It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.
This week I am starting something new.
I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!
You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.
It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude
Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim
Here is what I am gratude for this week.
Fall weekend in Maine.
I didn’t take many pictures on this trip. I didn’t do much sightseeing. I just enjoyed a late October weekend in Maine. I had dinner and ice cream at Charlotte’s and I had dinner with an old friend from high school. I don’t have a nick name for her yet but you met her here.
So I enjoyed socializing with friends, good food, watched two World Series games with my Dad and I marveled in the beauty of Maine fall foliage that is just past the peek in a Nor’easter.
World Series win
My boys did it!
And my little one got to see the team play this year. Can’t wait until next summer.
Second Annual Halloween Pajama Movie Night
The tradition was born last year when my friend and I were shopping at Gymboree and I thought the pink skeleton pajamas were cute. My friend asked me to buy them since she had skeleton pajamas for her boys and she said we could do a Halloween movie night. I was sold.
My daughter and I were at Crazy 8’s a few weeks ago and picked up another pair. And luckily movie night happened again this year.
Trick or Treating
Every year my daughters school goes trick or treating in a local office park. The people who work there are great and were very generous with their candy. It is hard to believe this is my daughters fourth and final year participating.
This year is the first year since Bryon died that I am excited for Christmas. And I am just going with it.
And before the haters get mad at me, I am just as excited about Thanksgiving too.
I did it again! It’s Saturday and I am just getting to my gratitudes. Ooops.
Though in my defense, my friend Lynda at Writing Out My Storms pointed out last week that it was still Friday in Pacific Time. So I am going to go with that. I have been working on cutting myself some slack because I am doing the best I can.
So it’s Friday (on the West Coast) and it’s time for some Good Vibration Gratitude.
Here is what I have been thankful for this week-
I have a lot of reasons to appreciate my Dad. But this week I am focusing on the fact that when he comes to visit, he usually does a couple projects around the house.
And he brings his truck and we haul stuff to the dump. Thanks Dad!
My daughter’s 4th birthday party.
This was the first year that my daughter had a “friend” party. It was different but it is cool to see her turn into her own person and make her own friends.
We had at a local place called Afrim’s that has bounce houses. The staff did a great job. My daughter had been telling me since January that she wanted her birthday party there. It was a blast. Most of her class was there and our cousins made it in from Massachusetts. It was great that so many people came out to celebrate.
I don’t have many pictures to post here because there are other children in them and I don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of other people’s children on my blog without parental permission. I know I wouldn’t appreciate it if it were done to me.
Lunch with my daughter’s Godmother and her husband.
I don’t get to see them often due to work schedules but we got to enjoy a wonderful lunch at a local Mexican Restaurant. I didn’t get any pics so I am going to leave one of the birthday present they gave my little one. But it was great to see them and catch up.
And in case you were wondering about her dress shoes, those are Clarks. Dress show on top, sneaker on the bottom. Got them when I was in Maine at Mardens and I plan to look for more the next time I am in Maine.
Meeting local blogger friends.
I “met” The Perfect Honeybee when I came across her blog on WordPress Reader. We had been following each other’s blogs for about a year. She reached out to me a few months ago and invited me to partake in a local blogging group that she and her friend were starting. Her friend blogs at Sweet Love & Ginger.
We had our first meetup. In addition to meeting the two founding members, I also had the pleasure of meeting Pattie of My Saratoga Kitchen.
It was great to discuss blogging. Even though our blogs are all very different, we still had an interesting conversation about blogging itself. If you are a local blogger (Capital District NY or Saratoga County and nearby) and are interested, connect with me. We have a Facebook group and we are planning on meeting monthly.
I am also grateful that they didn’t mind that my daughter came along.
This is a picture of my daughter ignoring us and watching YouTube kids. I want to thank the Perfect Honeybee for taking the photo because I couldn’t because, well, my daughter was using my phone.
And on a completely different note, I had to block two Peppa Pig channels on YouTube kids. She doesn’t watch Peppa Pig on TV but there is something about that show that she becomes very irritable after watching it. Nope. Not up in here. Give me annoying Daniel Tiger any day. Or those videos where kids are unboxing toys. Or that stupid Elsia and Annia go camping video. Just no Peppa Pig.
Okay, I missed getting this up on Friday but I didn’t want to miss my chance to making my gratitudes for the week. For what it’s worth, I haven’t been to bed yet. So it is still like Friday. Kind of.
It has been busy settling into my daughter’s Pre-K year. I have been enjoying the process and watching her grow.
I have realized that between raising my daughter by myself and keeping up with her activities, working full time, travelling, trying to have some semblance of a social life and trying to find time to write that I was spreading myself too thin. It is evidenced by the fact that I haven’t been to the gym since March, I can’t remember the last time I went and had a pedicure (which is something I try to do a couple times a year) and my writing and creativity has suffered.
I have taken a step back from things and decided that I needed to focus on my daughter and myself. I have been doing a lot of reevaluating of my life. I am in a difference phase of grief and I am trying to live my life again so I need adjust to the changes within myself as well as make sure that I am setting myself up for success in this new chapter.
So without much further ado…Good Vibrations Gratitude, um Saturday…
Here is what I have been thankful for this week-
My daughter loving Pre-K.
This picture was actually taken last week. But this week was my daughter’s first full week in Pre-K and so far she loves it.
I just can’t believe that this class is her last stop at her daycare. Next stop is kindergarten.
Celebrating Princess Style
My daughter was invited to a friends princess birthday party. It was so much fun to see all the princesses and princes enjoy themselves. Belle and Moana even showed up.
Making new friends
I actually made a new friend at the Princess Party.
I was chatting with another mother who I did not know. (I knew most of them because our kids are in school together). I was talking to this new friend about my recent trip to the LBJ Presidential Library and she was excited. I am not used t this. Most people think I am a bit of a nerd.
Turns out she is reading a book about each U.S. President and created an Instagram with her sketches about what she learned. If you are into history, you should definitely follow her.
First day of gymnastics
My daughter had her first gymnastics class of the Pre-K year. To say she was excited would be an understatement. This was the only picture I got where she was not running around. It always brings me joy to see her happy and learning and growing.
First day of dance
We also had our first dance class of the year this week as well. My parents had come in that day for her 4th birthday this weekend and were able to watch the class. She was so excited that she did snow angels in the middle of class.
I don’t know what was up with the snow angels but overall, she is more focused than last year.
Do you know what this means? It’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
I currently have a broken keyboard. I dropped it and now the “L” key only works if I press down really hard on it. So I am grateful for Amazon for giving me an ability to order a replacement which should be here tomorrow. (And I apologize if there are any typos).
Today’s post is going to be a little different than my normal gratitude posts.
I am one week into my 40’s. I am also in a new phase of my grief process. With every beginning comes a period of reflection and a period of learning. But I am optimistic that the next chapter is going to be a good chapter.
So I want to take a period to reflect on what I am grateful for in the previous chapter.
I am grateful for my time with Bryon. I don’t know why it had to end this way, but even despite the sadness and pain, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I am grateful that he didn’t give up on me. I was a very closed off and stand-offish person and he persisted. I am grateful for all the love he gave me and the fact that he loved me at my worst. I am grateful that he worked hard to give me a great life even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I am grateful for all that he taught me.
I am grateful for everyone who is remembers Bryon and isn’t afraid to talk to about him. I am grateful for those who keep his memory alive.
I am grateful for my daughter. She was my reason for getting out of bed in those early days. She brings me so much joy as I watch her grow and learn. She brings me laughter. She reminds me of all the wonder in the world and to appreciate the little things. I am so lucky to be her mommy.
I am grateful for my family for always being there, for reminding me where I came from and for always having my back.
I am grateful for my family for all the love they give my daughter.
I am grateful for my job and the ability to work from home. I am grateful for the flexible schedule and for all the education opportunities that my employer provides. I am grateful for the team I work with.
I am grateful everyone who has helped me and my daughter survive the trauma and aftermath, both physically and emotionally.
I am grateful for everyone who has helped me around my house.
I am grateful for everyone who helped me keep my sh*t together and who has held my hand as I completed the hard tasks of widowhood.
I am grateful for everyone who has check in and fed my cat when I am away.
I am grateful for my friends who have sat with me and let me cry.
I am grateful for those who have stood by me even when I have been distracted with all that comes with single parenting, work and grief. If I haven’t seemed like a good friend, it’s honestly because my own cup hasn’t been full in a very long time. What is in my cup goes to my daughter. I don’t even take care of me so I am sorry that my cup usually consists of the end of the soda bottle that is probably more saliva than soda. (The previous sentence is based on a statistic I have heard. I haven’t looked it up because it’s after 1 am and I am feeling tired and lazy).
I am grateful for those who recognize that I am doing my best even though I drop the ball most of the time.
I am grateful for all the meals shared, especially the tacos, the wine and bacon. (Though I don’t think we did all three at once).
I am grateful for all the phone calls, texts, messages and SnapChats.
I am grateful for people listen to me babble on and on. I am only imagine what it is like to listen to me. Social awkwardness + grief = me.
I am grateful for everyone who loves or has loved my daughter.
I am grateful for anyone who has made me laugh, especially in the past two years. I really needed it.
I am grateful for everyone who loves me or have ever loved me. Especially at my worst.
I am grateful for everyone in my life, for teaching me. People and experiences are life’s biggest teachers.
I am grateful for those who listened and empathized and tried their hardest to understand.
I am grateful (admittedly cautiously grateful) for those who have hurt me because that hurt has taught me important lessons.
I am grateful for those who did not respect my boundaries because you taught me to reevaluate my boundaries and enforce them.
I am grateful for everyone who encouraged me to open about my grief. Being open is the opposite of my introverted nature. (Yes, I am an INFJ and we are often mistaken for being extroverts but I am an introvert). I am grateful for all those I have met through this journey.
A new chapter is beginning.
It is exciting but so many things are unknown.
I don’t know what it means for myself or for those in my life. It is exciting and scary because I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know who is going to stay and who is going to go. I have no idea what my life is going to be like a year from now. Heck, I am not sure what it is going to be like a month from now.
Everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to.
Though trusting the Universe is a weak area of mine…
But I know I can’t stay where I am at. I can’t continue to live in the past.
It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to my daughter. It’s not fair to those around me. And it’s not fair to Bryon.
I am was lucky to experience the love that Bryon and I had. But he’s not coming back.
I know the best way to honor Bryon’s memory is by living again. But the letting go part is not as easy as it seems. Just like the rest of my “grief journey”, it is a process. It is still going to take time.
A little late but today is still Friday! You survived the week!
Do you know what this means? It’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
Since I was too busy last week, I did not do a Gratitude post so this is going to cover the past two weeks.
Time with my daughter
Dance class and gymnastics class never get old.
The fact that summer is almost over
This is probably an unpopular opinion but I am ready for summer to be over. I am from Maine and this humidity is killing me. I am not going to rush the end of summer because I know Fall will be here soon but I can’t wait. Bring on the pumpkin spice!
A good concert with a good friend
One of my besties and I got a chance to see REO Speedwagon and Chicago at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). It was a great time. Personally I thought the REO Speedwagon half was better than Chicago. I like Chicago’s music but it was very mellow and almost a let down after rocking to REO Speedwagon. Just my two cents.
Getting by with a little help from my friends.
Some of my friends have stepped up to help me clean out Bryon’s storage unit. When Bryon died, so many people said that they would be there to help in any way needed but whenever I ask for help, it is always the same few people who offer to help.
There is no way I could I ever payback these friends for the kindness they have for me. I could not get by without these friends. No mentions, they know who they are.
The little memories that make me smile.
Bryon and I had a good 8 years. And every day, I am usually reminded of something funny he did.
I was driving my daughter to dance class and Orleans “Still the One” came on the radio.
Now, if you are a longtime reader of this blog, you may remember that Bryon and I met while participating in politics. (Don’t worry, this is not a political blog. A story may pop up here and there but there will not being any preaching. Grief and death don’t know political parties. I love you all!)
Anyway, John Hall went one to become a Congressman in New York State and in 2010, Bryon and I, along with some of our Young Republican friends worked on a campaign weekend and we dropped literature for his opponent, Dr. Nan Hayworth.
And I remember Bryon writing this tweet and thinking it was so funny.
He could have been tweeting in this picture.
And even though he is gone, I am grateful for those little memories that make me smile.
It’s Friday and it is time for some Good Vibrations Gratitudes. And usually, this is a fun post giving thanks to all the good things that happened to me during the week.
But this weeks post is going to be a little different. I hope you “bear” with me. (See what I did there?)
The truth is that my heart has been pretty heavy this week.
On Monday morning I heard the song Fire and Rain by James Taylor. Obviously, I had heard the song many times before but for some reason, the song stuck out to me.
I had arrived home and saw that I had a message from my friend Charlotte.
(You met her here). Charlotte is an old friend from high and Charlotte is not her real name. I try not to use the names of the living in my blog so my friends get blog names. Her name is Charlotte because that was her French Class name and we sat next to each other in French class and she got stuck with me as a friend.
The text from Charlotte had devastating news. She had heard that a high school friend Allison had passed away. Being the detectives that we are, we looked for clues on social media. We had nothing definite but I felt it in the pit of my stomach.
Finally, in the evening, we saw a post from her brother confirming the news we were fearing, that she had passed away.
Allison and I were friends in high school. I always wondered why a girl who was so cool would want to be friends with the socially awkward, hyperverbal girl with a Boston accent (I had moved from the Boston area to Maine the summer before high school).
Obviously, we graduated from high school and lost touch in college. It was an era before Facebook.
I saw her once in the mid 2000’s. I was at Mass at our towns Catholic Church, St. Joe’s and she was there with her father. We ran up to each other after Mass and hugged.
And I hadn’t seen her since. We lost contact again.
I reconnected with her on Facebook shortly after Bryon died. She came back into my life during my darkest days and she was my biggest cheerleaders when I was trying to pick up the pieces of my life. I could always count on her to like all my lame pictures on Instagram. I don’t know if she realized how much her kindness affected me.
I know I was just a drop in a bucket of all the people she touched and helped but I am really going to miss her.
It just doesn’t seem fair. A group of us high school friends started talking about taking a trip to Quebec City to recreate the shenanigans from our French IV trip in 1996. Now when we go, she won’t be there.
I was hoping to meet up with her. I was in her area this spring and I thought about seeing if she was around but it was a bachelorette weekend. It was busy and I was there for my friend who was getting married. I decided I would try to meet up with her next time.
This is a harsh reminder that we don’t always get a next time.
Today is her funeral and I am sad that I won’t be able to attend to say good-bye. I thought about it. It would be doable if I dropped my daughter off at daycare when they open. But being her only parent, I get nervous traveling three hours away. What if something happened?
I thought about taking my daughter out of school that day and bringing her. I asked her if she wanted to go to Pennsylvania for a funeral and or stay here and go to school. She chose to go to school. I can’t blame her. She’s a few months short of 4 and has already been to more than her fair share of wakes and funerals.
I asked again, this time changing the inflection and tone of my voice to be all excited and I asked her if she wanted to go to Pennsylvania for a funeral and then I changed my tone to boring and asked if she wanted to stay here and go to school. She still chose to go to school. I can’t fool that girl. She is so smart.
As one last Hail Mary, I looked at the map to see how close Bethlehem, PA was to Sesame Place. Surely she would want to go to a funeral if we could do a side trip to Sesame Place but it was too far out of the way.
I wanted to go to support her family. They are good people. Her father had been our high school principal and her mother was a nurse. Her siblings are great too. I know they are going to have some dark days ahead. Though I know that my presence wouldn’t lessen their pain. Not at all.
Maybe it’s because I am close to two years out from Bryon’s death and some of that numbness is going away. I am starting to feel again.
Maybe it’s because with Bryon’s death, I was so involved that I didn’t get the opportunity to sit back and reflect about my own mortality at a young age. I was too busy surviving and existing. But with Allison’s death, I am removed enough to reflect on the fact that she is my age and she’s gone and people aren’t supposed to die this young.
I have been lucky that I have been able to lean on Charlotte and another friend. We have all been leaning on each other.
But it leads me to another question- why does it take someone’s death to bring people closer together? Why can’t it just be normal human behavior to appreciate people as a baseline? Why do we need to wait until a death and trauma to realize we care about people?
Then I started to wonder why the people with the brightest lights seem to get extinguished early. Like Allison. And Bryon.
At least I know that Heaven (or the Fifth Dimension, or the other side or wherever spirits go when they leave this world) must be a beautiful place. Because people like Allison and Bryon are there.
(I did ask Bryon to give her a hug. So when a tall, handsome, smart and hysterically funny man from Upstate New York gives her hug, I hope she is not alarmed.)
So why am I writing this in my Gratitude Friday post?
I am writing about this because my heart feels heavy and I just don’t feel like writing and posting pictures of the scrunchies I saw in Wal-Mart even if I am grateful and excited that 90’s fashion has made a comeback.
When someone dies too soon, it is easy to dwell on the loss, but I am choosing to be grateful.
I am writing this post because I am truly grateful that Allison was in my life.
For befriending the socially awkward girl with the Boston accent and making her feel cool.
For the memories.
For sharing all her adventures on Instagram and letting us follow her along.
For being a light.
For filling the world with love.
For being an inspiration.
For sharing the struggles she overcame with honesty and grace.
For being a good example on how to live.
I am also grateful for this reminder to appreciate those in my life.
I am going to end this with the Prayer of St. Francis. It feels fitting because she lived the message. And because she loved animals and St. Francis was the Patron Saint of Animals.
Do you know what this means? It’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
Here are 5 things that I am grateful for this week.
Friday means Chinese Food for lunch.
It’s my own weird tradition. I must do it a lot because they know me at my local restaurant. I used to be a strictly sweet and sour chicken combo person. But I decided I needed to try new things so now I am strictly a pork lo mein and egg roll person.
My daughter went on a movie date with the boy she says she is going to marry.Since she is only 3 and her “fiance” is only 4, the date was chaperoned by the moms. Kind of like the Duggars except the kids are allowed to hold hands and they are allowed to hug to. Not that weird, awkward side hugging that the Duggars do.
Annnnnd…I think I just totally outed myself as someone who watches the Duggars. Oh well.
I am not going to lie. Part of the reason I get the large popcorn is because the picture always makes me laugh. We never finish it. She usually spills it on the floor. Along with the M&M’s.
What can I say? I am a sucker.
We saw Incredibles 2. My daughter refused to nap beforehand. She had trouble focusing on this movie. I think she was more excited about the idea of the movie than the actual movie. Oh well.
The staff at the movie theater who have to clean up after my kid.
Most of us probably take for granted clean movie theaters. So thank you!!!
Taco Tuesday with friends
A time to catch up with dear friends. and eat yummy tacos.No pics. I am sorry. What can I say? I suck this week.
I value any time I get to read and write. I am working on self love and feeding my soul.I saw on Facebook that my friend Roda at Growing Self Blog had bought The Untethered Soul. That book has been sitting on my nightstand for a really long time. (My “to read” pile is ridiculous). So I decided that now would be the right time to start it.
I mean, if all the cool kids are doing it…
I decided to start it because Roda bought it. And should and of the subject matter come up in her blog, I wanted to be prepared. I didn’t want to feel like the blog reader equivalent of Elle Woods on her first day of law school.
The book reminds me of The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle where you only need to read a little at a time because the information is a lot of digest. A lot of “Wow” moments. The good news is that the chapters in The Untethered Soul are short so you can read a chapter a day if that is your speed. (It’s mine!)
Fun Fact about this blog. Almost all the posts on this blog are written between midnight and 2 am. Last night I chose to sleep instead. So I apologize for the post being up later than usual.
Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
Last weekend my daughter and I were in a wedding of our good friends. These friend are very special to me and I am grateful that I got to be a part of their big day.
She makes me so proud.
That the storms missed Albany.
Being from New England, I joke that Albany is in the Midwest. But we don’t usually get tornado watches. I know watches just mean that the weather conditions are present where a tornado could begin. I know that tornado warnings are when you are supposed to stay calm while freaking out. But nope- anything with the word “tornado” in it freaks me out.
I am grateful that we missed the storms and grateful that my friends Downstate were safe.
Yesterday was my kitty’s “estimated” birthday. He turned nine. I didn’t remember it was his birthday until 3:15 pm. I guess that makes me a sh*tty cat mom. While he can be rather stand-offish to everyone else, he loves me. Bryon and I adopted him when he was studying for the NY Bar exam in 2011 so my cat and I have been through so much together.
Blue Bloods is one of my favorite shows. Like, I actually DVR it and watch it every week. I also binge watch it on Netflix when I need background noise.
I have been so emotionally invested in Jamie and Eddie. Way more than I ever was with Luke and Lorelei. What do they call it? Shipping? And they finally got together in the Season Finale! Yay!
Now if only Elena and Gabe can get together….though I am not nearly as emotionally invested in them as I was with Jamko.
(We are also going to ignore the fact that this song was popular during my freshman year in high school. Because I don’t feel like feeling old today.)
We are talking about this inner circle. And the non-pictured husbands and boyfriends.
I can’t imagine life without them. Not just because they got my through the worse of my grief and they don’t make me feel bad when I talk about Bryon. But just because they are awesome people. This might sound cheesy but for the first time in my life, I feel like I belong.
On Saturday these two adorable kids are getting married and I am grateful that I get to be a part of their day.
8 Years of Friendship with Robin Brillantes
Facebook reminded me that Robin Brillantes and I became Facebook friends eight years ago yesterday. She remains one of my most favorite people of all time. I couldn’t figure out how to play the cheesy video that Facebook compiled so you get this picture of us from last Saturday.
Of course one of our friends says that Facebook is the lowest form of friendship. But I am not going to worry about that with Robin Brillantes. Because we know our friendship is amazing because it is built on love, laughter and tacos.
That I am still remembered on Mother’s Day.
My daughter made the picture and cards at school and my parents sent the flowers and the teddy bear. Though my daughter has already claimed the teddy bear as hers. I had a feeling that they had that in mind when they ordered it…
We know what that means! Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
My last post was my 200th post. Thank you for reading and for all your support!
While it seems that we have gone straight from winter to summer, I will take it.
A rainy but memorable day.
My daughter had her first field trip at a local farm. It was a great day, despite the rain. I was going to write more, but I think the event deserves its own post. But here is a preview.
Surviving wasps and ticks
Along with the warmer weather, we have been getting visits from unwanted guests.
My daughter had her first tick bite last night. I saw it in the morning. Now I know I must check her every night. I have never had a tick bite myself so I have never worried about it. Luckily I was able to get it all out with tweezers and we went to the pediatrician just in case. So I will keep an eye on it for a rash.
We also had a few hibernating queen paper wasps in the house. That freaked me out. I am not a fan of bugs. Killing bugs was Bryon’s job but now it is mine.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I laugh each and every time I saw that on my Facebook newsfeed. Though this was in a different context. Probably in the intended context.
Anyway, the day after I discovered the wasps was my routine treatment from the exterminator. Luckily Mr. Exterminator was very nice. He didn’t mind me staring at him adoringly because at that moment, he was my knight in shining armor. He even located a wasps nest on my garage and got rid of it.
Everyone who has worked hard on the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party
Saturday will be the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party. I am thankful for everyone who donated their goods and their time toward this event. We raise money for my daughter’s education trust and toward the establishment of scholarships to be set up in Bryon’s memory at Siena College and Albany Law School. If you are in the Albany area, we hope to see you.
Tickets can be purchased here or you can buy them at the door.