The Elf Issue

Over Christmas there were a lot of articles and opinions on how Elf on the Shelf was a horrible thing to have in your child’s life. There were articles about it causing anxiety and pain, teaching kids to live under big brother, making them paranoid.

In our house we love Elf on the Shelf. He’s a friend who makes us laugh and has silly adventures. This year he also found a friend named Skoob.

Their adventures included:

Building a marshmallows tower –

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Taking baths –

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Performing dangerous stunts-

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And bringing Adam little surprises and activities to keep him entertained –

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Adam frequently talked to Elf and Skoob despite the fact they don’t talk back. And sometimes they would leave notes to let Adam know they were listening to what he said.

Then came Christmas Eve. Just before bed Adam started to cry. It was a genuine sad cry. He had a wonderful day and was on his best behaviour the whole day so I was confused. We started talking and he was so sad that Elf and Skoob had to leave with Santa. He was going to miss them and he loved having them in the house.

This is where as a mother your heart just breaks.

So when Adam fell asleep and Santa arrived before they left Santa let Elf and Skoob do something very risky.

He let Elf and Skoob give Adam a hug. He took a picture and before they all left they did a craft leaving the finished product on the shelf where Elf and Skoob often sat.

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Christmas morning Adam woke up and started to cry. His heart was crushed, he knew that Santa came but Elf and Skoob were gone. 

He found the photo and was so happy but so sad at the same time. He looked at it and cried and then asked me to put it away.

I figured this would pass and he quickly found happiness again once the picture was put away. I assumed that he would forget missing these guys and they would reappear next Christmas as they always do.

Boy was I wrong. Every day Adam asks for the picture and looks at it. He looks so sad when he is looking at it. Sometimes the bottom lip quivers but he usually doesn’t cry.

Now I feel like a horrible Mom.

Maybe Elf on the Shelf does cause some deep down emotional scarring that will cost me thousands in therapy to repair.

But then I tell myself that these emotions that Adam is feeling and dealing with are actually a good thing and maybe this is an excellent thing to be experiencing.

The fact is he’s going to have to deal with death and loss, he’s going to have to deal with someone important not being around and having to remember them in pictures.

This may not be something he has to deal with this year or next but recognizing this feeling of loss and sadness are a fact of life.

So maybe that is an extreme comparison between Elf and death, and Elf comes back, but maybe in the end Adam will end up being a better person for it.

Being Set Up For Failure

The past few weeks have been really rough.

At one job, one person has entered the employee pool and has brought morale so low that half of the employees quit. I am to the point of having full blown anxiety attacks over having to go to work. And I go to work everyday with my letter of resignation in case I’ve had enough. Which I have but I am trying to hold on for a while longer.

At another job I have been beating myself up because I seem completely incompetent. I walked in to help and clean up things and I have been running in circles. It turns out that I was completely set up for failure and the delays in progressing are not not due to my knowledge. Granted I still have so much more to learn.

We’re coming up to the last 19 days of my courses. And I’m to the point where I’m calculating that if I don’t finish a project 100% can I still pass. I hate being a student like that and one course is going to seriously hit my GPA but as it turns out I can only do so much.

I really hadn’t planned to work and be so busy this summer. There is a wave of guilt because everything I wanted to do with Adam is just not happening. I really hope though that he realizes that because of all I am doing this summer should make for a wonderful Christmas and a better summer next year.

There is a master plan in all this chaos, there are dates set for things, completion dates are in sight. And in the long run I will be a better Mommy and wife and a happier person doing what I enjoy.

Have you seen the movie Inside Out? In the end it turns out that some of the best memories in life are born from the saddest parts. I’ll just keep reminding myself that as this picture explains my emotions so well right now:

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Buddy

This morning my Dad’s dog Buddy passed away. He was about 15 years old and he’s been very sick recently so it was expected but it doesn’t make it any easier. He passed peacefully at home which is exactly what we all wanted for him as none of us had the strength to take him to be euthanize.

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Buddy came into our lives as a travelling companion for my Dad. Hence he name Buddy. Buddy spent most of his life on the road with my Dad. I was fortunate to go on Buddy’s first trip and he loved the truck. He slept on the dashboard and others thought he was a stuffed animal until he moved. He slept on the floor near my Dad’s feet and he even slept on the steering wheel.

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It was always nice to know my Dad wasn’t alone in the truck and Buddy would force him to take breaks along the way. Buddy in his younger years was much fun to play with even though for some reason he disliked me. I said this morning I didn’t know why I was crying so much since the stupid dog hated me. Nonetheless he always made us laugh and was doing funny things.

We love pets like they are family because they are family. Buddy lived a wonderful life peeing on more trees in North America then I can count. He’s traveled to places that I’ve never been and would love to go. He ate the diet that a dog dreams of. We’re calling today a puffy eye day. I am weepy as I come across wonderful pictures of Buddy. I got really upset when my Dad called me and he was sniffling because I know he was crying but it will never admit that to you. I know I will cry when we go over to their house and Adam starts asking where is Buddy. I’m not sure how I am going to answer that question yet because Adam is smart, if I say he went to a farm to live, he’ll ask to go to a farm. If I say he’s sleeping, Adam will want to wake him up. I’ll see what comes out of my mouth when Adam asks.

We will all miss Buddy but he’s in a better place now. He’s not in pain anymore. Even in death, Buddy is bringing happiness to my life. I’m going through my old backups of photos and discovering photos I have been under the impression were lost for years.

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Buddy not only in life but in death you were a good dog. We’ll miss you and we always will love you.

Dear Universe

Dear Universe,

I’m flat out angry at you. I’m to the point where enough is enough. Yes while I was at work today I laughed and enjoyed the day, however deep down there is this anger.

This month has been horrible with news and battles that shouldn’t happen. Shootings, people we know fighting for their lives against cancer, and this morning a crash that left many of us shaking our heads.

We wonder have you not devastated enough families yet? Have you made people shed enough tears? We are expected to keep the spirit of Christmas and yet have all these terrible emotions to process.

Tomorrow I will laugh, maybe I won’t feel so angry. I’ve not forgiven you and it will take a while for me to. Many of us have come to the conclusion that December has been a horrible month, it could even come down to the worst month of the year.

Please Universe find a way to comfort those you have destroyed the past couple weeks. You have left a wake of pain and suffering behind you this month.

Now more then ever we need to hug loved ones and scream to the Universe enough is enough.

It’s Ok

I’m not sure if this blog will come across as insensitive and I’m hoping it won’t.

After the horrific events that happened in Newtown on Friday I just wanted to say it’s ok to laugh, smile and continue on with life.

I know there are several families that will argue with me at this exact moment and I don’t want to come across as insensitive. I know their lives has been ripped apart and will never be the same and wounds like this will never fully heal.

It’s also ok to be upset, angry and empathetic for the loss that these families have gone through.

I’ve seen what a child’s death can do to a family. I’ve been to the funeral of a child, I’ve sat with the parent who just buried their child. It is the most emotional, sad thing you can ever go through. It rips every ounce of energy and emotion out of your body.

I’ve also seen that no matter how much your world crumbles around you, life still goes on. You still wake up in the morning, you still put your pants on one leg at a time and time doesn’t always heal all wounds however time makes it easier to start laughing again.

Children are also very resilient. We don’t give children enough credit for coping with tragedy. Again I acknowledge that some of these children will be screwed up forever. They will have anxiety, they will cry, however most of them will just pick up and carry on. They will play with their toys, they will look forward to Santa coming, and most of them will grow up ok. I sit and wonder how many of my classmates from elementary school remember our two classmates who died. (They passed from health reasons however, I sat beside one of them in every class. My world crashed at the time but things turned out ok.)

Some deaths are harder to swallow than others. I’m not saying forget these children forever or forget their family and the Christmas they lost and even all the things that they will never do in the future. One of the best things we can do as society is give these people some space. They need to get back into a routine, they need to have the spotlight to turn off and they need to start processing the stages of grieving.

It’s ok for us to smile, laugh and continue with our daily lives.

It’s also ok if it takes longer to move pass the mourning stage. Just remember there is a whole life in front of you that is passing you by and the best way to honour these little lives is to live our lives to the fullest. We need to be kinder to each other, we need to embrace each moment and we need to remember that time is valuable and no one in this life has a guaranteed time on the earth.

Everyone who has spoken about the innocent children has said wonderful things about how they loved life, they embraced life and were happy everyday.

Maybe us adults can learn something from these angels.