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Remember to breathe

A breakthrough of monumental proportions was made today when Rachael cocked her head at me and said…

“You do a lot of things, mommy.”

I think it might be the first time she’s realized that certain things in her life aren’t accomplished by the laundry-fairy, the dinner-fairy (although it does sometimes involve the Pizza Hut-fairy) or the backpack-fairy. Mind you, this announcement was made during my most important task of the day…making dessert.

I believe that most cancer moms would tell you that something has to give. People tell me “I don’t understand how you can do it all.” Well, these people aren’t ever allowed to cross the threshold of my house in fear that someone will come in and see conditions in which I make my children live! I mean, I’m not even sure that my kids realize they have closets because their clothing spend the majority of its time either in a clean hamper or a dirty hamper. In fact, there’s a good chance my kids will make it to adulthood convinced that dressers are square, plastic and open on the top. I’m afraid to give my kids real plates to eat on because we’ve been eating on paper plates so long I know they’d pitch them in the trash when they were done! My floors are a catastrophe, there’s STUFF everywhere and if President Bush were to ever just decide to stop by the condition of my house would serve as a shining example of why there should be subsidized housekeepers for cancer families!

Something has to give. Sometimes its relationships, sometimes it our housework, sometimes its time to bathe and groom ourselves….I think I’m going to design a line of clothing with shirts that announce “My kid has cancer, I’ll get a haircut, a mani-pedi and put on some makeup when they’re all better. Until then, stop staring at me!” They’ll come in a variety of colors and sizes in sweat suits, of course, with a haute couture line in any fabric but cotton.

We give so much of ourselves to being full-time cancer moms that we barely have time to breathe. When we do take a moment for ourselves, we feel a little guilty because we know our kids never get a break from it….why should we? You know why? Because if we don’t hold it together, there’s no one to pick them up when they can’t take it anymore! There’s no one to make sure the laundry-fairy and dinner-fairy show up on time. No one does it perfect…there is no perfect….there is only our best…and sometimes its just not enough to do it all, but it gets what HAS to be done DONE. And we have to breathe through letting what has to give GIVE.

I read this great little poem/story. I want to share it with all of you, especially all the cancer moms I’ve come across, both in person and online. You are my sisters, my heroes, my friends, my support and encouragement. I find amazing strength in each one of you and although it wasn’t my choice, I am honored to be one of you!

Remember to breathe.


Most women become a mother by accident, some by choice, a few by habit.
Did you ever wonder how mother's of children with cancer are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over the earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger…
"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint Matthew"
"Forest,Marjorie, daugher, patron saint Cecilia"
"Rutledge, Carrie,twins, patron saint Gerard. He's used to profanity"
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a child with cancer."
The angel is curious. "Why this one God? Shes's so happy."
"Exactly," similed God. "Could I give a child with cancer a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But does she have patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she will handle it."
"I watched her today," said God. "She has that feeling of self-independence that is so rare and necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going give to her has its own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you," said the angel.
"No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect, she has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't seperate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive."
Yes, here is a woman I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take anything her child does for granted. She will never consider a step ordinary."
"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice…and allow her to rise above them."
"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles and says "A mirror will suffice"

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

2 Comments on “Remember to breathe”

  1. #1 basi perkins
    on Apr 24th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    As always, I enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for sharing the poem. It's just what I needed to read tonight as I get ready for MRI day tomorrow.
    love, basi

  2. #2 Angela
    on Apr 25th, 2007 at 7:02 am

    Sharing your days and all the ups and downs have really impacted my life. I always knew you were a strong woman and I am so greateful that you were chosen by divine power to by my sister. Don't feel bad that "something has to give". You and Pete are doing a more than fantastic job. Take time to hold on to each other in those rare times you have the kids to bed and before you collapse in complete exhaustion. Praying for you. Miss you