Saturday, June 27, 2015

Welcome to the 21st Century Americans . . .

Note:  if you want my references, click on the links . . . ;)

First, to all my American family and friends who are becoming apoplectic about the US Supreme Court's ruling and some of whom may have to make good on their promise to move out of the US:  Do NOT come to Canada -- you will be sadly disappointed.  Not only have we allowed ALL loving couples to marry since 2005, you will not be able to bring your guns across the 49th.  I do have a few suggestions where you might consider seeking asylum:  Russia, most of the African countries and pretty much all Muslim nations (see this handy list).  So start packing. . .

Second, to all my friends spouting off about 'traditional' marriage, please revisit your history lessons and please figure out which 'traditional' marriage you are talking about. If it is Christian marriage, you might find that YOUR marriage is NOT a traditional Christian marriage.

Christianity in its purest form, as established by Christ's disciples demanded that members be unmarried and celibate.  Really.  I kid you not.  NO marriage because it would detract from a follower's devotion to God.  Besides, the Rapture was just around the corner anyway, so true believers needed to chaste, holy and totally devoted to God.  I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened.  Hormones and attraction.  Once They (being the religious leaders) figured out they could not stop LOVE between people, they co-oped marriage.  (see here)

Let's move a bit further ahead in time and marriage became an economic transaction.  Daughters were essentially material to barter with . . . for land, for power, for other assets.  Or they were burdens to be augmented with dowries so that some other family would take them off your hands and assume ownership and responsibility for them.  Face it, if you were female you were a piece of property.  It was 1929 when the Canadian Supreme Court (yup another team of "Supremes") held that, yes, indeed women were  PERSONS.

Marriage was also traditionally for life.  No divorce . . .ever . . . no matter what.  Until 1968 it took an act of Parliament to get divorced in Canada.  This, for those of you unfamiliar with Canadian government, the body that governs the whole freakin' country.

So, if you want to do that 'traditional' marriage thing remember:  if you or your spouse were married before, well, your marriage is NOT traditional.

If your marriage was not bartered for or arranged by your Father, it is NOT traditional.

For my female friends, if you did not let your Father select your spouse or if you do not follow your spouse's every order, it is NOT traditional.

Oh, and for my LDS friends, how many sister wives do you have?  Mormon marriage, the really 'traditional' one, the one that started with the Church was polygamous in nature.  My great grandfathers had multiple wives and, if you are more than 3rd generation, yours probably did too.  If you are from Southern Alberta, the odds on favourite is that you are a descendant of a second wife.  Cardston and the surrounding communities were founded right around the time of the Manifesto, which reads:   "And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-Day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage that is forbidden by the law of the land."  This does NOT say that polygamy is wrong or bad.  It says:  "Don't do it if you are going to end up in jail."  So really, the change in marriage laws is a most excellent thing for the devout . . . your first sister wife could be just around the corner should the law change so that multiple spouses are okay (and I would bet Winston Blackmore will be taking THAT question to the Supreme Court [the Canadian one] in the not too distant future).  So the Church doctrine that makes polygamy is necessary in the great afterlife . . . the one that comes after, as Brother Jake calls it, the Super Special Mormon Heaven, may soon be back in vogue.

Oh, oh, but you say:  Traditional marriage has changed with the times.  We pick our own spouses.  We make decisions together as a couple.  For the LDS, we don't have multiple wives - - our leaders got updates from God.  Do you see what you just did there?  You changed the rules on marriage!!!!

And Guess whatelse???  Your definition of marriage is not TRADITIONAL.  It was changed.  By the society where it was practiced.  Just like 'marriage' has now been redefined by the US Supreme Court.

So suck it up, sweetheart, and unless you want to move to a place where (if you are female) you'll be wearing a burka (which, BTW, is really just temple garments worn outside the clothes) and not going anywhere without a man beside you, just accept that ONE faith, religion or cultural tradition does not get to define marriage for the rest of the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Things I want my Daughter to Know and Remember

I'd like to say this is an original idea, but I saw it on a friend's Facebook feed and decided it was a great idea.  The following are random things I want the Pumpkin to know.  I started out planning to do 100, but I wanted the post to hit the blog before the next millenium.  Some of them I learned from other people and I will give them the credit.
  1. Remember that other people's bad behaviour/attitude is always more about them than it is about you; conversely, if you find yourself being less than kind to another person, look inside yourself for the reason why.
  2. When the choice is laugh or cry, laugh in public; cry in private. 
  3. When you remember other people, think of them at their BEST not their worst.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.
  5. And Sunscreen.
  6. "Of all the kids in the whole entire Universe, I got the very BEST one."  Never forget that. [Renfrew and I began telling her this at bedtime when she was about 2 -- I heard Dr. Phil McGraw say he and his wife did the same thing with their sons.  I LOVED the idea - - and it is true.]
  7. Feed the cats.
  8. Watching your enthusiasm for Cosplay (not to mention your incredible talent) brings me JOY -- you are so much YOURSELF when you are creating ways to be someone (or something) else.  It's magic.
  9. My favourite Christmas memory is you hanging up the 'Santa Key' and tossing the 'Reindeer Food' out on the deck from High Prairie when you were 5 or 6.
  10. Do not have children until you could support them on your own if you had to do so. [So sayth my Mom aka Grandma Thu.]
  11. Always, always, always have a Plan "B" -- for anything you do and for your life in general. [Ted King - my high school French teacher.]
  12. Trust your gut.
  13. Take risks . . . if you fall, I will help you get up.
  14. Don't be afraid to take a 'do-over'.  I've started over many, many times.
  15. Every Dandelion you see is a "I Love You" from your Thu.
  16. Snowtires -- get them.  Do NOT take them off your car until after Mother's Day.
  17. Dreams are free.
  18. Good friends are the reward we get for being a good friend.  I know you are a friend worth gold because I see it reflected in the friends you keep close to you.
  19. Yes, your Dad is paranoid and sees boogie men around every corner . . . but only because he loves you.
  20. YOU are well on your way to slaying any boogie man who makes it past your dad.
  21. Get to know our family - - yes, we are crazy and hard to take in large groups (I realize that I grew up with the large groups. . . as an only child who lived far from family for a big part of your childhood, you did not so I GET why they are discomfiting.) but one-on-one every single person has a story that is part of yours.
  22. Life is a journey . . . take the scenic route.
  23. Never give anyone else the power to control your happiness and sense of worth.  KNOW in your bones that both of these things are YOURS and yours alone.  
  24. Shoot for the stars, if you fall a bit short there are plenty of planets and moons worth exploring.
Today is my girl-child's 17th birthday.  She is more amazing than I imagined when I held all 6 pounds 11 ounces of her in my arms that first night at the hospital.  The time has flown . . . but what lies ahead for her . . . well I can hardly wait to see where life takes her and what she discovers about not only the world, but about herself.  (February 23, 2015)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Mother's Hands

I recently scanned this old photo into my computer and really LOOKED at it.  As I did, I looked down and realized -- I have my Mother's hands.  My fingers do not yet bend with the arthritis that twisted her little fingers, but my hands are hers.  My fingers are short and made for function and not beauty.  They serve me daily - - as a tool with which I earn a living. They work to create things of beauty that I joyfully give as gifts of the heart.  I have my Mother's hands  . . . . I hope she is proud of how I use them.

This year is apparently the 100th anniversary of the first Mother's Day.  It is also the 7th anniversary of my first Mother's Day without my Mom in this world.  Don't get me wrong.  I KNOW she is still beside me and that she watches my child grow into a young woman with glee, joy and pride.  But, damn, I miss her voice and her calm counsel.  In the 45 years I was blessed to have my Mother, I think I only saw her 'lose it' a handful of times.

The first was well-deserved and aimed at me.  I was in kindergarten and a bit more adventurous than most 5 year olds.  It seems that I decided to go to a friend's house after kindergarten ended for the day.  A friend's house that was across a large field from our house.  A friend's house I had never been to before.  It was like one of the Bad Idea Bears was whispering in my ear.  So I merrily toddled off to my friends house with her.  Now, I guess I should explain that in 1967 we walked to and from kindergarten by ourselves.  Really.  We did.  It was a small town with minimal traffic and the school was only 3 or so blocks from my house.  The Bad Idea part of this adventure was I had NOT asked my Mom before hand.  I just did not go home.  After a while Mrs. A. figured out that I was AWOL from home and called my Mom.  During that time, my Mom had been calling all the 'usual' suspects -- my Grandma, my regular friends.  No luck.  She also was enduring one of her '3-day' headaches, which I now realize were likely hormone induced migraines (I've experienced one or two myself).  She walked across the field to get me from my friend's house and took me home.   I had never seen her angry before.  I've been told I received my one and only spanking that day, but I don't remember.

The next time I saw her temper flare was after my Grandmother's death and it involved her siblings.  Really, enough said there.

The last time I recall seeing her blow her stack was when I was in my early 20s and had been unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend.  She used words I did not even know she knew.  In fact, I think she offered to do grevious bodily harm to him [if he's reading this he can thank me for convincing my Mom if she killed a COP, she would go to jail].  She calmed down and instead of going after the man involved, she sent me off to California to my Aunt's to recover.

So, when I say, my Mom was calm . . .she truly was.  Through the many adventures me and my siblings sent her way - - including marriages and divorces, babies and infertility, broken hearts and broken spirits, addictions and recoveries -- we pretty much covered it all. She had the gift of letting us vent and then quietly directing us toward our own answers -- which we pretty much figured out on our own.  She was the 'invisible hand' in our lives.

She left this world just as my life fell to pieces.  So it goes, I guess. I suddenly became the ADULT.  As painful as it was, it was necessary.  I know that.  But sometimes the loss, the pain . ..  it crawls to the surface and I sob and cry and rail against the Universe that sent these life lessons my way.  I guess that is just the way it is.

This year has been hard. . . I'm not sure why, but it has.  It began when I found myself standing in front of card display at Chapters with tears running down my face.  My sorrow at my loss has been just under the surface all week.  I know it is MY loss -- my Mother is free and is beside me.  She was beside me today when my beautiful daughter -- who reminds me more and more of my Mom every day -- bared her soul at the City poetry slam competition bringing not only me, but much of the audience to tears.  She was there watching my child celebrate with her team members -- holding up the grand prize trophy -- a troupe of amazing young almost-adults who spoke without fear and with passion.  My Mom smiled with me as I watched my child take another step toward adulthood.

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day -- the 100th one -- but for me TODAY was Mother's Day -- I watched as my child took another step toward the Woman she will become.  Thanks Mom -- for showing me how to do it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Down a Rabbit Hole

Every so often the chronic pain condition I have lived with since my early twenties likes to sneak up on me and whack me on the head . . . and the back . . . and the feet . . . and the elbows . . . and the knees . . . you get the picture.  Because I have around 30 years' experience with this particular demon, I have built into my life escape ramps that allow me to pull over to the side of the road and weather the flare ups with minimal damage to my life.

Friends and family who have known me for a long time know that when I am gripped at the throat by my nemesis they cannot expect much from me.  My energy stores and number of functional hours per day are limited.  Unfortunately, since I have to earn a living, the functional hours generally get used up at work, where I need to get things done and appear to be paying attention (as opposed to being curled up in a ball under my desk).  This leaves little energy or patience for hearth and home.

I am in the first real flare since my new guy and I have been involved.  I've had 'mini-flares' -- where things clear up within a day or so -- a couple of times.  But not one as hard hitting as what I've been experiencing the last few days.  The fatigue and body pain are in the forefront.  I hold it together at work. . . and even manage to get things done and done well.  Once I get home. . . different story altogether.  Expectant faces wanting dinner are disappointed.  Expectant faces wanting long walks in the bark park are disappointed.  But not as disappointed as I am.  But I focus on not letting my frustration add another layer of discomfort to my already full plate of blah.

My body is a map of pain . . . my feet feel like they have been crushed in a vise, my back aches, my shoulders are in knots.  I have spent the entire day holding it together -- pushing the pain down and focusing on my job.  I have cracked jokes and laughed - - to distract myself.  By the time the work day ends, my ability to suppress the pain is wearing thin.  When I walk through the door my first thought is that I just want to keep walking to my bed and go to sleep.

So now I am doing the things I know will shorten the flare -- I am sleeping - - as much as I can.  I am not pushing myself, even when I feel like maybe I can.  I know the outcome will be a longer flare.  I am waiting patiently for my body to respond positively.  It will happen.  Things will improve.  The important thing is to focus on the movement toward healing and not the place I am now at.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Like that's really 'news' . . . .

The RCMP are missing the mark in assisting members with mental health issues and PTSD in particular.  Recent news stories are being reported and someone seems to have noticed that the number of members on long-term disability due to PTSD has DOUBLED in recent years.  My only comment, as a former RCMP wife, is "Well, DUH?!?!?"

As a society we hold our first responders to a level of super-humanness that is not only unreasonable, but deadly.  When I was in my late teens and my Mom worked as a guard for the local RCMP detachment I remember talking with some of my friends about the newly-minted Mounties that got sent to our town.  My view was:  "When you take any red-blooded Canadian boy, put him in a red suit, give him a gun, a fast car and tell him he is the national image, do NOT be surprised when he gets a big ego."  Sadly, as they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

I dated a Mountie back in my old home town when I was in my early 20s.  I remember him commenting that to ask for any type of psychological help was a "career limiting move".  He and his colleagues dealt with the stress the old fashioned way -- they drank, smoked and behaved like rowdy teenagers when off duty.

When Renfrew decided he wanted to be a cop in the early days of our marriage, I said "Anything but RCMP."  He capitulated.  After many different roads, they all lead to red serge.  I sighed and capitulated.

For those not in Canada, the RCMP train in one location and one location only:  Regina, Saskatchewan.  The training course, when Renfrew did it was 22 weeks.  It is now 24.  That is a LONG time to separate a family.  Especially a young family.  Pumpkin turned 3 while her daddy was away.  She went from a 'baby' to a 'big girl' in many, many ways.  He missed it.  Before he left for training, she was definitely 'Daddy's Girl' and the two of them went on adventures on his days off [he was working shift work as a corrections officer and had random days off].  When he got back, things were different.

So, first your spouse is gone for half a year and THEN you find out where you are moving.  No matter how much you prepare yourself for move, it is still world rocking.  For most of the graduates the move was away from where they had lived although a few of Renfrew's classmates went 'home'.  So, a month before he graduated we found out that we would be moving . . . 4 1/2 hours North of where we lived.  At this point, I was still a lawyer.  So, in 30 days I wound down my practice, sold our house, bought a house in the new location (aka the "Middle of Nowhere"), and dealt with a 3 year old whose biggest concern was how she would get to play with her best friend who lived across the street.

This reality for RCMP recruit families, I am sad to say, is typical.  The RCMP is a dictatorship -- it did not matter that I had a career I had been building for 10 years.  It did not matter that our child had friends and connections.  Nope.  Sign on the dotted line and you go where they tell you.  I cannot even imagine how it would have been with a teenager or even an older child who could comprehend how far we were going.

When the 'usual' events in the lives of new RCMP recruits and their families are added up using the Stress Life Event Scale created in 1967 by Holmes and Rahe it looks something like this:  marital separation (the chart does not specify the reason) 65; change in financial state (5 months with reduced family income) 38; change to a different line of work 36; mortgage or loan for a major purpose 31; change in responsibilities at work 29; spouse begins or ends work 26; begin or end school 26; change in work hours 20; change in residence 20; change in sleep habits (welcome to shift work) 16.  This totals 307 -- 80% chance of stress related illness.  Add to that the reality of work as a police officer -- situations that would make the normal person fall apart are just the everyday reality, it is actually amazing that more officers are not on stress leave.

As noted above, the 'Force' has had its collective head in the sand for a very, very long time.  It is not going to change over night or probably even 'over a couple of decades.'  The Members with PTSD are the canaries in the coal mine.  I hope that they are being not only heard, but helped.

Since I do not believe in pointing fingers without offering suggestions for change I would suggest at a minimum level of psychological and psycho-social assistant for RCMP officers rather than "[t]he clinical psychologist works with cadets who consult on a voluntary basis," as described in the Family Information Guide.  Psychological health should be considered every bit as important as physical health, with regular check ups during training.

After graduation, psychological services should be provided to Members on a non-voluntary basis for the first few years.  If the Member is married, then marital counseling should also be non-optional.  Why?  Simple --> if everyone participates then stigma is reduced because it is normalized.  Further, issues can be discovered and dealt with before they reach the boiling point.  Resilience can be built both in the individual Member and the family.  

Having watched not only my marriage, but the marriages of other new RCMP members, slowly break apart, I believe that had a regular psychological check been in place things may have turned out differently.  After our split I did my work and faced my monsters under the bed.  Renfrew did as well.  We have both grown to a point of forgiveness and peace.  But the pain it took before the work began was heart shaking.

The current reality is that the psychologists who do end up involved with RCMP officers and their families are most often like firefighters arriving at a burned-out house.  Their only job is to clean up the mess and put the hot spots out. 

So, I say Bravo to the RCMP Brass for acknowledging the problem.  What they do about it will be the real test.  The lives of our first responders are on the line. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dishonourably Discontinued - or I sure hope they are cancelling all the sports' programs too

When I was a kid I wasn't good at sports.  I wasn't popular.  I didn't sing, dance or act (which in a predominately Mormon town is quite a handicap).

But there was ONE THING that I was good at.  I was smart.  I read before I started school. By the middle of grade 6 I had charged through and completed all the pre-packaged curriculum units  in English that were favoured in the mid-seventies to allow kids to 'work at their own pace'. The program still exists and, yes, I remembered correctly.  I finished the 'Year 9' programming when I was 11.  Our grade of about 120 students was divided for 'core' classes by the level at which students were learning.  Those of us who were quick studies were grouped with like students.  Those students who needed more help and different learning strategies were kept together.

Somewhere in the 1980s or 1990s (not having a school-aged child until the 2000s I didn't really pay that much attention to educational philosophy changes) the grouping of classes based on learning level and style fell from grace.  Students of all abilities were grouped together in classes, often large classes.  For the most part, the quick learners whose learning style lined up with the way things were taught generally still excelled.  Kids who learned differently, who needed extra help, well they often had trouble.  This was the era of 'social passes', when some children were moved from grade to grade without having learned even the basic skills.

By the time my girl-child started school, most elementary schools were hesitant to give children actual 'grades', instead opting to use measures of progress that simply said "meets expectations" or "participates in class".   When she started junior high actual percentage and letter grade marks were finally part of the report card experience.  Now that she is in high school and getting prepared to apply for University, grades are somewhat more important.

One of the "perks" of getting higher than average marks has always been a place on the school's "Honour Role".  Most schools have some type of assembly and/or certificate to recognize those students who have put time and effort into their studies and excelled as a result.  The Pumpkin has been on the Honour Role pretty much every year and she is proud of her work and so are her parents.

Well, it now seems that some educational gurus are challenging the use of singling out those students with high marks for special recognition.  Recently I saw that a Calgary School was talking about getting rid of the honour role system "so as not to hurt the feelings of those who don’t make the cut".   What the Heck?  Seriously.  What about the self-esteem of those students for whom academic excellence is their only claim to fame?  The recognition I got for high marks was the only thing that got me through much of my adolescence.  It told me I had something special about me.  The way that shooting baskets and acting in the community theatre told other of my classmates that they had a special talent.  Unless schools are also going to get rid of all sports' teams, so as not to hurt the feelings of the kid who doesn't make the cut. AND get rid of any type of drama or musical programs, so as not to hurt the feelings of the kid who doesn't make the cut.  AND get rid of student council, so as not to hurt the feelings of the kid who doesn't make the cut.   Why don't we accept that everyone has different gifts and talents.  Celebrate the diversity and find the 'thing' that each child does best.  This would lead to success for that child in other areas.     

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Paying it Forward

First, let me apologise for abandoning the Blogging A to Z Challenge . . . I learned an important lesson:  Starting a new job is kind of a time-suck for anything else you think you may have to do in your life.  Yup, I started a new job half way through April and the rest as they say, is not history . . . .That new job, however, has taken me back to working in an area that means a great deal to me . . . an area that I would call my dharma.

Everyone has a 'calling'.  For some that calling whispers in the quiet of the night and they spend their waking hours trying to remember the sound and shape of the words.  Some people just know their calling from infancy and move toward it without many sidelines or detours.  Sadly, some people spend their entire lives not just unaware of their personal calling, but also oblivious that such things exist.

In the past several years, my calling has become clear to me.  I seem to have a gift as somewhat of a life change mentor.  Given that my initial career choice was divorce lawyer, this does not seem much of a stretch.  Getting divorced rates right up there on the life change scale. 

I always gravitated toward clients who were stuck in the mire that is left in the wake of disintegrating relationship.  The sludge that pulls even the most gentle souls into the abyss of anger and self-loathing over what was both done and left undone.  I listened patiently to tales of spousal betrayal and broken promises.  Witnessing their stories often gave them the opportunity for closure and healing.  Just as often it inspired a higher level of hatred and anger.  I learned to focus on the factual bits.  The details that were uncontroverted and unarguable.  Things like the date of marriage and the kids names and birthdates.  I changed my process to require new clients to write out their story for me.  This gave them the opportunity to vent their spleen and sprew the nasties on paper, where I could read through and pull out the germaine information that I needed to properly frame and present their claim.  But there was always something missing, something wrong with the system I was working within.

For example, I was somewhat limited in my ability to tell my client he/she was being a completely unreasonable idiot.  Which I never really knew, in any event, because I had only one side of the story.  And a very, very, very biased one side at that.  Sure, I would get the other party's version of events in the battle of the affidavits and letters from opposing counsel. 

As I edged toward burn out, I found myself exhausted from suffering fools.  Not just my clients, but the other lawyers and often even the judges who were charged with figuring out a solution to the client-created messes.  Most days I just wanted to sit and cry.  Tears for the clients and their former partners, but mostly tears for the children caught in the tangled webs of lies, anger, sorrow and mistrust that had been nurtured, fertilized and grown by their parents.  It was a relief when we left the Back of Beyond and I was able to take some time off.

The time off did not renew my desire to continue my former profession, much to Renfrew's chagrin.  He was quite taken with being the professional's husband. . . although I'm not sure why.  Once I realized that the law bus had left the station and I was happy just waving as it pulled passed, I began to look for other career options. 

For 3 years I had my 'dream job'.  I worked within the court system helping family law clients work out child support and helping self-represented family law litigants in the superior court with procedure and the organization of their materials.  I did not take sides and gave information freely to those who asked, including providing computer calculations for child support situations.  I explained forms and documentary requirements and tried to demystify court room protocol and process.  For the average person, speaking in court is not unlike confronting the Great Oz.  Terrifying.  By explaining the process and acting as cheerleader, I like to think I helped individuals present their cases in calm and clear fashion.

But in reality, I was only play-acting at understanding my clients until my own marriage dissolved near the end of my first year in this position.  Seriously, I try to empathize with the broken hearts and the feelings of anger and abandonment, but it was nothing I had ever experienced. 

Suddenly the affidavits of those both applying for and defending against protection orders seemed less crazy.  Now, don't get me wrong there was NEVER a hint of seriously angry words, much less actions, in my marriage or during its demise.  We were always civil, if not particularly kind.  However, I can admit that there were moments when I had Carrie Underwood thoughts of baseball bats and Renfrew's Mustang.  The only difference between me and my clients was:  I would never have acted on those thoughts.  Not in my DNA to act out violently.  And whether that disinclination was from some hardwired, genetic trait or just how my Mom raised me, I don't know.  But I'm glad for it.

Anyway, it wasn't until my own personal sh*t storm struck that I truly understood how bereft a person can become when those things that were TRUE no longer are.  How having the floor drop out from under your feet can send you on a spiral of pain and bad choices.  There was a part of me (probably the same baseball bat referenced part noted above) that wanted to become a screaming crazed scorned ex-wife complete with wild eyes and frothing mouth.  You know what I mean.  But I didn't.  It would have hurt not just Renfrew but also the Pumpkin. 

Strangely one of the things that I believe not only got me through those first several months, but ultimately allowed me to find a path to healing, was helping my clients.  I truly got on a deep level that helping others, helps us.  As I made suggestions to them on constructive, positive ways to try to deal with their situations, I took the advice myself.  I could see a little part of me in almost every situation.

In counseling my clients to remember the good things that attracted them to their former partners, I remembered the good in Renfrew.  I bent over backwards trying to involve Renfrew (who had his own way of dealing with the separation) in the Pumpkin's life. 

As time passed, I felt growth in parts of my character and soul that I didn't realize could grow.  Everytime I gave Renfrew the benefit of the doubt, I was equal parts irritated and genuinely forgiving.  Everything I saw my kid hug us both with abandon and talk about her dad with the adoration a 9 year old has for the man who is EVERYTHING to her, my heart grew.  I knew that my hurt and anger had NOTHING to do with her feelings for her dad and she needed those feelings to be strong.  He was the man who would teach her what a man is supposed to be.

Since my dream job ended I haven't had much chance to encounter people in that life change blender that is divorce.  Several of my old friends have sought me out and I like to think I talked them off the ledge and gave them some different ideas about how to look at their situation.

So how does this relate to my job change?  I am now working in a family law office . . . not as a lawyer, that is no longer something I have the desire to do . . . I am the assistant who deals with the clients.  My concern is helping my boss get the information she needs from the clients.  If I help some of those clients see their situation as a growth opportunity, that is even better.