Archive for the ‘Rebecca’ Tag

oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little. oh darling, don’t you every grow up, it could stay this simple. i won’t let nobody hurt you, won’t let no one break your heart, and no one will desert you. just try to never grow up.   Leave a comment

George and Hazel.  Hazel and George.  These are the two precious faces that I woke up to every morning last week, and these are the faces that I wished to be woken up my this morning- however, no such luck.  I’m back in Chicago, waking up in my little 1-bedroom apartment, with thoughts of Hazel & George dancing through my head.  I never thought I’d say this, but I just want to go back to Cincinnati.  (Sorry Pittsburgh.  At least it’s not Cleveland.  See, I know where I come from- sorta.)

Before I express my unconditional love for these two darlings and their parents, I have to begin by declaring that, before last week, I really didn’t think I’d ever have kids of my own (nor adopt).  For most of my life, I’ve never given marriage nor kids a second thought, even those I love love love kids and am relatively good with them.  Okay, I’m pretty great with them.  Anyways, for some reason, I just not thought that it was for me.  There’s really no explanation why this thought first entered my mind nor why it’s remained there so long.  But being bombarded by love and adorableness in the form of a 2-year old (Hazel) and an 8-month old (George), I, Kristen Medica, admit that I’m not sure if I can imagine not having kids now…one day.  Yes, I said it and only time will tell (que sera, sera) but a text from my friend, Matt (MT), confirmed my notion again:  It would be a shame if u never had kids. You will make an incredible mother.  Mr. Thompson, I actually agree with you on this one.  Again, que sera, sera, but after being with Hazel and George for a week I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a change of heart.  They’ve changed my heart.

When I first met Hazel 1 1/2 years ago, it was truly love at first sight.  She was the first baby I’d really been around since my cousin, Ryan, about 11-12 years ago.  So yes, I was a  little out of my comfort zone.  But looking at little Hazel and having her look at me with her big brown eyes, I knew I was in trouble.  From that moment on, this little girl could do no wrong in my eyes.  Her smile lit up more than the entire room.  It lit up my entire heart.

(Hazel, our little photographer, took this picture of her baby brother.)  And now there’s Georgie too.  When I first met him last April he was only a few weeks old and in September he wasn’t too active yet.  But now he’s crawling and his cuteness radiates through his irresistible smile.  Watch out, future OU ladies!  This boy will be a heartbreaker.  He’s already captured my heart.  George, you little cougar bait. 

Enough of this, let’s get to the good parts.  I had so much fun with these two and their mom, Rebecca, last week.  After our Trick-o-Treat adventures, we settled into their traditional weekday schedule.  Unfortunately the kids stayed at their sister’s during the work hours, only providing me with Hazel & George time for a little bit before they left in the morning and a couple of hours when they got back.  It’s wasn’t enough!  I found myself like a puppy waiting for my “owners” to come home and play with me.   And play they most certainly did. 

Every moment with Hazel and George, I found myself perfectly content and lost in the enjoyment of their company.  There was nowhere else I wanted to be but there with them.  How often do we find ourselves in moments like that?  In our fast-paced world of endless possibilities we always think about what else we could be doing.  We check our cell phones and Facebook just in case so we don’t miss anything.  I do it too.  But last week, when I was with these kids, I didn’t even know where my cell phone was.  Nor did I careless who was ‘in a relationship’ with whom via stalker net Facebook.  Instead, I spent my evenings smiling and laughing as I took part in games of hide-and-go-seek; dinnertime picnics; finger painting; swim lessons; watching Elmo on ‘the little screen’ (my former computer); playing naptime-and-cockadoodledoodle (long story); and my favorite, cuddling on the couch watching Beaver Beaver (aka Leave it to Beaver). 

As the week passed, day-by-day, I found myself getting upset about leaving.  When Friday morning finally arrived, it was truly bittersweet.  But the show must go on.  Taking the day off from work left me with a full day of playtime with my BFF, Hazel.  In our PJs, we drove Rebecca (mommy) to work and then took George to the sitter.  We played games on the way back to Casa di Hazel before having a breakfast picnic with (another DVD watch party of ) Elmo.  We got ourselves ready, with me mistakenly giving Hazel my camera (note her photo of me here), and we loaded ourselves – and my bags :(- into the car.  With Hazel insisting on taking photos in the backseat, I programmed “Starbucks” into the GPS. 

Just our luck, the Starbucks happened to be in a Target.  If this Starbucks in a Target would have been in Athens…well, I think only one word would have explained it: PRICELESS.  Note: If you haven’t fallen in love with Hazel yet, you are going to in a few seconds.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Let me backtrack a bit and say that earlier in the week, I happened to inform Hazel that Adriana was sad.  In her 2-year old Why-stage, she appropriately asked, “Why?”  I let her now that Pat’s mommy is sick, which led her to ask, “Is Pat sad too?”  (Enter adorableness.)  “How can I make them happy?”  I love this little girl so much!  All week she kept asking what she could do to make Adriana & Pat happy.  First we painted and colored for them, but it was my brilliant idea in the Starbucks in Target where I decided to let Little Miss Happy-Maker pick out gifts to make Adriana and Pat happy. 

With our Starbucks coffee and OJ in hand, we headed to the $1 bin where Hazel picked up colorful spoons and clips, asking me, “Will this make them happy?” after each.  She then decided that gummy bears will definitely make them happy and clutched them proudly in her tiny hands.  I informed her that Adriana loves Hello Kitty (like Hazel) and so we headed to find some HK-happiness.  Our search eventually led us to the toy section where Hazel chose squishy balls- orange for Pat, pink for Adriana- and then allowed her to pick out cards for each of them- one with two cats on the front for Pat, a purple “this is such a pretty one” for Adriana.  Again, I love this little lady.  After paying for our happiness treats, we giggled our way to the car, past two men putting up Christmas decorations, and got back in the car.  Unknowingly, I let Hazel use markers to colored Pat’s and Adriana’s cards on our way to the Children’s Museum.

After a little detour and a nap (for Hazel), we found our way to the museum.  “Are you reeeaaddyy?”, I asked Hazel.  “YES!”, she exclaimed.  “Are you reeeaaddyy?”, she asked me.  And away we went.  We played for a few hours, took photos in the photo booth, and then grabbed lunch before heading to pick up Rebecca at work.  Before leaving the museum, a woman came up and complimented me on Hazel’s proper behavior.  In thanking her and pointing out that she was my friend’s daughter, I found myself with such pride- as though she was my daughter.  I would be honored to have a daughter as precious as her.  Her kindness is innate and truly a result of the love & care that her family shows her.

After picking up Rebecca and Georgie, we opted to spent the last few hours together at Graeter’s and then the pet store.  Best idea ever.  These precious moments made me realize just how special these children are and how blessed I am to have them in my life. 

It was so difficult to say goodbye to them when the time came.  Especially little Hazel.  After spending the entire day with her, I didn’t want to leave her now.  I wanted to go on Starbucks and Target runs with her all the time.  I wanted to let her pick out happy gifts when all of my friends needed them.  I wanted to sit with her in my lap every night and watch Beaver Beaver before bedtime.  I wanted to be there to protect her from all the sadness and anger in the world, and to make sure she was always happy. 

I just got off the phone with my brother and he asked me point-blank: “So (after last week) are you going to give your parents grandkids or not?”  I think he was surprised by my “Yes” response, yet very relieved since he doesn’t plan on being the one in our family to do so.  I think it’s fair to say that if  that does happen and I become a mother one day, my parents, my brother, (my husband/boyfriend/whatever), and me will have to appropriately thank the entire Littleton Family: Nate, Rebecca, Hazel, and George.  I love you all! 

After telling my brother all about my week at Casa di Hazel & George, I found myself rambling as I tried to explain how it made me feel.  While some words relayed my point, I again found it difficult to convey the impact that last week had on me.  Do you ever feel that way?  Like something is so special, so meaningful that you will truly be the only one who understands?  Anyways, I did find a few words to express how I feel about little Miss Hazel and my brother was the lucky one who got to hear them:

“I just want her to be happy.  Really happy.  Always happy.  Her life doesn’t have to be perfect, but I want her journey to be pain-free.  I don’t want her to ever question where she belongs or if she’s loved.  I don’t want her to deal with bitchy girls or have her heart broken.  I want more for her than I want for myself.  I want her to always be confident about who she is and go after everything that she wants.”

  

Song of the Moment: Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift

“life is hard, and so is love, child, believe in all these things”   2 comments

Greetings from Cincinnati, Ohio!  Somehow I woke up on time on Sunday morning to catch my 7 am Megabus for a week of playdates with Rebecca and her beautiful children, Hazel (2 years) and George (8 months).  Many are joking that this week will decide my fate: To be a mom (someday) or not to become a mom?  Even Mamasita Rebecca thinks that this may be the best birth control for me; however, I really am believing that the opposite is going to happen.  Yes, my blog friends.  These kids are too adorable and therefore my baby/kid temperature is (slowly) rising.  Very slowly, but it’s definitely rising.

(Left Photo: Sarah and Me, as Cookie Monster and Elmo, embarking on our Halloween Adventures in Chicago.  Right Photo: Trick-o-Treating with my lovely little butterfly, Hazel) 

While my last short post on early Sunday morning briefly mentioned the events that I witnessed on Saturday night, I’m going to forgo indulging you with those details (at least for now) and only show you the lovely Elmo costume that was corrupted by such shenanigans.  Thank God Elmo isn’t as innocent as she used to be otherwise she may have definitely been scarred for life.  Okay, just let me say this: If you dress like a slut on Halloween, it doesn’t mean you have to be a slut. 

Instead let’s talk about my real Halloween with the still-innoncent, lovely little butterfly, Hazel.  Trick-o-Treating around Rebecca & Nate’s neighborhood with Hazel and George (for a little while) definitely reminded me of my past Halloween in “The Indian Plan” back in Hampton.  However, I have to say that this one with Hazel trumped any of those.  I know I’m very, very biased, but this little girl is so adorable.  So beautiful.  Her smile makes me smile.  Her giggle makes me giggle.  When she made up her own tune of, “Butterfly, Butterfly” and “Doggie, Doggie” (for George), I couldn’t help but sing it with her… in my Elmo costume.  I’d probably do anything for that little girl; and give up anything so her heart remains pure, innocent, unscathed, and happy.  Spoken like a true mother. 

After recovering from trick-o-treating and getting George into bed, Rebecca and I relaxed with Hazel on the couch before her bedtime.  Amidst Elmo’s Potty Time DVD, Rebecca and I found ourselves reminiscing about our infamous OU days.  We found ourselves updating one another on Brandon, Libby, Phill & Brent (who are now best friends), Joe, Sleepy Sean, a certain ex-boyfriend of Rebecca’s who shall remain nameless, and several others.  As always we recalled that first year in Dougan and how we wish we knew then what we know now, imagining all the things that we would have done different.  Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

As Rebecca recalled some of her favorite memories, I looked at Hazel sitting in her lap.  Instead of commenting or sharing memories of my own, I asked her, “Did we ever once think that ‘one day we’re going to grow-up and move to new cities, get married, and have kids’?  The mother holding Hazel replied, “Absolutely not!” 

How could we have known what life outside of Athens was going to hold for us?  Gosh, my anxiety-ridden mind at the age of 22 1/2 didn’t even think that life could exist without Athens.  But look at us now, especially Rebecca: A mother of two and a wife.  I’m so proud of her.  I look at Hazel & Rebecca and ironically I don’t think of my own mother.  I think it may make sense of me to given the fact that I don’t have my own daughter,  but I really didn’t.  Instead I think of myself, wondering when I stopped really believing in fairy tales, wishes, dreams, and happily ever after.  When did I stop believing in magic, in miracles?  When did I start realizing that the world is unfortunately filled with more bad guys than good ones?  When did I stop believing that I would one day find love?  Am I ever going to believe again?  Or better yet, will I ever find it?

I look at Hazel and I want her to always believe that all of these things exist.  Heck, I want to believe in all of them again too.  I was to believe that real-life fairy tales happen in a coffee shop, or a college bar.  I want to believe that wishes and dreams really do lead to happily ever afters.  That magic isn’t just an illusion and miracles do come true if you just believe.  I want to remember that there are definitely good people out there- more than bad- and sometimes it just takes awhile to find them.  As for love…well, I’m not much of an expert but I’ve come across it a few times and itreally does exist.  Again, just be patient. 

Dear Hazel~ I wish I could tell you that life is easy.  I wish I could say that you’ll never be sad, never be hurt; however, the truth is that even big girls get boo-boos and cry tears.  I wish I could guarantee that you’d find the love of your life when you were a teenager and that he’d be yours forever.  Maybe that will happen for you, but if it doesn’t then promise me that you’ll never stop believing in love.  It exists and you’ll find it.  I know you will.  Butterfly, Butterfly, always put your worries aside, dream bigger, and spread your wings and fly. 

Song of the Moment: Fireflies by Faith Hill

drop everything now…meet me in the pouring rain…kiss me on the sidewalk…take the pain away.   Leave a comment

Standing on the platform in Evanston waiting for the Purple Line last night after work, a chill came over me.  All I wanted was someone to put their arm around me.  Is that asking too much?  I tell you this because after having that thought, I immediately had another thought: That’s not typical for me. 

Sure I would have loved for  that someone to be a cute, single guy that likes me best in grey sweatpants and no makeup, but honestly I would have taken the arm of one of my girlfriends, lovely gay boyfriends, or family members.  Someone’s arm around my shoulder, letting me know that everything is going to be okay.  Or perhaps, just showing me that someone is there beside me.

Friends of mine all over the country- mostly in and/or from Ohio- are struggling and I strongly dislike hate that I cannot be there beside them with my arm around their shoulders.  Wiping their tears.  Showing them that there is still beauty in this world and that our friendship is one example.  Instead I am restricted to using my words through emails, Facebook postings, text messages, phone calls, and greeting cards to comfort them in during these rough and never-ending frustrating days. 

Aren’t the Terrible Twenties glorious?

A message from Julie yesterday broke my heart and actually brought tears to my eyes.  A few weeks ago when I visited her in Akron (for less than 48 hours), I was able to hug her worries away.  But now, once again I am resulted to using my words to warm her sad, lonely, and confused heart.  My heart breaks just thinking about her now.  As depression seeps into her soul, I cannot physically shield her.  I cannot drag her on spontaneous trips to Meijer like we used to do when we both lived in Columbus a few years ago.  I cannot accompany her on a day-long hike through the middle of nowhere Ohio until she finds peace in nature.  I cannot spoil her with a sushi date nor laugh hysterically while watching the ridiculousness that is Where the Wild Things Are.  I just want to put my arm around her and tell her everything is going to be okay. 

Adriana has been struggling lately with a laundry list of issues that I wish would disappear at the snap of my fingers.  She’s only been in my life for over a year now but I honestly cannot remember life before her name.  I laughed with irony when she calls me her “little human xanax/prozac”.  Even though we both know that the other is there for us when she cannot be there, it just isn’t always enough.  Fortunately are written exchanges can compensate during our anxiety-ridden days but there’s nothing better than curling up together in our OU sweatshirt blankets with tea/coffee/hot chocolate sharing a bag of Twizzlers.  Fortunately, we get to do that soon when I venture out to Cinci next week (!), but I’m still wishing that I was there right now…forcing her to soothe her worries with my heavenly Starbucks and companionship.  I’ll be there soon, A.  Very, very soon!

I think of Alisha a lot, especially since her life is paralleling mine from (gasp) 6 years ago.  She’s nearing the end of Fall Quarter at my alma mater, Ohio University, and is beginning to have the never-ending questions surround life after graduation exhausting her weary mind.  Having worn those shoes and overcoming the struggles myself, I am honored to give her encouraging words from the lessons that I learned.  However, it’s not enough for me.  As her “Big Sis”, I want to be there to shield her from the negative thoughts, doubts, worries, and fears.  I want to carry her when she feels too weak and too tired to spend another day questioning what’s next?  I want to sit with her at Alden Library; drink coffee at Donkey; buy her a shot of liquid therapy at Red Brick and Cat’s Eye and The Pigskin.  I want to take her to Libby’s and my secret bench on South Green that helped us work through our own problems and walk her around the back streets of Athens as Brandon and I did when we needed a listening ear.  I want to show her that she will get through these tough times and that I’ll always be there to remind her of so.

And listening to Taylor Swift’s new song, Never Grow Up, I thought of Rebecca and her lovely little Hazel.  These lyrics led me to sending the song to Rebecca, indicating that I smiled think of their mother-daughter relationship, as well as the impact Hazel has on me: 

 I won’t let nobody hurt you, won’t let no one break your heart; And no one will desert you; Just try to never grow up, and never grow up

Rebecca responded with such gratitude, stating that this song put things into perspective again as she’s been run-down as the Terrible Twos continue to hit their household.  I am so happy that I am actually, physically able to be there for them next week!  Though as I feel with all of my friends, I want to be there for them all the time.  Through words I constantly tell Rebecca how much I admire her and how she inspires me to (maybe) become a mother one day.  But I want to show her through a hug, a smile, a girl’s day of pampering how much her family has impacted my life.  I want to be there beside her to take away her stress and remind her to enjoy all the little joys that Hazel and George bring her life and all of ours.

Going back and thinking about yesterday when I was waiting for the train, maybe I didn’t necessarily want someone to put there arm around me.  Perhaps I wanted to put my arm around someone else.  Isn’t that more likely for me?  Afterall I’ve been thinking about all of the people- more than just the ones mentioned above- that need my support these days.  Maybe I just wanted one of them to be beside me, to put my arm around them?  I don’t know.  Remembering that moment, I definitely wanted an arm around me.  Perhaps I’m finally ready to let someone be there for me?

Dating back to my teenage years, I’ve struggled to find people who I could trust and really open up to.  All of these friends that I praise in my blog posts- the four above being included- have really helped me breathe again.  They’ve showed me that not only can some people be trusted, but that I need to be able to confide in others to be by my mind; to let them put their arm around me.  One day, hopefully sooner than later, that arm will belong to a cute guy that does like me for me.  Flaws and all.

we live in a world full of beauty. sometimes it stares you directly in the face and other times it is not so easy to find.   2 comments

The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within- strength, courage, dignity. ~Ruby Dee

I’ve been flirting with the idea of writing my next post for the past two days but kept decided against it until the I knew the time was right because the concepts in which I choose to write about are of great importance to me.  I hope that I can conquer my weary mind and express my inner thoughts to inspire the way in which I’ve been inspired these last few days.  Where do I begin?  First, let me say that a puppy is not accompanying me as I write this post.  After soul-searching a bit on Thursday night- before and after my call with Joe- I woke up on Friday morning with the overwhelming notion that now is not the right time to adopt.  The truth is that I have too much traveling and work/volunteer commitments these next few months to take on this new responsibility.  Plus, I think it’s better for me to play with my (human) best friends instead of one that barks and needs potty-trained.  One day though, hopefully in the new year, I’ll be ready to bring one home.

After making my decision, I spent the majority of my Friday multi-tasking as I worked from my apartment and listened to the Eric & Kathy 36-Hour Radiothon at Children’s Memorial HospitalTalk about inspiration!  The radio broadcast was filled with stories about children who were/are patients at the hospital, sharing the strong-will and courage of these admirable kids, as well as their families, friends, doctors, nurses, etc.  They are so resilient.  They are filled with hope, full of belief.  They are fighters.  True SUPERHEROES!

Some of the tears were shed in sorrow for the children that lost their lives, as well as in sympathy for their families.  However tears were also shed in admiration as I felt as inspired as ever to pursue my calling in the Child Life profession and continue serving as a volunteer for the hospital and Foundation. 

Yesterday I spent my morning representing Make-A-Wish at the CureSearch Walk on the Great Lawn at Soldier Field.  Not even the rain & cooler weather could keep the participants & volunteers from participating in the event for such a worthy cause.  I really enjoyed interacting with the kids and families- (fake) tattooing them up and doing arts & crafts- and left feeling even more inspired to find my path in the Child Life field.  At the Walk, the kids & their families reminded me that beauty also shines in unfortunate circumstances- like illness and death- and therefore, it’s important to always keep in mind just how precious life is.  I, for one, am guilty for getting caught up in the stress & anxiety of our world today, but being in this environment allows me to refocus my priorities and fight to see more beauty. 

Today I’m also reminded of the beauty of friendship.  Back in my hometown of Pittsburgh, high school friends are gathered together to support another (an Ovarian Cancer survivor) at the Walk to Break the Silence event today.  Not only is Kelly (the survivor) an inspiration to us all, but her friends & family are too for showing their love & continued support. 

I’ve found myself looking at this picture of Hazel & me a lot this past week, and now it’s even in a beautiful frame in my bedroom.  (Thanks Stef!)  Hazel and her little brother, George, are the two main reasons I remain dedicated and focused on the Child Life profession.  This happy, healthy, beautiful little girl makes me smile each time I think of her.  I want more for her than I want for myself.

In this photo with Hazel I am reminded of so much with respect to the beauty of my own life: My Journey.  I look at Hazel and think of her mother, Rebecca, who was one of the first friends of the nineteen year old that left her hometown in Pittsburgh, PA for an adventure at Ohio University (gasp) 7 years ago- which reminds me of the girl who grew up in Hampton Township and dreamed of what her life may aspire to be. 

Life really is a beautiful journey.  It’s not flawless nor as smooth as we’d like it to be, but there really is so much beauty that we sometimes fail to see during but it’s a blessing when we can look back and acknowledge what was surrounding us all along.  That’s where I am today.  I write, sitting here acknowledging all of the beauty that I have been fortunate to have in my life.  Sure I sit here wishing that some things were different and full of a few what ifs…but I refuse to ignore all of the blessings that the little girl from Hampton was given.  I just hope that Hazel realizes the beauty of life long before I did. 

It’s there, Hazel.  I promise you.  Sometimes you may have to clear your weary eyes to see it, but the beauty is always there. 

june series: looks like i’m starting all over again, the last three years were just pretend. goodbye to you, goodbye to everything i thought i knew.   Leave a comment

As mentioned in a previous post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point.  This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.

June 2006: This was me four years ago, with my Bafafa, Jenni.  (Bafafa was our cute little nickname for BFF.  Don’t hate.)  Much to my dismay and hopes for a miracle to happen, graduation day was going to happen for this girl.  GRRrrrrr….but we still had a few days to live it up in Athens.  Unfortunately though, the goodbyes were beginning because about half of my friends weren’t seniors and therefore left for summer break during the week of graduation. 

I don’t remember much about the Wednesday of graduation, other than the fact that my first dreaded goodbye was forced to take place.  Libby was leaving.  My Libby.  My best friend and confidante for all of my three years in Athens.  She gave me strength when I was weak, and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself; and vice versa.  I can say so much more about Libby and what she has always meant to me, but think both of these quotes explain our friendship perfectly-

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… i’ll always be with you.  (Winnie the Pooh)

That was what I remember most about my Wednesday, and honestly, I could be mistaken and Libby may have left on Thursday morning/early afternoon instead.  No matter what, I know that she was not around to join us out on Thursday night.

A large majority of the underclassmen had finished up by Thursday evening, but Court Street was still alive with for Thursday night fun.  Soon-to-be graduates filled the bars for another final night out with their underclassmen friends, and I was no exception.  Mike, Rebecca, and Phill joined me (all pictured here) to begin the night at BDubs, with Brandon, Mike Wagner, Matt, and Joe- amongst others perhaps?- meeting us later on.  Emotions were flowing that night as our undergrad friends began with their “I cannot imagine OU without you.”  It’s exactly how I felt the previous year when Sarah, Kristin, Ruth, and Carrie left…but that made me realize that they’d be okay, even if they didn’t have me to keep them all on track.  (Sidenote: And they did manage.)

After a few drinks at Bdubs, we made our rounds to the other bars, eventually making to Tony’s. By that time Joe, Ben, and Quinn had joined us, and after some alcohol and coercing from Rebecca, I decided to place a call to a certain boy…without anything, even Joe, knowing.  He was at another bar with his friend and sound pretty drunk, and as luck would have it my cell cut him off.  For some reason I couldn’t call him back.  All I could think was, Is that our goodbye? 

Rebecca being the wonderful and supportive friend that she has always been, kidnapped me to get a Girl Scout Cookie shot over at The Pigskin- a favorite drink and bar of ours over the years.  I had to include this photo of us from one of our first weeks at OU.  How young do we look?!

After calming down with Rebecca and a mellowing out with the shot, we headed back to Tony’s to join the others…when fate intervened.  From what I remember, Rebecca said his name and I turned around only to look directly at him standing right behind me.  Our eye contact remained constant from that moment on…

That’s one of the things I remember about the night, and the fact that very  few words were spoken between us although so much seemed to be said.  (Chills.)   I wish I could what he was thinking in that moment…really thinking… not just what I perceived him to be thinking nor what I hope that he was thinking…because those could be two entirely different things for all I know. 

Looking back, years later, I could have said so much- out loud.  Words that I’ve thought about for years before that moment and since, but instead I said…nothing.  I didn’t even say goodbye.  I couldn’t say goodbye.  Nor, could I watch him walk away.  I stood there, staring across the street, not permitting myself to turn my head to get one last glimpse of him.  I knew myself well enough to know that the image of him walking away would haunt me forever, and that wasn’t the last image I wanted of him.  I wanted it to be him looking at me, with a huge smile on his face and tilting the stupid hat from Wal-mart that was on my head that night- the $10 hat that I told Brandon I’d wear for him that night. 

That was the last time I saw him…and I fear that it may be the last one entirely.

Now let me say that I loved The Notebook long before the whole Casey-Kristen love story ever began.  I’m a girl, of course I love it.  But after this boy entered my life and caused it to spin our of control, I perceive the Noah-Allie story so differently…understandably so.  I emphasize with these characters more than I even thought a person could.  This letter, the first letter, that Noah writes to Allie, says the things that I’ve felt for a few years now- even during the most painful days. 

My Dearest Allie. I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever.  I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah

The title of this post comes from lyrics to Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch, and I find it very fitting for the thoughts and feelings that I had during this time.  And the same goes for the line in The Notebook that I just shared.  The combination of these two explain how I was feeling at the time, or I can just say that I was a big mess of emotions and anxiety.  I believed in something for 3 years…something that made a fool of me…something that a part of me still believe 4 years later.  And as much pain and heartbreak that I’ve experienced because of it, I can say that it was worth it since I got to experience a love like this.  A love like the movies.

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Quote for my friends: Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends.

As my dear friend, Mike Wagner, once said to me, We’ll always have Athens.

june series: if you think you’re geting away, i will prove you wrong. i’ll take you all the way. stay another song   Leave a comment

As mentioned in last Tuesday’s post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point.  This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.

One morning in June 2005 I sat in the Convo and watched these girls say goodbye to their college days in their caps and gowns.  While I watched these girls, who had become sisters to me, I was overcome with a surplus of emotions- one being pride.  I was so happy to share this moment with my friends.

Another thought crossed my mind as I sat in peanut-heaven taking in the graduation scenario: This was going to be me down there, in my cap and gown, in exactly one year.

These four girls, Kristin, Ruth, Sarah, and Carrie, came into my life during my junior year at OU- shortly after my 21st birthday.  They are also known as the “Lancaster Girls” and my Sex and the City ladies too.  I also hold them responsible for corrupting me- all in good fun of course.  And speaking of fun, we sure had a lot of good times! during our many, many nights with up on Court Street. 

June 2005 marked the end of another great year at OU, and was the beginning of many changes for me.  These four ladies were not returning to Athens with me the following year, so I as proud as I was of them, I was certainly distraught wondering who I would be spending my time with.  Sure, I had my other friends- including Brandon, Libby, Mike, Jackie, etc.- but I literally spent most of my time with these four ladies.  Like I said, they were sisters to me.  Those four girls, and Jackie too, taught me to be strong; to be confident; to believe in myself; to be who I am.  They showed me that you always look out for your girl friends, no matter what, and that your girl friends are your real soulmates.  They helped me see that I was beautiful just the way I am, flaws and all.

Even before the girls graduate, I began thinking, what am I going to do (next year) without them?  I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  My spring quarter literally revolved around them, as I’d wake up (usually hungover), go to class until noon (perfect college schedule), Sarah would pick me up and we’d go lay out, then get ready to head out for another night on Court Street.  I was living the College Dream…or so I thought.

One night, before heading back to Pittsburgh, Sarah and I began the night pre-gaming in my house before meeting the others up on Court Street.  (Honestly, I cannot even remember who we met since most people had already gone home for the summer.)  I have one thing to say about that night, and a whole lot of regrets: Bacardi 151.  The rest of the night is very blurry, but one thing I kinda-sorta remember is being at The Junction believing that I was talking to my new roommate Jay (and a girl ‘he’ was with).  It wasn’t until the next morning, after waking up next to Sarah on our front porch, that I thought, Jay doesn’t have a short ponytail so that couldn’t have been him.  That night changed it all.  For the rest of the summer, I swore off drinking to cut out all the BS and distractions that accompany alcohol.  I finally recognized that I had gotten too caught up in the OU party scene and all I really had to remember it by was the hot mess that had become my life. 

For many reasons, including the one I just mentioned, my anxiety levels were skyrocketing during the summer of 2004.  After being home in Pittsburgh for the remainder of June and beginning of July, working for Kraft (my dad’s employer), I began summer session in Athens…while still working for Kraft.  Let me simplify that.  On Sunday night, I drove to Athens, OH to play student for the week and then as soon as class ended on Thursday afternoon, I drove back to Pittsburgh, PA to play Kraft summer employee.  I’m not going to complain, but yes, it was exhausting. 

Despite the back-and-forth, I had an A.MAY.ZING. summer- when I was in Athens.  It was during that summer that I truly fell in love with my college town.  I felt so content and at peace during this time, like the campus was mine.  It was a great change from the usual chaos that consumed Athens during the school year. 

I did a lot of thinking that summer, some prompted by the two English courses I was enrolled in and the fabulous professor that is Jeremy Webster.  Other thoughts were provoked from spending time with the Rebecca, Karrie, and Dusty.  It was so nice to spend more time with them, without any other distractions getting in the way.  

My time in Athens that summer also allotted me time with the always-fabulous and entertaining Joe Zummo.  After he’d talk to his girlfriend, Renee, on the phone, Joe would head over (sometimes with a 6-pack) and we’d sit on the 10 Hocking porch and talk about everything and nothing at all.  Some days he’d just tell me one popsicle joke after another, and other days he’d open up about how his hopes for the coming school- one being to become better friends with the beloved Casey.  To be honest, I wanted that for him too. 

Part of me didn’t want that summer to end, for a few reasons.  While I was anxious for my friends to arrive and enjoy my new Athens with me, I also recognized that it meant I would be one day closer to the end of my OU days as graduation became more real to me. 

No matter what, Senior Year was another A.MAY.ZING. time at OU for me.  New roommates (Jay, Mike, and Amanda) brought about many new friends (Ashley, Jenni “BaFaFa”, Jenny- just to name a few), and of course I was lucky to still have some of my favorites like Libby, Brandon, Mike, and Phill still there with me.

This is another time in my life that I wish I could get back.  Re-do senior year at OU…YES, PLEASE!  I wish I knew then what I know now-thoughts constantly play in my mind.  I know I’d do things differently based on what I’ve learned since then, and who I am today.  For one I would have let that boy know exactly how I felt about him, once and for all.  And second, I would have switched over to that Child Life Specialist position.  These are just two of the things I know that I would have done, but what’s done is done.  I also wish I was strong back then; that I believed in myself more; and that I lived more freely without having any regrets.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

Even having to live with these regrets now, I am grateful for what I learned that summer.  For it is because of my experiences, my mistakes, and my woulda-coulda-shouldas, that I can look back today remembering how much I’ve grown since then, and how I’ll continue to seek to better myself each and every day.

You know people say how important a college education is, and I will not disagree.  However, a college education isn’t just what you learn from textbooks, research papers, and all-night cram sessions, but rather it’s what you learn about yourself that makes the experience worthwhile. 

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Notes: The title of this blog is lyrics from the song Murder on the Dance Floor, which is a favorite of these lovely Lancaster girl friends of mine.  Not only was it on The Pub Mix, but it was also dedicated to the OU girls at Kristin’s wedding. 

And the portait of Court Street above is wonderful and available for purchase.  Check out Ellen Pettey Photography at http://ellenpettey.com/ to order your own!  Look through her galleries for others that may interest you as well.

june series:some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.   1 comment

As mentioned in last Tuesday’s post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point.  This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.

This photo easily resembles me during the first two weeks of June 2004, when I spend every sunny moment laying out with my textbooks in front of my dorm, Dougan Hall.  While every other college kid seemed to be on summer break, my fellow OUers and I were not, which meant FINALS.  Final exams, final papers, (final) goodbyes-til fall quarter that is.

This was the first June that I actually began to dread and I’ll explain why.  June obviously marks the end of a school year and up until this point, I’d always been happy for that since it meant S.U.M.M.E.R.T.I.M.E.  While the same was true for June 2004, it also meant that I had to leave my OU friends and Athens for another summer in Hampton…but this one was going to be A LOT different from the ones before.  At least I had my Snack Shackers to help me through it.

I guess it’s not right to talk about June ’04 without explaining what happened during this first year of mine at OU (sophomore year of college- remember I transferred from Kent State).  What I’ve failed to mention thus far is that as ready as I was for a change (back in the summer of 2003 before beginning at OU), I was nervous.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t know anyone. As exciting as a fresh start is, it’s terrifying too especially when I’d been so used to knowing so many people (in Hampton and Pittsburgh) for so long.  Fortunately a few email exchanges with my new roommate made me familiar with one person that would be joining me on my OU (Oh Yeah) journey: Kathryn Byerly.   Soon to be known as Kat. I don’t remember the drive to Athens on that day, but I remember meeting Kat and her friend, Laura, in our new dorm room, and then getting Chinese food later that evening.  Amidst my initial anxieties, it was a very calming night.  The calm before the storm…

The next few months of my life can be summed up as: New Friends; New Adventures; and New Love. Maybe not just new love, but first love.

No one else may have seen it that way, but I know it was L.O.V.E.- whether he felt the same way or not, I fell in love that year.

I won’t go into too many details, but I couldn’t explain that year without mentioning it- or at least giving you a little sample.  I’ll say this, I’m always reminded of him when I watched/read/think of the stories behind The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Oddly enough, Ms. Rachel McAdams plays ‘me’ in both movies. Maybe that’s why she’s my favorite?

I could indulge you in all of the details of our courtship-if it can even be called such- or the similarities between myself and Allie & Claire; or why I see him in both Henry and Noah, but what’s the point? 

June of 2004 arrived and so did a broken heart.  My first real, full-fledged broken heart.  I guess First Love and First Heartbreak come as a packaged deal.  2-for-1 special…but there’s nothing special about a broken heart, trust me.

Okay, I need to point out that my heart was not breaking just because of a boy, but for a combination of reasons.  From what I remember, I was actually still quite optimistic back then that things would work out with my Noah/Henry boy (aka as the infamous Casey); however, some of my friends, including Brandon may disagree that there were certain weak moments- usually under the influence of good old OU fun.  Also known as, alcohol.

So back to heartbreak, after saying my goodbyes to my lovely OU friends, or perhaps we should say my see you laters, it was time to head back to Hampton.  Funny story, or at least for B and me.  So for some reason, Brandon and I always joked about purchasing one of those huge balls from Wal-mart, but we never did.  However, coincidentally, in my final moments before leaving OU for the summer, a big purple ball just so happened to be in the lobby of my dorm to be thrown out.  Seriously??!!!  Now if this isn’t fate then I don’t know what is.  We played with that damn ball until it got stuck in a tree!  Oh, Brandon.  No one else in the world compares to you! I will never forget that moment, and yes, it was fate.

I remember walking out of Dougan with Rebecca, and actually the underage girl who I was had to carry out an empty case of beer that was drank in her underage dorm room the night with a few friends (one being Joe Zummo, from what I can recall).  What a great way to end my friend year at OU, but I just didn’t want to leave.  As I drove away with my mom, my heart began breaking…

…and it only broke more as the summer went on.  I missed my friends so much.

I was working two jobs that summer and my social life was nonexistent, and so was my life in Hampton.  Other than the Hampton Pool staff members and a few other people, MT being one, my past friendships had ended- which I take fault in. (Note: This is before Facebook, if you can even imagine that.)  It was the first time in my life that I couldn’t see Hampton as home anymore. My parents and brother were there, as well as my past and memories, but that was it.  Enter: More heartbreak.

I did my best to enjoy that summer, but like I said, other than the pool there wasn’t much to enjoy.  I’d countdown the days until I was back in Athens, which were also the same number of days when I wouldn’t have to be in Hampton anymore.  I just felt like I couldn’t have both in my life anymore, and I knew from now on that Athens would always win.  I’d forever pick Ohio over Pennsylvania, and my college friends over my high school friends.

That all sounds so foolish to me now, I mean why did I think that I really had to choose?  To this day I still regret, as Matt always said, running away.

If you can believe it, I fell even more in love with a certain boy from OU that summer.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder? For a girl who was use to crushing on boys and getting over them quickly, this was painful.  I swear I tried to forget him, but every time I did it just made me think about him even more.  Seriously, is this what love is all about?  Or am I just crazy? There was even a boy from Hampton that I crushed on in high school that may have liked me, and I didn’t even feel a thing.  All I thought was, he isn’t Casey. Boys, Boys, Boys! They sure know how to mess with your head, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.

So the title of this blog is a quote from the one-and-only, Ms. Carrie Bradshaw, from an episode of Sex and the City. I chose it because it’s a different way of identifying this time in my life.  Now people tend to see butterflies (as in the ones you get in your stomach from nerves) in a negative light.  However, the wise twenty-year old girl who I was at this time learned differently.  Butterflies are something that I’ve learned to hope for because they let me know that something is meaningful to me.  Not every boy will give you the butterflies, but the right ones always will.  Learn to embrace the butterflies because they indicate that something good is right in front of you. Sure, crushes make us feel all funny inside, but I’d rather feel something than nothing at all.  And if I’ve learned a thing or two about the butterflies it’s that you cannot force them nor can you make them leave.  They do what they want.

I didn’t feel the butterflies for any boys in Hampton, nor towards anything in Hampton for that matter.  All of my butterflies were back in Ohio. 

Sometimes I wish I could go back to that summer and do a re-do…but would I still be where I am today?  And better yet, would I really have done anything differently? Looking back I still feel like going to OU was exactly what I needed, and I still recognize that the girl from Hampton needed a change- she needed to grow up.  But she didn’t just grow up, she abandoned who she was and left the place she once only knew as home…ensuing in heartbreak of a whole other form.