Some Days Your Bucket Is Cracked

So a Good Neighbour excitedly stopped me on the street the other day with some pretty cool news. I was happy to hear it. Thanked her for the info. Felt pretty good about it. Told a couple of the kids. Mentally crossed that one off the Bucket List. And then promptly got busy and forgot all about it. (Seriously, completely forgot about it.)

Over the weekend, my sister and her kids came over to help me and my girls start the clean out of my mom’s apartment downstairs. Mom’s become increasingly forgetful the past few months. It’s harder for her to clean up and move things around. I’ve pulled the fuse on her stove. She hasn’t been taking her meds. I’m starting to worry about her cat not being fed regularly. And she has a very long-standing and committed relationship with Publisher’s Clearinghouse. (Suddenly, the ‘clearinghouse’ part makes sense…) Before the PackRat becomes a Hoarder, we need to attack this.

Just clearing the clutter and numerous fitness gadgets made a big difference. A good kitchen wipe down and thorough vacuuming was welcomed and appreciated. But it was the boxes of books going out the door that made the biggest difference.

Mom is a reader. And a fast one. Too fast, perhaps, so that now she’ll start a book thinking it seems familiar, only to realize halfway through that she’s already read it. She’s devised a little system to help her out: she takes her brown felt tip pen and marks three ticks across the bottom edge of the pages when she’s done. Now when she sees the brown ticks on the book, she moves on. The last time I took her to the hospital for her regular blood transfusion, I found myself browsing through the clinic’s library, and wasn’t surprised to find three ticks on the bottom of virtually every book they had.

Watching the boxes of ticked books moving out to my sister’s car, I promised Mom I’d take her to the library regularly. As the doctor recently made me take her car keys, she’s not trusting me to keep my word.

Mom Getting a Library Card at Hamilton Public Library

Mom Gets A Library Card

And so on our travels today, with an hour to kill between appointments, we stopped at the library. Mom got herself a new library card, and I snapped a pic.

And that’s when I saw it.  With my own eyes – as well as my Good Neighbour’s!

I am not a selfie kind of girl. But this. This demands at least a moment of self recognition!


I mean, seriously. That’s my book! In the Hamilton Public Library! Right there! On the shelf!

I stood there stupidly for a while, not sure what I should do. Am I supposed to tell someone? Should I show anyone my picture on the back page?

Should I sign it?

I decided that the only thing to do was to show my mom. She was excited when I gave her a signed copy of it. And she was perfectly critical when she read it. But now it’s in the library! And I get to share one of my proudest moments with my biggest cheerleader!

Annoyed that I kept trying to get her attention and drag her this way, instead of over to the Large Print shelf, or the James Patterson Section, she finally followed me back to my shelf.

I pointed proudly. Look!

She looked, not knowing what I was pointing at. So I took my book from the shelf – the brand new copy, freshly labelled and stamped, Feb08 2017 – and handed it to her.

“I think I read this one already,” she says. And then she looks at the bottom. And there’s no tick marks. “Maybe not.” And she puts it back. And heads over to the ‘P’ shelf behind me.

There’s good days and there are bad days. And then there’s shitty days.

There was the day I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, but learned that she has Down syndrome.

There was the day that my husband died, on the eighth anniversary of our ‘Family Day,’ the day we adopted three-fifths of our kids.

And there was the day that I saw my own book on the library shelf, but realized that I was losing my mom.

I don’t care how full the glass is. If it’s cracked and leaking, it’s a shitty glass.

I have three shitty glasses on my shelf.


How To Put An End To Abortions

Dear Right-to-Lifers:

You’re doing it wrong. You want to put an end to abortions? Here’s how.

Start taking all the time, money, and effort you put into your demonstrations, your advertising, your support network, and, (deep breath) your graphic posters, and redirecting your focus to where it can actually do some good.

Stop attacking women who find themselves in the position of making one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Stop judging strangers about whose circumstances you know absolutely nothing. Stop assuming that terminating any pregnancy is a simple choice.

Instead, work to make a difference. Instead of fighting for a child’s right to life – fight for their right to live. Work to take away every woman’s fears of seeing her pregnancy to term.

Fight against poverty for women and children. Fight for every woman’s right to free and accessible birth control. Fight for every woman’s right to easily accessible and reliable medical care.

Fight for the rights of the disabled. Fight for an end to the ‘R’ word. Fight for the rights of inclusion so that every child is a welcome member of society.

Fight for the support that so many uneducated, unprepared, incapable mothers will need, for 20 years or more, to raise their children.

Fight for the need to adopt from within Canada. Fight for a stronger foster care system. Fight for the rights of parents to provide for their children.

Fight for full accessibility to higher education. Fight for women’s right to equal pay, and better jobs. Fight for the rights of women to keep their jobs, to get better benefits and maternity leaves, and to find convenient and safe day care.

Fight for the rights of women to have a child, regardless of their situation, age, or ability, without the judgement of others.

Fight for stable families. Fight for a woman’s right to full and reliable child support.

Fight for the safety of women, so that they are never subjected to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Fight for her right to wear what she wants.

Fight for her right to say no.

Fight for the right of every woman to control her own mind, heart, body, and soul.

STOP fighting the tragic end result.

You’re too late.

What About My Kids’ Right-to-Life?

My mother was assaulted tonight. Someone snuck into her apartment and she’s called me in a panic. She is so upset – and her first worry is my kids and whether or not this could happen to them. It’s taken me a half hour now to calm her down and understand fully what’s happened to her.

The worst part about this whole ordeal is, THEY’RE STILL THERE IN HER LIVING ROOM!!

Okay, so let’s take a minute to gather our thoughts…

If, in fact, someone had physically been lying in wait for Nana as she entered her home, alone, after a long and tiring day, and proceeded to act in a way that both frightened and upset her, I would be able to call the police, get help, and try to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

But I can’t. Because, as far as I know, there is nothing illegal about this assault.

Mom grabbed her mail on her way in. She kicked off her shoes, settled herself, and checked through the envelopes, which included a sealed, plain white envelope on which was printed a single quote with a red arrow:

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
— Abraham Lincoln

As there is an election coming up, Mom figured it had something to do with that, and opened it. Inside was postcard, and, before she could fully understand what she was looking at, she had already committed to memory the gruesome photo of a butchered baby in a trash can. She threw it on the table, only to face a second photo on the reverse. She called me to warn me not to open my mail with the kids around. And to, once again, live through all the reasons this is so upsetting to her, still, after all these years, haunted by two traumatically difficult miscarriages before she was finally able to deliver me.

Now, I don’t give a rat’s ass what your stance is on the abortion issue. That’s not what I’m writing about today.

What I am fed up with, is the sheer audacity that the right-to-life movement has in taking up these horrendous scare tactics to attack my family. Whether they’re hanging banners over the railings of bridges as I drive by, or gathering outside of high schools where my children – and they are still children – have no choice but to attend, and now, invading the personal security of our own homes, they have no right to assault me or my children in this fashion.

To see such graphic photos in any media, there are warnings as to the disturbing nature to follow. I can choose to change the channel, log off, or turn the page. My kids don’t have that option at school – if you want to get your message to my children, there are proper procedures for that: contact the school board, gain approval, schedule a presentation, and give me the option to protect my child from your extremist views. If you would like to advertise anything on public property, there is a municipal sign permit process for such things. And if Canada Post doesn’t start insisting on clear and accurate return information on every piece of mail they deliver, we should be looking at changes there.

As far as I’m concerned, any group can defend whomever they please. But I must defend my children, my family, against displays and demonstrations that are unfit for their eyes. We should all have the right to free speech – something that is not as free in Canada as it is in the U.S., by the way. But with that right comes responsibility. When your right to free speech impinges on my right to safety and security, and my right to raise my children as I choose, to introduce them to life as I deem appropriate, my children’s rights must win out.

Take your stand. Spread your word. But get out of my face. Stay away from my family. And get the hell out of my house.