Ask Toi: How do you tell someone about your will and whom your kids will go if you should die and it’s not them?

Well this was an interesting question this morning.

The back story for my readers is the husband and Wife made their wills to include who their young children should go to in their death…..the grandparents are upset they weren’t chosen….

First of all I pray that you are here for your children and this will never have to go into an active plan. However the reality of your children not going to either parents is a harsh reality. Parents being a caregiver after they have raised their own kids isn’t always an ideal situation. Age of your parents, their health, how active they are with their own grandkids and suitability doesn’t always match title. You need to take into consideration how you were raised and how the grandparents interact with the kids to play a major role in them being chosen.

There should be many factors in making that hard decision. It shouldn’t be based upon friendships or family relationships to be honest with you. It should be about whom aligns the best with you and your husband’s parenting style and who will give your children the same type of lifestyle that you would if you were still here. You can’t choose people to raise your children in your place just based on relationships.

Also how often does the children interact with whomever your choosing? How active are they involved with the kids? These things matter. Think about you not being here, your kids being devastated and then having to live with people they know only in title. If whomever you’re choosing hasn’t made efforts to be in the kids’ lives they shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Also one of the biggest things to think about is how whomever you choose deals with discipline. Discipline is a major compartment in who you choose. If someone doesn’t align with you and your husband than they shouldn’t be on the list. Also factors with age and appropriateness needs to be within your decision making process as well.

So although either parents don’t make the list you can approach it in the sense of being honest with them. Let them know that you love them and you want this decision to be in the best interest of the children involved. Parenting is hard and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. You can talk as little as you want about the choice.

Know that they will be upset. There is no way around it. They will be offended that you come off feeling that their parenting is not enough. This is what they feel. Even if it’s true you have a right to feel the way you do. They will think that you don’t value what they taught you and it’s not good enough for your kids. Some parents may come off rash and demonstrate further why they weren’t chosen by being even more disconnected to their kids. Either way you have to find a way to take all of these things into consideration but still make the decisions for the kids at hand that matter!!

Ultimately whatever chooses you make is dependent on you and your husband and as long as you can live with the decisions, everyone else around you will have no choice but to accept it. Also even though you have not chosen the grandparents, still apply the same logic in whom you do select.

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The Worst Advice I Have Ever Received…

So I think bad advice is any advice that is strictly from another person that doesn’t take into account your life. There is not one word that fits everyone. We think that just because it seems like good advice that it will work out all the same. But that is not the case. Just like with life advice seems to be work out differently and varies from person to person.

So let’s get to it…..having children is so super natural that after you birth them you know exactly what to do. It is not as natural as everyone makes it out to be. At least not for me. I knew how to do the basics, but there are a lot of things that comes with having children that didn’t feel as authentic as the books and folks makes it sound. Let me squash all the folks that would love to try to “go up on Tuesday,” I love all 3 of my children. So let’s squash that now. It was never lack of love but lack of mothering skills that I thought I wouldn’t be enough for them.

mothers

My pregnancy with each of my children were all different. Each pregnancy came with their own sets of issues. The bonding with each child also was different too. That is fine as I believe to this day that the difference with having 3 kids should always be taken into consideration with how they are raised. However when you add in the birthing experience and nursing, pumping or bottle feeding and all the things you must quickly learn, the natural instinct didn’t kick in like folks tried to sell me. Some folks said once the baby was out of your womb you would just feel like you had been having kids all your life. I have to STAWP you there, that didn’t happen. I felt like I was tired all of my life. I felt like I was overwhelmed all my life. I felt like I was not prepared all my life, but not one time did I feel like a champ of motherhood just from birthing my kids. I needed so much guidance. I got to shout out the mothers.  I don’t mean just women who have babies. I am talking about the old mothers that we lack today. It’s rare to find a mother of Zion like the old folks used to call them that would give you advice, had enough tenacity to listen, and be there for younger mothers. You see that, teach AND listen. It’s a lost art.

We love to tell folks that don’t have kids how great it will be. It is great if you are talking about the overall sense of accomplishment. We fail to tell folks the real of what to expect. Handing me my oldest child in the hospital came as a shock.  I didn’t get to connect with her right after birth due to her being premature and that made me feel like I had no clue who she was. I felt more connected to her in the womb than outside. Reality hit me like a ton on bricks. I knew how to feed her and told myself well the other things would come. It did but those first few months as she was sick, listening to everyone tell me what I was supposed to do didn’t feel as organic as everyone suggested.  I really wish I could go back and set a few folks straight about a few things. Having a baby is an outer body experience. There are more times that I felt like I didn’t know what to do or who I was becoming. That has nothing to do with the actual child but the preconception of what I believed as a mother in the early years. News flash, even after the 3rd child I still wondered if I having another one was a good idea. It was obviously, but that feeling of natural instinct is always shuttered by doubt and lack of information.

crescent moon and cloud wind chimes

Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO on Pexels.com

I really hope that other mothers who I KNOW FOR A FACT have gone through this, would be honest. It’s not a lack of love for your child (ren) but its a lack of trusting in yourself or lack of information to the new expectations of motherhood. So let’s mark false to all mothers having this natural nurturing ways about them as soon as they birth. Overtime you get better. Over time you develop what your child needs. So although our womanly body is “made” to birth babies, the mind and the body and the emotions have to link together to make the whole experience better.  I applaud all women to understand that above thinking that it will all just come together like a jigsaw puzzle on its own.

Monday Motivation: Small Nugget Lessons

So if you’re lucky to have odd today on this supposed holiday kudos to you. To the rest of us grabbing our life line I mean coffee cups, we out here surviving! Today I decided to give you some little nuggets to help your Monday progress!

  • Mute on your phone works-there are people you don’t feel like entertaining on your phone mute them. This way you can answer their shenanigans on your time
  • Saying no is just as powerful as a yes
  • If you are involved with someone or something that is a point of anger or issues, end it (it’s your choice to stay)
  • Happiness is a personal job! Stop making folks pay a bill that God gifted you with the sufficiency to pay
  • Step out of faith. Just cause you are scared doesn’t change it being a faith walk nonetheless
  • If you need help ask for it
  • Strength is in finding your purpose not staying in dysfunctional situations
  • Take social media breaks; even if you need to set a timer to help. Too much of it isn’t good
  • Write this week’s goals down-you can’t achieve it without being clear in what the it is
  • Limit foolishness this week
  • Reduce your reality television trust me it does something for you
  • Instead of wishing you had something someone had, find out what you really like or need and focus on that
  • Don’t like your job? Get your resume out there and actively search
  • Work week feels overwhelmed; what can you do to organize the things around you?
  • If you’re a mom and you’re ready to pull your hair, gather your edges and break down your stress to find small solutions until your bigger solution comes
  • If you’re dating someone and the red flags are mounting, don’t ignore them
  • If you’re married and it seems like you’re off base, find ways to change you and pray for your mate. Sometimes small changes in you will inspire them
  • If you’re divorced know that finding a new life isn’t easy but it’s doable!

Enjoy your week! Take control of the things that you can control! Don’t feed into negativity. Drink your water. Work out. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Dedicate to healthier eating habits. Mind your business. Grow your business. Spend time laughing. Find the joy in the bad!!

All of the mentioned above will give you an awesome day and week!!

2018 Light the Night

9 years ago I met this bubbly personality in my girl Jen! We met at work. We quickly clicked. We were even pregnant at the same time and a bond was made. I got a call that Jen was diagnosed with cancer! I was in such disbelief. There was no way she had cancer. She didn’t seem phased she went right into let’s fight it mode. Everyone around her took on the same mindset. It was time to fight!

The family organized to provide food for her while she went through her treatments. Everyone was full hands on deck. She pulled through while losing all of her hair, being tired, being sick but she did it while raising her boys and being a wife. Lymphomanics was made! We came together and we have been walking for at least 5 years! Friday October 5, we came together and walked to help stomp out cancer!

If you don’t know what Light the Night is take some time to read up on the blood cancer, the various types, and how you can help the cause. It is not only dear to me as it was a source of support for Jen, it is also an organization I will probably be behind for years to come!

White lanterns are for survivors.

Red lanterns are for supporters and care givers

Gold or yellow is in memory of someone who unfortunately lost their battle with cancer!

When it’s night the lit lanterns are carried to be a symbolism of the fight that so many are there to stand behind.

One day as we continue to raise money there will be a cure so that people of all ages will never have to get that call that cancer has come calling. It’s a beautiful sea of lanterns walking together!

Thank you to organizations like Light the Night for supporting families like Jen push through. Thank you to the Lymphomanics for still answering the call to continue and forever stand behind Jen and her family. Thank to all who have supported this year and the years of the past. Thank you to my family for supporting me as I travel to attend the walks every year! Thank you Jen for your continued love and support!

Children’s Hospital Parkway 5k

This is the 16th year for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Parkway 5k that benefits children cancer. This was my 1st year running it!

What I loved about it outside of raising money so no child has to deal and endure cancer and its side effect is the people who participate in it. These are families of current and unfortunately some who walk or run in memory of a child who has had cancer. That is heartbreaking to say the least.

To find that kids and their families having to deal with cancer is unimaginable. I didn’t run with a team but as an individual because as a parent I would be devastated if I received cancer’s news. I pray that no one continues to hear those words. Until then I plan on raising money towards these funds to assist families during their time of need.

I want to thank the amazing fellow runners who were beyond super welcoming, energetic and supportive. I also want to thank those who donated! Such an amazing thing to know that there are others in this world who feel the need to support children! All of the sponsors at the run were amazing! I also want to thank my family and friends for being super supportive! Lastly let’s thank the Lord and these knees! I am finding that my knees are at a place where they need them extra stretches but everything I cross that finish line (finished today at 33:11) I’m grateful to be able to do the one thing I love and it’s to run!

Special recognition to Icy Hot for being in the clutch as I begin to wind down!!

Until the next run which is in 6 weeks and my walk next week! Let’s see what these knees can do!! I conquered yet another one!! I’ll be recovering my noodle legs and attempting to set my week straight!!

Daughters Day

Daughters are simply wonderful.  My 2 girls make me feel like a super hero mom because they look up me like I look up to my mom.  The one thing I want for them is to be able to look past me and do what makes them happy and whole. They both have different personalities and they both have unique talents and gifts that I can’t wait to see how they give back to the world.

My open letter to my daughters:

Dear Naila,

From the first moment I thought you were in danger at birth I cried and asked God to protect you.  As my health went left bringing you into this world I asked God that if we both couldn’t be here that He would allow you to shine your light on the world.  I was 28 and although young enough to need guidance but old enough to take care of your needs, I can admit I felt lost.  Every thought of what I was supposed to do entered my mind.  No one told me about how to take care of me while taking care of you past going to sleep when the baby sleeps. There was so much more that I needed to know.  I definitely put you first. I watched your Hanmom put herself first with me so I had the blue print.  However the many times we went to the doctors those nights watching you while you slept I asked God to guide me as we got through it.  I didn’t realize until now that your smiles through it all was a lesson.  A lesson as an adult I forgot time to time as stressed mounted.  The smiles I forgot many times as I worried about my own abilities instead of seeing that you were fine and we would eventually be fine.  You are getting older.  You see things differently from being an infant.  You are questioning yourself and who you are. The girls around you aren’t always a help. I hope that you take the time to see how much of a jewel you are.  How much I admire you and how much you teach those who are willing to take in the lesson.

My prayer is that as your grow, you will become assertive in your needs. I pray that you will continue to be a leader.  That you will know its okay to be quirky. It’s okay to love fun days. It’s okay to love and watch and discern others.  I pray that you never lose your positivity. Your dad and I would talk about how bright you are and we hope no one will dim your light not even us. I love you “best friend.” Show the world who you are and whose you are!

Dear Noelle,

They say the 3rd time is the charm. They were correct. By the time I had you, I learned how to manage myself. I learned how to eat better with you. I was better prepared for you.  I knew what triggers in my pregnancy to look for.  I had gotten to the point to manage the stress and those who were stressors. I remember when my life was again on the chopping block. I was about 4 months pregnant and I got the news that I had a blood clot on my brain. I cried so bad.  I said what is it about these girls that they take me through so much.  I still don’t have that answer but I knew if I would be taken that I had started to show your big sister the love and she had enough love to give it to you.  Thankfully God spared us both.  You are such a mother’s dream.  You are spunky, cheerful, and really you read people like nothing I have ever seen.  You really channel your great grandmother by who your middle name comes from.  You channel your dad’s mom too.  So know I’ll be watchful of you.  I see how shy you are in mixed crowds but once your comfort levels are up you take over. I love that you don’t allow folks to talk slick to you.  You do the slick talking. I love that about you and regardless of what people may say, as long as you remain respectful I hope you never change that.

My prayer for you is that you take life and run with it. That you continue to command respect from those around you. I pray that you become this singer and entertainer you want to be. I pray that you life your life on your own terms and never stop just because a few won’t agree with you. I pray that you are always surrounded by love and folks that are grounded.  I love you, Noodle!

My prayer for both of you is that you stay connected. That as much as you get on each other’s nerves that you always look out for one another and lean on each other when times gets hard. I pray that if I should not be there to watch your milestones (and I pray that I am) that you would take each other under and become strong and best friends to each other. That you lean into one another and that you would continue to love each other.  Remember you are Storr girls, and Storr girls always make good choices, are strong and confident, and defy naysayers.

World Gratitude Day

Everyday is a day to be grateful! Not some days when the chips are up but everyday single day! It takes so much to forget gratefulness but it’s important!

Let me tell you what I am grateful for:

  • Life: a few years ago I should have been gone a few times but I’m here so I’m looking forward to living
  • My kids: nothing is more important than them. They are my world and I treat them as such!
  • My husband: he irks me to no end but he’s mine and I’m grateful for the portion of being married
  • Employment: so many folks want to be working and can’t and to have the ability to gain money is a blessing
  • Blogging: the ability to enjoy what I do and consistently in it
  • Family: I have so many awesome family members who are super supportive and caring
  • Fall coming: I can’t wait for sweaters, sweats
  • Fitness: I have a race per month the ability to run and work out I do not take for granted
  • Friendships: my circle of girlfriends have gotten so much tighter and I love them and grateful for the sister-ship

So what are you grateful for? I could list a thousand things because everyday that you wake up is a blessing. I choose to wake up and find joy into anything. Sometimes it’s hard. There are trials and tests that I don’t pass daily. I can admit that. But I am grateful for the ability that if I do mess up, I can always try again.