Tuesday, January 6, 2015

first comes life, then comes love

First comes (lots of) babies, then comes marriage.

Wait isn't it first comes love, then comes marriage...then something about a baby carriage?

Whatever the saying, as of about 2 months ago, I am officially a married woman!

And in my case,  life came before love. 

My husband and I have been in a relationship for a little over 6 years.  In our time together we have merged our families into one, created a baby, bought our first home, started a business and most recently got married. 

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted be "in love", I wanted to be swept off of my feet and have butterflies in my stomach. This sounds magical, and its what is portrayed to us in movies, books, on TV and all over social media.  The image of romance that everyone wants and feels they deserve is plastered everywhere.

The love my husband and I share has grown tremendously in the time that we have been together, but we did not fall in love "at first sight" like in some fairytale. 

When I first met my husband, I was a single mom.  I also became a mother figure to his 3 little girls, who had lost their mother a year earlier.  It was my first time ever playing "house".  I had never been a wife, I had never even moved out of my parents house.  I wanted to be married. 

After I got pregnant with our son, I wanted marriage even more.  I thought having a husband would make life better.  I thought being married would mean I had found "true love".

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Our relationship took time to grow into love, and every experience that we had together bonded us into a stronger couple. 

I am not endorsing having children with a person and then seeing if love happens between you.  I am however implying that pursuing love without expecting there to be instant fireworks may prove to be more a affective approach.

We live in an instagram world, with social media play by plays of our favorite celebrities, sports teams, political leaders or whatever topic that peaks our interest.  We expect what we want, exactly when we want it, with as little of our own time committed as possible.

Love takes time. I can honestly say that I love my children deeper today than when they were first born.  I loved them immensely when they were infants, but through watching them grow into individuals with their own quirks, strengths, and goals I have gained an affection that only time could reveal. 

I once knew a man from another country who said Americans use the word "love" too loosely.  He argued that we say we love food, material objects and other things that aren't logically loveable.  I was in my early 20's and thought that statement was so harsh.   I remember thinking, "But love is good"

Love is good, but I think what my friend meant was that we can be happy without love.

I believe that love doesn't create happiness, happiness creates love.

I of course, love my husband, more today than the first time that I said I loved him, I would not be as in love as I am without the time that we have had together, without living life together and allowing our happiness to create love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Time is a tickin'

If I could have more of anything, it would be time.  Everyone always says they want more money, food or excitement, all of which are attainable but time is one of the few things in life that you are guaranteed to lose. You can't borrow more time from friends when you run out, or put some in a savings account for later, we each have a certain amount and we have to use it right now.

I feel pretty aware of the importance of time, which is why I constantly beat myself up about not spending more of it on the people and things that I love.  I envy those who can fit everything into their schedule, I tell myself they don't have as many kids as I do...and if they do...well then I tell myself that they are perfect, and perfect is weird.

When I am not around my children I think of ways that I could spend more quality time with them, creating a mental note to go out of my way that day to make time for each of them.  Sometimes I suggest to my FiancĂ© the idea of taking turns spending one on one time every week with the kids.  The reality is though, we are a big, busy family on a pretty tight schedule that includes school, activities and events, quality time cant be created...it kind of has to happen.

I had an "aha moment"  over the summer that made me realize, "I am spending quality time with children!" more than I realized.   I was at my parent's house with all the children, it was late and I was laying in bed.  My oldest daughter came in the room that I was staying in and said she couldn't sleep, she asked if she could lay with me for a minute.  At home, we don't really have moments like this...mostly because if I allowed them to get in my bed every time they "couldn't sleep", I would end up sleeping on the couch most nights.  Since we were on vacation, I let it slide. As she lay next to me I pulled up the calculator on my cell phone.  I typed in the number 14, flipped it over and showed her how it spelled "hi".  She was really impressed.  We spent the next 20 minutes coming up with as many words as we could. 

We do quirky things with our children all the time, and its genuine quality time.  My other daughter makes me leave goofy poems on her dry erase board in her bedroom at night, it takes me only a minute to do but its our special thing. My son asks me to lay with him before bed every night, and when I'm really busy I only stay for 30 seconds, but they are OUR 30 seconds.  My 10 year old and I made up this really funny game where we only talk in song lyrics, she is so good at it, it annoys everyone else in the family but her and I love it! My 8 year old showers me with hugs, and I do the same in return for her.  She reminds me everyday that being loved creates more love, that may not sound like quality time but it is to us. 

Time is passing, and tomorrow will be here before we know it.  Don't spend time wishing or wanting, realize what you have already done! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blended and Mended

Please check out my new blog post http://blendedandmended.blogspot.com/

I hope you find this blog relatable and share it with other parents and families :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So this is 30....

Well I made it...to the big 3-0, the dirty thirty.

Truth is, I have felt beyond 30 for a while now. I mean, I have 5 children, am (almost) married, have been to school more times than I should admit, have had more jobs than should be legal, tried things that I will never talk about on this blog and have been a mom for 10 years... TEN YEARS!  I feel old...and tired.  I thought 30 would be more...different.

For the past few years I have set all of these goals for 30, the hot bod, the New York times best seller, the career...none of it has really panned out.  Except the hot bod, I would post a pic of my 6 pack abs but I don't believe in bragging. 

Being so consumed by my daily life, I have often had my sights set for the future.  The lifestyle that will start "tomorrow" or the hobby that will happen when my kids don't need me as much.  It's mostly about later, and rarely about now.  

Yet, when I see my children yearning to grow up, itching to turn another year, gain a new privilege, it breaks my heart.   I tell them to enjoy life now, because shit's about to get real...except I don't say shit....I say sweet words, because they still have sweet little ears and pure little minds.

Like every mother on the planet, I wish I had a time machine.  That moment when my daughters come down stairs wearing clothing that I may currently have hanging in my closet but would not allow them to wear, looking 10 times more beautiful than I ever was, waiting to be picked up by Mr. right-now... I would shove them in that time machine, instant rewind and immediate boyfriend heartbreak remedy.   The second my son doesn't give me on the spot affection because its become not OK to have a "mommy"...yeah his ass would be in the time machine. I'm terrified of those moments.

Until 30 happened, I wasn't phased much by getting older...I had tomorrow, later...whenever.  I wasn't taking my own advice of enjoying the now.  I haven't stopped and smelt the roses, and sometimes I am so worried about the thorns that I don't even notice the beauty of the flower. 

Not to say that I haven't accomplished great things over the years, or had very proud moments, because I have, but just as a child I have done so with the feeling of wanting to get to the next part in the story.  30 is just that, a part, no better than another age. just different. 

While I do think that growing is wonderful, I think growing up is over rated. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, Same YOU.

Happy New Year!  Its time for change.  Change in diets, lifestyles, decisions, relationships and so much more.  Of all the changes that will happen, there is one thing I hope stays the same...YOU.

I don't want to see my friends change, I picked them for who they are.  I have bounced my craziest ideas off of them, consulted them for words of wisdom and spilled my most embarrassing secrets, all while under the assumption that they will always be a part of my life.  Some I have grown up with, and others I have been lucky to meet along the way, equally important, completely different yet perfect exactly as they are.

I hope my family doesn't change, because I have grown so comfortable, too comfortable with them.  It would be a huge disappointment if my dad wanted to have long phone conversations and not immediately hand the phone over to my mother when I call...what in the world would we talk about, we don't have phone conversations - we spend time together in person, on the couch, laughing, usually at each other...it's who we are.

I could not handle my children changing.  They each bring a different ingredient to my life, and if one of them altered their personal additive, our family pie wouldn't be the blue ribbon quality that it is.  I depend on my son challenging my flexibility and keeping my heart rate up with his overactive personality.  I actually enjoy debating with my incredibly stubborn, too big for their britches,  know it all daughters, I hope they never stop asking "why?" and continue fighting for what they want. 

If my FiancĂ© changed, I would be in big trouble, for I am certain that not many men would have the patience for all that I exude.  He has to be the "fun parent", good cop, the level headed dude in public places, I count on him to pick up my slack.  He is not perfect, yet perfect for me.

Instead of changing, I hope we can all figure out how to be the best us. I wish everyone success, good fortune and prosperity all while being YOU.

I have many goals, but none of them include changing me, if anything I hope to get back to who I truly am. 

In 2014, I will laugh more, and try to share laughter with others, as that is a part of who I am, silly, fun and sometimes inappropriate. I plan on being more productive with my passions, and not allow anger, jealousy or insecurity to fuel my decisions. I plan on helping others while staying true to myself, and my beliefs.  I will be more empathetic, a better listener, and find that patience that I know I have - these are things that I can do, all while staying the same old me.

I will do my best to let go of what I am not, and embrace who I am.  It is a new year, but it does not have to be a new us, as there is so much greatness that already exists in all of us.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buy some happiness

Imagine your child is sick.  Some of you may not have to imagine.  Only once, briefly, I experienced having a sick child.  My son Jacob was in the hospital for a week, he had a raging fever and no other symptoms.  He was barely 2 years old, and unable to comprehend why he was in a small room, unable to interact with anyone other than the masked staff who poked and prodded at him.  It was scary for me, and I am sure even more terrifying for him.

My son got better, life went on.  My children are all healthy and even the common cold seems to come around less often.

Our biggest complaint as parents seems to have to do with feeling overwhelmed, with work, school, activities and whatever else occupies our time. Children are challenging and most of time oblivious to the hurdles that we face in our daily lives.

Now, as I said before imagine your child is sick.  Really sick.  Not the cold and sneeze kind of sick, but the live in a hospital kind of sick.

I would assume that you would be less overwhelmed by work, school and activities.  Those things would no longer exist.   You would be consumed by one thing, getting your child better.  What if that wasn't possible?  What would be your next wish for your child?  Happiness.  Oblivion, the idea that what was really happening, wasn't.

You may think I'm a jerk for bringing this up. Its uncomfortable.  Why would anyone want to think about their child being sick?  Any child being sick for that matter.

I'm talking about this because of my amazing brother, James.  Luckily he is not sick, however he works at a place whose mission is to give sick children the opportunity to enjoy life, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is an amazing place that every sick child deserves to experience.

My brother first told me about this place this past summer on a camping trip.  He was excited and proud of what he was doing.  Anyone who knows my brother James, knows that he works best with children.  He's funny, daring, brave, and can literally imitate almost any television or movie character to a T!   Listening to him talk about The Whole in the Wall Gang Camp was exhilarating, it sounded like a genuinely enjoyable place and for a moment I forgot about why the children were there, or at least what was wrong with the children there. My brother didn't talk about how sick they were, he spoke about their unique personalities, their normal child like behavior, their off the wall antics, and without saying it his love for them. 

I have thought about my brothers job off and on for a few months.  When anybody asks about him, I reel in the opportunity to speak highly of his position.  Ironically he and I usually tend to give each other a pretty hard time.  Mostly because I'm cooler than him.  Regardless, I am beyond words proud of him.

James is now trying to raise money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp via running in the
Boston Marathon  next year.  I donated a small amount towards his cause.  I know it isn't enough, and this has weighed heavy on me for days.

This morning when I walked my son Jacob to his classroom I noticed the lights were off.  I went to the room next door and a woman inside said that Jacobs teacher was out sick, she would be substituting.  I have never seen this woman before.  She wasn't as warm as Jacob's usual teacher, and her voice was a bit harsh.  I felt like she was rushing me out of the room.  My brother James had mailed "Hole in the Wall Camp" stickers and all of my kids wanted to wear one to school today, even Jacob.  The teacher looked down at Jacob's shirt and asked what the sticker was for.  I began to explain that my brother worked at a camp for seriously ill children.  She nonchalantly said  "Oh we do a fundraiser every year for my son who died of cancer".   I was speechless.  I immediately felt horrible that I misread her, I of course have no idea when her son died but my heart still hurt for her as if it just happened.  I immediately wondered if he had moments of happiness while he was sick.  I literally cannot stop thinking about The Whole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The first thing that came to mind was to blog about it...this isn't my typical "mommy post" but it is by far the most important one I have ever written.

So here is my plea, if you have a healthy child, or know a healthy child please donate to my brothers cause.  http://www.crowdrise.com/teamholeinthewallboston/fundraiser/jamessibelle

If you have a sick child or know a sick child I hope that they will be able to benefit from this wonderful place.

Sometimes the best medicine is happiness, and in this case your donation can buy some more than deserving children that much needed happiness.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will share this with others.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Its not that difficult...

Why does everything seem so difficult lately?  Things that should be simple, and enjoyable instead are impossible and exhausting! 

My children's school for example, has become a very annoying member of our family, constantly craving time, attention and money!  Hours of homework for my elementary aged children, forms that require signatures, requests for donations and volunteering, its never ending. This school year they stopped recognizing the "terrific" students, for lack of funding.  The school is asking for supporters to send in checks to pay for the cake, bumper stickers and pencils required for such an assembly.  Whatever happened to a verbal recognition, that would only cost...free. 

If you are brave enough to take on school (which is already a full time job) AND outside activities you already know how hard this has become.  My girls are in cheerleading...not the super competitive cheerleading, just a local team, but its a BIG deal!  Practice 3 times a week, games all day Saturday, competitions, more volunteering, and of course donations - you aren't living if you aren't giving your money away. 

The expectations brought on by this world are demanding and often not realistic.

My daughter wanted me to buy her teacher a gift for her birthday the other day. I said no, for more than one reason.  The first being, she asked me with less than 24 hours notice, the second reason was that I have 5 children who each have at least 2 teachers...that's a lot of gifts but I mostly said no because I think her teacher would have appreciated a home made card or a nice letter just as much as a store bought gift.  I suggested this idea to my daughter who of course cried, and I thought about how if I was more organized and she had less siblings she wouldn't be facing this crises.  I know she was also disappointed because I am sure that some of her friends will have brought in a beautifully purchased present.  I don't want my children to think that what they have to offer isn't enough.  She ended up making a card and I found a cat pin in my purse (it was brand new...what, you don't keep cat pins in your purse?).  Her teacher loved the thought and my daughter didn't die.  The point of my story is not that I am against buying presents its that, even my 9 year old feels the pressure of a birthday, because birthdays have become less about the birth and more about the party, gifts and treats. 

Weddings have turned into major events, with very little emphasis on the marriage.  I myself have been avoiding planning my own wedding for this exact reason. 

Life has become over complicated, and although I want my children to be challenged, pushed and even slightly competitive, I do not want them to feel like they have to be the best or have the best all the time. 

I have fallen a victim to it myself, I sometimes try to keep up...but sometimes, I just cant.

The only way we will prevent our children from growing up into an even more demanding society than we currently live in, is if we start demanding less from one another...its not that difficult.