To My Non-parent Friends on the First Day of School

Today is the first day back to school for our kids. As parents, today we are going to post a ridiculous amount of pictures with sickeningly sweet comments about how big our kids are, how fast they are growing up, how we are so proud, etc. And you are going to post a statement about how sick you are of seeing back to school pictures today. For you my friend all I can say is shut the hell up!

Raising tiny humans is a hard job. A thankless job. And every year, our kids get a little older and start a new year at school. This day is a proud day for parents. It’s how we know we are doing something right. It’s another year we kept them from falling into a well, or going to jail. It’s another year we managed to get them out the door just in time to not be late to school. It’s another year closer to dropping them off at college and taking a much deserved vacation with just the adults. 

Today, the first day of school, is an important day. And one day you too might be a parent and you are going to flood our feeds with sickeningly cute pictures of your kids. But we aren’t going to complain because we already know how great this day is even though you are just figuring it out. 

So to you my friend, I’m still going to love you when this day is over. We will still be friends despite your despise for our milestone. But all I ask is that you shut the hell up today and let us enjoy this moment. Tomorrow we will be back to posting stupid cat videos and PokemonGo updates. Today we’re going to celebrate not fucking up another year!

Your Own Personal Bully

Have you ever been depressed? If you have, my heart hurts for you. If you haven’t, you will never truly know how it feels. But let me try to explain. 

Depression is a bully. It is a soul crushing bastard that lives inside your head. It knows your hopes, dreams, fears and doubts. And it knows how to use them all against you. It twists the hopes and dreams, telling you you’ll never achieve them. It tells you that you aren’t good enough to have them. It takes your fears and doubt and amplifies them. It tells you that you are right about all the things you think are wrong with you.  

Depression is the bully inside your head constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough, and you never will be. It tells you how much better the world would be without you. It tries as hard as it can to make you believe these things. And you do believe them. Your children will be happier without you to disappoint them. Your family will be better off if they aren’t burdened by you anymore. Your friends will stop wasting time listening to your whining.  

Can you imagine for a moment a person standing in front of you, telling you these things everyday? Try to imagine it. Try to think of how it feels to be told nothing will ever get any better and it will probably just get worse. Think of how you would feel if you were told every day that dying is the better option. Imagine smiling at everyone you know, doing your best to hide the pain because they don’t understand and you don’t see a point in trying to explain it to them. But it’s not a person, it’s your own personal bully inside you head. And you can’t get away. 

If you can imagine all these things, now add a pressure in your chest. A feeling like you are being crushed. The weight of all your fears and doubts pushing you deeper into the earth. I told you before it was a soul crushing bastard, and this is where you physically feel the crushing. You chest hurts and everything in your body feels heavy. People don’t understand why all you want to do is lay down or sleep. But if you have ever tried to carry around a large amount of weight, you know that at some point laying down is the only thing you want to do. You want to feel the relief. Except with depression, you can’t put down that heavy box or make the bully go away. There is no relief. 

If, by reading this, your heart aches and you want to cry then you have a small idea of what depression feels like. It is debilitating. People who don’t understand will tell you things like “it’s just in your head”, “why can’t you just snap out of it”, “you’re life is good so you shouldn’t be so sad”. That’s like telling a kid to just make the bully stop being mean to you. You can’t stop something you have no control over. If it were that simple, if you could just make it all stop, don’t you think people would?  

This is my daily battle. I fight this bully every day and most days, the bully is the one that wins. But I keep trying. I’m not giving up. Because I know that the bully is wrong. The things it whispers in my ears are lies. Knowing this and stopping it are completely different though. That’s a whole other battle I live with every day – being smart enough to know what the problem is and still not being able to fix it.  

I don’t know if this will help anyone. Hell, I don’t even know if this is helping me. But I needed to explain to people what this is. Maybe this will help someone dealing with this bully to put it into words for someone else. Maybe it will let someone know they aren’t alone. Or maybe no one will even read it, and it just gave me something to write about again. But it is out there now, for everyone to see. Maybe this will push that bully down and take that weight off my chest. Maybe. 

My World

I think all the time how much I miss writing. I think of all the things I could write about and start in my head, and then I get distracted with life and forget to write. But not tonight. Tonight I’m writing. 

I’ve always had a small family. Most of my childhood it was just me and my mom. The only other constant in my life was my grandmother. 

My grandmother was my world. If you asked me as a kid, I would have told you that woman hung the moon. There were times when life got hard and my mom and I lived with her. As I got older, she moved to Georgia and then Arizona and every summer I would fly out to her and spend months with her. The older I got, the less I wanted to be away from my friends and my summers with my grandma became shorter. But I called her almost daily. 

I was 18 and living in an apartment with my best friend the first summer I didn’t spend with my grandmother. One night, after far to many drinks, I got emotional and just started walking towards the beach (I only lived a block away from it). It was really late, maybe 2 or 3am and I really just wanted to talk to her. Knowing she was three hours behind in time, I called her up crying hysterically. I sat on the beach that night crying my eyes out while my grandmother calmly talked to me. She knew I had been drinking and made sure I wasn’t driving and was close to home. She talked to me for at least half an hour before I calmed down enough to go home. She was my best friend, my rock, my whole world. She knew me better than anyone else ever had. 

In mid 2003, we got the news that she had a pretty rare cancer. She tried a round of chemo and decided she didn’t want to spend the little time she had left feeling terrible. She chose to live out the rest of her days with hospice and moved in with my uncle in California. In August 2003, the family flew me out to see her for the last time. It was the shortest trip I ever took to see her. I think it was only a week, but she put every ounce of energy she had into that week. We drove out to the mountains to see the sequoias. We had a few dinners out at restaurants close to her home. I met her nurses who would take care of her until she no longer needed them. I watched her drift off to sleep under the morphine that kept her pain at bay. In October, my mom went to visit her and her mind was pretty gone. On December 5, 2003, my grandmother passed away. 

The call came in while I was working. My cousin worked at the same place I did and was called up to deliver the news to me. She came to pull me off a phone call and I knew instantly why. I collapsed in the floor that day. My world had shattered beneath me. My grandmother was cremated and her ashes spread in California. My uncle handled everything. And for that I have always been thankful. In the months following, I was numb. To meet me those months you would never had known. Life went on as usual. I went out with my friends. I drank more than I should way to many times. 

Six months after she was gone, the ice wall I had built around me cracked. In a petty argument I was having with my mom, I broke down for the first anyone had ever seen except my grandma. I cried hysterically for an hour into her arms. I was devastated and angry and hurt. My grandma was supposed to be at my wedding. She was supposed to meet my kids, her great-grandkids. She told me she would never leave me and she had. I was lost. 

I recovered as many people do. I met my husband and we had two beautiful children. I ended up with the life she always wanted for me. 

A couple times a year something triggers my memories of my grandma. The look of someone’s hand, the smell of perfume she loved, an old picture. And on those days, I break. Today, right now, is one of those days.

This evening I saw a picture of someone who resembles my grandma. The heaviness in my heart hit and my eyes welled with tears. This is one of those hard days. The days when I realize all the moments my grandma didn’t get to see. The grandchildren that she never got to hold. The husband that picks up the pieces of these hard days, that she never met. 

And tonight, I called my mom. In all my sadness over the last 13 years, my mom has become that person for me. I have called her for the happiest and saddest moments since my grandma passed away. She has kept me connected to the woman that she wanted to be when she had grandkids of her own. On the days when I realize my grandmother is gone, I still have my mom. And that realization today warmed my heart again. I can feel my grandma’s presence through my mom. I can see it in her eyes when she is with my children. I think I realized for the first time since my grandma passed that she isn’t gone. She lives on through my mom with my kids. My kids will forever know that joy that I did. 

Thank you mom for talking and laughing with me tonight. Thank you for finding ways to help Bany live on for me. Thank you for being my world when I thought I had lost it. 

My Christmas Heartache 

I’m sitting in my living room, looking at my Christmas tree and listening to my kids playing together. All of the happiness surrounding me, and and I’m doing every thing I can to hold back the sobs. This will be the first Christmas we have without my mom. I finally understand what it feels like to my friends who have lost parents.

My mom is always the first person at my house Christmas morning to have breakfast with us and to open presents. I can’t remember the last time she wasn’t here with us. In fact, I don’t think there ever has been a time I haven’t spent my Christmas with her, even before I got married and had a family. 

I am lucky though, my mom hasn’t passed away. She is, however, in the hospital on a ventilator and sedated. She won’t be awake Christmas Day. I will go to see her after all the presents have been opened and we’ve had breakfast as a family. But she won’t know I was there or remember it when she wakes up. I’m glad that I will have that opportunity. So many of my friends have lost parents and don’t have these moments anymore. I won’t lie and say I’m not devastated. 

But for now, I put on my ‘mommy pants’ and pull it together for my kids. I smile and laugh and cherish this time with them while on the inside I’m breaking. My heart will not be whole again until I hear her voice and watch her play with her grandchildren. On that day, my heart will heal and my tears will be happy instead of sad. 

A Lesson From My 10 Year Old

The husband and I have tried our hardest to raise our children to be good, compassionate human beings. We’ve taught them that color, race, religion, etc. do not matter in the grand scheme of things. We’ve taught them to recognize bullying and speak up for themselves and others if they see it. You never know if what your trying to teach your children is really sinking in until they surprise you. Yesterday was the day that my daughter surprised me yet again with her kindness. 

At school this week – the last week before Christmas break – the kids can buy Candy-grams for anyone they would like. My kids always get one for their teacher and a friend. Yesterday, after the Candy-grams had been passed out around the school, she noticed a little girl in another class did not receive one. She went to speak to the girl and asked if she had gotten any and was told she did not. So my daughter asked her if she could buy her one. The little girl said she could. 

When she got home she told me about it. “Today I noticed that ________ didn’t get a Candy-gram. A lot of kids make fun of her because she is in a special class and needs help with things. The other girls will walk away from her if she sits near them and call her gross. I felt bad that she didn’t have any so I asked her if she would like me to get her one. She said she would like that.” Today she took fifty cents from her wallet and went straight to the Candy-gram table when I dropped her off. When I picked her up from school, the first thing she said was that she had bought the girl a Candy-gram and it would be delivered to her tomorrow. She let the little girl know that it was coming since she doesn’t really know my daughter. 

My daughter did something this week that most adults can’t even do; she looked past the differences between herself and another person and treated her with compassion and respect. She didn’t judge her for having special needs. She doesn’t follow along with the other kids when they say mean things. My daughter saw a human being, a person just like herself, a person who deserves respect. 

My daughter reminded me what it is like to be a good person today. Tonight I can go to sleep knowing I accomplished something as a parent. I have made a difference in this world through my children. 

If only more people in the world can see others the way our children do. 

Keeping Traditions Alive

This past week was Thanksgiving and for us, that means spending the day with family then kicking off Christmas with going to see Santa at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). Rather than do the usual family dinner, we opted to get breakfast and spend the early part of the day at Universal with some good friends.

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After some Universal fun, we headed down to Disney Springs to meet up with my brother-in-law and his family. We toured their hotel, showed them Disney Springs and had dinner at Morimoto. (If you ever get the chance to go here, take it! It’s a gorgeous restaurant and the staff is incredibly friendly.)

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After dinner it was finally time to see Santa and take our annual Christmas pictures. While waiting for our turn, Santa and an adorable 5 week old baby took a little snooze together.

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To wrap up the night we went to the Christmas store and bought a new ornament for the tree. Because soccer needs to be in every part of our lives, even the Christmas tree.

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Another perfect Thanksgiving night for the Williams’!

My Son, The Writer

My son is a very talented story teller. Not in the telling lies way, but in the creative genius way. Yesterday, after seeing a book in his school library, he decided he wanted to write his own book.

So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

The Three Little Ninja Turtles and the Big Bad Captain America

Once there was three little ninja turtles. The first one built a house out of concrete. 

The second ninja turtle built his house made with pine needles. 


The third ninja turtle made a house out of pencils. 


The big bad Captain America knocked on the third ninja turtles door, said open this door or I will knock your house down. ‘No’ said the ninja turtle. ‘Fine. So I will throw and throw my shield now.’


Then the third one went to the second one. Captain America knocked on the door, he said ‘let me in’. ‘We will never let you in.’ ‘Fine. You are too smart for me so I am leaving.’ Knock knock. ‘Go away!’ ‘No, I am throwing my shield so I will throw and throw my shield now.’


The third and the second one went to the third ones house. Captain America said, ‘let me in’. ‘No, we will never let you in.’ ‘So I will throw and throw my shield now.’


Hen he never came again. The End. 

Yeah, I’m A Soccer Mom

Ask me a few years ago where I saw my life going, and I assure you soccer would not have been a word you heard. If you follow me on Instagram, or know me in real-life, you know we are huge supporters of Orlando City Soccer Club. Ryan took me to a match in 2013 and I instantly fell in love. The team, the players, the atmosphere. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before.

Fast forward 2 years and we are Orlando City season ticket holders, active members of the Iron Lion Firm supporters club, and die hard soccer lovers. There isn’t a day that goes by that soccer isn’t discussed, played or watched in our house.

As part of this passion we have developed, our kids became infatuated with this sport too. Not only do the husband and my life revolve around soccer, but the kids lives do to! And not because we force them to participate with us! The last two years the kids have participated in the city’s rec league fall soccer program. It was a good way to introduce ourselves to the world of children’s athletics, but sadly it just wasn’t what we were looking for. There was a time in my life I believed everyone-gets-a-trophy sports were the best way to go, but I’ve realized that kids need more than that. They need more structure, more training, more accountability. The kids need to know when they have done something right and when they have done something wrong. They need to feel good inside themselves when they do something great. They don’t always need to look to us to tell them they have done well. We have found a great local soccer league that teaches the kids all of these things!

It’s been a crazy transition for us. I’m used to the schedule we have had for years: wake up, get ready, take the kids to school, go to work, pick the kids up, come home, make dinner, get ready for bed, relax, and repeat. But now our world has changed drastically. Now I rarely get home on a weekday before the sun goes down. I’m sure some of you have seen the #SoccerPracticeSunset pictures I’ve been obsessed with posting on Instagram lately. I’m having to learn to make meals in the crockpot because there is now way I can cook a decent meal in the short time we have between soccer practice and bed time. We have at least 4 practices a week and soon it will be more. We have soccer matches on the weekends, some of which are an hour or more drive away. And let me tell you, I LOVE IT!

I love seeing my kids be so active and not spending their whole evening on their iPad. I love watching them make friends and build relationships with their teammates. I love sitting on a field while the sun starts to set and realize this is what I always wanted out of life and didn’t even know it. My life is pretty much the definition of perfect and I have soccer to thank for that! Soccer has made my marriage stronger, and my family more of a unit. We finally have something that all four of us are passionate about. Whether it’s professional or academy for the kids, our lives are completely enveloped. All four of us, together!

So yes, I’m a soccer mom now. And I love it!

One Year & Eighteen Days

It has been more than a year since I last wrote a post and man have I missed it.

My last post was about my depression and it was a very tough and personal post. I still had a lot of healing to do back then. The last year has been so much better than the year before. I can’t remember the last time I had a breakdown. I don’t know when I last had to take meds. Mentally, I am more healthy than I have been in years!
There has been so much that I have done that I wanted to blog about, but just didn’t get around to it. So today, I want to post a small year in review to get this blog rolling again.

We had a Frozen birthday party for our daughter complete with Anna and Elsa.

Our son had hernia surgery and was the bravest little man the whole time.

We had our 15 minutes of fame (a couple times) at Orlando Magic games.

 

We were visited by a spirited and mischievous elf named Steve.

We hosted the best house guest ever. And miss her ever day since she moved to North Carolina. 

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary 400 feet above Orlando.

  

A dear friend wound up in the hospital in critical condition and we helped to raise over $10,000 in a week for him and his family. Thankfully he is making a strong recovery. 

I made a cake for the first one for someone that wasn’t my kids. Don’t you wish you had a baby shower cake at a soccer game as cute as this? 

We went tubing down the river at Ichetucknee Springs.

  

The kids started soccer again and for the first time ever have daddy as the coach!

I got a new tatto. I’m a complete Harry Potter nerd! 

I started taking pictures with some artistic flair.

  

We have made so many new friends and had so many wonderful opportunities open up to us through Orlando City soccer. The kids have met the players and coaches. 

   That’s my daughter on the left walking out with Luke Boden before the last match. 

  

All in all its been an amazing year. I can’t wait to start sharing my life with all of you again on a regular basis!

Um Hi…Looks Like I’ve Got Some Splanin’ To Do

Happy Labor Day! It’s the un-official end of summer today which means I pretty much skipped the entire summer of blogging. For those few people that checked the blog during that time, I sincerely thank you. So I guess I’ve got some explaining to do.

I suffer from depression. I’ve dealt with it on and off since I was 18. When I met my husband I was 19 and had been on medication for about 6 months. He was what finally brought me out of my darkness and I was able to come off the medicine. I’ve had a few breakdowns over the years since, some mild and a couple that I wasn’t sure I would ever come back from.

For months leading up to this summer I was spiraling down. It started slowly. I was losing interest in cooking and we started eating out more. I stopped cleaning the house and the husband had to pretty much beg me to vacuum or dust anything. I skipped a few days here and there blogging, which eventually turned into weeks and now months. After a while I lost interest in doing anything with anyone other than my family. As time went on, I stopped playing with my kids. When I came home from work, I cooked the bare minimum to feed the kids and spent the rest of the evening laying on the couch half asleep, I didn’t even have the energy to cook something for myself. If I wasn’t half asleep, I was crying when no  one was around to see me. I am a suffer in silence person. Even my husband, who could see my downward spiral, didn’t know exactly how bad I was getting. I came home on my lunch breaks and took naps. I barely left my house on the weekends. I stopped answering my phone when it rang unless it was my husband.

Whenever I’ve been depressed in the past, I’ve never called anyone other than my husband for support. He has been the only one I’ve called when I’ve been so sad I couldn’t stand it. This summer I was at a breaking point and I called my best friend. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom crying and hyperventilating, over what I can’t even remember now, just wanting her to listen to me so I didn’t burden my husband more than I felt I had been for the past few months. She has known me for almost 20 years and knows that I never call anyone for help, and this call scared her. When we hung up, she immediately called my husband. She recognized I was far more depressed than I was letting anyone knew and I needed help.

After those phone calls, my husband called me. We decided that night I needed to go back on medicine. It’s been a couple months now, and I finally feel like I’m balanced. I’m not perfect. But I don’t spend every day on the couch sleeping. I’m still struggling to get back into the swing of cooking every night, but after months of eating out, that’s going to take a while to get used to again. My weekends are filling up again with activities for me and the kids. I see a couple friends from time to time to stay social. My kids have started playing soccer so I spend a lot of time during the week at the field watching them and talking with the coaches and other parents. I’m keeping myself busy and doing my best every day to not let this monster take over my life again.

Depression is a hard thing to go through. So many people, myself included, are afraid to admit they suffer from it. Most people pretend to be ok when other people are around. It’s not something that you can just “get over”. You can’t just stop feeling sad when you want to. But no one is going to get better until people start talking about it. So maybe someone will see my blog and this will help them. But if not, I know that sharing this struggle with all of you was a step in the right direction for me.

I hope to get back to regular blogging again. It may take me a little while to get back into the swing of things. But I promise to try. I miss it and all of you who follow along!