My Name is Nancy and I am experiencing, after more than six years of motherhood, a terrible case of separation anxiety. We are used to our toddlers give us hell with this – it is, after all, expected during the terrible twos. But you may call mine a case of the “terrible thirties.”
I have never had to leave my baby, (she doesn’t agree with the baby part) for longer than a week. That week, might I add, was the toughest week ever. I am so fortunate that my job requires minimal travel. Each year, I travel for just a few days to get things done, and hurry back, super lightning speed, to be reunited with my family.
Those brief work trips are hard. I suffer everything from insomnia, to hearing my daughter’s voice in my head, to general feelings of self loathing and sadness. I could really kick myself because it’s ridiculous. She is 6! Surely that’s old enough for me, and for her. Why can’t I get over my separation anxiety? Does traveling have to give me such dread? Why is it never the same without them?
I recently got a fantastic opportunity to be a part of an academic fellowship across the pond, I mean waaayyy across, that will require me to be away for most of the summer holidays. While it a great opportunity for myself, the first thing I felt was pure dread. Dread that I have to leave my husband and my baby behind for what seems to be an eternity.
Ladies, please tell me I am not going crazy and some of you also feel this way at times? Is it impossible to put ourselves first?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nancy Sumari in Tanzania. Image courtesy of the author.
My daughters and I recently started watching a new Netflix series called “The Kindness Diaries”. This documentary-style series follows a man, Leon, who travels around the world simply relying on the kindness of strangers. And, he finds kindness in the most desperate of circumstances. Families who can barely feed their children, provide him with food and shelter. Homeless men living on the streets, share their space and offer him the clothes off their backs. Time and time again, it is those with the least (financially) in life, who offer Leon the most. And they offer kindness entirely out of the goodness of their hearts, without any expectation of repayment.
Today, my girls and I visited a beautiful family, new to Canada. They fled Syria and then Lebanon, and arrived in Canada less than one year ago. They showed us pictures of their life in Lebanon. Beirut was flourishing, beautiful and peaceful…and their pictures showed the young family loving life. We had never met, but they welcomed us with wide open arms, into their home, and provided us with a beautiful and delicious meal. Despite the significant language barrier, we learned Arabic and experienced parts of their rich culture. The kindness they showed us was so touching. And this young family has been through so much, in fact, more than most of us could likely endure. Despite it all, their kindness was overflowing.
As we hugged and left, we were in awe of their resilience, but most of all, we were inspired by their kindness. And what we all learned, is that kindness is free and is the most valuable gift one human can give to another. If we all showed just a little bit more kindness towards each other, despite our differences, what would the world look like? What we experienced today, and what is featured on the Kindness Diaries, shows us that kindness can prevail and kindness can change the world.
So, thank you to the wonderful Helal family who showed my family kindness today. Thank you to the families in Tanzania, who have so little, but insisted on giving me gifts of eggs and soda when I visited them. Thank you to the man in Nicaragua who saw me ill and shared his only bottle of water with me at the end of a volcano hike. Thank you to Leon Logothetis for showing us all that kindness is powerful and abundant, in a world so shaken with instability and cruelty.
Your kindness matters!
Share with us an experience you are reminded of, after reading this post. Please let us know through the comments.
Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.
Where do I begin to describe the horror that I shared with the world on September 11, 2001? It was a horror so big that at first, I refused to believe it. Planes deliberately flying into buildings? A terrorist attack against the United States? It had to be a hoax.
Where do I begin to describe the feeling of loss that followed me around for days and weeks after this event? In the immediate aftermath, two of my New York friends were missing. One was located, safe and sound, the day after the attack. The other, whose daily schedule would have placed him in the North Tower during the critical moments, was never seen again, and his remains were never identified.
How do you grieve for someone when you hope against hope, and against all available evidence, that they are alive?
Where do I begin to describe the utter desolation that I felt when, more than fifteen years later, I stood at the site of the Twin Towers and looked into the reflecting pool? I knew that my friend’s name was etched into granite surrounding the pool, along with the names of all the other victims, but I could not bring myself to look for it.
Where do I begin to delve into the sensory shock that I felt when I went into the 9/11 museum? As I entered that space where all of those people had died, the first thing that struck me was the smell. It was the smell of fear, despair and confusion. It was the smell of death. It was the smell of hopes and dreams that would be forever unfulfilled.
I wandered through the space in a trance, not sure what I was most horrified by. I stared at enormous pieces of twisted metal, the staircase that scores of people fled down in an attempt to survive, and projected images of missing persons ads posted by desperately hopeful relatives in the days after the attack.
Where do I begin to describe how depressing it was to witness the blatant sensationalization of tragedy? When we arrived, at least one hundred people were in line ahead of us, many of them chattering excitedly about how “cool” it was to be here, before forking over their $24 admission fees. Visitors to the museum were gleefully taking selfies in front of the exhibits, as if this was a carnival instead of the place where hundreds of people had lost their lives.
After a while, I had had enough. I felt as if the place was haunted by the dead, by memories forever lost and by futures never lived. If I didn’t get out of there, I was going to buckle beneath the weight of grief for all of the victims. As I made my way to the exit, I passed a gift shop. There is no way to describe how I felt about the presence of a gift shop in a place like this.
As I left and emerged into the world of the living, the spectres of the dead clung to me, and I wondered what my children would make of all of this. Having been born in 2003 and 2005, both my sons were born in the post-9/11 era.
To me, the 9/11 attacks are a horrifying memory that include personal loss. To my kids, it is an event in history, something that happened to the generation before them.
If they visited the 9/11 museum, would they be affected in the same way I was? Or would the oddly upbeat tourism there undermine just how tragic this event was?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding 9/11. Many questions have been asked and not satisfactorily answered. Many coincidences have not been addressed. The truth, I believe, has not been told to its fullest extent.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the world changed that day. People lost their lives. Other people lost children, parents, brothers, sisters, life partners and friends. Emergency responders saw things that no one should ever have to witness. Rescue workers developed illnesses that would later kill them,
Where do I begin to describe the magnitude of this tragedy? And where do I begin to talk to my children about it, so that it is more than just a history lesson to them?
How did the events of 9/11 affect you and your family? How do you talk about it to your kids?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Kirsten Doyle of Canada. Photo credit to the author.
Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny).
Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels.
When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum.
Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world.
Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!
My 5-year old son has a new and urgent interest in Star Wars. It’s fascinating to listen to the connections he is making between the current political climate in the United States and these iconic films that explore themes of power, justice, friendship, love, transcendence, and redemption. Indeed, all very relevant themes for these times.
It’s been only a few months of protest marches, phone calls to representatives, standing up and speaking out, and I’m already aware of impending exhaustion. The question of how to leverage all of my unearned and undeserved advantages to resist ongoing oppression and exploitation while also caring for myself, my family, and my work has loomed large in my heart and mind.
Looming large, too, is a desire to model for my children a sustainable way to use my gifts and talents in service of justice, peace, and love. And, as often happens when I am worrying about how to teach or model something to or for my children, I am humbly reminded that the opposite is happening. As the wise Yoda says: “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.”
As my son talks to me about Star Wars and how it relates to the world as he sees it, he’s not focused on the battles, but rather on the stories of transformation. He’s interested in how The Force works within people, moving them towards the light or the darkness. In short, he’s curious about and open to the ever-present potential for change – in individuals, systems, and galaxies far, far away.
In our galaxy, many Christians have just celebrated Easter and are now in the 50-day period of Eastertide, a time to celebrate new beginnings, second chances, and the power that love has over destruction. Every year around this time the following quote pops up somewhere: “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” (Dwight L. Moody)
This Eastertide I’m thinking about what it looks like to “just shine.” And I already know that it looks a lot like how my son approaches the world: with curiosity, joy, hope, and faith in the possibility of transformation and the power of love. And it’s this orientation towards both the challenges of these times and life in general that can be a guiding principle in knowing how to move forward – what to do, how to show up, and when to rest. As the gospel of Star Wars reminds us: “The light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.”
Ms. V returned from a 3-year stint in Seoul, South Korea and is now living in the US in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner, their two kids, three ferocious felines, and a dog named Avon Barksdale. She grew up all over the US, mostly along the east coast, but lived in New York City longer than anywhere else, so considers NYC “home.” Her love of travel has taken her all over the world and to all but four of the 50 states.
Ms. V is contemplative and sacred activist, exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism and social change. She is the co-director and co-founder of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center, a non-profit yoga studio and the spiritual director for Hab Community. While not marveling at her beautiful children, she enjoys reading, cooking, and has dreams of one day sleeping again.
One day, I’ll be able to say: “I left because he was killing me softly”. And I would be able to tell people, without feeling my heart racing, without thinking I should not say things like this, that he was a mistake. But a mistake that gave me the chance to see the Light again.
One day, I’ll be able to say without worry: “he was a manipulator” without thinking “that’s not fair for him” or “I should keep this private”.
One day, I’ll be able to tell people that for a while I was a shadow, a pale reproduction of myself, that for a while I was scared to death.
One day, to the question “why you married him?”, I’ll be able to say “because I felt like a prisoner, I could not say “no” to him, he would not take “no” for an answer. He played with my emotions, he was a control freak and I was under his spell.”
One day, to people telling me “don’t say that, every couple has good memories together”, I’ll allow myself to say “my first memory of him is one of fear”
One day, I’ll be able to say out loud “I stayed because I did not know how to leave – I stayed because I did not have any energy to leave – I stayed because I thought he’d change – He told me as soon as he’ll get this or that he would – I believed him”
One day, to curious people, I’ll be able to say “he harassed me, he threatened me, he played with my emotions, he told me I was an easy girl, he said he would kill me if I was to leave him, he said all my writing was bullshit, he used my body for his own pleasure and accused me of torturing him when I would not agree with him”.
Today I can say:
You have no right to judge me. This is my choice. I am proud of my choice
How do you feel about domestic violence? Is it easy for you to talk about the “downs” of your life?
This is an original post written by Marie V. for World Moms Network
After 6 years in Ireland, a failed marriage, I started over again, back to France with my baby boy.
I love to say that I am a work in progress. Life is a process and I am slowly reconnecting with who I am, learning to love and take care of myself, rewriting my dreams and making new projects, adjusting to single motherhood, trying to find my balance, and enjoying the little things.
I am a life lover and I believe in the goodness of humanity, in peace, empathy, tolerance, gratitude. I try to teach my little one about these values as well as helping him connect with others without being too judgmental. “Sharing is caring” is our motto!
I started a blog to connect with women engaged in a bicultural marriage. I was at a crossroad in my life and I needed some guidance. I met wonderful people and some ladies became very good friends. I felt part of a community and everybody was there when I decided to leave my abusive marriage and my country of adoption.
My blog evolved with me. I do now share poetry, posts about my life and about domestic violence.