“Never Let the Fire Inside You Leave.”

Fire has long served as a symbol of creation, destruction and rebirth.

T’s latest song obsession is “Iconic,” from Madonna’s 2015 album “Rebel Heart.”

Every August 16, M’s birthday, we listen to her songs. This triphop autotune-laced song appeals to T, because he thinks a robot is singing.

If you try and fail, get up again.

Destiny will choose you in the end.

If you don’t make the choice,

And you don’t use your voice,

Someone else will speak for you instead.

What you want is just within your reach.

But you gotta practice what you preach.

You pay with sweat and tears,

And overcome your fears,

Never let the fire inside you leave.”

– “Iconic“

This song resonates with me, because I’ve long admired and been inspired by M’s work ethic.

Forty years into her career and past her commercial peak, she still pushes herself, against misogynistic comments about her age, experimenting with new sounds and touring techniques, instead of resting on her laurels.

What lights your flame and keeps it burning?

I think back to my 20s. I felt that my inner fire was like a set of fireworks. Huge shortlived bursts of energy, reaching for the skies, then flaming out until the next explosion.

At 21, I took a 10-hour overnight bus to New York City, from Canada, and walked into the office of a literary agency, without an appointment, and asked to speak to an agent so I could drop off my manuscript with them.

Nothing happened with it, because it was frankly not very good. I sometimes think and cringe to myself, who was that bold little kid?!

Sightseeing by myself on the 86th floor of Empire State Building in Summer 2002, with an entirely different perspective about life. Things are more grounded these days!

I turned 40 this year. I feel like my inner flame is now more like a tall thick candle – more reserved, silent, but nonetheless lighting a way forward for those around me.

The best thing about getting older – note that I did not say about being old! – is you know yourself better.

I know who I am and who I’m not. I’m happy and thankful for who I’ve become and the list of things that motivate me to keep trying to do better everyday is more focused and narrow.

As a parent, my inner flame also burns so that I can help ignite the spark within my child’s spirit.

The reality of special needs parenting is that it is mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.

This is not a complaint, because being T’s Papa is the most rewarding role in my life. This is just me telling it like it is; it is very damn challenging.

While I have many things in my life that take up my time and energy, T is at the nucleus.

My flame flickers, so that I can help him find his way in his life and shine in his beautiful own way. I hope that my flame can light the spark and give him the skills and resiliency to burn brightly despite the obstacles he may face.

“I can’t. Icon. Two letter apart.

One step away from being lost in the dark.

Just shine your light like a beautiful star.

Show the world who you are.”

– “Iconic”

In the early days of parenting, the hubby and I often had conversations – and I’ve always reflected to myself – that although T is now the centre of our lives, I do not want to lose myself in the process of being a parent.

I still have my own goals and dreams, even though most of them are now deeply integrated with my hopes and dreams for T.

While I reprioritized my own goals around T, I was always mindful to not lose sight of myself.

To be able to light a way forward for T, I have to keep my own flame burning.

This is why the pandemic was so brutally hard.

Like other special needs families around the world, we were on survival mode. There was no time or energy for anything else.

Not a flame, but just a dimly flickering light bulb in a persistent brownout state.

“Tell me I’m no good and I’ll be great.

Say I have to fight and I can’t wait.”

– “Iconic”

But fire is about rebirth.

This summer has been a blessing for our family.

With daycares reopened to offer daily reprieve from T to our summer roadtrip, I do feel rejuvenated and reenergized.

I previously wrote about the importance of nurturing mental well-being. Another important aspect of my self care, one of my most important personal goals, is physical well-being.

One big blessing is the reopening of gyms.

With careful attention to safety precautions, I go two evenings and Sundays every week.

Thirty minutes of cardio on the elliptical followed by weights – plus three additional evenings of swim time with T – I am finally getting the physical activity I’ve missed so much.

I’ve also focused more attention into my diet, something that went out the window during the early days of the pandemic.

Smaller portions, cut out pop and juice, and stopped eating snacks in the evenings.

I started herbal alternatives to my daily second cup of coffee, alternating between bittermelon green tea and turmeric ginger “golden milk,” the latter (pictured below) of which is soothing and gives me a great night of sleep!

This past Thursday was our final evening visit to the outdoor pool for this summer, because it closes this Labour Day weekend.

It was a cool evening, you could feel autumn in the air, so T wanted to leave after just 15 minutes in the pool.

During the drive home, I remarked how quickly the summer flew by.

During a red traffic light stop, I glanced at our little boy, from the rear view mirror. He was still little, but not so little at the same time.

He is always in his element in the water, full of fiery confidence and joy.

I so wish for that flame to help him sparkle and shine in all other areas of his life.

I know and fully expect that the upcoming school year, entering grade one, is going to be a huge test for T and for us as his parents.

I’m filled with both hope and anxiety.

But all we can do is take it one day at a time.

The song “Iconic” was playing on repeat in the car and it arrived at the bridge (middle part) of the song and T sang along loudly with it.

“Born to be a superstar,

that’s exactly what you are.”

I thought to myself at that moment about how much I wish for him to internalize that message and to let it be a fuel that keeps his flame burning brightly.

26 thoughts on ““Never Let the Fire Inside You Leave.”

  1. This is such a heartwarming post and a good reminder for us all to never let that inner spark or fire burn out. It’s funny to look back over your life at your younger self and see how much you’ve changed (both in terms of how you look and act)! Enjoy the remaining days of summer and best of luck getting T ready to start grade one. P.S. I have three sisters and Madonna was (and still is) a classic in our household!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda. I get into these very self reflective moods during the end of the summer break. 🤣

      Your family has great taste in music! 😆

      Enjoy your roadtrip as well and look forward to reading all of your updates!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that’s totally normal. I get that way as well. I still sometimes feel the back to school jitters even though I haven’t been in school in years.

        Reception / radio station options has been a bit patchy up in Northern Ontario, so we’ve been listening to some old CDs my mom found in her car. This afternoon we listened to some Cher and Celine Dion.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said! Parenting during the pandemic was brutally hard for sure. So glad some normalcy is returning for you. My 6-year-old just got to go to her first 3 days of in-person 1st grade this week and it was SO GOOD for her and for me. Reminds me of the Carl Jung quote, “Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents.” Here’s to everyone living to their fullest!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Wynne. Congrats to your daughter for starting grade 1 and hooray for you for getting some time to yourself! 🙂

      I’ve never heard of that Carl Jung quote before and it is so very true! Here’s to everyone living their best lives – parents and kids!

      Like

  3. It really is true how you lose yourself as a parent. I am having a hard time right now finding myself again after years of giving every minute to child-rearing. Although I do have more free time I am not out of the woods yet.
    Wow, you went to NYC to find an agent. Good for you! That is one strong soul there! And that is great that you are getting some more YOU time to take care of yourself. I know I could put a little more time and energy into this myself!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Robyn. I am sorry to hear you’re having a tough time right now. From my distance, you seem like such a strong person. But I can also understand what you mean when you say you’re not out of the woods yet. I can’t imagine raising three kids! But kudos to you for having done so! And here’s to you jogging your way out of those woods! 😊

      And I wouldn’t stay strong soul… more, naive optimism. 🤣 But I guess that’s the wonderful thing about being young. Then the world mounds some realism into you. 😆

      Self care time has been great time this summer and so thankful for it. Our covid numbers are going up again, so I’m thankful for getting the recharge before another potential winter lockdown.

      I Hope you get some recharge time soon now that the kids are in school again!

      Like

  4. High five to my fellow “40 in 2021”! Your birthday was the day before I started my blog. I still have two months to go until mine but I hope I’m as graceful about it as you. You have such a great attitude to life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Juliette. It’s a great year to turn 40 and a great decade to be in! 😊 Age really is just a number… and eventually, we’ll get to the age where we don’t even remember how old we are! 😆 Hope you get a good chance to celebrate your milestone this fall.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m actually not as fussed about it as I thought I’d be. I won’t really be celebrating either, that sort of thing gives me terrible anxiety. I will visit some friends instead, particularly those I haven’t seen for a long time 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for today’s Fire and Hope. I used to be more passionate when I was younger but life circumstances, people relationships and getting older kind of reduced the flame to a flicker. It scares me sometimes of how much of me I already lost, thus every little bit of joy and Hope is a big thing to me. Kind of a giveaway why I often go to the beach and outdoors. So, after ready your post, I’ll try to make a bigger Flame and remember the best parts of me and try to be that person again. Have a wonderful weekend. Regards to your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the well wishes, as always.

      I think life and age has a tendency to temper one’s optimism and passion. But a flicker is all you need to start a flame anew. So long as there is that flicker, there is always that chance.

      From my distance, I perceive you as someone who seeks that joy and light in life through your adventures… and through sharing that with your family. I think that is a wonderful thing and the best kind of light in the world.

      And another great thing about getting older is you don’t need a big showy flame. A quiet candle still lights up the dark.

      Take care and enjoy your long weekend with your family.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love every word of these beautiful inspiration and motivation. So true. So real. So kind. So hopeful. The Giver of Light and Joy needs to always remember to leave a few for self because people and the world will always need what we give, but people and the world may not understand us too well to give back what we exactly need. Leave a bit of Flicker for self. Leave a bit of love, joy and inspiration for self bright enough to make more flames for both others and self. Sometimes I still forget everything can be exhausted, than Everything has its bottom fill, and we need restore, heal, replenish them. Thanks 🙏

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’ve had a particularly challenging last 18 months, so don’t blame you at all for feeling like you’re flickering. I have full faith you’ll restore yourself soon. You’re surrounded by a wonderful family and inner spirit. It’ll be a ablaze again soon! 🙏👍

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thank you. Things got a bit better, the flame is a bit bigger too, though kind of delicate. It’s nice to have something to look forward too. Always a refreshing motivation to read your feedback. We all need all the encouragement nowadays. Thanks. Happy weekend ☀️

        Like

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