Category Archives: parenting

Someday.

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Someday.

Someday it will be me.

It will be that moment no one likes to think about. Or even say out loud.

Saying goodbye…forever.

Today is day one of many goodbyes to our Grandmother.

It doesn’t come as a shocker. It was not sudden or painful.

It was just time.

Ninety-six years of time.

Blessed time.

But five years without her sweetheart.

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So yes…it was just time.

Time to say goodbye to all of us here, and hello to her sweetheart again.

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I am trying desperately to remember this…we were blessed. We had her for so long. And now it is time for her to be at peace.

I told her it was okay (we all did), I whispered it in her ear, told her I loved her, many times…we had several weeks with her to say goodbye, as she slowly declined into a peaceful eternal sleep.

But I am still so heartbroken…

I will miss her…my husband and children and sisters and Aunts and Uncles and cousins…we will all miss her.

She was amazing…stylish, classy, funny, devoted and fierce.

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She would be hard to forget.

So I will continue to tell stories about her to my children and remind myself of all the beautiful memories we had with her.

She was like a second mother to me and my sisters through some very tough years for our mother and her painful divorce from our father. Our grandmother stepped in and protected us and hugged us and made us smile, when our mother just couldn’t. I don’t hold this against our mother…it was actually a gift. We were able to create a special bond with our Grandmother.

We are forever grateful.

Tonight, is our first of many goodbyes and many tears…some sad but many happy.

We were all blessed to be loved and adored by our Grandmother, Mother, Aunt, Mother-in-law, friend, sister…

 

Thank you, Gram, for just being you…

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Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality. ~Emily Dickinson

Left Behind.

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Left Behind.

I left it all behind…

I cannot believe it has been two months since I have written a blog. I lost my interest when something else captured it.

Politics.

It has been consuming me, causing a wicked fire in my belly. All day and night, and keeping me awake through the night way too often. I haven’t been this passionate about anything in a long time…especially politics.

I won’t get in to my feelings or views…I just can’t right now. It feels like wasted breath at times. Then I get a hold of myself and realize it is never wasted breath when you believe in something so strongly.

It has affected my daily life, where I have been distracted from household chores, ignoring my kids- “just give me ONE more second”- and even my blog.

I could apologize to my husband, children, and my neglected home and blog, but I don’t think it is necessary. They understood. They saw my passion and heard it loud and clear most days.

There is something profound about young children being curious about politics and world issues at very young ages…especially when my teenage/ young adult kids are really not interested at all.

The little ones chanted and cheered with me while watching debates, and news shows. They cheered me on when I would drag someone along with me to a march or rally. They don’t completely understand what is going on, but are adorably enthusiastic about it all.

The dust is settling today in the world of politics, as the conventions have ended and we all have a pretty good idea what we are up against now. It is time to focus on real life on the home front for a while, and turn my political passion in a reality.

To find some balance again…

I won’t give up on this new found hobby/interest…it is important to stay focused on what my children will need as they grow older. To not have endless wars, debt, and a world crumbling in front of their eyes and all around them…

To give them hope.

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I am going to give myself a day or two to refocus on what lies ahead, and hug my kids tighter. Maybe take out the dust cloth and organize some things around here…November isn’t too far off, and I will need to find balance in both arenas before diving back in to the deep end of the murky pool of  dirty politics…

So until then, I will remind myself daily of why I was so passionate for all those months and how I lost track of daily life, I will continue the good fight for what’s right for myself and my family, and most importantly…

Keep balance with it all so no one or no thing, is left behind again.

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Last Night.

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Last Night.

About last night.

He was supposed to wake up this morning with a pounding headache. He couldn’t forget to grab the Advil and bottle of water before he collapsed in his bed-hopefully not alone.  He knew he would drink too much.  He knew he would be needing to let loose and get drunk. He was heartbroken. He would get over him, and the heartache…he just needed to have some fun.

But not last night.

She was to meet her at eleven. She would be waiting at the bar. She was nervous. She had never done this before.She just met someone she could fall madly in love with – it didn’t matter what clothes she wore or what bathroom she used. Who the hell cared what others thought.  Her friends and family would have to deal with it, support her, or she would have to walk away.

But not last night.

It was their big night on the town…celebrating their engagement. They couldn’t wait. They needed this. To laugh, to dance, to rejoice. Their moment to say to the world that they loved each other, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Their most devoted and loyal friends and family would be by their sides celebrating-dancing, toasting them, loving them.

But not last night.

He was bullied all through school. Did they know something about him that he wasn’t ready to admit to himself? Why did they mock the way he dressed, or the way he walked and talked? Why did they draw those dirty pictures and tape them to his locker? He was finally ready to figure himself out. He knows who he really is now-always did. He knows why they mocked him. But he didn’t have anything to fear anymore-he didn’t need to worry what anyone else thought. Tonight is his night to be true to himself. Maybe he will meet the love of his life or someone who understands him-a new friend, or maybe even his first real kiss…

But no. Not last night.

Last night. Dozens of men and women went out on a Saturday night. It just so happened to be a gay club. But they went for the same reason as any other…to find love, to dance, to have fun, to flirt, to escape from reality, to celebrate.

Last night, a monster decided to creep into their celebrations of love and life and courage.

Last night, dozens of people won’t wake up with hangovers or next to their one-night- stand or love of their life.

Last night…

Was their last night.

Please make the hate stop.

I am a happily married mother of five children. I fear for my children’s futures. We teach our children to love…no matter what your skin color is, or gender preference, or religion.

Last night, We were lucky. I went to bed with the love of my life after watching our favorite family show with our little ones, and then tucking them into to bed.

I woke up this morning next to my snoring husband, not realizing what had happened in the night…as we slept peacefully, the world was changing, yet again, forever.

Last night, too many beautiful souls went to Heaven together…almost all at once. They will be the reason we fight on.

They will make us persevere…

Last night must never happen again.

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Consumed.

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Consumed.
Not only have I been consumed with food in the past few weeks (my jeans will attest to that), but I am consumed with all things political. Never in my adult life have I been this interested in politics or the candidates, or even the policies at hand.
Consumed is being too easy on myself. My husband or family may say it is more like obsessed.
The only free time I usually had was to write a blog, and that entailed getting up at the crack of dawn, or piecing notes together from my phone when I have an idea, or sadly and more frequently,  ignoring my kids.
I don’t want to ignore my children to indulge myself, but getting up before the sun, or forcing myself to stay awake at night after long days of cooking/cleaning/activities, is just impossible.
I am getting old.
I can’t stay up late AND I now love politics.
No offense to older folks…I just always equated politics and CNN or Fox News with my Grandparents or parents…
Guess that is me now too.
I have this magnetic pull to check constant updates on Twitter and FB, in between cleaning up meals and loading the dishwasher.  My four year old says “one more minute” when asked to do something else while playing or watching a show.
He learned it from me…
I say it…too much unfortunately. It used to be so I could write…but now it is what is trending on the political front on Twitter or latest coverage from a Primary state or voting day.
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He is learning to buy some more time and be selfish like his mother, instead of doing what needs to be done.
I admit it. I own it.
But as this election  grows closer to November, I may become fanatical.
I am pretty sure,(this being the first real election year of a social media onslaught during an election), is not helping. The media is almost controlling (we already know owning) the whole process of what we read or don’t read, which fires me up even more… and yet other people like myself are also ignoring their children or partners or pets for one more update or post one more comment/video/tweet to support their candidate.
We are like minded.
Crazy or obsessed or fanatical.
But we believe in something.
We believe this is our first time to really have a voice in the political process. That we can tweet to some guy in Iowa or Nebraska about what is going on in his town when the candidates were there,( or maybe even tweet with voters abroad, or get statistics on polling or percentages) is just an amazing historical political accomplishment.
We believe that social media may be controlling our opinions and thoughts or complaints, but without them, we lose our ability to try…to try to speak our minds.
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Try to be patriotic.
Try to salvage what is left of this beautiful country.
With that, I am done jotting notes in my phone for now, so I can get up super early and do a quick social media scan of all things political and not have to ignore my kids at breakfast.

Moving On.

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Moving On.

I am not perfect.

I hold grudges.

I pout.

I even have had my share of temper tantrums.

I have had more battles and bickered with friends and family over my lifetime than I can remember.

But I also love.

I love too much sometimes. I dive deep into relationships and friendships, and that must muddle things a bit over time, I guess…

I don’t know…

Life is hard enough. I cannot muddle things anymore.

I thought I was learning that lesson a lot in the past year.

Life and death are the truest lessons of this.

Nothing is more bone chilling than death and dying to put things into perspective for a person.

Then you have the beauty of life to give balance to the loss or death of loved ones…

New babies, new loves, new life.

These are the moments that make me stop and realize…

Cut the crap out…it’s time to grow up.

No more bickering with my sisters as if we were still in high school and fighting over the mirror in the bathroom, or over clothes or remote controls. No more getting in to each other’s business and cutting a wedge so deep between us, that the gap is still not fully repaired.

No more saying what I feel like saying, whether it hurts someone or not, because I was an angry selfish teenager and young adult who hated her parents and life in general. Or as a mother or wife or friend who is miserable because she hasn’t fulfilled her dreams and passions, so she will take it out on everyone else around her…

I cannot be her anymore…time to move on.

I am not perfect.

I still make some of those mistakes as a middle aged mother/wife/sister/daughter…and friend.

I say too much. Or at least I used to. I needed a wake up call…you would have thought all the challenges over the past year would be enough…

The lightbulb went on many times, (or maybe I should say someone was flicking the light switch and on and off to test the circuits) trying to get me to realize all the anger, jealousy and hate was not necessary or needed…but I wasn’t paying attention.

That lightbulb was shining bright about a week ago when I saw an old friend and realized how foolish I can be.

It was almost two years since we spoke…over dumb stuff…that didn’t seem so dumb at the time. And we just let it all go…just like that. After building on a friendship for over eleven years, it was over.

I say it all the time, I believe everything happens for a reason…not sure why that all happened, but I guess it needed to…we needed time apart to figure life out.

Yet I found myself sobbing on my old friend’s shoulder (in public at a local benefit after too many cheap beers), apologizing and laughing and crying as if nothing had ever happened between us…

And letting go…

Of anger, temper tantrums, pouting, jealousy, and sadness…

I won’t say too much anymore to deliberately hurt someone because of my own misery…not because I have nothing to say, but what value is there on being opinionated or bossy or just a plain old jerk?

I am painting myself out to be a pretty big bitch right now, and I am actually a pretty nice person…just a lot on my brain and heaviness in my heart.

Such a weight lifted off my heavy heart…

Things may never be exactly as they were with me and my old friend, but it is so refreshing to know if we see each other, the tension won’t be there anymore… just smiles, and hugs and love and support.

And in another sense,( Moving On being my title for this blog), I need to move on from other relationships…ones that I have tried for most of my adult life to keep afloat, and they just keep drifting away. I think those relationships are safe to say, “Bon Voyage” and wish them well on their journey to their next chapter in life…

Without me in it.

I have written of these relationships before because I have an inner struggle with truly and completely let it go. Not sure if it is from guilt or just wanting to give it one more try, or because I am a glutton for punishment…or maybe it is because I am too nice and let people walk all over me…

Whatever the reason, I need to let it go as well…

I need to stick to my guns, and lift the anchor, and let that ship sail…no guilt or anger at myself…just peace knowing I tried. And tried some more…

And focus on the people who have always been in my life, even after returning from a mini vacation from our friendship, or those who were not sure of whether they should stay or go, but wind up staying by my side…these people help define me. They tell me to cut the crap…

The imperfect mother/wife/sister/daughter…and friend. The woman who vents on a blog to the world about big things and little things.

I don’t know if I am tired and getting old, but venting on a blog is about all I can manage anymore…fighting is for the birds…I have more important things to do like being a better wife/daughter/sister/mother and friend…

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And moving on…

 

Selfish.

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Selfish.

I would like to be selfish.

I want to sleep in till seven…or eight. I want to sit in peace and quiet and sip my coffee.

I want to figure out where to begin my day…do I put on yoga pants and take a class, or go for a long walk?

I want to say no to the class, and get myself dolled up and go shopping and get my nails done if I so choose.

Or maybe take out my painting clothes, and go get dirty out back and be creative on a piece of furniture.

I want to be selfish.

I want to not worry about making lunches or what’s for dinner, or laundry that needs to be done and folded and put away.

I want to not worry about dusting or vacuuming or dirty bathrooms.

I want  to not worry who has what activity after school and how I will pick everyone up on time.

I want to not worry about college kids that need supplies packed up, rides back to campus, and more spending money.

I want to not worry about late night phone calls or texts from a homesick college student who misses us desperately.

I want to not wake up ten times during the night by little ones coming in to sleep in my bed, then kicking me through the night.

If only…

Well, I am allowed to be selfish…today.

I have been granted that wish today…

My Mother-in-law has come to my aid.

I have another week of 24/7 parenting until my husband returns home. I am told to go do whatever I want…all day. And yet I have no clue what to do with myself…and no desire to be that jerk I talk about above…my selfish lists are thoughts tucked away in my brain of all these little things that annoy me on a daily basis-that make me want to be this obnoxious uncaring person. They are just wishful thinking when I cannot deal for another second with countless lists of mundane tasks day in and day out.

 I know others have it way worse, but I am an overwhelmed mother of five sick kids with pneumonia-all healed or healing, with countless doctor visits, and charts of who gets what medicine/breathing treatments and how and when I can get everyone back to school and activities and healthy again…on top of the meals and laundry and dishes…I am officially overwhelmed.

So I am being selfish today for a little bit.

I will take these few hours to vent  on this blog, and go wander aimlessly around a store, and maybe even buy something for myself…but that’s about it.

I have definitely lost myself in life and all that goes with it. I crave knowledge and being creative again.

But I don’t really and truly want to be that selfish woman. I will never be that woman…other than the one who puts on her painting clothes and goes out back with paint and sander in hand. Or write a blog about everyday boring life events…that is me.  

My time will come someday soon to have all day to do whatever I want, and the kids won’t need me as much and there will be fewer messes to clean…so I will take these few hours today to be a little selfish, to reflect on my tough days to appreciate the good ones, and remember how precious these days are with my growing family, as overwhelming as they can be…

This is my life.

I will be selfish…just for today.

The Choice.

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The Choice.

Warning…many will take offense. Some will hate me. Or pretend they do not know me anymore. Some will even pity me…

That is THEIR choice.

It was about ninety degrees on June 1, 1991. It felt like 110 in the shade as I lay on the steaming hot pavement in my own vomit…retching. Sobbing.

I will never forget this day…ever.

It was a few weeks before I was barely about to graduate high school. I had just fooled them all at my senior prom. I could have kept up the facade for a little longer…but I didn’t have a choice, I was told this was the only way out…

As an adult now, I realize I did have a choice.

But when you run away from home, or get kicked out and are reliant on others…you feel like you have no choice.

I woke up on the table after being sedated, in the midst of it all…the loud noise, the lights, the people hovering over me.

I believe that is the moment that haunts me the most…waking, even groggy still from sedation, knowing what was happening. More so than the cowardly way I slumped in my chair in the waiting room before it began…wondering if the others were feeling the same way as me.

I cried myself to sleep in the back of the car, begging for fresh air to cool my face, covered in dried vomit and tears.

Somehow I managed to make it to my bed, and awakened hours later…pain so bad I could tear my own heart out…not physical pain so much, but because it was my heart that was aching…

And the empty feeling in my belly. I clawed at my stomach screaming to make this madness stop. To undo what had happened.

Next thing, I am given a Valium…out cold again.

I was in a dark place mentally back then…before this all happened.

It was literally my first time…and then I was pregnant. A senior in high school. An aspiring fashion designer. A child who just wanted her divorced parents’ love and for them to stop fighting.

Well, this got their attention alright. They found out a while later…they shed no tears for me…just more anger and pain. I was ashamed. I kept my story to myself… I was absolved of my sin by a priest after my family found out. Time to forget it forever…put it behind me.

SHAME.

I live with this every second of every day.

I couldn’t put it behind me. Even as life moved on.

But in no way shape or form, did life fill the void in my belly...in my heart.

Did I want a child at eighteen? No…I had no clue what I would have done. But there is not one day since June 1, 1991 that I do not think of him…I know in my heart it was a boy.

I swore God would never allow me to be happy again…my Catholic guilt growing larger everyday.

God was good enough to let me heal enough to graduate and temporarily mend things with my family…but I knew that he would punish me. The little girl in me said I would never be a mommy because of what I did that day.

Almost five years later, I was granted a gift. After almost losing my baby and  my life during my pregnancy, God gave us a beautiful baby girl…I lost an ovary through it all, but I felt like I had truly been absolved…that there was a God and that I had to suffer a little to finally appreciate what I had.

And I did. Life was challenging then, but I had this beautiful baby and thought I would never have any more after losing an ovary and all that my body went through to deliver her safely. And yet I was given a second chance… 

I had to embrace it.

Three more amazingly beautiful children later and almost nineteen years of a happy marriage with a husband who has heard this all and held me as I cried over and over, and I feel like God forgave me…but why am I still not forgiving myself? Is it that Catholic guilt or shame? Or simply because it truly wasn’t my choice?

I cringe everytime I read an article on this topic. I cry. I mourn. I had a choice. Maybe I made the wrong one, but my life would be very different today if I had fought back and said to them that  I had a choice in the matter.

He didn’t love me…and I didn’t love him.

Yes I was a fool…but I was just looking for love after years of being lost and made a terrible mistake.

I will never tell anyone to rid the world of abortion… There. I said it.

Abortion.

It is an ugly word. Our world has made it ugly.

But what about that girl who is raped or molested?

What about the girl like me?

What would I have done?

I would have been sent packing to live on the streets pregnant and alone…fearful of what my very catholic family would say…or maybe worse…maybe I would have killed myself or attempted to from the deep depression and shame that was setting in.

Or maybe turn to adoption…but that was never an option for some reason and I was too naive to think these things through as an eighteen year old fighting the world and everyone in it.

Do I believe that maybe I could have beaten the odds?

Found the strength to fight back and keep my child?

Found a way to finish school and pursue my dreams as an artist?

Make it work?

Hell yeah…I thought that an hour ago, and last week, or last summer when I almost had a nervous breakdown about the lie I have lived with for so long.

I know girls that did beat the odds and persevered alone with their child…yes, they have struggled to make ends meet and finish school and find love again while raising a child alone…

Some will say I gave up too easily.

Shame on me.

But even more shame for hiding it…it is part of who I am…he was part of me and will forever be my fifth child…my first. I ache for him, as any mother would over a child lost…even more so when I see how cruel life can be and take our loved ones away in an instant.

So why voluntarily do it?

My eighteen year old self said she did it because it was the only way out and because they told her to.

My Forty-something year old self says it was the shame and guilt that the scared girl couldn’t bare to face.

She did though. Faced all of it…

Took countless blows to the chin, and then when the dust settled, tucked her dirty little secret away…until now.

We all have choices in this life…and we have to live with the consquences each and everyday.

I feel that hot pavement from that day on my face twenty-four years ago like I  am living that moment now…it was a choice…one that will follow me like a dark cloud till the day I die.

Judge me, hate me, pray for me.

Do whatever you like. But I will not lie or hide this part of me anymore. My older girls know my story now. As a lesson to make better choices…but no one should make those choices for you…no one.

Today I honor the love that I lost, and all that I have gained…most importantly…

Truth.

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I smile today…I am owning this. My first ever tattoo…proudly wearing a badge forever of all my babies…four born, one lost, and one gained.

Hugs.

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Hugs.

I am a Mother of six.

I carried five, gave birth to four, and love one unconditionally as one of my own.

I am not perfect. 

I am, on most days, a scarred and bitter person. I can hide it well…sometimes.

But on this very day, all that matters, is that I am a Mother.

I feel urged to write this to a younger confused generation, with too much information at their fingertips, not enough social interactions, and way too many emotions pent up that seem to bring anger and resentment to the world around them…

And not enough hugs.

We had dinner the other night with some family, and ended it with me bringing up the “Twenty Second Rule” of hugs…which gloriously ended in enough hugs to make all of us leave the restaurant with content bellies and warm hearts with big smiles on our faces…

Because it works.

But is not happening enough anymore in our world…we are all guilty of too much “me” time…maybe grabbing some extra Facebook time, or binging on a favorite t.v. series, or spa and gym days…

Don’t get me wrong, these are all essential for us to stay mentally healthy and balanced within ourselves…but some days, we may overlook something…our duties as parents…we need to put our needs aside for even just twenty seconds…

I challenge you…PLEASE…go to your child right now and tap them on the shoulder, as they are staring at a cellphone, t.v. or laptop screen….and jolt them out of this…

Tell them you need to talk. As they rise to go to talk with you, take them in your arms and hold them…for twenty seconds…or more…then tell them you are sorry…that no job, or t.v. show or phone call is more important than this…holding this child in your arms and remembering all those moments that brought you here…tell them you love them, and that they can tell you anything, no matter what…

Mothers…we come in all shapes and sizes, colors, genders and no matter what..our babies need us. Our duty is to them right now, and forever…

Today is a day for our children to celebrate us, but without them, there would be nothing to celebrate…So grab your babies/toddlers/teens/grown children/fur babies and tell them you love them and start squeezing.

Twenty second hugs are good enough.

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Saying Hello.

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Saying Hello.

Well…it has happened.

The waterworks are on full blast. This will make things complicated as I type this…and even more difficult if the tears don’t stop as I help my firstborn back her things.

She is leaving us tomorrow for college. It isn’t a typical college, so she is going with a little time off here and there, but gone for a solid eighteen months…if not longer.

Longer as in not ever coming home to live with us again.

Sure, she will visit…she will maybe even stay for a few weeks if we are lucky.

But I know this young woman pretty well, and her wings are open and ready to soar…

She won’t be coming back to our nest.

My baby bird is leaving us…forever.

Today will be my final day of her being silly and loud and coming down in her pj’s with wild hair, and sitting quietly on the sofa curled up in a ball, as she adjusts to waking up.  She will come over to me eventually and wrap her arms around me and say “good morning, Mommy”…she still calls me Mommy…and I am ok with that.

This will be her last day with us a resident in our home…she will always call this place home…but she cannot wait to make a home of her own. I know in my bones that when she is finished college, she may choose to continue with school, but I am pretty certain she will be looking for her own nest to start building.

Her own life.

She has wanted this since as far back as I can remember. To live in the city, and soak up all things fashion, art, theater, and fine dining…to be independent and full of life.

I already know who she is…and she IS that girl.

She will embrace this opportunity with full force…she will make her dreams come true.

We believe in her.

And we will forever be here to love her and support her…there will be bumps in the road, and maybe even a change of course in her plans for the future…we will be here through the good and the bad…always.

So this may be written on a tear stained keyboard, but they are happy tears. My firstborn IS leaving us today, and tomorrow will be one of the hardest days of our lives…but exciting too.

I will not say goodbye to her…

I will say hello.

Hello to this vibrant, fun, talented, motivated young woman who is beginning to write Chapter One of her story…

And I cannot wait to read it.

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