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.
At the camp, there is absolutely no place for hate. Not of any kind. One of the first things they tell you is that no racism, homophobia, sexism, etc etc will be ignored and it could result in you being kicked from the camp.
I believe that this is something we all can agree on, making the camp a safe place for anyone. At the camp, I also noticed a lot of things they did to create a safe place for those of any gender, race, etc etc. Overall, they work very hard to make sure (and I cannot say it enough) it’s a safe space for everyone.
I am that mom. While we all used to have adventures, tips, and fun stuff to share with you, this pandemic has me at a loss.
My family doesn’t go anywhere.
The most exciting thing we’ve done in the last year is a walk in the River Valley, right after that little dump of snow. It was magical, and our COVID pup Missy enjoyed herself immensely. My poor daughter had a hard time getting back up these stairs, cause, well, we don’t do anything!
And we checked out one of the Edmonton swings, just you know, for something to do on the weekend.
I don’t have the ambition or drive to plan anything.
My kids spend A LOT of time on their devices. Most of the time it is connected to their friends via Kids Messenger while playing games, and this is essentially their socialization outside of school so I’m not taking that away from them. I want to run away completely. The mountains, the ocean, anywhere but here. But hubs and I both work, and we need to work and we are lucky to work. And we don’t really have anywhere to escape to. I also am very cheap and don’t want to spend money….cause maybe if I save it, when this is all over we can go somewhere so far away and cool, it’s like COVID was just a blip.
In June 2020, I found myself pregnant with my second child. I rolled my eyes at becoming a part of the now famous “Covid-baby club.” It’s a popular club for a reason and I was now a happy member. We had just recently and successfully hosted our 8th annual SkirtsAfire Festival in March, about a week before the lockdowns began. I remember enjoying the spring and the start of summer, feeling optimistic that in a month or two, things would return to normal and we would all get back to our festival city as planned. Then slowly but surely, things started getting postponed, then canceled, and our case numbers took a sharp turn for the worse. Through it all, as I grew this baby mostly isolated to my home, we planned for SkirtsAfire 2021: a return to indoor in-person performances in a safe way.
Having a baby in a pandemic is different. This baby will be welcomed into the world with masks and the strong scent of hand sanitizer and the rough touch of overly-washed chapped hands. No gatherings of friends and family to hold and kiss the fresh being that just entered the world. Instead, there will be more screen time than I’d like to admit my newborn will have, more time spent with me on my phone texting and emailing pictures and updates, more time spent alone, just our small family. I think of my friends who have had babies in 2020 who have no family in the city, most out of the country even, who have had no relatives allowed to visit and have no known date in the future they’ll get to meet the new addition. My sisters live in Hong Kong and I don’t know when they will get to meet their new nephew. Things I never thought I’d need to feel sad about before.
There has been a lot of talk about supporting local as we deal with Covid-19. Local restaurants, food suppliers, and local stores.
One area that hasn’t been talked about as much is supporting local authors. Yes, we can all support local bookshops easily now but what about the local authors that write the books?
It’s a weird time. Days are blending together, time doesn’t matter, putting on real pants has gone by the wayside, and for most kids the severity of the situation has probably sunk in. They are missing friends and family, their activities, and the freedom to play in the park. Parents are struggling with working from home, layoffs, teaching their children, and more.
This isn’t easy.
So we wanted to write to the Easter Bunny and let him know that it’s OK to chill a bit this year.
We got married young. Really young. Like so young that now when I see people that are 21 I can’t believe that I was already married and expecting our first child young. Neither of us brought a lot of stuff coming into the marriage. We both lived on our own for a bit but when you’re a poor student you don’t exactly have the nicest things.
So when we got engaged I was REALLY excited about the registry part. I know I know I should have been thinking about marrying the love of my life blah bah blah. But what I really was excited for was two things:
We’ve made it through January! Typically dreaded as one of the longest and worst months in Alberta- we’ve just come crashing down from Christmas, struggled to get back to routine, our wallets might be lighter, our skin is dry, there was a new moon and we’ve battled a tremendous cold snap…. SO if you are feeling particularly ragey right now, don’t feel bad! One of the best ways to release this energy and feel a little better (aside from screaming in your pantry with the door closed while you eat hidden chocolate) is to throw axes and smash things! Trust us, we’ve done it and it helps!
Where to Throw Axes and Smash things in Edmonton:
I would not categorize myself as a giver of great advice, a life coach or motivational speaker but I will tell you that over my 39 years I’ve discovered a few great truths to live by.
I’ve not overcome any great challenges, but I have overcome many small ones. Breaking cycles, making choices based not on what I’ve learned early on but what I see makes other people whole, happy and admirable. I thought you might enjoy or maybe even be inspired by My Truths.
1. Hate and anger really are poison.
You don’t hurt anyone but yourself when you hang on to it. The person your anger is aimed at is more than likely not going to change just because you’re mad at them. You on the other hand have a choice not to allow whatever it is to rule your choices because 9 times out of 10 when you make choices based on anger, resentment and vengeance you make the wrong one.
Tis the season and oh how we love the holiday’s at Alberta Mamas. As the song goes, here are a few of our FAVOURITE things.
“Getting a Christmas Tree
from my parents farm” ~ Mama Deanne
The first house you see
decorated, with their lights all aglow. That feeling!
Spotting the PERFECT gift
Maybe it’s not super big, but you know it’s something they will really love.
Making sure you’ve taken it out to thaw, getting all your fruits and veggies and spices prepped for stuffing. And in our house, we also dress it with a little bacon.
Wether they are home made, store bought, for you or for the kids, I’m almost as excited as the kids to see what they get!