I am a 50 something year old mother of grown children with stage 4 breast cancer. I have been told I should write a book about my life. I am probably never going to do that, but I do want to record some of my stories, so here we go.
I Could Have Died, A Lot
I am either a very fortunate person or a very unfortunate person, depending on how you look at it. I choose to go with fortunate. From time to time my kids make me list all the times I could have died. This is not going to be a complete list but here are some of the ways I could have died.
It Was My Fault, Kinda
If the after school specials of my 1970's childhood are to be believed kids often blame themselves for their parents divorce, or at least they did then. I would hope that today parents would help their kids not feel that way. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I never felt that way. At six years old I knew that I was not the one who cheated on my dad with the guy that sold us bananas. I knew I was not the one that moved out and refused to come home. I knew that I didn't take everything out of the house, and I do mean everything, that is maybe another story. At any rate I never blamed anyone but my mom. Even when I reconnected with her in my 20's and she told me that it was entirely because of us 4 kids that she left, I knew that she had been the grown up and we were the kids. if there was a problem she was the one in charge not us. For the record I also knew that it was a pretty crappy thing to tell your child, even that much later.
My Dad's Terrible Cooking Showed His Love
My mom left us for the man who managed the produce department in our local grocery store when I was 5, but that is another story. As an afterthought, and because her friends told her about child support she got custody of me, after about 5 years of some intense custody battle I won and got to live with my dad. By then my two oldest siblings had moved out and it was just me and my brother who is 5 years older than me and my dad. To say that my dad was a bad cook is being generous.
Best Reunion Of My Life
I had a hard time picking one minute with one pet. I am an animal lover and I have almost always had a pet. At 50 that adds up to a lot of really great moments. After thinking about it for a couple days I think I have picked one as maybe the most meaningful moment with any of my pets.
How I Live With Cancer
First things first. If dear reader you are reading this because you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, I'm sorry and I wish you well. Second if you are looking for advice about treatment options or advice on managing side effects this is not that story. I am not qualified to give that advice. These are just some thoughts I have after six years on this journey.
Meet Your New Stepfather
The grown woman stood in the hallway of the hospital. She had just called her boss and said she would not be back today, and she had called her husband to tell him what was going on, he was leaving work and coming straight to the hospital. She had called her kids to let the two oldest ones that were doing high school classes online know her and their daddy would be late so they would have to look after their younger brothers when they got off the school bus. Last she had called her little brother and told him to come as soon as he could. He was on his way with his girlfriend, with traffic this time of day no one would be here for hours. After all that she just needed to take a breath before she went back in the room, it was going to be a really long day.
The Infamous Nap
The grown up woman sat at her birth mother's dining room table with her birth mother and her mother's neighbor. She had not come here to see her mother. She came to see her little brother and her step father. Seeing her mother was the price she paid to see them. They were out in the back yard playing with her two small children and her husband was loading up the van so they could head for home.
Things I Never Knew
My mothers side of the family has always been a bit of a mystery for me, for a lot of reasons. One of the big reasons was divorce, both my parents divorce and my grandparents divorce. And if I'm honest my mother complicated things. She left our family when I was 5, then decided she wanted sympathy and child support so that is easier if you have at least one of your 4 children. I was the easy target being the youngest, a 5 year custody battle ensued that eventually ended in an airport with her saying "I never wanted you anyway". This is the very short version, it is actually what I usually write about, mostly telling some stories for my kids but you are welcome to check them out if you want.
To the Ranch
The little girl sat in her fifth grade classroom. She was staring out the window. They had taken a test and she as usual finished hers as fast as possible. Tests were actually one of her favorite parts of school. She didn't find them especially hard. It was usually just answering questions that were from the text book. She always read the books whenever she got to a new school and they were given to her then she knew most of the answers, at least enough of them to pass the tests. That was good enough for her she was not interested in being a "good" student she just didn't want to do any grades over. Reading the books ahead of time gave her lots of free time. She had time when everyone else was reading the assignment in class. Usually she just used that time to read her library book. But sometimes she found other things to do, sometimes those things got her in trouble and she would be sent out into the hallway. That was fine with her she would bring her library book and read it out there were it was quiet.
Under the Highway
It was summertime. The little girl had finished third grade, and would go to fourth at the end of summer. She had been in the same school for about half of third grade, which was a very long time for her to stay in one place. She liked her school, her house and her new stepfather. She had actually made some friends at this school. She didn’t usually bother, she knew she would be moving on soon so it was just not worth the trouble.
Lunch With My Mom
LUNCHTIME ABDUCTION The little girl sat in her classroom watching the clock. This day was going to be different than the other days and as far as she was concerned different was good. Today at noon her brother was going to come to her classroom and get her. Then they were going to lunch with their mom. She wasn't really that excited about seeing her mom but getting to leave school in the middle of the day was cool.
The Big Decision
The very small girl in a metal folding chair in the kitchen facing the harvest gold refrigerator. She was wearing her brand new tennis shoes. She was very proud of them, up to now she had only had cowboy boots. She was sitting with her three siblings. As always they were lined up oldest to youngest, as always she was last in line. She was five and she did not really understand everything her dad was saying. She knew her mom was gone again, and it sounded like this time might be different from the other times.