Holding On To Hope

Standard

image

I like to consider myself a stronger and  more confident person as a result of the challenges life has dealt our family in recent years. I have learned lessons along the way and I know that you have to be an advocate, in times of challenge, for either yourself or those that need a voice. In the past, I would have said, “I don’t want to bring attention to anything” or “Why make waves?” That is no longer the case. I will fight for what is right and in terms of my daughter’s shoulder issues, I will keep pressing for answers whether it be a new form of physical therapy, a different specialist, or something academic related. I often wish I could help other families, as an advocate, in educational and medical matters. I know what we have gone through,and what we continue to go through, as a family. To have someone be a guide in the abyss of the medical and surgical world would have been a godsend.

I could use an advocate, right now,who has connections to every shoulder guru there is to be seen. How is it that this case is so original? We are seeing a top doctor now who also treats pro athletes but even he is perplexed as to why the shoulder is not maintaining stability. We are now about 3 1/2 years into this nightmare yet outsiders look at her and would never know her pain level or her daily struggles. Kelly will not crack, as she plows through this, and has excelled academically in her first full year back in 3 years right along with her twin sister. They are a great team!

For now, I pray, research, and continue to try to grow as a person. I need to be the best version of me–a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an advocate, a friend, and an educator. If I don’t, I am helping no one and I am not serving as a good role model for my girls.

Please remember, in your daily encounters, that everyone is struggling or going through something. Sometimes it is a visible struggle but often it is the invisible pain and struggles that can be the heaviest to carry. Always remember to be patient, kind, and to see the good everywhere. You could be the “light” in someone’s dark and cloudy day.

Keep on hoping! I know I will!!

A Letter To My Daughters

Standard

blogDear Girls,

As we begin another school year, I want to take this opportunity to impart some advice, thank you both, and surround you with love. This is another big year, for both of you, in so many ways. The future awaits you and is ready for the dreams, skills, talents, and plans you will bring to it. May you never lose your desire to learn. There is so much out there and so much to be discovered, read, and shared. Follow your dreams and never let another discourage, belittle, or alter those dreams. You are in the driver’s seat. Your future awaits! It is okay for you to change the dream a bit or to come up with a completely new one. As long as YOU are the one who decides. Explore your interests! Join a club or two. It is alright if your friends do not join the same clubs. Varied interests can keep a friendship fresh and renewed.

Take time to be silly or to have a really good belly laugh! It clears the “cobwebs” in the mind and helps with a fresh perspective. Find your own path but know that those that love and support you will be there along the way. Remember to reach out and grab onto one of them periodically. We become stronger when we reach out to others. It is better to do that than to become overwhelmed and frustrated. When you make decisions, that effect your future, be sure to do them after careful consideration and consultation. Never make a decision based solely on what someone else thinks or feels. You will only let yourself down if you do that.

We have always used the expression, “Be true to who you are” in our house and this quote sums up the central beliefs that this letter sprang out of today. If you both stay strong and positive and grow from each learning experience, there will be no stopping the goals you both hope to accomplish.

Thank you for all you continue to teach me. I love you both and I am incredibly proud of all that you have accomplished thus far.

The best is yet to come! I am so excited to see what the future holds for you, my lovely daughters!

Love,

Mom

The “And” Story

Standard

I recently came across a campaign launched, several months ago, by a cosmetic company. The central message is that today’s girls and women have more than one side to them and that is what makes them unique as individuals. There is no need to choose sides to define who you are! It is ok to have antonyms  describe you. For example, shy and bold, cautious and goal setter, raw and refined. It is even permissible to have 2 polar opposite concepts. An example would include polished nails and a polished mind. Today’s girls need this message. How often do we see girls stopping a hobby, or losing interest in something, as they get older because it is not a girl thing to do? Perhaps, girls would hold onto these early hobbies, or venture into other new territories, knowing this is not the only way to define themselves.

The same holds true as we get older. Many choose to label themselves with one title which, in most cases, is an occupation. If that is the correct way we are doing such an injustice. Choosing to write your “and” story is such a great reflection tool. You will learn so much about yourself and since you are not constrained by one title, it will feel joyful and satisfying as well. It is as if the clock, in a timed exam room, is absent and you have as long as you want? Who knew the word “and”, along with the symbol, had so much power? We are strong women of the 21st century. Embrace your own “and” story and shine like you should.

Recognizing we each have and “and” story is similar to the idea of a quilt being made up of various squares. If we only hold a single loose square, we do not have the entire beauty, joy, and warmth of the quilt. A single label, again, does not define us. The “and” story could be the greatest story you have ever written and read. Your “and” story could encourage and provide support to others. Never underestimate the power within you.

My “and” story includes many titles that I am proud of in my life. Alone they do not define me, but listed together they provide a more accurate picture of ME! Loving and caring wife, mother, daughter,sister, and friend. Loyal and protective. It would also include avid reader, writer, blogger, and life long learner. Finally my “and” story would have health conscious motivator and dedicated educator.

Please reflect on your own “and” story and the power it holds. Do not hesitate to be proud of it and share with others. When you do, the benefits cannot be measured. They are numerous AND beautiful.

Feel free to share your “and” story in the comments.

Guilty Pleasures For Any Day Or Season

Standard

We each have those things which make us happy or brighten our mood. Some are associated with certain times of year/seasons and some are simply random/happy things which put a smile on my face. I am also proud to say that my daughters have adopted a few of these guilty pleasures as their own. How great is that?

Without further ado:

1) Books, Books, Books-If I could get paid to read, I would!! My only regret is I wish I had more time to sit and read. Such utter peace!

2)Ice Cream Sundaes-Making these can be the key to happiness. Have a variety of toppings to choose from, some good conversation, and the fun will happen! I got to experience a sundae party very recently over the holidays.

3) My Go To Movies- No matter how many times I see them they never grow old or lose their magic. My #1 favorite-The Sound Of Music. No other movie captures that romance! Other favorites include Holiday Inn and White Christmas. I pretty much love period pieces and musicals. It sounds geeky but I own my entertainment interests.

4) Hot Flavored Tea-I come by this naturally. Simply ask my Mom. Flavored decaf tea goes fabulous with a good book.

5) Hugs and a good back scratch-These two always chase the blues away. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they give hugs!

6) Peppermint Hot Chocolate-Yes I am addicted to this drink! It warms me up and is comforting plus I love anything with peppermint. WaWa, Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts–They all have hot chocolate selections I crave. I have also been known to have some even in the Summer. It is all good as long as there is air conditioning, right?

7) Downton Abbey-I am an avid fan and proud owner of seasons 1-5 plus I have two teenage daughters who are now fans. The more the merrier!

8) The Walton’s-I have begun my collection. I love the sense of family and tradition. Grandpa is my favorite!

9) I Love Lucy-Classic fun! My favorite thing to watch while folding laundry.

10) Gel Manicures-So relaxing and a lovely end result. Wish I could get them more!

11) Music-Too many favorites to list here. The music fits the mood. Just put on whatever makes you happy. I, myself, have different types for different activities. There isn’t too much I don’t enjoy listening on any given day. I have many individuals to thank for my musical interests. I am now trying to pass that on to my children. Don’t limit yourself to one type of music. There is so much out there to appreciate.

12) Walks-Whether on your own or with a friend or two, they offer great clarity of mind and the exercise benefits are great as well!

I could make this list longer but I will stop here at my top 12 list. I would be interested in reading what makes your lists. Feel free to respond.

Enjoy!!

What No One Tells You in Discharge Instructions

Standard

photo

Very often when a close family member has a challenge to their health, the implication of how it impacts the family dynamics is not delved into all that much before leaving the hospital. This is not meant to be a selfish statement rather a look into a forgotten fact. The focus, naturally, is on the family member climbing their own uphill battle. However, it is crucial to keep eyes and ears open for concerns of all other members within the family.

–HELPFUL HINTS–

*Keep an open dialogue *Express any fears or concerns *Reach out to friends *Maintain a grateful heart *Proper rest *Resume or alter family activities so all can participate *Look for little examples of hope around you *BREATH! *Do not be be afraid to ask for help *Know things will improve

My family is breathing a sigh of relief after yesterday and while we are grateful, for the outcome, today is a day for letting out the breath it felt like we were holding for months. No one tells you how drained and exhausted the family will be the next day or so. I am pretty sure I did not read that information among the discharge instructions!! (Humor is also desperately needed at these times to see beyond the present situation!!)

I read a lot about how to deal with the physical pains but nothing regarding the pain of how to help your children adapt to new limitations or how to set new goals when old ones were taking away involuntarily. I also did not see anything on what to say to your children when they had planned to start the next phase of their life together, starting high school, when in reality one will continue on the original planned path while the other must face a new reality with its own set of original challenges.

Yes, one weight has been lifted since yesterday and in exchange are a few fears and doubts. I love my family and my life but I cannot help wishing some of the answers to my questions and concerns could be found in those discharge instructions. When you are sent off, into the unknown, it can be a little scary and overwhelming.

Hang on to your loved ones, grab onto hope, and never give up!! That would be a splendid addition to those discharge instructions!

–Patience Is Not A Virtue Of Mine–

Standard

untitled (13)

Yes, the title is very true! I own the statement and freely admit it. Those closest to me will also confirm this and will gladly share battle stories of when I have not been my most patient. Home projects, deadlines , traffic, standing in line at amusement parks–you name it!

As we begin to enter this dreaded of weeks, this flaw of mine might as well be tattooed on my forehead. On Tuesday, my daughter will have her surgery. I am filled with a range of emotions at this time. Now that it is her 3rd surgery we know, somewhat, what is ahead of her. Occasionally, being in the dark on some matters is not always a bad thing. My challenges that day include: 1)Patience being required as we wait for her to go back.

2)Patience will also be required as we wait for the procedure to be concluded.

3)Patience will be required as we wait, in recovery, for her to be released.

Once we are home we will be patient and celebrate each milestone of her recovery and achievement in physical therapy.

It is so much simpler to be patient when life is proceeding smoothly. The challenge lies in how patient we are when we must react, and then deal, with the unexpected obstacles in our path. If there is a trick to this, please advise me. As I stated, in the About Me section of this blog, I am an optimist in training. A work in progress so to speak. Continuing to work on improving ourselves is a positive sign of growth. Hopefully, I am on a path of growth with recent endeavors. I recently read that as our children grow and enter different phases of life, that we as parents should not view these milestones with sadness but with optimism and use them as steps in our own growth as individuals. Start something new, make a set of goals, try developing a new skill or hobby, or be a mentor in your field. The options are endless.

We all need a “bag of tricks” to serve as training wheels to help us become more optimistic and more patient. Do you have a trusted friend to bounce things off of? Do you have a favorite prayer or song to help get you through? Perhaps, a certain exercise program or form of meditation is very helpful to you. Maybe there is that friend who will encourage you and distract you, with nonsensical story telling, to simply to get you through the rough patches. I am so very fortunate and thankful to have friends and family that are there for us through the rough patches. I will rely on my faith, my family, and our friends to get through this patience testing week. I know that inspiration is all around me, especially in the outlook that both my daughters possess.

As a public service announcement to my friends and family–Everyone has their work cut out for them this week! Thanks for everything. It is appreciated more than you will ever know.

Love-Impatient but trying to be optimistic,

Me!

Labeling: A Thing Of The Past!!

Standard

mom blogNow that I have your attention…

I have a problem! The idea that everything and everyone needs to be labeled, to fit in a category, irks me! There is also the realization that some individuals label to make themselves feel better about a particular issue.

For instance, I am caught in a label limbo, of sorts, both educationally and professionally. I am a product of both public and private education. My parents started my sister and I out in public school but made the switch to private midway through our elementary education. I still shudder when I recall those first few months after the switch! Change does not always come easy to me 100% of the time. However, I survived the big turmoil.

Fast forward a few years…

When it came time for me to decide my major when I applied to colleges; I felt called to choose elementary education. There was no thought process involved as to whether I would go into a public school to begin my career or a private school to begin my career. I simply wanted to use my degree and begin teaching. I was fortunate, during my college years, to obtain field experience in both settings which I benefited from greatly. In the end, I ended up teaching in private schools full-time. It was not a conscious choice; I wanted to teach and I availed myself of the opportunity presented.

Fast forward a few more years…

As our children became school age, public school was where we wanted them to begin their education. Due to family circumstances, they went to private school for almost 3 years but returned to public school. Our daughters, who do much better with change than I did, have survived and are thriving. They often thank us for the opportunities and resources they are presented with in a public school setting. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom how many times my children encountered, during their 8th grade year, the question of “Where are you going to high school?” With their response came the response from the questioner of “Oh.” As if sending them to public high school was a horrific unfortunate consequence. In fact it is in this setting, of public education, where my children continue to learn and practice acceptance of differences, kindness, along with the idea that an overabundance of material possessions does not mean you are the most successful person.

Labels can hurt and are often misleading. Judgment of others is so negative and energy draining. Where is our support for one another? The full impact is sometimes unnoticed and the deepest hurts are those which cannot be seen by the eye.

Treat others as you would want to be treated with respectfulness, kindness, and compassion. If these are given freely to others, as a trio more willingly, than perhaps labeling would be a thing of the past. No longer would labels dealing with size, shape, color, education, ethnicity, or labels dealing with physical or mental impairments be used.

A girl can dream can’t she…?