hi from sunday morning

Posted: May 5, 2019 by Rachel

on losing a mother

not many people can tell you what you’re in for
when you lose a parent suddenly.
i’m glad that’s the case, but good god
it would be nice to talk to someone my age
who understands what it feels like.

my mom died seventeen days ago.
we’d been by her side for days, weeks, all of us—
sisters, aunts, nieces, nephews, granddaughters,
brothers, daughters, husband, friends—
but she waited until i stepped out for a moment,
when she could be alone with my dad,
to take her last breath.

i sat back in a tiny, uncomfortable chair,
pulled my legs tight against me and wept.
i’ve never felt more alone than in that moment
and i hope i never feel that again.

the last words my mom spoke to me,
three days before she passed away,
were in response to a simple question i’d asked:
“how are you feeling?”
i’d arrived back at the hospital after stopping home for a shower
and something to eat that wasn’t fast food
to find my aunt bent over her, singing, crying.
my mom turned to me, and spoke so quietly
i could barely hear a thing:
“i feel at peace,” she said.
less than 48 hours later she was gone.

it all happened much quicker than any of us expected,
but that’s my mom for you:
she always knew when enough was enough.
she’d made her peace, said her goodbyes
and now it was our turn.

parents are funny

Posted: July 10, 2018 by Rachel

I called my parents in the middle of the day today, wanting to remind them about something. My mother answered the phone, her voice full of concern, as I’d just spoken to them yesterday (if I don’t call enough I’m in trouble; if I call too often she thinks something’s wrong). “I just wanted to tell you to watch World Of Dance tonight; Easton’s going to be on it.”

She put my dad on the phone. I was so happy to hear his voice. The number of times I call them and get to speak to my dad alone is likely one in twenty. He told me he’d been reading up on the new car we bought. He rattled off some specs I already knew; it’s likely that I’d told him in the first place.

When I think about Canada, my dad is what I miss the most. I’ve been a daddy’s girl from an early age. (I gravitate towards my father-in-law, too. It’s just in my genes, I suppose). When I think about my childhood, some of my favorite memories are of playing catch on the street with my dad. Tim Hortons trips with my dad. Playing tennis with my dad. I’m thirty-four and I still say, “Hi Daddy” when I first hear his voice.

Today’s phone call didn’t last long; I was staring down a work to-do list that would make the average person go cross-eyed, but it sure felt good to hear my dad’s voice.

I’m not so sure this had a point other than to say that parents are funny, and I constantly wonder what DJ will remember about me the most when he’s my age.

This is: September (a video)

Posted: September 4, 2015 by Rachel

You can always count on me to take a photograph. I’ll take thirty if you let me.

But lately, I have felt a tugging at my bones to try something new, and to open myself up in a different way. This is: my attempt at a beginning. This is: September.

August 1

Posted: August 1, 2015 by Rachel

When we bought this chair I used to sit in it in the darkness of the freshly painted nursery, rubbing my seven month pregnant belly and wonder what it would feel like to nurse my son right in that spot. And once we stopped nursing I thought about how it would feel to sit with him on my lap and read to him in that chair. Now I catch glimpses of what he will look like as he grows and uses that chair for other things like reading on his own, listening to music, maybe just sitting and enjoying life.

This morning we heard him playing in his room but things had gotten quiet so I poked my head around the corner to see him sitting there, his one leg tucked against his chest, his blanket in a bunch on his lap, his hands crossed just so, the light filtering in from the window beside him…

He just looked so beautiful that I ran for my camera, actually sprinting down the stairs and back up again, so happy to have captured this moment. I will hold it forever in my heart.

All the Dust and Debris

Posted: July 11, 2015 by Rachel

I was 16 when I fell in love for the first time, and like any young girl at that age, I thought he was the be all and end all. I had no idea that there would be others after him.

He was sweet and kind, with big, light brown eyes and a smile that made everything seem instantly better, and I loved him. For over four years, we loved each other.  And when our relationship came to its end, when it became clear that we weren’t meant to be forever, I lost more than the love of a boy. I lost the love of a village; of friends and family who had been so intertwined in my life that I didn’t know where I ended and they began.

Often times I’m grateful that I moved away; that I don’t have to worry about the memories associated with places, things and people. I spent too much of my twenties running away from my mistakes and regrets. Here in Vegas, there is only Dominic; there are only our places, our things, our people. And all the dust and dirt and debris from my past is back there in Canada somewhere, floating around, unnoticed.

And all that’s ahead of me is him, and us, and this family we have built.

A Messy Saturday

Posted: June 21, 2015 by Rachel

I was yelling. Dom was yelling. And DJ kept on crying, like he had been all day.

Some days I can breathe deeply, consciously, and calm myself down. Some days I can remind myself that he’s only two and that we’re all still learning to communicate with each other.

Today was not one of those days.

We were tired, the trio of us: from battling colds, ear infections, poor sleep and skipped naps. The 107 degree heat perhaps affecting us more than we realize. So: there was yelling.

At four-thirty, Dom called in reinforcements: his aunt, to relieve us for two hours so that we could step out and get our bearings on the day and our attitudes.

We went to the movies. Sat in the back row. Enjoyed some noise other than that going on at home.

And when we got home I lunged upstairs, desperate to catch DJ before he was asleep, overjoyed to find him waiting up in our bed. As Dom’s aunt slipped out, I pulled DJ close and whispered to him how much I love him.

I turned off all the lights, drew the curtains shut and lay down beside him, sighing deep from within my bones as he tucked his little body against mine, as close as he could get. His eyes were growing heavier by the second, fluttering shut and opening again only briefly to make certain I was still there, his mouth in a faint ‘o’ shape, pursed. With a deep sigh, he tucked his hand under his cheek, took one last look at me, and closed his eyes for the night.

I lay there in the near dark, staring at his perfect little face, and cried.

With every tear I released the guilt of the day, the weight of expectations, regret, and exhaustion.

No mama is perfect, and we’re all just trying to do the best we can, making what we can out of each messy day.

05 + 06 + 07 / 52

Posted: February 21, 2015 by Rachel

“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

DJ – You are so curious these days, wanting to touch everything, feel it, feel the weight of it all, how it feels in your hands, against your face. We’re running out of ways to keep you out of things. Our things have steadily been moved higher + higher, out of your reach, but we’re at our limits, now. If only you could understand, sweet boy, that there are always some things in life that are off limits.











DJ – The second I snap a photograph, no matter if I’m trying to be sneaky or not, you perk right up and rush over to take a look at the back of the camera. You’re so adorable these days.











DJ I’m sure that a lot of people would think I‘m nuts if I told them how many photos I have of you. But when I hand you a bowl of plain greek yogurt (your new favorite) and you dive in like this, I can’t help but round off ten shots. And yes, I will be keeping them all.

On Adapting

Posted: February 5, 2015 by Rachel

Hey mamas, I see you over there, hiding in your closet to shed your tears in peace. I’ve been there. Many times, in fact. It’s so damn hard, isn’t it?  This parenting thing? You’ve never felt so empowered and so defeated at the same time.

You finish the last of the three loads of built-up laundry only to find yourself back in the laundry room the very next day, and that corner of the living room that you cleaned up especially for you, so that you could have one single space in your house that you can sit in and not feel like a failure, is filled with toys once again.

I’ve been there.

I’ve been the mama crying silently in the shower as I rush to shave my legs that haven’t been touched in over a week. I’ve been the frazzled mama who shows up at the park with the toddler who would rather grab fists full of dirt than play.

The issue I’ve been struggling with, and maybe you have as well, is the belief that all of my problems will be solved if only I can find some kind of balance. But the truth is that I will never find balance. Working more will mean less time with son, and more time with my son means less money coming in. I will feel guilt no matter which way the wind blows. The grass is greener on both sides, mama.

I will never find balance, but I will find ways of adapting.

In March 2013 I came home with a 9lb 8oz newborn baby… and adapted. We were sleep deprived and mentally drained and we adapted. We suffered through thirteen months before my son slept through the night, and we adapted. I went back to work in August 2014, briefly, sending my son to daycare, and we adapted. I left the job after two months, and we adapted.


What I’m trying to say to you, mama, as you struggle to get some kind of breakfast prepared for yourself while your child screams at your feet, is to let go of the idea of balance. It doesn’t exist. But you can adapt, and you will. You’ll find your place. I’m still looking for mine, and that’s okay.


I’m here to tell you it will all be okay.

04 / 52

Posted: January 31, 2015 by Rachel

 “A portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

DJ – 
You are my everything, my sweet, darling, loveable boy. I’ll swallow these moments whole.

03 / 52

Posted: January 24, 2015 by Rachel

 “A portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

DJ – 
You found these cowboy boots tucked deep in your closet. They were handed down to us and are much too big for you, but you don’t seem disturbed. You love slipping your feet into them and clomping around upstairs for minutes on end.