If you scratch the surface…

 

Hi there!!! It has been a while since my last post. I had a lot that I was going through (more on that later), but it has been quite a struggle. I will warn you though this is a departure from my funny upbeat posts that I usually write but it like all my posts are REAL. I am hoping that sharing this will help someone out there even if it is to know that they are not alone. Do not worry there will be more upbeat posts to come but I want to share this story with all of you.

 

 

If you look at me from a far you will see a funny upbeat person. I am normally the loudest at the party. I make a joke about everything!!! I need laughter in my life almost as much as I need food and water. I love to help people, but I refuse to ask for help. I cannot tell you how many people tell me they can always count on me for a smile, or that they I have an uncanny ability to know when they need me. These things are true, but if you scratch the surface and look you will see it is merely a mask.  It is my defense mechanism to keep people seeing what is underneath. The sad truth that I keep hidden from everyone.

 

You see I have suffered from depression for over twenty years. At one point I was severely depressed, I am better now but my depression is still there right beneath the surface. I try to keep it locked away but it does sneak out sometimes no matter how hard I try to keep it buried. The day my world was rocked to the core began as a normal Sunday. I stayed in bed most of the day. I had this lingering sense of doom that hung over my head like a dark cloud the entire day. In an effort to shake it I decided to drive to Blockbuster to rent a movie.

 

That simple decision would turn out to be the worst choice I ever made. You see as I was driving to rent the movie I was in a fatal car accident. My two sisters were in the car with me (having decided to blow off church to spend time with me) and their screams as I hit a patch of water and hydroplaned would be the last time I ever heard their voice. Their screams that would wake me up at night for years still are there in the back of my mind. To this day I will awake to screaming. My life forever changed in the blink of an eye. The horror of losing them along with the realization that it was my fault. I have lived with guilt every day of my life. No amount of therapy will ever change that; I just have had to accept it. My life since them has been riddled with nightmares about not being able to save them.   Watching my parents and my brother grieve all the while feeling guilty and wondering why it was not me instead.   Sitting at family functions wondering how it would be different…if only.

 

I learned the hardest lesson in my life at the age of 20. We do not always get the answers that we seek in life. People would tell me that they were in a better place, and although I may not see it right away God had a plan. I was told God spared me for some special reason but here I sit looking at my life and I wonder if I will ever get the answers.   I have learned to be OK with that. It was so very hard though.

 

Over time I learned to cope. Through medication (which I thankfully do not take anymore) and  counseling I learned how to deal with the tremendous guilt that I had. Do I still feel guilty, yes every single day. ABSOLUTELY!!!! During those times I focus on people that need my help and that helps me tremendously. I have more good days than bad, and I count that as a win. A good friend that I made recently has shown me that it is OK to be vocal with your pain. I cannot tell you how much that has taught me. I have always suffered alone no one not even my husband knowing how tormented I was.  I appreciate her more than she could ever know. I may never get the answers I seek but I have found the will to go on in spite of what life may continue to throw my way. Some days are brutal, but they make me appreciate the good ones even more!!

 

If you suffer from grief or loss do not be afraid to share. You do not have to keep it locked away. I am learning this now, but better late than never. In fact there is nothing more freeing than to me than writing this post. I am scared to share it but as I said before I hope this will at the very least show someone they are not alone. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever feel lost, as there is nothing better than a strong support system.

 

Lastly if you know someone that is depressed or that you feel may be depressed let him or her know you are there. They may refuse your help but trust me knowing you are there means a great deal to them. The best thing that you can do for someone is to let him or her know that you will be there for him or her. Keep tabs on your friends do not let them walk down a dark path alone. Always be someone’s light!!!!

 

 

Love, Sharelle.

No matter what biology says I am your mother !

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I remember when I was young.  As a silly and young high school girl I had my future all planned out.  I knew that one day I would be married and no matter how many times my career choice changed over the years my resolve to have a house full of kids never wavered.  The time came to make that dream come true, but things did not work out as I planned.  I spent years crying into my pillow each month when I did not conceive.  I begged God to make me a mother.  Sure I put on a happy face for all to see.  Attending baby showers buying gifts all the while making note of what I wanted for my little peanut.  Little by little I was dying inside.  I questioned myself, my ability to be a mother.  I questioned why God would allow an innocent child to be born to parent that abused him or her, and meanwhile I was childless!! After many procedures, filling my body with hormones that may me an emotional mess I finally gave up. I accepted the fact that I would never have anyone call me mom.

Then I did become a mother.  Not through the means most parents do but through adoption. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.   The adoption is open,  as the biological mother is a family member.  My daughter has been in our home since she was four weeks old.  My husband and I waited a few years to pursue the adoption and during that time we fed her, bathed her, clothed her, and most importantly we loved her.  The happiest day of my life was when the judged signed the paperwork and I was officially and legally her mother!  We have always been her champions cheering as she crawled, took her first steps, ran, and played her first organized sport.   There is nothing that could possibly compare to being a mom.  I mean yes it has its struggles…  Working, school, and all the activities certainly cause stress but it is so worth it when she looks at me and I see and feel that she loves me as much as I love her.  When I hug her I feel complete.  It is as if she was the piece of my life that I was missing all along.

In spite of all of my joy I also harbor a feeling of sadness that is there lingering below the surface.  I am her mother, I have the birth certificate with our names on it, but its a piece of paper.  When I see bio-mom and my daughter together it is sometimes more than I can bare.  They have the same color hair (and both have naturally curly hair), and the same sprinkling of freckles.  Seeing this brings to my mind how she carried my little one for nine months.  She felt her kick and grow inside her and was there watching her come into this world.  That is something that I will never have.  You know what it really hurts!!!  Oprah once said “Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother”.  I agree it is not all there is, but what a gift and honor it is to bring a child into this world!! While I am thankful that God finally granted me all that I have ever wanted and dreamed of, I still worry about the future.  Especially those teenage years where as parents we will no nothing right.   I worry that one day she will look at me and angrily say “you are not my mother”!!  You know what though, I will be able to look at her and say I have loved you since the day I first held you!!  I have never given up on you, and I have always been here for you.  I have held you and comforted you each time you were sick, I have watched you grow with pride in my heart.  I have attended countless functions such as dance, soccer, and plays and I was always the loudest one in the crowd!  I would die for you, I will never give you up and that is the truth.  I AM AND I WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR MOTHER!!!!!

The Value of Ten Hours…

 

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I have always worked.  The kids went to daycare, before/after school, summer camps, and to visit their grandparents when they were not in school.  After work during the school year I would come home, fix dinner and help the kids finish homework.  Once dinner was done, and the dishes were in the dishwasher,  the nightly routine of getting ready for bed would commence.  I never questioned the routine which continued after Madison’s arrival.  I was always on the go, and I was always tired.  Morning drop off, work, afternoon pickup, Madison’s activities, and then bed.  I had it down, no big deal I was tired but I was doing it.

After my surgery this past summer I finally got to experience how the stay at home moms live.  I was able to drop Madison off at school, run errands, do things around the house (that my Dr would allow of course), pick her up and come home.  Now while I liked the time during the day, I found I lived for the time between picking Madison up and going to bed the most!  This extra time, or “Ten Hours” as I call it is what I am missing the most since I have returned to work full time.  Ten hours does not seem like a lot, but to me those ten hours are priceless!  Each day I was home by 3:20 PM.  Madison had a snack, we did homework, and we were always done before 5:00 PM.  Then I would cook supper.  I never felt rushed, never stressed.  If she had dance, soccer or swim no biggie I could do all of the above with time to spare.  Now that is definitely not the case.  I leave work at home, pick Madison up from school and I do not get home until 5:00 PM.  Madison sits at the table doing homework as I run back and forth between the stove and the table to help her.   The entire time I feel guilty because I do not have patience because I am so spent from the work day, and also because I cannot devote all of my attention to her because I am doing three things at once, and my mind is thinking of all of the things I still have left.  Before I experienced the blessed ten hours I would always tell myself its only two hours a day, its not that big a deal.  Now I would do anything to have those ten hours a week back!!!

Working Moms if you have a chance to enjoy the blessed ten hour please do so, but I warn you it is hard to give up.  To the moms that have found a way to spend those extra ten hours with your kids please know that I am super jealous!!  Now if only my company supported a thirty hour work week!!

 

 

 

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Sh#tty Bosses: You don’t have to be one!!!

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My hope is this blog post will make each sh#tty supervisor that reads it look at his or her self in a new light and change the way they treat others.  If you are not a supervisor, or you are already a fabulous boss this will make you thankful that you are who you are!! 🙂

As a woman in her forties I have had my share of supervisors.  I have had some that are great, some that were so so, and of course I have had my share of bosses that made me dread going to work each day.  I am sure that many of you have very similar experiences, while others unfortunately fit into the category of being a Sh#tty boss!  I am a supervisor myself and although I am sure I am far from perfect there are a few things that I do (or at least try to do on a daily basis for my staff).  I will get to to that a bit later but first let me give you a recap of some of the “winners” I have had in the past.

The second job that I ever had was in a food establishment.  I was in my first year of college so I was very young and of course naive.  My boss was an older man her seemed very nice at first.  Then week four he began obviously hitting on me.  I ignored this the best I could.  It got more obvious and more frequent over the next couple of weeks.  I became scared to be alone with him.  One evening I told him that since he was married I would NEVER be interested and it was inappropriate for him to act in such a manner since he was my boss!!  I also informed them that although he owned the particular store the franchise would hear from me if it did not stop.  I was also on 17 but that is another story!!  After that he stopped but he also turned into a real jerk.  NOTHING that I did was correct.  All the cleaning, sandwich prep, etc that had been perfect for a month was not good enough.  He hovered over me  nit picked and had me in tears most of the night.  I didn’t stay long after that.

I was working for minimum age in my early 20’s which I think was about four bucks an hour.  Trying to put myself through college on that salary was hard plus I was just young and stupid.  I quit college and went to work at a bank.   I got married and was lucky enough to have a string of really great jobs including a retail store, and then I decided to work part time go back to school and finish my degree.  I worked for a company that sold investments and insurance primarily to the military.  This was a really great gig.  My hours were flexible.  I was able to pick up my step-children from school, I went to school myself and all of a sudden there was a shift in my female supervisors attitude.  She complained every day about something.  She often had meetings in the evening after I was gone for the day.  There was a list of documents that she would request prior to the meeting.  These documents had to be in a particular order, and typed including all relevant information.  One day she called me in her office and said to me. “Sharelle I am very disappointed in you.  Last night when I was with my clients they decided to do bank draft instead of an allotment.  I had to get up and get a bank form, do you realize how stupid that makes me look??”  Please note that bank draft was not requested.  And come on…who would think someone was stupid because they had to quickly grab a form.  Her attitude became very erratic over the next year.  I was thankful that I was able to quit work to go to school full time.  I found out later she was going through a divorce at the time which likely was the cause of her shift in behavior.

Once I received my degree in accounting I was lucky to work for a great  string of pretty great supervisors.  I worked in three different CPA firms and decided that I would prefer to work at a company instead of a CPA firm.  I went to work for a manufacturing company.  I took an entry level position with a really super boss, and when an opening in the accounting department opened I jumped at the chance to increase both my salary and my business accounting knowledge.  My new boss was an older gentleman who had probably been at the company since it was created in 1954.  My hours were 8am-5pm.  During my time there I never had a late task, never received a negative review, he never complained about my work.  After I had been working there for about a month he informed me that just because my hours were 8-5  that did not mean I was to leave at five every day.  I asked if something was not being completed in a timely manner, and he informed me that everything was done but he worked over 8 hours a day and he expected me to do the same.  So every day for the remainder of my time there I stayed until HE left every single day.  I worked so many hours that I would run out of things to do and would sit there and act like I was working the last few hours of the day.  Mind you I was working on my masters, had two children at home and a husband that was deployed.  I wouldn’t get home until after 1830 each night.   I cannot tell you what this stress did to me emotionally and physically and unfortunately my time at that company was cut short.

I spent years working part time, or for CPAs while  I went back to school while continuing to work towards my masters degree.  I went to work for a company that sells motorcycles in their accounting department.  I was super excited about this job.  However, I knew on the very first day  this was not going to be the job I had hoped for after all.  I was supposed to be there at 8:30.  I arrived about 15 to 20 minutes early.  The supervisor came out and said why are you here already they told me you would be here at 0830, in the most condescending tone you can imagine.  She acted so put out that I was there, and I was speechless.  I mean who acts like that because someone is early?  Isn’t that a good thing.  One time she was on vacation and the general manager asked me to compile a report.  I did so and when she got back I was reprimanded for giving him the report without her approval.  Just for clarification the GM is her boss.  I guess I was supposed to ignore his request and make him wait two weeks.  My stepson passed away shortly before I took this job.  While I did not sit at my desk and cry every day everyone kind of knew that I didn’t want to talk much about it.  She had a friend that lost a husband.  After she came back from out of town visiting her the weekend before she was talking to a coworker in her office very loudly (it was obvious she wanted me to hear).  She said things like although my friends husband died she’s as happy as can be.  I admire her.  Everyone should be like that and get over death.  No need to be sad about it, everyone should just move on.  I could not believe that someone could be so hateful and cruel.  One of my last weeks I was there I had oral surgery.  I was not allowed to eat or drink that day but I went  in anyway.  My appointment was at 1pm so I was working until 12:30.  She was very aware that I could not eat or drink.  At 1130 she came in with a Chik-Fil-A platter of sandwiches and set them not four feet from my desk and said I got sandwiches for everyone!!  I had to hold back laughter because it was so blatantly obvious she was doing it to be a b#tch.  She had NEVER brought even  cookies from home, but she goes and gets a platter that was probably 40.00 for no reason, on the day I was to have oral surgery…Everyone that worked there tried to steer clear of her.  I was so thankful when the company had to do layoffs and I was one of the lucky ones.  I felt like I was released from a prison sentence!!

The last supervisor I will tell you about was the most difficult to deal with.   I was so excited to land that job.  I absolutely adored my supervisor!!  She was kind, and caring.  I mean you could tell she had your well being in mind at all times.  She was very open with information.  I always was in the know, which made doing my job a piece of cake.  I had all the tools that I needed to get the job done.  She was very willing to teach which was my favorite thing about her.  I learned so much about how the company worked.  Once I had learned my duties more responsibilities were bestowed upon me.  I was over the moon that I had FINALLY found the company I would retire from.  Then this individual separated from her husband.  She started hanging out with new people and turned into someone that I did not even recognize.  The information flow ceased, the training ceased it just all ended.  Gradually all communication lessened and lessened until she barely said good morning to me.  She would roll her eyes when she talked to me, and at times she wasn’t even listening at all when I talked.  What made this especially hard is I loved this job!!!  It was the best job I had ever had.  Everything about it was great the company, the employees, the customers, the benefits.  I took FMLA time off for personal reasons.  I was not looking forward to going back due to the office climate but I had hopes that things would be different.  I mean she changed before, it could happen again.  I thought that she would be glad to see me return to work.  I guess I was wrong I got no welcome back, no “hey here is what happened while you were gone”, or “here is what I need you to get started on”.  I really felt like I was not there at all, I felt invisible.  That is when I knew it was time for me to leave that job.

In each of these jobs that I left it was never the company or the actual jobs.  Even when I was in the job at the sandwich shop having to clean the bathroom it was ok until the supervisor began acting inappropriately.  All of them have a common theme…really crummy bosses.  Not that there are not companies that have issues but bottom line is the reason most employees leave is management.  Why would you want to be the reason someone leaves?

 

If you are a boss and you are reading this and any of these remotely sound like you its not too late you can turn it around.  Employees want to be respected, they want to feel needed, they want to feel they are growing in their jobs, and lastly they want to be treated in a humane manner.  It really is not hard.  I am thankful for these experiences because they have molded me into the person that I am today.  While I am far from perfect ( because we all have made mistakes) here are some things that I try to do for my employees.  In my opinion they are obvious but as you have heard common sense isn’t all that common!

  • Say good morning each day to every employee even if they screwed up royally the day before, say good morning to them
  • If they are going on vacation text them, tell them to have a good time and encourage them to relax and leave thoughts of work behind, but don’t bother them on vacation unless its life and death
  • If they are sick or have a sick child ask if you can help, if a major illness keeping them out for an extended time offer your support on a weekly basis make it clear you are not calling because of work but you CARE about them and want to help.  Lets face it you should want to help others any time you can.
  • If they have had surgery/are having surgery , or they are having a baby, or adopting make sure you give them a gift or at least send a card.  Also check on them at least bi-weekly let them know they matter to you.  Even if you are forwarding a funny joke, meme, etc it will show them you are thinking of them
  • Make sure they know they can come to you with ANY issues have an open-door policy
  • Lastly ask them what you can do for them!!  At least every six months you should ask where they want to go career wise and find out what you can do to get them where they need to be.  Do they want career advancement, to learn new things???  Get them the tools they need to reach their goals!

Employee turnover is very costly to organizations.  Do not be that person that causes a great person to walk out the door.  It does not take much effort to be a kind person and to make someone feel wanted!!  Bottom line don’t be a sh#tty boss!!  It takes barely any effort at all to be a decent person.

 

 

I would love to hear your stories!!!  Follow my BLOG so we can keep in touch!!

 

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Who knew traveling without kids would cause such anxiety??

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My dear husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary very soon!!  I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that it has really been 20 years!!!  I mean who thought someone could put up with me that long…right!!  He surprised me quite a few months back by letting me know we would be going to Hawaii!!!  I was so happy I literally cried.  I have always wanted to go it is on my “bucket list”after all.  It seemed sooo very far away so I put  it in the back of my mind for some time.  As it gradually crept closer and I would happily imagine the trip and all the fun I would have.  Then all of a sudden one morning I woke up and thought oh no, we are leaving in a week and I have done NOTHING to plan.  My parents will be watching Madison so that is taken care of, but that was it.  My husband and I rarely even hire sitters.  I know that we should be doing “date nights” periodically to keep our marriage strong but with his crazy work schedule we like to spend time as a family together. It has been well over a year since she has spent even a single night away from me.  So one week out here I am frantically making a list of everything I need to tell my mom about since she is watching her.   (how to pack lunch, car lane drop-off procedures, bed time routine, off limit foods, favorite foods, morning routine, homework process, doctor contact info, dentist contact info, flight info, hotel info, how to feed the fish, plant watering, how to work the tv… I could go on I have a list a page and a half long…).  I worked myself up into a full panic  attack.  I wonder if everyone does this or am I some rare creature unable to cope with the idea of leaving my little one behind…  I am so thankful that I have my Young Living essential oils!!  Thankfully I was introduced to them by a fellow mom a year or so back.  They are a lifesaver!!!! I made myself a roller to help relax myself so I could finish the list that I will go over a million times when my mom arrives, and I will also be taking the roller with me on my trip.  I know that my mom knows exactly what she is doing (she raised 4 kids after all).  Madison will be in the best hands possible and I know that I will have a great time and come back refreshed and recharged!!  The hardest part will be walking out the door!!!!!

 

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Why I will never beg you to be a part of my child’s life…

Growing up I had this idea of how my life would be (who doesn’t right).  I grew up in a pretty tight knit family.  Weekends were spent with my grandparents playing with my cousins.  We went to Mississippi every Easter and hunted eggs with 100’s of relatives.  Each  holiday was always spent  surrounded by family.  I naturally assumed that when I was an adult with my own childrens lives would be the same way.  When I was in 8th grade we moved to Georgia.  I knew that when I married that my family circle would be smaller that what I had grown up with but I still had the dream of my children playing and spending time with their aunts, cousins, grandparents etc.

Fast forward many years later.  After many years of trying to conceive without success, I finally became a mother through the joy of adoption.  I wanted my daughter to have that same family bond that I did.  I remember my aunts picking me up and taking me to their house for the weekend, the many times my cousins and I played in my grandparents yard.  There truly was never a dull moment.  Sadly though that is not the case for my beautiful daughter.  Because of our location many of our family members are just too far away.  We are left with a very small number of family members in our immediate area.  Sadly though my daughter seems to be last on many of our family members lists.  It is just downright depressing at times.  She is the liveliest, silliest, most fun loving child I have ever met!!  She never meets a stranger, and more than once I have had instructors, teachers etc. tell me that they cannot keep a straight face because you just never know what will come out of her mouth!!  I have spent many nights upset asking myself what can I do to make them come around.  I was convinced their presence was necessary.  I have finally come to the  realization that my hands are tied.  The bottom line is you cannot force someone make time for you.  We all make time for what is important to us.  If someone isn’t making time for you, it means you are not a priority in their life.

Instead of dwelling on who is missing from Madison’s life I will choose to focus on what/who she has instead.  She is showered with love by two parents who love her more than life itself.  We live in a wonderful community filled with friends who we love and care for very much.  Madison may not have cousins that she plays with each weekend, but when I look our my front door I can see the homes of at least 6 families with children that she will spend hour upon hour playing with, and parents that will show her both love and discipline.  If our family cannot see what a wonderful beautiful soul that they are missing out on it is their loss.  Just like Jess C. Scott said, “Friends are the family you choose”.

 

 

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THE FIRST WEEK OF KINDERGARTEN IS COMPLETE!!!! :):)

Well it is hard to believe that the first full week of kindergarten is under our belts!!!! Many tears have been shed (only by me of course) over the past few weeks. It stared with orientation night…where I felt like the oldest person in the world. After all according to vital statistics the average age a person begins having children is 25. So I have a good 10+ years on the other parents. Self consciously I wonder if they are scrutinizing me, then I change into my “I need to look like the leading authority on parenting mode since I am older” mode. As the teacher went over all the things Madison would be learning over the next year I wiped away tears the entire time. When the first day rolled around she was so excited and happy, and I on the other hand was holding back tears. I rushed out so she would not see me cry and then I peeked in the window from outside her classroom for fifteen minutes because I just knew she would need me (but she didn’t). She was walked in every day by myself or her papa until the dreaded “independence day”!!! Independence day meant that she could no longer be escorted and had to walk in all alone. For the entire week prior to the big day I followed behind her as she made her way to class to make sure she knew the way. Luckily my hubby Danny took her that BIG day so I could avoid some tears (I was dehydrated by this point). She loves her school and has a pep in her step as she makes her way to class which makes me so happy, and sad!!! Being a parent is letting go a little at a time, and it really isn’t easy!14045932_10155182267987222_2004593360514854227_n 14053995_10155182267992222_8001973757013578586_n

ON THE WAY HOME..                                       FIVE MINUTES LATER