Sunday, May 13, 2012

For the Moms...

I am surrounded by moms that inspire me beyond words.  Moms who encourage me, who push me, and who are there for me through everything.  Here's to the moms...

To my grandma Kathleen, who I never got to meet.  You and Grandpa Denny have left a legacy behind and were able to instill love and values in your children,  in my very own mom, in the short years you got to be with them. I've been blessed to have my mom 20 years longer than she had you, and I hope for 20 more and 20 after those too. When I look at your pictures with your two different colored eyes and my same crooked smile, I feel like I know you.  I feel like you are a part of me.  My own mom made sure you were alive to us, that we always knew about you. 

To my Mama Jennifer.  You have always talked to me like your daughter AND friend.  You've given me honesty and openness that most mothers don't afford their daughters.  When doctors didn't believe in me, y0u did.  When doctors wanted to butcher me, you said no.  There are a million things I could say, but I know I don't have to.  

To my mother-in-law, Gaby.  You have raised a fine son who is the best father and husband a family could as for.  You are an awesome Oma to our Ayla, and you are a kind heart we are all thankful to be surrounded by.

To my aunt Kari.  You are an awesome mom who has always supported and loved your children through the ups and downs of life.  Like my own mom, you have stood by a child with health issues and always championed for her.  You are kind and thoughtful beyond measure.  I am lucky my mom got the bestest sister because I got the bestest aunt.

To my aunt Julie.  You have always been there for me, and I am so proud to see how far you have come over the years.  You are happy and experiencing such great joys and life, and I am so happy because you deserve them all.  Now, you are not only a great mom and aunt, but you are a grandma (bet that makes you feel old!) to your babies' babies.   

To my sister, Alexis.  You aren't a mother yet, but someday you will be.  You are a great sister, daughter, and Ti-Ti (aunt).  You were brave enough to hold a camera and a leg while I gave birth, and I hope to do the same for you someday.  Even as a little girl, you had the loving, patient qualities of an amazing mom.  I will never forget hearing your 3-year-old voice comfort me as I was being inundated by spinal injections, saying, "You can squeeze my hand as hard as you want." 

To my sister-in-law Jessica, who is brave enough to follow her heart.  She has been a breastfeeding champion, home schooler, and upon the birth of her 3rd child, a VBAC homebirther.  I have seen the transformation motherhood has done in her life, and I am so proud of her.

To my dear friend Amanda.  You taught me about the importance of extended rear-facing, which allowed me to teach so many of my own mama friends in turn.  You cheered me on my whole pregnancy and never judged me.  You wished Ayla a happy monthaversary every month of her life until she was 2!  You've been my crunchy mama mentor, teaching me about healthier ways of living, transforming how I look at food and the products I use on a daily basis.

To my amazing friend Kimberly.  You know all about what it's like to be welcomed to Holland rather than Italy.  Heck,  you know what it is like to have dual citizenship!  Your strength, bravery, kind heart, and relentless courage inspire me and make me so proud to know you and call you friend.  Never underestimate what you do, you are fulfilling a calling every day!

To my friend Tonia.  You are such an awesome Mama!  You manage to create such an awesome, adventure-filled life for your 3 kids.  You constantly encourage them and help them follow their dreams and their hearts, and I hope that as a mother, I am able to do the same.  You even mother me when I need it; you always have my back.

To my friend Tori.  You are a mother hen to everyone you meet with a heart of gold!  Also, you're the busiest person I know, and I know that you are filling the chapters of your daughter's life with memories upon memories!

To all the other mothers in my life, you know who you are.  I know awesome single mamas who don't get a break, yet manage to fill their homes with love and laughter.  I know mamas who are raising children with special health needs, who accept and love their children exactly as they are and will defend and support their children endlessly.  I know mamas of the heart who have waited patiently for their time to become a mama, and I can't wait to be by their side as they get to embark on the greatest journey ever.  I know mamas who have been in the dark emptiness of post-partum depression, post-partum anxiety, or post-partum OCD (just as I have been) who have fought a battle every day, a battle which has made them no less of a mom, but instead has made motherhood triumphant and joyful while dealing with such a struggle that no one would choose.  Thank you mothers.  Thank you for mothering me in all your many ways, and thank you for helping shape and grow me as a mother.

I love you Moms!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Words, thoughts, and pets

It has been quite some time since I last blogged.  I felt like I had run out of things to say.  I worried so much about how what I was saying would be received.  I feared I'd fall too much to one side or another of the fine line I was toting between insightful and fact-sharing with being "too much."  For those who know and love me, they get that I am often "too much" and love me for it anyway.  For those who know me and hate me, they'll get over it.

My ultrasound of my ovaries revealed a complex benign cyst on my right ovary, which is strange considering that my left ovary was causing me so many problems.  Eventually, I may have to go back for a repeat ultrasound, but for now I have been feeling much better.
Indulging at Mrs. Wilkes Kitchen

In other news, I went gluten-free for about a month.  I experienced far fewer migraines, and I became accustomed to living a GF lifestyle.  Then, Brandon and I went on our honeymoon to Savannah, GA (along with a 1 day visit to St. Augustine), where we indulged in every possible type of glutenous food we could.  I felt fine all that week, so when we came home after a near week of honeymoon bliss, I decided I could go back to a gluten-filled lifestyle.  Now, a month later, I feel like crap.  I've also been under a tremendous deal of stress with work, financial woes (work can be to blame for that as well), and household woes (which would be easier to handle with more money).  Recently, we've become a 1 car household until we can deal with the transmission issue hubby's car is having.  Joy!  (Actually, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be...but its only been 3 days).

Throughout my life, I've been blessed to have many wonderful and loving pets.  I am an animal lover at heart.  I could never be a vet, though.  Too sad.  With pet ownership, comes loss.  No matter how much my heart breaks at losing a beloved pet, I can't imagine life without them.  The first major loss I remember was of our cat Tigger when I was 10.  He had kidney problems.  He was the same age as me, 10.  I will never forget when he could no longer walk, so we had to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep.  I believe it is the right thing to do, the humane thing to do.  I won't get into how I feel about compassionate euthanasia for humans, but let me say one thing, I do not want my loved ones to allow me to suffer needlessly in my old age.  Back to Tigger.  We put him to sleep the day before my cousin Deanna's birthday.  It was heartbreaking and tragic.  I cried and cried.  Four years later, we lost our beloved Juner.  

When my mom and dad got Juner, they were told he was a girl.  Not too long after that, they discovered that was not the case.  A beautiful rescue, siamese chocolate lynx point, he lived a long happy life.  Tigger was Juner's brother, not by blood, but throughout life.  They were inside/outside cats, enjoying some freedom outside, but mainly staying inside.  Juner contracted Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) from a fight he got into with another neighborhood cat.  We never had outdoor cats after that.  I can still hear my mom calling for the cats out our backdoor.  

Juner and I were sick at the same time.  When I got injured at age 12, Juner had FIV too.  He was so compassionate and loving.  When I was sick, he was by my side.  When he was sick, he came to me, too.  I guess we had an unspoken connection.  The connect continued with Tazzy and Salem, the cats that came into our lives later.  Tazzy came about 6 months after Tigger died.  Tazzy was with Juner till the end.  Then, we saved Salem, a poor sickly city cat who became a brother to Tazzy too.  Tazzy, amazingly, outlived Salem.   I guess the problems Salem had from his early life were just too much on his body in the end.  Tazzy is a very sick boy these days at the age of 17, yet he almost always has a sly smile on his face.

I was led to think of this today when I laid in bed with a migraine.  Boo is our "lab mix" (lab and boxer or lab and beagle or lab and some pit...most likely a couple of mutts mixed), she is our first baby.  We've had her about 4 years, almost the entire duration of our relationship, minus about 6 months.  She is a wonderful dog, great with Ayla.  She was a rescue, and she has overcome a very difficult past, this we can tell by many anxious behaviors she has exhibited through her life.  Boo is also my compassionate protector.  When I am sick, she doesn't leave me.  She lays at my feet or curls up next to me.  The intuition and heart of a pet is something that goes beyond words.  I am so grateful to have these loving companions to go through life with.  I am glad we can give them a life they may not have ever had.
Boo, Christmas 2010