Author: Anissa Berasi

All for One

I am a really competitive person.  Like competitive to the point that I might not be considered a desirable guest at a friendly game night.  It’s a characteristic that is innate to my personality.  A spark I was born with that exploded over the course of my childhood growing up with three brothers and playing soccer from the time I was eight years old through college.  It’s not so much about material things, but more that I am consistently challenging myself to be the best and do more.  My head is always in the game, seeking out ambitious people or goals to surround myself with.  I focus on preparation, arriving early, and implementing strategies. I know how to get it done.  It is often my main source of motivation, even in terms of mundane activities.  For example, if we’re putting the groceries away together, I will put more away than you and I will do it with record speed.  BAM!  I just beat you at a contest that you didn’t even know you were participating in, but still – WINNING!  (Hope you enjoyed that sneak peek into my craziness.) However, like most personality traits, the pendulum swings both ways.  It’s nearly impossible to turn my competitive appetite ‘off’. I often feel challenged by simple innocuous statements.  I am rigid in my independent perspective and can become instantly defensive upon confrontation.  Any...

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Oh Christmas Tree

Growing up, relatives and friends from near and far would make it a point to visit my family during Christmas. It was probably to visit with me and my three brothers.  We were awfully adorable and quite well behaved children.  Or it could have been for the endless supply of delectable Italian Christmas cookies.  Chocolate chip!  Spritz!  Pizzelles!  The white ones (anisette)!  The brown ones (totos)!  If you don’t see something you like, just ask, there are at least ten more tins in the garage.  Really though, I think it was because they wanted to see the tree.  “How big is it this year?” they’d ask.  “How did you get that in here?” they’d query. The Collin Family Christmas tree is epic. The tree stood 14 feet high with a circumference of 8 feet at its widest point at the pinnacle of Collin Family Christmases. Imagine waking up to see four heaping mounds of presents piled underneath this towering tree on Christmas morning.  It was magical.  As you might imagine, when you have a tree this big there is a need for many, many, many, MANY ornaments.  Some are as sparkly as my Mom.  Others are hand me downs from Christmas angels past.  All are encompassed with popcorn and beaded strings of garland.  There are the retro ornaments that actually originated in the 50’s.  The four ducks always placed in a row –...

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Decisions, Decisions

Many mothers in present day America have to wrestle with the decision whether or not to return to work after having a baby. Everyone’s journey is different.  This is my story. When I was pregnant with my first child it was essentially a forgone conclusion that I would return to work once the baby arrived. It wasn’t because I was married to my job.  Yes, I was proud of the career I had built and wanted to push it as far as I could go, but mainly, I felt that it was important for me to maintain my identity outside the home and a degree of financial independence.  When asked by my coworkers if I was going to return to work full time, I would publicize my choice with bravado particularly when the question was accompanied with a judgey side eye implying that my response was somehow not “correct”.   I was so confident in my decision that my husband and I didn’t even discuss the financial implications of becoming a stay at home mom.  I wasn’t at all interested. And then, I met my brown eyed boy and quickly had a change of heart. Going back to work seemed irrational. Being a mom was a harder assignment than any that I had received in the office, but that didn’t deter me from never wanting to leave his side.  Noah...

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Scenes from a Thanksgiving Past

Three women sit at a bar height table in a suburban tavern. Chatting about imminent Thanksgiving preparations and exchanging sentiments of disbelief that Christmas and the end of 2012 are right around the corner. It’s been a year of adventures – a new pre-school for some and new home for one – they all agree: the only thing that is constant in this life is change. The night winds down. One of the women is a little more flushed than the others. She is refreshed by the cold, contrasting November air that hits her face as she leaves the tavern. Quick hugs good bye and an even quicker walk to her car. She smiles to herself as she has a hunch. She sleeps quickly knowing it will have to be morning before she can confirm it. She wakes up with anticipation, takes the test as planned, and is faced with the results she was expecting. Validation. She silently guards her secret; only acknowledging the emerging soul inside her with the hopes and prayers she throws toward the sky; hopeful that they reach their destination.  The words:  “I’m pregnant.” don’t cross her lips. The next day she takes another test. She feels confident. Fortunate. Thankful. Another workday passes and she decides that she can no longer keep this secret to herself. After all, it is not hers alone to keep. She gathers...

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Where my girls at?!

The love I have for my friends runs deep.  I grew up with a tight knit group that originated in a kindergarten class room.  We spent countless hours creating memories.  From girl scouts to soccer games and from sleepovers to proms, the only thing on our schedules was each other.  Similarly, in college, I was lucky enough to bond with a group of women during the first weeks of freshman year and we never left each other’s sides throughout our four years together.  Once I entered the “real world”, it was a little daunting to put myself out there to new people given my history of long term friendships.  I was unfamiliar with the concept that some friendships only last a season and I wondered whether or not it was even possible to make new friends as a grown up because – – is that even something adults do?!  As the dynamics of my adolescent friendships changed, almost entirely because of the physical distance between us, I was lonely.  I missed my girls!  I found myself having no choice but to branch out and build a new support network. My network expanded further when I became a mom.  I had an insatiable need to talk about the ins and outs of motherhood.  My babies actually made it easier for me to make friends.  As a mom,it was less intimidating, for me, to...

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