I may forget

Last night I woke up suddenly because I was scared. I was scared that time is passing so quickly and that my little babies are growing up too fast. I feared losing time with them and missing them as they are now. This fear sent me into a frenzy as I left the warmth of my bed to go check on my babies. My 6 year-old was sound asleep in her new room because she was “upgraded” from sharing a bunk bed with her sister to a “private suite”. She wanted privacy and she is only 6! I almost bawled when I saw my eldest and first-born curled up in her big bed with a stuffed penguin (whom she still thinks is an owl) held tightly in her embrace. I am not sure why but an overwhelming sense of sadness came over me because I still remembered bringing her home when she was a week old. All 4 lbs 11 oz. and fiesty with some screeching screams and beautiful features. She was perfection as I held her in the crook of my arms. Now she is contemplating big things like what she wants for Christmas and which chapter book she will need to borrow from the library next. She is correcting my French and saying things like “Mommy, I can do it by myself- I am a big girl now!” Oh be still my heart. Be still.

I silently slip out of her room and unlock the door to the second bedroom that holds two more precious pieces of my heart. The middle daughter, filled with affection and sunshine is sleeping in the top bunk and her wild, curly hair has invaded almost the entire pillow. You can barely see her cherubic face as she nestles deeper into her covers. She senses my presence as I longingly stare at her only seeing the baby that stopped breathing three times and almost slipped from my grasp. At that moment, I was just so grateful and thankful that she survived the ordeals faced only at 8 hours old! She is now a spirited little 4 year-old who knows exactly what to do and say to get what she wants. Her sense of humour is outrageous and her thirst for life is out of this world. She is so emotionally in-tuned to her environment and she can sense tension, joy, worry, fear and sadness miles away. She is the only one of the three that melts into my arms and whispers “It’s ok mommy, I love you all day long all the way to heaven and back.” Her sweet voice and demeanour make me so sentimental because I feel like I lost out on some of her babyhood and toddler-hood because I had my third and last baby. He took the attention away from her and I regret not knowing where I spent my time. I don’t even remember her as a toddler because she was so quiet and content.

Then I quietly kneel next to my youngest. At two years of age, he is the prince of my universe. The light at the end of every day and the reason my entire existence becomes wholly meaningful. My son is a ball of energy with intensity much too high for a toddler. He is intelligent, persistent yet obedient. Naturally curious with an incredible fervor for life. To say I adore him is an immense understatement. I hang on to his every word, smile, breath and action. I nuzzle, cuddle, snuggle, tickle, sniff and kiss him every opportunity I get. I make him laugh then I hear him say “Shtop-Shtop mommeee. My face. My body.”

Be still my heart. Be still. When did he make the distinction between us? We were one soul attached at the hip. He used to cry when I would release him and now he is his own entity? He is ordering me to stop kissing him?

I can’t tell you how much I pray that he stays young. That he just stops growing. That time can just stand still. I love all three so much, it hurts. It literally…hurts.

Today when I asked my eldest to hold my hand when we were crossing the parking lot, I felt her tiny palm slip into mine and I almost cried. I realized that her palm won’t stay so tiny one day and that she will be out with friends and away from me. I almost crumbled right there on the spot. How can I just let my heart wander out there in the world without me? How will she survive without my watchful gaze or gentle redirection? (sometimes not so gentle). How will my baby girl just be making decisions that can impact her life and mine?

Be still my heart.

I want to warn you now if you are expecting, nothing hurts more than watching them grow up.

The labour pains, the c-sections, the sicknesses, the NICU, the worry, the guilt, the lack of sleep, the excruciating anxiety of whether you are doing this mothering thing right or not- NOTHING is more painful than blinking only to see your baby a 6-year-old!

I pray that they remain healthy. I pray that I can savour each stage of their lives in turn with as much passion and focus as I have allocated to my career, my marriage and my faith.

I hope that they know when they are grown that I never wanted them to grow- not because I am selfish but because I am much too afraid of letting go.

Thank you for listening. God bless.

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Judgement and Consequence

I wanted to write this for a while but I don’t think I have enough hours in the day. With three active children under the age of 5, I am like a feather caught in a whirlwind torpedo of activities: potty training, teething, tantrums, tucking in, tickling, travelling and tumultuous transformations.  But I am still holding it together… I think.

I am sure oKasketaldi_haurra_001ther parents can see the wild look in my eyes because I haven’t slept in 6 years or the suspicious glances flicked at me because each of my children including the baby have a bump or scratch (all self-inflicted, I assure you). I am positive that other moms are looking at the way my 5-year-old crosses her arms and stomps and yells “NO! Mommy- I don’t want that!” and thinking that she is spoiled and lacking in discipline. Or shaking their heads when my almost 3-year-old decides to pick her nose and eat it (gross, right?) because we don’t correct her (which we do every time) and that she will forever be a perpetual proboscis picker.

Here is the thing… I don’t really care about what others are thinking or feeling or perceiving or believing. My world is centred on my children whom I know intimately since the moment of their first wail into the world.

I was at the mall the other day and in the little play area and I saw a mother struggling with her toddler while trying to jiggle her baby on her shoulder. She was getting so frustrated and her cheeks were flushed and her baby was getting quite stirred (literally and figuratively) because she was over-jiggling. The two moms next to me were talking about this particular poor soul and saying the following:

Lady 1: “Oh my, that little girl is NOT happy!”

Lady 2: “Mom needs to get a handle on her before X (her own toddler) sees that behaviour and starts to copy it!”

Lady 1: “Some people just don’t know how to control their kids! It’s because she decided to have a baby, the little girl is probably needing attention”

Lady 2: “Exactly! This is why I am spacing mine apart. Exactly for that reason”

At this point, I had enough. I huffed really audibly as I stood up and I spared them one sneer and a quick “You are far from perfect yourselves ladies!” and then I confidently and quickly approached the mom of the melting down toddler and shaken baby and softly said:

“It’s ok, mine do the same thing. My 2-year-old is in there playing happily, for now, can I offer you a hand? I have a baby too but he is sound asleep, would you like me to carry your little angel while you deal with your baby girl?”

The relief that washed over the mother was indescribable. She hesitated for about one second then she gave me her baby. I stood there making googly eyes at the baby and she calmed down and started to give me the sweetest smiles. I was singing her silly songs and dancing with her while her mom was dealing with her sister. The lady told her 2-year-old that she will get some Skittles if she just calms down and tells her what is wrong using her big girl words (we do the same). The toddler stood up and in between bouts of tears and noisy, wet sobs proclaimed, “I pooh”. Profound declaration but adequate explanation of her crappy disposition (pun intended).

Mom told her that it will be ok and that she will change her. Toddler hugged her and looked up and me. I smiled and I handed the baby back to mommy informing her that she will have to change two poopy diapers and that I know exactly what that is like too. She took the baby and the toddler and went to the family washroom. I walked back to the main benches where judgy lady 1 & 2 are sitting and I wedge myself right next to them. My daughter is standing aside as one of their sons shoves another child off the climbing thingy. Lady 2 who was afraid of the toddler’s behaviour affecting her angelic son turns to her friends and says “He is so assertive- isn’t that cute?”

Wow. Perceptions.

I turn to her and gently respond:

“That is not being assertive, that is called being aggressive. Assertive is standing up for yourself and giving your opinion but what he is doing is pushing and shoving other children out of his way. That is being aggressive. So is judging a mom who is in the middle of a toddler meltdown. You should really stop and look at your house made of glass before you start throwing rocks!”

Yup. That happened. True story. I did say all that.

I expected a fight. I expected cursing. I even expected her to punch me in the face.

Instead, I got a teary and ashamed lady who quietly said “You are right. He is a little terror and I don’t know what to do with him? What should I do? He is our only child and I am having a terrible time bearing another child. I am scared that he will be the only child and that he will become a bully. I was bullied in school by a boy. I don’t want my son to be that way.”

Ah, what? What just happened? This, I did not expect.

I proceeded to spend the next hour with this lady and her friend who felt equally ashamed and mom of toddler and baby at the special play place at the mall. After the apologies and the brief discussion about how we should be kind to one another and stop the judging because we ALL need help, we started discussing strategies and parenting tricks that worked for each of us.

My toddler and the baby got tired and hungry and wanted to leave but I certainly did not. We agreed to meet again soon and we even exchanged contact information. We went from being four strangers waiting on their kids to play to four friends who joined the same Mommy Facebook Group.

It was super cool and I even got to hold the little ray of sunshine baby girl again while the lady I helped held my baby boy. All around awesomeness.

Moral of the story:

STOP judging other moms. Get off your butt and help. You are not perfect. Your children are far from perfect as well. The only perfection is founded in our humanity. So like Ellen DeGeneres says “Be kind to one another”.

Love,

SMartignani

Random mommy stuff…

20160512_100159Some days I feel really accomplished and others…not so much. I have really enjoyed this maternity leave particularly because it is my last. It also helps that I sold my businesses so I am free to enjoy motherhood to the fullest extent.

Of course, there was that stint of anxiety and bout of despair when my mom was dying in the ICU (she recovered thank God) and since then, without fail, one of my three kids has been vitally ill on any given day. But overall, I am doing more enjoying than fretting and that is an accomplishment.

My life has drastically evolved since the third child. Ok, who am I kidding? It has been revolutionized. I feel like chaos can really be a way of life now. I sit back sometimes and I just laugh at the absurdity of everything. For example, last week on a Saturday, my eldest accidentally head-butted the baby which caused a stream of tears and a very angry cry while my toddler ran face-first into the wall and ended up with a bloody nose – all at the same time. This all happened in the blink of an eye. Everyone was crying. I was laughing hysterically, like an evil scientist who openly relishes the sound of children’s cries. Sometimes to ensure your sanity- you just have to laugh at it all. Everyone was fine and with some tissue paper for the bloody nose, a few cuddles and tickles for the head-butt injury and a gentle “It’s ok honey, it was an accident” – everyone was fine.

I wanted to take a minute and just say this… am I the only one who feels like I am back in high-school and trying to fit in when I go pick up my daughter from kindergarten? Parents can be really clique-ish- no? I was waiting outside today and I looked over to find two moms talking quietly. I waved and said “Hello” and it was an audible “Hello” not one of these mousey, shy “Hellos” – know what I mean? Anyway, one mom just gave me this contrived smile and the other ignored me altogether. Wow. Maybe I’m just not cool enough to talk to them. Maybe they are hating my new hairdo. Maybe I offended them with my strong and confident “Hello”… I don’t know. All I know is, I have a choice not to get too obsessed in wanting to be accepted because at my age- I don’t care what others think of me. I know that makes me sound awful but truly- if you are going to judge me and not even get to know me then it’s your loss- not mine. Because I honestly think I’m a pretty awesome person! There. Take that. On to more important things…

I am on a mission to shed the pounds I gained in my three pregnancies. I gained quite a few pounds so it’s taking a while. I’m close to starving all the time but I am too scared to stop because the doctor almost guaranteed Diabetes if I don’t shed the weight. I find it easier to remain on course when I think about my kids. I want to be there for their graduations, weddings, and maybe even for their own kids. I don’t want to be the old, fat mom who looks 20 years older than she really is. What will the clique-ish Lululemon moms at the school think of me and my fat “hellos” then- huh?

My eldest daughter is taking oral laxatives behind my back. I swear the kid never shuts up. I love it but I hate it at the same time. She’s so interesting and everything she says is adorable but when I’m trying to actually get her moving, it’s next to impossible. She is not a multi-tasker. She was gifted with the gift of gab. I can’t believe how much she talks. And here I was wondering if her language skills will develop because she wasn’t really speaking by the age of 2.5. Really? I shouldn’t have worried. I am hoping my middle daughter will NOT learn to speak until she’s 5. That way, I won’t have competing trance-talking going on. It’s too funny. I can tune her out and she will just keep on talking and yakking. Then she will stop sometimes and ask “Right Mama?” but I have to be careful. What am I agreeing to? So I say “Which part is right?” See? Sneaky, smart, strategic momma is at play here. I mentally pat myself on the back when she replies by reiterating the last phrase that needed confirmation. I’m in the clear. I  will either agree or correct her thoughts and then the droning will begin again. Sometimes, I drift away in my mind about my to-do list or a recent commercial I saw or how I need to cut the baby’s toenails because he is quite literally growing them out like some gross racoon paws and then I suddenly hear her say something like… “And then I’m like CRAP DUDE, why are you being such a donut and he says because you are short like a hobbit and I’m like I don’t even know what a hobbit is and then I walk away but my shorts are dirty because of the grass on my butt. Butt is a funny word. Did you know another word for butt is ash. Today I heard this big kid call his brother an ash-hole. That’s funny- right momma?”

Me: “No Sweetheart, Ash is not a nice word and it’s not funny. That boy should not talk to his brother like that. God wants us to be kind to one another and not call each other names”.

Her: “So how come daddy calls me a Hoggler and my sister a Donut and my baby brother Stinky?”

Me: “Daddy is just joking with you and none of those names are rude.”

Her: “Ok. Any way so today in school I….”

And on and on and on and on and on. Phew, close one. Note to self- talk to the hubby. Tell him the story- and laugh about it later!

My middle kid is temperamental, defiant and intelligent. Every trait she picked up from me. I’m not ashamed to admit the truth. She looks like me, she yells like me and most of all, she’s got this low, manly laugh like me! When I was younger, I would answer the phone and my voice was so deep, people would think they are talking to my dad. So it’s either my poppa sounds like a woman or I had the deep, vibrato voice of a man. Until now, when I wake up and try to talk, I sound like my husband. It’s ok, I’ve come to terms with this quirky attribute. Let’s leave it there. Maybe that’s why the moms at her school won’t talk to me? I must be confusing them with my manly, confident “Hello”. Oh well…

The baby is the best. He’s like a good book, I can’t put him down. Lately, my favourite thing to do in the entire world (which is hyperbolic at best since it’s not but let’s go with it) is making him giggle. Is there a better sound in this universe than a baby’s heart-felt giggle? If you say yes, then you are heartless or need to go get yourself a baby and make him giggle. Don’t hate- appreciate. Besides, I have to blow on his belly and tickle his feet then motorboat his neck in order to get the full-on giggle that can be heard down the street. It’s so much work, I end up sweating and only catching glimpses of his enormous, blissful, drooling open mouth and eyes that sparkle with laughter as well. The thing is, when you tickle a baby, you have to do it quickly and consecutively.They have such short attention spans that they will literally forget you were playing with them and just move on from said activity. Then you are left saying things like “Hello” and having them not respond to you… ahem ahem…like some people!!

Finally, I would like to state my horror at how sick the world is today. I’m not going to dig too deep or go into many details but suffice it to say, I’m afraid for my children’s futures. Pedophiles, mass shootings, addictions, mental unhealth, impoverished moralities, victimized abusers, and an endless cycle of evil begetting evil. I’m sure that such things existed since the beginning of time but everyday I wake up and there is another stark reminder that our world is sick. I am sure that everything bad is known much quicker because of social media and sometimes, one  just can not turn it off. I often wonder why people post all those negative things on their wall. Why not use your power to influence the friends on your list with positivism. We need more love – people. More acceptance and forgiveness. We need to set an example to our children. We need to show kindness and openness. We all bleed red. We all need to be accepted.

Except me and those moms. I’m over it. Really. Done and done.

Good night and God bless. And like Ellen always says- “Be kind to one another”.

Smartignani

Number Three!

TimbitSo our number three arrived last Thursday, November 5th and I couldn’t be more thrilled that HE IS OUT OF MY BODY. I am also thrilled that HE is a HE! We have two precious, beautiful girls and we really wanted a boy and so here we are.

This pregnancy, similar to my other two, was very high-risk. I am not sure why my body fights gestational activities but truthfully, I don’t think anything gorgeous comes easy. I am sure everyone experiences their pregnancies differently and I admire and envy mommies who can just go to the hospital and slip one of these babies out… me- not so much!

So I was being followed by Mount Sinai’s Special Pregnancy program for 6 or 7 different conditions including Blood Pressure and Gestational Diabetes. I was also very anxious and ended up on bed rest because of my sciatic pain which rendered me immobile. I wasn’t able to drive to work or to many places actually. Some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed. Apparently the fetus decided to grow behind my placenta (anterior placenta) and his head was right on my backbones!

Anyway, 9 months of pain and immeasurable misery at various stages and TA DA- Little Timothy was finally birthed. I was booked for a third C-section on the 13th but I started experiencing contractions on November 4th so they moved my surgery to the 5th. After being bumped 4 times because there were other cases more urgent than mine, I went in for the surgery that would surely lead me to meet the little angel who was rehearsing his circus  act inside my poor, tiny uterus.

We knew it was a boy and so we were anticipating his arrival in many ways. His sisters were also very involved and his eldest, 4-year-old, would often kiss my belly and tell the baby she loved him. So sweet- right??

A few observations before I continue on the third time around for women with C-Sections- it hurts. I was really anxious because I precisely knew the pain of recovery and everything that would happen. I sweated over the procedure every step of the way and anticipated the motions and process. What I did not anticipate was how difficult or intense the pain will be the third time they cut into the scars. Was it worth it- OF COURSE but would I do it again, I think not.

I was warned by the doctor that if I have another pregnancy, things may not be so easy. *Choking on sarcastic laughter* EASY? When did I ever have an easy pregnancy really?

My third child also terrified me. I had two other babies who were whisked away to the NICU for varying reasons (per my old posts) and I was shaking with the knowledge that this one surely will be taken away too…

My fears were realized soon after Timmy was born with fluid in his lungs. As sure as the sun rises, they whisked him off to the NICU in order to put on the ugly elephant-like machine called C-PAPP to help him regulate his breathing. Once again, I had to be wheeled into the recovery room alone as I watched all the other mommas coming out of their sections with their healthy, little, blanket-wrapped bundles of joy.

I was heart-stricken and heartbroken. I felt so inadequate and started blaming myself for my inability to create perfect babies like everyone else. Postpartum depression starts right then for me…

I was recovering in one of the postpartum rooms and at 3 am, I called the nurse, woke up the husband and had them wheel me to my precious little boy. Sure enough, he had more wires attached to him than a complex robotic machine. He was breathing erratically and poked on his little newborn feet. The IV was attached to his right foot and his left foot had cotton with band aids where they prick him to take blood samples. Even after two other births of babies in NICU, I still wasn’t prepared to see him like that.

I knew that this hospital had a very high level of care. I understood that they needed to intervene as soon as possible to resolve this. I heard them tell my that this is common and will go away. I listened intently and asked informed and educated questions because the same happened with his middle sister. I was wheeled back to my room and that night all I can think about was one thing… I still have not held him yet.

I kept hearing babies on the floor crying and saw daddies walking around to calm their newborns. I stole a glance at my sleeping husband next to me and started to question what he must be thinking. I was wondering if he was starting to feel like me… numb.

Day 2 was no different. Hearing varying stories from varying experts on his recovery time. He needed to be observed for at least another 24 hours but that afternoon, I was able to finally hold him and try to nurse him. I was so excited to feel him next to my skin and see his tiny cherub face with squinting eyes directed towards me. I had forgotten how fragile newborns are and at the moment, I found peace. He opened one eye and looked at me then trustingly sighed and nuzzled closer to my breast.

I was whole then. Complete.

Next day in the afternoon, our little Tim was released to our care in my room. I couldn’t put him down in his cot. I had him sleeping on me and feeding and I just held him tight and kissed him over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of his smell or his warmth.

It is day 7 now and I am still the same way. As I type this, he is sleeping soundly in his playpen. Angelic and peaceful. I can’t thank God enough for his blessed gift to us in the form of our son. The girls adore him. They kiss him and try to hold him. I observe their interaction with him and tears instantly appear in my eyes. I feel so blessed and so much love.

The story closes here… for now. Despite it all, I am so happy now. Exhausted and in pain but overjoyed at our little family unit. I wish all moms out there and those inspired to become moms all the best in their journey towards parenting.

We will surely be going through a similar experience soon since we already discussed the eventual adoption of more little ones to our family. I am doing some research now which I will report on in my blog if my readers wanted to adopt as well. I can learn and you can learn with me!

Ok, I have to go now and feed my little one. I will be writing an entire blog next time on the miseries of breastfeeding since this is my first time successfully nursing.

Until next time,

Smartignani

Perks of Parenting

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Here is the thing. The truth is being a parent is not all that bad. There is a silver lining to the sleepless nights, the irritating whining, the endless crying, the anxiety, the nasty poops and the interminable temper tantrums. I will not even mention the incessant screaming, embarrassing sounds and scents or the countless hours spent coaxing, rubbing, carrying, bouncing, singing, humming, gurgling, rasberrying, silly face making to appease/please/calm/restore/distract/heal/put to sleep/make’em laugh/discipline/show them you love them.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the silver lining. Ok. So here is a list of some silly things you get to do as a parent that you could not do before (at least in public):

1) Your cartoon movie collection has now exponentially increased and surprisingly you stocked it with some classic movies that we all know junior will not even understand yet (Transformers? Voltron? Pink Panther? Felix the Cat? really??)

2) You have come to terms with the difference between what “messy” looked like before you had kids and now. A toy here or there and a book lying around your nice living room (where you greet guests) is not messy at all. As opposed to pre-children when you would dust, clean, mop and vacuum. Now we are lucky if we don’t trip over the tiny wind up car left on the floor by the stairs… there it is, I was looking for you car.

3) You realize now that naps are not a luxury but a necessity…for you. Not the kids.

4) Farting in public is so much easier now that you can blame it on the children!

5) Spit-up does not smell very bad after a couple of hours. It has a natural baby-je-ne-se-quoi scent to it that makes people lean in closer and nuzzle you.

6) Baby powder ain’t just for kids… fun fun fun for the whole family! We find remnants of that stuff in every orifice of the house afterwards!

7)  You don’t really need to hang out with anyone you don’t want to hang out with for extended periods of time because junior is going to get hungry/tired/manic/restless/sleepy/gassy/thirsty/sick… you decide on the excuse because we all know that is exactly what it is.

8) You realize that your true friends are the ones who will love you and your kids even through the stage of TEETHING when your child turns into Dr. Jekyll.

9) Moms, you look at yourselves in the mirror and feel good about how thin you are compared to when you were pregnant… the little hanging fold of skin is superficial. Bio Oil makes it disappear, trust Dr. Oz!

10) You never appreciated being alone with your spouse/friends more than when you can drop the kids off at the grandparents/baby-sitters and go out finally… there is an adrenaline rush that occurs accompanied by feelings of euphoria for the temporary freedom. Seriously though, you love your kids but everyone needs a little break dude.

11) You have an excuse to get to Church a little late… and leave a little early… and eat those yummy sandwiches first.

12) You develop a new appreciation for left-over, pre-digested food and candy and juices of all kind. Everywhere you go, you seem to be finishing your child’s plate/drink/sandwich

13) You have made up the words to at least three nursery rhymes/Christmas Carols/Songs/Hymns… like seriously… who knows all the words to Frosty the Snowman?

14) You are getting to be a master at skipping pages in a long storybook without your child noticing…

15) you are memorizing by heart all the words to Dr. Seuss books

16) You are definitely checking the time every 15 minutes when you get close to bed-time and you are secretly planning what you will do in the two hours from 8 pm to 10 pm after the kids sleep. So many exciting things to do, shall I knit or take a bath or cook tomorrow’s meal or catch up on the last episode of Big Bang or just, oh look its already 10 pm and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

17) You most likely have your phone ringers off after a certain time as to not awake the kids so you really don’t talk on the phone much.

18) You recognize now how vital daycare is…no matter the cost… we will stop eating if it means 8 hours of peace and quiet!

19) You find yourself wondering the weirdest things before you go to sleep like why is the alphabet song is the same tune as twinkle, twinkle little star and who invented Sophie the Giraffe and why on earth you didn’t…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

20) After a crappy day doing whatever it is you do, NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is better than getting a huge, sloppy, wet kiss from your kids or a genuine smile from your infant.

Beene daddy hug cr2

If that’s not the silver lining, I don’t know what is!!

Until next time,

Smartignani

Merry Christmas

ImageHard to believe that this was us last Christmas. Now she is 17 months old and getting taller, louder and more temperamental by the day. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for reading my blog and I also wish you a Merry Christmas.

I understand that “Happy Holidays” is a more politically correct statement but I believe that Christmas is a Christian holiday and we are celebrating the birth of a very important little person who grew up and died for our sin. We do not wish our Jewish friends “Happy Holidays” when its Hanukkah and we certainly don’t wish our Muslim friends “Happy Holidays” when it is their Eid el-Fitr. It is what it is. I know that in the States, they have decided to literally cross out the word Christ from Christmas (Xmas) in order to ensure the consistent growth of mass consumerism and optimize capitalistic gain from the sales of the most inane and unnecessary objects for gifts from “Santa”. However, even Santa is based on the life of St. Nicholas who is in fact a Christian saint that decided to bring needy and poor children gifts on Christmas Eve. So when we decide to celebrate a Christian holiday we should give it the respect and honour we give other religious feasts.

I am not offended when my neighbour wishes me a Happy Hanukkah because he has a right to celebrate his feasts and I have the privilege of honouring that by wishing him a Happy Hanukkah in turn. It does not mean my instantaneous and irreversible conversion to Judaism, it just means that I respect the reason for his celebration and respect his values. All I ask, as a Christian on Christmas, is the same respect.

I know for a fact that a lot of my colleagues who are not Christian still celebrate Christmas for its festive and loving underlying message. I also know so many who celebrate it properly. How you ask? Great question.

Christmas is not about how much we receive under the tree, it is about how much positive change we can bring around to the world we live in and for those who need all the help they can get. The true spirit of Christmas demands a “giving” of oneself to service and to charity. So instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on gifts that will be discarded within the months, save a little through the year and buy a cow or a goat for a family in need (http://www.oxfamunwrapped.ca/) or sponsor a child in need (http://www.worldvision.ca/Pages/welcome.aspx) or save children from the heinous acts of sexual slavery and trafficking (http://www.traffickingproject.org/p/mission.html). If none of these options appeal to you, then maybe you can search the closest women’s shelter or food bank and volunteer there for Christmas Eve. They are always looking for people to come and serve the lonely, homeless, hopelessly addicted, mentally ill and abused men, women and teens who are strewn on the streets of your very city.

True Christmas is about the joy you receive by gifting your time and love to others. It is truly a time to raise your children to believe that it is not what we receive but what we give that matters. So I encourage you to buy one cool gift that they always wanted but get them to shop and choose a gift for a child in need. Get them to come with you and hand it out themselves so they can experience the true joy of giving, the true joy of Christmas.

Before I end this blog, there is one thing I would like us all to pray for whether we believe in God or not- Sandy Hook Elementary School parents. I am compiling these blog posts and one day my baby girl will read them (hopefully) and become aware of these events as they occurred. There is nothing, I mean NOTHING, more horrendous than burying a child but burying a child who has been shot multiple times by a sick man with an assault rifle is a fate I do not wish on my worst enemy. The murdered was a mentally ill man who ‘lost’ it and shot 20 children. Twenty angels found their way to heaven that day and all I can think about are the parents. Since this blog is dedicated to parenting, I wish to say one thing- END THE ERA OF GUNS and ESTABLISH A WORLDWIDE BAN ON GUNS. Even when soldiers used knives and muskets, there were fewer fatalities among our troops. Everyone out there shooting or being shot is a son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister. When will it end? Let’s end it now!

 If you are doing nothing about it- do something. Personally, in reaction to this incident, I tweeted the president almost 50 times so far. I try for 10 tweets a day. It’s really not that much but it is something. I can’t count the amount of times that I shed tears as a result of this horrible travesty and all the other times that children (innocent, guileless and completely undeserving victims) are shot or abused. Funny enough, the day of this mass catastrophe, a friend told me that something similar happened in China but the perpetrator was using a knife instead of a gun- there was only one fatality and everyone else survived the madness.

I am sorry to end my blog on such a sombre note but my blogs reflect my feelings and I tell you what, this year my feelings of dread for my daughter growing up in such a cold, hurt, ill world that has decided to trade its soul for wealth and trade in its humanism for consumerism makes me wake up in cold sweats.

Let’s change that. It starts with me. It starts with you.

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
Mother Teresa

Thank you and God bless you and your family this season and every day. May you always be granted health, wealth and wisdom.

SMartignani

 

 

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