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Until The Next

Before we left Seattle, I remember having lunch with my then boss and co-workers and we got on the subject of children and parenting. At this time, parenting was a far-off plan for Al and me, not a reality. I remember saying something like, “I think being a mother means sacrificing everything for your children.” In my mind, a good mom was one who put every need of her children before her own. I remember my boss quickly disagreeing, saying her mother did that and it made her a little crazy. Rather, the most important thing was balance. I kind of just disregarded that idea, knowing the idealized Super Mom I wanted to be in the future.

I’ve thought about that conversation many times over this last year. 2010 proved to be one of the most transformative years in my life thus far. It started in January, when I accidentally cut my hair off. I’ve had really long hair most of my life and in January my friend suggested we do a Locks of Love donation. Since they only need 15 inches, I figured I’d get an exaggerated “trim” while doing a good cause, knowing my hair would still be in the middle of my back. Unfortunately, the stylist didn’t know what she was doing, and I left with hair above my shoulders for the first time since I was 10. I was devastated, feeling like part of my identity ended up on that salon floor. Plus, I knew Al would hate it, which he did. This was kind of a symbolic moment, the first shedding of the old skin.

Soon after, at the end of January, I started running. No need to go too far into that one because I did an entire entry on it, but taking up running was a major turning point in my life as a mom. It was the first time since having my children that I devoted time to myself. Taking up something that I really had to dedicate myself to, then following through, was kind of like an epiphany for me. It felt so good to accomplish something I thought I never could, and I am now running FOUR MILES at a time, which is still surreal. I was always that girl lagging behind during the Presidential Fitness Test in elementary school when we had to run a timed mile, and I’d usually have to walk the last lap. I think about that girl on my runs sometimes…

Then in July, I started working again. Money was really getting tight and somehow the stars aligned. During one of Alice’s doctor visits, I was telling her pediatrician that we were finally at a place where I could start looking for work since we had a good aide in place. She asked what kind of work I did, and less than a month later, I was a working girl again! I work during urgent care on evenings and weekends, and I now work between 10-15 hours a week. The schedule couldn’t be better, the work is fun and the people are great. I missed that feeling of doing a job well, feeling like I’m helping people, and adult conversation! Of course, working means less “free” time (whatever that is…) but we’re making it work and I am so grateful.

On top of all of this, I took two vacations this year—just me! In June I went on a girl’s weekend to Las Vegas—the first time I was alone with my sister and girl friends in more than five years. That weekend was all fun, but my other solo trip was truly life changing. In March I went to San Diego to attend the CSUN Assistive Technology conference, and spend time with my very best friends from high school. On this trip, I was fortunate enough to meet Eva from The Deal with Disability and her mom Deena. We spent the afternoon together and in those few short hours, along with many emails back and forth, my heart and mind finally accepted the very real fact that things will be okay. Life won’t be easy, but I will survive, Alice will thrive, and our family will grow stronger. In fact, meeting Deena made me realize that not only will I survive, but I will be sane and still laugh and enjoy life for years to come. Both she and Eva helped me really believe that things don’t have to go downhill from the diagnosis. Looking back to that moment in the neurologist’s office, it was hard to see any direction but down. For a couple years, that’s precisely the direction that our life spiraled.

I can’t attribute the shift to any one of these things, but I can say with all certainty that I’m never going back to that dark place. I remember a well-meaning friend telling me once before Alice was about to start school for the first time that I needed to get my life back. I realize now that being a good mom is most definitely not about sacrificing her own life for those of her family. It may seem like the ultimate sign of devotion and love, but in the end, my boss was right. It’s about finding that balance between providing an environment of love and support, never losing the connection with your partner, and always, ALWAYS being true to yourself. My own life and personal journey cannot come to a halt because I’m a mother. I want my children to enrich my life, not dominate it until I completely lose sight of who I am. I am so happy and proud to say that not only have I gotten my life back… I found myself again!

So, dear friends, this is goodbye. Well, not goodbye, but see you later... on a different site! The truth is, I don’t feel like the same person who started this journal more than three years ago. And rather than transition this journal to something else, I want to preserve it. I want anyone who happens to stumble across this journal to see it for everything that it is: the sadness, the heartache, the tiny miracles that followed, as well as the support from friends and perfect strangers that pulled me along during one of the most difficult times of my life. See, I’m not “Waiting for the Miracle” anymore. I’m grateful to say that I can recognize the miracles that were always there, and the ones that happen every day. The miracle is discovering that your partner is everything they vowed they would be, and more. It’s the people who come into your life at just the right time to help you see things from a different angle and make you believe that you’re not in it alone. The miracle is accepting that life isn’t easy for any of us, and that we can all bounce back from life’s tragedies. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, even if we don’t realize it until years down the road.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ever read this journal and found something useful in it. Thank you to everyone who supported us and gave me virtual hugs when I needed it most. I’ll post a link to the new Family Journal when it’s up, with pictures!! … The girls are growing like weeds, no, that’s not right...like beautiful roses in full bloom in spring. Believe me when I say, I’m one of the luckiest moms on the planet.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Yay Nanaslug! You sound so triumphant!
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
I missed you, Piemancer!! I feel like I can show my face around here again since I finally posted a real entry, lol. I have A LOT to catch up on :)
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful post! I am so happy for you!

Love, Dawn Potter
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you Dawn!! :)
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
"you yourself,
as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection."

I'm so happy you have found that love! Rock On Super-Mamma!

p.s. will be in NC Chapel Hill in May, meet and greet?
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Perfect quote, Kalil! Thank you!! :) And YES, definitely hit us up in May! You can finally meet the star of this journal :) Keep me posted!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 16th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! :) It's weird, I couldn't log on here for a while, it was like going back to the scene of an accident. That must be some stage in the healing process, lol. But I'm so glad this entry finally came out, it's been brewing for months. Thank you! :)
Dec. 16th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Smiles and hugs!
Dec. 16th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Joan! :) I can't believe I'm doing 4 miles! I think Kona helped with that, my pace increased since I started running with her, too. That new trail by me is really nice, once Anna comes and you're feeling back up to it, we should hit it together!
Dec. 17th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
Soon it will be time to write the book.
All my love, hugs, kisses and prayers for you, the girls and of course Al. See you soon. Sue
Dec. 17th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Thank you, Susan! I hope "See you soon" means you'll be coming down this way before too long :) We miss you, and send you many hugs and love!
Dec. 17th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
so true
Thanks for this beautiful post. Do share the new blog link when you get it going! Hugs to you and the girlies!!

Dec. 17th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Re: so true
Thank you, T.J.! We miss you soooo much! I hope you're still loving your new job (I guess it's not quite new anymore, right?) Whenever "I Am So Happy" comes on YGG, we always say, "Doesn't this song remind you of T.J.?" I'll definitely pass on the hugs. I hope you and your family are well!
Dec. 17th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
LOVED reading this. Although I see you guys almost everyday...it's wonderful to READ it in print. I mean, I have SEEN this transformation firsthand...with you AND Alice and it's awesome. You guys are truly, TRULY one AMAZING family and seriously THE reason I felt drawn to come back to work this year. Meeting your family and getting to know all of you the way that I have has been such a gift to me. I look forward to all of the new stories and posts in your new blog once it's up and running. I love you guys!!
Dec. 17th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Miss Lisa! You know how instrumental you and the crew have been in aiding this transition. The changes we have seen in Alice since September fill both Al and I with such hope and excitement for her. It makes me really happy hearing that our family has had a similar impact on you as you have had on us! Seriously this bit: "It’s the people who come into your life at just the right time to help you see things from a different angle and make you believe that you’re not in it alone."... that is speaking directly to you! You're one of the miracles who came along exactly when we needed to know that we are not in this alone! So THANK YOU, more than you know! ...Plus, um, you're totally awesome and fun and I don't even want to think about when I don't get to rap with you every day before and after school! Love you to pieces, seriously :)

Edited at 2010-12-17 03:04 am (UTC)
Ellie J. Keen
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
It's that boss. :) the one that said you have to have balance. Just want to say that I respect you and admire you and always have. I think that your journey has been amazing and you've been so strong where others would have crumbled. Never forget to take care of yourself. Your special and shine like the brightest star. Nice to know that once in a great while people think I'm right. And you are THE best mom and wife. I never had any doubt that you would be. XXO El
Dec. 17th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Ellie!! Do you remember that conversation?? LOL, I think you're right more than once in a great while :) Thank you for your kind words, those are very big statements that I'm honored to be on the receiving end of! Thank you for seeing all of that in me :) I was definitely a naive girl back then, thinking for certain I knew how everything would go. Just goes to show, life is a wild ride! Miss you much! xoxo
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:21 am (UTC)
Wow, what a wonderful post. I am so happy for you and maybe you can inspire me! I look forward to continuing to follow your journey on your new blog.

Dec. 17th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Hi Sheila!! Thank you so much, it's been a really great year. Life is definitely a mixed bag of good and bad ones, so it's a must we celebrate all the good, right? I hope you and Malayna are well, and aren't buried in snow already!
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear from you, and so, so glad the quiet has been for such positive reasons- I also know a few people for whom silence tends to mean things are difficult. You really are an inspiration, and I'll look forward to the new blog.
Dec. 17th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, L! I'm excited to start the new blog, it will hopefully be more lighthearted and fun :) I was soooo glad to hear that everything seemed to check out with Rachel's hip. Kids are very resilient and have a way of working things out, after they totally stress us out, of course! Best to you! :)
Dec. 19th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
Has your hair had time to grow out again?

I will really miss you, your very nicely placed writings and the wonderment through your words. If you haven't written a book you should think about it.

Your life is ready to not only balance new things into your it but ready to take new pathways with new adventures. Your beautiful girls are ready to make new strides in their lives and follow the strengths their mother places before them. I wish I could have been that kind of mother to my kids.

I will greaty miss you and I send you blessings with every step you take, and many sweet blessings to the children.
Dec. 20th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Hello! I hope you'll come along to the new journal, Sandalfon! It's almost up, and I'll definitely post the link here. My hair has grown out quite a bit, it's almost past my shoulders. I had to cut it once in March to shape it.. the initial cut was disastrous. Thank you for all of your kind words! The girls teach me just as much, if not more, than I could teach them. Oh! By the way, do you remember me talking about going to see Tom Petty? Well I went, and it was AMAZING! Thanks for sending out the good vibes :)
Dec. 23rd, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Nanaslug yours was the first blog I found and reached out to when I found out about my sons pvl and subsequent cp. I'll never forget how comforting your words were and how less alone I felt when I received your response. Will look forward to following the new you and your girls on your new blog!
Dec. 29th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks
Hello! Thank you so much for this comment, that means a lot to me! When I started this journal, I had no idea what would come of it... I just needed a place to vent and get my thoughts out of my head. But over the years, I have been so touched by the people I have met and how others can relate to our story. So thank you, so much for this and I hope you'll follow us on the next blog! -Brandie

Edited at 2011-02-10 04:29 pm (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2010 04:31 am (UTC)
late but sincere
I am so happy for you and your family. Thank you for this wonderful post, too. You give hope to everyone who reads this and that is a great gift! Barbara at TherExtras

(You might like my reflective end of the year post:

Feb. 4th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: late but sincere
Thank you, Barbara! I hope you'll follow us to our next journal :)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )



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