Dear Uncle, Aunt, Grandparent, Brother-in- law, Second mother, ect. – Thank You

As humans all living our own lives with our own jobs, bills, dreams, and desires, it is easy to slip into a routine that is comfortable. This routine probably includes a hand full of people you maybe contact a couple times a week – for me, I call my mom almost every night after work. I message my sisters one or two times a week. I answer my father’s good morning and goodnight texts each day. A few times a month I’ll message a friend or an aunt or an uncle – that is the extent of my social comfort zone.

We’re human, we’re adults, we have lives that require commitment and focus – but what if we took a few minutes out of every day to reach out to someone we haven’t talked to in a while? What if we focused a bit more on the people who have helped us get here, the people we care about, the people we maybe take a little for granted?

I know I have a handful of Uncle’s that would do anything for me. They stand behind me as men as big as my father with fists balled ready to throw a punch at my first sign of distress. I know they would be the second ones – after my father – to have my back if ever I needed them. With them I know I can count on my brother in law and even a few family friends. None of these people need me to remind them how much I appreciate them, how much I love them – they would still be there if I called them after five years of silence and told them I was in trouble. I know this because I would do the same for them.

My best friend’s family was like a second family to me growing up. Since High School, we haven’t talked much. I could count the conversations we’ve had on ten fingers in the past three years, but the same stands for them. If I found the time to thank them, if I told my best friend’s mom how much I appreciated the meals she made me and the hugs she gave me, would it make a difference? Probably not in the big picture. But would it make her smile? Probably.

I have been blessed with a few Aunts that are some of the strongest women I know. They know who they are. They have faced things I can’t even imagine and are still some of the kindest people you will ever meet. I know I am always welcome in their homes, I know they would accept me in as their own if I showed up on their door step at midnight with nothing but a broken heart and tears in my eyes.

My grandparents are some of the kindest people I know who would use their last dollars to buy me a hot meal. Who would open their doors to as many people as would fit in their house and when their house was full would open the car doors and crawl spaces until every inch of property they own is over flowing.

I am an adult, I am a human – we are all human, and we are all struggling. I have gotten where I am today with strength and dignity, and while I learned both of these things along the way, I also found them in the people that care about me. Without all of these people at my back, I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today. I owe them much more than money can buy for all of the tears they have wiped and advice they have given. For jokes they have told and hugs they have held me in. For the warm meals and hot showers.

Life goes by so quickly. Tomorrow could be so different than today – people who have had your back could be gone, so thank them today. Life get’s hectic, we forget and that’s okay – they know we love them. But maybe reminding them will make them smile if only just for a second, and for me, that second makes carving a few minutes out of my day completely and totally worth it.

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2018 was a roller coaster…

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2018 is almost over, and for me, this is bittersweet. A lot happened this year. I survived my boyfriends first deployment, that months before had seemed impossible. I quit my job of almost five years and moved four hours away from my family and friends. I moved in with my boyfriend of three years – something we had been talking about for a long time. I learned how to truly love with all of my heart by learning how to be an Aunty to a niece deserving of every world, when I can only give her mine. I got my first apartment and a new job, where I met some really amazing people. I got my first pet – a needy and annoying little orange kitten that I love dearly. I went from part time to full time to part time again at one job, and then picked up a second job doing something I really love, which I’m now making my full time job in just a few short weeks. I got to stand up beside my best friend as she married the love of her life.  2018 was hard, but it was also beautiful. So with 2019 right around the corner, I thought I would take a minute in this busy life to reflect. I’ve never been one for new years resolutions, so instead I am going to look back on the year behind us and think about what I’ve learned. Because the truth is, I have no idea what 2019 holds – but I do know what 2018 held. I encourage you to take a moment to do the same.

1.) I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. This one might seem kind of egotistical and a little bit of a cheat, but it’s true. 2018 tested me. It put me in places I never saw myself being. But I made it even when I didn’t see any way that I could.

2.) I am never truly alone. Again, might seem like a cheat, but this is a big one for me. I have always known I had an amazing support system, but this year it really showed itself. From when my finances were low to when my spirits were, my parents and sisters and friends were there to help in any way they could, when I didn’t expect a thing from them. They dug me out of holes this year that I put myself in and did it without a second thought – reaffirming one thing I already knew – I am surrounded by incredible people.

3.) I am capable of doing so much on my own. Ever since I was little I had always wanted to move away from our small town, the number one reason being that I wanted to prove to myself that I could. And yes, while this year I did have to accept some help here and there, I got two jobs on my own in a state where no one knew me. I have made connections all on my own that will last me hopefully a long time. These things are huge for me.

4.) It is okay to be selfish. I have always cared about others happiness over my own, and this year it nearly drove me to a mental break down. I was getting so stressed trying to please everyone that I was getting sick almost every night, I was barely eating, and I was more depressed than I had been since High School. And then I put myself at the front of the line and all of that faded away. It’s okay to look out for yourself sometimes. In fact, it’s crucial.

5.) I am valuable. This one I will keep short and sweet even if it is perhaps the most important. This year I learned my worth and next year, I intend not to let people take me for granted anymore. I’m not one big on new years resolutions but this is one I think I can keep – 2019 will be the year I say enough is enough to a few people.

6.) My parents will always be my number one’s. No matter who else comes and goes, no matter who else is important to me, they have had my back since day one and continue to do so every single step of the way. I won’t forget that.

7.) While I’m still working on this one, it is a lesson I began to learn this year – it’s okay to accept help from others. It’s always been very hard for me to do this – I’m a very independent person. But if you’re kicking and screaming and working your ass off to get where you want to be and someone offers you a step stool, it’s okay to step up on it.

8.) Last one. I learned not to feel guilty for making my own choices. This one is a work in progress, but one I feel confident about. My choices might not always make others happy, but I can’t feel bad about that.

This year was huge. I learned so much more. From how to love a cat to how to care for a grown human being to how to pay my electricity bill – but these are at the top of my list. So I encourage you to do the same thing. Look back on this year with a warm heart. Look ahead to the new year with an eager one. And remember, just because the calendar changes doesn’t mean you have to – but you can if you want.

Merry Christmas From a New Adult

Christmas this year was not the same. I worked both Christmas Eve and Christmas, the same old giddy feeling I got as a child was missing – but that’s okay. The spark seemed to be gone, and at first, I felt empty – like maybe the Christmas spirit is something you only get to enjoy as a kid, and now, as a new adult, I won’t ever feel it again.

And then Christmas weekend came. My parents drove the four hours down to see me for only two days because they knew it would make me happy. When I drove through the Dunkin Donut’s drive through for coffee Christmas Eve morning, the lady infront of me paid for my coffee. At work, a resident gave me a hug so big I thought I would melt, and told me he loved me simply for giving him a second milkshake when he asked for it.

Maybe I’m not sitting around a Christmas tree with my family at 5 AM, which I miss, but the spark isn’t gone. Christmas for me has never been about presents. I like giving – seeing the excitement on a friend’s face as they open a gift you gave them, getting hugs and kisses, and the warmth family brings. But receiving has never been what it’s about for me. I’m also not super religious – so Christmas for me has always been about the spirit – about everyone caring and giving and being. The spark is still here.

It lives in the Facetime chat with my family this evening where my niece blows me kisses and my grandparents laugh at the funny filters the phone puts on their faces. It lives in the Christmas lights on cars driving down the Highway, and in the stranger who wished me a Merry Christmas this morning in her Santa hat as I walked to my car. It lives in Secret Santa at work where co workers smile knowing someone thought of them.

Christmas is a feeling, and if you open yourself up to it, it’s not a feeling that can just go away. So don’t lose faith. You’re growing up. Things are changing. But that spark you felt as a child, waiting for Santa and being so giddy you couldn’t sleep – that feeling isn’t gone. It’s still there inside of you. It’s just waiting to be coaxed out.

When You’re at the Bottom, Look Around

Last week my car broke down and the whole contents of my savings account later I felt at the bottom of a really big mountain with no way back to the top. I had spent months climbing and climbing, only to fall back down with scraped knees and bruised elbows in one big push. In that moment, standing in a foreign driveway, watching my beat up but trusty old car being towed away, I felt incredibly lost for the first time in months.

You see, it’s so easy to feel on top of the world when everything is going your way. But when the unplanned happens, the things that you can’t pencil into your calendar, it’s not so easy to know what the next step is.

When my boyfriend and I were waiting in his car for the tow truck to arrive, after I had called him at almost nine o’clock at night and he had arrived in his PJ’s without a question, his sister offered to bring me food because I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. When I called my parents, in tears and falling apart over a composition of parts and machinery, they helped in every single way they could from hundreds of miles away. When I crawled into bed that night, my car was waiting at a garage to be examined, I knew a bill was about to be placed in my hands that I couldn’t manage, but I had a ride to work the next three days, I had parents who would do anything to make sure I could make ends meet, and I had a boyfriend who would drop anything with just one call saying that I needed him.

You see, it’s easy when you’re on top of the world to feel put together. It’s not so easy when you’ve been knocked down, to feel like you’re going to be okay.

There is no arguing that I am incredibly blessed. With little money, and a car that for a while barely ran, I still have a car. I still have enough money to buy food. I still have friends and family that would do anything for me. When I look at that, it’s hard not to feel on top of the mountain again. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been pushed down. But maybe it was just time for you to look at your life again, and realize that while you’re striving for what you want, maybe what you have isn’t really all that bad.

Falling In Love Early

I found my soulmate long before I even knew what romance was. Funny isn’t it? You’re just playing in the backyard with a person who laughs at the same things as you, comforting a person who cries when you cry, and all of a sudden you can’t imagine your life without them. I met my soulmate before I could even walk or talk. That’s the thing about a true soulmate. They often aren’t even romantic at all. They’ve seen you through it all. They were the one person who stayed when everyone else left. They believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. They are much more than a best friend. Sure, we can simplify it and call it that, but this bond deserves a title much larger than that. You can’t really know it until you feel it, this connection that crosses boundaries. It’s almost as if you become mind readers. You know what they are going to say before they say it. You know they are in trouble before they call you. You know to message them before your phone even goes off. You can be thousands of miles apart, and you still know the exact moment that they need you. It’s almost supernatural, and that’s why it deserves a much bigger title. Sure, you’ll meet many people you love after them. You’ll fall in love and get married. You’ll have other friends. But your soulmate will always be your soulmate. No one can replace them.

-CM

For My Niece

Never have I wanted to be a better person more than when I look into your eyes –

This isn’t to say I am a bad person, but when you look up at me

I want to be a saint.

When your tiny fingers close around mine I know I can’t give you the world

but I would give you mine in a heartbeat.

Holding you even for just a moment glues my wounds shut and

for those few seconds I feel like a little kid again –

whole.

When your blue eyes seek mine for answers I know I can’t protect you

from every evil in this world – you have a Daddy and Papa

with big hands and even bigger hearts for that –

But know my arms will always be a place for you to rest and know

my ear will always be here to listen and know

no matter how far away I am

I will always drop whatever task is at hand

if you ask me to and I will drive or I will fly or I will crawl but I will

be there.

I did not give you life baby girl – you have the worlds best Mama given to you by the worlds best Nana –

but know Auntie would give her last breath if it meant you could have just

one more.

 

-CM

The End

When the ground began to shake, forming human size gaps in it’s core,

we knew this was the end.

When the trees began to fall and the sky began to rumble deep in it’s belly

we heard the cries.

Mothers reached for their children,

Fathers didn’t have arms big enough to hold everyone they wanted,

Doctors rushed to save any life they could,

Fire fighters tried in vain to stop the burning,

Police officers fought to regain control –

I held onto myself, watching as the world I complained about so often

fell in shambles around me and all I could think was

if only we could go back a few days

Maybe I could stop the burning before it began.

 

-CM

Stop Worrying

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Dear me (whenever you may find this),

You are going to want to give up. If there is one thing I know for certain right now, as I sit here in my chicken pj’s in a tiny one bedroom apartment, waiting for our boyfriend to come home with some Halloween candy is this – you are going to feel like running. Not from anything, not to anything, just leaving – because that’s easier than staying and fighting. Because running is the easiest thing in the world to do. Giving up takes no effort, you don’t have to face anything – giving up is the quitters way out, and there are going to be so many times that you desperately want to take this route.

Don’t.

You are going to want a do over. There are going to be times when you’re sitting on your bathroom floor, a towel draped over your body, your hair drenched and soaking your skin, and you are going to want a way to travel back in time. You will be sobbing, slamming your fists into the tub until your knuckles bleed, begging whatever higher power there might be to just rip you away from here, because this pain hurts too much.

They won’t.

You are going to make it. There are going to be moments, after the crying, after the spacing in front of a computer screen, after the missing and the waiting, after the pain – moments that will make every wrong turn, every seemingly horrible mistake – so incredibly worth it. Moments, when even the things you thought you regretted the most, you would do all over again if it meant you got this moment – this moment right here – to do over again.

Cherish this.

Cherish this life. It doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what part of you is hurting. It doesn’t matter how badly you think you screwed up, how badly you want a chance to change something – cherish this life, each breath, each moment, each and every second means something.

Cherish it.

Love,

Me (twenty one years old about to eat a shit ton of candy with my boyfriend in our one bedroom apartment four hours away from home in a chicken costume – struggling – but happy)

A poem dedicated to my father

The First Man I ever Loved – Dedicated to my father 

The first man I ever loved is the strongest man I know. When he speaks everyone in the room stops to listen. His voice is like a lullaby when the world is too loud and his chest is the softest pillow I have ever felt.

The first man I ever loved could once scoop me up and carry me around, his arms the safest place to hide, his heart the safest place to land. Too big now to be cradled, he still carries me when I’m at my weakest.

The first man I ever loved wears work boots battered and worn and pants in desperate need of patches, shirts with holes the size of your thumb but he would gladly take that very shirt off of his back and hand it to anyone in need.

The first man I ever loved is always the hardest worker in the room, the last one to leave, and when I feel alone, he’s always standing in my corner, often silent, but always there. When I stumble, it’s his arm that I feel holding me up first, and when I feel like I am going to fall on my face, it’s his embrace that keeps me from hitting the ground.

The first man I ever loved has a laugh that can shake the sadness out of you and a smile that convinces you the world may not be so bad.

The first man I ever loved is as stubborn as they come. He has the biggest heart that’s his best kept secret. There isn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for his family, forgetting whatever they may have done to him. He loves his wife and his daughters more than himself, and you can see it whenever you get a good look at him. Get a good look at him.

The first man I ever loved was not the last. But he was the one that taught me to love. Because of him I know how I should be loved. Fully, completely, as if I am their whole world because when he looks at you, you are his whole world.

-CM

Coming soon – The First Woman I Ever Loved (Dedicated to my mother)