CANADA HOT SPRINGS and IDAHO WINTER ADVENTURES

On the ferry heading back to the US

We continued our travel eastward and the weather and the roads just get colder and more dangerous.  We knew that this would be part of our travels, so Shane just drove REALLY slow and I just
I have no idea how this is comfortable for him!
distracted myself on the computer so I wouldnt have a panic attack.  If I pay attention to the roads I just see us sliding off every hill, sliding into oncoming traffic or rolling over into a ditch. No amount of positive thinking was gonna help me through these roads.  

We pulled into an aquatic center in Trail after a crazy day on the road.  We grab our frozen (literally) bathing suits out of the camper and start to head into the center when Jill says, "Mom, our tire is
Jill sledding down a hill on a plastic lid
making a weird sound!"  There is a huge BOLT coming out of our tire and she was hearing the air slowly leaking out of the tire.  Alli runs inside to get Shane before he gets all cozy in the hot tub.  It is 18 degrees out, late on a Sunday, pretty much dusk outside...and every tire repair shop in town is closed.  
Shane heads out to find a shop to fix the tire before it goes flat. 

The kids and I enjoy the warmth of the pools and hot tub, Jill goes down the waterslide and jumps off the diving board and rope swing.   It is so complicated in Canada because we have no cell service, so I have no way of knowing where Shane has gone or if he was able to find a place to get it fixed. Looking out the
windows, watching the snow fall for 2 hours and seeing this car nearly go up and over the barrier into the river below, I cannot help but give thanks that the only problem we faced today was a bolt in our tire.  One hour later, Shane gets back.  There was a Canadian tire 5 miles out of town and for $30US, the biggest problem of our day is solved.

The next day we head to Nelson.  This is another city in BC that we love.  A great library, aquatic center and ice skating are all on the list of things to do.  Then reality sets in....there are no open campgrounds and the Walmart in Nelson does not allow overnight parking.  

We keep driving to our next destination...Ainsworth Hot Springs.  We have been here numerous times.  It is our FAVORITE hot springs by far.  There is a hot pool, CAVES that you can swim through and the hot springs just pours out of the sides and top, and a cold plunge pool. The road here is super sketchy, it is icy and cold, a storm is coming in and there is NO WHERE TO CAMP.  We decide that we have endured a lot of freezing cold and a lot of cramped spaces and so we spoil ourselves by getting 2 nights in the hotel here.

It ended up being the best decision we could have made because the snow did not stop for over 24 hours.  It was so peaceful to watch the snow from the hot springs and from the banquet room and hotel room.  It was kind of complicated with Chaco because they did not allow pets and he does not do well without exercise...but we did take him twice to an unplowed road so that he could run around and get some energy out.

During this time, my grandma was not doing so well.  Her oxygen levels were dropping and she was in quite a bit of pain.  We decided to end our trip early and head to Sandpoint, Idaho to spend a few extra days with family there.   The only trouble is that the highway from where we are to Sandpoint keeps getting closed down due to rolled semi trucks, fallen trees and car accidents.  We aren't sure if it will be open the next day when we are leaving....and the snow just keeps coming down.  I am worried we wont get to see Grandma in time.

I spend all night awake, watching the weather reports and following the facebook group for Bonner's Ferry who has an AMAZING person who updates all the road conditions.  Around 2am it seemed like we would be able to get through and then I was able to sleep.  We took the free Kootenay Ferry (Longest free ferry in Canada) and made it safely to Sandpoint.  

Our time in Sandpoint was bittersweet.  Besides time with my parents and my aunt and uncle, we also got to see my cousins, Scot and Mat, who we have not seen in 10 years, they had never even met Jill.    My
I am so tired of being cold!! It is FREEZING!!!
cousin Wendy and her family was there which was wonderful.  The last time we saw them, the babies were 1.  Now they are 3 and had SO much fun playing with Alli and Jill.  It was so precious to watch.  And we also got to see my grandma quite a few times, although she was very out of it most of the time due to the pain medications.


A few times she was aware that we were there.  One of the times was when my dad was sitting next to her on her bed and he said, "Mom, you look so pretty!" and she made an eyeroll (as best she could), slowly lifted her arm up to her face and said to her best ability, "Oh, I am just GORGEOUS" and posed her arm under her face.  That was the last day I saw her more aware.  

Christmas night we went to see her again and she was really restless and mumbling a lot.  I sat by her and put my hand on her
arm and just sent her love and peace - through my thoughts and my hands and my heart - and she became quiet and calm and was able to go to sleep.    I am grateful we were able to see her and spend this time with her before she leaves this world. 

Chaco played Frisbee in the snow



We had a lot of fun in Sandpoint also. Shane, Jill and the cousins went cross country skiing.  We took the kids sledding and Jill used her skis which was terrifying for me!!  We went to see Star Wars, had amazing food, watched Christmas movies and stayed up late talking.  It was wonderful to spend so much time with family that we dont see very often.  A Christmas we will not be quick to forget.  


We stayed in the camper at my uncle and aunts house because there were 11 people sleeping in the house! If we learned anything on this trip, it was that we sleep REALLY HOT in the camper. The lowest the furnace goes is 50 but even with that on...the camper will still grow ice inside when it is 20 degrees outside!!  







We have also reached the limit of the amount of winter we can handle.  We are headed back home to spend New Year's in Chico, with some blue skies and 60 degree days!! Next year for Christmas we are heading SOUTH!

Jill with Scot and Mat

Shane and I were talking about this trip and what we learned from the last 3 weeks.  For sure we learned that we do NOT want to travel north during the winter again.  I learned that it is OK to admit that I do not enjoy being cold and/or the snow.  We also learned that sometimes trips are taken not to get away from everything, but to be thrown into the middle of it all.  



And finally, we saw first hand that life is short, and when it is time for us to be taking our last breaths we will have no regrets.  We have immense gratitude following our hearts and living a life that fills us with love, happiness and appreciation for all we have and everyone in our life.

BLESSINGS FOR A FANTASTIC 2018


TRAVELING RAVEN - MAIDEN VOYAGE

BRITISH COLUMBIA IN WINTER - driving in the snow, ice, mud, dirt,etc.....our rig is officially broken in!

The story of how we got here is LONG, but it super important to us as a family.  You will get the abbreviated version.  

2015 - the hardest year of our life - left our family tattered and torn and scared about the future.   Jill's sudden onset of SEVERE separation anxiety paired with an INTENSE phobia of throwing up and as if that wasn't enough, add in her waking screaming at the top of her lungs 6 - 8 times every single night for 9 MONTHS!!! (she was 7), in the middle of this our dog dies, two months later we get a puppy and I slowly becoming nearly paralyzed for 3 weeks, I am told I MUST have surgery or my back will never heal, I refuse, but slowly get better over 4 - 6 months.  I still have a limp though...I wonder if I ever will fully recover.  

It was these dark times that helped me find the ANGEL in human form who has forever changed our family.   She helped to transform all of us into believers that WE are the ones who create the life we want. She continues to teach us that every day we make a choice - we can live in fear or we can live in gratitude. Simple.

Want to know more......start here:  AWAKENED YOGA Shane and I both did the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.  So much more than getting certified to teach yoga!


April 4, 2017 - Shane quit his job at Oroville High after 13 years of teaching there!  He created quite some waves by doing so...Tenured teachers just DO NOT QUIT their jobs, especially when you are basically quitting so you can spend more time with your family and ESPECIALLY when you have no other job lined up.  Most people thought we were INSANE!


But we didnt care, AT ALL!  I LOVE my job with Inspire and we were just going to make it work.  We had lived on one income for our entire married life and FEAR was not going to stop us from following what our hearts were telling us to do.

 We believed in our decision and the outcome was that by May, Shane had a job with Inspire also.  Our dream was becoming our reality....we can spend every day together, travel and homeschool our kids while we both have full time jobs that we absolutely LOVE!



In Sept we buy our GMC and in November - TRAVELING RAVEN...our home, school and office away from home - is born.  We have immense gratitude for this life we have created and for those who supported us as we have paved this path into the unknown.


Driving from Osoyoos to Trail British Columbia
So....our first trip is to interior British Columbia.  We had planned on heading to Vancouver Island, but on the drive there I got a phone call from my dad that my grandma (his mom) was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer. People wonder why we never make plans for our vacations.  This is why.  In a heartbeat we were able to head East instead of North so that we can spend Christmas with my parents, my grandma and my family in North Idaho.  

We have had a lot of fun and a lot of craziness.  The four of us PLUS Chaco living out of our camper in sub-freezing weather is definitely not for everyone.  

We are learning how to make it work though....Canada has amazing aquatic centers, we always find libraries and coffeeshops to do our schoolwork (yes, we do school year round!)  and we use our furnace in the camper.  At home our house is about 50 - 55 degrees.  In the camper we keep it at a STEAMY 60
Jill jumped from the platform.
Takes after her mom!
degrees!  We have found RV parks that have hot tubs, and hot springs and even just a quick stop in a warm store!!












The kids' FAVORITE campground was a Walmart parking lot.  Apparently, Walmart (some of them) will let people park overnight so in TRAIL, BC we couldnt find anywhere to camp so we used the Walmart parking lot.  

The kids played until 10pm in the parking  lot, building an ice wall.  They were VERY disappointed in the morning when they realized the parking lot attendant plowed it down.  

Week 1 is a success!


HERE ARE SOME MORE PICS FROM OUR FIRST WEEK.


This is what Alli does while I do work at a coffee shop in Fort Langely.  
Sunset driving from Harrison Hot Springs to Rosedale BC

A LESSON IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

I am feeling called to share this short story.  Those of you who know me and have read my blog in the past will be super amazed at how SHORT this post is going to be and - no pictures!  But I have learned that things are simple...we humans make things way too complicated.  

I am going to start with the moral of the story which is - what you give is what you get.  

Due to circumstances that are COMPLETELY my own fault, for the next 2 months, Shane and I are only getting 30% of our budgeted income.  I knew this was coming for the last two weeks and was planning accordingly.  I wasn't afraid or freaking out, I was simply preparing for how this was going to affect us in the present moment. If there is one thing that Shane and I have learned over the last year, it is that FEAR gets you no where!!!  Trust is the only power that brings you higher.

So, part of my preparing was to re-evaluate how we were going to be spending money this month and next month.  We had already planned to donate a large amount of money to someone who we love and support, and it (briefly) crossed my mind that maybe this wasn't the BEST time to be doing this. However, I know from experience that when we feel like we CANT give, that is exactly when we NEED to give.  I went to the bank and pulled out the money. Today, we gave her the money with the words - "This is a gift of unconditional love." No fear for if we should have kept the money for ourselves, nothing but pure happiness and gratitude at being able to lighten someone else's load.

Yesterday, I was with a different friend who was talking about some financial struggles she was having and in a heartbeat I offered to help cover the expense.  I was blown away because instead of being offended and/or defensive and saying "No, no....we are fine!" she started to cry and thank me profusely for caring so much.  My heart was filled with so much love and joy for how EASY it is to help another human being be seen and heard and valued. 

These two instances happened within 24 hours of each other.  My heart is so full of joy that our family can help others with no expectations of anything in return.  We never do anything with the thought of what we might get out of it.  What we do, we do with love.

But let me tell you what the side effect of these actions was.....not even 1 hour passes today after we give our gift of love to our cherished friend and I get a phone call that we will be receiving 4 TIMES the amount that we just gave away.  

You get what you give and then more.....TRUTH.

Thank you to our cherished and beloved friend who we had the pleasure of spending our day with.  You know who you are and you are loved forever UNCONDITIONALLY.  You are a gift to the universe. And to our Spiritual Family (you also know who you are) we would not be here without all of you.  So much love for helping us become who we are.

THE ENDING DOESN'T MATTER...NOW IS ALL WE HAVE



JILL - She is going to change this world...no mountain is too high for this kid!


It is 10:37 on a Saturday night, Shane is camping in the Eastern Sierras by himself and I am home with the girls trying to catch up on my life now that I have a full time job, but for some reason I must - I mean ABSOLUTELY MUST update my blog right now. I never question these feelings.  There must be someone out there who needs this information right now so I am going to share it.

 If you are not quite sure why this picture above has any significance, it is most likely because you do not know the struggles that our family endured during 2015.  If you do know, then you understand that this picture of Jill taken just TWO MONTHS ago with an ICE CREAM in one hand and FRENCH FRIES in the other is practically a MIRACLE!

( If you are interested in the back story you can start here: JILL'S STORY BEGINS)

In a nutshell, about 18 months ago Jill became phobic of VOMIT, to the point that our life as we knew it changed dramatically.  She had thrown up once in her life (happened two years prior to this phobia starting) and in 2015 seemingly out of the blue she began to think EVERYTHING would cause her to throw up.  This is a short list of what she thought would cause her to throw up:


  • Any and all food, especially sugar and junk food
  • fruit (because that was what she threw up the one time)
  • any tummy sensation at all - hungry, full, thirsty, scared
  • pooing
  • going to sleep
  • waking up in the middle of the night
  • me going away from her at all
  • sunny days (it was sunny the day she threw up 2 YEARS prior)
  • someone else having a tummy ache
  • eating in a restaurant
  • touching her mouth after touching her nose
  • coughing
  • talking about throw up
  • saying the word throw up
  • driving in the car
  • being in the room with someone else who has thrown up
etc....I think you get the point.  All day long, every single day and into the night she asked me over and over if she would throw up.  She basically stopped eating for 2 months, she did not sleep through the night for 9 months, and she spent the majority of every day and night in some form of a tantrum.

So, that is why the above picture carries so much meaning.

To say we have made progress is a major understatement.  How did this happen you ask....well, basically it happened when I left her for 5 days and went to Fort Bragg alone and she came to realize she would not die (throw up, not sleep, not eat, not have any fun) if I was away from her. (read it here....THE STORY WITH NO ENDING)

If you remember, when I left I told her - When I come back you may just realize you are a lot stronger than you think you are.  And
that was exactly what happened.  While I was in Ft. Bragg she had a fantastic time with Shane and Alli.  She ate a DONUT!  She SLEPT ALL NIGHT!!!  She HAD FUN!

Then I came back and wondered if it would all fall to pieces once I got home - because I was clearly the problem!!! and it kind of did but Shane and I (and my parents) were prepared.  We made some rules.  I was 100% off limits at night.  If she needed tucked in, then Daddy could do it.  If she needed any sort of comfort at night, it was only gonna be Daddy coming to save her. I was NOT dropping her off at activities anymore - If Poppy dropped them off
then all the questions (Mommy, when will you be back, how long will you be gone, what if I get afraid, what if I get a tummy ache)...would not happen.  If she needed picked up from an activity cuz she was afraid then Poppy would do it.  She needed to realize she was going to be OK if I was not involved.

Guess what...we had a rough three nights, but by night 4 she was sleeping ALL NIGHT LONG.  It has been 9 full months and she goes to all her activities without a problem and has never called me
or Poppy to come and pick her up.  Night time is a different story, but I am actually really content with what we have done with nighttime (more of that later in the post).

One week after I got back from my trip to Ft. Bragg, Shane and I decided we needed to keep it up that she was OK away from me.  He took her camping up in Lassen just the two of them.  They went for 2 nights.  Those are the pictures up above.  They skied and built a snow fort and had hot chocolate and slept in the back of the cruiser.  She didnt want to come home on Sunday.  A week later he took Alli alone...Alli, she sure got the short end of the stick for a while there.


Two weeks later we went away alone...cross country skied in Tahoe, slept in the cruiser, hung out at coffee shops and read and played cribbage and caught up on life together...ALONE. 


Recall, 5 months prior to this trip where I SKIED up a MOUNTAIN, I had been unable to walk, stand, drive, etc...for 21 days.   Only 3 months prior to this I was still needing to ride in a RASCAL to go grocery shopping because I couldn't stand longer than 10 minutes.  

The fact that I could walk, hike and SKI is nothing short of BEAUTIFUL. (THE LAST CHAPTER)  The girls stayed with Mimi and Poppy.  It wasnt perfect, Jill had trouble going to sleep, but that's ok...things dont need to be perfect.  And bless my dad...he texted me the whole time saying she slept great and there were no problems so I had a wonderfully peaceful time.  

February I turned 40!  Can you believe it?  I never would have imagined I would be so over the moon excited to be 40.  I wanted to get as far away from 39 and the year 2015 as I could.  March and April were amazing.




May - Shane and I celebrate 24 years of being together, 17 years of
a marriage that just keeps getting stronger and more amazing every year. 

June - we leave for our summer trip.  7 weeks of camping - first time ever with a dog.  Chaco is the best camping dog EVER!  Jill sleeps great the whole time, eats ice cream and junk food the whole time (so much for paleo, huh???)  and doesnt worry a single second!

I get to go on a 12 mile hike ALONE over the Virginia Lakes pass...yes 12 miles....yes over 10,000 feet...all without a single pain in my entire body.  Isnt that INCREDIBLE!!


Here are some other gems from our summer trip:




We got back from all of our travels Aug 28th (the girls and I were gone longer than 7 weeks, Shane had to go back to work) and Jill started to struggle with sleep again.  She has always had a bit of trouble with sleeping after our summer trips because she is so used to sleeping in a tent with all of us.  Shane and I had already talked about what would happen if she started getting up again in the middle of the night so we were prepared when she started showing up in our room at 3am asking to be tucked back in.

We pulled her extra mattress into our (TINY) room and now when she wakes up in the middle of the night she knows to quietly crawl into her sleeping bag and go to sleep.  She always grabs my hand, first and then she goes right to sleep.  I think about all the months of crazy, traumatic nights when Shane and I refused to let her sleep in our room with us and I feel a little guilt,

but THEN I remember that NOW is all that matters.  If I hadn't lived through THEN, I would not appreciate NOW so much.  This is a beautiful time in our life and we are all growing closer and more loving with one another and nothing but good is coming from all of the suffering we have experienced.


I just want to finish by saying that Jill has come into her own.  I finally found the PERSON -  truly the ONE  -  who I have been searching for since this all began in 2015.  This amazing soul is finally the one who will help Jill become to person she is meant to be.  

When I told Jill we were going to see another "helper" she rolled her eyes and said 

WHY???  NO ONE has been able to help me, why are we trying someone else?


My response - I will never stop looking for someone who will help you to know that you are OK JUST AS YOU ARE!

This woman - my life saver - had Jill climb up onto the table, she put her hands on my child (and just sat there, with her hands on Jill's shoulders not saying a word) and 90 seconds later Jill tips her head up to look at this wonderful woman and says-

I WANT TO COME SEE YOU ALL THE TIME.

She makes Jill feel safe, calm and balanced.  She is teaching Jill there is a reason she feels what she feels and that she is exactly who she needs to be and doesn't need to change a thing about WHO, HOW OR WHY she is the way she is. 

Two weeks ago a kid in one of her outdoor classes got a tummy ache and went home.  When I picked Jill up that day she told me about it.  This is what she said:

"He had a tummy ache so then I thought I had a tummy ache.  But then I remembered that I don't need to take his tummy ache and make it my own.  It belongs to him.  So then my tummy ache went away.  I didn't need to come home.  I knew I was OK."

I'm gonna end this huge ESSAY on that note and just say that the title of this post could not be more true.  Really, the ending does not matter.  Now is all we have.  


If you read all the way to here, thank you.  If you know someone with a child who might need some "help" share my info with them.  My dream is that others do not need to go through HELL first to find the answers to what their child needs.  We are all in this together.  Reach out to each other, we are never alone in our struggles.


THE STORY WITHOUT AN ENDING


In August and into September, when I could not walk, sit, drive, eat or sleep.... Jill got over her fears, phobias, separation anxiety and sleep issues.

If you need some background as to what this "story" is all about you can start at the beginning -  or anywhere

EMETOPHOBIA and why our family is in CRISIS
The Darkest Hour
DONT LET A FEAR BECOME A PHOBIA
The LAST Chapter....

Life returned to semi-normal. She would go to her homeschool classes alone so I would have a few short hours to myself during the week.

But, I couldnt walk, do yoga, ride my bike, etc...so I started to feel depressed, even though I didnt know it at the time.  I was coming off the Lyrica I had been on for a month (for the nerve pain) and I blamed withdrawl symptoms for a lot of my sadness and lack of motivation to live.   But I also know that I have a hard time with sitting around, and figured my injury was hurting me much more than just physically.

Jill started playing Soccer and LOVED it.  Her fears seemed to
come back once soccer ended.  The distraction was good for her.
In spring she is doing basketball, art, hip hop, archery and track!
I think this girls needs to be busy.
Over the following two month span, I started to improve and could walk a little, ride my bike and for some reason I was able to rollerblade. As I got better, Jill regressed. Now she knew that if she called for me in the middle of the night I was ABLE to get up and come to her, so....she started waking up for me again. Then she was scared one day when I dropped her off at her classes and she wouldn't stay unless I stayed there with her.

I dealt with her regression pretty well. Not perfectly, but I was able to show her compassion and understanding for a little while.  I figured it would be slow lived.

Why would she want to go back to waking up at night and being afraid to be away from me....it couldn't last long. But it did.  

Now that I wanted to be out hiking, biking or rollerblading, she started acting worried anytime I left. I felt myself slowly going crazy...I was feeling trapped again, and I did not want to go back to feeling that way.  


One day she threw a fit because she didn’t want to go with my dad to the library. She was AFRAID, she said.  Why did I have to take Chaco rollerblading?  Could she go with me, cuz she was nervous....

 I yelled at her then, LOUD AND MEAN

I DONT CARE IF YOU ARE AFRAID.....I NEED A BREAK! NOW GO WITH POPPY!!!

She still refused to go, but after a few minutes of me berating her she finally went, and I felt horrified with myself. I am not a yeller...What was happening to me? 

 I had endured 9 solid weeks of Jill not leaving my side, daily crying over her tummy hurting whenever she put a tiny morsel in her mouth, HOURS and HOURS of her screaming in the middle of the night about how afraid she was that she would throw up.....I handled her with more love and kindness back then...how was that possible? 
Alli before her dance show...she took Jazz

Now, she never worried about food she ate, she was even eating sweets again without thinking it would make her throw up.  Yes, she got up at night, but usually only once and she just wanted tucked back in.  There was never screaming involved. And she didn't want to be at CORE alone, but she loved going places with my parents and Shane (except for the library incident)!  My life was NOT that hard anymore but I was falling to pieces every day...

I came to the conclusion that I was just a terrible person.  I made being a mom look awful, I was a terrible wife and an awful friend. School with the girls was just about killing me....I was only seeing the negative in everything around me.  I didn't understand what the point of my life was anymore.  I was making myself and everyone around me miserable.

November and December are a total blur to me. I think I was walking around in a dazed depression. Not smiling, not laughing, not finding joy in anything. I literally would just sit and stare at the walls.  
One day the girls had me take pictures of them as they made the whole alphabet out of their bodies.  This did bring a smile to my face!

It really makes me sad to think about how much of this year I sat around staring at the walls....how has this become my life??

At some point in November, I told Shane I needed to get away...what I really wanted was to get away with him, but Jill was adamant that she would NOT be OK with us both leaving.  Yes, I could have just said TOO BAD, but I was not going to risk leaving her screaming at my parents or even worse...chasing our car as we drove away.  

 So, maybe as an intermediate step I could take just 2 nights in a hotel. Shane could handle her screaming as I left and I knew I needed a break.
My first TV since I was 18....bought not to watch TV, but to play video games! HA!   And of course for Yogaglo.com

But I needed to be realistic.  Jill was back to barely being able to handle me going on a bike ride, how did I think I was going to get away OVERNIGHT! More than once, I backed out of taking a short vacation alone.

On December 19th, at our weekly family meeting, I made the mistake of mentioning that I wanted to get away by myself. Jill did not handle this news well. She was immediately sobbing and saying that I could not go away overnight. As you can imagine, our meeting ended badly. I felt even MORE like getting away because it was obvious that I was TRAPPED by my 8 year old. 

That day, Jill asked me endlessly about when, where and how long I was going to leave. I finally told her that I refused to answer any more questions. It was non-negotiable and I was ALLOWED to go away. She stopped asking but she was distraught.

December 22nd – I told Shane that I wanted to leave on the 26th. We would tell Jill on Christmas and maybe she would be happy when we said she could play the Wii ALL DAY when I left  and it would go just fine.....

I told him – DO NOT LET ME BACK OUT!!!! I need to get away.

December 23rd – I back out...Jill was doing relatively good, did I really want to mess with it. I didn't want to screw up Christmas for her. She would be a total mess after she found out I was leaving. I couldn't do that to her. 

I didn't HAVE to get away, I had endured this for over a year....I could handle it for a bit more and give her the time to grow some more.  I have NEVER taken a vacation by myself, why was I choosing to do it right now??  I can wait...

Christmas day Wii games....Who is having the most fun????

December 24th – The most awful Christmas eve in my life. I could not sleep the night before. Jill wouldn't go to bed, then she got up twice in the night and I lost about 4 hours of sleep just tossing and turning. 

Was this challenge that we were facing with Jill EVER GOING TO END???? 

Would I ever be able to just go to bed and sleep all night....would I ever be able to leave the house even for an hour without Jill being worried? Would Shane and I ever be able to go backpacking or cross country skiing alone again?? 

Nothing in life is guaranteed and I don't want to wait until she outgrows this....I WANT TO GO NOW!!!! I decided during that 4 hours of being awake when I should have been sleeping....

I WAS LEAVING – 5 NIGHTS CAMPING IN FORT BRAGG ALL ALONE.......

BUT.....

What if me going away threw her for a tailspin??? Recently, she had refused to eat a few times when I wasn't around. What if she didn't eat the whole time I was gone. What if she stays up screaming all night? What if she wont let me go and Shane has to pry her off of my body. What if she actually throws up while I am gone....she will NEVER leave my side again. I was headed for my own tailspin, but I was leaving.

I told Shane my plans in the morning. I would leave on the 26th and we would tell her that morning...give her an hour or two notice and if she spent the whole time screaming than SO BE IT!

Christmas Eve had been awful, I screamed and cried a lot. I was
Sweet Alli...so ignored during this past year...I need
to change that in 2016.
exhausted and at the end of what I could handle. I told Jill that if she didn't start sleeping better then I was going to start sleeping one night a week somewhere else, I don't even care where – I just NEED SOME SLEEP.

I yelled at her that I needed to start putting my needs first every once in a while. I needed to be able to go on a bike ride without her freaking out about it. I need some time to myself!! She was horrified at my behavior and did her own screaming and crying, but I didn't care. 

I was a terrible, awful parent that day, but we are all allowed to screw up every once in a while.  I was sad it was Christmas Eve, though – Shame on me, right? 

But guess what....Jill slept good that night, and Christmas night, too.

Dec 26th, 7:30am Jill was cleaning up her Christmas toys and I walked into her room and said, “Jill, I am leaving for my trip today.” She totally and completely lost it. Screaming NO NO NO NO over and over again. She said all of the following things, while screaming at the top of her lungs:

  • I cant live without you
  • I wont be able to sleep if you arent here
  • You cant go, I wont let you. I will block the car.
  • I will scream all night long and no one will get any sleep
  • I wont sleep the whole time you are gone
  • YOU CANNOT GO!!!!

There was no consoling her.
I said, “You will have Daddy at night.”
She said, “He isnt you.”

I said, “Daddy has so many fun things planned.”
She said, “I dont care about any of them, I just want you to stay here.”

I said, “I really need a break.”
She said, “Why do you need to be away from me? I let you go on bike rides.”

I said, “You are going to be ok.”
She said, “How do you know????”

She progressively became more frantic. Her entire face was filled with splotchy red hives.  She was shaking so badly that her teeth were chattering uncontrollably.

Yes, heartbreaking...but I was not backing out....I needed to get away to see if I could snap out the depression that had a grip on me....I needed to get away to get some sleep and I needed to get away so that Jill and I BOTH would see that she actually could live without me.

After about 15 minutes of screaming and crying, she finally calmed down. She called me into her room and told me something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

She said, “Mommy, I KNOW I am going to be OK. I really do know that. But I am just really, really scared.”

What a gift to this poor worn out mom....She had been listening to me all these months, she was going to be OK, I was going to be OK...we are ALL going to be OK. 

I told her that of course it was perfectly normal to be scared. This was a HUGE step for her and we all knew it might be difficult. 

I also shared this fact with her - "Jill, I NEVER, EVER would have gone on a trip overnight back when you couldn't handle me going on a 15 minute bike ride.  The only reason I am going now is because I KNOW that you can handle this.  It might take some strength that you didn't know you had, but you WILL SURVIVE me being gone."  

I mentioned to her that she just might feel more grown up when I get back because of this brave step she was taking. She smiled and said she felt brave already. I hope I am right.

Two hours later I gave her a kiss goodbye and she told me to have fun. I drove to Fort Bragg. I have been here for 4 days and still have 2 days left. I have sat staring at the ocean, spent hours writing in my journal and riding my bike, hiking, walking along the Noyo Headlands in the pitch dark and pouring rain. 

How grateful I am to be here, and to be able to move my body and free my mind from the entrapment I have felt for over a year.  

My beautiful, generous sister who always spoils me gave me $$$ for my trip and I have treated myself to a new yoga mat, 6 meals, 2 movies, 5 yoga classes, and numerous cups of coffee, chai and tea and I still have more to spend. Thank you, Nick!! T. Bar date when I get back!!


As for Jill??? It was hard for me to relax the first night because I was very concerned with how her first night without me would go. I have no cell signal so I was relying on a finding a pay phone to use a calling card or finding a coffeeshop with wifi to get word on how the night went. 

As you might have guessed – she did GREAT!!! They had a great day and then at bedtime she came out of her room 3 times and had Shane tuck her back in and she woke up once during the night but went right back to sleep! What a relief!!

The second morning I got this email from Shane:

We had a great night. Jill called me in once saying she missed you and then did not call me in after that. She actually slept through the night. During the day Jill mentions that she is fine with you being away and wishes that you where gone for longer. I definitely feel like this has been a great experience for her...

And today I called and talked to her.  She said, "Mommy, don't be offended, but I am having so much fun.  I am sleeping good at night even though you aren't here.  You can go on another trip anytime you want.  I still love you so much, though!"  
Me and Jill's Cheetah...she told me to take her everywhere
with me.

The last two nights she has gone to bed and slept all night long.  

What a relief this is for my poor worn out soul. I am finding that my true self is still inside this body somewhere. I am determined to find her and nurture her back to health. This year has been terribly difficult for me and our family, and I have felt like giving up A LOT of times...I hope that my days of wanting to give up are over.

I also know there is a a very strong possibility that Jill is just going to go right back to waking up at night when I return home...but at least now I know I can get away when I need to, and maybe that will make it easier to tuck her back in at 2am - even when I know she can do it herself. 

But, maybe...just maybe...she will have grown enough during this time to know that she can just keep sleeping all night long...even if I am home.

Thank you, sweet Shane, for making this possible. You are amazing.  I know I have been a difficult person to be around this year, but you have only supported and loved me more because of it. You are such a gift in my life.  

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