sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Archive for October, 2011

What is a 7 letter word for: A Modern-day Teenage Necessity ?

Today I am quoting one of my favorite song writers, David Wilcox.

From his album Big Horizon, That’s What the Lonely is For:

The depth of your dreams, the height of your wishes
The length of your vision to see, the hope of your heart

Is much bigger than this

For it’s made out of what might be

Now picture your hope, your heart’s desire –
As a castle that you must keepIn all of its splendor, it’s drafty with lonely

This heart is too hard to heat

When I get lonely ah, that’s only a sign
Some room is empty, and that room is there by design
If I feel hollow – that’s just my proof that there’s more
For me to follow – that’s what the lonely is for

But, you can seal up the pain, build walls in the hallways
Close off a small room to live in
But those walls will remain, and keep you there always
And you’ll never know why you were given…

why you were given the lonely

When I am in a slump, music can lift me up and pull me out.  I have always been inspired by music and have sought relief from the challenges of life with music.

Did I grow up in a musical family?

Not exactly.  My mother liked to sing and I grew up listening to her albums played on our stereo, on the turn table.  …Barry Manilow, John Denver, Glenn Campbell, and Neil Diamond…to name a few…the ones that I remember most.

My mother sang in the church folk group and she took guitar lessons for a short period of time ( Right, mom?) but the guitar wound up in my sister’s hands who learned to play it as well as singing in the church folk group.

Childhood Singing and the Recessive Gene

I enjoyed singing as a child but in 7th or 8th grade I had a music teacher who graded us on if we could sing on key or not…and well, he embarrassed me in front of my entire class making the accusation that because I was Italian, I should be able to sing on key.  Apparently, I inherited the recessive gene for singing pitch and so I got a lower grade and the humiliation of the announcement to my teen peers that I was not living up to my heritage.

Yet, I sing anyway…sort of…

I love to sing along to songs, but I rarely do so where I can be easily heard by others.  I will sing in my back yard and created my own versions of songs. My children have never minding my singing.  Well….as toddlers they loved me singing to them but my two older children no longer enjoy my made-up songs.  My daughter rolls her eyes at me sometimes and my son who got the Italian gene , lets me know that I am off-key in his subtle or not so subtle way.

Early Introduction to Instruments

My parents encouraged us with music, allowing us to pick an instrument to play as part of the 4th grade program at the elementary school.  The school provided a day to try out the instruments and I was allowed to choose which one I wanted to learn, just not the drums- too loud, or the saxophone- too expensive.  I tried out the trumpet, the flute and the clarinet.  I could actually play notes on the clarinet, and so being an efficient person, I choose the clarinet.


We lived in Bethel Park, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA when I was in 4th grade and they had a great music program.   It was cool to be in the band.  I did well, although probably not as well as my older sister who seamed to excel at everything.  And then just before the start of 7th grade, we moved to the land of football and basketball…maybe there were less Italians there…because their music program lagged in comparison and so I was playing much easier music than my previous school in a much smaller band.  Before, it seamed all my friends were in band, and now I was a “bando” and could only make friends with other “bandos”.

My first purchase, a modern-day teenage necessity…

When I was 15 1/2, I got my first real job.  After securing the necessary work papers required to work at the local restaurant where my sister and friend were working, I began my official working career as a bus-girl at Franklin’s Family Restaurant in Whitehall, Pa.    My very first pay check, what was left of it after the government took their share, went to the purchase of a modern-day teenage necessity….a boom box, complete with cassette player and detachable speakers.  Seriously, people, I don’t hide my age…this was 1985.  I still had this radio until it died a few years ago.  It was sad parting with it….wish I had kept it.  Maybe I could have gutted it like my dad did with our old TV cabinet.  I could have created an over-sized storage space for my MP3 player  and my JVC “walkman” – it still works!

Real Stereo Sound and Real Music

Realize that this was a huge upgrade from the radio my parents had bought for me years before that had only one speaker, yes, lacking stereo sound…no wonder I had difficulty singing on pitch.  As my now teenage son pointed out to me, now having only one speaker does not mean the lack of stereo sound but back in 1985, it did.

I was thrilled with my purchase and added to my cassette collection with the sounds of Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, The Pretenders, Yes and ZZ Top, to name a few of my purchases.  I liked a variety.  My love of classic rock would come later, in part from hearing my sisters albums and later my brothers “hair bands” like Poison and Def Leppord.    And I still love this music.  Thank you Wiz at 106.5 for Resurrection Sunday!

What does this have to do with David Wilcox’s lyrics?

A few minutes ago, I thought I had strayed off course with my post.  Now, I see that the lonely place I have been in was a reflection of missing parts of my life, rooms that have been hidden or dusty.  Sharing pieces of my past is a way for me to open these rooms in my castle.  In order for others to learn more about me, and for me to confront myself and what is important to me.

I had no desire to write today….

I left my house today to escape- to get away- and be in a place for a few hours where I only had to worry about myself.  I had no ambition to write but knew that I needed to get out because I have been in this place before and have been able to pull myself out of a slump by taking time for me.

And so, I have been here at my computer at my favorite food and wi-fi spot listening to ….”We Can Work It Out”,  “Closer to Fine”, “This We Know”, “I Have a Dream”, “A Place in the World”, “Finally Found a Home”, “Galileo”, “Forever Young”, Let’s Get Real”, and “Give Peace a Chance”… a few of the songs on my Writing Inspiration Playlist.

Listening to this music has been part of my writing time ritual.  Once again, it has achieved its purpose, refocusing my frame of mind.

Today, it has been a start

A start into digging deeper

Into my own loneliness

And discovering the meaning

That is missing in my life

I must remember that it begins with music….


Did you know they make boxer shorts for toddlers?

A little more than a week ago, my 2-year-old son, Jason, who is 2 years and 9 months to be exact, decided that he did not like having a diaper on anymore and began refusing to wear one.

At first we tried many methods to get him to allow us to put a diaper on him.  After he had several “accidents” around the house, I decided to bring the potty chair to the kitchen. (Our bathrooms are both upstairs in our split level house.)

I encouraged him to use his potty chair to go the bathroom.  He agreed to do so and began using his potty chair.  He still did not want to wear anything on his bottom, not even the underpants I had for him.  It seamed to me he did not like the tight feeling around his legs or body.  Leaving the house was a challenge and for a while we did not take him anywhere.

A few days later, I went out shopping and decided to find him some underwear.  I first thought of finding character underwear that he might like and in a bigger size then the pair we had at home.  Low and behold, I found something better.  Did you know they make boxers and boxer briefs for toddlers?

I debated briefly on which size and decided to go with the larger 3T-4T but worried they might be too big on his waist.  When I got home, I discovered that I had made a smart move.  Jason really liked the boxers and the waist was not too big!

He soon began wearing the underwear to leave the house and even while in the house- much to the delight of my other children who were bothered especially at meal times by the sight of their 2-year-old bare -bottomed brother.

And so now before his third birthday, and earlier than either of my other children, much earlier- I might add, than his older brother- I have a toddler who is potty training.  Along with the underwear, I had bought a different style of diaper as well as some pull -ups.  He did not like the pull ups I had at home and had tried, which I figured might just be too small.

It took some effort the first couple days to convince him despite using the potty during the day, that he needed to wear a pull-up or diaper at night.   Now he is in the routine of putting on his own pull-up before bed.  He even gets them on correctly!

It is funny, because with my older two children, potty training was the one thing that I did not like at all about parenting.  My oldest had held out for a long time and we “forced- potty trained him” when he was 4 and I was 6 months pregnant with his younger sibling.  I wasn’t about to change a 4-year-old’s diaper and a newborn’s.  Looking back, sure, I would do things much differently now.  I know for one, that potty training can become a power struggle and my insistence on him needing to be potty trained, didn’t help the situation.

So hear I am, older, wiser and  with no expectations  that my youngest boy would potty train anytime before 3 -and yet he has done just that- in his own way.  He is strong-willed like that and shows much independence in wanting to do things for himself and by himself- he has always been that way; from talking early and walking at 9 months, and in countless other ways like  pushing a chair into the living room to reach something up high when he was not even one.

He even just takes himself over to his potty chair when he needs to pee and lets us know that he has gone.  Going “number 2” is a bit more challenging but I am totally at peace with all of it.  For here we are easily passing the hurdle of what I previously considered the most difficult aspect of parenting a young child.

He is so eager to be like his much older brother and sister.  For once, his “wanting to be older” has been a blessing.  Sure, I find having a toddler who needs to use a potty more work than changing a diaper but I am happy to help him navigate this monumental aspect of toddlerhood.  He is my youngest and my last child and with a son about to turn 14 and a 9-year-old daughter, the challenges of potty training now seem so much less stressful and simple than they did to me in the past.  And so I appreciate my toddler for the simpleness of life with him and for his making what might otherwise have been a dreaded aspect of parenting to be one of joy and ease instead.

My 42 Year Journey

One year ago today, I was walking on the beach with my family.  It was the first time I was at the beach for my birthday and I loved it.

Two years ago, my husband threw a wonderful surprise party for me for my 40th birthday.  We had a great time celebrating and he and the kids created a video for me that was beautiful, funny and touching.  My brother who lives over 600 miles from me, created a hilarious video with his kids highlighting funny moments in my life.

Three years ago, I was 6 months pregnant with my third child, Jason, our long awaited bundle of joy and energy!

Ten years ago, I celebrated my birthday, 5 months pregnant with my second child, my only daughter who I knew was a girl even though I did not have an ultrasound to reveal her sex.  I had felt the presence of her spirit and even heard her speak to me before I was even pregnant.  I was working as an OT in home health care, something I really enjoyed as it gave me great flexibility to do paperwork from home and set my own schedule.  I was now working part time hours and planned to work far less after my second child was born.  I planned to homeschool my children and my oldest was in a preschool morning out program for the last year.

12 years ago, my husband held a surprise party for my 30th birthday.  It was a complete surprise and including him calling to tell me the car was broken down in order to get me to show up at the park where the party was waiting for me.  My life  was busy between working full time and spending the rest of my time with my first born and so Don invited people that I had not yet met to that party.  How fun to discover the party and wonder who some of the people were.  My parents, sister and some friends from out of town came out to celebrate as well as people who I did know. And I enjoyed meeting those people who I had known only in name prior to my party who were in my husband’s life as a stay at home dad including several members of the play group he belonged to for our son.

14 years ago, I celebrated my birthday while 8 months pregnant with my first child.  I would soon become a mom and my life would be forever changed.  I had been eager to have children of my own and start a family but I had no idea what mother hood would be like.  I even agreed to go back to work full time after a short 12 week maternity leave and allow my husband to stay home with our newborn while he worked from home growing his new business.  I had no idea how difficult it would be to leave my three month old bundle of joy and return to work- the most difficult thing I ever had to do at that point in my life.

17 years ago, I celebrated my first birthday as a married woman.  I was 25 years old, working at Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation, my first job I took after graduating college with my degree in Occuapational Therapy.

19 years ago today, I celebrated my birthday with my best friend Kimberly in Allentown, Pa, by going out dancing.  I had a new car, my first car, 1992 red Toyota Corolla and had a new job that I would be starting in one months time.  I would be moving over 600 miles from home to Charlotte, NC- on my own, eager with my new career path to begin a life of my own in a new and exciting place.  My closest relatives would be my sister, 3 hours away and my aunt who lived 1 1/2 hours from my new home.

21 years ago today, was half a life time ago for me and my 21st birthday!  I remember going out somewhere to enjoy my first bought alcoholic drink.  It was some kind of ice-cream drink, like peanut-butter chocolate or something like that.   I was a junior in college and was now legal before most of my classmates- the last advantage of being older than people in my class.  It was the beginning of weekends at dance bars. Dancing became a favorite past time for me and with some alcohol to free me of my shy, cautious nature, I was able to let go and really enjoy myself.  Luckily, surrounded by great friends who looked out for me. (and yes, we always had a designated driver- which usually was not me)

Funny how things that mattered to me, things I worried about 21 years ago, seam so distant now.  I look back and see  how carefree my life was yet, at the time, I did not really know that.  Being a worry wart and a cautious person, it took many years for me to really come out of my shell. Something, I feel I am still in the process of doing.  I believe I worry less about what others think now and speak my mind more easily, at least in writing.  I did not know at the time how my passion for writing would carry me through some difficult times in my life.  I also did not know I would find my way back to my love of writing, even pursuing to earn a living through writing.

23 years ago today, I celebrated my first birthday at Elizabethtown College.  I was 19 and beginning life in college, something i had looked forward to for at least the past 4 years, both living on my own and the more mature educational experience of college, complete with college social life.  Weekend campus dances were one of my favorite parts of college as well as all the wonderful friends that I made in those 4 years of my life.  I enjoyed college life and learned how to let go and enjoy myself along with learning from a vast amount of wonderful professors with a plethora of life experiences.   We had small classrooms and no teaching assistance.  Most of my professors new me by my first name.

24 years ago, I celebrated my birthday as a senior at Whitehall Highschool.  My 18th birthday and yet I had only gotten my driver’s license about 2 months prior to my birthday.  I had a boyfriend and had recently quit my job at Franklin’s Family Restaurant as a waitress and had begun working at Tina Marie’s Bakery and Deli located just down the hill behind my house.  I frequently walked to work.   I was eager to graduate and move away to college.  I had been eager to be an adult for as long as I can remember.  My boyfriend was away at college and so I spent a lot of time studying during my senior year- while others were skipping school and partying.  I was counting the days until graduation and… freedom!

26 years ago, I celebrated my sweet sixteen.  I had begun working at Franklin’s Family Restaurant 6 months earlier, starting out as a “busgirl”- clearing tables and working in the dish room and then went through waitress training.  I worked more busing tables than wiating on them prior to my birthday due to work restriction laws in PA for someone under 16.  Now that I was 16, all the work hour restrictions would be lifted allowing me to work past 7pm on weeknights and past 10pm on weekends.   My friends took me to the mall to surprise me- getting my ears pierced- because they thought I needed my ears pierced.  I went along with it but only kept them pierced for about a year.      Outside of school, my personality could shine and guys talked to me.  It was a very different world at the restaurant than in school and I really enjoyed myself at work.  I went on my first date with a fellow employee of Franklin’s Restaruant, Chuck McGlade, he picked me up at the retaruant after I finished working in the dishroom.  I was not yet 16.  …I wonder what became of Chuckie?  I met great people working at Franklin’s and learned important lessons about how to treat customers and about hard work -motivation to attend and complete college.  Minimum wage was $3.35 per hour but as a waitress I made $2.01 an hour plus tips.

29 years ago, I celebrated my 13th birthday (the current age of my oldest child) in a new home and town, a 7th grader at Whitehall Middle School.  Life was challenging in this new place, having moved over the summer from Bethel Park, Pa on the other side of the state.

I was placed in a confirmation class in church with 4th graders- a traumatic experience for a young teen.  The age of confirmation was 9th grade where we had lived before.  The middle school was more like elementary school to me compared to the middle school I attended in Bethel Park, Neil Armstrong Middle School.

I vividly recall my first day of school that year.   As I sat and looked around at the unfamiliar faces, I noticed that I was the only girl wearing sneakers and was only one of two girls who were wearing jeans.  Apparently middle school students in Eastern Pennsylvania dressed differently than middle-schoolers in Western Pa- a big deal to a 13 year old who had spent the past several years convincing her mother than she needed brand name jeans and sneakers.  I think my older sister, Michele, helped me win that battle.

I took an IQ test for the first time before beginning shcool that year only to learn my IQ was a few points too low for the gifted program.  I messed up the question about where the sun sets and from that moment on, I always remembered where the sun rises and sets.   Both my siblings were in the gifted program.  On the school folder where my name and homeroom were listed, you could see that the room number had been changed.  I always assumed if I had scored a few points more and had been labeled gifted, then  I would have been in a different homeroom.  Sounds silly but after a fall field trip to a local opera house to see a performance eneded in my class getting in trouble and not being able to talk in homeroom for about a month, I began to wish I had been put in the other homeroom class.

My life was forever changed that year.  I was going through puberty and my light, easy-going personality was shifting to a more reserved, shy and uncertain nature.  Moving at this tender age was one of the most challenging parts of my childhood even though before the move, I embraced the idea of moving fully and was excited and eager to move. Who knows what life would have been like if I had remained in Bethel Park for my teen years?  Despite the challenges, I am grateful for my life exactly as it has played out.  All of it makes me who I am today.

32 years ago, I celebrated my ten’s birthday new to Bethel Park and waiting to begin 4th grade at Washington Elementary School because the teacher’s at our new school district were on strike.  I celebrated with new friends I met in my neighborhood and remembering staying up late watching the World Series because we did not need to get up early for school.  It was exciting when the Pittsburgh Pirates won The World Series this first year we lived in the Pittsburgh area.  I got a ten speed bike for my birthday which was very exciting to me and needed to navigate the hilly terrain of my neighborhood.  I also received my first diary, a birthday gift from my sister.I don’t think my sister had any idea that would be my first of many diaries and was the beginning of a lifetime of journaling.  I still have that first diary.

My love of writing was nourished during the three years we lived in Bethel Park.  First, I got to participate in an elementary news cast program, one that was locally televised- I was on the writing team.  Later in 6th grade, I had an amazing English Teacher who nurtured my love of writing and valued the things I had written.  I can still hear her talking to me as she reviewed my poetry portfolio.

I would meet wonderful friends in those three years that I lived in Bethel Park, lifelong friends who despite our short number of years together, would remain dear to my heart. Thanks to Facebook for reconnecting me with several of them!  Reconnecting with them was like picking up where we left off.  This included my Foreign Pen Pal as well, Zurina, from South Africa who I met through the mail from a magazine pen pal program. We would write to each other through my college years and then loose touch for about 15 years.  We would reconnect and meet in person for the first time after she found me by recalling the name of the college I attended.  Meeting her was amazing-  reconnecting with a  long lost friend. Despite never having met in person or even having spoken to each other- all our communication had been through hand written letters sent through the mail, all these years later we talked like we had never lost touch discovering that we had much in common as adults, as mothers.

36 years ago, I celebrated my 6th birthday as a kindergartner at Barr Elementary in Canton, Ohio. It was 1975 and our country was about to celebrate its bicentennial.  Looking back, it seams that life was so different at that time.  I played outside in the neighborhood while my mother was in the house.  I waited for the school bus in our neighborhood and took walks down to the the creek at the end of the road with my older sister and our dog, Coco.  At times, a stray dog came along with us, as our yard seamed to attract many stray dogs. We never worried about these stray dogs, and they didn’t bother me except the time I looked out the window and spotted “a polar bear” in the back yard- a large white dog.   I liked the smaller dogs like the Cairn Terrier who followed me, but  didnt’ like how he would bite at my heels.

42 years ago today, at 5:30am at Dover General Hospital in Dover, New Jersey, a baby girl was born to the parents of John and Ellen Menzo and sister to almost three-year-old Michele.  She weighed 10 pounds 7 oz and  friends and family responded with “a football player!”  She had brown hair and brown eyes.

She was an “easy baby” who slept well after they put rice cereal in with her formula in her baby bottles.  She had no ideas some day she would become a breastfeeding advocate and help other woman nurse their babies.   She knew nothing of the world she lived in and how she would move to 2 more states and a total of 3 more cities by the age of 13.  She knew only the world she was born into with loving parents, an eager and attentive older sister and all the extended family who loved her including 4 living grandparents, 2 great grandmas and 11 aunts and uncles- the youngest being aged 5 and 7.  None of her 22 first cousins had been born yet. She didn’t know how to count and did not know that math would become her favorite subject (so forgive her if she messed up any of the math  here).  When she sat contentedly as an infant holding a book (upside down), no one knew (or maybe some did) that she was developing a love of reading and learning and that she would continue reading and learning throughout her life.  When she later tore the living room wall paper, no one new that maybe she wanted a piece of paper to write on-  no one new that writing would become her passion.

42 years ago, that brand new baby girl had a lifetime of living to look forward to…

And she still does!

Happy Birthday to me, 42 years young!

I plan to celebrate  42 more..and then some… glorious years of life.  Writing, sharing and empowering others to create the life they desire and to be the grandest version of the greatest vision ever they held about who they are.

Living, learning and enjoying with my wonderful family, friends and all who I meet along my journey.

Are you an Energy Vacuum?

I belong to an online journaling community and have been re-reading my journal entries.  It is therapeutic and also helps me to find topics for writing.  Today, I found the following sentences in an entry from a year ago:

“I do not need to suck in his energy.”

“I think I am an energy vacuum. I tend to take on others energy.”

I have identified this trait in myself, how I can suck in others energy. If I am around uplifting, inspiring people, I often feel empowered and positive.  And if I am with people who are negative and lost in the victim-hood role of how the world has done them wrong or how their children never listen or their husband just doesn’t understand or….  well, then I may find myself feeling similar emotions and finding everything wrong in my life.

For this reason, I have always  enjoyed being around people of like mind and finding others who “vibrate at a higher level than myself”- meaning, those who are further along the spiritual path- those who have similar beliefs as myself who are where I would like to go- people who are being the kind of person that I choose to be, that I aim to be.  I found this frequently when I first attended Unity as well as when I first became a parent and also when I first began homeschooling and involved in the homeschool community.   As I evolve, the people who “raise me up” change as well.

I also enjoy being around all people, most people.   I enjoy getting together with other homeschoolers of various beliefs and methodology.  I choose to homeschool my children to provide them with more opportunities of real life than they would get in a classroom filled with people all born in the same year.  I look for more diversity for my children.  I like living in a large city.   I have always enjoyed meeting new people.

I have met an uncountable number of people in my life.   I lived in 4 different cities growing up, spanning 3 states.  I moved away again for college and then after graduating, I  up and moved once again.  In the work I have done over the past 19 years as an Occupational Therapist, I have met many people, many people, far more than I can count!

And since having children, getting involved in La Leache League, later becoming a Leader, joing and being involved in Unity, serving as Co- Youth Ed Director at Unity,  along was well as homeschooling my children and creating a homeschool website all have led me to meet many  new people.

It has taken me over 40 years to truly understand that different people play different roles in our life.  We need to see each person for the role they play in our life and not expect more from them outside of the role they play.  We also need to realistically see the roles they fill in our life, the specific things they are and have done for us and how they enhance our life.   By this, I mean more specific than sister or mother or friend.  I learned this lesson when my husband, Don,  suffered a sever heart attack and was hospitalized for 12 days.  Large numbers of people, friends came to my aid, more friends and help than I could have imagined.

I also learned I couldn’t “unload” all that I was going through with everyone.  Each person in my life filled a need and this was all so clear during this time period when Don was in the hospital.  At first, my goal was to meet my children’s needs.  I needed to be at the hospital as much as possible to help my husband and so I sought people who could go to my home and be with my children and take care of their needs.  I had family who came to stay and took care of laundry and meals.  I found friends who enjoyed my children and came to spend time with them.  And then, as time passed and I saw that I was becoming emotionally, physically and mentally  drained beyond an average state, I identified those people who I could reach out to who could help uplift me spiritually and emotionally.  Those people who I could be most honest with, people who knew me well, and who were good listeners.  People who I used to search for and identified  as  “best friends”.   Frequently in my life, I did not feel like I had any “best friends.”

I see it with a new perspective now.  All those wonderful people who helped me and my family in our time of crisis are all good friends or “best friends”.     Some of these people are acquaintances and some are those I have known a long time.  Each filled a role and helped me and did what they could do “best” for me and my family.

I look back on that time when my husband was in the hospital  in amazement.  I was so focused those 12 days.  I was being the parent I had always hoped to be.  I was being the person that I aim to be.  I was in the moment and living life, one moment at a time.   I would not re-do any of it and would not go back in time because of all the challenges that followed.  It was a crazy time and so many aspects of that time period I would not want to live over. Yet, I miss  the simplicity of life and how well I handled all of it.  I miss the simpleness of life at the time.  I was either at the hospital taking care of my husband or home taking care of my children and then somewhere in there, as I learned the hard way, I had some time to take care of myself.

Maybe I enjoyed that time because I was so hyper-focused on MY LIFE and MY PROBLEMS and felt almost no embarrassment to ask for help from others.  I put out countless emails and messages to my friends and the homeschool community asking for help including, people to meet us at the hospital and hang out with the kids, for people to come to my house, for people to take my children to activities, for a recliner chair and even help with food and shopping.

Because I was so HYPER-FOCUSED  on my life and my needs, I was very much empowered to live MY LIFE.

I say this in contrast to the person I usually am, who is busy helping others.  I did not have time to take in the energy of others, to get lost in what was going on in their lives.  Not that being involved in others lives is bad, not at all but for me, I tend to get “sucked into” others lives and their energy, including people who are negative.  I tend to be a good listener to others so often that it feeds my issue of feeling invisible and unheard.   I often let my needs to unheard, I often don’t speak my mind and say the things I need to say especially in a social gathering of several people.

And so for those 12 days in my life I had an excuse, an out, to not worry about others and take care of myself and my family and ask for all the help I needed.   I see the gift in that experience now as I write this.  I can look back on that time and make an effort to take from that experience the aspects that can serve me now.  I must remind myself of that lesson I learned- the roles that people play in our lives and not expect all people to be all things to me.  And I must remember the role I play in each of those people’s lives and live that role fully, whether it be listening to them or choosing not to listen.

It is a balance.  It is not about giving or taking, but both.  Give and take.

Yet, focusing first on ourselves and our needs, first and foremost, can only serve to help us be a better version of our self.

How can we help others if we can not first help our self?

It brings up the line I like to quote from the airlines:

“You must first put on YOUR oxygen mask before you can put on the oxygen masc of your child or the person next to you.”

We must first meet our needs and in doing so, then we can help others to meet their needs.

I still enjoy meeting new people.  I am busy with my local homeschool website that creates a community for area homeschoolers to find information, resources, support and connections.  The site has over 1200 members and is growing quickly.  Each person has been individually approved and welcomed by me or another administrator (there are only a few).  I like getting out with  my children to field trips and relaxing days at the park.  I like talking to other parents.  I like spending time with family and good conversations.  I like reaching out to friends on Facebook .   I like reconnecting with old friends, spending time with current  friends and making new friends.  I like traveling, visiting people and going on vacations and all the people we met along the way.

Yet, for me, it is essential that I take time regularly to choose to be around people who “raise me up”.  People whose energy inspires me and motivates me to be more of the person I choose to be, my best self.

Are you an energy vacuum?

I would love to hear your experiences and perspective. Do share so we  may all benefit.