My daughter has a best friend.
They are the same age, are in the same classes, and have many of the same interests. They enjoy FaceTime-ing each other sometimes and texting other times. They both love smiling, dancing, and playing games.
My daughter and her best friend celebrate each other on birthdays and every day. They are both huggers and are missing hugs during this pandemic. They both bring joy to others and will certainly make you smile in their presence.
There are a few differences between them, too. For example, my daughter’s best friend has Autism, while my daughter does not. Differences are good. Diversity makes our relationships and our lives better.
And wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone accepted each other’s differences like these amazing girls?
The answer is yes. Yes, it would be for sure.
*EDITED TO ADD: Photo shared with permission
For so long I’ve felt like “just a mom”.
The transition from individual to mother began the moment I became pregnant with my first baby. It is to be expected, of course. A natural blossoming into a role more rewarding and more ravaging than any I had known before. It was amazing and overwhelming all at once.
After the birth of my baby, I felt pieces of me begin to disappear. It was a gradual process, but also all at once in some ways. Over the years, I slipped deeper into the cocoon of motherhood, and I forgot who I was as my own person.
My interests, my passions, my hobbies had all fallen to the wayside as they often do in motherhood. With each passing day, I was less “Mia” and more “Mom”.
Then last February something in me changed. A pre-pandemic invitation to my high school reunion was a wake up call I needed to realize that I didn’t know who I was anymore. Or maybe it was that I wasn’t the me I wanted to be. I had let the essence of myself slip through my fingers as I tried to hold everything else together with a white-knuckled grip.
This is from Valentine’s Day 2011.
I’m not posting it because it’s a good picture of me (obviously), but it’s the only one I have from this day. And that Valentine’s Day was kind of a big deal.
It was the day before my daughter’s first (but not her last) open heart surgery.
This was a day full of emotions. Not the typical feelings this “Hallmark holiday” may bring up, though. Not at all. This day was full of everything else.
I had big plans for 2020.
I had “goals”. In my mind that meant writing regularly, pitching more articles to editors, growing my social media following, and self-publishing an anthology of essays. (I had a book outline and everything!) But then a global pandemic hit, and these things didn’t feel like priorities anymore.
Surviving became the priority – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We all had our worlds turned upside down and found ourselves living lives we thought only existed in science fiction films. We were forced to isolate and stay home. Our school, work, and social lives were completely reimagined. We endured personal losses, heartbreak, and setbacks. We worked to find a new normal.
The other day I shared a great article from PopSugar about how teaching your children the phrase “A gift is a thought” can totally reframe how they accept presents, regardless of the contents.
I loved the essay, and it has stayed with me since reading it. I wasn’t sure why I felt it so much. After all, we have always been taught “it’s the thought that counts” when it comes to presents. Nothing groundbreaking, really. But something about the way it was worded got me. I think now I realize why.
I think it’s because I have always felt, for me, that a THOUGHT is a GIFT.