Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Real People Feature: Jaime

Wes and me, on his 2nd birthday, with his baby sister in my belly
    Who are you?

    Jaime Leah~ I am mommy to Westley and the baby girl growing in my belly; a wife and partner to my best friend, Bob; a daughter; a sister; a friend; a teacher; a food lover.

    I’ve been told I’m a bit of an old soul. I am an intense, sensitive yet strong woman who loves deeply.

    What is the best advice you've ever given or received and why?

    Growing up, I was raised by a single mother (my "father" left when I was two years old and my mom was nine months pregnant with my sister. He never returned). The three of us grew up living with my grandparents. 
    A picture Bob drew of us, on the first day we met in 1999
    On the fridge of our home was a newspaper cut-out with the words, "It’s nice to be important, but it is much more important to be nice". This resonated with me. My Bubie (grandmom in Yiddish) and mom always instilled the importance of being kind and compassionate and a good human being. I have made every effort to live a life being a good person with an open, non-judgmental heart.

    I very much enjoy listening to others and helping them feel listened to and understood. I remember a time a few years ago- I had a student, age 7, who was struggling tremendously with his parents' divorce. He knew all of the sad, heartbreaking intricacies of why the two most important people to him were splitting at the seams. I watched for months as his fun-loving demeanor changed and he put up a wall. 

    Our sweet Westley, in the garden
    One day, he came and stood in front of me. He just stood there, staring into my eyes. I looked at him and said, "It’s okay to feel sad and hurt and scared. It’s okay to cry." And that is just what he did. For a long time, in my arms…he cried.

  1. What has been the greatest challenge in your life and why?

  2. This is a tough one.

    I think my greatest challenge in life has been overcoming personal heartache and struggle. Since childhood, being a "victim" of circumstance, tragedy and poor choices was something I refused to do. Struggle and sorrow can either break you or it can refine and redefine you. That is what I chose. 

    Life for me has never been "easy", yet I never use that as a crutch. If anything, the trials of my 31 years have motivated me to be the best person I can. It has given me the gift of empathy, kind-heartedness and compassion, qualities I may never have possessed if I had not been involved in life’s trials. 

    Charles Dickens wrote, "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."

  3. What has been the greatest joy in your life and why?

  4. Someone very dear to me once explained that a heart is capable of endless, limitless love and joy. I truly feel this encompasses my own heart and the joys of my life. They include:

    My son, Westley Finn; I always say, Westley was the reason I was born. The immeasurable amount of unconditional love I have for him has changed me as a person. He gives life purpose and meaning and he inspires me to be better every single day. He is the greatest gift.
    Wes, kissing my belly
    *I already feel the same joy for and about his sister in my belly, whom we cannot wait to meet.

    My Husband: Bob and I are what my Bubie would refer to as "kismet". It translates to "written in the stars". When I think about what we share, I genuinely have no words to describe how deep it goes. He has allowed me to see and experience what a good man is.
    Bobby and me
    The Women in my Life: my grandmother, my mother and sister. Each radiates wisdom, bravery, warmth and strength. Everything I am is because of the women who raised me.
    My sister, mother, Wes and me- by B.side Photography
    My Beeb (grandfather): He was the first man in my life. He holds a very special place in my heart. Most of the time, I am unable to talk about him without tears streaming down my cheeks. When I close my eyes, I am perpetually five years old and I am running into his open arms.
    My sister, Beeb and me, a few years ago during Christmastime
    My Childhood (with my sister): Amanda and I have saved one another from the beginning. We are more than sisters and best friends- we are each other’s soul mates. What a gift to exist within our laughter and twirl on the support of our childhood. There are many things we were not given and many things that were taken from us. But, we have each other and we are the lucky ones.

    What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do and why?

    Live without worry, specifically about things not in my control.

    When I was around eight years old, I wrote a ten page letter to God asking him to rid the world of tragedy, war, famine and death. I put all my worries "on the table" so to speak, and asked that God take them away.

    Not much has changed at age 31. I worry, incessantly, about things out of my control with the hope I can make them change. I have (slowly) learned it just robs me of the present.

    Play the piano. Yes, play the piano.

    I think I also need to slow down. One of my favorite authors, Miranda July, once wrote,
    Wes and Daddy, strolling around one autumn afternoon
    "That is my problem with life; I rush through it, like I'm being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea I suck it down as if I'm in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest." …this about sums me up. 

    Man. Now here's a girl with heart, huh? There aren't many people walkin' around with this much genuine goodness in their souls. Some people though...

    So, about that student story? Waterworks over here. Completely moving.

    And (BOO!) I, too, am an absurd and sometimes completely irrational worrywart. I'm all ears for ANY advice on cutting that nonsense outta my life. Anyone? Puh-lease!

    Jaime is the kind of girl who was just born to be a best friend, a mama, a teacher. She's doing this world right, making a difference by sharing her light.

    Bless your sweetest heart, most beautiful Jaime. How refreshing to know that love like yours is for real. And best wishes in sharing your whole lotta love with yet another lucky wee one! Ladies like you make the best mamas! xoxox

    P.S. If you'd like to participate in a Real People Feature, send me a message at cally@frommyhearthtoyours.com or comment below. We'd love to hear from you.


Unknown said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. I grew up with Jaime at summer camp and learned a lot reading the above note. Jaime and I weren't the best of friends but we were/are family. It's hard to explain but it's our camp way; our bond is unbreakable. Today, as adults, we don't speak daily, or even monthly, but I know that when I need a calming voice I can turn to Jaime. Without realizing it, she helped me through one of the darkest times in my life and I will forever be grateful for her kindness during that time. Jaime, you are SO very special and I am a better person because I can call you my friend. Much love.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jaime... what a treasure to read this wonderful tribute to your childhood of love and the wonderful family surrounding and the family you and your sweetie have created ... I wish you the calmness of less worry for what is out of your hands and immersion in all that you can touch on a day to day basis... all those lucky children in the many classrooms you will reach (as Janet my mother-in-law did, she's retired now)... and of course, the daily love of your own children and Bob and the rest of your family and friends... thank you for agreeing to participate in this reflection piece... love to you and Amanda and Ronnie... Barbara your cross-the-street neighbor from Sylvester St...xoxox