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A Beautiful Lie

How do you move on after betrayal? When the person you loved beyond measure is not who you thought they were and when everything you thought was true was not, how do you survive? You find yourself questioning every single thought you’ve ever had, every plan you had for your future, and every feeling that resided in your heart.

The love that you felt for that person comes into question as you wonder if you ever even knew them. Were they even real? Were the feelings you felt real? Did they lie about everything, including when they told you they loved you and wanted to spend forever with you?

The unfortunate truth is, and this will be SO hard to hear, you will never know. You will spend forever, although it will subside a bit with time, wondering if every single bit of it was an apparition. You may even find it difficult to fully trust another, wrongly blaming them for the hurts of your past.

It will be incredibly difficult to move on from the pain of being lied to. You will find it near impossible not to blame yourself. But the only thing you are guilty of is believing, loving, and trusting in someone. Yes, you may have ignored signs – blatant, alarm ringing, red lights flashing type signs – but again, that is not your fault. You loved without abandon. You shared your soul with someone. You placed your trusting heart in their care. They took all of that, and they crushed it.

So… you just have to take that love you had, and place it carefully in a tiny corner of your heart. Why? Because you will never stop loving them, and the hurt will linger on for a long time to come. Put it away and make a conscious choice to remember the feelings you had of love and joy. Those feelings you had were VERY real and worth honoring. Carry that with you as you put one foot in front of the other.

At the end of the day, you can think of this experience as simply a time when you loved, trusted, and experienced joy. Regardless of how it ended, you will know that although most of it was a lie, at least for a short while, it was a beautiful lie.

~ Patti Crowley

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Standing Alone

 

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Finding myself “traveling solo” again, I have learned some new lessons. It has now been a full year since I made my big move across country from Chicago to Arizona. The high point of my year was when my 19 year old daughter joined me out here. However, she has decided she wants to attend college back in Chicago with her friends, so for now, she has returned.

Initially, I worried about being alone. But I am realizing that I am NOT alone. Quiet moments bring such peace, allowing me to discover parts of myself I never knew existed.

I am finding gratitude in the little things I did not notice before. Waking to the sun creeping in between the blind slats on my day off, instead of hearing the alarm in the darkness of the early morning. Sitting in bed with a cup of coffee and my laptop, writing. Hearing the cars whiz by, with drivers rushing through their morning errands, while I sit in a tank top and shorts, in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything.

I miss having my “little” girl here with me. But she is no longer “little”. She is an adult with a life of her own, and she needs to go out and live it. She will discover, on her own, that she is capable… just like her mom!

~ Patti Crowley

Real Connections Never Disappear

IMG_4595 (1)Throughout our lives, people come and go. You’ve heard the saying, “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

Everyone has a purpose for entering our lives. Maybe you worked with them, got to know them, and then left that job for another, losing contact altogether. Maybe they were your classmate in college, you were incredibly close, and maintained a friendship long after graduation. Maybe you loved them, and then drifted apart, only to wonder about them often.

When we experience connections which are deep and real, they never really disappear. They may lie under the surface, completely intact. The person with whom you shared the connection remains a real part of who you are. Now, if you are lucky to have the opportunity to reconnect… if that relationship was real, it will be as if no time has ever passed.

I have enjoyed so many seasonal friendships over the years. I hold no regrets about the past, and the people who entered, and then left, my life. Many of those friendships, in retrospect, turned out to be friendships for a reason. Maybe they taught me something about life, or even about myself. Maybe I was the one to add something to their lives. Whatever the reason, I cherish each and every one, because I am who I am today because of every contact, every emotion, and every lesson.

Now the lifetime friendships… well, we never really know which relationships will be of this type… at least at first. Maybe we will never really even realize it. The relationships that are meant for a lifetime are the ones that stem from real, true, honest connection of one soul to another. Usually, you can tell in an instant that the friendships are special. These friendships are effortless, refreshing, and true.

Lifetime friendships can ebb and flow, where you move into and out of each others lives at times. However, with these true connections, each time you reconnect, it is as if no time has passed at all.

All types of relationships are worthwhile, and help us to become who we are. But the lifetime friendships… now those are the ones worth living for. They bring immense joy into our lives, and help us to see meaning in our lives. Hang onto these… cherish them… and enjoy the fact that they will never fade away… if they are really real!

~ Patti Crowley

No Playing Small… No Settling

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Have you ever felt yourself shrinking? Ever kept your mouth closed for fear of being judged, or worse, for sounding too smart? Ever settled for something less than what you knew in your heart would never be quite enough? I may have… a time or two.

I see students in my class shrink into their seats. I know that they understand and are learning, but they are terrified to raise their hands. I see girls act as if they are clueless, when really, they simply get it! Unfortunately, I tend to expect this type of behavior from middle school students, but why is it so common among many adults… myself included?

Consider this scenario: You are out at a party at a friend’s house. You don’t know many of the guests, so you make idle chitchat with a group of near strangers. You silently gauge their level on intelligence based on the conversation, and then get this… you model your own words based solely on their level. You are careful not to sound too uninformed, and even more careful not to sound too smart. God forbid! They might view you as thinking you are superior, and you just cannot fathom that!

Here is another scenario: Have you ever asked a friend what they were wearing before going out together somewhere? I did that exact thing this past New Year’s Eve. A friend of mine was having a party at her home, and for the entire day, we exchanged texts back and forth trying to figure out what to wear. Should we wear dresses? Should we be casual? Are jeans too casual for New Year’s Eve? We even went as far as sending photos to each other of the outfits that were in the running! I cringe at the thought of it now.

I cannot speak for my friend, but I can speak for myself. I was so worried about being dressed properly, but even more so, concerned about being OVER-dressed. I didn’t want people to look at me and view me as thinking I was better than them if I showed up in a dress, and they were in jeans. Why does it even matter??

This prompted me to consider how so many of us worry too much about what others think. But even more disturbing, this holding back that many of us have a tendency to do has a way of keeping us small.

We can never find passion and happiness if we live our lives trying to be small. If we shrink to fit our surroundings, we are hurting any chances for growth… and even for greatness! Instead, try getting BIG… try speaking out… try dressing up… try voicing your opinions! Great things are in store if you think big. Believe you can do something… trust that you deserve only the best, and NEVER, EVER settle!

~ Patti Crowley

I Got Something Perfectly Right

perfectAfter six long months, my adult children have come to Arizona. It is the first time I’ve seen them since I moved here from Chicago in June of 2014. My daughter has moved here permanently, and my 22 year old son is visiting. Life is good!

My decision to move across the country was met with much judgment and many questions, as I’ve chronicled in previous blog posts. I was looked at as selfish by a few of my closest friends, while others completely supported my decision to better my life and start anew. Regardless, I have held fast to the belief that this move was something I was meant to do, and had been waiting for my entire life.

Now that my children are here, I have this feeling that I’ve done something perfectly right… after a lifelong gnawing voice had been telling me I was not perfect. I now fully realize that I will never be perfect, and I have stopped trying to be. However, when I look at my kids, I realize I did do something perfectly right… right for them and right for me.

If the decisions we make throughout our lives have good intentions, then what we have done has been done perfectly right. It does not matter how others view our decisions. They are not living in our shoes… they have not had our experiences… they simply do not know the whole story. Every lesson I have ever taught my children, every piece of advice I have ever offered, and every word I have ever said was taught, offered, or uttered with love and good intentions. If that is truly the case, then how could I have achieved any result that is even less than perfect?

I choose to look back on my life with pride. I am not saying I never made any mistakes… hell, no!  Instead, I am simply saying that I always hoped for the best and did what I thought was best at the time. You could never ask for more than that.

~ Patti Crowley

To My Beautiful Daughter

Today, my youngest left for college and I wasn’t there to see her off. As I’ve talked about in other posts, I recently moved from Chicago to Arizona. My daughter and I had planned to move together, and she would attend college out here. At the last minute, she decided she would attend her first year in Illinois and then move out here after the school year. As sad as I was about that decision, I completely supported her in it, and only want her to be happy with her choices.

With a new job and the financial strain of having just moved across country, I was unable to manage a trip back to Illinois to see her off to school. I have been devastated about this, and it has caused me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt. What kind of a mother can’t find a way to be there for her daughter at such an exciting and life-changing time in her life?

Although Megan had her father with her for her move, I still feel as though she needed her mom. Here I am in Arizona, with a job I love and a life I love… but I missed out on one of the most important events in my daughter’s life. I told my daughter that I would probably only be able to swing one trip back this fall… so it would have to be either move in day or parent weekend. She said she would prefer that I come for parent weekend. But ugh… the damn guilt is eating me alive.

So proud I am of her. What a beautiful, generous, intelligent, and savvy young woman she has become! She is growing up and making adult choices for herself, and I see her as being smart way beyond her years. When I shared my feelings of guilt at not being there, a good friend offered some terrific advice. These were the words she said to me, which offered tremendous comfort:

“Remember, Patti. Your daughter is capable and brave, and it is an honor for you to witness the new ways she is expanding her life that are fully in line with the natural order of things. You may not be there with her today, but you can find new and meaningful ways to show her love and support.”

WOW!

So to my beautiful daughter, I say:

Megan, I love you more than I can ever fully express through words, but of course, I will try! 🙂 You are the light of my life. You inspire me with your passion for life, your love of others, and your compassion for the students you’ve worked with over the last four years. What an amazing special education teacher I know you will be. Lives will be forever changed for the better because of you… trust me on this. You have a sense of self-respect that is admirable. You make me (and everyone you meet) laugh uncontrollably… especially when your chin quivers and your eyes tear up while your gut aches from laughing.

You love and respect your big brother, and I know that the two of you will always have each other’s backs… long after your father and I are gone… I take a great deal of comfort in that. I have not always been the best mother, but you loved and supported me through both the good and the bad times. I have gradually witnessed you grow from the sweet little chubby cheeked child, into a tall, beautiful young woman who carries herself with amazing grace. I love that you have my eyes… they are identical to mine and I love that we share that trait.

And so it begins, my sweet girl. May your college experience be filled with wonderful adventures, many lifelong friends, and a world experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Enjoy every single moment! I will be with you, in your heart and always right here, every step of the way.

I love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)

Love, Mommeg

 

 

 

A Mother’s Love For Her Son

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My silly little boy was such a delight. He made me laugh constantly. Sadly, he had a condition that caused him to faint suddenly with no warning. It started when he was in kindergarten… probably around the same time as this photo was taken. It frightened us, but the doctors told us that he checked out fine, and was just one of those kids that faints from time to time. Young and inexperienced as we were as parents, we accepted this diagnosis.

The fainting went on for years. When he was in sixth grade, we had moved to a new area and had a new physician. He had another fainting spell, so we took him in. The doctor immediately suggested we see a pediatric cardiologist that day. After a number of various tests, Michael was given a stress test. On the treadmill, he went into v-tach (ventricular tachicardia). He was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome… a condition in which the heart goes into a dangerous rhythm. The result is either losing consciousness or full cardiac arrest. We had been lucky up to that point to say the very least.

Michael had to have an internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD) put in, and overnight, had to quit all sports, which he loved. It was devastating to him. The day of his surgery, we were terrified. He had been sent to Children’s Memorial in Chicago to ensure he had the best electrocardiologists. I stayed overnight in his room the night before surgery, and we watched Napoleon Dynamite. He was so oblivious to the magnitude of his condition, which was truly a blessing. His father and I, and most of our family members, waited for news during the procedure. Every time someone walked through those doors, we all nearly jumped out of our seats. Finally, a nurse came in and said, “The implant went well. Now the doctors will stop his heart to make sure the device shocks his heart back.”

At that moment, my own heart stopped. My thoughts were all over the place. “They were stopping my baby’s heart!” I broke down, and for the first time since our divorce, my ex took me in his arms and we held each other. The surgery went well, and our boy was just fine. I walked into the recovery room to the sound of his quiet voice crying, “Mommy”. He hadn’t called me mommy since he was a very little boy and I melted.

Today, my boy is 21 years old. He is the most kind-hearted, genuine, funny, and intelligent young men I have ever known… okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but it is all TRUE!  He had surgery last week to replace the ICD device with a newer model, and he is in excellent health. He may be an adult, but he will always be my little boy. I was just as nervous with this surgery as I was the first time around. Things never change, and most certainly, neither does a mother’s love. He is the light of my life, and I am forever grateful for the doctors who discovered his condition and saved his life. I count my blessings every day.

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~ Patti Crowley