When the laughter dies

Entertainers, good ones, draw you in and make you feel a connection to them. You may feel angry at a character they play or terrified by them in an all too believable role as a villain. They may touch your heart through a moving and emotional scene or raise your spirits with humour at your lowest times. This connection is usually deeper when you can relate to the actor/entertainer or his character on some level. Today, a master at reaching out to his audience through the screen, left us. Today Robin Williams took his own life and the shock I feel is overwhelming. His often manic humour reached me because I understood the desperate need for love and happiness. The golden chalice he always seemed to be chasing but never seemed to really reach. He was able to touch my heart with his truly tender nature in movies like Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, Good Morning Vietnam and even the goofy, Mrs. Doubtfire. The moments of raw vulnerability always reminded me that the person laughing the hardest can often be the person hurting the deepest. Today the world learned that behind the crazy, non- stop humour was a truly tortured soul. I always felt it there, running only slightly below the surface. I felt it and I understood it. I related to the desperate need for love and acceptance and the terrible belief of never being quite good enough, never really being loved because of the simple fact of not being worthy of love- unloveable. I saw this in Robin Williams, I felt it in my heart. I knew he struggled with addiction and I knew this was probably a symptom of depression. I am no expert but like can often recognize like.

The hardest part for me today is realizing that all that comforts in the world, all the money and adoration were no match for that vicious bitch, depression. Millions loved him, millions enjoyed him, but it wasn’t enough. What is enough? I had hoped he had conquered his demons. I had hoped that he had finally recognized that he was worthy of love and admiration. With the whole world telling him he was wonderful how could Robin Williams not feel like he could accomplish anything? The reality that came crashing down today is that he couldn’t face even one more day. Couldn’t see how loved he was by so many, couldn’t bask in all of the beauty in his life. I had hoped he had broken free, was one of the lucky ones to escape the terrible mental prison but it’s shackles held him like indestructible chains. If scientists ever figure out how to intentionally plunge someone into the throes of depression there will be no need for concrete penitentiaries, the criminals can all be locked away in their own private, inescapable hell.

It devastates me to realize that this battle continued for Robin Williams, through so much professional and financial success, money truly couldn’t buy him happiness. At 63 years old he finally gave up the fight. The idea of fighting that long exhausts my soul. The thought of struggling for that long… it’s too much.

All I can hope is that he has finally found peace.

That’s when I realized I’m part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn’t join you. So I left you alone. Don’t give up, okay? -Robin Williams as Chris Nielsen in What Dreams May Come


Encouraging your kids to think


Raising kids is such a daunting task at times. You want to do what’s right and to raise good, strong, moral future adults. There are so many books, magazines, online articles and fellow parents giving advice that it can get quite confusing. That is why I never listened to any of it. For me, raising my kids was something I did on instinct. A trial and error at times but for the most part I just went with what I felt was right. I encouraged their creativity and individualism and taught them to build their own moral compass and follow it down a path that felt right. There have been times that they have followed some upsetting and hurtful routes but in the end their moral compasses led them back home. All of us a little battered and bruised emotionally but wiser for the experience.

Tonight was one of those times where I felt immensely proud of my sons and their strong minds. I read aloud an article about a protestor who was arrested at a funeral for a police officer. He was protesting the formal march and funeral procession on the grounds that no other public servant receives such an elaborate farewell and he felt it was unnecessary and a burden to taxpayers. In order to get an un influenced opinion from my youngest I read it and asked his opinion without revealing my own. Without missing a beat he emphatically expressed his opinion, clearly stating the reasons for them.
This then gave me the opportunity to open him up to seeing the opposing side of the argument, which I did even though I agreed with his take on it. I did this in order to help him form his own opinion without the need to pass judgement of the other side. I wanted him to stand by his convictions while allowing himself to at least see the other perspective even if he couldn’t agree with it, which he did. I couldn’t have been more proud, hearing my son challenge the views presented in the media and to be able to so eloquently and emphatically present his opinion on the matter. Then to have him open his mind to the opposing side of the argument and to understand where the other mindset was coming from, even though he still did not agree, was exhilarating! Knowing he could carry on a passionate conversation without the need to tear down the person with opposing views is crucial to his growth as a person.

For me, I feel hope for the future each time I have a conversation like this with one of my kids. If we teach them to be active participants in their own lives and not mindless sheep then they can continue to grow, evolve and live lives with meaning.

So, 40 happened.


So, 40 happened.

I have never really had issue with aging. In fact I have always felt pretty good about having had my kids while young and having been able to do so much with them while I had all that energy. I barely feel like I’ve aged since high school anyway.

Then came 40.

It didn’t bother me at first but everyone made such a big deal about it I started to wonder if it should. Should I be questioning my life choices? Should I be regretting things I hadn’t done and may never get around to now? Should I start being concerned about imminent health issues that have yet to manifest but apparently lurk around the corner waiting to pounce on newly minted 40 year olds? Should I be taking this more seriously?
For a few days right before the “event” I actually allowed myself a moment or twenty of self doubt and mild panic. No hyperventilating but slight heart palpitations at the thought that I may have squandered my youth. I questioned why I hadn’t traveled more, taken more college courses and learned another language. Is it too late? Can a 40 year old brain learn Italian? Can a 40 year old body train for a first marathon? Should I have gone to St. Lucia pre-childbirth and during prime bikini years? Should I have gotten a law degree and then had children, allowing me to return to a carrier as opposed to starting from scratch?

Then…BANG! 40!

Pop? Nope. Fizzle? Nope. End of life as I’d known it? Uh, no.
It came in like any other year and left behind a mildly anti-climatic feel. I didn’t wake up to a head full of greys, not that I would see them under all the hair dye. I didn’t get hit by a one – two punch of instant crows feet and wrinkles when I looked in the mirror. No arthritis, back ache, gout or onset dementia. My passport wasn’t revoked, my drivers licence is still valid and Rosetta Stone will happily take my money for Italian, German, French or Mandarin lessons. Top that off with reading a delightful article on how many students currently in law school, college and university are 30, 40 or even, (Heaven Forbid!) 50 years of age and it was pretty much a bust as an Armageddon birthday.

What I did ponder today was, what do I want to do with this next chapter in my life. Do I want to go to school? Change careers? Sky dive? Visit Indonesia? Carry on with the happy little life I’m leading? Mend fences or let go? Should I maintain the status quo or shake things up a bit?
Essentially, I concluded that instead of worrying about what I hadn’t done with my life I could be excited about all the things ahead of me and what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

So, 40 happened.

Apparently it hasn’t been to the gym much because it sure didn’t pack much of a punch.


Cupcake cutie not so cute


I have never shied away from taking the unpopular stance on things and today is no exception. There is a video making the rounds on social media that has everyone saying, ” aw, how cute!” . Everyone except me. While most see a charming little guy arguing with his mother about why he should get a cupcake in a very adult manner and seeing this as adorable, I see a different story. I see an innocent young child who is used to seeing his mother be talked to in a condescending manner. A child who sees someone talk over top of his mother, dismissing her objections as invalid and irrelevant.
The mother, clearly unaware that she is allowing herself to be disrespected, setting a precedence for her future relationship with her son, records the encounter for the amusement of others. Then, instead of being shocked viewers seem to find this child’s conduct as amusing. Comments about his future as a lawyer etc are added to the video demonstrating how little respect for this mother and her authority there is out there. I think it’s a real reflection on our society when a child is not taught that no means no and to respect rules and boundaries. I also think the fact that a mother not only allows an adult to treat her this way but also a child is a sad testament to how she views herself and her own worth.
Now don’t get me wrong, I recognize how cute the little boy is, as is every child. What I see more strongly though is a boy who will one day grow to be a man and may potentially view women as weaker and to be dominated verbally and possibly physically. A man who may view himself and his wants to be more important than societies rules.
Call me cynical but I vote for skipping the so called cute videos and raise well mannered, respectful children instead.

What the video yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Linda, Linda,Linda

The Importance of friendship


image by Natercia Brito

I have occasionally waxed poetic about friendship. We’ll call those moments, Drunken Odes to Girls Night. The simple truth is, having friends is important. I have a core group of friends who I am always happy to be with. They are a diverse group of women that I enjoy immensely and who I know would miss me, genuinely miss me if I died tomorrow. They are the people I call when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry, when I need encouragement or to get the praise I need in moments of accomplishment. I have laughed with them, cried with them and have been embarrassed in front of them without worry that I won’t be able to move beyond that moment. My children look at them like they are family and for me, they are. I can truly be myself, warts and all with my friends and know that they will love me no matter what.

In return I would do anything to see them happy, comfort them when they hurt and carry them through when they don’t think they can go on. The way that marriage should have a strong foundation in friendship, so is friendship like a marriage. It can have its ups and downs, it’s annoyances, arguments and even occasional separations but true friendship, like true love, will always survive.

My heart goes out to anyone who doesn’t have good friends. Everyone needs a strong support system. There is joy is being able to be utterly honest without being judged. There is such comfort in knowing if you fall there are people to pick you up and carry you through. It is good for the soul to be there for a friend in her time of need and to ask nothing in return.
If given the choice between riches and true friendships the smart person should always choose the friendships because money can run out but a true friend is forever.

Of course, if there is an option to have both- woohoo! Bahamas vacation on me girls!

Love, life and the Olympics. The year the IOC lost site of it all.


I love the Olympics. I love the competition, the unity, the sporting, the pomp and pizzazz!
I hate that the IOC has allowed it to be tainted. Yes, I know that there is an argument against the Olympics as a whole but for me it is an example of what can be achieved through hard work. It is peaceful competition and the fruition of lifelong dreams.

This year, the IOC seemingly turned their backs on all that the Games are meant to represent by awarding a country that allows members of its society to be treated as less than human, the honour of hosting. Men and women who have to fear for their very safety because of who they love are now forced to watch their President puff and preen on the world stage. While the streets become increasingly unsafe for them they witness the man who should ensure their quality of life focus instead on his own image as a power player in the global arena.
Instead he ensured there torment would escalate by passing a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,”. This law sends the message that homosexuality is deviant and wrong and children should be shielded from it. Can you imagine how it would feel to be told you are an abomination? To hear that just by existing you are hurting others and that you are on a road to eternal damnation? In a world where rapists, serial killers, pedophiles and other monsters do exist how is it that two people loving each other is considered immoral? Can we please take a step back and ask ourselves, who are they hurting?

It wasn’t so long ago that it was widely considered an unacceptable for two people of different races to marry or even be in love. Divorce was a sin and society would shun you if you dared break your vows. An unwed mother was a harlot and shunned by even her family at times. These concepts may sound shocking now but it was so long ago that they were a reality in Western culture. In some countries around the world they are reality, still. Most of us would scoff at the notion that these are reasons to cast someone out or to take away their rights. Yet so many still regard same sex couples with uneasiness, judgment or even outright hatred. Why? What is so terrible about love?

This is why I am angry at the IOC, they have dragged the ugliness of bigotry into the Olympics. An event meant to draw the world together in a state of peace, devoid of politics or propaganda. So, what can we do?

It has been on my mind constantly. I want to support our athletes who have trained so hard but I want the message sent to Russia that their current political stance is unacceptable. How do we accomplish the feat? Well I think applying pressure to the people that allowed this backward thinking government to be awarded the honour of hosting the Olympic Games is the way to go. Let’s bombard the IOC with letters, tweets, petitions etc. Whatever tools we have available, let’s utilize them. Then let’s put pressure on the media and our government to take a stand. If the IOC is forced to admit their mistake Russia will suffer worldwide humiliation and hopefully be forced to step into 2014 and move forward with the rest of the world.

If you agree with Russia in their stance on homosexuality, ask yourself this- what are you afraid of? If you view it as sin, are you without sin? Instead of worrying about the souls and lives of others first turn inward and ask yourself whether you are doing enough good in your life and where you can improve. Focus on helping others instead of judging and hating. Be kind and leave your mark on this life a loving one.

We are here to heal, not harm. We are here to love, not hate. We are here to create, not destroy. A.D. Williams

Photo credit – David J. Phillip/AP

So What If My Kids Are Gay?

Canadian girl:

In a world where atrocities are committed against children on a daily basis can we just all agree to stop questioning the people who are just trying to love.

Originally posted on Mommy Man:

ourfamilyI forget sometimes what outdated attitudes still linger outside of this nice little gay-friendly bubble in which I spend most of my life. Earlier this week, I recorded a podcast called Dadsaster. The topic was Gay Dads, and I was the gay dad they interviewed. I was a little surprised to discover that after interviewing me, the hosts were set to question a member of the anti-gay Family Research Council, as if “Gay Dads” was a topic that required a pro-and-con debate.

To me, the only thing anyone needs to ask the FRC is, “Why can’t you lay off gay dads, you obsessive creeps?” Maybe that was on their question list. I’m not sure.

What really surprised me was when the hosts, two straight dads — who were very polite and respectful, I should point out — said, “One of the questions people have is, are your kids…

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