Gratitude

Canada is a pretty amazing place to live.

We have diverse and beautiful lands, cultures and communities. We are all incredibly free here, and the entire reason for that is because it was fought for.

Remembrance Day should be a year-round thing. Yes, it is wonderful that we have a specific day to commemorate all our troops past and present, and what they have done for us, what they always do for us. I just know, that for me, it is not just once year – it is, and should be, an everyday thankfulness for everything we have.

We are lucky.

And I want to say thank you.

Thank you for letting our religious beliefs be so diverse in this country and that every one of us has the right to practice our faith and celebrate our religions.

Thank you for letting us have the ability to marry whomever we want and love whomever we choose. That is a truly amazing gift and acceptance that we have fought for and won.

Thank you for letting our different backgrounds and cultures be celebrated. We are so blessed that we can keep traditions given to us from our families and that we are able to continue to pass them down to our future generations.

Thank you.

Thank you for fighting for our right to be different and our right to celebrate our differences.

Without our troops, our soldiers, we couldn’t be where we are, we would not have the acceptance we have today, and we wouldn’t and couldn’t have such an amazing country.

Thank you.

Let us never forget what they have done and always keep this day in our hearts throughout the year and show our gratitude for our soldiers.

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your amazing service. I just hope we can show that to you constantly.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

~ Andreah

Remember who you are

Growing up, there is one thing that I was told over and over again. Whenever my sisters or I would leave the house, my mother would tell us that she loved us, regardless of what recent teenage drama she was battling with us…

…and then she would tell us the most important thing: Remember who you are.

There have been many times since I left the house and started living on my own that I have heard my mom say this in my ear.

I am a “grown up” now, whatever that means, and my choices are mine to make, mine to regret and mine to complain about to the other sisters as they console me.

Whenever someone, male or female, challenges my beliefs, or the way that I was brought up, I start to think, “Am I wrong in my beliefs? Am I wrong in my opinion?”

In the family dynamic that is the Weather Vane, when your opinion is voiced, 100% of the time someone, or more than one of the sisters, will challenge you. I believe that this was and still is a major part of my up bringing. Whether it is fashion, the recent Ebola crisis, or religion (which is a favorite topic among the sisters, and for some reason we discuss this in VERY public places very loudly not because we make it that way, but because we are not afraid to let our opinions known, and we welcome outside thoughts), I never feel that my opinion does not matter, and if the conversation turns to an argument, which lets be honest does happen, then there is still a conversation.

We are four sisters with so many similarities and so many differences that it makes sense that we could and would argue about whether Katy Perry’s out fit at the VMAs was fantastic or horrible, or if the new health fad is just that – a fad or something that is substantial.  Whether it is philosophical or political, I respect my sisters’ opinions, and I hope they respect mine. One of my most favorite bloggers, Ken Breadner, posted something which really resonated with me:

“I respect your philosophy and political opinion, even when (especially when) it differs from mine (how else will I refine my views on things?) All I ask is the same respect in return.”

I respect other’s opinions, even if I do not share them, and I think that this is part of remembering who I am and learning and growing into the woman I am going to become, and Mom – I know who I am, thanks to you. I know that my opinion is respected within my family, Cody respects it and my close friends respect it.

I am not a prize writer, reporter, journalist, but I know that I look forward to voicing my opinion and hearing that of others, especially my sisters.

~ Jacqui

Motherhood: I love this choice

When my sisters and I sat down and decided to honor motherhood this week, I have to admit I experienced a fair amount of anxiety about my post.

I didn’t know if I should write about what motherhood means to me because of the amazing examples in my life, if I should write about the part of me that as a woman, I’m not quite sure I have what it takes to be a mother, or if I should draw from my experience as a step-mama.

I decided to write from my heart.

Motherhood to me is a choice. It’s not a must-have right of passage because society deems it to be the way it is supposed to be, it is a choice. It is the conscious and sub-conscious choosing, every day from the day you decide to create life, until your last breath, to often put another’s needs, wants and desires before your own. It is a choice I wish more women would be more conscious of making. It is a choice I wish some women would realize they are allowed to choose not to make without fear or judgement – at least they should be. I love this choice.

Sometimes the children you choose to mother are not yours by birth-right, but are brought into your life because little did you know just how much you needed them. And sometimes you get to be the person they need. That’s the choice I made. It’s not to say that I won’t one day have a baby of my own, but for now, helping to raise Michael’s children is the right choice for me. Hearing M introduce me to her new host-family via Skype as her “mere”, the “I love you” I get unprompted from J when we’re dropping him off after our weekend together, lets me know that while I am not a necessity in their lives, I am wanted, loved and appreciated by them. I love this choice.

M, myself and J ♥

M, myself and J ♥

Sometimes the mothering we choose to do is for our siblings or our sibling’s children. These past few months I have caught myself on a few occasions mothering my big sister – standing up for her when she couldn’t do it herself, sending her for naps and time outs when I could see on her face she so desperately needed one, making sure she said “no” to people when she could not handle another responsibility being put on her and sometimes even refusing to let her handle the tough stuff on any given day. I love this choice.

Sometimes the only comfort good enough in the world is that of our own maternal mama. To this day, telling my mother about something that is hurting me, something I’m facing that is hard or even telling her I got a speeding ticket, can be the biggest release of emotion of all – even a week later when the wounds are not as fresh. There is something about the way my mom comforts me that gives my must-always-have-your-shit-together-self the permission I need to let go and let it all out. Sometimes I even choose not to be fully open about my heartaches to anyone but my mama. I love this choice.

Sometimes the mother we choose is our sisters. Recently, I received some news that personally reminded me of my own heartache I had been facing. Thankfully, my sisters were not far away. In minutes I found myself on Julia’s couch with a tissue box in my lap, earnestly being reminded that what I was feeling was not, as I had repeatedly referred to it, “stupid”, but completely relevant, real and appropriate. A tea, some more tears and a piece of Julia-baked cake later and my heart was reminded why God had chosen these beautiful women as my siblings and why life chose them as my best friends. I love this choice.

I love this choice!

I love this choice!

To all of the mamas out there: I choose to admire you, honor you (not just on the second Sunday of May), and be in awe of you. Your courage, strength, grace and wisdom are breathtaking. I love this choice.

~ Toni

Guest post – Blessed

To celebrate our 50th post, we asked our mom to write a guest blog. Thank you so much for reading with us this far! We can’t wait for the next 50. And to our Mommita – we LOVE you!

As I anxiously await each new submission to the blog, I realized something: I crave connection with my babies every day. Even as they live their lives, I still want and need to be a part of their lives. After all, I am a mom and will always be. Oh, I have added a few titles to my repertoire, Grammie being my most favorite of new additions next to girlfriend. Before this blog there were days when I had no connection with them either by phone, chat, email, text or Facebook updates. Those days I felt almost empty; something was missing. You see, my greatest accomplishment and joy are my four babies. Just thinking about them makes me cry with joy and pride. When my girls asked me to write for the blog, I responded, “You know I am going to cry,” to which Julia and Toni immediately responded, “I know,” and, true to form, I did.

I love being their mom and always have. I never doubted that I would be proud of each of them, that I would be there for them, that I would do whatever was needed to help them, guide them or rescue them. As I see what lives in their hearts, I see the girls I know, love and adore. I am blessed!

The ladies, back in the day

The ladies, back in the day (L to R: Toni, Mom, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia)

My girls, each in their own way, were my strength as I ventured to take the most challenging of steps in my life to be me again, a woman, a single woman. They were my cheering section, along with their men and the many friends, Dianne and Paula to just name a few, and family. With each step I took, from renovating the house in preparation to sell, to moving to a new town, they were there. It was hard for me to find the courage I needed. I was scared – let’s face it, I had been a part of a couple for 28 years. I had never done this before, be just me. But I am absolutely sure that it was even harder for my girls to see me venture out, dating (we call it shopping for shoes), harder for them to start a new life without the two parents they loved not be in one place.

Oh, what had I done? How have I failed them? What kind of example am I to end my marriage? This was all I could think as I watched each of them struggle to find the balance in all this. It broke my heart to see the impact on each. When I expressed this to Julia so many moons ago, she said something to me that has stuck: you have shown us that it is okay to say enough, it is okay to say this is not good for me and move on. I hear my OH so wise daughter each time I make a change in my life.

Don’t get me wrong – if I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing about our life as a family. I loved my life, loved being his wife, rallied in the title that will be mine forever- Mommy, Mom, Mommita – joyful in what was “our family” no matter how flawed it was, it was ours. Through all the trials and joys, that is where we grew, where the bond as women began. Without all those experiences we would not be who we are today – strong, independent and dependent, loving, giving and, yes, emotional women.

A wise man once said to me that if you put God in your life and seek His favour first, all things are possible. He was right. Through many prayers, I found an amazing man who I loved and lost. I was lead to an amazing job that I did not apply for but got that I love and still have today. The many of the lessons in my life have shown me that it is okay to be just me, that no matter what society says I should have done, I did my very best. I am not perfect, but that is okay too. Over time and putting God first in my morning prayers and pleadings through the tough moments, I have found a new love that makes me joyful and filled with laughter. With that love comes new joy and even more family to love. I wake up every morning in love with my man, in love with our families, so happy to be me. I am blessed as only God can bless me, with a life that is worth living with no regrets!

~ Christine (a.k.a. Mom)

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!