To the Families of Child Cancer Patients on Cancer Awareness Day

It’s late at night and I was thinking about some friends of mine on this National Cancer Awareness Day. Friends and acquaintances of mine whose children suffer from cancer.

I was going to write a Facebook post, but it occurred to me that I had much to say. I hope they read this, but it is okay if they don’t. These are just my thoughts. I know that there are more than children suffering from cancer, and I am aware that it is always devastating for the families no matter the age, but as a young mother I find the cases where children are involved just stay with me each day.

So here are my thoughts. To my lovely friends and to those lovely strangers going through the same battle.

open letter to the families of child cancer patients on cancer awareness day

I go on social media, most every day. I feel like in this way I am checking in on people I love. Every morning, just making sure everyone is okay. As I have reached the age at which myself, and most of my peers have become parents, I have watched them post pieces of their lives on social media.

I celebrated with them as they announced their engagements and waited in anticipation to see wedding photos. For many of you I drove a great distance so we could celebrate together.

Later I shrieked at my computer screen and went running around my house to tell anyone who would listen that my old friend just posted that she and her husband were expecting a child, and then again, I waited. I waited to see pictures of tiny babies. For many of you those pictures never came, and I watched you struggle with that heartache, but for most of you, I watched as you posted pictures of your new baby, your eyes gleaming with…love.

smartphone checking phoneI enjoy opening up my app every morning and scrolling through cute pictures and silly stories. I love seeing photos of play days and Christmas cards, recitals, and haircuts.

And then every so often comes one of those post I have to read so slowly, and so carefully. It usually says something like “We took him to the doctor, it is cancer and treatments start next week.” For some of you it’s not cancer, but a terminal illness diagnosis. For some of you, you’ve left the doctor knowing your child’s life expectancy, or that in a matter of years they would lose the ability to walk.

I can’t know what that is like. It is not my journey, but perhaps I can give you a glimpse into what it is like for me over here on the sidelines.

I want you to know that when I heard your little child was sick, I cried. Everything in my world moved in slow motion as I thought “Oh, no God, please heal this baby.” I probably stopped everything I was doing to excuse myself from my children and sob as my heart breaks at the overwhelming news. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years or we only met briefly.

add you to the saddest prayer list quoteI remember how you prepared for that little baby, who is now sick, and I add you to the saddest prayer list I never thought I would have to make, and then I tell as many people as I can about you, hoping that they will join me in praying.

As the startling news starts to sink in and I’ve taken all the time I can away from my daily tasks, I return to my “normal day” with a heaviness weighing on me, as I grieve with you at this news.

The next day when I check in again, I’m reminded of the gravity of the situation as you post a photo update of your poor little child in a hospital bed.
I will probably put some money in a passing offering plate or an online giving account, but what I really want to give you is a hug. Also I want to give you, your space, so I part with money you need more than I do, and hope that it does indeed help your family.

I watch you be stronger than anyone should ever have to be, and I am encouraged and inspired by you. I know that you probably cry when no one is around and that you probably haven’t slept much, and that is okay. It is okay to be human through this. However you go through this, it is okay. (I know you don’t need me to say that, but in a world where everyone is making anonymous social media accounts to leave cruel discouraging remarks. I completely support you.)

encouraged and inspired quoteI watch you post about the good days and the bad days. I see as people clamor around you to support and encourage you and I am so glad, even if you won’t remember in years to come, that I can in some way be one of them.

For some of you I see from my spot on the sidelines as your child becomes friends with other children in the pediatric oncology center. And I am happy for them to make a connection with someone that seems “just like them” in a world where they probably feel very different. The next thought I have is wondering how many people have kids on that floor of the hospital and why it has to be a thing. What if we lived in a world where there was no pediatric oncology center?

I’m happy to hear about your good days and sad when you share about your bad days. I am reminded that there is still so much life to be had, and amazing memories to be made, even if you have cancer. When you shared those photos of your child’s make a wish trip I was happy for your child that they were able to have a really great day, but my heart still ached a little for what you are going through.

I am thrilled when you say that your little one is in remission and you don’t have to go back for months to check and maybe you can move on from this darkness. Though I imagine that for many of you, there is always some fear there. Even when they say “cured”, even when they say “remission,” it must still be nerve-racking at every follow up appointment and round of testing.

I have seen some of your children have the cancer come back and then the whole thing starts all over again.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am so sorry I do not know just what to say, so I talked too much and said the wrong thing. I hope for the best, and even if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I prayed for you, because it is something I can do when I feel so helpless. Also I pray, because I believe in its power.

national cancer awareness day with leukemia ribbonToday is National Cancer Awareness day, and I want you to know, that for me at least, I never forgot about you. I appreciate you keeping us informed in whatever way you choose to do it and I totally understand if you just don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As a young woman I remember looking around at my group of friends and wondering who we would marry or how many kids we would have or where we would live. I knew the world was full of possibilities, but I didn’t imagine any of the heart aches we would go through. I certainly never imagined cancer. I’m glad it wasn’t a heaviness that I had to carry with me in my youth, also I am glad no one interrupted my wandering thoughts with logic and reason that perhaps even the happiest of lives have some dark days in them.

I am so very aware of cancer. I am aware of you, and I am in awe of you.

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Be Blessed

Making Today Count

I have been working on some wall decorations for our school room. It is difficult for me renting again, I feel like I cannot add the beautiful decorative pieces that make my house feel like a home, because it is temporary.

When we bought our house a couple of years ago I went all out with paint and wall stickers and lamps and everything you would imagine to make my children’s rooms perfect. Meanwhile, I had hand me down curtains and mismatched end table (still have those). Always keeping in mind what I would do to decorate my room when it was time.

The Lord only knows the plans he has for my family and less than 2 years after we purchased our first home we find ourselves renting again. I am a project kind of person, and I keep pretty busy on projects between laundry and the blog, and constant attempts at improving the character of myself and my family. I like to decorate the house though, I like to make wall art and spray paint and hot glue things. If only I desired to put that same type of energy into cooking.

I decided to try to limit the amount that I decorate the house, but not complete go without decorating. I have purchased some curtains and some wall art, and am pretty well pleased with the overall look of the living spaces. It is not how I would make it look if it was my permanent home, but it is not barren. My children’s rooms are just their beds and dressers and toys. Their rooms do not have wall art or decals or decorations, (that they would most likely break), but I find that they spend most of the day in the downstairs or ground level of the house anyway, probably because that is where the food is.

We have an extra bedroom downstairs that we are using as a school room. It is meant to be a secondary master so it has a bathroom in it, which is nice because my kids could really disappear into the bathroom during our home school time.

I bought the cheeriest turquoise and white chevron curtains for the room and we have a white child size table in the middle of the room with yellow and blue chairs and I am trying to make the room a wonderful cheery place because it is where we spend most of our time.

I made a bright and cheerful button tree for the wall in the school room. The wall art is on canvas which is perfect because it will easily transfer to the next place we live, unlike the cherry blossom wall decals we had in the girls room previously. All those tiny pink flowers were left behind.

I have started working on some canvas Dr. Seuss wall art items that should hit the blog in a few weeks. In my constant web searching for what colors I wanted to use I came across the most brilliant Dr. Seuss quote I have perhaps ever seen, and I love many.

today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered dr. seuss quoteI couldn’t wait to make it into a graphic. “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will remembered.”

Reminds me very much of these verses from the book of Lamentations 3:22-23 – It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

I love mornings. Maybe it is because I get to sleep until 8 am. My husband is not a fan, but he gets up a lot earlier than me.

Seriously though, there is such joy in my heart when I wake up each day knowing that today I can do it better than I did yesterday. I often go to bed feeling disappointed that I didn’t get enough done, or that I was short tempered with my family. When I go to bed at night though, I have a hopeful feeling.

I know I am weird going to sleep feeling all hopeful about my ability to do a better job with my laundry the next day. I am not the only person who is constantly trying to figure out how to make the laundry less of a struggle. I haven’t figured it out yet you guys, but one of these tomorrows is going to be the day I come up with the idea on how to get the laundry to stop running my life. I am hopeful.

I just thought this Dr. Seuss quote captured that hopeful feeling I have perfectly. I am definitely going to add this to a set of planner stickers, and perhaps it will find it’s way into my work space.

Many mornings I pray for wisdom and patience, because I desire to have a happy peaceful day with my children. I want to go to sleep feeling content about what I have accomplished and how I treated the people I love. I often find myself frustrated when my children are not getting along because sometimes punishments are inevitable. (and that ruins the plan I had for having the perfect day; I may have some issues with having to be in control, but that is for another day) Thank God for tomorrow and a new start and a chance to be better. Also, thank him for today, when I did my very best, and hopefully learned something I can use to make myself better in the future.

I am trying to teach my children that every day when they wake up they have a new chance. They can be the kind, caring, helpful person Mommy knows that they can be. A lot of days it goes really well, at least for a while. Love my kids and I cannot imagine what my life would be like if there wasn’t a little one jumping on my furniture, and it occurs to me that some day (Lord willing) that will be true.

I know some parents that don’t mind when the kids jump on the furniture, or when they get into loud disagreements. I am still learning everyday with parenting. I feel badly sometimes because I often have no idea how to deal with a situation. I am so glad I go to a church filled with God fearing mothers who can give me advice. Some things you just cannot prepare for. Once I have been through it though I am a better person, and I am better prepared for the next time.

Thank you Dr. Seuss I will live today as if it is the day that people will remember me by.

Be inspired, you are amazing and you can do this.

Another Hectic Morning

the smell of failure, smartandsavvymomWe are not on a very rigid schedule, but I do have an order to which I do things. On the mornings that I cook, I try to do it right away while the kids are still tired enough to be distracted by the TV, but for some reason this morning, things did not go as planned.

I shouldn’t be surprised and yet. I was running around trying to get everything ready before the children needed me. The pancakes were finished and on plates ready to be cut, when my 2 year old approached me to tell me that she was too hungry to wait. I picked her up to show her that the food was ready, which was when I smelled… that she needed a diaper. I left the kitchen, locking the gate behind me and headed toward the changing table, stopping an argument on the way.

Changed the diaper, at which point my 2 year old threw a fit, insisting that she had to have “potty practice” and would not put on a diaper until she had. So I went and put her on the potty. Checked on the baby and then headed back to the kitchen to get the plates.

My phone rang so I asked my 5 year old daughter to get some forks while I saw who it was. Which was when she informed me that the kitchen smelled “funny” and she didn’t like it.

“What is that smell mommy?” I looked up to see what she was talking about which is of course when I realized that I had left a few pancakes on the griddle…

The pancakes did not survive. My kids wouldn’t go anywhere near them and Mommy is off carbs right now, and I was going to waste my limited carb intake on burned panckaes so in the trash they went.

I was feeling pretty defeated. For the next hour or so while the smell lingered, each time the children asked me “what is that smell?’ I just told them the truth, “that is the smell of failure”

Thankfully all of our morning don’t go like this one.

My Oldest is 4 Today

It is hard to believe that my daughter Makenzie will never be 3 years old again. What a wonderful time it was and now we are on to enjoying her being a 4 year old little girl.

She woke up this morning so excited. She checked herself and yelled “I’m 4!” Then she ran immediately to our full length mirror and proclaimed “I’m taller!”

She also informed me her current pajamas are too small for her and she will not be able to wear them again now that she is 4. (Which technically is true, they were a bit small).

She makes me smile ever day with the funny and clever things she says.

Savvy Sick Day

Tis the season to have colds… right? Trying to remember how grateful I am to have children even when they are a bit contagious. My little ones are on the mend, and I am sure I will be feeling better soon. Nothing like having a miserable cold before undergoing major dental work.

I have more stuff going on than usual this week, plus I am not feeling very well, but I will still be posting some deals. Just got some cold medicine out of the stockpile and put some movies on for the kids, let’s see how this goes.

Hope you are having a great day, now let’s find some great deals!

My 3 Year Old On
Becoming a Mommy

Today after church while having snacks at our dining table, my 3 year old imparted this lovely bit of wisdom with me that was cute enough to share.

“Mommy, when I get old like you, I’m going to have a baby like Kendall Rose, but she’s not here yet. She’s still in heaven with Jesus.”

There is just not enough hours in the day for the number of hugs I want to give her. Yeah, and I’m just going to let that comment about how old I am slide…

Moments in Parenting
Teaching Kindness

Seems like my 2 year old son and my 3 year old daughter are either best friends or sworn enemies. Some days I feel like the only thing I do is referee the arguments. I try to plan enough of their day so that they are not left to their own devices often enough to get into disagreements away from my watchful eye, but of course I cannot watch them every second, and this mom has to cook and clean. Also, let’s not forget about the whole other child I have (a 13 month old daughter).

When the disagreements turn violent I usually remind my children that we love our siblings and we want to be kind to each other. We often have “circle time” (more on that to come) where I take time to teach them lessons including stories, singing, and bible verses, plus practical things like getting dressed and how to brush your teeth.

I remind them about what we learned in circle time about kindness and what their Bible verse said about kindness. However, it seems like no matter what I say we always end up in the same situation.

Recently my daughter who needs an explanation for everything asked me “Why” we cannot hit our brother. I went back into my love and family and kindness line, but she pressed on asking “but what happens when you hit?”

So I plainly explained to her the disappointment she caused me, because I know she can do better and the pain she caused her brother and hurt feelings. I also told her that she gets punished when she does naughty things.

And then I messed up. I told her that when grown ups hit people they go to jail, and while it hasn’t stopped her from hitting, it has completely distracted her for the last 3 days. Each day when a situation comes up and I am explaining once again about hitting the conversation always turns to the police line I used.

“Mommy can little kids go to jail?”

“Mommy, are you going to tell the police I hit my brother?”

and my favorite
“Mommy, I am going to call the police and tell them you hurt my feelings!”

So, I am going to file mentioning being arrested to my 3 year old under “Epic Fail.” I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe that honesty might prevail or that she asked me a question and I should answer it. I thought I was explaining to her why she had to learn to be a kind adult. I have a feeling that this talk about the police is going to last more than a few days. I feel like it has completely distracted from the issue at hand. You cannot hit your brother.

I admit it is a bit comical but in the meantime I still need to figure out a way to convince her to deal with her anger with her words and not her hands.

I would like to go back to teaching lessons in kindness and practicing cooperative play and sharing, but I would also like to abandon everything and try something totally different since so far I have not convinced her to be nice. I think the main thing my 3 year old needs is a little maturity and patience so … she needs to be 6?

Try again tomorrow