Someday when I grow up…

Think back to when you were young…

One of the biggest questions everyone asked was what do you want to be? Pretty big question. But if you were like me, you had an answer to everything back then, didn’t you?

I remember in first grade I knew that answer. I wanted to be a writer. The first piece I ever wrote was a play on several 3 by 5 index cards. It was littered with spelling, grammatical errors, and incomplete sentences. In my eyes however, it was a masterpiece. It sat in a box, tucked in one of my favorite childhood books until we moved, and my Mom gave them to me.

Reading the note cards provided my Husband and I with much entertainment , and by the third card, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Thankfully, my writing skills have improved since then!

Life happens, people grow up. Instead of getting happy, people’s opinions get in the way, and then we hope to get lucky.

Get lucky, and get that promotion. Hope to get a good paying job with benefits. Work for a company that offers a good retirement plan, and if we are lucky, retire by the time we are sixty. That is, if -and that is a big if- we are lucky.

Then life happens. That promotion we were hoping to get, it doesn’t work out. Our luck has not been too good. Times are tough, and with Obama Care in place,  that benefits package the company you work for is increased by $200 bucks a month. You can barley afford to pay your bills, and you will never be able to retire at this rate. Then all that labor you have done for years finally catches up. You get a chronic condition, and that job that you used to be able to do, you can no longer do. You are forced into an entry level job. With no hope of retirement at all.

You are forced to do something for yourself and you family. You come back to the only thing you know how to do.

Write. So you begin writing. The only thing in life that gives you purpose, besides being a Wife and a Mother.

Then you remember the day you grew up. The day that people told you, being an English and or Creative writing major would never make you any money. The day your dreams were crushed. The day they died.

The day I looked into my Sons eyes, was the day I was born. Then I got happy. Not just lucky. I felt the need to write. It hasn’t stopped since. I write stories and poems, for my Son, and he asks me to read them to him. He reminds me daily to get happy, not just lucky. It all made sense. The reason I was here, what life is all about.

Life isn’t about being lucky. It’s about getting happy.

When I ask my Son what he wants to do when he grows up, I am gonna tell him the same thing my Grandfather did, “Do what makes, you happy. Not what makes you the most money.”

I keep thinking about the conversation my Grandfather had with me before nursing school. I wish he was here to talk to me and support me now. He was good at listening. I think he knew me better than I knew myself.

I can’t help thinking about the advice he gave me, and about how he said I would struggle and have to jump through a lot of hoops in my life to get where I was going. He was so right. Right about everything.

I’ve already jumped about through half of them.

Driving in the same car that he used to drive, on the way to the college campus, I started talking to him, asking for his guidance. I just wish I could take one last drive with him.

If he was to ask me today what I wanted to do when I went to college, my answer would no longer be, ‘Making a decent living,” but “living a life of happiness doing what I love with the people I love.”

 

 

 

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The Magic of a Book

Yesterday -my family and I- we went to the bookstore.

I live for small moments like this… seeing the look of pure joy and satisfaction on my Son’s face, when he discovers the magic found, within the pages of good book.

He takes off running, towards the storefront of the local Barnes and Noble-and then practically runs towards the escalator.

The second story, holds many magical worlds within the pages- just waiting to be discovered.

My Son takes off running, as he reaches the top of the escalator. He sees the brightly colored children’s section…and begins pulling books off the shelves.

He says, “I want to read this one…and this one…I want to read all of them!”

My Husband and I, know how he feels. Between the two of us, we have amassed a small library. We have a room in our house, dedicated to books and music.

Many years later… I find, I still have the same enthusiasm of a small child; whenever I enter a book store, and hold a book in my hand.

I know that one day, my Son will be too old for me to cuddle and read books to him. (That day is soon approaching. He already can read simple words and prefers, to read simple books all by himself.) But, I hope he never forgets the feeling of finding magic and discovering new worlds, all within the pages of a good book.

Deck The Halls

My Son, shouts out, “It’s Christmas! ” as he sees that the Christmas trees are being brought out of storage into the house. He is three this year, and this is the first year he has been extremely excited.

I have to tell him to “Calm down” because “It’s not quite Christmas yet.”

“Let’s Help Mommy Decorate the tree.”

Oh LOOK Mommy at ALL the DECORATIONS,” His little voice squeals with excitement.

I do have to say, my Son has a good eye and his placement of the Christmas Décor was quite exceptional.

Later after all the decorations have been hung with care my Son asks,

“Mommy were did all the presents go?”

“Santa has to bring them.”

“Where did Santa go Mommy?”

“To the North Pole to get your presents ready. Do you know why we celebrate Christmas?”

“Toys?”

“No.”

“Santa.”

“No. It’s Jesus’s Birthday!”

“So we get to eat cake then Mommy?”

“If you would like too.”

“Christmas is Jesus Birthday!” My Son then goes over to his play stove to cook Jesus a Birthday Cake, and then he pretends his baby doll is Jesus and feeds it to her. From the mouths of Children.

My son was so excited he fell asleep on the couch, and every morning he wakes up he says with joy, “Its Christmas!” I think every day of the year should be celebrated like this with joy and excitement of the good news. Sometimes it takes a child to put things in perspective for you.

So the halls are filled with holiday cheer on this Christmas year, and plenty of cake to celebrate Jesus’s Birthday.

 

Life and Death: Coverversations We Need to Have With Toddlers

It isn’t always easy to understand what death is for a toddler. I know my Son understands it now, and my heart breaks for him, because I understand what he is going through. I went through the same thing when I was about his age.

The first time a beloved animal died, I really did not understand what death was. I remember my parents brought our beloved Dog Mercedes, home in a Garbage bag to bury in our pet cemetery. My parents tried to explain that she was gone and had gone to be with Jesus, (I went to church so I understand who Jesus was) but I did not not understand that physically she would be gone forever. She looked peacefully like she was sleeping.

A while later my Aunt Louise died. Her funeral was the first funeral I remember attending. She looked like she was sleeping, but it was then that something clicked. She wasn’t getting up to kiss me, or take me out for ice cream like she promised me, the last time I saw her. It was then I realized she was gone and was sleeping forever. I remember being sad, and missing her. I wished we could go get ice cream one more time, but I realized it was not happening. She was gone.

My son lost a cat that he absolutely adored when he was about a year old. Grey boy, my Son called him grey-go. Grey-Go had cancer, and he knew he was sick and cried and said Grey go sad. When he passed, I told him he went to be with Jesus and is sleeping forever. I don’t think he understood until a couple of weeks later. For two or three weeks he looked everywhere for Grey. “Where are you?” He would say. When he was about two he told me he was he was sad because Grey-Go went to be with Jesus and he is sleeping forever.

A year later, I know he understands. Sitting at my Grandmother’s memorial service, he is holding onto the bulletin for dear life. It has a picture of his Great Grandma on it. He says it’s great Grammy. He cuddles up to me and sees everyone is sad. He knows. He is a wild boy the next couple days, I then realized it is because he is dealing with a lot. 

The day after, he cuddles up to me in the morning and tells me he sees Great-Grandma in the doorway, and on the ceiling and carries her picture around with him everywhere close to his heart. I’m almost certain at this point it is a way that he is trying to deal with his grief, he doesn’t want her to be gone.

 He talkes about how he misses her and about his third birthday coming up, and how he wants Great Grandma at his party. Later, as he is taking his bath, he gets this sad look on his face and tells me he is sad. I ask him why? He says, Grandma went to be with Grey-Go and Jesus. She not sick anymore. 

Then I recalled the moment that I remembered understanding I would never see my Aunt Louise again and how difficult it was for me to rationalize that. 

We cuddled after bathtime. I held my Son and told him it was ok to be sad. He said Mommy sad too, and I said Yes baby, I am, and it’s ok to be sad. Through tears, we looked at pictures of My Son and his Great Grandmother, and talked about the times we shared together as a family. That is what has always gotten me through. The happy memories that we have shared together as a family. I hope that it also helps my Son too, to be thankful that he got to spend that precious time with her.

 I kissed my Son and Thanked God that he at least got the opportunity to spend some time with his Great Grandmother, no matter how short that was, and remembered how difficult it was for me the first time I finally understood what death was. I remembered what it was like to experience it from the perspective of a toddler.

What does it mean to be alive? Is a question we need to ask ourselves and our toddlers, and a conversation we need to have with them, that way when we have to explain what death is, and what it means, they can understand. More important, is the ability to understand it is ok to be sad, it’s ok to miss someone, and to be sad because you will not be able to make new memories with them.

Choose Adventure

To walk, Or Not to walk after we ate our supper? That was the question of the evening. My toddler wanted to walk. Our home is just down the street from the local pub and restaurant. I obliged and we headed home as my Husband paid the for our food, and left a tip. Our Son excitedly bolted out of the door and out onto the sidewalk ready for an adventure.

Across from the restaurant on the corner of the block sits a building supply company. They have a red Adirondack chair, fit for a king sitting in the corner of their lot. Of course, our Son had to try it. He requested I take his picture on it, and subsequently on every bench we came across on the way home. We laughed and giggled all the way home because, we realized life is ment to be enjoyed. So when you can, walk instead of drive. Laugh and always have fun. Choose adventure. You will not be disappointed!

A Single Leaf

A single leaf blowing in the wind made a scratching sound as it danced down the pavement. As the snow melted, and spring began it was a reminder of fall. Last year decay still left over. Spring showers would not only bring vegetation to the land, they would wash the decay away as well.

I walked down the sidewalk, as my son skipped along following the leaf, making a thumping sound on the newly paved sidewalk.

“It’s a leaf! It’s A leaf,” he shouted.

He chased it, but it was too fast for him to catch. But, he still tried to catch it. Where there was decay he still found life.

 

Writing Prompt: Write about a single leaf. Post in the comment below.

Believe in Magic

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  My blog name “Snapshots of a Life,” is inspired by the memior of my life I am currently working on.
  
   When I write, I like to think of a book as a series of short stories. I like to fashion my stories in such a way, that you can pick a chapter anywhere in my memior, and read it independently of the collection.

   I like to think of our life as a camera, and the memories of snapshots. A glimpse into our lives. I love writing true stories, but I also love fiction.

   The reason I love fiction is you can create anything you want. Different characters, different worlds and then imagine how they will react to different situations. This creates the plot.

   I draw inspiration from real life, as you can see and read about in my previous blog entry. I feel that this makes a story more authentic. My goal in writing fiction is to find a universal truth in everyday life, then turn that truth into a story.

   I believe to do this, you must look at life through the eyes of a child. Like the world around you is a magic place. That is where you find truth. Through truth, you find your voice.
  

Ohio… You’re Drunk!

 

Ohio, when I woke up this morning. I thought I was in an unfamiliar place. I thought for a moment perhaps, we were drinking together because I also forgot where I was for a moment.

Ohio in case you didn’t get the memo, this is not supposed to be a frozen tundra. It is the Midwest and it’s supposed to be spring. Where did the April showers go?

The May Flowers I planned to plant in my Garden will have to be postponed. The headaches. Don’t even get me started on that. One day its 70 degrees. The next day it is 20. The pressure change causes me to get headaches, colds, and eventually a sinus infection.

Ohio please sober up quickly.

Sincerly,
A Concerned Resident.

It Will Be Ok

 

I saw a man in a pair of tan-colored khakis, tossing my son in the air. My son giggling wildly as the man started to give him a tickle. The man turned around and placed my Son in my arms. Then he put his hand on my shoulder and said,

“Don’t worry. It will be OK.”

The man smiled and I woke up from my dream. I was almost certain it was my husbands biological Father, trying to tell me something. I thought maybe one of my magazine submissions had gotten accepted, or something positive like that However, I was not prepared for what was about to occur next.

    I told my Husband about my dream, and then put it out of my mind for two or three days. I was so busy writing, the dream I had about Mikes Dad was completely forgotten.

    On February 8, we were going to sign our new lease agreement for the apartment my Husband and I have been renting for the last five years, after they left a message on my phone saying that the new lease had been prepared. My Husband went to the rental office to sign the lease. The apartment manager said,

   “You can’t sign that, you are over occupancy.”

   “What?! That’s just great!”

    My Husband was furious. We did some research and although the apartment was a one bathroom one bedroom apartment, it was rather spacious because it was a studio apartment. My Mother helped us get in contact with a lady from the department of fair housing, and she said according to the city ordinance we were well within our rights to be there. 200 square feet a person was all that was needed. For our family that ment that 600 square feet was needed. Our apartment exceeded that by 220 square feet. Legally if we wanted we could have four people living in the apartment.

   While I was doing research and getting free consultations from attorneys, the apartment manager told me she was going to talk to corporate and see what she could do since there were no two bedroom apartments available. I gave her more than enough time.

    As luck would have it, my Mother happened to find an ad in the paper for a house for rent, that was less than our monthly rent on our apartment! Shortly there after on February 16, we gave our notice to vacate and here it is:

Tenant’s Notice to Landlord:

February 1, 2016  I, ********* ****** called to have the lease prepared. The office staff told me it would take a couple of days. On February 8, 2016 the office staff informed us our lease was ready to sign. My Husband went to sign the lease and they informed him we may be over occupancy. They had to check with corporate before signing our lease, and that they had no two bedroom apartments available currently. Currently residing in the 820 square foot 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment are my Husband, and I and our two-and-a-half year old son.

On February 10, 2016 I spoke to ***** on the phone, I asked her who my husband had spoken with on Monday, February 8, 2016. She informed me it was *****, and I asked if she had a chance to check with corporate. She assured me ***** would be meeting with regional tomorrow, (February 11, 2016) and that someone would get back to me.

It is now February 16, 2016 and we have not yet received a response. Under the current circumstances, with no lease secured yet, we felt that it was best to make other housing arrangements, as the current terms of our lease will expire on February 29, 2016.

We are giving notice of our intention to vacate the premises of **** *********** *** **** *** ********* *** *****, no later than February 29, 2016.

Sincerely,

******* and ********* ******

Tenant                                                     February 16, 2016

 

The apartment manager looked shocked and said,

“No one from corporate has tried to contact you?”

“Nope, not at all. And since we have a small child we had to make other arrangements quickly, especially because it is the middle of winter and we can’t be left without you guaranteeing we are legally allowed to be there.” (Yes. I played stupid.)

“We were discussing offering you a month to month lease. Is that something you would be interested in?”

“No that is one-hundred dollars more, and one-hundred more than we can afford.”

“We could let you stay in the current apartment at the current market rent until a two bedroom becomes available.”

“No we already made other living arrangements.”

Her eyes began to twitch as someone does when they are nervous, as she looked over our notice to vacate. Did she ever really talk to corporate? I don’t know. We signed the papers needed to give us leave of the apartment, and began the process of packing and moving our things.

After cleaning the apartment we walked through it with the apartment manager. She saw a chunk was missing out of the enamel top on the stove and began to say,

“Well I don’t–”

“That was like that when they moved in here. My daughter asked them to replace the stove and they absolutely refused.”

“I asked them twice and they still refused,” I said, “and the mold. Just let me show you the black mold problem we have in here that I have asked maintenance to take care of and they never have.”

“Didnt maintenance fix your bathroom fan?”

“Yes and I asked them about the mold. The guy just said, ‘Yea that happens. these apartments don’t get very good ventilation,’ but he never did anything to resolve the situation.”

“Oh my gosh, I had known it would have been fixed and you would have had a new stove. I’m sorry you had to go through all of this.”

“Well they had every right to be there according to the department of housing.” my Mother said.

“Oh really? That’s interesting because corporate told us only two people per bedroom.”

“Well not according to the city ordinance.”

“Well cooperate drills that into our heads.”

“Well has corporate ever been to a zoning meeting?”

“Well no.”

“I didn’t think so.”

“The attorneys said corporate could enforce a rule that they thought was needed for safety like no more than two people per bedroom, but it would have to be in writing in our lease. No where in our lease did it say that,” I said.

“Wow. That is interesting. I will have to look into that myself.”

“I just don’t want this to happen to any future tenants. Especially people with such young children.”

I gave her the keys and did not look back.

The whole situation was very stressful on my family, but I am counting my blessings. My Mom just happened to look in the paper the same day the landlord refused to renew our lease. A couple of days prior Mikes Dad who passed away comes to me in a dream and tells me “It will be Ok.” I’m counting my blessings we have angels looking out for my family and I. A parents love is unconditional, in this life and in the next.

Rebirth

  When I look at my son, I see such promise and hope. I understand why Jesus said we should all be like children.

My son trusts others completely. He has not learned what it’s like for someone to break his trust. He loves others with every fiber of his being. He has not learned what it is like for someone to crush his heart and soul. He lives fearlessly. He is learning to walk. He sometimes falls down. He always gets back up like nothing happened and continues to laugh and smile as he pulls himself up, and he tries again, and again.

In my eyes he is perfect. He is a spitting image of the creator. Uninhibited. Un-fearful. He is love.

He reminds me of what is wrong with the world. We forget to be children. We forget to love with a complete love. To be completely uninhibited. To get back up if we fail. If life knocks us on our ass, not to give up. Try… and then, try again. If more people saw the world through the eyes of a child, there would be no war. Just love and hope. That is the secret of life.

I look at my sweet baby boy, as I stroke his hair and he smiles. He is the reason I will never give up. He is the reason I am reminded to see the world through the eyes of a child. He gives me life. I am made complete and I am reborn through the eyes of a child. He smiles in his sleep. I kiss his forehead and tell him what a miracle he is. That he was the one that gave birth to me.