Friday, November 30, 2012

one month.

Dear Ryan,

Hooray Hooray! You are a month old! Even better news, you are healthy and strong. I am so happy to have you in my life. When I am holding you and your hands reach out, it’s like you are trying to figure out who is holding you, trying to memorize faces with your hands. When you do that, I give those little hands a little kiss. It’s my message back to you, to say, I’m here. Always.

We celebrated thanksgiving this month. Your mommy and daddy came over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I was there too. It was a simple thanksgiving, different than what we are used to. We broke tradition a little bit. We wanted to be with our little turkey. We had fun, the five of us, as we always do. We were all thankful for the same thing: you. You have brought so much joy into our lives, Ryan. We are all head over heels in love with you. We love you unconditionally. We’re learning how to take care of you and you are growing so fast already.

I had a really bad day today, Ryan, on your one month. It was one of those days where nearly everything went wrong. I cried, hard, in front of people at my job, which I never do. I always hold it together in front of them. But today I couldn't. And you know what? They cared. They hugged me, told me it was going to be okay, and asked how they could help. I knew I worked with cool people, but I didn't realize what good friends they could be, too. And you know what else? What gave me peace? Seeing a picture of you. Your daddy sent me a picture of you in a onesie that I had bought you, it has a dinosaur on it and says My Aunt loves Me. It was so cute and you looked adorable. And it reminded me that what I am going through right now won’t matter in 1, 5, 10 years. That it is temporary. That I can do this. I have faith. I have faith because of you, Ryan. You are the reason I know that I can keep going. You are our little gift from God. So thank you, sweet pea.

I just want to be sure you know how much we love you. I will tell you that over and over, so get used to it. Because love means home and you should know you always have a home.

Happy One Month, Little Guy. Little Ry Fry. Love you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thank you.

I realize it's the time of night on thanksgiving where everyone is cuddled up in sweats watching movies on the couch, promising to never eat a bit of food again. And maybe everyone is over the whole holiday in general. But if you have an ounce of thanksgivingness (yes, Mom, I know that's not a word) left in you, this blog is for you.

This is my favorite holiday. I love that it's about family, friendship, and gratitude. I'll admit this year I wasn't feeling it too much at first. I just haven't been in the holiday mood lately. And I'm surrounded by people who are celebrating love. So I gave myself about 30 minutes today of self pity, and then I dusted myself off and turned that into positivity. Because I really truly believe that if you are gracious and thankful, good things will come to you. So there's no need to sit around and be sad about the things you don't have. That's not what this day is about. It's about being thankful for what is in your life, not what's missing. So for us single folks let us have hope and faith that God is ready to introduce us to that special someone at the perfect moment.

In other news, I do have a lot to be grateful for this year. First, foremost and always I am thankful for my sweet family who make me laugh, protect me, guide me, teach me, and support me through it all. Lord knows this year has not been easy, but they have been there for me at each step. I am thankful for my friends who do the same, and who know exactly what to do when I am in crisis mode. I am thankful for the coworkers who keep me sane, who understand me with a simple look and who have taught me to be a more confident me and a more passionate me. I am thankful for the Sisters of Mercy who have enriched my spiritual life and given me hope and purpose. I am thankful for Melinda and the backups for being an open, compassionate group of people who love music as much as I do and who support each other from a distance. I am thankful for music, as it is the one thing that is constant in my life, the one thing that brings me through each day. I am thankful for my love of writing as it fuels and energizes me. I am thankful for my freedom, for a job, a house, the hope for a better future. I am thankful that my doctors figured out why I was so tired and that they took care of me during my tonsillectomy. I am thankful for sunshine and bright skies, laughter, hugs, white wine, my dog Seamus, and for pumpkin spice lattes.

Above all of these things I am thankful for my baby nephew Ryan Michael. If you haven't already heard, he's the cutest, sweetest little boy in the whole wide world. He has brought so much joy to my life and to my family and now I can't imagine life without him. I am thankful for the opportunity to see him grow, to love him unconditionally.

I am thankful that I took tomorrow off and can sleep all day.

Love love love.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sr Mary Jo

 A few days ago I got an email that informed me that Sister Mary Jo's health was declining rapidly, and that she wasn't expected to make it through the weekend. I tried to prepare myself. She really didn't want visitors, so I didn't push it. I just prayed.

So tonight when I got the news, right after I had been running around my kitchen screaming over the fantastic Taylor Swift performance, I was surprised that I was so taken aback.  I had been ready for this. Wanted it, even, so that she could go peacefully. And yet I still felt that heaviness on my heart, that nervous breakdown type feeling everyone gets when they hear of a loss. I couldn't concentrate on anything, I just sat on my floor and did what I had to do- passed the word along. And prayed some more. And now, I let out my thoughts on paper.

Everyone has a mentor. I've had several. A friend, a family member, a teacher, and idol. They have come and gone throughout the years and they have shaped me into the person I am today.Three years ago I began a year of volunteer service though Mercy Volunteer Corps, a catholic volunteer organization hosted through Americorps. I was placed in Detroit at a high school. MVC is sponsored through the Sisters of Mercy, who are a group of extremely intelligent, compassionate women who have founded their own organizations and helped and healed hundreds of people.

My very first day in Detroit as an MVC-er I met Sr. Mary Jo. Instantly I was drawn to her. She was quiet, but said so much with her eyes. Sweet, genuine, loving. We were told that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was fighting strong. Mary Jo lived on the opposite end of the state, but she was our community resource person- we went to her for everything. And she became my mentor, she became my friend. She took the idea of "love in action" seriously. She did everything with love and kindness. She lived simply and beautifully.

I remember very clearly the day that Mary Jo and I started to form a close relationship. She was in town to help us out with stuff, and she offered to drive me to the pharmacy to pick up and pay for my medication that was not covered by my insurance. In our short drive to and from the store, we had this amazing conversation. The words just came out so easily- we shared a lot about ourselves. It then became a tradition of sorts- she drove me every month to pick up my medication and we’d continue our conversation wherever we left off the last time- plus we e-mailed each other often. And when Laurence died——no one else comforted me more than Mary Jo. Our retreat as a community was shortly after he passed, and at one point during the retreat I joined Mary Jo, alone, on a couch in one of the rooms. We were silent for a few moments, and then she said “He is with you, Megan”. I looked at her and she was shedding a tear. I held her hand and said “I know”. And then she read me a prayer from a mercy book about finding hope in grief.

My year with MVC ended in July 2010, but we have continued to e-mail back and forth...and every time she came into town for a meeting, we set aside time to have our chats. My face lit up when I would see her waiting for me in the lobby. We would go for a walk around the facility or eat dinner in the cafeteria, and she always lifted me up with her wisdom and encouragement. What Mary Jo probably never knew was that one of the main reasons I became an associate was because of her. I wanted to be more like her. She gave me so much confidence in myself and made me really feel like Mercy was in my bones and in my heart. She made me feel like Mercy was home.

Now that she is gone I will keep her in my heart. I will remember how she lived her life, and I will keep that in mind with each step I take. I am sad, struck by grief and wrapping my head around this loss. But I am pleased to know she is in the arms of God. I have to believe there is a very special place in heaven for her. Somewhere she can walk around as she loves to do, and where she can pull up a chair next to Catherine McAuley and enjoy a comfortable cup of tea. Sprinkle Mercy down on us, Mary Jo.

Rest in peace, Mary Jo. Thank you.

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” ~ Gandhi

Saturday, November 17, 2012

happy birthday sam!

There is a girl in Niles MI who is celebrating her birthday today. And I should be there. Because that's what best friends do. As I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure we've ever missed a birthday celebration with each other before? Except maybe my 24th birthday, when I went to Indy and she did not come with me. But other than that, we've pretty much been there for each other's birthdays since 2007. But unfortunately there's just too many things happening in my life right now, I can't take a trek out there.

But the good news, I can still celebrate her. Because she deserves to be celebrated. Because she is the kind of person who celebrates everything, the kind of person who dances through life with a smile on her face. She lives passionately. Everything and everyone matters to her.She's the kind of person who is moved by art, specifically music. She likes to listen to people more than she talks, so that she can gain a better understanding of them. She pays attention to the little, but important, details.

Sam, Friendships are hard. They take work. Sacrifice. But ours is pretty simple. I guess it's because we care too much to let silly things get in the way. I know we always joke that "we are the same person" but really, we have  a lot of differences. That's what makes this friendship so great and so unique. I laugh when people say our friendship is only based off American Idol. If they only knew. If they only knew that we are better than that. I think people forget we were friends before we learned our mutual love for that show. We became friends the instant we met. I latched onto you and your fiery personality. Your love for Idol was only an extra added plus. The fact that we are both so fueled and energized by music is something we share, yes, but it is not all that we share. You are the one who was there for me when my world came crashing down, you are the one who knew why I was heartbroken when a stupid boy changed his mind and forgot about me. You have been there for it all, and you have supported me through the ups and the downs. That is what friendship is.

You and I have been through our share of sadness and heartbreak, that's for sure. Life hasn't always been fair and we've lost a lot of people. I think that's what has made us even closer. One day we'll make it. One day we'll each find our perfect man and we won't have to deal with these stupid guys anymore. One day we'll get what we deserve.

So happy birthday Sam,  raise a glass tonight and know that we are lucky to have you . All of us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

sometimes the best of us give up on love, but it's never gone

I know, too many facebook/blog posts from me recently. I'm taking over your feeds. Sorry.

I' m trying to write a blog every few days to keep my writing fresh. Hard to believe I've had this blog since 2009 and still coming up with things I want to say to the internet.

First of all, please keep the St. Hugo/UofD community in your prayers. There was another tragic loss over the weekend when a young man who graduated from both schools committed suicide. Many of the students in my youth group knew him. Although I didn't know him, my heart broke when I heard the news. It broke for his family and his friends, it broke for our community. But mostly, it broke for the kids in my youth group. This is one of several tragedies that have occurred in the past year, all of which are closely tied with students in my group. I just feel so helpless. I wish I could fix it, take away all the pain. I know loss happens, but these have all been tragic, traumatic, devastating losses. They shouldn't have to witness so much hate and pain. To Morgan, I know that you are now free from your inner destruction and safely in God's loving arms. May you now rest peacefully.

To everyone else, Don't let today pass you by without telling the people in your life how much you love and cherish them. Know that you are worthy, you are loved, you are special and you are here for a reason. Reach out to those around you who seem to be fading. Take care of yourself and those around you. Be a shining example of God's love.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I really do love the kids in the youth group. I just... I appreciate them. I appreciate their young wisdom and their jokes. I appreciate the way they care about each other, even if they have an odd way of showing it. I am happy to spend every Sunday evening with them so that I can check in with them. I care about them and want them to do well- mostly because all of them have the total potential to rock this world. I'm proud of them. And it hurts that they have been through too much tragedy.

As for me I'm hanging in there. Feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, both of happy and sad things. Sad for this tragedy, that people are leaving my company, that my favorite Sister of Mercy is dying, that I'm not sure I can travel to the west side for my bff's birthday party. Sad that I am drowning in bills. Happy that my little nephew is now two weeks old and that he lives close enough for me to visit often. Happy that I continue to build relationships with people at my work. Happy that I am alive and breathing.

We're all going to make it. Onward.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

tightrope walker

Something has happened, dudes. Something I didn't see coming. I guess it's been slowly building up for the past year and a half. But it hit full force.

I really, really care about my coworkers. Even the ones I don't particularly like.

How did that happen? I'm not sure. I mean I've made some great friends at work. But it hit me yesterday as I walked up and down the hallways giving away tissue paper made flowers just how much I really CARE about them. I worry if they look upset, I jump to help them if they are having issues with their computer or tablet. I hope that they have a good day and a relaxing weekend. I hate that they work too much.

When I first started this job I was terribly shy. In some ways I still am. But mostly, I have grown out of that. I have gained confidence, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, I have gained several important relationships.

It would be silly to name my coworkers who have become my close friends. I don't want to leave anyone out, and there's too many. They know who they are. But let's just say they all fill a different purpose. Some act as my "work moms". Some annoy the daylights out of me. Some I turn to when nothing else is going right. Some I go to for laughs, encouragement, eye rolls. One has become one of my best friends. One is my best friend and has been since we were five. And one is the gal I can talk to about Taylor Swift, boys, and Constant Comment tea.

I have so much respect for my coworkers. We have a difficult job. Every single day we are working with people who are dying. We work with their families who are fragile. We go into nursing homes and assisted livings, all of which have a totally different system and personality. Our work is difficult. Challenging. Frustrating. Heartbreaking. But they are amazing. Caring. Beautiful. Strong. Compassionate. Some of them don't even know how great they are, how many lives they touch. How much they are appreciated. My life has been significantly impacted over the past year and a 1/2 by knowing these people. So at the end of the day, when I'm tired and frustrated, I keep in mind how lucky I am to be surrounded by such people.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

sweet perfection

I have a ton of bills to pay this week, my car is acting up even though the mechanic found nothing wrong, work has be totally burned out. I hate how dark it is and I'm not ready for winter.

But at this moment, none of that really matters. Those things worry me, but they do not consume me. They don't control me. Because in the end, what really matters are the people whom I surround myself with. And this weekend, I was reminded just how special each of those people really are.

If you've been keeping up with my blog you know that I have been preparing for my associate ceremony or a year now. The ceremony was on Friday night, and it could not have gone better. When I was on the altar I looked out into the crowd and there were my family and friends, listening intently and watching as I read my covenant statement and signed the papers. Sisters, associates, and others friends and family filled up the rest of the chapel. It's hard to pinpoint my favorite moment of the actual ceremony. It all happened so fast. One second I was praying I didn't drop my candle the next it was all over.

When it was over, I stood on the altar for a few moments with a few of the other brand spankin new associates. Sisters approached us with hugs and smiles. Pictures were snapped here and there. I broke free after a few minutes and ran to my best friend Alicia, who traveled all the way from Chicago just to witness my ceremony. Then we all gathered in the dining room, and there, around one big table, sat my family (minus my sister and Dave), my aunt mary ann, my three best friends, and my boys Dave and Dean. I couldn't have been happier. Sisters and associates kept approaching, handing me cards or giving me a shoulder squeeze or a hug to say congratulations. It was beautiful. Everyone had a smile on their face. My sister in law looked at me at one point and just said "I love this place. It's so happy". Yep. That is exactly why I love it, too. It completes me.

The rest of the weekend was just as wonderful. It was spent lounging and laughing with the family, shopping with Sam and  Sara, and loving on our perfect little Ryan.

Before Sara and JP left this afternoon, Sara told me that she and JP were having a conversation in the car about my friends. Sara said she was impressed by my circle of friends, that they were all good people with a solid foundation, that she really admired that. Allegedly  my brother's response was "Maybe Megan attracts those kind of people"

Can we get an awwwwwwwwww? :) How sweet. I'm not sure how I am so lucky to have such good friends, but Sara made me realize just how grateful I am for them. And not just for the ones who were with us Friday evening, but for all my friends who truly love and support and encourage me. That includes coworkers, backups, and other family members.  I'm lucky. I am blessed. And I am grateful.

And. I'm an associate. Word.