Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Life is grandson good!

Four generations

I had no idea being a grandmother, or YiaYa as I’m called, would make my heart feel so incredibly full. I had no idea.

But isn’t that just like life? We don’t really know what it feels like to do or experience something… until we do. And then — Wham! It hits you. Life is full of miracles and adventures and incredible happenings that have the capacity to take your breath away and leave you feeling so sated, life before pales in comparison to life now.

C.C. and I drove Alexis and our grandson, Thurlow, to the airport last night for their journey home. It was bittersweet. Spending the last week with him has been a beautiful journey of laughter, joy and Love. Knowing he is going home with a mother who loves him so deeply and to the welcoming arms of his very excited father helps soften the sadness of their departure and though there is distance between us, I carry him in my heart.

The only two creatures in our home this morning who were happy for the quiet were Beaumont and Marley. Both furry kids had their noses slightly out of joint at all the attention paid to the bundle of joy called Thurlow. Marley disappeared into the furnace room throughout the day, coming up at night when the coast was clear to sleep on our bed. Beaumont ventured a couple of licks of Thurlow’s feet, but aside from that, he mostly gave him a wide berth.

It is stunning to watch my beautiful daughter as a mother. She is soft and gentle, caring and relaxed. She takes everything in her stride, singing and cooing to her son as she cuddles and feeds him. She moves with his flow, timing her actions to his needs. She is amazing.

It was also incredible to watch my mother as she met her Great Grandson. She was so excited and thankful to be able to have the privilege to be here to meet him and told him she is looking forward to watching him grow. She turns 96 in August and is hoping Alexis will bring him back to wish her Happy Birthday. I hope so too!

In the meantime, I shall revel joyfully in this state of blissful YiaYa-hood and savour each video call and photo my daughter sends.

Life is good.

 

 

 


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Love is here!

Getting sleepier and sleepier and sleepier

The love of my life has arrived.

Okay, well there are others I love. C.C., my daughters, family, friends, pets. But Thurlow my grandson, he holds a special place.

He arrived last night. All 11 pounds of pure love and delight swept into our home with his mother and father, and completely took over our home, and hearts.

I’ll not be online much for the next week. Early mornings are YiaYa time. It was a pattern we got into when I stayed with my daughter and son-in-love just after Thurlow was born.

Alexis would wake up early. Feed him and then lay him in my arms. For the next two or so hours, she would sleep and I would savour my alone time with this tiny being who has captured my heart.

I am in Love and what a wonderful place to be!


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In the realness of being an imperfectly perfect mother – life is possible.

Almost thirty-two years ago, when I first became a mother, I remember wanting to be perfect. To do it right. To not make any mistakes. To be in control. To define every moment. Control every outcome.

And then reality set in.

I was the guide to another human being. They had their own voice. Own ‘being’. Own desires and ideas, thoughts and needs and while I could guide, I could not control them or ultimately, prescribe or design their path through life.

I had to give up my desire to be ‘the perfect mother’ for being real.

It was a wonderful awakening, albeit hard at times to live within the realization that being ‘real’ also meant making mistakes. Lots of them.

I have been blessed with forgiveness, acceptance and gratitude. I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me, beauty and the beast. Flaws and facets. Wounds and wisdom.

Watching my eldest daughter step into the role of motherhood this past week has been a gift beyond measure.

To witness her gentleness, her patience, her Love has given my heart reason to soar, to beat wildly, to murmur in quiet assent.

And, it has reminded me that in all things, no matter how dark the night or dreary the day, Love casts a light that makes even the dimmest moments shine. Love illuminates fear and uncertainty, making the road ahead less daunting, more easy to navigate.

When my daughters were born I wanted to give them the world. A world where their mother was always perfect, always wise, always there.

To have continued to want to give them all of that would have set them up for a life of disappointment. Because no matter how hard I tried to be perfect, being myself is fraught with  moments of uncertainty, confusion, even fear. Being myself means not always knowing the answers. Not always being sure of the path.

And being myself means always standing in Love, in spite of and because of my imperfections. It means loving the imperfectness of me so that they would be free to be themselves.

Eleven days ago my eldest daughter became a mother. As I watch her grow more confident in the role, I am blessed to see her letting go of ‘perfection’ so that she stands only in the realness of Love.

In that place, all things are possible. In that place my grandson will have everything he needs to grow up to become himself.

There is no perfect road to becoming a parent. There is only the road we take. And when we take it in Love, trusting in its capacity to light up even the darkest night, the only thing not possible is, perfection.

 

 


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Starry, Starry Dreams (a story)

Once upon a time there was a little boy who believed he could touch the stars. If only…

Every night he would climb out his bedroom window and crawl up onto the roof of his house. While the world slept below him, he would lie on his back and gaze up into the night time sky, memorizing the positions of all the stars, dreaming of one day flying to the moon, of soaring amongst the celestial beauty above.

One night, his mother came to his room and found him missing from his bed. Not realizing he was on the roof, she became frantic. She woke up his father, crying fearfully. They called the police. They called their neighbours. A search party was organized.

Meanwhile, the little boy lay on the roof, lost in wonder of the stars above. He didn’t hear their frantic calls. Didn’t know that they were searching for him. He knew only that he was safe amongst the wonder of the nighttime sky, dreaming of one day building a space ship and flying beyond his wildest imaginings of life here on earth.

As he always did after an hour of star-gazing, the little boy climbed quietly back down from the roof into his room to go back to bed. But this night, he found his mother sitting on his bed, clutching his teddy bear. Tears streamed down her face. Her body shook with sobs.

The little boy saw his mother and did not understand why she was crying. He ran to her, touched her arm and asked, “Mummy, what’s wrong?”

The mother, stunned to hear her son’s voice, opened her eyes and saw him standing before her. Relief washed over her. He was safe. She grabbed him and pulled him to her breast, holding him tightly. She called out to her husband who was downstairs talking to the police who were in charge of the search party. “He’s here. He’s here.”

Everyone raced up the stairs. The little boy heard the pounding of their footsteps, felt the tremor of the floor as they raced into the room.

His father burst through the door, strode over to him and angrily demanded, “Where were you? Don’t you know you frightened your mother almost to death?”

The little boy was confused. What were the police doing there? Why were they all standing in front of him, arms crossed against their chests?

In a tiny voice he replied, “I was on the roof.” He hesitated and then whispered tentatively. “Counting stars.”

His father was angry. “You’re a bad boy,” he yelled. “How dare you cause such terror in our hearts. You will never go on the roof again.”

The little boy stood his ground. “I’m going to be an astronaut. I’m going to fly amongst the stars.”

The father shouted back. “Quit your foolish dreaming. You can’t eat stardust. You will be a coal miner, just like me. Just like my father before me.”

And so, a dream was lost. The father put bars on the boy’s window. The boy put his dream of one day being an astronaut away.

Years passed. The little boy became a man. He worked in the coalmine. Just like his father. He had a wife. A little cottage and a family of his own. A son and a daughter.

Like his father, he was stern. Distant. Uncompromisable. Like his father, he loved his wife and children but never told them. When asked if he had dreams, he would reply, “Dreaming doesn’t put food on the table. Dreams are as impossible as flying amongst the stars. It will never happen.”

They were happy, in a strict kind of way. There was food on the table, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads. No one spoke of love. No one spoke of the stars above.

One night, the father walked past his son’s room on his way to bed. Out of the corner of his eye, through the open door, he saw the tiny figure of his son slipping out the bedroom window. Fearful that his son might be hurt, he raced across the room, and grabbed his son just as he was about to slip over the sill and onto the roof.

“What are you doing?” he bellowed as he pulled his son back into the safety of the room.

The little boy, not used to being held in his father’s arms, burrowed into his chest, snuggled his head against his shoulder and whispered, “Counting stars.”

The father stood still. He felt his son’s heart beating against his chest. Felt the softness of his arms around his neck. With his son in his arms, he looked out the bedroom window to the darkness of night. Stars glittered in the sky above. The world slept below.

“Counting stars.” he whispered. And then he repeated it. “Counting stars.”

The little boy nodded his head. “I do it every night,” he said proudly. “One day I’m going to be an astronaut. I’m going to build a spaceship and fly to the moon!”

“No you’re not,” the father began and stopped. As he reached out to close the window, he caught a glimpse of himself holding his son in the reflection of the glass. His eyes misted up at the sight of the tiny figure held in his massive arms.

His son, squirmed in his arms and leaned his body towards the window. “Look dad!” he exclaimed. “A comet.”

The father turned his head and looked up into the stars above as a streak of light flared across the inky black sky. He closed his eyes and took a breath. When he opened them, he looked down into his son’s eyes and saw the starry wonder of his dream reflected back at him.

His heart softened. He smiled. And pushed the window open. “I don’t want you to get hurt son. It’s okay to go on the roof at night as long as you promise to take me with you.”

The boy’s blue eyes opened wide. “Really?” he asked in a tiny whisper. “You’ll go with me?”

Holding his son safely in his arms, the father stepped through the window onto the roof. “When I was a little boy, I used to climb out my bedroom window so I could count stars,” he said. He looked up into the night sky. “I forgot how many stars there are,” he whispered his son clutched tightly in his arms. “Can you tell me how many you’ve counted?”

The boy pointed up and started to count. “Two thousand and twenty-three. Two thousand and twenty-four. Two….” and his father’s voice joined in. “thousand and twenty-five…”

Together, father and son lay on their backs on the roof gazing up at the starry night blanket spread out before them.

And the stars shone brighter than they had ever shone before.

_________________________

I wrote this story many years ago before I even know I was dreaming of Thurlow James’ arrival.


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My actions matter.

I almost jay-walked this morning.

Almost.

I was standing at the corner. The walk sign red. A one way street. No on-coming traffic. I had breakfast and coffees in my hands. Why not?

And then I remembered.

My actions matter. So do my choices.

Even when no one’s watching.

And now, I’m a YiaYa to a six-day old grandson, my actions, words, everything feels like it matters even more.

As I said to my daughter and son-in-love the other day, one of the blessings, gifts and curses of becoming parents is… everything you do and say matters. And your child is always watching. Always soaking it up. Processing and making it part of their world.

You are their world.

Especially in these first formative days and months and years.

And in that world. You are what matters most. Who you are. How you are. The choices you make – even when no one’s watching.

I almost jay-walked this morning.

I chose not to.

I want everything about me to matter in a way that makes the world a better place. Not just for my grandson, but for all of us.

Namaste.

 


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Newborn Life. Infinite Love.


There is resistance in this place.

Resistance because I fear the surrender.

To surrender is to give in completely. It is to fall into that thing called Love fearlessly.

I write ‘that’ and realize, no, it is not ‘that’. It is ‘this’.

This thing called Love.

This thing where fear has no voice. No place. No need to be present.

I surrender.

I fall.

And find myself in the infinity of Love.

Totally. Completely. Fearlessly.

On February 8, at 8:27am all 5lb 1 ounces of Thurlow James Alexander came into this world via emergency c-section.

One month early.

We knew he would be early for the past 2 months. A liver disease that can present itself during pregnancy had precipitated the doctors telling my daughter and son-in-love that their son would be born sometime around Feb 19.

Thurlow liked the idea of Feb 8.

It is a wise choice my grandson has made. He has chosen two parents who in the brief five days since his arrival have surrounded him and embraced him and swaddled him in infinite Love.

According to Angel Guide Doreen Virtue, the Number 8 represents complete and unending abundance without any lack. It represents infinity and everything good in the universe which is infinite; infinite supply, infinite energy, infinite time, infinite Love.

He is infinite Love. Precious. Divine. Magical. Miraculous.

I am infinitely in Love with this tiny precious being. He is my grandson and I feel my entire being falling helplessly into infinite Love.

And it is good. Infinitely good.

Infinitely Divine.

I am in Love.

 


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Conquering The Great Divide

I had steeled myself for the shock of arrival. I had mentally prepared myself for the cold.

And it still hit me!

After three days in the moist, relatively warm air of the coast, coming home felt like a rude awakening — even though it was after midnight.

My plane was a couple of hours late. C.C., who was originally going to pick me up at 10, had long gone to bed. I walked out of the terminal, grabbed a cab and then proceeded to say a whole bunch of prayers as we slipped and slid our way down the Deerfoot, navigating icy patches and drifted snow until climbing up Bow Trail towards the condo in which we’re temporarily living while the renovations on our new home are underway.

The cab driver’s car had really bad tires.

Note to self, before climbing into a cab, check to ensure its tires have appropriate tread to navigate snowy roads!

And now I’m home.

Back from a delightful weekend with my sisters and daughters.

On Saturday night, my youngest daughter who had flown out Thursday to spend a week with her sister, organized a ‘baby soiree’ at the home of Alexis’ husband’s mother and stepdad. With the help of Alexis’ dear friend VW and her mother and father-in-law, they created a sense of ‘one big family’ coming together to celebrate the imminent arrival of baby bean, or as he’s affectionately known in utero, Garfield.

There was laughter and teasing, friendly games of pool in the basement and lots of good food and wine upstairs.

One of the hardest things about Garfield’s pending arrival is the distance between us. Alexis and her husband live in Vancouver, on the other side of The Great Divide, almost a thousand kilometers away.

And while between our hearts there is no distance too far to travel, in physical space we are an 11 hour drive (not always advisable in the winter) or a 1 and a half hour flight.

Knowing she is surrounded by a family who loves her, knowing her friends are supportive and caring and kind, and that many of them are just a short drive away and some are also in the ‘family way’, helps ease my heart’s yearning to be closer.

As we stood and chatted at the party on Saturday night, someone suggested guessing the actual date of baby Garfield’s arrival. I laughingly told the story of Alexis’ 19 days of holding out on coming into this world beyond her due date. “I used to think it was because she knew it was the last and only time she would be 100% in control,” I said.

Truth is, I actually think it was because I didn’t want to share her with the world yet. I knew it was the last time it would be 100% just her and me.

I’ve grown since June 19th, 1986 when she came into this world.

I’ve learned to share her. To be supportive and happy in knowing she has created a world around her filled with people who love her and want the best for her in her life. People who care deeply about her well-being. Who want to share their stories with her, and share in her stories too.

As I watched both my daughters at the party on Saturday night I was reminded once again, of how incredibly loving and kind they both are. I was struck by not just their physical beauty, but the beauty of their hearts. The aura of kindness that surrounds them both.

I am so incredibly blessed. And grateful.

I may have been the carrier of the miracle that became their lives, but it is the incredible support of family and friends that have helped shape and guide and form them into the truly magnificent young women they are today.

Baby Garfield is set to arrive within the next two weeks.

In the world around us there is much happening that does not make sense, that causes me distress and unease.

But here, no matter which side of the Great Divide I stand, no matter how icy the roads or far the distance, there is only one truth to hold onto, one prayer to repeat, “May Love surround us always.”

In Love’s embrace, I know Baby Garfield will be safe, no matter how fiercely the winds may blow around him.

In Love, he and his parents are immersed in beauty, kindness, joy, harmony. And though there may be moments of tears, of strife, of discomfort, Love will carry them through.

For this grandmother’s heart to conquer The Great Divide, the only place I need to stand is In Love.