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, and it means so much more to me now that my Dad passed away this past June.
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.
It was around 1983 when my mother (we'll call her Louise) lost her first husband in a car accident. She was left with two children, a daughter who was about 6 and a son who was about 3 at the time. Not able to handle her loss very well, she turned to alcohol and other men for comfort, and ended up with my father, Randy.
When Louise discovered she was pregnant with Dad's baby, she made plans to abort the child (me), but Dad somehow convinced her not to. He also convinced her to marry him. I was born in early 1985. Louise was still struggling with life and began a relationship with another man while she was still married to Dad. Three months after my birth Louise and Dad separated and she planned to move to another province with her children secretly.
When Dad learned of her plan, he showed up at her door and packed me up with whatever else he could carry, promising that she would never take his daughter from him.
For this, my Dad is my hero. He took me home, and although he struggled with being a good father - especially for that first year when he was still dealing with the hurt of being cheated on and left by Louise - he and I moved in with his parents and siblings, and we became one big family. He never looked back. And neither did Louise. I was thirteen when I finally tried to find her to meet her, but that is another story. A few years later, my Dad built a house for the two of us, and we moved out of his parents' house. I still spent a lot of time there, since my Grandma was my caregiver during the day when my Dad 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. Of those, only one person was ever charged and I believe the charge was of child pornography possession, and that no assaults were ever proven. One of the men taken in for questioning was my Dad. A young friend of mine had heard other children's stories and chose to tell a similar story about someone she knew also. The police were in 'better safe than sorry' mode, and probably partly because my Dad was a single Dad, we were given the impression that although my Dad easily passed a lie detector test and no charges were laid, we should no longer have unsupervised visits. It was a number of months before I was able to move back home with my Dad. Just to be very clear here - my Dad NEVER touched me, or any other child, inappropriately, and unfortunately our relationship became far too physically distant because of the fear that resulted from this incident.
During my childhood, my Dad dated a number of women, some of whom had children also. I'm sure he was lonely, but he was also hoping to find a 'mom' for me and to complete our family. When I was seven, he met 'Katherine' who had a four year old son, 'Leland'. They were married within a year, and Katherine had been 'Mom' to me ever since. For future reference, when I say anything about my 'Mom', it is Katherine I am referring to. Louise is either 'Louise' to me, or 'my mother' - I view 'Mom' and 'mother' as distinctly different roles.
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 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. Due to an ongoing need to fill my 'Mom shaped hole' (as I have come to call it), I began listening to (and obsessing over) a popular female pop singer who happened to have begun as a Christian pop singer in the 70's and 80's. I also began taking piano lessons, and found a fellow 'fan' of this artist in my piano teacher (who was also a victim of my 'Mom' hunt, and became an invaluable mentor and friend to me through my teenage years and beyond) - she was also a very strong Christian woman.
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 find resources and facts that indicated that the theory of evolution had holes in it, and that the Bible actually did corroborate scientific facts. I became a Christian (again) by the age of fourteen and became increasingly involved in a friend's church and youth group.
I had one bad and 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. This was eventually broadcast to my future in-laws.
It was after this, and in the same youth group that I became friends with my now-husband Brian (who I had known since first grade, since we went to school together), and we 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 Brian's 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 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! In May we discovered that we are expecting another little girl (if the ultrasound techs can be trusted) at the end of October or early November.
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.