Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Theresa of A Mountain Momma
"Come from away Momma..."

Today I am pleased to present guest blogger Theresa of A Mountain Momma. She's a fellow Canadian eh? We even kind of share a mountain.

Theresa is the mother of two little girls and currently a stay at home mom. She has one month before she will leave the nest to start graduate school. Theresa began her blog to discuss issues pertaining to motherhood and writing, and to explore her own experiences as a parent. She also uses her blog to explore and expand her writing skills.
"I am a writer and I try to live it everyday."
She describes herself as a huge sap, which makes for some interesting posts. You can learn more about Theresa at her blog: This Mountain Momma

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Let's get to know Theresa better:

Hi, my name is Theresa and I live somewhere in the vast expanse that is Canada (hint...BC...). This is my first guest post and I am so pleased that it is here with Sue at Cookie's Chronicles!

Cookie has questions. I have answers:

Favourite word:
What kind of question is that? Outrageous!
Favourite time of day:
Witching hour, provided the kids are asleep. I love the quiet and try to write as much as possible when I can at this hour.
Favourite emotion:
This may sound strange, but I feel so much from sadness. I don't want to be sad, but it awakens something in me. Perhaps its an appreciation for the happier times or a fresh outlook on the world and my place in it.
Favourite book:
My favourite book is Swan Song, by Robert McCammon. I have read it at least 6 times since I was a teenager.
Favourite comfort food:
Mashed potatoes. I am from Prince Edward Island, so I think its the law that I crave them at all hours.
Favourite of my posts:
Double Rainbow Momma http://www.amountainmomma.com/2011/07/20/double-rainbow-momma/

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Come from away Momma
by Theresa of A Mountain Momma

This year marks a milestone for me. 

A halfway point, perhaps one where I stop belonging nowhere.

Where I find a home that is mine, where I live, where I belong, where I will stay.

I grew up on Prince Edward Island.

I am spending a month here with my children for summer vacation.

It is a picturesque place coated in rusty red fields and singing almond beaches that line its sparkling shore. A giant small town that churns out potatoes, lobster, and Anne of Green Gables aplenty. And otherness.

It’s not your usual brand of otherness related to colour, language, or culture. It is an otherness born out of absence. To be born somewhere else is to Come From Away.

My mother is from P.E.I., but met my father while working at Lake Louise in Alberta. They married and had my sister and I, before moving back to here. Once they returned to the Island they had my brother and settled permanently. 

They were back-to-the-landers. We didn’t farm on a large scale, but we grew our own vegetables, raised chickens, and lived the rural life. 

I had a wonderful childhood. Running wild through the woods, cooking up schemes in the tree house, crashing the waves all summer, and getting bug bites so bad they would make me cry.

But, there was always a little something in back of my mind. A sense of belonging that was missing. I didn’t realize till I was a bit older and my brother remarked, “Me and mum are the only real Islanders! You and Serra were born away!”

I had always felt some mystery surrounding the place of my birth. A mythical place called, “Calgary” that was emblazed on my birth certificate and baptism candle box.  A land where my father picked dinosaurs from the land and people spoke with great seriousness about The Depression. A place I had never seen.

Not many would remark on my status, but it was evident in the comments people made about those that Came From Away that I did not belong. No matter how long you live here, if you are not born here, you are not an Islander.

When I was 19, I left. I packed my bags, pointed my nose West and didn’t look for back for 5 years. I moved to Vancouver Island on the West Coast with my mother, brother, and sister. 

After living in Victoria for several years I travelled to China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Australia. By the time I came back to PEI I had learned new languages, tried new foods, and set foot in buildings older than Canada could ever hope to be.

Coming back to the Island did not feel like coming home. 

Aside from a few close family and friends, most did not care much that I had returned and did not want to hear stories of the far away places I had been or sights I had seen. I felt a strange kind of disdain and disapproval that made me feel like a traitor, even though I had never been one of them in the first place. 

People would remark that I must think them small and their ways stupid now that I had seen the world.  Their statements said more about them than they did me. 

I still come back every other summer. I bring my children to see the beaches of my youth, to run through the green wheat, feet brick red on the bottoms.

This year I turn 38 years old. I was 19 when I left. 

I have reached a point in my life where I have been gone as long as I had been here. 

I used to say I was from PEI, but am I? I was never really from here in the first place, my bones salted and grown in a far off land of dust and badlands. 

When I think of home now I think of mountains and glaciers and trees tall enough to touch the sky.

The only thing that seems out of place is the dirt. The dirt of the West and most places, is gray, dull, and lifeless. 

If only the mountains struck themselves from the red clay. Then I would truly feel at home.


  1. Thanks so much for letting me take over your blog for the day. I hope you are enjoying your vacation and soaking up the sun!

  2. What a beautiful, reflective read! I have a sense of wistfulness now for something I've never experienced but feel I have, if that makes sense.

    It aso hits on questions in my heart in the last few months. When my mom's house sold in March of this year, I wondered where my home is. I'd always had a home base in Eugene, Oregon, as long as her home was there. Now that it's not, I feel an unsettledness I didn't before. It's not a bad thing, exactly, but rather something I'm still trying to come to terms with.

    I love a good struggle through the form of a good question. ;)

    Obviously I love Los Angeles or I wouldn't have moved here a second time, but it will never be the place I Came From. Perhaps I've been putting too much stock in the question to begin with!

    Again, this was a beautiful entry. I feel thrilled to be in such excellent guest blogging company! More than just a little now, too, I want to hop on a plane and see these things with my own eyes, preferably right now.

  3. I honestly read every word of this twice. Your writing here is breathtaking. I understand the feeling of being from away, and how strange it is to reconcile your chosen, adult home with your childhood one.

    Thoughtful beginning to my day, Theresa. Thank you.

  4. @Deb I feel the same, I loved your post as well.
    I struggle with these feelings everytime I come back here, it's nice to finally articulate them.

    @Julie You are so sweet, so glad you liked it!

  5. Theresa, thanks for being my guest today! Reading your post was a little like taking a trip down memory lane. My mother, aunt, cousin and I camped through PEI when I was a teenager. I have fond memories of campfires and sing-a-longs on the beach, birds darting in and out of the red clay hills, and beautiful rolling picturesque landscapes.

    Like Deborah, I no longer have a home base now that my parents are deceased, so I often feel like I don't really belong anywhere. Yet at the same time I still feel nostalgia for my home town, and there's just something about being 'home' that feels right whenever I visit.

  6. It's interesting too that what you think of as home, "mountains and glaciers and trees tall enough to touch the sky," while very beautiful to me does not give me a sense of feeling at home. I still feel like I'm a visitor here. Whenever I visit the place that I am from, a city of tall skycrapers in a densely populated downtown core and water (of the Great Lakes variety), I feel very much at home and, in a way, at peace. It's so interesting to me how deeply we feel these things - our memories from childhood at a cellular level - and how difficult it is to create a similar feeling as adults.

  7. Lovely post Theresa. I know the feeling of rootlessness. I've lived abroad for a few years and although back in Malaysia for 12 years, I still don't feel like I belong here. I feel like I should be living out the rest of my years somewhere else. Somewhere with lakes, mountains, wide expanses of land - not this concrete jungle I'm surrounded by. Sigh. Some day, I hope I go home.

  8. Theresa, I loved this post and I love that you took your kids back HOME to where you grew up so that they could see where you lived and played. It's important. No matter what people say, you grew up in PEI and I think regardless of where your Mother gave birth to you, PEI was your home.

    A well written guest post!

  9. You two in the same place is magical. I love both your blogs.
    I love the West coast. It is my home now. But because I sound foreign I get asked every day where I am from. And I feel shy saying PNW because I am after all a newcomer and an accidental American and I must point out where I was born and why I sound English.
    Home is where you make it. I have lived abroad most of my life. Everytime I see pictures or videos from home I cry. Guess wherever you are born is where you will belong.
    But when we leave here I know PNW is always going to be somewhere I will settle. To me that means I can say I am from the West coast after all.
    Specially if you two are my fellow weasties. We even understand Theresa ditching us :)

  10. You are such a crazy talented writer, Cupcake. I might have told you that already...so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself. Truly beautiful!

  11. Beautiful post, I feel the same way about my hometown. I left when I was 17 and have never been back, so it's not really 'home'! As soon as you said PEI, I immediately thought of Anne of Green Gables, is that bad?

  12. @Sue Nostalgia is a good way to put it. I miss it, I dream about it, but when I'm here I never stop moving long enough to stop treading water.
    Thanks so much for your kind words and having me guest post. It's been a pleasures.

    @Alison I know what you mean. Once you start moving, you find new was to feel at home. Portable ways usually.

    @Bruna Thank you! It is my home in some ways... I have my accent back, so that must mean something.

    @Stasha You are so awesome anywhere would be lucky to have you and call you one of them. I hope you are looking into booking your boat trip to Vancouver. Mini BlogHer is on!!!

    @Jacqui Oh stop you. Thanks for saying so, you can repeat yourself all you want

    @Barbara Everyone does that. PEI is just a big LM Montgomery/Anne Shrine!!

  13. Theresa--this has got to me my favorite post of yours yet. Truly magical, poignant, and adventurous. It's not that you don't love home--it's just that sometimes we don't fit anymore. There's a song I love called Painting Pictures of Egypt and a line that has struck a chord with me goes
    "But the places that used to fit me
    Cannot hold the things I"ve learned" I often think of this line when I wonder if I can go home again.

  14. Oh, I love that line. So perfect.
    Thank you so much Rachel. That means more than you know.

  15. Easy - you are from Canada! Simple as that :)

  16. Great post Theresa! So beautifully written. Sometimes our idea of home changes as we grow.

  17. @Poker Chick Ha, that is easy!! Problem solved... ;c)

  18. @Kim thanks honey.
    Totally, it's funny how the house I grew up in looks so much smaller!

  19. "I am a writer and I try to live it everyday."

    What a wonderful quote! Witching hour is one of my favorites too! Always dreamed of traveling like that!!! So amazing!!!


  20. Wonderful feature!! I actually just discovered Theresa today...by accident...and then I came here and she was featured!! Very cool :)

  21. What a beautifully written story. I've never heard anyone talke about where they grew up quite like this. I was so intrigued. And sadness as your favorite emotion was also interesting to me. I think you're just all around interesting. :)