It was about five years ago at the local wine bar that my girlfriends and I would meet at monthly that we heard the terrifying news. One of our girlfriends told us about one of her very dear friend’s daughter having cancer. She was maybe 3 or 4 at the time. I don’t exactly remember. We never met this little girl but knew how close our friend’s family is to this family. Immediately our hearts broke and tears feel. We all had our own questions Why, Why her, what kind of cancer, is it treatable, will she be okay, what can we do?
We began to follow her story through social media and first-hand from our friend. There were ups and there were downs. There were good stories and there were bad. There was remission, benefits, and St. Baldric’s events held in her honor. We got to learn a lot from this sweet girl and her family. How can such a little girl be so brave? How can a little girl going through all she’s going through still smile? How can she still remain so sweet after all she’s been dealt? How does she have the strength to continue fighting?
Things were looking pretty good for her for awhile but we received an update last night. Emily’s cancer is back. It’s spread to a spot right by her heart and back. Doctors say they’ve never seen such an aggressive cancer. Her chemo failed her. They are giving her 2-6 months. My heart sank, it’s broken, tears swarmed my face, I am mad, I am sad, I canNOT get this little girl and her family off my mind or out of my heart. My day today feels different than any other day. I feel empty.
There are so many things we can question and wonder, but I just can’t help putting myself into that mother’s position. How does she go on? How does she explain to her little girl that her life that’s just beginning is slowly coming to an end? How do they prepare for this? Do you ever sleep for fear that you’re losing precious moments with what’s dearest to you in this world? How do you find happiness in the world again?
My heart aches more than it ever has before for this family and this little girl that I’ve only followed her story. The thing is though, is that I may always remember Emily, but I will be able to move on with my life eventually. But for this family, they will forever be suffering a loss. Something larger than a loss. Something has been ripped away from them. And in a horrible way. One of their most precious things in life that can never be replaced.
I truly hope and pray that miracles can exist for this little girl. I hope that her sister will be able to continue a normal and happy life. I hope the husband and wife will be able to find comfort in each other and will always be able to support one another through this time and their times ahead. And I truly hope this family can once again find happiness in their lives.
There’s nothing quite like a Sunday morning where your two year old agrees to spend an extra 30 minutes snuggled up in your bed. Our little Ava has a heart of gold with a sensitive side and lots of fire in her. She’s the little girl with bruises on her legs, dirt on her hands, chocolate smeared across her face, and half her hair hanging out of her ponytail. She’s got quite an arm, a strong kick, and nothing but love for all of her baby dolls. She’s the perfect combination of tomboy meets everything girlie. She’s me. And I love it.
It’s almost as if I can predict her childhood before it even happens. The only girl on the soccer field, the girl that’s friends with all the boys on her block and the girls too, the girl with the strong personality but lots of compassion. The little girl that plays with her G.I. Joe’s in her dollhouse. She’s me. And I love it.
She’ll care about her grades in school and respect her teachers all while getting in some trouble here and there for your typical chit-chat. She’ll be called the social-butterfly I once was called. She’ll make friends with just about anyone and will always do her best to not leave anyone out. She’s me. And I love it.
She gets upset when she can’t do something, but she won’t ever give up. Sometimes she gets a little too upset but can usually be calmed down with some reasoning. She doesn’t have much fear in her and is almost too willing to try new things. She doesn’t like seeing others upset. It worries her and she feels sad for them. She’s me. And I love it.
She’s got lots of personality traits from her father also. She’s funny, a jokester, clever, imaginative, and already quick-witted even at two. But I just can’t help and see myself in my daughter every day.
Today when we were leaving breakfast an elderly man stopped to say hello to Ava and told her she looked just like me. She responded with Yep, that’s my mom. She’s me. And I love it.
Last night I was lucky enough to catch up with some great friends of mine. We formed a quick friendship from day one based on common quirks, interests, and the love of just having a great time whenever we’re together. These friendships stayed strong through job changes, becoming mothers, moving further distances, and just our busy daily lives. We knew there was something special enough to not give up our bond and quickly became the routine of meeting up somewhat monthly. We call it our book club. I have to be honest and admit that I’m not quite sure how often books get discussed. Of course, we recommend to one another, and tell each other what we just have to read, but really it’s just our secret circle of friendship formed over common interests. I haven’t been able to make it the last couple of times so when I finally had the chance to be with them last night I jumped on it. It was such a reminder of how special they are to me.
Whenever we’re together it’s just fun. I could simply stop at that. I mean we laugh nearly the entire night. I don’t know what it is. We just click. Similar personalities? We all just like having a good time? Not sure. These are friends that I met in my early 20’s and now in my mid 30’s nothing has changed. There’s a reason we all formed this friendship and won’t let go of it.
There are serious sides to this friendship too. If need be. These are friends that drop everything they are doing to listen to you. Even if their lives are busier than yours at that moment. They stop. And listen. They give advice if you’re looking for it. They give suggestions if you want them. They give support if you need it. And sometimes. They just listen.
I’m very grateful that my life has crossed paths with theirs and we’ve remained friends all this time. I look forward to our next monthly outing.
Friendships are so very important. A true friendship can last a lifetime. It’s what can keep you sane on the craziest of days. It’s what can put you in the best of moods with just a short conversation. It’s your go-to when you just need to complain about anything. It’s reassurance that you are a great mom, friend, and wife. A true friendship is one of the most valuable gifts you can have. I am lucky enough to have many true friendships in my life.
These are the girls that I met in my first year of high school and they have remained some of the most special people in my life. Not many can say that their closest friends as adults are the ones they met when they were 14. These women are my rock. We vacation together, we have kids’ play dates together, we have sleepovers still, we have celebrated Christmas together every single year for the last 15 years, we dine together, we drink wine together, we go on overnights downtown together, we cry with each other and for each other, we laugh with each other, and we most definitely support each other. There have been disagreements along the way, but we always come to an agreement in the end. Or we just choose to agree to disagree.
We’ve seen each other get married while standing at the alter in support, we’ve watched each other become moms, we’ve watched one another suffer a broken heart, we’ve been there for each other through the hardest of times and the absolute best of times.
We all met up this week for our monthly, or at least bi-monthly, dinners. It’s always a relief to hang out with these friends of mine. Sometimes we laugh till we cry, sometimes we have something to celebrate, and sometimes we just catch up on our daily lives. This dinner was all of the above.
I truly hope that every woman out there has at least one person that has a friendship like this. That friendship that’s lasted throughout the years. The one that’s seen you at your best of times and your worst of times. It feels good to know that I have a group of girls that have picked me up through really, really bad times and I can say I’ve done the same for them.
It’s the little things throughout the day that I remember at the end of it. Those are the things that stick with me.
My husband having my coffee mug out and ready to be used right next the coffee pot, or how he puts my work bag in the car for me every morning, and I can’t forget about his stopping at the store on his way home to pick up a few things. It’s the little things.
My students with a true “good morning” greeting and a smile on their faces. The way Alex always stops and tells me to go through the door first, the way Rebecca is always willing to lend Kyle her pencils, the way Jordan never leaves out the students that come into our room for just one class period, the way a certain group of students work so hard together to solve a difficult problem. Its the little things.
My parents who watch my daughter five days a week and never act exhausted even when I know they must be. The times when I come home and my mom has dinner made for us or when I walk through the door and can hear Ava laughing from having such a great time with her grandparents. It’s the little things.
My time alone with Ava reading books. The way she laughs at her favorite part of The Love Monster, the way she tells me about her whole day starting with once upon a time…, the way she says “I love you, mommy” right before I walk out of her room for the night. It’s the little things.
These are the things that stick with me through the day. These are the things that matter most.
Our school’s literacy coach came into my classroom in the beginning of the year to share a book she read and to “put it into the hands of students”. This book has spread like a wildfire through my classroom. The next student eagerly waiting for one to be done so they can read it next. Jordan is currently reading it. Jordan has a hard exterior with one of the biggest hearts I’ve encountered in a 5th grade boy. He’s kind to other students, polite to adults, intelligent, and always willing to help out another classmate. He goes through a rough patch from time to time but always comes out smiling in the end.
I was having a conference with Jordan about the book, which he’s recently begun reading. His first words were I already know what she’s going to wish for. The character and I are like almost the same. To which I replied tell me what you mean by that. Jordan went on to talk about how he picked up on the fighting between the mom and the dad and the girl in the story would just hope one day her parents would get back together. He told me how every night before he goes to bed he wishes his mom and dad would do the same. He went on to talk about how, of course, she’ll probably wish for some material things she wants but her big wish will be her parents together again. Ugh Jordan! So many things you want to be able to say to him at that moment. Things will work out. It’s for the best. I know you don’t understand now, but one day you will. But how do you get a young kid to understand these things?
It’s no secret that these students of ours go through some rough times. Just being a kid is rough, but every once in awhile whatever a student may be dealing with gets brought to your attention. Some things are bigger than others but to them that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to us either. It is a small reminder though that even though they’re young they too go through struggles and hard times.
Worry. It’s a word with such a tense feeling. Why do I worry so much? And why do I worry about everything? I worry about the big things, and I worry about the small things. My husband even calls me Chicken Little. I try to relax and stay calm and talk myself out of the worry, but it’s just easier to think the scary thoughts instead for some reason.
I worry about Ava running down the sidewalk too fast and falling too hard.
I worry about what school will be like when Ava starts.
I worry about Ava’s feelings getting hurt.
I worry about about my parents if the day goes by, and I realize I haven’t heard from them yet today.
I worry about my high school niece Kelsey making the right choices.
I worry about my uncle and the cancer that he is fighting and winning. But still fighting.
I worry about my husband driving the expressway every day.
I worry about the health of all of my family members.
I worry about a friend and her early stages of pregnancy after a recent miscarriage.
I worry about my students and what some of them are going home to.
Where does all the worry come from? I NEVER use to worry before. Is it because I’ve been through some things in my life to make me realize I’m not invincible? Is it because I’m older? Is it because I’m a mom? Is it because I’m more aware of the world we live in? Whatever the reason, I need to find that carefree person I once was and find a balance of carefree and worry wart.
Because otherwise I’m going to drive us all crazy.