"When a baby is born, a Mother is born."
I cherish every Mother's Day that I get to spend with my girls, and don't take them for granted. After having been told in 2008 that I would never be able to have children due to the radiation and chemo treatments I would need to battle stage 2 cancer, my world seemed to be shattering right before my eyes. One of my life long dreams, and one my husband and I had talked about weeks prior to my diagnosis was starting a family. But, leave it to a cancer diagnosis to through your plans off, as you get ready for fight for your life.
While undergoing treatment, I would sit in a chemo therapy rooms filled with moms of all ages. During our 5-8 hour infusions, I would see family come and go, including their children. I couldn't help but feel for these moms and their children, as I couldn't imagine what they must be going through. Then, I was able to look into my parents eyes, and I could see the sadness and pain a cancer diagnosis of loved one brings. You never except to get cancer, but when you get that dreaded diagnosis, you find yourself looking back at your life and wondering what you did wrong, and why you have been dealt these crappy cards. Cancer brings on so many emotions, including anger. And, hearing doctors tell you that your dreams of having children will probablly not be possible, you can't help but want to crawl up into a bowl and sulk in the corner. Why fight if your dreams will never come true?
Well, I am so glad I fought for my life with 38 rounds of radiation and 5 weeks of high dose chemotherapy, as I get to look at beatiful girls' faces each and every morning. God granted me the gift of remission, as well as blessed me with two girls -- and, I don't take these gifts for granted. So, while moms around are celebrating Mother's Day with their children, this holiday is always bittersweet for me, and one I look forward to. And, now that my girls are getting older, I am looking forward to the day that I can share my letter of love from a mother to her daughter with them, to show them just how much they are loved, and how their being makes my life complete. :-)
I started to journal again when I began my cancer treatment in 2008. Not knowing the outcome of the treatment, after hearing my odds, I wanted to make sure those close to me knew just how much they meant to me, as well as offer me a place to share my thoughts and feelings, as I battled my cancer. Of all the letters I wrote for family and friends, one was the hardest to write...the letter to my unborn child. I know it was probably crazy to write, but it helped me deal with hearing the news that I would probably not be able to have children. Just getting my feelings out on paper helped ease the pain I was feeling on my heavy heart. Never had I expected to be able to share this letter with a child, let alone two beaitufil girls, I am so grateful that I had saved these journals, so that i can share with my girls when they get older.
My girls are still too young to sit down and share my cancer journey with, but they see me dealing with the long term side effects of the treatments, as well as going to the doctors on a continually basis. So, I know in time, they will start asking what is wrong with me, and if they should be concerned. This will definitley be a difficult conversation to have with them, as I can only imagine what the mothers in the chemo rooms I sat with, had to say to their children. While I am in remission, there is still a chance that my cancer may return or that I may be diagnosed with a secondary cancer caused by my cancer treatments, so I make a point to cherish every day, and live life to its fullest, as I watch my girls grow and experience firsts. :-)
While I will not bore you with the lengthy letter I wrote and with share with my girls when they get older, I thought I would share a few sentences that shares with them what they have taught me, and the joys of motherhood...
Never would I have imagined holding such a precious life in my arms. You always hear about love at first sight, but you never truly experience it until you are holding your own child in your arms. Recently, I was told my doctors that my chances of experiencing this love are slim to none. After hearing these words, I felt like I was being kicked in the teeth, and the joys of motherhood were being taken from me for no known reason. But, at that moment in time, I found myself looking inside for the strength and drive to not only fight my stage 2 cancer diagnosis, but also prove the doctors wrong in regards to having children.
Children are dreamers. They believe in such things at Santa, the Easter Bunny and even the Tooth Fairy. And, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, the sky is the limit. They dream without limitations. There hearts are pure and open to learning and experiencing new things, without feelings of fear and doubt creeping.
So, after letting my cancer diagnosis sink it, I could choose to give up or fight. One thing you will learn from me is how to be strong, even when things don't seem to be going your way. I never gave up in life, and I wasn't going to start after being told I had cancer.
You can say that I became a dreamer again. Sitting in my chemo chair for hours on end, or being zapped with radiation while being held down by a mask on a table for 38 weeks, I couldn't help but let my mind wander as I dreamed of YOU.
What would you smell like? Would you look like me or your father? What would your first words be? Would you be proud to have me as your mother? All these questions circled through my head, and while I was told no children were in my future, I couldn't help but dream about the endless possibilities and lessons YOU, my child would teach me.
Yes, you read that right, lessons you would teach me. While adults think they are the ones teaching children lessons in life, they oftentimes forget about the lessons that their children can teach them.
My father told me to let go of my inhibitions and embrace life fully. I thought he was crazy, but I have to say that this was the best advice I had ever heard AND took! After walking out of treatment that day, I threw caution to the wind. I sang in the car on the way home, even though I know I can't carry a tune. And, when it rained a few days later, I went outside and danced in the rain, as if nothing else mattered. Little things like this, reminded me why we live. And, while I am writing this letter to a child that has yet to be born, I know one day my wishes will be answered, and I will get to watch you dancing in the rain, or singing like nothing else matters. You will teach me new things and remind me why life is to be cherished and not taken for granted. I will be reminded to slow down and enjoy the moments with family as they go by so quickly, and before you know it, those close to us are saying their final goodbyes (if we are blessed with this opportunity). Parents have so much wisdom to share with their children (some which will be taken, while others will have to be learned through mistakes). But, sitting here and hearing my dad talk about lessons he has learned from me, and seeing the children sit with their moms and not knowing the outcome, but just being there in the moment and savoring this preicous time together, I can't help but think about the future with you.
To me, my life will not be complete until I hold you in my arms, and lean in to kiss your head and whisper the words "I love you," as you peer up at me with your dark eyes, knowing that I will be there to love and protect you, until the day I die. You are my being, and one day, I will get to share these words of love with you, while savoring the joys of motherhood, thanks to YOU. :-)
With love always,
Just look at the smiles I get to look at each day...and can't get enough of. And, the best part of all...they call me MOM! :-)
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