Saturday, October 6, 2012


The two things that helped define who I am today, a much happier, healthier person are somewhat intertwined and maybe even the same concept on different levels.  Let me explain.  I have always been a people pleaser.  From a young child, I found happiness in making others happy.  Even at my own expense. 
As a young adult I was faced with choosing the man I love, or making others happy, specifically my extended family.  At this point, I knew I had to put ME first.  Even if the relationship with this man didn't last, it was my opportunity to make a stand and say "hey, I am most important first, then you."  
This was an enormous decision.
I had never before chosen me.  Thank goodness I chose me because I chose a man who makes me happy every day and who brought extreme happiness into my life through our kids.

The other decision came after my kids were born.  The twins, as you can imagine, took a lot of time and energy out of every day.  I had a lot of "friends" at the time.  There were a handful of relationships I found myself pouring into and not getting anything in return.
Granted, I didn't have the drama they had.   Maybe that would have made the relationship equal, I don't know.  In any case, as hard as it was, I ended the relationships on a very honest note.  I was brave enough to tell them I didn't want to be their friend any more.  I wasn't getting anything out of it but drama and emotional exhaust.  
My friends, who loved me, invested in me and were there for me as much as I was for them, deserved my attention and energy.  I know at the time I devastated a few women and for that I am not proud.  But I had to make this choice for me.  But the amount of weight that was lifted off of my back was immense and I am a much happier person for it.
My biggest challenge in life was letting go of being a control freak.  And really, it wasn't that I let go of being a control freak, as much as I was forced to let go to save my children.
I am a very type A person.  I am organized.  I am VERY tidy.  I am always on time.  Or should I say I was lol.  It was a hard lesson, and I know so many other lessons came from it as well.  
I was 16 weeks pregnant with my twins.  We received a call from my perinatalontologist (high risk doc) that we needed to meet immediately.  My blood work came back and there were some concerns.  We went back the next day to learn we had a disease called Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome, TTTS.  The boys shared a placenta and the nutrients were divided unequally.
One baby got too many nutrients, possibly causing a heart attack and the other didn't get enough nutrients, possibly causing starvation.  In a nutshell he told us the boys wouldn't survive and to go home and wait for the process to take place.  
I went home and slept for 2 days.  When I woke up, my husband had been busy researching the disease and found a doctor who would follow us throughout the pregnancy and gave us hope we could have 2 healthy boys.  
I had to go on bed rest.  Complete bed rest.  I was allowed to go to the bathroom, shower quickly and go to doctor appointments.   And I had to drink 3 protein shakes a day to fatten the three of us up.
I went from being the Chief Financial Officer at a commercial development company, someone who paid all my bills based on a calendar I set for the year, someone who kept a spotless house, someone who was socially active and physically active, someone who never had to ask for help, to a woman fighting for her kids lives without any power or control.  I had to give it all up.
I was fortunate enough to have a supportive husband who worked all day and waited on me hand and foot at night.  I had parents nearby who came and cleaned my house 2 times a week. 
I had in-laws who would come watch tv with me.  I had an Aunt who came and cooked every Sunday for us for the week.  
I would always thank my supporters but they never really understood the strength it took to allow people to do for me.  After the twins arrived, early but healthy, nothing was scheduled.  Nothing was predictable.
And I again had no control.  The only control I had was to love my family and make sure they knew how much I loved them.  It's the best control in the world.
An accomplishment I would like to share.  When I was 21 I applied for a receptionist position with a commercial real estate development company.  It was a small company, maybe 3 to 4 employees at a time.  At the same time I was hired, another woman was hired to do the accounting for the company.
She lasted 1 week.  I'll never forget the day she left because I asked my boss at the time "what are you going to do now?"  He looked at me without any question in his mind and said, "You’re going to take over her position."
I explained I knew nothing about accounting and as a matter of fact I didn't do a very good job balancing my own checkbook. 
He insisted that I would learn the information and he would be patient and supportive while I learned.  I took the challenge and eventually became the Chief Financial Officer of the company.  
The moral of the story is he believed in me more than I believed in myself at the time.  And if someone believes in you that much, it is really hard to not believe in yourself and even harder to fail.  Believe in people.  They will amaze you.
I would have to say the one lesson I have learned about friendships is it has to be equal.  Life is a beautiful journey and you should have friends who are like your sisters who won't judge you, who will be there in times of need and who expect me to do the same.  
I believe girlfriends are essential to a woman’s growth spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
The lesson I have learned about relationships would have to be just because you love someone, doesn't mean you have a relationship. Relationships are built on friendship, trust, humor, compatibility, attraction and yes, LOVE.
A lesson about success?  I know it never comes easy.  The harder you work for it, the sweeter it is.  
And most importantly you can do anything you put your mind to.   If you want to be successful, believe you can be successful, and work hard, you will be successful.
Being a woman comes with many different lessons.  I think the most shocking lesson I learned about being a woman is the amount of discrimination in the workplace a woman goes through.  
I am Hispanic and would think I would face more discrimination because of my race, not my sex.  I still wouldn't trade it for the world.  I love being a woman. 
Family is my heart.  Two different dynamics come to mind when I think of family.  The first is my husband and twin boys.  They are what I think of when I open my eyes every morning and the last thing on my mind at night.

I often wonder if I have a different understanding of how fragile life is and how important it is to show my family how much I love them every day.  

I really feel my family has taught me the hardest and most beneficial lessons to make me become the person I am.  The other part of my family includes my parents, and my brother and his family.  
We are a very close family.  We love, respect and truly enjoy each other.   I look forward to having similar relationships with my boys as adults as I do with my parents and brother.

My purpose right now, at this stage of my life is to help and watch my boys grow into good, respectable young men.  I know how fast time goes and I really don't want to regret soaking up all of the memories I can of my boys.  
It is so important for a mother and a father to be a part of molding boys into men, but I think a mom can give a boy a perspective that will benefit them as young men in a different way than their father.  My boys have come to me with very personal questions about girls, their bodies and life.  
I love that they still feel comfortable doing this and hope I react and respond in a way they will want to continue to come to me.  The good part is I have my husband to ask questions I don't know the answers to.  I love this stage of my life.
I would have to say my boys and my husband bring the most joy to my life, equally.  My boys simply amaze me. 
They teach me something new every day.  They fought to survive, thrive and learn when the odds were against them.  I have never met such strong, sweet, smart boys.  
My husband amazes me as well.  It brings me so much joy to watch him be a father to our boys.  He never gave up when the doctors told him there was no hope. 
He tells me every day how pretty I am.  And he claims every love song is ours.  He brings joy to my heart every day.
Life has taught me if you believe, in yourself, in love, in a higher being, in ones you love, in miracles and sisterhood, anything is possible.
One thing I can say about Brandy is that I saw GREATNESS in her right away.
There are many ways to see & discover greatness in others.  There are two ways that truly move my soul in unimaginable ways.  One is when you see it because a person is the real deal & don't have time for pretense or *BS*. 
The other is when they live their life through love.  They are not afraid to keep living & keep loving life, then you know you have found a true person, a true sister, a true woman & a true friend.  I can tell you without a doubt that THE BEAUTIFUL Brandy Barnes is the real deal & then some.  
She inspires me in countless ways but the most is in how she loves & pushes through life.  She is a woman after my own heart when it comes to family.  She truly understands the true meaning of family, friendship & what being a real woman means.  
Brandy owns her worth by bringing her beauty into each day by putting her joy into motherhood & allowing her greatness to be on display.  Not only is she a phenomenal woman, but Brandy is a priceless jewel who deserves to be loved & treasured always.  She is the truth!!!  I am grateful for women like her, but I am truly honored to be graced by the presence of such an amazing soul.  

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