Today is The Day

Today I am 34 years and 50 days old. My mother was 34 years and 49 days old when she drew her last breath.

I've been anticipating this day for the better part of the year. I've been wondering what emotions it would invoke in me and how I would want to spend the day. Would I be sad, empowered or depressed? Do I plan a fun family trip or spend it like any other normal day?

As I approached this day I guessed I would be kind of sad and I wavered between elaborate plans of fancy family vacations or a day filled with symbolic events: carousels, Wendy's hamburgers (with lettuce and mayonnaise only) and krispy kreme donuts. But, now that this day is here and I look back at the miracles that have taken place in my life over the last few months, I feel very different than I anticipated I would.

I feel so grateful.

I have spent the last two months on my couch with hyperemesis. When I decided to have another baby, I knew I would be sick and I prepared as much as possible, but nothing can completely prepare you for the debilitating illness to come. I laid on my couch (sometimes in my bed, too sick to make it to the couch) and watched life happen around me. Rides were offered for my children, meals were brought in, a party was thrown for Rascal when he turned 4, sitters were provided when my Sidekick needed a break, pizza gift cards anonymously showed up in the mail, my children were watched and cared for and my house was cleaned; all while I laid on the couch, sometimes too sick to speak. Most of the time, I didn't even ask for it, things just happened.

At night, I would lay in my bed and cry. I just wanted to be a mom again; make dinner, drive carpool, snuggle with my kids. And for some reason (probably because this pregnancy happened this year), I missed my mother more than ever.

As I look back over the last few months, I am in awe of the parallel of our lives. These past couple of months, in her life, were spent much the same way. Children were cared for, meals were brought in and her house was cleaned. My ninth birthday party was thrown by one of her friends. She laid on the couch, day after , miserable, and watched her life happen around her.

In the most healthy way possible, because of living these parallel lives, I've been able to get a taste of how she lived the last months of her life. Only her suffering marked the end of a life and my suffering marked the beginning of one.

A few months before my mother found out she had cancer, she had a miscarriage. Her plan was always to try again once the cancer was under control, but she never got that chance.

But, I do. I get to have the baby she never got to have.

In many ways, this baby is my compensation. The child I get because my mother was taken away so early. The life I am entrusted with, that she wanted so badly and never got. This baby, is my sweet justice.

And now that I'm here, it doesn't much matter how I spend today, but rather how I spend every day here after. All the days she never got to have. I know that she is there, watching over us and comforting us in every way possible, quite often through the guided acts of others. I didn't plan for things to line up the way they did but I am so grateful for the healing this timing has brought. Healing that I didn't know that I needed.

I am grateful for the dozens of people that have served my family, these last few months and 25 years ago. I am grateful for the love and comfort that I have felt through it all. I am grateful that this life will bring joy and comfort, healing and justice to my family and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through the timing of these events. But, mostly I am grateful that I have been entrusted with these four amazing children. I am grateful I get to teach them and love them and I am so grateful to have love and guidance and protection from up above.

On this day, I am 34 years and 50 days old. And I am so grateful.

Whaddya think?


Bringing the Fallen Home

Last year, as we approached Veteran's Day, I wrote a post about my love for my Grandfather, Brother-in-Law, Uncle, cousin, friends and all the other veterans in my life. I have an enormous soft spot on my heart for our nation's military and the sacrifices they make every day, so I can live the life I live.

This year, as Veteran's Day approaches, I want to bring your attention to a project that is dear to my heart. The visionary of this project is my uncle, Les Carroll, and the fallen veterans mentioned in this film pitch, Carlos Aragon and Nigel Olsen were good friends and fellow marines who served in Afghanistan with my brother in law. I encourage you to watch the following video and, if it moves you, make a donation to it's cause. There is a story behind every statistic we hear on the news and those stories deserve to be told.

I would consider it a personal favor if you could pass this along. Blog about it, post it on your facebook page, tweet it; anything that could help spread the word. The more people who know, the better the chance we have of learning the stories behind the numbers.

Watch the video and learn more about the project here.

Whaddya think?



It's amazing how experiencing a trial in your life can bring out the stories of the trials in others' lives. The stories of mothers who delivered full-term stillborn babies that were strangled by their umbilical cord the night before they were to be induced. The mother who incurred thousands of dollars in dental bills because she vomited so much during her pregnancy that it ate away the enamel on all of her teeth. And then, did it all again because she loved being a mother that much. And there's the mother who, after years and years of trying, finally got pregnant with triplets, only to miscarry them one at a time early in her second trimester. She caught those precious babies in her hands while sitting on the toilet.

Of course, these are the stories I hear now, but there are countless others. The parent who has to become both mother and father, due to the illness, passing or desertion of their spouse. The mother, who during a life threatening accident, has to make the split second decision about which child to save, and then will live forever second guessing her decision. Or the child, who is so severely abused as a child, but is determined to learn a different way and break the cycle so his children will grow up loved and secure.

I think quite often we live our lives and see the happy faces around us and believe that their lives have always left a smile on their face; their lives look so perfect. But, I'm learning that if you sat them down, one by one, and interviewed them, you would find that it was the hardships and trials of their lives that have left them with the smiles on their faces. The lessons they have learned and the experiences they have had that have turned them into the person they are today. That have turned them into the Hero they are today.

I am learning that we are all heroes. That we have all have trials and experiences that, although we feared that they would at the time, have NOT broken us. Instead they strengthen us and made us into the hero that we are. And amidst the turmoil, evil and moral decay that we live in today, I am so grateful to be living and raising my children among so many heroes.

Thank you for being my hero.

Whaddya think?