soft sounds of longing
travelling through each brittle branch
buds can’t wait to burst
soft sounds of longing
snow is muffling cries below
travelling through each branch
dripping sap to quench their thirst
maples on my street
buds can’t wait to burst
Mother Nature sings her song
“there there, won’t be long
© Tournesol ‘19-03-08
Happy Women’s International Day today!
To be a woman IS wonderful and for years now March 8th has been designated to celebrate our greatness. This is not because men are not to be celebrated and it is not even that we, women, want to be compared or measured in any way with men. Men too are aware of this huge change…for the better, well except for the few who may be bred and wired to think that women are second class citizens but this blog is to celebrate, to praise and a feel good piece, so…
Being raised in the 50’s and 60’s, the media portrayed women as passive, mediocre and not always too intelligent human beings. Oh, but they were glamorous, they could sing, they could dance and boy oh boy they could dress real fine and cook too! I was fortunate to be raised by my mom and my maternal grandmother. Both women worked!! In the 50’s not many women worked especially in small towns in Quebec. Being raised by strong willed, nurturing and amazing women, I had good models.
My grandmother, Gervaise Robert Daudelin, was a midwife and known as the village nurse. She was a strong willed women with a huge heart and brilliant mind. She understood people and they all loved her. I learned, at a young age, to give back and help my community…not out of religious obligation or guilt but out of compassion. She was also an amazing cook, had boarders in her home during the depression and during WW 2; she actually supported the family through tough times but in those days, a woman did it in the shadows. She was an amazing woman, friend, wife, mother of 7 children and greatest grandmother. She raised her family and raised my sister and myself and encouraged my mom and taught her that there was life after divorce (another thing that was rare in the mid 60’s in a small French Canadian town).
My mom, Colombe Daudelin, was a beautiful, glamorous and loving women, wife, mom and hairdresser…the latter that taught me just a bit about glamour…my mom, however, had it down pat alright. She was nicknamed Bette, after Bette Davis as a child and frankly she was much more beautiful than Ms. Davis and had aged much better without any cosmetic surgeries.
She had quit school at 14 to take care of her baby brother and then went on to hairdressing school at The Bay (Hudson Bay at that time). She devoted her life to pleasing people but she taught me to think of me for a change and have fun.
She supported her family throughout her entire marriage and thereafter. She blessed me and my children with such joy, spontaneity and her joie de vivre. My kids and grandson talk about “Nanny” with fondness and always with a smile or a chuckle.
My dear aunt, Mae Roberts Giroux, was my father’s sister and she has been an inspiration as well. She is an amazing artist and wonderful person. Her passion is art since she was a child having gone to École des Beaux Arts throughout her youth yet denied to further her studies because in art because “women just did not do that then!” Women in the 40
s and 50s could go into teaching, nursing or definitely secretarial. So Aunt Mae put her dream of being artist on hold for a few decades.
Speaking of secretaries, they were largely men who performed these duties, before male management realised they could get a woman to do the same job for less than half the salary. My father was a secretary with Canadian Pacific Railway years ago before women were hired to do it for much cheaper.
Aunt Mae raised 3 boys and returned to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto to get her art degree in her 40`s. I admire her determination and her talent.
Her husband encouraged her and he too was a man way ahead of his times…being a nurturer as well and having faith in his wife. Both have inspired me in so many ways. They encouraged me to risk change and believe in myself.
Of course I was also influenced by amazing women growing up like Dr. Marie Curie, my grade school teacher, Mrs. Grant, in high school, Sister Dufferin, Professors Marilyn Taylor, Mia Lobel and Pauline Gross from Concordia University. My mentors are many such as Selma Corobow (former Family Life Educator and manager CLSC Metro, Montreal), Dianne Goodyear who taught me to believe in myself and to trust my instincts (Family Life Educator), Diane Richard, a friend (Social Worker) and mentor who believed in me sometimes more than I did; Of course I have amazing friends, women who have enriched my life and taught me so much and I have learned from as many in my age group as from younger friends. Wonderful women like Rolande, Huguette, Annette, Dominique, Debbie, Maria, Michelle, France, Beatrice, Jenns (there are 4!), Pat, Jay, Pascale, Sara, Margie, Nicole, Peggy, Cécile, Jane and Joyce, Giséle, Janice, Donna, Valérie, Marie-Hélène, Judith, Sue, Kathie, Shelly, Sandy, Lise (2), Louise, Ghislaine, Karen, Denise, Pauline and many more many more.
So pay tribute to YOU first and foremost, to the wonderful woman you are and share a bit of that special person that YOU are so your “specialness” can carry on.
© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, March 8, 2019
To view Mae Giroux’s Art check on her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mae.giroux/photos
Pastel ribbons arch
weaving grace of silken twine
rainbows in springtime
(c) Tournesol ’19-03-06
Daily Moments – counting blessings
sun rays beaming hope
sighs of springtime
billows move in tandem
winter’s softest breeze
sun rays beaming hope
looking winter in the eye
walking on thin ice
sighs of springtime
tapping giant maples
where sweetness flows
© Tournesol ‘19-03-04
silent chisels fill her head
ears that cannot hear
winter cold and flu
“Ha Ha, I got you!!
chasing germs away
hope is in the air
taste slowly returns
first cup of java
© Tournesol ‘10/03/01
Daily Moments March 1, 2019 winter’s captive
Inspired by the haiku of a talented poet/haijin, Celestine Nundanu.
a shooting star fades
into sounds of silence © Celestine Nundanu ‘19-03-01
lovers skate on frozen pond
tracing figure eights
a shooting star fades
in abyss of ecstasy
echoes from her lips
into sounds of silence
on virgin snow
(c) Tournesol ’19/03/01
your so-called virtues
melting in the snow
all to save face, and yet
look at what is lost
(c) Tournesol ’19-02-24
Daily reflections – Feb 24 2019 Virtues or vices (tanka)
returning to the same spot
there are no shortcuts
only long pauses
(c) Torunesol ’19/02/24
Daily Moments – Feb 24, 2019 – Tanka – Round and round
stress free days
all must come to an end
going back to work
(c) Tournesol ’19/02/24
Patient river flows
Rich and fertile
After reading a chapter from a friend’s book on her years of trying to have a child filled with losses, disappointments, frustrations, self-denigration to a miracle, I was inspired to go over my own journey. Of course I did not suffer like so many women have and do to have a family but I do remember my personal hopes and desires to become a mom…
God’s gift to humanity
I remember when I felt ready to start a family. We had married young. I was a 19 year old bride, having married my teenage sweetheart I had met at 15. He was just 21. Our marriage started on rocky grounds but when the paths seemed smoother, I felt ready. I still don’t know why I changed my mind since going back to university to get my degree had always been on my mind but my body was begging for something different. And why not, I thought to myself. Most of my friends were just getting out of university and starting their careers but my new friends I made had started from the age of 18 to 24 years old. So I guess there was no right or wrong here but what suited each person…in a unique way. For me, my biological clock was ticking, oh so early, and yet, it was blocking the sounds of logic and long lost career dreams. I could become a teacher or counsellor later, that’s all. What did I have to complain about? At 22 I was working for the CEOs of a multi-million dollar steel company? People dreamed to get so far at a much older age…and so my journey began.
The first two years, I blamed my inability to conceive to those damn contraceptive pills. They were so damn strong in the ‘70’s! Women were such guinea pigs in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s on so many levels. And we continued to hand over our bodies and minds (how my mother was exploited with her mind and stuffed with valium). In those days, most doctors did not listen to women but they shut them up with pills.
After over a year I started getting hormone shots. The doctor never explained how this might affect my moods…you did not dare ask too many questions then either…and so I endured the shots and discomfort it gave me in my thigh and my legs. After several rounds of shots and multiple “negative” pregnancy tests, I was almost ready to give up.
Let’s step back a moment to talk about those tests. There were not any home pregnancy tests then…at least I was not aware of it and I would go to the same pharmacy because monsieur Lasalle had such a sympathetic face when he would come back to whisper to me discreetly with a sympathetic look on his face, tilting his head to the side, “C’est négatif, chère madame.”
The first few times, I was disappointed but since this Pharmacie was in the town where I worked, I was able to busy myself in my work.
Another year went by and I could not understand what was going on. Everyone was telling me that I thought about it too much. Some would laugh about it. One of my good friends who also happened to be my friend and HR manager at work told me her story. She had tried to conceive for 10 years and finally she and her husband gave up and planned a trip to Western Canada. When she returned she was pregnant. Moral of that story, according to every friggin busybody who pissed me off was that you just have to relax and stop worrying. I was so angry that everyone was blaming my mind and worry nature (GAD was not a term anyone used at that time) for not conceiving. My mind, apparently, was controlling my body, my ovaries, my womb. Fine! I was getting frustrated. When I would see a woman who was pregnant walking on the street, I started crossing the street to not cross paths with this fertile queen. It made me feel so sorry for myself. I was a mess.
Then I heard from our local CLSC (Local Service Community Clinic) that some women were using the Billing’s Method as a natural contraceptive. Hmmm, that might be interesting to take my temperature every morning to see when I DO ovulate. So when most women knew, “tonight is too dangerous”, my motto had begun, “Tonight is the night!” I still do not understand why the first doctor I saw never suggested I do this to understand my cycle. I had never been regular…it was always 35 to 56 to 65 to 90 days between cycles. I was quite ignorant but slowly began to take things in my own hands to get to know my body better. Lord only knows my maternal GrandMaman who was midwife tried to explain to me how to examine myself to see the difference when I was ovulating but I just did not get it.
Within six months I learned that I always ovulated between 14 to 18 days from the first day of my periods. Well, now, there is something consistent here. I also learned to see how the lines on this temperature graph would stay up and steady for severe days and weeks (sometimes) and then dip suddenly when I started my period. Alrighty now, there is a plan of action on my part here. I felt a bit more in control. I knew when was the most optimal time to conceive!
A year and a half passed with no success. My husband refused to even discuss adoption so I finally decided to go to a fertility clinic. It was interesting to see the people waiting in the waiting room. Everyone seemed so quiet and even a bit self-conscious or perhaps I was projecting my own feelings of inadequacy. I was only 27 but already felt a decade older. That year, I decided to go back to school and took two courses in English literature just to see if I was smart enough to pursue further studies for a degree.
The doctor suggested my husband take the first test since it the most least invasive…just spilling his seeds in a jar seemed quite harmless compared to the poking and prodding women went through. He felt embarrassed but for once, I was sort of happy that he was finally participating in this chapter of our lives. We learned that his sperm count was slow and low, whatever the heck that means. Yet, they said it was not a reason for my not conceiving after I had shown the doctor my ovulating graph.
The doctor examined me from head to toe and when he noticed I had colostrum leaking quite easily from my breasts when he squeezed them a little, he had me hospitalized a few weeks later. Two whole weeks of resident doctors wanting to probe me, squeeze my breasts and then murmur to the side with serious looks on their faces. I was a wreck by the end of the first week and lost 10 pounds. My roommate told me I was allowed to refused to be touched by these doctors since their teacher had already performed several examinations in front of them. So the next time one doctor came up to me to squeeze my breasts, I said NO. He asked, “How are we to learn since this is a teaching hospital?” I still did not budge and simply responded, “You were there when Dr…..performed an examination yesterday. Have you forgotten already?!” I was sore and tired of feeling like a lab rat.
I still did not quite understand why so much blood was taken out of me daily and one day over twenty times in a special unit where there was another girl next to me. I told her excitedly, “I’m here to pass test to get pregnant!” When I asked her why she was here as she seemed so young, I was shocked and confused. “Oh, they’re checking to see about a tumour on my brain.” My mouth dropped…I was passing the exact same tests!
Apparently my doctor felt this must be checked before any further fertility procedures since he felt my pituitary gland was overactive, hence the colostrum easily leaking form my breasts. It took several weeks to get the results but all was well, the doctor announced and I would be going for the real “tests” after the Christmas holidays.
That summer we had planned our first trip abroad. We had never taken an airplane or gone any further than road trips to the Maritimes and New England states. My husband wanted to visit Germany and Austria but I wanted to visit my roots…England, Scotland and Wales where my paternal grandfather was born and gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we conceived in the UK? Okay, it was obviously still on my mind.
What a perfect trip to take since I had finally gone back to school and taking Introduction to English Literature at Concordia University. I had to know first if I passed this course if I was smart enough or college material still at my age.
On our trip we visited Lake District and William Wordsworth’s cottage, Shakespeare’s house and so many places where famous writers and poets had lived.
We also became closer to one couple on our tour that came from Montreal. They were about our parents’ age and they suggested we purchase a home now before the prices go up even more. And so upon our return from this trip, we decided to purchase a home that would be ready the following summer. Since we were both working, it was time to do something with our lives besides trying to have a. baby. And if I did get pregnant, we would be ready with a home.
The holidays passed and no news from the hospital yet. There was a long waiting list. I was still taking my temperature every day, just in case. This time I wanted to save the money for useless pregnancy tests. If the graph showed differently only then, would I take an other test. My neighbour downstairs was four months pregnant and she told me she thought I was as well. She kept saying my eyes were different and so sparkly. I really didn’t want to believe this and be disappointed with a negative test again. She promised to come with me and so the following morning we did go…the pharmacist comes over to me saying the test was “Positif”. I could not believe it! I asked him to repeat it and then asked him to write it on my receipt…POSITIF so I could show this to my husband.
I was so excited that my hands and legs were shaking so much, I could not drive yet so for several long minutes, my friend and I were giggling like silly teenage girls in the car and waited for my shaking to stop. I will never forget that moment…EVER. Just like I will not forget the morning we were in our new home and the basement was flooding and my husband was so irritated. But I had a big goofy smile…it was June 1978 and I felt the movement of my baby bouncing around inside my womb. I could feel life inside of me!
After seven years of marriage, the seventh grandchild in the family, our beautiful eight pound baby boy was born.
The universe smiles
Bonding with her bundle of joy
Blue eyed treasure
© Tournesol ‘19/02/23