Choices

Here it today’s bit of Kerry McKim Wisdom-

Your life is the aftereffect of all the choices you have made.

Boom.

The first major decision in my life was in the Spring of 1993.

It was a period of high fashion consisting of blazers, floral dresses, choker necklaces, boots and scrunchies.

(Okay, that kind of sounds like right now.)

An era was ending as Cheers had their last call.

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And Zack and the gang graduated from Bayside High.

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I was finishing up my eight grade year at Cyril D. Locke Middle School in Billerica, MA and I was preparing to begin my freshman year at Billerica Memorial High School.

My father had worked for the U.S. Postal Service since 1977, the year before I was born.  He had worked in Suburban Boston and he had been promoted to the position of Postmaster.

But there was a catch.

He would be the Postmaster of Little Deer Isle, ME.

So we were going to be moving five hours away to coastal Maine.

I would not be going to high school at Billerica Memorial High School.

I had been bullied in middle school so I wasn’t particularly sad about leaving.  But it was still a period of uncertainty.

The population of Billerica, MA in 1990 was 37,609 and the population of Little Deer Isle, ME in 2000 (couldn’t locate the number for 1990) was 251.

My father had to start his new position immediately so he would work in Maine during the week and come back to Massachusetts on the weekends to see us and to pack up and sell our house.

My father went to the local high school which was on the larger neighboring island of Deer Isle (connected to Little Deer Isle by a causeway) and the school was grades 7-12 with a school population of  about 150.  The guidance counselor of the school was up front with my father and said that there was a high chance that the students wouldn’t accept me because I was not a native of this island.  The guidance counselor recommended that he send me to a larger high school on the mainland because I would have a better chance of fitting in.  She gave my father the course catalogs for her high school as well as the three closest high schools on the mainland.

My father took my guidance counselors concerns seriously. He brought home those course catalogs and told me to look them over which I did.  Then I made my decision.  I told my father I wanted to go to Ellsworth High School.

My decision was based partly on intuition and partly because Ellsworth High School had the better catalog.  (Take away- listen to your gut and marketing matters).

The high school I chose was the furthest away geographically from Little Deer Isle but my mother also wanted to live closer to Ellsworth because there were more stores (i.e. civilization).

As my high school years passed, it was clear that I had made the right decision.  Each school had a reputation and I knew I wouldn’t have fit into schools labeled “crunchy” and “granola”.  (Not that there is anything wrong with that.  It just wasn’t me.)   I fit in the best at my high school, which had the reputation of being a “jock” school. I fit in, even though my classmates teased me (good-naturedly) for having a Boston accent.

My choice of high school affected the friends I made, some of which I am still friends with to this day.  My choice in high school affected my studies because I had some great teachers who exposed me to Broadway musicals, the French language and the concept that the world was a very large and fascinating place.  I also had some not so great teachers that turned me off to math and science.  (I don’t know what high school Kerry would think if she knew that in her 30s, she would go back to school for a degree that required Anatomy and Physiology.  I wish I could tell my younger self that she was smarter than she thought she was and capable of much more than she thought).

My choice in high school affected my social life.  I had to chose between staying busy with sports and work or hanging out in the Burger King parking lot.  Or partying in a gravel pit.  Though I wasn’t cool enough to party in a gravel pit.  I made the choice to run cross country and track, tutor students and participate in French Club.  I also made the choice to participate in class activities like prom committee and I raised money for the Chem-Free party on graduation night.  I also made the choice to work part-time at Shop N Save (now Hannaford).

I definitely left high school with a certain set of experiences that my eight grade self would never have foreseen me having.

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“Mormons or Lobster” A sign in Ellsworth, Maine.

My next major decision was college.  I actually felt like I had less of a choice in choosing a college due to financial constraints.  My older brother had attended college at University of Maine at Orono (UMO) which was a little over an hour away.  I knew if I attended UMO that I would live there for a semester or two and then move home to save money.  I did not want that.

I wanted to be in the city.  Any city.  And if I couldn’t be in Boston, Portland was going to do.  That is how I wound up at the University of Southern Maine.  (USM)

High school had been a learning experience and a culture shock as I adjusted from Suburban Boston to Rural Maine.  But college was definitely more of a shock as I was exposed to so many different ideologies and lifestyles that I had not been used to.  Like high school, I made friends.  Some of which I am still friends with.

I made the choice to study abroad in England the Fall of my junior year.  I almost didn’t apply because I had had a rough year my sophomore year.  I remember telling my father that I couldn’t keep it together here so going to England was probably a bad idea.  My father said that he thought that three months away from USM might be exactly what I needed.  I chose to listen to him and listening to him was one of the best decisions of my life.

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Canada looks really good.  A sign we saw on our way to Ottawa in 2011.

My life had became a series of choices, even if they didn’t feel like choices at the time.

The choice to finish college.

The choice to enter a romantic relationship.

The choice to not return to England after graduation because I had a new boyfriend. (Stupid, stupid, stupid!)

The choice of employment.

The choice of friends and associations.

The choice of my living situations and roommates.

The choice to end my romantic relationships.

The choice to move back home.

The choice to pursue a new career.

The choice to go back to college.

The choice to get involved in politics.

The choice to join the Young Republicans.

The choice to start dating that younger guy in New York even if it didn’t make sense.

The choice to move to New York.

The choice to accept a marriage proposal.

The choice to buy a house.

The choice to start a family.

Where we are in life is based on the results of choices we have made.

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Everything in your life is based on a decision you have made or haven’t made.

However, these decisions have no guarantees.  Good decisions don’t always yield good results.  A good decision may have catastrophic results while a bad decision may surprisingly yield a very positive result.

Sometimes shitty things happen to good people.  We can’t control external factors.

But you always have to make the choice as to how you react to the shitty situation.

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This realization is overwhelming to me.  I used to view life as a series of events that happened to me and that everything was left to chance.

(So I guess Green Day was wrong in Good Riddance when they say that time grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go…)

I did not realize how much of a role I played in my own life.

This realization comes to be at a time when my life in a crossroads.

In some ways, this scares the shit out of me.

The stable life that I knew is gone.  I have spent the last two years of my life reeling from what happened and I have been struggling to make sense of it.  I have been trying to figure out this “new normal” even though I yearned for the “old normal”.

I had always been one of those people who always had a “two-year plan”, a “five-year plan”, a “ten year plan” and a “twenty-five year plan.”  Now I barely have a “two-week” plan.

My need to have plans was because I didn’t like living in the present so escaped to the future.  But when the future became the present, I would escape further into the future.  I learned the hard lesson that the I need to be in the present because the future that you look forward to may not be there.

I do notice a change in how I choose to live in my life.  I choose to spent less time worrying.  I choose to surround myself with good people and let go of those who treat me poorly.

I choose to try to experience as much as a I can because we aren’t all guaranteed to make it to old age.   Bryon didn’t even make it to middle age.

But I have spent the last two years existing, trying to live even if, at times, I was just going through the motions.  I can’t stay in this state forever.  I am going to need to choose how I am going to live the remainder of my years.

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And I have no clue what the future is going to bring.

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A little life update. Well, kinda.

I realize that I probably oversold the topic.  You probably read that and got very excited.

But I have nothing life changing to report.

I am still living in the same house with no plans to move.

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I am still working my same “day ” job.  (I have day in quotes because I work many of my hours after my daughter goes to bed.)

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A Monday joke because it is Monday

And no, I am not dating.  Not even close.  And that is okay.  I am focused on myself and my daughter at the moment anyway.

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So I didn’t mean to get your hopes up on anything you could possibly gossip about me.  Well, I did have a little bit of a wardrobe malfunction this weekend.  Nothing scandalous, just annoying. But that happens a lot when you are…well…shaped like me.  Whatever.  Though I am a little pissy because I spent close to $100 bucks on alterations at David’s Bridal.  Luckily Kimmy Gibbler had double sided tape.  She’s amazing.  She thinks of everything.

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So nothing major.  Same house.  Same job.  Same relationship status.  Just taking a little time to re-center going from Spring (though really it has been more of a Sprinter this year) to Summer.

It has been a crazy 6 or 7 weeks.  I would count but I am too lazy to at the moment.

At the end of March, I went to Chicago and Wisconsin.  In April,  I went to Philadelphia and Boston/Salem.  In May we had the Derby Party and a very special wedding.

Needless to say that I am tired and hopefully things will be slowing down here.  I don’t mean that in a manner that I don’t appreciate the busyness of the past 7 weeks.  It has been a fun and happy time. But it has been tiring.

As we enter into summer, I need to recenter and re-focus.  I have a lot of housekeeping to do,  literally and figuratively.

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Around my house, I have been slowly cleaning out and donating items.  Usually one or two bags or boxes a week.  It still hasn’t made a dent but I refuse to let anything new enter the house.  My new rule is, if it comes in a box, the box then has to be filled with items to donate.  Even if the box came from Amazon with a birthday present for someone else’s kid and the original contents of the box won’t be staying in the house.  The rule in the McKim house is that if something comes in, something has to go out.

I plan to stay closer to home this summer but I do have some traveling happening including a trip coming up on Memorial Day weekend as well as a trip to Boston in June for a Red Sox game.  A college friend of mine has expressed interest in meeting up in Boston and I would love to see her so that may be happening.  But my travel will be more spread out and casual in nature.

Staying close to home doesn’t mean boring.  My daughters dance recital is coming up and I am keeping her in dance and gymnastics over the summer because she enjoys it so why not?  I also have a few concerts to go to that I am really excited about.

I will be spending more time on my writing.  I started writing a book and I hope to finish it before the end of summer.  It isn’t the book I envisioned I would be writing first but I felt the inspiration to start it and went with that.  I don’t think this will affect the frequency as to when I post on the blog.  I will update you all when it is close to being finished.

I also have a few other ideas for projects but they are in the baby stages so I am going to refrain from sharing them.  I want to see if they will take off before I share them.

What do you have coming up this summer?

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Philly 2018: The tribe invades Philly

A week an a half ago my friends (also known as The Tribe) were in Philly for a bachelorette party of one of our own.

As I am writing this post, I am going to apologize in advance for a lack of narrative.  You are getting the bare bones story of my trip. Seriously, if you are Facebook friends or Snap Chat friends with me, you would have already seen most of this.

Because what happens in Vega-delphia stays in Vega-delphia.

I didn’t even SnapChat with the groom that weekend and he is one of my top SnapChat besties.  Sorry!  Well…not really….

The weather was amazing.  It was 80 degrees and I even had body in my hair from the humidity.  Albany was forecasted to be getting sleet.

Where we stayed:

At an airbnb near Center City.  I didn’t take any pics inside but it was down this cute alley.  The house was adorable, had four double beds (and there is a couch that folds out) and the owner even provided coffee, snacks and wine.

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Where we ate: 

Yards Brewing Company.

I forgot to take photos of my food but here is a menu.  Please excuse the glare.

Heffe’s Tacos

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2nd Story Brewing Company

I didn’t take any pictures of the food but everything was delicious.  We got a bunch of appetizers to share.

Alma de Cuba

The food here was amazing.

Clockwise from top-left: Blood Orange Margaritas/Guacamole and Plantain Chips/Some sort of Cuban bread I don’t know the name of/Vaca Frita/ Bachelorette’s Congratulations Desert, it was a chocolate cake/Cuban Coffee.

After we had a celebratory drink that tasted like grapefruit.

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We had brunch here.  The food was good but most dishes had eggs.  I am weird about eggs.  For me its a texture thing.  But I would still recommend this place.

I got the biscuits and gravy.  (a.k.a.  The reason I can never move down South because I would gain 100 pounds.)

Eggs weren’t mentioned as coming with this dish on the menu.  As I mentioned I am funny about eggs.   I think runny egg yolks are disgusting and those egg yolks made me very uncomfortable. Like, I am fine if I am with someone who is eating eggs like that.  Bryon ate his eggs like that.  Or poached. They just can’t be on my plate. The salad was on a separate plate and I managed to swap them out with no egg yolk breakage- success!  All was right in my world again.

I had Kentucky Iced Coffee without the bourbon shot and it was good.

Other establishments we went to

The Barcade

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City Tavern

This is a must visit place if you are a history buff like me.  The porter I drank was made from the recipe that was found in George Washington’s records.


Helium

We did see a comedy show at Helium.

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History

I finally got to see the Liberty Bell.  Kimmy Gibbler and I took our kids last year (I didn’t end up blogging about it) but I didn’t get to see it up close.  That dream was realized this year.


My friend, The Architect, took some photos of buildings that she found interesting and gave me permission to share them.

And a few other things

I tried Vietnamese Iced Coffee at The Last Drop.  It was amazing.
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I did wear a sash

And I got really excited when I saw this.

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Have you ever been to Philadelphia?  What are your favorite things to do there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude #18

It’s Friday.  You know what that means-

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude.

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Here are the 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. The fact that this will be a quick blog post without a lot of words because I am getting ready for a Bachelorette weekend!  Fun! Fun!

    #sorrynotsorry

  2. My parents.

    Because this weekend is made possible because they came to watch my daughter for the weekend.

    Kimmy Gibbler told me that her son was sad she was going away for the weekend and I said that I think my daughter is thrilled because her grandparents are here.  Bye Mommy!

    Plus, I got to witness this moment.  Pappy couldn’t resist buying his granddaughter a big kid bike.

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  3. Cupcakes and Champagne

    I was feeling kind of down earlier this week but time with my friends always cheers me up.  #tribestrong

    And I want to be clear that the champagne was only for the adults.  The kids got milk and/or water.

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  4. Caffeine

    Because I am exhausted and have been drinking a lot of it this week.

  5. Surviving and thriving

    Life isn’t always easy but I have everything I need.  I am a survivor.  I have clarity.  I am living.  And for that, I am thankful.

    What are you thankful for this week?

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Emotional hangovers, the passage of time, and destiny

In the past week or two, I have gone from being incredibly sad to being depressed to being angry.

It has been a roller coaster.

(And of course, I can’t mention roller coasters without thinking about Step by Step.)

The roller coaster started on the day I realized Bryon had been dead for 18 months and it ended (I hope) yesterday when I realized it was the second year anniversary of Bryon’s original surgery.

I am emotionally hungover.

It was something I had to go through. I had to get those emotions out. I think I am coming out of it and I feel very different about myself and my life.

I have had to take a step back. I didn’t deactivate my Facebook but I am currently what I call “Facebook-lite” right now. It felt like the more I engaged Facebook and all the happiness of others, the more isolated I felt. I had to turn inward.

I am lucky for my friends who knew the exact amount of space to give me. They have been giving me enough space to work through my mood but they know I don’t really want to be alone. My friends also did not take my mood personally. And for that, I am grateful.

Lately I have been thinking about the passage of time.

Widows are very keen on noticing the passage of time. It’s like a widow super power.

We notice it beyond the Facebook memories.

Facebook reminded me that Bryon and my love story began ten years ago last weekend.

I realized that in a period of ten years, Bryon and I spent a total of 8 living years together, almost 4 of those years we were married. And the last 2 of those 10 years were spent in trauma and then grief.

Since Bryon fully entered my life, 20% of that time has been engulfed in sadness.

That blew my mind.

It also blows my mind to think that when my daughter turned three, she has essentially spent an equal amount of time without her father than she had with her father since he went into the ICU when she was 18 months old.

This July she will officially pass the period of being alive longer without him than she had with him. Two months before her fourth birthday.

It also blew my mind the other day when I walked into my daughters daycare. I saw my best friends younger son and he walked over to me. I picked him up. Then I thought about how he was born after Bryon died. He never knew him. And he’s getting bigger every time I see him.

When Bryon first died, it felt like we were still married. His clothes were still hanging in the closet. I still had Bryon’s shows recording on the DVR. I still wore my wedding rings.

Eventually the clothes came down as I needed a place to put the clothes I bought during the retail therapy sessions.

I started deleted his shows on the DVR to make room for recorded Disney princess movies and episodes of Doc McStuffins.

And eventually I stopped wearing my wedding rings because I needed to stop being reminded of what I lost.

Now our marriage feels like it is in the past.

Sometimes I forget what it was like to answer to someone else.

It feels like another lifetime that I had someone to email in the middle of the day to figure out what they wanted to do for dinner. I used to love to cook but now dinner usually consists of some heated up chicken nuggets or if I am feeling fancy, I actually cook spaghetti.

When I see my daughters classmates and all their new baby brothers and sisters, I think about the fact that if Bryon had never gotten sick, we’d probably have a new baby brother and sister for my daughter.

Maybe in some parallel universe that is still happening. Maybe in some parallel universe we are a family of four. Maybe in some parallel universe we buy a bigger house with a real fireplace. Maybe in some parallel universe Bryon’s career is really taking off. Maybe in some parallel universe we have gone on more Caribbean Cruises.

But in this universe, I tell my daughter that a baby sister isn’t happening. Obviously for reasons she doesn’t understand.

The bigger house also isn’t happening either. Nor the Caribbean Cruises. And I no longer have the husband with a successful legal career.

As time marches forward, I have to let go of the life Bryon and I had. At times I do okay but at other times it is a slow and excruciating process that can only be done one day at a time. It can only be done on a timeline that only I can decipher.

I am in a weird place where I am starting to feel distanced from my married life and dead husband yet I cherish the memories and am trying to remember everything I can so I can pass them onto our daughter.

I am emerging to widowhood trying to find my place. I look at my surroundings and see the shell of my old life.

When I see all the perfect little intact families at my daughters daycare, I see my old life.

Now I am a single mom who feels compelled to tell the other parents that I am widow because I don’t want to be judged for being a single mother. I find myself wanting to say “My daughters father isn’t a deadbeat. He’s just dead. That’s why he isn’t at this party. Though he probably is here and we just can’t see him or hear his wise-ass comments.”

But now I am searching.

I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know what is next.

This is new territory for me. Because the old, non-traumatized, pre-widowed Kerry did not know how to live in the present. She only knew how to dwell on the past and worry about the future.

There is no point in dwelling on the past because it is past and there is nothing we can do to change it.

And there is no point in worrying about the future because there is so much of it we can’t control. We can’t control the economy or national politics. We can’t control the housing market. We can’t control other people or their actions. So we might as well not worry about it.

We only need to worry about the present. Now.

That is hard to do when you are working through grief. How are you supposed to focus on the present when you are dealing with sadness, anger and guilt?

That is what I have been struggling with. Since Bryon died, I knew I wanted to live again. I want to love again.

But wanting to live again and actually living again are two different things.

And I don’t even want to think about actually loving again. Not because I don’t want that. I do.

But I haven’t been on a first date in ten years. Yeah…

(And to my next future husband who googled my name and finds this- I am really not crazy. Well maybe a little but really, I am just grieving. Actually I am kinda smart and kinda funny. People tell me that I am a good cook and I will stay by your side should you wind up in the hospital. Sickness and in health…I nailed it.)

This brings me to destiny.

I believe we all have a destiny.

Bryon lived a short life where he made a different and touched so many lives. His time on earth ending with a wake (viewing? I grew up saying wake and I am going with that.) where the traffic was backed up so bad that the police had to come and direct traffic.

My daughter has a destiny that is unfolding. She wants to be a doctor. I told her that’s awesome as long as she makes sure patients get better care than her father did.

As you saw yesterday, she is also an author.

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Whether she becomes a doctor, an author or changes her mind completely, I just hope she becomes a productive member of society and that she does her best at whatever she does.

And while I spend a lot of energy fussing about my daughter, trying to be a good mother and fill the void left by Bryon, I know I will never completely fill that void. But I have to believe that the circumstances of her childhood are going to impact her in a profound way that she becomes a resilient and compassionate adult. And she will do great things with that.

And all this late night rambling has me wondering what my destiny is. If Bryon wasn’t meant to be here very long and yet he was still in my life, maybe there is a reason for all this craziness? Maybe it was supposed to happen this way and after I am done wading through this mess of grief, I am supposed to take my newfound resiliency and compassion and do something with it?

That is the real question that I am trying to figure out.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday Lucky #13

It’s Friday!

You know what that means!

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday

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  1.  Celebrations

    I had written earlier this week about one of my best friends bridal showers.  I am thankful for the happy moments in my life and the friends I get to spend them with.

  2. My Young Republican Friends


    This past weekend I had the honor of being invited to the New York State Young Republicans (NYSYR) Rising Star Reception.  (Now for those of you new to the blog, this isn’t a political blog.  But politics does play a role in Bryon and my story.  I have beautiful friends in both political parties.)

    Coincidentally this reception fell 10 years after the 2008 NYSYR Leadership Conference in Albany.  I know this because Facebook had reminded me.  I had met Bryon for the second time that weekend and that was also the weekend that our love story began though it would take me another 6 months to realize it.

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    March 2008

    This organization also generously held a raffle to benefit my daughter’s educational trust.  I can’t put into words how much it means to me that an organization that was once a huge part of Bryon and my life hasn’t forgotten about us.  Bryon and I never would have met if it hadn’t been for the Young Republicans.  My daughter wouldn’t exist if it hasn’t been for the Young Republicans.  Some of my best friends come from my Young Republican years.  This organization has already given me so much and they still continue to give to us.

    This reception recognized all the young talent in the organization and it reminded me of my own youth.  When I gave my thanks, I mentioned how important the friendships I made in this organization both in New York and Maine, as well as friends I made at the National level.  During those months that Bryon was in the ICU and those early months of widowhood, I received so much love and support from friends from my Young Republicans Days.  Politics isn’t always “warm and fuzzy”, I asked them to take a moment to appreciate their friendships and not to wait until they were in my situation to realize it.

    Even though I don’t participate in politics much anymore, I do think it is important to bring my daughter to these events because people come up to me and talk about Bryon.  And while that makes me sad, I appreciate that they remember him and say kind things about him.  But I think it is important for my daughter to hear those nice things being said about her father.  He may be dead, but it is nice to be reminded that he had lived.

  3. For everyone local who takes care of me.

    My neighbor always plows me out and helps me with problems around the house.  Bryon’s best friend is always ready to answer my questions and recommend people.  Another friend of Bryon’s mows my lawn.

    My house can be overwhelming at time and I am grateful for everyone who helps me.

  4. Old friends

    I was having a rough couple of days (as you probably guessed if you read my blog) and one of my high school friends reached out to me to talk.  There is that saying that sometimes the best mirror is an old friend and I think that is true.  As I examine my life, I seem to have gotten in touch with a lot of old friends and these old friends help me remember that I was a complete person before Bryon and I will continue to be a complete person after Bryon.

    Bryon was not one to live in the past and during our years together, I lost touch with my past.  But the old me is still very much a part of me.  (I think I feel a blog posting coming on about this).

  5. Spring plans

    This has been a long winter.  Bryon and I used to go away every winter on a Caribbean Cruise but I haven’t been on a cruise since he was alive.  Lately I have been thinking about it.

    I do have a lot of exciting things going on this Spring and Summer that include traveling, a wedding and…the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party.

    More to come on the Derby Party in the next couple of weeks- stay tuned!

    And I have a bonus gratitude this week-

  6. My funny daughter
    Despite having an epic meltdown when we got home from gymnastics (‘nastics class) tonight, I am grateful for my daughter and especially how funny she is.

    The kids in her class all wrote a book and her’s was titled “I Don’t Know.”  Her teacher told me she was adamant that that was the title.  The whole ride home she kept talking to me about how her book was called “I Don’t Know.”  She makes me laugh so much.

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What are you grateful for this week?

Be-thankful

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #12

It’s Friday, you know what that means!

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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These are the 5 thing I am grateful for this weekend.

  1.  Seeing Les Miserables


    I mentioned in my previous post about how I saw Les Miserables on a school trip to NYC my senior year of high school and how excited I was to see it last weekend.  I had a great time.I was also intrigued at how sophisticated set design became in 22 years.

    We did learn a valuable lesson.  When you see a show at Proctors in Schenectady, make sure you make reservations if you want to eat at any of the nearby restaurants.  We didn’t.  None of us thought of it.  Ooops.  Luckily there was a stand at the theater that sold sandwiches, desserts and there was also a bar.

    This whole dinner debacle demonstrated a shift in my thinking.  The old Kerry would stress about everything.  Bryon used to say that I searched for things to worry about. The old Kerry would have freaked out that we didn’t have dinner reservations.  The New Kerry just thought “I am not really that hungry anyway but there is a sandwich stand.  If this is the worse thing that happens to me all night, then this is a great night.  I am out with friends and I am seeing a musical that I love.”

    I know I have grown as a person and it is nice to see evidence of that growth.

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  2. My daughter’s first haircut


    I had so many emotions watching (and snap chatting) this.  This was my daughters first haircut.  There wasn’t much to cut off but her hair did grown in uneven so it was evened out. My hairdresser also put the hair in an envelope for me.
    So. Many. Emotions.  I tell you.

    My daughter loved going to the salon and had a great time being “grown up”.

  3. The Princess Party


    In a moment of insanity, I decided to buy tickets to the Princess Ball.  It was Sunday morning and I had stayed up late the night before.

    Ooooops.

    My daughter had a ball.  (Pun intended).

    I was texting Kimmy Gibbler and I told her that I was annoyed by all screaming kids and equally pushy parents.  This was the unimpressed selfie I took and sent her.  I was over it.

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    But it was hard to stay annoyed when I saw how much my daughter enjoyed herself.  She has been telling everyone about the Princess Ball and in great detail too.

    I was actually surprised at the detailed questions she asked each of the princesses.  She didn’t just talk about dresses and tiaras.  She asked Anna about the speed of Kristoff’s sled.  My daughter is one smart cookie.

  4. Avocados

    Because they are delicious.  I love guacamole and avocado toast.

  5. My job

    I had my yearly review at my job.  It went well.  I am thankful for my job.  They hired me two months after Bryon died.  Some people told me I should take more time off but I felt it was time to go back to work.  Except for three weeks when my FMLA ran out, I hadn’t worked in 7 months.  I was ready.  That and our health insurance coverage through Bryon’s employment ended so that was also a motivating factor for going back to work.

    Before I became a sole parent, I never thought I would like working from home.  But now I feel like I couldn’t do it any other way.  My schedule allows complete flexibility.  I work a lot at night but that gives me the time to go to the gym, make doctors appointments and have the occasional lunch with friends.  It also gives me wiggle room if my daughter is home sick or there is a snow day.  The flexibility of my job helps me thrive (more like survive) in the other areas of my life.

    My employer also provides us with a large amount of educational resources so I am able to keep up the continuing education I need to maintain my credential.  That is very helpful because now I can’t go off and attend conferences anymore.

    They also have an amazing program that gives each employee five days to volunteer and give back to the community.  My company also donate money to  grant wishes of employees in need every holiday season.  I literally cried when they announced who won the wishes and told their stories.  My company has a heart.

    I also work with an amazing team.  I have only talked to them on the phone and through email but they are great people.

    And one last bonus gratitude-

  6. The random 3 Hello Kitty pull ups

    My daughter is mostly potty trained but still wears pull ups at night.  I didn’t realize that we were down to one last pull up until she went to put it on.  I know, I am totally failing at this motherhood thing lately.  Actually I am pretty sure I am failing at life in general.I got annoyed at myself because that means I have to go out in the storm today and get a package of pull ups.  But really no big deal.

    Well my daughter had a big poop in that one last pull up.  Of all nights.  This story happened literally right before I typed this so it is in the middle of the night (because I don’t sleep anymore).  I didn’t want to have to get her dressed and go to the 24 hour pharmacy to get pull ups.

    I told myself not to panic.  We had to have a random pull up somewhere in the house or maybe the car.

    I looked in my purse- none.

    Then I see a bag from my trip to Massachusetts for my grandmother’s funeral that I had not unpacked.  (I know, a month ago.  I told you, I am failing at life.  I am a hot mess.)  I looked inside and there were three Hello Kitty Pull Ups.

    So I am very thankful for those three random Hello Kitty Pull-ups.

    I am sure she is going to love reading this when she is older.  She is probably going to be so unimpressed.   She will probably say something like “Hey Mom, remember that time when you wrote about how I shit my pants and put it on the internet for the whole world to read?”  And then I will remind her that we all have shit our pants at one time or another and that the post was actually about princesses and pull ups.

    Those are the 6 things I am grateful for.  What are you grateful for this week?

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