Sunday, May 8, 2016

Track 7

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by The Carpenters

Today is Mother's Day and it seemed only fitting to share with you one of my favorite traditions we had growing up. So, mom...here is my letter to you.

Dear Mom,

I'm sitting here at my computer listening to Christmas songs because I knew that your song had to be Carpenters and had to be Christmas. I am fully assuming that you are already listening to Christmas
music, if you ever stopped. I cannot wait to see you in only a few weeks. We will have to celebrate our birthdays (maybe at the beach!). I love that I have a May birthday like you.

  
Remember this? I love that we can travel together :).

Did you know that growing up, I always thought you were the most amazing mom? I know it's Mother's Day and every child is supposed to say that, but I felt lucky to have you as my mother. It seemed like everyone loved you. You always made those around you feel like they were important and that you cared for them. It didn't matter who it was. As a teenager, young adult and now full fledged adult (yikes!), I always looked to that example as one I wanted to emulate. Sometimes I fail at it. But I still have your example to look to.

You had a hard job. Seven kids. Seven kids, people. You know what I loved about growing up in our family? I always had a friend. And I still do. My best friends lie in my family. And you had the greatest impact on that. Why? You never made us be friends. You let us make our own decisions (except for playing the drums...but I'm slowly learning to get over my Sixth grade disappointment). I don't know about anyone else, but I saw how much you enjoyed being with your own siblings. You made it a point to spend holidays and family reunions with them. Family was always the most important thing to you. From your relationship with dad, to your kids, your parents, siblings, grand kids and beyond, family was your main focus. That love of family has radiated throughout our sibling relationship.







I think I've always wanted your job. Luckily you have one now that I can eventually take over! Being a mother was always something I wanted. I, like many daughters, thought that being a mom was the best job in the world because our mothers made it look like it was. There is such a deep love between mothers and daughters. Instead of being a mom, I am an aunt. Right now, I think that is the best job in the world. But I know, mom. I know that if I am ever called to be a mother, whether in this life or the next, I have had the BEST teacher.

Thank you for making our home the most wonderful place to grow up in. Thank you for always supporting me and my sometimes crazy life. Thank you for your unwavering belief in me and what I can accomplish in this life. Thank you for celebrating Christmas all out every single year. I look forward to spending many more Christmases with you. Thank you for introducing us to good music. You took me to my first Celine Dion Concert, remember that? You are a Gift. An Angel Mother (and yes, I am stealing that from Michael's favorites).

I love you,

Stefanie












Sunday, March 20, 2016

Track 6

"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne

I'm just going to say: this is a spring thing. Yeah. That is why I haven't written since last June. So much has happened! Well, the biggest thing is I had my last retail Christmas. What? Yes, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend, no more Holiday Retail Rant posts. I now work in finance and well, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Life is good. Complicated. But good.

I've been thinking about different roles I've played in life. Daughter...sister...student...friend...co-worker...mentor...girlfriend...employee...and so on and so forth. I look at the roles and I realize that many times I am different depending on which situation I'm in. It's almost like a level of security that I put up. For example, sister access is all access. They (my sisters) know just about as much as anybody is going to know. And it will always be that way because that is how we have developed our friendships over the years. Daughter access is the next level down (sorry mom). Friend access is the complicated one. There are superficial (and I say superficial in the best way) friends where you might have one major thing in common and that is all. That is the bulk of people that flow in and out of my life, and it is just fine for a season or two. Then, there are the ones that come into my life, strip down all the walls and stay important.

These are the rarest and most precious kinds of friends.

I have been lucky to have several and usually they come into my life when I really need a friend to laugh with, to ponder with, to get me off the ledge with, to believe that there are still people in this world worth getting to know. I know, I know...that sounds a little harsh, but have you seen who we are going to have to choose from in the next election?? This world is very complicated. And it's not a place I want to be sometimes.

Last year was a rough one for me. I keep thinking this whole life thing is going to get easier, but every year, I look back and I think, "phew! I made it through another terrible year! This year is going to be so much better!!" Now, I am grateful to have that positive outlook, but man. Last year was terrible. So many things went into that terrible-ness. I dated a musician, which was pretty awesome...until it wasn't (but I'm tired of talking about failed relationships, so I'll just let that one go...this time). I've questioned everything. I was yelled at...several times. I cried. I always cry, though. For being so tough and independent, I sure do cry a lot. Now, I rambling, I know. But I think I'm just trying to avoid what I want to or need to say. Last year was different because every other time I have had a bit of a dark time, I knew how to get out of it. I was able to form a plan and pull myself up.

Last year...I didn't see a way out of this life that had become a, for lack of a better word, chore (I do have a better word, but my mom is going to read this.)

Y'all know how much I loathe being stuck. Not knowing what my next move is. I have never been a go with the flow type of person. I want to know what's next, but last year...I couldn't see it. I couldn't see where my life could move to that would make anything better. I probably should have seen someone, but, this time, I didn't want to get better. I hated feeling bad about life and about myself, but I knew that as soon as I felt better and life was good again that is when it would start getting bad again. If that last sentence didn't make sense here's another one: I would climb up that mountain, but I was never able to stay at the top. I always had to climb back down  into the valley.

The valleys teach us to climb.

But I was tired.

Too tired to climb.

So tired.

I stayed in the valley for a bit longer last year. I think society has taught us to be ashamed of these valleys. But I have learned my greatest lessons in them. Then, I climb up the mountain to teach others the lesson I learned. Shout it down into the valley behind me. This time, I learned that I'm not alone on my hike. I have so many people in my life who lifted their hands to push me up the mountain this time. I didn't necessarily want to go up on the mountain I am on now, but here I am, telling you what I have learned from my time in the valley.

1. God will never let me just stay in the dark. There are always options and choices. Trusting them to be right is the hard part.

2. I am surrounded by the most amazing support. Yes, there were many days/nights I spent either just watching tv or staring blankly at an electronic device because it was easier than being present in my life. Thank you to those who noticed and said/did something. I don't know if I would be on this mountain right now if it wasn't for you.

3. When I'm climbing up the mountain in front of me, I seem to pick up the people I need to help along their way. This brings me the most joy in my life. For me: Please remember this the next time the valley hits you.

4. I have a whole mountain and valley story just for my life!

5. There is one person who is exactly like me out in this world. It's a little freaky. But pretty awesome at the same time. And here I was thinking this world could only handle one me. Apparently, it can handle two. I guess I can't be everywhere at once. Ha!

6. Having a meaningful calling in the church I believe in makes all the difference at how I look at my role in said church.

7. There are going to be many good times, but expect the bad times. Don't be surprised by them.

8. Stay on top of the mountain a little longer next time.

9. Don't be afraid to ask for help. But if I am afraid...help will find me.

10. I like me. The true, authentic, smart, funny me.

Now...let's take it all the way back to 2002.....