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Racing against the clock to beat morning blues
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Racing against the clock to beat morning blues

Well, hello there!

Happy Wednesday. We’re halfway through the week — the days are getting longer, the weather is getting a little warmer, and Friday is just two days away. Life is good!

This morning was a real patience tester — I only had one school drop-off today because our older two girls are at their mom’s place. I woke up, put on the coffee, started boiling water for my picky kid's usual lunch: a thermos full of buttered noodles. I’ve given up fighting with my spirited 6-year-old about lunch. At least I know with the noodles she’ll eat.

The morning was a rushed slog. My daughter was moving at a snail’s pace getting ready for school, while I felt like I was maneuvering like a maniac trying to make sure nothing was forgotten. Lunch. Water bottle. Home reading. Agenda. CHECK! I was annoying myself with the constant “C’mons” and “Hurry ups” and “We’re gonna be lates” that I was spewing. It must be comical to see us experiencing the exact same routine in such dramatically different paces.

We made it into the van, her with a little plastic bowl of cut-up toast and a tumbler of milk for a to-go breakfast, and me in my winter coat and Sorels overtop of my pajamas. Tired eyes, messy bun and under-eye bags that not even the best concealer can help. I am that mom in the drop-off line.

We get to school. We’re late, but just barely. I count this as a win... until I realize that we forgot her snow pants.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal at all. Stuff happens, and it’s only another 15 or 20 minutes tacked on to our already late morning. However, in the moment it took everything in me to remain calm. This morning had been nagging at me, and these forgotten snow pants were the final straw. ARRRGH!

It’s funny how something so small such as forgetting a pair of snow pants can really throw a wrench in your morning. But it did. And there I was, feeling all defeated in the loading zone, telling my kid to get back into her seat (because COVID protocols say it’s best that parents don’t go into schools, so we should probably go back home together and get those snow pants rather than have me drop her off, then go get them and drop them off inside the school.) When I tell you that I was about to cry over something so incredibly silly as this little glitch in the morning, I am being dead serious.

But, I pulled myself together, let out a big sigh instead of anything more, and told my kid not to worry about it.

“Sometimes we’re late. It’s not a big deal.”

I am grateful to have her in these moments, though admittedly the tears and overreaction sometimes win out. But, in the grand scheme of things, she grounds me and makes me have to try harder to look at annoying situations from a longer, more thoughtful lens. Did this morning kinda suck? Yes. Are we even gonna remember it tomorrow? Probably not. It was just a little glitch, and it was not the end of the world.

Someone told me that these are the moments and memories — all the good and hard work that went into these kids— that we’ll cherish one day when they’ve grown up. They’re right. These are the moments that make life and our stories interesting.

I just realized that this is only my second newsletter and I am once again writing about snow pants. I promise you I am not being paid off by the snow-pant industry. It’s just a weird coincidence. I promise I won’t write about snow pants every week.

I also wanted to take a second to say a humble and heartfelt thank you to anyone who reached out to me about the column I wrote this week. I was nervous about writing this particular column, and sharing my out-of-hand wine/alcohol habit and how I am working to break — or take a pause — on that habit. Alcohol in my family and culture carries a great deal of shame and stigma, and I have been meaning to address it for a long time. I sometimes experience anxiety about sharing things or being vulnerable in such a public way, but I felt compelled to share because that’s when I do my best work — when it comes from a vulnerable place and in case anyone in a similar situation needed to hear it. The response from so many of you (to which I am still responding to emails) has been so supportive and kind. I appreciate all of the feedback I’ve received so far more than I can even say. Thank you.

Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook

SOME GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK…

This story about Jack and Kenny Colombe, the co-owners of Thompson Style Pizza filled my heart with joy. The brothers have put their heart and soul into this pizza venture and it seems to be paying off! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on the top of my list for next time we order pizza. If you haven’t read this story by David Sanderson yet, take a few minutes to give it a read.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Thompson Style Pizza opened inside the historic, 124-year-old Vendome Hotel at 308 Fort St. in mid-November.

Eva Wasney’s piece on kicksleds in this week’s Free Press was so much fun to read— I love learning about new things (Am I the only person who didn’t know about kicksleds? I have Scandinavian roots, but don’t recall ever hearing stories from my Amma about kicksleds.) Anyway, I’m glad to learn about them now. I like the idea of learning new ways to not only enjoy winter, but to get around in viable and accessible ways. Read the story here.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

From left: Anders Swanson of Trails Winnipeg; Marilyn Ekelund, Swedish Association board member; Urban Ahlin, the Swedish Ambassador to Canada;, Diana King, Honorary Consul for Norway and Sweden; and Sonja Lundstrom, Swedish Cultural Association of Manitoba president.

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Checking in on our friend Doug Speirs, who is still writing some Freelance pieces for the Free Press… This week he wrote about how he skated out of his comfort zone with with his wife and friends to enjoy some breathtaking river trails in Winnipeg, and he enjoyed the adventure!

Feb. 17 is the 11th Annual Perogy Dinner and Cake Auction for the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. This fundraiser is a virtual one, meaning that with your ticket you can pick up or have your make-at-home perogy meal kits delivered, watch the virtual show and take part in the cake auction from the comfort of your own home. Vegan options are available as well. Tickets are on sale until Feb. 11. The North Point Douglas Women’s Center does incredible work in the community, including operating the Mama Bear Patrol Clan. Learn more here.

THIS WEEK'S READER BRIDGE

This week’s Reader Bridge story is about Jovelle Balani, a young Filipina woman who immigrated to Canada in 2018 and who will represent Canada at the World Championships of Performing Arts for the second time, in Anaheim, Calif. The international gathering is often called the "talent Olympics" for aspiring performers and entertainers, and the only event of its kind held annually in the Hollywood area, the entertainment capital of the world.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jovelle Balani is working on a cover of a classic song that she looks forward to releasing soon and is planning to work on an EP this summer.

Thanks so much for reading this week’s newsletter. I also wanted to take a second to say a humble and heartfelt thank you to anyone who reached out to me about the column I wrote this week.

Stay safe and have a wonderful week.

Miigwetch,

Shelley

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