Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for January, 2012


You’ve heard the saying: Behind every successful man is a woman.

So here’s my take: Behind this woman is a man who allows her to be successful.

Last week, and the weeks preceding, were tough for me. The 20th anniversary of our bus accident brought to the surface emotions that made daily life a challenge at times. That’s okay. It hasn’t been like that for a while, and I know how overwhelmingly blessed I am. I think I share that here often. So I allowed the emotions to flow as a tribute to my teammates, our team and the journey that we shared.

But it also meant that my husband had to pick up the slack. My husband, who works full time and is in school (getting his MBA) full time, took over full time parenting as well as I traveled to South Bend, and then Arizona, to do what I needed to do for this anniversary.

And then I had a scheduled talk, two talks…three talks… And all of a sudden, my husband is a full time employee, student and dad for three weeks. And not once did he complain, or even mention it. In fact, he encouraged it. You need to do what you need to do. We’ll be fine. And he meant it. He knew exactly what to say.

And then there is my dad, who doesn’t always know what to say – but he knows exactly what to do. Last week he arranged a wonderful trip for my mother, my sister and I. It was my mom’s 65th birthday, but it was also, of course, the 20th anniversary. And boy, did I need a break! How did my dad know? He always does…

How lucky I am to have these men in my life, who have always supported me, always known what is best for me (even when I did not) and who have always thought of me before themselves. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. And I couldn’t do what I do, without my husband.

Thank you to all the men in our lives who make us better women by knowing us, loving us, and letting us be who we are.

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  • 20 YEARS

    What can I say about this day. There are no words, just emotions.

    I quote from my book, which has brought great hope to many and has been a means to healing for me – not in writing it, but in sharing it:

    If you prayed for me, I thank you. And I thank God. Keep praying! He listens.

    And from the sign that hung on campus, that I never saw in person, but the picture that I will forever remember:

    God Bless Our Swimmers

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  • JANUARY 23

    Twenty years ago tonight, I got on a bus and my life was never the same. The days, weeks and months that followed were an emotional roller coaster of sadness and celebration, hard work and simple joys. I found faith and goodness along the way, and my life was set on a course I could not have planned.

    Ten years ago this morning, I gave birth to my first son, and my life was never the same. The days, weeks and months that followed were an emotional roller coaster of fatigue and celebration, hard work and simple joys. Along the way, my faith was reaffirmed, the goodness remained, and my life was reset on a course I could not have planned.

    Through these two events, l have known no deeper sorrow and felt no deeper love.

    As you can imagine, this is an emotional day for me, and one that mirrors the dual emotions I have lived with over the past few weeks. So often this month I have found myself thinking, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, and I can’t believe he’s ten years old.

    Time is funny that way. Life is funny that way.

    While this has been an emotional month for me, my core values have kept me grounded: my faith, my family and my friendships. We can always fall back on our faith. We can always rely on our family to understand (and mine has been understanding beyond words!) and we can always rely on our friends to be there for us – to laugh, to cry, or to just not talk about it.

    I am always so grateful for these things in my life, but the emotion I feel most today is Love. And it is the most powerful emotion of all.

    Happy Birthday, James Cody. One day you’ll understand how much I love you.

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    I often talk about how our lives are our choice. How, each of us could wake up on any given morning and find something to be happy about – find something blessed in our lives. But also how each of us could wake up in the morning and find something negative on which to focus – to find something in our lives that brings us down.

    That is the choice we have: what do we focus on each morning: the negative? Or the positive? It’s a choice. It is our choice.

    More often than not (and probably more so than that), I choose to look at the positive, the blessings, the elements of my life that make me smile. Even on the darkest days, or when I am tired and not feeling well, there are many, many things in my life that make me smile. Always, just looking at my children and my husband, I know I am blessed. Even in the darkness.

    January is a dark month, both literally and figuratively. It is a hard time of year for many, and an even harder time of year for a others. These are the days when we strip down to our core values: our faith and our family, and rely on the comfort of the simplicity of friendship.

    One of my closest friends commented that she is not part of “that part” of my life. She wasn’t there, no. But she is here now, and her friendship helps me navigate the dark waters of January without even knowing it. Each of our friendships (and family members count!) provide for us a piece of the puzzle that makes our lives whole. And I am grateful for all the pieces in my life.

    Our lives are a choice. We may not control it all (we may not control it a little, even). But we can certainly control with whom we choose to spend it. And I usually choose to spend my life with those who wake up and see their blessings.

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    I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with some of my Notre Dame teammates over the past few months. These are not teammates I was particularly close to in college (although there was no animosity among us, we just were closer with others), and while we have been Facebook friends for a while, we recently connected in a more meaningful way – and it got me thinking about how similar we are, how connected our lives are, and how I missed out on some meaningful friendships when I was in college.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful friends from ND. But I have also made wonderful ND friends after graduation. I have also realized how isolated I was – and chose to be – during my time as an undergrad. I was more in my own Haley-centric world than I realized at the time, and as I continue to realize.

    One teammate I visited and stayed with on a recent trip was gracious enough to open her home to me, and it was so fun to see her in her role as a mother to four beautiful children. She came to my talk, and twice I glanced at her deep in thought while I shared with the audience the emotions of the tragic event we shared. I realized, as I was talking, that it was rare for a teammate to hear me speak – and I wondered what it was like for her.
    She was very kind and complimentary, but more importantly she seemed to understand why I feel called to share this story. I think that is all I can really ask for from my teammates: an understanding as to why I do what I do.

    I also had the great privilege of being introduced by a former teammate of mine. That was awesome, she was awesome,¬†and her words stuck with me: “Many ordinary people do extraordinary things; but I got to witness an extraordinary person do ordinary things.”

    I am not extraordinary. But it truly were the “ordinary things” that we celebrated: walking to class, swimming at the pool, being with our teammates and friends. Under the circumstances, those ordinary moments were celebrated.

    Shouldn’t we always? My teammate gave me that great gift of perspective: that the little things in life are meant to be celebrated – not just when you are faced with tragedy, but everyday.

    Thanks, Ladies. I continue to learn and be inspired by my teammates two decades later. This month is for us!

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    One of my New Year’s resolutions is to update my blog weekly. There. I said it. Now I have to do it!

    I actually am not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m not sure why. I think about them, and we sometimes talk about them as a family. But I can not think of one resolution from my past that I have kept – or not kept.

    One of the reasons I love going to mass is because I feel like it’s a fresh start to the week, a new beginning, a time to look back on my failings and start over. Similar to a New Year’s resolution, but with mass it’s a weekly resolution – even if it is the same resolution week after week.

    In reality, we all strive to improve various areas of our life: our health, our prayer life, time spent with family and work/life balance. And in reality, we all fall short at times (some times more than others). For most of us, a yearly resolution will not make a significant difference in changing our lives. We need to strive to do this daily. To wake up and decide that we are going to make a difference today. Perhaps this is why so many find daily mass a beautiful way to begin the day. I know there will be a time in my life when I do this. For now, I am happy if our family makes it to mass once a week.

    I recently returned from a trip to a Notre Dame event (okay, the bowl game – but I did “work” while I was there). One of the reasons I love attending anything related to Notre Dame (notice, I said “one” of) is because it always includes mass. Daily. And I always return from my time with my Notre Dame family refreshed spiritually and wanting to do more for others. My guess is that has something to do with attending mass, and resolving to do more.

    Once a year is not enough to make a resolution to improve our lives. This is something we need to strive for daily. And if daily is too often to take the time to think about ways to improve your outlook and outreach, then try once a week. Like, on Sunday mornings.

    Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is a beautiful year for you and your family.

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