Full of Boys

Finding the adventure in the blues, greens and grays of life!

Painful Healing March 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 6:54 pm

It happens every few years. Each time, it catches me by surprise. Every time I tell myself that I won’t put my heart & emotions through the pain again. Yet, it comes around again.

Every so often, someone comes into my life that causes me to question who I am as a person. I begin to question my own integrity & trustworthiness. I am skeptical and doubtful of my truthfulness & honesty. I contemplate whether I have a heart of compassion, as I proclaim, or a stone cold heart with a fuzzy blanket covering it. All my questioning comes down to one big question.

Am I a fake?

Somehow, each time that I wrestle with this, I always feel like I am the only one who has this internal battle. The truth is that I know better than that. I know that I have friends that at any given time are battling this dark idea that they are less of a person than they really are.

So why do I allow myself to have this battle inside of me so often? Shouldn’t I be secure in who I am? Why would I question things that I feel describe the core of me?

The reason is that I think, in some crazy way, I like the battle.

I like having to wrestle with the idea that I am not perfect. I prefer to figure out my flaws & faults before someone else has to painfully express them to me. I would rather determine if I have hardened my heart towards something long before others discover my heart is turning to stone. I want to remind myself that I am not perfect.

I reopen my wounds & reflect on all my scars. I see all the marks that past battles have left on my heart & I examine them carefully. I search through all of them to determine which ones have been repeated over time & which ones I have mastered.  I become acutely aware that I am a work in progress & that I still struggle over & over again with the same things. It is a little frightening to think that I seem to have to revisit the same lessons time & time again.

I would like to think that it makes me a better person. Maybe that is wishful thinking. However, I realize that as I face some of my darkest moments during these experiences, I tend to grow older through them as well. I gain a perspective I would never have if I simply went through life believing that I was as good as I claimed.

I also learn through it more about my heart. I learn what I truly stand for & what I will readily sacrifice. I see (although very painfully) my faults & claim them. I realize how many times I fail & strive to grow better.

It is never a quick process. It is something that will haunt my thoughts at night & steal away moments of a still day. It is a battle that can consume my emotions so much that my heart physically aches. Yet, it is a glorious moment when the battle has finished & I feel the weight being lifted off my heart.

Yes, it is a painful experience. It is lonely. It is dark. It is quiet. It is needed. It is healing.


Because I Always Wanted To Be a Writer March 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 6:16 pm

Has it really been months since I posted last? Yep. I could give you the whole ‘life got busy’ excuse to explain my blogging absence. Of course, that is really true too. I started working part time in July and was able to go full time in December. It was an adjustment for my entire family but I can’t begin to express my thankfulness for my job (a post for another week)

I struggled for the last couple weeks with whether I should shut down this blog or start writing again. Yes, my life is pretty busy. My life is not just filled with a work day but with a fantastic husband and three boys who still need me to coordinate dinners, ball practices, scout events and even laundry! 🙂 So why not shut it down?

Because I always wanted to be a writer.

Of course, I also wanted to be a news reporter, Broadway Star and CEO.

I am thinking writer probably seems most attainable in this blog.

What I am coming to realize is that in many ways, I get the chance to ‘live out’ my dreams in the most unconventional ways. Take this blog. I never imagined that I would be a writer, able to express my feelings and thoughts in such a format. I only saw writing as a novelist or journalist. Yet, here I am, a working mom with three boys able to still write.

Which is a good thing because after so many months off, I have quite the stories to tell.


The Men in My Life, Part 2 June 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 8:16 am

After talking about my dad yesterday, it would seem fitting to introduce the man who currently holds my heart. In truth, he will always hold my heart, as well as my hand. How do I introduce to you the man who God allowed to heal so many broken parts of my heart? I honestly am at a loss for words. The fact is God brought my husband, Heath, into my life the summer of 1999. It was a summer I was swearing off dating for a while. I had been hurt & burned so much by dating that I felt it would be better to just not date for a while.

I sometimes wonder if God watched me wrestle with the idea of giving up dating & laughed or if he watched & applauded. Somewhere in May of 1999, I found myself on my knees crying & praying. I was tired of living life dedicated to people rather than to Him. I realized anew how much I was dependent on a relationship to make me feel whole rather than allowing God to make me feel whole. That day, through tears, I told God I was done with dating. I told him I just wanted to wait for my husband. I also think I told him I hoped he would bring my husband quickly. 🙂

It was a painful two months as I let God start to search my heart. I cried more tears than I can explain. I felt more alone in those two months than I had ever felt in my entire life. I felt friends fading & I felt life pushing me away from everything comfortable. As I boarded a plane bound for the Dominican Republic at the end of July 1999, I felt I was escaping. As we took off, I felt free from the stigma of my life. What I also felt were unbelievable nerves. It had nothing to do with the trip, it had everything to do with the big metal thing that was flying through the air. Add to the nerves of flying was the fact that I only knew one person on this trip. There would be over 100 people on this trip.

Everyone on the team wore the same shirt the day we flew to Santo Domingo. In some ways, it was comforting. Instantly, we all knew who was on our team & we were able to make small talk. It took two flights to get to Santo Domingo. I cannot even tell you whom I sat next to on the first flight. I will never forget whom I saw next to on my second flight, it was Heath. I think we talked the entire trip. I welcomed the conversation as it always took my mind off the flying. When we landed, we went separate ways. But we were to be serving on the same mission team so I knew we would see each other again.

Whether it was later that day or the next, when we saw each other, we picked up our conversation again. From that moment, we were together all the time, We ate together, on our down times we hung out together. We had a day off where our team went into the city & we were together. What I will never forget was when we were eating dinner in the city. There were about 10 or 12 of us that went to eat together.  Towards the end of the meal, one of our friends came over with a vase of flowers, set them on the table in front of Heath & me, & said ‘these are for the lovebirds’. I shut down at that moment. I pulled away so quickly from Heath that it even made my head spin. Before that moment, I knew this was a guy who was my friend. I knew that there was something special about him. I knew I was not ready to be hurt. I knew I just needed a friend.

The next day I avoided him like the plague. He came & found me. He called me on my behavior. We had a really great conversation. The rest is history, I guess. I will never forget the fear I had when I had to introduce Heath to my family. In my mind, he had three people to be approved by. The first was my father. My dad welcomed him. He says he knew from the moment he met Heath, that he was my husband. Dad said he had prayed for my husband since I was little & in Heath, he recognized his heart.  Next came my grandmother, who until this point had never approved any of the guys I had dated. To my amazement, she also welcomed him. He even made her laugh. I was shocked. The final person to give the approval would be my sister. She walked through all of the hurts of my past relationships, giving me solid advice. I knew there was no way she would just approve of me dating a guy to make me happy. My sister & Heath became friends & soon it was obvious to everyone around me, he was part of my life.

Heath had some uphill battles when it came to my heart but he fought them all. He allowed me to keep wrestling with God & let Him continue to heal me. He encouraged me in ways I never knew possible; he loved me with a pureness that was refreshing. What I didn’t know, was how much more I could love him even after we married. Then I became pregnant. The bond that would form between us was unbreakable. He was my biggest cheerleader in the delivery room, my biggest advocate when I needed to be told I was a good mom & my hiding place when life started to weigh too heavy on me. He allows me to seek shelter in his arms because He knows that God’s arms carry both of us. He reminds me that God takes care of us not by his words but by his attitude & desire to serve Him well. He is the man I dreamed of marrying but felt I would never find. I am reminded daily how much I have to be thankful for when I look at him. God answered my prayer that May. Thankfully, he answered it in a way that is better than I ever thought possible.




The Men in My Life, Part 1 June 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 8:32 am

Yesterday was Father’s Day & it seems fitting to take some time to honor the 5 most important men in my life. One day, this list will include my three boys but for now, I still get to think of them as my ‘little guys’. However, I would be lying if I said that I had no desire to see them grow up because I think one of the greatest things of being a mom is that I will see them cross the threshold of child to adult one day. Thankfully, it isn’t today!

For the longest time, there really was only one man in my life, my Father. The irony of life, I suppose, is that I never really knew how amazing this man was until I was grown up & had a family of my own.

My dad has taught be a lot about faith. I talked about him in another post a little while back. I think his faith might be the thing that will always define him to me. Even when I have the chance to walk through tough times with him, watching closely as he lives out his faith, I still feel blindsided by how pure it is. Life rocks him. Life is cruel at times. Life has given him some curveballs that no matter how hard he tries to time his swing, he misses. Yet through it all, he believes. Because of him, I have learned to believe, too.

As important as it was to see his faith in action, I think the thing he revealed most to me was what was important in my future husband. My father is full of compassion, ever loving towards my mother, caring of his sisters & their families, encouraging to his grandsons & pushing his children forward to our God given dreams & talents. He constantly put himself last, making sure his kids were a priority. He set the standard for what kind of heart I wanted in my husband.

The end of my eighth grade year, I went to the tryouts for our Freshman dance team. I really did not think I would make the team but to my surprise, I did! My dad was not only excited for me, he was encouraging of me. I am sure I sounded like an elephant dancing around as I practiced my routines in my bedroom full of jumps & kicks. He never complained. Soon, it was football season & our team would dance at every halftime. Where was my dad? In the stands. I always felt at ease knowing he was there. I can even remember him coming to a pep rally as well, just to see my team dance. I knew I wanted a husband that would be supportive of me. Dad showed me that it mattered to have someone invested in me.

Another thing that has been amazing to see is his absolute love for my mother. I firmly know that it is not skin deep. His love for her goes beyond anything superficial. I have seen him hold himself together (I am convinced it was because of God’s grace) as he heard news about my mom. I watched him hold her hand while she lay still in a hospital bed. He was never inconvenienced by the need to wake every 2 hours to make sure she had appropriate medicine. I sat beside him & saw tears fill his eyes as he asked hard questions about the new realities he & my mom would face together. Yet, through it all, he still carefully holds her hand, lovingly listens to her & helps her face the tough days that come her way. While the majority of this side of my dad I saw as an adult & already married, I also got to see a glimpse of it the first time my mom was sick & I was only 13. I learned that I wanted a husband that could love me regardless of how my body would fail, how life would cause me to age or how many flaws he would discover through time.

The list could go on & on but I would not know where to actually end it. To say I am thankful that God placed my father in my life would be a severe understatement. To say I am humbled that God allows me to see this man seek so intently after him would also be an understatement. What I do know is that my father is a precious gift & I am thankful to call him ‘dad’ & share him with so many people.


Learning to appreciate June 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 6:37 am

The other day my best friend called me. In a lot of ways, it was a typical conversation. We talked about our boys, we talked about our days, we just talked about our lives like we would every other time. After we ended the conversation, she called back. Just the day before she had been to a funeral. No matter how much life I live, I was reminded of something. Life can not prepare you for the passing of anyone from this life to the next. However, I learned an amazing lesson as well that afternoon: you can never be prepared for your friend to tell you how they want their funeral.

As she shared her heart, I laughed through some of what she wanted not because it was silly but because it was better to laugh than cry.  What she wants is simple understated classiness & beauty, which to me describes her perfectly. She cares not if the world remembers her for beauty or contributions but instead wants people to leave with the remembrance that God was in her life & she was now eternally with Him.

As I told Heath about it, I started to get tears in my eyes. The idea of having to say goodbye to her is never going to be easy. I have a feeling the longer we live our lives together, the time to say goodbye will be even harder. I am confident life will never prepare me for the moment that our lives separate in this world. I am also confident that when I cross into eternity, I will embrace her with open arms, regardless of which one of us is to go home first.

As much as I feel I was surprised by the idea of thinking of saying goodbye to her, I was floored later in the evening when God showed me something new. God gave me a precious gift that, even though I know was an answer to prayer, I take for granted too often. She is a gem in my life that far too often gets placed in a box & never admired. Her worth in my life could never be measured & there is no price tag with enough zeroes to ever signify how valuable she is.

But isn’t that so typical of how I operate? I ask, sometimes begging and pleading with God for something only to brush it aside after he has given me my request. Too often I forget all the answered prayers and mind blowing blessings that God brings into my life. Instead, I still focus on what I still want or do not have. It’s a tough revelation. It is also a lesson I feel I have learned before, am learning now and will continue to learn through my future.

What did I learn last time I felt God reminded me of this? I have no idea, but I can tell you what I learned this time. I won’t let each day pass without thanking God for my friend. I won’t let life get in the way of taking time out to talk with her, laugh with her and even cry with her. I won’t let life steal away the minutes that could be precious moments with her as out time draws to a close. Most importantly, I won’t forget that God brought her into my life, cultivated our friendship on a foundation that only He could have built and allowed me the chance to see a tangible gift from the hand of God.


Learning from Friends (part 5 of 5) May 13, 2011

Filed under: Friends,mom — fullofboys @ 8:17 am
Tags: ,

Today is a little different because I am going to talk about 4 women who have been an amazing blessing to me as a mother. These ladies are my closest friends & the girls I know will be in my life 20 years later.

I talked yesterday about Mom Paine & I could not write about women who inspire me as a mother & not include her daughter, Christy. When I met Christy we were 5. We played outside all the time. I never imagined this person to be someone who would walk all of life with me but she has. She was the first person I ever told that I thought I was going to marry Heath & she was there when I said those vows in front of everyone. We have laughed a lot & cried lots of tears too. She has shown me that miles do not make a difference. We live at least a day’s drive away from each other. Yet, we make time to catch up on the phone almost weekly. On those phone calls we have cried together. We have laughed. We have prayed. In those conversations, there are no miles separating us. Through it all, she constantly teaches me the value of friendship! She has taught me that it is important to keep things open & honest & that motherhood is a journey that can be shared no matter the distance.

As a new mom, I was pretty nervous. Then, when I was pregnant for the 2nd time, we moved. As I moved away from my comfort zone & friends I was again nervous. But then I met, Leslie. I think the first time I met her I was sitting on a couch in a mom’s bible study & Joel threw up from a bottle he had just had. I was embarrassed. She remembers it & thought I was so calm the way I handled it. I think she might have been sleep deprived. J Regardless, we became friends. She was there when my mom was diagnosed with cancer a second time. She kept my children without reservation & she has been there for me ever since. She has cooked for me, listened to me & cheered me on when I thought I had to give up. She taught me that sometimes as moms we are given tough loads to carry, but with friends the journey can be made more manageable.

Soon around this same time, I met a woman that could make me laugh out loud…which was quite a feat. The first time I met Carmen she was pushing a stroller with a new baby boy. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment we became friends but it just seems as though she has been in my life ever since then in some fashion. Recently we were in a bible study together & since then I feel like we haven’t drifted apart. What I love about her is her ability to be honest & funny…sometimes at the same time. She has taught me that while at times motherhood can be an exhausting journey it can also hold humor & excitement.

Then, a few years ago, we made a big decision. We decided to go help launch a new church closer to where we lived. I drug my feet the entire time. I did not want to leave the friends I had made at my other church (Leslie & Carmen included!). I was reluctant to open up to anyone & yet, I was dying inside. I knew I needed a friend out here…a true friend that would walk though the craziness of life with boys. I met Rebekah & I quickly dismissed her as a possible friend. She was beautiful (& still is), she was classy & I really felt like I would be out of her league. Yet, she was a mom of all boys & over time we started to connect. The first time I went to her house I knew we would be friends. What I did not know were the secrets & stories we would share, the hours investing in each other & the ability to call her one of my best friends. She listens as I hash out my feelings, understands when I tell her a story about the boys & offers wise counsel when I am overwhelmed with choices. She has taught me that as a mom it is ok to have questions or concerns & that friends can help you navigate the rough terrain called motherhood.

I am a firm believer that friends make me heart happy. I believe God has been wonderful to me to bless me with amazing friends (many who I do not have time or space to list!). However, I am incredibly humbled that he has brought these women into my life & allowed me the opportunity to call them my closest friends. I think the most incredible thing to me is that these women are all able to walk through motherhood with me. Thank you girls for taking time to listen, invest & encourage me. I am a better mom for all you offer to me. Love you all!


Learning from my 2nd Mom (part 4 of 5) May 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 8:26 am

After talking about my mom on Monday, my mother in law on Tuesday & my grandmothers on Wednesday, you might wonder what other woman could have impacted my life.

The fact is I had a ‘2nd mom’ when I was growing up that impacted me for years to come.

When I was 5, a new family moved into my neighborhood just 2 houses down from mine. My mother heard there was a little girl in the family that was my age & sent me down to ask if she could play. I never knew that the girl I met would be one of my best friends & see me through every road life offered. What I also didn’t know was how much her mom would mentor & guide me, how much her mom would become my Mom Paine.

Mom Paine taught me much but the thing she taught me most about was LIVING FAITH.  I could recall countless stories of how this happened. It could have been the simple way their family said grace before each meal. It might have been when she let me spend hours with her daughter & I got to see how she was so loving, kind & compassionate. It also could have been when I watched her husband lose his job & rely on God to open doors & provide.

In truth, it was all those situations but there is one that stands out in my memory. It was the day I ran down to her house, sobbing as I ran, to tell them my mom had cancer. She already knew. She circled me into her arms & I saw tears in her eyes. Over the next few months she would love me like I had never had love from a friend’s mom. She would feed both my physical & spiritual needs. She provided a haven for me when I felt overwhelmed with my mom. Most of all, she drove me, along with her daughters, to youth group each week.  Through my time spent with that youth group, I decided I wanted to truly give my life to Christ. We were on a ski retreat when I decided I was ready and she was there to witness my choice. It was a rocky road for me filled with pot holes & detours & she was ready to support & encourage me through it all. One of my favorite memories of her during that time was when she took me, by myself, to Hardees for a vanilla ice cream cone. I really don’t like vanilla ice cream but that day, it was the best thing I had ever had. She invested in me that day. To this day, there are times I go somewhere & order a plain vanilla ice cream cone just because of the good memories that come along with every lick.

They moved away my freshman year & she got the chance to be ‘mom’ to another set of friends. I count them all blessed to be able to have her as part of their life. I know that I am for sure. Best of all, she is still a part of my life now. She was there as I said my vows to my husband & she is still someone I could call for prayer & encouragement. She showed me through all of life that living your faith was an important part of our fabric of being a Christian.


Learning from my Grandmothers (part 3 of 5) May 11, 2011

Filed under: Family,Remembering,Thankfulness — fullofboys @ 10:32 am
Tags: ,

I shared on Monday about my mom & yesterday about my mother in law. Today, I am going back a generation further & talking about my grandmothers! Each of my grandmothers is unique & special to me.

First up, my Granny.

Granny was my dad’s mom. She taught me most about PRAYER. My Granny was a prayer warrior you could say. She would pray for anyone but I know you prayed most for our family. She loved the Lord with every breath in her body & praised him until her passing.

My absolute favorite memories of her revolve around getting married. I have a picture that shows her & me at my wedding rehearsal. Wonder what she was doing…praying over me! She spoke words in that prayer that will forever remain in my heart. They were private & personal & the exact ones I needed to hear as a soon to be bride.  She never stopped praying for me. She would make sure to tell me how she kept me in her prayers each time I saw her…which sadly wasn’t enough.

Once I had a conversation with her about prayer. Her health had begun to decline so much that a simple sentence took minutes to complete. He thoughts would drift from near to far. But her heart remained steadfast on Christ. She told me during that conversation that she was struggling with how to pray. She said sometimes she started to pray for someone & then would forget what she said. Then, with tears in both of our eyes, we talked about how God knew the heart of each person & He knew the prayers that we swirling inside her heart.

The last time I talked with her, she was lying in a hospital bed. We both knew this would be the end. She was breathing weaker that night. The monitors screamed her body was failing & yet, she just looked peaceful. She told me how she longed to see her Father. How she could not wait to lay eyes on the face of Jesus & she was ready to go ‘home’. The next time I saw her she would unable to respond to any of us & within a few short hours we would lose the woman who had prayed so much for all of us.  I had just left the hospital to come home when my phone rang & I was told she was gone. I pulled over on the side of the road & cried tears of relief & joy & sadness. I rushed back to the hospital where my entire family had gathered. There in her room, as her body lay lifeless & her Spirit had left to find eternity in her ‘Home’ we all sang a song…to a God we knew she loved more than her life & who was welcoming her Home with a huge welcome.

I still have lots of question of what Heaven will be like when arrive there but I feel really confident that when I get there I will see my Granny & will get to spend eternity with her worshipping the same God we both love with every breath we take.

I could not talk about Granny & not talk about my Mom Mom. I know as a kid I called her that but as I grew up I somehow began to call her either Grandmother or Grandma. Thankfully, she responds to all three names.

The thing my Grandmother taught me most about was FORGIVENESS.

I have written before about my grandmother…most recently when I wished her Happy Birthday. It would be easy to read that post & feel that my Grandmother & I had a close relationship as I grew up. That would be far from the truth. I really did not care much for my Grandmother when I was younger. She was strict, she a mix of scheduled (family gatherings) & spontaneous (unannounced visits to our house when my room was not clean!). I remember one time I had to remake my bed because I did not tuck the corners the right way. It took a lot of years to understand that she was simply training us to be good wives & moms. It took even more years to understand that I wanted to be just like her & that I also wavered in the mix of schedule & spontaneous.

When I was a Junior in high school, my parents decided to pull my sister & I out of public school & homeschool us. My sister was thrilled. I was not as much. I knew even then that my Grandmother would not approve. She had been a teacher in the public school system & believed heavily in it. So, with that knowledge, my parents made the choice to simply not tell my grandparents about this new schooling. As always happens, things do all come out eventually. This time because my mother ended up in the hospital & my sister & I, being homeschooled, went to visit during the day. Who happened to be there? My Grandparents. I am pretty sure there was a heated exchange that day in the hospital room but to be honest, I can’t fully remember. What I do remember was the weeks that went by that my mother & grandmother did not talk. But then, my Grandmother did something amazing. She reached out to my mom, wrote a letter extending forgiveness, stating her hurt that she was lied to but wanting to work through it all.

She could have remained bitter. She could have stayed hurt & mad. She could have cut ties with my mom. She didn’t. Instead, she realized that forgiveness was the best option & probably the only option. Through her act of Forgiveness, I gained a Grandmother that supported me through the rest of high school. I learned to love her & treasure her. You know what? She was there, clapping loudly & eyes full of tears, when all three of us graduated high school…as homeschoolers!


Learning from my mom in law (part 2 of 5) May 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 12:22 pm

Yesterday I wrote about what my mom taught me.

Today, I am writing about my Mother in Law. She has taught me many things in the last 11 years. She has taught me the most about LETTING GO. I learn every day that it is a tough job to be a mom. However, there is a lesson I never knew I would need to learn: how to let go!

I married an amazing man…who loves his Mama so much. Sometimes, he calls her a saint. He says it seriously too! When I married him, I also was given the chance to gain a family. I adore my husband’s parents. They amaze me all the time how they just opened up their hearts to me when I walked into their son’s life.

As a mom of all boys, I think I understand how bittersweet that moment was for my mother in law. I hope her first thought was one of excitement but I have no idea. I do know that whatever she first thought about me, she only showed me love, acceptance & compassion. I struggle already with letting my boys ‘go’. If you are around me enough, you have probably heard me say that I think you have to start letting them go from the time they start walking. My reason…because letting go is hard & is a daily struggle.

My mother in law has shown me constantly how to let go gracefully. She is patient to be invited into our activities. She does not push or fuss. She shows respect when we need ‘family time’ & does not interfere. She calls to check on ALL of us & shows no more favor for one of us over another. But what I see her do most of all is quietly support my husband. She is probably the person that spent more hours with God praying for his heart than anyone. She is the person who will be celebrating him in everything he accomplishes & she always let me share that excitement with her. She has never competed for his attention & because of that, I think it is why she is so welcomed into his life.

I find great comfort in the fact that she will be there holding my hand years from now as I watch my son make a vow to his wife. She will be someone who will understand how I can cry tears of sadness as a chapter of life closes & how I can laugh with excitement of the journey to come all at the same time.

Thank you, Mama, for loving me like crazy, encouraging me when I can’t see clearly & for sharing my tears both from the past & what might happen in the future. I am thankful God brought me my first ‘Mama’ & even more thankful it got to be you!


Learning from my mom (part 1 of 5) May 9, 2011

Filed under: Family,mom — fullofboys @ 7:39 am
Tags: , ,

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was such a special time for me as I was able to host my first Mother’s Day Lunch at our house! I love to host events & parties but this seemed much more special. My mother, my mother in law & my grandmother were all here. Three women who mean a great deal to me! I wanted to take some time to write why these women, as well as a few others, are so special to me. So this week, I plan on writing a little every day…each day about a special woman in my life.

First up, my mom.

I often say that my mom has taught me more than she will ever know. What I have learned most from her is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

I suppose most children would say they have learned that from their parents because of the way their parents love them through trials. In some ways, I believe that is part of why I learned this but it actually goes much deeper for me.

As many of you know, when I was 12 I sat in a doctor’s office & heard not only the word ‘cancer’ but I heard the doctor explain that the cancer was ravaging my mother’s body, that the original cancer had morphed into a new cancer & that both resided inside of her. I heard him say there was a chance we would lose her. I heard him describe with great sensitivity the effects of chemo & how her body would change. What I remember most what hearing him say in some type of words that we were a team.

The next few months I saw the effects of chemo in ways I never could have imagined in my youth. I think I can almost pinpoint the moment I learned about love. She was sitting on her bed & with a voice full of emotion she called for me to come into her room. I walked in to see her cheeks stained with tears & a bucket full of hair. The chemo was doing it’s best to take her down & in that moment, I felt it could succeed. I walked over to her bed, sat down & began to brush her hair. I can’t tell you how long I brushed. For me, it seemed like a lifetime. It was probably merely minutes. But I brushed her hair as soft as a could, each time removing a new clump of hair from the brush. Every stroke brought a new tear to my eye. It was a painful experience for us both.  But we were a team. We would weather whatever effect chemo brought on together. As so I brushed until no more hair would come free.

From that experience, I learned through time that we could make it through each trial given. I learned that beauty was truly only skin deep sometimes & when that beauty is compromised it brings with it a depth of emotion that is difficult to navigate. I also learned that there was beauty in the acceptance of something that seemed unimaginable. I learned to love my mother in a new way…bald! As a family, we all did. More & more, her wig lay on the bathroom counter as she would put on a ball cap & go out.

Mostly, I learned through it all how to love a mom who isn’t perfect. Who will be dealt hard hands in life. I learned to appreciate the uncertainty of the moment & realize that when as a family you choose to be a team, you can learn to love regardless of how well life goes. I learned that love is something that will go beyond the pretty dresses or even the missed curfews but will go straight to the heart of someone.