To My ‘Person’

We all have one. That one ‘person’. The one person who has been there for you. Whether from childhood, grade school, high school, college or your first job….you found that person and they have been with you ever since. They have stood by your side when everyone else walked away. They never judged you, doubted you or intentionally hurt you. And you love them. You love that person because they are irreplaceable. They hold a place in your heart that no one ever will.

I met this person when I was four years old. It was the day my sister was born. I didn’t know then what she would be to me now, but oh how I am blessed. I am blessed in ways I cannot even begin to explain. She is my person and she will always be my person. And yes, I said my sister not my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but husbands aren’t ‘persons’, they are spouses. They are our greatest loves. They are the fathers of our children. They make us whole. They have their purpose for us, but I don’t believe this is it.

Your person is someone different. It’s someone maybe you’ve known your entire life or maybe it’s just felt like that. The person that just gets you. It’s a relationship that requires no effort because you both know what you mean to one another. And while every relationship is different, here’s what mine is.

Mine is my best friend. My sister. The one person who has never given up on me, not even for a second, who has never judged me, never hurt me and never for one second done anything but be there for me. She’s made me a better person…a better sister, daughter, friend, wife and mother. She’s my person. She knows what I’m thinking with one look, one word or even one gif. We have always joked that we really are twins just born on different days and in different years. She is the most generous, loving, kind, faithful and loyal person I have ever met. She is someone I admire and respect. She’s the kind of person that is really loved by all who meet her. She has a kindness that you cannot fake. She has a faith that cannot be shaken. She is stronger than she knows. She is beyond beautiful inside and out.

Maybe your person is your sibling or the person you grew up from down the street. Maybe it’s the one you met your first day of Kindergarten or freshmen year Biology. Maybe you met in the college dorms or your first job after graduation. Wherever you met, you know they are your person and you are theirs. No drama, no jealousy and very little arguing if any. This person has your back, they don’t stab you in it. They love you for the person that you are. They accept your flaws because you accept theirs. You get each other. You talk at least once a day because that’s just what you do. You’ve seen each other at your best and worst and you’ve always been there for each other during those times too. This person will forever be in your life.

I’m blessed I happened to grow up with my person and that no one can ever truly know me like she does because she’s been there from the beginning. I don’t remember what my life was like without her and I wouldn’t want to if I could. I am better because of her.

A while ago, I was struggling just as any other mother and wife does. My sister and I listen mostly to Christian music and she sent me this song (see below). She said this was her song to me. It, of course, brought me to tears. And that’s the amazing thing about having your person, they know how to help you when you need it most with just the right thing. Because no matter who, what, when, where, why, how…they are your person, and that will never ever change. Thank you being who you are Stephanie, I love you more than words could ever say.

Today I Danced…

I love Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. I have the best memories from Christmas time as a child and even as a young adult. My parents made the holiday truly magical. A special memory for me was always the night we’d decorate our Christmas tree as a family.

My dad would bring out his old record player and put on Christmas albums. My mom would get out the Santa hats for everyone to wear while my sister and I would put our great-grandma’s hand-knit Christmas stockings on our feet and slide around the house. We’d toast with a “special drink” my sister and I got once a year that my dad made (we eventually learned it was a Shirley temple). As we got older, we would talk about all the ornaments as we pulled them out (my sister and I searching for the “best” ones to hang). The ones from my moms parents from Poland or the “firsts” (first year married, baby’s first Christmas, etc), the ornament with the tree and all of the presents underneath or the shiny heart. We even laughed about the ornaments we made when we were younger. I can picture us now as I tell my sister her ornament is ridiculous and we laugh hysterically (she and I would also devote a side of the tree to ourselves where we’d put all of our ornaments, and we continued to do this as adults!).

I loved Christmas growing up, and I still love it. Of course the real reason to celebrate is Christ, and my parents instilled that very early on in our lives, but it’s those little special family moments that I’ll never forget.

I was really excited for the holidays this year. Even though Grant is only two, Emma is four and a half and I knew the magic for her would start to set in. We began “Elf on the Shelf”, continued our Advent calendar and I just tried to do all the fun things my mom used to do with me and my sister.

I want my kids to love Christmas the way I do. I wanted it to be perfect. And that’s of course, where my problem began. Because the only thing perfect about Christmas is Christ, so trying to have the perfect Christmas holiday isn’t possible.

It all started with my daughter getting sick a little over a week before Christmas. As she got better my son got croup and instead of headed to my dads family Christmas party with my husband and daughter the day before Christmas Eve, we were at urgent care. On Christmas Eve, my husband stayed home with our son while my daughter and I spent Christmas Eve with my moms family (a tradition we’ve had since I was born). Christmas morning was rushed as we woke up late, did presents and raced off to mass where no one wanted to act remotely appropriate. I tried to hold back the tears. We saw my husbands family that afternoon/evening but it was short lived after my son melted down early (HUGE meltdown) because his only nap was missed (we hoped he would sleep on the drive!). I didn’t see my parents or sister and her family as planned because my son was sick. Everything felt rushed, disconnected and separate.

I was sad. I felt defeated. I tried so hard for this “magical” Christmas and it felt nothing like that. Not even close.

But this morning that changed.

Today I danced in the kitchen with my kids. I danced without a care in the world. They both had on their Christmas pajamas and we danced. We danced and laughed and ran around the house. My daughter kept telling me ‘how much fun she was having’ as my son said ‘again mommy’. And that’s when it hit me. Kids are simple! They love simplicity. And at this age, they don’t really understand Christmas. They understand gifts, Santa and Jesus’ birthday but that’s about it. They don’t need big, fancy expensive gifts. They need time. They need love. They need attention. So for thirty minutes, I didn’t focus on anything but dancing with my kids and you know what, it was amazing! Seeing their huge smiling faces over something so simple reminded me why I love Christmas. It’s those special moments. Those memories. It’s magical.

So maybe my holiday wasn’t Facebook perfect. We didn’t get a single family photo together (insert big emoji cry face for me) and we missed a lot of events, but we survived. Christmas isn’t about presents and it never was for us, it’s about family. Christ was born. So today I put away my pity party, and danced in my kitchen with my kids for Christ…and for us.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope Jesus lives in your hearts all year long.

Today, I Give Up

As moms, we are tested every day. We are tested on how much ‘we can handle’. This is determined by the realistic expectations we set for ourselves paired with the unrealistic expectations we have as mothers.

It’s not easy to be a mom. And unless you are one, you can never truly understand the struggle. Because when I say it’s a struggle, oh it’s such a struggle. Being a mom takes everything out of you, every ounce of you and it never quits. Motherhood never ends. It’s a 24/7 job. But your kids sleep at night? Ha! If your child sleeps through the night then congratulations, but that will not always be the case. They will wake up sick or cold or hot or thirsty or needing to pee or anything else imaginable that requires “MOMMMMMY!”. And when babies wake up it’s even worse because they can’t tell us what’s wrong besides crying! But even when your kids are sleeping through the night, you’re still up putting away toys, doing dishes, cleaning bottles, finishing laundry you couldn’t get to, pumping, prepping lunches, organizing backpacks, working (like me! My second job begins once my kids go down) and cleaning up the nightmare that is your kitchen because let’s be honest, it’s a hot mess. Your job never ends. And you know? It’s exhausting. It’s literally exhausting.

But ‘it’s sooooo worth it’ and we are supposed to feel that way all the time, right? Children are a blessing. They are a beautiful gift from God. I will never argue that. They are so worth it. But that doesn’t mean we have to feel that way all the time. That doesn’t mean we can’t have days where we are frustrated, angry, tired and completely out of patience! That makes us humans. That makes us real moms, not these unrealistic ones who are supposed to have our s$&@ together all the time.

Sometimes I think about the Blessed Mother and wonder how she was with Jesus. Did she get frustrated with him? Did she discipline him? She must have been terrified when He stayed back in Jerusalem after the Festival of the Passover while her and Joseph traveled on for a day. They eventually found him after three days preaching at the Synagogue! “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. I cannot begin to imagine losing either of my children, especially not in the world we live in now.

Each day, I tell myself I want to be more like Mary. I want to have her patience and humility. I want to have her love and her heart. So I try. I wake up each day and I tell myself, have patience, they’re only little for so long, thank God for your blessings. I even have reminders on my phone that beep at certain times during the day to remind myself of these! But they don’t always work. There are days like today where I give up. The days where everything little and big go wrong. I take my kids to church and my son screams the entire time. My kids argue, smack each other, yell, hit, throw things and tantrums like it’s their job and as their boss, they’re WAY too good at their jobs. Yes, these days when my sweet children are little monsters and I can’t do it. I can’t. I give up.

So I cry. Usually this is at night for no one to see but today at mass I broke down. Luckily my sister was there and I pulled it together. But this is part of motherhood. This is the raw, real part of it that we all deal with. Yes, some deal with it on a grander scale (children with cancer or other diseases), but we all have our burdens to bear as mothers.

So for any of you moms out there struggling, for any moms out there giving up today, know that you are not alone. Know that at the end of the day, you are so blessed with children who love you more than anything in this world. Know that ‘this too shall pass’ and whatever stage or phase you are in with your children, it will get better. As for me, mine are only little for so long and no matter how frustrated I get, I keep telling myself that I’ll never get this time with them again. Some days I feel like it might kill me, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Hang in there mamas, you’re doing an amazing job!

For My Son…

For my son…

Today you were born. I had the fears I heard many have with a second child on the way….but how could I love another just as much? That’s the amazing part about the miracle of birth, the love is inside of you. And when you decided to enter the world, my love only grew stronger. This love is like no other. We are bonded in a way only mothers who have sons can truly understand. You hold my heart and that will never change.

You came into this world the happiest baby and you still are. You are my sunshine baby. You make the world brighter. Sure, you are curious and adventurous and into everything you possibly could be, but I know that only means positive things for the future. I know that you will be brave and brilliant, strong and resilient, a leader and a do-er. And let’s not forget your charm that will win everyone over, just like your dad ;).

Two years have flown by and I wish I could make time stand still. You feel like such a little person already when I still see you as my baby boy. I still see that great big grin and feel those little arms around me. I still have the moments when you lay your head on my chest at night before you go to bed. I still look forward to going into your room every morning and seeing that great big smile. You are filled with so much joy and love that I hope you always carry that with you. I hope you never stop being you because YOU are incredible!

So on your birthday as I watch that video ‘slow down’ and cry my eyes out, I hope you always know how much I love you. I hope you know that having you for a son is a blessing I will be forever grateful for. I hope you know that you complete our family and I couldn’t imagine life without you. And finally, I hope you know that you no matter what you do or wherever you go, my love will always find you.

Can We Just Stop?

Did you ever stop to think about how much you complain? Maybe you’re one of those people who thinks you don’t complain but let’s be honest, you do. We all do. Silently or vocally…we complain. We complain about little things and we complain about big things. Maybe we complain because it’s raining which has ruined our plans for the day or because our kids aren’t listening for the hundredth time today or how frustrated we are in traffic or angry we are with a spouse or a friend. We complain about politics, religion, finances, jobs and pretty much everything under the sun! We complain to friends, to co-workers, to siblings, to friends, to our significant other, to our kids and sometimes even to strangers! I found myself in line at Target one day as I said out loud ‘what is taking so long in this returns line’ which got three other people in line complaining as well.

We should be ashamed. I know I am. And do you know why we should be ashamed? Because complaining does nothing. It’s an instant gratification that fixes nothing. For that second, it feels good, maybe it even feels validated, but in the long run, it does nothing. We can’t change people, who they are or their opinions and we definitely can’t change circumstances. We can try, but that’s about it. And eventually everything works out, doesn’t it? Yes, not always the way we want it to, but it does. And that’s part of life. That’s part of accepting there is a greater plan for us that we have no control over.

I think we need to be more grateful than we are. I say that as a society, not just an individual (but I definitely need to check myself at times). We need to embrace the gifts and blessings we have. We need to hold on to them. We need to cherish them. And this task isn’t easy. This is the hard one. Complaining is the easy one. But once we free ourselves from the negativity, I think we’ll find the little joys. The joys we had as children. The way I watch my son play with pots and pans full of excitement or how happy my daughter is when I lay in bed with her every night as we giggle doing our silly ‘bedtime routines’ or even just falling asleep next to each other. I may not have the perfect life, but I have a lot to be thankful for. My kids are healthy. Sure, they get bumps and bruises more often than I would like, but overall there are no grave issues with regards to their health. That is a HUGE blessing because it can change in the blink of an eye. Ever complain when you’re sick about how miserable you are? I know I have. But eventually you get over the sickness, right? You don’t have cancer. You had a cold. And sometimes we need that over-the-top comparison to realize what we have instead of what we don’t.

So can we just stop? Can we just stop complaining? Probably not. We have too many opinions. We have too many feelings. We have too many outlets and too many platforms to tell everyone how we feel about everything. And maybe we also have too much time. We have too much time to complain and too little time to care, to love, to accept and to enjoy.

Being a mom isn’t easy. I complain daily. I complain multiple times a day. Some days, I have complete meltdowns. I won’t deny this. But I’m trying. Oh I’m trying so dang hard. My mom told me something wonderful today as I complained about being a mom. She said to me, “You are doing a great job. If you keep trying to be the perfect mom you will just exhaust yourself. Then everyone suffers. Trust me.” She is so right! There is no perfect when it comes to parenting. And yes, we can complain about it. We can talk about all the reasons being a mom is so unbelievably difficult. Sometimes, that support is needed. Sometimes we just need to vent it out, cry it out, scream and shout it out and even complain it out. Complaining is natural as imperfect humans, but it doesn’t have to be constant. Let’s try supporting each other the best ways we can. Let’s show compassion and love, forgiveness and acceptance, kindness and goodness. We can make this negative world better, we have to.