"WE ALL HAVE A STORY. I AM HUMBLED AND GRATEFUL TO SHARE MINE.
I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1977. I was raised by my Grandparents: Bill and Janet Reid. My grandfather was a decorated hero in World War II, and to this day, he remains my hero."
I was told that when I was born, my then young mother had decided to put me up for adoption and my grandparents retrieved me from the hospital. I grew up on their Tree Farm (mostly Christmas Trees) just outside of Calgary in a small town called Okotoks. Life was simple, and quiet, until my grandparents’ children (my Mom, Aunt and Uncle) came around - I figured it was the regular family feud stuff that I grew up hearing about from my friends (I’ll spare the details out of respect for my grandparent’s children).
My early years consisted of figure skating (basically since I could walk), which contributed to failed knees. I was told I needed to have knee surgery at age 20, however, as a result from an over 20 year yoga practice and implementation of Multi Barre Techniques, I have yet to have surgery, and my knees no longer lock out.
Throughout my life I was my grandfather’s side kick. I would work on the tree farm with him, help with the garden, and every Saturday my favourite thing to do was to pack up the truck with garbage and head to the dump. I was rewarded with a slurpy (a canadian frozen drink) and a chocolate bar for removing the garbage from the back of the truck. Sometimes the bags were so heavy, I would lay down and push them out with my feet. Needless to say, I didn’t smell too good afterward - but I was on cloud nine with my hero, slurpy and chocolate bar - Life was wonderful. My grandma would cook home-made meals, of vegetables that we grew in our garden and organic beef from a local neighbour. My grandmother was a psychiatric nurse by trade - she was highly against processed foods, Thankfully. I had neighbours to play with - mostly boys, which I liked because they were easy to get along with.
When it was time to begin school - things shifted for me. I remember being in the school gym, before grade one. I was with my grandparents, and all of the other kids and parents. I looked around and noticed that my grandparents were older than all of the parents. I remember vividly tugging on my grandpa’s pants and asking him - why are all of the parents so young and you are old? He replied, in a loving way, “Because we are your grandparents”. Which I knew in my 5 year old brain, but I was still confused. I then asked Grandpa, “Well if these are the parents of the other kids, where are my parents?”, and my grandfather again in a loving way said, “Sweetheart, your real parents didn’t want you.” I smiled at my grandpa and hugged his leg. I was so grateful for him. But at the same time I felt a heart wrenching pain in my chest as his words echoed in my innocent child mind: “your parents didn’t want you”. This is where my core limiting belief of feeling unwanted began.
I then began school. Kids would tease me about my grandparents, and call me names. I was very tall and skinny with big feet - so teasing came easy. Regardless I made some friends - mostly the new kids that I felt sorry for, as the other kids from school would tease them and call them names as well. I think this is where my desire to help people developed.
When I was 10 years old, my mom came to our house. Whenever she would visit, my grandparents would tell me to go outside and play. I always abided. But this time, I watched and listened through an open window. I was scared and sad. My mom left angry. The next morning I woke up and I couldn’t breathe. My grandma took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with asthma…really bad asthma. I spent the next 10 years with every possible inhaler; the blue one, the red one, the brown one and the white disc that crushed steroids. I was hospitalized at least twice per year for weeks at time. I remember my grandma would bring me Skor chocolate bars with little squirrel stickers with special notes on them. Just as she wrote on my brown lunch bag every single day for school (even throughout high school!).
Regardless of my asthma, I continued skating and when I entered Jr. High School I began playing volleyball. Due to my height, I was fairly good, and played throughout high school. My grandparents would come to every single game - they didn’t miss one…I miss them so much….
I became a teenager and hormones took over. I didn’t want to be teased anymore. I wanted to be “normal”. I craved it. I thought that being with my mom would satisfy this craving. So when I was 13 years old, I moved with her to Edmonton Alberta. Needless to say, it was an adventure - living with her and my step dad. I made some friends and have some fun memories, but the teasing continued. In Edmonton they have this thing called Froshing - that is when the older kids pick on the younger kids. I would have eggs smashed on me and shaving cream sprayed in my face on a regular basis. I would run home from school in terror. That is when I took up biking - I could bike faster than the bullies could run (point for me!). It was during this time that I recall my mom doing breathing exercises and practicing yoga - this is when I was first introduced to yoga, which is a positive I take from the experience. The rest of the experience led me back to live with my grandparents 8 months later…I missed them then also.. and I remember experiencing huge guilt for leaving them in the first place - especially my grandpa. He was my best friend and greatest fan. I vowed to never leave his side again.
Fast forward to a few years later…15 years old. My grandpa had me working as soon as I could (back then in Alberta we could legally work when we were 15 years old). He had many friends - one of which owned a local gas station at which I started working at - my very first job. My grandfather wanted to show me the importance of going to university to get a degree and high paying job, and thought that a measly job at the gas station would do the trick, although after I received my first paycheque I was so happy! I then went and found a second job at Subway (the fast food restaurant) and still went to school full time. I loved that I was making my own money. I would take my grandparents out for dinner and buy them presents and throw them the best birthday parties. I am quite sure I had a surprise birthday party for my grandpa every single year - even when he couldn’t remember it was his birthday! My grandpa was amazing - he would drive me to work every weekend and on some evenings too, as our house was about 30 minutes from town. It was this year that my Grandma (a devout Catholic) had me transferred from Public School to the Catholic School. It was an interesting experience, as my mom would not give permission to have me baptized. Despite good grades, I was suspended more than a few times for menial mischief. The superintendent at the time did not want an “unbaptized heathen” at the Catholic School. However my grandma always pulled strings to keep me there. Thankfully. I made really good friends and the children there were much nicer than what I was used to at the public school.
At age 16 I got my drivers license - I could not wait to have some freedom! My grandpa gifted me his big ol’ 1977 two tone brown chevy farm truck. I loved it. I then started driving myself to school! I LOVED it. My high school years were fun, filled with working and regular teenager shenanigans.
After high school I was determined to make more money. I discovered a job in road construction that paid over $20 per hour - so I took it! My grandparents were not happy that I wanted to take time off to work before heading to college - but I did it anyways. This is when my mom sent me a yoga video - I guess she thought I needed to ground down and make better decisions….this is when my yoga (Asana) practice began. I continued to work in road construction. I made a bunch of money and bought a sports car - a cherry red dodge stealth. My grandpa thought it was the best. I would take him cruising as much as I could. I then started college (see credentials), and moved away from the tree farm right to downtown Calgary - you couldn’t really get more opposite! By this time I made some really good friends (most of which I am still friends with). I had some amazing roommates and life was good.
After I finished studying Business Management and Canadian Law, I began to work at a firm where I met my first husband - he worked at the firm also. At the same time, my grandpa fell ill with the terrible disease of Alzheimer's. I then moved back to my grandparents home to help take care of Bill. He had me promise since I was a young child that I would never put him in a home for old people. To fulfil my word, I moved home to help my grandma take care of him. As time progressed, I quit my job and started my own litigation firm and a landscaping company that I ran out of my grandparents basement. Also as time progressed, so did my asthma. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to improve.
A few years later I opened my first yoga studio - Yogadown , which is still operating today. My grandparents gifted me property next to them, of which my husband and I built a 6000 square foot dream house, with a yoga studio above the garage - this became my third studio location.
So while we built our house, and while I ran basically 5 companies from my grandparents basement, I became pregnant. I knew instantly I would have a baby girl (and I did). In 2008 I gave birth to a hefty over due beautiful baby - we named her Bili - after my grandpa Bill. She is strong and dedicated just as he was - my new hero was born.