Yesterday my mom and I took Cole to the community pool. It was chalk full of water-slides, fountains, diving boards and sprinklers. A child’s summer dream lay before us.
Cole has taken to the water like a fish to the sea. No surprise there as I was the same. Without fear or hesitation, his 15 month old body desperately wants to paddle at the speed of light.
After 2 hours of playing and splashing, we were almost ready to pack up for the day when I told my mom I kind of had the desire to go down one of the water-slides. There were two huge ones catching my eye and the kid in me was whispering in my ear to go for it. I quickly saw though that there were only kiddos heading up the water-slide stairs. 7 to 10 year olds taking on these winding, watery roller coasters and I waited for a minute to see if any adults would be making their way there as well.
The adults were either on their phones, relaxing at the zero entry or just lounging around the outskirts of the pool. My mom was pushing me to make the plunge so I walked to the side of the stairs and quickly walked back towards my mom after realizing I was slightly afraid I would see a sign that doesn’t say you have to be this height to ride but one instead that says you can’t be taller than this. Am I too old to go down the slide? So back to my mom and child I went. My mom kept pushing me to go so back to the slides was the only way through this parental tough love pressure.
So there’s me, a mom among these ten or so year olds, waiting my turn to go down the slide. I listened to their conversations like a fly on the wall. “You won’t go down the blue one because you’re afraid,” one boy said to another. The mom in me rares back to put that little bully in his place but before I say anything the boy takes up for himself and quickly retorts, “I make my own decisions in life so stop pushing me around already”. A victory for the underdog right before my very eyes. A small celebration inside me ensues.
The lifeguard directs me to take my seat at the top of the slide and gives me the signal to go down. Like a bullet in darkness, I whirled down and in all honesty was kind of terrified and also having the time of my life. Into the pool I went and out I climbed to meet my family. Thankful that I took the time to remember what it feels like to be a kid. We can get so lost in the adulting, the responsibilities of life, that we forget to take time out to feel that innocent joy of childhood racing through us.
Next time you get the chance to go down the water-slide, do it:)
Last night we had a few friends over to our house as well
as my dad and step-mom. My step-mom, Donna, was diagnosed a few years
ago with Lung Cancer and since her diagnosis has had multiple rounds of
chemo and radiation to fight it off. Where her tumor is located is
inoperable however the chemo had helped to keep it from continuing to
grow and allow her for a few months to do Optivo to which she stopped
because it was starting to effect other organs.
She took a 4
month hiatus from any treatment because the tumor had shown signs of no
further growth and the Optivo was only negatively affecting her body. If
you had looked at her, you would never in a million years known she was
facing that battle.
A few weeks ago, they did a PET scan which
revealed the cancer had spread to other areas, Stage 4 and so she
immediately started treatment again. Cancer can leave you in a state of
devastation. It can be a thief and challenge you to your knees.
mom had breast cancer and since treatment has been clear of it for this
past few years. My step-dad was recently diagnosed and just finished a
month of treatment and is prepping for surgery in Indianapolis to remove
what’s remaining of his tumor. Donna’s journey is one that there is no
roadmap and one of constant faith, prayer and making some tough daily
mental decisions of how one chooses to live each and every moment.
can’t imagine what that must be like nor will I even try to but what I
do know is that yesterday I saw through my dining room window, a woman
with a shaved head step out of her car in a beautiful leopard dress,
with a stunning turquoise necklace and her face of perfection with
stunning red lips. I was mesmerized. I thought to myself, F**K You
Cancer. In front of me was the most badass warrior of a woman who was
showing up for herself in spit of uncertainty swirling around her.
was inspired. I wanted to capture that look and that energy so I
grabbed my camera while Cole was wheeling around the house with his
little scooter. In that moment, the past and the future didn’t exist and
all that we had was that moment and I truly felt that in every ounce of
my soul. A picture can capture that moment more so than anything else.
In that moment I saw what Derek Walcott had described in his poem “Love
After Love”. I saw a women before me who was embracing with
courageousness her own life on her own terms:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
told me at dinner that she felt so tired (which I would NEVER had
known) but that she had promised herself that at 3:30PM she was going to
be at our house; she was going to show up for herself. That to me is
what life is all about. When you show up for yourself in-spite of your
hardships and struggles, that flame is powerful enough to be the spark
that helps light the world.
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I became a mother on June 14th, when I looked down at that notorious white stick and saw like a beaming light, which
could probably have been seen from space, a plus sign. A feeling of
pure elation, fear and excitement is like nothing I had ever felt. A
complete and total rush. My husband and I wondered if maybe it was
because the pregnancy test had been sitting in our car while we had
been out running errands. Maybe, just maybe it could be a false result.
So we drove to the nearest drugstore and bought 5 more, you know just to
be sure. 6 plus signs and 8 months later, Cole was born.
you have a child, nothing can prepare you for what that embodies until
you meet them for the first time, embrace and become forever bonded in
that sacred space. Until you bring your child home for the first time
and in our case take shifts, just to make sure they’re still breathing.
It's a roller coaster of emotions and in many ways a woman is reborn.
She sheds an innocence to put on the armor of motherhood and with any
growth one experiences, growing pains are sure to follow.
the first year, you're just trying to scramble, survive, wrap your head
around the fact that you have a little human who is totally dependent on
you. You learn to maintain numorous plates spinning at once while
having one arm tied behind your back and all the while, there is this
mourning process within a woman, one in which she may embrace or may
push down. She may just chalk it up to hormones or wonder if there is
something wrong with her though never breathing that thought to anyone.
It's a process that is never highlighted in the parenting books, blogs
or within social media… But if you start the conversation with another
mother on the topic, you will without fail, see yourself in each other.
That freedom you once had turns into something else. It
turns into learning to become a conductor of time and a doctor who now
has a wide understanding of the variety of baby rashes, fevers, etc.
you nurture yourself through the nurturing of another. A woman becomes
more fully who she is in the process I've learned. She sheds the
innocence of youth to learn about the strength, bravery and fight within
her that she may have only had a glimpse of throughout her life.
No truer words were ever written than that of "Scared Vision" by Iron and Wine.
"There's no way to grow that don't hurt"
a mother has been one of the most humbling and loving experiences of my
life. My child is my heart. He's a reflection of the love I feel for my
husband and I find the greatest joy in raising him, nurturing him and
watching as he daily blossoms in front of eyes.
learned thus far in my journey of motherhood, is to embrace all the
cracks as well as the smooth edges. I find that by honoring that, I can
be a better wife, mother, daughter, etc. By honoring the growth pains
of motherhood, I am more available to myself and my family because I'm
more authentically walking through this world.
So on this
Mother's Day weekend, may I say what an honor it is to share in the
heart space of motherhood with so many wonderful women. In whatever
stage of motherhood you may find yourself in, may you know that you are
supported as we are all in this wild and beautiful ride together.