First Blue Jay Game of the Season

First Blue Jay game of the season


“Mommy, we are going to the game today,” my son excitedly bellowed at me as I lay in my bed early this morning, while I was in that delicious state between deep sleep and consciousness. Matthew, I must note, is not an early riser, but today he popped up bright and early, ready to head downtown to his first Blue Jay game of the season.

While we watch a lot of baseball in our house (Matthew rarely misses a game on radio or TV), we don’t get the opportunity to actually be at too many games at the Rogers Centre each season. So when I secured four tickets to today’s afternoon game, thanks to SeatGeek, Matthew was ecstatic. Today was our first Blue Jay game of the season, and also the first as a family of five.

I believe my parents took me to my first Blue Jay game back in 1977, when I was just a baby, back at the old Exhibition Stadium.  I grew up loving the Blue Jays and cherished every game I went to. I remember when the SkyDome opened in 1989, and I went to a game that season when the weather changed and the roof had to be closed. Fifty-thousand fans ignored the game and watched, for 45 minutes, as the roof closed. It was an extraordinary sight.

I remember the sold-out crowds during the World Series seasons of 1992 and 1993, when the Blue Jays, and their fans, were literally on top of the world. Getting my first press pass to a Jays game, in 2001, was almost surreal, and I recall the incredible, and also very uncomfortable feeling, when I interviewed Carlos Delgado in the locker room, surrounded by a sea of only male reporters. I asked my questions and looked at him straight in the eyes, which was challenging since he wasn’t wearing much!

Another great memory is Matthew’s first Blue Jay game, in 2013, when he was 6 years old. His school’s choir performed the national anthem, and we, with other families, were at the game to cheer them on. Matthew’s eyes were locked on the field, and I knew there and then that he was hooked.

Each visit to the ballpark is special to me, and today’s game was definitely no exception. When Matthew jumped around the house this morning, so excited about the Jays game ahead, I will admit I felt that excitement too. When we arrived at the Rogers Centre and pulled out our tickets it was like my heart skipped a beat and it definitely started to race as we found our seats, heard the national anthems and watched the first pitch.

The cherry on top today…. the Blue Jays beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4. Go Jays Go!

First Blue Jay game of the season
Matthew’s excitement grew as Pillar came on as a pinch hitter
First Blue Jay game of the season
Forget taking a nap today, this baby ate and cheered her way through the game.
First Blue Jay game of the season
Me and my girls at the game

No Vaccination Debate

No vaccination debate


For me there is no debate about vaccinations. Every child who is lucky enough to have access to all the vaccinations available should get the needles and be protected from a whole host of debilitating and deadly diseases.

Yesterday I brought my one-year-old to the pediatrician for her check-up, and there she received not one, not two, but three needles. I shuddered when the doctor told me that this tiny, 18-pound baby, was about to be hit three times with a sharp needle, which would dispense a heavy dose of drugs into her body. I held her tight as she cried when each needle was administered. But I did not hesitate to help hold out her arm as the nurse gave each successive needle.

The baby was cranky yesterday, had no appetite and didn’t have the best night sleep. I expected that. And she is probably going to be moody all day today too. Two of the shots often come with a low-grade fever and/or crankiness for 24 hours, and one shot has side effects, such as fever and crankiness that may appear up to 7-10 days from now.

But I know I did the right thing in giving her this set of vaccinations as well as the shots she received at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.  The baby, at only 12 months old, is already protected from many horrible diseases, including meningococcus bacteria, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio and many more.

Every parent wants to give his or child every advantage in life, and giving a child all the vaccinations available is one way to do that. I am not a medical expert, as all I have is an undergraduate degree in Biology, but I have common sense. There should be no vaccination debate. The claim that vaccines have caused a rise in autism and ADHD are unfounded.

My advice to new parents is to vaccinate your kids. I will say it again – there is no vaccination debate. A few days of a cranky baby is better than the fear or even the possibility that your child could contract or pass on the diseases of which we are trying to rid the world.


Doors Open to be a Tourist in my Own City

Doors Open to be a Tourist in my Own City


I feel privileged that I have had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world. I have enjoyed the views from the Eiffel Tower in France, Victoria Peak in Hong Kong and Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. I was awed by Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride in Amsterdam and Monet’s Water Lilies in Paris.

I love to travel and am glad that I have passed that love down to my children. But it occurred to me recently that we live in a world-class city, with many world-class sights and art right at our doorstep. Why couldn’t I be a tourist in my own city?

An annual event in my city, Doors Open Toronto, encourages just that – discover the amazing buildings, both historic and new, in neighbourhoods all over town. And it’s free – as in no charge. France launched this event back in 1984, and Toronto was the first North American city to open its doors, in the year 2000.

I have taken advantage of Doors Open Toronto a few times over the past 17 years, and I was excited to see a heritage property in my neighbourhood on the list this year. Spadina House is a beautiful historic home surrounded by some of the most spectacular gardens in the city. It was a perfect place to visit on a sunny May afternoon, especially since we could walk there.

The first home on this property was built back in 1818 by Dr. William Warren Baldwin, who named his 200-acre property Spadina from the Ojibwe word espadinong which means “hill.” Baldwin eventually sold 80 acres of the property in 1866 to James Austin, and over the following years the home was renovated a number of times. James Austin’s granddaughter, Anna Kathleen Thompson, lived in the house until 1982, when the family donated the property to the City of Toronto.

Currently set up as it looked in the 1920’s and 1930’s, we enjoyed our tour of the main rooms of Spadina House, showing the kids the kitchen, dining room, parlours and a bedroom. They were shocked by the simplicity of the kitchen and the grandeur of the parlour. They clamoured to climb the apple trees (we did not let them!) and run through the garden. The property was hopping, full of people who call Toronto home and many visitors too.

Doors Open to be a Tourist in my Own City
The kids enjoyed running around the grounds and gardens

It felt great to be a tourist in my own city, and I look forward to discovering other properties, attractions and art in my own backyard. Have you participated in Doors Open in Toronto or one in your own city? What have you discovered? Leave a comment here or tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Doors Open to be a Tourist in my Own City
Our attempt a selfie with a sleeping baby and impatient older children


Honk if you’re Angry

driving aggression rage


I remember a cartoon many years ago, or maybe it was a story or video, about a gentle, sweet, kind person who smiles at strangers when she walks down the street or he helps an elderly woman cross the road. He (or she) is the kind of person we all strive to be. But when she (or he) opens the car door and gets behind the wheel aggression and rage take over. Sweet Sadie or Gentle George become Angry Annie or Raging Robert.


This isn’t the cartoon or video I remember but it’s funny! 

Maybe living in a congested city has forced so many people to keep their guard up and become aggressive when they get behind the wheel of a car. I have noticed that when I leave the city and drive even one or two hours into the countryside people are friendly and considerate. So maybe it’s a symptom of busy city life, but here, at Kinetic Motions, I am going to try to start a revolution and suggest some ways we calm Angry Annie and Raging Robert down.

Stop Signs

These are large, red, hexagonal signs that are very clear in their message – STOP! When you approach one of these signs your vehicle needs to come to a halt. And if you arrive at a four-way stop sign, and my car arrives there first, be courteous and let me go ahead. Remember that we all learned in kindergarten to take turns?

big red hexagonal stop sign
This is a sign with four letters that clearly tells the driver what to do

Tail Gate

If I can see the colour of your eyes in my rear-view mirror it means you are driving too close to my car. If my car needs to stop suddenly, for whatever reason, I need to know that your car is sufficiently behind mine to give you the time, say two or three seconds, to stop, and not hit my car. This, in my mind, pertains to highways, busy roads and even side streets. I recognize the distance between cars should be greater on fast-moving highways, but I still believe that no matter what roadway we are on you need to keep your distance.


Everyone seems to be in a rush as soon as they get behind the wheel of their car. The baby needed a diaper change right before you had to leave, you forgot your cell phone in the house and had to go back to retrieve it or your neighbour, who you do normally love chatting with, had a question for you as you unlocked your car door.

Now you are late. And there is traffic. You try to drive just a bit faster on some roads to make it to work, an appointment or a lunch date on time. You cut off cars, you tailgate others and naturally you jump stop signs. SLOW DOWN! It may be annoying for you that the City of Toronto lowered the speed limit on many residential streets from 40 to 30 km/h and that many thoroughfares also now have lower speed limits, but I support the slower speeds. We are safer if we just drive a little slower.

Grid lock

If traffic is moving very slowly, you are inching along the road and approaching a traffic light, please stop BEFORE you cross the intersection if your car can’t make it through. If you get stuck in the middle of the intersection when the light goes red it means the cars in the other direction can’t move, and traffic just gets worse. You may actually create a traffic jam when you grid lock. I understand the feeling of accomplishment when you just make it through a light in heavy traffic, that little adrenaline rush when you moved those extra few inches, but if you think you may get stuck in the middle of the intersection, next time, please, just wait.

Cut off Pedestrians

I have a one-year-old and live in a neighourhood with a high walk score. We are surrounded by both parks and retail and restaurants. I walk everywhere with the baby in the stroller and always have to keep my eyes peeled on the road, ready for a car to turn in front of me or jump a stop sign. Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections (assuming the person is crossing at a green light of course), but many drivers don’t notice or don’t care. The baby and I were almost rammed last week by a woman driving a large SUV, turning left, with her cell phone in her ear. She looked up and apologized when I started to yell. This one is simple: wake up and give pedestrians the right of way.

Honk If You’re Angry

Why do you need to honk your horn if I’m not going fast enough (in your opinion), if I actually stopped at the stop sign ahead of you or if I take my time to turn right at a red light? If I am ahead of your car, waiting to turn and I can see there are cars coming and you can’t because you are behind me, don’t honk me! When the intersection is clear of cars I will go and I won’t be rushed. If the lead car in a long line of cars waiting to turn left at a traffic light is just sitting there doddling when the signal turns green okay give a light honk. But you don’t have to lean down hard on the horn nor do you have to honk that car before the light even turns green.

I am sure there are many other ways to calm down Angry Annie or Raging Robert and I welcome your suggestions so that I can create an ongoing series of posts on this topic. Coming soon will also be my thoughts on the relationship between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers on our busy roads and ways for everyone to be more courteous. Please post comments and suggestions here, or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Our Tiny Miracle

one year old photo of Nessa

I believe in miracles. If you had asked me two years ago today, May 26, 2015, if I believed in miracles, my answer would have been a firm no. But on May 26, 2016, a tiny miracle appeared in my life and changed me forever.

Until today I have been very private with the struggles that my husband and I faced with infertility. Today I’m ready to share my story, in the hopes it can inspire even just one couple who still hope to bring a baby home. Mine is not the typical story that you hear because our infertility challenges only began after we had two healthy children.

Some people may react with shock, anger or confusion, wondering how a couple with a so-called “million-dollar” family needed to put themselves through what we did just to have a third child. But we knew, after our first miscarriage in 2011, that something was missing in our life. We knew our family was not complete and we were determined to go to the ends of the earth to bring another child into the world.

After another miscarriage in the spring of 2012 we decided, with the guidance and careful advice of our fertility specialist, to try a round of IVF. I didn’t respond well to the drugs, it cost us a lot of money, but we were excited to see a positive pregnancy test two weeks after two embryos were implanted. I miscarried four days later.

I was devastated and felt lost. I also felt that I was let down by the fertility clinic I trusted after a senior technician, during a follow-up ultrasound, looked at me and told me I should just enjoy the two children I had because many women at this clinic weren’t even lucky enough to have one child.

I went home feeling guilty about my despair, that I had my two young children at home to hug and kiss and give me love every day while so many women would give everything they had for just one child. I feel for those women every day, but I was so angry that someone could look at me and make me feel ashamed for wanting another child.

We took a fertility break for a while, went to another specialist who gave us hope and then had two more miscarriages. By early 2015 we didn’t know if we would ever be able to complete our family with a third child. Late that winter my aunt, who faced infertility and the devastating loss of a baby just after he was born, asked me a question that was game changing for me: Imagine yourself in ten years, when you probably can no longer have more children. Are you satisfied with everything you have done to have a third child or do you feel you need to keep trying?

My husband and I immediately knew the answer – we weren’t satisfied, and we decided to give it one more try. If one more round of IVF failed then we knew we tried everything and could move forward comfortably with life.

After much reflection and hours and hours of conversations into the night, my husband and I returned to our original fertility specialist. He admitted that after every test he and his team had done over the past four years they could find nothing wrong with me, but with my history and the fact that I was 38 years old he was honest that our chances of success were low. I admired his frankness and we went ahead. The IVF failed, and by the end of the summer we decided that we had done everything we could and that our family was complete.

Just when you feel it’s over, when you have moved on and accepted defeat and the stress that goes with it, a miracle can happen. When I found out I was pregnant in the fall of 2015 I didn’t believe it was real. I cried, with my sister by my side, when I saw the baby, with her strong heart-beat, at 8 weeks in utero, and every week after.

On May 26, 2016, our tiny miracle was born. We named her Nessa, the Hebrew word for miracle, to remind us every day of the miracle she gave us, that she filled the missing piece and completed our family.

Happy first birthday Nessa, our tiny miracle.

one of the first photos taken of our miracle
Our beautiful miracle on the day she was born

Traveling with Children

Traveling with children on a plane to San Francisco

I would consider myself an expert when it comes to traveling with children. Some people may use terms other than expert, such as crazy, insane or nuts. I think I am an expert. I have taken my three children on countless trips around the world, and I believe that their lives – and mine – are richer because of it.

Matthew took his first trip when he was just 17 days old (yes, specifically 17 days and I didn’t plan it that way). We flew to Israel so we could celebrate the birth of our first child with my husband David’s family. My parents traveled there as well. It was an incredible trip, with Passover, parties, hikes and time with family. Did it come with its challenges? Yes of course, but it was worth it.

Traveling with children grandparents on a balcony
Matthew with his grandparents in Israel, only one month old

Since that first trip over ten years ago we have traveled to Israel again many more times with our kids. We have made stopovers in Paris and Rome, taken them to see family in Seattle, Friday Harbour, south Florida, Vancouver and Victoria. We have journeyed on some smaller trips to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ottawa, Montreal and of course David’s family’s beloved country home in St. Donat, Quebec.

Traveling with children Pike Place
Matthew had his trip to Seattle at 8 months old
Traveling with Children pig at pike place
Julia got her trip to Seattle at 6 months old
traveling with children to Victoria
Nessa got her trip to Seattle at 5 months old but didn’t have a chance to meet the pig at Pike Place
traveling with children old city Jerusalem
How many kids have the opportunity to splash in the fountains outside the Old City of Jerusalem?

A few months ago, we crossed the equator and enjoyed the trip of a lifetime with our three kids in New Zealand. We even had a stopover in San Francisco and I won’t deny that there were hiccups. There was jet lag, strange food, inclement weather and a ton of driving. I would do it again. David’s brother’s family moved to Auckland, and giving the cousins an opportunity to spend time together outstripped some of the stresses, hiccups and obstacles we had to overcome.

traveling with children on a beach
Enjoying the hot sun at Piha Beach in New Zealand, overlooking the Tazman Sea
traveling with children on a mountain in new zealdn
David and Matthew are on top of the world on a mountain top in the South Island of New Zealand

Travel is in my family’s blood. David and I spent the first three years of our marriage living in three different places. There was a village in Normandy in France, Jerusalem and New York. Taking our children on small and big trips is a priority for us. This summer Matthew and I are traveling to Chicago for our sports fan weekend. Next week, in honour of her 7th birthday, I am taking Julia to New York for a girls’ weekend.

The weekend will be all about Julia and making her dreams about New York come true. She has requested a visit to the Statue of Liberty, Impressionist art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a ride up to the top of the Empire State Building, a Broadway show and shopping on 5th Avenue. Julia knows what she wants and as an experienced traveler at age 7 she knows she can do it.

I will post updates and photos from our trip to New York, if Julia lets me slow down and take some breaks. If anyone has ideas or suggestions of some great things to do in New York with a seven-year-old girl post a comment here or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Sportsmanlike Conduct

Matthew is happiest at the ballpark


My son is a huge sports fan. I’m talking about living, breathing, touching, feeling and every other sense and emotion out there. Matthew starts his day checking the scores from the previous evening, spends much of his free time shooting hoops or throwing a baseball in our backyard and likes to watch his favourite teams play well into the night, every night.

I guess you can say that my dream came true. I have loved playing, following and watching sports since I was a child. I grew up on a quiet street and played ball hockey and baseball with the boys, I collected and traded baseball cards and I religiously listened to Tom and Jerry on CJCL AM 1430 radio (today the Jays can be heard on Sportsnet the Fan 590) as I did my homework every night.

I had my aha moment in grade 11 chemistry (yes the same class though not the same day that I created Kinetic Man) when I suddenly realized that I wasn’t bright or ambitious enough to go to medical school but instead wanted to be a journalist. Oh and not just a journalist but a sports journalist. Everyone, and I mean everyone, laughed at me.

It took me a few years to get back on track, but I took the first step in graduate school when I interned at ABC Sports Radio, in my final semester of journalism school at New York University. With a small production staff I had a quick learning curve, and it all culminated in the fall of 2000 when New York City hosted the famous Subway World Series – Yankees vs Mets. ABC handed me the ball one night and I handled the reporting duties, on the field at Shea stadium!

When I returned to Toronto the following year some great people took a chance on me and hired me to be a producer at the short-lived Team Sports Radio Network. Then I got an opportunity to join the Assignment Desk at Rogers Sportsnet, working with some of the greatest names in sports media. Many of those talented journalists are still at Sportsnet today or have moved on to other careers in sports media in Canada, and I want to thank all of them for teaching me so much about sports and sportsmanlike conduct.

So it thrills me that my son loves sports. Matthew loves baseball and basketball most and can’t bear to miss a game. Hockey is close behind. He lives for the Blue Jays, Raptors and Leafs (I’m a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes but that story is for another day) and he will support really any team if it’s home base is in Canada. Sometimes he takes the term “fan” to the level of “fanatic,” like when he insists that he watch the last quarter of the Raptor game in the car on my phone or he must watch the Jays game in full at 10:00 pm when they are on the west coast.

A child looking at the baseball diamond in awe
Matthew looks on in awe at the ballpark
Mom and son selfies at the Jays game
Selfie at the Jays game last year

Matthew loves sports so much that if none of his preferred sports are on TV he will choose almost anything, just to get his sports fix in. Maybe some of you love it, but I can’t bear to watch darts, poker or bowling. I draw the line at entertainment that involves throwing sharp objects at a board with people cheering them on.

Sporting the number 17 jersey playing basketball
Note his jersey number – that’s right, 17!
Defending on the basketball court
He takes pride in his basketball defensive skills on his school team

My husband doesn’t care much for sports, so it brings me a smile every day that I found my sports partner in life in my son. Matthew loves my encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and its many rules, and we literally can sit together for hours discussing the many nuances of the game.

showing off his baseball bat
Matthew has joined his school’s softball team
getting ready to swing the bat
Matthew’s first at bat of the season with his school’s baseball team

Matthew asked for one thing for his birthday this year – a trip with me, his mother, to Chicago this summer, to watch his beloved Blue Jays play the Cubs. Our flight has been booked, the hotel is reserved and we have a pair of tickets to the Jays at Cubs game on Friday afternoon, August 18. As a bonus, Toronto’s MLS soccer club is in Chicago that same weekend and we have scored a pair of tickets to the Toronto FC at Chicago Fire game on Saturday night, August 19. Now that’s a perfect mother and son weekend.

Overwhelmed on a Tuesday


Today I am feeling overwhelmed, and I’m having trouble staying focused. The main issue that’s keeping me from accomplishing my long list of tasks is the news from Manchester from Monday evening. Beyond the horrifying thought that someone would blow himself up, intentionally, in a crowd of people, what makes me feel particularly sickened is that he chose to kill children. The people of Manchester, my family in Manchester, and those families in Manchester who are suffering today are all on my mind.

I’m also suffering from the post long weekend blahs. It seems that every time we add an extra day to the weekend I need an additional day to get back on track. The kids got off to school late this morning, the baby and I were slow to get dressed, there are still dirty breakfast dishes in the kitchen sink and I only arrived at the grocery store after noon.

What also is causing me to be overwhelmed on a Tuesday is that I am falling into the trap of reading too many websites and blogs about how to blog, how to create the best blog, how to optimize my SEO settings, what tags I should include in each post or the best keyword strategy. As I stated in my first post, I’m new to this. I have so much to learn, so much so that it overwhelms me on a Tuesday and I can’t move forward.

Instead of becoming increasingly frustrated I am going to take a step back today and turn my attention away from the “how to” websites on “how to create the best blog.” I am going to think about the great city of Manchester and the great people who live there who have opened up their homes to many scared and helpless youth and children who did nothing wrong except go out for a night of music.

I will raise a cup of coffee (I’m in no shape for wine today) to the great citizens of Manchester (thanks to my Mancunian cousins Sarah and Jacob who provided my featured image today) who will persevere and won’t let terrorists ever terrorize them.

Could I Create Victoria’s Garden?


Victoria Day and the long weekend that goes with it is marked annually as Canada’s unofficial launch of the summer season. This holiday goes all the way back to 1845, when Queen Victoria actually sat on the British throne and celebrated her birthday on May 24, and Canadians have embraced it for over 150 years.

Canadians celebrate this long weekend in various ways: they open the summer cottage, enjoy fireworks, catch up on some overdue spring cleaning and spruce up the garden and lawn.

I love to garden, or to put it another way, I love the idea of gardening. I do not naturally have a green thumb, and I worked hard to create a simple garden with greenery, a nice lawn and a punch of colour in our first home, one we lived in and enjoyed for almost 12 years.

We have lived in our current home for three years and it’s been a struggle to create a functioning front lawn. We are lucky to have a large, spacious, flat lot in the heart of the city, but with that comes tremendous maintenance.

Our biggest challenge is the front lawn, the first impression zone of any property. When we moved in in June 2014 the front yard was in bad shape. We inherited a balding lawn covered in weeds sitting in front of an overgrown garden with half dead bushes.

What a patch of the front yard looked like when we moved in three years ago

Over the last couple of years I have cleaned up the garden beds, removed years of dead leaves and brought the small bushes back to life. However, I didn’t do much with the grass patch, thinking always that maybe some miracle would happen and that each spring a thick healthy patch of grass would grow.

Boy was I wrong. Last year weeds and clover took over, and this spring an army of grubs moved in. An alert went out to the neighbourhood raccoons who heard there was a buffet of grubs at our house, and they attacked what was left of our front lawn.

Neighbours and dog walkers would shake their heads and remark how pathetic our small front lawn looked. I had to do something. After calling a few lawn and garden businesses I chose one that had a great name (Gardenzilla), they were friendly, had good reviews and quoted a fair price to aerate the soil, get rid of the grubs and put nemotodes in to keep the raccoons away and put down fresh grass seed.

We have been watering diligently, and green is starting to return as the grass begins to grow. But the daily alert to the neighbourhood raccoons still goes out. Most mornings I can still see a piece of the new lawn scratched at and turned over. Maybe we need more nemotodes. Or we need to install a scarecrow. Maybe these intelligent raccoons will learn to read and I will put a big sign up on my lawn that says “keep out.”

What a patch of the front yard looks like today

I dream of a soft, thick green front lawn, and I will keep seeding, treating and watering the grass until one day that miracle will happen. If you have any ideas or simple suggestions about how to help my lawn go green post a comment here or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Growing Old Gracefully


I am scared to get old. Old age is still years away, but it’s something that’s on my mind quite often. I’m not talking about retirement, grandchildren and winters in Florida. When I think about old age I think about frailty, illness and nursing homes.

Why should someone my age (I don’t hide my age – I’m 40 years old) be concerned about old age? Shouldn’t I take joy in my young family, my career ambitions and great friends? Well of course that’s where I focus most of my attention, and every day I am grateful for the life I feel privileged to lead.

But it’s still there – that nagging reminder that someday I may be old. I grew up in a large close family, and all four of my grandparents played a big role in making me who I am today. My Bubby, who had a heart of gold and kindness and love seemed to emanate from every part of her, died at the age of 72. I was only 19 at the time and was still too young to understand what old age was. My other three grandparents lived to be old, and one of them, my Poppy, is 96 years old.

Poppy has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since I was a child and I love him dearly. Poppy has aged gracefully and has overcome tremendous challenges with his health. He is a colon cancer survivor, lives with angina and over the past few years has developed dementia. This is a man who was a practicing Chartered Professional Accountant well into his eighties, golfed and skied for decades and traveled the world.

Baby Matthew playing on the floor with Poppy
Julia loves to have snuggles with Poppy
Nessa loves having lunch with her Poppy

My grandparents always told me they chose to live life to the fullest, and I believe they did. But then they grew old, and I mean the cruel side of old age that included frailty and illness.

Last night, while many members of my family were enjoying a long weekend up at our country home north of Toronto my father got a call that his father (my Poppy) was in an ambulance on his way to the emergency room. I won’t go into the details here and I’m happy to say that Poppy is fine, but I could hear the strain and stress in my father’s voice as he spoke with my grandfather’s caregiver about what was going on. My father and sister jumped in the car and drove back to the city to be at Poppy’s side, advocate for him at the hospital and get him back home safely that night.

My Poppy was a strong and charismatic person throughout his whole life, who loved my grandmother with all his heart every day of their 69-year marriage. He was sharp, confident, smart and successful. And now he is frail and depends on his children and a whole host of dedicated and amazing caregivers for everything.

All I could think about last night, as my father raced to the hospital and my grandfather sat on a stretcher in the emergency room, was how scared I am of old age. I hated the idea of my beloved Poppy sitting alone with chest pains in the emergency room and no longer in a position to advocate for himself. Without the dedicated support of his children, grandchildren and caregivers I don’t know what kind of life my Poppy could lead in his old age. And yes, that scares me.

I hope to grow old gracefully, like my Poppy. I hope that life is kind to me, especially old age. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared.