pride and hurting

How can you watch someone you love hurt over and over again and not hurt? How do you continue to love someone whose values don’t align with yours at all? How do you acknowledge the person that they are and accept that they are no longer your friend? How do you tell someone you love that in order to be who they need you to be, you have to remove yourself from them? How do you wrap your head around their decisions and let them go?

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2017 is almost over…

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… and I haven’t written in awhile. I almost asked myself why even bother sharing my thoughts with the ether, but I know how much it positively affects my mental state. So I am back here.

I think the thing I miss most about logging on and putting my thoughts down in words is reflecting on my goals and weaknesses. I use a daily planner for every day To Do lists, but I don’t take the time to think about myself as much as I used to.

Part of that is because I’m not as worried about “making the right decisions” anymore. I know that life is not about making the right decisions but rather about finding your way day by day.

I had knee surgery. I had an accident with Charlie. I gained some weight. I went back to work and picked up another part-time shift.¬† I currently work 40 hours plus an additional 3 shifts at the Knights. I got a raise at my day job – the one I asked for a year ago. I’m going to close on a house soon.

Life is happening to me.

My most important goal was paying down my student loan debt, but then I started to like my job and started to hate my living situation. I recognize that I’m so lucky to have to home I have now with my sister. We just can’t live together and be happy. It never worked when we were little. It hasn’t been working now.

So, I got excited about the idea of having my own place, and my mom Рwith her newly earned real estate license Рstarting looking. My budget was small, and I know that means a lot of paint and a lot of patience until I have a home that is modern and mine. I found the house that I was looking for. I have plans for an office and a shop room and a guest bedroom with a screen projector for movie nights. I will have room for an additional freezer for the game I harvest. I will have a garage to put a canoe. I will have little view of the river. I will have my own bathroom!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my jobs. I’m grateful for my family. I know I’m single and 25 all alone in a house, but I have my doggo. I have my parents and grandparents within ten miles.¬†I’m scared and worried and a little disappointed that I’m taking out more loans rather than paying them off, but mostly, I’m excited.

expectations vs reality

A patron at the bar asked me what I want to be when I grow up while I was getting his beer. I answered, “that’s still up for debate.” He liked my answer and agreed that life isn’t always black and white. Over the past seven years, I’ve tried to determine my “dream job.” ¬†After taking personality tests and career tests and researching job prospects, I am still only a little closer to that answer, but every time I ask myself this question, a quiet voice answers, “motherhood is my dream job.” I knew when I was younger I wanted a family. At times, I want to be a mom so much that it hurts.¬†Having kids was always something I had to look forward to and progress towards. The past few years have made that goal seem further and further away. When I was talking this through with my cousin she responded that disappointment is a part of life. Of course, she’s right. Disappointment in myself is a constant battle of trying not to compare myself to others or think negatively about myself. I know I am disappointed in myself. It seems like I took a wrong turn, and I’m not living my life but someone else’s.¬†When I made it through college and job searching, I wasn’t ready for a relationship let alone starting a family. Now,¬†I see young families walking at the park, and I question whether I’ll ever be capable of loving someone enough to start a family with them. I have to just keep going and pray that I’m headed in the right direction.

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dads make life better

I meant to post this for Father’s Day last year, but I somehow missed it. And here we are again… another year gone by… another year of my Dad being awesome too.

My friend Nichole’s birthday celebration was the week before Father’s Day last year, and it was such a good time. She got her family and friends together for drinks and wings and dancing. I got to meet her dad who I think is just too sweet. He was dancing with all of us and told me how nice it was to meet me. I realized how important it is to meet people’s parents.  They help you understand your friends better.

Nichole’s dad has several daughters. I think dads with daughters know what’s up. Men who have girls learn so much about what growing up as a girl is like, and those men ultimately watch their daughter turn into a woman. I think watching daughters grow up makes most fathers into better people.

And I was thinking about this the weekend of Father’s Day. I like when my life lines up like that. I got to meet Nichole’s dad, and he reminded me how great dads are.

And look at my dad when he was in high school!

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What an 80s hunk.

He’s gutted his whole house to make it pretty – the house in which all of us kids were/are being raised – and took a photo with us even though he was sweaty and gross. It’s okay; we love him that way.

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Now look at his herd of kids (plus a grand baby)! The photo below was taken almost two year ago. We need a new one with my niece in it. Mom and Dad did a heck of a job. My Dad not-so-secretly loves having adult children to meet up with at the bar. I have a theory that he had so many kids just to grow a bunch of friends.

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love multiplies.

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My grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary in August so my aunts and uncles hosted a gathering last weekend for hundreds of their family and friends. I didn’t get to stay long because I,¬†unfortunately, had to tend bar, but the next day they,¬†renewed their vows and hosted¬†lunch at their house. I got to enjoy all of that fun.

50 years.

The golden anniversary.

Five decades and their marriage has, so far, produced six children, 24 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren (plus one on the way). Not only that, but they encouraged relationships between their nieces and nephews and children, creating an extended family of cousins and second cousins that know each other by name and share in family events and holidays.

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I’ve occasionally been asked if growing up with so many siblings was difficult. Other people wonder if I ever felt unloved or forgotten. The answer is almost never. Love multiplies. You can’t minimize it or subtract from it. Adding more people to love doesn’t take away from anyone else.

50 years.

If I was to get married by the end of the year (ha!), I would be 74 for my 50th anniversary. My cousin Rachael messaged me after the party and decided that we need to get married. We love weddings and kids and family. Why not get hitched? Well, neither of us will settle when it comes to husbands. So we wait.

Still, weddings are wonderful and anniversaries are just as great. Especially when there are so many people to laugh with and so many babies to kiss.

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a letter to my niece


Nora,


You are finally here, you stubborn little nugget. You made your mama wait an extra week. An extra week of contractions and discomfort. An extra week of trying all the secrets to inducing labor. She tried castor oil, walking, spicy food, relaxing, hypnosis, primrose oil tablets, and everything women told her she should try, but God chose January 4th for your arrival. 


Your mama labored for 10 hours with you. She did a great job. She didn’t think she could, but we all knew she would. ¬†You caused some problems on your way out, and while your grandma, and Aunt Joan, and I were looking at you, are hearts ached for your mama in surgery. So we prayed for her and kissed your cheeks some more.¬†When she came back all stitched up, we were so happy. You got each other back.


I used to wonder what it would be like when your mama or I had a baby. We’d get to feel what all the other mamas got to feel and ache like all the other mamas ached. I wondered what a baby would feel like when she kicks for the first time. My favorite part of your journey here was seeing your mama feel you kicking.¬†


I never anticipated the love I’d feel for you and my sister. I didn’t know what it would be like to see her fall in love with her baby. I didn’t know that loving you would feel so different from loving my baby siblings. Your mama and I are roommates, bunk mates, and snuggle buddies. We’ve shared everything together, and you feel like a piece of my heart, just like her. A whole new place in my heart opened for you like it had been waiting for you to arrive all along.


I can’t wait to watch my sister mother you. I can’t wait to see what you teach her. I can’t wait to see you grow. I can’t wait to see what you love and what your talents are. You are a miracle.¬†


I love you forever.

Your Aunt Hannah