Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Six Lit Birthday Candles

So, this is 40 and I could not be happier.  This time last year I feared turning 39, the age that would make me older than my mom at her passing. Subsequently, my dear husband and loved ones surprised me with a fantastic party.  Friends from all over sent well wishes and precious gifts with kindness.

I still have those days of guilt, like why did I get to live when my mom didn’t? Then, I feel extra guilty because that thought it is not fair to my girls. When I got hit with the tests that revealed that I needed a hysterectomy fast, I got very scared. I became wrapped up in getting my household ready while I was in great pain. I avoided my emotional pain through distractions that included making sure my husband knew our youngest’ therapy schedule, amongst other details.

Reflection

When I woke up in ICU after the surgery, I was filled with exhilaration. My giddiness made the staff think they gave me too much morphine.  At that time I did not know if my journey to good health would be on hold, or be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived 1000 lifetimes. If only I could go back to my 20s to teach myself then what I know now. But, would I have really been the same person today if I did?

Housekeeping

The biggest lesson I have learned in my 30’s is to rid my world of the toxic people and the Negative Nellies. I used to sweat when people would not ‘like’ me, or I would try lame attempts to be their friend. What I did not rationalize is why would I want them as friends? “Mean Girls” became Mean Moms. Life is too short to not surround myself with loved ones who see me in the good, and especially important the bad times.

Could Have/Should Have

I used to think that if I knew that I was going to be a new mom in my 30s I would have done things differently. I would have traveled more, saved more money and tried another shot at a career.  If I went through the other door, would I still of had my girls?

Do What I Love Now.

Doing what I love is the sanest and simplest way to be the best me. I began writing when my oldest was just a baby. In between naps, diapers and tantrums, writing became my vice. It did not matter if I was sleep deprived, I felt my creative self being fed constantly.  Writing has evolved to a part-time career that I can do from home.

The last lesson I learned this decade was to trust my instincts.  In my 20’s, I did not listen to my inner voice enough. This decade, I began to fine-tune my gut instinct enough to rely on it. When I steer from it, a roadblock appears. Go figure.

As I enter the Fab 40’s, I am showing more gratitude for today. It is the only one I have.

What have you liked/disliked about a certain age? Any lessons have I missed?

Does Grief Ever Go Away?

photo-17I am frozen mid-step. My eyes are burning in hopes to not be recognized. The bright sun does nothing to warm my heart. I sheepishly look down at my phone as the woman passes, hoping she does not stop. Instinctively I raise a hand to my heart to try to get it started again.

Damn. I feel the tears rise in my eyes as I race to my car. Fumbling my key in the lock, I finally get it as the waterworks open. My heart is on the floor again.

I thought it would get easier as time wore on. What a load of crap.

I see the woman stride over to the entrance to her shop, a store I may never go in again. I hope she did not see me. I could not bear the questions or the idle chitchat that makes grief so hard to swallow. I could not help it. Opening my mouth was not an option.

It has been two weeks since I have seen her and her staff to fill my order. I have no idea if I will be in there again. The pain is too raw.

For the first time in 19 years, our home floors do not have the echo of our four-legged boys. A short while ago, our beloved Indy passed away. IT was the most excruciating task I have ever done as a parent, to deliver the news to our oldest girl that he died. I can still hear him through our walls, whining for breakfast. Or hear the click of his claws on the hardwood, racing to jump on my lap.

A realization answers my question. Every time a loved one passes, it opens up the old wounds. With that, I know I am never going to be grief-free. It is about going one day at a time.

A Confession Letter: #autism

A Confession Letter: #autism

After her first week in public school, I felt the urge to write this letter.

Dear Teacher and Other Parents,

Do you see the mom standing off to the side from the other parents at school pick-up?

Chances are she just has nothing in common to say to you.

Read more of my letter here that was posted on BC Partners in Education.

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Labour Day of the Heart: #IVF

Labour Day of the Heart: #IVF

School Supplies

Labour day means so many things to different people. It began as a day off for front-line workers. It merged into the last long weekend of the summer before kids started school. To spend lazy afternoons camping with the kids or having friends over for a BBQ is the norm these days. When I think of kids I think of the birthing day (aka THE Labour Day.) When you become pregnant, the Birthing/Labour day is the finish line. For some women, they just want to start the journey to motherhood.
Back-To-School campaigns can make some people sad. They cry on Labour Day. As kids go back to school, government returns to session. Now that the election is completed, I wonder if the government is considering in adding to the health care policy to include funding for IVF treatments.
Currently, many women transfer multiple embryos during IVF, in hopes that one will grow into a baby. Often, twins, triplets and quads end up with families that were trying to just have one baby. Multiple births can be costly over the lifetime of the children and the mother. There are many maternal health risks and health care challenges for multiples, like lifetime illnesses, disabilities and more.

As it says in this article: it can help all of us as taxpayers.There are many people trying to help moms be moms by supporting the initiative to have IVF publicly funded for them. If you are suffering from infertility, check out the site for information and support.

As I pack up for my own young daughters to get ready for school, I see how Labour Day can be hard for many women wanting to be in my shoes. I hope our province can join the many other places like Quebec and Australia who help families be born.

Do you know anyone who is suffering from infertility and trying to save up for treatments? Are they foregoing many things to help fund it? Please send them here for more information.

Back to School can mean back to Families First in this Province this fall.

Disclosure: I am a valued member of the #IVF4BC blog team. As such, I received compensation, but my opinion on this blog is my own.

From the Archives: My Mama Aha Moment

me and my mom

My eyes drink in the last sentence as I close Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. I click the nightlight off to make the room dark so my darling husband can keep sleeping. I stare at the ceiling that is illuminated by the clock radio at the foot of the bed.

My heart is racing with a newfound warp speed. Feeling like I could float out of this bed, what I just read clears the dark fog that has enveloped me since my mom died. For the first time since she died I feel like someone truly knows what I went, and am going, through.

Throughout the pages I absorbed other woman’s’ stories of how they learned to live with the pain. What struck me was the message to give myself-the power to accept her passing and allow myself permission to grieve.

After her passing (I was ten), I was not allowed to talk about her because it would upset my dad, sister or grandma. To bury the empty void she left plagued me until now. It is how I have been parenting my young girls; hide the grief until it boils over into my present life. It harmed my soul.

I watch the car lights flicker through the blinds realizing the stories I started writing about missing my mom was opening the floodgates. Every piece I pen allows me to voice the immense grief. It may be the reason why I am so motivated to write. I started to write my mom stories in fear that I will have the same fate as my mom. Now, it fills a lost void that she leaves to this day.

Today marks the twenty-sixth anniversary that I stood in her hospital room and said good-bye.

Tonight is the first time I am grieving unabashedly. I let go to grieve, to wash away the pain so I can be more present for my daughters. They deserve it. I close my eyes but I am not tired. Tears of relief slide down my cheeks. I am feeling like I am a hot air balloon that has been lost and now grounded.

I cry myself into my dreams.

Before the alarm goes off, I am pounced by my three-year-old wanting breakfast. I hug her tight. I hug her tight feeling young and free.

In many ways I am.

Last Happy Picture of Me and My mom

By the Time You Read This…

By the Time You Read This…

Hospital Sign

The birds start chirping before I realize that the morning is about to begin. I have no idea how long I have been awake, or if I slept at all. This day has been months, if not years in the making. I do not need to put my glasses on to know it is too early for me to shower. Thank goodness. My heart and head are still trying to process the itinerary for today.

I will be staring at four, pale pastel walls. Either I’ll be having a long nap or waiting to go in the operating room. Right now, I am in limbo to find out if it’s my turn with the cancer card. I’ve avoided it for 39 years now. As I said here in Erica Ehm’s post, I made time for me, so I can be here for my girls. Weeks ago an ultrasound gave concrete proof that my body has been fighting fibroids. More tumours are trying to reside here.

Because of my cancer history the doctors are not waiting to biopsy. My uterus, and possible more parts, has been given their eviction notice. I do see the rational side of the procedure and there will be relief to have it all gone. No more debilitating cycles that has robbed me of time to have fun with my family. I may be 39 years old but, I want my mommy! I want her to tell me all those reassuring ‘mom-isms’. I need her to tell me the magic words, “It will be okay.” I am scared.

I hear the birds starting their morning song. I take a deep from-my-toes cleansing breath, and place my brave face on to kiss my husband good morning. I repeat again and again that everything will be okay as I take my pre-op shower. History will not repeat itself. It cannot.

As I recover from whatever results in today, this site will show a variety of new and archived posts. By the time you read this, .. let’s be real, I will be dreaming of a glass of chardonnay. xo