“And The Last Child Graduates”

The youngest of my five children graduated high school last week. It was a bittersweet day for both of us yet an exciting one. It was the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next one. Of course his chapter is much different than mine, yet it’s a new beginning for both of us.

This fifth child of mine never ceases to amaze me. At just 17 years old (almost 18) he knows who he is, he’s comfortable in his own skin, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, yet the truth is, everyone loves him. He’s smart, he’s kind and compassionate, and he’s funny. His smile lights up the room and he can turn the saddest of my days into my best days.

And they love him because he’s his authentic self. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers, faculty and parents of his friends tell me what a sweet kid he is: kind, respectful and funny. No mother could ask for anything more!

Yet I think back to when I was that age and wasn’t even close to being sure of myself. I didn’t know what I wanted in life other than the next step after high school: go to college. I cared about what I was wearing and what others thought of me. Comfortable in my own skin? I didn’t even know what my “own skin” was. 

Yes, I’m a proud mother here and one that is in awe of this fifth child of mine, yet I’ll be honest, all five of them are the same way. They are who they are and they’re amazing human beings. I’d like to think I had a hand in that while I was raising them because I allowed them to be their authentic self, without judgment or criticism. And it worked.

We all want to be accepted and loved and I believe that happens when we are our “authentic self,” not someone other people expect us to be. As I told my children, if people don’t like you or respect you for who you are, then they’re not your “people.”

And it’s true.

It’s a lesson I learn more and more as life goes on.

Congratulations to my fifth child, Sam, as he begins the next chapter of his life. I hope it’s a grand adventure. He certainly deserves it!

And here’s to all of us being our authentic self and beginning another chapter in our lives. Enjoy the journey and embrace the adventure.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Stepping Out Of Your Routine”

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Last weekend was a whirlwind of adventures in Connecticut and my mind is filled with all the stories of it that I want to share with you.

Yet as the week progressed I realized that I needed to just “be.” I needed to step out of my normal routine of writing all morning and day and rest. I needed to spend some much needed time with my kids and get my house ready for Christmas.

I was feeling badly about not getting my “adventures” written so that I could post them, yet once I thought about it I thought to myself: “Don’t you tell people that it’s okay to take some time for themselves? Don’t you say that you have to be your best self in order to share that with others? And don’t you always write about it being okay to step out of your normal routine and do what you need for yourself?”

Okay, guilty as charged. I “preach” it and sometimes forget to “practice” it! So after a few days of allowing myself to “be,” I’m more rested, the house is almost ready for Christmas and I’m feeling more creative at writing.

You see, I’m forever learning lessons and this week was one of remembering to just “be.”

Remember: Every so often we need to step outside of our normal routine and just “be.”

It’s a good thing.

And I promise, my “adventures” of last weekend are coming to you soon!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“The Thanksgiving Table”

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m getting ready to bake pies, chop vegetables and make cranberry sauce. There will be seven people around my table tomorrow and I can’t help but think of the “Thanksgiving Tables” of all the years gone by.

I remember a time when there were more than 15 people around the table, and all the many others that filled the house after dinner for dessert. It was filled with my aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, my grandmother and children. It was a time of sitting together and watching old home movies, of listening to the older ones’ stories and lessons and of running around the house with the cousins.

Children grow up and move out on their own and loved ones get older and pass away. Each year there seems to be one more person missing from the table.

Only three of my five children will be at the table tomorrow. My two oldest are across the country and spending it with their significant others families. I’ll miss them terribly but I am forever grateful knowing that my other three babies will be with me.

Yet when I sit down at my “Thanksgiving Table” tomorrow I will remember those days of holidays past and I will remember the loved ones that I lost.  I will remember the laughter and the stories they told, their faces and the warmth of their embrace. I will remember their colorful personalities and their presence and importance in the family. I will remember sitting at the “kid’s table” until we reached the important age of sitting at the “big table.” It was a rite of passage to graduate to that table.

My brother used to say “I wonder who will be missing from the table next year.” I always thought that was a terrible thing to say, but he was right and it taught me to embrace each holiday and each day with the people in my life because life truly is short. I’m learning that lesson more and more as I get older. I don’t look at the table and wonder which chair will be empty next year but look at the table filled with the blessings of family, of love, and of laughter. It’s a day of making memories and we carry those memories in our hearts forever. We may lose a loved one, but we can never lose the memories of them.

There may be only seven people at my table tomorrow but I will be seeing much more than that. I’ll be seeing all the “Thanksgiving Tables” of my past and the people that once surrounded it. And for that, I will be grateful.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Gratitude For The Memories”

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One of the things I’m grateful for are the memories I hold deep within my heart: the memories of the birth of each of my five children; the memories of birthday parties and Christmas mornings; and the gratitude for the memories of the emotions that I felt.

Fits Like A GloveI’m grateful for the memory of the feelings of a first date and how it felt the moment I fell in love; for the memory of the excitement of a first kiss; of the feelings to be held in the arms of the one you love for the first time.

I’m grateful for the memories of my kid’s tiny hands in mine; for how wonderful it feltRuthless People that I could fix a boo-boo; for the moments of watching them sleep when they were younger; for the memories of their laughter when they were little and the laughter as they grew older.

I’m grateful for the memories of family parties filled with aunts, uncles and more cousins than you could count. I’m grateful for the memories of my school days and for the nights I spent with my best friends.

tommy-memorialI’m grateful for the memories of my loved ones that have passed on; for the love that I still feel for them and for the love they felt for me; and I’m grateful for all the memories of time spent with them and the difference they made in my life.

I’m grateful for the memories of my first book being published; for the memories of howbnwindow1 it felt the day I submitted my manuscripts to the publisher; and for the memories of the moment that I first held my new book in my hands.

I’m grateful for the good memories that are embedded deep within my heart and soul. No one can take that away from me and on the days I feel a bit sad it’s those memories that can wash that away.

Good memories are stronger than any bad ones.

Today I sit remembering all those wonderful memories and for that I’m grateful.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Come Out Of Your Closet”

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At one point in our life or another, we’ve lived in a closet. Not the typical stereotype closet, but a closet of “fear and secrets.” It’s the closet we stay in to hide these things from the outside world, hoping that what they don’t know won’t hurt us.

Yet staying in the closet is hurtful, because it hurts you. The closet prevents you from accepting who you are and standing in your own truth. It stops you from taking a leap of faith and moving forward.

There’s many different reasons we stay tucked in our closet of protection: we could be hiding our sexuality, or the truth of being battered and abused. We hide our emotions in the closet, for fear of having our heart broken or taking the next step in a relationship. We hide our depression or anxiety, or our addiction.

We hide our passion or talents in the closet, for fear of failure. We hide our dreams in the closet, for fear of ridicule.We hide our true self in the closet because the opinion of others means more to us than the opinion of ourselves.

The reality is that the closet allows you to hide your truth, a truth which may be judged by others, and the judgement may be cruel.

And the closet keeps you in a comfort zone, which in reality, may not bethat comfortable at all.

I’ve hidden in my closet off and on throughout my lifetime, and the one thing I learned is this: “coming out of my closet” allowed me the freedom to be me. I stepped out of my closet of fear and took a leap of faith in myself and my Higher Power, having faith that standing in my truth would bring all the right people and situations into my life, and allow me the insight to know the wrong ones.

“Coming out of my closet” gave me the freedom to pursue my dream and passion of writing, and it gave  me the ability to find the right kind of love with someone…the love of a lifetime.

Don’t hide in the closet; embrace who you are and step out into the world with all the beauty and light that you have to offer. Let the world celebrate your gifts with you and cry with you over your pain. Let the right people in who will love you and help you heal and let go of the ones who won’t.

Stepping out of the closet is healing for you, and can be healing for someone who needs it. Stand in your truth and take accountability for your fears; and then release them with love. There’s no moving forward with fear; there’s only moving forward with faith.

Take a leap of faith today and “come out of your closet;” you may be surprised at who and what is waiting there to catch you.

“Just believe, just have faith, everything else will fall into place.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Love Them Enough To Let Them Go”

Two of my children moved across the country, and people always ask me how I manage missing them and not having them home for every holiday. My answer is this: I love themkids1 enough to let them go.

I’ve learned a thing or two raising five kids in the last 28 years and learning to let them go without a struggle, or  too many tears, or guilt is one of the biggest ones.

No one said it was easy, but it does get easier as you learn how to do it and I’ll tell you this, my kids are thankful that I’ve learned how to do it. My one son told me that he couldn’t do “at home” what he could accomplish across the country. He told me that the best thing I did for him was to let him go and do it on his own. And he did, and I’m so proud of him for it.

What I had to learn is that as much as I want to protect them and shelter them from the craziness of the world, I can’t. They’ll never learn what they need to learn; they’ll never make mistakes that will become valuable lessons for them; and most importantly, they’ll never learn how to stand on their own and be strong.

I realized that I had to learn from my own mistakes and I shouldn’t interfere with their free will to do the same. It’s a simple concept, yet hard to do, but if you truly want the best for your child, you have to love them enough to let them go. And trust me, they always come back.

It’s a funny thing: love travels across the miles with them, and their love for me travels back. Love can’t be taken from them, love goes with them.

I didn’t learn this lesson overnight, as my oldest son would tell you, but as the years passed my faith in them increased. I knew I had taught them right from wrong, and one day they’d have to take all I taught them and do it on their own. And I’m proud to say that they’re all doing pretty well!

I see so many parents struggle with letting their kids go, enabling bad behaviors, doing everything for them that these kids grow into adults who don’t know how to do anything for themselves. They don’t know how to cook, clean, do laundry; they don’t know how to battle their own demons because someone does it for them. They don’t know how to grow up because someone won’t let them. They don’t know how to take responsibility for their actions because someone is always making excuses for them.

And that’s the worst thing you could do to your child.

kids2I’ve been a mom for almost 28 years and have loved every minute of it (well, most every minute of it!) It was so much easier when they were younger and thought everything we said was truth; when we could simply kiss a boo-boo and make it go away; that loving them was enough for them.

And then they grow older and challenge what we say; broken hearts replace simple boo-boo’s that we can’t kiss away; and loving them suddenly doesn’t seem like enough. They want our love, yet they also want the freedom to live their life the way they want to, not the way we had hoped.

They want the right to do it on their own, learn their own lessons, and make their own mistakes, and if you can’t love them enough to let them go, they’ll do all those things but come crying back to you to fix it when it goes wrong…and you can’t do that. Why?

Because then you become an enabler, and an enabler does so because they can’t control their own life, and if you really love your child, why would you enable them? Why would you enable their bad behavior? Why would you enable them to stay dependent on you?

I know, it’s a slippery slope, but I know from my own experience as a parent that the best thing I could have ever done for my kids is to “love them enough to let them go;” love them enough to live their life the way they want; love them enough to make their own mistakes and learn from them.

I miss my  three older kids who are scattered throughout the country, but I know they’re happy, living their dreams, and doing well. And isn’t that what any parent wants?

I’d rather take the hurt of missing them than put guilt on them for living far away.

As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.

And they were very happy that I was the kind of mom who could “love them enough to let them go.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Then and Now”

“Dear Children”

If you want to see time pass quickly, become a parent. Nothing speeds up time more than watching your child grow into an adult, and suddenly, you’re left with a profound timeunderstanding of how precious time really is. And if you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean.

In my book, “Waking Up,” I wrote a story called “A Letter To My Children,” and together with Sutton Thomas, we wrote a song called “Dear Children.” Here’s just a small excerpt from the story:

“Life changed from that exact moment that you took your first breath, and with that breath, I held mine. I held my breath out of excitement of a new baby placed in my arms and out of fear as to all the responsibilities that were now a part of my life, from that day forward.

You, my children, were all my dreams come true, yet with each one of you came the nightmare of hoping that you’d always be okay, that you’d never get hurt, that your life would be without any feelings of low self-esteem, or anger, or sadness that I had ever felt. I could teach you how to protect yourselves, but I wouldn’t be able to stop the outside world from coming in.

The love of parent never dies, not with time, not with distance, not with death; the love of a parent grows stronger with each passing day; with each new milestone you reach and each heartache you encounter. Your mistakes and mine becomes lessons for us, and with each mistake, together we become better and stronger for it.

You, my child, are forever and always within and around my heart.”

Time and our children are precious…embrace them both.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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