Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Mommy

Spring 2012...isn't she just so cute?

The other day Kalyn had a guest post about breast cancer, and it made me think of my mommy,and yes I do still call her mommy, and it made me realize that I've never talked about my mommy on the blog. So today I'm writing about my mommy, my parent, encourager, cheerleader, energizer, prayer warrior, lover and basically a super hero mom.

For my sister's college application essay she wrote about none other than our mom. Our mommy has been our everything to us, in every memory we have she's in it. She was always there, even in the times when she wasn't physically, or wasn't emotionally, she was still there. She was the one to pick us up from school when we were sick, and sometimes when we weren't, just for fun. She was the one to make us our birthday meal. She was the one to paint our bedrooms in beautiful murals. She was the one who put us all in matching attire, which comes in super handy when you lose a 4 year old in a convention hall in Las Vegas. She was the one to pack notes into our lunch boxes. She was the one who crushed up the swallow-able pills so we could eat them with peanut butter, we were afraid to swallow them. She was the one to plan fun vacations. She was the one to take us shopping for our first bikinis. She was the one who let us have big pool parties and made us snacks for them. She was the one who made every other, plain, old, normal day the most absolute blast. She was always there.

About two years ago near this time, I had just walked into a classroom on campus for my summer session class, advertising. I was sitting at the table and playing on my phone before class when my phone rang, it was my mommy. Class would begin in about 10 or so minutes but I took the call anyway, I was sure I could just tell her I'd call her after my class. I answered the phone and couldn't hear her very well but she sounded serious, I slowly walked down the stairs in the classroom and out the door. She began telling me that she had something she needed to tell me and she wanted me to know that she was positive and that everything was going to be okay. I remember in that moment being very concerned. 

The past few of years had been rough in our home. My parents got a divorce when I was a junior in high school, now (at the time of this story) just four years since then things had begun to pick up but the road to that was hard. There were days when my mom couldn't get out of bed, there were days when I got calls that they'd had an accident in the car, or that mom wasn't doing so well emotionally, etc. All to say, that I'd had phone calls before that weren't exactly good or easy news to hear but this time, this time felt different.

My mommy continued to talk in an encouraging manner until she finally told me the truth, she had breast cancer and it was in a serious state. My heart sank instantaneously and I was short for words. I didn't know what to say or how to react but the tears were already starting to form in my eyes. I wanted to pretend she hadn't said it, I wanted to pretend it was just a scare but wasn't true...I wanted to slide to the floor and cry but my class was beginning any moment by now.

She continued to be positive and didn't have a bit of concern in her voice as she told me the next step of the process and how the rest of it might play out. Still, I was in shock and the tears were now falling from my eyes as I tried to be calm for my mommy. I wanted to drop the phone and run to Kevin's arms, I just wanted him to hold me.

We hung up and I don't even remember how I got back to my seat in class. A friend showed up shortly after and noticed my solemn attitude, it wasn't normal for me, asking if I was okay. I shook my head no and for the first time told someone, my mom has breast cancer, stage four. It stung and it hurt and I squeezed tears back into my eyes so I would not be the crying girl in class. 

I don't remember the lesson from that day.

Sister and mommy

The road of my mom battling the cancer was hard. Hardest for my sisters who, living at home, still depended on my mom as their sole guardian. Ginger stepped up to the plate as an adult much before any one of her friends ever did. She finally got her license in order to take our mom to appointments and spent most her afternoons in hospitals. She organized the bills and tried to take care of our younger sister. She listened to doctors to understand the process and know the path ahead. She nursed my mom to health after the double mastectomy and she prayed with her through the torturous path of  chemotherapy and radiation. There were days she wanted to give up, moments she cried it was too hard or unfair and yet she pursued onward and I'm incredibly thankful to my sister for that.

And actually, that statement works well for my mommy too as she too had days of wanting to give up on it all, moments she cried through the pain, and winced through the treatments, she had days in bed, and moments of lost hope, yet she continued through it all, endured the pain and pressed forward all the while trusting in Jesus.

A year later from that phone call was my wedding. My mommy had successfully gone through all the treatments and was finishing up it all by that time. She still wasn't completely herself but she was more herself than she had been in months. I had many people asking why I would continue to have the wedding at such a time when my mom was going through all this...and my answer? I wanted my mommy at my wedding. Maybe that was selfish of me, but I simply could not envision my wedding day without my mommy there. And I didn't want to put it off in the possibility that she just might not make it there.

My mommy was at my wedding. She, along with my dad, walked me down the aisle because she is and has always been there.

Sometimes I wish I had waited a bit longer because my mom became more and more herself with each new month since then but I still wouldn't change it. The wedding gave her something to look forward to, something to encourage her through all the pain, something to give her joy in her moments of darkness...and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Today, my mommy is 50 years old and doing much better than she was at 48 when the whole process began. She's back to her youthful, energetic self. She has her hair and the sparkles in her eyes back. She smiles and wears pretty clothes that even I can't pull off. She's beautiful. She's my mommy again.

Year before the cancer was found

I wrote all this out not that you would feel sorry for me or for my mom or my two little sisters but to give you a glimpse of the bravery, strength and beauty of my mommy. All of which she has because she continues to trust in God above all else. So many women are battling this terrible and just plain sucky disease. It takes so much out of a woman, a family. It's heartbreaking to watch.

 I'm incredibly blessed my mom has made it to remission and I celebrate that, and I praise the Lord for it! Yet I know the journey isn't over. My mommy won't be totally in the clear for another 10 years and now I've got to watch out for it in myself and my sisters too. But our God is good and He is faithful! I will trust in Him and His protection and His plans for the life He's given me and the lives close to my hear that He's given me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 

Tell us about your mommy!

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  1. What a touching story! Your mom sounds like a wonderful person. You and your sisters are awesome for helping her through that and I'm glad to hear she is doing better. Happy Birthday to your Mommy!

  2. AH, I am that crying girl at work! Love this. I am actually headed to FL tonight, I will kiss and hug her for you. XO. Love you bunches.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! So glad to hear she has been recovering well!

  4. This is so sweet. And heart wrenching. Things like this are hard to share on the blog sometimes, and that's why I mostly ramble about nothing!

    1. I wish you had put a picture of one of the murals she painted on your walls when you were younger, I bet they were beautiful.

    2. I'm so impressed with everything your sister did to help your mom through everything, and I am so happy your mom made a full recovery!

    3. Are you guys real life? Drop dead gorgeous, all four of you.

  5. I am so glad that you shared this! Your mom is gorg!


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