…so there’s this guy

My divorce has stalled.

It really stinks because I want this over with.

Every time that I think I’m done with this, I realize that I’m not as far along in the ‘grieving’ process as I thought I was.

Or at least until a few weeks ago.

My Irish Idiot has been the one to file for divorce and then decided to stop turning in paperwork and now we’re over two months behind where we should be, because…he’s an idiot. He forgets that he started this process and whereas before I would read into that, now I’m just annoyed.

I’m annoyed at a lot.

He skipped out on seeing his daughter in order to celebrate his girlfriends divorce. He lied and said that he had to work and tried to blame it on something fictional that supposedly I said in order to justify not spending the entire weekend with his daughter. This would have been the third weekend for the two of them to spend together and he missed it.

I can only imagine that this is the tone that he’s setting for the rest of my daughters life.

I will be judged for saying this but I honestly thought it would feel good. I thought I would get some satisfaction from him ditching his daughter on the weekend that he was supposed to have her…when he was supposed to have her and then lied and said he had to work. I thought that proving everything that I said was true would feel good or give me some satisfaction, but the reality is that it hurt more then when he cheated on me, more then when he left the bruises…because he rejected the most beautiful thing in the world – our daughter. He communicated that a ‘fly-by-night’ girl was more important than the cutest little redhead that God ever created.

So, I’m annoyed.

I just want to be done. I want to forget that I thought he was ever good enough for me. I want him to be a grown up and turn his paperwork in to the courts like he should have done over two months ago. Yet, that apparently, is the person that I married, that I’m now divorcing.

And I’ve finally come to grips with it because I’ve finally realized that I married a loser. I’m not the loser, user or abuser – he was.

I married someone that loved the fact that I paid for everything. For him, that was all that I was in the picture for.

When I reviewed his checking account info that he submitted, it hit me how much of a schmuck I was, yet, I’m proud that I was that schmuck. I looked back to the week that we eloped and I realized that he paid for one thing while we were in Canada…he bought Tim Horton’s coffee…that’s it. That’s all this man contributed to the cost of our elopement; that’s all he contributed to our family vacation. I paid for the rest. He sponged off of me.

I’m an idiot.

Wait…am I really an idiot??

No.

I’m not. I’m not an idiot. I’m a person that was so in love with someone that I never cared about money. I cared about memories…about experiences…about our family…about our engagement…about us.

I believed him…that makes me a softy at heart, not an idiot like he claims I am…it simply shows that I was truly in love with a person – with their ‘being’, not their bank account (like he was).

It was eye opening what he was doing behind my back as I reviewed the account information. The good thing for me is that I finally am at a point where I don’t care. I truly am so apathetic to the loser of a man that I was married to, I can’t wait to wash my hands of him. Just say a prayer for the little redhead because he’s already shown that he can’t be counted on to be there for her…he’s already shown that he’ll put his needs before hers, and I never want her to be put through the same hurt that he’s put me through.

And then my family and friends enter the picture. And they remind me of all that I have to be thankful for…all that I already have in my life, even though my ex wants to make me think that I’m not enough for anything more than helping to reduce his child support amount.

Divorce can bring people back into your life that you forgot were in the wings. That sounds super pretentious but what I mean is that sometimes there are people in your past that need to stay in your past, or people that your new love wouldn’t feel comfortable around, or just simply people that you’ve outgrown based on your life choices.

…so there’s this guy…

He has been in my life for many, many years. While he may not have been an active part of my life for the last 15+ years, I always knew that he would have my back, no matter what…no matter who…no matter what the circumstances were – I could call and he would answer and he would show up.

There are very few people in my life, in anyone’s life, that are this amazing. I’m lucky enough to not only have family in-state and out-of-state that are this awesome but also friends that have been through the Big D #1 and the Big D #2 with me…and then there’s this guy.

This guy…A friend that wants nothing from me but for me to see me how he sees me. A friend that tells me how stupid I’ve been and that I need to suck it up because my ex is an idiot and how I shouldn’t stoop to his level. This friend is a guy that gives me more ‘guy advice’ than I could ever ask for. Sometimes I hate hearing it and in other times, I couldn’t be more grateful.

I love my girlfriends. They sympathize with me, they tell me honestly how life will be so much better without my pathetic excuse for an ex, and help remind me how much more wonderful my life is without my ex…and yet they are my ‘girls’.

Girls are nice…close girlfriends will tell you how it is, but they still are gentle when they say it (typically).

Guys (as I’m learning) will tell you how stupid and soft you are being without batting an eye.

And that’s why I’m thankful for this guy.

He’s told me that there’s no need to tell my ex any longer how stupid he is because he should already know it.

He’s told me that I am good enough…that I don’t need to care that my ex is already dating his third girlfriend…that I don’t need to justify anything to this Idiot.

That simply that I just need to be me and move on and realize that he never deserved me and he’s showing it now. Because I’m that awesome…and my ex is an Idiot. His words – not mine.

…and with that said:

Some of you may be saying, well, now she’s doing it again – she’s validating herself through the words of another man – and I get it. I’ve honestly struggled with it myself. I’ve told this guy numerous times that I don’t believe him, that I think that he wants something from me, that I don’t want to be anything more than friends (because I ‘go there’ unnecessarily sometimes), because I think he wants to have a ‘friend’ – a girl that’s there in case someone else doesn’t show up.

…back story:

When the man that you love with all of your heart cheats on you and hurts you, it leaves bruises seen and unseen that you deal with long after it happens. I am still trying everything I can to remind myself that only losers cheat, and only idiots leave bruises, and only morons justify it and claim that they are the victim. Yet, the victim truly does have to pull themselves out of it…for day, weeks, months, and years to come. The emotional damage that one small act can cause can’t always be repaired – it just has to be put ‘away’ and moved past and that can take some time.

When the love of your life has hurt you in a way that no other person ever could, life can be emotionally draining to deal with.

And when you hear repeatedly that “you could never be loved by another man”, and then another man shows self-sacrificing love, it’s hard to actually recognize. When you do, it’s probably too late. I’m just thankful that this guy has been my friend for a long time and I know he’ll be there for a long time after all of this garbage is over.

So this post is partly to announce the last of my regular divorce posts before my site changes slightly to focus on the future, and it is, in fact, in part, due to this guy. This guy that grinned big and wide when I walked into the room the other night and when he introduced me to his friend, he friend said repeatedly how beautiful I was and all my friend did was grin ear-to-ear…this guy that can’t figure out how to introduce me because I won’t let a label land on us…this guy that has friends that boost my ego more than he does…this guy that puts my needs before his…this guy that checks on me each day – multiple times a day – just to make sure that my emotions aren’t a wreck because of my Irish Idiot…this guy is a friend that I don’t ever want to lose.

Keep your friends close and…even closer during divorce, because divorce sucks and the more people that you have in your corner, the faster you will heal.

 

 

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finding me: adventure #1

The silver lining in this divorce is that it’s forced me to really dig deep and figure out who I am and what I want out of life. I’ve started to create an ‘Elle Woods’ style vision board, I’ve spent time just being by myself, and I’ve spent time with friends, just being me, without apology or hesitation. And it’s been glorious. I really can’t say that I’ve had a day of loneliness in F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

A couple of friends that I have to thank, have committed to helping me rediscover who I am and doing things that I’VE always wanted to do (even though they want to do these also because the ‘fun things’ are truly just that awesome to do). I’m picking these things…no one else and I get to be the one to do what I want when I want to (and that’s if the kids aren’t with me because the kids always overrule me :)).

And as much as I love my kids, I need to do these adventures on my own. Mom’s forget, all too often, who we were before we had kids – and we mentally shame ourselves for wanting time alone…so I am working diligently to find a balance between mom-life and me-life and work-life. Thank goodness for friends so that I get to have fun with other adults during my adventures too.

B.I.N.G.O.

Recently, I had my own, first, personal adventure. Bingo. Yes, that’s not a play on words…I played Bingo. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always thought that it would be fun to go and play Bingo with the hard core, dauber-owning, bingo players.

It was just as much fun as I thought it would be.

A friend of mine went with me to Bingo and  we bought daubers (the ink-dot things that make playing Bingo faster) and spent $1 for three cards and we didn’t win a thing but had so much fun. The people playing are super intense and I think I was even “shushed” once or twice, because I like to talk and giggle a lot, but it was so much fun.

To get out of the house for a few hours, spend time around adults, get my blood pumping trying to keep track of 6 Bingo squares at once, giggle when I couldn’t keep up, giggle at the bad words heard around the room when someone said Bingo, giggle when there was a loud sigh of relief when the announcer said that it was not a Bingo, and giggle at the mad rush for the exit when 75 people lost and Bingo was over, was so much fun.

I’m not sure that I’m going to do it again but I’m glad I went. It was something different, a change of scenery and a chance to do something that I’ve always wanted to do – call me simple, but it was so much fun.

About a year ago, I watched an episode of Duck Dynasty where the mom and Willie went to Bingo and he attempted to ‘call’ the numbers/letters for Bingo. I loved watching the intensity of each of the players and because I love people watching I thought it would be so much fun.

The reality was that it was so much better than the show portrayed. 🙂 The people watching was awesome and it was packed with people from all backgrounds. I like the simple things, I suppose.

Create a Bucket List.

My advice to anyone getting ready to get married – write a list of things that you like to do, and make sure that it’s not all about the things that your soon-to-be-spouse likes to do. It’s wonderful to do things together and you should have regular date nights, but you should do things that you both want to do, not just your spouse.

I think that my ‘people pleasing’ mindset has compromised too much in both of my marriages and I never really asserted myself enough to get to do what I wanted to do. That’s not to say that I didn’t love getting interested in their favorite things, it’s just that neither one of my husbands ever asked me what I wanted to do on date night. It was only ever what ‘we’ wanted to do and because I was always fine with whatever they liked, they never stepped outside of their ‘boxes’ to do something that was on my bucket list. But, at least, this is something new for me to focus on – checking everything off of my bucket list.

And because I’ve focused on it – I never really realized that my bucket list is a mile long. I can’t wait to do everything. Things like camping on the beach and enjoying a resort with the rooms on/in the water have given me a new drive in life. I am going to work not for the work accomplishments but purely as a means to give the word ‘life’ a new meaning. I want to teach my kids that it’s important to set goals so that you have a reason to work hard and then enjoy ‘moments’ and life and create memories that only they can relish in.

I can’t wait to create new memories and I can’t wait to teach the kids the value in creating new memories.

We didn’t realize that we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

the first flirt

Recently someone called me insecure. I am insecure, most women are about something or at some point in their lives. Heck, I think everyone is at some point. The love of my life left and, through his actions, showed me that he felt that I and our family weren’t good enough for him. I felt rejected. I felt not good enough. I felt less than enough for someone that had pledged his life to me and our family, our daughter.

It’s sad and I’m working through it mentally but I know it’s for the best. He has so many mental and emotional issues to deal with apparently (because who thinks it’s more fun to go through a divorce, destroy a family, hurt a woman, hurt children, than work through a couple of problems that he never even shared that he felt we had), that I’ve come to realize that it’s not my fault he made some really poor choices. I just now have to remind myself constantly that it’s not my fault that he’s a jerk. And I know that my self esteem will rebuild and bounce back after the blow he took to it, it will just take time.

The Flirt.

And then you have days like a couple of weeks ago. Someone flirted with this insecure woman (me). And not just with a silly come-on…with real intention. Like phone calls and text follow up after running into each other, type of flirting.

And it felt so darn amazing!

It felt like I had almost forgotten how to even realize what it was because my soon-to-be-ex will try to flirt with me every now and then and I want to throw up in my mouth a little each time, so I’ve learned to ignore it.

But this…this was fun to hear. To be pursued, even casually, was fun.

I’m not ready for this though…I have soo much to do on my own first. So much to cope with, accept, move through and past; so much to conquer, take on, and achieve…that I don’t have the time or emotional capacity to even consider having someone in my life. So for now, I have another friend on my journey.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

I found out some interesting news the other day…my soon-to-be-ex, Erik, struck up a friendship with my ex-husband and had this secret friendship the ENTIRE time that my soon-to-be-ex and I were together. Who does that??

It made me nauseous to find out because those were EVEN MORE lies that he told me. Every once in a while, my ex-husband would know something that only Erik could have told him (because I know I wouldn’t have done that) and instead of simply being honest, Erik would lie over and over. Erik even went as far as to completely trash my ex-husband and his character to other people frequently…and then he would go and have a beer with my ex-husband. You can tell a person’s character by these types of things and apparently I found the King of the Liars.

It’s just absurd to think that I would be completely out of place for not wanting my current love to befriend my ex-husband that had done so much damage to my life. But then again, that’s who I’m finding out is what my soon-to-be-ex is all about – leading a double life.

Thanks for the Laugh.

One of the funniest things that I found out that Erik shared with my ex-husband is that he was convinced that if he and I ever split up that I’d go running back to my ex-husband. I laughed harder than I’d laughed in months. My ex-husband and I are in a much better place today than before but there is no way in H E double hockey sticks that I’d ever go running back to him.

Apparently, when Erik said this it was aimed at trying to say that I need a man in my life in order to function. While I will admit that it was a fast turn around, for me, between my ex-husband and Erik, it was because I was completely in love with him. Not because I needed a man.

So while I do love being in love, I have zero desire at this moment to be in love with anyone but my kids, my life and myself. I have too much to do and to add another person right now would take the emotional capacity that I just don’t have.

But I do love a good flirt. So I’m so thankful for my new friend.

If you’re in the middle of a divorce, I promise ‘the flirt’ will happen to you too when you least expect it. Enjoy it.

“Happy girls are the prettiest.” ~Audrey Hepburn

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

the strength of a woman

Women can be intimidating. Women can be soft. Women can be hard. Women can be strong. Women can be funny. Women can be the center of a family. Women can be emotional. Women can be the breadwinner. Women can be the reason that no one forgets lunch and has clean clothes. Women can be the CEO of a company. Women can be the CEO of a household. Women are the backbone of the family. Women are the center of the world.

That’s at least what I think.

Without Us…With Us…

Without us, there’s no future. We create life. We create hope. We create generations that will create more life and more memories and more leaders and more mothers and more fathers and more teachers and more laborers and more garbage truck drivers and more hockey players and more inventors and more scientists…and so much more than that. We create memories. We create history.

All because we are women. We run this world.

Just quieter then men, yet stronger than men, sometimes.

And believe it or not, there are a lot of men that are afraid of us…afraid that we might ‘take their glory’ or ‘take their spotlight’…and because they are afraid of us, they try to take us down and hit us where they think it will hurt the most – our hearts, because ours are larger (emotionally) than theirs, sometimes.

My Thoughts.

If you disagree with me, just know that I feel the way that I feel because I’m a little jaded thanks to the two men that I have been married to.

My first husband was really into politics, specifically republican politics, and when I was at an event with him, I wanted to share my thoughts on females in politics and he shushed me. Can you believe it?? I was shushed! (among other things in our marriage)

Then my second husband told me that he was so excited that I was leaving work because he wanted to be the breadwinner…he wanted to support us…that he was looking forward to having that pressure on his shoulders. Well, you want to know what happened when that pressure landed there – he bolted…he couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t handle that pressure for even a year and yet I had been the breadwinner for at least 14 years knowing that if I left work that my family wouldn’t have insurance, including, at the time, my uninsurable 1st husband because of a pre-existing condition. And yet my Irish Idiot couldn’t last 12 months…he barely lasted 10 months while I was still paying a majority of the bills with my savings.

Sometimes I feel like an idiot for being the one that was stable, that was responsible, that was successful…but I wouldn’t have done it any other way then how my career happened. (I would, though, redo my relationships differently, but that’s a different story.) I have a story, I have experience…I just need to figure out what to do with all of the knowledge I’ve learned…and thankfully, I think I’ve figured it out. I’ll let you know if I have, in the future.

One thing that I’ve fallen in love with when I blog, is when I positively affect people that I’ve never met or spoken to but they’ve read something that I’ve written and had some sort of inspiration from it. To me, it means that the struggles that I’ve endured are paying off in some way, shape or form. It has inspired me to keep going, keep writing, keep sharing my real life with whoever will listen. I just want to make a difference for someone, somewhere.

Strength.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me how I’ve been so strong, and in all honesty, I don’t view myself that way at all. I only remember every time that I’ve been snippy with my ex’s or cried because I was overwhelmed. So to the person that called me ‘strong’, you made my whole day.

There have been soo many women, mothers, friends, wives, female strangers, sisters, cousins, female leaders, female business owners, female anything…that have inspired me in life. And I think that’s key. We can be so hard on ourselves – always thinking that we’re not good enough (mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, employees, etc. and etc.) that if we can find mentors or just someone to model our lives after, we will keep the faith alive.

It gives us strength and passion to be like our mentors or create our own self identity based with the inspiration of someone special. It keeps us going…because our mentor keeps going. And that’s a great thing because you know what?? That will inspire the next generation because the same habits will be repeated. Someone will look at you and me and think, “I want to be like them one day”, and we need to realize that we aren’t only making an impact for ourselves but for future generations.

Something as small as getting a mammogram done every year can encourage self awareness and self care or something like running a marathon to raise money for a well deserved organization, or something like donating your spare time to a local women’s shelter…these things drive home our importance and our impact to the world. We are needed…we are important…we set the tone…we run the world.

I can’t end this post without telling you about a few of my mentors (and in reality I have a TON). I’ve told you about my hero (my mom), my best friend that is incredible (my runner and stability), my friend that hired me and helped me find my career, my new friend and sister-in-law, and a friend that is helping me stay accountable in health but I have soo many others that have affected me in such positive and amazing ways. (and if you’re not listed here, I promise in the future you are probably getting a spotlight 🙂 .)

Some of my mentors:

In case you didn’t know that you had made an impact, thank you to:

1. My cousin

Strength is giving birth to your first child the day before your father’s birthday, god rest his soul.

My cousin had the most amazing father and she lost him in her early teenage years. My uncle had a big personality and I gravitated to him from an early age. I loved him dearly and looked forward to every minute that I was able to spend with him and I also knew that I held a special place in his heart. When he passed away, the world lost a man with a big smile and large laugh, and one of my favorite people. My cousins lost their dad and my Aunt lost her husband.

My cousin was just becoming a teenager, the most difficult age for many girls, when her dad passed away. Not that my Aunt couldn’t raise her on her own, but it’s hard to be both dad and mom to a teenager. I can only imagine trying to give all of the advice that both parents would give via one person is very difficult and some key things are bound to get challenging.

I don’t think that my cousin will ever know how much she meant to her father because she was so young when he passed away, but she was the apple of his eye. I know she misses him so much but I think that a little bit of my Uncle now lives in my cousins little girl…plus she can make some of the same facial expressions that he used to. There are actually a lot of things that my daughter and my cousin’s daughter do that remind me of my Uncle.

So even though my cousin didn’t get to grow up with her father she’ll still get to see a little bit of his spark in her daughter every day.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it means to have lost your father at age 13. She’s strong and raising a daughter with his personality. 🙂 Memories can fade but instinct can help you remember the small things. #heintroducedmetocandycorn #hissmilewasamazing #christywashisangel

2. Shortly before I got pregnant with my #2 little man, I was out running errands and I received a phone call letting me know that a friend of mine had lost her little boy when she was 27 weeks pregnant. It shook me to my core. Thinking through what she and her husband and son went through emotionally and physically, to me, is unimaginable. My heart was broken into a thousand pieces for them – I could only imagine what they were experiencing.

I look now at where they are and am inspired at how their strength has grown their lives, their marriage and their careers. They now have a second beautiful little one that they adopted. And she’s adorable and beautiful and I want to have an arranged marriage for her and my #2 little man. 🙂

The most inspiring part is that she is now a NICU nurse. I will never forget that she told me that the nurses that were in the hospital when everything happened with her son, were amazing. She went back to school, graduated faster than expected, and went to work in the same hospital where she experienced some of her toughest moments in life and made a difference in many, many lives, including cuddling my nephew when he was in the NICU.

I look up to this woman. She has inspired me and encouraged me without even doing anything more than accomplishing ‘amazing feats’ in her own life. The strength that she has found in order to accomplish these amazing things is astounding.

If she can do what she’s been able to do, I can do anything. Love you E!

3. My girl…my researcher…my intelligent Mama. This woman is one of the smartest women that I’ve ever met.

I’ve known her for soo many years but the two things that I can depend on from her are:

1. She will research the heck out of a topic and by the time that she’s done you’ll know that even the FBI couldn’t disagree with her.

2. She will forever stand up for the people in her life that she believes in.

With that said, I should be saying thank you to her over and over, each week. She inspires me to push myself to limits that make me uncomfortable. She challenges me without even realizing that she’s challenging me. She sees
‘Staci’ for who I really am…or at least who I was when I was 17…and sometimes, those young ages really show our likes, dislikes, missions in life, and etc.

She remembers me from way back when and she reminds me.

Also, she’s shown me how to be strong when you have every right and every ability to say ‘I told you so’ or ‘I knew this would backfire’, when it comes to dealing with kids.

She’s shown me how to bite my lip and how biting my lip will encourage a better relationship with my son’s father. She tells me that she knows it’s not easy but has shown me the reason that it is a necessity.

She stands up for injustices when it’s not cool; when it’s controversial; when her daughter needs her to. She’s shown me how to support a teenager when you completely disagree but need to agree so that your daughter isn’t the only one standing alone. Love you S!

4. There is a woman in my life that is just stinking happy all of the darn time!! And it’s legit. She really is. (You’re awesome D!)

And she has THREE boys…plus a husband that (god love him), is kind of a fourth child. And I’m only saying that because I think that he would agree with this.

She leapt into her own business and went balls-to-the-wall (forgive the phrase D) but seriously, there was no stopping her. She owned it, tried it, loved it, sold it and has varied since then, but she exposed herself on social media, in a way that unless you’ve done it, you’ll never understand. And she was great at it!

She actually has inspired me to start a new section of my blog – the new adventures of ME! I’ve never focused on me like I have recently and one of the ways is being open to everything, including pampering my face and skin.

A friend contacted me a few weeks ago and she wanted to send me a few samples of her facial products to test and host a virtual party. I keep putting her off because, well…life, but I can honestly say that I love sooo much of what she sent to me. I’m hosting an online party soon – click here to get more info (all you have to do is log on) but I have to tell you that my two favorite things are the mascara (which is key)and the moisturizer. Click here to join the party! It’s worth it!! (Plus it supports a mompreneur.)

D – I’m proud of you for doing it and going all in. It takes guts and you have lots! Thanks for your inspiration!

5. Strength is any mother that tells another mother that they are awesome!

I was at the hockey rink the other day and a mom walked up to me and told me how wonderful she thought my boys were. I didn’t know what to say so of course I responded with the traditional, “well, if you were at my house, you wouldn’t think the same thing” quote…but what I should have said was simply, “Thank you”!

Women are so competitive. Especially when it comes to who is the better mother. Big time! So when another mom walks up just to tell you that you’re doing a good job, unfortunately, not all of us know how to act.

It should be natural to simply say, “Thank you” and not wonder what hidden agenda that mother has, but that’s what today’s society has taught us. That we’re never good enough and other’s need to be put down in order for us to be made to feel better.

But this woman that came up to me to say this was only looking for one response, “Thank you”. Her kids are also wonderful and super polite and I complimented her on this in return for her compliment and she had a weird look on her face as if saying, “ok, but I hope you know that I really think you’re doing a great job as a mom.”

That takes courage in today’s environment of over-commitment and pushing kids to excel in order to prove our worthiness as parents.

Acknowledging that we’re all just trying to figure this thing called parenthood and life out and that by the time we all figure it out, it’s probably too late, is reality.

BUT, when women pat each other on the back for no other reason than ‘just because’, that’s strength, that’s confidence, that’s wonderful. There have been more times that I’ve found strength from other women than even from my own family. When it comes from a stranger, or from someone that ‘isn’t supposed to give us support’ (aka family and close friends) it means A LOT!

So dish it out…if you see someone doing something simple but great as a mom, tell them…if they keep their cool with their unruly child in the middle of a grocery store then tell them how impressed you are…if they were early to practice with three other kids in tow and you don’t know how they do it then tell them that you think that they are amazing….tell them.

You’d be amazed at how a few words can make an impact on another person’s life. What is it going to hurt – nothing but boost someone else’s ego…and that’s a great thing!

(And L, you made my weekend a lot less tough that weekend – thank you for acknowledging my parenting!)

Be strong Mama’s – let’s be strong together!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

my mother is my hero

Each year, months are designated to support different types of cancer to raise awareness and funding for research.

My two favorites are September and October.

September focuses on Childhood Cancers, some of the most underfunded cancers that need more attention and financial support. October focuses on Breast Cancer awareness, which receives a ton of attention and millions and billions of dollars in funding. It hasn’t always been that way and I’m hoping that with the increased attention that Childhood Cancer has been getting in recent years that one day we can say that Childhood Cancer and Breast Cancer BOTH receive millions and billions of dollars in funding each year.

Until then I’ll keep promoting both.

It’s Personal.

What I CAN say is that Breast Cancer is a personal issue for me…really for my mother.

I will never forget getting the phone call from my dad to tell me that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It wasn’t something readily discussed 17 years ago so it was not only a shock to my emotions but also to my brain. What was this? What caused this? What will this mean for my mom? For my parents? Will she live? How are the different stages defined? What kind of breast cancer is this? What will my mom go through? What will my dad go through? Will my sister and I get this too? There’s how many types of breast cancer??

A lot to digest. A lot to understand. But I wasn’t the one that went through this. My mother was. She was the one that had to fight this disease and beat it.

When I heard.

I had just turned 20. I had just moved out and was living in my first apartment. Life was fun and carefree…life didn’t have speedbumps…but my mom’s life was getting ready to. My dad, my sister and my mom lived this every day and I have struggled with a touch of guilt for not being there for my parents and my sister every day like I would have been if I had been living at home. I know though, that there’s nothing that I could have done differently had I been living at home as well.

It was my mom’s battle to fight. Not mine. Not my dad’s. Not my sister’s. And I know we would have each taken it on so that she wouldn’t have to fight it, but we couldn’t. We could be there for her to make her laugh or show her that we needed her to hang around a lot longer or to show her that life keeps moving and she had to be the referee for the rest of her life, between my sister and I (politics + family + different views = mom’s refereeing). We couldn’t take the pain away and as much as we wanted to help, we didn’t have a clue what she was going through.

The fact that my mom can’t eat red jello to this day just shows how powerful a memory can be. The red in the chemo pumped into her each month took away something as small, yet as normal as being able to eat what she wanted, when she wanted. And it’s not that she loved red jello…or red koolaid…or red anything…it’s just that this disease that she didn’t invite into her body by recklessly smoking or drinking or anything else, caused her to reject even simple things, red things, reminders of the taste that the chemo leaves in your mouth or the weakness that it causes.

She was robbed of the small things and the big things.

Things like feeling like a woman, a wife, a mom. Things like her hair…and in case you ever wanted to know (lol), Dennis women have fabulous hair and skin. We don’t even have to really take care of it much more than the once a day wash and rinse and it turns out fabulous…because of my mother’s (and grandmother’s) gene’s.

Yet, my mother had to face the fact that she had to shave her head. She had to lose her hair. But thankfully, her loving husband, my father, was there with her when she discovered that it was coming out, on vacation, and he shaved it for her so that she could wear some amazing wigs that she searched for, researched about, paid top dollar for, and had cut similar to her hair style.

One of my favorite memories of my mom at that time, is that one day she informed us that she had been told that many times when hair grows back after falling out from chemo, it will come back in completely different than before.

And so the prophecy was fulfilled. Her hair came back in kinky curly…the same hair that she had wanted my sister and I to have for our entire childhood (and the perms that just went bad…really bad), she received. I was kind of excited that what she had always wanted for us, she received (and not for payback, I promise :)).

And as always, she made the best of every situation…she was super excited about the curly hair and she swore that she was going to go ‘au naturale’ and not ever dye her hair again.

Six weeks later (and she’ll probably tell me I’m wrong on the length of time), she died her hair back to her ‘natural color’ (aka – the color she really liked at the time). And it was fabulous because I saw a spark in her again because she, then, really felt like she was ‘herself’ again.

Fast forward six months…just six months…and she found out that she had another form of cancer that had been caused by the follow up drugs used to help keep her breast cancer at bay. How hypocritical is that?? We’ll treat your chemo and keep it away by giving you drugs that may cause more cancer in a different part of your body??

So more surgery but luckily no more chemo.

Then regular visits to her doctors to see if everything was gone. Every six months, she kept her Dr. appointments and would sit with baited breath to make sure that the cancer was still absent from her body.

And it stayed like that for a long time!!

Strength.

Fast forward years, and years, and breast cancer walks, and more breast cancer walks and fundraisers, and then more years…and then they found more in the other breast.

This is strength. She defined strength in this moment.

She barely told a soul. She accepted it quickly and quietly and made decisions swiftly and with a confidence that I hadn’t seen the first time. She went in, had the other breast removed; had reconstruction done; recovered; worked through her recovery; held my daughter through her recovery…and showed me what strength is. Showed her granddaughter what strength is. Showed everyone how tough and amazing she really is.

Doing what you need to do, to get things done that you want to get done, for the people that you live for…that’s strength…that’s my mom…a Breast Cancer fighter and survivor.

She gives me strength like no other woman ever could. I hope to set the same kind of example for my daughter one day (except I’ll pray to skip the cancer part :)).

Love you Mom!

Donate to something today…My favorites are:

Chicago Marathon Fundraiser for Camp Sunshine – Rachel N. Jones

Camp Sunshine – Benefitting Family with children with life threatening diseases

Breast Cancer Fundraising – Susan G. Komen

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!