This is the first Christmas that Bailey and I are on our own. And all of our belongings are in Florida. Including our plastic tree. I am really not upset with the fact that our pop-up tree is not here with us. I was hoping to finally be able to get a real Christmas tree, given we are surrounded by them. However, I realized that I couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive (sorry Tricia), so I would probably be left with a single branch by the time Santa arrived. I really, really wanted a real tree though.
So meet Charlie…
We found him, we fell in love with him, we couldn’t wait to decorate him. What makes Charlie special is that he will be sharing our first Christmas with us. Just Bailey and I. He lights up the entire livingroom, but in a way that is calming and romantic. And the best part is, Charlie won’t be getting tossed by the road after New Years with all the other trees that didn’t stand a chance. Nope. Charlie is special…
Charlie is only 3 feet tall.
Charlie fit in the gangsta-mobile.
Charlie required one strand of lights.
Charlie has one. red. christmas bulb. (for effect of course)
Charlie is now a part of our family. He will forever be a part of OUR story. And someday down the road, when I have planted our roots deep in Upstate NY, Charlie can plant his. :)
It’s that time of year again…when everyone thinks of what they are truly thankful for and shares it amongst their peeps. So I figured I should be no different. Although, I am pretty sure most of you who have been in my life the last year know what I am thankful for, I will share anyway. So get yourself some coffee and sit a spell cuz here it comes…
I am thankful for…
Bailey. He has been my angel on earth since finding out he was going to enter my life. He was worth the struggles I went through to have him. Finding out I was finally going to be a Mom was the most amazing feeling in the world. It was also the scariest. That is until he made his grand entrance at 7 1/2 months , weighing 2 pounds 10 oz. and in the NICU for 5 weeks. All because he is like his Mom and has no patience. I went through all that so that Bailey would be on my “Thankful” list every second of every day. He is now 9 almost 10, going on 30 and has been the main reason my heart beats. Bailey wakes up everyday and amazes me. I am so lucky to be his Mom.
Cancer. Yes, you are reading right. I have to be thankful for it. Without finding out I was walking around with it and going through the surgery to get it the hell out of me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I didn’t have the support of my husband when I found out I had cancer. Sad but true. So after a year and a half of struggling with my decision to end/not end my marriage it was time to end it. I’m thankful that all of that happened. It took me down a different path in life.
Family. I left my family in Florida. It sucked. Still does. And whether I have their support during any of this new life or not, I still love them and miss them. I don’t get the chance to tell them that enough with being so busy but it doesn’t mean I have forgotten about them. I am also thankful for the family I am getting to know as an adult and the family I never knew growing up. Regardless of the reasons any of those relationships were the way they were, I turned out to be the person I am because of it. And I have started my life over, every aspect of it and hope that all of my family will be in my life from here on in. Each one of them holds a special place in my life and I am so thankful for them all.
Friends. I have made so many since the beginning of this year. And reconnected with some of the most amazing friends a person can have. I am so grateful for everyone who has entered my life whether for a season, a reason or a lifetime. Some have become all of the above and some…well the jury is still out, but regardless…you have all become a part of my family. Bailey and I couldn’t have asked for more amazing people to surround ourselves with. When we first moved to NY, Bailey was very unsure of what the true meaning of a friend was. The word friend was very hard for Bailey to say…the few children he had been around he would talk about them as acquaintances. . Here we are 7 months later, and I am happy to say Bailey has a few best friends he hangs out with regularly. And by regularly, I mean he has more of a social life than I do. :)
Koffee Kat. My social life. It fell into my life about 4 months ago at an event for my other job. This little purple van was sitting across the field from me and the customers that were walking away from it had the most yummy looking drinks in their hands. So of course I had to check it out. And so it began. The owner suggested I should stop by Koffee Kat because you never know what interesting people you will meet. And good lord, she was right. From the staff to the customers and everyone in between, they all amaze me in some way. That is not to say there aren’t those that scare me (presently my creeper stalker to name one…save that for another blog at a later date). I am now an employee of Koffee Kat and spend most of my shifts laughing, spilling coffee, chatting with the K-Kat boyz, burning myself and meeting new people. I couldn’t ask for a better boss…she has been a sounding board and given me advice on many occasions. Sometimes, she just looks at me and knows exactly what to say to me without knowing why she should say it. She is an amazing woman.
My camera. I have had the opportunity to capture people in love, seasons changing, the beginning of my childs football career, and many beautiful things around me. Even though I have all those moments and memories stored in my mind, I love sharing all of them through photos.
Humor. I have been told I laugh too much. I have been questioned about my constant smile being legitimate. That I am too happy. Well…yes I do, yes it is and yes I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been through a whole lotta crap in the last year and here I am in spite of it all. Humor has gotten me through it all. And what humor doesn’t get me through…sarcasm will. :)
A bed. I don’t sleep. My brain doesn’t allow me to. Not to mention my bed is in Florida in storage and I have had to sleep on an air mattress for the last 3 months. This chick is exhausted. But this past week I got a bed. A real bed. One that doesn’t require being topped off with air every now and then. So I am thankful to my father and step-mother for making that possible. Merry Christmas to me. :)
Music. I am not musically inclined at all. I am pretty sure I am tone-deaf. But I love music. It is what emotions sound like. I am obsessed with Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder. I can listen to Chris Cornell sing the phone book. Adele is absolutely amazing. And I have been introduced to Elton John by my boss at Koffee Kat. I have melted to Ray Lamontange while editing photos of two people in love (which by melted, I mean I have had an emotional breakdown…but I am okay now). :) I have music surrounding me all day no matter where I go. Even at the bank, I have had “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Rehab” play…but in elevator music form. Go figure. Right now, my favorite songs are..
“These days” by the Foo Fighters…
and “Keeper” by Chris Cornell…
and “After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons…
Check them out…I have them on constant loop. Your welcome. :)
Me. I am not the same girl I was when I left upstate NY all those years ago. I am no longer shy and quiet. I am not afraid to make eye contact or speak my mind. I don’t get nervous meeting new people or putting myself out there. I am me. I am proud of all that I have become. I know that I am not done turning into the person I want to be but I have a great start. I am so thankful for everyday and all that I have in my life. I love my life. :)
My son has always played sports.
He tried tee-ball when he was 5…
flag football when he was 8…
And a few seasons of Soccer in between…
This year, he was on his first official tackle football team.
Before we even arrived in NY, Bailey had a plan. He was going to play Football and Hockey. He was so excited when we signed him up for football he couldn’t wait for it to start. On the very first day of practice, neither one of us knew what we were doing. How the hell do you put the flippin’ pads in the pants? And what the bloody hell is that strap for? I showed up to a rainy practice, walked across the field with my kid in tow and handed one of his coaches his brand new “where does that friggen strap go” helmet and begged him to help my child. And I walked away. Pathetic…yes. But I am a girl and as much as I love football, I have no clue about the technicalities of it all. At the end of practice, Bailey walked to the car and said “Mom, I regret my decision to sign up for football”. Ugh.
If you knew me as a Mom, you would know that I am fun and calm and very protective. If you knew my child, you would know he has a very gentle soul and has a big heart. But when Bailey said those words to me, I had to become the Mom who was playing the role of the Dad and say to him “YOU wanted to sign up for football…YOU are not a quitter. YOU are going to put on your football gear twice a week and get tackled and hurt and YOU will be okay. And in 3 weeks when you put on your game jersey for the first time and step on that field with your team, you won’t remember any of the pain”. My child was upset for the rest of the night. And at the dinner table he says to me “Dad is the one who played football…He should be showing me how to play and no offense but all I have is you”. Dammit. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Instead, I told Bailey that I will do whatever I have to do to help him get through this. And one of the first things he needed to do was get tougher. However, my child wouldn’t harm a fly, let alone run into a kid and tackle him to the ground. Practice after practice he would run up to the kid he was to tackle…and stop. It got to the point where I wanted to hide at the bottom of our stairs, wait for him to come down and tackle him as soon as he came around the corner just to show him how to do it. I figured that wouldn’t go so well. I told Bailey that he needs to run “TO and THROUGH”. It was the best I could do. And he understood what I meant and tried his damnedest to do it. But nothing I said could have helped more than his 3 football coaches. They worked so hard with him at every practice. Never giving up on Bailey. And Bailey never gave up on himself. He pushed himself at every practice. I am so grateful to the 3 men who for 2 hours a night, twice a week took on the task of teaching my 9-year old gentle soul little man how to become a football player.
Bailey survived the 2011 football season, a little bruised but full of pride in himself for sticking to it and getting through it.
And surprisingly, I also survived. There were only a few “holy hell…let go of my child” moments…and I kept those to myself. :)
I have been doing this blog off and on for over a year now and it has gone through a few transformations. Kinda like I have over 2011. It’s amazing how things can change in one year. I was watching a show tonight called ‘Happy Endings’ which my sister and I fell in love with before I left Florida. We used to watch it every night and just about piss our pants in laughter. I miss that. Anyway, on tonight’s episode they mentioned a vision board. They made a huge joke about it and the “powers” it can play in your life. I actually made one last year after a friend suggested it. I have to say that my board had a lot come true. Some happened right away. And now when I look back at it (or a pic of it), it could all just be coincidence or irony. I would like to think it was something to give me hope.
I could give an entire run down on what all the things on my board meant and how they came true. But I won’t put you through that. If you have followed my blog or you know me, you will already know. Bottom line, I CHOSE MY OWN ADVENTURE and what followed is amazing. I can say that I haven’t learned quite yet how to enjoy doing nothing, but it’s still part of my vision. I have become a completely different person in the last 6 months of this adventure…and I wouldn’t change anything that has happened. I can’t wait to see what happens next but I am working on that whole “find patience” thing.
My blog is not just about my road to becoming a photographer and all the ups and downs that come with that. It is more of a blog about me, my life, my adventure and all the people, places and things that I am surrounded by. I have been told I should write a book. And I would love to. But honestly, I don’t know the first thing about how to go about it. So until I can figure that out, this blog will serve as the chapters of my life. :)
I have met so many wonderful people since arriving back in NY. I have also had the chance to re-establish friendships I had all those years ago. But the majority of the people in my life are new to me. Funny thing is that most of them were here the whole time. I just wasn’t meant to meet them until now.
‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real.
But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must
build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.’
I am a firm believer in this. I finally realized something about a “relationship” that I had when I first got here. It was actually what I thought was a great friendship that started months before my actual move.
He entered my life almost exactly 12 hours after I decided I didn’t want to be married anymore (which only took me over a year to realize). He was someone from NY, someone I never spoke more than a hello to. Past knowing he existed, I knew nothing else about him. We got to know each other really well long distance, I used to call him my Jimeny Cricket. He kept me level-headed about the end of my marriage, how I handled situations involving my son and was my rock during the worst times of it all. I would like to think that I was there for him in the same way he was there for me. Regardless of what happened, I always thought we would be friends. We carried on this friendship (which was developing into more along the way) for a few months. But once I got here, it wasn’t the fairytale it appeared to be. I had to move on. Or try. It seemed that when I would finally find that moment in time he was not a part of, he showed up in some way. And it would bring me right back to where we used to be. And it hurt. Whether it was his words, or his voice, or just knowing I couldn’t be with him the way I had thought, it all hurt to the point where I had to shut the door and walk away. And it felt like a death. I realized I hated goodbyes. So much so that it was easier to just put up with someone treating me any way they wanted, just so I didn’t have to say them.
Recently, I realized that I truly did miss the friend that I had in him. And I figured enough time had passed that I could be okay with having him in my life again. But I quickly found out that all the reasons I had said goodbye to him the first time were still present and it got to be too much…again. This time it didn’t hurt as much as it was disappointing. And then I realized something huge last night. Here I was thinking that this person was supposed to be part of my life when I got here. After all, why would he have showed up at the exact moment he did…the end of my marriage. And I was truly devastated by the outcome of our friendship/relationship. But he entered my life for what I now know to be a REASON. It took me over a year to make the decision that I didn’t want to be stuck in the loneliest marriage on earth. If it weren’t for him, it wouldn’t have been as easy to walk away. I would have second guessed myself and stayed. He has said he led me on. And up until now, I thought he did. But in reality, he didn’t lead me on…he gave me hope. During those few months before I moved to NY, he gave me hope that there was someone out there who was completely different from my husband. Someone who would treat me the way I deserved. He made me believe that I could be happy and that I would survive this. That I wouldn’t be alone. Even thought I sit here, and he is not in my life the way I thought he would be, I am very grateful to him for being that reason for me. And I am not alone. I am surrounded by so many great people who have supported me and stuck by me. Most of whom have no clue they have even done that. :)
Almost a year ago, my son and I embarked on a week-long visit to where I grew up. It was a mini vacation that Bailey and I needed and deserved. At that time, I was married and struggling to find what I truly wanted. I knew I wanted “happy” I just didn’t know how to find it. Almost a year ago, my son came into the room I was staying in and asked me if this place that he had no recollection of ever visiting, felt like home. His answer when asked the same question was “yes it does”.
Bailey and I have been in Upstate NY for 174 days (thank you widget on my phone for supporting my self diagnosed OCD). He is in a brick and mortar school now, he plays football for the city we live in, he is making friends and having a blast. But every once in a while he remembers. He remembers that his father isn’t in his life much if at all and he remembers that he left people he loved down in Florida. So I asked him tonight the same question he asked me. “Does this feel like home?”. And in a look only my child can give me that will knock me down at the knees and make me weep, he flashed those big beautiful blue eyes at me that were now filled with tears and shook his head yes.
I told him that no matter where we go, as long as we are together, it will be home. But I can honestly say that after wanting to leave this place all those years ago in the worst way, it took that time away to realize this is the only place that has truly felt like home.
This time around, I get to see all the wonders through my childs eyes.
His first Halloween where his plastic costume doesn’t have to get peeled off of him after boiling around the neighborhood.
His seeing snow for the first time (sorry locals).
His first snowman that he builds (which he is already bragging that he knows exactly how to build). And a whole bunch more. These are all the memories that a lot of us take for granted (I know I did) and now I can’t wait to witness.
Me…I am trying to find happiness one day at a time. I am working two jobs on top of trying to establish my photography business. I have met so many great people up here and meet more and more each day. I wake up to a daily revelation about my life and I am learning lessons everyday. And most importantly, I am keeping my sense of humor through it all. And I have decided to start blogging again. Which I realized that I need to do that for myself. And if anyone reads it, great. Hope I give you a laugh or make you cry or all of the above. I think it is safe to say that for all intents and purposes, I have finally found my “Happy”. :)