Love and Sacrifice

As a mother, I am doing what I can to instill proper values on my children. I do my darnedest to make sure they are always showing respect, mannerly, honest and always, always full of love and compassion for those around them. With toddlers, it’s more just getting them familiar with how the rest of their life under my authority will go.

As any mother or father would, I want to see my children succeed. I never want to see them struggle, but I want them to know what it’s like. I want them to know that in order to get what they want, they have to work  and work hard for all their desires. And by working they can achieve anything. I don’t want them to feel privileged or entitled. Not that they ever could since we don’t have much and surely don’t come from a family of riches but if they ever seen the day that they established a lavish lifestyle for themselves, I want them to remember their roots and how they got to be where they soon will stand.

Being someone who has grown up in a life of struggle, from a young age living with my parents to trying to find our own place in life as adults, I’ve learned that these endeavors are exactly what I need to stay grounded and humble.

When I was younger, I thought the world was unfair and in many cases it seemed to be. My family, with my stay-at-home mom and stepdad who worked hard at all his jobs, could still hardly afford food. The bills didn’t stop coming just because we were broke and that left us with no choice but to accept food benefits, however we never abused them as there are many who do today. My brothers and I weren’t able to sign up for the sports we wished to play and going out to eat was never an option. It felt unfair that I couldn’t have a normal life. I couldn’t go to the mall buy all the “fancy” new clothes that all the cool kids were wearing. Going out with friends was rare as we never had enough money for me to spend. It was all unfair. I never understood how others seemed to have it so easy and could always afford nice things.

It wasn’t until my first job as a gas station clerk that I truly understood what being an adult is all about. It may not have been the most strenuous of occupations and most definitely not a permanent career choice, but it opened my eyes to many things. I put in many hours, taking any overtime I could get. I helped maintain a friendly atmosphere and bonded with all of my regular customers. Loved each of them like family and still continue friendships with them outside of Shell. I helped manage the appearance of the store and cleaned undesirable things that would make you gag at the sight of, among other responsibilities of the job.

Working at Shell taught me punctuality, responsibility, initiative and how to be a team player. Then came motherhood. While I was still working up until the birth of my second child, I still had to balance a work life with parenting. That in itself was a struggle. I had to learn sacrifice. I sacrificed my precious and valuable time with my girls that I can never get back, all to ensure they had what they needed and we could afford our own roof over our head. Even with both, my husband and I working, we still couldn’t afford a middle class life. We thought we were well on our way up to being “comfortable” since my husband had a new job that he loved and was quickly climbing the ladder earning raises until one day something unfortunate happened and he lost his job. All after I had already quit mine to take care of my girls while he worked.

At times, I still felt moments of resentment toward the rest of the world but I didn’t let it get to me. I had to learn that things happen, even to the best of people. I learned to live with it and instead of wallowing in the unfairness of life. I learned to make it better in the best ways I could- from baking and selling my own baked goods, painting and selling my paintings to doing photography all on the side. When I started doing that and no longer passed blame on others, I felt myself drifting into a happier, less bitter Samantha. A self that I could live with. One that pushed me to want to do better because I have little eyes staring up at me and watching my every move. All things you want for yourself become meaningless to what you want for your children.

My girls were my inspiration to finally stop with procrastination and get my butt in college. Even if I don’t get far with my newly acquired degree, at least they got to see me succeed. They got to watch me spend many late nights doing homework, sacrificing our playtime. They watched me come in the door super tired from putting in a long day in the kitchens, going straight to work at home to try and keep the house up and then back to cooking so that they and my husband have full bellies. As hard as it gets, I try to keep in mind that my sacrifices and all of my husbands will be well worth it all the in the future.

I try so hard to be a good role model for them in hopes they will never see me fail and if they do, I want them to see me getting back up and pushing forward no matter how great my obstacle. For me, that means never letting them see me break down and cry. For me, that means keeping my head up and for me, that means always being strong- if not for myself, then for them.

If we ever want our children to succeed we need to show them the way. We have to show them love and kindness. My days of parenting are nowhere near finished and I still have lots to learn. I know that I will make plenty of mistakes along the way but in those mistakes I will learn at what I need to do to be a better mom and role model. I can only hope that as they are observing my actions, that they too will learn as I did as a kid.

“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”- Ann Landers



Still Not Offended

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about his job. While he may not enjoy the job or better yet, the expectations of the job, he is particularly fond of all of the people he works with. I’ve never seen him light up the way he does when he talks about the friends he’s made since he started. He brought up that one of the ladies he works with has taken an interest in my blog and how it’s “The Hungary Pollock“. It’s my understanding that there is another lady that works with him who is also Polish. As Mason and his friend were conversing about my blog, the other lady took offense to my blog name to which he replied, “Um my wife is Polish and she’s Hungarian. Hint the name The Hungary Pollock!?” and she turned away. It’s weighed heavily on my mind since our little trip to the store when he revealed all of this. I’m sure the girl didn’t mean anything by expressing how she felt. After all, we are entitled to our opinions, right? But it occurred to me that there may be other’s who aren’t fond of my choice of words used to name my blog. So, here is me, explaining the name behind my blog.

It’s no secret that I have “Pollock” as the title of my name, but why would anyone think it is “offensive”? Growing up in a politically correct world, it seems like people take offense to anything these days. If you’re not a Pole (person of polish origin or decent), most likely you wouldn’t understand. A Pollock (Polak; Polack; Pollack- I’ve seen it spelled many ways, including Pollock) is meant to be offensive to a polish person. The term was first used in 19th century as a non-offensive way to describe the Poles. Later down the line the tables have turned and it was used as a way to reflect the Pole’s intelligence. Poles became the butt of many jokes, so maybe that’s why some take offense?

If you’re a fan of my blog, heck… if you’re around me enough, you would know I am really proud of my heritage as everyone should be. I’ve let it be known from the beginning of The Hungary Pollock that I am of Hungarian and Polish decent. The Hungarian side is from my mother’s and the Polish is from my father’s side. While my mother was proud to be Hungarian and she let us know, it was when visiting my dad that I would be “forced” (and I use that lightly- I may have secretly enjoyed it) to appreciate the festive sounds of polka blaring in the kitchen as he bobbed his body up and down to the rhythm while doing what he loves-cooking (would you imagine that?).The smell of tomato sauce that smothers the Golabki (cabbage rolls) weaved its way from room to room in my grandma’s house. I can remember him hanging the Polish flag from my grandmother’s porch for all to see. I haven’t been to his new place, but I can imagine that same flag hanging tightly from his new porch. Can you say, “Polish Proud!”?

Lorain, Ohio, the town I first lived in and where all of my family resides, is very ethnically diverse. In fact, Lorain has been recognized as one of Ohio’s most ethnically diverse regions.I mean, they host an International Festival with people of all ethnic backgrounds coming together to offer their foods and traditions to the public. In fact,  two of my dad’s girlfriend’s nieces won the Hungarian queen for the International pageant. Sometimes, I wish I could say that I grew up in this community that takes pride in their ethnic background but I finished growing up in a little town in the Appalachians, where less people take an interest in their background and more of an interest in how country they can be. This isn’t a knock toward anyone, just stating that I’ve been on both sides of the fence and these are my experiences.

So how does where I lived pertain to the offensiveness of the term “Pollock”? Well, because it’s the people who surrounded me that made me who I am. I grew up visiting my dad during my summer breaks and being around my Polish grandma who, along with her siblings, is the true Pole of the family. I often heard the term “pollock” being thrown around a lot and it was never offensively. The most I’ve ever heard it being used for was to say he or she was polish. Shoot, I’ve been described as a pollock by many . I never once thought my intelligence was being challenged… but then again,  I have never been one to take offense to much. Most of the time, if something bothers me, I grit my teeth and move on. It wasn’t until recently that I heard of “Pollock” being derogatory slur. Listen, guys, here is my thought on the matter and I won’t say too much more, “Life is too short to worry about the little things!” A word is what you make it. You do you, and I will do me. While I won’t just walk up to someone and call them a “Pollock”, I also won’t stop myself from using the term for my own enjoyment. The Hungary Pollock was meant to be witty and fun, in hopes of creating a brand that others will remember when they think of me or my cooking. It’s been my dream to have my own cooking show, food truck or restaurant. Wonder what it’s name would be? That’s day gone right! The Hungary Pollock!

So, I am sorry if my blog’s name, The Hungary Pollock, was offensive to you but am I a bad person to say that I don’t really care? (wow, that sounded harsh and not exactly what I’m trying to say). I don’t have time to care. (Better?) Ok, let me explain  what I mean. I’m polish and the name means nothing to me other than I’m polish and that’s who I am! I don’t have time to care about what bothers you or the person next to you. I have my own life that I live and I have children to raise. I won’t get worked up with the rest of the world when someone says something I don’t agree on. The most I can do is carry on and promise to not teach my kids to get worked up over other people’s opinions and “harsh” words.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt compelled to defend the name behind my blog. Much love to all! 

The girl behind it all

Hello, beautiful people!!

Who am I? Sometimes I find myself asking this question A LOT. Do we ever really know the answer? I am a lot of things. I am student, an aspiring chef in my second year of culinary school. I am a crafter. A foodie, and oh how I love all things food! I am the photographer and owner of Samantha Holbrook Photography. I’m of Polish and Hungarian descent (hint the name, The Hungary Pollock), but first and foremost, I am a Mother! A mother to two beautiful, smart and sassy little girls. There isn’t anything I hold higher than those precious souls or my wonderful, sweet husband.

I feel, in all, I have been blessed beyond measure for the road my life has chosen, just for me. Whether it’s in the kitchen, at home, or outdoors, I learn new things every day and work hard to get where I am right now. I’m always looking for opportunities to capture the beauty of everyday life. It’s not often we get to sit back and enjoy what’s really around us, so I try to stop, even if for just a second, to take it all in.

I want to be able to share, with all of you, a smidgen of my life’s adventures. Hope you enjoy! 🙂