Margaret Domnick - The Inside Story...

I'm a woman, mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife and partner in crime. I'm spontaneous, anal, loud, loving, funny (or at least I think I am), and generally honest. Sometimes I get these thoughts... so I've created this blog to share them. Feel free to respond, but be kind...did I mention that I'm sensitive?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sports, Games and All That Stuff....

I started running track in 4th grade. My coach was Mrs. Letourneau, and I loved her. She made me feel good, like I belonged on the track, like she was happy I was on her team. I continued running throughout junior high and high school, even branching out into cross country my sophomore year. Yes, I ran 100 meter sprints and 3 mile races, and I loved it all!

I grew up while running. I gained confidence, maturity, mental strength, and freedom. I learned about work ethic and responsibility and leadership and respect and success and failure. I met friends. I worked hard and fought hard - partly for me, but mostly for my team. I was part of something great! And, more importantly, I felt like I was a contributing part of that greatness. I was rewarded for all the aches and pains and bruises earned in the heat and rain and dust.

My coaches knew me. They knew what I did well, and what I didn’t. They built up my strengths and left the rest alone. I continued to get better and better at the things I did well, and my confidence grew; my self-concept grew too; and my performances improved. I was guided out of my comfort zone, I tried new events, and I pushed my limits. I was happy with the role I played on the team, and the effort I gave, and the reinforcement I was given. It was a two-way street.

I was encouraged to perform, but not pressured; I was rewarded for great effort, but not pushed; I was challenged to try, but not forced; and, I was free to be me.

I was never punished for a poor performance or for a bad decision, and believe me, there were plenty of opportunities. I remember feeling bad when I didn’t run well, but it was of my own doing. I was never yelled at or belittled or embarrassed by anyone - ever - at least not by coaches. Some of my teachers yelled and belittled and made me embarrassed sometimes, and I hated it, and I didn’t perform well for them. But that’s a different blog.

There were a lot of runners running “my” races, and the competition was there, but not the comparisons. I was genuinely happy for my team to win, even if it wasn’t me breaking the ribbon at the finish. That behavior was taught. Sportsmanship is learned.

Maybe times have changed, but as a coach’s wife and athlete’s mom, I am viewing the sport scene as something completely different than I experienced. I see stressed kids, upset parents and tense coaches. I see “work” rather than “passion”. I see a lot of frustration, and even if it’s because of “the game” it often appears to be because of “the player”. I’m confident that every athlete that risks playing a sport, unless they are forced to participate against their will, is giving their best effort. They might be burned out, from playing all year long; or tired, from getting up early most of the summer; or frustrated, from working hard all year for little playing time, but they’re there, and they’re doing the best they can do. We all need to remember to encourage our kids, to find what they do right, to remind them what they love about their sport, and show them how to react when all is good, and when it’s not so good.

What kind of seasons would we have if parents fully supported their kids coaches; and coaches encouraged their players through positive reinforcement and respect; and players had a little fun, played with passion, and brought the ‘game’ back into the sport?

Here’s to a great year!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Eulogy

My mom asked me to write and read the eulogy for my dad's funeral service. I stopped breathing for a second, then said "I'd be honored". I lied. I mean, I was honored, but at that moment, I was pretty sure I'd never be able to write a meaningful, memorable, honest speech to eulogize my dad. He was, like, the coolest being to walk the planet ya know. But this is what I came up with, and I read it great until the end; then I cried.

Here it is...

There are a lot of words I could use to describe Philip Hanson: funny, friendly, handsome, genuine, honest (to a fault); but I think the word that fits him best is FAITHFUL. I remember a time in college when I struggled with my religion; I had to learn how to defend Catholicism against other’s beliefs. I asked dad a lot of questions, and his reply was always the same, “I don’t know the answer Margie, I just have faith”. Then he’d say “if you believe, you don’t need proof” then, he’d say “I’ll pray extra for you because you need it.”

And dad didn’t just talk about being faithful, he lived it. When he’d pick us up for an orthodontic appointment, we’d pray a decade of the Rosary on the way; when we were scared in bed at night, he’d hold us for a minute, like all good daddy’s do, then he’d encouraged us to pray for protection. We always said prayers before meals and always said prayers before bed. I’m sure many of you know that my dad attended daily Mass, and he also locked the church at night. I often walked with him to lock the church, and lived some of my best memories right here in this building with him - my siblings could say the same.

When dad’s body started to give out, when the strokes he’d experienced finally took their toll on his independence, he refused to consider living anywhere that didn’t offer daily Mass. I fought that a little bit; I thought he was crazy. But dad understood who he was, he knew what he wanted, and he knew where he was headed when his life ended.

Watching the last few years of dad’s life was tough. Stroke after stroke made it hard for him to talk and eat and stand and walk and feed himself and dress himself, and so on. The whole family struggled with why such a faithful man had to endure such hardships. Near the end of my grandmother’s life, she told me that God gives everyone a cross to carry, and it’s HIS decision when that cross gets laid down, not ours. I can better appreciate her perspective after watching my dad’s journey. Philip Hanson carried a very heavy cross, and he carried it with grace and honor and faith. He was finally able to lay that cross down at 11:57 last Saturday night, and he is at Peace.

We had a celebratory drink with dad at his death and we’ll continue to celebrate his life every day. His energy is with us in traditions, in memories, in moments, and in Spirit. My faith is still growing, and I pray that someday it will match that of my father’s. We’re so blessed to know and love you daddy.

And that was it.

Dad had been ready to die for years. He felt his mission on earth was complete and he wanted to hang with God. It was a happy dad for dad, and for us too, when we were able to stop thinking about our loss and focus on his gain. The service was beautiful. We toasted dad in the limo, and cried all through his military burial service. It was a moment in time not easily forgotten.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Meaning of Life...

I know I’ve already told you about the summer I spent selling books door-to-door in Cincinnati Ohio – one of the best and worst summers ever. But, what I didn’t tell you is that THAT summer was the first summer that I thought about the meaning of life; MY meaning of life. One morning I found myself walking on this remote, long, hilly, paved road lined with full, towering, dark green, almost-mystical looking trees. My mind raced between ‘spectacularly beautiful’ and ‘someone could kill me out here and no one would know’. I fell in love with that road and started walking it every morning; because no one wanted a book salesman to knock on their door at 8:00, right? Eventually, the pavement ended and I landed at a small baseball field a few miles out of town. I hung-out on the empty bleachers, almost daily, for hours. Sometimes I’d stretch out and sleep, often I’d write letters or pray the Rosary or talk out loud about what I thought was important. I named my first child on those bleachers…long before I met her daddy. I spent time with myself and questioned who I was and what I stood for; since I should have been knocking on doors instead of squandering my time on far away, empty baseball bleachers. I broke a lot of rules that summer, told some lies too, and began my journey to find out who I was meant to become.

I still think about that summer. I don’t remember much about the books I sold, or the area of town I worked in. I didn’t get to go to the zoo, or the stadium, or even a museum. I did sneak off to explore the waterfront and downtown one day, but other than that, I don’t remember very much about my time in Cincinnati; but I do remember almost ALL of the people I met. At that point in my life, I liked everyone and judged no one. I was comfortable in my skin, had nothing to prove, and believed everyone was good and trustworthy. I got pictures with businessmen, a street gang, a hot-dog vendor named Sam. I hopped on a boat with a bunch of strangers without a care in the world. I met an elderly couple who honestly changed my life, and I spent lots of time chatting with stay-at-home moms. I babysat neighbor’s kids, organized a few backyard kick-ball games, and built some awesome memories. And, I discovered that I liked talking and walking and thinking more than I liked selling books. That summer, I was where I needed to be, I just didn’t realize it then, but I know it now.

I’ve spent the better part of my 40s searching for my “passion”, feeling like there is more to life than what I’m experiencing. I’ve yearned for something to fulfill me, challenge me, and make me better. I’ve read books, measured myself against other’s ethics, tried to re-create myself so I could be happy and settled and satisfied. But, I am already created perfectly in the eyes of my God, and my work fills a need in the world, therefore, I am doing what I should be doing. It’s not about what I do anyway; MY meaning of life is about the people I meet; to embrace and nurture the relationships that occur while I’m doing what I do, because THAT is what I’ll remember anyway. I didn’t realize it before, but I know it now.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet Motherhood

Being a mother is BIG! I mean, it just doesn’t get any more amazing than birthing a baby! One minute you’re just you – a wife maybe, a daughter, a lover, a friend…and the next second, BAM! you’re a mother. Seriously, you go from agony to awe in a nanosecond. You learn an entirely new kind of love the moment you hold the tiny life that developed and grew and lived inside of you. You never again think or plan or do anything without first considering its effect on your baby. It’s like your life takes a back seat to the life that you’ve created. And that's okay.

A few years later you’ve birthed all your babies and fallen completely in love with each of them in that magical, unimaginable, crazy-to-understand kind of way. You know how they each think, how they feel, how they react, what they like, what they’ll do…. You know them completely. You talk to them and teach them and cook for them and do their laundry and drive them around and meet their friends and go to their events and tuck them into bed and answer their questions and kiss them always. You talk about boys and beer and bras; moods and manners and money; parties and picnics and play practice. You teach them to shave. They need you. You need them.

You worry – even if you’re not a worrier, you worry about your kids. You worry they’ll hang with the wrong crowd, make poor decisions, eat the wrong foods or hurt someone’s feelings. You worry they won’t make a team; or that they will. You worry about illness, injury, nutrition, and germs. You worry they’ll get hurt, get angry, or get bullied. And all this time you’re thinking and worrying and caring for your kids, you’re not doing things for yourself.

You put off getting new glasses so you can use that money on MAYB tournament fees. You put off your mammogram (just for a few months) because you just can’t find time in your schedule to go. You put off your much needed vacation or the pricy theater tickets or dinner out. You buy new clothes, but not for yourself. You add days to your work schedule...

And, if you had it to do all over again, you wouldn’t change anything, except that you’d cherish it more and enjoy it more and value it more. You’d feel a little pang when you remember how upset you were when your fresh baby cried and cried at night when all you wanted was a little bit of sleep. You’d feel a bit of guilt as you recall throwing back the covers and stomping to the nursery to find the most adorable baby wanting you. You’d happily redo those moments and revere the warmth of your baby’s breath on your neck or the smell of their freshly bathed skin. You’d sit up later watching movies with your tween or playing videogames into the wee hours of the night, just to take part in what your child loves. Heck, you might even go paintballing.

Yes, if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over again, with a little more gusto.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Defining Moment

I remember a few defining moments in my life: my first ‘real’ kiss, an extraordinary conversation with my grandmother, a diagnosis, a car accident, my wedding day, my children’s birthdays…and a matter-of-factly stated comment from a colleague at a recent after-work get together…

“You’re so negative; always complaining about something”; complete with a tiny hand shrug and eye-roll.

I was caught off-guard, I mean, I had a right to be negative – I’d just gotten screwed out of a…(maybe I shouldn’t mention that here)! Even so, I was affected. I thought about that comment all evening…and the next…and the next. I recalled my previous conversations and discussions and interactions, I remembered my attitudes and auras. I had been focused on some specific actions at work and at home that I was upset about. I do drop the f-bomb a lot, am short tempered more often, and I let my house go (not too much) - a very telling sign that I’m out of sync. But, am I THAT negative? Do I complain THAT much? Apparently the answer is “yes”.

So, what do I do about it now? How do I get out of that funk? Do I just stop being honest about my feelings and interpretations? Stop fighting for what I believe in? Stop asking tough questions? Do I lower my expectations? Accept mediocrity? How can I go back to positive and fun?

If you’ve read my other blogs, you know I believe that perspective is reality; you believe what you perceive. I also believe that negativity breeds negativity and I have apparently gotten caught up in that action. So, I need to change my reality. Life is a mixed blessing and I will look past the negative in my life (schedule, finances, job), and revel in the good things happening around me.

Your brain believes what your mouth tells it; and I will tell mine great things!