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A Motherless Mother's Day and Chili Tortilla Bake



Losing a Mother doesn't happen in a moment. It takes years to appreciate the impact of what's gone.


Lisa-Jo Baker

The last Mother's Day I spent with my Mom was completely forgettable except for the fact that it was her last one.

My Nana's burial was the week before and my Mom was sad. We had just found out that Mom was "cancer free" and instead of celebrating we sat back and thought... "next year will be better."

I was so tired. SBean was 5 months old and a terrible sleeper. I know because she slept in our bed for the first 10 months of her life. HBear was 4 and it was her last 2 months of dance and Preschool and I was just tired. Mom had just finished chemo and radiation and I hadn't slept in what felt like forever. We had just hosted the entire extended family over the past month with Nana's death, funeral and then later her final resting.

I was so tired that I didn't fully appreciate the last Mother's Day with my Mom. We made brunch and I bought her a few little garden trinkets. 


After her passing her garden grew weeds, turned brown and died... just like her... they were all I could see peeking up from the barren ground, a grim reminder taunting me. 

The Girls and I made her handprints with a beautiful saying on the back. We had done it for when HBear was 5 months old as well. 

The beautiful handprints now hang in my bedroom instead of hers.








I wonder if Mother's Day will always feel like this? Last year was good but even surrounded by love and laughter my heart was heavy and the tears refused to be held back. 

I wonder if the guilt will be with me for always? Even though the whole weekend was totally chill and laid back, I still feel tired. Like missing my Mom uses so much energy that I will be forever tired. 

I read my story on Scary Mommy... well not MY story but it mine as well be. It is a story of loss and sadness. It is a story about a motherless mother who wants to be present for her children and enjoy the day meant to celebrate her but also dreads the day that so flagrantly throws her loss into her face with repeated reminders of everything she once had. 

I had a great Mom πŸ’›. I had a best friend that knew what I wanted and I needed before I even knew what I wanted or needed. I had someone that I could tell all my secrets to and not judge me for them. I had someone that always laughed with me and never at me. I had someone that cheered me on when I was being great and picked me up whenever I seriously sucked. I had someone that knew my history and was confident in my future. 

I'm sorry Mom. I'm sorry for so many things but today I'm sorry that I squandered our last Mother's Day together. I took them all for granted. I will make it up to your memory by NEVER taking the days I have with my Girls for granted. You taught me so much Mom and I am forever grateful. This Mother's Day I will remember the love, the happy times and I will share that love with my family πŸ’›...


I know I shared a Mexican dish with you last week but this is good. Like, REALLY good! I had to share it before it gets forgotten like so many other dishes I have made and then forget to share with you. This is an easy casserole that is bursting with flavour! We never have leftovers when I make this Mexican Deliciousness.

Chili Tortilla Bake
Adapted from Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice

1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, 
diced
1 bell pepper, 
diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can diced tomatoes with the juice
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 tablespoon chili power
8 tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese
sour cream, for garnish

cilantro, for garnish




In a large Dutch oven brown the ground turkey over medium heat breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove to a bowl.




In the same pan heat the oil over medium heat and cook the onion, pepper and garlic with a few dashes each salt and pepper until soft about 5 minutes.




Add the ground turkey back to the pan with the diced tomatoes, beans, corn, chili powder and about 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.




Bring to a simmer and cook 25 minutes stirring often. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or chili powder.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Grease a casserole dish. Cover the bottom of the pan with 4 of the tortillas - you can tear them to make them fit.


Top the tortillas with half of the chili spreading it out evenly.



Sprinkle half the cheese over the chili.



Repeat with the remaining tortillas, the rest of the chili and top with the remaining cup of cheese.



Bake 25 minutes.



Let sit 5 minutes then cut into squares. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

 




This week was a little bit political 😳. BC held its provincial election on Tuesday. This was the first time I have ever voted against somebody instead of for somebody. In the past 3 years HBear has gone through a school strike, school closures, and so many budget cuts that all the schools in the entire city of Penticton share a maintenance man, a guidance counsellor, and a speech therapist. We have part-time custodians, a librarian who is also the art teacher and the music teacher, and our classroom teachers are the gym teachers as well. So, we went with the Girls and showed them how to use our voices to show our government that we are unhappy with the way things are. The government is voted in by the people to represent the people. That is their job. It is our job to vote in the best person to represent us, into government or in this case to vote out the person that does not represent us. It was fun!


Speaking of government officials that do not stand up for the people… I participated in the Vice Principal forum this week. The Vice Principal of HBear's school was terminated without cause a few weeks ago. The staff representative came to our PAC meeting and told us. From there it turned into a petition, media, and a lot of upset parents. After all was said and done the Board refused to overturn the decision and the Superintendent moderated a forum where all the "partners" were allowed input on the new Vice Principal hires.

I was totally unprepared as I had no idea what to expect. We invited a representative from every PAC but nobody was able to make it and our Chair was in Vancouver for the BCCPAC meeting. So I was the only representative from the PAC/DPAC. All 5 candidates sat at the front of the theatre and the 4 partners sat at separate tables facing them. There was CUPE, PAC, the BCPVPA, and the BCTF. The candidates introduced themselves and then we were each allowed to ask 2 rounds of 1 question. I didn't have any questions prepared 😳. While the candidates were answering the first question I quickly collected my thoughts and wrote down this…



It was a good question. I heard murmurs of "that was a good question" πŸ˜†. They all answered very well. My second question was a bit easier as I asked them how they felt about using their own time after school for extra curricular activities and being involved with the school events. They all gave the obligatory answers.… Some better than others. It was a very interesting 2 hours! I had walked to the forum as it's only a few streets away and it was nice to walk home and go over what had just happened 😊. 



Wednesday was a super busy day. I started off at volunteering for HBear's last grade 3 swim class.


Right after that I headed over to SBean's Preschool for the Mother's Day Tea. It was awesome! SBean was so excited! They sang quite a few songs and then gave us a beautiful cards πŸ˜‚, they made us a flower, planted a sunflower for us, and beaded us each a necklace! We had a lovely little table set up for us and we had tea/coffee, cookies, bagels with cream cheese, and little pinwheel wraps. Adorable!




 

 





After the Tea SBean and I drove up to Westbench where HBear was having her first cross country run. Go Roadrunners! It was 2kms… Up hills… And it was the warmest day we have had so far at +25. HBear is not a runner 🀣. The kids did great though!




 






From there I dropped SBean off at home with Ninja and I took HBear to her first tennis lesson of the year! She seriously loves tennis! The things she does: swimming, dance, golf, and sailing, she loves! You never have to fight with her to go to anything she wakes up excited for that activity after school! 

 

 


While she played I went for a run. I am so lucky! Beauty literally is all around me! We have had the highest water levels in recent history this year. Even Okanogan lake has hit its maximum level. 


 

The next day the Preschool did it all over again. This time SBean had a Mother's Day Tea for Grandma!





That evening HBear and her Brownies put on a Mother's Day Tea as well! They served us scones and fruit 😊. It was cute.


Knowing that we were going out for brunch on Mother's Day, HBear INSISTED on making me breakfast in bed the day before. Then Ninja took the girls out to the park, to deliver flowers to Grandma, and to the mall. I laid in bed all day!!!! They came home with beautiful flowers for me too πŸ’›.



 




That night I still got up to Podcast though πŸ˜‰. You can listen to our latest episode, O.N.G! Buy Honey Tea... HERE


On Mother's Day we all met at my favourite restaurant The Nest and Nectar for Brunch πŸ’› it was a-mazing! I was absolutely spoiled! Ninja bought me a new handcrafted locally forged chefs knife, Dad got me a new Fitbit, The Girls got me a new magic wand (HBear had accidentally broken my magic wand when she was 2) Plus HBear made me a… Vase?



 












After brunch we had did a few errands, had a nice visit with my in-laws, and went up to visit Mom. We went to Lisa's (she is a lady from the market who grows all of her own flowers in her massive yard up on the bench. She is right beside the cemetery so she leaves beautiful bouquets at her driveway with an honesty box. My Mom loved Lisa, she did all of my wedding flowers. We always grab a bunch on our way to see Mom) this time she was all out πŸ˜”. We went up for a visit anyways and I will stop by tomorrow with some flowers πŸ’›.






 

Ninja made my favourite meal for dinner! Homemade chicken Parmesan on a bed of noodles with French bread and white wine asparagus! He even milled the tomatoes himself! It was freaking πŸ˜‹!

 

Dinner was cut short because HBear had her acro jazz dress rehearsal. I didn't know if I was going to be able to put her short hair in a low right side bun 😳. Seriously? Dance? I am the worst Dance Mom LOL I thought we got there with plenty of time but as we were walking in I was getting a text message saying "are you coming to dresser rehearsal?" Apparently 5 minutes before they go on stage is not appropriate πŸ˜‚. I will make sure to be earlier next time. You should've seen me fighting with the plastic around the brand-new red lipstick! I was sweating I was trying to go so quickly πŸ˜‚.



 



Mother's Day will always be hard for me. But there is the other side… The side where I have a fantastic day with my family. That's the side where my heart is bursting not from sadness but overwhelming joy and thankfulness. 

Thank you Girls, Ninja, Dad, my Sis and my InLaws for making it such a nice day and thank you to all my wonderful friends for the beautiful texts of support. 

Happy Mother's Day!
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