Personal Blog Challenge #5 – Letter to the Past

Yikes! This prompt is hardcore.

“Write a letter to the You from five years ago”

Dear Vikera from February 23, 2009,

It’s me – Vikera from five years in the future. You don’t know me, but I know you. Heck, I used to be you!

I can’t get into specifics, and I don’t want to freak you out, but there are a few things I want to tell you. Trust me. They are important.

Have faith in yourself. I know you and Ex-H just split and you’re freaked out about living on your own and taking care of Kidlet. Don’t worry! You’ll get through it. Remember, just because you’ve never done it before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You’re strong, even though you feel weak and drained right now. You’ll get through it.

You won’t be alone forever. I know you don’t really have any close friends in your life right now. It won’t be like that forever. Look around to the people you do have. Some of them will stay and some of them have to go. Keep only the ones who genuinely care and cut out the rest. Don’t put your trust in everyone you meet. When you do find the ones who care about you and who have proven they care about you, hang onto them. They’ll stand the test of time. You’ll make more friends! Don’t worry!

Keep writing. You haven’t written in a while and it will be some time until you write again. Just don’t forget about it. It’s your passion. You feel happy doing it. Try to keep doing the things you find joy in. Don’t worry!

Kidlet will be okay. Right now, you’re thinking about what the divorce will do to him. He’s a great child and he’s got good parents who, despite everything, put him first. He’s resilient. You will make sure he’s taken care of and you will have many adventures together in the next 5 years and more to come, I’m sure! Don’t worry!

You won’t lose faith in love. Right now your heart is broken and it feels like it’ll never work properly again. It will. Right now you’re single, but you’ve had the opportunity to share some magical moments since the divorce. You’ll heal and be able to love again without reservation! Don’t worry! You’re still a romantic. Ha!

Tell Mummy you love her more. She needs to hear it and you need to say it. Send her more emails, call her more. Remember, she’s there for you always. You’re not bugging her. She always loves to hear from you.

Everything doesn’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to be perfect. Things happen and you can’t control everything. Let loose a little bit and you’ll be happier, I promise you. Life will go on if things are perfect or not. It’s not the end of the world if things aren’t done ‘just so’. Relax!

Those are just some of things I want to tell you to focus on. The most important thing though is to listen to your heart. Always. Don’t be scared to do what makes you happy. Over the years, try to do work you love, spend time with the ones you love in whatever way you can and keep smiling! Keep positive! Be happy!

I hope this helps you. I know just writing this helps me today.

Vikera from February 23, 2014

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One more gift from Kidlet!

So yesterday I was extolling about the admiration and love I have for Kidlet and of things that I’ve learned since I’ve been a parent. Right on cue, last night when I picked him up from daycare, I was reminded of one thing I forgot about being a parent.

You will have someone in your life who will always keep you honest. Kids, especially when they’re younger, have very linear thinking. There is very little grey areas in their minds. Maybe it’s because when they’re young, life is about right and wrong with no technicalities. Once you teach them the rules, especially YOUR rules, they’ll remind you what they are. At first, it’s refreshing, but then you wish they weren’t such sticklers. How often have my own words been used against me? It’s traumatic sometimes, but it’s good.

I’ll share with you a story that my friends enjoyed tremendously. Me, not so much…

I’ve been having hair issues – I’m not really complaining, just frustrated. My hair’s long enough, but too short at the same time, you know? (Just nod your head, even if you don’t know.) While I’m waiting for it to grow out, I thought, I’d try a new hairstyle.

I went to pick up Kidlet at daycare yesterday. I walked in feeling sassy since I thought I looked cute. As with every day, the kids look out the window when they see a car and then announce who’s arrived:

Kidddlllleeettt’s muuuummmmyyyy’s herrrrrrre!” (It must always be said this way!)

I say, as I do every day, “Hi kids!”

Then Kidlet shouts from across the room and points at me,

“That’s fake hair! It’s a wig!”

I blank out for 3 seconds and try not to pass out altogether. The kids all rush to me now, like I was the new exhibit at the zoo.

What? It’s a wig?”

“Can I touch it?”

“Where’d you get it?”

“Can I see it?”

“Did you get it at a wig store?”

Now I’m wondering where the daycare provider was and how should I deal with this. Then finally I hear, “Kids, leave Kidlet’s mum alone. Calm down.”

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, Kidlet saunters over, backpack in hand, parts the crowd and says with authority:

“It’s a wig. My mum wears fake hair all the time.”

Oh dear.

I don’t say another word to the kids and then leave. In the car, I ask, “Why did you say it was a wig?”

The very black and white reply, “Well, it is a wig! Do you want me to lie? Do you want me to be a liar?”

He got me. He got me good!

So that was the debut of my wig. The good news is that any insecurities I could ever feel about wearing it is now out the window! 

Uh….thanks son!

Personal Blog Challenge #4 – Kidlet’s gifts to me

Whoops! A day behind! A thousand pardons! The weather was FREEZING but beautiful, so I opted to take Kidlet on an adventure. After bedtime story and cuddles, I got to work on this immediately – that must be worth at least one point, no?

The prompt for today is one that took some serious introspection.

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

What HAVE I learned??

(What exactly was I thinking when I wrote these prompts down?)

Anyone who has raised a child can tell you that being a parent changes you FOREVER. You can never be the same when you’ve been solely responsible for another human being.

I’m going to be honest with you, I felt pretty cocky going into motherhood since I am the oldest of 6. I felt ready for the responsibility of a child since I already knew how to change diapers. (My youngest brother is 12 years younger than me.) What I didn’t know is that every child is different and baby brothers are DEFINITELY not like having your own child.

I’ve learned a few things about life and about myself since I’ve had Kidlet.

I am never going to be prepared. As a parent, even when you think you’ve got it figured out, things change. As a new mum or dad, you read the books, you hear the stories from your parents, doctor, strangers, the internet and you think when your child gets here, you’ll be ready. Um, it’s not that simple. Children don’t come with a manual and if they did, there’d be a new update to it every 12 hours. As a parent, you have to be flexible and open-minded because this little bundle is a little person.

Children are dynamic, they have a temperament, they have opinions on things and you can never anticipate which way the wind will blow. What provides delight today, could be completely untouchable tomorrow. Over the years, friends change, taste in clothes change, they grow, they’re developing hormones, hair changes, voices change, food preference changes, music choices change, the way they react to you changes, how they smell changes. All of these things happen all at once or sporadically and often without warning. You can never be prepared all the time and you just do the best you can.

I can never be the perfect parent despite what I expect of myself. As a parent, I always thought I would ensure that Kidlet ate veggies and we had exercise outdoors and he would say “Please” and “Thank you” without prompting. Well, things haven’t turned out like that exactly every day.

I’m pretty hands on and Kidlet is heavily micromanaged – as a single mother with one child, what else do I have to do? From the beginning, I put a lot of effort into my parenting and try to do the right thing for him 10 times out of 10: making home-cooked meals, reading a story at bedtime, getting him a haircut on time.

I realized soon enough that we do not live in a perfect world and I can’t be a perfect parent. There are days when he’d get A+ parenting: all the stars aligned and things go just as they should according to the Great Plan in my head. There are other days when he has cereal for dinner and he sleeps in my bed. That’s just how life is sometimes.

I can’t do everything all the time and no one expects that, LEAST of all Kidlet. (He has NEVER complained about sleeping in my bed or cereal for dinner actually.) I usually put that on myself. The less than stellar days will not cause devastation to the universe. Nobody’s perfect and that includes me.

I will always feel a little bit insecure. I found out pretty early on that I didn’t really know what I was doing some of the time and leaned on other parents for advice and discussion to figure out what was the best course of action for a particular problem. I in no way felt that my way was the best way. There’s always that little feeling of insecurity that lingers in the back of my mind. Is this the best thing? Should I have done that? Should I not have done that?

The way I look at it is that being insecure means that I won’t get comfortable with my parenting. I’ll always be looking for ways to improve and being the best mother I can be.

My heart can expand. The love for a child is so unlike any other love. I remember thinking when my own Mum died, “Nobody will ever love me like that again.” I still believe that. My love for Kidlet is so deep and so broad, I can’t imagine loving someone I didn’t give birth to like that. This person was a part of me; Kidlet is an extension of myself. When you think you have enough love, more just comes out of nowhere and you’re filled up past the top.

I thought when I got married I knew what love was, and there was only one kind of love. When I gave birth there was a whole different dimension of love that I felt and I haven’t felt it since.

I don’t expect that this is everyone’s experience, but my child has brought so much to my life and I will forever be a better person for it.

Personal Blog Challenge #3 – Feels like home

Okay, so for my next instalment of my Personal Blog Challenge, (I missed last week due to this) I pulled out this little charm:

Prompt #3 [Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

Prompt #3
[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

Sigh.

If you asked me that question a year ago, I’d have a litany of things to tell you about my sweet, sweet Trinidad. I would tell you about how when you get into a taxi, everyone greets you “Good morning/Good day/Good afternoon”. I would tell you about when you go to town, there is ALWAYS music playing from people selling bootleg CDs. I would tell you about how people drive SO recklessly. I would probably even tell you that at any moment someone could show up unexpectedly at the front gate with reasons ranging from “I was in the area and thought I would pass through” to “We going to the beach, you going? Put on some clothes, get a towel and come go!”

Even writing about those things in this moment, makes me incredibly nostalgic. Trinidad is a place where I grew up, where I am loved and where people who love me live. Even though I don’t go back as often as I would like, every time I go back, I slip right into my place and it’s like I never left. All the love is waiting for me whenever I get there to claim it. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to know that you have impacted people that way just by being yourself and the impact has no time or space limit.

The thing about migrating in my mid-twenties is that I left behind real things and real people. I wasn’t a child without a past. I had a fully developed life, which was in motion when I left. I had a career, not just a job. I had friends, real friends who had my back. I had a family, a real family. Now that I have lived in Vancouver for 10 years, I’ve developed a whole new life for myself. I have a fully developed life here too, so my definition of “home” has evolved over the years.

As I said, if you asked me a year ago, when I was still pining for my life and the person I was when I lived in Trinidad, I would give you a very general list of things. It only dawned on me a few months ago that here is home too. I have people here who love me just the same and there are things about Vancouver that do feel like home to me too. When I leave here and go somewhere else, I do pine for it just the same. I was able to understand that Trinidad evoked feelings of comfort, which I have now.

But now, today, I can tell you the things that I “miss” about Trinidad aren’t really things at all, but rather moments: moments that I cannot have there because I live here.

I can tell you, I wish I had the opportunity to be in my little niece’s life and my friend’s children’s lives: see them grow, have them know me and Kidlet, and obviously spoil them! I wish I had the opportunity to spend time with my brothers, getting to know the men they’ve become in the past 10 years. I wish Kidlet knew how to play hockey (on grass, not on ice). I wish I could go to Maracas Beach or Carenage or Las Cuevas at a moment’s notice and the water will always be warm. I wish Kidlet drank Orchard juice and ate buns. I wish I could spend my Saturday mornings at the hairdresser listening to gossip and being wowed by what I looked like when I was finished. I wish I had the opportunity to visit Mummy’s grave enough times to be okay with it and not live far enough away to avoid it.

Thoughts of Trinidad for me now, are less focussed on a physical place or culture, but are focussed on more moments that are waiting to be experienced and treasured.

Personal Blog Challenge #2 – Mummy

This challenge is killing me…basically whatever I don’t want to write about, that’s what gets pulled from the bag. Sigh. The prompts I put it in the bag speak to things hidden deep down, so I have to hash it out with myself!

*deep breath* I press on.

Prompt #2

Prompt #2

I sat around this morning thinking about what to write. This prompt really scares me.

It’s about 4 and a half years since my Mum passed on from a sudden and expeditious brain aneurysm. Everyone who knew her and loved her besides Kidlet and I live in Trinidad. I don’t have the benefit of long emotional reminiscing stories and my biggest fear is that I’ll forget her. I see her face in the mirror every day, that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried that there will be more and more things I’ll forget. I wish I had paid more attention to things. Granted, I hadn’t lived in the same house as her for many years before her death, but still. I wish I had written some things down, taken more pictures, closed my eyes and branded moments in my memory more.

The last time I talked to her was the day before she died. It was a Saturday. That was our time. Because of the time difference, it was perfect. By the time I got up, she would have been back from the market and she definitely would have had some gossip by then for me!

That Saturday, I called her on her cell and when she picked up, I knew that she wasn’t home. She was out – surprise, surprise. She was in town. She seemed happy. I could hear cars in the background and the occasional noise and quiet of music as she walked past roadside CD vendors. I asked her where she was going. She said, “You know your mother foot hot” (translation: You know I don’t like to stay home.) She had already gone to the market and was now in town. She never could stay at home!

I had gossip of my own about my father, who I had called earlier. She was annoyed by the story and, in retrospect, if I had known it was the last time I would ever speak to her, I surely wouldn’t have wasted it talking about him. Now that I have an ex-husband of my very own (groan), I know how annoying it must have been to hear about his inane shenanigans.

We moved on to talk about what she had cooked or what she was going to cook or that she wasn’t going to be cooking. I don’t remember. Then she said, “Look someone wants to talk to you!” It was my neighbour, Eddy. She gave him the phone and I talked to him for a couple minutes. In likelihood, he didn’t want to talk to me. She wanted him to talk to me. She likely thrust the phone into his hands and said, “Someone wants to talk to you” with no introduction. I recognized his voice so there was no need for him to introduce himself. Then I heard her say, “It’s Vikera,” since his face probably showed that he had no idea who was on the other line.

In that moment, I remember feeling that she was proud of me. She was probably standing there looking at him talking to me with a smile on her face. {Here I begin sobbing.} She never missed an opportunity to show me off. I often wondered what the big deal was. What had I done that was so incredible or amazing. She always made me feel like I had something special to offer the world. Always. {Sobbing}

We probably chatted for another minute or two after Eddy left. She probably told me what she went into town for and that she’d be home later. She probably didn’t tell me she loved me. I probably didn’t tell her I loved her. {More sobbing} 

I don’t remember.

Sorry, but this is all I can write today.

Personal Blog Challenge #1– Hard lessons learned

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Happy Sunday morning to you!

So I had 12 prompts in a bag and this is today’s:

Prompt #1

Prompt #1

As I wrote this prompt, I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to write on it early on, but life had other plans for me. Well, after all, this year’s theme for me is CHALLENGE YOURSELF. (Hmmmm….how do I write on this and expose my mistakes and failures?) I press on.

Okay, the first lesson that comes to mind is that I didn’t know that I didn’t have to give up so much to make my marriage work. Marriage is sacrifice and compromise. That much is true, I knew that going in. I think what I didn’t know is how much is too much. I gave up quite a bit because of my marriage: I left a great career, I left Trinidad, I left my large family, I left my independence, I left a life that I had broken in and in which I was happy and respected and loved by so many. At the time, I gave it up knowing that being married to a Canadian meant that eventually we would live in Canada. I would follow him, that was what the right thing was. I didn’t know I could have tried to keep some of myself and still be married. Marriage doesn’t mean giving up yourself and who you are entirely. I means adding another person to what existed before. I didn’t know. I could have done annual trips back home to alleviate homesickness. I could have had Mum come up every summer. I could have done a lot of things, but I didn’t – that was my choice. I felt that I should focus on my marriage and leave the past behind. Funny thing is once I divorced, I had to painstakingly go back and rebuild the life I had before.The past was that safe place. Luckily, people loved me and enveloped me and Kidlet back into the fold. I didn’t know that when you marry, you have to bring yourself with you. You don’t just turn into an amnesiac person with no past.

Hmmmm…

I know now that we BOTH have to be working on our relationship to make it work. My mother was from a different generation. One that says the woman keeps the family together. As long as I did what I ‘should’, the family will be okay. What I know now is that I can be the perfect person and do everything he wanted, but he had to do his part too. The problem is that I never expected it from him. I only worked to do what I ‘should’ be doing and never sought anything from him. In the end, I realized that I had needs that he never knew he had to fulfill, but by then it was too late. I remember telling my Mum that I was so unhappy and that things were not going the way I had expected. My mother said to me very sternly, “He’s taking care of you, he pays the bills, he takes care of Kidlet, you have food on the table. You focus on doing what you have to do. What more do you want?” She taught me that I shouldn’t expect him to do more than what he had to. I wish I had known that I could expect more and that I didn’t have to be a martyr to be a good wife.

Marriage is about friendship and common interests as much as they are about separate interests. I thought loving each other was enough and that we didn’t need to do things together. I didn’t know that it was just like a friendship. We needed to do things together, make memories, have fun together, laugh together. I didn’t know we had to go to our corners and then come back into the middle. (How did I not know this?) Your partner should be your friend. Just like with friends, you do things together – not just things you HAVE to do together, like groceries or you happen to be on the couch at the same time watching the same show or tagging along, but you have to laugh together, have activities in common, have our own ‘thing’, schedule things together.

I was (and still am) a romantic who thought that we would be happy forever together effortlessly. Everything would be perfect as long as we had love. Um….no. Love is the impetus, but there is a lot of work to be done by BOTH people. It’s not enough to be in the canoe, we both have to be paddling hard and in sync and in the same direction with the same destination in mind.

What I know to be true is that if I’m working hard and doing my best to make him happy in the way he wants and he’s working hard and doing his best to make me happy in the way I want, there’s a chance. It’s about both sides doing whatever it takes at all times.

That being said, maybe if all these things were different we would still be married…..or we might still be divorced. I don’t know. I will never know. Sure, not everything is my fault, but I take responsibility for my actions. I take responsibility for not putting myself and my needs first. All I can do is take the knowledge and the lessons and carry it in my heart to the next relationship. 

Hmmm…in all my writing, so far, this is the most personal and I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I did it. Good news is that it’s over! Ha!

Have a great rest of weekend!

V

Here goes nothing….<Publish>

Task One: Create interesting prompts….CHECK!

I am pleased to report that I put together a dozen prompts as promised. My biggest challenge so far is not writing on a few of them immediately! I hope when the time comes the inspiration will be just as strong.

Personal Blog Challenge writing promp

Personal Blog Challenge writing prompts

As I suspected, when I sat down to think about what I will be writing about for the next 12 Sundays, it became obvious what I am: multi-dimensional, as we all are. So in other words, it will be fun!

Soooooo, now that I’ve taken care of the prompts and have no pressure to produce something brilliant for a couple days, what shall I do in the meantime? Hmmmmm…

On another note, I wanted to share some pictures from my fancy schmancy camera, but I have to figure out how to install an anti-theft thingie on them first or at the very least, add my name to them. Hmmm…that sounds like a process! It’s like Netflix on my Wii all over again! Sigh. I can do it though! I can do it! I know I can!

Have a great Friday!

V