Life After Undergrad: A very Happy Birthday

In a post that strays a little from my theme this semester, I would like to wish my daughter Ava a very Happy 9th Birthday!!!! On this day nine years ago I was in labor with Ava, I was 18 and freshly out of high school. Today on Ava’s ninth birthday I am a college grad, who is pursuing her Masters Degree. On the day Ava was born I had no idea what the future held because the picture I’d painted had dissolved into a whole new reality as a teenage mother. On Ava’s second birthday  I was failing out of John Jay College and was giving up slowly on myself and my future. On Ava’s third Birthday I used my whole tax return to throw her an elaborate themed party to mask how much I felt like a failure. I figured if all looked well then nobody would notice that I was working a crappy retail job and couldn’t figure out what I was going to do about college.

When Ava was four I went back to school and I had a firm sight on where I wanted to be– and nothing would get in my way. This June I will walk in my graduation ceremony and it will be the second time that Ava will have seen me receive a degree. I do this not only to provide from her but to show her that you can fall as many times as you want so long as you GET BACK UP!

My college career is Ava’s as much as it is mine because I’ve never been in college without Ava. Even when she was just a baby bump, she came to college with me. She’s sat through lectures with me, said goodnight to be over the phone, sat and watched me type essays and annotate article after article. While some nights she did complain, she always tells me I’m doing a good job and that makes it worth it– even on the days she is driving me insane. This year as Ava turns nine I see more of myself in her than ever, and I want better from her. I know she can be better, do better and reach higher than I ever have– and it frustrates me when she doesn’t. Nonetheless I know she is bound to be great and make a name for herself– after all, a queen only raises a queen!

Virtues from Motherhood: Shaking guilt

For all of Ava’s life it’s just been her and me. Ava’s dad has never really been involved in her life consistently and it’s never seemed to bother him that he’s missed every single milestone in her life and has little to no bond with her. That alone baffled me, how could you not be apart of a life you created?!

Confusion aside I was hurt and felt guilty, mostly guilty, for bringing Ava into the world with only half her parents to raise her. I never wanted her to be that kid from a broken home and I had hope that he would wake up and realize despite our inability to be together that he should step up and be a father. Sadly, not surprisingly, he chose not to and was completely absent from her life for five years, seeing her once a year and calling her maybe half a dozen times at best. On father’s day or parent’s day at school I always felt such guilt under my proud mom smile. I couldn’t help but notice her looking around at other kids who had both parents there all the time and though she didn’t look too bothered I knew it had crossed her mind. I knew eventually she’d ask why he wasn’t there or why he never answered the phone and I secretly hoped it’d be when she was much older.

Unfortunately my luck ran out when she was 5 and she asked me why her daddy never celebrated her birthday with her (for the record he was present at her first birthday but she doesn’t remember that). I was overwhelmed with panic and sadness and told her that her daddy was busy working but she was too quick for me and asked why her friend Riley’s daddy could work and be at her party. I held back tears when I told her I really didn’t know and that I would always make sure she had the best birthdays in the world.

Now I wasn’t lying I really didn’t know why he couldn’t call or send a card, I was just as confused as she was and at every holiday, school event or special occasion tears would well up in my eyes as the guilt hit me once again. I felt so bad and I didn’t ever want to show her that so I made sure I was at every event, every holiday show, every class party cheering her on twice as hard.

For a while I didn’t share that guilt with anyone I just kept it tucked away and let it gnaw at me silently. I found however that when I did share it with my friends, my family that they were angry or shocked that I felt that way. I was told that what I was doing for Ava was extraordinary that getting my degree and working was all going to give her the best life possible and that I was setting a good example for her, she was being raised by a strong woman. As nice as those things were to hear I still wasn’t convinced until my own mother told me a man being there physically means nothing if he can’t be there emotionally or mentally. I realized she was right, he couldn’t pick up the phone or mail a card, what difference would him standing in front of her blankly do?

I still struggle with this, sometimes I’m sad that she’s got maybe a dozen pictures with her dad in her 7 years of life, other times I’m angry that he’s just going on with his life and doesn’t seem to wonder what she’ll think of him but lately more and more I’m proud, proud of my daughter for being so smart and bright, proud of her for always seeing the bright side and proud of myself for showing her that there is a bright side, you just have to keep looking up.

Virtues from Motherhood: The Gift of Age

Every year no matter who you are or on what continent, you get another year older and celebrate another year of life. As a kid I couldn’t wait for my birthday because it was like my own personal holiday but once I passed 21 and more specifically once Ava turned 5 I started to dread that cake on the calendar. It wasn’t until I turned 25 that I started noticing the little gifts age had given me, and how sometimes we really can’t see things until we’ve ripened a little. Time hop is a magical little app that allows us to look back on, and cringe at, our younger selves and our declarations on social media and looking at mine I’ve become somewhat thankful for the gift of age.

Age gives us many things, wisdom, memories, bills, maybe a few wrinkles but most of all age gives us knowledge, power and self-worth. The other day I was driving home and I realized that all of my bills were paid, way ahead of time and chuckled to myself that a short three years ago I was frantic to be able to pay these same bills. With age I stopped being so materialistic and started to think long-term, saving money. Little things like that are just a few things I realized in myself that came solely with age. When I was 24 a coworker told me the world changes at 25 and she was right.

Besides being financially responsible age mentally changes you too. As you get older the things you worry about, the people you surround yourself with and the places you want to be change. As I got older the types of places and people I frequented changed I no longer wanted to be in bars every other weekend or be out late, suddenly brunch and weekends in central park seemed way more enjoyable. I couldn’t fathom spending 60$ on a night out anymore when I could use it for something else. Now don’t get me wrong a night out in celebration here or there is great but it certainly isn’t a life style.

Lifestyle becomes more about experience and peace of mind with age and that includes not having people in my life that required work to keep happy or keep up with. Relationships both friend and romantic shouldn’t be toxic or complicated so in the best interest of myself I no longer dealt with it. The memories of people who once filled my life with memories before are nice but they don’t have a place in the present anymore.


All in all while the idea of approaching my 30s terrifies me I’m excited to see where the breeze of age will lead me. SO tell me, what has age given you?

Things I want my Daughter to know: Self Reflection


As the spring semester nears end, I can’t help but reflect and look back on the progress I’ve made this semester. Professional progress, academic progress and even personal progress have made this semester one of my most memorable since I began my college career. I have reached heights I never thought I would see and have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people, both friends and mentors. I also want to thank all of my readers, the people who have reached out to me and told me that my words helped them, reached them or made their day a little bit better, having people read my words is truly an honor. So in light of the semester coming to a close, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned this semester or that have made a lasting impact in my life.

1. Friendship winds its way into our lives when we need it the most

When I began my journey at City Tech I was mainly focused on academics, and being dedicated to the course work. I was reminded however that community is a huge and necessary ingredient in the recipe for success. I met three wonderful ladies that opened so many doors for me. Together we have conquered our major and encouraged each other when one of us was down, overwhelmed or confused. On our many lunch dates, study sessions and collaborations we have become lifelong friends.

2. Failure is a component to success

This may sound odd but it is true. I heard this at least 4 times my first week at City Tech by a Professor who has offered numerous resources and strategies to me. At first, I was confused as to why a Professor would tell us we’re going to fail, I’m sure some people will, but why put that idea in our heads? Well as time has progressed I can attest to the trueness of this statement. As emerging professionals and academics, we need to know that everything we do won’t be right on the first try and that it’s okay to try again.

3. Unplug before you burn out

Sometimes no matter how devoted, focused and determined we are we can reach our wits end. With all that goes on in our lives and all the things we have to sift through and deal with sometimes we need to step away to turn off the phone, close the laptop and recharge. It is okay to give yourself a time out and refresh yourself before you continue on with life. If you can’t do yourself justice and give yourself a break you’re not doing the people and obligations you have in your life justice either. Take a breather and ask for help if you need it.

4. Be open

To new people, to new ideas, new food or even a new color lipstick! There’s nothing more exciting then finding some awesome new dish to share with your friends or eating at a new brunch spot you found on groupon. Similarly be open to learning something new, read a book from a new genre, take a class on something you’ve never heard of or be spontaneous in your travels. The best thing in the world is growth so don’t stunt yours because you’re apprehensive of the unknown.

Time has taught me that nothing stays the same, not my daughter, not my weight, not my taste in books and most certainly not my knowledge. All of that, is okay though, maybe change can be good. I can offer you this advice Ava, roll with the tide, don’t fight it because you’ll tire yourself out trying to overpower a force that is beyond you. The universe has plans carved out for us, plans with pit stops and scenic outlooks where we can see how far we’ve come on the path of life. My advice to anyone who feels they’re stuck or that change hasn’t come fast enough, or even too fast, that it is okay and nothing lasts forever, you can get through this. If I can go from college drop out to pursing my second degree anything is possible, you are possible remember moms, we have the greatest audience in the world cheering for us, our kids.

I want to thank all my readers, the people who have supported me all semester long as I learned the ropes of blogging. I hope to be right back here in the fall blogging away! Stay tuned for more!