I recently received a note from a friend who is expecting a baby any day now. The feelings that he expressed mirror what I hear so often from fathers so I thought that I would repost it here:

"We are excited and nervous, but I think we’re as ready as you can be for this incredible change that’s coming. As for me, in what must be a common experience for fathers-to-be, I am searching myself for ways that I can be useful and make B-day easier for Sadia – it’s a funny feeling approaching this day together, but knowing that there is part of this journey that I can’t go on with her. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to ask all of you who know her to send me a little hand-written note of encouragement, congratulations, poetry, or whatever else you want to wish her, that I will put together in a scrap book and give to her to help her through what will be an intense time. I know she will love this, and more importantly, this will give me something to keep me busy and maintain my sanity!"

My reply was:
"Johnny: I have no doubt that you will know how to help once labour starts. Being a parent is all about love and the two of you have so much of that. Encourage her to trust her body and draw strength from your love. In many ways, having a baby together is like making love- I know that you will be so present, so in the moment, so intuitive, and so loving. It's a time when she may feel vulnerable or she may feel incredibly strong! It's a time when she may need you to be her rock, to hold her space, or to be her advocate.

Sadia: your body is made to give birth- trust in yourself- you are working together with your baby towards the birth of your new family. You will not be alone- there are so many other women who will be birthing at the same time as you. You are amazing and strong!"

I came across "Meditating Mamas" by Susan Whelehan and Rebecca Cunningham. This one is fitting for today:

"I can make this day a meditation by trying to be awake to all that happens. I don't need to be "The Perfect Mom." I do not need to have all the answers. I only need to know that I am deeply connected to all people, to this planet, and that this moment is precious. I want to look at all things today with gentle eyes, appreciating the beauty and mystery of life.
Wake up! This moment is precious."
I haven't blogged in a very long time. No excuses really! So, here is the first in a few that I have saved up.

When we moved to our home in East Vancouver, my first born was 8 months old. He immediately fell in love with our neighbour F and his daughter L. She was 4 at the time and loved carrying Owen around. She would sing, dance and put on puppet shows for him. By the time he could talk and walk, he would take off next door with her. They became inseparable on weekends. When she wasn't home, he wanted to be with his other best friend- her dad F. They would hang out, eat treats and play soccer. I never knew that people who aren't family could love my son so much. As a new mother, this was such a blessing. I knew that I could count on them for help when I really needed a break, and I did need them! I learned that it is OK to ASK for and RECEIVE help. I learned that Owen's love was a blessing for them. We all benefited!

So many friends have helped us over the years: H would come over one evening a week so that Dave and I could take tango lessons, my other neighbour A would babysit more often than I can count. The list of helpers goes on and on. Now I get to help others! My neighbour A has just had her second baby and I get to spend time with her daughter- such a pleasure! I can only hope to help my neighbour like how she helped me.

Do you ask for help? What would it take for you to allow yourself to reach out?
My relationship with my parents changed significantly when my first son was born. We have always been close but I saw them in a new light once I became a parent. So, here are 10 of the reasons why I think that they are great parents!
1- They have always loved me unconditionally.
2- They have always believed in me and encouraged all of my interests: they encouraged my peace activism when I was a teenager (in fact they even let me fly to a peace conference in Calgary alone when I was in my early teens!), they encouraged me to travel to El Salvador and Tunisia to do community development work, etc.
3- They always made time for us.
4- They have always stepped up to the plate when I have needed help: helping me move, helping us fix up our house, buying me groceries when I needed them, etc.
5- They helped me graduate from university debt free: so many of my friends are still paying off their education years later. I am so lucky.
6- They gave me my sisters and reminded us that sisters should always be there for each other, no matter what.
7- They made us do things that we didn't always want to!: cross-country skiing, going to classical music concerts, playing musical instruments, etc. What they were really doing was making interesting family life a priority. So important!
8- They travelled with us and showed us that there is so much out there to explore and so many things to learn.
9- They love my husband and he loves them!
10- They adore my children and make them a priority. My 6-year old said to my mother today: "Nana- I love you as much as I love my mummy and daddy. That's because you are my mummy's mummy- and she loves you like I do!"