Archive of ‘Confessions’ category

Parents of Children with Special Needs

By Natalie

To the man waiting in line of the busy store: Your son moans, and presses his hands to his ears. His ears are so sensitive, he feels closed in. He feels confused, and you hold him gently. You kiss the top of his head and calm him. I saw you.

To those of you who are in public with your children: I’m sorry for the people who stare. I’m sorry for the people who scrunch their faces and scoff. I’m sorry for the people who roll their eyes. I’m sorry for the people who point. I’ve seen you, and I am just as frustrated.

To the parents who take their children to therapy: You smile at your child’s progress. You watch in amazement as they are able to do things you never thought possible. I watch you, and I am joyous with you.

I feel the need to apologize to you for the ignorance of others. They do not understand. They don’t know the tears you have shed for your children. They don’t see the mountains of doctor’s bills, or insurance loopholes you have to jump through. They think your child is rambunctious. They think your child is a disturbance. They think your child should be able to walk or speak. Shame on them. I’m sorry for every finger that has pointed, every rude comment you have overheard. It may not be much, but may I tell you that you are beautiful people, and I admire you so. Do you know that you are built to be stronger than most? Do you know that I see you, and wish to express my understanding? There’s more of me out there, so keep your head up. Keep loving your little one, even through the heartache. In a world full of selfishness they need you.


Of Houses & Homes

By Natalie

I have a pet peeve, and it’s a silly sort of thing. I am very intentional when saying “We bought our first house” rather than our first home. I know it’s silly but it’s the truth. It’s the first house we’ve bought together. It’s not our first home. Our first home was our apartment. That was the first space we shared together, and made our own.homeGrowing up we moved several times. Which was not necessarily a bad thing. I owe my willingness for change to this. My need to redecorate and keep things fresh also derives from uprooting. It’s also the reason why I can randomly purge ridiculous amounts of items at any given time. Alright, purging mostly had to do with my cleanly aunt who can’t handle clutter. Every time we moved it was time to gather the troops. My aunt would come over and help my mom with packing. Somehow every time we settled down somewhere my mom seemed to be able to collect huge amounts of.. well stuff, just lots and lots of stuff. Thus making moves rather difficult. We would be sitting among massive amounts of my mom’s precious possessions, secretly tossing them when my mom turned her back. My aunt would look me in the eyes, trash bag in hand, and say “Natalie don’t collect junk, you learn to throw it away, or give it away.” I could see she was really trying to instill those words in me. For fear that I would end up the same. It was great advice, and I’m happy to say that I followed in my aunt’s footsteps. How many sentimental items are in your basement collecting dust? How is that even being enjoyed? Find something creative to do with your sentimental items, or toss them. Before you know it they will be closing in on you!

My point is, that I never felt like I had a home. We were either living with other people, or in a rental for a short amount of time. Nothing was ever permanent.

When I shared my first space with Brandon it was the first time that I actually felt like I was home. Purchasing our first house was a big step, and I am in love with it. But it was not our first home, it’s our current home. It wouldn’t matter where we lived or what house we owned. Wherever B is, is my home.

How to Get Out of the Grocery Store Alive

By Natalie

Once, I watched this terrible movie where a woman was abducted from a grocery store parking lot. Just packing her groceries in her trunk, and within seconds she was snatched up. I now refuse to go grocery shopping alone, especially at night. I much prefer for Brandon to be with me for many reasons.

  1. Protection (Don’t judge me. I have been hit on at the grocery store by meat packing men, true story.)
  2. To keep me accountable from buying junk food.
  3. So he can pick out all of the desserts and juice he wants. (Many a time I have come home with 2 juices in tow.) “Two juices that’s it!?” He’ll say. “I’ll finish that in two days!” The boy has low blood sugar I’m sure of it.

The catch to having Brandon grocery shop with me is there needs to be a list. He speaks of nothing but the list. “Do we have a list?” (while we’re on our way) “Where’s the list?” (when we walk in) “I feel like we’re not getting anything on the list…” (in the store) Well… that’s because I just scribbled a bunch of things down so you’d think there was really a list. The majority of it is in my head. This was one of those moments in my marriage when I realized you’re spouse is around to keep you accountable, and they force you to be a better person. You don’t know how many loving discussions we’ve gotten into over chips, or string cheese. I finally bit the bullet and decided that if it’s important B, it’s important to me. I have now learned that the best thing for us to do before we tackle the task of grocery shopping is to communicate beforehand. Go through the house, figure out what we’re out of, and write down anything we think we’ll want. Steer clear of categories such as ‘fruit’ and ‘snacks’. You’ll be in those sections forever! This makes for a happy husband in the storeIf you’re as bad as I am, and had him come along., and a much quicker shopping trip.

We recently went to Wegmans when apparently there was supposed to be a snow storm. We had no idea about the storm as it was 50 some degrees outside and sunny. Thank goodness we had our list prepared because I have never been in such a crowded grocery store. At one point I was walking down an aisle and a woman was bent over. She began backing up… several steps… without looking… what on earth? Don’t people know not to bend over like that in public? You never know what some weirdo will do to you. IMG_8082

We later walked by a woman with her two preteen children in the cereal aisle. “Keep walking.” she said to the kids. They weren’t concerned about getting out of the way, they wanted their fruit loops. She proceeded to push the cart… into her children, causing that awful pain in the achilles. You know it, it’s happened to all of us. Then you look at the driver of the cartMost likely a family member. and scowl. Apparently the worst side of people is brought out during a ‘snowmagedon’ or ‘snowpocalypse’ (which are two words I despise for some reason. Maybe because it’s only 4-6 inches of snow and I will be driving the next day?) You are only snowed in for a day people. Do you drink 3 gallons of milk in a day?

Needless to say, we made it home where I was able to witness something once more. The attempt to carry every bag inside in one trip. Why can men not accept that there should definitely be 2-3 trips back to trunk? I can drop off a load of groceries inside, come back out, grab some more, and come back out again to close the trunk by the time he has loaded up one arm.

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That is seriously what he looks like. An accomplished smile crosses his faces while he trudges into the house. Don’t mind the trail of items that have wriggled their way out of that tangled mess. “Here babe.” I say motioning for the spot I cleared out on the counter or table. Nope, couch looks like the appropriate place to set them down. Then he’ll plop down beside it like “What? I just carried all of that in for you. Aren’t you grateful?”

Truth is I am grateful. The dynamic in a marriage is so precious to me. B has his antics, and I’m sure he could tell you mine. Sharing your life alongside someone is such a gift. So the next time your man carries all of those groceries in at once smile at him, and say thank you.

The Story of Samson

By Natalie

All my life I had longed to have the companionship of a dog. Believing that dog’s were simply too much responsibility my mom always seemed to settle with cats. The cats were alright, but they just weren’t what I had always wanted. Brandon had grown up with dogs around and promised that the day we got a house we could have a dog. Disclaimer: there is a certain quality in me that I’m not necessarily proud of, but I cannot deny. When I’m given hope for something in the future I want it as soon as possible. The closer it gets the more frustrated I get, and beg to have it sooner than anticipated. B calls it ‘light at the end of the tunnel syndrome’.

When the offer was accepted on our house we began our search for our new family member. One sunny Sunday afternoon we decided to go to Petsmart where the Orange County Animal Shelter was holding adoptions. That’s were I fell in love with our Samson. I had taken a particular liking to him, and the volunteers must have noticed, as they asked us if we’d like to take him for a walk. We stepped outside and this big goof of a dog strolled about like he was the happiest dog in the world. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the dog for me. I couldn’t resist his adorable big head that I could kiss all day long.

We went home and thought about our decision to adopt him. The closer we came to closing on our house the more we felt like he was the dog for us. Immediately after signing papers to close on our house we drove to the Orange County Animal Shelter to adopt our boy. The whole time we were there I was giddy with excitement.

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Our first family photo  was taken the day we closed on our house. I couldn’t have been more delighted. He was my first dog in our first house.

Dog ownership was even better than I had envisioned. I loved having Samson around when B was out so I didn’t have to be by myself. I loved the way he had to lay behind me while I cooked and washed dishes. I loved seeing his excitement when we arrived home from a long day. I loved how cuddly he got when he was sleepy at night. I loved waking up with blurry vision and seeing him there laying beside me, not a care in the world. You could see in his eyes that he was grateful to have a new happy home.

We gave Samson a chance, which is more than most people would have done. We did our research, and we found that we were up to the task of caring for a fun loving muscular dog. That’s one of those things that I continually try to remind myself. We rescued him, and loved him with no judgement. I wouldn’t ever change that even if I was granted the opportunity. I had my sweet boy for under a month when he was taken. It’s a wonder how in under a month I was able to grow so fond of him. He had a chance to meet family and friends. He had numerous nicknames including Sammy Sosa which just kind of came out one day, and stuck. He was spoiled by my friend Chloe who saw no fault in him. He enjoyed multiple firsts with his new parents. Moments I’ll never forget like his first bath, which was more of a wrestling match between the three of us…

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Look at that smile!!

So often we read the news articles and sympathize with the victim, with good reason. The innocent deserve to be sympathized. It is rare to ever hear the other side of the story. I feel as if it’s time to tell it. Not just for me, but for all those who are on the other side. We sit in shame, and guilt, all the while accepting punches from others for fear of what they might say if we defend ourselves. Samson ripped a metal stake out of the ground right before my eyes, and bit another dog. It was a moment that will forever be stained in my memory. I understand the victim. Trust me I do. But I’m tired of pretending like I wasn’t hurt in this situation. As B put it “How must the parents feel of the children who orchestrated terrifying school shootings, and threats. Parents of the victims are angry, and grievous. but the parents of shooters… how must they feel?” Will you sit back and deny the fact that they are grievous as well? For losing their own children, and feeling responsible. What I went through was so minuscule in comparison. I don’t expect you to understand, I honestly don’t. It’s a difficult thing for people to accept the fact that those people are suffering as well. I do however urge you to take these words to heart.

We enjoyed every bit of this dog leading up to that traumatic day. My mind is full of ‘If onlys’ . It is full of regret. Not regret of adopting Samson, but regret for bruising his breed name. Regret of being in the front yard that day. Regret of not protecting Samson. Never did I ever believe I would have to go through such a difficult series of events. Until I find the strength to capture the memory of that day I will leave you with all I have left of him. My memories.

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My Top 10 Suggested Reads

By Natalie

If you asked me where I was when I read a certain book I could tell you. If you asked me how I felt at a climactic moment in a book, I could tell you. Books have this way of capturing a point in time, almost like any other sense that brings you back to a moment. A sound, a smell, a taste, a feeling, a story. I owe my love for reading to my sister Nadir. It started with her offering to help me read a book for school. The very next day she admit to me that she had finished the book because it was so captivating. Of course I had to see what she was talking about. I made myself comfortable in our big wingback chair and cracked the book open. For the very first time I fell in love with reading. When I say I fell in love I mean I fell in love with all of it. I love to cozy up with a book, not knowing what to expect next. I love turning each page, and getting excited for how close I am to the end. I love the first sentence, to the slow middles, to the satisfying endings. (more…)

A Humerous Email

By Natalie

I often feel the urge to write when I’m at work. It’s much like feeling a craving come on that needs to be satisfied. So what am I to do when I’m at work and feel the urge to write? I look for inspiration around the office, and occasionally express my writing in email form. The following is an email I typed up to my manager.

Subject: Potential Heart & Soul Award goes to… Kristen Suchocki!

Alison,

While you were away it came to my attention this Thursday night that around 5:30pm Kristen was really getting into her therapy. I stepped out of the front office to find another thing to add to our burdensome Thursday. A broken stool. She has been so dedicated to her patients, wheeling all around them.. Stabilizing them, mobilizing them, making them feel all better, you know. She thought all was well in the world of Kristen until suddenly to her dismay the wheel of her stool broke off! Shattered might I add. It’s ok, don’t fret, our beloved PT was just fine finishing her session in crouch position. However, we can’t stand aside and expect her to be able to meet her full therapist potential in uncomfortable positions. She is a bride to be! You remember the stress, right? We must make her comfortable.

Our poor Kristen now desires a nice new long lasting stool. We know the expenses for Stafford are great. We also want you to know that we greatly appreciate all of the therapy materials you have provided us with. Do you think that maybe there would be any way we could get our poor Kristen a new stool?

Sincerely,

A very bummed out Kristen, and Natalie

Wasn’t that much more entertaining to read than Kristen broke the stool? Ok now go run out into the gym and take a look at it!

Happy Friday!

How Having An Absent Father Affects a Girl

By Natalie

A message to all those ungrateful daughters out there. 


It is due time. Due time for me to get this off my chest. There are too many girls out there who need to hear it whether they are a victim to it, or ungrateful for what they have. There are too many fathers out there who need to hear it. Whether they are teetering on the edge of being absent in their daughter’s life, or still adoring his sweet baby girl.

Most who are close to me have heard the story, and every time I share my thoughts on the subject my younger self heals a bit more. My father wasn’t absent in my life so that I could cry over it every day, and feel sorry for myself. What would be the point of that? So I’d pray for a purpose and ask God why I was a victim to feeling so meaningless. Over the years I’ve found the best I can do is share my story with others. In hopes to change lives. In hopes of bringing fathers and daughters closer together for both of their sake.

There were days when we were dating that Brandon would tell me he loved me. Sure, I thought. You love me. But my Dad told me he loved me all the time. Yet somehow it was fine for him to contact me 3 times a year, and see me twice a year. Is that really love? I hardly knew the man honestly. It was weird you know, to have dinner with a man who I was so much like in appearance, and taste, yet he was a complete stranger to me. B always tells me he loves me, and I know he means it because he is there for me. It’s as simple as that.

All through our dating relationship I was convinced I wasn’t good enough. I was always confused as to why B stuck around. Nobody had done that before, and I kind of didn’t know how to handle it. If there’s anything that I was frustrated with my father about most it was the fact that his absence made me incredibly fearful. And fear has a way of creeping into relationships. He was never around. He never hurt me physically, but he wrecked me emotionally. Then one random day B looked me in the eyes without any hesitation and said I will never leave you. They were the most shocking, emotional, and relieving words I’d never thought I would hear. I hadn’t even realized I was needing to hear them until he said them. With complete sincerity, and a wondrous amount of love he shattered my past wounds. No girl who has an absent father needs to be a victim to her past, and every woman deserves to love with hope, trust, and freedom.


Father Daughter Dances

There are girls out there that roll their eyes at their father in embarrassment, and my heart aches every time I see it. Is he really all so bad? Has he supported you? Has he been present in your life? Has he said he loves you, raised you, hugged you? Shall I repeat? Is he really all so bad? These are the things I craved, and still do. A Dad who tells silly jokes, tucks you in at night, makes you feel safe and protected. Sure he may be a bit embarrassing but he wishes the best for you, and provides for you. Be grateful for that father daughter dance you will have at your wedding which was robbed from mine. Think in that moment about how blessed you are to have a man who raised you pass you off to the man who will take care of you for the rest of your life. My sisters and I, as I’m sure most girls like us do, will always cry our eyes out during a father daughter dance. It’s longing for that moment that we never experienced, and that relationship that was nonexistent. But it’s also hope, that there are good dads out there who care.

So if you are a dad, you can make more of an impact on your daughter than you believe, simply by expressing your love for her. If you’re a daughter, tell your Dad you love him. If you are still hurting from a broken past, know that all is not lost. There are days that I still struggle, and question, as I’m sure my older sisters do as well. There is no shame in feeling abandoned. But know that you are worth something! You do not have to live in fear that every man will leave you.

It seems appropriate to dedicate this post to a few good men. First and foremost Brandon, who taught me true love. My generous Father-in-law who’s been the best dad to me, and every dad I’ve seen giggling with his girl, you have all been a part of my healing.

A Message From the Heart

By Natalie

Sometimes one must write down their thoughts in order to make sense of things.


If there’s one thing I’m ready for in my life it’s complete honesty. Beginning with myself, and then to others. No person, and no task gets very far without sincerity. I figure if I actually plan on passionately pursuing my writing this time around then I need to lay it it all out. The good, the ugly, and the just plain depressing. The only way I am truly able to express myself is through being genuine. I have so many stories to tell, and dreams to hope towards that have been overflowing in my mind. It’s about time I do myself a favor and organize my thoughts. I’ve needed a place to stash all of my memories. A place to share my blessings, and a place to simply ramble.

I’ll start with something simple to break the ice… it seems appropriate in this moment to make a somewhat embarrassing confession. I absolutely love Pork Rinds. I know, such a small thing. Yet I would never admit it to people, or even purchase them, for risk of what people will think of me. Even my husband! This is the man who sees me at my worst when I am sick, when I am exhausted, and when I’m grumpy before breakfast. How could I be so embarrassed to tell him that I would much prefer a bag of pork rinds than a box of chocolates every now and then? Not often of course. I mean goodness could you think of something less healthy? Just very rarely, it’d be nice to splurge on my favorite snack.

I am proud to say that the cat is finally out of the bag! I love pork rinds! There, I said it, and I’ll tell you a secret… I feel a million times lighter.

 

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