Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Love

If your eyes have ever wandered over to my "about me" section, recent events have made me notice I've left one great big descriptor out. I'm also an aunt! And last Friday my family was graced with another beautiful gift making me an aunt two times over. Another beautiful little girl to call my niece.

You know how people say that "love makes the world go 'round?" Well, last Friday my bumper sticker would have read "babies make the world go 'round." There is just this overwhelming sense of elation, happiness and love when you get your first glimpse of that little peanut and realize that she is just starting off this tiny little life of hers. Bet you can't even read it without the slightest trace of a smile emerging.

And then of course there is the realization, more present with my brother's first daughter I must admit, that this isn't just any baby--this is my brother's baby. I've always had a very special relationship with my brother; while we're opposite ends of the age spectrum, him the oldest and I the youngest, I've always felt immensely close to him. For most of our lives we couldn't have been in more different places, and with him now a father of two I guess you could really say things haven't changed.  However, we've always gravitated towards similar music, had similar interests and I've even been told similar dispositions. He is, and always has been, just as much a best friend as a brother. And now, he has these two little girls, my nieces. 

While I do live four hours away, I try to take every opportunity I can to see his family. One baby has already turned into a little girl right before my eyes, and I can't bear to miss any more. I grew up with more aunts and uncles than I could count on fingers and toes (my dad is one of 8, my mom one of 11), spread all over the Northeast. I have some that I am very close with, very present in my life, and some...well, its a crap shoot with a family that big. But these little babies have just two aunts and two uncles, and the baby love that warms my heart is just one more reminder to myself that they'll always know me as more than just a face at holidays or a signature on a  birthday card.

My new niece, also my god daughter, already holds an indescribably special place in my heart.  Until we meet, I keep up in pictures and I can't help thinking how fast this little baby will grow up. I look at her tiny face and I lose myself thinking about the little girl she'll become, the personality she'll make her own and the beautiful life she'll live with my brother and his family. 

But even after we meet, and in years to come, it will always be a case of baby love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome Distractions

I have become so fearful of changes to the "plan" that I can honestly say part of me refuses to believe that at this time next month (most likely a little sooner) he'll be back! In true, is this really happening, form we will not know for sure when this oh-so-magical date will be until months end (also known as what what could be days, or hours, before he heads home). But really, at this point who cares. Its so close I can feel it; I feel it in the speed the weeks pass by, I feel it when I'm scrounging for boxes to pack my apartment up, I feel it in the quiet night that turns into a new day, I feel it in the ever so slight well of tears I feel when I just think about him coming through that door. 

 Its coming.

So, naturally, my response is to do everything I can to not think about it. Staying busy is what keeps the days moving; the rhythm of days which keeps that calendar advancing. Its what keeps me from not exploding in anger or melting down in tears when I think about the phone calls I can count on one hand and the Skype (singular) session in the last three months. Staying busy so I don't have time to think about how twisted this new routine is. Staying busy to focus on the inevitable, and only the inevitable. The final outcome.

Knowing me, I can't just do anything half-assed. I can't just be busy, I have to be consumed. So what's helping me stay so preoccupied?

A trip to Connecticut this weekend is next, to spend some much needed time at the beach to catch some rays and see my sister and extended family. We used to see my Mom's family three times a year; Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and this beach getaway, the last week in July. As we've grown older its been narrowed down to just Thanksgiving, so its extra special that I get to spend four glorious days there.

Oh, hey--I'm moving! I've been keeping my boyfriend posted on the status of our move and I'm sure he thinks I'm a bigger neurotic pot of crazy than I ever have been before. Not only am I collecting boxes, attempting to pack things I won't use in the next two weeks (aka nothing) and trying to purge everything in my apartment that won't make the cut for the move, but I have also taken the word "details" to a freakish new height. I've so far set up all of our utilities, completed all of the change of address documents, set up turn-on appointments for gas, electric and cable and carefully outlined every document and step necessary for new license plates and ID. Oh, hello anal. But the way I look at it, the more I get out of the way the less to worry about during the actual move.

Who doesn't love some help moving? My parents have so generously offered to help me move that first weekend in August which should hopefully be my last weekend sans-boyfriend. While moving will be a pain in the ass, its a great excuse to see them and show off my new digs. 

And my newest distraction? (Insert shameless self plug), I've entered my boyfriend and I in a contest to send us to the Caribbean for 5 days. Long shot? Yes. Distraction, yes. Why not? Originally a friend sent me the link because it was a "beach blogger" opportunity; what could be a better way to marry my two favorite past times? Sign me up! When I read the requirements it was actually a beach blogger for a "retreat to romance" package for a deserving couple. After careful consideration I decided, yes, we still fit the requirements. I mean, is this blog not evidence of what we've been through this past year?  Hopefully my blog entry can get us all the way to paradise. 20% of my final score to move onto the top ten depends on votes, so if you haven't please visit and vote for us here: Talk about a great distraction, but lets not get ahead of ourselves! 

I know that all of this mind trickery will only suffice for so long, but I hope by then I will have a new distraction. A distraction that will put an end to this strange routine I now know as normal. Caribbean vacation or not, I can't think of a more romantic way to spend the rest of my days.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Worry Wart

Have you ever looked up "worry" in the dictionary? Worry is defined as thoughts and images of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. Well if that's true, my world is filled with "anticipated potential threats", real and imagined. 

I guess most people can put two and two together; often times when you strive for control in every most situations, you are by default also a worrier. Hello world, my name is Meghan and I'm a worry wart. Its funny, if you ask some of my childhood friends they'll tell you I was probably the first 13 year old they knew with shiny slivers of gray hairs (coincidence? I think not...). 
Most times I wish I had a better mindset. I wish I didn't over-think, obsess, plan for contingencies, re-plan for new contingencies, plan for contingencies on top of contingencies (I think you get the idea here). Has it helped me be fully prepared in some situations? Yes. Has it, just as many times, given me unnecessary stress and anxiety that could have been avoided if I just didn't worry so much? Yes. 

I've really used this blog as my forum. I worry about my career. I worry about my relationships. I worry about doing the right thing. I worry about my boyfriend, I worry about his safety. But I also waste so much time worrying about the unnecessary. The weather, traffic, decoding emails and text messages. 

Perfect example, yesterday after my internship boss sent me a text letting me know she "needed to talk to me" before I arrived at work, I immediately began to worry. I knew it, I was fired. I was being fired from my fake, unpaid, internship (that to be quite honest I don't love). I spent 15 long awaited, heart in my throat minutes thinking of how embarrassed I was going to be after I was fired from an unpaid internship. To be fair, I had for some time been feeling very guilty; like I hadn't been devoting enough time to this position on top of my regularly paid job. I concluded that she must have had enough, and I would now be fired. Turns out she was calling to tell me not to come in today or tomorrow because her wireless Internet was down. She let me know that it would be pointless for me to show up until it was running again later in the week.

I'm counting the gray hairs as we speak...

It got me thinking about my gray haired vice. Why is this worry so persistent? Why do I let it consume so much of my time and energy? Does it denote a lack of confidence? Is it self doubt disguised in worry?

I was once told that worrying is a lack of faith. While I've had my embarrassing bouts of over-thinking (who, me?), I don't think this should label me faithless. I think it really boils down to one question; can you be a realist and an optimist at the same time? Sometimes, yes, but for me, sometimes no too. Sometimes reality wins, and you find yourself standing guard for those "anticipated potential threats", warranted or not.

And somewhere, a new gray hair shows up..

What do you think?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

This past weekend I returned home to upstate New York to spend a much needed weekend at home. Until this last visit it had been about three months since I'd been home last, which I noticed was pretty much my longest stretch to date, minus my time abroad. 

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a friend and said that living here in Philadelphia is really the first time I feel like I've moved. School always had a timeline, plus I knew I wasn't going to stay in Syracuse following graduation. Internships, semesters abroad, they were also the same; a measurable time away from home, but I was far from planting somewhere permanently. While my school time in Philadelphia has a timeline too, I know that I will be here well past my graduation next May. Honestly, I have no real plans to move in the next 2-3 years. I guess you could consider me semi-permanently planted in Philadelphia; I may have thought I was just scoping it out, but I find myself getting comfortable.

All of this got me thinking about home. Neither of my parents grew up in my hometown, so not surprisingly we don't have any extended family in the area. As I mentioned before, all of my siblings are scattered around the northeast. Some of them have established homes, some are  in the process of finding new ones, but the bottom line is most of us have new homes. New places, routines and lives that aren't shared together in the house with the front porch swing across from the park. While I know its natural (and healthy) to want to start your own life separate from your childhood home (whether that means moving or staying close to home), its a weird concept if you ask me. It reminds me of that part in Garden State where Zach Braff's character asks Natalie Portman's character about that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? Yeah, when does that happen?

I guess its different for everyone, but for me there are certain things that will always make that house home, no matter where I go. Like the front porch swing that I am always slightly nervous will collapse on me any day.  Or the lilac tree and rhubarb plant, also known as 1st and 3rd base respectively, for wiffle ball games that I more than likely "observed" (lets be real here). Like the creek that tells you exactly which stair on the stairway someone is on,  or the sound of the bathroom fan being left on hours after someone's shower. 

Who knows if they'll be the makings of my new home, wherever that may be, but if you ask me they're the things that always reminded me of home. The little things that allow the house I grew up in to always, even the smallest bit, be my home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Very Different 4th of July

The holiday weekend has come to a close, and most of us are shaking off the long weekend of too much BBQ, booze and late nights filled with fireworks.

But this Tuesday, I am shaking off much heavier feelings. I really, really, really missed him this 4th. In the fireworks he wasn't there to see, in the extra day off, in the beautiful weather and in the laughs I shared all weekend with my friends. 

While this 4th of July wasn't unlike last, spent apart from my boyfriend, this holiday I knew he was really gone. Out there. Somewhere. Doing his job and serving our country. This 4th of July I couldn't get him off my mind; him and the countless other men and women away from their families and loved ones sacrificing themselves for our country. All too often, unless on these holidays that evoke swells of patriotism and pride, not properly thanked for the job they do everyday. 

So on this 4th of July, and everyday after, I promise to never forget. To always be mindful of these men and women, and to always say thank you.