Happy New Year! It’s 2018 and I am very excited for what this new year has to offer our little rad family. But before I can move onto the next, I wanted to wrap up 2018 here and write down some of my December 2018 memories before my brain gets all full with our new adventures.
6km Run for the Claus
At the start of the month, I dressed up as Santa Claus, along with about a hundred or so other people, and went on a 6km run to raise money and awareness for a mental health center in town. It was awesome! Many people took the opportunity to walk a 3km route, but I wanted to finish another run before the year was out and this was it.
I ran the race in about 40 minutes, I didn’t time it because I was having too much fun looking at all the Santa’s. The night I got my costume after pre-registration I got dressed up for Gregory and we had a mini photoshoot with Momma Claus. I asked Gregory if I was the real Santa, he said no. I asked if He was, or if Grandma was, he said that he wasn’t. “I don’t have white hair, I can’t be Santa. But Grandma has white hair, she can be Santa.” Kids, they really know how to make you smile, eh?
A few nights later I got wind of a candlelight vigil in honor of Missing and Murdered Women. As a survivor of Domestic abuse, I have started to do my part to support and bring awareness to the topic. There was a small ceremony where we listened to speakers, singers, guitar players, prayers from local Elders and we met the faces of those who work on the front lines to support women and children in need of assistance when fleeing abuse.
It was an inspiring night and hope you keep an eye out for a local meetup and support a cause like this. I write about my experience in fleeing and recovering from abuse, not often, but I’m still a work in progress. If you want to learn more about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, I recommend a great book here.
Gingerbread House Building
Gregory and I road tripped to my sisters’ house mid-December and had family dinner together with my niece and their dogs. My sister is currently fostering a rescue dog named Trixie, and I absolutely love her. I wish I could give her a home but we don’t have space in our tiny bachelor apartments suite.
Even Gregory wants her. Thankfully he is very aware that there is just not enough space in our current home for a dog to be happy. But I do like where his mind goes to when he talks about keeping Trixie for ourselves. “I love Trixie, she can be our dog mom. When we live on a farm, she can be ours.” Yup, my future farmboy already picking out our farm dog.
Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow
Oh the weather outside is frightful! I can’t believe we got snow again this year. I should get used to it, it’s a common event that happens in this town on the island. I’m just not used to it, growing up on the island I barely ever got to see snow in the winter, let alone on Christmas Eve and Day! That’s right folks, we had snow on Christmas.
One snowy night we walked to the local school and watched the Christmas performance put on by the kids. They sand all sorts of Christmas songs, mostly by Elvis. It was really fun and brought on the festive spirit in me. Gregory was also excited, but fell asleep two songs in and didn’t wake up until the last few songs were sung. Still, a very fun Christmas memory from this year.
The snow ended up changing our Christmas Eve plans, the forecast called for snow all week. So Gregory and I planned to be safe and head down to do a Christmas gift drop off a few days before Christmas. This gave Gregory the opportunity to open up a few presents early. One gift he got was a headlamp from my girlfriend, Julie. She knew exactly what to get my hiking kiddo, just what he needed for his new years’ aspiration.
On Christmas Eve Gregory and I headed down to our local swimming pool to partake in our traditional Christmas Eve swim. If you have kids and have never done this, you are missing out. Not only does it make a few hours zip fast, but it tires out the kid enough to fall asleep with less of a hassle at bedtime. We’ve gone the last 3 years and it’s been a great experience every time.
This year the snow was so magical, Gregory called it Rainbow snow. The special snow that Santa sent down from the North Pole to help the sleigh and Reindeer. Like I said, it’s not often that I experience snow on Christmas eve, so we bundled up in our tuques and mittens and went outside to catch falling snowflakes on our tongues. I also brought out some bubbles to blow, hoping they’d freeze. They didn’t, but it sure was fun to chase after them.
This was our first Christmas in our own house since fleeing abuse. A momentous occasion, to me at least. I wanted it to be special but not expect too much from the day. My mom and Grandpa made the trip out to our apartment and opened presents with us. Gregory got spoiled thanks to donations I received, and Santa Claus of course. The best present he got has to be his bike. I can’t believe I managed to get one for him. I m very grateful for all the help we have gotten this holiday season.
To end the year we went out with our neighbours to the bowling alley and played a couple games. It was the first time Gregory had bowled before. He was very excited when we were playing. He cheered whenever someone hit a pin down, playing 5 pins with the guards up meant that there were cheers from our lane every 30 seconds or so as the next ball was bowled.
I offered Gregory the ramp that helps children roll the bowling ball down the lane and he used it. Once. My little guy was a pro at this and threw his own ball down every time. Whether it was a one-hander or a granny bowl, his ball rolled to the pins with decent speed each time. The games concluded and G proclaimed “That was lots of fun. We can do this the next day, and the next day and ALL the days.” Literally, he asks to go bowling every day. I believe we have found a new monthly outing I need to work in to our play budget.
Dear 2017, it’s been real. I’m almost sad to see you go, so much has happened this year that I don’t want you to end, but when I look back I see that you are complete and it is time to move on. 2016 for me, as it was for most people if I am to understand correctly, was a trainwreck. But you, thankfully, were the year I put myself back together. I was broken by the end of 2016. You were patient, kind, persistent, and forever giving me the little nudges forward when I needed it.
This was the year that I started to mend, this was the year that Gregory and I moved forward and restarted our lives together. We have a home, a car, a plan for the future. He’s about to start preschool and I am ready to get a job. I have a better control over my depression and anxiety, in fact, my medication dosage has been lowered again and in a month or so I should be off them. I understand more of my triggers and have many new tactics on how to maneuver difficult situations that arise.
I completed a pre-employment program, made doctors appointments, started going to the gym again, made new friends, went on hikes, lost a few friends, volunteered, met up with old friends, reconnected with family, started writing again, ran a 5k fun run, ran a 8k trail run up a mountain, had some girls nights, went to a concert with my girlfriends, went vegetarian again, realized I was lactose intolerant, explored the town with Gregory, and so much more.
Not to mention Gregory finished two dance classes, got his own library card, has his own friends, ran the Terry Fox Run 1.5k race, has overcome much of his separation anxiety, grew about 4 inches in 4 months, hiked all over Vancouver Island, swam in the ocean and explored the world of art.
You’ve been good to us 2017, I am so thankful for the opportunity to wake up every day that you offered me and took me to where Gregory and I are right now. While you’ve been a peach, I am ready to bring on 2018, so I say so long, and will take with me all the memories I captured via writing or photos and am walking towards the future.