There are single seconds of my life that are forever imprinted on my heart. The moment my children were born. The instant I realized I had fallen in love with Boo. The last time I kissed my son goodnight before he died. The morning when I saw my new son for the very first time.

There are other moments of course, that have played a pivotal moment in my life. Some I have written about, memorialized, but most others I have just held close to my heart, savouring their memory for my eternity, grateful to understand it is these slivers of time that shape who I am and the person I will become.

Most of these moments, life shapers and game changers or whatever you want to call them, have occurred without fanfare or recording. The only evidence they've occurred tend to be the smile or grimace that marks one's face as they remember those shards of life. It is rare that one actually has a camera in hand to mark that exact moment in time where something in your life shifts.

Abbott and Jumby

I had a camera in my hand on Sunday moment as well as a freshly bathed boy and a fairly new puppy on my bed.

The two of them had been refusing to meet beyond the obligatory sniff from either one. They regarded each other with wariness; both scared of the other's sudden movements.

My heart was heavy from all the hope I had hoped and all the disappointment I had absorbed. Life was just never going to be easy for my son, my Jumby, no matter how hard I hoped otherwise, no matter how many puppies I offered him.

It was enough to just break me and for an instant, it did. So I just let it all go. I let go of the hope and the unspoken disappointments of life.  I just watched. And I breathed.

And suddenly it shifted.

Jumby found his dog. A dog found his boy.

They've been together ever since. Jumby rubbing his clenched fists against Abbott's fur, jerking his limbs against Abbott in an effort to get closer to the dog, with Abbott gently licking Jumby, stretching out to grant the boy more access.

It was a quiet moment in my life. A blurry one, really, from all the tears that kept leaking out the corner of my eyes. But it was a moment that resonated loudly in my heart.

There are very few moments of normal that my son is afforded. His normal is strange to most people. But here, with the love of a dog, my son gets to experience something so many people take for granted.



It's so simple and so pure my heart cracks from the joy of it all. There is so much I will never be able to give my son. So much he will never be able to experience.

But as I watch the two of them together, folded into one another, silently taking in the other's company, I know the love of a dog is not going to be one of those things. Not thanks to Abbott.

I got to witness a rare moment of normalcy for my son.

It's a moment I'm never going to ever forget. It's imprinted on my heart, forever.

A boy and his dog.

Introducing My New Puppy...

I haven't been here for weeks because I've been busy wrestling my demons. The grief monster swallowed me whole and I've been fighting depression demons as well.

I needed some time to think dark thoughts, cry painful tears and to just absorb the still I found myself surrounded with after my dog's sudden death on my son's birthday, only days before the anniversary of my other's son's unexpected death on yet another's son's birthday.

I was taking care of my mental health while trying to be present for my children and something had to give. My blog was the first thing to go. In return, my sanity stayed.

With the new year, I've got goals, and hopes and big plans for this space. I've words I need to spill, truths I want to tell, and laughs I want to share.

But all of that can wait for another day. Today I have something else I want to share with you.

A new family member I would like you to meet.

8 weeks old

Over 20 lbs of love

Hello loves!

He's twenty odd pounds of eight-week-old puppy adorable English Mastiff goodness.

He's going to grow up to be an awful lot of dog, if his parents are any indication.

I wasn't sure a new dog was the right avenue to take, what with my love of Nixon being so fierce and true, but it's funny how the heart works. New love just sort of seeps into the cracks of your heart and swells it with joy.

Jumby and Shale taught me that.

So I have a new dog beside me and we're both sniffing each other out (puppy breath! I die!) and learning whom the other is as we go along. Love will find it's way as will piddles and poop and all things puppy related.

In the meantime, say hello to my newest family member.

His name is Abbott.

(Click the link if you want to know why. I'm sure Nixon would approve of my choice.)

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it treats you well.


The Smelliest Sweet Sixteenth Ever

Fric turned sixteen on Saturday and Mother Nature celebrated by sending a skunk to our house to fumigate the premises.

Do you know what freshly sprayed skunk smells like up close, when it's undiluted by time and wind?

It smells like hot acrid death and it burns the insides of your nose. You can't avoid the scent and your body never really acclimates to it. It just sits inside your nose, hiding in your nostril hair, making you nauseous and wishing for death with every breath you draw.

The night before her birthday I crawled into bed feeling sorry for myself. As excited as she was I just couldn't get past the fact that her turning sixteen meant that I was old enough to be the mother to a sixteen year old.

Somehow I blinked away sixteen years of her life. It feels like I missed it. I can barely remember her hammy newborn fists, so tightly clenched as she shook them angrily at the world.

Years marked with skinned knees and stitches. Bubble gum tangled in long locks of blonde hair. Her first report card, her first medal. So many firsts, all memories tainted by time and coloured with exhaustion. Sixteen years worth and it seems like I can barely remember any of it.

As she nears adulthood her childhood  is relegated more and more to the past, slowly being covered with dust as it is tucked away inside memories and locked into digital photo albums.

The smoke from sixteen candles will soon be just another childhood memory evaporated into the ethers of time. I can feel time pass through my hands as I watch her morph into the young lady she's meant to be.

My funk was as deep as that stupid crease in between my eyebrows and I didn't think I could wake up feeling any more sorry for myself than I was when I closed my eyes that night.

Woe is me. My daughter is sixteen years old. I want to slap myself. Get some perspective woman!

Before the dawn broke, as the sun threatened to spill over the horizon and the moon still clung to the night sky, that's when a skunk visited my house. The animal invader crawled UNDER my home until it stood directly under where I slept, then it raised it's tail in salute and then it slipped away into the trees, empty of it's smell, probably laughing all the while.

It didn't take long before the entire house was awake, gasping for fresh air, dying of the toxic scent.


But we are nothing if not resourceful and what's a little skunk spray to stop a sweet sixteen party? There would be no crying on this occasion, only a little eye watering but that was strictly a biological response to the acrid stench burning our eyes.

I'll never admit otherwise.

The party was a stinker success and after the candles were blown out, pictures were snapped and the cake destroyed, I sat next to Boo and looked at the lines across his face and I felt a bit better. It turns out I'm not the only one old enough to be the parent to a sixteen year old kid. He is too.

We sat there and watched our daughter, laugh and play with all her best friends and it was in that moment my heart grew so large it threatened to once again crack open.

"It would figure a skunk would hit us today, of all days," my husband murmured as the sounds of teenaged laughter echoed from the trees outside our home.

"Why is that?" I asked, confused and not following his train of thought.

"Don't you remember what happened sixteen years ago when she was born?"

"Well I don't know if you remember but I was a little busy what with the squeezing a human being out of my body sixteen years ago," I retorted. "My memories really only consist of pain and large baby craniums."

My husband shook his head, while probably wondering what he did to deserve the awesome that is me, and then said "This was Mother Nature's payback for all those years ago."

"Mother Nature doesn't punish us for childbirth Boo. She's not political like that." Dope.


Oh right.

"I totally forgot about that. What with the trying to keep my legs closed so a baby didn't pop out!" We had just left the little white farm house and were fleeing to the city at about 11 pm at night. My contractions were 9o seconds apart and I was convinced I was dying.

Boo, 21 years old, scared and excited, didn't see the HUGE PORCUPINE in the middle of the road.

Suddenly there was a THUMP and my husband was swearing and I was contracting and the car stopped.

"What are you doing? THE BABY IS COMING!!" I have yelled, half panted.

"I hit something! I have to check the car!"


And so he went. And as we drove away my husband saw the remains of the porcupine and my front bumper and muttered something about me being crazy.

"We were lucky the car still ran. That sucker was huge," my husband reminisced.


"Face it Tanis, Mother Nature is out for revenge."

"Oh please Boo. You couldn't be more wrong. Mother Nature is CELEBRATING our LOVE. She not only sacrificed the life of a beautiful porcupine upon the birth of our daughter, but she sent us her finest perfume to ring in said daughter's birth. We are NATURE'S CHOSEN ONES."

My husband, rolled his eyes and got up to eat another slice of cake. "Listen here Snow White, from now on, if Mother Nature sends us anymore gifts for our daughter, we are sending them back."

Prince Charming has spoken.

Happy birthday Fric. It may not have been the sweetest sixteenth birthday ever but thanks to Nature, this is one memory of your childhood that will be forever burned into my memory.

I love you kid. More than Mother Nature ever could.