It's not you, it's me

Today had the potential to be such a good day. And I needed a good day.

REALLY BADLY.

And then...

Well.

It was not.

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Let me back up a few days.

On Saturday, January 12, 2013, with myself, my sister, my brother and his wife surrounding him with as much love as we could, my father passed away from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

I have written about our reconnection and how bittersweet this whole process has been for both of us. Time, the one thing we needed, was the one thing we really did not have.

He was suffering and now I know he is not. We had a brief moment on Friday to talk and forgive each other before his level of consciousness prevented him from having further conversations. Given the situation, I am at peace with that and I can only hope that he was too.

So, I am grieving.

And on two fronts. I am grieving for the loss of the man that he was and I am also grieving (again?) for the loss of the father that I could have had. Details are not important anymore and life takes us in all kinds of different directions that are not in our control, but this is hard. Hard to try to understand the circumstances of the past and the motives of the people (including ourselves) that kept us so far apart, and hard to reconcile the fact that answers will never come.

Add to all of that the fact that I am also prepping this little family of mine for a whirlwind vacation half way around the world that starts VERY soon, and well... let's just say it is a busy week up in my head.

I don't have time to grieve. I have to pack, and I have to get kids to school and back, and I have to make meals and actually feed these people who depend on me and also find time for regular things, like showering and shaving my legs and such. There is playing and reading and laundry and dentist appointments and walking the dog and getting in a workout and doing my volunteer commitments and keeping up with the everyone on Facebook and well....

Something has to give.

Remember the good old days?

If someone had a baby, or if someone had a birthday or yes, if someone died. Remember what we would do, or what our parents and our parents friends would do? They would come over with a meal. Or call. Or send an actual card or note or flowers. They would come over and give you a big heartfelt hug. Not a ((hug)).

Now we take to the internets to express EVERYTHING. Our congratulations, our condolences, our breakfast, lunch and dinner and every waking moment in between. We are all more connected than we have ever been before and yet, I can't help but feel so disconnected right now.

This has been bothering me long before this past weekend and I was afraid to do anything about it, but now...

Now, I am done.

I am done with Facebook.

I am done with feeling like I am a good "friend" because I didn't forget to write "Happy Birthday" on whomever's timeline is listed on the top right hand corner of my page. I am done reading about peoples passive aggressive feelings through silly meme images. I am done with feeling the "Oh, that would be a good sound bite on FB" thought about something that happens in my day-to-day life, instead of actually BEING IN THAT MOMENT in my life.

My friend Tom wrote this very poignant post last week and in it he says,

"...you get only ONE chance at being a dad or a mom to your child. You won’t be allowed to try it again. You’ll be left with a void, a gap where you could have done something for or with your little one. And sadly, those are gaps in life we will never be able to go back and fill."

This week that message hit home for me more so than ever before.

Because I am that little one. I am that kid that lost out on having a father because of reasons that I will never understand. And yes, I know for a fact that there was a big void in my fathers life as well. And while we did get a chance to reconnect in the end. The sad reality is that it really was the end. We had less than 2 months to fit in 30 years of life.

It was not enough.

This week has been rough on all of us here at the SAHF household and I am trying to figure out what we all need around here.

The best solution and answer I can find is that we need MORE of each other. Or more specifically, my kids and my husband need more of me. And I need more of me.

We need more playing together. We need more reading books. We need more cuddles and silliness. We need more kitchen dance parties. We need mommy to NOT get on the computer the minute we walk in the door . We need to actually go visit with friends and family and spend time with them. Time that does not include any kind of mobile device bleeping every 10 seconds. We need to take pictures for us alone, not to be shared on Instagram or Facebook immediately. We need to get our validation from the joy of living, not from the amount of "likes" we get on a status update.

So like any addict who has to hit rock bottom before they see the light, here I am.

Today was my bottom.

My name is Natasha and I am addicted to social media. I check my phone and my computer all the time out of fear that I am going to "miss" something. And I do mean ALL. THE. TIME.. I panic if I can't find my phone. It is the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night. And sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I'll check it then too.

What hit me today, is that I AM missing something. I am missing my life. I am missing my children's lives. All the things that I keep saying that we will do later, just one more minute, one more message, one more video to watch....well, one day it will be too late. And I won't be able to go back. There is no 'delete' or 'undo' or 'refresh' button in life.

There is just DO and DO it as well as you can.

So...

As of tonight at midnight, I am deactivating my Facebook account.

I will still manage the community Pages that I am responsible for, but even that will be at a limited capacity.

If anyone wants to get ahold of me, call me, come and see me, meet me for coffee. Let's really CONNECT.

And hug.

Really everyone, it's not you, it's me.

I just need some space.

For a REAL life lived in the moment.

Lots of love,

Natasha~

P.S. {For my online friends who are far away, you can still find me on Twitter or via email or here too. Baby steps folks! :)}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat after me... Breastfeeding is not OBSCENE!!

...and yet, the breastfeeding witch hunt rages on... And very strongly on Facebook again!

More breastfeeding pictures have been removed, people's accounts have been blocked or suspended and there is much confusion about what Facebook's actual policy on breastfeeding photos is or if they even have one.

You would think that they do have one based on this response from Facebook's own Help Centre.

But in an article published in the Vancouver Sun yesterday, Facebook's Canadian publicist said that,

"...although Facebook does not have a specific policy regarding breastfeeding images but given that Facebook’s policy is no nudity it would be best not to post (breastfeeding images),.."

The mixed messages from Facebook are enough to make my head spin!

For the whole back story and media updates I will direct you to my friend Jodine Chase's blog. She has been chronicling this most recent battle daily since it all started on Sunday when Emma Kwasnica, founder of the Human Milk 4 Human Babies milk-sharing network (which ironically started on Facebook), had her breastfeeding pictures flagged, removed and her Facebook account suspended for 24 hours and then another 72 hours after that.

In a show of solidarity with Emma and ALL breastfeeding mamas and their rights to post these photos on Facebook and as a kind of virtual nurse-in (and yes, I will re-address my stance on nurse-ins in general in another post), I asked my fellow mamas and followers on the Natural Urban Mamas Facebook page to post their breastfeeding photos.

And the response was amazing...

All night long and well into Monday mamas posted amazing, beautiful, funny, newborn, toddler and everything in between BREASTFEEDING photos all over the Natural Urban Mamas wall!

But I wanted to do more.

And so I made this.

I hope you like it.

I hope you will share it.

And I hope that not one of you backs down or ever feels like you need to cover up or "do that somewhere else" while breastfeeding, whether in real life or virtually by not posting or removing your nursing photos from social media sites like Facebook.

This is for you Emma and for all of the breastfeeding mamas out there fighting this battle and working tirelessly every day  to make the sight of a breastfeeding mother the normal, commonplace, not-really-a-big-deal, just-a-baby-eating, thing that it really is!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdvVVAtTo4Y[/youtube]

Give those babies some Booby Snacks Mamas!

Natasha~

Video music credit goes to:
The Star Wars Theme by John Williams
Booby Snacks by Moorea Mallat, www.songsforbreastfeeding.com
Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine, www.florenceandthemachine.net

 

 

Super Heroes

Sunday night as I was just randomly checking my twitter stream this was happening. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5m6OErRXpA]

A town was burning to the ground. One that I have visited many times in my life time. A beautiful place full of incredible northern Alberta scenery and history and one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Alberta (it has actual gorgeous white sandy beaches).

Wildfires are always a problem in our province during the spring and summer, and this year is no exception. It is very dry here and add to that the high winds that we have been experiencing across our province this past week and it did not take much for a forest fire to jump across a highway and forge a huge path of destruction straight through the town of Slave Lake.

A full evacuation of the more than 7000 people who live in and around the town was put in effect on Sunday night and with only one road in or out they headed south to evacuation centres set up in Athabasca, Westlock and Edmonton. Most had to leave their houses with only a few minutes notice and with the clothes on their backs and a hastily packed bag.

Can you imagine for a minute what that would be like? Grabbing yourself, your children, your pets (and some could not do even this), taking one last look at your home and not knowing if it would be there when you came back?

Well, that was too much for a group of us on twitter to imagine and then not DO something about it. And so into the late hours of Sunday night and wee hours of Monday morning we set up an event page on Facebook to collect donations of material items that these people were going to need right away and in the very near future.

When I finally went to bed Sunday night, we were six Twitter moms just trying to do something to help our community and between all of our personal and business networks we had about 100 people already rallied on our event page.

When we woke up the next morning we had 500 people on the event page and by days end on Monday it was up to 1000. The donations were coming in en masse, the emails flooding our inboxes, and we were overwhelmed! Our front porches and small business locations could not handle the sheer amount of donations being brought in and we needed a bigger space to spread out and sort and get the evacuees and fire victims the supplies they needed!

And just like that, with the incredible power that is Social Media and one by one, Super Heroes came crawling out of the woodwork! A local community league donated their hall to us for the week. Multiple trucking companies have donated their trucks, time and drivers to us to haul huge loads of supplies to the areas that need them the most. Ford Canada stepped up and donated an F-150 pick-up for us to use for whatever we need! Some pretty incredible individuals have donated hours upon hours of their time to come and help sort through the mountains of bags that we have received.  A lot of them have babies strapped to their backs in baby carriers while they are doing this!

You hear about the strength of mothers in times of stress and the ones who lift cars off of toddlers. Well, there have been no cars on toddlers this week, but the strength and determination and sheer MOM-entum that is keeping us all running this week is nothing short of a miracle! I am both humbled and honored to call a lot of these women my dear, dear friends!

We still have A LOT of work to do. We need more volunteers over the next two days to help with sorting and organizing our donations. We will be packing up one of the semi-trucks tomorrow with immediate essentials and sending it off to the evacuation centre in High Prairie, where about 1400 people have been displaced from their homes and land.

If you can spare an hour or two of your time, or if you can gather together donations for our efforts, please join us at the Beacon Heights Community Hall in Old Towne Beverly at 4418-118 Avenue from 9:30-7 PM Thursday and Friday.

Here is the list of items that are most needed at this time:

Toilet paper, diapers, towels, formula, bedding, all toiletries, Non-perishable food items, bottled water, Depends - mens and ladies, bug spray, paper towels, bleach, rags, pails, cleaning supplies, Alberta Health Services grade disinfectant, dry dog food, NEW socks and underwear.

**Please have items sorted beforehand to make everyone's jobs a little easier**

Thank you everyone (these words just don't seem like enough right now!),

Natasha~

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three thing we crave most in live

- happiness, freedom and peace of mind -

are always attained by giving them to someone else."

Peyton Conway March