Sunday, February 19, 2017

p.s. i love you....'

today i watched it...
i know what you're thinking, "a widow watching p.s. i love you is a recipe for disaster."

i didn't make it through the first 20 minutes last time i watched, but today i watched it in it's entirety.
today i saw a different side of the movie.
its not just about a widow, but about her finding herself.
and it dawned on me how we all go through our own journey to find ourselves.
and while i'm 99.99% sure most of our journeys aren't fabulously orchestrated by our late spouse, the journey is key.

for 15 years we were "Sean and Ashley" ...
and for a long time i didn't know what i was without Sean...
because in the good times, the turmoil, the happiness and the chaos, we were still a unit...

so the question became, what was i now?

i remember the first time i filled out a form and had to check my marital status

- single
- married
- divorce

those were my only options, and i didn't feel like any applied to me

so who was i?

what was i?

it took the last few years for me to figure that out.
to reach a place where i know who i am.

there were many tear filled nights, and panicked breakdowns.
there were so many nights alone, and lucid dreams where i'm sure that reality and the dream world converged for a while.

there was confusion and unanswered questions for both myself and my child

how could i answer her questions?
who was going to answer my questions?

and then i remembered what the pastor told me when they came to visit...

"ask God all the questions you want.... be angry... be mad... but know that he might not answer all of them, and they may not be the answers you wanted to hear."

you see sometimes God calms the storm, but other times he allows the storm to rage on and move us to where we need to be...

The last 3 years have definitely moved me, but they also allowed me to find myself

i am
... a black woman
... a believer in God's power
... a mother
... a daughter
... a sister
... an educator
... Ashley

and yes i am a widow,  but am no longer defined by this.
It is a facet of who i am.




Sunday, January 8, 2017

not always as we have planned....



In life we are constantly making plans....
Plans for dinner...
Plans for vacation...
Plans for Valentines....
Plans for LIFE...

If you had asked me 10 years ago, my life was planned and scripted to a T....
I would be married by 25
First kid by 27
New house by 28
Second kid by 29
Grad school by 31
Administrator by 32
Third kid by 34
2 dogs... PTA .... car pool.... the whole shebang (i think thats how to spell it)

but someone once told me....

and thats just what happened....

God said we will see and things changed.

Nothing went as I had planned....

And one day I woke up and realized I was totally out of control.

I kept trying to fix things.

I kept trying to fit into a cookie cutter mold....

Then i decided to let go and let God.

And in this process I have found happiness.

It was not the plan I had for my self by any means, but exactly where I'm supposed to be


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Most Days...

When i was a little girl, i dreamed of being a mom...
My dreams were pretty specific too. 
I'd have 3 kids...
2 boys and a girl...
My girl would be something special.... in fact she was the only kid whose name i always knew

My daughter would be Langston...


She would be a cheerleader and a dancer

she could be a lawyer or a doctor



or anything else she wants to be


and know everyday that she was a child that i have prayed for, that i would do anything in this world for, and my favorite person on the planet


and to be honest...
most days i feel like i've got this mommy thing down....

my kid is fed...
she is bathed...
she's intelligent...
kid's got major personality...

she's independent and has a mind of her own....
she's involved with extra-curricular activities...
she plays well with others...
occasionally she wears shoes...
she's funny as hell....

she gets good grades...
her teeth are brushed most of the time...
and sometimes, emphasis on sometimes, her clothes match....

But then there are days like today...

Where she is absolutely rude and disrepectful to me...
When she has no idea or clue of the sacrifices i've made so that she never goes with out...
When she is a complete and utter brat...

and i feel like a failure...

How does my sweet angel


turn into Veruca Salt

where did i go wrong?

I've read the books....
I follow the mommy blogs...
I apply my child psych and development lessons to my parenting style...
I give her choices...
I allow her to have options and a voice..
I let her know constantly how much i love her...
And still somehow we've ended up here...

Her crying herself to sleep tonight...
Me sobbing...

and not feeling like i have this mom thing down at all...

i now know what it means when my parents would say 
"this hurts me more than it hurts you"
because tonight, being a parent broke my heart.
i felt like by letting her behave this way, and things getting to this point tonight, i let her down.


I can only hope that one day she will realize, that while some days i don't like her behavior, and she frustrates the hell out of me, MOST days i am the proudest person in the world of that crazy little thing, and only want her to be as great and wonderful as i already know she will one day be. 



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1,043,200 minutes ago

a million seems like an unfathomable number in some ways....
we don't have a million dollars....
we don't know a million people...
and while it may feel like it sometimes, L doesn't own a million toys...

but some how a million minutes have passed since we said our final good byes...
1,043,200 minutes to be exact....

some days it feels like yesterday, and in others it feels like a lifetime...

we've changed....
we've grown...
Lani seems to have aged by leaps and bounds...

but Sean will forever be 33

we have managed to see the light again...
We are smiling 90% of the time..
But every once in a while.... those feelings creep back

thank you to all who continue to lift us in prayer....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beat to your own drum...

My cousin AB and I are soul sisters with out a doubt.  She's my "Twin."

Im not sure if its a blessing or a curse at times that our lives have aligned so much.  
Dont get me wrong i love that we always have each other, and that we've been through so many of the same life experiences, so that we always know that the other one gets it. But at the same time, it sucks knowing that some of, ok, a lot of the crappy experiences have been shared as well. And i wouldnt wish some of those days and moments on my worst enemy (although i dont have any enemies... sorry for the tangents, this is what happens when i blog without ADD meds lol)

But recently we had discussion on the fact that our lives are so parallel, but from opposite perspectives, and we got to talking about "beating to your own drum."

I think thats my life right now.
I have this huge family, who i love to death, but at this moment in life i've been keeping to myself and beating to my own drum.  Making my own experiences and being decidedly selfish.


AB and i discussed how this can make people feel like i don't care, which i totally get.
However at this point and stage of my life, i've really had to become selfish and focus on myself and Lani. 
Now there are people like AB and my mom  who really don't let me go full recluse.  They just call and text me anyway, and when i don't respond they show up.  But there are others like my Bestie MJ, who give me the business and a reality check, when i start to fall off, and remind me that others need me to be present as well, and i'm working on that.

But what i've come to realize with this whole cycle and journey, is that there is a phase of rediscovery and stepping out on your own.  I think my my other "life-twin-cousin" Autumn is  going through a similar stage in her grief process as well.  You want to branch out...  You want to move...  You want to change your clothes and hair... You want to try new things... 

You are trying to discover who "you" are all over again, something that most of us figured out around 22-23.  


With discovering the new you it forces you to reevaluate things, and for me, it's really made me want to develop my own relationships and experiences.  
Finding and meeting new people, who don't know me as "Sean's wife Ashley."

Legitimately, for the first year after Sean's passing, I swore that was my official name and that was how people would introduce/reference me.  

~ Hi this is Ashley, my friend Sean's wife
~ Hi you remember Ashley, Sean's wife

Which was always followed by pity and i'm so sorry about your loss convo... awkward to say the least in the middle of weddings, baby showers, parties, bars... its a buzz kill...

It just became so depressing, and often ended with me in tears.

So i just separated myself from it.  

I just wanted it to be 

~Hi this is my friend Ashley...
Thats it!

So thats kind of where i'm at right now.  
Making new friends.
Rekindling some old friendships.
And mostly stepping out on my own.

So I apologize if it seems that i've ignored you lately. 
Thats not my goal.

My Goals Are:

1. Take care of Lani, and let her see a mom that she will look back and be proud of one day
2. strengthen my relationship with myself and God
3. Focus on all things that make me happy 
4. Let go of anything that does not serve me for the better good
5. Avoid all triggers of stress and drama
6. Dont take anything in life to serious, there is happiness in everything, if you take the time to find it
7. dont waste a day of life
8. recognize, accept, and appreciate people for who they are
9. step out of my comfort zone regularly 
10. be healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually









Thursday, June 16, 2016

What makes a father...


Certain days will always be difficult for us, but more so for L.  Father's day is by far one of the most difficult.  She has asked me for the last few weeks when it was coming. The first two father's day holidays after Sean's passing were super difficult. Lots of tears, emotions and heartache.



Lani asked me recently why she didn't get to have a Dad anymore, and I explained to her that although Daddy is in Heaven she has been blessed with many men in her life who care about her and love her.  She has lots of fathers in her life.  I know for some people that seems insensitive and insane to say, but she really does.

I've really taken the time to look at all the awesome "Fathers" that have stepped up since Sean's passing, and I think that if you all could see how men LOVE this girl you would agree also.


  So when i decided to  write this blog, i decided to google "what makes a father?" 

I found many quotes that personified these men, but these are the ones that resonated with me most.
















And while we will undoubtably miss Sean especially on Sunday, we are truly blessed to have these men as well. By no means will they ever take Sean's place, however they definitely have left a Huge standard to compare all men to


I saw a great quote as well...

"A father isn't always defined as the man who makes the child, but also the man who extends his hands and time to help with the child's raising and his heart to love the child through anything!!!"


 They play dress up, sit through recitals, may or may not have had their make up done, pick up from school, build forts, set boobie-traps, attend "spa parties", have tea parties, help with homework, watch cartoons, have "dates", drive hours just to go to the fair, carry her when she sleep, FaceTime and Phone Calls, take care of her whens she's sick, and constantly go out of their way to make sure this little girl always has a "Father" present for every important occasion.


I can't tell you enough how much it means to me to know that she has such great men in her life. So happy Father's Day to Daddy in Heaven and all of her great Fathers here on earth!  We love you




L and Papi


uncle Amirror





Uncle Shawn



Tio Carlos

 

Every "Drama Queen" needs a "Drama King" (David)

 
they always keep her lifted



Uncle Stranger



Uncle Baker




Uncle "Dusty Musty Crusty" (you know thats love when you allow this to be your name)

Uncle Jay




not sure if you can read the post, but Jay sat making paper candy all day (after their move date) for L to sell, because  he was "her employee"


when your niece asks you to wear a pink mask and cape you do!!! lol...



(For  the life of me i can't figure out how to rotate those last two)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

a lot of rain lately...

With all that has happened in the world recently I would think many people are starting to question things...

Question God...
Question Humanity...
Question is this the "End of Days"...

It's scary...

I'm going to steal a little from my Facebook, but then i'll bring it back ...

"I think one of the things that hit home the most about the Orlando shootings, is the irony that Orlando is supposed to be the happiest place on earth! Yet there have been two mass shootings this past weekend. Suddenly America's eyes are pried opened again... 
The place we dreamed of going as kids, and put on our children's summer vacation bucket lists as adults isn't even safe anymore. "The happiest place on earth!" This is supposed to be our safe place. AMERICA IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE HAVEN. America is the country that million flock to for religious and social freedom. That my Grandparents move to, to provide better opportunities for themselves, my father, and their future grandchildren and descendants. Where people flock daily to escape the persecutions that are so widely publicized elsewhere. To have their inalienable rights observed and protected. 
But when there were 372 mass shooting in the US alone in 2015, and now and between 133-176 mass shootings (depending on which news site you view) on day 165 of the year, the ideas of America being a safe place to raise our kids seems to have become more wishful thinking than the foundation of who we are."

Then this morning we woke up to yet another tragedy in Orlando and this time its a 2 year old child.

I just cried watching the news this am.

Then I thought about how our 3 tragedies, which seem to be the end of days to us in America, is an everyday reality in some countries.

So while we are sitting here in the midst of a storm, we must remember that God could calm the storm, but sometimes, he puts them in our lives to remind us of things...

So while we must remember to thank God for our blessings and even more so during our struggles.


wedding video