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?


  1. Oh, Shay. That just made me cry. I love you. I will always be thankful for the letter you sent me after my mom passed away. I know that your mom is watching over you, too. And loving on your sweet baby before he or she gets here.
    Love, Shannon

  2. Shay, what a beautiful and moving post. It was just what I needed right now, as I have been missing my mom, too. (She passed away last year, before I had my first child.) Have you ever read the book Motherless Mothers? You may like it. Anyway - congrats on your pregnancy and hope you're feeling better soon!

  3. Just realized you may not know who ctengia is! :) carrie England Lanier, AKA your "little shop of horrors" friend!

  4. Shay. My heart is broken and happy for you. You are an amazing woman and a brilliant writer. I am honored to know you.

  5. I love you Shay. Thank you for writing this.

  6. I love your phrase "sweet justice". This post made me so happy and so sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing

  7. I can't wait for the day when I get to see your mother again and learn all about her. I wish I had better memories of her.