Hi! My name is Hayden Reeve!
You might recognize my last name as I am the daughter of one of the Mamas! I am going to tell you about my experience at YouthWrite®. For a little introduction, it is a non-profit organization with camps for children who love to write. There is also a separate camp for adults who also enjoy writing! Today though, we are going to be discussing the camp for, well, youth!
Something that I think is quite important and an absolutely excellent characteristic about YouthWrite is the fact that they have a figuratively speaking, bubble type of deal around them.
I can still picture the place perfectly. My very own grown-up studio loft. It’s at least 1500 square feet of wide-open space. Long, narrow, two-story, stained-glass windows with arches, frame the room on either side. My bed is centered on the far-back brick wall with soft linen sheets tossed perfectly imperfect. Thin hardwood floors in a herringbone pattern, with markings of time gone by, connect my bed to my art studio which occupies at least 2/3 of the wide-open space. I have come to realize this place I picture is unusually grand for a single room in New York City, but that was my vision.
I think it was about grade 11 that I placed my vision in NYC, but I was about 5 when I decided I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I spent hours sketching Betty and Veronica fashion spreads while I started to picture details of this space in my mind. It’s no wonder I ended up in the interior design industry specializing in textiles.
I’m Teneil Whiskeyjack. I am originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and a mother of 2. My daughter is 17 and my son is 7, both at different stages in their lives. As a single mother and working artist, the demands of career, life and our own autonomy in systems that can make us feel depleted, it can be challenging to find the balance in it all. The expectations we put on our ourselves as mothers, always asking “am I doing this right?” Truth is, there is no manual to parenting and parenting looks different for many in terms of culture, values, family traditions and beliefs. Becoming a mother for the first time at such a young age, I admittedly didn’t know myself well enough to give reverence to a tender, compassionate, and patient relationship that I needed within myself. As time moved forward, I wanted to find peace in my journey and the grounding my children and I needed and deserved. I looked at the both of them and wanted them to see a mom that was vibrant, strong, present and healthy. As women, we are taught to put others before ourselves, leaving no room for our own curiosities, or relationships to our bodies and spirit. Going back to my culture and ceremony as an Indigenous woman meant going back to land-based practices, asking myself what it means to me to be a nehiyaw iskwew (cree woman) today, learning to ask for help within safe spaces of community and kin and reminding myself that parenting is one of the most sacred responsibilities we carry as life givers. I believe our children choose us to be their parents before they are born.
I was an artist growing up. I loved to tell stories in various ways. I took a step back from creating all together for many years and what was once my solace, was no longer existent as I allowed myself to live for other’s expectations of me, in the confines of societal pressures, and a life from the choices I made that wasn’t in alignment to my truth. I doubted my aspirations and capabilities until there came a shifting cycle in my womanhood where I wanted to gain deeper insight to who I was and why I walked in footsteps that no longer resonated with me or my heart.
The day I received the phone call to come and sub at my children’s school it dawned on me I hadn’t been in a classroom for 8.5 years! I had gone in to do Islamophobia sessions and worked with my own children but hadn’t done a whole school day since before Manessa was born.
I hadn’t planned to be a stay-at-home mom for that period of time. It just happened that way. I’m sure people wonder what kept me at home for so long. I was just so attached to my kids. I didn’t feel comfortable sending Manessa to daycare. There is nothing wrong with daycare but I just couldn’t do it. Then when I felt I was just about ready to get back to work and she was in school full time, we had Malik. So I started that whole process all over again. By the time they were both full-time, they were in 2 different schools 20 mins apart. One started at 8:15 am and the other at 9:00 am. I couldn’t commit to subbing let alone working full time. Instead, I spent my days driving back and forth between school, errands, and extracurricular activities.
Ready to take your kiddos for a spin?
Mama Chris and her two kiddos, 10 & 11 headed out to Rabbit Hill this weekend to take advantage of the beautiful weather with some tubing. We’ve always wanted to go but hadn’t had the chance, so this was the perfect day for it!
With three choices of slide, even though it was busy we weren’t waiting long to go, and the burlap at the bottom made it so you slow down safely!
The handy magic carpet helping you get to the top, once you have spun (or not haha) down is great. The kids think their dad should put one in our back yard now lol!
It was an amazing way to get out of the house, and really out of the city. We got to spend some time having fun, in a covid-friendly way.
It was indeed, TUBULAR 😉
Chris is a Mom of 2, a 10 & 11 year old, she works as a admin for a local bakery. She loves cider, hanging out with good people and writing about her feelings. She currently resides in our Capital City, however she grew up on an Alberta farm.
*Our visit to Rabbit Hill was complimentary. As always all opinions are our own.
SkirtsAfire Festival in Edmonton is self-described as “diverse, inclusive and daring”, guaranteeing there’s something for everyone at their 10th anniversary festival, running March 3-13 in Old Strathcona. With the ever-changing pandemic climate we’re all navigating, there is one thing for certain – SkirtsAfire will offer 10 days of engaging and entertaining performances and experiences!
We have taken in their MainStage Productions since 2017 as well as Opening Night Parties, and of course, the fantastic SkirtsAfire Skirt Design Competition. Featuring the work of women and non-binary folks in the arts in Edmonton – MARCH 3-13, 2022. Check out SkirtsAfire, experiencing theatre, visual art, design, music, comedy, and more.
I don’t celebrate Christmas, I never have. I grew up in beautiful Jasper National Park. Although now it is a lovely diverse community, when I was growing up in the 90’s it wasn’t so diverse. There were not even a handful of Muslim families and basically 2 Arab families. Finding a sense of community based on my faith and heritage was impossible. Luckily for me, although predominantly Caucasian, the community of Jasper National Park is made up of some of the most amazing, supportive and accepting people I have ever met. We weren’t the only minorities, but for me it sure seemed so!
I decided we needed to get out and do something as a family, and I knew from friends that you book time slots at the U of A Botanic Garden, so it would be COVID Friendly. Hubs and I checked the weather, booked it on a day when the weather was supposed to be great and then my husband let me know he’d actually never been. The guy grew up in Edmonton but hadn’t ever been to the gardens so I was excited. I myself haven’t been since the Aga Khan garden opened – doubly excited.
We had to wear masks throughout the whole garden, which was understandable.
My kids love the Japanese Garden so we always go there first, trying to spot the coy fish.
For those of you familiar with the Devon River Valley Trail in Voyageur Park, right on. For those of you who don’t, go. Especially if you have early bird kids, or if you are one!
A friend and I went on a Saturday morning, met at 530AM in the parking lot, and by golly, nary a soul in sight. We didn’t run into one person on the path and upon returning to our vehicle, there were just a few fellas fishing under the bridge.
There are a few fire pits with picnic tables along the river that would just be amazing with the fam jam and the “beachy” part we came across would entertain my kids for HOURS just throwing rocks in. Didn’t bring them this time – mama needed a break but next time!