Sink or Swim

IMG_3103My parents put me in swimming lessons when I was in elementary school, but unfortunately, the chlorine in public pools was too harsh on my skin at the time, and my Mom eventually had to withdraw me from my lessons just before making it to Level 3.  As I grew older, I wanted to learn, but overcoming the “shame” of learning how to swim as a teenager was too much for fifteen-year-old me.  This past fall, I enrolled myself in adult swimming lessons.  I bought a one-piece and a set of goggles and braced myself for embarrassment.  I was shaking like a leaf on my first lesson.

I went to 17 of my 20 lessons and I can now make it to the end of a pool without panicking (most of the time).  This really isn’t a great feat, but it’s more than I could’ve done 17 lessons ago.  If I’ve learned anything from forcing myself to go to swimming lessons in minus 20 degree weather, it’s that you should never let your pride, idleness or fear get in the way of learning new things.  Yes, I swallowed lots of water and probably looked hilarious struggling to come up for air, but that’s really okay.  I give myself a good laugh thinking about it.  My strokes are not perfect, and I still can’t float very well, but with practice, I hope to one day be able to swim… and not just to simply prevent myself from drowning, but to swim well and with confidence.

I decided to take swimming lessons because of my Mom.  I choose to do a lot because of her.  She was always learning.  In the last five years of her life she went back to school just to brush up on her Spanish, to learn French and Mandarin, and even became certified to teach ESL.  I remember watching her doing her assignments after work, and diligently going to her classes.  I respected her so much for her desire to learn and for her commitment to working hard.  I hope to apply the same kind of perseverance towards the the things that remain on my list of things to learn.

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Sesame Street Cupcakes

On the topic of kids, I thought I’d share the cupcakes I made for my niece’s 2nd birthday back in February.  I used red M&Ms for Elmo’s nose, when they should have been orange.  My niece could still make out “who” the cupcakes were meant to be.  My job was done!

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First comes marriage, then comes kids?

I have always loved children, I have always wanted ones of my own (whether biological or adopted), and I have always imagined being a mom.  It’s been two and half years since Sean and I exchanged our vows and it seems as though having our own little ones is the next big step.

It’s difficult to imagine being a mom without having my own Mom to help me answer all of the questions I will have.  In the middle of the night when I’m weary and unable to ease my baby’s cries, I always thought I’d have my Mom to come to my rescue.  I remember my Mom lovingly talking about her unborn grandchildren and how she imagined who they would resemble.  My Dad says she would have been an amazing Grandma, and don’t I know it.  She used to always tell me that I had the greatest Dad in the world (which is true), and I know he’ll make the best Grandpa, too.

I often think about how I will keep my Mom’s memory alive in the lives of my children when they will never have a chance to meet her or feel the comfort of her arms.  For a while after my Mom passed away, I didn’t want to have children, and there are days when I still don’t.  It’s not having children that I no longer want, it’s having them without my Mom’s presence.  It’s knowing that she so wanted to be a part of their lives, and now she never will.

When I think about what she would say to me now, I already know.  She would tell me that one day I will make a wonderful, loving mother; One who will be even more strict than she was (an inside thing between my Mom and I), and one who will finally understand the love that her own mother had for her.  As I get older, I can see more and more the sacrifices my parents made for me, and how unconditional their love is.  If my Mom was here today, she would tell Sean and I that when we’re ready, we will make two very loving and dedicated parents.

My parents always loved the fact that Sean always took such good care of me (from the time that we were just friends), and I know how blessed I am to have such a wonderful man for a husband.  I know that he would sit by me during sleepless nights, and help me through the days when exhaustion is all I feel.  I know in my heart that Sean would make the most loving and patient father.  He would be the most helpful husband, and would always insist on making sure that I don’t try to do everything myself.  I’m so privileged to have full confidence in a man who is not yet a father, but who I know will make a great one someday.

In the eulogy I wrote for my Mom, I said that it is because of her love, that I have a better understanding of God’s love for me.  If my Mom’s love for me is but a glimpse, then my Heavenly Father’s love for His children is one that moves me to tears.  Imagine the person who you love most in this world… And now, imagine how much more God loves you.

In His timing, I pray that God will bless us with a child or children to love and nurture, and to help grow into people who will learn of His love for them and show the love that they receive to all those around them.

Runaway Bay

This past week, Sean and I were in Jamaica with family.  What a blessing to spend days reading on a white, sandy beach with clear blue skies and a warm ocean breeze.  Sean’s parents gifted this trip to all the kids and grandkids for Christmas.  We couldn’t be more thankful.

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We stayed at the Jewel Beach and Golf Resort and loved it.

IMG_6492IMG_6518More on Jamaica and family to come.