Friday, April 2, 2010

Meet a Mother On Fire

Originally published on April 2, 2010 on My Life Is Like A Song

This is the article that appeared under Meet a Mother on Fire on the Mothers on Fire website:

Suzanne Sewell Goes to the Olympics!

“I think what really made this work was how supportive my whole family was. They understood how important it was to me and they did everything they could to help. No one complained or whined. No one made me feel guilty.”

Suzanne Sewell just came back from a solo trip to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This was a dream she had for a long time and despite a lot of logistical planning, she made it happen. Suzanne is a perfect example of what being on fire means for many reasons. Mostly because she followed her heart and made her dream come true.

MOF: Why was it important for you to be part of the Olympic experience?
Suzanne: Since I was a little girl, I have loved the Olympics. It meant so much for me to be part of the Olympic experience especially in 2010 because it was in our home country.
I remember Brian Orser carrying the flag in Calgary for the 1988 Opening Ceremonies. Seeing him enter in his home country and the crowd going crazy was awe-inspiring. I wanted to witness our Canadian athletes walking in at the Opening Ceremonies in our home country. I wanted to see the Opening Ceremonies that would showcase my country. I wanted to see our athletes compete in front of their home crowd. I didn't dream that I would see us win our first gold medal on home soil, but I did.

MOF: How did you make it work with your family?
Suzanne: My husband was away on a 4 day business trip overlapping with the first 24 hours of my absence which made it more difficult than it would have been otherwise. Our kids are 10 and 13 and are quite independent so they were not the biggest concern. Our 9 month old puppy was the biggest problem. The kids would be at school all day, but the dog needed to be taken care of. My husband's parents traveled from Windsor to take care of the kids and puppy until his return and then my husband worked from home until I came back.
I think what really made this work was how supportive my whole family was. They understood how important it was to me and they did everything they could to help. No one complained or whined. No one made me feel guilty. My children helped out and my husband handled everything else. We often take the Blackberry world for granted, but it's at times like this that it's wonderful that my husband could work from home and manage his business and family responsibilities. If any questions arose, I was only a phone call or message away. Technology really helps in these kinds of situations.

MOF: What was your biggest challenge?
Suzanne: My first big challenge was to overcome every reason that would pop up of why I couldn't do this, from cost, time, effort, responsibilities, fear and guilt. But then I would think about how I would feel if I didn't do it, and it would motivate me to overcome those reasons.
My second biggest challenge was worry. I worried about child and puppy care working out. I worried about the snowstorm in Southern Ontario. I worried about the rain and fog at Cypress Mountain where my event was taking place. I worried about the commute from Victoria (where I was staying with friends) to Vancouver and to Cypress Mountain. I worried about the sea planes being grounded due to high winds or storms. I worried about missing the bus to the ferry and being stranded in Vancouver. I worried about being there alone. I spent a lot of time coming up with back up plans. I felt better knowing that I had solutions to potential problems. My extra research and planning paid off because while I was there, I never came close to getting lost, stressed or late for anything.

MOF: What did you learn?
Suzanne: I had often been passive in my life. Letting things happen. I have been pretty lucky that a lot of wonderful things have happened to me without having to fight too much for it...but I also wonder if had I fought more, could even better things have happened to me. I learned that if I had let things happen this time, I would not have gone. When challenges came up, it would have been easy to give up...and I did give up a few times, only to decide to keep trying when I would get so sad imagining that I wouldn't be there. I knew that if I missed this opportunity, I would regret it my whole life. A month before getting the tickets, I was reading a book that had the following quote that really spoke to me: "Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things". After reading that, I looked at the obstacles I came up against differently. If there's anything I learned from this experience, it is to not give up.

Suzanne Sewell lives in Toronto with her husband and 2 beautiful children. She has a passion for music and writes her own blog called My Life is Like a Song. You can read more of her life experiences at

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