You know what that means! Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
These are the 5 things I am grateful for this week.
Seeing my bestie
Last weekend my daughter and traveled to Chicago to see my best friend. We also took a side trip to Wisconsin. Travel post will be coming.
It was great to see my friend. We met at the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in 2006. She was sitting in front of me on the bus ride back to the hotel from the Romanian Embassy.
We wouldn’t become close until later that year.
We both pretty much have retired from politics but we usually try to see each other once or twice a year.
It’s always great to see each other and catch up.
2. Lunch with “Uncle Greg”
On our return trip from Wisconsin, we stopped to visit a close friend of mine. Greg was one of Bryon’s best friends and he has been so good to our daughter. You can see his kindness demonstrated below as he gave the girls their own cheesehead hats.
(I don’t usually use people’s names but I can’t think of a proper blog name for Greg. Though I am sure Bryon would have suggested a few inappropriate ones).
Pro-Tip when visiting Wisconsin: make sure you leave some space in your luggage because those cheesehead hats take up a lot of room. Though I guess she could have worn it on the plane…
We had an amazing lunch complete with Wisconsin cheese curds.
I also got to meet Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend.
I don’t give my stamp of approval to just anyone. I am not Marshall Erickson.
But I am happy to say that Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend has my stamp of approval. I can’t wait for him to bring her to Albany so everyone can meet her.
3. Making it home in time for our favorite community helper’s birthday
We made it back in time on Monday for a special birthday. Another one of Maddy’s “uncles”, who I refer to as “our favorite community helper”, was celebrating his birthday. I took my daughter out for dinner and our favorite community helper and his fiancee (a.k.a. Carter’s parents) met up with us. I didn’t get a picture with our favorite community helper, but here is a picture of my daughter being silly. I was tired and probably not the best company, but these two are family to me and it was important to see our favorite community helper on his birthday.
4. A night at the museum
This week was the opening of Canstruction. A good friend (I will call her “the architect”) has done this event for 8 years. Canstruction collects cans and other non-perishable food and builds structures to raise money for food banks in the region.
I am so proud of my friend.
On Wednesday, there was a reception that I was lucky enough to attend.
You know what that means…time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude.
These are the Top 5 things I am grateful for this week.
Daylight Savings Time
You may noticed that I have been quiet on the blog this week. The first was that after writing my two most recent blog posts (here and here), I had nothing to say. I keep wanting to say I felt emotionally drained but the term “drained” doesn’t really sum it up well. Maybe I was actually content? I got out what I needed to. If I was feeling content, I am sure it will only last for a New York Minute. Because as the week ends, I am started to feel new emotions and thoughts bubbling up. Periods were I don’t have anything to say don’t happen often and don’t last long when they happen.
My lack of writing is also due to the fact that Daylight Savings Time really screws me up. Every year. For like, a whole week. Each day I have been hitting the later class at my gym because I can’t get my act together to go to the one I normally attend.
But I am grateful for Daylight Savings Time because I love the fact that the sun is out until 7 pm.
It makes this messed up week totally worth it.
Moments of joy
I have been working on feeling the joy of living in the present moment.
And what better example of feeling the joy of living in the present moment than seeing how excited my daughter was to try on her dance recital dress? I couldn’t help but feel joy because my daughter was so happy. I can’t wait to see her dance in her first recital.
For what I do have
It is easy to think about my previous life and dwell on what I no longer have.
I decided to be grateful for what I do have. I have my daughter. I have family. I have friends who are my family. I never spend holidays alone.I have a roof over my head. I have a job. I have my health.
I have it good.
I have had SnapChat for about a year and a half but never used it. I downloaded it shortly after Bryon died. I was at a friends birthday party and everyone was showing me how to use it. I signed up, got some friends and never used it.
Lately I have been turning inward a little bit. I haven’t been on Facebook as much. Partly because it was hard to see everyone living their perfect lives with their alive spouses. (And yes, get no one’s life is perfect but once in awhile I have bad days where I would take my worst day with Bryon over my widowed life.)
I also needed to turn inward because I needed to set some boundaries with my social media presence. I know I am very open about my grief process on the blog and on social media. And that won’t change. I do this to help other people- those who are also grieving as well as those who want to better understand the grieving process.
But there are some people who think that they somehow have a say in my life and are entitled to know things about me that are none of their business. Just because I share my grief journey does not make my whole life public property. So I have been quieter on social media.
I have been enjoying SnapChat because I can still socialize and take pictures but I can choose who receives it. It’s been the same 5-10 people because I am an elitist like that. (Just kidding!)
My friends send me videos of their golden retriever and I send videos back to them of my daughter. It’s a fun time.
A kickass week at the gym.
I got bronchitis in December and felt like I hadn’t rebounded. But I feel like I had good workouts this week and that I am back on track.
These are the 5 thing I am grateful for this weekend.
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.
Les Miserables, 2018
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Because they are delicious. I love guacamole and avocado toast.
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-
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.
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?
And that means it is time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
These are the things I am grateful for this week-
Our 70F degree day
A 70F degree day is a rarity in the Northeast in February. But I enjoyed it. It was nice to walk outside without your winter coat and not be cold.
Being a Maine Girl
Because the day after that 70F degree February day, the temperature dropped down to 31F and we got a few inches of snow. But I am from Maine. I drive a Suburu Forrester and I wear LL Bean coat and LL Bean boots. I can handle it.
But I also take comfort in knowing the winter days are numbered. Spring will be here soon.
The snow did not ruin my cats plans. He did what he does every day. Living his best life possible.
I cherish the meals shared with my closest friends. Friends who are so close that we refer to each other as family. I also learned about a new wine and it was approved by Carter, the wine connoisseur.
Chinese Food for lunch.
It’s a favorite of mine. Usually I would get sweet and sour chicken but lately I have been into pork lo mein. This might become my Friday treat.
I am in trouble. But this moment is precious and it will stay with me forever.
It was funny because when I was putting her to bed that night, I was alarmed that her neck was pink. Then I remembered that she put A LOT of blush on her neck.
That means it’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude.
These are the five things I am grateful for this week.
Brunch with friends
I like brunch. But I like doing it the Mom way meaning we get there right when brunch starts, usually around 10. It’s a good time. The kids are ready to eat and it’s before the hipsters show up.
I also like that I get to brunch my way now. I prefer brunch is establishments that are not diners. Bryon loved diners and I am not a fan. I feel like diner food is not any better than the food I cook. I like to go to brunch and have something fancy that I could cook but generally don’t have the patience to.
Plus, I don’t like diners because many of them are small and I am claustrophobic. Now I know many other establishments are small. But I can deal with my claustrophobia for fancy brunch. Like, I can tolerate being in a small space but not for generic food that I could make at home.
Bryon was always more of the breakfast fan than me so he would win. That and because the issue wasn’t important enough to me. I am glad I went along with it because diner breakfast always made him happy.
I guess of the “perks” of widowhood is I get to do whatever I want. It’s bittersweet, really.
I had the adult ice coffee with aquafaba and creme brulee French Toast. I had no clue what aquafaba was but the waitress explained it to me. It’s apparently a vegan alternatives to egg whites and apparently putting egg whites into iced coffee is a thing now. The egg whites create the froth. I tried it but I made it clear to the waitress that I was not a vegan. For some reason, I felt that that was important and that the waitress wanted to know.
I always considered myself an iced coffee snob and I had no clue. *shrug*
Advocating for MS
For the second year I got the honor of advocating for people living with Multiple Sclerosis at the New York State Capital. I am not going to elaborate on that because I will be writing a post about that. I have several friends with MS and I am thankful that I get an opportunity to advocate for them.
But I have heard that the deceased communicate through songs on the radio. There are certain songs I hear all the time since Bryon died. There was even a period of time I heard Hall & Oates at least once a day and I don’t spend much time in my car. My deceased husband also seems to really like Michael Jackson, particularly “Billie Jean”, The Police- “I’ll Be Watching You”, Earth Wind and Fire; “September” (I think that is because we got engaged, married and became parents in the month of September), and Berlin’s “Take My Breathe Away” because Top Gun was his favorite movie.
I haven’t heard much in the car for the past couple of months. I just figured that Bryon was done sending those signs. He was going to find a new way to communicate with me. But the past three days have been a Bryon McKim jam session every time I have been in car. It’s nice to know that he hasn’t forgotten about me and will still try to spend time with me in the only way he can now.
Having the courage to cut off my grief hair
I had been wanting a change for awhile. I hemmed and hawed over it for months. I liked my hair long but it was so damaged. The ends felt like straw. I also wanted something different and I have never been a blonde so I went for it. I am a new person so my outside should reflect my inside.
This was a big step for me. I have never been a risk taker but I told myself that it is just hair. It grows back. It can be changed back. But it was also hard because I was attached to that hair. I have hid behind that hair for almost two years. But I decided it was time to get rid of it and shine.
Now I just need to lose some weight and maybe get a tattoo and my physical transformation will be complete.
It’s Friday and that means it’s time for some good vibrations gratitude!
This is what I am thankful for this week.
Gymnastics. Every week my daughters attends gymnastics class and it is the only night she goes right down to bed. Every other night she is hyper and jumping on the bed. (I was the same way and I know this is payback). Facebook reminded me today that my daughter started gymnastics one year ago. It is amazing to see all that she has learned.
2. Movie dates. One of my best friends and I decided we wanted to do something last weekend. I decided to check the movie listings and I saw that Padington 2 was playing. I made a comment that we hadn’t seen the first Padington and my friend asked me if it really mattered. Then I felt silly.
The kids did great in the movie. It was the first non-animated movie they had seen in the theater. The movie was enjoyable. And boy, Hugh Grant has gotten old.
3. Birthday parties. My daughter was invited to a classmates birthday party. It’s amazing to see her grow into her own personality and make friends.
4. My online widow friends. Some of my coolest friends live in my phone. In fact, one of those friends wrote a blog post about it. I love my “in real life” friends but sometimes I need to let off steam with people who understand those things that only widows understand.
5. Happy Memories. Facebook shared this memory with me. I have to smile when I think about what a great man Bryon was and how lucky I am to have memories like these.