Let me start by saying how amazing my cousin is. She has done amazing things! She married her high school sweetheart when she was 21. Which in today's standards seems a bit unusual. However I like that she did it because he is awesome and a really great guy, not just because that was the next good idea.
I'm not sure how much schooling she has now but she seems to have done it all while raising an incredible daughter as well. There's a university degree in there, and most recently dental hygiene school (I'm sure it has a fancier name than that). In between school she has been a social worker, and a high school guidance councilor (I think that's what she was). Now onto dental hygiene, maybe. I like that she does all these interesting things and then when she doesn't find it interesting anymore, she moves on to something else. But on to why she is amazing right now!
Most amazing of all these already great things is how much she loves my kids. She had our whole family over to Easter Sunday supper. Now our whole family includes her parents and brother, husband and daughter, daughters boyfriend, and my family includes my parents, brother, husband and our three children. My father and her mother are brother and sister. This is what we have always done, be together during the holidays and whenever. No complications just all of us together, it's great. So Easter Sunday, could have been like any other but my amazing cousin did it even better.
We get there and unload our gang from the van and everyone is excited to see the kids. Everyone has a surprise for them. But mostly it's Chantal who has transformed her, one acre country lot complete with incredible garden, rock garden and old country house stuff, to an Easter wonderland. Bright eggs scattered all over the property, and I mean ALL over. Carefully assembled by Chantal and labeled with initials. J. for Jessie, S. for Simm, L. for Liam, R. for Reilly and H. for Holly. Not just a couple each, no no! 28 eggs per child. It doesn't stop here. Each child (Jessie and her BF are 16) was given a basket and a hat, bunny ears for the little kids (my kids) and fancy ear hats for the big kids (Jessie and Simm). Around the garden the kids went, only picking up the eggs with their initials on them. Genius! Oh if I could sing that I would. Genius, genius, genius! With three kids there is always the, "they got more than me". Or, "I wanted that one". Don't forget the "I saw it first". That inevitably happens when there is that much of a free for all. I know because I had experienced a bit of that with the initial Easter Bunny hunt at our house 6 hours earlier!
This was so peaceful. The kids figured it out after the first couple of eggs and once they knew they were all getting more than one or two eggs. They totally got into it. Even the grown ups were happy to see some of the interesting spots that these eggs were hidden. Mostly we were enjoying watching the kids run around the one whole acre lot looking for eggs. There were some hidden under a car, some in the trees, some in the massive vegetable patch (freshly tilled), some around the hot tub and all over the porch. They were everywhere and before you know it, we had spent most of the afternoon outside. When the kids were done, they sat on a blanket and opened up the eggs to find the many surprises hidden in them. Candies, chocolates and lovely little trinkets. They loved every second. The grown ups loved every second. It was amazing...
So thank you to my already amazing cousin for making Easter even more amazing! Y
Last night I realized that my favorite part of Easter is preparing everything for my children. My husband and I have had very different experiences with regards to Easter and growing up. Mine was always started with an Easter egg hunt. Discovering the new places that the "Easter Bunny" had found this year and returning to some of the old favorites as well. The foil wrapped eggs and then we always knew to expect on big chocolate bunny. My husband had the memory of the chocolate bunny but not a hunt.
Last night we started hiding the eggs. I knew my children would love finding some of the neat spots that the "Easter Bunny" chose this year. In little pots in the living room, behind the statue, on the piano keys and around the drum kit. Some around the stereo and in the drawer knobs of the dinning room buffet. Some tucked in the play kitchen and a few balanced just right on some of our statues. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time finding the perfect hiding spots and it was so much fun. I even woke up a bit earlier than the kids so that I could hide some larger eggs outside, afraid that the animals would get them over night.
Everyone woke up very early so excited to run downstairs and get at the chocolate that they knew was waiting for them. My middle child started right away before even grabbing his basket. My eldest and youngest wanted to see their large bunny and small gift that was waiting at the table before starting their hunt. The boys were so great with their little sister and helped her find some eggs and get her basket full as well. Our hard work in hiding was over in less than 10 minutes as all the eggs were found and collected.
I love watching the excitement that my children experience in the traditions that we have passed down to them. I remember being so excited as a child and am thrilled to see my children experience that same sense.
Now as the day goes on we are filled with sugar highs and lows. More chocolate dropped off by Nana and a nice big family dinner to follow. I am just as excited to share the family tradition of having our whole family together. The same cousins that I spent Easter with as a child. Now adding new traditions of taking turns hosting and everyone bringing something delicious to the table. Mostly it is just so nice being together and watching our children have as much fun as we did as kids!
I am leaving for a trip to Thailand in a couple of weeks. I will be leaving my husband and my children behind whilst I lay on the beach, meditate, practice yoga, eat good food and drink a little beer. I will hike, see sights and enjoy every moment just drinking it in.
The other day my brother asked me if I was going to Thailand to find myself. He was joking and I replied back, that I didn't think I was lost. Now I'm starting to wonder if he isn't just a little bit right?
I am currently discovering that I am at a crossroads in my life. I feel stuck between what I really want to do and because of certain life choices, what I can do.
My last child heads to school in a year and a half. I am happy for her that she will be doing this, she is already ready for it. Her going to school negates my necessity to stay home as a full time mom. I will no longer be needed in the home all the time caring for children and caring for our home. However I do still want to be the mom who is home when they step off the bus and who is available for class trips and to volunteer in the school when needed. I still want and intend to be the ever present mom.
Currently I am running a home day care. It is a crazy life. Trying to manage caring for my own three children, our home and two babies who are just one year old. We are always on the run. From one play date to another or just from one room to another. Our life is extremely structured but also totally insane. I chose to do home day care as a means to be home with my children and to be able to help out with our expenses at the same time. But to be honest it is not a mentally fulfilling job. I want to be doing something else when all of my kids are in school full time but figuring out exactly what that could and should be is becoming a challenge.
So I am trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up I guess. I LOVE teaching yoga but am not sure if I can do it full time and make enough money. I've been thinking about real estate but I think that will take me too far away from my family on evenings and week-ends. I've thought about learning an alternative therapy but I'm not sure which, how or how much it will cost. I've even considered getting a part time desk job for the hours that my children are in school. I know that I want something fulfilling that makes me happy and lets me be with my children.
So my intention of this trip was not to "find myself" but I think that being away from my real life for a few days may help me discover what my true self really wants.
I got a gift certificate for Christmas from one of my day care families and it sat in my wallet for 4 months. I finally decided that since I've been using the same yoga mat for about 10 years that maybe I would get a new one. The gift certificate was for one of those yoga stores that I love and was just the right amount so the purchase seemed appropriate.
I got the mat home and unwrapped the recyclable cellophane and was hit in the face with the most chemically offensive smell ever. I layed it out and thought that leaving it out overnight would help it "off gas" and I should be good to go. I was wrong. I took it to teach a class and could not get over the smell. It felt as if it was getting worse.
So I wrote on my Facebook page that I had a smelly brand new mat and had some great suggestions. A couple of people suggested that I wash it in the washing machine with some towels. I wasted no time at all. In it went with some towels and I thought I might as well wash my old mat too! Once the wash was done, I pulled out my old mat and it looked good as new. My brand new smelly mat now did not smell so bad but the top of the washing machine had put a small tear in the new mat. Trying to be unattached I thought OK it's still usable so no worries. I hung them both to dry and couldn't wait to try out the new mat, plus tear once again.
That afternoon when my kids were napping I rolled out my new mat and got ready for my practice. It was really nice for the sitting postures, I felt supported and cushy. The standing postures were not great. The new mat is so slippery I can barley keep my feet in one place without sliding into the splits each time. Downward dog was a struggle to keep my feet and hands in the right place. Triangle too my legs could barely hug in to keep me upright.
I'm not one who gives up easily so I decided to take my new mat to a yoga class. By the way Jamine's classes at Rama Lotus are the best!! Sure enough, standing postures were a challenge. Jamine could see me struggling I muttered slippery mat and she said, "just use the floor". Ah-ha - light bulb. Who needs the mat. The floor made my postures supported and strong. My vastistasana did not really make me wonder what is this asana! All was well again. I did go back to slippery mat though for sivasana as I wanted the squishy support.
Now what to do? I have this new mat that I am not enjoying. It no longer smells bad, but it does seem worse than the old and well loved mat that I already owned. Maybe I'll let my kids use it? The moral of this story - be happy with what you already have! Newer isn't always better! If it smells bad, it probably is!
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.