Finding The Positive in Mother’s Day

Social media, and media in general have blown Mother’s Day up into a two day event… and then some… making it harder and harder on those who don’t have mothers worthy of celebration, and those who have lost mothers they miss every day of their lives.

I’m one of the former.

Over the years, I’ve simply ignored all the wonderful posts about mothers who are loved, missed, and celebrated, but for some reason this year it was more difficult to stuff my feelings into a tidy little slot and just keep moving forward.

The problem began with hearing one of those radio deals where listeners phone in and have twenty seconds to say something to their mom—for all the world to hear.

I laughed at the first few, thinking, ha ha, nope, nothing like my mother. Then a young woman said, “If not for my mother, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

At that point I started to think of the negatives in my life I could directly attribute to my parents. If not for my mother I wouldn’t be…

But I stopped, because I have learned to live a positive life…I gave up negative when I realized it was a legacy I didn’t want, didn’t have to accept.

Today, I refused to dwell on the why’s behind my shortcomings and weaknesses.

Instead, I chose to look at, think about, and question how the negatives in my childhood impacted me in a positive way, and here are a few that stand out.

If I’d had a mother who got up in the mornings and got her children off to school, would I be such a good self-starter? Would I still be crazy proficient and organized if I hadn’t had to get my own breakfast, get dressed, and on my way?

Probably not.

If I’d had parents I could run to when the bumps and scrapes and hurt feelings happened would I still be this resilient and self-sufficient?

If I’d had parents who put their children first, would I be such a strong and independent woman today?

If I hadn’t had parents who expected me to work as soon as I was legally able, would I have such and outstanding work ethic?

If I hadn’t had parents who bought me a horse so I wouldn’t be interested in boys, and so they had a tool to hold over my head (If you do that we’ll sell your horse. If you don’t do this, we’ll sell your horse. If your grades…) would I have had such a fantastic career as a horse trainer? Would my future have been decided by a boyfriend and not by my own pursuit of happiness?

If my father hadn’t bought himself a puppy, one who grew up to be a dog who loved me, and who I loved with all my heart, would I have had this life blessed with loving and loveable 4-legged creatures?

Maybe, maybe not.

Bottom line? There was always food in the cupboards, a clean bed to sleep in, and a roof over my head… And that’s a helluva lot more than some kids had, so for that I am grateful.

And when Mother’s Day and Father’s Day threaten to overwhelm those of us with seemingly little to celebrate, I remember the gift of independence, of strength, and of resilience. And I think about the sheer joy of loving and caring for animals.

I grew up on my own, and somewhere along the line I found out that I’m naturally compassionate, and although I built a wall around my feelings at a very young age, I have a soft heart.

Today I celebrate the positives that came from parents who had no clue how to love, nurture, and protect their children.

I have a great life, lived in a positive way, and I am grateful!

Please stop

Here’s how to stop the endless loop of sadness playing over and over again in your head. Sadness you’re feeling for the almost 40,000 people evacuated from their homes due to wildfires in our province over the last two weeks.

Not knowing if they would ever see their homes again was gut wrenching for them. And some even had to do the unthinkable and leave behind barn cats they couldn’t find, horses they couldn’t get loaded on a trailer, dogs running off in fear…

It was beyond frightening and downright terrifying for people to leave the place they felt the most safe, to drive through burning forests and end up in strange towns, registering at Emergency Social Service centers.

And the media made darn certain the rest of us saw how devastating this was to everyone. Which was good, because those of us not affected, needed to know what was going on, so we could get busy and help in any way possible.

Unfortunately, the residual effect, was sadness. People flooded social media with sad face emojis as though to say, “Oh man, I feel so bad for what you’re going through.”

Yep. All good.

But it’s time to stop.

It’s time to stop focusing on the negative–which has absolutely no benefits.

It is time to be grateful instead.

Grateful for the thousands of everyday people helping out in a gazillion ways, big and small.

Grateful for the Canadian Red Cross volunteers helping to register evacuees.

Grateful for the Animal Care volunteers taking in dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, chickens, and cattle…  making sure they were well cared for, so their owners could concentrate on themselves, and the rest of their family.

Grateful for the little girls holding lemonade sales to gather money for the “kids who had to run away from the fire.”

Grateful for meals and entertainment being provided to evacuees and volunteers by numerous groups, clubs, and generous individuals.

Grateful for the town of Fort MacMurray coming together and sending semi-trucks filled with donations from the residents to help out their fellow Canadians.—YES! This is the town wiped out by wildfires just last year.

Grateful for the firefighters and pilots risking their own lives, doing everything in their power to save every square foot of property they possibly could. Firefighters working endlessly, and then sleeping on the ground when they couldn’t go another step.

Grateful for police who came in from their nice safe towns outside the fire zone to protect the homes of those who had to evacuate, to help guide people to safety, and who tasked themselves with feeding and watering animals left behind.

Grateful for people who stayed behind to make sure the firefighters and police were fed.

Grateful for private citizens setting up on the side of the road with fuel tanks in the back of a pick up, and a couple flats of water bottles, and bags of snacks. They held up hand-printed signs reading, FREE gas, diesel, water and food.

Grateful for haulers who took it upon themselves to drive from place to place, INSIDE the dangerous zones, evacuating animals for total strangers—like the one who days later was asking if anyone knew the two ladies who simply showed up and got her alpacas to safety…because she wanted to thank them properly.

Grateful for citizens who wandered among the evacuation centers, asking if anyone needed a hand, and drove a couple of people to a pharmacy to get a prescription filled.

Grateful for veterinarians who made themselves available for sick or injured animals.

Grateful for people sending trucks filled with hay for horses now living in pens on various fairgrounds, and dozens of other places.

Grateful for volunteers walking dogs, and horses, and changing litter boxes.

Really, I could go on and on and on, because there were thousands of people, stepping up in whatever way they were able, just to help a little bit. Because they wanted to ease the suffering for someone having a really, really, really, bad day… or two… or ten.

The message I’m trying to get across is this.

Please, STOP being sad for everyone, because sadness, is negative and really hard on you, and everyone around you. I realize it’s hard to shake, but try, by not focussing on the negatives.

Gratitude is a positive, and creates a healing environment.

Be GRATEFUL for this country we live in, for the wonderful people we call our brothers and sisters, and for being able to help.

I’m not saying you can’t grieve. Grieving is natural and necessary, especially for those who have been through the hell of losing their home or a pet.

But for those not grieving, we NEED to stop thinking of this huge event as a sadness, and start thinking of how wonderful it is that everyone could pull together, take strangers into their home, offer a meal, or a blanket, or a maybe just a spare loonie (for my American friends, that’s a dollar 🙂 ).

We need to be humbled by the outpouring of love and supplies from Fort MacMurray residents who themselves lost everything. For the dozens of hand written messages they sent to the people chased out of their homes by these wildfires.

We need to be grateful, and strong, for those who have lost so much.

So PLEASE try. You, and everyone else will feel better for your effort.

And continue to help out in any little way you can, because I know, those on the receiving end?  Oh boy, are they ever grateful.


 


     

Daily Gratitude

Gratitude – for 10 hours of undisturbed sleep, for feeling refreshed when I woke up, for the pretty plants I indulged in at the garden center (lol Walmart), for gazillions of dandelions proudly lining the roadway, for being able to give a smile to a stranger struggling at physio, and for taking a me day without a single accomplishment 😀

 

Daily Gratitude

Gratitude – for good bird watching on my beach walk this morning, for the eagle who was so close it felt like I could reach out and touch him, for the sandpipers calling out from far overhead, and for the duck who bounced a couple of times when he hit the grass–as though he’d forgotten he needed his “gear down” for a landing not on water–pretty sure that muffled quack was a bad word!