Breathe In, Breathe Out

A Milestone to Celebrate September 24, 2013

Filed under: My posts — elanaalfred @ 10:52 am
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Oh, hey! It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it?

I can’t think of a better reason for getting back to my writing than a celebration!

When you’re young, there is one day of the year that you typically look forward to the most, excluding Halloween. Your birthday! It’s everyone’s one day of the year that you feel the most special, maybe the most popular in the playground, and everyone wants to be nice to you. The best part about birthdays is that everyone gets to celebrate one when it’s his/her turn.

As you get older, birthday celebrations don’t feel as thrilling. I don’t know at what age it starts to happen, I’d imagine it’s different for everyone, but getting another year older starts to feel daunting, you’re no longer wishing the year would go by quickly so you can celebrate again because you know that the year will inevitably go by quicker than you can imagine, and now instead of bringing cupcakes to share with friends, you’re going to work on your birthday and unsure if anyone even knows that it is your birthday. I have just made birthdays sound super negative, when in fact they are not at all, even as the years go by.

Today is a really special day–it’s Eamonn’s 30th birthday! I have to admit that though I have only known Eamonn for 1/5 of his life, it seems very strange that he could already be 30. It is so true that the years really do fly by.

I met Eamonn just after his 24th birthday. Which means that his first birthday I celebrated with him was theEamonnin the wind big 2-5. I was so excited to plan a big bash for him—I invited all of his friends over for a party, I ordered his favorite dessert, key lime pie from Florida, and I bought him a pair of sneakers that I knew he was waiting to order for himself. It was a great way to kick off his 25th year. Now when I think back to that birthday, I would have absolutely celebrated in the same way, but I realized that I didn’t really appreciate and consider what it was that we were actually celebrating.

Birthdays should be a celebration of life. Since knowing Eamonn I have really taken to respect that more and more. Over the past six years, I have watched Eamonn survive his hardest days, taking each day in stride, and as much as he can, maintaining a positive attitude. Yes, the past couple of years have been nothing short of fantastic, with his health stabilizing and him generally feeling like himself, but that doesn’t change the fact that every day Eamonn has to work for his life. But every day he does it, without complaints.  In actuality, Eamonn celebrates life every day—by living his life, not necessarily one that he would have wished for, but the one that he has been given.

Friends, as you start to celebrate your milestone birthday (I know you’re all thinking that I have no right to talk because I’m not even 29) perhaps take time to reflect on how you want to celebrate life. You may not have everything you wanted by the time you turn 30, maybe not everything is as you imagined or expected, but I can guarantee that everyone who is reading this has at least one, and I would guess more, things to proud of, happy with, and that call for a celebration. As we all start to enter a new decade, don’t think as much about “Oh my goodness, how did I get here?” Think more about “Oh my goodness, I made it! I’m 30, and it’s going to be awesome!” Every day is precious, and birthdays can remind us of that. So, celebrate however you like, throw a huge party, travel somewhere new or somewhere old—but whatever you do, be excited you’re getting older. Celebrate what you do have and what you have achieved. And whatever it is that hasn’t met your expectations—go after it. And don’t forget to bring cupcakes to work—a year older doesn’t mean that nobody should know it’s your birthday!


Mid-Winter Musings February 10, 2013

Filed under: My posts — elanaalfred @ 10:42 pm
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I think it is safe to say that many of us have been doing the same things this weekend—cuddling up with our softest blankets, watching marathons of our favorite TV shows and those rom-coms we never got to see, reading while drinking lots of tea or wine, and simply relaxing because that’s all we can do when Nemo is in town. Prior to yesterday I was somewhat disappointed by this winter. I expected a lot of snow, and we were not getting any. Instead we were getting cold, cold temperatures that really test our love for New England. During winter months in cold areas it is very common to hear people saying, “Next year I’m moving to Florida” or “Why don’t we live in Florida?” I’m sorry if you’re one of those people, but I just don’t get it. One of the best things about growing up and living in New England are the different seasons.  And we do each of them rather well.



Nemo 2013!

Nemo 2013!

My love for changing seasons does come with some difficulties, and ones that, before I met Eamonn, I often overlooked. Winter is especially challenging for him, particularly as a teacher for young children. We all know about this year’s flu epidemic, and I certainly hope that you all got a flu shot. As it is, staying healthy during the winter is hard—a common cold is inevitable. The flu is always a threat, but this year it became more of one, and as Eamonn is with children everyday, all day he is on alert constantly. I, too, am on high alert because having to take the train to work everyday with people wiping their noses and then holding on to the bar is a great way to spread germs.



Before I met Eamonn, I never thought too much about getting sick, and lucky for me, I have a strong immune system. But I remember quite well the first time I got sick while dating Eamonn—we were living in Chicago and our apartments were about 5 miles from one another. I had a slight fever and he would not come over to comfort me because he knew he couldn’t risk getting sick. I, however, thought he was being an asshole. Eventually, with enough persistence and begging, he came over with hot soup (he really is the best). I’ll never forget it because he ended up staying over to make sure I was ok, and we fell asleep holding hands, on my L-shaped couches.



I learned quickly that, though none of us want to get sick, if Eamonn gets sick it usually becomes more severe, and he can end up in the hospital, so he takes many precautions. For me, one of the hardest parts about getting sick is how careful I need to be around him. Earlier this winter I got the inevitable common cold, which lasted for a couple of weeks. During that time Eamonn and I couldn’t kiss each other goodnight or good morning or at all, we had to be extra careful about making sure we didn’t share drinking glasses or utensils, and I tried not to get too close to him as we slept in bed. It sounds small, but not kissing your husband for two weeks (especially when it’s my husband!) is a challenge, but giving him my sickness would be a lot tougher.



The winter is also challenging because with it comes more physical needs that most of us do not think about. As I

Eamonn "shoveling"

Eamonn “shoveling”

write this, I am listening to the bulldozer on our street making a first attempt to clear away the snow. Even that machine is struggling to do so. I cannot help but to think about, and dread, what all of this snow means if we want to eventually go somewhere—a lot of shoveling out our two cars on the street. For the average human being, shoveling can be quite strenuous, especially in two feet of snow. As a strong, muscular woman, I have no problem taking the burden of this work from Eamonn, but I know he wants to help and not assume I will do it on my own.



Another physical challenge that snow brings to Eamonn is simply walking. I know it sounds silly, but it really does become more of a hassle for him to walk in the winter. Not only is it cold (though he insists colder makes it easier for him to breathe) but with a lot of snow to walk through it becomes more strenuous. Usually we do not have two feet of snow, but when we do Eamonn dreads it even more than most of us.  But because he’s such a trooper, he just increases his oxygen flow and gets going!



Call me crazy, but I really don’t mind the winter in New England. Well, I could do without the freezing temperatures! I just cannot imagine a year without all four seasons, but most of all I think it makes us all appreciate the summer that much more. But as much as I don’t mind the winter, I do exercise much caution to make sure it does not get the best of Eamonn. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do to control Eamonn getting sick, and he has enough hand sanitizer for a small village, but the things I can do to make it easier for him I do without hesitation. And if you don’t believe me, come take a look at whose car has already been shoveled out: Eamonn’s!