Monday, 8 October 2012

Thankful for Giving

This is my favourite time of year; the end of a whole cycle, a whole watching-of-time. The end of the harvest, the changing of the leaves, the crispness of apples and cool air. But mostly, mostly - this is the time when I had Cedar.
The day after he was born my sister and mother-in-law came over and roasted a turkey and gawked over the baby and we ate pie and stuffing like real pros. Brian and I had bowls of leftovers for dinner every night for a week as we stumbled somewhat gracefully through our first days (and long nights) of parenting.
And now it is Thanksgiving weekend, two very full years later. Cedar's second birthday is in three days and we are in Montreal with Brian's family, trying to figure out the logistics for tomorrow's turkey and stuffing, and where we'll find a proper pumpkin pie in Montreal.
Things, you see, they all come together. Eventually. I say this because I feel that something in me has clicked. I feel like a mom. A good mom, or at least, the right mom for Cedar. Lately it is love-on-fire with him.
Being that it is Thanksgiving I simply wanted to say that I am thankful for him. I am thankful, so deeply thankful, that I get to be his mother and guide in life. For a long time there, I really didn't get it. I was in a lot of pain and overwhelmed and battling my own inner demons so much that I didn't feel or understand what was so great about motherhood. Honestly.
But something has happened. Maybe all those demons were just a big fire in my chest that could burn a place for my heart to open. Perhaps the overwhelm was sweeping me over to a new shore. And now I am here with an almost two year-old boy, and I understand what is great about motherhood, or why a woman may say that it is the best thing she has ever done.
I love to give to him. I love to know what he needs and when. I love to be with him and to discover him. I love the simplicity of needing to be nowhere else or do anything more. I love that who I am makes sense when I fall into step with him.
But mostly, this thing we have feels equal. We're clearly two spirits on the journey together.  I don't feel that I am a wiser being than him, but that we are two wise beings learning from each other.
You know what it's like when you're in love? When time seems to slow down or speed up or just leave you alone, and everything looks brighter and you feel that you really don't need to do anything else except just exist in that moment? It's like that. On the good days, of course. Of which there are many more than the crappy days.

Happy Birthday Cedar. Thank you for teaching me how to love.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. This year, and hopefully for many more, I am thankful for giving.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Just Give 'Er

If you choose to pay attention, you might just find that events in life often seem to coincide or relate or conspire together to teach you something or give you a nice, firm kick in the butt to take action on something.
Some people call this serendipity, and some people are obsessed with "signs" and that overwhelming sense that the universe is really listening to you, therefore you should definitely make a move. I don't mean it in either of those ways. In fact, I am pretty much over reading-into-everything as a way of decoding life. What I am talking about is the simple putting together of life experience so that it makes sense and so that we see where change is heading. We either change or we die, right?
Let's start with this lovely dinner I had with one of my best friends this week. This woman is incredibly beautiful, intelligent, creative, warm, loving, adventurous - she has it all going for her. But she has been looking for love for quite some time and certainly has her doubts about whether or not it will happen. My first instinct was to tell her to look at herself, to see where she needs to change or open her heart, to essentially "work" on herself. Then I kind of slapped myself in the brain; I realized that I don't think that is true anymore - that we have to continually work on ourselves in order to arrive at some perfect version of who we are in order to have what we desire.
This is a picture of a fraction of the show.

Now onto today. Bear with me please, because I am about to bridge this into business. Today I went to a trade show at the Metro Convention Centre. It is called the CHFA and is for manufacturers and distributors in the health food industry who are looking for new business. I roamed the aisles and aisles AND aisles of all things gluten-free and raw and supplemented and fermented and vegan and well - you know I could go on and on. This is a growing industry. So I'm roaming and I'm trying all the cookies, of course, and as I'm eating all these cookies from the many cookie businesses there are out there, I am growing increasingly disheartened and confused. How will I make it when everyone is doing the same thing? What's the point? It got kind of depressing, actually.
Then I thought about my husband, who is a brilliant musician, and how he will be attending a music conference in October. I thought of how many other handsome guitar-playing guys will be there, with songs that are great, with voices that can soothe and belt, and how he also may wonder why and how and what for. 
A picture of my feet at the show.
The question is then, do I stop doing what I do for the fear that there is no place in this world for it? Do I succumb to doubt? Do I give in to the thought that I don't measure up or don't have what it takes or that someone is better than me? Or do I go for it?
I am not perfect. Oh dear, I am so far from it. And my business is not "ready" to go national and be on those big, bright shelves at the supermarket. But it is what is right now.
How does this relate to love, and music, and cookies, and putting all the pieces of life together? Well, I suppose I am a bit scattered and a bit lost these days, but that's what it is. There is no perfect version, there is no waiting to get it all right. Life is messy.
I am not saying that I'm going to sell a crappy product or anything, but maybe my product happens to be good enough to make a whole bunch of people happy. Besides, between you and me - I had some pretty crappy cookies today. Cookies that are sold in supermarkets all over North America. I'm not being a hater, just making a point. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Hello Anger, Nice to Meet You

I have never considered myself to be an angry person; it hasn't been my default emotion when life gets unruly. Instead, I may have become overly busy or anxious or inwardly stressed. But not angry, not a steaming, rattling kettle. Not until lately.
There are so many things that aren't spoken of openly when it comes to parenting, but more specifically to motherhood. It's common knowledge that there looms an ideal mother in our society. She is selfless, patient beyond compare, willing to give every ounce of herself at every given moment, and does not get angry. Plus, she LOVES every single moment that she is with her children, which is every moment of every day. I have come to know this false idol quite well. She sits on my shoulder in a glowing white smock with a perfect smile on her face. She follows me to the park, into my kitchen, into my kid's room when he wakes at 3am, and no matter what, how, or when - I can never live up to her. This makes me feel bad about myself. Most of the time.
Sometimes I break free and am able to be myself with my kid. And I'll tell you, it is the best feeling I have ever felt. It is the purest, realest love I have ever experienced. It is ecstatic bliss. These moments are gold. Pure gold. But the rest of the time I am battling with a whole army of emotions and responses that, after digging around with a few other mothers, I have learned are part of the whole motherhood deal.
My kid brings me to a place of rage that I did not know I was capable of. I thought I was pretty calm and collected and able to handle most adversity with a pretty decent level of grace. But now? Maybe on a good day.
My rage doesn't get bounced onto him, instead it turns inward and I put it on myself. Rage and anger are such huge emotions - they are like having an ocean storm inside your body, rolling and lashing. I do not know where to put these feelings or how to handle them. They scare me. Which brings me back to that perfect mother and why I think the whole idea of her is a pile of crap. Giving birth to a human being and raising him in the world is a huge thing. It is more important than anything else I have ever done or will ever have to do.
Life is not dressed in a glowing white smock. Life is full-on. Life, if you are open to it, will rock you like nothing else and offer you so much growth and awesomeness and challenge and grief and love and pain. So much. How can I teach my son about life if I am not able to feel rage and show him how to be with it?
This is why, I believe, motherhood induces rage or frustration - it opens us up, day by day, to be bigger people with bigger hearts and a larger capacity for emotion. That greater capacity is what allows us to love more, bigger, stronger, more powerfully. That, to me, is what motherhood is about.
This anger thing feels new to me. I'm not good at handling it yet. I stomp and curse and want to run away. I shut my heart, I get pissy and sucky. And here it is - an ocean storm in my heart asking me to open up bigger, stronger, more powerfully. What a paradox.
So here it is - for any mother out there who may be feeling the same thing or wondering if any other mother feels this way: yes. Me. I do. I sincerely hope we all bring that perfect mother down from the pedastal so that we can be ourselves, which is exactly who our kids need us to be.
xo BB

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Help Wanted

I usually like to keep my game-face on, but thought I'd tell it straight instead: I think I'm stuck. Well, I kind of know I'm stuck. OKAY - I'm stuck!

My name is Eden and I am officially experiencing some kind of personal crisis at work. Now, when I say work I don't just mean my job. This is the thing with owning your own business; New Moon is my baby. It is part of me. In fact, I may be over-identifying with my business. Me and New Moon have been together since I was 19 years old. That is almost 16 years. I wouldn't say it's like marriage, it's more like a kid. The difference with a kid is that they are most certainly energetically their own being, whereas a business, without its own stubborn determination for separation and autonomy, seeps into the ego and identity.
When my business is doing well, I feel good. When my business is struggling, I don't sleep at night, and it becomes very difficult to think about anything other than how to solve the problem.
Here is a picture of where things are at:
When I was pregnant, my job was to get the business running like a well-oiled machine. I needed to do that in order to ensure a smooth maternity leave. It was a lot of work; I remember sitting at my desk cramming away at spreadsheets and systems just days before I gave birth. But I did it, and while I took a step away to have a baby, the business ran well. No major hiccups, we didn't go into debt, all was well.
Then I came back, pretty tired and shell-shocked, and resumed my seat at the desk. And twiddled my thumbs. Since then it's been an interesting journey; I've done lots of clean-up, worked with my staff, shredded lots of old paper, played with new recipes, tried to get more customers, but I still sit here day after day with this sinking feeling. How on earth do I grow my business? What does it require of me? How do I  take a small-medium business to bigger? But most importantly, what do I want?
This is where I'm stuck. And it feels a bit scary to admit that I don't know. I want the business to grow, I want to continue to build an awesome business with incredible people and incredible products - but where and how? I want to have fun, and I want to be creative, and I really, really don't want to compromise my ethics JUST to make money. This is the crux.
So I'm putting out a Want Ad. I want to find a mentor. I want to talk to someone who can say, "hey, this is what most entrepreneurs go through at this stage and this is how to get out of it".
As it stands, going to work and trying to "grow my business" is proving to be somewhat painful, because I am being incredibly hard on myself, and the pressure is too much.
I wanna be this guy over here, walking into the sky - except not a guy and perhaps wearing a killer dress instead of some boring suit. Oh yeah, I'd also be holding a cookie in each hand and have Cedar on my hip.

xo BB

Friday, 27 April 2012

Is it Time?

Breastfeeding, for whatever reason, always seems like such a hot topic. I find it kind of stupid that we pay so much attention to this one act: whether or not a woman does it, and for how long, and where, and what she wears (or doesn't wear) while doing it, and who she may offend by doing/not doing it. The list goes on... There are so many issues in our not-so-evolved Western culture around parenting that exist because many of us have the luxury of not having to work and can discuss our breastfeeding woes or preferences.
Alas, here I am at home on a Friday afternoon because I have the privilege and luxury to work flexible hours so I can be with my kid. I mean that earnestly. And here I am on this Friday afternoon wanting to share a story about breastfeeding.
Cedar is now a year-and-a-half old. He has a full set of teeth, and we are still going strong with breastfeeding. He doesn't take nursing lightly; this kid is very serious about his boob. I have always loved sharing in this wonderful act with him. Lately though, I am feeling really annoyed by it. He is getting his back molars and because of all the discomfort, he has been especially needy and forceful with nursing. It can be very frustrating. This leads me to the question of whether it is time to begin the weaning process.
If there is one parenting philosophy that works for me, it is this: if you can't stand it, do something to change it. For example, I can't stand the biting and pulling and obsessing over my boobs. Makes me bonkers. When I am bonkers we all suffer - just ask my husband.
Although bonkers, I feel very emotional about the idea of weaning him. Just before his nap today I tried not giving him the breast and he cried and cried, then I started to cry too. This breastfeeding thing - this is ours. This is the most basic, beautiful, natural thing, other than love, that I feel I can offer my child at this point. When he is upset, the breast calms him. It is a simple communication, and no one else in the world can give this to him in this way. This boy grew inside my body, and it was my body that fed him, and my body continues to feed him through breastfeeding. So simple.
I feel emotional because I doubt that anything will ever be this simple again. I think about this huge, mad world that he is growing in, and I think about wanting to give him every tool there is to manage well within it. As he grows and changes, these tools will also have to change.
I imagine that every mother experiences this moment when she realizes that her baby is going to grow up and move on in the world. I have never experienced the movement of time at such a fast rate; it is mind-blowing.  While he is still on my breast, he remains a little person in so many ways. I do not want to force him, or myself, but I do want to change the stream of things right now so it is more comfortable for me, and in turn, for him.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Number Two, How You Scare Me So

I'll preface this post by saying: I am not pregnant. No, not yet. Haven't started "trying" or anything.  But we had a conversation last week that went something like this:
Bri: So, you wanna make a baby, huh?
Me: Yeah, you?
Bri: Yeah, why not?
And practically in unison: Get 'er done.
Isn't it funny that the first baby is the most incredibly romantic and wonderful idea/thing of all time, and number two is this shafted little being who happens because, well, you can't have just one, or the other needs a sibling, or you know you want two so you may as well get through the debauchery. So you shrug your shoulders and pull the goalie.
All that said, I know there's more to it, and I know that my heart wants a second baby with as much true love as it did for the first. Only difference? I guess I'm just too damn tired to put as much energy into it!
I'm scared though. Not a real scared, but an unsettled anxiety that's creeping around my shoulders these days. We've sort of, kind of, become settled with this one little guy. Bri and I are both back to work in our freelancey ways, and I am starting to have dreams for the bakery again, but here comes Number Two nudging my ovaries.
I've been taking polls from different families. This morning at the coffee shop I asked a friend who has a three year-old and a six month-old what it's like to have two. He said, "twice the beauty, twice the pain." Or there's my other friend who says that having two is not 1+1=2, but 1+1=3.
The consensus is that two is better than one and you may as well have the second one BEFORE you get too used to things like sleeping or having some time to get things done.
All logistics aside, I think I'm scared because those first and many months after Cedar were the most difficult and painful times of my life. I don't want that again. And that's just the truth leaking out now.
Moral of the story: when the heart wants, it wants. Things like Order and Control are always getting messed up by that dirty little heart scoundrel.
My great-grandmother had 9 kids. 8 of them girls. Times have changed, haven't they?