I took a break from social media & this is what I learned.

Hi!

As you may or may not know, I love social media. It has been the center of my profession for over 10 years and a way to connect with other families with similar situations as Beatrice. It has been an avenue for healing as I’ve navigated grief & for someone with a terrible memory, it’s been a place to document every stage with my girls.

It has also been a distraction from my family, a false sense of friendship, and a time suck.

Have you watched The Social Dilemma? I sat down and watched it with Jordan & had a pit in my stomach the whole time. Everything they were talking about was what I already knew to be true and afterwards I felt a strong pull to just delete Instagram and Facebook for 48 hours to see how it would affect me.

It’s been a week and I’ve learned so much about my relationship with social media.

1. Liking & Commenting on Instagram was giving me a false sense of friendship. I would comment or like a friend’s photo and really feel like I was in touch with their life and what was going on with them. Instead of picking up the phone or even shooting over a text, I’d think about them and just look on their Instagram account to see what they’ve been up to. Not being able to just go do that, I was forced to pick up the phone or send a text really checking in – and the response to my question of “how are you?” was always vastly different that what was portrayed on their latest Instagram post. Social media made me feel like I was being a good friend by being up to date on what friends were doing via social when in actuality, it made me a worse friend because I rarely purposefully reached out.

2. I wasn’t sleeping well. A typical night for me would be to get the girls tucked in, do some stuff around the house and then climb into bed and mindlessly scroll. I would scroll & scroll & scroll until I became tired enough to go to sleep. I would be a little restless overnight but always blamed the girls until I took a break from social media. Instead of filling my nights with scrolling, I have been reading or needlepointing and going to bed earlier. I have never slept harder than I have over the last 7 nights.

3. I was disengaged. After watching TSD I had a flash forward of my girls on their phones while I’m trying to get their attention and hear about their day. It was a jarring thought and one that catapulted me into my 48 hour turned 7+ day social media hiatus. Not having my phone by my side for every second to capture every moment has made me a better mom. I’m not constantly down a rabbit hole on social media while my kids are begging me to watch their latest dance move. Instead, I am purposefully leaving my phone in my bedroom or inside when playing outside so I can fully engage with the girls.

4. I love using social media to connect with families struggling with pediatric illness. One of my favorite things about social media are all of the people from all over the world I’ve been able to connect with. Tons of families reach out regularly to message about their child’s upcoming liver transplant or recent diagnosis and I’ve love sharing our experience with them and helping them through theirs. It’s been one of my greatest joys and has ignited my love for raising awareness and funds for research.

5. I love partnering and promoting brands. Social media is a wonderful way to humanize your brand and make yourself more relatable to your customers. I have loved consulting businesses on how to leverage social media to better their business and I’ve loved personally promoting businesses that I love and am passionate about.

6. #lemonAID. Let’s be honest, social media – when used for good – is a super powerful tool for telling a good story & fundraising. The kid’s lemonAID stand in 2019 is the perfect example of that. People saw these kids as little philanthropists and matched their $148 donation to Cincinnati Children’s after we posted a picture on Instagram. Donations rolled in over 7 days and $200,000 was raised mainly by promoting through that same platform.

I honestly could go on and on about all of the things I have learned over this short 7 day social media break but the most shocking thing of all: I could definitely keep my hiatus going. I haven’t truly missed social media all that much but want to hop back on for the GOOD reasons I listed above. Yes, I will still post pictures of my girls and their life stages. BUT, I will do it more purposefully and will spend less time scrolling. I will deliberately check in on friends and I will welcome connections with people struggling through pediatric illness & liver disease. I will promote businesses I think others will benefit from knowing about and I will ALWAYS share my love for Cincinnati Children’s.

I just may not do all of the above as often 🙂

xo

Hillary

my fourth year without you

My fourth year without you I missed you.

Although it seems like yesterday when Jordan delivered the gut wrenching news to me, it feels like a lifetime has passed since I’ve hugged you.  I miss you.  My heart aches for you, for your morning calls, for your advice, your comfort, your assurance, and your unrelenting love.  I miss hearing you call me “Dede”.  I miss what your reaction would have been during LemonAID.  It actually makes me laugh thinking about what you would have said.  I missed you.  I miss you.  Every single piece of me misses you.

My fourth year without you I struggled.

I struggled with deciding to leave my job and not knowing if you agreed with my decision.  I struggled without my sounding board.  Without my Longboat morning walk buddy.  Without the top of my totem pole.  I struggled without the one person I couldn’t wait to share good news with because your approval was paramount to me.  I struggled to find motivation without having the reward of your affirmation.

My fourth year without you I felt proud.

I see you in my girls.  I felt proud that they know you.  We had friends over for dinner recently and out of nowhere Bea asked them if they knew her Pappy and went on to tell them that he is in heaven.  They want to talk about you.  They want to talk TO you.  They give you credit for any and all fun things that just magically appear or happen.  You left them their first Barbies by your tree and they were thrilled.  After Jordan spent HOURS putting together the bunny hutch, the girls ran out and immediately gave you credit for it.  He didn’t correct them.  It made me love him even more.

My fourth year without you I felt grateful.

How did I get so lucky to be your daughter and to have learned so much from you in the 30 short years we were together?  My fourth year without you I felt grateful to have had such a strong, positive, empathetic & humble man to look to.  I felt grateful to be yours & to have learned so much from you.

My fourth year without you I talked to you.

Every day of my fourth year without you you were on my mind & in my heart.  I talked to you when I was alone in the car (which was rare :)).  I talked to you while with the girls, during prayers before bed, and when I’m having a hard time. I talked to you about all of the girls, their funny personalities, and the hilarious things they say.  I talked to you about my deep worries about Beatrice.  I talked to you about what I fear most with her health, what things look like for her long term, and how I am determined to help medicine advance in enough time to give her the long, full life she deserves.  I talked to you about my hopes for all of my girls.

My fourth year without you, I missed you Dad

My fourth year without you I lived what you taught me.

I listened to my conscience.

I developed strong character.

I was courageous.

My fourth year without you I survived.

IMG_7336

19149255_10103899656059868_8268170254675314703_n

LIVERversary – year #5

Where do I even begin?

If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I would have just tucked my three healthy little girls into their beds I would have thought you were crazy.  How would that even be possible when I was working my hardest to keep our 6 month old daughter alive?

5 years ago at 7:00am I had just said goodbye and good luck to our sweet baby Bea.  Jordan was about to roll me back for surgery and Dad was sitting with Bea as the nurses and doctors prepped her to receive her new (or we like to say “pre owned) liver.

Thinking back to that time seems so surreal.  For months prior, we were living minute by minute monitoring her health, her decline in health, her test results, and her medications.  We were filled with worry, fear, exhaustion, helplessness and hope.  We were uncertain if our 6 month old would survive such a long and complicated surgery.

5 years later, I wish I could look at that new mom and tell her it will be okay.  More than okay.  I wish I could tell her that 5 years later, her family is thriving.

Her daughter is healthy.  Her daughter is protected…she is fully vaccinated.

She will recover seamlessly from the surgery and go on and have 2 more babies.  And those babies will be healthy.  Her family will be better for going through such a trying time.  She will live in gratitude and a deep pull to give back to all that have given so much to her.

She will cherish the small moments.

She will be happy and although she still worries, she does NOT constantly think of her daughter as a liver transplant recipient. Instead, she thinks of her as a loving big sister, a tender hearted little girl, a joy, and a miracle.

A true blessing.

We don’t know what the next 5 years looks like – or the next 5 months for the matter – but today, we are celebrating our little girl and the incredible gift she is to us all.

Beatrice,

We are in awe of you.  Your strength, love, and empathy knows no bounds and I can’t imagine a life without you in it.  And thanks to all of our doctors and nurses at CCHMC, we won’t have to.  We are proud of you, Bea.

 

Poppy,

It takes the whole family to keep Bea healthy and you provide us all with the best medicine – laughter.  Your patience, love, and funny jokes keeps our family positive and confident.  We love you and are so proud of the little girl you are.  I am lucky to have you as the cream in the oreo.

tumblr_inline_nru47y0LYm1r5whzi_540

34F3EC63-7D36-4010-9A8B-2A7F38800DA4

IMG_6563

29861E55-561E-4166-9CC9-8CB383A5DB27