“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams,” Oprah Winfrey Adventure? Live the life of your dreams? I am not even sure how to do that, am I living the life of my dreams? I can honestly say that I thought I had a dream about how my life was supposed to turn out, where I was supposed to be, what I would be doing, and none of that happened, well maybe some of it happened but the rest, I am really not sure what happened. I was supposed to continue teaching, utilizing the Master’s Degree, I had worked so hard for. I was supposed to own my own home, I was supposed to have 3 children all close in age, I was supposed to do a lot of things and haven’t done them and I am not sure I ever will, most of it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. Things could be worse though right?
Since having my daughter and having her go through such trauma in her short life, it has helped me to realize that I need to try make my dreams come true, because life is so short and fragile. But on the other hand it seems to be so trivial to have dreams, to have things that I want for myself, it feels selfish, it feels inappropriate. I feel like everything I do should be for my children, my husband, my family and friends, certainly not for myself.
My mom never does anything for herself, never has for as long as I can remember. So I have grown up with this whole “your not worth it” mentality. As my mother, I too feel like anything I do for myself is not worth any time or money it would cost. I don’t know why I feel this way, I just do. I believe that most moms feel this way, I mean your child needing a new pair of shoes is a hell of a lot more important than you needing a haircut and dye job, right? Maybe you are all nodding your heads in unison in agreement with me or you are all saying I am crazy. The difference is that I have always felt this way even before I had kids, someone else was always more important. Before having kids, I taught 5th grade, I had a 70 minute commute, I went to grad school at night, sometimes taking 3 classes a semester, I would leave the house at 6 am and return home at 10pm oh and during the last year of my Grad Program did I mention I was 8 months pregnant with my son. Even then I didn’t do things for myself, I accomplished all of that and still didn’t think I was worth it.
Now the thought of going back to teaching does not excite me at all, I would much rather be here for my kids, because believe it or not I love being a stay at home mom, other people seem to find it necessary to assume otherwise. Those of you that are stay at home moms know how it is, the constant questions, in my case it was “oh you were such a good teacher, when are you going back”, or “do you think you’ll ever go back?” or “don’t you miss it?” I usually answer with a “Yes of course I will go back”, or “yes of course I miss it,” but when I think about it, I am not sure I mean that, I am not sure if I ever want to go back. I guess I just get tired of explaining myself and my decision to stay home and to take care of my kids, I don’t question people who drop their kids off at daycare at 6:00 am and don’t see them again until 7:00 pm, if that works for you and you are happy than to each their own. I am not going to judge you so please do not judge me. Thanks.
So back to making my dreams happen, what do I do with this attitude and my attempts to change it, ya know I am still not quite sure. I see all these people making “vision boards” where you are supposed to cut out pictures and words to describe and help you to visualize what it is you want to have happen in your life. Maybe I will try that, crafty and serves a purpose, sounds like my kind of project.
Not really sure where I was going with this blog, maybe I am realizing that I am a person too, not just a mom and that it is important that I do things for myself once in a blue moon, even if I am not “working”.
When you are a child you make friends at school and you are very fortunate as am I if you keep those same friends into adulthood. When you are an adult, your kids choose your friends for you and again I was very lucky that my son made friends with a boy whose mom and I have become great friends. I usually make friends with people who are my complete opposite, I think they tend to bring out the “fun” in me.I am the quiet and shy type, always have been and always will be unless you really get to know me and what I am about, then I open up and can talk your ear off. I am the person that people almost ALWAYS refer to as a bitch, because I am quiet. I assure you I am not any such thing, actually I am the sweetest, nicest, best friend you will ever have if you just give me a chance and the time. I know who I am and it always amazes me when people who don’t know me refer to me as a snob or bitchy,and honestly I don’t think I could be those things if I even tried. Well maybe if you treat my kids like crap or make rude comments about them, well then my Bitchy Attitude will emerge, most definitely. I am extremely creative and giving and like to make wonderful gifts for friends and family, so once you tell me you like something be sure you are going to get some sort of a gift in the very near future that is both crafty and thoughtful. I guess if someone asked me on a job interview, you know those ridiculous questions they like to ask you ” Name some of your faults” I would have to answer that with a “Well Sir or Madame, I think too much.” Okay so maybe I wouldn’t say it like that but you get the idea. I think about people, I think about what I can do to make their lives a little easier, I think about things I can do at birthdays and Christmas time to make them feel important. It’s a vicious cycle this thinking too much, once I do something special then I start to feel bad, like I have now backed that person into a corner, now they must feel that they have to do something nice for me because of the something nice I did for them and that is not my intention at all. I guess I blame my mother for this feeling I get, although she meant well and was only telling me what she was taught. My whole life she always told me not to announce things to people, like birthdays, engagements, having baby’s because then it looks like you are looking for a hand out, nothing a few years of therapy for me won’t cure. So thinking is not always a good idea, I wish I could live in the moment, the here and now, the spur of the moment, do things because it feels right and stop thinking so damn much.
I live in a family where there are some serious meanies, they will say one thing to your face and then rip you apart behind your back, but that’s a whole other blog topic I could go on about for hours, so I guess I am just used to having my guard up.Sometimes I think my passive behavior also allows people to take advantage of me, assuming I will always be there, but never put the effort in to be there for me. But it definitely does beg the question, maybe I am guilty of this as well. Maybe I haven’t been a very good friend to people either, maybe I have let life and all it’s crap get in the way of keeping and growing my friendships, I am sure I am guilty of this as well. Having something traumatic happen in your life kind of puts things in perspective ya know? This year I want to make more of an effort to keep in touch with my friends, to make the effort to see them more. I have a problem with calling people, I am getting better though I think, I always feel like I am bothering someone when I call them, like they have better things to do then to chat with me on the phone. I almost always feel like I am intruding on people, I have this idea engraved in my head, probably since I was a child that I should never be a burden to anyone, and I guess I take that message that I was taught at a very early age, extremely literally. I know I must stop feeling that way and I try believe me I do. So I will try to be a better friend this year and I hope everyone else will do the same.
Traditions, I am all about them, especially at Christmas time.I love Christmas, the music, the egg nog, the presents, the decorations, the wrapping paper, the chill in the air, all of it, I love it all. I am a crafter, so I like making the ornaments and the paper chains and all kinds of decorations. I love a real tree, with green, red and white deocorations. I want to make traditions with my children, things that we will do every year, that they will get excited for as the season arrives each year.
After we got married and had children my husband and I started the tradition of going out to dinner on Christmas Eve, it is so much fun and Danny loves it, now we can’t wait until we can have that tradition with both of our children.
On Christmas morning I like to make Breakfast, which usually consists of monkey bread. It is so yummy and I try to make it every year.
Everyyear we treck up to what I like to refer to as God’s Country to help my inlaws cut down their Christmas tree. We take the long drive up the taconic usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving in search of the perfect, huggable tree. (my husband is in charge of the hug test and the cutting) As you drive up to the the Christmas tree farm you can see trees and trees in rows and rows cascading down the hills as far as the eye can see. It is quite a breathtaking sight.
So I am all about making memories this year, memories I will cherish and my children will cherish for years to come.
It is the simple things we remember most in life, the walks in the park, the cutting of the christmas tree, the shopping, the lunch dates with family and friends. I want to start living my life in search of these moments, I want to make these memorable moment in my life a reality.
So I will look foward to this Holiday Season with much joy in my heart, so thankful that my baby girl has been given a second chance at life and will be there to experience all of these wonderful moments and together we will make the most wonderful memories.
Trying to make the best of any situation is my new motto, look on the bright side,my new mantra. Easier said than done,trust me I know, but if I don’t do this, all I will do instead is cry. It is rather easy to remain positive when you encircle yourself with people who exude blessedness,bliss,cheer, joy, jubilation, merriment, you know, happieness. I guess now that I am trying to live by this golden rule I find myself noticing that there are certain people around me who seem to get joy not out of delight but out of misery. I find myself noticing that the more misery and despair a person seems to have the more these people seem to cling like moths to a flame. They say misery loves company right? Well this kind of misery effects me, it effects me down to my core. When I am with someone who is so unhappy with their life, who looks for the bad and the dismay in everything, I feel like I become sucked into their black hole of misery, like I am drowning in a black lagoon filled with hardship, lonlieness and depression. I feel like I just have to get out, find a happy place, find some joy, find some brightness to save me from their grip of doom.
No matter how hard I try I cannot seem to make these kind of people happy, I know that it is not my job but I feel like if I sprinkle some happy dust, some laughter sprinkles all over them then they would have no choice but to feel glee. But this almost NEVER works, they thrive on this melancholy and live for a feeling of sorrow and would have it no other way. These are the people happy living in there own world of gloom.Then there are others who feel the need to bring you down into their depths of despair, spreading hatred, saying awful things about people to anyone willing to listen. Sometimes people like this cannot survive without feeling like they have to badmouth others. All of this is a shame, life is so short to have to live in a world where all one thrives on is hatred.
Loving people in your life and having moments with people shouldn’t be so hard, it should come as easy as each breath we take. So as a mother I find myself looking for relationships with people that are easy to get along with, happy by nature, friendly and just want to have fun. I am glad that I have a husband that enjoys having fun and making memories with our kids. I am lucky to have friends that make me laugh and make me smile. I am fortunate to have a family that is there for me no matter what. Fun and making wonderful memories are the things I have to focus on, the things I want in my life and I am hoping as a I continue to surround myself with wonderful people, then the unhappieness and bitterness will be a fading memory.
So if this bitterness lives within you, just remember that life is so short, fill your life with joy, wonder and amazement, instead of grief, sorrow and sadness. Don’t get me wrong it’s okay to have a day when you feel like crap and don’t want to face the world, but it is the people that stay in that sadness that are missing out on the good things in life.
“Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it – ink it!”- Author Unknown
So these are the things I hope to do in my lifetime and they are in no particular order.
Own my own home with a fabulous kitchen and craft room
Be a great friend
Be more outgoing
Find a wonderful place to live
Have a big birthday party for myself
Keep really good friends in my life
Color my hair red or blonde
Love myself more
Have a fundraiser to raise $ for Down Syndrome
Start a foundation and donate baskets to Maria Ferreri Children’s Hospital.
Spend Christmas in NYC
Do something I said I would never ever do
Go to the Statue of Liberty
See the wild horses on a beach
Write a novel
Have the nerve to do karyoke
Visit a winery
Visit Yosemite National Park
Have a girls weekend getaway
Go to Vegas
Go scuba diving
Change someone’s life
Create a family tree
Get a dog
Read 100 books
Watch 100 movies
Drive from NY to CA
Rent a beach house in Cape May for the whole summer
Spend a weekend in NYC
Witness a solar eclipse
Visit all 50 states
Discover what makes me truly happy
See the koala’s in Australia
See a sunset and sunrise
Plant a tree
Write a letter to my friends to let them know how much they mean to me
Get a complete makeover
Raise happy and healthy children
Run a 5k
Learn to ski
Learn to surf
Learn to play tennis
Learn sign language
Learn to play the guitar
Go rock climbing
Get healthy, lose weight.
Go on a cruise
Go to the Grand Canyon as an adult
Go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC
Take up photography
Take up gourmet cooking
Learn to draw and paint
Learn to sew
Discover my life’s purpose
Get a PHD
Make a difference in someone’s life
Write and publish a children’s book.
Sleep in Cinderella’s Castle
Be a college professor
Have at least 1000 blog followers
Create a home with an inviting, joyous, comfortable, loving atmosphere
Go whale watching
Swim with dolphins
Live near the beach
Find inner peace
Learn to forgive
Learn to meditate
Go to lots of broadway plays
Start my own craft business, or children’s birthday party business
Pay off all our debt
Go to Hawaii
That’s about all I can think of, I hope I have inspired all of you to create your own lists.
As a child that attended catholic school, I remember the activity so clearly, each year we would be given a cornucopia to color and decorate. On the Horn of Plenty were lines and on those lines we were supposed to write all the things we were thankful for. As a child I didn’t even think about it and I probably wrote the same thing every year. “I am thankful for my family, the roof over my head, the food on my plate.” Don’t get me wrong I am still thankful for those things but today as a mother I am thankful for so much more than that.
I have always lived my life following the rules, never stepping out of line, always doing what I thought was right. Although this is a wonderful way to live, it unfortunately caused me to not enjoy to moment, to not have fun, to not seek out things that I might enjoy. The thing that I am most thankful for is that all that my little family has been through in the past 3 months has made me realize that it’s okay to have fun, it’s okay to lighten up a bit, it’s okay to be silly and live in the moment. I hope this has made you think about all the things you are thankful for in your life.
When you are a kid you are afraid of things, things like the monster in the closet, riding roller coasters, loud noises, clowns, things that at the time seem like really scary stuff. As an adult we also have fears of things like spiders, flying on planes, driving over bridges, heights, water. As a mother I have realized that these fears are trivial to me now. There is no such fear as knowing that your child has a life threatening illness, knowing there is a ticking time bomb inside your child’s body just wating to unleash it’s terror and fright.
My daughter, my 11 week old daughter had open heart surgery on October 26, 2011 a day that I will never forget as long as I live on this earth. We had to get her there by 6:00 am, a one hour drive to the hospital, I can still feel the way I felt in the passenger side of the car, this sick feeling knowing I had to turn my baby over to doctors, strangers really. They were going to cut her chest open. I can’t even put into words how this horrific moment felt. I stood there sobbing next to my husband as they wheeled her away and she kept looking back at us, as if to say “aren’t you coming with me?” It broke my heart. The next 8 hours would be the longest period of time in my life. Nothing I did helped pass the time quickly; magazines, word finds, writing. I felt like I was doing stupid meaningless things just to divert my attention off of what was really happening, my baby was having surgery.
At around 4:30 that afternoon, out walked a man in scrubs. A very gentle, soft spoken surgeon; our eyes connected from across the room and I could tell by the look on his face that my baby was okay. He started to tell us about the surgery, and what he did and the holes he had closed in her heart, and then he uttered the words I had been longing to hear all day, “She doing fine, you can see her in a few minutes.” I wanted to jump up and throw my arms around this man that I barely knew and thank him for saving my baby’s life. I couldn’t move, it was like time had stood still, I remember crying like I have never cried in my life, thanking the angels, God, the saints, the heavens, the earth, anyone and everything that was involved in getting my daughter through this battle.
When we walked in the room several minutes later, an image of what appeared to be my daughter laid in a plastic box before us. There were wires, and tubes and tape and the stench of iodine in the air. This can’t be my little girl, we are in the wrong room I want to say out loud, then I hear the nurse say
“Leah, mommy and daddy are here to see you.”
Oh my God, what did they do to my baby, she was swollen, and orange and I couldn’t see an inch of her body, there were so many tubes and wires coming out of her. One of the doctors told me to put my finger in her hand, and what happened next I could have never imagined. She was sleeping, it looked like she was in a coma but when I place my pointer finger in her hand she wrapped all of her tiny fingers around it and squeezed, she knew I was there and I knew from that moment on that she was going to be okay.
The next couple of days were rough. The breathing tube came out, only to return, due to another scary moment in our lives. I started feeding her pedialyte one morning and the nurse came in to give her some morphine to manage her pain. What happened next I can only say was a nightmare. My baby stopped breathing and turned purple before my eyes. Doctors and nurses circled her frantically pumping her with air and fluids, I sat on the chair behind them sobbing and praying that my baby was going to be okay. The breathing tube was back and had to stay for a bit longer.
Each day we would reach new milestones, as each tube and wire was removed. On the final day I had my little girl back, all the tubes, wires and IVs were gone and I got to dress her in her own pajamas. What a feeling, slipping her little hands through the sleeves of her own soft, cozy clothes. This feeling to me meant that we were one step closer to getting her home and living our lives as a real family.
On November 3, 2011, my girl was sent home with her new and improved heart, “she can do anything other kids can do” said the doctor. “She can run, ride a bike, jump and play, go to amusent parks, you name it.”
During my daughter’s life we are going to face obstacles I am sure, there will always be doctors and cardiologists, and EKG machines and Xrays but my daughter’s surgeon gave her a whole new life, a whole new world to be a part of. Today she is stronger, happier, more content because of him. How do you say thank you for that, how do you repay someone for giving you the most precious gift in the world, you can’t because nothing you can say or do will equal the magnitude of the effect this can have on someone’s life, being and outlook on life.
Before this happened to us I didn’t believe in miracles, now I certainly do. I believe miracles exist in all of us, from the wise and sharp precision to a surgeon’s hand, to the kindness of the nurses who cared for my baby as if she were there own. There are miracles around us everyday, we just have to have the faith and the heart to see them.