chronic illness, life, mental health

Milestones and Reflections

At the beginning of June, I celebrated the first year of my blog. It was a huge step for uber-private me last year but the response once I finally faced my fear and hit publish was unreal. I can’t believe I have over 500 followers. More importantly, I can’t believe the support I’ve received and the friends I’ve made in this wonderful community. I’m so grateful. Thank you all. 💕

On this day four years ago, I received my MS diagnosis in the morning before going back to school for the last afternoon with my class. I didn’t know it would be the last afternoon I would spend as a teacher at the time.

It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. The physical symptoms, especially the fatigue, stopped me teaching but the mental gymnastics associated with being chronically ill really stopped me in my tracks.

Fear, grief, anxiety, depression, guilt. Oh, the guilt! Learning to say ‘I can’t’ – especially to my children, forcing myself to stop when I ‘should’ get a little more done, unable to enjoy the good days because I ‘should’ be working.

I’ve learned to mostly maintain perspective when the anxiety and depression hit because I know it’s temporary, no matter how black. The fear hits pretty strongly when my body does it’s weird party tricks. (numbness, tingling, burning, buzzing, dizziness, tinnitus, spasms, trembling, pain and the fatigue that courses through my veins. #msawareness)

But life is scary for everybody in one way or another. Perspective.

The guilt has been the nastiest of the negatives. It comes up over and over and I’ve struggled to gain the same perspective, especially on the good days. I’d love so much to be back in the classroom that when the uglies lessen a bit, I forget how bad they are and feel I should at least try to go back to work. When they inevitably reappear, I remember why I can’t do the job I love so much.

Four years on, I’m done with the guilt on my good days. I won’t compromise the health I’ve regained since I stopped working by forcing myself to go back to work. And I won’t waste the bonus time I do get feeling guilty anymore, dammit! So there, MS. 🤗 From now on, I’m doing ‘jazz hands’ any time the guilt creeps in – haha!

This day marks a milestone for each of our younger children as well. After knocking our socks off at her Variety Show on Monday singing ‘Defying Gravity’ – (check out my instagram or facebook for the video), our youngest is finishing her last day at elementary school. It’s truly the end of an era, as we started there an unbelievable 15 years ago when our eldest was in kindergarten. Not to mention that my husband and his mother also went to the same school!

Our son is finishing his last day of high school, heading across the country to study Economics at Western University in September. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of his achievements so far and excited for him, but there will be a big hole in our family that will take getting used to. It’s all as it should be and we can’t wait to see where he goes with his life. This kid is motivated!

Finally, our eldest got her first car so now we have our own taxi 😉 she’s embarking on a whole new level of independence and financial responsibility. We have no doubt she’ll manage her shiny new car with her usual attention and responsibility, and have lots of great adventures in the years to come.

So it’s the end of June and the beginning of summer vacation. The garden’s in great shape, the kids all have exciting plans for the summer, and we have lots of camping planned in our new tent trailer. It’s going to be a great summer!

❤️ Amanda

life

Happy Easter: Is the Easter Bunny Real?

True story. An overheard conversation between two little girls in the dark of a theatre, entranced by the magic of Willy Wonka, the Musical, the night before Easter.

Do you do an Easter egg hunt?

Of course, don’t you?

Yes but — do you believe in the Easter Bunny?

Well no, that’s not the way it works.

Uh oh.

You mean the Easter Bunny’s not Real?

No, it would be impossible for just one bunny to do it. It’s not one bunny, it’s ALL the bunnies.

A moment of silence.

That makes sense. Of course it has to be all the bunnies, they all do it. They’re all the Easter Bunny.

Problem solved.

Four Seasons Musical Theatre – Willy Wonka

Our girls as Candy Kid and Oompa Loompa

Happy Easter everyone!!!

❤️ Amanda

Arts, life

Talented kidlets – NEW PAGE!

When I need to boost my spirit, the one thing besides my family and my garden (and those damn kitten and puppy videos!) that helps, is watching the amazing talent of young people. Young people who have talent and work hard to improve it to the best of their ability. I wanted to have a page to showcase new, impressive talent and innovation in the upcoming generation. Finding positives to focus on, and highlighting the arts is so important in these bizarre, rocky political times.

Since this is my blog, I’m going to kick off my new page by showcasing the talent of our two beautiful daughters. Like me, they are crazy about musicals and were really excited for Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again to come out. Here is their cover of the mother-daughter song “My Love, My Life”.

You can check out the new page here to see dancers, singers and various other talented athletes. Oh, and babies. Nothing can make you smile in spite of yourself like the sound of baby laughter.

The picture below is from my early performing days. 1979, my first year with the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. Funny story: I told my dad I was the puppy in the pink dress. My dad filmed the whole number of the girl in the light pink dress, neither of us clueing in to the fact that there is more than one shade of pink. Mind you, I was nine…ahem… just kidding, Dad 😉. I found these pictures on Facebook last year and there I am! Social media can be a wonderful thing.

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I hope you enjoy the new page. I will periodically add new things and switch it up a bit. I would love any suggestions of new talent to feature. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Have a wonderful week!

❤️ Amanda