Follow the Yellow Brick Road
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority, it’s necessary.” – Mandy Hale
My yellow brick road looks more like a curvy dirt road with an uphill slope, surrounded by trees and nature. I can hear the birds singing and see the odd one fly from tree to tree. The sun is shining and peeking through the treetops and I can feel its warmth on my face. It’s still winter, which in our valley is quite l-o-n-g, freezing cold, and cloudy. So on days like this, when the sun is shining, I dress up in layers and head out to my favourite spot to be alone with my thoughts.
I’ll take you on a short journey back to when I was young. This valley is where I was raised and spent most of my childhood. Our summer days were spent at my grandparents’ campground, meeting new people, and making friends whom we would continue to see year after year. We would play in the sprinklers, and catch butterflies and caterpillars. There was an old cookhouse that we would play in, I would make soups and mud pies and spend hours playing make-believe. We hand-picked raspberries from my grandparents’ bushes and sell them at the campground. The hardest part was making sure they made it into the basket and not my mouth. I remember getting stomach aches from eating too many. We made rivers with the water hose down the hillside, constructing little bridges and stick boats to float down. We painted rocks and rode our bikes. I have so many fond memories of this place.
I was never comfortable being alone. I wanted to have someone next to me, or a pet to cuddle. I always remember having a cat, maybe that’s why I love our cat Lily so much. I remember thinking when I first got pregnant, “now I will never have to be alone.” How true is that? Fast forward to now…
My morning routine starts at about 5 am. I allow myself to wake naturally, which has gotten me into issues now and again. But for the most part, I am an early riser. I open my eyes to see this furry face with two huge black pupils staring me right in the eye. Lily is waiting for me, and don’t ask me how she knows it’s time to get up, but maybe the reason why I don’t have to set an alarm is that I have two other ones already programmed. I attempt to sit up and she’s already meowing, so the race is on to her bowl to pour her a couple treats in hopes she keeps silent and doesn’t wake the kids. I come out into the kitchen, start the coffee maker, and enjoy the aromas of the kitchen. I empty the dishwasher, and refill it, (I think I run it at least twice, sometimes three times a day – so grateful for that!) I let London the dog outside, as she’s laying on the floor staring at me, waiting for her breakfast too. I grab my coffee, light my candle, and sit in silence. I hope to get an hour, or at least 30 minutes before anyone else gets up. It’s not long after, Kaydn wakes up, and makes his way out to the couch. “Mom, can you make pancakes please?” (my inner dialogue is saying, toast would be quicker), so I look at the clock, “sure, I think I have time.” Up I get, after sending out my morning messages, working on my blog, and catching up on all the new Facebook posts and Instagram stories. While the pancakes are cooking, I start the kid’s lunches. Bella: an orange, cauliflower, jam sandwich (because it’s the only kind she will eat, and the school is nut free), raspberry ice tea (low sugar kind), a yogurt, and a homemade muffin. Sure, looks good. Flip the pancakes. Look at the clock, time to wake Bella up, as she is not a morning person! So I leave her door open and turn on the hallway light. On no, the pancakes! Might be a smidge dark, but nothing peanut butter won’t fix. “Kayd, breakfast is ready!” One down, one to go… “Bella, up you get…” she rolls out of bed, makes her way to the couch. Did I mention she is not a pancake fan? “Bells what would you like for breakfast?” “I’m not hungry.” I’ll give her a moment while I pack Kaydn lunch: an apple (he doesn’t like oranges), broccoli (doesn’t like cauliflower), ham, lettuce, mustard, mayo and pepper sandwich, lemon ice tea, a yogurt, and a muffin. Now pray that I am focused enough to make sure the lunches make it into the right lunch bag. Feed Bells some kind of breakfast that she will eat. Make the beds, feed the fish, have the kids brush their teeth, get Bella’s hair done, turn off all the lights (because of course every single one is on). Get myself ready, or presentable enough, to make an appearance at the grocery store. And get out the door on time!
This is my life, it is my dream: I get to be at home with my kids every single day, watch them grow, learn to ride their bikes, and tie their shoes, kiss their owies, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Even when my mornings are crazy, and have to make a trip back home because Kaydn forgot to throw his hockey bag in the back of the car for school. These are the moments that sometimes make me crazy, but give me the motivation to take time for myself.
This is what permitted me to make myself a priority, and started my journey to finding myself. Giving my all to the kids and my husband, and then one day asking, is something missing? I needed to be somewhere that was just for me, that made me happy.
I can’t think of a better place to be than right here, where I grew up. Walking the trails, letting London run and chase the rabbits. Taking deep breaths, thinking or not thinking. Just being present, in the moment, unwinding, and enjoying everything this place has to offer me. I’ve come a long way, from the fear of being alone, to worshiping my space. And on the not so good days, I find myself here as well. I always come back.