Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.
After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.
But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what doesn’t feel part of my world anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!
Here in early 2016, it’s a different kind of hustle than the one we saw closing 2015 out. In that last stretch, there was no end to the work on my plate, keeping me hustling at all hours to keep my blog on point. I had a list of things I wanted to get knocked out of the park before the year’s end, using every free moment I could find to hit my intense deadlines.
Now that it’s January, in some ways things are more relaxed—I mean, sure, any day now I’ll be racing to the hospital to welcome our second child into the world; and though I got a lot done in the weeks that just passed, there’s still plenty of unfinished business that’s followed me into 2016—but I can hack away at my ideas gradually, taking my time to find the truth in my half-formed ramblings, not forcing square pegs into round holes and rush it all.
It’s giving me the time to build foundations, putting all the pieces in place so I can finish 2016 with a bang!
And this week was just another step towards that goal.
For this month’s post, SodaStream asked: “What empowers you?”
What keeps me going more than anything else is knowing I’m making a positive difference in the world. Whether through covering things people wouldn’t consider otherwise; raising a son that’ll know the key to a successful life is the balance between being respected, respecting others and respecting oneself; or even little things like holding doors, giving up seats, or donating my loose change to someone needing it more than me… I long for a world better than the one we have today.
But much of that positive change has to start from within, and that’s what I hope to show my family this May.
Mother’s Day the Palmer Way
You see it around Christmastime: when people look at the lengthy lists of gifts to buy, wondering how they’ll afford it all. Dinners to plan and parties to attend—you have countless competing priorities crashing together, and only one you to pull it all together!
In some ways, that’s how I feel about May.
For 30 years, I’ve spent Mother’s Day in Mississauga celebrating my mother and everything she’s done for me. But now, with a family of my own it feels… different. I still got my Mom a card (and my grandmother too, as she was up visiting from Jamaica) and braved our rotten Toronto traffic to stop by and say “Hi”, but after years trying to top the gifts from those before, I don’t think anyone can beat what we gave her last year….
This May, we’re celebrating Sarah’s 1st Mother’s Day, our 3rd wedding anniversary, and her birthday (I’d tell you the number, but sometimes you need to value your life more than you do accuracy!) With so many milestones afoot in the span of mere weeks, I want to give her the world without the disposable income or time that we used to have. Parenthood is by no means a light undertaking, and I want to use this month to remind Sarah that not only is she a great Mom, but also a great wife and great woman as well. We’re both trying to figure parenting out daily, but she bears the brunt of both great experiences and bad as she spends her days with the little guy, so I wanted to do something to really show how much I appreciate it. With cards from myself and the little guy, a few little gifts and some time to relax on our patio while I kept him entertained, I think we were off to a good start.
So with a foot in your old life and another in the new, what do you do? Celebrate the woman who gifted you with life or the one who blessed you with a child of your own? Obviously, the answer is both, but it’s not an easy balance to keep. Though you’ve got a kid, you’ll never stop being someone else’s — a reality you’ll need to constantly revisit through your entire parental journey. Though reconciling this is my battle to face, Sarah has a journey as well—and not only her own, but that with all the other mothers she’s befriended in such a short time!
What REALLY Empowers Me?
This past weekend marked six months since we became parents. Over that time, Sarah’s not only excelled as a mother, she’s also been honing her innate community manager skills as the admin of a self-created Facebook group 150+ members strong for Moms with kids born in November 2013! Those bonds have translated over to our lives as well in our East York baby boomtown, with plenty of new Mom friends in our neighbourhood to share walks, parenting programs, coffee visits and dinners.
Through this group, we discovered that some of the other Moms use SodaStreams, too, using their machines to customize the drinks they have daily, which is important, because as new parents, we need to model better choices for our children, whether it’s what we put in our bodies, how we treat the environment or how we spend our money. I’ve gotten many questions about the SodaStream since the first blog post came out, so it’s good to know that I’ve got some real-life examples to point out if anyone ever needs to discuss how it can affect their life.
So thank you, Sarah — my other half, my BFF and mother of my child. I’ll try to make this month—and this life—as special as I can for you. It’s a long road ahead, but I think we’ve got what it takes to make it work. You and our son are what empower me, and I hope I never forget that.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with SodaStream Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. You can connect with SodaStream Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
It’s good when your wife has your back. About a week ago, Sarah had sent me a piece from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Connection — a daily devotional based off of his ever-popular book, The Purpose Driven Life. It’s a Christian guide for finding a better sense of meaning in one’s life and reassurance to get through the difficult times.
The topic was on choices, and Sarah told me that it was written much like I’d write my posts—don’t wait for outside intervention for the bad things in your life to change. It is your life. You need to effect the changes you want. Even from a Christian standpoint, while God might know the grand destiny for our lives, he still gave us the gift of free will—YOU must make the choices that will define YOUR life while you have it!
Feel free to read the article below to get an idea of the way Rick aimed to get this idea across, albeit more eloquently. I’ll see you tomorrow with a post that took a few heads put together to make as good as it is!
So I woke up around 3:50 or so. Apparently, I needed 10½ hours of sleep. Hey, I’ll take it.
A little after 4, I called Sarah. Good times—she knows we’re both interested in one another, but she needs a little time because she broke up with the last suitor on Monday. And I’m completely fine with that. I kept the conversation going after that to ward off any awkwardness, so we still cool.
This is weird. No feeling of rejection? No self-loathing? Huh! Maybe this year is going to be good after all!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: