Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for November, 2013

THANKSGIVING

The holidays are upon us. In our house, like most homes, that means making lists, grocery shopping, baking, sending blessings, and thinking of family and friends.

We are in Annapolis this Thanksgiving after two years of travel. My youngest son declared last year, “Could we please just stay home!” So staying home we are. And I am glad. My in-laws are with us, as are two of our Midshipmen and their sister. Actually only one is a Midshipman; his older brother is a Naval officer, who used to be “our Midshipman.” It’s a house that spans the decades and reflects what is most important to us.

Thanksgiving is never a stressful time for me, and for that I am grateful. We all take part in the cooking, baking, setting the table and cleaning up – kids included (just ask Edward); and if it doesn’t get made (or we forget to put sugar in the pies) then we go without, knowing that we really are not “going without.”

Thanksgiving is just one day of the year, but really it should be everyday. Anyone to whom we give thanks, whether it be each other, our families, our friends, God (or all of the above), one day is not enough. Just like Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day your loved one says, “I love you;” and Mother’s Day shouldn’t be the only day we reach out to and appreciate our mothers; Thanksgiving should not be the only day we give thanks.

Thanks Giving is a choice we make each day. To be grateful. To appreciate what we have. And to appreciate those we love. What today celebrates is the importance of gratitude, not just expressing our gratitude, but celebrating its presence in our daily life.

It makes life less stressful when you recognize and give thanks for your blessings daily.

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  • 31-24

    For anyone who was in Notre Dame Stadium 20 years ago today, you know that score. It lives eternally on my son’s bunk beds as a reminder of a game our children have heard us talk about often. “Best football game I have ever attended,” is my usual comment.

    My husband was a junior football manager that year, so he saw the game from the field. I, on the other hand, was jammed into the stadium with about 70,000 other people. Yes, 70,000, and this was before the stadium renovation when Notre Dame Stadium only held about 60,000. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if you were there, you know how crowded it was.

    But it didn’t matter. We won.

    The entire week was as electric as the game. Reporters crawled all over campus. It was heralded “The Game of the Century.” I remember once riding my bike to swim practice and not being able to ride past the stadium because of the crowds…on Wednesday. This happened all the time on game days, but never during the week. This game was different.

    So different in fact, that ESPN GameDay came to South Bend. What? Big deal, it happens all the time. Nope. Prior to this day, 20 years ago, ESPN GameDay stayed in the studio. On campus, Heritage Hall became their studio. It seems fitting that the first GameDay to go on the road, came to South Bend to see one of Notre Dame’s most legendary games.

    How did Notre Dame pull off the upset? Well, we were ranked #2 (Florida State was ranked #1) – so some folks didn’t view it as much of an upset. We were playing at home, and there was talk about the mystique of Notre Dame, the Four Horsemen and our storied history (“Rudy” wasn’t quite a legend yet). But some folks will tell you it was the pep rally speaker from the night before.
    Well, okay – maybe only my parents would tell you that. I just think the team had a lot of heart, and a pretty darn good coach – who still inspires.

    Best football game I’ve ever attended. And I’m pretty sure most of the other 80,000 fans in the stadium would say the same thing.

    The Game of the Century is permanently memorialized on my son's bed.

    The Game of the Century is permanently memorialized on my son’s bed.

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  • GOD – COUNTRY – NOTRE DAME

    Monogram Club crew

    From left: Chris Stevens, Colonel Fenton, Haley, Mike Sullivan, Tom Galloway, Randy Kinder

    A huge thank you to nominated Brigadier General Bryan Fenton for organizing our visit

    A huge thank you to nominated Brigadier General Bryan Fenton for organizing our visit

    On Friday, November 8, 2013, in honor of Veterans Day, members of the Notre Dame Monogram Club visited our nations heroes at Bethesda Walter Reed just outside of Washington, D.C. Currently awaiting confirmation on his appointment as Brigadier General, one of our board members, Colonel Bryan Fenton arranged for our visit. There really are no words to adequately describe the experience. But I will try.

    We arrived at Bethesda Walter Reed and were immediately greeted with gratitude. “Thank you for coming.” “We can’t tell you how much this will mean to our patients.” “We are so grateful you took the time to visit today.” Wow. We were there to say thank you to our servicemen and we were grateful for the opportunity to do so.

    It is a very intimate moment to walk into a patient’s room. Many heroes had just come out of surgery, most were recovering with open wounds from infection or an amputation; some had returned months or years after their initial injury for follow up care. Their days are filled with waiting, resting, updates from the doctor, and more waiting. Each patient is allowed a caregiver to stay with them, usually a parent, a spouse or a family member. For them, there is waiting, resting and worry that they often don’t want to show to their injured loved one. These are long, quiet days during a very personal and private time. And yet they welcomed us – strangers – to share a moment with them. It was a true privilege to spend each minute we did with our nation’s heroes.

    Colonel Fenton is amazing. While most of us were in awe of their attitudes and injuries, Colonel Fenton gave them what they needed most: a bit of normalcy, a little ribbing and joking from a fellow serviceman. He made them laugh, or at least smile, while the rest of us watched with gratitude.

    For me, the visit to the rehabilitation area – where many heroes were learning to walk again (or learning to walk with new limbs) was fascinating. Much of the equipment has changed in 20 years, but some has not: the mats, the parallel bars, the “good, old-fashioned basics,” as the lead physical therapist told me. (I chuckled to myself as the equipment I used was deemed “old-fashioned.”)
    And I often take note of the care-givers, usually the mothers. We met some on Friday and I made sure to take them aside to talk with them, to see how they were doing, and to let them know how much we value, recognize and appreciate their sacrifice. When I heard one hero say, “I love my mom, but who wants their mom around so much,” I thought: that mom needs to read my book. So she did; in one day. Share the Inspiration. She has hers to share as well.

    God, Country, Notre Dame. Our visit to Bethesda Walter Reed embodied all three, and I was grateful for the opportunity.
    Happy Veterans Day to our military service men and women, their families and those who care for them.

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