Cherished Time

Can we all just say that 2020 is throwing all of us more punches each and every passing day. I honestly feel like I am living in the middle of a scary movie, not real life. Each day I wake up and have this feeling of dread about turning on the TV and watching the news. What possibly could be going on now? There are even some days that I choose not to even turn on the TV. I make this choice for my own mental health, but my families as well. Do we need to stay informed about what is going on? Absolutely!! I am not making the choice to ignore what the reality is. I, of course, want to be educated and knowledgable so that I can keep my family safe and healthy. However, I do think because of the many different things going on in the world that each of us need to also give ourselves a mental break. To not feed our minds with the negativity news and images that is in abundance right now. Constantly feeding yourself with the negativity will not be good for you. One might think that watching the news or scrolling through social media will not have a great psychological effect, but it most definitely can. I would guess, and I am not an expert nor do I have a medical degree, that after all this is over there will be an increase of numbers of people who are diagnosed and have to be treated for depression and anxiety.

Because of all the negativity in order to prevent ourselves from falling into the rut of being depressed or anxious we must turn away from the negative images and find something that will help us take our minds off of the current circumstances of the world. One thing that has helped me is to find a way to cherish each and every moment that I have with my family. The world has changed in drastic ways, and so that means my family has changed also. My husband and my kids are living in this crazy world too, not just me. They have fears, anxiety, missed opportunities, time away from friends and loved ones, changes in their activities, restraint from activities, and the list goes on. Not only that, but we all are getting another year older, getting to new phases in our lives, and adapting to new changes . In fact, I have my oldest, Taylor who will be in her last year of college, Emma will be leaving home and starting her first year in college, Elle will be starting high school as a Freshman, and Abby will begin her journey in junior high as a 7th grader. Lots of big changes for our family!! This is one of the reasons that I try to block away the negativity and take time to cherish every little moment I have with my beautiful family. In a blink of any eye it goes by.

The time together is so important to me. I want to hang on to each minute. I was so thankful that we made the decision to take our girls to the beach a few weeks ago to get a much needed break from the real world. Before I get any hate about our decision to go to the beach, I want everyone to know that we stayed in a private residence, practiced social distancing, and wore masks while we were there. We made sure our daughters were never put in harms way or that we would put ourselves in a position to pass to others. All safety measures were followed!! It was a personal decision we made as a family to spend this quality time together. Like I said in a few short weeks, our lives will look much different because of the stages my girls are entering. Not only that, we have no idea in this ever-changing world what will be thrown at us next. So, I want to take the time to remember today. To see my girls all together smiling, laughing, and making memories. I want to see them enjoy life, despite the fear that may be lingering in the air. I want to cherish the second, the minute, the hour, and the day we have right now. I don’t want to watch the news everyday and feel depressed or weighed down. I want to lift my hands up in the air and thank God for the gifts that are standing in front of me right now.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34.

Again, I am not promoting for anyone to ignore the news, or not take the events happening now seriously. I actually feel the total opposite of that. What I am saying is give yourself a pass. It is ok to do what is best for you and your family. Do not feel guilty for missing one day of news reports. Do not feel bad if you have to get away from it all, if done in a safe way. Make sure that your family has the opportunity to have a mental and emotional break from it all. I would even suggest to talk out loud about your fears. The most important message I have is do not ever let what is going on, take away your time as a family. Cherish all of it. Do not let anything steal your joy. Hold on to the precious minutes you have with your kids. I can tell you it seems like yesterday by 21 year old was just a baby. Now, she is a grown woman who dreams of her own family. Do not let these moments slip because you are scared. Take a hold of this season, even though for everyone it is a rocky one, but take a hold of it and turn it into cherished time together. When my 18 year old leaves for college in a few weeks, I certainly do not want to have any regrets that I did not find joy in my last few days with her at home. I do not want to take my time or life for granted. Every breath is a gift, every moment with my girls and husband is a gift. I may worry about the type of future that is ahead for all of us, and I am sure most of are having those thoughts right now, but I want to live in the present. Each new stage my kids enter is bittersweet. I have loved watching them change and grow but it also makes this mommy a little sad too. I will tell you that letting go is so very hard, that is why I want to cherish every second before my hands have to let go.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.

Hope this finds you all safe and healthy and with many blessings. May God bless each of you.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

A Letter to my Senior

Emma Grace,

I have a mountain of memories that flood through my head as I look back on the 18 years we have been blessed to have you in our lives. From the very beginning you were going to make your presence known. When I was pregnant with you I was so sick for 9 months!! I mean really sick!!! It was as if even then you were shouting to the world “Hey look at me!!” Then came the delivery, and let me tell you I don’t even have the words to describe how rough that one was. You were a standout before you even took your first breath in this world.

You were born on December 3, 2001. The day before your dad’s birthday. What a great birthday gift!!! You were also born a little less than three months after the 9/11 attack. I remember being so scared of what type of world my new baby and her older sister were going to live in. The fear, the uncertainty, the overall atmosphere of the time was just overall a very frightening time.

As you started to grow the world was growing too. The weight of the fear that came with 9/11 seemed to ease a little. No, the world was never the same again but just like everything else, the world kept spinning and the country began to heal. Quickly the time past and it was time for you to go to Kindergarten. I remember thinking it would be easier to send you off to school because I had already gone through it with your older sister . However, it was not. My heart broke in a thousand pieces leaving you in that room and waving bye to you. You were so excited though and it didn’t take you long to adapt to school life and quickly start making friends. undefined You were always someone who made friends easily. You have the most extraordinary personality and a heart that is so big. And to top it off you have always been beautiful inside and out. It is hard for everyone not to love you.

The years passed quickly and we watched you grow. We got to experience so many things with you from karate, soccer, dance, cheer, pageants you name it, I think you tried it all. No matter what you were doing we just loved watching you and seeing that smile on your face. We just loved you no matter what you were doing.

Then comes the day I was dreading but excited for at the same time. Your first day of senior year undefined. This picture was taken that day with your sisters. I remember you waking up with an excitement that this was it. The last first day of high school. The anticipation of the exciting year to come was in the air for all of us. We were all so excited for the year to come. Your fall semester was great. There of course was football games, homecoming( being nominated homecoming queen for you), leading the news show at school, becoming the yearbook editor, hanging out with friends, and trying new adventures. All the normal and fun things you get to do in high school. As the spring semester started, all was going well. The talk of where to go on spring break, preparing for prom and making sure we got that perfect senior prom dress, because we all know that senior prom dress has to be the best. We were getting ready for senior banquets, senior picnics, senior trips, and all the activities that being a senior entails. So many fabulous things were coming your way.

Then it happened. The virus Covid-19. The virus that not only has turned the world upset down and changed life as we know it, but it also is the virus that is robbing you from your senior year. At this point we have no idea if you will get to go back to school to finish the year. From what we have been hearing you will not. If you don’t, that means no prom, no graduation, no senior brunch, no senior picnic or banquet, no senior activities at all. It will all be gone. Getting to say goodbye to classmates, to teachers, to anyone who has been on this ride with you will be taken away. I hate this for you and all the seniors across the country. Baby girl, I am sorry that there is no way I can fix this. As a mother one of the hardest things to face is not being able to fix problems for our kids. I want to make it all better. I want you to be able to finish up your senior year. I want you to go to your last prom. I want to see you walk across the stage at graduation. I want to see you hug your friends goodbye. I want to see you in maroon and white one last time. Unfortunately, I am not sure if this is going to be a reality.

If there is one thing I am learning so far from all this, it is never take one single day for granted. Even the normalcy of everyday life, going to school, going to work, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, everything is a gift to us that may be taken away at any second. We are all seeing this. So, Emma, even if you are not able to return to school, I want you to be able to see that everyday that you have had so far at school, with your friends, making those senior memories has been a gift. Even if you are unable to make anymore, hold the memories you have made in your heart forever. Cherish them, hold on them, see them for what they are, a blessing. Send your classmates and teachers messages. Let them know how much you love them. Let them know that you all are all in this together. Pray together. Pray that you will be able to come together again. Support and love each other no matter what.

As a mother, I will pray everyday that I get to watch you finish up your senior year with all the experiences that each of you deserve. There is nothing I want more. A group of kids that were born at a time when the world wasn’t so kind, is now again dealing with a world that is unsettled and uncertain. This, however, has only proven your resilience. Emma you are all so strong. You have tried to spread kindness in a world that has not always been kind to you and that has taken so much. There is no doubt, because of your strength, that even after all this you won’t look at it as being robbed but instead will use it as a lesson to build a better brighter future. Emma, never lose hope, let God guide your path, and know no matter what your future is bright.

I pray to Emma and all of you that you are covered in blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer