Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for December, 2017

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. 

Last night I attended a Christmas program at my youngest son’s school. He’s in 8th grade, so after 13 years at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, this was my last Christmas program as a parent. There are many wonderful traditions to share about the evening, but what I noted most were my seats. Sitting next to me were two other moms who have walked this parenting journey with me for 13 years. Walking out of the concert, I received a hug from a dad who often drives my son to school; I hugged a child I’ve known since he was one-year-old and wished him Merry Christmas; I saw teachers who taught my boys over the past decade and was reminded of the love and care they have given our family.

I looked at our school community, and I saw my family.

Even though Jamie was in NYC, James stayed home to study for mid-terms, and my parents are in Arizona; tonight, I shared the evening with my St. Anne’s family. These are moms, women, that I love. They have hugged me when I cried; they have cared for and loved my children when I couldn’t; they have driven me to the ER (see the post below); and they have made me a better mom, a better friend, and a better professional.

I often talk about “the family we are born to, and the family we create.” Tonight was a celebration of the family we have created here in Annapolis.

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  • I NEED TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF

    In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. 

    I need to take care of myself. I think this comes more with age; however, there are times when I need to remember that my body isn’t like everyone else’s and that I really need to take better care of myself.

    When we are younger, we can “power through,” we think we can do anything, and we tend to ignore a lingering cough. As we age, this becomes harder and harder to do, or we’ll end up in the hospital. (And I’m not that old, so it will become even more important to listen to my body as I continue to age).

    Last year, I continued to “power through” and ignore some health signs that “weren’t that bad,” and I ended up in the emergency room with a kidney infection. Thank goodness for friends who came in the middle of the night to drive me and to stay with my kids so they didn’t wake up with no parent in the house. I needed to take better care of myself; instead, I was out of commission for about two months.

    I was reminded of this this morning while driving home from dropping my son off at the bus stop. I am tired, as most moms are in December, and I suddenly remembered that my nephew arrived home last night after his first semester at the United States Air Force Academy. I got teary (see I AM EMOTIONAL) thinking of his reunion with his parents. And then I reminded myself that I get more emotional when I am tired; AND that I am more inclined to get sick when I am tired.

    My train of thought drew me back to a few Christmases ago; I was really sick. I was run down and tired (again, I was a mom in December), and I remember a conversation my husband – very lovingly – had with me when I felt better. He said: You can’t do this. I don’t want our kids to grow up with their memories of mom being sick every Christmas. 

    That was the third year in a row that I had been sick on Christmas. I needed to take better care of myself. And I have.

    I am tired, but I also know there are things I won’t push myself to do. The cookies might not all get made. The presents might not have bows. The teachers won’t have homemade gifts, unless someone else makes them (which she did – thanks Lisa!) And my house might be a mess. But I will be happy on Christmas Day (and happier during the season of Advent) having learned to take better care of myself.

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  • I AM EMOTIONAL

    In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. 

    I am emotional. I would not have told you this about myself when I was younger. And perhaps I wasn’t emotional when I was a teenager (and before). But I have learned – over the past 25 years – that I am an emotional person. At least when it comes to certain things.

    Injuries, illness, and tragedy are a few of those “certain things.”

    Not in a way that feels inauthentic, or as though I am hanging-on to a tragic event to be involved. We all know people like that: they dive in and thrive on tragedy, wanting to swoop in and very publicly help out. While that’s not my preference, those people play a valuable and necessary role.

    No, my emotions come from an understanding of what it’s like to experience tragedy; to be injured; to have your life change in a way that is horrible – yet at times beautiful. My emotions are both physical and mental reactions that I can’t control.

    Last night, a Pittsburgh Steeler suffered a spinal injury. I watched it, and re-watched it. And it was awful. It IS awful. While many people prayed for him last night, and checked online to see how he was doing this morning; most Americans’ active interest will fade as the week continues. But not mine. Once you have experienced tragedy – especially a tragedy so similar in nature – it never goes away. And with one hit of a defensive player, it returns, even after 25 years. The emotions of the hospital, a spinal injury, the end of an athletic career, and an uncertain future, all flood back in an instant.

    I become emotional. Not for myself, but for the other person, for their family, for everyone whose lives will be altered by that hit. Ryan Shazier’s injury tugged at most people’s emotions; as it will for a long time for those of us who live with a spinal injury.

     

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  • I AM HARD ON MYSELF

    In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. 

    I am hard on myself. I am hard on others as well, but mostly it is a reflection of the perfection I expect from myself.

    My sister turned 40 last week while we were in Florida for Thanksgiving. As usual when we are together, we laughed and told funny stories about things we have done. One of those stories included a watercolor class we took on vacation.

    My sister is extremely talented. She is creative. She has an eye for art, painting, photography and style. She may not see it; but for someone who doesn’t have those things, I see her talents clearly. During our watercolor class, she painted a beautiful scene. I painted a flower with ridged lines and defined objects…not the point of painting with watercolors. But, as a perfectionist, I couldn’t even have something that was supposed to be blurry, blur together. It’s just not in my ability. And yet, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to paint with watercolors.

    I see this same trait in my son. He too is a perfectionist, and he too is hard on himself when he falls short of perfection. It can be a tough way to go through life, because no one is perfect. So expecting perfection means we’ll always fall short in our minds. I’m trying to help him see this, and it has given me some perspective as well.

    Perfection shouldn’t be the goal, we should only expect perfection in our efforts.

     

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  • ADVENT

    Today is the first Sunday in Advent. When I logged on to begin this post, I realized I had not written in a while; too long, one of the longest stretches without a post. And I sighed, feeling slightly disappointed in myself. What have I been doing? I knew the Fall would be busy; it always is. But I tend to find “I’m too busy” to be an untruthful excuse. Many of us are busy; so if something doesn’t get done, it’s perhaps not a priority.

    I was also reminded of my January resolution to write about 25 things I have learned in 25 years. Well, that hasn’t happened either. It’s not that I didn’t learn and it’s not that I didn’t think about writing, but my fingers never made it to the keys.

    So here I am, the First Sunday in Advent, looking back on my shortfalls from the year, and looking ahead with anticipation to a renewing of my faith and the birth of Christ.

    Advent is a time of Hope, Love, Joy and Gifts. And I hope to share those with you over the next four Sundays.

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