Sunday, 19 May 2013


One might have thought my next blog post would focus on Iceland. I was there April 25-28. It was a truly amazing place. In fact, in the next year my plan is to go back with more time now that I know what adventures are to be had while there.

So so sooooo many beautiful things I reflected on in my note book as I traveled around and explored the natural wonders of Iceland. 

A science-dork’s dream-come-true trip. I was so stimulated and excited constantly… by … geology.

The problem, however, is Miss Lame's need to type out her messages. If I had just written my thoughts and experiences in my computer as they happened I would have flowed with intense expression. I would have produced a quality string of words, worthy of a blog post. Words that would do justice to Iceland.

I was so moved and I felt so strong there.

A few weeks since this stunning experience, I look down at the jagged words, intermingle with intense scribbles. “Use one line to cross out incorrect work!” A recurring instruction Miss Lame never seemed to absorb. A six year old’s writing?

The task seems daunting. The time and attention required to decipher my poopy handwriting, to get my mind back to the powerful feelings I had as I was confronted with such beautiful natural phenomena and gorgeous people, it all seemed like too much whilst in the midst of a marking frenzie. I must do Iceland justice and now is not the time.

More present in my mind is the thought of some of the most important people in my life. My family. Last week a very important day tried to pass me by but something jumped out at me. A picture.

Strong feelings flowed from prefrontal cortex to finger tips. I smash out my message, sat in a bustling cafĂ©.  I cry, I smile, I drink coffee.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

After sharing my example, I ask my students to reflect and write. To tell me about their influential person.

Missed Mother’s day in Canada. Missed the thought, being so wrapped up in my hectic teaching world. My oldest friend, M, posts a picture of her Mother as a young woman. Facebook. My connect with my distant people. 

Post-secondary education done, my folks and her folks move from Ottawa to London Ontario together, to start their lives with careers, homes and children. God parents to my sister. A dear family to the Lame family.

M and I went to different primary schools and so during those years we spent less time together. We were less close. It was when we stepped into secondary school world, that we reunited and our friendship, plus two others, thrived.

“Crazy square of odd chicks”, we liked to call ourselves. I remember, no cares, just the self-centred teen thoughts of “nobody could be more silly and life-loving than us”. We fluttered about our secondary school halls, dancing when we felt like it, making up shocking rap songs, spearheading Equity Committee celebrations- “We hate people, who hate people”- The slogan we came up with. This suggestion as reluctantly, with a smirk, turned down by the Equity Committee supporting teacher due to negative connotation... 

WE HAD FUN. WE LOVED. WE LAUGHED. WE ATE TONS OF FOOD. AND CAME UP WITH RIDICULOUS PLANS ANS IDEAS… SO HAPPY. And, as I’ve come to notice, as an observer of teens every day, we were very fortunate.  I fondly reflect and can confidently conclude that this fortunate teenage experience of unconditional love and laughter was an important part in Miss Lame’s development. My lame-with-no-shame approach to life was completely accepted and celebrated with this circle or rather, square, of friends. It enabled my lameness to flourish. At a time where acceptance is paramount to the psyche, I had it, in the best possible way.  Not many teens can say they had this opportunity.
Crazy square of odd chicks

Going into grade 10, 16 years old or so, second last year of high school.  The “crazy square of odd chicks”, plus another important addition, beautiful "Nic-cool", were so strong. Becoming young women and nothing, absolutely nothing could be better. I remember this significant high-point- The sheer happiness and silliness, coupled with our thriving emotional maturity. It felt perfect.

A devastating quake. M’s Mom passed. Suddenly.

Her Mom.

Sitting in the back seat of my car pool into work on Monday this past week. The picture, on facebook, before my eyes. Alison, so beautiful and lively. I am overwhelmed with emotion.
The picture. The thoughts of these beautiful times. The thought of the loss. The pain I saw in M. The pain in me. The pain of losing the strong group of four. Losing connect with M.

Everything shifts. We learned. A very difficult lesson. Loss. And it’s lack of discernment and compassion.
The picture highlights for me flaw in the notion that time that heals. Not really. Sadness and the loss never goes. The experience never erases. Alison never returns. Sure, time may make it hurt less constantly, enables M to speak more comfortably and openly about her Mom, display beautiful pictures of her, in celebration of her. But it still hurts deeply.

I still cry and hurt. For M. For the loss. For Alison’s loss of life.

Mother’s day can mean such different things to different individuals. The picture highlighted this too.

This picture. The thought of M’s Mom. Always, as it would for any, translates to thoughts of my own Mother. The loss, so close. Real.  I am forever haunted by this terrifying thought since the devastating quake- It can happen.

The picture. Moves me. Makes me reflect on the most influential person in my life.


So many valuable things, she's taught me. She showed me love and acceptance. She taught me empathy. She taught me to find and celebrate the beauty in people. To hear. To feel. For other and self. To feel and love with my whole heart.

She gave me so much love and room to grow that I can love with my whole heart.   

My Mom- Sally Lame- Who she has been to me. And who she allows me to be. 


The picture. Missing Mother’s day. I felt a sadness. I wanted to celebrate the most influential person in my life. I didn’t know how to from across the pond.

I decide to share her with my students. My sweet children. This is how I celebrate and appreciate my mother. I think of her and inspire my students to reflect. At least I hope I do.

Little Sally Lame in the middle!

Their reflections back tell me that they are inspired. They indicate to me that Mother's day would mean vastly different things to different students. Some, like me, discuss their family too, but my students' person of influence varied greatly. Connection and unconditional love is at the core of each story. I am moved and feel I’ve connected with my Mother, living thousands of kilometres away. 

I miss you Mom. I am so so so lucky to have you and I don’t know how to tell you just how much.

This story, I hope. For me, for you and for the world to know.

Sally Lame is my Mother and she is amazing.