Dear Diary... I kid, I kid! This won’t really be a diary entry. It’ll be a blog post, or at least, I’ll try to make it a blog post. Seriously though, does anyone else struggle with that? I find I need to constantly remind myself that I’m writing something that potentially (unlikely, yes, but potentially!) the whole world could see and I need to write accordingly. I struggle with my “voice” when blogging. It’s all too easy to forget there’s an audience and that writing as if only to my diary is not doing anyone any favours, least of all me. Especially on posts like this, as there’s the risk they could go all teenage angst sob story. You see, my mom heads home today. And, as grateful as I am for the three weeks we just spent together, I tend to get a little emotional at the end of it. I feel that half a world of distance all the more keenly when she goes, especially now that I’m a mom myself. It’s hard building a family on the other side of the world from the one I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of just how blessed I am. The opportunities I have here in Norway are nothing to scoff at. I live a pretty charmed life, and this is definitely a country to raise a kid in. My little one is lucky to have been born here and I’m grateful that she was. But sometimes (often), I miss what I had back in Canada. Particularly the people. So every once in a while, I allow myself a brief moment to feel sorry for my not-so-hard-done-by self. Aright, moment over. Let’s focus on the things I’m grateful for instead, specifically when it comes to my mom who, let’s face it, is pretty awesome. If I were to name one person who most inspires me to do better by this planet, it would have to be my mom. Her influence is the main reason I want to live a healthier, greener, cleaner more sustainable life. Her passion for nature and this world is unrivalled and she instilled a lot of that in my brother and me. My mom has a great respect for the entire animal kingdom. (Ok, mosquitos are free to piss off ’n die, but pretty much everything else is welcome as far as mom’s concerned.) The reason I rescue those wayward spiders that I discover in my home? My mom. (She’s also the voice in my head that guilted me for weeks after I vacuumed up one particularly intimidating spider. Won’t do that again!) And I’m convinced that my insistence on live traps (which my fantastic hubby, as usual, takes in stride) - for the wayward mouse that took up residence between our floorboards - can be attributed to my mother’s influence. Why kill when you can relocate? Exactly. Mom was early on the natural cleaning supplies bandwagon. She was suspicious (and rightfully so, it seems) of a lot of the household cleaning products, distrusting of the harsh chemicals. I grew up in a house cleaned with things such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon - all of which tend to be the go-to cleaners in my home now. I am SO grateful for that! The more I research into these “miracle” cleaners, the more relieved I am that they are - for the most part, at least - not part of my life. And yes, mom can probably take credit for a good deal of my environmental activism, too. I’m really proud of her for attending the Enbridge protests a few months back, doing what she can to protect BC’s coast. Granted, this is probably one aspect many people wish she hadn’t passed on to the next generation, but I’m glad she did. For someone who has lived comfortably all her life, my mom is really great about reusing and up-cycling. She doesn’t need to. She could fairly easily buy in (pun intended?) to the disposable culture. But she doesn’t. It’s something my family and I tease her about more than we should… when she holds on to something 99% of the rest of the western world would toss out in favour of something new… But she does it because it’s right. Like when I was clearing out some of my stuff from my parents’ basement. I came across a bunch of old toys. Sorting through them, I decided which ones were in good enough shape to go to second hand - as is - and which should be tossed. An old doll stroller was in the toss pile and I groaned as mom “rescued” it. More junk. Well, mom cleaned it, mended some torn fabric, fixed it up and made it good as new again… just in time for Christmas. Some little girl got a better Christmas because my mom lovingly restored something most the rest of the world - myself included - would have been too lazy to bother with. I think that’s pretty great. I could go on about my mom for ages; these examples just scratch the surface, but it probably gives you a better idea of where my interests come from. I love how passionate she is and I don’t tell her often enough how awesome she is. I’m so glad my little girl has such a good roll-model to look up to. I know I’m the better for it.