The Dragon Bracelet

I’m going to tell you a story that’s going to warm your heart.  Ready?  Buckle up friends, this one is going to make you smile:

On Saturday morning, our neighbours had a garage sale.  They were setting up as my sleepy-eyed children wandered out of their bedrooms and down the stairs.  My kids know that I often say yes to garage sale bargains, and I agreed to give them $5 each to spend at the sale.  My husband was away for the weekend, and as I puttered about the kitchen making breakfast, my kids happily scoured the treasures next door, decked out in pyjamas and bedhead.

They came home with a large several-trips-needed-to-carry karaoke machine and a framed picture of two zebras.  Impressed by the eclectic nature of their choices and the massive neighbour discount given to them, the karaoke machine went into the basement for hours of loud, uninterrupted fun, and the zebra picture went onto my daughter’s bedroom wall.  But, as with many impromptu purchases and the lessons needed to be learned about money, they began to tell me about all of the other cool stuff they’d seen.

“Mom, can we just have $5 more, and then we can get this, and this, and this!”

I explained that if they wanted anything more, they would have to buy it with their own money, and the discussion soon turned to a silver bracelet that they’d both seen.  My daughter wanted it because it reminded her of a dragon tail, and my son wanted it because it reminded him of Harry Potter and wizards.  The arguing began and I told them that if they wanted to purchase this special bracelet, they would first have to figure out how to share it fairly, minus the sibling squabbles.

They were mulling this idea over as we climbed into the truck and backed out of our driveway…… and as we glanced back at the garage sale, we saw the seven-year-old girl who lives on the other side of us walking up to the table to purchase, you guessed it, the coveted bracelet.  My daughter cried; she had envisioned taking her 50 cents back to the sale and purchasing the dragon tail bracelet to wear forever and always.  There’s a lot of absolutes when you’re seven.  But here’s where the story will warm your heart:

We went to Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic for the morning (when I’m solo-parenting, my kids sometimes spend time with Netflix in the clinic’s massage room) and returned to find a gift on our front step, addressed to my daughter.

IMG_2165“To Casey,” the card read, “I saw you looking at this bracelet and I wanted to get it for you.  I hope you like it.  From, K.”

I think I’ll end the story right here.  What else is there to say?  Three days later, and I’m still marvelling at the kindness and thoughtfulness of that moment.  I hope that it brings some joy to you too.

 


The Good Ol’ Days are Now.

There are times in history where we all remember where we were when that specific moment passed.  Tragic events, like Princess Diana’s death or the events of 9/11, or the really happy stuff, like weddings and babies and birthdays.  But what about the day-to-day?  The average?  The routines?

My son and I were sitting at my daughter’s lacrosse practice on Sunday evening, and in the waning moments of her drills, he started scrolling through the photos on my phone.  We reminisced about pictures at the start of my camera roll, dating all the way back to 2013; from loose teeth and Halloween parties to vacations and baseball games.  “Oh, the good ol’ days,” he said flippantly, with the tongue-in-cheek nonchalance that only a ten-year-old can muster.  He didn’t mean it, of course, but his statement made me take pause.

Jays game

This was one of the “good ol’ days” photos he was referring to.

The good ol’ days.

The thing about the good ol’ days is that they seem better when shined up with the lens of nostalgia.  In fact, in a few years, today will be one of those good ol’ days.

It was a good reminder for me to live in the present, be in the moment, have gratitude for today.  It’s something that many of us struggle with I’m sure, and as a Type-A Virgo, my drive to always be onto the next, striving for more, pushing the limits, can sometimes be too much.

Breathe.

Pause.

Take it in.

Today is a good ol’ day.

remember


Water, duck.

Perhaps we’ll start today off with a little zoology reminder.  As you may know, a duck’s outer feathers are waterproof due to an oily coating that the duck secretes.  This oil repels water and forces the droplets to roll off the duck’s back rather than making the feathers wet and heavy.  This fact has become the basis of a little piece of advice we’ve been giving to our kids when they overreact.

“Water, duck.”  

It’s a reminder to keep your cool, let it roll off your back, don’t sweat the small stuff.  My kids are now ten and seven, and big brother likes to push little sister’s buttons from time to time; her overreaction can be swift and massive, leading to a cascade of sibling fighting.  After one such outburst over Lego or TV volume or who got to use the front door key, we sat the kids down and had the water/duck talk.

It sunk in.  They got it.  And now when those episodes happen, we just have to say “water, duck” and it serves as a very effective reminder to think big picture and take a deep breath.  It’s always been my ultimate goal to raise children who are happy, however that happiness is defined or manifests for them.  Part of the water/duck talk was to explain to them how focusing on small problems only robs you of joy, steals your energy, and creates a feeling of unhappiness. choose-happy-wall-plaque

This is advice that I try to heed myself too, and something that’s come in very handy over the past two weeks.  You see, today is day twelve without internet at home, as our service provider tries to fix an unknown issue- we’ve had four technician service calls, hours on hold on the phone, and stretches of days waiting for the next available 8-5 repair window.  It’s still not fixed and we’re frustrated.  But…….. water, duck.  If this is the worst problem in my life then I’m doing pretty well.  I’ve got wi-fi at work, Starbucks wi-fi down the road, and I can create a hotspot from my phone when I need to be online at home.  Problem solved, onto bigger fish to fry.

I’ve seen far too many grown adults grumble about someone kicking their seat on an airplane, let a cold restaurant meal ruin their night, or complain about loud backyard neighbourhood gatherings.  Water, duck friends, just let it roll off your back.

Focus your energy on the good stuff.

Choose happy.

lighthouse

This is the only picture I have on my phone that has a duck in it.  Just go with it, okay?