Tooth Fairy Tales: I don’t do night shift!

Do you ever feel like the stars just don’t align in your favour? Well, let me tell you, when it comes to our kids “losing teeth”, this is definitely the case. I absolutely love sleep and one of the top ranking events of my day is hitting the sack….early! It is not uncommon for me to be asleep by 10:00 and when the kids were younger 9:00 was the norm. After teaching almost 50 five year olds all day and then coming home to your own little ones, by the time the sun set, I was totally done! The point of this is that I in no way shape or form, do nights (except when granted the opportunity to engage in a great game of cards or Settlers). My husband on the other hand has worked the night-shift most of his adult life. It is rare for him to ever make it to bed before 2 or 3 in the morning, even on his nights off. So in my mind, it seems like a total injustice when one of our children should lose a tooth on a day when their dad is going to work. He clearly would make a better “tooth fairy” than I. He is already up most of the night and it would take nothing for him to sneak into the kids rooms and exchange their tooth for a bit of cash. Despite this, you can bet that a large percentage of the teeth fall out when my husband will not be home. It is like some kind of a sick joke, that I have to set my alarm to wake-up and do the deed.

My daughter is cut from the same cloth as her father. Despite being sent to bed and tucked in at a respectable bed time, she is her father’s daughter and unfortunately a night-hawk. She often complains she just can’t fall asleep and has way more stamina than I’ve ever had late in the evening, so for a long time now, I have fallen asleep well before her. In 2011, when she was 9, Eden had already been tucked in and I was just heading to bed. I was totally exhausted and figured she was coming down to say she couldn’t fall asleep, but this was not the case. She had continued to wiggle her loose tooth long after I sent her to bed and eventually removed it. Instead of coming down when her tooth fell out, she got up and made a note for the tooth fairy.

Eden's Note

Dear Mrs. Tooth Fairy, I don’t really need money but if you really want to you can. If you don’t give me money I prefer drawing supplies. PS and if you really come, me and my brother Shay would like you to draw a picture here and write something. Sincerely Eden

So, she came downstairs to not only tell me about her tooth, but also share her note. She was already starting to question the authenticity of the tooth fairy, so I knew this was a test. Had I not been so over tired, I might have handled it better, but the only thing I could hear was the voice inside of my head screaming “Why me? Why on my watch?” I told that to the best of my knowledge the tooth fairy did not take requests and that she had better get to bed or the tooth fairy would be done her rounds for the night and she’d get nothing (or something like that) and so off to bed she went.

I was so mad and should have just taken my cue from the first line of the note that said I could leave money if I wanted or even better, spilled the beans and revealed the truth, so I would never have to do this again. However, not being one to shy away from a challenge, I took my very tired body back to the computer and began to respond to my daughter’s note. I’m no artist, so the first thing I did was look for a sketch of a fairy under Google images. Pretty smart, I thought. I then wrote a little note and searched for a “fairyish” font that I downloaded for this very occasion. Finally, I imported the picture into the document with my note and printed it out on the “fast” setting of my printer so that the quality would be low. (I think of everything.) Once printed off, I took a black pen and went over the writing to make it look a bit more handwritten and not quite so perfect. I then took a pencil and added free hand sketch lines to the image to make it look much more realistic. By this time, I was just shy of a zombie, but was too determined to let my child down. I finished my little project and then went down to the basement to see what I could find in my gift box. I wasn’t sure what would be there, but I was so excited when I found a pack of markers. By this time, my daughter was sound asleep, so I snuck up and placed the markers, 2 dollars and the note at the top of her bed just beneath the edge of her pillow. I was nervous because not only is she a night-hawk, but also a light sleeper. I made it in and out without so much as a stir and left feeling very satisfied with myself. I finally got into my nice warm bed and was asleep within seconds.

tooth fairy note

My Dearest Eden, Congratulations! I can’t believe you have lost another tooth. You are getting so big! I have a very hectic schedule and don’t usually take requests, but I happen to have something in my travel bag. I thought you might also like some money for your own upcoming trip. Bon voyage! Keep well! Tooth Fairy PS I like pencil sketches the best!

Eden was so excited when she got up to find the note, drawings and goodies left by the tooth fairy, I couldn’t help but take pride in the fact I pulled it off. (Of course, when I look back now, it is so lame one has to laugh.)

Later that evening, Eden was on the computer, when I heard her call “Mom!” When you’re being called, there are all sorts of tones and implications associated with how one’s name is called. I could tell by the tone of her voice that something was up. I came to the library to see what she was working on and was immediately greeted with a question. “What is this?” she asked as she pointed to the little icon of a fairy drawing that still sat on the screen of our home page. Ugh! How could I have been so stupid. I went through all of that work to trick her and ended up leaving the original image on the computer. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces together. She was pretty proud that she figured it out and in the end, I was too. The next time she lost a tooth all I said was, “I guess it’s too bad there is no such thing as a tooth fairy.” That was the end of that business. Shay continued to believe for a while, but now I can honestly say, we are passed that stage. Yay!

I do have to wonder what possesses me to act like such an idiot sometimes. Prior to this event, I can remember trying to sneak in to perform my “tooth fairy” duties and Eden sitting up to ask what I was doing and I, like a skilled improv comedian would tell her I was checking on something or just came to give her a kiss. My husband actually taught me the trick of doing the swap at “tuck time”. He would sometimes have the money in his closed fist and do the exchange during story and tucks. I was always worried about this strategy because when I was a kid it was my nature to check that the tooth was still there a dozen times before I actually fell asleep. Crazy!

My Tooth Fairy Tips:

If you have little ones and are just beginning this fiasco, here are some things to consider:

  1. Do not respond to requests – plain and simple the tooth fairy doesn’t take requests!
  2. A friend suggested hanging a little bag on the door knob on the outside of the bedroom door. This was so clever it made me mad….duh….why didn’t I think of that. If I was doing it all over again, I would definitely consider doing the “hang the bag on the door knob trick”.
  3. Remember there are 20 teeth in that little mouth. Do not start what you aren’t prepared to stick with, especially when you make it a consistent rate or expectation. If you do have a tradition, make sure to have a stash on hand. I was never this prepared and always seemed to be caught off guard.
  4. This tooth fairy (as in me) really doesn’t do nights well. If I had it to do over again, I might even look into the possibility of having a tooth fairy that worked the day shift and did pick-up and deliveries while the kids were at school or maybe even left money with a new toothbrush that was waiting in the bathroom for them in the morning. The possibilities are really endless. Let’s face it, I don’t think there’s a book on tooth fairy rules. You get to make them!

The reason I started to think about this was because one of our local news stations was talking about how much the average tooth fairy leaves across Canada. The stats were interesting and it made me think about how some of my students have shared what they got from the tooth fairy – everything from $20 to actual presents. I think I got a quarter when I was a kid and as parents, Tim and I didn’t really have a set rate. This was mostly because I rarely have actual cash on hand and would have to scour the house for money because it was pretty customary for the kids to lose teeth after their dad left for work. I don’t think a Visa or a debit card would work in this case. The other issue is, I really never thought about it until the first tooth was lost and by then, it was too late to have a game plan. It may seem really lame, but this is a long term commitment and if you have multiple kids it’s even more work. There really is something to be said for those that forgo the entire charade altogether. As much as I hated being the TF, I can say one thing…it created memories and there are stories to tell because we did engage in this crazy tradition.

I would love to know your tooth fairy traditions! Do yo leave money and how much? Do you have other creative ideas or family traditions that others might like to hear about. Remember what is considered “normal” for you, might be considered “genius” to someone else. Leave your ideas below!

Down for the Count

Hi All!

Ironically, I hit my one year anniversary on Saturday and haven’t posted since. I went to bed that evening and got up in the night to open the window. I’m not sure if I was still asleep, had a dizzy spell, fainted or what, but I fell backwards and smashed my head on our hardwood floors. Luckily, my neighbours were able to help out and while Lisa drove me to the ER, Chris stayed with the kids. Tim was at work that night, so I was alone with the kids. As my husband would say, I really “rang my bell”. I had lots of tests and don’t really know why I fell, but despite the goose egg and severe pain, I didn’t fracture my skull and the CT scan showed no brain bleeds. I felt so sick after that I was pretty sure I had a concussion and sure enough, I did/do. I am feeling much better, but get dizzy with any quick movements or turns of my head and thus my world has become very limited until the headaches go away. I am on restricted screen time and have done nothing more than quickly check my email once a day. Of course, doing nothing is not something I do well. If only I could curl up with a good book. Oh well, I know I just need to give it some time. I will be back, but for now I won’t be doing much of anything and will have to put my blog on the back burner until I feel like the symptoms have diminished. I thought I should at least take a few minutes to let everyone know what is going on. Obviously, I will begin to blog again, as soon as I am able. Take care.


PS This might be a great time to search the archives. You can either search the headings or use the search bar to type in key words. Remember there are more than 365 posts on everything from health and wellness to DIY projects. Hopefully, you can find something of interest.

Jesus Take the Wheel!

got favor?I thought I’d share a story …. one that will likely transcend time. You know those stories that begin with, “Do you remember that time….”. Perhaps my children will one day tell their children of our little adventure and miracle. If you read my blog regulary, you will know that I have a strong faith and I learned many years ago, that there is no request too big or too small for God. It was from our pastor that I learned there was no such thing as “wasting” a prayer. Thanks to his stories about his wife Sally praying for parking spots, I have also found that with a little prayer, I too can have “rock star” parking! We have taught our kids the power of a prayer and when any situation arises….we pray, trust, believe and then wait.

No Gas…Are You Kidding Me?

Our family made a day trip out to my Auntie Lynn’s funeral on Friday. The weather was good, the service was beautiful and the hours after spent with family were wonderful. After a full and very long day, we got back in the van to begin the 3 1/2 hour drive back to Winnipeg. We were heading out about 7:45, so knew it would be 11:15 or so before we’d get home. Tim is a night hawk, so the thought of driving back after a long day really wasn’t a big deal. Our route took us along #1 Highway, past Brandon.

I’m not one to play around with the gas gauge, I will always play it safe and fill up long before the needle gets close to the big “E”. However, I was not driving and therefor not really paying attention to the gas. We got about 15 minutes past Brandon when Tim casually said, “Oh, we’ll need to stop for gas.” Tim is a born and raised city boy, used to having access to whatever he needs 24/7. I am a country girl. When and where I grew up, the stores were closed Sundays and Mondays and there was no such thing as a Convenience Store. Clearly things have changed in my home town as well, but I knew this highway well enough to know that there weren’t many gas stations along it and I would venture a guess that those that existed, closed early.

So, as we tooted along on our very low tank of gas, we came to the town of Carberry. Carberry sits along the highway, but you have to exit and travel off the highway a bit of a distance (which seemed like a mile or two, especially when you’re running on fumes) to get into town. Our gas was low enough that we were already nervous about making it in to town and finding a gas station before we ran out. We found the two town gas stations, but both closed at 9 p.m. and it was now around 9:30.  As were driving down the street, we saw two guys outside the town bar. We stopped and asked them how far to the closest gas station, but they weren’t much help. I’m not sure if their “bellies were already full” or what, but they were zero help and did nothing more than waste our time and gas as we sat idling while they tried to think outside the borders of their small town. One actually thought he might be able to tell us how far to the closest gas station if he had a calculator. Ugh!  We moved on and went back to the first gas station, as there were a few lights on even though the sign said “closed” and it looked to be closed. Tim knocked on the door to see if anyone was inside, but no one was there. A local man pulled in the parking lot and told us we would have to go back to the highway and head to Austin (Manitoba….not Texas, thankfully!!) He said it was about 20 minutes down the highway. The man left and we prayed. We knew there was absolutely no way we had gas to get there. We had been on empty for longer than seemed possible and there was no way we could make it 20 minutes more.

Only By the Grace of God:

So, we did the only thing we could and prayed that we would make it to Austin and find an open gas station. Shay has a great sense of humour and is definitely the family clown. For months now, he has been looking for the perfect scenerio to use the tag line from Carrie Underwood’s song “Jesus Take the Wheel”. Well, you can bet you picked up on this right away and declared it “Jesus Take the Wheel!” and thankfully, he did.

We got back on the highway and tried to pass the 37 km by playing games, singing and telling jokes. (Shay provided most of the entertainment.) We pulled up to the Co-op gas station just outside of Austin at 9:59 p.m. and Tim began to pump the gas. In the middle of pumping, all of the lights on the pumps went out as the station closed at 10:00 p.m. When the pump stopped, it didn’t go unnoticed that our 75 litre gas tank accepted 74.87 litres of gas before it automatically shut off.  We were literally down to 1/2 cup of gas and had we been even a minute later we would have been out of luck. Thank the Lord for taking care of all of the circumstances and giving us yet another example of his faithfulness. I love watching as miracles unfold, both big and small for it is through the smaller miracles like finding a parking spot, that you build your faith and belief for those bigger situations.

When I was looking for a gas gauge picture for the post, I found one on The Heart of Abba and pastor Ron told a “running out of gas story” as well. I loved this quote that was taken from his article.

The favor of God is not even affected by our immediate circumstances… our job, our family, or even our gas gauge. The favor of God is about His goodness and His faithfulness. We receive God’s favor, not because we are good, but because HE is good.

Hopefully this has inspired you. It doesn’t matter what you are going through, there is no circumstance too big or too small. Just have faith and believe. Be patient and know he is acting on your behalf.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Still Alive After 5! (Okay, 2)

Let’s not mess around with semantics and cut to the chase….I’m horribly out of shape. I never thought I would see the day when my daughter would be encouraging me, when it came to working out and athletics. Eden has always been involved in activities and sports, but she’s not what you would call an aggressive competitor. She was the kind of kid who would get off her bike and walk it up a hill with a 10% incline because her legs hurt or stand by and watch the soccer game ensue around her, holding back so everyone could have a turn.

This spring her school started a running club which she was adamant she would not be joining. She “hates” running and always complains about sore legs when we do anything “strenuous” including lots of walking. So, you can imagine my surprise when she came home from school a few weeks back and announced that her teacher had convinced her to join the running club. Yay! Joining didn’t actually mean she liked running, only that she agreed to take part. She complains about running club all the time, and yet has asked me to go running with her more than once in the past few weeks. I can’t say running is high on my interest list, but I totally believe that an active life style is essential and it’s my job to display that for my kids. I literally could not say “no”.

Not only am I currently in poor shape, but I also hate running. I have done a bit of running in the past and even took the Running Room’s Learn to Run program several years back. A former colleague and avid runner once told me it takes 6 weeks to get hooked on running. It’s a lie. I stuck with it much longer than the suggested 6 weeks and still hated every step. I continued to run grudgingly and only stuck with it because it seemed like the simplest and most cost effective way to get in shape at the time. However, it didn’t seem to take that long before I quit altogether. I just don’t like it.

Despite my lack of interest in running, I really feel that Eden needs a good role model and I am so proud that she not only joined running club, but is actually showing an interest in pursuing running in her free time. So, when she asked me to go, I got myself up and ready, and off we went. Eden has some kind of an App to track your running distance and time. So I know for a fact that I was already dying at a 1/3 of a mile. At this point, it wasn’t so much the cardio,as my legs. By about 7/8 of a mile I was at least 20 paces behind Eden. I managed to continue running to the one mile mark and then had to walk for a minute. After a short walk and a one minute break, we began running again. It was hilarious. It was a total role reversal. Eden was encouraging me and telling me to stick with it and even slowing down to wait for me. I honestly never thought I would see this day. So, we continued on with her mostly running and me doing shorter spurts of running followed by longer distances of walking in between. In the end, we did 5 miles, but I’m sure I didn’t actually run much more than 2!

Eden and I

Eden and I about 45 minutes after our run ~ my face is still very red. Ugh!

My neighbour, Lisa, thought it is was kind of a special “first” and insisted on taking a picture of us after our first run together. You’ll notice how red my face is. The embarrassing thing is that this photo was taken about 45 minutes post run. I am now sitting here, about 2 hours after my run, and I think my natural colour has finally returned. I must say, I do feel better now, but I definitely needed some recovery time. I can’t say I enjoyed the run, but it was great to be out with Eden and I’m so proud of her. I told her that she could be my “personal trainer” and if we ran 3 times a week all summer, she could help get me back in shape. I found this winter to be one of the toughest ever and quite honestly had no motivation to do any form of exercise. Channel surfing was pretty much the extent of my physical activity this past winter. I love the idea of her and I going running together. I am not even going to suggest that we’ll be committed to this as that is way too premature, but it would be a great way to get back in shape and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve waited so long for. I’m cautiously optimistic!

Birthday Bites

Last summer, I started using my Facebook account primarily as a means to share my new blog. It would be a bit of a stretch to say I’m “on Facebook” because I rarely check it, but I have to say I was quite surprised by all the birthday wishes I got yesterday. Thanks to everyone that sent me warm wishes and sorry to everyone that I have never sent birthday wishes to. It did feel nice to get all those notifications yesterday.

The kids and I had a really busy day. I took Shay to his soccer game for 9:30, dropped Eden off at her recital at 12:30 and then headed back for the 1:30 show. Eden did really well and had lots of fun performing. I took my dad with me and when they broke for the intermission after the first half, we decided to ditch the rest of the show. I’m normally not one for leaving a performance early, but the first half was an hour and a half and I figured – hey it’s my birthday and I don’t want to spend it sitting in a concert hall watching other people’s kids perform. We were front row on the balcony, but the distance was such that I actually pointed the wrong kid out to my dad and for the first part of her performance we both had our eyes riveted on the kid. Way to go mom! Has anyone else noticed that short hair is not very in these days? Honestly, I am guessing 95% of the girls had long hair! Never really notice that before, but I was also trying to pick out a few of Eden’s friends, but found that from my distance they all pretty much looked the same. Oh well! So, my plan was to sneak out and come back an hour and a half later to pick-up Eden as I didn’t expect she would be able to go half way through. As it turns out, she spotted us and was glad to leave as she was bored silly sitting around as well. To me this was a gift in itself. Happy birthday to me!

The kids and I then went out for dinner. I picked 4 places that I thought the kids would like and that I would be okay with (none of which I would choose if I was going out with Tim, but rather nice kid friendly restaurants.)  They both wanted to go to Mongo’s Grill, so we went out for dinner and then I voted for Piazza de Nardi for dessert. This ended up being perfect because I had one of their delicious red velvet cupcakes and the kids opted for Gelato, so everyone was happy. Finally, we decided on a movie.

Godzilla Review:

Let me start off by saying that I had zero interest in seeing Godzilla. I really just not a Godzilla kind of girl, but when I suggested a movie the kids both wanted to go to it and I thought what the heck….it really doesn’t matter what we see, I’m sure we’ll have fun. Shay is 10 and although he really wanted to see the movie, he was a bit nervous about seeing the 3D version. He’s a bit sensitive to loud noises and thought that the volume and 3D might be a bit much for him. When we arrived at the theatre, the 3D one worked better for us and so we decided it would be fine. I sometimes find myself living in a bit of a bubble and hadn’t even seen the trailer for the movie, so I was a bit surprised to discover this huge reptile emerging from the ocean, when my mind was expecting to see a big furry gorilla holding up a screaming girl….oops ~ wrong movie! Yep, totally got King Kong and Godzilla mixed-up.King Kong

I went to this movie expecting that the kids would enjoy it and I would think it is okay, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Absolutely not a movie I would have ever put on my “things to do” list, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the story line was good and it was action packed. This movie would be a great family movie if your kids are a bit older. Shay loved it and wasn’t scared at all, despite being a bit anxious before it started. It would also make a great “date night”, if you “date your kids”. We don’t do this nearly as much as I would like, but we do try to do one on one “dates” with each of the kids as often as possible. They absolutely love that alone time with a parent and this movie would be perfect as both my kids really loved it.

My great day ended with my neighbours Kelli and Lisa popping over with cake and staying for a few games of “Upwords” (one of my favourite word games). We had a great visit and lots of laughs. Thanks to all for a great day!

The Ladybug Picnic

Oh how I wish that only 12 ladybug showed up to the Ladybug Picnic!

Why me?

For the last few springs we have found that the closet window in Eden’s room seemed to attract ladybugs. Not just a few, but several. We never really did much about it as I believed they were harmless and there weren’t even enough to really be annoying. So, we would collect and dispose of them one by one. Although there never really were that many, clearly we should not have ignored the problem. There are definitely more this year and they seem to be migrating through the house a bit more. Eden and Shay are a bit freaked out, but I had totally down played it even after checking out her window and seeing that yes, there were a few more than other years and we should probably look into how best to handle it. Well, I am a busy lady and this morning Shay asked if I could please do something about the ladybugs in his room. I had looked last night and found 2 or 3, but when I went in there today I had to go in his closet for something and found that his window is way worse than Eden’s ever was. We have been bombarded by them. They are no longer cute! They are all over – Ugh!

Of course, I was a little disturbed and over reacted. Cover your eyes if you’re not up to this, but I ran to the basement and got the RAID. Yep! You guessed it, I sprayed those suckers like there’s no tomorrow. I didn’t even pause to think it over first. Just aimed and blasted. I figured I would let the poison dry and then wipe the windows and sills down throughly. Too bad I didn’t google it first as bug spray doesn’t seem to be high on the list of recommendations.

So, having already wiped out most of the population and spooked the rest, I am pretty sure they have given off their special “pheromones” that let all their lady bug friends know where they are hanging out. They say vacuuming them up is a better choice. I’ll vacuum up the mess I made once the RAID dries and then proceed to clean. Evidently the “yellow” stain they are famous for is actually blood that they secrete when they are in danger. My hasty decision may mean I need to sand and paint to get rid of the stains and still not be clear of future infestations. According to The Ladybug Lady:

They use pheromones as a means of communication during mating and hibernation. Insect pheromones are very powerful. They can be detected by others up to a 1/4 mile away. This helps ladybugs find each other and it lets future generations know of a good place to “camp out” for the winter. The pheromones don’t go away easily. The chemical “scent” can remain year after year, and not only on the outside of a structure, but also within the walls, where ladybugs tend to hide before emerging into your home. So, scrubbing pheromones off a house is a BIG task, if not impossible.

Oh, joy. I guess spring really has sprung at the Roys!

Living An Urban Legend: That Dirty RATscal!

You know how life goes… from the outside, everyone thinks you’ve got it all together, but on the inside, there is often an untold story. Others are usually unaware of the trials and tribulations one faces each day;  the fears, the feelings and the relationships that are all interwoven into what we call life. I don’t know if this has ever happened to you before, but over the course of my life,  I have sometimes found myself in situations in which I honestly feel, “This can’t seriously be happening!” I am left feeling a bit like my life has spun completely out of control and that I am in fact living what many would deem to be nothing more than an “urban legend“.

What is an Urban Legend?

Here is American Folklore’s definition of an Urban Legend:

What is an urban legend? Urban legends are incredible stories – sometimes scary, sometimes funny – which have a tantalizing bit of plausibility to them. Urban legends contain many folkloric elements and they spread quickly through a community or society. The tales are usually told dramatically, as if they are true stories that have happened to a real people, although they may in fact be fictional. Local touches are often added to the legend. A storyteller might say: “This really happened last year to my cousin’s friend in Chicago.” Urban legends often carry a warning or have some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it.

That Dirty RATscal!

I must begin by saying that this story is difficult to share without extending it into the events that occurred many years before and those which followed, as this singular event had an impact on my life which actually transcended a period of about 30 years.  I am not ready to share it all, but a friend suggested that I share this story. It still amazes me that a mere moment in time can have the power to change one’s life so significantly.  Here is my story….

In the summer of 2006, my husband and I purchased our first home. This was a huge step for us for many reasons, but what many didn’t know was that events from my past made me feel safest on an upper floor of an apartment block. It is mainly for this reason, that we spent 10 years living in a very large (1500 square foot) top floor apartment. I liked the security of having to be “buzzed-in” and the fact that the windows were not accessible. I was very excited about owning our first house, but at the same time had many reservations.   Although I felt that I was working through these new insecurities, the events that took place the following May would totally rock my world and be the catalyst that began to spin my life out of control. The most intriguing part of this story is that the event is self, seems quite minor in the scheme of things and yet because of my existing fears, it literally had the power to turn my world upside down.

Our house was built in 1909, and consisted of 3 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The only other bathroom in the house was built in what seemed to be an almost uninhabitable basement. The basement itself had huge cracks in the floor with large slabs that were actually heaving and the ceilings were so low you had to duck. Despite this, a previous owner had installed a small bathroom with a single shower stall, toilet and sink. The basement and bathroom always creeped me out. I think this was because it was completely unfinished other than the bathroom and thus, you could expect to encounter a spider or sow bug on quite a regular basis. Despite this, I would use this bathroom to get ready for work every morning. My husband worked nights and my children never had to go to day care or a sitter, so their routine often began when they woke up between 8 and 9 a.m. (I know, we were so spoiled!!) To avoid waking my family, I would set out my clothes the night before and then proceed to the “dungeon” (I mean basement bathroom) to get ready. On this particular morning, I did as I always do and began my morning by going to the bathroom. I pulled down my underwear and began to sit down on the toilet, but for some reason turned and glanced back over my shoulder.  You can not even begin to imagine my terror when I looked into the toilet bowl and found the horrifying face of a rat that had drowned fighting for air. Its mouth was open, its teeth bared and its front legs frozen in what appeared to be a fighting attempt to reach the surface.

I literally only saw the disturbing image for a moment.  I raced up the stairs at lightning speed and I woke my husband. I insisted that he go down to the basement. He actually snickered and thought it was funny. (Of course at this point, he believed it was nothing more than a little mouse that fell in the toilet.)  I was angry, terrified and completely hysterical and his laughter was not welcome. He dragged himself out of bed and proceeded to the basement. I somehow managed to quickly get ready for work and was able to drive across the city without incident. My husband called me while I was on the way to work (before the cell phone law) to check on me. This was very out of character for him and I could tell that he was quite disturbed by what he saw as well.

While I struggled to make it through the day, my husband scoured our basement looking for signs of droppings, chewing, entry, etc. He found nothing, not a trace. While this news was comforting, it just didn’t add up. I decided to call the city and inquire if there had been a rat problem in our area that we were unaware of.  The lady on the other end very casually told me not to worry. She said that we were relatively close to the river and that it is not uncommon for rats to hold their breath and swim up the pipes to the toilet. In fact, they usually get reports of such incidents every few years. I was horrified and completely traumatized.

Within a few days, I began to experience panic attacks and other extreme medical symptoms. After a couple of weeks, tests revealed that at 38 years old, I was in menopause, no not peri-menopause, the transitional phase… I was finished, done, no estrogen in my system ~ everything completely depleted. In looking back, I now know that this was only the beginning of what would end up being years of doctoring, extreme symptoms and a final diagnosis of Trauma Induced Menopause

The story doesn’t end here, but for today it does. Without going into all the details and events that have taken place between then and now, I can confidently say, that I now feel completely healthy and fully recovered. I am not sure how a “normal” person would react to such an event, maybe most could shrug it off and laugh about it later, but for me it was the “penny” on the track that de-railed my life completely for the months and years that followed. In hind sight, I am thankful. It is often the most difficult things in life that force us to stop and face those things that are holding us back from being all that we can be. I know that this incident triggered a series of events that gave me no choice, but to seek the help I needed to get past the fears from the past that I had never truly dealt with. Through my faith and medical support, I was able to work through this and put it all behind me. I can now sleep peacefully in my own home without constantly fearing for the safety of my family. It is a peace I had not known for many years and for that I am extremely thankful.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NLT 

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