Ah.........Auld Lang Syne. Here we are two days into the new year and I'm already feeling nostalgic of "days long past".
Auld Lang Syne.......such beautiful words. I feel like they should be paired with a hot beverage and a fireplace.
I didn't think I would be absent from writing as much as I was. I had originally intended to complete one blog post a month, but life got a little ahead of me the last 6 months of 2021. Nevertheless, here we are and it's GREAT to be back.
So much has happened since I wrote last. What better way to begin 2022 but with a sense of gratitude and reflection for all of our experiences both good and bad. It was a year of many, many lessons learned, and it has been an absolute WHIRLWIND for me and my family.
Here's a quick recap of what has been going on with me both personally and professionally this last six months:
June and July were filled with excitement this year as I received my e-mail of acceptance to Emerson College speech pathology graduate program. Additionally, I earned a position with a new school district with a team of incredible people. I hit a lot of personal career milestones this year and I'm so extremely proud of where I am headed. I FINALLY get a chance to earn my master's degree in speech-language pathology. Currently, I hold a BA from the University of Houston (go COOGS!) and I am a speech-language pathology assistant for the state of Texas.
For starters, I DID NOT think that I would get into grad school. If you're in the speech field, or know someone in the field, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get into graduate school. This career is highly competitive and getting into a program is like striking oil.
Somehow, by the grace of GOD, I got accepted into one of the top-ranking online programs in the country! I couldn't believe it. I actually thought I had bombed my interview back in April.
I was a little apprehensive when I started my classes. I found myself wondering if I were smart enough, capable enough, .......would I even have the time to attend considering I work full-time, I'm a mother, AND I have a small business?
I don't know how I did it, but I did it. I managed to get through my first two mini-mesters with all A's and one B (thanks, Phonetics), and I'll be attending applied graduate courses January 12th. I've heard graduate-level neuroscience is a doozy.
Pray for me.
In August, we started the month off on a scary note when I contracted COVID-19 from my job. I was just attending my first week at my new place of employment, and we were set to begin the school year the following week. I had prepared my classroom, my lesson plans, you name it. I came home that Friday and felt worse than I had ever felt in my entire life. So, I ran to the nearest urgent care and got a rapid test that unfortunately came back positive. I knew in my heart that I had COVID before I got the test. The body aches are like nothing you have ever experienced, and once you realize you've contracted the virus, the anxiety and panic make it all the more horrifying. You're unsure of how it will affect you as it effects everyone differently.
I reluctantly ended up missing ten days of work at my new school district. To make matters worse, Wesley and my husband also ended up contracting the virus.
My knees hit the floor.
It was a horrendous feeling watching your husband pain, and your baby pain, and feeling your own pain and not having the energy needed to take care of everyone else. As mother's and wives, this is our calling. We nurture and take care of our family.
We were lucky enough to have had a wonderful support system surrounding us. Friends Facetimed, brought us food, got us medicine, sent messages, checked in persistently and prayed for us. It was a very tense two weeks that could have been so much worse.
Thanks be to God for getting us through that experience without hospital visits. It was an extremely scary time that I pray we don't have to relive.
Shortly after our recovery, my sweet husband decided to stop into a boutique in Old Town Spring to grab a gift for my 34th birthday. While shopping, the store owner, Terra, asked him if he would like to grab a pair of earrings to add to his purchase. Being the smart, wonderful, and amazing human that he is, he told Terra about Wesley James Co. and how I had my own jewelry line.
Intrigued, she asked to see my work and liked what she saw, and the next thing that I knew I was signing a contract for a space in her store. MY jewelry collection......yes Wesley James Co........is now located in Blue Buffalo Mercantile in Old Town Spring (Spring, TX). My collection launched October 1st, I sold nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise in my first month, I was one of the top selling vendors in their store during the month of October, and my pieces are now flying across the country to states like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah. Can you believe it?
Wesley James Co. has been open for ONE YEAR, and in just that short amount of time my little "idea" has seen an immense amount of success. While the business turned one year, so did Wesley James, and we have been in a tornado of walking, running, teething, climbing and more!
To be transparent, there are moments when I have felt overwhelmed........like I bit off way more than I can chew. The waves of inventory production, accounting, website maintenance, product photography, assembly of products, and persistent administrative duties are painful. As I have said many times before, owning a small business is not for the weak of heart. You have to hustle, often times until the wee hours of the morning and get up for work again at 6 AM. Of course, we can't forget our toddler who is cutting molars right now and having trouble sleeping through the night. It's a lot of long nights, a lot of pre-planning, a ton of persistent preparation and time management (which I still have yet to master).
It has been difficult to balance all of these things coupled with grad school.
I had a few negative experiences where my pieces fell apart in customer's hands and I wanted to crawl under a rock when I found out.
The holiday season required massive and rather quick inventory production and I didn't secure a few of my hoop earrings tight enough. Beads flew, sales were lost, time was wasted .....and..... I was embarrassed. Yet, I continued to give myself grace.
These are the pains of the process, and without them I won't grow.
November proved to be the most heartbreaking. I had to put my best friend and fur-son, Puzzles, to sleep as he became sick with an enlarged heart and fluid in his lungs. I had hoped that this was something that we could fix, but there was no saving him in his condition. The hospice veterinarian that helped Puzzles with his transition made sure that I understood this. It was the most difficult and saddest day of my entire life.
I put the Christmas tree up a little earlier this year so that he could see the colors and the lights. Puzzles loved sitting underneath the tree. I think it was the warmth of the lights that he loved the most.
My sweet little dog had been in my life since I was 24 years old, and he was always within arm's reach. Puzzles sat in every doorway to every room that I occupied. No matter where I was, so was he. Through every good and bad decision, break-up, new apartment or major milestone......my boy's passing was the most painful yet beautiful experience of my life. Puzzle's death put the essence of life into a perspective that I'm not sure how to share here. I've cried more tears into his fur than on any shoulder of any living human.
I have mourned him harder than any personal human loss to date, and I am crying and mourning him now as I type these words.
Puzzles and I were together for 11 years.
I will love him forever.
Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went. It was all a blur.
New Year's Eve was spent in the comfort of our home. We rang in the new year with the neighbors, and it was exactly what we needed. A nice, comfortable at-home experience to begin again.
Things change so much after you have children. While it doesn't mean that your life has to be a dud, spending time with your family just feels so much better than going out on the town. As I've grown older......the couch, my husband, and my kid are where the real party is at!
This time of year is so special and profound to me. As we navigate our paths into the future, we have to learn to let go of what "isn't" anymore. Often times, that can be very difficult. I always say that a lot of life is learning to let go. When your heart is grieving friendships long gone, people or pets that have passed, relationships that have ended, it can be a scary feeling to have to continue on into the next year without them. It's like staring into an abyss of the unknown. Until you find that thing, or someone else to fill the empty spaces of your life, we're all just left swimming in self-discovery.
Every year, we are forced to leave someone or something behind.
Letting go is so hard.........but what can I say?
That's life.......and that's the meaning of Auld Lang Syne. To feel nostalgia for things long past, but to keep moving forward while holding the memories of the lessons, the people, the pets, and the good and bad experiences all together.
"We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne....."
Happy New Year, friends.
May God grant you all of the peace and happiness possible in the coming year.