Tag Archives: family

Happy Mother’s Day

As I lay in bed this morning enjoying my time off from getting kids ready for school or getting ready for work or letting out a puppy or in general doing anything and everything before 8am … I realized how strange a Mother’s day journey can be for so many of us.

First, the Mother’s Days where I celebrated my Mother with all I had – unblemished, complete love and appreciation. Then the first time I realized that life was impermanent- losing my grandmother early – and seeing my Mom struggle with the loss of her Mom. While I was in 8th grade. A loss I still cannot comprehend for her or for me.

Then – college mother’s days, an afterthought or forced reckoning – realizing I had to send a card or make a call as more of an obligation than a true gesture … growing apart(in a healthy way) but also recognizing parents are no idols, but people)

There are the Mother’s Days I had so full of hope that one day I would enjoy one with a child of my own – as a newly wed already fielding questions and comments.

Then, the Mother’s Days where I was struggling to conceive – taking over two years – a reminder of the failures of my body to do something that at that point I had decided was something I wanted.

The first Mother’s Day with an infant – breathless, joyful, in the weeds, and loving it.

Pregnant – carrying twins – realizing my whole world was about to turn upside down – crying about college savings and cars and how on Earth would we do this?

Then, 2011, now I know, a year colored by my body fighting off something unseen. I was exhausted, working, taking naps – literally – every day. What on earth was going on?

Then, the answer just before mother’s day in 2012 – the world that I had so carefully constructed and wished for would soon get upended. Would I be around for another mother’s day? I didn’t entertain the thought – just went through the motions of getting up each day and rising to fight again.

Now, I am back to joy – a group of creative, colorful, hilarious children and a husband who supports and celebrates me.

Today as we are celebrated for doing the toughest job in the world (let’s be honest – parenting IS so it should be carried equally but is not always) … let’s also remember our friends who are celebrating or mourning differently. It’s not about how has the best mother’s day today … but about remembering mothers of all kinds and where they are in their journey. My friend with metastatic cancer who is celebrating the first mother’s day with her son, carried by a surrogate. My friend still struggling to conceive after three years of tests and diagnosis. My friend who is gay and cannot officially carry the rights of motherhood here in Texas the same way as others should. My friend who has lost two angels too soon, but manages to carry on and celebrate the life she has with two wonderful, sweet children. My friend who just lost her Mom to a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. And of course, to those of you who continue to inspire me to be a better Mom – with encouragement, love, support, amazing attitudes, a shoulder to cry on, carpools and more.

Happy Mother’s Day to all. I hope you get all you wish for, but most importantly, that you feel loved and appreciated and supported. Because you are all amazing.

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The Odd Space Between

What a strange trip it’s been. The last three weeks have been a  recovery of sorts – from the flu and what I am going to attribute as a general freak out due to unrealized angst over the last year compounded by an adverse reaction to tamiflu. In some ways I feel that the dark place I visited was worse than when I had cancer – it was the realization of all that had gone, and how it was going to continue to echo into the future.

We have gone on a belt tightening regime. Happily, our last payment to preschool was processed this week. Our children were accepted into a Mandarin Chinese Immersion program at their public school in what we hope will be an amazing academic and cultural opportunity to make their little brains spongy and their neurons fire and connect. It certainly helps that we see it as a private school education at public school prices. But, one of my biggest challenges in facing that path was the recognition that I would need to be well enough to (a) manage what will be an entirely new educational experience and system for our family (b) ask that the children be willing to spend some time every day academically and (c) commit to learning basic Mandarin so that my children don’t talk in secret circles in front of me.

I don’t know I even admitted it to myself until late last week but it was fear that was influencing my decision on behalf of the children. It was fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it – that I didn’t know our path and fear of returning to the survival mode of the last year.

It is ironic, then, that I return to surgery in just two weeks. After addressing the fear, after realizing the repercussions of cancer will effect us physically, emotionally, and financially for years, I go back into that scary world of surgeries, hospitals and procedures.

As I am literally flat, I will have expanders put in that will be pumped up over a series of months to stretch my skin. Here my youth will come in handy I hope and make the pain less. Once we have achieved desired fullness, swap out, detailing, and off I go into the future.

This time, right now, I prepare for a trip to Duke to talk about my journey and their programs. I have been asked by the Breast Cancer Resource Center to be featured at the Art Bra event to help them raise money so I prepare that script. )I finished my owl bra entry to raise money – Hooter is below). I get ready to leave the family for my trip to Durham, I cook and clean and work and plan. But there is much I cannot do because of the looming changes.

I have continued on my healthy habits – green smoothie each day, exercising three times a week at least, lots of water, less caffeine. But I can’t ratchet things up (tennis anyone?) because of what will come. I can’t buy new clothes – with the spending freeze actually not a bad thing – because I have no idea what size I will be when this all sorts. I work par ttime for an extraordinary group but know that I will be out of pocket for a couple of weeks and then with questions on my return – how much? how soon?

Oh and I turn 37 in the middle of it all. As the children have pointed out with their glee at learning new math terms – I will go from being even to odd. I feel quite a bit odd already.

artbrahooter IMG_5004_copy

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A Pink Ribbon in my Pocket

There’s a Girl Scout song I learned long ago about having a great big brownie smile in my pocket. It always struck me as funny – a smile in your pocket? That’s like having a blink in your shoe. But after this past week, I realize the symbolism as the song played over and over in my head on our vacation.

We went on a Disney cruise – and for those of you interested in the details, I have made a full post here (Disney cruise thoughts) … but for the rest of you, suffice it to say it was magical and exhausting. Somewhere around the second day at sea – when I had gotten dressed up formal in a sassy red number – and after I ran barefoot up five flights of stairs to retrieve our autograph book because we happened across Minnie Mouse in her formal wear in a lounge – I said to myself, I have a smile in my pocket.

Then the next day we went SCUBA diving in Grand Cayman – Davis and I. Now we fibbed a little and told them we had been diving “recently” – it had been nine years for me  since our first wedding anniversary in Belize. I was so nervous on the boat ride out I probably burned a full day of adrenaline. Then we had to do one of those “giant step” entries which always scares the beejesus out of me. I was the last one off the boat. Davis gave me a double high five. Then we held hands.I descended to a too-deep level of 90 feet accidentally because I was having so much fun. No wetsuit! Tons of fish! And, my swim boobs worked!

After we surfaced for air after the first dive, the smile was no longer in my pocket. I was grinning like a crazy person. I just wanted to yell out to everyone on the dive boat – do you realize what I was doing a month ago? Two months ago? Six months ago? Do you know I have swim boobs on? (From then on when I would get ready to go in the water I thought of myself as the SS Lauren strapping on the ladies)

It was the first time I had been in a really large group for a long time – being a “normal” person all day every day where no one knew my story. No one ever looked at me twice – except for the nice meaning Disney guest services lady who asked why I cut my hair – and then recovered by saying I looked like a supermodel. I was so impressed with myself in general. Apart from the fact that I went to bed with the twins, and took a nap or two (who wouldn’t!) I felt like myself again.

But, there is also some resentment. I look around all these normal people and want to shake them – do you know how good you have it? do you know how hard I’ve worked to get here? I also realize that other people probably have something in their pocket – maybe not a smile, maybe a story, maybe a challenge they too have overcome. Maybe not.

For now, our entire family is aglow with happiness – though the trip was not as relaxing as we had planned, it was far more magical and the children are blissful. Ultimately what more could we wish, and what more could we celebrate in this season of thanks.

PS I will try to upload some of the video and link to it – a man on the boat with us took a video and mailed it to us!

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