Who Am I?
I am a Canadian Christian wife and mother of two daughters, Clara Faith, born in December of 2010 (who I called 'Celia' for the sake of this blog for the first few months before deciding I wasn't that concerned about privacy and started using her real name), and Audrey Grace Rayne, born in October of 2012. I was married to my husband, Brian, when we were both 20 years old which some might say is too young (and in most cases I likely would agree), but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have decided to be a stay-at-home Mom, and also teach piano in my home to supplement our income. I have a strong faith in the God of the Bible, and would not be where or who I am today without His grace and guidance.
This has been bugging me, so I wanted to mention it somewhere - Canadian spellings are not always the same as American (you may know this, but the thought of looking like I can't spell drives me crazy) - we like to add random 'u's in words like colour, and favourite - I have no idea why. If I quote someone, I will use whichever spelling they give me, but I try to stay true to Canadian (or British, I suppose it is) grammar.
About the Name
Despite all of the recommendations that say not to put blankets or stuffies in with a sleeping baby, we chose early to follow the advice of a family member that completely broke these 'rules' as it were. When my daughter became dependent on her soother to sleep, but was unable to successfully keep it in her mouth while sleeping, a family member recommended using a tightly rolled blanket or towel next to Clara's head to help her hold in her soother. This worked like a charm - and regardless of how unsafe this may seem to some readers, we were confident of her ability to pull her head back from anything that might end up against her face and we were also careful to not have anything 'fluffy' near her while she was sleeping. I will also argue that people who make these recommendations about 'no blankets' etc, have never had to keep a baby warm on a Saskatchewan winter's night...
Anyway, when she got a bit older, I wanted to wean her of the need to sleep wedged between two rolled up towels (which is really hard to replicate in a space larger than a bassinet). So I slowly started moving the towel away from her, but found that she was more comfortable with something pressed against her nose, and would seek out something for this purpose. When she was old enough to hold something to herself for this, she started using blankets and stuffies. Somehow, it came about that the most common stuffy used was a bright pink Children's Place teddy bear that was purchased for her by her Grandpa (my Dad) on the day she was born. Before we even knew this was possible (Clara was around 3 months old), the bright pink bear had become a necessary requirement for sleeping. It meant so much to my Dad that she chose this particular bear, especially as he died when Clara was 18 months old.
We ordered two replacement bears (one for now, and a back-up for later) so that we can wash her bear and she can still sleep. She has since discovered the two alternating bears, and often demands having both.
Shortly after I was born, my mother left me in the care of my father, who returned home to live with his parents for a year while he got 'back on his feet' as it were. For that year, I was raised by my extended family - Grandparents, aunt and uncles alongside my Dad. My Dad built a house for himself and me when I was three, but we remained in close proximity to my Grandparents where I spent most of my time while he was at work.
When I was about six years old, there was a massive child sexual assault scandal in the town I grew up in. In our town of a few thousand people, over two hundred people were taken in for questioning, most of whom were innocent, and one of whom happened to be my Dad. The police were in 'better safe than sorry' mode, and in the shuffle I was taken by Child Protective Services. The next day, my Grandma was able to take me home with her, although we were falsely told that I should have only supervised visits with my Dad for a number of months. This is an important part of my story, because I believe very strongly that children thrive in conditions that are secure. Despite my eventual return to my normal life with my Dad, I learned in this one night in foster care that authorities may not be trustworthy, and that my life was not secure.
When I was eight, my Dad married a woman with a young son, giving me a brother. For reference, this woman became my 'Mom' (as the only Mom I have ever known) the moment my Dad decided to marry her, and I have never refered to her as a 'step-Mom' unless I needed to for clarity. My 'mother' carried me in her body for nine months, for which I am grateful, but it wasn't her blood in me that determined our relationship. 'Mother' and 'Mom' are two very different meanings in my life. I always thought I could relate well to an adopted child for this reason. Despite now having a Mom in my life, I romanticized what a 'real' mother-child relationship would have been like, and every disagreement or difference between myself and my Mom seemed to prove to me that my life still wasn't 'right'. As I grew, I developed relationships with women in my life that were more desperate on my end than they should have been. Looking back, I think I was seeking to fill this 'Mom shaped hole' that I felt within me. Looking back as a mom, I realize now that the differences and clashes between a mom and child - even if biological - can be striking, and would have existed in any mom/daughter relationship.
I had my share of pre-teen and teenage issues - depression, eating disorders, obsessions, etc. Some of which may have been worse because of 'abandonment issues', or my inconsistent upbringing (I was pitied as a baby and child, which resulted in my being exceedingly spoiled before Mom came on the scene), although many of my issues were probably very typical of a girl my age.
When I was approximately 10, I went through a 'learning' phase, where I read books on philosophy - mostly Socrates and Plato, as well as began learning about evolution in school. I decided that although I had been raised by my Grandparents to believe in God, the Bible seemed to make no allowances for dinosaurs and other things that seemed to prove evolution and so I became an atheist - as much as one can at 10 years old.
I began listening to music by Amy Grant in the mid 90's, and (I blame my 'Mom shaped hole'), began obsessing over her as a person. I started collecting every album I could find by her, and learned that she had begun as a Christian singer in the 70's and 80's. Partially through listening to her music, my belief in God was slowly re-established. I attended Christian summer camps, and began taking piano lessons from a Christian woman who became an invaluable mentor and friend to me through my teenage years.
I always had to be able to back up my beliefs, which is a skill taught to me by my (eventually atheist) Dad, and so as I learned more about the Christian faith (in a real way, not just in the way that one learns it as a child in Sunday School), I began to seek out resources and facts that indicated that the theory of evolution had holes in it, and that the Bible actually did corroborate scientific facts. It was important to me to try to see all of the evidence before me and make an informed decision, as much as I was able to be informed by all of the biased information out there. My Dad was an important part of my spiritual growth, because of our differences, because he was continuously asking me questions I couldn't answer - I don't believe he was trying to be discouraging or antagonistic, but because he truly wanted me to examine everything before me and not blindly believe something I had been told.
When I began dating in high school, I had one abusive relationship with another damaged friend of mine. Both of us were dealing with a lot of garbage in our personal lives and we only served to bring each other down and hurt each other further. Unfortunately for me, his parents were vocal about what they perceived - which was that I was entirely to blame for their son's struggles. It (their side of this story) became information that many of our friends' parents knew, and because I was an insecure and needy girl in a friend group of mostly boys, it was easy to think things about me that (although maybe partly) were not entirely true. I recall more than one incidence when I overheard a conversation between my friends' Moms in which they commented on how odd I was, or how suggestive it was that I was spending so much time with so many boys. Adults out there - please know how much your comments can hurt a child, or teenager, who hears you.
It was after this, in the church youth group I had begun attending as a result of connections at summer camp, that I became friends with my now-husband Brian. We had attended the same school since first grade, but had not really been friends previous to this. We spent nearly a year as inseperable best friends, and then began dating in Grade 11.
Our relationship was rocky as we dealt with many of my struggles, and because many of my issues were public 'knowledge', we also struggled with our relationship with his parents. Throughout our relationship, I needed constant affirmation and I also dealt with a lot of jealousy and fear, which Brian came through brilliantly. He was honest and true, and more patient than I could have imagined. Despite dealing with my issues, I managed to be strengthened while in a relationship, and by the time we graduated High School our relationship was even - for the most part - healthy.
We were married at 20 and 21 (I am 6 months older) and moved to a nearby city. We took turns working and going to school until I was in a job that paid enough for me to support us while Brian went to school full-time. He studied Computer Science for three years (one year short of his degree) when we decided to start a family. We had been married for about four years. I had been diagnosed with PCOS and we figured that it might be difficult or even impossible for us to have children naturally. I have always been set on being a mother, and since having children is extremely important to me, I didn't want to wait too long to start an adoption process if that became necessary. We started using clomid, and after only two months, we found out that were expecting - yay! We waited about six minutes to tell our family and friends and approximately nine months later, we had our daughter Clara. When Clara was about 7 months old, I decided that my preference would be to have our children as close together as possible for a number of reasons, and started trying for a second. After a few unsuccessful months, I went back on clomid and had almost given up hope when we discovered we were expecting again! Audrey was born when Clara was 22 months old, and we have been blessed with two girls who love each other deeply and truly are (so far) very much best friends.
In June of 2012, my Dad died after a two year battle with spontaneous brain bleeding that left him increasingly disabled until his body was no longer able to keep functioning. There are a number of posts on this blog that chronicle the last few months of his life. It's hard to believe that he is gone - he has been such an intrinsic part of my life, and I know I will never stop missing him.