parenting, Uncategorized

I’m Not a Super Mom

 

 

 

“I don’t know how you do what you do. You’re a super mom”

Most mothers would love hearing those words but it made me feel awkward. Of course I said thank you and I thought it was very sweet but what I should have said was that I’m not any stronger than you are. I’m just a mom trying to make it with the hand I was dealt. It was tough being a mom dealing with a son with cancer, a son with autism, a daughter with a speech delay and living apart from my wife for a year. Thankfully I had help from my amazing parents. But I don’t believe I was doing anything that any other mother wouldn’t do in my situation. I’m not a super mom. I was the mom that was in the ocean doing the doggy paddle trying to keep my kids on the raft. I was in survival mode the year that Nathan was diagnosed and treated for cancer. I wasn’t a super mom. I just didn’t have a choice but to keep going despite all the obstacles that were thrown at me.

I’m here to tell everyone I don’t have it all together. It wasn’t and still isn’t pretty some days. I’m not the best mom ever. I have accepted that I can’t do it all. I have accepted that I’m not perfect and life won’t always go as planned. I’m just a mom giving it 110% to set my kids up for success. Parenting shouldn’t be a competition anyway. I know I’m no better than the mom next door. I believe that we are all just trying our hardest for the kids we love. Wanting to be the best at everything can be toxic. Wanting to post your perfect family and perfect life on social media for everyone to see is exhausting. We shouldn’t feel like we need to show the world that we have it all together. For a long time I felt like I needed to do that. I took a step back from my phone and social media when Nathan was sick. I simply didn’t have time to be on my phone constantly taking pictures and scrolling through feeds. I still have social media accounts but I went from posting pictures daily to only checking my feed occasionally. I stopped living behind my phone for the first time in a long time. I started living in the moment with my kids. Taking a step back has been one of the best things to happen to me. I am happier now that I’m not constantly feeling the pressure to capture every moment on camera and post it for everyone to see.

So on this Mother’s Day I am cutting myself some slack and taking the pressure off of me. I am not a super mom and I don’t have to be. My goal is to be the best mom I can be for my kids and take care of me too. I started celebrating Mother’s Day early this past week when Nathan and Alex arrived in Michigan. Having my whole crew of littles and not so littles anymore all in one place filled me with so much happiness. I would say that this was by far the best Mother’s Day I’ve ever had. Healthy and happy children around me.

~M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
cancer, Chemotherapy, overwhelmed, parenting, Uncategorized

Our New World

img_4955

Just weeks after learning Nathan had cancer we were thrown into this new world of treatment. We were admitted into the hospital for his chemo port placement and his first round of chemotherapy. We had so many doctors and nurses coming in to educate us on what we would be going through the next 6 months. They literally gave us a notebook full of information. In it were the names of all the chemo drugs that would be part of his treatment. All the side effects that he may or may not experience. The prescriptions that he would be taking. Lists of the labs that would be drawn each week and the normal range for him now that he will be immuno suppressed.  Despite my 15 years in the medical field all of this information was brand new for me. Especially new because this wasn’t just any other patient this was my son. Being on the other side was very eye opening.

The night Nathan started chemo was scary. I had no idea what to truly expect. Would he be sick? Would he have a terrible reaction? Would it hurt? They started at 6:00 pm and it wasn’t over until 6:00 am. I didn’t sleep much that night. I stayed in the chair next to his bed holding his hand. I had several moments of tears but made sure that he didn’t see me cry. The night was long but he only felt sick a few times and the medications they gave him for that helped him sleep through most of the night.

I think every one has a moment where they wish they could trade places with someone. This was one of those moments for me and I would have given anything to take his place but all I could do was be there next to him. Be there when he needed me. Just be there to hold his hand. As a parent it was a very helpless feeling. I can’t imagine how parents of younger children go through this experience. Nathan could understand what was happening and why it was happening. Thinking about what I would do if this was my toddler laying there helped me to be thankful for that simple thing. I decided that I needed to start finding things to be grateful for throughout this process. So here we were in this new world but I would have a new mantra. “Start each day with a grateful heart.”

~ M

 

cancer, graduation, med school, moving, parenting, Uncategorized

2017 RECAP

Well since I skipped a whole 2 years of blogging I’ve decided to do a recap of 2017 and then I’ll take on 2018 next. I can honestly say that 2017 had more ups and downs than any other year in my life. So many amazing things happened but several lows came my way too. The year ended with one devastating blow pushing it to the top of the list of worst year I’ve ever had. The year got off to a great start. In March Quinn turned two. Her personality grew just as fast as her hair did. Those crazy curls and her sweet smile  She is our little tornado princess. It’s impossible stay mad at her because of how cute she is!

In May it finally happened. Leslie finally graduated from medical school. It was such an amazing weekend full of celebrating all of her hard work. I can honestly say those 4 years were the longest years of my life!

She matched to an internal medicine residency in Warren, Michigan that would start in July. While her 4 years of medical school were over it was time for the next step. Her 3 year residency program would begin July 1st and even though.

We made the most of our summer and enjoyed time with friends and family. I would say that our favorite part of the summer was our week at the beach with my family. We had some great family pictures made. The kids LOVE the water and had so much fun playing in the sand. It was a great getaway for our family.

It wasn’t an ideal situation but the kids and I were not able to make the move with her that summer. We agreed that I would make the move to Michigan at the end of November or early December. Nathan was entering into his senior year of high school with his senior football season starting in in August. This was going to be such a big year for him and we knew that I couldn’t miss it.

We put Noah into a ABA (Autism Behavioral Analysis) Preschool full-time. He made so much progress in there summer program that we decided to pull him out of the public school blended class to be at the therapy center to help better prepare him for kindergarten. In this environment his teachers are trained to work with autistic children and could help shape and change any undesired behaviors this crucial year before kindergarten.

We had Quinn’s speech evaluated after she turned 2. They determined that she had a significant speech delay and would need speech therapy at least 2 days a week. She started speech therapy with the sweetest speech therapist. They encouraged us to have her around kids as much as possible because with Noah being very limited verbally she would benefit being in a environment with typical children to help improve her language. So she continued at her Mother’s Day Out Program twice a week.  She loved being the center of attention there and  she loved her teacher, Ms. Fiona. I think Ms Fiona just might be her favorite person ever. Being with the other children helped tremendously with her speech delay and her expressive language shot through the roof!

Nathan’s senior football season was amazing. I loved volunteering with the other Senior Moms to do things for the boys. I loved every min of watching him play. He was kicking better than ever. He kicked over 70 points for the year. They went undefeated in the regular season making them Division Champs. He was voted onto the All State Team for kicking and punting. He was Kicker of the Year for Greater Nashville Area. I could not have been prouder of the way he ended his high school football career.

I left my job the middle of November to get ready for the move to Michigan in December. I had started working at St Thomas when I was 20 years old. It was my first “real job”. I worked there while I finished school then took a night shift position in the respiratory department after I completed my degree. It was not just a place I worked. These coworkers were my family and my dearest friends. This wasn’t just a job for me because I loved what I did. I loved taking care of my patients in the ICU. I loved the challenge of taking care of the sickest patients in the hospital. To say I was sad to leave was an understatement but it was incredibly sweet of all my coworkers to make sure I knew how much I would be missed.

At the end of November with football season over we finally made the move to Michigan. The kids were excited to be in a new space and loved playing in our new backyard. There was so much to explore. They barely stayed inside for more than a few mins. Noah was able to start into a new preschool after being there for a week. I was super anxious about it but because the class only had 6 students and then there was a teacher and her assistant in the room. I still needed to set up ABA therapy but was happy to go ahead and get him started on a schedule. I had plenty to do to keep me busy around the house. When we got there Les hadn’t done much other than move her clothes into the closet and set up the TV. The house felt like a sad blank space and I needed the house to feel like home as soon as possible. I spent hours unpacking, organizing and decorating the house. Eventually I started to see a glimmer of this being home!

On November 31st I received a call that knocked the breath out of me. Nathan had been having persistent knee pain despite football being over. I scheduled an appointment with a orthopedic doctor. My dad called and said that the doctor isn’t worried about his knee his more concerned about the mass or cyst below his knee and they were sending him for a MRI. My dad is a preacher with no medical background so I called the doctors office myself. Once I was on the phone with the doctor he told me that the x-ray showed a tumor just below his knee and believed it was cancer. When I hung up I started frantically looking for flights and packing bags for myself and the kids. Booked 3 one way tickets back to Nashville for the next morning. Les dropped us off at the airport and kissed us goodbye not knowing when we’d be back in Michigan. Then there we were back in Nashville in less than 2 weeks. Nathan’s father and I sat in the waiting room of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with Nathan waiting for him to have multiple scans and tests. I was terrified to put it lightly. Then begins the long story of Nathan’s diagnosis and treatment and I’ll share all about that in posts to come. (The cancer in Nathan’s leg is illuminated in bright white in the picture below.)

But these last photos are of the kids together December 2017. We had no idea how Nathan would feel or how much weight he would lose once treatment began so I had a friend do a photo shoot of them together for me. I absolutely love how they turned out.

Then to round out 2017 I have a few photos from Christmas with our family.

And there it is 2017’s Recap!

~M

happiness, parenting, Uncategorized

Its been a long time…

Life happens and I abandoned my blog quite a while ago. I loved blogging about our family but I found myself stretched thin and exhausted all the time. I feel like as a mom and wife its easy to put yourself, your interests and your happiness on the back burner. Over the years I’ve lost more and more of me. I spend my days dedicated to taking care of my family. You name it and I do it. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, paying the bills, managing doctor appointments, therapy sessions, transportation to and from for our younger kids, and the list could go on.

Don’t get me wrong I love being a mom and wife but I’ve lost myself in the midst of taking care of everyone else. I actually believed that it was necessary for me to let go of me and only focus on them. I had drifted away from the person I once was. I was still wearing a smile on my face and getting everything done but inside I felt a little lost. Despite feeling sad and alone, I refused to talk about it. Primarily because I knew I had so much to be thankful for. I kept telling myself, “you have no real reason to be unhappy”. I wasn’t sure what I needed to do to fix it but I didn’t want to let anyone know that I was feeling this was. I put other people’s happiness before mine.

So…Not only did I feel unhappy but I began to doubt myself. I had reached the point that I wasn’t happy with some of my friendships as well. In not so many words, I broke away from some close friendships just because I didn’t know how to express how bad they were making me feel about myself… I will admit that running away from an issue isn’t the answer but I was not where I am today. I know that the “right” thing to do would have been expressing how I felt. Literally I should have said “I feel like I’m in a Mean Girls movie and not one of the mean girls.” Ha! I felt like they didn’t value my opinion as much as I valued theirs. That I was willing to go out of my way but others weren’t willing to do that for me. I was reverting back to those teenage years where you worry about silly things. I was worrying about how people viewed me. I began questioning everything about myself. Was I not cool enough? Why weren’t we included? Is it because they don’t think we’re fun? Did my kids bother our friends? I seriously was a 35 year old woman…. Married… with a career and three children… and I was still consumed with those questions. But something changed. I can’t tell you the exact event that caused me to hit that point but I do remember that moment that I decided I wasn’t going to be unhappy anymore. I literally said out loud, “I am too old for this shit. I’m tired of being fake and putting me last.” One way or another I will be a person who is happy on the inside not just the outside.

I gave myself a few quotes to use as my daily reminders that I was working towards being a happier me.

“In the end I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life.”

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. That’s okay. They don’t need to because it’s not for them.”

“Find Joy in the Journey.”

“Let your past make you better not bitter.”

“Stop doubting yourself for everything that you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you already are.”

My own individual pursuit of happiness. I started with self reflection, acknowledgement and eventually transformation. I’ve had to make many changes and some were easier than others. Letting go of anything in my life that wasn’t uplifting. Letting go of negative thoughts and energy.  Finding a healthy balance of taking care of my people but also taking care of me. Learning to not care what other people think. Making time for myself. I did what I needed to do to start my journey to be a happier me. I am still finding my way but continually making progress. I’m in a good place and finding my balance.

I’m ready to start blogging again and I have so much to write about. So much has happened over the past 2 years I’m not sure where to start to catch up.

~M

 

 

 

gay family, gay rights, lesbian family, lesbian moms, LGBT, two moms, Uncategorized

Just a little Family Photo Shoot

I was so thrilled about doing Noah’s One year Photos and getting our family photos in too. It was a beautiful Fall day in Knoxville when we had these done and I can’t thank Sissy Sullivan enough for doing such a wonderful job.

sullivanphoto-4z sullivanphoto-5 sullivanphoto-9 sullivanphoto-12 sullivanphoto-20 sullivanphoto-26 sullivanphoto-28 sullivanphoto-28z sullivanphoto-31

sullivanphoto-33 sullivanphoto-40 sullivanphoto-42 sullivanphoto-43 sullivanphoto-57sullivanphoto-71 sullivanphoto-79 sullivanphoto-80 sullivanphoto-89 sullivanphoto-93 sullivanphoto-112