Being a mother has inspired and motivated me. It has kept me strong. Motherhood has brought me joy and meaning, and has allowed me to understand life in a way that would not be possible without it. Motherhood has enabled me to be a better psychologist, teacher, and friend. I connect more with people and I care more about the world. It is not easy being a mother. It is exhausting, painful and anxiety provoking. Strong and healthy mothers leads to strong and healthy children. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to support mothers. (Below are photos of my children, from youngest to oldest. Two of my children were born biologically and one was adopted at birth.)
Last night on Netflix I watched a new movie called "SelfLess." It was a strange science fiction/action movie where a father sold his body to science in order to pay for his daughter's heart surgery. The concept hit a nerve in me.
All around the world, there are people making terrible choices about whether or not to access medical care, or about what they have to do or give up in order to pay for medical care. I cannot even begin to imagine the anguish these people suffer.
In Canada, medical care is free. Completely free. Over the last three years, I have cost the medical system millions of dollars. If I had lived in another part of the world, I would be in incredible indebted or dead.
Yesterday, I reached a milestone in my own medical care. I underwent a surgical scope to look inside my bladder to ensure that no cancer had returned. This is the last procedure in a long semester full of hospital days and surgery.
There were no signs of cancer. I was relieved beyond words. I am also grateful beyond words that I live in Canada.
On April 5th, the second book in the Just Enough Series (published by Orca Book publishers and illustrated by Cindy Revell) was released. Two thousand copies were instantly sold! I have been talking about this project with people in the media and I have kept a journal of my responses. Below, you will find some of my most important reflections about this project!
My Reflections About "Where Do Loved Ones Go When They Die?
As our world becomes more complicated, it has become more challenging to teach and parent our children. I have seen this change first hand as a practicing child psychologist. The Just Enough Series was developed to give parents and teachers tools to talk about difficult and complicated subjects with their young children. The most recent book, “What Happens When A Loved One Dies?” was written to help children understand and cope with death. I am particularly concerned about children who have witnessed violence and terrorism.
I have written these books for the early childhood audience because I am a big proponent of early intervention. Helping to address difficult concepts early in a wholesome way, allows parents and teachers to set the foundation for wholesome values in life.
I think that these topics are difficult for young and older alike. It is especially hard to talk about difficult topics with children, when you are struggling to process these topics yourself. As a child psychologist, I have a great deal of experience talking to children about difficult topics and I hoped to share what I have learned. I have written these books to provide parents and teachers with a kind of script to help these conversations unfold.
The goal is to help children understand the concept of death. I wanted the book to be appropriate for children from a wide range of backgrounds. I wanted the book to be culturally sensitive. And, I wanted to promote and encourage children to ask questions.
The questions in this book, and also in the others, are inspired by real discussions I have had with children over the years. I think the books have been so well received because they reflect the real and authentic questions children have.
I imagine that many parents would be reading this book to their children because the children have been asking about death. Perhaps children have experienced loss first hand. I hope that parents can use the book as a way of helping children to open up about their own thoughts and questions. I also hope that the book fosters opportunities for parents and children to explore their own unique cultural values around death.
When I was about 24, Stephen and I found ourselves at different grad schools in different Canadian provinces. With two rents to now pay, I landed in an ideal situation: being a live-in, part-time nanny for a Scandinavian family with two small boys. How I loved this family! How I loved these boys! I remember singing them to sleep and then blinking my eyes and having them all grown up towering over me! I recall their mother brining me steaming mugs of glögg while I studied. Our family still makes glögg every Christmas!
The second is a program organized by Icelandair. They will arrange for an Icelandic buddy to show you around Iceland while you are visiting or while on a stopover. All buddies are actual Icelandair employees. The goal is to promote Tourism. To be honest, I have always wanted to travel to Iceland. I would love to see the Northern Lights. But--I have always thought to myself, "What would I actually do? I do not know anyone there!" Problem solved!
This morning, I stumbled on another cool Scandinavian find: Lukas Graham. I feel so completely old that it has taken me this long to discover him. I do not think I can really explain his coolness, you just have to listen!
Thank you Scandinavia! You have brought many smiles to my face!!