This beautiful and brave new mama let us into her home for a few days over March break.


Yes indeed.

Not only was she only 3 weeks into the crazy and awesome world of being a mama but for those that know us (Annyse and I)…we can be quite a force when we are together. But, after some gentle nudging and a reminder that we were coming only with love and that she owed us nothing…except to let us smell that sweet newborn baby smell- this mama was on board! So, we dropped all of our kiddos with their dads so that we could surround our dear friend and new mama with nothing but love, a full freezer and hopefully some time to take a long hot shower and catch a few Zzzzzz’s.

In true Balkwill/Bartram fashion we hit the road with a coffee, some snacks and enough content to fill the car with conversation for the entire 7 hour trip to Montreal! We really never run out of things to talk about! We even got some work done for LuminUS!

When we got to Montreal we hit up a vegan take out place on the way in and showed up with food and hugs and open arms to squeeze and smell that sweet little babe.

We honestly had no plan but to see Missy, meet Mackenzie and help around the house with laundry, food and cleaning and anything else that Missy needed. We are seasoned mamas but had no intentions of ‘bestowing’ anything onto Missy. We just wanted to be there. We wanted to be the village that we all so desperately need. We both deeply believe that we are not supposed to do this alone…and finally we had the chance to show up and be that village for a new mama. Because when you are a new mama yourself…you can’t throw anyone a lifeline when you can barely keep yourself from drowning. We got to walk the walk of the message that we are always sharing and to lead by example how you can live a LuminUS life.

We pictured our days filled with keeping Mackenzie quiet by walking up and down the halls, rocking her or holding her to sleep so that mama could go to bed. We had brought work, had Netflix shows in mind and of course…we can always find something to talk about so we weren’t even counting on Missy staying with us while we cared for the babe. We certainly didn’t want her to feel like she had to entertain us or be a host in any capacity!

But wow, what a magical few days we had. First off- Missy and Mac have got things figured out- I mean as much as you can 3 weeks into this new gig! You would have thought that they were both ol’ pros at this mama/life thing! Missy was so confident and calm and happy to have us there. And Mackenzie…well she was an absolute dream. Aside from being perfect- as every newborn (thus every human!) is, she smelled great, she slept great, hardly cried and ate and pooped like a champ. And her two Aunties were over the moon to be there.

We were able to help Missy organize the nursery, help with some breastfeeding positions, got Mackenzie on a soother (YES!) taught Missy how to get a burp out of Mackenzie (which had been resulting in some fussy evenings) and just watched and listened and took it all in. We realized what an honour it was to be so close to this beautiful time in a new life and it not be your baby. And when its not your baby and your nipples aren’t raw and your eyeballs aren’t burning it turns out that you get to see a whole lot of magic!

We learned that between the 3 of us Mackenzie was the sixth baby yet she looked like and sounded exactly (EXACTLY!!!) the same as all of our babies. It was so unreal how similar they all really are. It must have been the sleep exhaustion that kept us from seeing that between our own babes but it was clear as day watching and listening to Mackenzie. It made us really realize how true it is that we have more similarities between us than differences. We really are one. It was an honour to walk beside a new mama and watch her learn and grow. The conversations that came up lead us to so much more than we had anticipated. Being there for those few days made it so that we could get to many conversations on many levels. And we were lucky enough to have slow mornings, multiple coffees and just talk and cook while we snuggled Mackenzie while she slept, or just watched her sleep, stopping intermittently to kiss her face.

We were lucky enough to tuck mama into bed each night after the early evening feed and then sit with Mackenzie until she woke for the next feed. It was so fun to be curled up in jammies and watching her sleep, kind of hoping she’d wake (remember those days? You try for hours to get them to sleep and then as soon as they’re asleep you want them to wake!?!?) but also super thrilled the longer she slept because that meant mama was getting some much needed rest too! She also showed us all that she was big enough to handle long stretches of sleep.

We like to think that part of the calmness that we saw in Mackenzie while we were there was because she was being so loved and cared for by strong, resilient women who wanted nothing more than to gaze at her while she slept, be up with her in the night and to kiss her a million times a minute! And to Missy- our wish is that she too felt loved and honoured, that she felt witnessed and heard and that she truly knows that we aren’t supposed to do this alone and that she doesn’t have to. It really was a perfect example of a LuminUS life. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my March Break than with that new little family.

And big shout out to Missy’s husband and Mackenzie’s dad G! He was an absolute delight. He kindly and gently allowed us into his home and allowed us to take the time of his wife and daughter as we talked and cried and laughed our way through those few sacred days. Don’t get us wrong, G was there too (when he wasn’t back at work after a few weeks off with Mackenzie). He served us cold beers, did runs to the basement and store for us and laughed with us…even when we tried to kill everyone with our first dinner that we made them…but that’s for another post.

All our love to Missy, G and little Miss M. What an absolute delight, we will never forget those days. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Aunt Kathy and Aunt Annyse xoxoxo