Category Archives: relationships

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Politics Driving Wedges in Friendships

I’ve always been interested in politics. I pride myself on trying to self-educate on the issues rather than rely on others rhetoric. It seems this year that the vast majority of American’s are trying to do the same.

 But here is something I have learned now more than ever.

Politics are dirty and not just with politicians. Waters are muddied when there are political differences among friends.

I find it frustrating and disheartening. What is the thread that binds us all regardless of party affiliations? Social media.

 People are passionate. I get it and appreciate the enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle. Our children’s future is at stake and we all want to leave the world a better place four years from now than it is today.

However, I’ve witnessed blanket insults intentional or not, directed at so called friends or acquaintances on social media. When I read comments from alleged friends that state “you must be brain dead to vote for Hillary” or “anyone that votes for Trump is a sexist and a bigot”, it’s a direct insult to anyone who may support either candidate.

 Like politicians, I find these Facebook political bullies to be just as hypocritical as the candidate they choose to back.

 These are the same people that post inspirational memes of love, peace and of unity. Irony!

This election has gutted common courtesy and dare I say, sense out of some “friends”. Would you dare spew such hateful remarks or words in a face to face conversation with a friend? If someone were to tell me I’m brain dead or I’m a racist and bigot, you’d bet that was the last conversation I’d ever have with that person.

 Last night I shared a friend’s status that I found hysterical. It was shared in the spirit of humor and nothing more. The status was tongue in cheek. Before I knew it, I had someone comment how they were surprised I supported this candidate.

 I have never publicly stated my views nor whom I’m voting for. I wouldn’t be that dumb lol.

I find others constant “calling out” of friends (again I’ll use that term loosely) antagonistic and bully like. To me, those tactics infringe on stepping into someone’s personal space. Challenging theories or healthy debate seems reasonable but has proven impossible in this climate.

As I step off of my soapbox, I’d like to reiterate that each of us as United States citizens are charged with doing our own fact checking and truth seeking to find the candidate who will best represents our ideologies. We are not obligated to convince others of our opinion nor are we beholden to sway others to our position.

I beseech each of you to loosen your grip and think twice before you sling that mud as you never know who will be hit intentionally or not by that throw.

Ask yourselves, are Clinton and Trump really worth losing friends over?

May God be with each of you and may Election Day come upon us with speed.

Open Letter to My College Bound Son

Where do I begin? I have loved you your whole life and will continue to do so til my last breath. You have been so fun to have in our household. Your quick witted sense of humor, even dumb humor at times, always made me giggle. As an infant into adulthood, your easy going personality along with your permanent smile made parenting you so easy.

As you prepare for college there is so much advice I need to dole out to you. Murphy’s Law is for you to rebuff my advice as annoying or try to blow me off so I feel the best approach is through a letter. As I did with your sister, I will put this in an envelope and pack it up with your belongings as you move into your college dorm. When you long for a piece of home, or need that comfort of a mom’s love, you can read this letter. Know my heart is always with you.

Well, I must admit on your last day of school, I couldn’t stop crying. I wasn’t quite sure what I was crying about but it wouldn’t stop. Then it hit me. I’m crying because for the first time, I will not be physically by your side to problem solve with you or jump to your rescue. Letting go of you is way harder than I anticipated.

There a thousand things I love about you. I love the way you take life a day at a time and you never really sweat things. I love your fierce loyalty, honesty and humbleness. People gravitate toward you for a reason. You are warm, welcoming, accepting, compassionate, and genuine.

When you wake up in your dorm room for the first time sans your family, there are things you should be reminded of to keep you grounded. You now share a room with someone. Keep it clean! Be considerate of your roommate by picking up after yourself. After long days of classes and nights out, no one should have to walk through a mind field of dirty clothes or garbage, including you. That’s your first order of business!

For the love of God, set your alarm. I won’t be there to gently wake you up every morning ensuring you get to class on time. Make sure your alarm is set ALWAYS. You are now paying for college. Make sure you get to your classes as it’s on your dime now. Don’t hit snooze and say, I’ll just miss today. Nope, the more you miss, the more you have the potential to fall behind. Even on the coldest of days where you don’t want to go outside, get to class. Even on days that you may be hungover, get to class. Even on days you have a cold, get to class. Your sole job in life right now is to get to class, study, get good grades and PASS!

The time has come. Laundry time! Yup, don’t wait til your down to your last pair of underwear or shorts. Figure out a schedule and do laundry weekly. Knowing you, you might even skip the underwear just not to do laundry but suck it up buttercup. Laundry needs to be done and you’re just the guy to do it. Here’s the second piece to this puzzle. FOLD YOUR CLOTHES! Since I know you won’t be ironing and looking good is a priority, wrinkled clothes won’t work for you. Fold your clothes and put them away, just not in a pile on your desk or in a corner of the room.

You successfully completed high school and somehow with doing minimal homework. That comes to a halt immediately. There is no more skimming by. Your smarts alone won’t get you through college. Homework needs to be done and papers need to be written. Being a minimalist will be a detriment to you in college. Work up to your fullest ability proving to your professors that you are up to the task of college work. If you have an exam, STUDY FOR IT! Skip the night out with friends or a frat and choose school work over partying each and every time. There will always be another party or another gathering. That exam, well, there will NOT be another time. That exam counts toward your GPA.

Priorities, priorities, priorities! You are now living on your own for the first time. No one there to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. You are solely responsible for every decision you make and will deal with the consequences of those decisions both good or bad. Make smart choices. Parties and socialization are definitely the fun part of college but never forget you are there to earn a college degree. Academics are the priority. The end.

You’ve been a relationship for all of your high school life. Perhaps this relationship with continue in college and maybe it won’t. Decide what is good for you and what feels right. That relationship shouldn’t feel burdensome at any time. Your gut will tell you if and when you need to end it. Know it will be a lot of work to continue a relationship with you both being in separate colleges. I don’t want you to ever feel like you are missing out on something because you are bogged down by a long distance relationship. Keep in mind you will be exposed to many new people and people with different experiences. Be open to them and don’t pigeon hole yourself in a corner because you have a girlfriend. I’m not saying to cheat on her. Don’t ever do that! But every once in a while, take a step back and decide if it’s what you want. At this point in your life, it IS all about you.

For arguments sake and just to cover this topic, let’s say you end up single at some point in college. Be the guy that opens the door for a girl. Be the guy that isn’t a douche. Treat each girl respectfully. Don’t ever make them question where they stand with you. Be clear. Be kind but direct. Girls are emotional by nature and last thing you want is to have a girl cry over you. Be a gentlemen at all times and ALWAYS do the right thing by a female. Remember…if a girl says no, it’s no. Walk that girl to her dorm. If you are out at a bar with the a girl, make sure she gets home safe. Be the guy that every girl wants to bring home to mom.

At this point in your life, you may be unclear as to what career path you want to pursue and that’s ok. This is the time to figure things out. Explore everything! Take classes that interest you. You are going to spend your entire life working, make sure you choose a career you love. If you choose one major and decide it doesn’t interest you, now is the time to make that change. Figure out who you are and what you want out of life. I will be here to support your decisions and bounce things off of. There are tons of resources at school. Tap into them. Speak to your advisors and professors. They are your best educational resource. These people and these programs at school are here to serve you. Don’t be shy, step up and ask.

I’m excited for you to be attending a big sports college. Go to games. Enjoy everything that is at your fingertips. Cheer on your teams and have school pride. If feels good to be part of something. You are an enormously talented athlete and excel in all you do. You ARE good enough to play college baseball at Cortland. Should you change your mind, go to “walk-ons” and try out for the team. You will meet guys just like you that love to play ball and are the best. They will push you to do better and there is a brotherhood with baseball players you can’t find anywhere else. They become family for life. Think about that. If you choose not to play, it’s ok but stay active. Have pick-up basketball or football games with friends. Play softball or wiffle ball. Join the club teams. You are an athlete. Continue to be one!

Call your mother! Your life will be busy with school work, parties and friends. It is easy to get caught up in college life but remember there’s one person waiting to hear all about. She’s waiting to celebrate your successes, offer advice or just listen as needed. ME!! I want to hear all about your life as I won’t be there to see things first hand any longer. Know that you can call or text me at any time. I will always be here for you. I will be at Cortland in the blink of an eye should you ever need me. I’m only a phone call away.

Lastly and most importantly, be a good person. Be kind to everyone around you, student’s, staff and strangers. Befriend someone that might seem like an outsider. You never know how your actions or words can impact a person. If you see injustice at any point, I want you to stand up and speak up. If you see someone being bullied or treated like crap, you be that person to stop it. Do not be a bystander in life. You are an amazing kid and have always taken on the role of a leader. Continue to do that. Be someone that others look up to. Use that attribute for good…always.

Know that although you are at college, this is always your home. You are always welcomed here at any time. That no matter where your travels or life journey may take you, we welcome you home with open arms always. We are your comfort zone. We are the ones who will ALWAYS have your back no matter the circumstance. We are the ones who love you unconditionally. We are fiercely loyal to you and love you so much.

I wish you nothing but success, health and happiness in the next chapter of your life. You have always made us proud and I know you will continue that. You are the light of my life.

Love,
Mom xox

Birthdays ARE a Big Deal

I love birthdays, especially mine. It’s the one time of year that allows me to celebrate a person and really reflect on why they are important to me. Sure, this could be done any time of year but a birthday forces that reflection.

I don’t really understand those people that think birthdays aren’t a big deal and barely acknowledge their own. If nothing else, it also allows us to reflect on our own lives. We can look in the rear view mirror of where we have been and all the obstacles that we thought were impossible to overcome only to triumphantly celebrate that we didn’t crumble. It also presses our nose against the window of what might lie ahead.

It seems like only yesterday that I was fighting off the big 4-0 birthday. I kicked and screamed heading into that birthday. I suppose milestone birthdays will do that to a person as I leapt into another decade of my life. Now here I am at 44. I’m not even sure how I got this old. My younger day memories are so vivid and at heart, I’m much younger than my 44. Physically I’ve hit the pinnacle of 44. My hair is a little grayer, I can no longer easily shed those few pounds I gained over the holidays and I have a wrinkle or two that won’t quit. Age has grabbed my ankle and is pulling me down but not without a fight.

But here’s the thing. I like where I am right now. I think it’s natural that along life’s journey we try to figure out exactly who we are and what we are looking for. To me, the ultimate goal is happiness. Year after year, I’d speculate as to what I thought would make me happy. After attaining what I thought would make me happy I somehow was still looking down the pipeline scratching my head thinking, “I guess that wasn’t it”. And so, I forge forward still searching.

This is what I know at 44. I know exactly who I am and why I act or react the way I do to certain situations. That’s huge! That has been a lifetime of work to get to that point. I get a big pat on the back for that one. 

Recently, I was in the supermarket when I ran into an old friend. She was telling me what I should do or what I should post on Facebook to make her feel more comfortable with my life. This was a big moment for me because in that exact second, I knew I didn’t care. Let’s face it, I think we all care to an extent what people think of us. It’s human nature to want to be liked and accepted but I no longer seek anyone’s approval. How someone might react doesn’t stop me from trying new things or doing exactly what makes me happy. I live my life for me, not other people. (Oprah would love this!)

I embrace my double four digit. I have gained freedom of the soul. I’m not tied down by others expectations or limitations. I’m more in tune with who I am and what I want out of life.  We have one life and I am determined to live it to the fullest and without regret. I may stumble along the way and make mistakes but I own all of them. There is no longer a blame game. I am my choices both good and bad.

Happiness is this year’s birthday theme and present to me.  It has been bestowed upon me and I embrace it. I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Let’s raise a glass and make a toast together. May I reflect back on this year with the same fondness, glaring open heartedly at my successes and failures in work, volunteerism, friendships, and relationships and may I be able to ring in my 45th birthday with the same gift of joy that I feel now. Salute!

Open Letter to My College Bound Daughter

In ten days I will drive you to college and move you into your dormitory. Every parent says it, but it’s true. I’m filled with a plethora of emotion. With each piece of clothing you pack, I know the chances of seeing them or you again as a permanent resident in our household are slim. I can’t even begin to fathom what it will be like to live in a house without you. I’ve loved you and you have been by my side for 18 years. How strange it will be not having you patter around the house or walking by you on the couch. Silly to think, but I will miss you screaming Mom on the top of your lungs or asking me to make you something to eat. The little things will surely add up to magnify the silence and void I will feel.

There are a few things you must know as you enter adulthood and make your way into the world. I’m convinced that writing will be better received by you than a conversation because after all, you’re still a teenager prone to minimalize any advice I might offer. My hope is that you will read this thoroughly, and perhaps even twice. Please save this letter and read it for those times when you long for a piece of home. Let’s begin:

You are a priority. Every decision you make should propel you to your goal. It’s ok to be selfish in this area. Should you need to blow off your friends for a party to finish homework or study and you are met with resistance, do what is right for you. Don’t let others behavior influence a decision you know to be right. School work is your main focus and nothing, not even your friends, should interfere with this. You are paying to go to school, use your time wisely to maximize this experience. Knowledge is power. Get every dollars worth out of your classes.

In life, we encounter all types of people. Some you will bond with, becoming lifelong friends others you may dislike instantly. This applies to classmates, or even teachers. Handling difficult people are part of life. Try to limit your exposure to them and if you can’t, pull deep within you to tolerate them. Always be kind. If there is a student you see isolated, and not part of the “in crowd”, befriending such a person might make a difference in their life. Empathy is an important trait to possess. Try to make a difference in others lives as even the simplest of tasks can impact a person.

Campus life will be new and exciting. I know you think you are big and bad but truth is you’re a hundred pound, beautiful girl. Sometimes people suck and they might want to take advantage of this. Never walk campus alone and always use the buddy system. Stop rolling your eyes because I can see that! If you’re going to attend a frat or house party (whatever they call it) never leave your open drink unattended. If you go to the bathroom, that drink goes with you. Never give someone an opportunity to slip a drug into your drink. Since we are on the topic of drinking, try not to but if you must, drink in moderation. Excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and even worse, a ruined reputation. Make sure you make good decisions because your reputation will always follow you. Make sure your decisions support the person you are and want to be.

I suppose a boyfriend is somewhere in your future. Know that we support whatever decision you make. Race, religion or color does not matter to your parents. The only thing that matters is the man you are with treats you well, respects you and is supportive. If he does all these things, he is welcome into our family. Don’t ever allow someone to treat or talk to you badly. There are a million guys out there. Don’t be stuck on one. Whoever wins your heart, wins the lotto. You are a great catch with a ton to offer the right person. On the flip side, do not let your emotions or relationships interfere with your school work. Know that the right guy won’t ever make you cry. You are an equal in your relationships. If at any time you feel differently, get out of it.

Work hard in school so you will have a successful career. Every woman should be self-sufficient. Never rely on a man to support you. Build a career and maintain it. Fiscal independence is freedom.

Always be yourself. Don’t alter to fit the mold others have of you. You are unique and should remain that way. Compromise is a good thing but don’t ever compromise your standards, your beliefs or your integrity for anyone, no exceptions. You are enough.

You have a voice so be sure to use it. If you have an opinion, share it. If you feel wronged, air your grievance. If you disagree with someone, debate. Your thoughts and opinion matter so never think otherwise. Remember that you are a leader, not a follower. Blaze your own trail. Don’t fall prey to others beliefs or viewpoints, simply because it’s easier. Know who you are at all times, and be that person.

Lastly, know that I am always here for you. If something is bothering you and you need to call me in the middle of the night, do it. If you need me to come up to school, let me know and I’ll jump in my car. As much as you build a life of your own, know you are always welcomed home, always. Your family is and will always be your safe place to land. You are loved more than you can possibly imagine and I will help you no matter the circumstances. You can depend on me. I want you to have the life I never had but always dreamed of.

I love you,

Mom

20130812-193756.jpg

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I’m 43 and have learned yet another life lesson. (zip it about my age lol) Really, I’ve found myself in the same situation countless times and have been unable to learn from any of them, that is until now (yay me, go team!). Grab a glass of wine and let’s discuss. I’ll talk; you listen (as if there is another choice).

And tonight’s topic will be about relationships. We all have them in the shapes of marriages, friends, neighbors or co-workers, to name a few. Some can be lifelong or in the beginning stages. Bottom line, if you’re not a hermit, you have and invite new people into your life daily. Whew…ok now that I had to explain the premise, let’s proceed.

Here’s a little about me. Hate to break it to you, but I’m flawed. Although I’m a bundle of awesomeness (says me), it’s hard to believe but I do have issues. My past experiences and relationships comprise the person before you today. For starters, I’m a very black and white person. I’m a “tell it like it is” kind of girl and for the most part, I lack a filter. I’m extremely direct but always kind (like how I softened that?). The reason I’m like this is because I absolutely suck (in a big way) at deciphering gray areas. I just don’t get it. I will dig through the garbage in my head for hours trying to figure out that middle, gray area. My line of thinking is, if I’m direct, others will be too. OMG I literally am psycho- evaluating myself as I write this blog. I’m a half a God damn genius! Sorry for the interruption, let’s continue. Some might misinterpret my directness as aggression or confrontation. Truth is I hate confrontation but I won’t avoid it if it happens. I might view these as strengths, others as weaknesses. Regardless, each of these qualities lie within me.

Let’s continue. Please pay attention because this is where the life lesson comes in. I wouldn’t want you to miss it. When someone asks me a question, I answer honestly. I don’t skirt issues, hide from awkward or uncomfortable, and I don’t avoid. What you see is what you get (some appreciate this, others not so much). I suppose some might categorize this as genuine. I’m an all in or all out person. As previously noted, I don’t do middle ground. If I’m with you and you are my friend, you have one hundred percent of me. I don’t do shit half-assed and that includes my friendships (you’re welcome).

One would think, that what you give is what you get, right? WRONG! There’s my lesson. I have scars all over me of where I’ve been burned. I have assumed for 43 years (there’s that number again) that I would be rewarded with the same type of people in my life. With relationships come expectations. Sometimes I think life is like an interview. People present themselves in the best light possible which causes us to want to grasp and pull them in. But after the interview, comes the job. The initial wow factor is gone and we are left with the unfiltered, realer version of whom they originally represented themselves to be. More times than not, I try to overlook the disappointment but there comes a time for their job review and often times, dismissal.

It took me long enough, but I have finally learned that not everyone values my friendship as I might theirs. I’ve been called intense once or twice in my life (ok…constantly) and that’s what I bring to the table. I wear my heart on my sleeve trusting those I confide in. When someone tells me things I believe them. I’ve FINALLY realized not everyone does this. Not everyone tells the truth, nor are they genuine. I pride myself on being a fairly good judge of character but every so often someone slips in and I’m duped. Hate that!! I don’t want people that suck in my life, but they sneak in. There is something to be said about loyalty too. I swear I’d give my right testicle for my friends. (Don’t panic, I don’t have one…but you get the idea of my type of loyalty). The flip side of that is if you cross me, I am a very unforgiving person. Why open myself up to be hurt again by the same person twice? . To me, people and friends are not disposable. Friendship and loyalty go hand in hand. Part of today’s lesson is, others don’t necessarily feel that way.

The bottom line is, I’m finding that I can’t always get what I want but if I try real hard, I’ll get what I need. That need comes in the form of a handful of friends that will carry me through the hard times and laugh with me in the good times. For those that have stuck by my side despite all the parts of me that suck, thank you. Group hug!

20130727-102041.jpg