I was recently reminiscing about a day trip that we took with a bunch of friends back in the winter months of 1982 up to Blue Mountain to give cross-country skiing a try for the first time.
I remember how excited we were about the fact that we were going to learn a new sport. I also remember how we quickly realized that the learning curve was huge as we were both lying on our backs in the middle of a snow bank a kilometre or so from the chalet. I can still hear our laughter in my head today as we lay there wondering what the heck were we thinking?! I also remember it because it perhaps was a fitting example of the kind of mother you were to me. Adventurous, determined, realistic yet also humble.
Raising two sons as a single mom certainly can’t be easy. There were many things working against you in the years that followed your divorce from Dad, yet through a combination of love, dedication and, well, a stubbornness to succeed, we managed to get by. I know there were often times when the money ran out before the month did, but somehow you always found a way. You were also someone who knew that when help was needed, it should be sought out. Your decision to reach out to the Big Brothers agency and to find Mentors for my brother and I was a decision that shaped my life in more ways than you can ever imagine.
The old adage is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and where you and I are concerned there is great truth to that. My passion for being an activist with regards to the environment and the community was developed as a result of watching you and your lifetime of being a community and environmental activist yourself. My passion and skills relating to cooking come from watching you and your career in the food industry. However perhaps most importantly, my complete love and dedication to my children stems from the love and dedication I felt while growing up from you.
I don’t say it enough Mom, but so much of who I am, what I believe in and what I choose to fight for in life is as a direct result of your influence on me. This Mother’s Day I wanted you and everyone who reads this to know how grateful I am for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.
If given the chance, I’m sure you and I could think of many significant moments in our lives together whose importance will be felt for a long time. However I’m sure you’ll agree that perhaps one of the most significant took place on Sunday, November 4, 2001.
I remember how our leisurely Sunday morning suddenly went ballistic when I heard a frantic calling of my name from the upstairs bathroom. Up to that moment I had never seen a home pregnancy test before which is why you had to educate me as to just what that appearing blue line actually meant. I can’t remember how you said it to me, but suffice to say I think we can both reflect on now on just how much of a complete life changer that blue line has been to us.
If life is really about expecting the unexpected then we certainly have lived our almost 12 years of marriage together exactly as the manual tells us to. I know that neither of us expected to be the parents of 4 children, including a set of twins and a beautiful daughter. I also know that you likely didn’t expect that my career path would lead me to being a self employed professional and that as a result, we would face many challenging years that come with building a business. I know that you weren’t expecting to live a life that was the opposite of what you grew up in. You grew up with security and certainty, while you live an existence that for the last while has been met with various levels of instability and non-conformity. I know that nowhere in the fine print does it define what “for better or for worse” means when you say it in our wedding vows and then sign for it on the marriage certificate.
Karen, I know that much of life together has easily fallen into the unexpected category. Yet, despite all the curves in life that have been thrown at you, and most of them due to me, you have not only survived but, deep down I think you are also learning to thrive. You are a much stronger woman today I believe, than when I first met you. I’m sure you may have doubts about that, but it amazes me what you can accomplish on any given day. Everyday isn’t perfect for you, but the same can be said for me and pretty much every single person who reads this. There are many things I love about you, but perhaps the part I love the most is how you have grown and become so much more of a person than I think you first believed you could be.
No parent out there is perfect and that holds true for both you and me. We each make mistakes and our children present us with new and unique challenges everyday. However you never give yourself enough credit for the fact that you have been able to learn and adapt. I can remember how you told me years ago how you didn’t need to be a career woman yet you’ve made an amazing career out of being a parent and its one that I admire and respect deeply.
Karen, to me this Mother’s Day is about giving full credit to where it is due. You are an amazing Mother and role model to our children who are incredibly blessed to have you in their life, just as I am as a husband and father.
To my Mom and to my Wife…Happy Mother’s Day to you both! You are each Mummies…you are both Yummy and as both a husband and a son I feel like an incredibly lucky man!