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  • Liferaft Blueprint

Help! I'm drowning!

I don’t have it all figured out. I am still very much in the “trying to figure it out” stage. This is not advice from someone who talks about their seven-figure income, their very organized kitchen or their post-weight loss fitness regime. This is my in-the-trenches pitch.

I love success stories. I want everyone to win. I’m really rooting for Lindsay Lohan to make a comeback. I was overjoyed when Britney announced her Las Vegas residency -- happy endings make me very happy (see my great appreciation for Hallmark movies). But there is something about the story that is told during the struggle that I find so relatable.

Like when my babies were small and they didn’t sleep, it was so nice to sit with my mom friends who were in the same boat, bags under their eyes, caffeine in their hands. There is a bond between people who are climbing the same mountain.

Having said that, we are all so different. For some moms, sleep training was everything and to others, co-sleeping was the miracle cure. For some, the only cure was time. What works for one, doesn’t for another.

If you saw my borrowing history at the library you’d think I’d have it all together, or at least somewhat together. Or maybe you’d just think I’m someone who is trying to get it all together - and you’d be right. I’m trying.

Self-help books are fascinating to me but I rarely finish them. I read them until I say to myself, “Yep, I get it” and slide them down the return slot at my local branch and plan some new, short-lived strategies.

Really, I guess I pick up those books in the hopes that I’ll find instructions in the pages. A real how to, a blueprint, a fill in the blanks, a framework that I can build from.

For a long time, I’ve felt like I was drowning. Unable to breathe properly between each crashing wave. My life was moving at break-neck speed and I didn’t know how to slow it down, or even keep my head above water.

It should be said that sometimes the water that is rising around us is good, happy things. A new house, a new baby, a new relationship, a new job or promotion. Just because the event is something you wanted, even DREAMED of doesn’t take away from the fact that it could be hard, overwhelming and scary.

For me, it went like this:

-Fell in love

-Moved 700 miles back home to my parents’ house

-Bought a house with my new love and moved in

-Got pregnant

-Had healthy baby girl

-Got engaged

-Sold first house

-Father died in car accident

-Moved into new house

-Got married

-Got pregnant again

-Found out baby had a very, very sick heart

-Gave birth to baby

-Started our long relationship with the Stollery Children’s hospital...

And that all happened in under four years.

Since then, there have been three open-heart surgeries and countless hours at the hospital, another baby, another move and countless other life events. Some much bigger than ourselves and some very welcome happy occasions.

Needless to say, I functioned in “crisis-mode” a lot of the time.

I so desperately wanted to pause life -- just for a minute, a moment, a morning (a month?). I would ask myself all the time, “In the busy sea of life, how do you rest without drowning?”

Then one day, it came to me - you build yourself a life raft.

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For years I've felt like I was drowning. The day to day can feel like wave upon wave and just when you think you've figured it out (whatever that looks like for you - getting a good sleep, getting yo


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