Honey Harbour

If it’s bitter at the start, it’s sweeter in the end.

I reflected on this during a two hour drive home from Honey Harbour, a scenic set of islands along Georgian Bay, where the hubby, T and I spent Saturday with my aunt and two cousins.

We woke up early to ensure we arrived at 9:30 for the boat taxi to take us to the island.

The 10-minute boat ride over was beautiful, as we daydreamed about owning one of those cottages by the water and tiny islands.

T sat the back of the fast-moving boat, enjoying the foamy waves, feeling the wind on his face.

Thankful for a day to enjoy the beauty of nature.

This weekend marked the end of the first month of school.

As a whole, things are going ok at class and daycare. But we are also dealing with daily frustrating challenges.

Simple tasks such as getting ready are battles, often resulting in tantrums, with toys thrown at us, angry words exploding out of T’s mouth.

T has had a few rough moments with peer interactions – but we are thankful for the support of a temporary Child and Youth Worker and wonderful staff at school and daycare.

Evenings are often tough around bedtime. His teacher has started assigning daily reading homework. You’d think this would be easy, but just getting him to focus is tiring as there is always an excuse to not do the task.

It may not feel like it on some days, but we are always taking steps towards the next milestone.

So it was with his mindset and deficit of energy that we entered this weekend.

Our day at Honey Harbour was great in the grand scheme. T was in his element, charging up and down the beautiful granite hilly trail. He can be a parkour artist one day!

The kid with no fear. A good reminder to focus on the bright spots while working through the patchy ones.

The challenges came with his impulsive hyperactivity. We repeatedly told him not to dig up the moss or wild mushrooms, which could be poisonous, or to step on the muddy puddles.

So he dug up the moss every few steps and threw them at the hubby and I. Picked up wild mushrooms and pulverized them in his hands. Stomped on muddy puddles and ruined his brand new shoes. The whole time laughing and thinking the hubby and I were amused.

The beauty of fall provides a wonderful moment to take a deep calm breath.

It was good for my family to see this behaviour. I sometimes feel like people don’t quite understand when I explain T’s challenges.

But as always, I framed it as challenges related to his neurological condition: hyperactivity, lack of impulse control and difficulty with learning from consequences. Reiterating that T is not a bad kid, he just has challenges many kids don’t as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Other than his frustrating moments, T was at his charming best.

He was very playful with his Uncle J, whom he really likes. He helped my aunt and my cousi walk down the slippery downhill spots. He gave them big hugs.

During a picnic lunch stop, my aunt noted that she noticed he is a lot calmer than before. I thought that was very kind of her to say.

Sometimes, the hubby and I are so mired in the weeds that we forget to take a step back to see all the gains T has made.

He can be so frustrating and irritating, but he has also made tremendous progress.

I need to remind myself, especially during the hardest moments, to celebrate and focus on that.

According to experts, a hive of bees must travel up to 55,000 miles to produce a single pound of honey.

As I stood at the scenic lookout points at Honey Harbour, while our T, coincidentally wearing a bright yellow hoodie, flitting about like a busy bumblebee that’s ingested a pound of speed, this is what it means to be his parent.

It is a shit load of work, probably requiring more effort than an average parent would exert in their day, but there is sweetness that comes through this laborious process.

T was having a blast in nature, running about and exploring with abandon and enjoyment.

If it’s bitter at the start, it’s sweeter in the end.

On the boat ride back, the exhausted hubby held onto T’s leg while he peered over the boat. I silently motioned to toss T over. He said, “Oh, I’ve thought about it,” and we both laughed knowingly.

18 thoughts on “Honey Harbour

    1. Thank you, Gary! We are lucky to have an aunt who organizes these annual get togethers. It was an especially meaningful outing this year. 🙏

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  1. Beautiful Place. Beautiful adventure. And beautiful words that connects so well to its reader, “It may not feel like it on some days, but we are always taking steps towards the next milestone.” Thanks for sharing your adventures, your stories and the daily lessons on life, family and friendship. Take care my friend.

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 It has been quite a hard past two weeks and it feels like these moments are getting worse. But always good to have a big picture perspective. I think you get and understand this too! 🙏

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  2. I think it was a good thing for your family to see T acting out. It shows them what good parents you both are and how well you deal with any situation. Also, that picture with the tree is so beautiful, you are getting to be quite the photographer along with a father!

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    1. Thank you, Diane. It has been a really trying last two weeks and some days you just feel like you’re not a good parent, if I can be honest, but one must keep chugging along. Thanks for the comment about the photo. Along with cooking, it’s one of my enjoyable hobbies. 🙂

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  3. It is kind of validating for those who don’t understand to see the behavior – and then to see it for what it is worth. Part of a bigger picture. What I always find difficult is in the bigger picture. New teachers never saw the behavior. IEP’s get rewritten all the time. Sometimes D has aged out of something that traumatized me as a parent. When I am looking at D I am looking at all 10 years of D, not just that school year. It’s hard. Sounds like you guys had a nice trip – yay! Some ups, some downs but nice to have a break. I am happy for you!

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    1. Thank you, Robyn! I knew you for sure would understand where I am coming from. We love our kids and would do anything for them but the behaviors are also so frustrating and challenging. The word trauma may seem as extreme to use, but it certainly is an appropriate one! I totally can relate to that.

      We are starting the IEP process this year and I hear you on having to start anew every year. New relationships and new ways of doing things. But it’s good to approach it as a parent with a bird’s eye view of the child.

      I hope you and D are having a good school year so far. I noticed you’ve been quieter on your blog so just wanted to also say I hope you two are well. 😊

      And yes, it was nice to have a weekend getaway. We tend to max out our weekends with outdoor activities until the snow starts falling and then we hibernate. 😊

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  4. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s hard not to sweat the small stuff, but it’s always good to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture, which is that T is making tremendous progress. The analogy between a busy bee and T is very fitting and gave me a good chuckle. P.S. I’ve been meaning to visit Georgian Bay Islands National Park and Honey Harbour. I’ll have to add this to my list of places to explore next summer. What was the boat taxi situation like? Did you have to book far in advance?

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    1. Thanks Linda. He is certainly a very busy bee! 😆

      My aunt books all the accommodations for us and I can find out for you if you like. It is busy in the summer but less so in autumn. If you want to do a spontaneous weekend day trip this week, it’s your last. The island closes for visits on Thanksgiving. A nice way to catch it with less crowds and cooler weather. 😊 We go almost every year and never tire of the gorgeous views.

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      1. That’s awesome to have someone take care of all the trip planning and accomodations. That’s usually what I do! I much prefer to travel during the off-season, so it’s good to know that the island closes on Thanksgiving. I’ll have to add this to the list for next year.

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  5. You are a great writer and storyteller! I love your ability to find perspective and renewal. For what it’s worth – I hear you on the challenges. One thing that’s worked with my first grader is switching to have her read at dinner time. She is always done eating faster than me so she has a captive audience. Then I read to her before bedtime and if it’s been a long day I can declare we’re done after a couple of minutes. 😁😁

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    1. Thanks Wynne! We were lucky for my aunts who organizes this annual outdoor get together. This year’s timing was perfect.

      Thanks for the suggestion too! It’s an excellent game me and glad it works for you. We’ve also tried to adjust the timing of when we read with T. It’s still a battle but less so (not during bedtime now). I’m dreading “real” homework in future years. 😆

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  6. It sounds like quiet and adventure. I am always struck by your love and commitment to T. I appreciate that you share the real challenges and real joys of parenting him in all of who he is and is becoming. ❤

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    1. Thank you, LaDonna. It was an adventure indeed and a fun day despite the challenges. Raising kids like T is so so challenging and very hard on some days. But these lessons and moments of clarity certainly helps us get through the rough patches. Hope you are taking good care!

      PS. Looking forward to your latest monthly reflection! 😊

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      1. Hi LaDonna, just letting you know that your new post and older posts are not allowing people to like/comment on them again. It’s a thoughtful post as always and looking forward to commenting. 😊

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      2. Thank you for letting me know Ab. It looks like it may be repaired. I am hopeful it is. I am told, by the web designer, that this has to do with the device being used. I am unsure but will contact him again. Thank you for the heads up on this frustrating issue.

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