” … week 1 and week 2 … AWESOME. Amazing, actually. Rock Star Parenting, at its finest. We had a schedule. We did electives. Structure. IT WAS REALLY FUN!”
I want to openly speak here for a minute … While I try to write on the regular, I seldom post my work on WordPress, and honestly, I’m not sure why. When quarantine first happened, I made a resolution to myself … I was SO, 100% SURE, I was going to organize this, and organize that … I was SO, 100% SURE, I was going to start posting on here again. I was so 100%, sure. I mean, I had two weeks to get shit done. Time that I always complained, I never had. EVER!
I was GREAT, week 1 and week 2, probably 1/2 of week 3, it’s all a blur. I organized the hell outta my downstairs. My living space was finally livable again. Immaculate. But for the LOVE OF GOD … LIFE happens, and when you are now back to preparing (or, at the very least, SUPPOSED to prepare) all three meals, for all three kids, sometimes 4, plus two adults who are trying their DAMNEST to stay on Keto … it becomes a little overwhelming … quite overwhelming, actually. Being able to eat out several nights a week, was very important to this busy go go family.
And, for F’s sakes people … Let’s not forget that we are now teachers, in the literal aspect, to our children. It’s okay … throw any challenge at me and I will try to prevail, and if I don’t, I will go down my hardest, trying. Again … week 1 and week 2 … AWESOME. Amazing, actually. Rock Star Parenting, at its finest. We had a schedule. We did electives. Structure. IT WAS REALLY FUN! Two weeks, right?! We were supposed to be “locked down” … “in quarantine” … for FOURTEEN DAYS!
THAT, is tolerable.
Week 3, week 4, 5, 6 … It became old, real fast. Every. Fucking. Meal. That’s, a lot! Trying to maintain our living space, that I worked so hard at organizing in the beginning, is like trying to vacuum with no bag. Shit. Goes. Everywhere. The End. It’s near impossible to TRY and keep up with my 10 year old. I bow down to the parents that have littles at home, special needs, more than 1 … I pray for you, EVERY DAY! I pray for us all. We all have our things.
Speaking of which … Have I mentioned how much I miss my job?! It, literally, tears at my soul that I am not working with the kids I did. I miss them all. I miss my girl. The kids at school. My friends at work. Marissa misses her friends. Physical contact with other beings, other than those that live in this house. Oh that’s right … Thing 1 has returned home?! It’s okay … the more the merrier, in my opinion, especially during these times. I’m better than okay with it, for I also know, it won’t be forever. Thing 2 is already planning her escape next year … Meanwhile, poor Marissa … STUCK, for at leastEIGHT more years!! Insert evil laugh.
I’m seriously ADHD. I get so bored, so fast. I want to do what I want, when I want … I don’t want to organize because that’s what I’m “supposed to be doing” … I want to organize because I want to organize. Having all these “beings” at home, at the same time … all on top of each other, nowhere to go … except 100 Living Room Way, or 55 Kitchen Island … hang a left to the Potty Oasis, where the motto is … “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat … or your mother will hunt you down”, is NOT the ideal situation to start organizing your life. So what happens next, is mind blowing, to me.
Weeks 7 – 10 … Ten weeks … Seventy-something days, we have finally found a “new way” in this “quarantine world”. My youngest has a new routine, a new schedule. Her teachers are fabulous, she is fabulous. She doesn’t need me as much as she did in the beginning, and where I may be a little sad about it, it’s a testament to her awesome teachers for being, well … AWESOME, and for Marissa being equally as awesome, as well. We miss everyone, but we have begun to “re-learn” each other, if you will. That’s the best way I can describe it. When every day is a constant, go go go, you tend to lose sight of what’s really important. FAMILY is what is MOST important, in my opinion, and as much as you go go go FOR your family, the best you can give them, is just by being there with them.
I call my middle child, the perfect child … well, everything except her damn mouth (not sure where she gets that from <insert evil laugh>) … she typically doesn’t know when to STFU. That’s just a cold hard, FACT! I sometimes feel, that she feels neglected. Don’t worry, she’s totally not … it’s just that “self-entitled” mentality that generation seems to have. She knows she is loved. It’s a huge reminder that it SO matters how you raise your children. YOU are responsible for molding the little creature you created, into a responsible product of society. However, you can only lead a horse to water, you cannot make them drink. I feel that being forced to be home, and not on the go, 1000% of the time, has really made a difference, in how that generation of children think. At least I see the difference in my very stubborn, almost 19 year old, daughter.
We are social beings, by nature. It’s okay to miss our friends, what was our old norm … but it’s so beautiful to see a new norm transpiring. It’s like the metamorphosis of a butterfly … starts out cute, goes through some “things“, makes a mess, secludes itself, and comes out this magnificent creature, on the other side.
That’s how I feel with my family.
Having a blended family is hard. I am NOT here to sugar coat ANYTHING! It hasn’t always been unicorns and rainbows, but we have always prevailed. ALWAYS! Getting thrown into a relationship, neither one was really prepared for, but both were completely committed to, had its share of challenges, to say the least. Yes, we have battle wounds, and yes, we have scars, but YES, we have so manyMORE sublime memories, which thoroughly out weigh any negative there has ever been, ever. This “new norm” we have been faced with, is a beautiful reminder that family, is all we really need to survive, and thrive, in this crazy world, which we are ALL blessed to live.
Even my husband has been a little more helpful / playful, around the house … a little. Let’s be real, he has (or had) the thought process of, I work and provide … you be mom / wife / maid. He had this … Me Dick. You Jane, type mentality, but not really, any more. As a matter of fact, as I type this … outside my kitchen window, I hear my youngest, and my husband laughing, giggling, washing their bikes, together, chasing each other with the water hose.
“Fun Fact”: That wouldn’t be happening any other week night. That’s for damn sure. As a matter of fact, he wouldn’t even be home yet.
I guess the point I’m getting at … I don’t know what I want more … Life as it was, or life as it could be. Sure, I miss my friends … but do they miss me as much as I miss them? Maybe. It’s the life we were used to! For the first time, in a long time, I feel like people don’t care what others are doing. I never really did, anyhow. I’ve always cherished the life I have. I know how delicate life can be, or is. I know the struggles of every day life. I have lived them, more than once. I’m up for any challenge that is thrown at me … but I feel like it’s 1985 again … ya know, minus the technology part of the decade, that’s just added bonus at this point. I feel like,LIFEis simple again. Family is what is most important. Yes, while friends play a very important socialization role in all our lives, and I miss mine terribly … BUT, if I’m being honest … I’m still okay with being home, in “quarantine”, with my loves. I almost feel like a hypocrite, because I post on how I want shit to go back to “normal”, but I think I’m all right with this new normal. For the love of God, just don’t take away my lake this summer, and no one will get harmed! Ha!
Another thought … I’m almost afraid that when life does go back, I may be sad. I will miss my husband being here ALLTHETIME, when at the beginning, quite frankly, that scared the crap outta me. I’m afraid that all the conversations I’m having with my children, will go away … again. I say again, because when you are at a certain stage with your children, you are driving them EVERYWHERE. Those car ride coversations … ahhh, there really is nothing like them. Once they get their license, they are driving themselves … All those little, but more than meaningful conversations, went away. Now that we have all been back together, it’s been wonderful having those conversations again. Having my son’s sweet, handsome face in my presence when he comes home from work, (yes … he is essential) has just been the light of my life.
Maybe I’m just getting older. Feeling nostalgic. Feeling the burn of kids growing too fast. I needed to get these thoughts out on to paper. I need for people to believe that everything will be okay. It’s up to YOU to decide your future. How you roll with your own friends and family. I’m not here to judge anyone. I’ve never been that person, anyhow. You do you! I’m ready to start our new normal. I’m ready to hang around people again, in small doses, of course, but what I’m most ready for, and excited about, (and I promise you, this has been a long time coming), I’m ready to dedicate myself, a million percent, to making sure my kids feel the love they deserve. There is nothing greater than feeling loved and appreciated. I know that I’m already that person, but having lost, THE MOST IMPORTANT person in my life, almost two years ago, I haven’t really been the best version of me, that I know I AM! I know this. I accept this, and with this blog, comes the “new, OLD me“.
I have a child that has been driving for almost 2 years, a boy. I also have another child with a permit, and will get a driver’s license in July, a girl. She always wants to drive, and I get it … I was 16 once upon a time, too. She’s a very good driver … Actually, she’s such a good driver, that she “kindly” tells me how to drive, at times … yeah, it’s impressive! <insert heavy eye roll>. That being said, why do I have such a hard time handing her the keys, and just letting her drive?! Things would be a lot less “yelly”, if I just gave her the keys, every single time we have a place to go, but I don’t … and if I’m being honest, I won’t. Because after a lot of soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion, that since I cannot control the hands of time, I can control whose hands the keys land in. She has the rest of her life to drive, I only have three months left to be her chauffeur, before getting a car of her own, and ONLY a little over a year, before she graduates high school, and starts her own life. I know it sounds dumb … I know she should be practicing … and she does, just not as much as she wants. Once she has a car of her own, and the “freedom” to come and go, I’m pretty sure she’ll go, more than she comes, and I’m okay with that, at that point in time. I am the person who likes to celebrate growth and milestones, and very much looks forward to a reason to celebrate my children. I try to not be overly sentimental, however, it’s a different set of emotions, that is so unexplainable to parents who haven’t been here yet. Knowing that the time is coming for my older two children to spread their wings and fly, is a lot to handle. As much as parents “look forward” to empty-nesting, it’s a wee bit scary for this mama. I feel secure in how we’ve raised our children, to be great products of society, but have I really done enough?! Will my “life lessons” resonate with them … Will they remember my words when it’s time to make an important decision?! Oh my goodness … Have I done enough?! It’s a scary reality knowing that your kids will be on their own, making grown up decisions, making mistakes, hopefully learning from those mistakes, and growing from them. My daughter has this false sense of reality, that as long as you’re doing the right thing, everything is peachy keen. In a sense, yes it could be, but you never know what bumps in the road could arise, what crazy forks in the road you will come in contact with, and have to make a decision … LEFT or RIGHT?! Have I done enough, have I said enough, have I taught them enough?! At the end of the day, and in my defense (wink wink) … I know she’ll be okay … I have been in the car with her enough, to know that she will be just fine. She thinks she neeeeeds to practice, I know that even with all the practice in the world, it doesn’t stop all the assholes that ARE on the road, and as long as she’s paying attention and doing the right thing, she will be fine.
For now, I’m holding on to the little girl who never wanted to leave my side … the little girl who couldn’t let me leave the house without her being in tow … the little girl that I have a bond with that no one can touch … the little girl who used to sleep in my bed … the little girl who looked at her mama with those green eyes …
… the little girl that I am just having a hard time, letting go!!
It’s the little things, that make a huge difference …
Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, right?! Right. My “conventional marriage”, was finalized in divorce, at some point in Early 2004. We brought another child into our marriage in July of 2001 … my only full-term baby (that’s right, in 2010, I had another premature child, 6 1/2 weeks early), and even she wanted to be born six weeks early, but doctors were able to stop my contractions .. with a little bed rest, I was able to hold her in until 39 weeks … July 2, 2001, it’s a girl … 6 pounds, 6 ounces, at 6 am … Hmmm … you said a girl, right?! Not the devil?! (Again, I joke … sorta)
My ex-husband started cheating on me in November of 2000 … That’s right … You do the math! Yet, I still fought for what I thought was mine … I lost, but eventually, when I realized he got another person pregnant, I won. I won my freedom from him, back … I no longer had feels for him the way a wife should have for her husband … Soooo …
In January, 2003, I moved my children and I to Hickory, NC. I was no longer a wife. I had a new title: Single mom … with nowhere to go. My mom, and my brother lived there, so it made sense. We spent about 6 years there. I have nothing, but wonderful memories, and few close friends that will be cherished forever. I do believe it was when my older two kids were happiest in life, if I’m being 1,000% honest with myself. It’s also where, for four years, twice a year, my son was injected with botox injections, in both legs, and then casted (to stretch the tendons in his calves and ankles) for 6 weeks, each time. Even though his cerebral palsy only affects the right side of his body, the doctors felt that doing it to both legs, at his age, would give him an “even” feeling. Along with the botox, came extensive, intensive, physical and occupational therapies, 2 – 3 times per week, during these four years, and beyond. I could sit here and list the numerous procedures and therapies my son has had to endure, but I can’t remember them all. There have literally been hundreds, and if anything, I’m under-estimating!
Single mom, 2 kids … my world … not such a bad title to hold.
I seem to have forgotten to mention what exactly caused my son to develop cerebral palsy (CP) … At birth, he suffered a Grade III, out of IV, bleed, on the left side of his brain, affecting the right side of his body. In other words, he had a stroke. Given too much oxygen at birth? Maybe. However, for all the things that SHOULD be wrong with him, he is truly blessed, and a FUCKING MIRACLE!! Through the years, I have seen many kids born at 26, 27, 32 weeks. I have also seen many born at full term, with cerebral palsy, requiring a wheelchair, having no speech or any motor skills … I KNOW HOW LUCKY WE ARE!!! It’s trying to teach a kid with a severe disability, just HOW LUCKY HE IS!! Even though I have ingrained, in my son’s brain, that CAN’T isn’t in his vocabulary, I still struggle with showing him that he fucking CAN!!
He can do anything he wants in life … He may have to work a little harder, but he FUCKING CAN! (He’s almost 19, so I don’t feel bad swearing at this point).
In 2008, I decided that my ex-husband needed to be in our kids lives more. So what does every sane, normal person do?! Oh … I upped, and moved back home to New Jersey, in August. This whole section of life, is a whole other blog! wink wink!
August 2009 … Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia (aka CHOP) …
My son had some testing done at CHOP, to decipher exactly what could be done, surgically, to help aid him in his growing years. You see, it was these tests that clued us in that his right hip was growing in, instead of straight, causing his right leg to be extra tight, shorter than his left leg, and caused him to tippy toe his right foot for many years, walking with an EXTREME limp. What brought me to this point, as his mother?
Mean people! Cruel fucking humans.
Earlier that year, in the Spring, my son wanted to play baseball … a great little athlete, he was (is) … even with his “gimpy limp”. He had (has) an arm on him, like you wouldn’t believe. It’s a damn shame that some people have to be complete, fucking assholes their whole life, and a mother, at that. Being that we were new in town … No one knew that I was his mom. I was so proud of my kid for joining a team, where he hardly knew anyone. The kids were pretty accepting of him … 3rd graders are still sweet! The first time my son was up to bat, he hit the ball … AWESOME! … and as he ran to first base … Cheering him on, I overheard another mom question who my son was … (in my best snotty voice) “Whoooo is that kid?! Isn’t he considered a liability?!”.
NOW, in my best Mama Bear voice, “I’m sorry … WHAT?! BITCH! … THAT is MY kid … He is NOT a liability … he is a fucking miracle, with a heart of gold, and a smile that would melt your cold ass heart! He has cerebral palsy, and has EVERY right to be here, just as much as your perfect little liability, er … son does!”. ((GTFOH!!))
Can you believe the audacity of some people?!
September 21, 2009 … Morristown Memorial Hospital … Surgery Day!
Look at that sweet, sweet face! How could you not fall in love with this kid?! His big brown eyes, super long eyelashes, and a smile that just makes everything okay in the world! Side note: I love his smile so much!!
THIS … was the scariest day of my life. My baby boy was about to endure EIGHT procedures, in EIGHT hours, and while my memory fails me to know the exact terms of each procedure, I can give you the synopsis … Basically, the doctors had to break his hip, rotate it out, put a temporary plate in (which was removed a year later, during another surgery), while it fuses back together, along with lengthening his groin muscle, heel-cord surgery, stunting the growth in his left leg, so his right leg can play catch-up (those tools were called 8 plates, and they too, were also removed, in a separate procedure, once his left leg caught up, about 2 years later) … that’s five … the other three things were minimal. He was supposed to come out of surgery in a body cast, for 6 weeks. It was a last-minute decision, by the orthopedic doctor, to NOT cast his body … Because he knew my son, and he knew it would only hinder his recovery … and he was CORRECT!!
Again … Look at that face … all drugged up, and still has a smile for his mama! GOD, I LOVE THIS KID! So, now that we have gotten through the surgical aspect, now starts the long road to recovery … A full year recovery, and then some. He had to learn how to walk again. “It’ll be a good 12 weeks, before he’s ready to start to walk,” Dr. Rieger said, “However, I decided to not body cast him, in hopes that he may walk sooner.”
And that he did! He walked 6 weeks before he was even supposed to start trying! “YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING!”, I would tell him time and time again. “There isn’t anything, YOU CAN’T DO!”, would roll off my tongue, over and over. We went through a full year of physical therapy, and unless you knew he had CP, you would never know it. Mission accomplished!
Fast forward to sixth grade … Ahhhhh Middle School!! Difficult transitions to get used to. You’re expected to do more for yourself in school, change classes, etc. When Sean started middle school, we lived in a neighboring town, to where we live now. After the first marking period, his teachers were all telling me that he needed extra help, or maybe he was a resource kid … a kid who needed help in every aspect of school.
WHAT are you people telling me?! I have NEVER had a problem with his schooling, except in 4th grade, but that’s when he had his big surgery, and got a little behind. He was totally fine in 5th grade, when his lowest grade was ONE C, the whole year?! I literally left there in TEARS!! Who the hell wants to hear that their kid is resource material?! NO ONE, but here we were! Because of his cerebral palsy, he was always being tested, and was always “over testing”. They could never find any learning disabilities … EVER!
Other circumstances in my life, caused us to move from that town, to the one I live in now, allowing my son to change schools in the middle of 6th grade. He did okay that year. Seventh grade, we struggled with some bullying and grades … Of course, I thought it was the bullying that was causing his struggle with academics. WRONG! In 8th grade, yes EIGHTH grade … it was his Math teacher, who finally “heard” what he was trying to say. Long story, short, it was found that he had a terrible processing speed. So things that should normally take you a few seconds to answer, would take him a minute or two … or longer … therefore resulting in a documented learning disability. The poor kid was struggling for years, but didn’t manifest, until he had to do things for himself … such as MIDDLE SCHOOL!! I felt like the worst parent ever … for pushing him so hard to do better. His step-father and I really didn’t accept anything, but his best!! To our credit, every teacher, and counselor has told us that if it weren’t for our “push”, he wouldn’t be where he was at that point.
The very first day of 8th grade, he had broken his “bad” leg, in two places, from a little spill on his dirt bike … Here we go again … Getting behind in school, and MONTHS of physical therapy. I remember when Erica, his therapist, asked me what my goal was for him … without hesitation, I said, “I would like to see him run … properly.”
It’s the little things in life, that people without any type of disability take for granted. I had never seen my son run with both arms at his side, pumping back and forth. Instead, the left side worked “properly”, while his right side flailed in the wind. Although cute, he was about to enter the next four years of his life, in high school …
It’s the little things, that make a huge difference, and the day came …
December 18, 2013 … Drayer Physical Therapy, Sparta, NJ
I saw my son run, like a person without CP, for the first time in his life … LIKE A BOSS!
Tears roll down my face, and I’m reminded, we’ve already come so far.
April 24, 1999 … 7:15 am … Trying to place an epidural, in a spine, on a body that has gained over twenty pounds of water weight in less than three weeks, is proving to be near impossible. I was “stuck” in the back about five or six times, before the anesthesiologist said,
“If I can’t get it this time, we’re gonna have to put you under, and do the c-section while you sleep.”
“Ummm … there is a chance that my son won’t live … You WILL get it this time, because I want to see him alive, even if only for a minute!” (Wow! Look at me! Haven’t even met my son, and I’m already a Mama Bear!) With that, the epidural was inserted properly, and within minutes, the doctor who delivered my son, Dr. Yvonne Thornton, entered the room, and said …
“Now, please remember, that his lungs are just now developing. You will probably not hear him cry, when he is born. This is normal. We were only able to give you one steroid shot to help his lungs, versus the two shots, that you would normally get. We are running out of time … for you, but I assure you (in her most sympathetic voice), even though you probably won’t hear him cry, technology has come so far …”
She continued on, but that’s all I really heard … Technology?! WTF does technology have to do with MY SON, and his premature lungs … Actually, I remember a nurse saying that he was so early, that it wasn’t even considered premature, but rather … immature. HA! A title he still holds dearly, to this day!! (I joke … sorta)
April 24, 1999 … 8:54 am … I heard the sweetest little “Wahh!”, that I have ever heard in my entire life! “It’s a boy … One pound, nine ounces, 12 1/2 inches long, apparently with a better set of lungs, than we anticipated!”
I will never forget that sound. I have it on lock down in the memory banks of my heart, and my brain … I will never forget his first, tiniest of whimpers, and the thoughts that scattered through my brain …
That’s my boy!
Stronger than even the doctors thought!
A fighter from birth.
Strength you didn’t know you had.
YOU HAVE PURPOSE!
You got this, kiddo!
I will never leave your side … EVER!
THAT, is my promise to you.
July 30th, 2000 ~ One year “corrected” age ~ When you have a child that is born three months early, you learn a lot of new jargon that you’ve never heard before. You also become super acclimated to the NICU, and you start to believe that you could be a nurse, with all that you have learned. Especially when your child is there for 12 weeks. Today’s word is “corrected age”. He’s 9 months old, 6 months, corrected age. For ONE YEAR, and three months, I had to use this term. It was frustrating. Unless you know, you DON’T know. To the mom who has her babies when they’re supposed to be born, it may sound silly to you, that I complain about this … It seems minimal, in the grand scheme of life, however … it’s ANNOYING … just another way to point out that my kid is different from yours … like I said … ANNOYING, and perhaps, dare I say “judgey”?! The only positive, is that if someone overheard me saying “corrected age”, it brought on the conversation, and I was happy to talk about it. Knowledge is power, right?! Getting back to my point … In August of 2000, I had to bring my son for a developmental check up. I had noticed that he was favoring one side of his body, over the other. When he crawled, at nine months, he would over use his left side, like an army crawl, but the left side did the majority of the work. After a three-hour evaluation, the results were in …
“Your son has a condition called Hemiparesis, which affects his right side.”
Have you said this before, or maybe heard someone else say it? Well, for me, it’s pretty much true. I like everyone (I’m working on this, as it is a legitimate problem). However, why not like everyone? I mean, don’t get me wrong … There are the few people who have rubbed me the wrong way upon meeting them, but I always give it a chance. I mean, what has a “new person” in my life, ever done to me, to warrant me not liking them?!
That would be a big, fat NOTHING.
It doesn’t mean I need them to be my best friend for life (I have one of those), it just means that I give everyone a chance. I do NOT listen to what “Susie May” has to say about “Mary Margaret’s” kids being a real pain in the ass. I make my own decisions about people (and their kids), based on how they treat myself, my kids, and their own kids and family. I do NOT listen to what other people have to say about “Joe Schmoe” down the road, who never mows his lawn (maybe Joe Schmoe is dealing with something that can’t be seen by naked eye), or whatever crazy things people like to conjure up, just to make their own miserable lives, a little more bearable.
WHAT did she say?!
You heard me … It’s fucking true! People tear down other people, because they are not happy in their own person. They want everyone else around them to be equally miserable. Why?!
Well … Misery LOVES company!
We’ve all heard that statement before … But why? Although the person may not come off as “miserable” … You can hear it in every word they speak … They complain about themselves, their significant other, their kids, their job, their boss, their diet, other people (my favorite … NOT), the fact that the sky is blue … the list is endless. So, if misery loves company, and no one wants to be labeled as miserable, why is it so hard to just be happy (or at least fake it … kidding … kind of)?! Why not look at what’s positive in your life, rather than what’s negative … WHY is this so hard?!
I don’t know, but this brings me to another point …
What is it about that one person who seems to love to “drive” people in other directions (sometimes without the other person even realizing what’s happening), rather than the direction they were already “driving”?! Who’s to blame … the person doing the driving, or the person listening to the driver?! ((ohhhh the things that make you go hmmmm))
What is it about that one person who will do anything to make someone feel like they don’t belong … if that person hasn’t done anything to deserve it? Again, who’s to blame, the person doing the insulting, or the other person not standing up for themselves, and asking the questions that need to be answered … “WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU?”.
It’s frustrating. It’s lonely. It’s sad.
See … when you’re the person who feels left out (and I have been, plenty of times), you take a chance on asking what’s up. The chance being … honesty. You may throw hints here and there to your peers, hoping to get answers, but when you’re made to feel like “it’s all in your head” (when you know damn well that it’s NOT) … you stop asking. You stop trusting. You just move forward, wondering what you’ve done so terrible, to be treated so unkindly, when all you really want … is to just be friends.
Honesty IS the best policy!
Is it?! People say that honesty is the best policy … I believe it, but so is communication. However, there are times when communication has been met, without the honest answers. So, how are you supposed to deal with the situation, if you can’t get honest answers, even from the person in question?!
You have to make the realistic decision, and accept that you can’t make everyone happy, so don’t even try. You will only drive yourself insane. So, you smile, you’re cordial, but most of all you’re kind.
Kill ’em with Kindness!
Kindness will never get you hurt. It feels so good to be kind. It feels so good to give. It feels so good to be a decent human being … So why are there so many miserable people in the world?! Maybe they aren’t “miserable” … maybe they are jelly … not grape or strawberry, but legitimately …
JEALOUS! (oh no she didn’t)
Oh YES she did!!! They are jealous. Jealous?! Yes. Jealous. Say the word JEALOUS, five times in a row … It sounds silly, right? However, if you listen … by the 5th time, it sounds like “Gel-US” … Gel us together, and knock out the jealousy!!! (Ahhhh, perhaps another movement I would love to create?!)
If I were in a situation like this, I would say … “JEALOUS OF WHAT?!!? I’m overweight, my house is a “mess”, I live each day to please the ungrateful twits I call my kids, and my husband … not that he’s ungrateful, but I do live to please him too, I’m lucky if I shower daily, and I mean LUCKY, I don’t get paid for my “job”, I’m insecure … shall I go on?!”.
Being jealous of anyone, or anything, is silly, actually. There are so many directions I could go with this, but let’s start here … People tend to create a facade, if you will, of what their lives are, especially in this day of social media. People tend to post about all the “good” in their lives. No one really posts about how crappy of a day they are having, or how much they can’t stand their kid (at the moment) … well, unless they are the type that posts about every single detail of their lives, (yes, you know who you are, maybe not lol) … but for the most part, people are showing their kids on their GOOD days, posts of loved ones that might be ill, needing some comfort, but still not awful, vacations, etc.. We, as a society, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, etc, as if we’ve been doing it our whole lives (umm, you’re doing it now! lol). It’s crazy to think how the impact of social media, truly makes us feel. Let’s be honest … if people don’t acknowledge that they’ve seen your post, with a ‘LIKE’, you may get mad … or, at the very least, a little upset.
I’m sure there are millions of other people who feel this same way. So how do we change this? What can be done different?
When you find out … please let me know!
I’m being facetious … sort of … I would LOVE feedback on this issue. For now, my advice is this … Support and Kindness. Give support, and be kind to everyone in your life. No matter how big or small. Be supportive of your girlfriend, whose husband just lost his job. Be kind to the cashier, who couldn’t muster up a smile, because her family is in dire straits, and she had to quit school to get a job, to help her family. Hell, just being kind to the person who isn’t so kind to you, truly does makes a difference, if not to them, definitely to you.
So bottom line is this … We do not know what goes on behind closed doors. We do not know the reasons why some people are miserable in their own skin. We, as a world, need to be a little more nice … a little more friendly … supportive … positive … and see how much different the world looks. It’s pretty amazing!
Peace, love and happiness to you all!
(even the haters!)
Do you know what it’s like to be me
Happy, easy-going, loving, carefree
Your vision of my face
You can clearly see
I’m smiling, I’m joyful
I’m bursting with glee
PLEASE … Do not be mistaken
While I smile for you
Inside, my heart is breaking
Broken … shattered, really
Somehow I’ve failed you, my son
Somehow I’ve failed you
My number one
Tell me what it is that
I haven’t done
You see, in my head
We’ve already won
From where you were
To where you are
Do you even realize
You’ve come so far
Dig deep, my son
For you will see
That pushing yourself
Will set you free
Can’t is a word
You’ve always been told
To eliminate from your mind
No matter how old
Remember the time
You knew how to walk
Then surgery stole it
We sat, and we talked
“Mommy, oh Mommy
This isn’t fair
Why did God create me
Just to make me wear
Braces on my legs
I’ve been casted too
Procedure after procedure
Please tell me it’s true
I’ll walk again, Mommy
Maybe one day soon
Tell me I can, Mommy
Please sing me a tune”
From my heart they would come
Along with my song
I could hear him hum
My sweet young man
You have come so far
I wish you could see
Beyond every scar
That God makes no mistakes
You do have a purpose
For heavens sake
Never give up
My eldest son
Never give up
My number one
**Good Morning Friends … I have submitted this piece to be a part of a bigger audience, next month. Please cross your fingers and toes, that I’m one of the lucky ones to be chosen to be featured with a Guest Submission on The Ink Owl’s Page … I’ve included the link to their page, so you can check them out, and or submit something of your own!**
The prompt, for the submission, from the page, is as follows:
” I would like submissions to contain an essence of fantasy as well as reflect this prompt”:
“Into the deep I plunge.”
I’ve included that, so my poem, makes more sense, as you read it. Enjoy! As always, constructive criticism, is more than welcome! ;o)
Into the deep I plunge …
The deepest, darkest place
I can find … in my brain,
Yet … nowhere to be found.
The light, the one that once shone
From within, is beckoning to be heard ….
To be seen … to be loved.
Into the deep I plunge,
Happily Ever After…
One step forward,
Two steps back.
I vowed FOREVER!
Is forever now?
The deeper I plunge,
The further I fall …
… into GRACE?! …
A space forgotten by me,
Forgotten by all!
Shame on them, shame on me!
Take me deep …
Keep falling … Hold Me!
Let Me GO! … Take my hand,
Fall with me …..
Into the deep I go …
Where? What? Why? …
… HOW?! …
How have I fallen…
This deep, without letting go?
Further … Slower … Clinching
Oh … I see now … REJOICING!
You never let go …
Into the deep I plunge …
It’s warm … welcoming,
Inviting … I like it here …
I recently sat with a young lady named Victoria Skie. She is an up and comer in the music industry, and quite frankly, a breath of fresh air. Having teenagers of my own, I know how snarky they can be … I also know how wonderful they can be. That being said, Victoria is someone I could have spoken with for HOURS, but our time was limited, and it had to end somewhere … sigh.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, in Montclair, NJ. We met at a Starbucks, near her manager’s office, on Church Street. Her manager is Hakim Bell, you may remember him from a previous blog of mine, and if not, do yourself a favor and Meet Hakim. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. Trying to find parking in Montclair, is challenging, but once I found a spot, I could already see Victoria sitting at a table, outside of Starbucks, as we discussed. I had already seen her many videos on youtube, so I knew what she looked like, yet I was completely taken aback at her natural beauty … stunning actually, with very little makeup on. Like I said … A breath of fresh air.
After our introductions were made, we sat and began our lovely conversation. I gave Victoria some background information about myself. I always feel it necessary, for the person I’m interviewing, to know a little about me. It seems to make the other person feel more comfy, and I have found that the conversation just flows easier, when you feel like you’re old friends. :o)
Victoria Skie, whose full name is, Victoria Marchlewski, shared a little background, as well. She is 18, and just graduated from high school, this past school year … Class of 2017!! Both of her parents are from Poland, so she is 100% polish, which she takes SO much pride in.
“My dad played in a wedding band, in Poland, when he was a teenager, and my mom has always been a singer. She loves singing, and always wanted to be a pop singer, but my grandfather was very traditional. Not that he didn’t have appreciation for pop music, he was just more of an “opera” man. When he grew up, he became an Impresario of Poland, and he would bring shows over to America. He had a lavish lifestyle, and he would like to go to Opera’s, and what not. He set my mom up for opera voice lessons, and she just hasn’t been able to switch it off, from all of the classical training. ((SIDE NOTE: Once you train in classical style, it IS very hard to turn this switch off)). She has always had that want to sing popular music in Poland, so I feel like that’s why she is so supportive of me. I have taken a year, or two, off from school, to help pursue my career in music, and she is here with me, always. My father is so supportive, as well. They both had “the dream”, and so I feel like we are all working on it together, so it’s really exciting!”
For me, it’s so refreshing to see the beam in Victoria’s eyes when she spoke of her parents. I was lucky enough to meet her mother, right before our interview, and she is, indeed, a lovely lady. After you peruse my interview, it will be easy to see that the apple probably didn’t fall far from the tree, in my opinion. This is one up and comer, that I hope and pray, finds her way to the “big stage” … she is simply ahhh-mazing!
Victoria, Who do you look up to musically? “I have a lot of answers for this. So, I look up to Ariana Grande’s production team, because I feel like every song they put out, is a hit, even if the lyrics are questionable. I just feel like the background music, the beats, the bass lines, are always so catchy. So, I’m definitely inspired by her production team. I also look up to Ed Sheeran, because he’s just so chill, and low-key, and just like it’s no big deal, ‘Gonna play MSG tonight’, and I find that so awe-inspiring, just because he’s able to connect with so many people, and NOT be taken over by the industry side. Oh, and Tori Kelly … she’s built her brand from the beginning by herself, and I’ve read a few articles on her, with her business side of things, and how her parents have been a part of it, and that’s huge for me. I want my parents to be a part of everything, because I feel like they have been so instrumental in allowing me to do it, they have given up a lot to support me, and it’s important to me, that they are there with me, every step of the way.”
SEE … refreshing … If only every teenager out there, could appreciate, and respect everything their parents do for them. It doesn’t matter WHAT situation you are in, if you have parents that give a $hit … RESPECT THEM! Otherwise, you’re going to regret how you’ve treated them, one day.
What’s your motto, or message that you want to convey to your young(er) listeners/fans … You know, to the young people, who are now looking up to you?
“This is actually something my old choir teacher taught me … I love choir music, by the way … I love all types of music, but I have been doing state choirs, and regional choirs throughout high school, so I’ve really developed a love for dissonance and different harmonies, and stuff. So, I was fortunate enough to have Stevie Rawlings, as my choir teacher. She had spent a crazy amount of time in show business, before coming to our school, as the choir teacher. So, I played her one of the very first songs I had ever written for my project, ((which means, recording and presenting her original music to executives in hopes of a record deal)), and she sat me down and said, “You should really pursue this”, and then followed up with, “What you have to do in life is, whatever you’re first thinking of in the morning, and the last thing you’re thinking of at night before you go to sleep”, and so ever since then, that’s been my biggest piece of advice. I know kids are pushed by parents, and societal pressures to pick jobs where they make the “most money”, or job stability, but really, even if your job is stable and you’re making a lot of money, when you’re 50 years old, and you’ve always wanted to be singer or a writer, and you’ve never done it, then you’re going to regret it one day. So, to me, it’s better to not have regrets, than to always be “safe”.”
She’s right … you will regret it! Which is why, at 41, I have decided to pursue my writing career. If you don’t ever try, you will NEVER know. This is a very good lesson to learn at such a young age. She is wise beyond her years. Very well spoken, which lead me to this question, because there is no such thing as a perfect teenager … or is there?! ;o)What’s the most trouble you have ever gotten into? A little giggle ensues, followed with … “So, I asked my mom, for my 13th birthday, for Justin Bieber tickets, and I wanted the meet and greet SO BAD ((like every other Belieber out there!)) .. so of course, the meet and greet sold out immediately … so then I accidentally, set us up for a “bid” for tickets .. and I SWEAR, it was an accident ((and she swore up and down that it was an accident)) … so we ended up winning, ummm, for A LOT of money, umm ((almost hiding her face)) TENTH ROW tickets, and my mom had just found it on her credit card statement the next month .. and was like, “Well, I guess we’re going to a Justin Bieber concert!” … and she was SO ANGRY at me, and I was still like, I swear I didn’t know … but then we ended up going, and at the time, it was THE BEST CONCERT EVER, but I did get in a lot of trouble, but so worth it!”
It’s refreshing to know that THIS is the biggest trouble a young, beautiful, aspiring artist has gotten herself into … Lord knows, there are way worse things out there … However, inquiring minds do want to know …
Just how much WERE those Bieber tickets? “OMG … Like $900.00 for both!!! I still feel SO BAD!”
LOL Well, Victoria, it’s my opinion, that one day, you’ll be able to pay them back for those tickets … and then some! :o)
Why is it important to you, as an artist, to be a good role model?
“This is like a BIG thing for me, because not that it upsets me, because I know that every artist has their own audience, and their own image they’re trying to portray, but I feel like there’s too many. The majority of artists that are my age, and female, are so like, over exposed on stage, and they sing about provocative things, and not that that is bad … Look, Rhianna can do it well, Beyoncé can do it well, also, they are in their 20’s ((or older)) … When you’re 17, and your audience are 12/13 year olds, and you’re using curse words in your songs, or using sexual ((innuendos)), it’s just not good. Everyone keeps complaining that generations are getting worse and worse, but what are we giving out to these generations?! Stuff that’s worse and worse!! Seventeen year olds are talking about drinking and smoking in their songs, and kids are listening to it, saying … Well, “this person” who’s really famous, and has a lot of people who like them, are doing these things, so maybe if I do these same things, then people will like me too … and I think that there’s a niche that’s open now, like I feel like there’s a need, in the music industry, for artists that are around my age, that are not gonna do that ((promote smoking, drinking, violence, drugs)).”
It is in my opinion, as a mother, that THESE are the kids that need to be headlining these shows, with their message of positivity, dressing so they’re comfortable, not the way “society” thinks they should dress … just giving a different message, other than sex, violence and drugs.
How old were you when you started to write/play? “I’ve been writing short stories and stuff since I was little, little. Let’s just say my first couple songs, and when I say couple, I mean like FIFTY, they were HORRENDOUS. I remember I wrote a song in like 3rd grade, called ‘We Came Here To Party’, because my influences at that time, were Shakira, Britney Spears, etc .. So, I was like yeah … let me write a good pop song, and it was just terrible, I mean horrendous. LOL BUT, they started to get better around 10, and I remember my first real “good” song, was called, ‘Help The World’, and I remember I sat down at the piano, which I took lessons for 6 or 7 years ((she learned piano before guitar, but feels more comfy on guitar)), and the chorus was, “Won’t matter your color, your shape, size or dollar, the clothes that you wear, or the country you are from, we’ll live as one”. ((I KNOW! RIGHT?!)) So my mom came home, she heard it, and was like WHAT?! So, the next day I showed my music teacher, Mr. Nalesnik, and he was like WHAT? And when the head of the music department, Ms. Vartanian, heard the song, she asked me to sing it at a library opening that they had, and they had a little peace park made, and she said the song fits perfectly. She was also such a great support throughout my school career. So, that was my first “big” performance, and I have been writing ever since. When I got my guitar, that’s when the songs started shooting out, cause now I had a way of creating background music, and so it just poured out.”
Victoria, since you are an up & comer, I know you sing a lot of covers ((very well, might I add)), but could you please explain your sound to my readers, in your own words? “THIS, is the hardest question ever. So pop has always been a part of my life. I have loved it since I was little, and as I grew up, I started to get more in to acoustic music, or acoustic versions of pop songs, and saw that people who cover songs, can make them their own, and I love urban influences, as well, like Lauryn Hill, or India Arie . My sister introduced me to that type of music when I was younger, and I love the beats and the vibe to it, and at the same time … I love sad music. I love to listen to sad music, I mean, who DOESN’T love a good sad song, and cry?! ((side note: if you just said YOU, you’re a big, fat liar liar, pants on fire! Continue on .. lol)) I just love to cry and then write sad songs, ((a little giggle ensues)) but honestly, it’s the best … it’s so therapeutic!! So, to answer your question, my sound, I would say is Pop, R&B, with a heavy acoustic underlay …”
What’s on your playlist? What do you like to listen to when you aren’t working on your own music? “OMG … EVERYTHING!! When I plug my phone into my friends cars, omg, they laugh at me and are like … WHAT?! Cause one “side” of my playlist is like ridiculous HIP HOP, crazy, loud, funky hip hop songs, and then you listen to the “other side”, which is all classical/choral pieces, and my friends are like, huh? … :o) Then I like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and I LOVE The Civil Wars, who is my all time favorite ever, and I listen to them every night before I go to sleep. I really respect their songwriting, and their ability to capture feelings in three minutes, and I really hope to have that ability one day, and am striving to do that. Who else is on my playlist? Oh, of course, Lauryn Hill, I listen to her when I’m getting ready … ((opens phone to look at playlist)) Ohhh, Pentatonix … I ran the Accapella group in my high school, and I’d arrange pieces for them, so I listened to Pentatonix, A LOT … I also have Josh Groban, cause his voice is just heavenly ((agreed, 1,000%)), I also have Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, Future … I also have a lot of throwback songs, I LOVE listening to the music I used to listen to in like 6th and 7th grades, cause it just brings me back to the good times we had, the dances at school … but yeah, my music is all over the place, ((which is good, it means she has an open mind, and can appreciate all genres of music)) and I feel like it helps someone like me, a songwriter, because you can take influence from other genres and make it your own.”
What is your favorite “go to” song, to belt out in the shower, your car … karaoke? “Whoa, that’s a hard one … Hmmm … Okay, I know, I know … “And I Am Telling You… by: Jennifer Hudson, from Dream Girls … All of my friends love show tunes, and Dream Girls is the one I love the most … So whenever we are doing karaoke, or whatever, it’s the go to song for me! I love it so much!”
Where do you draw inspiration from, when you’re writing your music, and what’s your favorite part of the process? “I love this question, because I feel like it’s unrealistic to say I only draw from personal experiences, that have only happened to me in real life. I feel like everything you do is a personal experience … you read a book or watch a show … it’s a personal experience, because you have personal emotions and reactions to EVERYTHING in life. So, I hate when people say, well you can’t write about love, if you’ve never been in a relationship, but I’ve read books, and seen movies where people have been in loving relationships, and you develop little relationships with characters, and what not, and you can FEEL that love, and like when people say that it’s not genuine, well, yes it is … I mean, when my favorite duo, The Civil Wars broke up, that hurt … I felt that BIG TIME … It was like a break up for me … I was crying, wondering how life would be without their music anymore?! So, I have “felt” that hurt, and that pain, one way or another, and I definitely know what LOVE is … I love my family, my friends, and I feel like it’s unrealistic to say, that you can’t write a song about something you haven’t gone through, when you can definitely relate, in other ways. So, I draw inspiration from everywhere … Life is definitely one of them, but from things I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, experiences friends have had .. I think it just opens up a lot more opportunities, to be open about where inspiration is drawn from.”
What skills or attributes are most important to being successful in this industry? “I think being confident in yourself, and what you produce, is important. I mean, I know I’m not going to please everyone! I know a lot of people are not going to like my music, people are gonna say I stink, and I get all the time, that I write too mature for my age, and I just take that as, thanks … that means that my audience is wider then … I don’t see a problem with writing more mature for your age, especially when there are 17/18 year olds, singing about stuff WAY more mature than I am, and their songs are on the radio. So, I think be confident in what you produce, and in yourself, and don’t take no for an answer. Also, me being a girl, something about the industry that I don’t like, and this is just in general, not everyone, but sometimes, if you’re a male in the industry, and you know what you want, you’re a visionary, or an inspiration to others. However, if you’re a girl and you know what you want, you’re hard to work with. I find that super annoying, because I AM a perfectionist when it comes to my music, I can go without cleaning my room for 6 months, but if my music is not correct, then I am angry, because I put too much time into it, and too much thought, for it to be wrong. So, I always want to be a part of everything, from songwriting, to production, to final tweaks and mixings, and stuff. I just want everything to be perfect, the way I want it, because it’s MY music.“
It’s also a true sign of great work ethic and discipline. I swear … This young lady, is seriously going places, and I’m honored to be a tiny part of the process!
Is there anything else you don’t like about this business, or is there something you feel could just be better, about the industry? “Definitely. I think it’s so money driven, but so is every industry, so that’s understandable. I mean, no one wants to invest money into something ((or someone)) that won’t produce. I think that’s a downfall in the industry, because it allows for loopholes. For instance, if you have a lot of money, you may “make it” faster than someone who doesn’t have a lot of money, and has been working hard their entire life, just to be noticed by someone. I think that 40/50 years ago, the music industry was a lot more genuine, and I think that’s partially the fault of the internet and technology, because now you don’t make money on your music, because people can illegally download it. It’s all about merch ((merchandise)), and ticket sales. So, if you are not able to build that brand, and have a huge following on your social media platforms, because they are such a huge part of everyday life, then you’re not gonna get the same chances, as someone who has 3 million followers on Instagram ((or other social media outlets)).”
If you could open for any artist or band, on tour now or the recent past, who would it be, and why? “I think it’s important to be with someone who is similar to my genre or sound, just to be exposed to an audience who may be more receptive of my music. I also think it’s so important for people to listen to music from every generation … because there are geniuses in every generation, you just have to find them, listen to them, appreciate them, and learn from them … emulate them, not copy them. Definitely challenge yourself, and broaden your horizons. So, to answer your question, hmmm, maybe Tori Kelly … she’s another one of my big inspirations, so maybe for her, or like Ed Sheeran, that would be INSANE, because he plays big stadiums …” ((I interjected with a question, because I think Ed Sheeran is freaking AMAZING, yet I’m always reading about the haters out there, to the point where I’ve already started to collect information, for a blog that I intend to write regarding this exact topic … I mean, do people even know just how amazing he is??))
So, I asked Victoria, why do you think Ed Sheeran gets such a “bad rap”? “I think that people just aren’t used to someone, of celebrity status, being so “normal”. I feel like when you’re thatfamous, you’re supposed to be snobby, you’re supposed to wear thousand dollar t-shirts, and he just doesn’t. He just sings. So, for every person that doesn’t like him, there’s like 16 that do, so he’s doing it right … living the dream!”
AMEN!! I love Ed Sheeran, and I’m not afraid to say it!!!
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing or making music? “Well, since I grew up in Jersey, I’m such a “joisey girl” … I love going “down the shore”, I love the boardwalk and the beach, but I also love sleeping. I never sleep. I write my best songs at 4 a.m., so I’m always up, writing, trying to edit vocals, etc … I also like to hang out with my friends, because I’m always so super busy with my music, and I also have a part-time job, because I love to shop, and buy new outfits for my performances, etc … So when I do have a day off, I like to go to the beach with my friends, or shopping … I love shopping … retail therapy is a real thing! Lol So yeah, that’s about it!”
If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? ((Without ANY hesitation…)) ” John Paul White, from The Civil Wars, because I love the way his voice blends. I saw him live in Brooklyn, at this beautiful venue, called National Sawdust, where they constructed the room, to give the most amazing sound experience to the audience … only like a hundred people in the audience, standing room. It was a life changing show for me. Everything was insane. I think his songwriting is great. Also, I’ve written a bunch of “sad songs”, that I feel would sound amazing as a duet with him. He’s able to capture that desperate, my heart is breaking feeling/sound in his voice, so well, and it would be my dream, to sing with him.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? ((I dislike this question with someone who is seasoned, and has been in the industry for YEARS … I think it’s a great question for a young, aspiring artist in the industry)) “I’m hoping in the next 5 years, that I have a major label backing me, because as much as I respect the independent artist way, and I think a lot of people can do it successfully, I just find that in order to reach huge audiences, you need that “push” from the label, and that’s another dream of mine … While I love making music, and staying intimate with my audience, my number one bucket list item, is to play a show at Madison Square Garden, and as an independent artist, yes, some can grow their audiences to be that big, but it’s harder without that “push” from the label. Also in the next 5 years, I hope to have my first solo album out … I’ve written 20 – 30 songs for this project, and I love writing songs, and poems and stuff, so I’m hoping that I have one out, even if it’s not backed by a big label.”
Victoria, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the opportunity to speak with you. I’m in your corner, and wish you nothing but great success in your future. You’re the type of “kid” that this country NEEDS, especially in the times we live!! Our nation is divided, but it’s young people like you, that give me GREAT HOPE, to bring everyone back together! I know that when you do make it, you will use your platform to speak about positivity, empowerment, etc … And, right now, YOU are what our youth needs to look up to! You are a great inspiration to me, and I’m honored to have had the pleasure to interview you for my blog.
You can find Victoria singing at BB Kings in the city. She also sings at Montclair Center Stage for different events. On July 27th, she will be singing the National Anthem at Skyland’s Stadium, while also doing a 30 minute set, right before the game. In September, she has some things in the works in the Washington DC area. Follow this young lady: