It’s crazy to think that it has now been 18 years that I have not been able to see your smiling face. I have been writing these yearly letters for 8 years now. Each year, there are so many more new things to tell you. I know that you are very involved in my daily life and are watching above. But, I still like to write these to help me feel closer to you. It helps me to keep your spirit alive and keep you close to my heart.
The past year has been a whirlwind. Last summer I started my job as a Personal Trainer. It has been an amazing year working with clients one-on-one to help achieve their fitness goals. I get a ton of gratification helping to educate people on their bodies and how to be healthier. I am hoping that if I just inspire at least one person to be healthier (and hopefully prolong their quality of life), then I am doing my job right. I think that you are one of the big reasons why Fitness has become such a big passion for me. I want to be the healthiest version of me. I want to help others be the healthiest versions of themselves. I want myself and others to be around for their families, and know they tried everything they could do avoid certain controllable diseases. Of course there are other diseases that are uncontrollable, but if we are our healthiest versions of ourselves then it’s in God’s hands and not our own. When cancer took you, I was mad at cancer! I knew you did everything you could to be around for your family. Plus, with your love of running I too inherited that love for putting on my shoes and hitting the pavement. I have learned it's a healthy outlet for myself and time to just breathe, think and clear my mind.
Just recently I also decided to start a sales job that I can do from home. The sales thing is a bit scary for me but because you were such a great sales person, I think I was able to jump in right away (you always made it seem easy). From you, I learned that it’s mostly about relationships, trust and credibility. I have learned so much from you in my short 21 years it’s crazy. I can’t imagine how much more I would have learned in my adult years, but I am blessed to have had you as an amazing mother and role model for the 21 years – not everyone gets that.
My kids are growing by leaps and bounds and are so much fun. I have learned from you to enjoy time with them and not let everyday tasks always get in the way. I dedicate one day a week to taking them somewhere fun where we can build memories and I can see big smiles on their faces. Joe and I try to create lots of family memories too- taking day trips or venturing somewhere new. I look back on our excursions so fondly and want that for my family too. On days when it’s hard to be a Mom of two young boys, I wonder how you did it with four. When I lose my patience, I think about how patient you were with us and how you never yelled. You always trusted me, and if I didn't do anything to lose that trust you gave me the space and independence to grow. I hope to raise my boys the same way. I never rebelled or pushed the limits because I didn't want to lose that trust. What an amazing mother you were and are!
As I get closer to the next decade in age, ha, I appreciate even more the confidence and independence that you taught me as a young girl. I am not scared of getting older, I am embracing it. I am doing what I can to be my best at the age that I am. Even though I am raising boys, I still hope to take your lead and show them confidence and independence will help them in their future (more than they may think). Because of the confidence and independence you taught me, I look at all the things I was able to do as a young adult in the 20s: be on my own for 10 years, travel alone, meet so many new and amazing people, to then in my 30s raise a family, work a few different jobs, and mostly just be confident with who I am and what I stand for. I can’t thank you enough for paving the path for who I am today. There’s no way I would be close to the same person without having you as a role model. I am blessed at the life I have been given- I have had hard times, but so many good times that if I didn’t have the confidence or independence I would not have done the things that I did. I had to go through some lows to get to the highs. Thanks for also showing me unconditional love and teaching me to always go after my goals. You set your goals high and went after them. I hope to continue to do the same and help my boys also follow those footsteps. You showed me to believe in who I am and to not let anything ever stop my dreams or aspirations.
It is scary to think that in a few years I will have been missing you the same amount of years that you were in my life. I hope you know how much I continue to miss you and cherish you. I know you are close by- every cardinal or butterfly that I see- I know it’s you dropping in to say hi. When the boys do something that reminds me of you I laugh. Braden this past year said “That’s Nana Judy” out of the blue when we were in a parking lot and I did a double take. My jaw dropped open. He has never met you, but he claimed you just walked by our car. Wow! I know you like to “pop” in and out. I ask that you keep doing that so I know you are OK and that you are here with us. Oh how I wish I could have one of your big hugs, but I know you are wrapping your arms around us all daily.
Your Pina Colada