What Conversation Are You Having?

Bones – children’s bones – of Indigenous People. Of families torn apart from their blood and flesh. Forced to assimilate in Residential schools run by Catholic Churches and their nuns.

The stories have been told before – over and over again. The same cries that are not being heard. The same patterns that are evident and are left to be ignored. The horror resurfacing and heavy on our hearts.

It’s time to change the conversation about what we do next. The conversation about the harsh realities of history.

The conversations to increase awareness of the truth, the teaching moments with our kids to be aware of these patterns that still exist in this very moment. It’s in our literature, in our media, in our education system, in our popular culture that white culture is dominant, therefore creating the silos of minorities – who are non-white people – who are coloured people – the people who get the worst of an unequal deal.

Change the conversation now

During our homeschooling year, my daughter asked me to help her with her gr. 5 social studies assignment. She had to answer questions after reading a few pages of a virtual textbook. She couldn’t find the answers so I was delighted to help her research. Then I read the questions. Instantly I knew it was going to be a moment of peeling off a layer of blinders from her innocent world so that she could be aware of this knowledge of history that still impacts our country.

I taught her this new history lesson that will open her eyes for her world to come. The truth about how Canada came to be. In the end I gave her two versions: one that had school appropriate language or the way I wrote it. She chose the way I wrote it 😉 – my girl. I focused on the concept of Settlers vs. Indigenous that affects the whole world on so many different layers. I gave her more of the truth that the textbooks don’t expose.

Why did the Europeans come to Canada?

  • To claim land and territory from the original people who lived there – The Indigenous People of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities.
  • To start colonizing by breaking up families, taking children, to create new communities on this claimed land.
  • To extort the land of all its resources for trading and commerce built for the European, resource-hungry – white – man.
  • Disregarding Indigenous ways to preserve land and resources, and a balanced way of life.
  • To force religion upon the Indigenous People by taking their children away to assimilate into Christianity. Stripped of who they were and their spiritual beliefs. And now evidence of this genocide is where we are left waiting for some start of reconciliation for this nation.

How did it affect the Indigenous People?

Their land was invaded. Their ways of living drastically and tragically changed forever because of the European ‘settlers’ coming to explore to exploit, to enforce their culture (as if superior) in every way, especially trade and commerce, to adapt and to somehow survive this crisis after being thrown to the wolves time and time again.

There’s also something called the ‘Sixties Scoop‘, where Indigenous children were taken from their homes to be adopted by white middle class families throughout North America. Just imagine and try to understand the trauma and the ripple effects of these governed acts upon more than 20,000 innocent children, now older adults or gone.

Imagine people with many generations of culture, not being able to be fully who they were because another culture decided that they were superior and thought it was OK to take and disrupt for the ‘exploration’ eras. Imagine the pain of the parents who never heard from their children again. We are way past the exploration and excavation of land but not really. We thought we were past the degrading of minorities but not really at all.

Where we stand is in a hot spot of deciding what to do next, how to think for ourselves, how to overcome this superiority complex that is the very barrier of why the world is stuck in this vicious cycle.

What do we do now?

Increase your awareness and your understanding. Eliminate ignorance and superiority. Experience kindness with humility so we can start a new cycle of balanced structure and organization. We’ve all heard it before but it’s time to take action in treating others how you want to be treated. Do one thing today that will engage the right energy towards humanity that will serve only goodness.

***A BIG PART OF HEALING IS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, UNDERSTANDING, AND RECONCILIATION TO MOVE FORWARD. There is a framework of resources that are found in this guide called “Let the Truth be Told“, an Indigenous Oral Testimonies Activities Guide.

The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, Indigenous-led charitable organization that works to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada, which is the important step in spreading awareness in our homes and in our education systems. Increase our understanding of history, ‘civilization’, popular culture, as well as using the tools for reconciliation and healing to rebuild a better nation.

Change the conversation you have today with your family. Start with your circle and let it organically grow from there.

New Earth…Better World – Rebuild it now.

I Am a Mother

My Body

A not so young mother of three, ages 11, 9, & 6. All born by C-section, the first two were messy emergency deliveries, and each had their share in the NICU for our short stay. One miscarriage before my oldest, one before the middle one. My body’s been through hell and back during these child-bearing years. Stories I never want to tell expecting moms.

I reminisce on Mother’s Day, as I smother my (tall) first born in my arms, on the moment I became a mom.

No one told me it was going to be so hard in the beginning where you’re in so much pain after being cut open and sewed back together again. Where the nurse demanded me to walk myself to the bathroom then out in the hallway or else I’d swell up like a balloon, which was already the case!

No one told me that once we got home, I was supposed to take care of this little baby without any provisions from the hospital. Just to figure it out as you go – which pretty much sums up parenthood. We have great supports but in those moments of dreaded night time feeds while in zombie mode, moms step up like no other human can.

And the fact that we can produce superfood with our boobs is phenomenal. But that’s not why we are superhuman. Mothers are a different category because of the many layers of strength, love, compassion, understanding, planning, and conviction that is instilled in us to combat the degrees of variables of obstacles, worries or fears and turn them into joy.

My Heart

There is a constant battle of showing equal attention, equal love, equal time for every single one at all times. No matter what there always seems to be one who is not happy because of this and that and this and that and this and that. No matter how hard we try to accommodate.

That’s where the F-bombs and screaming come in. After all that we do as parents, there’s always the one who throws the last straw as if they’re testing the grounds for messy explosives. This mom was not built for that last straw. Once my cup is full, it pours out in profanities. So beware and be brave.

Patience at negative zero.

The reason why I created my blog Dr Jekyll Mommy Hide. A place where I can secretly hide to vent about what happens when the triggers are pulled. Then how I heal by loving hard with open heart while being ever so grateful for my life. Making everyone promise, including myself, to be better next time.

The mixed emotions of parenting on top of being a working mom, leads me turning to writing time and time again. The process is so therapeutic and keeps me in my sacred safe zone. I can lock myself in this process even when I don’t have anything to say because there’s always an endless flow, is what I ultimately learn in the end.

I felt the nudge to accept that, as writing is my secret hiding place, I need to learn how to be more open to share.

My Soul

Without a doubt, I love and adore my kids, and would do most things for them. Yes, they squeeze the life out of me but it’s my job to keep inflating back up until they learn to be totally independent people. I have to trust that I’m raising them with dignity, alongside my soulmate, and that everything will be alright.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to use my sacred tools as a therapeutic process to ground and filter all depths of emotions of motherhood. Motherhood is raw but the essence of my soul is a part of them. To feel beautiful, ugly, sane, crazy, lovely, chaotic all at the same time in our pack of five. Somehow, we survive.

Right now for as long as it will last, I’m a happy mother. 😉

Live to Tell

Thank you for this given Grace

To switch my perspective and my face

That the bigger picture is what stands

No matter what the circumstance

Trust that all will be good

Is what needs to be understood

Even on a heavy downer day

Keep going, don’t lose your way

It will feel lighter

Even on a different day

Keep working on continuous

Mind, Body, and Soul

Lessons from all experiences

Ready to unfold

Tell your story. Live to tell.

10 Ways to Avoid Punching Walls

Bottom-fist dent

Tips for the homeschool fool who gets played by their kid during virtual school. I no longer want to hide in the vortex every time the triggers are pulled, leaving no holds barred mom to surface with F-bombs and harsh profanities.

The dent in my wall is a visual reminder of how I put my foot down (or punched the wall) and cut the cord to my kid’s endless whining during dreaded online learning. When you’ve had your last straw, you don’t have to punch your wall. Follow these new rules that will set you all straight:

  1. Put your foot down: State what you are no longer accepting within this new boundary.
  2. Cut the cord: Break off ties to what is draining your energy.
  3. Don’t punch a hole in the wall: Instead list 3 tangible things that are going to change that starts immediately.
  4. Set morning alarm for independent wake up routine so it starts first thing in the morning!
  5. Set alarms for each time they have to be on screen. Make sure the kid turns off alarms independently.
  6. Decrease expectations of your kid’s work even if it hurts you.
  7. Help mostly during the most difficult subject.
  8. Onus on the kid to ask teacher for help for other subjects.
  9. Don’t give 2 flying fks if the day wasn’t perfect.
  10. Praise everyone for trying their best. Kids get snacks, parents get provisions.

Yes, the world is a disaster right now. But your home doesn’t have to be. Keep your walls dent-free and remember for all to just try your best. Leave any tips for us homeschool fools that are on the verge of breaking something!

Letter to My Special Needs Moms

Volume 4: Pandemic Journal
Dec 2019-Dec 2020
Volume 4: Pandemic Journal: What I did in my bubble, wondering about yours.

This letter is for all parents and caregivers but mostly for the moms that I’ve built close relationships with:

As I delve into play with your child, you give me your trust to seek out their strengths and honour their personalities. At the same time, your wall is up keeping guard, waiting in defence to protect your special needs child. Not wanting to hear the things they cannot do but waiting to hear the highlights of what they can do.

I will always give the good highlights to ensure that I am nurturing their full potential, as well as yours. I give ideas on how to successfully incorporate strategies that may help strengthen the communication between you and your child.

Specifically things you’re wondering about or have never thought about. I will big up your ideas that you’ve already been doing to make sure you know you’re on the right track. I will also acknowledge that it may be difficult to incorporate new ideas as life may already be too chaotic for change.

I See You, I Hear You

I want you to feel like you can share your story and receive support for who you are as a family while you take in some of my insights and clinical experience. I see you in your homes as I work to engage your little ones to communicate in play. I take your family dynamic as insight to develop my approach.

I share other parent’s experiences as resources for you to let you know that you are not the only one with a tentative night schedule or extraordinary meal plan. I want you to hear some of my personal parental experiences mixed in with clinical because ultimately, we are all parents and protectors of our children.

I want to hear your stories too.

You Have My Support

I customize to your family’s needs and concerns in the moment. I hear your concerns about the future for your child as you may have some challenges with tasks of daily living but I want to ensure you that we need to focus on what we
can control in the moment.

Let’s take one step at a time, starting with what’s right for you and your family and how we can add or change elements to elicit balanced communication.

I want you to have the information that you need on the challenges that parents have shared with me regarding the community and the school system. I want to be a support system in your life as I understand that having children with special needs is not always the easiest journey but encourage you to share their successes big or small so we can celebrate them and educate the world.

I honour being unique and point out these qualities even though it may not look like what you expect.

I want you to know that I am a shoulder to lean on, a friend who can laugh at the insane stories, a friend who can cry at their first words and accomplishments, a friend who can be mad at the world with you, someone who can help advocate for special needs as it can be a jungle out there.

Celebrate Empowerment

I want you to know that I understand outside of the box. I recognize your child’s strengths as huge celebrations and appreciate for a lifetime. I encourage you to share your trade secrets as it could help someone else in their day to day.

I want you to be a part of the bigger movement. You are exactly where you need to be. You can help teach us the relevant steps. I want to super-step awareness and get to the ‘How To’ part. Awareness is the first step but next we need to know how we can help.

How can we help each other in our day to day that will increase our knowledge of what other parents may need, if necessary, in a common setting like the park or a store? Or what life is like during a pandemic being stuck at home?

Everyone’s story is different but may share the same themes. The main thing is the love for your child. How to make them safe, strong, and independent.

Embrace each child’s abilities and learning style to teach concepts to be absorbed and expressed.

You have given me the gift of empowerment as you allow me to share my ideas to further your child’s development. You lead extraordinary lives, my special needs families, with your hard work, day in and day out. I am encouraged to see your happiness with every step your child makes to succeed.

You have given me the power to keep sharing knowledge that will also empower others. There will be ups and downs but knowing that your child is the reason why we empower is showing the whole world that being unique is special.

It’s time to embrace and connect to uplift and change this world a little bit faster than expected so that everyone can understand the true potential of a special needs family. One that has strength and value in my heart and soul.

How to Claim Your Song

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This morning my son’s grade one virtual class had a dance party for their first body break. It lasted for half an hour.

It was the best morning we’ve ever had! (for virtual school).

I was so curious by the DJ. Who was producing this fantastic morning mix?!

Someone who understands the love of rhythm and beats from the 90’s era.

Let me get off my seat and check it out.

Great mix of hip-hop, reggae, reggaeton, soca, pop!

YES, definitely feeling the vibe!

Dance party with Saidat and K.Z. On a mission to set the tone right!

Every school board needs this special duo. Full of life and inspiration.

I’ve never served juice while spinning and sliding side to side!

My son’s favourite song came on. He bulged out his eyes, but he didn’t budge.

I turned to him and shrieked, “What!?! This is your song!!!”

He still didn’t budge.

“It’s OK, it’s a dance party, it’s your body break. Get up and move! Show that this is your song! Sing it! Claim it!”

Too late soca’s on. Put up your hands. Jump up. All around.

We grabbed hands and danced in the middle of the kitchen like no one was watching. Hands up in the air, leg work springing into action!

We were sweating. We danced for half an hour. We claimed it!

Mood: Aligned and Well. We’re Happy bursting with Great Energy!

I forgot how music soothes the soul, moves the soul, fills the soul, saves the soul.

Put on some of your favourites and let the tone set your mood and day.

It’s a powerful thing to have “music, movement, and motivation”.

This is happening every Friday morning, right?

How To Love Asian Eyes

Photo by Joy Marino on Pexels.com

Don’t let ANYONE ever make you feel ashamed of your beautiful eyes.

Embrace your Asian eyes – as slanted, chinky, slit-like, almond-shaped, exotic, beautiful – as they are. Especially when you smile.

Story of my life. If we had the internet growing up, I probably would have googled ‘How to round slanted eyes’.

Yes, it was because of ugly remarks from the ignorant white kid at school who called me a ‘chink’ and didn’t let me off the monkey bars. The boy in class who thought he ruled.

That’s when I became so conscious about my eyes. And that it may not be appealing to others. The day I didn’t want the world to look at me.

The day I didn’t want to be seen.

I’ve experienced racism at a young age until now. It didn’t stop at that boy. What about the group of teenage boys in University, yelling from across the street, asking if my clothes were clean from the laundromat – to go back where I came from – ‘chink’.

All the different layers of how it impacts my life – as a child, as a student, as a professional, as a mom, as a wife, as a person.

Too many stories to count. Too much anger to rant.

Honestly, I haven’t quite fought against it either because we were taught to use our Canadian birthright and education to fit in – like it’s supposed to save us from ignorance.

Every minority in the world experiences racism. There are even minorities within minorities. The cycle is vicious.

Why Does it Matter Now?

This moment serves as my right, as someone who has experienced being called a ‘chink’, to expose those for the wrong energy they breed.

Inspired by the #StopAsianHate on social media, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, I’m speaking out now to break the patterns.

I’ve been a target of discrimination because of my eyes. I’m Filipina Canadian with very slanted eyes and very fair skin. I can pass for every Asian because I look Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Tibetan, so I’m told.

I’m the nicest person in the world but if you want to call at me with your racist slurs then bring it!

My slanted eyes will cut you so deep you’ll understand the mysteriousness hiding behind them.

It doesn’t matter what background you are, you shouldn’t be discriminated against!

It matters because my children’s views of an innocent world are being tainted with the dark layers of the world with events in the news, in schools, within our city, and abroad.

They never knew what the word ‘racist’ meant until a year ago, even in our bi-racial family.

My son asked me if ‘racist’ was a bad word when he heard a video gamer say it online. I responded that it wasn’t a swear word but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I quickly changed it.

Yes, it is a bad word for a bad person. He had never heard of the word, so I explained to him.

It’s when a person doesn’t like someone because of the colour of their skin and their cultural background. He didn’t understand.

I began to role-play: “I don’t like you because you’re Filipino or Jamaican”.

He gave me this flabbergasted look as he scrunched his face in disbelief.

I just tainted his view of the world.

It matters for them. And how they have to learn to armour themselves with thick skin to deal with bullying, racism, and discrimination – which I thought was not so prevalent for their generation. How NAIVE of me!

I Am Not COVID-19

Last year when the virus was getting out of hand in China, the impact was in the news. I didn’t even consider how it would impact me from across the world.

I was in the local bookstore where I was browsing for a long time. Back and forth with a lot of items in my arms, sweating buckets in a winter jacket, standing by the art section.

The sales lady glanced at me a few times. I didn’t think anything of it.

I usually don’t like when salespeople bombard so it was fine that she didn’t offer any kind of help…but no greeting…no smile?

Until an older man walked up the steps towards us, not even two feet, and the lady immediately smiled, approached the man, and said, “Is there anything I can help you with today?”

Guess what hall pass he had?

My blood boiled until my eyes sank right into the depths of my soul. I took all of my things and headed towards the front cash at the other end of the store. When I passed her, she asked, “Find everything you were looking for?”

F@(King Biyatch…. “Yup”. I forced myself to mutter as I stormed off.

I should have told her SOMETHING. I should have done SOMETHING!

The same baggage followed me a few weeks later when we travelled to Cuba for a wedding. I was targeted at the Cuban airport by the staff and at the resort by some French-Canadian tourists.

My 10 year-old daughter witnessed this behaviour and instinctively knew what was going on. Tainted.

It was all in their eyes and their ignorant behaviour acting like I was Covid – all week long. Meanwhile, my husband who’s usually the target for being black, was fitting right in with the Cubans, oblivious to what was happening to me. Rightfully celebrating not having to worry about the colour of his skin while on vacation.

I am not a virus. Hate is the virus.

It’s the 21st Century

I shouldn’t have to be in this position in this century. I shouldn’t have to taint my children’s vision of an innocent world where I have to explain why I’m targeted at the bookstore, airport, or on vacation because of how I look.

I shouldn’t have to explain that there are some people out there who hate on people’s ethnicity.

I shouldn’t have to keep upping my family’s pride for being Filipino-Jamaican-Canadian just because other people decide to degrade out of hate.

We are proud of who we are with our ethnicity, our families, our children. We have culture. We have stories. Nothing to hate here.

It’s time to eliminate the hate. It’s harmful, it’s toxic, it’s FUCKING ridiculous.

I’M TIRED OF BEING ANGRY, I’M TIRED OF THE FUCKING IGNORANCE.

I TRIED TO WAIT UNTIL I WAS IN A BETTER PLACE TO WRITE WITHOUT THE ANGER ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.

EVERY NIGHT IN MY HOUSEHOLD, WE’RE ANGRY AFTER WATCHING THE NEWS, ANGRY IN HEATED DISCUSSION.

ANGRY WAKING UP TO MORE NEWS. ANGRY THAT WE CAN’T CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE’S IGNORANT ACTIONS.

ANGRY THAT THE WORLD IS ALLOWED TO BE THIS WAY!

What now?

Keep your hate to yourself. Don’t let it spill over to someone who has nothing to do with you. Fix that shit or Karma will come for you.

It’s time to Let Love Rule, like you hear in the songs. Listen to songs, listen to people, read books even if you don’t quite understand them. Let it move you. Shift your focus on worthwhile things (Thought Catalogue).

Learn to understand someone other than yourself. It’s in everyone, even if you have to dig deep to find it. This is where the power is. Change is for the better.

I believe it’s in there. There’s nothing to be afraid of… unless you cross a mother.

Make the wise choice.

Re-Discover: Volume 1

Photo by Grafixart_photo Samir BELHAMRA on Pexels.com

I wrote this to myself after I jumped ship, shortly after 9/11, from a corporate software company where I wrote software manuals. I found another position to maintain graphical user interfaces and write engineering processes.

No, this wasn’t doing it for me either.

It was the third page of my new journal that I committed to writing to figure out answers for my next steps to finding a balanced work life – meaning a work life where I was not always so bitter!

I didn’t want to have that constant cringing feeling every day going in to work. I only lived for the weekends. Was there something more out there?

I recently gave it a title in the summer of 2020, when I re-searched myself to start cataloguing content. After a deep conversation last night, this one’s for you:

Re-Discover

I feel good when I accomplish

No stress, no frustration

That’s where I’m my best

When I’m equally balanced

And things are handled

Not left to be abandoned

Deal with things as they come

Work until the deal is done

Clear the aura without the huff and puff

You gotta take the shit when it gets rough

But when it’s over, it’s smooth sailing from there

There’s a clear sense of aura in the air

There’s a way to accomplish peace in your life

Try not to be bitter and do what’s right

Only you can justify your actions

Don’t blame the world

For ignorant reactions

It all starts with you

And how strong you are

If you believe in yourself

You will get far

Reach for the top

See how far you can soar

See what you can accomplish

Then you’ll be bitter no more.

The Day I Blanked On Wesley Snipes

It was the 1990’s, I was in high-school, sporting a perm of long ring-locks and coffee bean shade lipstick. Smelling like mango perfume oil from the Body Shop.

We had pink rose carpet throughout the house, including my room, which was the first room coming up the stairs. I had the faux-wood grain closet with 3 sliding doors, big enough to spread some teenie bopper posters of Johnny Depp and Rick Astley, pulled straight out of the magazine.

My wall beside the closet had the big movie posters that I had got from my cousin who worked at a video store. She gave me all the good ones but I remember only putting up mostly the ones of Wesley Snipes from his movies: New Jack City (1991), Passenger 57 (1992), Sugar Hill (1993), and Boiling Point (1993).

It was always the first thing I saw when I went into my room.

New Jack City and Sugar Hill were in the string of line-ups of movies in the early 90’s that were featuring all-star black casts (after House Party 1990); such as Boyz In the Hood (1991), Juice (1992), Menace II Society (1993), and Above the Rim (1994). A promising new era documented on my wall.

It was Wesley Snipes face on my wall, looking at me when I entered my room. The Boiling Point poster was on the left, Passenger 57 placed in the middle, slightly lower than the others, New Jack City on the right, Sugar Hill on the far right, all hung with clear tape across each corner.

One weekend, I had a chance to go to a club in downtown Toronto. The only times I was really allowed to go to clubs was with my older cousins. We got dressed up, hair fresh with gel, and coffee bean lipstick. To be fun and young.

“Is that Wesley Snipes?” One of the cousins asked.

“Just standing there out in the open?” We wondered.

“Let’s go talk to him” The other one pulled us along.

It IS Wesley Snipes. Just hanging out like a regular clubber. It seemed no one noticed him. There was so much space around him when we went over to say hello.

I don’t even remember how any greetings went.

WESLEY SNIPES was right in front of my face!

I HAVE YOUR POSTERS ALL OVER MY WALL!” I screamed all star-struck and frozen.

He asked interested, “Oh yeah, which ones?”

I went blank. I could see each poster, laid out on my wall, the way I saw it every day waking up and every night going to bed. Come on, think! My brain had no message or output coming from my mouth. Blank.

He was waiting for some kind of response while the music of the club filled in my silence.

“I dunno………..but you’re on my wall!” I stupidly responded with an embarrassed smile.

“So, how long are you in town for?” My cousin quickly swooped up the conversation just as his body guards motioned for him to move along.

I’m a jack-ass. Ruining the only moment to actually talk to the guy who’s face took up my bedroom wall. The one who’s a big celebrity in his prime! Who was right in front of me! Live in person, in the flesh, wanting to know more about his posters!

POINT BLANK!” I screamed before he disappeared into the crowd. As I remembered the poster where he’s pointing his big shiny gun.

Fast forward to 2021, the month of March on a weeknight. Decided to wind down with Coming 2 America, just released.

Surprise, surprise. Hey Wesley Snipes! Loved your character, hairstyles, costume attire in this sequel because it reminded me of your rhythmical comical character in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Mar.

Outside of the box, I like that!

These would actually be some good posters. I wonder where I could get my hands on some for old times sake?

The Last ‘Normal’ Thing We Did

We were coming back from Cayo Coco, Cuba. Our first family trip to our friend’s destination wedding. What a trip! Just a few days back before the world shut down.

It was our kids first time on an airplane to an island resort. They proved to be good travellers. I was glad they weren’t babies anymore so we could travel comfortably. A new phase in our life….finally!!

We got there at midnight just on time to settle in and rest, to do it up for the next day for the wedding.

The Cuban sun, the ocean, the live music, surrounded by the love under the gazebo makes me nostalgic. The wedding was the sweetest and so special. I got really emotional to be with my family friends and seeing everyone bond all week. Best time of our lives.

It was the perfect formula for the best party ever! (Bruises from Heavy Metal clashing with boardwalk posts are not applicable). Fantastic, fantastic time.

Bonding with my kids as they experience a destination wedding with some Cuban resort culture, the calm blue ocean, hamburguesas and papa fritas at the 24-hour snack bar, swimming with dolphins…………………………………………….

Ok, let me tell you the truth.

I didn’t want to do it. I have a phobia of swimming with fish, never mind a dolphin!

But it was a generous gift from the bride and groom……

Everyone else already went days before. So it was just my family of five. Me – who had a phobia, my husband who doesn’t swim, my kids who were a little scared – but it would be so rude not to go!

Hype, hype, hype, hype – all week. We could do this. We have to do this!

Suck it up buttercup!

“Ok family.” said the dolphin trainer, as he motioned for us to come forward so he can explain what to do.

“Pay attention!” He snapped at my 5 year-old who needed the discipline before getting in the water.

I climbed down the ladder first into the water, then my kids followed one by one. I grabbed them all in a line and started swimming. I saw a school of striped fish and tried so hard not to freak out – Eebie Jeebies- the worst kind – as I had my youngest in my arms facing him the wrong way submerging his face a little.

“His face! Wrong way!” My husband yelled out from the dock.

I got side-tracked to see where the dolphins were and saw the trainers dump the bloody bucket of chum.

The Eebie Jeebies scaled up high, running up and down my spine. Good thing the lifejacket held me up.

Show calm for the kids. It’s fine, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. It’s all good. I couldn’t tell the difference between my sweat and the warm Cuban ocean.

The trainer blew the whistle. Here they come, one for each end of our linked arms.

I was always curious to swim with dolphins even though I CANNOT swim with fish. This is really happening!

Enjoy the moment, especially if my kids were doing great! Is what I had to tell myself to see the bigger picture – that no one was crying or freaking out. We were actually having a good time. More curious than scared. This is unbelievable! Another memory engraved in our minds. Thanks to the bride and groom for these long-lasting memories.

The dolphins danced, sang, splashed, and jumped around us. We got to rub their bellies…..

Here comes the kiss…its beak pushing hard against my face. So strong that I had to tread harder to stay in one spot. It was a long kiss. I think this dolphin likes me!