Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Emails to Baby A

I am ten years older than when my Mom had me. While Mom's life was cut too short and I hope to live longer, there's a chance Autumn could loose me when she's around my age, even if I do live a decade longer than Mom did. Right now, anything that has Mom's writing on it is at a premium to me. I treasure my baby book, a paper (below) describing what I could say and do as a 1 year old, and any birthday and Christmas cards I saved with her writing. But that's all I have. What will Autumn have? I've been filling out her baby book and a first year calendar and of course taking a ton of pictures. While we are being really good about backing everything up since we finally have cloud storage, a babybook or journal could get lost or destroyed in a fire. It's also something that only I contribute to.


So when a friend in Canada (hi Lindi!) told me they created an email for their newborn as a way of preserving memories, it was right up my alley. This way, family and close friends can send emails to her over the years with their thoughts, pictures or memories. I would love to have something like that right now from my Mom because I wonder almost daily what being a new Mom was like for her. What was it like for her on my first day of kindergarten? My 16th birthday?

While I have not read any of Autumn's emails, I was happy to find two emails to her, one from Andrea with the subject line Happy First 4th of July and one from my friend Sandy The First Day I Met You.  She has one from me too. Below is my first email to her.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Megan Swanek <megan26.2@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2015 at 2:17 PM
Subject: Today is Nana Paula's Birthday
To: ASwanek@gmail.com


My Dear A,
I'm sitting here at the computer wearing you in a baby wrap. You're snuggled tightly to my chest, and fast asleep. I can hear you softly breathing. Daddy is still asleep; it's just the two of us. 

This is the first year that my Mom hasn't been here for her birthday and it's a tough one. She was my very best friend, just like you and I will be one day. She loved you so, even before you were born. You see, it was always a given that I would have children and I would talk about it with my Mom. We would talk about you, imagine what you would be like and I always thought she would be a part of raising you. She loves you still, from Heaven, and through me...because every part of me that is nurturing and good and kind comes from her. So even though she won't be babysitting you as you get older, she is still very much a part of raising you, because she raised me. She was the very best Mom and I hope you will say that about me someday.

Although this first year without her is a sad one, it won't always be that way. That's not how she would want it. You see, she was the happiest person I have ever known. Your grandma Paula was never in a bad mood, even when circumstances may have warranted it. She never complained. She loved to laugh and be silly. She was very hardworking, but you would never know it, because she made everything she did look easy. Many sacrifices were made by her, for her family and she was happy to do it because to her, family was the most important thing in the world. She was the best listener and never put people down or made fun of them; she saw the good in every person and in every situation. She was a selfless optimist.

This June 28th, we are starting a tradition of honoring her on her birthday by doing what she would love. Soon, Dad and I are taking you to The Olde Ship, a British pub that I went to with her. Together, over the years, we will always remember and honor her on this day. We will go for tea, explore thrift shops, get a pedicure, have fish and chips, do some gardening, attend a play, learn to crochet or cook together or maybe even go to the casino. When you're older, I hope to take you to London and where she grew up, in Reading. Celebrating her birthday is a tradition that I hope you will keep after I'm gone with your children. She would love that, and so would I.


Paula Mary DeWitt (Mangan)
June 28, 1951 ~ October 8, 2014

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