Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm sorry, Mom!

It's not a secret in my family that I was the "difficult" child. I was known to push the parental limits. After all, they were stupid limits....I knew what was best for me, I was my own person. Didn't my parents know I was a good kid? They didn't have to be so strict and overprotective. And if that wasn't bad enough, they never let me express myself verbally. Come on, I had something to say. Don't you want to know what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling?!

Then my mom went and did the unthinkable, she prayed that I would have kids just like me.

My old words are starting to be uttered by own children.....ugh! The words that came out of MY mouth today: "I do not have to give you a reason. The answer is no. Not another word." It may have possibly sounded more like this , "I DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOU A REASON....." You get the point.

Looking through old pictures I found this note written in teenage bubbly letters from when I was a sweet and sassy 16 year old. I dedicate this to you, Mom.

When I'm a parent:

1)I'm going to let my teenager go most places he/she wants to unless I have a very good excuse why not! Not because "I said so" or "You've already been somewhere this week"
2)I'll let my kid talk on the phone as long as he/she wants. Unless I need to use it or am expecting a call.
3)I'll let my children go tee-peeing. What's wrong w/ it?!!
4)My children will be allowed to attend dances when they are in Jr High.
5)I'll let my kids go on dates when they are 15!
6)I won't read any of their notes unless they say I can.
7)I'll let them have more privileges than I ever had!
8)I won't embarrass them by bringing up the past.
9)I'll let them have their own phone!!
10)They can have a tv in their room.
11)I will not make them clean the house and do dishes EVERYDAY!!
12)I will be understanding and let them tell me their point of view.

Good thing I wrote that down so I could let my smart teenage self raise my teens. Ha! I feel I'm doing just fine raising teenagers and enjoying them very much even on the days we don't see eye to eye and I have to get (gulp) strict. And I better get in a groove and learn and grow because I will have teenagers for 21 years!!

kids of the 90's dressing up for 80's night at youth group
There are days when I think of my mom and realize what head/heart aches I caused. I have never apologized for my....uh,...teenage attitude. Honestly, until recently I have still been siding with my 16 yr old self, blind to how my parents saw me. 

My eyes are open. If there is one thing I want my children to know about my parenting it is that I do/did my very best. It may not have always been what they would have wanted or even what is right. But it is always, always out of love! 

So, Mom, this is your apology, in writing, no less! I'm sorry. Sorry for not being able to hold my tongue (something I'm still working on, dang it!), sorry for causing you to question where you went wrong because of your 2nd child, sorry for the disobedience, sorry for sneaking out.....ok....who needs a detailed list? :) I am a better mom because of who you were and who you are!  I love you! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

I have a way of holding onto things too tight sometimes. A sentimentalist, I say. Some may call it other names... I have a harder time than most saying good bye. I may be the only one that will devour a good book quickly until the last couple chapters and then read slowly because I'm not ready for it to be over or to say bye to the characters. Anyone? Ok, I realize I'm a little weird but I'm secure in my quirkiness.

This year I told myself I will let summer leave gracefully. I will not cry and beg her to stay. I will be ready for autumn and welcome her with a leaf wreath on the door and pumpkins on the porch instead of the usual dirty looks and attitude.

To me the yearly Apple Festival Parade is a good bye summer, hello fall celebration.

I really do love my summer. She has a way of bringing out the fun in me. But there are some things about autumn that I like just as much and somethings that I may like even more (gasp!).

  • harvesty menus like pork roast with carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage
  • the scent of burning leaves and earthy nights
  • colors that take my breath away
  • air that feels so perfect, you don't even know it's there

  • jeans and sweatshirts
  • sleeping snuggled in blankets with the windows open
  • watching the kids catch the leaves falling from the trees
  • campfires at night

  • haunting music from the loudly ringing wind chimes
  • football...ok, not really, but I do like watching a good game once in a while
  • flannel sheets
  • candy corn, M&Ms, and honey roasted peanuts-- the melody of autumn love

Autumn, we started off very rocky this year. Gusty winds, 48 degrees and hail? You don't have to be so abrupt with your presence. I really have always liked you and not just for your beauty. Please be a little less aggressive in your demeanor and we can have a wonderful 3 months together.

 And, summer, with mixed emotions I bid you farewell. Thanks for the daily hugs of warmth and kisses of fun. You bring sunshine in my life and joy to my days. I promise to think of you often.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Blessing of Cancer

I guess after two years I'm ready to talk about my journey to restored health. I'm realizing I had been prideful about shrugging off health related questions and saying I'm perfectly fine. Pity and sympathy make me feel weak and it's hard for me to show my vulnerability sometimes. I also don't want to be viewed as a complainer or seem like I dwell on the hardships. Shame on me for not letting people see my weaknesses so they can see what God has done and be glorified.

I've always taken pride in filling out family history charts. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension...big fat check mark in the NO box to all of the above...(gloat much, jamie?) I have felt blessed growing up with healthy parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents.

The summer of 2010 I had a sore throat and as I rubbed my neck, I felt a lump. I figured it had something to do with my throat so I ignored it, outwardly. Inwardly, I had a feeling that I should probably get it checked out. After a couple weeks and a few friendly nudges I obeyed my inner voice went to the doctor. I was sent to have a biopsy to rule out thyroid cancer.

Dr. Good News was confident it was benign. He assured me there was only a 5% chance of it being cancer. So, I was a bit surprised when the diagnosis came back as Papillary Carcinoma, a type of Thyroid Cancer. I was by myself when I got the report. I laughed out loud when Dr. Not So Good News once again gave me statistics: 95% survival rate. "I was already the have cancer." He stuttered his way around my remark. (I wonder if he is still giving the statistics? Surely, I'm not the only one who thought it of that.)

The feeling I had was not fear. I can only say it was a peace that passes understanding from the Peace-giver Himself.  I did, however, have the feeling of guilt. I was sad to have to put my husband and children through a trial that was because of me....even if it was out of my control.

After hours of research I felt I knew all about my condition. It showed that the cancer I had was one of the most treatable kind and the prognosis was great. Unlike other cancers, the treatment was surgery then radioactive iodine to kill any remaining thyroid tissue to help prevent the chance of occurrence.

It felt like a whirlwind with the doctors wanting to get the cancer out of my body as soon as possible. One day I'm healthy as a horse and the next day I'm scheduling surgery that will leave me with out my thyroid.

The biggest stress factor was money. Darn that evil necessity. When Court switched jobs a few years ago he was no longer offered health insurance. We played the dangerous game of Coverage Russian Roulette and lost. But God is bigger than that.

Living in a small community people hear of difficulties and rush to comfort and support. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love. I still get choked up and teary eyed when I think of the love I was shown. Amazing churches held fundraisers for me and gifts poured in from family and friends and friends of friends. I was so very humbled. More money came in than the cost of doctors and hospital bills (which was a big number!) We felt honored to pass on the blessing to others in need.

I had a few bad side effects from the surgery. The worst was losing my voice for 3+ months. (Although my kids may not agree it being such a bad thing.) I could talk a little more than a whisper. Not being able to sing Christmas songs at Christmas time was torturous. Two months after surgery my doctor told me he was sorry but my voice sounded to be such a severe loss that I would most likely never fully get it back. Devastated at the thought of never singing again, I cried the entire drive home, something I didn't even do when I was diagnosed with cancer. At my next appointment I was thrilled to show Dr. Wrong News he had hope to share with other patients like me. I can no longer sing at the octave I once could and if I'm talking for a long time I will start to get hoarse, but praise God I have my voice back!

love Corbin's photobombing

It took almost a year after my treatment to feel normal again. Some days I feel the tired or jittery feeling and wonder if my meds need readjusted. Or maybe I'm just tired from the busyness of raising six kids. I will keep having blood work every 3 months until I'm where my doc wants me to be. I'm pretty confident I am there. Even though I have to be cancer free for 5 years to be considered completely cured and there are possible challenges down the road, I am hopeful and optimistic.

I know that going through challenges makes us stronger. My experience with cancer hardly seems like a challenge with all the good that I have seen because of it. I am more appreciative of life. I love my family and friends and tell them often. I know that all things work together for good to those called according to His purpose. I would like to say that even if the outcome wasn't good and it was a tougher battle I would feel the same.

Cancer is ugly. Some types are horrible and aggressive and leave our loved ones fighting for life. It's heartbreaking to watch someone deteriorate from this awful disease.  The cancer I had has shown me how strong I can be and how much I am loved. I am grateful. To God be the glory!