Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #24

It’s Friday-

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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I just want to note: It’s been a few weeks since I did a Gratitude post and I felt the need to start back up again. We all need some gratitude in our lives. Usually I focus on the previous week but honestly, this week hasn’t been the best. Nothing really bad has happened. No one died. No one has lost their limbs. (#perspective). There have been a few positives but there have been some negatives. Some drama that has taken up too much energy in my head space.

I hate even bringing up that it’s drama because I don’t want to even validate it. And while 90’s fashion has made a comeback (which I love) and I love reconnecting with old high school classmates, I have zero interest in actually reliving those years. I turn 40 this summer, FFS!

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This post is going to cover some events that have happened over the past month.

I am sorry if the language in the memes offends you.

Actually I am not sorry. This is my blog and I made the decision that I will express myself how I wish on my platform. #unapollogeticallykerry

  1. Hard Lessons.

    I am going to choose to be grateful for the lessons that I have been learning this week. This week has been a trying week and it has caused me to do a lot of reevaluating, especially on the topic of boundaries. Just how much bullsh*t am I going to tolerate? My tolerance level for BS is pretty low, especially considering that two years ago, I was on a journey to Hell and Back. #perspective

    I don’t have the answers I need (yet!) but I am searching for clarity. I have been writing my feelings in my a journal and I have been sorting them out. Even though this has been a frustrating week, I am going to come out of this week with stronger character than when I started.

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    My mood this week
  2. Fenway Trip

    I am always grateful for a trip to Boston to see my Red Sox. I don’t care what people say-screw Disney because Fenway Park is the happiest place on Earth. And I am glad I got to share the trip with my daughter and my bestie.

  3. Def Leppard and Journey Concert with Kimmy Gibbler

    A month ago, Kimmy Gibbler and I got to see Def Leppard and Journey at the Times Union Center in Albany. The concert was awesome! I didn’t go to many concerts when I was younger. Partly because I lived in Maine and there weren’t as many but partly because 20 year old Kerry did not know how to live.

    I had so much fun. The music was so loud and my heart was pounding. Kimmy and I did observe some older people who don’t get out often and were having trouble handling their fun.

    At one point, Kimmy and I were in a line at the concession stand. Some drunk older woman gets behind us and starts to rub my back. I have personal space issues to begin with and I was way too sober to let a strange woman touching me go unnoticed. I finally say “Yeah…you can stop rubbing my back now.” Luckily she did.

    Best story of the stars aligning right. The only food line with a short line was the fried dough. I didn’t eat lunch or dinner and was so hungry I could eat my arm. So I got friend dough and some of the sugar spilled on me. Kimmy pointed it out and I smile and say “Pour some sugar on me.”

  4. Trip to Cedar Point in Ohio.

    Over Memorial Day weekend, my daughter and I drove 8 hour-ish to Ohio. We met up with my Michigan Bestie and my Chicago Bestie and rented an airbnb. Another old friend happened to be in Cleveland and came to stay on night. It was a great time and I will write more about this trip later.

    Funny anecdote. I went to the Def Leppard and Journey concert on a Wed and was driving out to Ohio on Fri. As I was driving through Cleveland and I heard a commercial on the radio for the Def Leppard and Journey concert coming up that Monday. I got excited. I hop everyone in Cleveland attended.

  5. Dance Recital.

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    I am grateful I got to see my daughter dance even if it was very sad for me because her father wasn’t sitting beside me.

    The reality is, I have pretty much gotten used Bryon being gone. At least day to day. Please don’t conclude that that means that I don’t feel a void. I feel a void every day. But I am used to feeling the void and the emptiness.

    But it’s moment like this that I truly miss Bryon because this was an event that we anticipated that we’d be sharing together. When our daughter was a baby, we talked about how we would enroll her in a dance class and she would have a dance recital. It’s the memories that we’d anticipated together where I feel the void the most. Because they weren’t just my dreams and plans. They were our dreams and plans.

    I has dawned on me that we didn’t anticipate too far into the future. Sure, we talked about doing dance classes. We talked about going to a Red Sox game and New York City at Christmastime. Then there are other milestones like graduations, college and Bryon looked forward to planning her wedding. (He liked to throw parties. I am probably the only bride who had her groom plan her wedding).

    We could only anticipate a few years into the future because our daughter was a baby. We did not know what her interests were going to be. That is another realization that makes me miss Bryon. Our daughter hasn’t yet grown into the person she is meant to be and he won’t see it when it happens.

    And that makes me sad. I guess I have to have hope that I won’t feel empty forever, right?

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    I am sorry that I ended this blog post on a heavy note.

    What are you grateful for this week?

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The first dance recital

Last Saturday was a big day in the McKim house.

It was the day of my daughter’s first dance recital.

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This was her first year of dance.  She was in a ballet and tap combination class for 3 and 4-year-olds.

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I know as a rookie dance mom, I found the whole experience a little overwhelming but my daughter handled it like a pro.  On top of skipping her nap.

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She played the role of “Little Miss Sassy” so well.

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This age is still a little unpredictable.   Age 3 is young to be on stage.  I was worried that she would get scared but she made it on stage.

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And she rocked her dance.

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I asked her what she thought about being on stage and she told me that she liked it.  The stage was a big stage at The Egg Performing Arts Center in downtown Albany.  I asked her if she saw lights or people and she said she saw both.

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This day was very emotional for me because it was her first recital and Bryon wasn’t here to see it.  When she was a baby, Bryon and I talked about how we were going to put her in dance class and that she would be in a recital. It is bittersweet to see her grow and reach milestones and not have Bryon there.  We may be coming up on two years since he died but his absence is still profound.  But she is going to have a lifetime of firsts and milestones and I am just going to have to get used to the emptiness that accompanies those events.

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It didn’t help that it was also Father’s Day weekend. I was in a bad mood (with my daughter’s father being dead and all) but my parents made it for the recital.  My daughter loves her grandparents so much and we were lucky they got to see her.

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #22

It’s Friday.  You know what that means!

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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Here are some of the things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Girls Night

    I got a chance to catch up with Kimmy Gibbler and The Architect.  And it was a lot of fun.

  2. Inner circle

    Not THAT Inner Circle.

    (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.)

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    We are talking about this inner circle.  And the non-pictured husbands and boyfriends.

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    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.

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  3. Wedding Week

    On Saturday these two adorable kids are getting married and I am grateful that I get to be a part of their day.

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  4. 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.

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    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.

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  5. 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…

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    What are you grateful for this week?

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s out there!

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Three and a half and asking questions

My daughter officially turned three and a half yesterday.

Where has time gone?

Yesterday she asked her first questions about her father.

We were talking and I mentioned that I missed him.

She asked me why.

I said that I missed him being here.

I could see her wheels turning, trying to remember him.  I told her that she was too young to remember him.

She accepted my explanation.

She then asks “Did you touch his hair?”

I said “Yes.”

Then she asks “Did you touch his body?”

I said “Uh…yeah…”

Then she asks “Did you touch his face?”

I said “Yes.”

She seemed satisfied with that knowledge and went back to watching Paw Patrol.

I know this is only the beginning to the questions she is going to ask about her father and why her father died.

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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Holidays 2017- the condensed version

This Christmas Season, I started ahead of the game but ended up getting bronchitis and it took me two weeks to feel better.  I used to get bronchitis every year or every other year through my teens and 20’s.  The last time I had bronchitis was in 2010 so I was long overdue.  It was a good run.  I didn’t remember bronchitis being so hard to get over but back then, I wasn’t chasing a little human.

Despite being sick, my daughter and I saw the Nutcracker.  Not the Russian Nutcracker (those who saw Bad Moms 2 will understand.)  My daughter loved it.  Well…except for the mice.  She is still talking about when she saw the ballerinas.

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Santa came to the daycare party.

We took the train to Christmas Town (formerly the Polar Express).  The boy with us is the son of Bryon’s best friend.  His mother and I had been talking about taking the kids on the Polar Express since we were pregnant and we felt that they were old enough to enjoy it this year.

A friend of ours graciously invited us to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen.  She had tickets in the first row. I am not going to lie.  Even as an adult, it was amazing.

We decorated cookies.  Last year the kids were two and not into it at all.  This year we just used kits and it worked out well.  Maybe next year we will bake and decorate.

We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my daughters Godmother and her family.

On Christmas Eve we had our second annual Feliz Navidad Lunch.

We spent Christmas Eve with some close friends and Elsa.  My friend gave me Red Sox wine.  She so gets me.

Someone stopped by.

We woke up to a White Christmas outside and a Barbie House in our living room.  Thanks Santa!

We had dinner with good friends.

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Boxing Day was low-key.  My daughter wanted to go to school so I brought her even though I had the day off.  I hit some after Christmas sales and a friend came over.

One the 27th, we had an amazing dinner at my daughter’s Godmother’s house.

My parents came the 28th.  I put my Dad to work and he assembled various items.  There visit ended up being cut short because I decided to go to Maine to attend the funeral of a friend.  They didn’t mind because they still got to spend time with my daughter…just in Maine,  not NY.

I spent New Years with good friends playing Cards Against Humanity.  My friend has an amazing brunch on New Years Day.  I really look forward to the event.  I love nothing more than to start the new year with my closest friends.

Their you have it.  Each of these events deserved their own post but I was too exhausted to write them.  I wanted to have one post at least documenting all the goodness that went on.  I went into the Christmas season feeling sad and while that is a totally normal feeling for a grieving person at this time of the year, I didn’t want to be sad.

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When I was writing my recent post about the last Christmas with Bryon, I had had an epiphany.  My daughter won’t remember that last Christmas (or Bryon for that matter- which breaks my heart) but she will probably remember this Christmas albeit vaguely.

It is up to me to give her amazing Christmas memories.  Bryon is gone and even though my heart aches, life is about the living and my daughter is living.  My friends and family are living.

It is up to me to try to push through my sadness and create happy memories for my daughter as well as my family and friends.  Because someday they will look back at their last Christmas me.

When someone experiences a profound loss, you realize just how temporary life is.  We need to embrace the now because someday we will only exist in a loved one’s memory.

I am glad I was able to enjoy the holidays this year.  Well except for a brief meltdown on Christmas Eve morning where I said some choice words to God and decided not to go to Mass.  But other than that, I had an amazing Christmas filled with gatherings, good food and laughter.

I have come a long way.  When I think of Christmas 2016, I am grateful for those in life but there was a deep sadness that hung in the air.  But I will look back on Christmas 2017 as a warm and happy season.  I am grateful for the healing that has taken place to get me here.

And for that, I truly am blessed.

Why I think being a widow sucks

  1.  I have no one to kill bugs anymore. 

    When everything happened with Bryon, people kept telling me that I was so strong and that was because I had to be.  That applies in this scenario, albeit on a lesser scale.

  2. Car maintenance becomes my responsibility.

    Car maintenance is not my strong point.  One time when Bryon and I were dating, I half-jokingly said that whenever I heard my car make a noise, I would turn the radio up and hope it would go away.  Bryon was appalled by that answer and said that he was going to take care of the car maintenance.  I was glad to be relieved of that responsibility and I happily obliged.

  3. Actually everything is now my responsibility.  

    I have learned that Bryon did everything.  The car maintenance, killed the bugs, took care of the yard and the finances.  I pretty much changed diapers, made sure there was milk in the fridge and did a half assessed attempt to keep up with the laundry.

  4. The empty bed.

    Some nights I just hope my daughter crawls in just so I won’t be alone.

    Or the cat.

  5. No date nights with my love.

    No more romantic dinner.  No more dances at weddings.  While I have learned to be a more independent person, I do miss these nights with Bryon.  And sure, I could date but I am very “meh” at the thought of dating.

  6. Being the third/fifth/seventh/ninth wheel.

    While I am so happy that my friends still choose to keep me in their lives, I always feel like the odd person out.  It could not be any clearer that Bryon is missing.

  7. Lack of sex.

    I supposed I could fix that problem but the thought of some strange guy touching me just isn’t my style.

  8. Having to troubleshoot any electronic problem by myself. 

    My cell phone was possessed.  I ended up just buying a new one because it was easier.  (To be fair, it was overheating too which I took as a bad sign).

  9. Being an only parent is exhausting.

    I know every situation with a single parent is different and some non widowed single parents are only parents and can relate.  But when you are a widowed parent, you are the only parent.  You have your kids 24/7.  They don’t go to their other parent on the weekends.  Between parenting, full time work, blogging,  fitness, housework, and dealing with grief, I am exhausted.  Then you have to throw in the new responsibilities like killing bugs and car maintenance on top of it.  I am lucky to get more than 5 hours of sleep in a night.  It’s a good thing I don’t want to have sex.  I wouldn’t have time for it.

  10. Single parent judgement. 

    It doesn’t matter how many stories I read to her, how many places I take her to, how many cute outfits I put her in or the fact that I am able to have her in dance classes and gymnastics.  People begin to judge every parenting decision you make and talk to you like you are ignorant and uneducated.  It’s like one day I was like all the other parents- married, educated and successful and now I am viewed as “white trash”.

    Just to be clear, I didn’t ask nor plan to become a widowed mother.  I wish I could have Bryon back.  He would put all those Judgey McJudedgersons in their place.  (Bryon always did that.  If I was being grumpy, he would say “Someone is being a Grumpy McGrumperson”.)  Actually he probably wouldn’t have cared what they thought.

  11. PTSD

    I generally process everything okay, but I know that if I ever date or marry again, I will always worry that that man was going to die.  It happened once, it can happen again.  Will I ever get to be carefree again?

    And while I generally stay calm in situations and get ice or ibuprofen or whatever, I worry about cuts.  Bryon had one infection after another and went into septic shock many times.  So even though it’s unlikely, anytime my daughter or I gets a cut, I bring out the neosporin and the Frozen band-aids because I am paranoid about sepsis.