Our children choose us to be there parents. I honour both my children, Storm and Grace, and am truly grateful for them choosing me to be their mother. It is such an honour. Storm and Grace have taught me so much of who I am as a woman, as a mother, and as a writer. They have showed me what are the most important things in life. Love, play, laughter, stories, sharing, forgiveness, unconditional love, friends and family.
Storm was the first who broke the first waters that traveled in my womb almost forteen years ago. She was the first to travel that short distance for the first light, the first breath, the first embrace. Storm had me at her every whim for 7 hours. It was such a relief to give that final push. She was calm. She was all arms and her hands had these long fingers, which she stared at with awe. Storm waved her hands in front of her and she reminded me of those old people in the park doing tai-chi. Her hands are amazing still. Her hands create amazing visual art and dance along those black keys of her piano. She is a natural and self-taught. Storm is a reflection of all that is creative in this world.
Tomorrow is Grace’s birthday. Eleven years ago I went into labour for the second time in my life. Grace could not wait to get here. I woke up at 3 in the morning. I was excited. I had time for a shower as those labour pains traveled throughout my body. I woke up Larry, who shot up and was hurrying around. I was calm. I was ready. We got to the hospital around 3:30ish and went directly into a room. I was already dilated to 8cm! Yeah, I was a pro.
After 6 in the morning I was naked, shaking, pushing, and was taken under something primal. There were a couple final pushes and this little baby girl entered my world. I had no idea what to name her. Just like I did with Storm. Larry named her Storm. I kept thinking of my grandma Grace whose birthday was coming up too. So Larry and I agreed on Grace. We became parents to girls named Storm and Grace.
Grace’s skin was the darkest red I’ve ever seen with the blackest hair and the darkest eyes. She was huge at 9lbs and however many ounces. When I looked into her eyes I was in awe of such beauty. At that moment, I felt close to all the spirits and the ancestors. I could feel the power in that room just the same way I did with Storm. I knew that being a parent is an honour and that we are entrusted with their care, their protection, their love, and their teachings.
When Storm first came to see Grace after her birth it was the most beautiful thing ever. She looked at Grace in awe and with instant love. We were all in love with Grace. After a few weeks at home Storm could not leave Grace’s side. She was always with her watching her sleep and this she could not stand. Storm would not let Grace sleep. One time I put Grace down for a nap and Storm wanted to go in and said, I’m just gonna watch her. After a while I thought to go check in on them. Here Storm was holding Grace in her arms in a new outfit. Storm had changed her diaper and changed her clothes all by herself at 3 years old. What a girl. I knew then that no matter what Storm would always take care of Grace and that someday Grace might take advantage of that.
Over the years, we have got to know each other. It’s been the best time of my life to be their mother. They have kept me young. When they were younger and so was I, we played way more. Tag, scrabble, cribbage, crazy eights, hiking, walking, and biking are some of our favourite things to do. I taught Storm how to cook and bake when she was 10. She bakes the best cakes and pancakes ever. Other than that Storm takes the initiative to learn and teach herself everything she wants to do. She taught herself how to ride a bike, play the piano, read and speak Korean, and to draw Manga. Yes, her goal is to a be fluent Korean speaker. She amazes me with her determination and dedication to her self-education. She is very independent, creative, and intelligent.
Grace is what I call a princess who expected everything to be done for her since she was born. I had to break her from this even though I was inclined to do everything for her. It wasn’t right to do this. Storm was the first to speak up about this. It wasn’t fair. Very true. I took this seriously. It was hard to do not just for me but for her. Grace has this gift. She makes everybody feel awesome when they are near her – those chosen ones. She brings people at ease, she makes people laugh, she makes people feel that love. And by this, you just want to do everything for her like returning the gift she has given you by just being in her presence. There’s not that many people like that in this world. I can think of one other person in my life that is like this. It is a gift. But with all gifts you need to learn how to respect it, honour it, and not to misuse it. And Grace was learning to misuse this gift. She still tries to. But I have to gently remind her that she can’t have her way all the time and that she needs to compromise, and put others first. It’s not all about her all the time. She understands.
Over the past few years, Storm and Grace have had some minor battles. Very minor. I had to stop them immediately when it first happened. I couldn’t let them get into any major arguements, which could have easily turned physical. I separated them. Gave them a time-out. And then brought them back together to talk it out. I reminded them that in our small family we only have each other to lean on, to count on, and to love unconditionally. No matter what we will always have each other and we have to nurture that and help that to grow strong. Since then when they get upset at each other or at me, we are allowed to say to each other why we are upset. It’s healthy and keeps us each in check. And more and more they are keeping me in check.
Now we are entering another phase of our relationship. Storm will be in highschool and Grace will be in middle school. They are getting older and so am I. I’ve always believed in teaching them everything I know and giving them the tools to express their creativity. I also have been teaching them about being Anishnaabe and what that really means. It’s all about love for each other, for the natural world, and how we are connected to all life. We are a family of walkers and having always been. I choose not to have a car. I choose not to be materialistic. And it’s been a challenge especially in this era where everything is based on what you have and what you don’t have. For kids it’s hard. They learn that in school with their peers. It’s interesting because we have these indepth talks about what is seen as abundance and what is success and what is happiness. I taught them early on about needs and wants and to recognize the difference between the two. That to me is one of the most important lessons in life.
Storm and Grace have helped me find the Truth in this life. They have brought me to a place where I am most comfortable and most loved. I am blessed to have them as my children. I am honoured to be a mother. I am humbled everyday of things that I still need to learn and they are crucial in those lessons.