It’s my favorite saying. If you’ve ever heard me speak about my journey to recovery and life thereafter then you’ve heard me say it plenty. Unless there were teachers in the room, then I try to clean up my act for school kiddies.
So what does it mean? Exactly what you think.
My recovery and life is about being authentic and real. It is not about candy coating my story to be anything but what it really is. I strive to never shit rainbows, paint a smile on my face and pretend like everything is fantastic.
I am conscious in my writing and my work to be real and authentic – whatever it may be. So as 2015 comes to a close, what do I think about this year?
Poetic, I know, but it is all I’ve got right now.
It has been a hell of a year to say the least and tonight finds me in a pretty bitter mood. There is no doubt each of you know how absolutely grateful my heart is for the love and prayers this year, but let’s call a spade a spade – cancer sucks…and pediatric cancer, well, you can insert your own four letter word here.
And truth is, we were lucky when it came to cancer and our prognosis. But when people tell me that we got a ‘good’ cancer diagnosis, I want to punch them in the face and ask: Do you want your child to be ‘lucky’ with cancer or would you rather your child not have cancer at all?
And then I open Facebook to see another life lost to cancer, taken too soon. I see another mother posting a picture of her child, a child she had to bury. I look at Marjorie and count my blessings. Life is so unfair and so confusing.
But I know one thing to be true: Comparison is the thief of joy – and emotions. I can’t let another person’s story or sadness take away from the hurt in my heart. And I don’t. I have even had these honest conversations with mothers who have lost their children. I deserve to feel it all, no matter what the prognosis.
Cancer sucks. And 2015 sucked too.
AND (because life doesn’t have to be one or the other) it was a great year in so many ways – a new house to finally call our own, Manning’s milestones, Marjorie turning one and too many giggles, big laughs and family hugs to count.
When I brought Manning to the doctor today, I knew it might be emotional. But he kept me laughing because he insisted to bring his “Lilly” aka stuffed puppy into the doctor. He was happy as a clam and I thought we were on the mend from a little bad cold.
Thankfully, we are on the downswing of it so their isn’t much worry for him, but then there is Marjorie. Oh my Marjorie. Let’s stay away from this diagnosis shall we?
We left the doctor with our shiny new ‘puppy’ nebulizer. Yes, it is in the shape of a puppy with a dinosaur mask to boot. It is as random as our lives so the puppy/dinosaur mask combo fits in perfectly.
Have you ever tried giving an almost four year old a nebulizer that jacks him up and an antibiotic? I’m sure so many of you have and can empathize that it is the equivalent of putting a button up sweater vest on a lizard going through a crack withdrawal…who is also chasing a bug.
Jordan and I begged, pleaded, bribed and threatened Manning to take his medicine. Pretty sure we offered him the deed to the house, but he still wouldn’t take the antibiotic. Thankfully, the nebulizer went a tiny bit better and we eventually got the meds in him – God bless ‘chocolate nilk’ with A LOT of chocolate.
My nerves were fried after today’s medical escapades as I went to rock Marjorie to bed. I do it every night because it is my favorite thing. It calms me and puts me at ease. Tonight I needed it.
What I didn’t know is that tonight would be a tearful rock. As I hummed our song and listened to the whir of her sound machine, my medical-mom-mode cracked and the tears fell…and fell.
I will never be able to wrap my mind around what the last year and a half has been. It is my job to protect my babies and some days it feels like the hits keep coming. Yes, I know Manning will be just fine, but it is another day, another diagnosis. Another medical device to learn and administer. Another reminder that no matter what I do, I can’t put my babies in a bubble.
But maybe that’s not the goal? Maybe we aren’t suppose to protect them, rather we are to teach them how to take care of themselves – even if that means wrestling a lizard to the ground to give him medicine. Yes, maybe that is what it is all about.
Maybe the mommas who have children with chronic illness and special needs are meant to teach their babies and others what it is like to not just take care, but really love unconditionally. Maybe cancer happens to show us what good there is in the world and how amazing the human spirit is. Maybe children die so that we can hug our own babies tighter and inspire others to live more fully in honor of those who have been taken too soon.
A few weeks ago, Kim Bowman posted about the fourth anniversary of her daughter, Bella, passing. I was blown away with her words:
Today is the day the Lord received Bella back into His arms. At 6:22am 4 years ago Trey and I held Bella while she took her last breath. I can still remember the feel of her warm body in my arms. We are not going to be sad today because we are going to think of all the wonderful things God has given us the past 4 years. He has allowed us to be the messenger to help so many families in honor of our sweet Bella. She is guiding us and showing our purpose here on Earth. Our prayers go out to all the families who have recently lost their children and pray that they have the strength to get through their first Christmas without their children. As I always say, hold your children tight, enjoy their presence and don’t lose sight of how precious they are because these children are gifts from God and you never know what life has in store for you and your family.
Kim’s words sum it up beautifully. There is nothing left for me to say except to encourage you to embrace the storm clouds and whatever you feel in your heart. Don’t compare your hurt to others. There is enough empathy and compassion to go around. And for goodness sake don’t shit rainbows. Don’t pretend – own it, feel it, talk about it.
Sending you lots of love and real rainbows…