Saturday, July 9, 2016

For Jake

Drew and I attended the funeral of a friend this morning. Although, I should clarify: neither of us had seen or spoken to this friend in years. Probably more than 7-8 years.

We sat in the far back dark corner. We knew many faces there. But we chose to remain quiet and unseen. I questioned myself on this constantly throughout the service. “Was it because we felt immense guilt over the lack of communication over the years?” “Was it because we hadn’t been home in so long, and we’d lost touch with so many, that we no longer felt that we could claim friendship?”

Drew and I held hands, and cried, hysterically and silently. Neither of us wanted to make noise.

I also sat there really digging into the recesses of my memory, trying to pull out good times we’d had with this friend. I knew there were many memories hiding in there, I just didn’t know how to get them to the surface.

You see, after all the trauma, I have this incredible knack for storing it ALL away. I manage to shut myself down, compartmentalize everything, and move on. Sadly, this incudes the good, and the bad.

I sat here thinking for a long tome this afternoon: “Why have I allowed SO many friendships fade and fall away?” “Why am I SO careless about who I remain not only in touch with, but put intense effort into cultivating meaningful lifelong friendships with?”

I have my husband, and my children. My family, and my friends. I have my best friends, who I don’t work my hardest at remaining in touch with, but who know my love is real for them. I have my close friends whom I see often. I have my work friends who I spend the most amount of time with. But my old friends?? I couldn’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve met, loved, and created relationships with, and eventually allowed to slip away. It’s not even that they were not important; it’s just that they weren’t right there.  

To all those I’ve known and loved, who have known and loved me: let us not continue life without being in one another’s. To my dearest friends from elementary school, middle school. To the kids from the neighborhood we grew up in. To my highschool peeps, to my college peeps, and to my fellow military wives. PLEASE  reach out! I’m going to go through the 700+ friends on my Facebook this week, and message those I feel the need to reach out to. Those who I haven’t spoken to in far too long, who may have been hurt or confused by my lack of presence in their lives at some point.

I urge you all to do the same. Please do not wait until you’re sitting in the dark parlor of a funeral home, watching the mother of one of your friends, and wondering “Where was I? Why wasn’t I present??”

And to Jake. You sweet amazing kid. I remember bits and pieces. High school years were fun, and the years following were full of partying and making the best of our youth. We made mistakes, we lost touch, but we never thought we wouldn’t have another opportunity.

I remember that we watched one another go through some shitty relationships, even considered one between us, which obviously didn’t work. We laughed, and partied, and had the time of our lives together. We allowed our feelings to get away from us and prevent us from continuing what had always been a beautiful relationship.

We grew, and went separate ways (REALLY went our separate ways lol, seeing as Drew and I left NY and went all the way to AZ) but we always remained Facebook friends, desperately trying to remain aware of one another’s lives.

Jake, I wish to God I known who you’d dated, where you lived, who you hung out with. I wish you’d met Drew’s babies and mine. You would have sat back and laughed and reminisced about the old days, and how crazy it was that we even had kids, let alone lived through our craziness long enough to start a family. I wish we’d invited you out here to chill and enjoy our lives with us.

I suppose I’ll be wishing for the rest of my days. It’ll be an intense regret Drew and I live with forever. But I promise you bud, we won’t let it stop us from doing better with others, making sure we never sit at another’s funeral with the same regrets and guilt. We love you kid.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!!

First of all, thank you SO much to ALL the mothers in the world!

You are all true heroes! There’s something incredibly beautiful, brave, and selfless about being a mother, no matter how you became one, and whether or not your children are Earth side or not. You are AMAZING!!

I myself have many amazing women in my life, who may not be my biological mothers, but who have been incredible heroines in my life, and deserve all the glory and love that this day is designed to offer!

My Grandmother Linnea: I honestly don’t even know where to start here. My grandmother has been a constant in my life since the very beginning, when my parents brought me home from the hospital into her home, where we all lived. In every arena that my parents fell short, Grandma picked up that slacked, plus a ton. She provided in ways that most grandmothers aren’t forced to, and she did it so beautifully and effortlessly! She laid the foundation for not only for the type of mother I wanted to be, but also who I wanted to be as a person. When I think of the comforts of home, I think of her hugs, the smell of her home, and especially her voice.   To this day, when I’m feeling down, or beating myself up, I think of her words “Please be kind to yourself.” It took me SO many years to understand what she meant, and it’ll be the life lesson that’s most precious! MY grandmother is my hero, and I am so blessed to have had her as my angel all my life. I love you Grandma!

My Aunts: Marta, Kerstin, Ellen, Lorraine, Vera, Wanda:  I don’t know that there’s ever been a group of women so incredible and powerful as my aunts! Each of them played such a special role in my life, and my growth. Marta was, and is, the ultimate mother figure. She was always my caregiver, my “safe place,” nothing was ever too much for her, even when it was. She knew we needed her, and she filled that role no matter what.  She is so soft spoken, kind, firm, teaching, intelligent, and funny! She role modeled what motherhood is, even in chaos, she is the mother I want to be. I love her so much, and the older I get, the more I appreciate her! Kerstin was always the “cool aunt!” She totally still is! She gave me music and TV tastes, even décor! She showed me how awesome it is to be “crunchy” and her laugh! Oh how I wait to hear her laugh when I go home! What I think I learned the most was how to find the light and love and humor in the dark days of our lives. She models what it is to be beautiful and thankful no matter what. I love her for all of that and more! Ellen taught me what it was to be cool, fun, and witty! She has always been so fun and loving, and never a dull moment spent in her presence! She also showed me what it is to be passionate, work hard, and follow dreams! Also, I always loved her décor and fashion, because she’s just so freaking cool! Lorraine, she taught me grace and beauty. When I think of the ultimate example of womanhood, I think of Lorraine. She was always so beautiful, her tastes were beautiful, her voice!! And her mothering, she showed me what it is to be passionate in her children’s growth and education. She introduced me to incredible stories alongside her own children, and is probably responsible for the wonderful childhood memories I have of using my imagination and my love for literature and music! Vera, I think Vera also taught me grace, beauty, love for literature, but also, bravery and adventure! She seems to so effortlessly float through this life with grace, can be so humorous, and just go at life with such adventure! I’ve always adored and admired her ability to find the beauty in all things, and always so patient and loving. I admire her intelligence, her worldliness. Wanda, I just don’t know where to begin. Wanda is one of the most selfless and loving women I’ve ever known. Wanda welcomed me into her home, and loved me when I needed it most. She provided a pillar of womanhood, parenthood, and life. She has always been my example of faith, and love. She always exuded beauty and grace, and love. She helped to guide me in how to be a better human, even though the lessons didn’t kick in until many years later. I honestly attribute being alive to ALL my aunts, but Wanda intervened when I was truly in danger. I know now, having raised a child not my own, that it is one of the most incredible things she could have ever done for me. I think back and remember the love and care she provided me. She gave so much, and I never felt unloved.

I know that y aunts might read this and think “really??? This is what she remembers about us?” I want you all to know, you’re obviously far more than just a paragraph, but these attributes are what helped shaped me, and I love you all SO SO much!!!! Thank you all for being the mothers I needed, you all saved my life!

Michelle: Michelle is my husband’s mother. When I think of Michelle, I think strength, beauty, love, humor, and passion. She cares so deeply, she’s passionate about what’s important to her, she does whatever she can for anyone in need, and she is always beautiful no matter what.
She gave birth to Drew at 18, spent years struggling as a single mother, and then a few very rocky years, before she met Drew’s step father- who raised him for the better part of his life. Despite all the many challenges she faced, she raised an amazing man, who has been an amazing husband and father, and all thanks to her!  When she met me many, MANY, years ago, I was NOT one her favorite people.  Despite this however, when her son informed her that he would be marrying “That Devil Girl”, she did everything in her power to turn her perspective around, and welcome me into her family.  We had a few rocky years ourselves, but eventually became best friends, and she became the greatest mother-in-law in the world! Just to note: our truce came by way of a king sized Reese’s bar, and it’s been a beautiful relationship since!

In the end, Michelle has supported me through all my pregnancies, both of my live births, and raising my own children. She plays, probably the most significant mother role in MY life, as well as her own children, my siblings, and some others! She has “adopted” many “strays” in her time as a mother, and that makes her even more incredible!

I gave her a necklace a few Mother’s Day ago, and it said “Thank you for raising the man of my dreams.” That still stands. But ALSO: Thank you for raising your kids, my siblings, my friends, my children, and me. You ARE my village, and I love you more than I’ll ever have the words to express.

Gwen and Tammy: When I met Gwen, it was right after Drew and I got married, and she was just lovely! She was married to Drew’s biological father, and had two children with him. Our family grew in an instant! We became close when Genna was born, which was on Gwen’s birthday! She welcomed us into her home and her family, and I fell in love with her immediately, knowing she’d not only be a fantastic mother in law, but also an AMAZING grandma, and I was right! Many years later, she and Tammy fell in love, and we gained ANOTHER grandma!! Tammy has proven to be just as amazing as Gwen, and took on a roll of having a whole new family in her life, and taking on the grandma roll like the amazing and beautiful woman she is!! When I think of Gwen, I think love, beauty, grace, humor, and selflessness. When I think of Tammy, I think of strength, love, beauty, fun, and love.  I don’t think there’s anything quite so difficult as being a step-parent, but both have done so with the grace and acceptance that I’m not sure I could ever muster. Our lives have all been richer for having Gwen and Tammy, and I don’t think I’ve ever really expressed my full gratitude and love to them, not to mention their unconditional love for us! I love you both so SO much, and so do Drew and the kids. Thank you for being amazing, and beautiful, and loving!

Karen: Karen came into our lives through Drew’s biological father, and has also welcomed all of us! She brought with her a whole family too, and we have just fallen in love with all of them! When I think of Karen, I think love, grace, fun, and selflessness. Karen has welcomed us into her home, shown us love and acceptance, and been nothing but kind and loving! Karen is incredible especially in taking strangers, and making them family. I never feel awkward or uncomfortable with her, and that is a gift she exudes. Thank you for being amazing, taking on this brand new Grandma roll with such grace, and loving us! We love you!!!!

Now that I’ve given my love to all the wonderful mothers in my life, I want to recognize my own mother.  My sister Linnea said something incredible yesterday as we sat in my front garden pulling weeds and planting flowers. We were discussing our mother, and how we haven’t heard from her, and if she’s ok. I mentioned talking to our brother Paul that morning, and how he had also mentioned her. After discussing the ugly stuff, Linnea said to me “I’m thankful she’s our mother. I don’t think I’d be who I am if she weren’t.” And I responded “You’re right, because she shaped who I am as a mother.” Obviously, these sound like positive attributes, but they’re not. Our mother has been ever distant. She was never warm and loving when we were children. I don’t believe she knew how to be, and that’s ok! As you’ve read above, we had MANY other mothers to run to for ALL of our needs, including, and probably especially, our emotional needs.

My mother was never forthright in discussions about deeply important things in this world, but she was ALWAYS able and willing to discuss history, politics, religion, and literature. As a mother, and an adult, I’ve come to believe this was her way of talking deeply with us. She could stay up for hours having honest and deep conversations with all of us on these topics. I think these were the only times we really got to see her soul. This was her way of revealing her true self, the things she loved, and what mattered to her. And interestingly, these are areas where my siblings and me are all the strongest. We care deeply about our ideas and opinions, despite how varying they are. This is what our mother passed to us. I know that we all felt these were her “love” and so we all listened intently, because we were going to take her love where we could get it.

The negatives run long and deep, and I could (and have) spend an entire post discussing them, but I won’t today. It’s Mother’s Day, and she deserves better.  I’ll be honest and say that 364 days out of the year, I probably wouldn’t say as much, but for whatever reason, today, my heart is softer and more open, and I’ll take advantage and do with it what I can.

I understand now that my mother suffers incredibly from mental health issues, and alcoholism, neither of which are anyone else’s fault. Realistically, they’re not her fault either, but that’s difficult to believe when you’re the victim to them. Sadly, she’s the bigger victim. While my siblings and I have suffered all our lives from it, she’s suffered more. She not only has to live inside her own head, but she has to live with her mistakes and choices, and her bitterness, which I would not wish on a single soul in this world.

My mother has given me valuable life lessons though, and not just in “what not to be.”
·      She taught me that I can never change a person, I can guide them, inspire them, but change is entirely on oneself, and you can never force it.
·      She taught me that one’s religion, faith, beliefs, politics, are ones own. And if you don’t agree with them, well then tough shit, because it’s none of your god damn business anyway
·      She taught me how to properly paint my nails,. This is important.
·      She taught me how to bake, although I prefer to do so from a box.
·      She taught me to appreciate art, in all forms, and that when you find your medium, never give it up, it may be your only solace.
·      She taught me to be passionate in my own beliefs, Even though she didn’t agree with them.
·      She taught me that the world is riddled with injustices. While I now know that you can’t “pour from an empty cup”, and should deal with what’s going on within your own soul, that the world needs your voice, and you should always offer it.
·      She taught me that the world is vast, and that we should appreciate it, and learn from it.
·      She taught me that history is incredibly important, and that we should never take things at face value. Never stop learning, never stop questioning. And also, the public education system is shit, and that victors write the history books.
·      She taught me to love coffee, and that’s probably the best out of this list.

These may all seem like insignificant life lessons, but these are what I have, and what I utilize. I value these lessons because they stick out. Most can celebrate this day WITH their mothers, or at the very least, loving memories of their mothers. I don’t have that. I have a mother who I’m completely disconnected from, and chooses to not be in my life. And despite all of this, I’ll always love her, because she’s still my mother. And always will be.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy National Sibling's Day!!

First of all, I HAVE to share the photos my mother-in-law took last night!! Like, OMFG! They're AH-MAZING!!!! Shoutout to Charming Artistry Photography!! 
Charming Artistry

Charming Artistry

Charming Artistry

Ok, now!! It's National Siblings Day!! So guess what y'all?? That's right, I'm talking about my siblings today!! And they're going to hate me for it!

First of all, I'm the WORST sibling ever. I'm flaky, unreliable, and even though we're all basically adults, I'm still bossy as fuck. And they all just deal because they know how I am, and that I'll never change!!

Do you know my favorite part of being a sibling??? An ever growing family! Not only do I have my own biological siblings, but I have their spouses, and my in laws as well, and their spouses!! Do you know what a blessing that is??? So I'm going to tell you a little about each of them, and my relationship with each of them. Again, they're all going to hate me lol!!

Let's start with my little sister Linnea!! *sorry kid*
Linnea and her husband Scott <3

Linnea became a gift in my life when I was 3 years old, and she's been a gift since. Now she's almost 24. Sadly, we've been through many turbulent years, but she's still the best sister I could have ever asked for. (Even though I asked them to take her back when they brought her home.) When we were little, we'd spend hours playing Barbies, pretend, and fighting. But we were each other's best friends. As we grew older, we grew apart. I lay the blame mainly on myself, and also on us being very different people. We even share very different memories on the same events. I remember the catalyst of our relationship being when we were both pregnant together with our first children. That's when I really looked at Linnea and realized we were equals. We were adults, and we were about to be mothers.  I was SO blessed to be present with her during the birth of her daughter, just four months after the birth of my own daughter. And sadly, I'd soon leave them to go to Arizona, where my husband would be stationed for the next 5 years. Last year, we finally moved back, and shortly before that, Linnea and I had reconciled after a few years of no contact. My heart felt so much happier, and our children became immediate friends. Even though we live 5 minutes away from one another, we rarely see one another because I work 6 days a week, and again, because I'm flaky and unreliable! I'm also a winter hermit. I'm trying terribly hard to change that!!

Next up is Paul! *sorry kid*
Paul and I at his high-school graduation <3

Now, when it comes to Paul, I tend to show a bit of favoritism, but that's really not the case, it's much more complex than that. Paul came into my life when I was 7 years old, and he became the most annoying stereo-type of a little brother anyone could imagine. *wink* Now he's 20 years old. After many years of caring for him, being the voice of reason and knowledge, and seeing him suffer from the instability of my mother, Drew and I made a life altering decision, that would eventually become one of the greatest blessings of our lives. Right before leaving on orders to Arizona, Drew and I decided to take custody of Paul, and bring him with us. We would spend the next 6 years raising him, and helping him navigate life. This sounded so much simpler in theory, but it was easily one of the hardest things I've ever done. I became a mother to my brother, and yet still maintained a sister-like relationship with him, because no matter how old we are, I'll always be his big sister. Luckily, I could always count on Drew to be the responsible adult who would throw the smack down between Paul and I. Through the years, Paul would go through some very tough shit, truly happy times, and then some even tougher shit. However tough life was though, he would come to feel confident in our unconditional love, graduate high school, and go into the Army. We couldn't be any prouder than we already are, but he constantly surprises me, and teaches me that my love has no bounds.

Lastly is Tommie *not sorry kid, you deserve it!*
A selfie I took last night, that Tommie photo bombed! <3

This kid dudes. Jesus! He's about the 17, and I just can't say enough about how proud I am of him, but even more than that, how much I love my in-laws for doing what they've done!  About 4 years ago, Drew, Paul, the kids, and myself came home to NY for a summer vacation. While home, Tommie came to my in-laws to spend the weeks with us. This was typical as all of mine and Drew's siblings are the same ages. When we left to go back to Arizona, Tommie didn't leave. And months passed, and he remained. So my mother-in-law decided to keep him! After an ugly court battle, and my own mother disowning me for supporting my in-laws, my in-laws won. And here we are 4 years later, and this kid is exemplary! He's about to end his junior year of high-school, and I couldn't be any more amazed at the wonderful human he is.

On top of all my own wonderful siblings, I have half siblings, their spouses, my siblings-in-law, and their spouses! With Linnea comes Scott, a wondeful man who's made my sister's life brighter and happier, someone I am so thankful my sister found. He's a wondeful human, man, husband, and father! My in-laws are Casey, and Amber, Gabe, and with him Anna, Kennedy, and with her Bri, And there's Kale, who thank Jesus doesn't have a spouse seeing as he's a senior in highschool (although, that didn't stop Drew and I lol.)

So many blessings!! Happy National Siblings Day!!!

Monday, March 28, 2016


I want to talk about marriage. Not just my marriage (although obviously a lot about mine, since that’s my most personal reference.)

I want to talk about the struggles, the evolutions, the comforts, the sacrifices, and even a few tips. Bare with me, and sit tight, my story about marriage is one hell of a bumpy ride.

I initially promised this for Sunday, as I’ve typically been posting on Sundays. However, in my infinite wisdom, I forgot this Sunday was Easter Sunday, and therefore I skipped posting and put it off for today.  I do these things a lot. I’m the flakiest, most unreliable person I know. It’s one of my true weaknesses. You know those awful job behavioral questions they ask now?? Well, when I was in college, we did a whole module on job prep, and mock interviews. They wanted us to be able to answer any question, and get any job. One of the questions would inevitably always be, “What are your weaknesses?” and you were supposed to be able to answer in a way that challenged your weakness into a strength, like, “Well, I feel that I can be extremely sensitive, however, I believe that creates an awesome platform for my empathy to show and really care for others.” Or some shit. Anyway…I’m sitting here watching X-Files and yelling at my children to get into their own beds because it’s a school nights. {{{Hallelujah and FUCK YEAH!!}}} I’ll go ahead and get to the point of tonight’s post!

Ok, I seriously just took a two hour break. Someone needs to stop me. SOMEONE NEEDS TO HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE GOD DAMN IT!!!!

Let’s try this again!

Marriage. “Mawwiage. It’s what bwings us togevah today.” – The Princess Bride. (My spell check is losing it’s shit. LOL!!)

So earlier this week, I made a post on my Facebook page about Drew and I, a little bit about how we met, and what led up to our getting married. Instead of rehashing on that, I want to talk about the actual married part. I suppose a little bit from start to finish, but more so the parts that fall in-between. The not so “important” parts, and even the icky parts.  What I will promise however, is that as much as I wish I could share EVERYTHING, I can’t, but not because it would upset Drew (he’s very used to my antics) but because I’m a firm believer in keeping some of my story to myself. To own my memories. Everyone should have that right, and I reserve that in every aspect of mine. Despite what I’ve given you in the past, you don’t truly know everything, and that’s how I like to keep it. So let’s get on with it.

Do I start at the beginning?? I suppose that’s needed.

Drew and I were married September 23rd, 2007. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony, surrounded by close family, and it’s honestly, truly one of my happiest memories. We got married 3 weeks after we’d began “dating.” I say “dating” because we’d been best friends for many years, and room mates for some time. By the time we were “together,” we felt that we knew absolutely everything about one another.  We’d come together in a less than ideal way, but when we made our decisions, we stood behind them and followed through. Despite the pain we’d both experienced in the relationships we were in at the time, we knew we were hurting our significant others, but that we had to leave the relationships. We didn’t choose the best way to do that, but once it had all happened, we knew it was for the best. That’s the most uncomfortable part of this story.

After we got married, we lived in an apartment for a few months, before moving into Drew’s parent’s home. That wasn’t exactly the most fun thing I’ve ever gone through, but after growing up and learning how to get along with a much more stable family than the one I’d grown up with, things got exceptionably better. Drew and I struggled a lot during this time. I think mostly because we were so young and so unsure about how to make something work that we didn’t know much about. We didn’t fight much, but we also didn’t talk things out. We were children playing at a grown up’s game, and we were losing.

After 6 months of living with Drew’s parents, we knew our plan of saving money to leave and go to Philadelphia was failing, and we needed a better plan.  Drew decided that joining the Air Force was the best opportunity for us, and for making our lives better. At the time, I viewed this as terrifying and what could potentially end our marriage. Many years later, I recognize this as the greatest sacrifice Drew could have ever made for us, and I am SO proud of him and his service.

We soon got pregnant with Genevieve, and things sped up from there. Before we knew it, a year had passed, Drew was done with training, we’d gained custody of my brother, and we were headed off to Tucson for an unknown amount of time. 2 months later we’d be pregnant with our second and last, Dominic.

After Dominic was born, I ended up with some severe post partum depression. On top of that, I was medicated incorrectly, being pumped with synthetic hormones that I couldn’t handle and 2 babies and teenager that I didn’t kow how to parent. This was a disasterous recipe for making a marriage work. I became inconsolable, violent, and my triggers were unmangable and taking over every aspect of our lives. Luckily, I made friends right after, and built the best support system any military wife could ever dream of. Slowly I healed, and so did my marriage. Now we’re working on year number 9, and it’s a miracle.

So what are some of my best tips?

·      Never complain of your spouse to your own mother, they’ll never forgive them. Talk to their mother, because they HAVE to love them regardless. {I’ve been blessed with the best 3 mothers in law a girl could ever hope to have.}

·      Choose your spouse every day.  {I read an article a few motnhs ago about this, and it changed the way I looked at Drew.}

·      Go to bed mad. No bullshit is ever worth losing sleep over. The more tired you are, the less you’ll be able to process and solve problems. {Drew knows I’d rather sleep that shit off than stay up crying inconsolably all night.}

·      Make sure your spouse knows that you appreciate them. Point out the awesome shit they do that makes you happy. Look for those things everyday. {I don’t do this often enough, which leads me to my next.}

·      Remember that neither you nor them are mind readers, and that despite your feelings of love and gratitude, if you don’t vocalize them, your spouse won’t know your feelings. {Drew and I both lack this skill. We have to make a valiant effort to let one another know how much we mean to one another. We’re both needy as fuck.}

·      Have sex. Do it often, do it well, make sure you’re switching positions, and giving it your all. DO NOT force yourself to have sex if you don’t want to, but try and evaluate why you don’t want to. Just had a baby? Damn good reason. Got in a fight? Don’t fucking worry about it. But intimacy matters. Even cuddling, holding hands, rubbing backs. Human touch is essential! {At almost 9 years of marriage, Drew and I have more sex now than when we first got married. We finally have that freedom again, and we take advantage. Our marriage survived this long without consistent sex, and your’s could too, but try not to let it last forever. You deserve damn good sex.}

·      My last and most important: People change. People evolve. People age. If I had been warned if this before we got married, I wouldn’t have been horrified by the changes we’ve both been through. We could have evolved together. Instead we evolved separately and had to find our way back to one another. And thank god we did. Leave room for change, and be flexible. Learn that the world is not black and white, and that we need to be willing to negotiate in all things.

Have a happy marriage!