A letter to my oldest niece

Ok emotional aunt here…my oldest niece is starting middle school. I’ve been dreading this day for three years. So this is my letter to her, of advice and things I wish I knew entering middle school

My dearest Savvy Jo, as you enter middle school I have some wisdom to bestow upon you and you’re going to listen. Always remember some of gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers, I used to wish you would stay little forever and always be the cute little 3 year old with curly hair in pigtails, my wishes went un-granted, for now you are now a beautiful young lady who I love even more with each day that goes by. That being said you are about to enter middle school and I am going to give you some advice on things I wish I knew before my 6th grade year. First and foremost you are beautiful inside and out, your heart is beautiful, don’t let anyone, I don’t care who it is no one should be able to sway you differently. Second school is important do your best work on all assignments, study hard for tests apply yourself to your homework don’t let anyone talk you out of doing homework or studying. You are an incredible athlete and I am so excited to see where you go with softball but grades are still important. Third, no boy is more important than anything or anyone. You are important, boys come and go and I’m not just being the over protective aunt here. Friends will come and go but there will be a few real ones that last a lifetime…cherish those friends because they will see you through your ups and downs. Ask all the questions, in class if you don’t know something, if something confuses you do not I repeat do not be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions…I wish I would’ve asked more questions and got more help. That also means if you need help with your homework ask your parents, your kick ass aunts and uncles, or your grandparents, don’t sit there and hope you get it right, it could be on a test. Please please please don’t ever feel alone in this world, you have an amazingly huge support system filled with people who love you, from your parents and siblings to your aunts, uncles, grandparents, you are never alone and I guarantee you if you’re having an issue or problem one of your people will be able to help you through it. Listen to your parents and when they tell you no they’re doing it because they love you and want what’s best for you, love your siblings because they are first best friends and they are the ones that’ll be behind you at all times even if y’all fight a lot. Your family is your biggest fan and like i said some of gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers, keep your head up and keep your faith strong. Trust your gut, if you feel something is wrong, it probably is, tell someone. That also includes if you think something isn’t right with you health wise (i.e you can’t see/hear/ don’t feel well) tell someone immediately. Have fun but not too much fun and remember I love you so much and will always be here for you no matter what. Never be afraid to tell your family something that happened or how you feel. Always stand up for what you believe in, don’t follow the crowd because you Savvy Jo were born to stand out, continue to be yourself at all times.

For all the my babies going to school, make good choices, I’m not afraid to walk into your school and act a complete fool, because I love y’all. My babies (who are no longer babies) are my whole heart, now if y’all will please excuse me I’m going to be crying for the next year. Happy back to school!

Gluten Free

Warning this is going to probs bring up a lot of bad stuff and I might cry you might cry….Who knows.

I have struggled with allergies all my life, seasonal, indoor, outdoor, doesn’t matter if you can be allergic to it chances are I am. I have to get a shot every week for my allergies, I’m a mess. Recently I had gotten a food panel done because I don’t want to eat something and have to use my Epi-pen (don’t even get me started on how much they are even with insurance). When I got the results back I was allergic to things like dairy, which I’ve known since birth, nuts, shell-fish, and gluten, and many, many more. I was most upset about the gluten. I have been a bread and pasta person my entire life and now I have to change my entire diet.

I have a lot of regrets in my life and if you stick around long enough you might hear them. But one of the bigger ones would be my eating disorder. Yes I said eating disorder. I know I am so loved, and I know true beauty is on the inside and I know I should never feel like I have to take such extreme measures, I know. But there is a lot that y’all don’t know. I was emotionally and mentally beaten down to a point where I couldn’t walk past a mirror. I listened to all the things people said to me, about me and I took it upon myself to please them.

Again I am getting ahead of myself, I was always active when I was younger, outside playing running, trying to keep up with my brothers. We moved to a not so nice neighborhood, and I could no longer play outside unless one of the boys were home so they could look after me, but they were at working age so they weren’t always home. Like I said I am a bread and pasta girl, I’m sure you can figure out what happened. I have been told by people that I need to lose weight or else I am going to get fat by someone who was supposed to love me unconditionally. I was in 7th grade the first time someone asked me when I was due. I was called every name in the book before I reached high school. I wore big hoodies and shirts in high school just so I could hide my body. My junior and senior year I was in a relationship with someone, yes the one my mom would never let me marry. He was okay in the beginning, then came the day he told me I’m not perfect, I have things I need to work on and yes its my stomach. So now on top of years of being called tubby, and my all time favorite tub of lard, my now ex-boyfriend, who was supposed to love me is basically telling me I need to lose weight. And I did, I ordered my senior prom dress and by the time prom night came around I needed to have it altered again. After we were over I stopped trying to lose weight probably for the best because it wasn’t the healthiest then either, I continued with my old habits. College is an entire different ball game, let me tell you. my first year was ok, my second year, awful.

As a sophomore in college I stopped eating regularly, began going to the gym wayyyy too much and became addicted to diet pills. I began to experiment with crazy fad diets and no they do not work. I justified it in my head that what I was doing was okay. I bought a bunch of things like animal crackers, meal shakes, crackers and granola bars, in my head it was okay  if I separated everything into serving sizes in little baggies to control how much I ate. My daily food intake would look something like this; meal shake for breakfast, maybe a granola bar around 5pm or maybe a 100 calorie prepackaged bag of animal crackers and a crap ton of water, because in my mind water is going to keep me alive. On top of only consuming around 100-150 calories a day, I would go to the gym (hello free membership) every single day and just on one machine alone I would not stop until I burned at least 300-400 calories, if I ate more than once that day I would stay until it was at 500-600 calorie burned and that was just on one machine. But all of this was okay in my mind because I was “meal prepping” yes a 100 calorie bag of animal crackers was my meal, I was working out every day, but a lot of people do, and I was drinking a lot of water, so everything was perfectly fine.

I ruined my body. I started sleeping all the time, I could barely get through a class without falling asleep. I was losing my hair, and if you know me you know I take great pride in my hair. I could no longer go home on breaks or for the holidays and eat an actual meal without throwing up because I had shrunk my stomach. I not only regret this because of how awful it is but also because now I feel like I missed my chances to eat all the things I can’t have, and I know how bad it sounds when I say that because I do regret my eating disorder for many reasons, it’s just how I think about everything I should have done differently than and maybe it wouldn’t have been so difficult now.

After about two or so years I have finally gotten to a place where I can eat a meal without getting sick or feeling like my stomach is going to explode. However I do have day-to-day struggles, it took a while to get to a place where I could actually feel hunger and not just eat because I looked at the clock and figured this is when people would eat normally. Some days are worse than others, I have to convince myself to eat, I have to say to myself that I have too many beautiful nieces looking at me to let them see me go through that. If I see something online, if one of my friends have liked or shared something of a picture of someone who looks stunning, all that flashes in my mind is I will never ever look like that, and the forcing myself to eat begins again. I have days where I literally get dressed in the dark so I can avoid looking in my giant mirror and hope to god my hair looks okay. It will be a continuous struggle for a while but I am a lot better than I used to be. And if you’re wondering I do eat every day mostly because my boyfriend doesn’t let me use the excuse of I’m not hungry.

You probably realized this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with allergies, but it made a good intro. The point is, please do not tell someone you love them but they need to lose weight, do not let them tell you they aren’t hungry if you know they haven’t eaten. don’t mess with diet pills they are terrible and honestly not worth the literal stomach ache. Don’t hold someone to the standard of anyone else’s beauty because we are all beautiful in our own ways. And if you feel that you don’t need food that day because you ate twice yesterday, or if you feel like you can eat that cake because you’re just going to throw it up later anyways, then please talk to someone. I know from experience how difficult it can be and especially if you have everything justified in our mind, but with that being said, talk to someone, get the help you need before it’s too late. Remember you are beautiful, handsome, wonderful and loved.

When you know you know

Mine and Thomas’ relationship has been fast. From the first I love yous on our first date to him moving in in December, three months into our relationship, but it also felt so right, so natural. Nothing has been forced, nothing felt as though it was too fast. It’s the kind of love everyone around me can see it radiating off of me.

The other day me and Thomas were having dinner and we got to talking about how long we’ve been together compared to how long we’ve lived together. It’s crazy to think he moved in about three months after we started dating. But he said “when you know you know”. This hit me hard hearing him say that because I remembered a conversation I had with one of my sisters not long after we started talking. I walked into her house smiling of course because he’s just amazing. But she looked me dead in the eyes and told me I looked like a dork because of the massive smile I had. Soooo I had to tel her all about this guy I was talking to. Less than a week after that conversation I told her we were dating and I told her I know it happened fast but it just feels right, she said “when you know you know”.

My wonderful mother and I had a conversation not long before I met Thomas and we were talking about a previous relationship I had. I thought he was the one but deep down I knew he wasn’t. I wasn’t in a healthy relationship but there was a piece of me saying you have to put up with this because this is it for you. She told me she knew he wasn’t the one and she would not have let me marry him. I thank god she would’ve stopped me. Not long after she met Thomas we were out to dinner and she asked me in the parking lot if I thought he was the one, I could only nod because I was just so incredibly happy finally, and she just knew.

The point is is that there is no timeline in love, there is no set thing saying by the time you’ve been together for six months you can start talking about how you love each other, after a year move in together, a year and a half engaged. That’s not how this works. It can either happen super fast or super slow. It varies person to person. You have to trust yourself and trust your partner. Don’t compare your relationship to that of others because just like everyone is different, every relationship is different. When you find your true love you will know and you will know how fast or how slow to take it, don’t rush it because you think you have to but at the same time don’t hold back your feelings because you think it’s way too soon because after all when you know you just know.

Stepping up and Stepping part 3

For the final installment of stepping up and stepping in I am leaving y’all with some advice and lessons I’ve learned.

If you are a step child and you feel that your step parent is Satan himself resurrected in the flesh and is now married to your bio parent then please reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone, you do not have to go through this journey alone. If you can’t talk to the bio parent they’re married to then talk to your other bio parent. If that option isn’t available because I know everyone’s situation is different, talk to a school counselor, a trusted friend, or another family member. You could even try talking to your step. If you are in harms way or feel you are in danger because of them tell the authorities, do not let the fear prevent you from getting help. I wish I was this smart when I was younger, I wish I wouldn’t have been so shy and been able to talk to my bio dad about my feelings then maybe things would’ve ended up different.

If you have found yourself in the amazing position of being a step or bonus this is my advice, love that child or children unconditionally. Talk to your significant other about his/her child/children. Make sure they know that you know the kids come first, let them know you’re in it for the long run because coming in and out of a child’s life is very damaging. Know that by supporting your significant other and his/her time with their kids means a lot more than you know. Have a support system, my sister is one of my go to people that I talk to when I’m feeling way too emotional for no reason to keep me sane. Find your support group. Be mature in situations and strong even when you don’t want to be. Don’t be afraid to tell your significant other how you feel about certain things but also do it in the right way. Don’t make them chose between you and their child because you won’t like the outcome. All in all love that child or children even if you have to do it from a distance.

It doesn’t matter what you went through as a child, if you were in a two parent or one parent household, nothing will ever prepare you emotionally to be a bonus parent, it’s foreign and natural at the same time. Talk, talk, and talk again about it. Even if you start to feel like a broken record do not bottle your emotions up inside because in the end everyone will be hurt. And that is a piece of my mind, heart and soul.

Stepping up and Stepping in part 2

When I  grow up I want to be a lawyer, a family lawyer advocating for children in many different situations, whether it be custody, foster, adoption, anything. I do not want more children feeling the way I felt growing up. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I always thought that the situation I grew up in as preparing me for my job as a lawyer and I was partly correct, but what I didn’t expect was it preparing me for one of the most difficult and most amazing things to ever happen to me.

My wonderful boyfriend is an amazing father to a very cute little boy. Let me tell you loving someone else’s child is one of the most humbling, frustrating, amazing and rewarding feelings in the world because you chose every single day to love that child and it’s not even a choice you make consciously, it’s natural, it pulls you in and the next thing you know you’re in total awe and love.

Let me back up. When me and Thomas (aka wonderful boyfriend) first started talking, not even dating, he told me how old he was which not important and that he had a son. I made sure to tell him multiple times that he comes first and I never want to come between them because like I stated before I don’t want another child to feel like I did and I sure as hell am not going to be the reason a child feels that way. I know what its like to be second choice by a parent, to be chosen after a significant other, to come last after everything else like friends and co-workers, I know the thoughts kids have when they see that someone else getting the attention that is supposed to be yours. He always always comes first. What struck me deep down was how nervous he was, he didn’t want me to run because he was a package deal. There is no way I could ever leave those two their smiles dragged me in and will not let me go.

When I first met his son I was a freaking wreck. I was terrified, nervous, all the things a person can be when meeting someone new. I talked to my mom a lot right before I went to meet him because I knew if he didn’t like me then I couldn’t be with Thomas. I say that not because I don’t love him, I said it because I do love him, I love him enough to walk away if it is for his son. As much as it pains me and I actually cried a little typing this, I know that if it was best for his son I would have to because I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to be the one to come between them, I wasn’t going to be the reason a child suffered alone wondering where his dad was. Thomas gets mad when I say that because he knows his son loves me and I love him immensely. But I have enough love and respect for Thomas and his relationship with his son that if it’s for the best then I’ll suck it up. (No I’m not leaving him now, I’m here forever)

I know I am not his mom, I know I will not replace her, that’s not what I want, I am simply a bonus, someone else in this crazy world to love and support and protect him unconditionally. And spoiling is an obvious. That is the rewarding part, the heartbreaking and frustrating part comes with not being able to be there for everything, missing so many things but having enough respect and class to know my place. I would give my right arm and left leg to be 100% involved all the time but I also know it just isn’t possible right now, knowing that isn’t going to make it hurt any less. I don’t love them any less either, I have so much love for my two boys sometimes I just want to cry.

I thought I knew everything I wanted in life, be a lawyer, help the children in horrible situations, have a family. But this, this is so much better. I still want to be a lawyer advocating for children, but now I know that this is one of the best jobs I could ever have and ever have. God doesn’t always give you what you want, but he gives you what you need, my life improved tenfold after meeting Thomas and to think the journey is just beginning. There is going to be a part three coming soon, and this is not a piece but my whole heart.

Stepping up and Stepping in part 1

I’m just going to start by diving into some deep water. This was going to be all in one post but I figured it would be way too long so it will now span over three parts. Here goes noting. When I was a child and thought of step parents my mind immediately traveled to Cinderella and her evil step mom, that terrified me. My mom raised me and my three brothers by herself for about thirteen years before she got remarried, don’t worry my step dad is nothing even close to evil.

So obviously my biological parents are separated and have been since I was like one. My bio dad got remarried first and that worked out for them but not for me. It was very hard for me to go to his house every other weekend to a place where not only was I uncomfortable but felt unwanted and unloved. This has been weighing on mind and heart very heavy lately for many reasons that I’ll get to eventually, so bear with me.

My dad (step dad) took on the role of father to four kids and at the time the grand father to two granddaughters. He isn’t just my moms husband, he is my dad. He has always understood that my mom was a packaged deal, a package that came with four children. He understood this so well that he asked me and my brothers for our permission before he proposed. This is so much different from what I grew up with.

My bio mom is amazing, she really is an angel, I don’t know where I would be in life if it wasn’t for her. She has always supported my dreams and ambitions no matter how crazy they have been, I leaned on her a lot when I was younger especially when I came home from my bio dads, she always asked me how my weekend was and made it a point to tell me that it is okay to have the feelings I was having. She was my support system. I am a mommas girl through and through. I used to be so worried about what would happen when I moved out since I am the youngest child. But then my step dad came into our lives and the worry faded. He made sure that we came first and he understood that my mom was all me and my brothers had for a long time. He made sure we knew he wasn’t going to be leaving.

My step dad completely changed my view of step parents, He stepped up and stepped into a position and so far has done an amazing job including us kids (not really kids anymore) in his life and his life with my mom. We aren’t just her kids were their kids. All of this has a point and I promise I’ll get there soon, so stay tuned for a little piece of my mind.