Mino Oshki Biboon/Happy New Year

Aaniin (I see your light) friends! Are you well? How does the New Year feel so far? For myself, last year belonged in a dumpster fire. I was more than ready to light the match and start anew.

The reality, of course, is that the only your mindset has the ability to become fresh and clean(er). A concept that has resonated with me recently is one that isn’t resolution based, but ‘more and less’ focused.

For me that looks like more meals with my family/less bowls of pasta at 11pm. The aim is not to be an all or nothing goal, but rather an articulation on the things you want to consider and matter in your life.

Admittedly, I’m off to bumpy start. Mr. Turner (of the Haigh-Turners) has been away for weeks. Weeks. This is not boding well for a well-balanced approach to school and home life.

It’s starting to feel like its a case of the 1950’s missing husband who steps out to “buy milk” and never comes back. As a result, the woman with too many children (i.e. me) has had to on occasion take them along to lectures.

Now, I’m not going to tell Mr. Turner (lest he thinks he gets a hall pass) that while this has been a difficult undertaking, the children have been gifted incredible opportunities.

When Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown and Indigenous Relations, popped by for a chat with our small cohort, she met said children. They were pretty good little bunnies. My 7 year old made a point to introduce himself, welcome her and then make a lame joke about Donald Trump.

Despite this, my children saw a member of the federal government listen to their mother in a meaningful manner. They witnessed dialogue that was respectful. They saw political accountability in action.

A few days later my 11 year old had a professional development day, so he tagged along and was encouraged to participate in a Cedar Brush-off ceremony with our class lead by Elder May Sam. This practice involves calling on the Creator for clarity of sight and spirit.

May used a big bough of Cedar to brush each and every student while offering quiet words of prayer, song and peace. After the brushing, there was a basin of water used to wash hands and face which serves as a symbolic act to start afresh with a clean heart.

My son saw ceremony within the law building. He saw law students respecting and honouring Indigenous traditions and practices. This resonates deeply about how one comes to think about learning, knowledge and identity.

This is what law can look and feel like in the JID/JD program. So these days I’m setting the intention to brushing off what no longer serves me. It does not serve me to be cross and filled with resentment that I have been left to carry the load because of Mr. Turner’s absence.

It is true I have not done my readings in two weeks and feel like I am so far behind, I’m in danger of being left behind. But, I am part of a faculty where my children are welcome, Indigenous culture is welcome, classmates are sending me class notes, and have even baby-sat for me (for free, willingly and happily) and that serves me. That deserves my attention more than resentment. I hear him coming through the door.

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