Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Letter To All Of My Long Lost Friends : a guest post

A Letter To All Of My Long Lost Friends

I am who I am today because of who we were yesterday.

By Halee Sikorski as seen on The ODYSSEY Online

Dear ex-elementary school pals, high school frenemies, or faux college sisters:
I hope you’re doing well. Quite like the seasons, I believe everything has a time and a place and as I’m sure you’re aware, not all good (or bad) things last forever. Ice cream melts, love fades and friendships time out. Whether we ended on a happy or sad note, I hope you know that I don’t resent you and your friendship to me is not overlooked.
We are all busy writing our own stories full of many characters along the way while we search for our own happy ending. However, moving on is always hard and sometimes change is difficult to cope with. Whether you were at the beginning of my story or recently intertwined, I want you to know that you had an impact on my life.
I often think of our adventures when I reflect on who I am today. You all have taught me many things. For example, I’ve learned you shouldn’t cry over lost stuffed animals because those can be replaced. Also, it’s never OK to cry over a boy. You can probably get revenge in some way, shape, or form. (Don’t ask what that means to a junior high girl). Finally, it’s always important to speak your mind and it’s okay if people don’t agree with you. I believe every person who has come into my life was put there for a reason. Whether it be for a lesson, a laugh, or even tragedy, I just want to make sure I take the time to say thanks for being around. So, if you ever see me around, I hope you say "Hi." Lost friendships are always ... (click here to read more)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why I'm OK that My Kid is a Benchwarmer

To my son who is (apparently) not the star on the team. 

So dude - you started strong and now, with the finish line in sight, you have fallen behind the pack. The pack being the starters. 

You're no longer first on the line up card. No one with a microphone is announcing your name. The crowds don't scream out and your jersey stays clean. 

And I can tell it bothers you. And what bothers you bothers me. But I have a few things to say about that:

1. You are not a better person when you are more known. Whether 6 people (the number of fans you have right here in your family) know how great you are or the whole town thinks you're great - you're great. Greatness isn't multiplied by increased knowledge. You're worthy and awesome because you are worthy and awesome. More people don't have to acknowledge that in order for it to be true. 

2. These probably aren't your best days. I know this game or this field or this team feels like the best moments of your life but son, it's only because you don't know what's ahead. Since I'm 45 let me tell you; there is a lot to live for and better days are promised in the years and months to come. You're not maxing out now. You're just not. 

3. And yet this is special. It's a quandary I know. These days are not the best you'll EVER have and yet they carry potential for being awesome. So relish it. Be in the moment. Capture photographs in your mind (or Instagram). Make memories. Because someday you'll look back on these photos and marvel at your trim waist or the seed spitting contest from the dugout and its those things that will make you happy. Not just the W's. 

3. W's are not as important as you, your coach or the fans think they are. Of course we play for a record and of course we love the taste of victory and trophies are shiny. But it's actually not about winning. Playing strengthens your body, stretches you mentally and being on a team fosters comradery. And if there is any skill you need in life it's learning how to get along with others. Please do your best. Practice hard. Develop grit. But in the end be a good person. 

5. By the way, that's MY name on your shirt. When you hit the floor (or field or pool or court) remember it may be you the public sees while I sit out on the bleachers but it's OUR name on your jersey. In other words you're not doing anything just for you, you're representing us - your family - aka your biggest fans. Be genuine, be you - but know what you do, how you play and your attitude creates connotation to the family name. Make us proud. 

6. And finally, while you're wishing you were a star I'm hoping your learning a valuable lesson. Losing, and the pain of dashed dreams, are the stuff grit is made of. When you don't get what you want in life it will either break you or create you. And in this house we're creators! Don't let yourself down because of game stats.  Use the pain and disappointment to propel you on to the next goal or dream or moment. If you want to be better - be better. If you want to try something else, do that. But in the end don't quit; not on yourself and not on your team. 

Sonshine, there is so much ahead for you. I can see the potential in your chest as surely as your heart beats. These days and these moments aren't the disappointments you think they are- they are the launchpad for what's to come. You might think being on top now is what you need and sure the attention is affirming but listen to me; your ball skills  and who recognizes your talent are not what you are made of. 

In the meantime, go check and see if your uniform is clean and water bottles ready. We have a game to get to. But look for me in the stands. That thumbs up I give you - the one you always ignore means, "I see you! And I'm on your team!"

Love, Mom

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Moving On

In 25 days we move. 
Into a new house. 
A bigger house.
A house not far from this one.
A house one mile away and yet it's on the other side of town. Because our town is small like that. 

To prepare to move all 7 of us and our stuff feels ...  intense. I don't really know where to start. The last time we moved it was 1999 and there were 4 Sikorskis. Now there's 7 of us. So? I just dive in; a cabinet here, a closet there.

Packing reminds me of our first move. 25 years ago - newlyweds who had no job prospects but an awful lot of that sappy love which makes you think you can conquer the world - loaded up a U-Haul trailer. The smallest trailer you could rent, just long enough for a full size bed, hitched up to our 2 door Chevy cavalier. I drove everything we owned across 3 states. Our first apartment was sparce but it was ours and I remember I loved it.

Thinking about our first place - and preparing to leave this one - has me nostalgic. Something I don't usually afford myself as the day to day survival & running of this tribe leaves little room for memory conjuring. 

In this house we have the markings on the wall where we documented the boys growth. In this house, on the wall just outside our room, it reads "Mom and Dad" because one of our little tykes wrote it there in blue ball point pen (but no one ever confessed they did it to this day). 

Today, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, walking past the markings on the wall lovingly running my fingers over the text, I decide to tackle my closet. I have 2 rods in my closet - well 3 if you count the space for the twins clothes. (Which by the way is a huge perk to the new house. I won't have MY closet in the girls bedroom). One rod, the main rod is my clothes; my work clothes, my play clothes, my regularly worn apparel.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Who Says Boys Dont Cry?

Feb 3, 2013

Every young man on that court was playing to win. As the roar from the crowd became hostile I reminded myself that every mother and father in the stands felt the same way I did. We all wanted our team to win. But somebody had to lose didn't they?

Emotions were running high at the big game this week and despite all my preseason confessions that I am not competitive, I found myself sucked in by the fervor of the crowd. I was turning hoarse before halftime.

Sure enough, it was a nail biter till the very end and alas, we were not the victors. That old saying "The thrill of victory and agony of defeat" stung deeply as our players filed off the court with their heads hung low. Our fans gathered our belongings and began to descend the bleachers. Some were angry, some were offended but most, like me, were sad. My heart was heavy for our boys who literally gave it their all.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


The word influence conjures up grandness for me. 
The White House has global influence. Hollywood influences culture. Even alcohol has the power to put you under the influence.
That is heavy stuff.
Influence carries a weightiness.
And yet, I hardly ever consider influence and it's presence in my life. 

Until this morning.

I went to bed with wet hair last night which means I woke with fuzzy, crazy hair. And since it was a lazy Saturday filled with errands I didn't *really* want to put a lot of effort into getting ready. So? Like a 44 year old woman who acts younger than she looks (me everyday!), I tossed my hair back in 2 piggy tails (also, I blame Pinterest because I found this and thought "I could do that!" #Wrong). 

Not. Even. kidding. 

My 11 year old came and found me after her breakfast and asked me to help with her hair. "Sure babe," I said, "What did you have in mind?"
"Will you give me two braids?"
"Yes," I said, "Piggy tail braids?"
"Yes," she said. 
I proceeded to comb my fingers through her hair. I marveled her shiny locks; her thick tresses. My heart skipped a little knowing the days were few and far between when she would need this kind of help from me. 
As my fingers moved swiftly braiding her hair I asked, "Bell, did you want braids because I had piggy tails?"
"Uh huh," she murmured as she sat cross legged, chewing her finger nails. 
I reached the end of the braid and she instinctively handed me a ponytail holder.

It was in that moment I realized what was happening in our exchange. Suddenly I felt the weight of my influence over my daughter and a heaviness settled in over my gushy heart.

It's just a hairstyle. It's not women's rights or political party affiliation or even faith - it's just pig tails. 
Nonetheless my influence -
my unintended, completely accidental, influence over my daughter was evident. 
I cupped her face in my hand after I secured the second braid and when I had her full attention I said, "I promise to always be the kind of woman you can look up to baby."

"Okay!" she said - shrugged - and ran away, on to the next awesome thing an 11 year old can conjure up when an entire Saturday lays out before you.

When I think of influence I think of important things.
When I think if MY influence I tend to be dismissive.

But if I'm committed to taking this life that I have and creating the best possible story out of it, I have got to be the kind of character that recognizes, understands and yields her influence with humility and grace.

It just took a lazy girl hairstyle on an insignificant Saturday and my t'ween daughter to remind me of that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Ouch! That Hurts"

I hate hurt.
I hate when my feelings get hurt.
I hate when my body hurts.
I hate toothaches.
I hate hangnails.

I hate when my friends hurt.
I hate when the poor suffer.
Injustice tears at my heart.

Above all else, I hate when my children are hurting.
Easily, when my mamma bear is poked, I raise up swinging my big grizzly head to and fro looking for the accuser. I roar and get ugly.
I want to be big
and puffed up
and scary
and cause more pain.


Cause more pain?
If everyone lived by that old adage "An eye for an eye" we would create a world that was blind.

This is what I know and this is what I hope my kids will learn;

Pain is valuable.
Uncomfortable, of course!
But don't be tempted to ward off the hurt less you trade the value of pain for the seduction of comfort-ability.

No one WANTS pain but it is unavoidable.

Sidenote: Reread that: Pain is unavoidable.
Therefore a parents job is not to deflect as much pain as possible for their child(ren).
It FEELS like it is our job. It FEELS like the right thing to do but it is not.
And here's why I believe that....

Of all the things comedian Jerry Seinfeld has said, this has to be the most meme-worthy.

I'll give you a chance to read it again....

 "Pain is knowledge rushing in to fill a gap"

Pain is knowledge.
Moments of discomfort teach us.
Agony coaches us.
Wounds prepare us.
Troubles sharpen us.
Aches inspire us.
Injury trains us.

I have a thesaurus ... I could go on and on...

If we could ever get to a point where - when we experience pain - we didn't RESPOND but PAUSE we might find we've been given a moment
to learn something -
let our children learn something.

And knowledge my friend, is power.

Good luck today, because none of us can escape or outmaneuver pain.
It's coming.
Might as well learn something from it.

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