I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and I can push myself longer and harder than I ever thought possible.   Mostly running has taught me to believe in myself in a way nothing else in life ever could.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

12 Dec

IMG_7422 IMG_7419

I always look forward to theWeekly Photo Challenge.

I’ve been absent lately.  This is such a busy time of year.  So much to get done by the big day.  There hasn’t been a lot of time to sit still.

My little one has been home sick for 2 days.  So I’ve been forced to stop and breathe.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

30 Nov


Similar shots but different enough.  I couldn’t decide, so I’m using both.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

24 Nov

Thankful to those who protect us today and and everyday.

An Agoraphobic Takes Manhatten

21 Nov

If you’ve ever visited New York City and, like me, you’re from just some regular place, you know that New York is like nowhere else in the world.  It’s a fantastically loud, vibrant, dirty, entertaining, diverse, beautiful, busy and fabulous sea of humanity.  Maneuvering through the streets requires comfy shoes and lots of  patience.  It is sensory overload at it’s finest and you haven’t even gotten out of Times Square yet.

This year we have V.I.P. tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday.  Although we have not been to the parade before, New York at Christmas is an annual tradition for our family.  There’s nothing like it.  The hustle and bustle, the lights, the crowds.  We are going to a couple of shows, out for some lovely meals, to see Santa at Macy’s and to the 9/11 Memorial.  To top it all off, the weather is supposed to be beautiful.

I am dreading the whole thing.

We have known about this trip since July.  In July, a trip so far off sound like a great idea.  My husband and I love New York.  We would love to be able to live there one day.  The only glitch in that plan is that I would have to live as a shut-in.  Why?  I am not fond of crowds.  Actually, HATE is not a strong enough word to express how I feel about crowds.

As the day approaches, everyone else is getting more and more excited, and me, well, my chest is constricting and I can’t catch my breath!  Well well well, isn’t this just gonna be the super most funnest trip ever?  We’re gonna have fun dammit, if it kills me!

“The definition of agoraphobia is a fear of being in a crowded situation from which one either cannot escape or from which escaping would be difficult or humiliating.”

As an added bonus, recently I have started suffering from the occasional panic attack.  Like the kind where I can’t breathe and I want to run and escape and I’m sweating and my heart is beating so hard I’m certain it will leap out of my mouth at any minute and land on the floor.  Yeah, just like that.  And my husband is staring at me, with teeth clenched, all like ‘Pull yourself together’ and then pretends not to know me.  (I respect that.  I would do the same to him if he carried on with such nonsense).    It’s pretty awesome in a ‘I may just lose my mind right here and now and um….don’t mind me while I strip off my clothes because I’m pretty sure this shirt is trying to strangle me!’  way.

So yeah, New York City, during the parade, sounds like a great idea doesn’t it?

I never really put it all together until recently.  I just thought I was extremely irritable.  Secretly, I’ve been suspicious that I’ve been completely losing my mind for a while now.  Recently I went to the doctor.  I braced myself for worst.

I tell the doctor:  This feeling overwhelms me at really opportune times like in really crowded places.  Volume + Crowds= Total Nightmare!   At movie theatre concession stands, at amusement parks, in loud restaurants that think it’s kitchy to crowd the table with every condiment known to man, 3 different menus, and a paper towel dispenser.  (UGH!!  total nightmare)  I can feel my chest constricting just thinking about it.  I’m pretty sure it’s fatal.

Me:  Give it to me straight Doc.  Is it fatal?

Doc:  No, it’s not fatal.  It’s Anxiety and you are experiencing panic attacks which by the way are extremely common.

Me:  So, just to clarify NOT fatal?

Doc:  Correct.

So, on the bright side, Anxiety is a walk in the park compared to losing every marble in my head or complete fatality right?  Turns out what I thought was impending doom is a manageable condition!  So that good news right?  The doctor gave me some happy pills, said ‘You’ll be fine.  Have fun in New York!’  Just like that he was gone.  Hope for a fun family trip had been restored that quickly.  I don’t know how it’s going to go once I see sea of humanity but I’m up for the challenge.

Bags are packed – Check!

Tickets and Passports – Check!  Check!

Happy Pills – Check!

Hoping for the best – Check!

Lots to be thankful for – CHECK!!


Um…I’d Like to Thank Jesus and My Mama

19 Nov

Okay you guys, I am blushing!  I received Liebster nominations this weekend from two very kind fellow bloggers who are obviously as wise as they are beautiful.  My sincere thanks goes out to and  Thank you ladies!

Interestingly, one nomination is a nod for bloggers with less than 200 followers and the other is for bloggers with less than, (cue the constricting chest) 3,000 followers.  3,000!!!!  Do people actually have more than 3,000 followers?  More than 200 even?

I hit 70 awesome followers this weekend and wrote each name on a piece of paper, threw them all on the bed and rolled on them.  Never mind!  I heard it as soon as I said it.  That was too much information and now I’ve made you feel uncomfortable.  I apologize!  But I swear to god, I was absolutely giddy with delight.  I’d put you all in my pocket and take you home with me but — again, too far right?  Dammit!

The third illustrious award that I was nominated for this weekend, once again by my sister from another mother was the Family of Bloggers Award.  This award is near and dear to my heart since and I have concluded we are probably long lost sisters but are both unwelcome at the upcoming family reunion!  I’ve decided I’ll still send a nice egg salad with double mayo and may or may not keep it refrigerated because I’m mature like that.

I am truly humbled to be acknowledged by my peers.  I live vicariously through them and their successes and when good things happen to them I’m as proud as proud can be.  I cheer them on as though they are my own kids in the final round of a spelling bee and in return all I ask is a nod in the dedication of their first book.  So to be mentioned by them because they think my little blog is worth mentioning, well that’s just about the weirdest nicest thing I can ever imagine them doing for me.  Just little old me who likes to rant about random crap on my little old blog.

As part of the award, I am to tell you 11 things about myself.  I’ll wait here while you get your slumber mask and blankie.

1.  I defriended my mom from Facebook because all her status updates were about church potlucks and missing pets.  (In her defense, I don’t think one has anything to do with the other).  The jello mold industry is alive and well thanks to my mother and her gal pals.

2.  I overthink things.  Everything.  No matter how simple or mundane.

3.  I suffer from guilt.  About everything.  No matter how simple or mundane.  Interestingly, I did not feel guilty about defriending my mom from Facebook.  Hmm!

4.  I hate shopping.  I cannot express this point strongly enough.

5.  I love Nutella.  One time I ate the whole jar with a spoon and when the kids asked me where it was, I told them I found bugs in it and had to throw it out.

6.  I should exercise more but I’m sort of very lazy.

7.  A friend and I once joked about having wine smoothies for breakfast in front of a PTO mom and we never got invited to another meeting.

8.  I used to worry that other moms judged me.  I don’t anymore.  If they are wasting time judging me, that’s less time they are judging someone else.  I consider it a public service that I provide.  You are welcome everyone!

9.  I love my kids but their constant bickering makes me want to drink bleach.

10.  I am fascinated by true crime shows and documentaries.

11.  My husband thinks I need an intervention because of my love of crime shows.  So just to make him nervous, I like to throw ‘life insurance’ into random conversations!  Then I smile sweetly in a crazy lady sort of way.  He does not find it funny.

The second part of the awards requires that I pay my good fortune forward and nominate 11 others who, like me, are fabulously talented and whose audience totals less than 3,000.  I would have picked the ‘under 200’ category, but these blogs all may have 2,999 followers already.  Many of them have even been Freshly Pressed.  (Well la-tee-da!!!  I run with the fancy schmancy crowd.)  They definitely deserve it.  Their mantles are already full, I am sure, with accolades so this is mainly just for me to let them know I really enjoy their work.

Without further ado, I tip my hat to the following people and strongly suggest you check them out if you haven’t already.

…And the Liebster Awards go to:

Enjoy your day everyone!

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