Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for January, 2017


This post started out titled, “TODAY,” to be posted on January 24.

As it turns out, that day didn’t allow me to write and post. Knowing that January 24, 2017, was the anniversary of our bus accident, I should have known better than to plan.

This week was an emotional one, for many reasons. It started last weekend when I was in South Bend with a visit to the Grotto; dinner with my coach, Tim; time with my Monogram family and friends who have meant so much to me over the past 25 years; a visit to Meghan’s grave and Colleen’s tree. Separately, these events would be emotional; together, with the impending anniversary, it was at times overwhelming.

On Monday, my oldest son turned 15. Our children’s birthdays are always milestones; compounded with the emotions of pride we feel as they grow from a teenager to a young adult, watching them navigate challenges on their own and make good choices. It’s one of the greatest joys of a parent, and an emotional one as well, knowing with each birthday he is one year closer to leaving us. I am very proud of him, and amazed that he’s mine, all at the same time.

Wednesday was my mom’s 70th birthday. SEVENTY. She doesn’t look 70 and she doesn’t act 70 (although I’m not sure I know how a 70-year-old is supposed to act). My mom, who lived through a horror worse than mine, and who amazes me with her continued and unwavering love, celebrated a milestone of her own. I hope I look (and act!) as great as she does when I turn 70.

Sandwiched in between these two birthday milestones was The Anniversary. Or as my children call it, “Mom’s Special Day.”

January 24, 2017. The 25th Anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team Bus Accident.

The anniversary this year was an emotional one. It was different from year’s past in ways I couldn’t have predicted. I am still processing the emotions of the past week, and I hope to share them with you in a meaningful way; in a way, I hope, that continues to help others navigate their own challenges.

In the meantime, I leave you with a piece that helps define how widespread our bus accident was felt: I Still Remember That Night, by John Heisler. So many who were not on the bus still remember. And for those of us who were on the bus, we are so grateful they do.

I Still Remember That Night


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    Several years ago – 8 1/2 to be exact – I was invited to speak at a middle school in Indiana. I was invited by an awesome teacher who had her students read my book and – on a chance – thought I might be willing to speak to her classes.

    I said yes. But I was terrified. It was the first time after my book was published that I was invited to speak. My guess is I wasn’t very good that morning; I remember shaking, sweating and being very nervous (a fairly normal reaction to presenting in front of a group). Perhaps it was just neat for the students to meet an author of a book they had read, because I’m pretty sure my presentation was not dynamic or too inspiring!

    Fast forward to this morning, and this same teacher invited me to speak to her students again. This is the 5th time I have visited her classroom and it is always one of my favorite events.

    Thankfully, I was not nervous this time (I am also thankful that it’s only 45 degrees in Indiana and not 4 degrees and snowy! It is January after all.)

    The middle school students at Covenant Christian School are always very polite. They greet me by name at the door and walk me through the school to Mrs. Sill’s classroom. During my presentation, they are clearly paying attention and taking notes. And afterwards they stand up, introduce themselves and ask the best questions! Questions are always my favorite part of a talk; I love answering what they ask, what piqued their interest and what they want to know more about. I love answering “new” questions; ones I haven’t been asked before. There is always one of these at each event; in this classroom there are always many. And today was no different.

    Same awesome teacher. New students, but still an awesome audience. And new awesome questions.
    I hope the presenter was half as awesome. At least I wasn’t shaking and sweating!

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    New Year. New Resolutions.

    But a New Year is also a time to look back and reflect on the year past. Usually our New Year’s resolutions are based on a failure of something we didn’t do (or did too much of) from the prior year: eat less, be healthier, sleep more, etc… So before we can look forward, we have to look back.

    2016 saw some changes in our family. My oldest started high school, so for the first time my boys are at different schools (in different directions, meaning more time in the car). I was concerned about the schedule, the driving and the logistics of having boys in schools 30 miles away from each other. What I discovered was the joy of spending time in the car with just one child. For 9 years they have gone to school together; meaning for nine years (with the exception of a few days) I was driving them in the car together.

    The surprise of the fall, was alone time with each child. They talked more. They shared more. As strange as it sounds, we grew closer as they grow away from us.

    I realized this past year how little time I have left with my children living at home. For James, it’s 3 1/2 years; for Edward: 5 1/2. That’s not that long. Those years will go quickly.

    One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to slow down and enjoy time with my teenagers. Laundry can wait until they go to bed; I can workout while they are in school. I will have to travel and that will be time away, but when I am here, I want to be present.

    Like right now: James just wished me good night. I need to go tuck him in…while I can.

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