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Relay for Life is a once a year event from the American Cancer Society that I have been participating in for the past 7 years. It is a touching event that honors, remembers, and fights back in communities across the country. Anyone can be a part of it, whether you have been affected by cancer or not. I have personally been affected by cancer many times in my life. In the past 7 years, I have lost my mom to ovarian cancer and my father in law to liver cancer.
I don’t think I heard the word cancer until I was 9 or 10 years old and my grandfather was diagnosed with brain cancer. A short time after he passed away, my grandmother passed away from lung cancer. I didn’t really understand the disease at that point.
8 years ago this August, 2017, cancer struck closer to home, when my mom heard the news, “you have cancer.” Her husband delivered the news to me, I only remember the news in bits and pieces, as I wasn’t expecting to hear this diagnosis, no one ever is. My mom had gone in for a hysterectomy and what they found was widespread ovarian cancer.
When I went to visit my mom at the hospital the next day, she looked at me and said, “It’s cancer.” I looked at her and said, “I know. And I’m pregnant.” I had just found out the night before, the night I found out my mom had cancer, I found out I was pregnant with my second son.
I talked to my mom every day during my pregnancy, except the day after chemo, those were not good days. I researched cancer fighting foods and ovarian cancer. I went to my ob/gyn appointments, watched and felt my baby grow inside me, as my 1 year old was growing and changing every day. This was an emotional roller coaster. I was exhausted from pregnancy, overwhelmed by the heavy load of caring for a toddler and my husband(not a firefighter yet), and thinking about my mom. I began having palpitations and a dizziness spell that lead my doctor to send me to a cardiologist who put me on a heart monitor. My poor mom, the worry wart, was so concerned about me. I had electrodes all over my chest with this pager like thing tucked into a pocket, for about 10 days. I was miserable.
When I got the all clear to remove my electrodes, it was determined that the palpitations were not harmful and probably being caused by anxiety(shocker). Can you imagine me being anxious? Mom fighting for her life, a wild one year old, pregnancy hormones, and a husband going through paramedic school. FUN TIMES!!
Mom was a fighter, she had a few transfusions along the road of chemo. She always sounded cheerful, she was always checking on me and my guys, she was always taking care of everyone. My sister was pregnant too, and through mom’s chemo treatments mom was working on our babies needlepoints, something special she did for all her grandchildren.
As the months went on, my belly got bigger, and mom got weaker(although I never realized it at the time). She was starting to struggle with energy and even took a fall towards the end that left her on the floor all day until her husband got home from work. I was so upset with her that I didn’t talk to her for days after. I felt she needed more help, a plan in place, while her husband was at work and my sister and I were so far away.
9 months into her battle with ovarian cancer, I went into labor, 9 days before my scheduled C-section. I called my dad to let him know and he said, “Your sister is in the hospital too.” Hours later my sister gave birth to baby Jedidiah Patrick in Mississippi, and I gave birth to Evan Daniel, in Massachusetts,–twin cousins we called them.
I got to talk to my mom later on that day, and the next day. But by my third day in the hospital, I got off the phone with my mom crying. She wasn’t making any sense, she was quiet and losing her train of thought. I was convinced it had spread to her brain. My sister called mom’s husband and shared our concerns.
On discharge day as my wheelchair reached our blue envoy outside of the hospital, my phone rang, my mom’s husband Walter was letting me know that he was taking my mom to the hospital. By the next day, they were discussing hospice. But only shortly after, did she take a turn for the worse. Every phone in my house was ringing, cell phones, landlines, but as I was swimming in diapers and caring for a toddler, I receive the news that mom was being intubated and I needed to come say goodbye.
We made arrangements for our toddler, and my husband drove me and our baby to NY(C-section=no driving-wouldn’t want to pop my staples out). We picked up my sister and my baby nephew from the airport and went to the hospital. With no plan in place, we didn’t know how long we would stay. My childhood friends swooped in like super hero’s looking after our babies for hours while we sat with mom. We stayed in hotel rooms all over Brooklyn, wherever my father in law could use hotel points. I nursed almost every hour all night long as Evan was cluster feeding, and when he wasn’t nursing I was always waiting for the phone to ring. By day we walked at least 1/4 of a mile from the lobby to mom’s room, I remember holding my side, thinking my staples would come undone, looking back I probably should have been pushed in a wheelchair, but I kept a fast pace, rushing to my moms side, never knowing when her last breath would be.
Finally we were told, they just didn’t know, we felt it was time to go, so we got packed up, drove my sister and nephew to the airport, went back to the hospital to say one final goodbye, when the doctor told us, it could just be hours away. We paged my sister at the airport and went back to get her. More long hospital days and sleepless nights followed. We visited the funeral home and shopped for a casket with our babies. We shopped for a dress for mom to be buried in with our babies. And finally, we wrote letters to the hospital board asking them to unplug the machines, with our babies. And then we said good bye. Mom wasn’t gone yet, but it was time to go home. The next day, a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the playground in August, I got the call, she was gone.
Mom was always caring and compassionate, even in her dying days, it was like she was making sure her daughters and grand babies were ok before she gave up the fight. God’s hand was all over this, and to anyone who ever questions the very existence of a good God, I would argue, with this story as my ammunition. Yes, it sucked to lose my mom to cancer, it sucked so bad that it was SUCKTASTIC! But seriously, my sister and I gave birth hours apart, my mom fought for 9 months, the duration of our pregnancies. Who else could plan all that but God. You could call it a coincidence, but I call it a godincidence.
I relay for my mom. I relay for cancer research, cancer prevention, and a cure, so that maybe some day, some one won’t have to lose their mom to a cancer that is so silent, it swoops in with invisible symptoms. I relay so that one day a 63 year old woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer will have better odds of survival than my mom did.
I relay for my father in law. Diagnosed with liver cancer with only months to live and no treatment. I relay because 4 months from diagnosis to death is not enough time to say goodbye. I relay so that one day an otherwise healthy 60 year old won’t be taken from his family so young and so quickly.
Tomorrow from noon to midnight I will Relay with my family and friends as we honor, celebrate, remember, and fight back, to make a world with less cancer, and more birthday’s. So if anyone is near Weymouth High School tomorrow, come give me a hug and walk a lap with me. Stay for a few minutes, stay for 12 hours. Hear life changing stories, see faith in action, witness love. And if you feel lead, you can make a donation at the link below. Thank you for reading my story.
By David Nail
This is where it all goes down
This is what “I don’t love you” feels like
It ain’t the middle of the night
And it ain’t even raining outside
It ain’t exactly what I had in mind
At a red light in the sunshine
On a Sunday
Nothin’ to say
Don’t even try
Some are comin’ home
Some are leavin’ town
While my world’s crashin’ down
On a Sunday
In the sunshine
At a red light
I thought she was gonna say
Somethin’ about that couple kissin’
Crossin’ the street
Or somethin’ about this beautiful day
But she just looked me in the eye
Said it’s over
Didn’t try to lie
Or pick a fight
I might have seen it comin’ thata way
But at a red light in the sunshine
On a Sunday
Nothin’ to say
Don’t even try
Some are comin’ home
Some are leavin’ town
While my world’s crashin’ down
On a Sunday
In the sunshine
At a red light
There’s a momma calmin’ down a little baby
In the backseat in front of me
There’s an old man dressed in his Sunday best
Just waitin’ on green
But I can’t see, gettin’ past
This red light
In the sunshine
On a Sunday
Nothin’ to say
Don’t even try
Some are comin’ home
Some are leavin’ town
While my world’s crashin’ down
On a Sunday in the sunshine
(at a red light)
At a red light in the sunshine
On a Sunday
Nothin’ to say
Don’t even try
Some are comin’ home
Some are leavin’ town
While my world’s crashin’ down
On a Sunday
In the sunshine
At a red light [x4]
And just like that, we have a pre school graduate.
I want to say, I blinked and then he was all grown up, but there has not been a stage in my 5 year olds life that has been quick. This kid, my little love, has developed on no one’s time table but his own. I like control, and this has seriously made me CRAZY at times. It is funny how God uses our children to mold us and shape us into different people, because not only has Logan developed and changed in his 5 years, but Kenny and I have too.
Logan is our 3rd son, our grand finale. We didn’t find out the gender for our first two, we liked the idea of a surprise. I wanted our first to be a boy, and he was. I wanted our second to be a boy so our first would have a buddy, and he was. At our gender reveal uldtrasound, I was convinced we were having a girl and when the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy, I looked at her, completely dumbfounded, and said, “where, show me where.” I remember thinking, no, I have two of those already, this is a girl. But a few months later, it was confirmed when we welcomed Logan Matthew Resnick into our world. Logan weighed in at 9 pounds, the first out of three that we weren’t afraid to hold, that kid came out looking sturdy with a head full of brown hair, long fingernails, and eye lashes you could see across a room. My five days in the hospital after my C-section had its ups and downs. I experienced more alone time with a new born as Kenny was home more with the other boys, that was interesting. I remember needing to get up out of bed after I nursed him to change his diaper, but with my incision I couldn’t lift myself up and hold my baby. I pressed the nurse call button a lot, it was my, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up help line. Around day 3 Logan couldn’t latch on to eat and he was getting so upset that he developed a fever. The next day we were told he was tongue tied pretty badly and that we would need to see a specialist to have it taken care of upon discharge.
After Logan had his tongue clipped, he started eating and never looked back, but yet, he still struggled to gain weight, even after being born at 9 pounds. We had weight checks almost every month for the first year of his life. Around the time of his first birthday, a friend from church called and expressed some concerns from observing him in the church nursery, that Logan wasn’t hitting milestones. Logan had just had a well visit and the doctor wasn’t concerned with anything so we figured everything was fine. He was easy and such a sweet love that we weren’t concerned.
It was true, Logan was developing slowly. He didn’t get his first tooth until about 14 months, didn’t walk until 22 months, at which point we really missed the bouncy but scoot he had taught himself to do, we dressed him as tigger one Halloween and he didn’t disappoint, that boy got some serious air on his scoots! But then by 2 years old, he still wasn’t talking. Our primary still was not concerned, and Kenny and I figured that our oldest monopolized so much time talking, that once he went to kindergarten, maybe Logan would have a chance to talk. Well Christopher was in kindergarten for nearly 6 months and Logan still wasn’t talking, so we began to work with early intervention. Slowly but surely, Logan started to develop some words, but we waited so long that we didn’t get much time with EI, but EI is such a wonderful organization, they began the process with our public school system to have him evaluated by the pre-school team.
By the time the pre-school team left our house on evaluation day, I knew we would be offered services for him because the only word he said to them was bye. This began my journey of letting go. My older boys never went to pre-school, they were home with me for the first 6 years od their lives. But by now it was evident that Logan needed help and it was our job to let go and make sure that he got what he needed.
So tears flooded my eyes today as I wrote thank you cards to his teachers today, two of them he has had for three years now. Three years, he is practically a professional at pre-school! I was overcome by emotion thinking of how far he has come in those three years. He went in to school non verbal in a substantially separate classroom setting. When he got upset, he would crawl into a ball, like one of those roley poley bugs. We laughed at iep meetings and conferences remembering those days when Logan would role into a ball and his teachers would pick him up, but he remained in the ball. Man he has made excellent progress, I’m getting choked up as I write this, not because he is my baby and he is going to kindergarten but because I am so in awe of how far he has come and I am so extremely grateful to our amazing pre-school team, who have been patient with us, have walked along side us, who have loved our child, have cheered for our child, and helped him grow to be the strong, smart, independent, and confident kid that he is today.
It has not been an easy journey for us. On top of his 3 full days at school and 1 half day, he goes to roughly 6 therapies during the school day as well as 2 private therapies that we have had him in for about 2 years now. We have switched dr’s from a family medicine dr to a developmental pediatrician. Last year we even went to a neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital to rule out a diagnosis beyond developmental delays. There were a few months when we were pretty sure he had cerebral palsy and were just getting used to the label when his MRI came back as unremarkable. I cried and I thanked God.
We have had the pleasure of watching a non verbal child turn into a chatter box. . We have seen him struggle and we have seen him accomplish so much and come out on top. Our boy has a ways to go, but he has come a long way from where he was. At his last iep meeting, we were told that his speech is his greatest strength, what a blessing this was. And yesterday at his pre school party with his morning friends he got a beautiful award for Powerful Perseverance, for being determined and never giving up. Perseverance is a word that has come up a lot over the years even way back to his days of EI, his therapists and teachers have commented that he perseveres through so much.
As I reflect on how much Logan has accomplished and how far he has come, I am filled with hope for his future. He is a smart, kind, loving, gentle, compassionate, cute, and funny little boy, that God has made, and though he has had struggles, God made him, he formed him in my womb, he knows him better than I do, he knows the number of hairs on his head, and God makes no mistakes. Logan is fearfully and wonderfully made. My sweet, sweet boy.
No lie, I have so many things on my mind tonight that I could write 3 different blog posts right now, but there just isn’t time for that tonight. So where do I begin? June. June has been a hard month for me for the last 4 years, the funny part is, is that I never see it coming. The past few weeks I’ve been feeling anxious, tired, and just a general feeling of not being content. June is such a busy time when you have school aged kids. All of these end of the year events are crammed into the last 2 weeks of school, leaving my head spinning and my calendar full(something I don’t strive for). The calendar of events these past two weeks have included; baseball games, art show, a full day of school concerts, classroom party, pre-school graduation(tomorrow’s blog topic), wax museum, field day, field trips, firefighter’s memorial Sunday. This week I have an eye exam and a physical, my fireman is at a convention in Hyannis back and forth until Wednesday, and then we round off the week with 2 baseball games and Relay For Life as the cream filling in between, 12 hours of walking around a track, a fun yet emotional day(another blog post).
I’m overwhelmed, so what? Who isn’t? This week has a bigger significance to me. 4 years ago, my fireman walked out the door to this same convention and I sank into a pit. Depression and anxiety rocked my world as time actually felt like it stopped ticking. I sat at home with my 3 boys ages 1, 3, and 5 at the time and cried for 3 days. My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls and I was so fatigued, yet I couldn’t sleep, no matter how hard I tried. When Kenny got home, I went to bed for three days. When I wasn’t sleeping I was staring at the wall. I had no motivation, no drive, no desires. My get up and go, had gotten up and gone… without me.
So began an incredible journey. After feeling like my gp had led me in the wrong direction, I sought the help of a functional medicine doctor who after a short physical examination, did not diagnose with me depression or anxiety but with a stress related condition called adrenal fatigue and severe vitamin deficiencies. From that point we changed my diet, my exercise, my daily routine, and really my whole outlook on my life.
The ups and downs over these past 4 years have been tough. I’ve learned to cling to the Lord and depend on him. I’ve learned to slow down and not over book my calendar(on purpose). I’ve learned to say no. I’ve learned there is beauty in sandwiches for dinner on paper plates. I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve learned to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. I’ve learned that God gave me beautiful friends to lean on and to pray with.
I’m thankful for my adrenal fatigue because it has taught me so much. So when June rolled around and I got lost in my calendar-in the big picture, I remembered my past and that I needed to focus on today, on all the moments in between the events. I remembered that I needed to take time for myself, that my body needs exercise and rest, and that my mind and my soul need time with the Lord. I’ve been diffusing essential oils to relax, taking my vitamins, eating well, going on daily walks, spending time in prayer, getting lost in a good book, watching hallmark movies, all things that I love, all things that are for me. Because self care is so important. And way back when my adrenals crashed, I wasn’t doing self care. I was going so hard, so fast, for so long that the days flew by, the moments were slipping away, and I was just trying to be supermom to three littles and super wife to my man. But now I know that my people don’t need me to be super anything, they just need me. Imperfect, way less than super, running late, totally messy, slightly forgetful me. They need me to show up, to be there, to be PRESENT!!
Last night I was getting my oldest and my middle ready for baseball and they couldn’t find their uniforms. This isn’t the first time they couldn’t find something that I could easily find, however, the uniforms were not in the drawers. I had a minor freak out in my brain as I tore threw the hamper and found 2 baseball uniforms at the bottom of the hamper. I tossed one to my 7 year old and upon putting them on he said, “where did you get these clothes?” My reply, “the hamper.” He said, “They smell dirty.” I said, “They are dirty!”
Case and point, It’s more important for me to be present than it is for me to be perfect. God showed me that through adrenal fatigue and I know that he will continue to show me, because I am not perfect and I never will be. And this morning after I kissed my husband goodbye, even though I have been fearful of crashing again, I knew that I was stronger, different, better than I was 4 years ago. And I know, that day after day, as long as I have breath in my body, I will keep showing up for my family. Presence over perfection.
It is Mother’s Day. I am blessed to have 3 beautiful, healthy, and energetic boys and 1 angel baby in heaven. But the thought I woke up with this morning was about my mom. She has been gone for nearly 8 years now and today it feels like there is a hole in my heart, that a piece of my life is missing.
My life has changed so much since my mom passed away and although the mourning/grieving has run it’s course and I feel that I have completed every stage, it’s like it comes back in waves, on birthday’s, holidays, mother’s day, at random times when I am in the car and a song comes on that reminds me of her, or when I’m doing dishes or laundry. A few months ago I was purging my basement and I found a stack of cards people sent me after she died and I sat in my basement and just sobbed while I was reading them.
My mom was my best friend, a feeling I never shared with her because while she was alive, quite frankly, she was a pain in my rear. I can say that without remorse because it is the truth and I know that I was a pain in hers too. She worried about everything and everyone all the time. She was loud. She liked to listen to the same songs over and over and over again. Did I mention how much she worried? She was a professional at it. But honestly, as I grew up, we grew closer and it was rare that a day passed that I didn’t talk to her on the phone. And then, she was gone. And while I have many close friends and several best friends, no one can take that place and no one can fill that void. Not my husband, not my kids, not my friends, not my sister, who feels the same loss, but feels it differently than I do. Nothing of this world can fill that hole in my heart, only God can. God gave us emotions and it is a beautiful thing. It allows us to be happy, joyful, and excited while it also allows us to feel anger and sadness. And it is ok to be sad. God has been sad too. And even though God can fill the hole, the loss is still there, because of the deep love I had for my mom. The loss will always be there, the hole will always be there, the sadness will always be there, God will always be there, and my hope in Him is what get’s me through those days of sadness.
Despite the sadness I had a choice to make today. I wanted to stay in bed and just be sad, just for today, but that wasn’t an option. My hubby was on a 24 today and being the awesome man that he is, he wouldn’t have allowed me to stay in bed and be sad even if he was home. So I put my big girl pants on, got out of bed and chose joy today. I prayed this morning and last night that I would love with everything I have and that I would be obedient to God. So I showered, made my kiddos breakfast and got us all to church. I hugged my kids a ton, showered them with appreciation for the homemade gifts and cards they made me at school and chose love at every turn because without my boys I wouldn’t be mom. However today is not called kid’s day, so I did spoil myself too. Instead of reheating leftovers I made my favorite foods(like bacon and things consisting of chocolate), veggies, because according to Logan’s all about my mom poster, my favorite food is salad(which is pretty accurate) and smoothies(chocolate). I put my pajamas on while lunch was cooking and after the dishes were done(only the pans, it’s mother’s day so we ate on paper plates of course) we settled down to my favorite movie, “Mom’s Night Out,” which if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend, and if you watch it with me, I will recite every line because the writer’s obviously read my mind when they made this movie. The main character is even a blogger(just sayin!). Followed by two rounds of Monopoly Junior with Evan, and then another funny movie, “Cheaper by the Dozen,” while Logan served my various play dough treats, followed by dinner. After dessert I chose a long story time, because one of my favorite things to do with my boys is read to them and while I have been skipping snuggles this week and even though it took longer to get through the bedtime routine, I snuggled each of my guys tonight and thanked them for being mine.
And after they went to bed, I texted my wonderful friend who lost her mom weeks before I lost mine(which is how we became friends-grieving buddies I guess) and said, “I miss my mom.” To which she responded, “I miss mine too.”
And I do, I just miss her today. But really it’s no different than any other day, just a deeper awareness because today has a label on it besides just Sunday, Mother’s Day. And knowing what I know, knowing how I felt today, I’d like to treat every day like today. With love, joy, and thankfulness.
Today I fired my tooth fairy. She really sucks at her job. It is really very simple. Child loses tooth so tooth fairy goes into child’s room and places $1 under sleeping child’s pillow. Easy peasy right?!
This mama really needs a sweet little pixie to fly into her house, sprinkle some pixie dust with her magic wand and do the job for her, FOR REAL!
I’m sorry, but once my sweet little cherubs have stopped wrestling and burping for the day and are finally tucked into their beds, all sweet and innocent- MY BRAIN SHUTS DOWN. I am no longer capable of performing any mommy related tasks. Give me a book or a hallmark movie with a cup of tea or a bowl of chocolate and I’m mush.
2 times in the last 7 days, my tooth fairy failed. This is how it all went down.
7 year old came home from school last week and informed me he lost his tooth, but then lost his tooth(like didn’t bring it home, it was gone, just like his water bottle, his daddy’s water bottle, his baseball cap, etc etc). “Will the tooth fairy come even though I don’t have my tooth?” He innocently asked. “I guess we will just have to wait and see,” I told him. The next morning, daddy gets home from his 24 hour shift, we are all waking up and I realize, oh no! I sneak into his room, place $1 under his pillow and sneak back out. I strolled out into the living room and asked him if the tooth fairy came and he said, “Oh, I forgot!!” He runs into his room, climbs his ladder to the top bunk, finds a dollar, instant happiness. I pat myself on the back for a job well done, thankful for my absent minded professor.
Fast forward to yesterday, 7 year old comes home from school, lost another tooth, but didn’t lose it this time. Perfect storm right here. He just lost a tooth, he shouldn’t be losing another one already. Husband looks at me and says, “I don’t have $1.” I say, no worries babe, I got this one.
And then 7 year old comes into the bathroom this morning while I am in the shower and says, “the tooth fairy didn’t come.” Um uh, “Oh, really?! Are you sure?” I ask. My guy is so disappointed, so I promise I will help him look as soon as I get dressed. I end my shower real quick, get dressed, get child 2 and 3 settled at the table with breakfast, sneak $1 into my pocket and say, “I’m going to get some clothes for your brother, I’ll be out in a minute.” I sneak into the room, place $1 under the covers, get the clothes and join the boys in the kitchen.
After breakfast I tell child number 2, let’s go look in your bed. He says, “I looked under my pillow already, it’s not there, she didn’t come.” So I say, “Well did you look on the other side of your bed? You know you move around a lot in your sleep, it could be anywhere!” He moved his blanket out of the way and instant relief, there was $1.
As I’m writing this, I realize that I am lying to my child a lot in the last week. I also realize that I still have one more kid who has not lost any teeth yet. I’M IN OVER MY HEAD, PLEASE HELP MY TIRED BRAIN! And please send pixie dust.
April 29th, 2006 was a gorgeous day. The sky was clear, the air was cool. Why do I recall this day so well? It was my wedding day 11 years ago. 11 years ago I married the love of my life. This guy is the greatest, sweetest, most awesome man EVER!!
When we met, 16 years ago I was a “nomad without a homeland.” I did what I wanted, when I wanted, with whoever I wanted. I would come and go, as I pleased. I worked, I partied, I went to school, I had fun with friends. And then I laid eyes on him and my life changed, right then and there.
So our love story began in my friends house in NY the summer of 2001 after our freshman year of college(at least his freshman year, my credits were questionable at that point). Long story short, ready? My friend R met his friend K at UMass. R and K became friends and decided to room together sophomore year. K came to visit R on a long bus ride from Boston to NYC. K brought a friend along for the ride, her friend, my future husband. When I walked into R’s house and saw him, I had the butterflies in my belly, weak at the knees, every cliché there ever was, I became. I knew at that moment that my life was about to get flipped upside down.
And it did. Two nights in a row, I stayed at R’s house. Two nights in a row, hubby and I stayed up well into the morning hours talking about everything. You know those days when you are getting to know someone and there is so much to talk about that you talk all night and can’t believe you just stayed up all night but didn’t even make a dent in your life story that is only 19 years at this point? I got two of those nights in a row! And then, he was gone. Want to know what an independent bad@$$ I was? He tried to give me his phone number and I refused to take it. I gave him mine and pretty much said, “it’s all in your court.” I can’t believe I did that. I know exactly why I did that, but I still can’t believe I did. Why did I? Because right before I met him, I promised myself that I would start getting serious about school and about my future. I had went out with too many losers and partied a bit too much. After we met, I knew that this was going to mess with the promise I made to myself. So I left it up to him.
Obviously, he called me. And so began our beautiful relationship. It’s funny because all those others who weren’t the one, kept me from my goals, kept me from being my best self and because of that I could have let him go. But he wasn’t like the others. He encouraged me, listened to my thoughts, shared my dreams, and made me want to be a better person.
Now here we are after 11 years of marriage and I’m so thankful that God brought me this man. God’s plans are so much better than mine, ALL THE TIME!! There are so many things I have learned about myself, about my husband, about life, about God, and about marriage
*Marriage is not designed to make us happy, it is designed to make us holy. God has a beautiful plan for marriage and it is to bring glory to Him. It is not about ME ME ME. And the times where I get lost in the ME ME ME mentality are the times when our relationship suffers. Marriage is uniting two people to become one. When we make decisions they are for 2 and we have to consider how our decisions, our words, our day to day affects one another.
*With that being said, marriage is hard!! People are born selfish! We want what we want when we want it! You have to work for your marriage. Just because you already know everything about each other doesn’t mean that you just sail through life like two ships passing in the night. You need to remember likes and dislikes. Serve one another, surprise one another. TALK TO EACH OTHER. Love each other.
*It really wasn’t until I performed a wedding ceremony for 2 dear friends, one of them being my bff in the 2nd grade that I really began to understand what marriage means. I recall sitting down on my couch with my bible and laptop researching how to write a wedding ceremony. I learned the order of the ceremony, the symbolism of the rings and the unity candles, and the most popular scripture readings read at weddings. Coming from a broken home, I knew in my heart that marriage is supposed to be forever, but I don’t think I realized the seriousness of this commitment. Wedding vows are promises that you make to your spouse and God, a covenant. Rings being a symbol of this promise that should not be broken. The unity candle, representing 2 separate lives being joined together as 1, to share 1 life together. Unfortunately, our society has made marriage to be easily disposable. Don’t misunderstand, what I am saying, there are reasons, valid reasons for divorce, but falling out of love is not one of them, because another thing that marriage has taught me is that love is active, a choice that we have to make every day. Even when we are lonely, overworked or overwhelmed. I know that God gave me my partner in life to cherish, not just in the good times, but in the bad times too. So all those words about in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, til death do us part, are so much more than just words. Because before “I do” things can be fun and light, but after the “I do” life happens, real life. Families join together, people get sick, babies are born, jobs change, there are moves, finances to manage, and so many other things. And for better or worse means not walking away when the going gets tough. In 11 years of marriage my husband and I have both lost a parent to cancer, have moved 2 times, my husband has been through schooling, job change, more schooling, I have struggled with an adrenal fatigue diagnosis for several years, we have had 3 great kids which was 3 C-sections for my body, and also had the pain of losing one very early on due to a miscarriage. This is life. I am so blessed to have my husband by my side through all of the ups and downs.
Recently when I was thinking about our anniversary and how we have been together for 16 years, I couldn’t wrap my head around what my husband saw in me back then. I was such a lost girl, floating around from place to place, getting into trouble, and the complete opposite of him. And then I thought about our marriage and I couldn’t wrap my head around how he can love me all the time. Sometimes, I’m not a nice person. I can be selfish, emotional, rude, angry, etc etc. But despite all of these things, he loves me anyway. He loves me with an unconditional love. And the only explanation I have for that is that it is a gift from God, His grace and mercy.
When we were out on our anniversary, my husband asked me, if I could change anything about the last 16 years what would it be. I could think of several things that I would like to change about the past, but I wouldn’t choose any of them. I know that things that have happened, the trials, have changed me. They have grown me into a stronger person, a better person. The book of James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
My life, my marriage is not perfect, it never will be. But I would like to call it a work in progress. Because it is an act of love to be married. If you are struggling, you are not alone. If you are lonely, you are not alone. If you are happy, if you are content, you are not alone. Talk to your spouse, talk to a friend who can give you good advice, talk to God and look in the Bible. Whatever the circumstance you are in right now, don’t give up, keep at it. God’s plans for your life are so much better than the plans you have for yourself.
Some verses to consider:
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3: 12-14
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
I have been writing this blog in my head all day long. Why? Because the smooth days don’t make for interesting writing. Even now as I type, at 10:01 PM there is a man child talking in his sleep. Yes folks it has been that kind of day.
I should have known when I awoke from a very strange dream this morning that it was going to be that kind of day. Or maybe I should have realized it was going to be that kind of day because it was the first day of April vacation for the kiddos. Whatever the reason, I started my day later than usual, with a full morning planned, and as I thought about the things I needed to do, time slipped away. We needed to be out the door for OT by 9:30, 3 boys needed to be fed, dressed, I needed to shower and dry my hair(oh and get dressed), I needed to pack lunches, make a pizza, cut and sautee veggies, pack snacks, have two boys pack waiting room items, pack up the car, start a load of laundry and do dishes. Ummm…
So I realized my plan was a fail when I started making pizza dough at 9 and realized we had to leave in 30 minutes. I quickly chopped veggies, preheated the oven and started dishes. By 9:20, my hair was still wet and there were more dishes than I started with. At that point I decided that today was going to be an exercise in flexibility. I scrapped the idea of dishes and laundry, dried my hair, made a pizza(and made it good, no point in rushing it and making a bad one), packed up lunches and recruited my people to load bags into the car. My exact instructions were, “put this in the front seat.” When I walked out the door at 9:40(yeah I know, 10 minutes late), the bags were on the deck. This is called, distraction, as in, “mom told me to do something but I saw a –fill in the blank– and forgot what I was supposed to do.”
We made it to OT just in time, or 3 minutes late, which was just in time…our time… not our appointment time and as my 5 year old headed off to play I checked my phone and had a text from my sweet husband, “Hope you are having a good morning. Love you. ” I texted back, “I thought I was superwoman but alas I am not.” His response, “U are super in my eyes.” Aww, my sweet husband, who didn’t see me overscheduled this morning with dishes exploding from the sink and drying rack. No matter how many things are on my to do list, there are still 60 seconds in a minute and I realized that some things would just have to wait.
That’s when my day started to unravel. The pizza lunch I had just made to share with a friend got cancelled. No problem. The kids were starting to get grumpy and tired. Starting to… it wasn’t even 11am yet. And then the arguing all blessed day except for the 2 hours that one child was at a friends house. As soon as he returned, the bickering picked up where it had left off, as we headed to the friends house who had cancelled lunch.
Hang on, that sounded like a rant of complaining but that is not how I meant it to sound. I’m laughing at my day now that it is over because sometimes God throws us curve balls and I can’t make enough time to do all the chores I need to do, I just need to figure out where to squeeze them in. I enjoyed a beautiful picnic lunch outside with 2 of my guys and then begged my 5 year old to please do the dishes. He laughed at me and finally said ok, but I laughed, hugged him and said, “just kidding buddy” and he watched a show with his big brother, and right there was enough time to do the dishes and start the laundry. We took my friends poodle Rosie for a beautiful walk on a small beach and found sea glass, and just enjoyed the fresh air, sunshine and our doggy friend. I made an unbelievable smoothie with our pizza dinner and I got to laugh about my 7 year old congratulating me on finally making a smoothie that he liked and I got high fives all around the table. My 9 year old agreed and said, yeah there was one other good one… once… People, I make excellent smoothies, most of the time, but my kids are hard to win over in that department I guess. And when bed time arrived I was completely relieved to tuck my people into bed, snuggle with my 5 year old who loves my wedding song, grabs my face for kisses, and tells me to smell his skin(so weird), read with my 7 year old, and chat with my 9 year old who has been sick all week and totally enjoyable and cuddly to hang out with. Today was a crazy day, a 24 hour on shift day(for hubby at the station and for me at home), but a keeper of a day. Praying you all have a blessed Easter and remember, “Silly rabbit, Easter is for Jesus!”
PS- I talk about my dishes A LOT. Thank you to anyone who has advocated for my need for a dishwasher to my hubby. But I promise, there is absolutely no way we could fit a dishwasher into our tiny kitchen, I am not deprived, I promise!!
Happy April Fools Day. I resisted the urge to prank my family today because I figured the weather outside was a good enough prank on everyone. Snow, freezing rain, cold. Spring in New England, an April Fools joke on us all.
I thought I would use the blog this month to share one of my favorite genres of writing, the genre that I go back to over and over again, the one that I have always felt that I could pick up a pen and paper and the words would just flow out of me. Poetry. I was first introduced to poetry in the 3rd of 4th grade, but it wasn’t until junior high that I made writing poetry a hobby. It started out simple, that I could look at a painting and write a poem about it, as I got older, it got deeper, writing about feelings, experiences, dreams, people… I parted ways with poetry for awhile, life got busy, and I just kind of forgot about it. But a few years ago I found out that April is National Poetry Month and Writer’s Digest holds a Poem A Day challenge with poetry prompts everyday for the month of April. So this month in addition to being fire wife and mom, I hope you will indulge me as I share some poems, 30 if all goes well. I can’t imagine I will get to share 1 every day, but I will try. I might even give some back story to go with poems, if there is any.
Today’s poetry prompt is a reminiscing poem. I chose to write about my first car.
My First Car
Shiny black, curvy, sleek,
My ’89 Mustang, oh, so, sweet.
Friends packed in, Backstreet Boys on the radio blared.
When we drove by, heads turned, eyes stared.
Jealous of my gorgeous ride,
Little did they all know the thorn in my side.
The night my muffler scraped the ground
or the time my power steering wouldn’t let me turn around.
Dropped my front end on the FDR Drive,
it popped my tire on the 4th of July.
This death trap, my car, my very first love,
Resting in peace, in car heaven above.
I’ll never forget the wonky driver’s seat,
or all the people we got to meet,
Thanks to my Mustang, oh, so, sweet.
Most days I think that my life as a fire wife isn’t much different than the life of any other wife/mommy out there. Other people have to deal with spouses traveling for work or constantly being on the road, long hours, perhaps a spouse in the military, police wives etc. Yes being a fire wife is different than being the wife of a 9-5 spouse, but not much different I imagine than the above mentioned occupations. The thing is, for us, it is a life of the unexpected. If we have plans and the radio lets out a tone and there is a fire, daddy is outta here. Fire life has been a learning curve. My husband has been on the department for almost 7 years and I am still learning not be disappointed when plans get flipped upside down or not to take it personally when he walks out the door for overtime or a detail. I realize that the fire life is a lifestyle and that I need to be flexible, patient and understanding; things that I can only get from the good Lord above, because on my own, in my own skin, in my own flesh, I am disappointed, offended, sad, or angry.
What does it look like to be a flexible fire wife? Well first of all I can not touch my toes when I sit down to stretch, so it is not a physical flexibility. I noticed last week that a lot of unplanned things were coming my way. Since I didn’t overschedule myself, I was able to be flexible with my plans. All of this while my husband worked 84 hours with only a few hours off in between… 24, 24, 12ish(at his part time job), 24, home for 30 minutes to shower and get his class A’s and head to a funeral for a fallen fire fighter. Flexibility, patience, and understanding really all work together as the trifecta of peace and harmony when it comes to dealing with things like 84 hours of work, yes he is working 84 hours at the station and at his part time job, but I am also working 84 hours at home, because I have got to figure it all out; the wake ups, the breakfasts, the bus stop(Lord please help us make the bus!), the drop offs, the picks ups, the lunches, the dishes(I don’t have a dishwasher, I am the dishwasher-but God loves me and made paper plates!), the home work time, the dinners, the dishes, the laundry, the baths and showers, the bed time stories, the bed time snuggles and prayers, I haven’t even mentioned time for myself to write, to read, to clean my testosterone filled house, to workout, to chat with a grown human and not just my small ones, and on and on and on…And lets be honest, when I get crabby that he is working so many stinking hours(which I sometimes do), it makes it worse for me, because I get lost in the yuck place in my mind where I am slamming cabinets open and shut looking for things, tossing the laundry basket on the floor, etc instead of in a place of gratitude where I am thankful that my firefighter is providing for us, where I am thankful that we have a home with 3 healthy boys that I have the absolute privilege of spending my time with.
Have I been stuck with disappointment? Of course. Who hasn’t been? Going to special ed meetings by myself, doctors appointments, school concerts, birthday parties, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, church etc… flying solo is just the way it has to be sometimes. I have shed quite a few tears in the past 7 years and I’m positive I will shed more in the many years to come. But shedding tears over flying solo temporarily is nothing compared to the thought I was struck with last week when my man attended the funeral of a fallen firefighter. In the midst of parenting through teachable moments for 84 hours by myself(the first 24 I failed at by the way), trying to be flexible and grateful, I put on the television to see a grief stricken fire family who would never see their fireman on this side of heaven again. That thought stayed with me all day. It was really the most wild thing, because my guy has been to several funerals for fallen firefighters, but this one just hit me differently, and when Kenny walked in the door that night, I was so thankful that he was home. And when I went to bed that night, even though it was hours after him(he was coming off of 84 hours plus all day at a funeral, so his bedtime was 7pm), I crawled into bed, so overcome with emotion, so thankful he was home, that while I prayed, tears silently streamed down my face and I cried myself to sleep. Tears of grief for that family, tears of gratitude for mine.
So what does life as a fire wife look like for me? It looks messy and loud. It looks like trips to the library and the playground. It looks like pajama days, snuggling on the couch with double feature movies. It looks like me telling my lunatic child that he has climbed too high in a tree and that I don’t want daddy to have to come with the ladder truck to get him down or in the rescue to take him to the hospital. It looks like trips to urgent care for any number of reasons. It looks like dance parties and Michael Jackson music blasting in the living room. It looks like vomiting children sharing one toilet(because children usually don’t vomit when daddy is home, why? I don’t know!) It looks like me texting daddy, “There is vomiting, don’t come home, save yourself” It looks like the same lunatic child climbing up a full flight of basement stairs with rollerblades on his feet. It looks like tantrums, from the kids and from me. Or one of my favorite moments today, in the car, on the way home from church, from the 3rd row of my minivan came the call of a 9 year old asking, “Mom, what’s a player?” My response, biting my lip, “Can I think about how to answer that and get back to you in a bit?” It looks like a text to hubby, “9 year old asked me what a player is, how should I field this question???”
Last week gave me a new perspective, a new way to look at my life as a fire wife, a new way to look at our life as a fire family. What does that look like? More of everything above, but with a better attitude. It looks like more laughter, more intentional family time, and a deeper love and appreciation for one another. It’s not just for me as a fire wife either, it is for everyone out there in blog land reading this. We don’t know when our time on earth is up. So let’s not make a mess of today and take that chance that today could be our last. Does that mean that we will never have a completely sucktastic day ever again? Absolutely not. But we sure can choose to look at things differently and have more good days than bad ones. I want to dance with my boys, laugh at the crazy, ridiculous, stupid things they do(but not the dangerous stuff), sing in the car(I started yesterday, ask the hubby), love, respect, and treasure one another. I want to live in the moment with my 4 lovable guys , stop being so serious, and enjoy the ride.!