Monday, December 31, 2012


I have never been a New Year's person.   I always seem to get emotional, even when I was younger.  I even hate those television shows about all the events that happened during the past year, I can't ever seem to get through them without some degree of tearing up.

For the longest time, New Year's Eve just became a day for me to be relieved that I, and everyone that I loved most, made it through another year.  The new year was full of uncertainties and the unknown, and I just didn't like it.  I didn't realize how bleak of an outlook that was until I told that to my best friend that last year, but I can't help but to admit that was how I felt.

Last year, I spent New Year's Eve with my parents.  2011 was not a good year and I needed for it to end.  There was no reason to celebrate... I fell asleep before midnight as I just wanted the old year to end and the new to begin as quickly and as quietly as possible.

This year, today, I am not partying it up, however, I am actually looking forward to this new year.  I no longer fear the unknown of what this new year will bring.  I am actually looking forward to what this new year might just bring!  I think one of the reasons for this change is the fact that despite everything, 2012 was a wonderful year for me!

I traveled... I took my solo trip to Las Vegas.  I took a family vacation to the Adirondack's with my family.  I went to California with my brother and son.  I went to Connecticut with my son.  And I took many little day trips around NYC and spent lots of time visiting my family during the summer and long weekends throughout the year.  Right now, I am in the process of deciding if I want to take a cruise to the Bahamas with my son in March!  I need to decide soon.  I've also talked to my best friend about taking a girls' vaca this summer... I am so excited about that!

Connections... My closest peeps are still my closest peeps.  But I have some new ones that have meant alot and I am glad that I have become closer to them.  I even have a small group of people that are just outside of my inner circle and I appreciate having them in my life too.  I am going to continue to keep good people in my life and I know that I need to work hard at being a good friend.  I get too comfortable doing and being on my own.  Hopefully having a dinner party next week will be a great start to the new year!

Mommy... I made it a whole year on my own!  We made it through winter, spring, summer, and fall... a full school year of work, waking up early in the mornings, sick days, crabby days, fun days, travel days and all of the other wonderful days in between.  I'm a single mom.  I make mistakes.  I love my son more than anything, and I can honestly say that he knows it.  Every night when I lay down next to him to put him to sleep, he kisses me and tells me that he loves me and he falls asleep holding my hand.  He melts my heart.

Another... I have put myself out there and it is quite the process.  I have met lots of men and chatted with some interesting ones, but I did not go out on as many dates as I thought I would have.  However, there is one that has stuck.  I don't know what will come of it.  But, part of what I like most about him is that I can stay in and enjoy the moment with him.  I hope to enjoy many moments with him in this new year.  However, whether its with him or someone else, I have to admit that I am looking forward to possibly not spending this whole year alone.  I am ready to open myself up to more.  I want to welcome a relationship back into my life. 

Me... I found myself this year.  My family, friends, experiences, therapy, this blog, reading, soul searching, stepping outside of my box... all of these things have helped me to find and define myself.  This is the most incredible things of all.  I feel good about myself and that has trickled into all aspects of my life... mommy, friend, finding new interests.  For that I am truly grateful.  And I can say that I am happy.  I look forward to this upcoming new year and I can say goodbye to the old with a smile.

Happy New Year everyone.  I wish all the best to all of you!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

My boulevard of broken dreams happens to be the NYS Thruway.  I know... what a terribly depressing title and thought, but it was a thought that ran through my head just the other day, so it is something that is very real to me. 

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my son and I stopped at my husband's parents' house a few days ago so that he could spend some time with his grandparents for Christmas.  It is difficult to be there because that little town is just a reminder of him.  There are some great memories that get stirred up by being there, but I also find that place to be harder to handle the memory of my husband despite that.  That was hometown.  He grew up there.  It is where he is buried.  So whether it is Christmas or any other regular day, the emotions that place causes me to have are the same. 

It is always more difficult to drive from that town to my parents' house then from that town back to NYC.  The reason is that being there stirs up so many memories and emotions and the route I have to take from there to my parents' seems to be a route through my earlier life.

We had met in college, in Rochester, which was located almost exactly between both of our home towns.  After graduating, we lived there and continued to live there for a year after we had been married.  We got both of our dogs there.  We had even begun looking at houses there (before I was laid off and we moved to Virginia).  I have always loved Rochester and I have such wonderful memories of him and with him living there.  It was always a place that I had wanted to move back to, but it just never worked out.  Anyways... I have to pass through this area to get to my parents'. 

Although so many of the memories are wonderful ones, it just makes me think of what was.  It reminds me of all of the hope that I had when I was so much younger.  It reminds me of what I had wanted with my husband and what I was looking forward to having with him.  It makes me think of the what-ifs... What if we had bought a house?  What if we had never moved to Virginia?  What if?  What if?  What if?  I know that life doesn't work that way.  But when I travel along a road that we had traveled together countless times, my mind cannot help but to wander in that direction. 

It has been almost 10 years since I have lived in Rochester.  But the thoughts and memories are very real.  Rochester is a place that I will one day take my son.  I will take him to the college where we both attended and met.  I will take him around and show him places that we spent so much time together... parks, Wegmans (lol), and even old apartments.  I think that no matter how much time has passed between now and then, whenever that visit may be, it is going to be very difficult and emotional.  This was the place where the dream began.  The loss of a dream is one that is hard to get over, no matter what may have caused it.  In my case though, I have to admit, it just makes it that much more difficult and makes this post title quite fitting. 

But, as I always try to do with this blog...  I am truly thankful in that I can find happiness in the life that I am living now.  I can see that I have so much to look forward to.  And I learning how to let go of old dreams and how to create new ones with my life as it is.  However, that doesn't mean that the old ones can't still sting from time to time. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

4 Days of Christmas

I have been busy celebrating Christmas for the past four days.  Add to that a fantastic sinus infection and bam... I am enjoying this snow storm that is currently going on outside my parents' window because it gives me a perfect excuse to stay indoors and be absolutely lazy. 

On the first day of Christmas... my son and I stopped at his grandparents' so that he could spend some time with them for the holiday.  We had a nice lunch and my son had a nice time opening and playing with the gifts that he received.  It is a very difficult day as being at my husband's parents' house without him only emphasizes his absence.  I am sure that his parents feel the same way having only the two of us there as well.

On the second day of Christmas... I spent it with my parents, my brother, my sister and her family, and my grandparents.  This was the first time that my immediate family held our own Christmas festivities and it was nice.  Since it was such a small group, we ate very well... prime rib, shrimp, cheesecake, etc.  Although I always look forward to our traditional Christmas cuisine of Polish sausage, pierogies, etc.  I have to admit it was nice to have a fancier Christmas dinner. 

On the third day of Christmas... I went to my paternal grandmother's house like we always did from the time I was born.  However, this was the first time in atleast 7 years that I was able to make it and it was really nice to be there.  It's funny how things change and don't change at the same time.  In some ways it didn't feel at all like it had been that long since I had last spend Christmas Eve at her house.  However, even though the family has expanded, there were less of us there.  I have a cousin who now lives in Florida and didn't make it up.  My sister's boys were with their father and her step children were with their mother, so no one from her family was there.  I did get to see two of my other cousins that I do not get to see all that often and that was really nice.  It's amazing how quickly children grow as my cousin's eldest is now driving!  Crazy!

On the fourth day of Christmas... it was actually Christmas!  This was the first Christmas that my son understood the concept of gifts and Santa.  It made it lots of fun!  We spent the morning opening gifts and playing with them.  Then we had to get ready for the big family party (with my mother's side of the family) at my parents' house, which is where I am staying while home for the holidays.  It was great to see everyone... aunts, cousins, kids... but there were many faces missing as well.

I guess that is the thing about the holidays... it is a great time to enjoy with your family and friends, but it also makes it more apparent when everyone gets together to notice the ones that are not there.  There are some not with us any longer because they have passed on.  But there are others not able to make it due to spending time with in-laws, work, or even living far away.  I am thankful for the four days that my son and I got to spend with my family as they do make for some great memories. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate it) and enjoyed the company with whom you were able to spend the holiday with. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Heavy Heart

I felt like there wasn't anything else that I could post until I posted about Friday's tragic event.  I didn't hear a single thing about what happened until about 4 o'clock.  I was at the gym and just got onto the bike and when I saw what the little t.v. was showing me, I just couldn't believe it was real.  I sat there watching the news and riding that bike as tears rolled down my face.  There are not any words to describe the depths of sadness for such an unfathomable event.

As both a mother and a teacher, this incident hit so close to home.  I look at my son and I cannot imagine life without him.  He is only a couple of years younger than those children.  They are so innocent.  So vibrant.  So full of potential.  My heart breaks for those parents as I just cannot imagine their sorrows.

I have always been proud to call myself a teacher.  As stories have unfolded about the heroism of the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary, I am even more so.  I only hope that God forbid I should ever find myself in a situation such as that, that I wouldn't panic, but that I would  be able to act in a heroic manner as well.  I say that not only for the safety and lives of the children that I teach.  But I too entrust my son's life and well being in the hands of others and I can only hope that he would be taken care of in the same way.

There is a third layer that hits close to home as well and that is of mental illness.  I have no soap box to step onto right now nor do I feel like this is the place for it as well.  All that I can say is that the mind is incredibly powerful and it doesn't loose that power no matter how sick it may be.  And that is frightening.

Sometimes life grants us a second chance.  Unfortunately in this case, there is no second chance.  It just is.  Terrible.  Painful.  Sad beyond all measures.  Those who were directly effected have their own paths of healing to begin.  But for the rest of us... we have been effected too.  Leaving politics at the door... What can we do?  Look at the big picture.  Get your priorities straight.  Cherish the people whom you love most.  Enjoy life.

Friday night, I didn't hug my son extra tight.  I hugged him just the same as I do every night.  I am not the mother of the year, nor is he a perfect angel every second of everyday.  Perhaps I learned the hard way as well, but I am so thankful for him everyday.  And each day brings hugs and kisses and hand holding no matter what our moods may be during and throughout the day.  My son and the many wonderful people in my life are what matter most, everything else is just details.  I think we all are reminded of that when something tragic like this happens.  The key is to not let that feeling fade. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Limbo... as in teetering back and forth between assumptions, expectations, and pure hope and faith.  The unknown...  I have realized that I do not function well in limbo.  I find it extremely unsettling and I hate that feeling.  When the truth is out there, I just want to know.

I have not always felt this way.  I actually lived in limbo for quite some time.  I didn't know half of the time if I was coming or going.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells.  At the time though, it was the norm and I didn't feel the way that I feel now when I am in limbo.

There are many scenarios in which I think we can feel stuck, helpless, and just waiting in limbo.  I have a friend whose grandfather is not doing very well.  She recently shared with me how she felt like she was living day to day in limbo not knowing what that day would bring for him.  She was reliving all of the emotions of potentially losing a loved one day after day.   That is such a difficult situation.  When the future seems bleak, the only alternative to settling that feeling of limbo is an outcome full of heartache. 

Fortunately for me, I am not in a state of limbo such as my friend.  In just this past week, two different people put me in this unsettling state by not fully communicating with me.  This is the type of limbo that I was accustomed to previously, but that I can no longer take.  It's just not acceptable for me to let anyone put me in that position because I absolutely hate it. 

I have to admit that I am finding that I think about The Four Agreements quite often.  They really do help to put people and life into perspective and I find them rational and calming.  So how have they helped me this past week?  For one, I have had to remind myself not to take anything personally.  That can be hard to do, but when I step back, I can see how I am not the center of their universe and that their decisions and actions do not revolve around me, they revolve around themselves and who they are and what is going on in their lives.  This has helped for me to take a deep breath and respond and act in a way that am proud to represent myself in (be impeccable with your word.)  I have also tried to keep an open mind and to not let assumptions creep in, so I have asked lots and lots of questions.  I don't always feel comfortable asking loads of questions, but I have gotten much more comfortable putting that to the side and asking anyways and if I feel the need, I explain why it is that I am asking all that I am.  The last of the four agreements is to always do your best.  Sometimes it is hard to know if someone else is doing their best because it can change from time to time, day to day.  Asking questions and communication in general can help for you to better understand a person to help you to determine if what you are getting is their best.  However, even at one's best it doesn't mean that your needs are being met.  It can still be disappointing none the less. 

I think on that last one, the best that you can do is to do your best.  My best is to work through the first three agreements and to do all that I can on my part to move out of limbo and into a more calming and amiable situation.  That's not always easy, but all that you can expect out of anyone including yourself is the best that you can do at any given time.  And you hope that is enough. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ghosts of Birthdays Passed

There is a reason, I know, that the holidays are especially hard when you are missing a loved one.  Not too long ago, I posted about that.  Those "special" days help vivid memories to surface.  It took the simple act of me twisting my ring around my finger to muster up some of my own memories of birthdays (since I just celebrated mine yesterday) spent with my husband.

Our first, my 19th, was 15 years ago!  Eesh, that makes me sound old!  We had just recently met and I remember celebrating with my friends in my dorm room.  I remember the blue sweater and gray cords I was wearing and the grey sweater, jeans, and hat he was wearing (I have pictures too.).  He gave me an Irish Claddagh ring and a little plaid bear.  I remember lots of laughing with him and my friends.  I also remember a "strip" tease he attempt to give to me, but only made it to taking off his sweater (and that was the late nineties when everyone wore layers and layers!) so I didn't see too much, lol. 

For my 21st birthday, he took me out to dinner, Jack Astor's.  I remember the waiters made me stand on my chair as they sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  I was fifty shades of red!  He didn't come out with me that night, he wanted me to have fun with the girls.  And that I did!  I don't remember my gift, perhaps that was the year he gave me a Lladro.  But I was happy.

Things were not going so well for us around that time of my 22nd birthday.  I remember opening up my gifts at his apartment.  It was just the two of us.  I don't remember what we did before... but that was the year that he gave me his grandmother's engagement ring.  He didn't propose then!  His grandparents had owned a jewelry store back in the day.  And earlier that year, his grandmother passed away.  Since his grandfather had already passed, the remaining jewelry was divided among the family.  He was given a (nontraditional) diamond ring and he gave that to me.  I knew it meant alot to him and that it meant alot for him to give it to me.  About five months later, we were engaged, with my own ring. 

My 25th birthday was my first living in Virginia and my second as a married lady.  We went out to dinner at The Olive Garden.  We later picked out our Christmas tree and decorated it listening to Christmas music.  I remember thinking that I loved that birthday.  It was simple and perfect and I spent it with my little family... my husband and my two dogs.  That was a happy day!

My 30th birthday was spent here in NYC.  I remember the red dress, the black shoes, and the fancy earring that he bought for me.  I wore them to work (a bit overdressed, yes) and then he picked me up and we went into the city for dinner.  We went to Little Italy to be exact, Pellegrino's, and my dinner was superb!  We also went to a sex shop afterwards and bought some "furniture"/wedges.  I remember not being so jazzed about that, it wasn't really what I wanted for my birthday... But it did later lead to our son, lol.  (Sorry I went there!)

Two years ago, for my 32nd birthday, things were different.  He didn't take off of work or have the night off like he always did for my birthday.  He had presents for me.  They were not wrapped, but left in the bags that he had bought them in and they were left on the bed.  I didn't have cake.  That December, two years ago, that's when things became apparent to me that things were just not right. 

Last year, was my first without him.  My parents came up for that weekend.  I don't remember what we did.  I just remember that they were here and that it was nice so that I didn't feel alone. 

Yesterday, now marked the second year without him.  My brother and my cousin came up for the weekend.  We spent part of the day in the city on Saturday and went out for dinner Saturday night.  Our after dinner plans didn't work out as planned.  But I laughed alot and had a really good time.  They made me breakfast yesterday morning, which was really sweet.  My guy, whom I haven't mentioned too recently, but have in A Touch of Warmth, Kinks, Exposed... that guy... well, I thought he would have been part of my 34th.  But as I posted yesterday, things often don't work out as planned and I spend last night eating sushi, cake, and chocolate wine by myself... and my blog. 

It's funny what our perceptions are and what memories we carry with us.  Yesterday was not the happiest of birthdays for me.  But I wonder how I will view yesterday in a year from now.  Will it eventually turn into one of those years that I skip over because I don't remember anything significant about it?  Or will it impress me in a way yet to be determined?  All that I am certain of right now though is that memories are a treasure, a gift.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Surprise... A new look!  I completely missed my one year blogging anniversary date which is when I wanted to reveal the new look, but today works just as well too.  I have to admit that I was getting pretty tired of looking at the old layout and felt that this was the perfect time to update.  I feel as if I am in a new phase of my healing, in moving on, and in my life in general and my blog appearance needed to reflect this change as well.

Surprise... Today is my birthday.  I am 34, officially in my mid-thirties.  When I blew out my candle today, I wished for the ability to continue to trust my gut and to not loose faith in my own instincts.

Surprise... There are always life lessons to learn no matter what age you may be.  And life doesn't take a break from teaching you these lessons even when it is your birthday weekend and you are excited about what was planned.  Sometimes you need a plan B, C, D,... ;) or if not, a good sense of humor to look at the bright side and come away with a good story to tell.  However, I also learned that some situations don't leave room open for plans other than the one that missed its mark.  When that happens, you get up, dust yourself off, take all that you can get from it, and move on with your head held high looking for that sun to glimmer through the aspen.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Home Sweet Brooklyn!?!

Today, during the deep breathing, relaxation, and stretching of a Pilate's class, it hit me that New York City is my home.  Way back when, I posted about finding the things in life that are right for you, one being your home.  Back in March, when I wrote about my thoughts of living in NYC, I wasn't sure if this was the place for me.  When we moved here, it was with the intention of being only temporary.  Finding myself to be a single mother living in the city by myself, the thought of moving closer to my family had crossed my mind.  However, I also found myself with the complete freedom to move anywhere I wanted.  Although the idea was exhilarating, it was also very overwhelming as well.  So, I decided to stay in NYC because I had a secure job here and I didn't know where I wanted go. 

Those were my thoughts... almost a year ago.  This past year (and I don't count the first few months after my husband's death, I was just in survival mode) was all about me healing.  My healing consisted of being open and truly aware of all the had happened in my relationship with my husband, from beginning to end.  I had to accept many things about our relationship and that acceptance had helped for me to find peace.  The peace put to ease the many unanswered questions and feelings of guilt that lingered within me.  Sadness, confusion, and yes even the guilt come back to me, but I have been able to let them come and let them go just as quickly.  That is attributed to the second part of my healing, which was to find myself again.  And I feel like I have.  I am still a work in progress as I hope I will always be, but my core is well defined. 

As I enter the second year of this blog, I feel as if my journey is moving on to a new chapter as well.  Now that I am confident in who I am, it is time to put that into action.  I have decided, apparently just tonight, that NYC is home.  As I posted in "Home," there are many perks to living in NYC, however there are downfalls as well.  I always thought that I would own my own home.  I loved big old houses full of charm with two floors and lots of space.  I wanted a decent sized yard big enough to play baseball with the kids, the dogs to run around, and a garden for some fresh veggies.  Those are not very realistic wants for me in NYC.  However, I already had that, atleast most of that.  And at the time that I did, that was me and I loved my house and the home that my husband and I created there.   However, when I think about who I am today, that is not me.  So my dream needs to change with me as well.  And that was hard, to give up that dream.  But I had to, I have to.  The dream doesn't match anymore and if I forced it, I wouldn't be happy living it.

What I have discovered and accepted in myself is that I like my home to be neat and orderly.  However, it doesn't come easily or naturally for me to keep things tidy.  Therefore, I function better in a small home (or apartment).  I remember feeling overwhelmed in my house many times because it was so big, I felt like I was always cleaning.  On top of that, I do not necessarily find joy in sprucing up the home.  I love the end result, but the process... ugh.  I would rather be out doing something with my son (and that is something that NYC does not lack in, things to do!).  It would be great to have a big backyard to let my son run and do his boy things in, but at the same time, yards are a lot of work.  I have been able to focus on myself and my son and not feel so overwhelmed by being alone, partly because I don't have a home I need to take constant care of.  Believe you me, there have been plenty of times in which I just wanted to send my son out and watch him from afar.  However, since I can't do that and the playground and open spaces here are so public, I need to be mindful of my son.  I have to take an active part in his recreation, and that isn't such a bad thing.  We spend alot of time playing and bonding together.  (And I have the time to do it because I only have a little apartment to look after!)  Another thing I have found in that I want to simplify things.  After going through all of our storage last year, I realized that we had soo much stuff!  Too much.  I have tried to get rid of things that I do not use or like or want anymore.  This is a difficult task in that I have kept many things as sentimental items of my husband for my son, and for me as well.  I have found though as time has gone on that I have been able to release more.  But, there will always be a stash, especially for my son who will one day be able to decide what he would like to keep or not keep.  But truly, I want simple and clutter free (thanks Happiness Project!) and that compliments a little home nicely.  The only true downfalls for me is the lack of any outside space and laundry, and this used bad floor planned apartment.  How do I solve that?  Move to a different apartment.  A pain yes, but atleast I have an option.

So having said all of that, I think that I have accepted that my dream of a house and yard and the bringing up like I had in that respect are no longer part of my dream.  My dream can always change.  But right now, my dream reflects who I am.  And who I am today is a person who feels like right now, she is where she is supposed to be, Home Sweet Brooklyn!