Put out your hand

I can not believe that school will be starting in 2 weeks.  It has been a very hectic summer for us and has seemed way too short!  Megan is heading into 5th grade and my little Madison will be in 2nd.  When did it happen?  When did my babies get so big?  It seems like just yesterday that I packed Meg up for her first day at Pre-K.  She was such a shy little thing that even though I was home, we sent her for a few hours a day just to be around other kids.  I remember the first day of Kindergarten and the first time I watched the bus drive away. I was so worried about her, would she adjust and fit in?  Of course she did just fine. Before each of these first days I sent her to school with a kiss in each hand. A little something to carry from me  just incase she needed them throughout the day.

Megan's first day of Kindergarten 2009
Megan’s first day of Kindergarten 2009

There is an adorable little book called O My Baby Little One that we have hadimages since Megan was a baby.  It is about a little bird who feels sad as he heads off to school.  His Mom is also sad and explains to him that the love they share will stay with them both everywhere they go even when apart.  I have read this the night before the first day of school since Megan’s first day at Pre-K.  With Megan turning 10 just the other day I was a little worried that just maybe my girls would not be as interested in our “ritual”. The other night we were gathering school supplies together and I asked if either of them had seen the book,  (fully knowing exactly where it was :-).  Before even allowing them to answer I asked if we would be reading it again this year.  The reaction made me so happy.  Both girls looked at me as if it was a crazy question and almost in unison answered “of course”.  It made me feel good, “our thing” is just as important to them as it is to me.

I realize that I am raising two girls who in no time at all will both be teenagers.  I know that there will come a time when everything that my husband and I do will be found to be the most embarrassing, annoying things in the world.  I understand and together we will all make it through but for now I will enjoy every moment I can get where they still allow me to snuggle up and just hold on to them.

So Megan and Madison, as the first day of school draws near, when I ask for your hands, do me a favor and just accept that I am so very proud of you both.  Accept that I love the strong and confident young ladies you are becoming.  Accept that in my heart you will always be my babies so put out your hands and please allow me to send a kiss in each and know that I will always be with you and that I love you both so very much!

My life, my heart, my family

My family,  they are my life, my heart and the most important thing in my world.  There are forces around me that do not understand that and the reason is simply that they have never taken a minute to get to know me.

Niagara Falls Canada Family vacation July
Niagara Falls Family vacation July

Everyone’s priorities are different and that is one of those wonderful things that makes the world go around.  I do not judge others, or at least I try my best not to.  One thing that will immediately spike my anger are those who seem to do just that to me.

How did I get here?

My world
My world

Maybe it was a father who left when I was a baby and never looked back.  Maybe it was the financial struggles that resulted from this, losing our house, never having my own new clothes or eating pancakes for dinner instead of meat.  Maybe going through 12 years of Catholic school being told I did not have a “real” family or seeing all of my friends living “normal” lives.  Maybe it was the death of my mother after a long battle with cancer.  She was a difficult woman but one I loved with all of my heart.  Maybe it was my own decision to proactively remove part of my body due to questionable biopsies, a surgery that was life changing.  Maybe it was the fact that the pathology from that surgery showed that cancer was most certainly in my future, a future that was changed due to my decision to have the prophylactic mastectomy with my families support.  A decision that certainly humbled me!

imagesI did not get married right out of college.   Frank and I were married several years before deciding to have children.  We did the career thing and made very nice money.  I was obsessed with the next promotion and the next raise and I did very well.  We lived a life for a while where we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to do it.  I was 32 when Megan was born and ready for the next phase in my life.  Many around me then could not understand how I could walk away from a lucrative and successful career to become a stay at home mom.  To me that became the most important and fulfilling job I could ever have!  Years later to be faced with the realization that cancer could be such a real threat, it made me recognize how quickly life could change and how dear I held those close to me.

I now have an understanding that a “normal” family is any that is loving, caring and provides for the needs of those individuals with in it.  It is impossible to describe what that looks like since they are all so different.  I have also come to peace with the fact that many people do not understand us, to those folks I can only wish for them a moment to slow down and enjoy what they have.  What I do not give is an apology for knowing who I am and what is important to me.  I will never apologize for putting my family first.

wdw201411267073222_6967229184Over the next many weeks I am excited for the start of the soccer season.  For Madison, it is her first opportunity to play on a travel team and at a more competitive level.  Her team will take to the field Friday night for the first of a 3 game/ 3 day tournament.  Frank is an assistant coach on her team and both are excited to hit the field.   I love watching the girls play and have admittedly become a proud soccer mom.  I plan on seeing each and every game (fingers crossed for schedules that are accommodating 🙂 ). Megan will start the season the weekend after in a labor day tournament.

wdw201411267000039_6967229185As the summer comes to an end and we gear up to head back to school, the calendar is filling up and I realize, I would not have it any other way!  Sometimes it is good to step back and remember what is really important to you!

 

 

Something special?!.

Recently my husband had a conversation with a long time friend who told him that our relationship was something special.  It struck him as a strange statement which is probably why he remembered to mention it to me.  He told me about it the other night standing in our kitchen, where we have many of our chats.  When he first told me how “special” we were I laughed.

Special, what a bizarre description.  We are not a very affectionate couple and we are both very stubborn.  If you envisioned any of those made for TV couples when I used the word “special” you would be so far from who we are.  But as I have thought about this over the last few days I have decided that we are indeed very special.

We often comment to each other that it is us against the world.  Things have not always been easy for us but we stick together and find a way through.  We have had martial issues like many others, we fight, we disagree and at times flat-out ignore each other. Over the years we have faced many adversities and many situations where others have let us down.  It would be easy to cower in a corner and point fingers listing all of them but instead we have accepted that sometimes in life you are just lucky to find that one person who will always have your back.

When I was faced with the decision to have the preventative mastectomy, Frank was my rock.  He supported my decision to have such a surgery that would leave me in a hospital for a week, unable to help out for many weeks after as well as change my body forever.  He did a wonderful job with our girls, dealt with the wild swings in my mood throughout the process, and set me up a  bedroom in our family room.  After 7 days in the hospital the first thing he did for me when we got to our home was wash my hair in the sink and shaved my legs so I could feel better before the kids saw me.  Tough does not even describe how those few months were but we came though stronger and even more united.  Us against the world.

Over the years many have offered unsolicited  opinions about how we have chosen to live our lives.  Neither of us had story book childhoods so when we decided to start a family it was very important to us to give our children something we did not have.  Just yesterday I was able to catch Megan as she ran joyfully screaming from the bus stop that she had won a contest thrown out by the School Principal.  Some do not understand why this is so important to us.  For many years we have tried to explain that no amount of money could ever replace these years or the memories that we will all share forever, but especially since my surgery I no longer feel the need to explain.  My husband and I understand and that is all that matters.  Us against the world.

In the end we are basic people, home bodies who would rather sit watching a movie as a family than going out.  We would rather spend time at the girls soccer games on the weekend and spend every vacation at Disney world laughing as a family.  Things are not always easy but I guess that is what makes it special.  Wanting to put in the time and the work necessary, that makes what we have special to me!