Five Minute Friday – Brave

Today I am participating in a freewriting exercise called “Five Minute Friday”.  You can read all about it here on Lisa Jo-Baker’s site.

The challenge is to freewrite on a topic for just 5 minutes – no more, no less.  You cannot edit, backtrack, or change what you have written. This is pretty much the whole point of freewriting, you see.

This week’s topic is: BRAVE

Here is what I wrote:

I have a little boy. He stole my heart. From the moment I laid eyes on that tiny bundle, snuggled myself against that soft, warm cheek, I was in love. Unconditionally and inextricably.  My boy is the embodiment of brave. Poked and prodded from just a few weeks old. Many nights spent on hospital wards. Endless lists of medications, supplements, tests, trials, and all that comes with being “special”.  Because he is special, in every possible definition of the word.  He never lets his challenges hold him back.  He is bursting with energy and love and kindness.  He minds his manners yet can also be loud, rambunctious or downright over-the-top.  He does silly things like hug random strangers and slightly embarrassing things like lick the shopping cart handle.  I once filled up with tears when he threw a tantrum in public until I realised that it was me who wasn’t coping, not him.  I needed to be brave. Like him.  He has taught me about myself in ways I could never imagine and I am eternally grateful that I can call him my son.

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And that’s it.  When I looked up at the screen and re-read what I wrote, I felt a tinge of pride.  Not bad at all.

I found it therapeutic and enjoyed the challenge of not being allowed to alter the words that flowed freely from my heart. I am notorious for editing, perhaps to a fault.  I find myself tweaking things that I wrote back in high school — now some 15 years in the past.  This was a wonderful exercise in restraint and I welcome it.

Freewriting is something I have come across in the many creative writing and literature classes I have taken throughout both my degrees.  But this is the first time I have used the technique as a blog post.  And I rather like it.

I think I will try to keep up with “Five Minute Fridays” — it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.

Have you ever tried freewriting?  What do you think of when you see the word BRAVE?

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(credit goes to Lauren @ The Thinking Closet for inspiring me through her own “Five Minute Friday” post today!)

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Mastered!

So you remember that dissertation that was kicking my butt a few months back? Well it turns out it was I who did the butt kicking! Yes, I was delighted to learn a couple of weeks ago that  I earned an “A” on the most important thing I have written to date. The piece was a work of non-fiction which provided a glimpse into the tumultuous time in my life when my newborn son fought valiently for his life and the gamut of emotions during that period. And now, he is 7 years old, an absolute joy, with a cluster of special needs ranging from hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy), speech delay, learning delay, and the odd seizure — but he is still here, still my shining star. He defied all the odds and provided the inspiration for me to master this Masters!

As you can imagine, a whole lot of tears and sleepless nights went into this degree and receiving such a great grade certainly made the journey worth it. Two days ago, the university officially awarded me my Master of Arts in Creative and Cultural Industries. I am beyond proud!

Next up, graduation on 18th September — what fun to wear that cap and gown one more time!

And no, I won’t stop here. There is indeed a Ph.D. on the horizon….  🙂

Raising my 3 stooges

Back when Zoie was brand new.

Parenting: it’s not for the faint-hearted.

My  firstborn, my 6 yr old son Liam, has special needs and his years have been punctuated by hospital admissions, medications, therapies, and a whole lot of worry. My first experience of raising a child was an odd juxtaposition of fear, heartache, and unconditional love. That being said, my boy is all kinds of awesome. He loves music and is the dancing-est thing you’ve ever seen. And don’t challenge him to a game of football – you will lose. His smile can light up a room. He simply glows inside and out.

Everything else I ever needed to know about parenting, I’ve learned from my 4 yr old daughter, Emilie. A cheeky little whip of a kid with a kind heart and a splash of diva.

Although Emmie is my second child, raising her has been so vastly different. Liam met his milestones in his own time – we were used to a gentle pace with him. Emmie was walking by 7 months and chatting our ears off by mid toddlerhood. There were no worries about her health, no real concerns other than the usual ones that any parent has for their child’s future. Emilie was, and still is, a whirlwind of what raising a typical child is like.

Yesterday she got into trouble for telling tales on a schoolmate, today she asked my mom how babies get into mommies’ bellies. I’m fine tuning my stork story as I type. At parent’s evening tonight her teacher revealed that she is in the advanced reading group for her class and her numeracy skills are stellar. Last week she asked her classmate, Tristan, if he would marry her. The kid is on a roll. Guess I must be doing something right, haha.

By the time kiddo number 3 came along, I felt I had this parenting gig all figured out. I was wrong. Zoie, at 20 months old, is my ninja baby. She gets up to more shenanigans than the other 2 kids combined. She provokes her sister, eats anything she isn’t supposed to, and has one heck of  a scowl when she gets in a mood. If looks could kill….

Yes, my work is cut out for me.

There truly is no such thing as one-size-fits-all parenting. 3 kids, 3 completely different personalities and needs, all completely wonderful.