T.I.G.F. Best Cousins

T.G.I.F. and T.I.G.F. — “Things I’m Grateful For” YOU!!! This was a mommy- ism of recent years. She was always coming up with new positive sayings whether of her own creation or recent research and reading. When we were teaching together at St. Vincent’s she would write this phrase on my lunch napkins. (Yes, she still packed a lunch for me because #teaching.)

This week has been tough – the shock and numbness of the past several weeks is wearing off and my depression is rearing it’s ugly head. Before this week, the sadness and despair I was feeling was grief. I could feel it. It didn’t feel like my depression. Now that reality is setting in, my depression has superseded my grief which is frustrating and scary, but I’m grateful I am aware of the difference and able to cope and manage it accordingly.

Yesterday, I was able to work from home in the morning. I called my boss cousin and she offered it before I could even ask. I could feel my entire body relax and I could breathe a little easier because I was able to do this. It was so simple to be able to work from home, yet so impactful. It’s times like this when my Dad’s classic advice about jobs rings true: It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep. You can’t put a price tag on keeping yourself calm and joy- filled.

Not only that, but my task of the day was to “immerse myself in munchkin land.” So I rented The Wizard of Oz and got to work researching and designing costumes and set pieces for the upcoming production. Talk about a dream job.

My angels continued to work in my favor, and when I arrived at my evening job there were four tasks for me to focus on. Two of which were creative research about dance and fun activities for the dance academy. Because of these tasks, I stumbled upon the perfect dance certification for me. I have been wanting a dance certification for years and this one fits all my needs and wants.

Of course, the first person I wanted to call was my mom. She would have been so excited for me. I know she would have heard my excitement over the phone and that I, in turn, would be able to hear a plyo- jack on the other end. Instead, I went home, poured a glass of wine, cheers- ed my momma love and contacted some cousins.

The dance certification workshop is in LA, so naturally I called my best cousin who lives out there to see if I could crash on her couch for a couple days. Of course, she was more than happy, willing, and excited to not only offer me space to sleep, but her car to use as well- true to the hospitality of our family. We continued to catch up on life together. She had taught Special Ed in NYC before moving to California and is switching up her role in education again. I love when people can see they need a change but continue to do what they love.

Next, my boss cousin called and we caught up some more. I gushed about my new plan with my dance certification and she gushed about her wedding plans. It’s so great to have someone in your life who gets you and she is that person. We are both a little weird and think differently than most people, but we just *get* each other. She is a great listener like my mom was and that is a quality that escapes many of us in this day and age.

After that call, my confirmation sponsor cousin called me because I had sent an “I am so sad rn” text. While many would just respond to the text, he called as soon as he saw it. It didn’t matter that it was pushing midnight. Of course, this should have come as no surprise to me because no matter the hour of the day he seems to answer quickly. I guess he doesn’t sleep! It was great to hear about his band and how he helped his bandmate’s son – a brand new sax player – learn more about the notes of his instrument. He was able to teach this kid enough so that he could jam out with his dad. How awesome is that? Another great example of seizing the opportunity to channel your passion into enhancing the lives of others. God, I love teaching what you’re passionate about. It’s a beautiful gift. This story really warmed my heart.

Last, but not least, I talked to my Hawaiian cousin. Our relationship had flourished when she moved to Hawaii. While the time difference may have made it difficult to keep in touch, for us, it really just brought us closer. She has been my go to late night phone call since college– sometimes you just need to cry at 1 a.m.! Luckily, by the time we got on the phone last night, there were no tears. We talked for hours about our dreams, goals, and how we are working to improve ourselves. We shared recipes and ideas with each other and then realized we should keep each other accountable in our goals. Which is really awesome, because I need someone to keep me accountable in a loving way. Before the end of the conversation, we had decided I would visit her before my LA workshop – more to look forward to!

By the end of the night it was the wee hours of the morning and I had my dose of special love. All I had wanted was to sit on the couch with my mom, share a glass of wine, and talk about our days, our dreams, and our desires to be the best- versions of ourselves. Luckily, I got the next best thing: family to talk with about what was on my heart. I am grateful for you, best cousins.

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