Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lessons learned from an old pair of shoes....

I love shoes. All kind of shoes...but I purposely search out unique shoes. I like to go into DSW and browse the shelves for shoes that really "catch"my eye.The brighter the better! If they have jewels, well count me in baby. After all, a little black dress can turn from just "simple" to "totally amazing" with THE right pair of shoes. So yes, I am a shoe hunter... and much to my husbands dismay, my "gun" is always loaded, looking for the next "BIG GAME" to take home. Therefore, due to my LOVE shoes, I do not tend to wear the same pair over & over... I like to mix it up. Hey, a girl must have a hobby. But a few years ago I received a pair of shoes in the Spring of '07 that I have worn every single day for the past 3 years. At first these shoes were tight and so uncomfortable that ,at times, the pain of wearing them would literally bring me to my knees but I couldn't take them off... no matter how hard I tried. After a while, I got used to the pain and realized that maybe there was purpose in it. Eventually those shoes stretched out and allowed me to walk a little easier but the pain was still there... it never completely faded. I HATED those shoes!!! I wanted to take them off and throw them away so bad, after all, not only did they cause me pain BUT they were HORRIBLY UGLY. As the years went by I have learned to live with these shoes. To accept their ugly, uncomfortable, painful existence in my life... to even be thankful for them. And as much as I would love to remove these shoes from my feet, I can no more do that than Abby can remove the cancer from her lungs. For you see, the shoes I walk in everyday are the shoes of a cancer mom. They are not pretty or frilly. They are tough, hard, and sometimes, down right mean. BUT they are also full of HOPE,a tremendous amount of LOVE & FAITH. God has taught me many things while I have worn these shoes...way to many to list right now but one of the biggest lessons I have learned is...No matter how painful, ugly & uncomfortable the shoes are you wear in this life, God ALWAYS has a purpose for their pain. So I'll keep wearing these old, painful worn out shoes and listening to Him. And maybe one day He'll give me a new pair of beautiful red one's, I ADORE red shoes, with a great BIG miracle attached to them!!!!!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Oh, Why,Oh Why,Did I watch that movie...

I thought I was strong enough. I thought I was brave enough. I thought I could handle seeing the final "death" scene between the mother & her daughter...
I WAS WRONG!!! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!!! Oh how I wish I could go back and erase those minutes....

First off, I read the book "My Sister's Keeper", and I hope I'm not spoiling anything for you BUT the movie DOES NOT end like the book. Kate, the child with cancer, DOES NOT DIE!!!! Yes the book was horribly sad and tore my heart in two BUT KATE LIVED!!! Now I knew all this before watching the movie AND I have told all my friends who have wanted to watch this movie that it probably would not be a wise choice since they would only be able to see MY family in place of the Fitzgerald family.... which would make the viewing all the harder...I should have taken my own advice. I never planned to walk in this mothers shoes but all I saw as I watched her was ME. And at times I didn't like what I saw. Like that mother, I too fight like a bear who is protecting her cub from danger with no thought sometimes other than MY DAUGHTER WILL NOT DIE ON MY WATCH!!!! And then I see so much of Jesse, the brother, in Ian although Ian is so much younger, however the only life he has known has been the one in which his sissy is sick with cancer and gets ALL my attention and he has to play second fiddle in Mommy's life so many times. I want even start with how your child's cancer effects your marriage... it's tough, to say the least. So... NO, I WASN'T STRONG ENOUGH. Or as brave as I thought. This movie just hits way to close to home for me. I wish the director would have been true to the book and let Kate live... she deserved to live. And it makes me really angry that she didn't.....


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friendship According to Toy Story 3....

I remember the day Ian & I saw the first promo trailer for Toy Story 3. We were both so excited!! But I have to admit that he was probably just a wee bit more excited than me, after all he is a 4 year old connoisseur of all things Disney related.Gee, I wonder were he gets that from? But more importantly, from the time he could understand what a movie was, "Toy Story 1 & 2" has always ranked among his absolute favorites. He can quote all the lines and yes, he gets the jokes. So when he saw that Disney/Pixar were finally granting his wish to continue with the,ummm "STORY" line, to say he was simply excited would be an understatement. He has waited with baited breath for opening day. And oh, the days leading up the that day have been pure torture... not just for him but for me as well. It's been much like a long ride in a car. You know the ones I'm referring to. The ones where your child ask you every 5 minutes..."ARE WE THERE YET???" Only the question around here has been, " Is it that day yet???" And of course the response,up until now, has been a resounding, "NO, NOT YET." So when Friday finally rolled around there was no holding Ian back. He wanted so badly to go see that movie right then and there but as fate would have it ( or his little temper... whichever way you want to see it) we held off taking him to see it until today.... so off we went. All 4 of us. None more excited than my little man, after all he was going to see some of his HERO'S on the BIG SCREEN. At first, I was just excited for him. I liked the first 2 movies... how could you not, they are hilarious!!!! But I was wondering if this one would be able to meet my high expectations. And I must tell you, it did. Actually, if you'll forgive the pun, it blew my expectations to "INFINITY AND BEYOND" (come on... you saw it coming). It truly is a funny, cute, and at times, heart wrenching story. I won't give anything away but let's just say... the last 10 minutes I cried like a baby...LITERALLY!!! I kept screaming in my head, "NO, ANDY!!!! DON'T LEAVE THEM!!! THEY'RE YOUR BEST FRIENDS!!! AND THEY LOVE YOU!!!" That's how involved I was... sad, I know. But here's the biggest thing I walked away with from this wonderful little movie... TRUE FRIENDS NEVER,EVER LEAVE EACH OTHER BEHIND!!! NO MATTER WHAT SITUATIONS LIFE BRINGS YOUR WAY. Now I have to tell you why that is so important to me... you see, when Abby was diagnosed with cancer I lost nearly all my "true" friends. Friends that said they would be by my side no matter what.Life long friends. At first it made me angry that my "friends" would abandon me and my family when I needed them most but then I realized that maybe they just couldn't handle Abby having cancer and if that was the case then I really didn't need them in our lives right now. But then God did something amazing... He started shining His light on people in my life that were TRUE FRIENDS. The ones who NEVER, EVER LEAVE EACH OTHER BEHIND... the ones I never saw until I needed them the most. And then He began bringing NEW FRIENDS into my life who love with a love that can only be God-sent. There are some days when I look at these friends, both old & new, and think to myself, "I could not go on another day if this person was not in my life to make me laugh or hold my hand while I cry or sit and listen to me scream in frustration." That's when I realize the true meaning of friendship... it's not always lollipops & rainbows. Sometimes it full of storms that rage out of control and you just need a shelter in which to hide......that's when you know who your "TRUE FRIENDS" are. And when you find them, hold them tight... love them with the love of our Father.... and always make sure you have something to laugh at...TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!! :)


Friday, June 18, 2010

Me, Ian & Abby

The First One.....

Well,HELLO, this is somewhat new for me. Although I have been "posting" for a while now, it has only been on my daughter Abby's caringbridge site. For the past 3 years I have been giving details and updates on our life with cancer via that website and I continue to do so but I decided that I needed something of my own... and, WHA-LAA, this "Blog" idea came into my mind.

I have always enjoyed writing and since it has become a very cathartic past time for me lately, I thought I would take it one step further and write about more than just "living with childhood cancer". Don't get me wrong, I will be writing about Abby and our journey because, after all, cancer is a MAJOR part of my life BUT I will also be writing about all the other stuff that happens in our crazy household of faith... and yes, that would include writing about our ever precocious and oh-so adorable 4 year old son, Ian. He is a handful but I wouldn't change him for the world... for a CURE, most definitely... for the world, NAH!!!!!

God has shown up in huge, amazing ways in my life in the past 3 years and quite frankly, I cannot think of a time in my life when I have felt closer to Him. When you're told your little girl has stage 4 lung cancer at the age of nine and that same cancer is incurable, you can do one of two things... fall apart OR fall into the arms of the Miracle Maker, God. I chose to do both. I fell apart for about 5 hours on my own and then I fell softly into the arms of God and let Him hold me the rest of the night.... and you know what, He's still holding me. God's good like that. He never lets go even when I fight Him and question "why". So I guess that's where the title of my blog came from, "A NEW KIND OF NORMAL", life as I knew it before April 2007, no longer exist. We have had to adjust to "new normals"... some adjustments are easier than others. Life and death decisions that must be made in the matter of minutes are NEVER in the realm of "normal" but a God who has walked the road before me and waits beside me as I hold my Abby's hand, for me, is completely normal. So in the end, I guess some things never change, like God and His unfailing love for us and the fact that no matter how many tears I cry, I know He holds every one in the palm of His hand and I am so grateful that He does.