A purpose

One of my favorite quotations is by Leo Buscaglia, a very wise & influential person. It’s a common quotation so you may have come across it, but I want you to really take it to heart this time.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Can I get an Amen?

Small acts of kindness are very powerful. Often they get overlooked; often the action gets forgotten. We are busy people. We don’t have time for silly little things like that.

Remember how I said earlier now that I am a mother I feel as though every part of my being, every emotion feels deeper? Really, it’s almost a physical feeling. I wish I could pass on that feeling to all of you through osmosis or something because it is pretty incredible. I have always been a fan of random acts of kindness, but even more now with this feeling. Anything from a smile from a stranger to a compliment from a best friend. You can’t put a price on it.

The day I wrote my first post on this blog something pretty amazing happened to me. A small act of kindness. After posting my first entry and getting a little nervous about how people would take to it, I received a letter in the mail from a woman I barely know. As soon as I read it my nerves dissipated to nothing. I wasn’t worried anymore. It’s been over a year since I moved back home with my baby. Over 365 days. And ironically on this exact day that I decide to share my story, I felt like my blog had more purpose than I ever intended.

Here’s the letter:

I was a crier before, I’m a bawler now.

I have the best of intentions for showing this letter- not because I am full of myself. Honestly.

This small act of kindness had more of an impact on me than this woman will ever know. She had no idea the time I would read her note would be right after I let myself be more vulnerable than ever before. It made me feel like I was supposed to be sharing my story all along. It gave me a purpose.

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A better me

Guess who.

For the .005% of you who guessed correct, this is me. Your’s truly. And this has got to be the Holy Grail of embarrassing pictures. In fact, I dare you to show me a worse one. It could be fun. I could start a poll and the best (or worst) picture could win a prize.

In attempt to make me feel better when first seeing this picture, my brother’s girlfriend Kate once told me I looked like the cutest Hanson brother.

It was my thirteenth birthday party if you couldn’t count the candles. When I say ‘party’ I’m not referring to my 30 best friends most 13 year old girls have. Notice the table attendees? Probably not. Just the family. I wonder why. I also wonder why my mom ever let me out of the house this whole year. This may be the sole picture/reason I have questioned homeschooling for Holden. Lord, have mercy on his adolescence.

My mom had some strange obsession with making birthday cakes to look like big poofy skirts of the barbie doll stuck in the middle. They totally would have made an “Entertaining” Pinboard in 1999. This was probably the same barbie used a few times before. Parents do that you know, hide toys and bring them out later to trick you into thinking it’s something new and exciting.

Wait, I was wrong about recycling that Barbie.

This one is Princess Jasmine. I think I was 5. I told you my mom was obsessed.

Get to the good stuff.

Why on earth would I post the one picture I swore to secrecy? Anyone who is exposed to the internet could see this?

This post right now is going to be primarily about me, but I am not a vain person. I couldn’t make that point clearer without taking it to the extreme. And, if it made you laugh, or hide, then I’ll take it.

So who am I? I don’t know the one point in life when a person can be defined. When do you know ‘who’ someone is? When they turn 5?  When they become engaged? How about when one becomes a parent? When they die? It’s a question that may go unanswered for a long, long time. And is someone defined by what you see? Partially if you are or have to be a visual person. Brown eyes. Blonde hair. 5’2.

I think for the sake of this blog, when I describe someone, I’ll try my best to speak of them as something ongoing, something that continues to grow and form every day. That leads me to another unsolvable and highly debatable question- do people change? I’m saving this one for a later post.

The past 25 and a half years have probably contributed if not molded who I am right now, but I’m not going to waste a breath educating you on where I lost my first tooth, had my first kiss,  or even attended college and all that jazz. I’m sure some of those stories will come up later on. Nontheless, let’s begin. This is me as of now- this is who I am and what I know of myself as of June 2012.

My name is Samantha Frances, and I am 25 years old. I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is home for me. This is home for my son. I grew up with a father in a collegiate coaching career, which meant my family lived many places across the United States. Always something new and exciting. The majority of my childhood was spent in non other than South Bend, Indiana; call it Mishawaka if you will, or the “Princess City” as I was corrected before. It was there I learned right and wrong. So, I would describe myself as having traditional Midwestern values at heart yet I am very open-minded. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re white, black, gay, or straight. I am a humanitarian.

Me right now. The me I know right now is Christian. I pray a lot. I pray about everything. You give me something you need me to pray for and you bet you’re ass I’ll do it. I believe in the power of prayer. My faith in Jesus has gotten me through some rough times, my friend.

The me right now is very much a multi-tasker. I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a neighbor, and a friend. I am a real estate agent. I am a self-made interior decorator and expertise crafter. I am a painter. I am a reader and I am a thinker. I am a facebook-aholic and I can pin faster than I’ll Have Another can run. I don’t tweet.

I am a mom. I have become a better me. The way I feel I am is an enhanced, more intricate version of the way I was before. Instead of thinking before speaking, I think five times before speaking. My senses are stronger. I like to compare myself to the Twilight characters once the humans turn into vampires. Don’t act like you don’t read the books or at least have watched a movie, or two, or three… But here’s the comparison, I’m deeper in all aspects of myself now. Spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and every other word you can add an “-ly” to at the end. As a mom, I feel like myself now more than I ever have been before. And as a divorced mom, I’m ten times more myself now than ever.

Adjectives. I am happy. I am outgoing. I am creative. I am brave and resilient. I am wise because of experience.

Finally, I am a lover of all things kind.

I think of defining myself, and I wouldn’t be able to fully grasp what I am trying to say without my family and friends. They are my world. I will have many, many posts about the important people in my life. Back to the point, to me, you become a product of who you are around. Whether that changes you for the better or worse is ultimately your choice. Nature vs. nurture? You can probably tell I lean towards the side of nurture now that I am a parent, but I also backup nature on some subjects I feel strongly about. Take that Aristotle, I will contradict myself up and down all day long.

Remember, I am open-minded. This blog may have a lot to do with parenting sooner or later. But let me just say this: it doesn’t matter to me how you parent your child. It matters to me how I parent mine. I won’t judge. I may disagree with giving birth straight onto the ground so that Mother Earth is the first one to influence your baby like in some cultures, but whatever float’s your boat is fine by me. I think I’ll pass on eating the placenta too.

Okay! Now I feel like I’m getting somewhere… if anywhere. Did everything I say just make sense? Well. It’s a start.

Though, I just realized that the three pictures of myself (author of this blog) are probably the three worst I could have ever used to introduce myself. One right after 10 hours of suffering the most horrific, unmanageable pain in my life. Another the ugliest picture of myself known to a camera. And the third, when I was five with a face covered in some frosting.

So, I would like to go to bed feeling better about myself. In an effort to redeem any self confidence I have left, here’s a better and present picture.

Not without my main man though… the reason behind this blog. This was on Mother’s day 2012.

Do you like the picture? Every ugly duckling grows up sooner or later. Or gets their braces off. Or waxes their eyebrows. Or goes on accutane.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

Here I am posting again just a few hours after my first post. I may be a little obsessed. And next week on TLC’s My Strange Addictions…

Let’s back up

I realize my introduction post may have been controversial, blunt if you will. But hey, I hear that’s what these blogs are about. Judging by the hand-full of facebook comments received, I have confidence I’m heading in the right direction on my journey in this blog world. Even still, the ‘Glinda the Good Witch’ in me kept me awake in bed not letting me proceed on my yellow brick road until I clarify a few things.

So, here’s an addendum to my intro. I believe in marriage. I believe it is a sacred thing and is indissoluble. My faith understands that marriage ‘is an enduring and exclusive partnership for the giving and receiving of love and the procreation and education of children.’ I agree with that, and I would go even further in my own definition. I feel as though my first post threw around the term ‘divorced’ lightly, and that was not my intention.

That’s all.

While I’m working on my next post, enjoy this picture of Holden eating some mac & cheese this evening at Target.

Laugh a little, eh?

It’s 3:17 a.m. I’m blogging?

Any mom can understand long nights with a baby. Baby? My son is almost 18 months old, practically a little boy. So why am I up right now? Wellllll, it seemed as though that orange slurpee at Target last night was a little too much too late. The Great Flood just overcame my son’s crib.

Going back to bed. That’s what you do. After a few months as a mom you’ve been able to train your mind and body to turn on and off in the middle of the night. You know, just like a light switch. I like to think of it like a super power.

Yesterday’s posts were somewhat heavy, huh? Well to bring a little comic relief, enjoy a few of my favorite someecards.

The night of my life

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If anyone attended a very radical Catholic high school as I did, I’m positive you’d be familiar with Aristotle’s Principle of Non-Contradiction or at least heard of something along those lines. From what I can remember, we were taught that something “cannot be and not be at the same time” or something “cannot belong and not belong.” Black cannot be white at the same time. I think you see what I mean. Well, Aristotle, I may not be a genius at philosophy, but I’m pretty sure the night Holden was born gives more more than an argument and a half against this claim.

This exact night was both the best and worst night of my life.

To spare you from the harsh reality of giving birth, I will not go into much detail. If you want to know, feel free to ask me directly. But I will tell you the night fell nothing short of medieval torture involving no drugs and a vacuum.

You know how people tell you that the moment your child is born your life changes forever? Your life changes forever. All of the physical pain and discomfort dwindled to absolutely nothing the first time I saw my baby boy. His eyes were wide open, his hands reached out terrified. It was as if he needed me from the beginning. I truly did not know what love meant until 6:02 a.m. on January 17th, 2011.

I will never forget the first words that came out of my mouth: He looks just like Becca. Don’t forget this, it will play in significantly as you grow deeper with me into the blog.

That immediate skin-to-skin contact post-delivery that mother and newborn are supposed to share to promote attachment? I didn’t get that. Holden was whisked away from me and onto a table where a team of neonatologists examined him for a half an hour. Scary yes, but despite what anthropologists say, as important as that non-existant moment was, I’d say my attachment to Holden and vice versa was not hindered.

First video of my new baby

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It’s about time.

 

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Let me start off my blog by advising you- do not feel sorry for me. This is not a page promoting misery and company. Line after line of woe-is-me text will not be found here. In fact, I will barely be touching upon the details of what led me to be a single mom. My life has moved on. What happened did happen. So, if you come across this site because you are either nosy or are in need of some sadness, well, go away.

This is my life. This is the life I have come to love. I wake up with a smile on my face every morning. So here goes nothin’.

Married at 23. Baby at 24. Divorced by 25.

Just when you think it’d never happen to you. Not me? High school homecoming queen? Captain of college cheerleading team? Surely this girl is a lot smarter than that. No, I wasn’t. I fall into the statistic of the 50% divorce rate. Wow. That is a tough one to swallow. And so young! And with a baby? But why couldn’t she work it out for the child? And everything happened so fast! Rush through everything… that’s what those kids do these days.

Judge, judge, judge.

I could advise you this way: Do not judge a book from its cover. Everything looks perfect from far away. That’s what nice people say right? Not that I disagree with the meaning of those sayings; quite the contrary, I believe them to the fullest. But also for me, you have free will. Think about the situation however you may wish. I know what happened, and to be frank, that’s all that matters in my heart. Oh, and the only other thing that matters is this little ray of sunshine named Holden Brooks.

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These past few years embodied the highest of highs, most of one life’s milestones, and the lowest of lows. It’s about time to get on with it.

But, why?

If you haven’t noticed already I think I need to make one thing clear: I am not a writer. I’m writing this blog as if I am talking directly to you and telling my story. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive any grammatical errors.

I am writing this blog for many reasons. One of which came from a brilliant counselor who I visit often. (I am not too proud to admit that I go to a counselor as many would do in my shoes. For those of you wanting to send a gift, I wear a 6.5.) My counselor said that whenever I get the urge to express emotion, whatever emotion that may be but especially anger, write it down. Release it. Let it go. Then forget about it. At least it will feel like you’ve gotten it out of your system, and in a sense, feel like someone had listened.

Months and months later, especially now that my anger has evolved into gratitude and humility, I still release them. Maybe there will actually be someone listening. And maybe, just maybe, these words can help someone else who has gone through a similar situation. So that’s reason one.

Reason two: convenience. I can go through Pinterest for hours and super-glue my eyes to every tutorial on how to document everything about your growing child’s life, and sure I do carry out some of them. Having a blog about my child could be added to that list, but at least everything is in one spot this way, and if I need to refer to my blog to find the date in which Holden gets his first haircut and thus modge-podging a picture of it onto a wooden Hobby Lobby frame while writing it on the chalkboard and taking a picture of it all together, then I can do it here. Whew, that was a lot. Oh, and this way I can avoid all of the fabulous wedding ideas of that dream wedding I will never have…again. (Ok if you’re going to read this, understand I’ve healed enough to be sarcastic and make fun of myself.) You Pinterest lovers know what I’m talking about.

Three. It’s Holden and me versus the world. It takes two, baby. Every day I try to get the most out of the time we spend together, and I want him to get the most out of it too. I would like to have these stories and experiences together remembered, and possibly shared with other parents. As a parent myself, you always develop and tweak ideas from other parents. It’a a never-ending circle.

Four. Myself. I am doing this for myself. That’s all I’m going to say about that reason.

So…

Please feel free to stay tuned or pass along, or not. Doesn’t matter to me. Just know this, being a parent is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I have gone through something traumatic, something I wish upon no one, and I am not going to hide away the most incredible miracle that came right from that experience. Holden’s life is an ongoing celebration.

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