How to get through Tough Times

“If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there… ” -Rodney Atkins

I heard this song on the radio today. Whether you’re a fan of country music or not, the song “If you’re going through hell”, recorded by Rodney Atkins, may strike a chord with you, if you’re going through a difficult time right now.

For me personally, I got chills when I heard those lyrics. It couldn’t be more true. When I’m going through a rough patch in my life, I feel like I’m going through hell! It’s devastating. Whether it’s financial, work related, health issues, relationship problems or all of the above, it feels like hell! Struggling with a rough patch myself, I got to thinking. I thought about the stages of grief. To some extent, I go through these stages when terrible things happen.

Denial is first. That’s the ‘What the hell? I can’t believe this is happening! Are you kidding me?!’ thoughts.

It may be my Italian roots, but I quickly move to the next stage… anger. I get mad at the world. Of course, i try not to and I’m careful not to take it out on the people around me, but it happens. After all, we’re only human, right? I rant on and on about my problem, with several choice words and the occasional slam of my hand on the table. Not a pretty site.

Then the bargaining begins. Praying and begging ensues, “If YOU just take care of this for me God, I’ll do…”. Usually a desperate plea, promising something deep down I know I won’t do. Sad but true.

Which leads to sadness or depression. For me, I’ve learned that I tend to stay in this stage the longest. I believe this is a dangerous zone and I am aware of that. My solution… I have a good cry and talk to ‘my people’. You know your people, your inner circle. I lean on those I love the most. Talking to my loved ones, who I know will listen, validate my feelings, show true care and concern is how I get out of this stage as quickly as possible.

Finally, acceptance is key. Life happens and it’s not always good. I then realize that ‘it is what it is’. These are the cards I’ve been dealt and I need to play my hand. That’s where Rodney Atkins’ song comes into play. When I feel like I’m going through a tough period in my life, I need to push through. Don’t stop and hang out in the anger or depression stage, keep on moving. The devil likes for us to stay sad and depressed, so move on quickly. This also reminds me of my favorite quote, “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” Take care of your mental emotional health. Do what you have to do to progress to acceptance and come up with a solution!

I hope this helps, at least in some way, if you’re struggling with something right now. Remember to turn to loved ones for support, take care of yourself, give yourself a little grace, keep on moving and go ahead… live your best life!

Do Good… Feel Good!

Image by reneebigelow from Pixabay

I love the saying, “In a world where you can be anything, be Kind”. I don’t practice acts of kindness looking for something in return, but kindness often comes back to you when given to others.

Doing good for other people, does actually make me feel good about myself. There are countless ways to show kindness to others. Something as small as holding the door for someone or as big as babysitting for a friend when she’s stressed and overwhelmed, or raking the leaves for your senior neighbor, it’s all admirable. I used to live next to a very sweet, older couple that seemed to struggle getting around at times. My son would often take out their trash and return the can to the house and I often brought them homemade dinners or desserts. I loved the look on their face. They really appreciated the kindness and it truly made my heart smile.

Sometimes I will pay for the person behind me in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru. It makes me happy that I surprised someone and possibly made their day. I try to be aware that everyone has their own issues and stressors in their lives. You never know the heavy load someone else is carrying around every day. So if I can brighten someone’s day, why not!? In the scheme of things what’s another $3.50 or even $10 here and there. I’ve wasted much more, for much less.

So today was one of those days. I was waiting in a very long line. You know the kind that enters from two different driveways, at Dunkin’ Donuts. Each side typically allows the other to take turns as you approach the order speaker. (Believe it or not, some people do not know how to take turns. That’s mind-boggling to me. Are you in that much of a hurry, buddy, that you cut in front of the car that’s not as quick to move forward?! That 2 minutes will, I’m sure, make or break your timeline.) I am always aware of the other line and naturally would allow someone in front of me if there was any doubt who was there first. As I approached the bend in the driveway, I looked over at the other car to see if they were pulling ahead. It was an older couple that didn’t seem to be in a hurry and they graciously motioned for me to go ahead of them. Right away I thought, “I’ll buy their coffees.” Whenever I’ve done this in the past, I try to pull out quickly, as I feel like it’s nicer to do something kind without any thank you in return. Today the traffic was heavy so they were right behind me each waving their arms excitedly out their windows with big smiles. Turns out the ‘thank you’ is pretty nice after all. I couldn’t help but smile the whole way home. Total strangers smiled and felt happy even if only for a few minutes, because of me! There isn’t much that can top making someone else feel good in my book.

But wait, it gets better…

Later that same day, after an afternoon of writing, I decided to take a break from my computer and go for a drive with the windows down and sun roof open, on this beautiful sunny day. I ended up at the smoothie, juice bar in the next town. I allowed the man that held the door for me to order first. And as you’ve probably guessed, as I went to pay the cahier said the gentlman had already paid for me. I quickly went to my car and yelled thank you as he was leaving the parking lot. He smiled and waved. A block later, he turned as I went straight and excitedly beeped and waved, as if he was a friend.

Something so small… a kind gesture for just a few dollars, turns out it’s not so small. It’s a very big deal to be kind to others! So do good, feel good and go ahead… live your best life.

Counting my blessings!

#blessedandgrateful #thisisus

Life is hard when you think about what is ‘wrong’ in your life. On the other hand… life gets easier when you focus on all that is ‘right’.

We all have stress and issues that are overwhelming. For me, I feel like, at times, my worries paralyze me from accomplishing anything at all. My mind gets so bogged down with my concerns about my children, raising a daughter with special needs, my own health problems, financial situations such as bills, college tuition and still having a savings, my to-do list for work, basic home responsibilities like cooking and cleaning, etc. It’s enough to bring me to tears, bring on a massive migraine, have a drink or two or all of the above. Sound familiar?

So, what I’ve been practicing lately is actually ‘counting my blessings’. And because I’m a writer, I don’t just think about them, I actually write them down. I feel as though it brings them to the forefront of my mind, calms my anxiety, fills my heart with love and puts a smile on my face. You might be thinking you don’t have much to be grateful for. It can feel that way at times, I’ve been there. That’s why I create a list. Once you focus on and write down all the ‘good’ in your life, you’ll be surprised at how many more things come to mind. And when you can sit and look at that long list, in print, it is very calming. This is my actual, personal list as of today. Reading my blessings, you may be reminded of what you can add to your own list. Remember, the little things in life are often the big, important things. It’s very personal but I want to share it with you in hopes that those of you that feel defeated and have lost all hope, realize that you DO have wonderful blessings as well.

Counting MY blessings today:

  1. a home to live in and share with my family
  2. plenty of food to nourish my body
  3. clothes and shoes to wear daily
  4. good vision to see my family and enjoy my surroundings
  5. good hearing to hear laughter, birds singing and great music
  6. a strong body that chase my daughter, workout and play
  7. beautiful, sweet, healthy children to enjoy
  8. a loving, supportive, thoughtful husband to share my life with
  9. family and friends that I can count on
  10. both of us have a good job, decent pay, health benefits to support and take care of my family
  11. the ability to help others on a regular basis
  12. publishing my first book very soon, dream come true
  13. children doing well in school, smart and happy
  14. date nights for the romance in my life
  15. this beautiful fall day to enjoy
  16. good neighbors that chat and lend a hand when needed

There is so much more I’m sure, but that’s a great start! With a list like that nothing will keep me down for long. Give it a try. So go ahead count YOUR blessings and… live your best life!

Anxious? You are NOT Alone.

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Many people are struggling with their mental and emotional health now more than ever. I am no exception. I haven’t written in a long time trying to make sense out of all the stress and worry. Then I realized, it makes little sense. I further realized, after hearing from so many people about their struggles, that I’m not the only one. So I thought if I shared my feelings of anxiety it may, in a small way help others to not feel alone. If I can help even one person, then my writing means something. It fulfills my purpose. So today, I will allow myself to be vulnerable, hoping some of you will feel like it validates your own torment.

I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for weeks now. Okay, truth be told, months. I have been emotional, worried and stressed. I glanced through my personal journal today and for far too long I’ve sounded like a broken record. Almost every entry is about worrying, feeling unsafe, physically feeling ill, depression, anxiety, self-doubt and fear. That’s just awful. How sad that my life has been so consumed with negativity. What’s even worse, after talking to friends, reading other blogs, and online posts, I am not alone. It’s terrible to say, but knowing other people are having the same struggles is a relief. Please don’t misunderstand, I want no one to feel bad, scared and filled with anxiety. But as I’m sure you can understand, when my feelings are like so many, it validates my concerns and then I don’t feel so alone in this mess. All the mental and emotional issues causes me to not sleep well at night, which just leaves me cranky and exhausted the next day. Then I get little accomplished which leads me to beat myself up because I haven’t accomplished my goals for the day. It’s a frustrating, vicious cycle that has ultimately brought me to major self-reflection and sharing my feelings today. I lack confidence, questioning every decision I’m about to make. I feel afraid to go in public some days in fear of getting sick. I worry incessantly about my children’s health. I question my response to a work email, overly cautious not to offend or insult someone. I doubt my own ability to work, write, teach or homeschool my daughter. I second guess my appearance, trying on 3 or 4 outfits before leaving the house and then wonder if my husband is mad at me for having to wait for so long. UGH!!! Ew… who is this person?! Am I crazy?! That’s the ‘old Gina’. She hasn’t been around for a very long time. I don’t like her. She makes me sad. I’ve worked diligently for years to get rid of that insecure girl.

So, the self-reflection began and ‘the work’ ensued once more.

First, I had to recognize what was going on with my thoughts and feelings. The world is crazy right now. Living during a pandemic, so much hate, crime and turmoil affects our emotions, our stability, our sense of well-being. So I had to begin with forgiving myself for the regression. I gave myself the grace, understanding and compassion I give to others. A wise person once said, ‘treat yourself like you would treat your best friend’. I would never yell at, disgrace, shame or put down another person. I will not do it to myself anymore. Self-love is key!

Second, I needed to relinquish control. Yes, fellow control freaks, let it go. I’m right there with ya. I like to control as much of what happens in my life as possible. Truth be told, we gotta let that stuff go. My mind went to the Serenity Prayer… “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” You may not be the praying kind, but lately many are that were not before. If you’d rather, meditation and positive mantras will help. Whatever it takes for you to find your inner peace and calm in the chaos of life.

Finally, I needed a plan of action! What can I do to feel good, even great about myself again? How can I regain my confidence in a world with no guarantees? What works for me may not work for you. The solution is very personal to each of us as we are all different. I’ll tell you what I do and maybe you’ll use some of these and add your own to suit your life. I started with doing the things that make my soul happy. For me, that’s journaling in the morning, praying and getting in a great workout! It sets a positive tone for the entire day. Then I love to do fun activites and play with my daughter, write and enjoy my family. They are activities that make me feel good about myself and it’s what I CAN control! When I take care of myself, I can take better care of my family. Remember, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” I do my best to do good for other people. I practice acts of kindness and pay it forward when good is done for me. It’s amazing how good I feel when I can do something that pleases or helps another person, expecting nothing in return.

Self-care is essential. Doing what makes your heart happy is crucial to your own well-being. Prayer and mediation provides calm and a sense of peace. Taking good care of and enjoying your family, helping others and doing your best day to day keeps your mental-emotional health in balance. Hang in there friends. Be kind to yourself and others. Go ahead… live your best life.

Family Struggles

I believe every family has its struggles. We all go through different stages in life that present unique challenges to overcome. I remember years ago dealing with a baby, a toddler, running a household, and working full time. There were also times in my life while staying home a few years with my children, that financial issues arose and created enormous stress and conflict. Recently, my current life phase is recently getting remarried and desperately trying to combine two families after divorce. Whatever your case may be, every family deals with growing pains.

Let me just say, getting remarried is probably one of the absolute best things that has ever happened to me! If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I recently married the love of my life. I feel blessed and grateful to share my life with a thoughtful, affectionate, fun, sexy man I’m grateful to call “my husband”. Having said that… the blending of already set-in-their-ways families, especially with older children, presents its own challenges.

I have 2 wonderful children of my own and he has 2 great boys of his own, all of which are teenagers. I could stop the post right here because as most of you know, teenagers can be difficult, so having 4 at different times or all 4 at once can make life challenging. One thing I have learned is to be very aware of unique personalities and opinions. Because our children were older at the point in which we got married, it’s not like raising small children and shaping little minds and growing together as a family. It’s coming in late in the game and trying your best to adjust and keep everybody happy. To paint a better picture, both our oldest sons are about to go off into the world. My stepson just enlisted in the army, and my son is going off to college. The 13- and 14-year-old will be with us as much as possible, yet both are on mismatched schedules with their other parent. I’ve been in the picture for almost four years, and it’s been a wonderful journey. We’ve done a lot of things together with each of our kids and sometimes we find something fun to do, all 6 of us together. However, those times are few, as each of the teens have contrasting interests and, as mentioned, are also on different schedules.

I realize it’s important to continue the special bond between a child and their birth parent, so there are many times when my husband wants to be alone with his boys and sometimes I also appreciate time alone with my kids. However, being raised with a “family is priority” mindset, my intention was to combine all of us together, most of the time. I’ve learned that being all together, all the time, is just not possible. My stepsons want to be with their mother, and there are times they want to be just with their dad. In addition, my children go to spend time with their father. There are times I feel left out. I’m also a person who wears my heart on my sleeve and get my feelings hurt pretty easily. I’m aware of that, so I work on it and I try not to make it all about me because frankly… it’s not just about me. But day-to-day, I struggle. Let me explain why…

Being in education for over 20 years, I should know better. I’ve studied child development throughout my many years of teaching and continue to do so while working on my masters in counseling. So intellectually, I know that the teenage years can be tumultuous. It’s a constant struggle of them wanting independence and freedom and time with their friends and trying to deal with the fact that they are still kids and have rules to follow. Then add to that three more people now living with you you have to cooperate with and six varying opinions and personalities. It’s a lot for anyone to adjust to. It’s important to respect and have consideration for other people. I struggle with feeling like I’m not included. And I desperately want everyone to feel loved and get along.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

It is essential to practice the following to survive these growing pains unscathed: 1) act with love, 2) have patience, 3) practice understanding others’ perspective, 4) excellent communication and 5) private married couple time. I want all of us to get along. It’s important to me that ALL the children know, without question, that we love them. There has to be a separation in my mind between my husband as my partner, and my husband as their father. I also believe it’s very beneficial for the kids to have alone time with their birth parent, just as much as family time all together. By the same token, it’s crucial to have alone time and date nights as a couple. Making each other feel like a priority and fostering our romantic relationship will enhance our bond and our friendship and make handling the ‘tough times’ a little easier. So I’m now learning that there has to be a lot of give-and-take, compromise, patience, and understanding. Families aren’t perfect nor are they all the same. This is just my story and my new family and I love them.. warts and all 😉

So, for anyone else out there having family ‘issues’. Hang in there. Keep an open mind. Family is family whether traditional, blended or otherwise. Act with love. Show kindness and understanding. Do your best. And by all means, live your best life!

“A letter to My Son”

My son, my heart!

Matthew Salvatore,

Since the day you were born you have brought me indescribable joy. During your childhood years, we always had so much fun playing and going on outings together. You have always had such a good heart, thinking of others’ feelings, and showing kindness. As you grew older, you impressed me with your talent and love of baseball. Watching you play ball filled me with such excitement and immense pride. I’ll always miss those days. I have been equally impressed with your inquisitive nature. As a young boy talking about clouds, how cars and bridges were built, and in recent years discussing your knowledge of chemistry and engineering, which were usually over my head, but you’d patiently explain. As a big brother, there are no words to describe your love, devotion, and protective instincts for your sister, Faith. Watching you play with her and look out for her absolutely fills my heart with love and admiration. I am so proud of what an all-around outstanding person you are. You are smart, funny, loving, and capable of achieving greatness.

My days will be long without you here. My mind will wonder what you are doing, worry about whether you are okay and my heart will skip a beat when I’m reminded of you. I’m not sure who will miss you more, me or Faith. My eyes fill with tears and my heart aches just thinking about you leaving for college. Having said that, I am happy for you! You are about to embark on a new and wonderful journey; One of freedom, learning new things, developing friendships, and continuing to mature and grow into an exceptional man.

I will always be here for you!

I will always listen and support you.

I will always to look forward to every call, text or face time (hint, hint).

I will always pray for your health, safety and success.

And, I will ALWAYS love you with all my heart!

Love Always,

Mommy

LOVE One Another

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

My intention of starting this blog more than a year ago was to support, encourage and inspire other people to live their best life. So I decided today, to talk about what that means to me. To live your best life, you must strive to be the best version of yourself. It is NOT possible to be the best version of yourself without respect and kindness toward other people. Living your best life is NOT possible while hurting other people; emotionally, mentally or physically. Living your best life is more than just doing what is good, right and uplifting for me. It is about giving love, showing kindness and being of some service to others.

For several days now I’ve been thinking and praying about humanity, all people and our country during these tumultuous times. I have said nothing publicly about the horrible murder we, as a nation, witnessed. As a white woman, I honestly am not sure how I am supposed to react. But, I know how to behave AS A HUMAN BEING. I’ve been debating in my mind of how to even speak about it appropriately. There’s no question a white man murdered a black man. It’s an unspeakable, horrific action. Understandably, it creates heartbreak and rage in many of us. I believe that we are all human beings. I believe we were all created and put here on this earth by God. How any person thinks they have the right to extinguish the life of another soul, no matter what their race, is mind-boggling to me. Yes, black lives matter. I cannot pretend to understand what black people are feeling during this time but I feel as a kind person, as a human being, and as a christian, I KNOW right from wrong. Without question, this was a terrible, unspeakable wrong. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I do NOT have the answers, but I believe I know the right place to start. I can start with speaking up, standing up and looking up. I can speak up about loving ALL people and lead by example, because I believe in my heart it is right and just. I can stand up for my friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, students and people of all races, religions and cultures when injustices arise. I can look up to the heavens and pray for peace, safety, and the good health of all people. I have always lived my life this way but I, like all of us, am flawed. My intention is to begin with myself and encourage anyone who will listen, to get your head straight, and your heart clean. My little blog is not enough. However, I hope it is a start and positive step in the right direction.

Love One Another.

Until next time… Stay well. And go ahead… Live Your Best Life!

Afraid to Fearless

Me with my ‘babies’ 🙂

There was a time, not too long ago, I was afraid of everything. Most of my family and friends would never believe me if I said that, but although sad, it was very true. I felt inferior to everyone around me swallowed up by my own insecurities. I questioned everything about who I was from which outfit to wear and how to fix my hair to the decisions I had to make for my children. I worried all the time and not in the mom-kinda-way but in an obsessive, falling into a depression, completed unnoticed kinda-way. I felt lost and afraid.

Background info here: I had an overwhelming amount of stress come at me in a brief period. Doctors diagnosed my son with ulcerative colitis at 2 1/2 yrs old, suggesting heavy drugs and surgery. Through the amazing help of a clinical nutritionist and a lot of prayer and determination, he recovered and started thriving again. A little over a year later, I had a beautiful baby girl. I was, and am, very grateful for my precious gift, however, she had a severe hole in her heart and diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I went through an experimental and perilous procedure while pregnant so that doctors could stop her organs from filling with fluid. It worked temporarily and happened again. Terrified at that point. The doctors warned that we may ‘lose her’, on a daily basis. My baby girl was an emergency c-section 2 months early, hooked up to machines, gadgets and tubes in the NICU for 6 very long, excruciating. Faith finally came home (I chose that name because it’s what we needed to get through the stress). Our kitchen and living room transformed into a make-shift NICU with tubes, medicines and feeding tubes ’round the clock. It was exhausting, and worrisome, but I put on a smile and brave face for my then 4 yr old who only knew he was a big brother and so happy and proud.

Five months went by and Faith proved all the doctors wrong yet again, pulling through open heart surgery with flying colors. It was as if that was her birth. She was born anew and began thriving quickly. Although her serious heath concerns were now behind us, the challenge of how to raise, support and guide a child with down syndrome was my new focus.

As you can see, I was so worried and stressed for so many years I totally forgot about me. My marriage crumbled, and I became a shell of a person. So with my babies finally healthy I started taking care of myself. I began running, training and eating for optimal nutrition. I was feeling physically the best I had felt in years having lost 70+ lbs.

By then it was too late to save my failed relationship, and he left after 19 years of marriage. So there I was in a ball on the floor begging him not to go. Pitiful. A down right disgrace. After months of crying in secret, trying not to let my kids see, falling apart and begging God to help me, He answered my prayers.

I woke up one morning and realized I HAVE to be a positive presence in the life of my children. I wanted to teach them you can rise above adversity. I wanted to feel good again. I wanted to feel something other than self-pity and regain my confidence and self worth. Everyone always said ‘his loss’ or ‘your better off’ and honestly although well intended those comments never helped. I realized that I had to fix myself, not only for my kids but for ME! A dear old-friend did not console me or bash my ex, but said, “Gina, do the work. Work on YOU.” He was right. And so I did.

I focused on the things in which I excelled, practiced self-love and stress relieving activities and continued to pray. It wasn’t easy, and it did not happen overnight. Slowly and intentionally I held my head up high, stood on my OWN (something I hadn’t done in a very long time). And that propelled me into a life filled with regained confidence, happiness and success. I learned how to handle my finances, home maintenance and running a household, working full time, a single mom, with a child having special needs. With every task and obstacle I thought was impossible to overcome… accomplished. My confidence grew and my self-worth improved. I DO NOT say all this to brag or boast. I shared my most personal stories hoping you may benefit. I share to remind YOU you can rise from the depths of your own personal hell, just as I have.

Until next time… Stay well. And go ahead… Live Your Best Life!

Change is Never Easy

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Nowadays, we are all trying to adjust to an alternative way of living. It’s a confusing and scary time for many. My purpose is not to debate medical or political views on the current pandemic. However, I would like to discuss change. Something everyone can relate to especially now. At this point, I have resolved to the fact that ‘it is what it is’ and try my hardest to make the best of an awful situation.

Change is never easy. Besides this new reality, I have recently had many changes in my own personal life. If you’ve read my previous posts… I’m a newlywed! As wonderful as it is, and I am thrilled to share my life with my love, and our kids, it’s definitely a major change! I thought packing up a house of over 20 years and moving away from my hometown, family and friends was difficult. However, I now have to learn how to blend two families together. Each of us have two teenagers and they are often on different schedules. At forty-something it is difficult to adapt into an unfamiliar environment with alternative ways of doing things and a new routine, or lack thereof. I’ve had to learn my way around town, help my kids adjust and find my new normal. I have been without my family (except standing 10 feet apart on Mother’s Day) and all my friends. I teach online for over 200, middle-schoolers and homeschool my daughter with special needs. Recent changes have proved very challenging!

I have learned to be flexible. (Or at least I’m working on it.) I remind myself often, my way is not the only way. Even though I’m used to ‘my way’ it doesn’t mean that I can’t be open to a fresh approach. Communication is crucial. Talking about how we feel, and what we expect leads to stress free days. I’ve learned that cooperation is necessary. Everyone has to pull their own weight, so to speak. Share the load of household chores, cooking and running the errands. We are good at that! I think we’re both glad it’s not all on either of us anymore. Living for years as single parents we had to do it all. Now we only do half of what we used to living apart. So that change was simple 😉 Something else I’ve learned is that understanding and tolerance are key in new situations. In my case, our home now has 6 unique personalities and moods. Four teenagers with differing opinions… God help me 😉 Accepting each other for who they are and showing kindness goes a long way. It is not always easy. But, I love my new family and they are worth the effort!

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that change is a part of life. Sometimes it’s because of a choice we have made and other times it’s forced upon us. In either case we can choose to complain and sulk or we can choose to make the best of an unexpected circumstance. Kindness is contagious. Communication is crucial. Stay safe. Stay well. And go ahead… Live Your Best Life!

Modified Mother’s Day

Me and Mommy (pre-coronavirus)

Celebrating Mother’s Day yesterday was sadly inconsistent with what we have been used to all of our lives. Our close knit, Italian family is struggling to adjust to this strange alternative world of social distancing. It’s been several weeks of only phone calls, texts and google hangouts. And as nice as it is to hear each other’s voices and see my family on screen, it’s just not the same. If you’ve read my recent posts, you know I recently got married and moved out of town. As thrilled as I am to be the new ‘Mrs.’ and now living with the man of my dreams, it felt a little ‘out of sorts’ to not have my family at our wedding. The threat of this virus has many of us scared and the thought of putting my family at risk is terrifying. With various medical and news reports, it’s confusing to ‘know’ what we should and shouldn’t do.

However… I couldn’t allow my mom to be alone for Mother’s Day. We made the best of it! We took advantage of my new spacious porch and had our Mother’s Day lunch outside, each 10 feet away. I obsessively wiped everything down every five minutes with clorox and not allowing anyone near my mother. My daughter, having special needs was my biggest concern. Faith and her mommom have such a special bond. I worried that she wouldn’t ‘get it’ and just go run to hug her like she always has in the past. Surprisingly, she stayed away. It was so strange and sad that she now knows that we can no longer hug and kiss. My poor mom lives alone and talks about missing hugs. The thought of not hugging and kissing the people you love for so long, especially when you’re so used to it all your lives, is heart-breaking. Fortunately, I live with my husband and our kids so we hug and kiss each other daily. But for those that live alone, like my mom, it’s a constant need that cannot be filled. I personally cannot wait to hug my mommy again. It brings tears to my eyes to think about her not being hugged by those she loves the most.

Having said that… I’m happy to report. Our social-distancing luncheon was a success, all things considered. We got to see each other live and in person! We sat 10 feet apart and still had great conversation, played music, and laughed together. At one point, my mother played ‘the oldies’ and we all danced like fools on the porch. My poor neighbors are probably wondering ‘who is this crazy lady and how often will her family come over’!?! LOL!!! We needed that time ‘together’. For a family as close as we are, not being together was like torture. Now we know we can be together 10 feet apart and it works. I’m already looking forward to our next ‘porch party’! Make the best of a terrible situation. Appreciate the love and know that the ‘little’ things in life are really the BIG things. The emotional connection, the loved shared, and laughing through the hard times matters most. Stay safe. Stay well. And go ahead… Live Your Best Life!