A never ending cycle, STOP

Our entire lives are spent working to prepare for the next thing.  Kindergarten is spent getting kids ready for first grade.  Stand in any first grade classroom throughout the day and you will hear continually that they will need to know this for second grade.  Elementary school is all about preparing for middle school, middle school for high school and the four years spent there is all about getting into the right college (or for many of what you could afford).  We go to college to be prepared for the real world and once there many feel they are totally not prepared!

What no one ever tells you is that there is just no end to the cycle.  When we are young we assume that it is all for a purpose, as if we will be rewarded as a result of our years of preparation.  Once out of school it is about working to get ahead or more the norm just to stay afloat.  Work hard, hard, harder just to pay your bills and don’t forget the outstretched hand of the government.  Property taxes, sales taxes, federal income taxes and for many of us state income taxes and now a presidential election where some say we still don’t pay enough.

Our lives lived as if we were merely hamsters on a wheel, running in circles.  images

Recently there has been much sadness around us.  Cancer, a very rare medical situation and a massive heart attack.  Taken much too young,  a friend, an acquaintance , a relative of a friend, all under 50 years.  Why does it take such tragedy to make you say STOP, if even for just a little while.  We spent the weekend as a family enjoying beautiful weather and some great soccer.

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Sure the bills must be paid and the tests taken.  The days will pass but we all need to make a conscience effort to enjoy the little things.  To stop and recognize the beauty of each day.  I am not an extremely religious person but I thank God for each morning I get to kiss the girls as I wake them or see them smile with each new achievement.  Life is too short, before you know it you are looking back wishing for one more moment.  Enjoy the moments while in them, smile more and worry less.  It’s easy enough to say right? I am willing to put in the effort!

 

 

Cheers to a new year!

At the end of the year WordPress sent a recap. I glanced at it but did not really read it. I have not posted regularly in a while.  Honestly it sat unread in my inbox until the other day.  The recap itself was not too interesting since it only covers what I posted, which was not much, but it brought to mind a very stressful year.  It brought to mind laughter and tears, memories that were at times busy, frustrating, exciting, painful, stressful and of course love filled.  At many times I thought of posting to help me clear my head but for so many reasons at the time it just did not seem right.

Sometimes the weight on your shoulders seems too heavy. It often seems to great to bear but when you are about to scream, it is good idea to step back and take a second to look down the road you have just traveled if for nothing else than perspective.

Watching winning returns come in on Primary night
Watching winning returns come in on Primary night

Early in the year I was approached to run for political office with 2 others for township council.  We won the primary but in the end I fell short by about 30 votes of winning in the general election.  Months of meetings, greetings, hand shakes and campaigning.  Politics can be ugly.  It was a very interesting experience that I am thrilled I attempted but to be fully honest I am just as thrilled to leave behind.  It was time consuming and stressful on my family especially my girls who have grown accustomed to my being home every night to put them to bed.  We could have done good things for our township had we won but each day I know I do great things for my girls, and in the end that is enough for me.

Megan's dingy cast right before removal
Megan’s dingy cast right before removal

At the end of  May I received an emergency phone call from school to pick-up Megan after a recess accident.  During a kick ball game she had run into another student and had fallen.  She hit her head on the concrete and was cut up pretty good.   An urgent care visit and many tears later we realized we had our first broken bone of the family.  Much celebration came when the cast was off at the end of June in time for swimming.

Sadly this was actually the second experience with emergency rooms for us in the year.  One of the more stressful and downright terrifying events of the year was in early May when Frank fell short of breath and began having chest pains.  Within a few short minutes he could barely stand on his own.  We rushed him to the hospital where he stayed for several days.  After a cardiac catheterization, a heart attack,  along with any heart issue was ruled out thankfully.  No perfect answer was ever fully provided to us as to the exact cause but again, thankfully, he has been fine ever since.

IMG_6244Of course we had the normal hustle and bustle of travel soccer, basketball, music lessons and Karate.  Both girls achieved their red belts this year.  Years of work and focus, not an easy achievement.

We went to Niagara falls Canada in July and had a wonderful time, although the 10532776_10202345983271454_9206650645340516440_nprices were ridiculous.  We did the normal tourists things and enjoyed some nice family time.  We also took a ride to the Toronto Zoo to see the Giant Panda’s.  Amazing creatures! IMG_6086

During the holidays we were treated to a performance of the school’s fifth grade chorus, of which Megan is a member, singing along with the South Jersey Philharmonic Symphony.  Megan was so thrilled to be on stage.  It was something special to witness!Whitman Philharmonic

My husband worked for a well know large company which I will not name.  Over the years he was subjected to pay cuts in the name of streamlining which we accepted.  Things over the last year had been stressful but came to a head in mid November when he was notified that the decision had been made to lay him off along with hundreds of others.  (Yes the media says things are so much better, question what you are told). Christmas was both a blessing where he was able to enjoy the girls without work but also extremely stressful since he had not landed a job.    Tomorrow  2/9 he starts a new chapter in our lives with a new company.  Good luck to my Frank and we love you!

I continue to turn to this forum as a sounding board and I apologize if this is a bit rambling.  I realize it is late but I wish everyone a happy New Year and say cheers to new starts, new years and new opportunities!

A mother’s crazy pride

It starts when they are born, how alert the baby in the first seconds of life or the belief that we saw them wave to us the first time you held them in your arms.  That crazy mother’s pride that you have just delivered to the world the next great thinker.  That crazy pride that at some point we all show. It of course is measured differently by all, to some every single thing you child does is amazing. Facebook posts are made hourly to announce each and every “new” moment.  To others, they are so guarded there is really nothing that will spark that crazy mommy thing. To the rest of us it is everything in between,

Both of my girls are playing travel soccer this year and my husband is one of the coaches on the little ones team. Last week was the official opening week. Of course both games were at the same time so we were separated. I believe it was the first game of Meg’s that Frank had ever missed, (and thankfully so). My daughter is the primary goalkeeper for her team, a team who saw three of its top offensive players pulled up to another team in the off-season. The game itself was, well it was a catastrophe, a pure annihilation. I could take this moment to tell you that it was over 90 degrees and,…but I could not tell you anything both teams did not have happening to them. Our girls had lost by the 10 minute mark of the first half. The entire team looked like they had never played the game before (although this is the 3rd year of travel soccer), and if I am being truly honest my daughter was plan awful. She was lazy and half-hearted and when pulled from the goal at the half I was thrilled. The game was painful to watch.

We have spent many an hour sitting at extra training sessions with Meg to help her be the best keeper she can be as well as a good chunk of money on those sessions as well as protective gloves, jerseys etc.  We of course understand that the ball has to get through the rest of the girls before it ever even reaches her position.  We also fully understand that she can not score from her end of the field so if the team does not even take a shot she can not control that.  What she can control is the effort she puts forth each and every time she takes the field, we expect that  she gives it her all.

These are some of the things we discussed all week-long heading into week two.  There was no yelling but the conversations were stern.  My expectations are high for my children and I do everything I possibly can to help them to rise to those expectations.  I believe that is a big part of what is wrong with the country right now, the lowering of expectations.  We stressed to Megan that no one expects anything from her except to come out each week and play hard.

The girls took to the field this week under cloudy skies and rain expected.  My girl was on!  She stopped one and then a second and with each her confidence came back.  The team fed off of her spark and even though the rains came and made the game a little messy the girls took away a well deserved 2-0 win.  Seeing my children believe in themselves, seeing them rise to the challenge, seeing them fight, that is where I derive my pride.  Megan was so happy.  She walked off the field with her head help high and a smile a big as could be.

They will always have ups and downs.  My job it to figure out how to help them reduce the distance between the two, to help them brush off and recover quickly from the lows and to always, always be strong enough to face the next challenge.  I love my job!