The Forgetful Tooth Fairy

Getting ready to leave the house, my daughter runs out of the kitchen yelling “Mommy, Mommy. I lost my tooth!” as she proudly displays one of her molars in her hand. “Awww, that’s awesome baby! Look how quickly you are growing up!” I reply. She grins and happily hands over her tooth.

As I’m wrapping it up in a Tissue so that she can place it under her pillow, I’m thinking two things to myself. First, what am I going to start doing with all these teeth? Growing up, my parents kept them hidden away in a box. Sentimental I suppose. Although I can recall the day I accidentally found them. I was both confused (why would the tooth fairy leave them here?) and slightly grossed out. There is nothing pretty about seeing a box full of teeth, albeit some were wrapped in tissue, but still…

The second thought on my mind was “You better not forget to leave money this time!” Yep. I’m guilty. It’s only ever happened once, but I will never forget the morning my daughter woke up and came running into the room looking sad because the tooth fairy had forgotten her. My heart sank, and I immediately jumped into “Mommy will save this” mode. As she jumped in our bed, I gave a signal to my husband to distract her. I calmly got up, grabbed $20 from my wallet (a lot I know, but it was all I had) and asked my daughter if she wanted me to help her look and that maybe she missed it somehow. She quickly jumped up and followed me to her room.

I started lifting her pillows, moving her sheets, and essentially creating enough distraction so that I could discreetly drop the $20 behind the bed. “Have you looked on the floor?” I asked. “Maybe you accidentally knocked it off the bed while you were sleeping?” She crouched down, screamed with delight and happily retrieved her $20. *phew*. Well played mommy. Well played.

After that incident, I swore I would never forget again. Walking to her room today, I reminded myself of that previous incident and once again swore that tonight, I would not forget. That evening I lay down next to my daughter while she happily checked under her pillow to ensure the tooth was still there. And I happily remembered that the tooth fairy would be making a visit, before we both drifted off to sleep.

I must have walked back to my room half asleep because the next thing I realized, I was in my bed, it was 3am and a wave of anxiety came over me. Not again! Up I got, tip-toeing in the dark, trying to recall where my purse was. Walking over to my dresser, stubbing my toe (%#*!) trying to remain calm, but wondering who the heck created this silly idea of a tooth fairy anyway, I eventually find my purse only this time, I wasn’t so lucky. Opening my wallet, I had zero cash. Maybe a few quarters, but that’s it. So I did what any mother would do. I tip-toed to my sons room, and shamefully raided his piggy bank.

Feeling relieved to have found $5, I immediately grabbed it and crawled out of his room, feeling as close to a ninja as I ever have. I quietly approached my daughters bed, thankful that she was sound asleep. I made the switch and off I went, back to my room, wondering when the day will come, that I can give up this whole tooth fairy gig.

Morning quickly came, as I heard the eager footsteps of my daughter approach my bed. She’s grinning from ear to ear and proudly holding up her reward for losing a tooth. I see the look of pure joy on her face and in the back of my mind, I re-commit to the tooth fairy, at least for one more year.

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Breast Cancer Awareness: Taking matters into my own hands

It was another fabulous day at the 25th annual CIBC Celebration of Hope in Markham. An event of over 1000 women (and a few lucky men) gathered together to not only raise awareness and funds for cancer research, but to breathe new hope into the lives of many.

Every year, this event is filled with laughter and tears, sometimes both at the same time, while the two amazing hosts Allan Bell and CHFI’s Erin Davis along with their guests, stand up on stage capturing our hearts, minds and fundraising money. Today was no exception.

There are always so many heartfelt experiences shared by the guest speakers. Some are celebrity guests, and some are very real people like you and me. No matter what their story, journey or message, the one thing that always rings clear for me, is the importance of breast self exams. Perhaps it resonates with me because no matter how many years I attend, and how many ways I support this cause, I find myself always saying “I should really start”.

It’s shameful and embarrassing that at my age, I still have not made it a regular practice. Was it fear? Was it laziness? Was it that it wasn’t openly talked about while I was growing up? Or was it an ignorant belief that breast cancer will not affect me? Maybe all of the above.

I remember a commercial from the late 80s/90s that was created to bring awareness to the importance of breast self exams. I faintly recall it, as it was quickly pulled from the air and banned. It was of young teen boys sitting on a couch announcing that they would be happy to examine breasts for free. It was actually quite humorous. Even more so now, as it brings a gentle reminder that there are many people who would love get their hands on our breasts and “help”, yet here we are (me), not really embracing and owning the fact that it is our job and ours alone.

I can think of a bunch of excuses why I don’t do regular exams, but as I sat there today listening to the guest speaker talk about how she found her lump, not by the mammogram she had a few months earlier, but through her own self exam; I know that my excuses hold zero weight. Every time I choose not to do it, it is exactly that; a choice. And as I am on the brink of turning 40, it’s a choice I can no longer afford to not make.

Each year I am reminded of the great work we do to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Each year I walk away touched by the journeys many brave women make in their fight with breast cancer. And each year I am once again faced with the reality that, had these women not detected it through self exams, their chance at fighting would had been severely compromised.

Tonight while tucking my kids in bed, I was reminded once again, of what is really important in life. I want to be around to watch my kids grow up. I want to model for my daughter what it looks like to honour your body and love yourself completely. Tonight, I have vowed to take my life back into my own hands (literally) and celebrate the hope of putting an end to breast cancer, starting by performing regular breast self exams.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What will you do to celebrate?

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The Peeing Mantra

Peeing and mantra…not exactly two words you would have anything to do with one another, let alone in the same sentence. What is it exactly? Well, here’s how it came about.

A while back I was having a conversation with someone about some of the things we do that make us happy. We got talking about yoga and exercise, writing and mantras. She shared more with me about a mantra she had been working with. The peeing mantra. Needless to say she had my attention.

Mantras, generally speaking are groups of words that when spoken, are capable of creating some sort of transformation.
She went on to say that, one of the challenges people have is creating time to meditate and reflect. Being someone who leads a pretty busy life, I completely understand how hard it can be to carve out time for regular day-to-day stuff, let alone meditating and mantras. “We all pee” she said. Agreed. “Why not use that time to make a point of repeating a mantra”. Interesting.

The challenge given to me was this. Every time you pee, repeat to yourself “Every day in every way, my life (day/career/relationships/health etc) is getting better and better”. Easy enough?! And so, I took on the challenge.

At first I started laughing to myself. I mean, kind of a silly thing to do while going to the bathroom. As silly as it felt, I made a point of sticking with it. The more often I repeated the mantra, the more I started noticing little changes.

For example, If I was in a pissy mood (pun intended), repeating the mantra made me feel a little better. It is a fact that if you smile while mad, your body releases chemicals that will positively impact your mood. (Try it!) Before I knew it, I found myself asking “how is my day/life (whatever fits) getting better and better?” Just being able to focus on the positives vs the negatives shifted not only my mood but the situations I found myself in. Things were not only looking better and better, they were better!

Was it my perception of things that had changed? Was there some universal law of attraction at play? Was it the feel-good chemicals being released that were just making me feel better? Whatever it was, it was working. And it continues to work.

The peeing mantra. Write it out. Post it in your bathroom. I challenge you to try it. 😊

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Dear younger self

If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in only two words?

Asking myself that question, I thought of a million things I would say, but the first thing that came to mind was “Enjoy Life”

There were so many times growing up that I held myself back and accepted less than what I deserved. So many times I chose to be responsible rather than just have fun. So many times I chose security and familiarity over adventure and experience.

I don’t regret anything, as I believe everything happens for a reason so that you can awaken and grow and find your true purpose in life. But if I could have learned one thing sooner, it would have been to enjoy life more.

Enjoy the freedom and fun of your youth. It seems like yesterday I was playing hide and seek, freeze tag and climbing trees. The days where you stayed out till sundown, getting every last minute of playtime in before your mom called you in for bedtime.

Enjoy the awkwardness of your teens. The times where hanging out at the mall and crushing on boys, were the excitement of the weekends. Where friendships blossomed and life suddenly felt complicated.

Enjoy the many moods of your twenties. Graduation, travel, career, break-ups, new loves and marriage…. Enjoy every new moment, new challenge, new direction.

Know, that everything changes and nothing lasts forever so don’t cling to anyone or anything. Simply enjoy what you have while you have it, trust yourself and have fun.

Dear younger self… Enjoy Life
MR xo

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Confessions of a working mom

My day started with me being forced out of my bed at 4am by my daughter who happily nuzzled her way in, landing a cozy spot on my head. Off to her room I went to try and catch the last few hours of sleep, only to toss and turn with my mind racing from all the things I need to do this week. Grumpily getting up at 630am to get the kids dressed, breakfast made, bags packed and out the door (without any meltdowns) for 730am.
Once everyone is gone, I check my twitter and facebook feeds while cleaning up the kitchen, and if I’m feeling really good…perhaps even planning dinner, all before getting myself ready to get to the office for 9am. A typical morning by all accounts.

While quickly perusing my phone for interesting quotes, posts or photos to get me motivated to get on with my day, I came across an article talking about working moms. It basically accounted for the “superwoman” complex I happily carry with me like a badge of honor and how sometimes, despite our best efforts, we screw up. I laughed at the honesty and clarity of the article and felt reassured once again, that I am not alone.

Growing up with a supermom (literally and figuratively), I knew I had to strive to be nothing less. Balancing work, kids, marriage and me-time. Sometimes I am on my game. Finding time to play with the kids, preparing delicious dinners that everyone eats, sneaking in time for my workouts and yoga practice, date nights with my husband, and over all feelings of accomplishment after a busy day at the office teaching, mentoring and attending business events. But sometimes I am not. I lose my s*#%, I forget appointments, leave things to the last minute (more often than not), send my kids to school without jackets, neglect myself and my marriage…the list goes on.

So what do I make of this? That it’s life. Everyone is struggling with something and everyone is striving to achieve some sort of balance. We do what we can, with what we have. Some days are great, and others not so much. But it is a joy and privilege to be able to have such problems. Every day I have to remind myself that I am not alone in this “working mom” role, and that if I can find at least one thing to feel grateful for, then I have succeeded.

Balance is a great thing to strive for but I no longer beat myself up when I fail. Being a working mom is tough enough without the added pressure and guilt that I put upon myself. After all, the only thing that I really need to do to be a great mom, wife and business woman, is to just show up! It’s me they want and need. The rest will unfold as it should.

9:09am….I’m late for work.

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Shine on!

I recently read an article on ego and it shifted my perspective a bit. If you’re like me, the word ego equated to arrogance. I immediately visualized someone who thinks they are better than others, who lacks compassion, who is essentially ego-centric. Know of anyone like that?

Well, ego is the opposite as well. Ever feel like you’re not good enough, you don’t fit in or belong, that someone else is better for the job…essentially, playing small. Sound familiar? That is ego.

Whether you think you’re better than someone or worse than someone, ego is always at play. The reality is, we all have an ego. The trick is to see it, know it’s not you, then tell it to go play elsewhere, because all it does separate us from the one-ness that we all are. We are all divinity. We are all the uni-verse. We are all beauty and light.

I often catch myself criticizing my appearance, comparing myself to others, playing down my strengths, hiding my talents…you get the picture. For years, I believed that voice was me. I’m getting better at catching her (my ego) in the act, but sometimes I fail. I started asking myself what I get out of playing small. A famous quote came to mind:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

We are all beauty, love, and light. Shine on and shine bright!
-MR

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Light chasers

We spend most of our lives searching. Searching for love. Searching for happiness. Searching for the thing that ignites our soul. Searching for the light.

What we fail to realize is that WE are the love. WE are the happiness. WE are the spark.

Until we truly know, that all that we have been searching for is within us, we will forever be chasing the light. ~MR

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How full is your child’s bucket?

I rarely watch the news, but for whatever reason, I tuned in tonight. Perhaps it was because it was talking about a 12 year old girl who committed suicide after she was being bullied at school.

Images of this young, vibrant girl popped up on the screen while her friends spoke in the background of their memories of her, and the recent situations she was experiencing at school.

It was disheartening, tragic and sobering. This is the reality for our kids today. But hasn’t bullying been around forever? I can recall being teased in elementary school, confronted in the school yard… I think many of us can. But what is tragic is the amount of kids today who feel like suicide is their only answer. So I started asking myself why.

One of the moms on the news program questioned whether the girls parents knew what was going on; had they had conversations with their child about what was going on at school? Which raises a great question. Are we effectively communicating with our kids? She also went on to question if the parents were monitoring their daughters internet/social media use as a majority of the bullying was taking place online? That brings up another great question (debate). Is there a line (and if so, where) when it comes to monitoring your child on internet/social media? Do you spy on them? Ask for their passwords? Forbid them to use it? (Which I know many parents who have tried, but in my opinion, I think we are way beyond that being an option).

I’m not sure what the answers are or if there is even a one-size-fits-all solution. But what I do know is that the next time my son or daughter comes homes upset about something that has happened with friends, I’m going to pay extra attention. I’m going to make sure that they know I have their back. That I’m on their side and that no matter what, I’m there! That they are loved and valued and supported. Because at the end of the day, isn’t it our job as parents to create that primary space of security and belonging? Isn’t it our job to make sure that we send our kids out into the world with a full bucket of love and self esteem, so that no matter what the world throws at them, that they have enough supply to endure?

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Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for:

My health, family and friends.

For being surrounded by love.

For the life that I proudly call my own.

For the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

For the people that taught me those lessons.

For the memories (both good and bad).

For the opportunities I have every day, to make a difference for myself, my loved ones and the world.

For the freedom to be me, to love, to grow, to help.

Today, I am grateful for everything that I have and everything that I don’t.

What are you grateful for?

Happy Thanksgiving.

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I AM….

What I put after those two words shapes both my reality and the one which you have of me.

I Am….kind, loving, open hearted, and trusting (sometimes that makes me naive, needy, emotional and overly sensitive)

I Am…a thinker, a romantic, a lover and a friend (sometimes that gets me into trouble…especially the thinking part)

I Am…a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter (sometimes I’m not the best I can be…but I try)

I Am…smart, creative, intuitive, and expressive (sometimes I am insecure and doubt myself)

I Am…a singer, an artist, a writer and a dreamer (sometimes I’m quiet, so you might never know)

I don’t always love myself, and there are times I fall trap to comparison and self doubt. You might not agree with everything I say or do, and at times you might even nod your head in disbelief (heck, I do it all the time!) But…

I Am…perfectly and unequivocally, uniquely ME.

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