Dear Tessa…

Dear Tessa,

I know.  Where have I been? We last left off with me trying to desperately save our beloved cat Jack that we had for a mere two days.  Then I left you to sit with that cliffhanger for a really long time; which was pretty uncool of me.

Here is how it went down for Jack…

I went out to check on him at 5:30 the morning after I–ok fine, Dad–had given him his vaccine.  And let me tell you, Jack looked terrible.  It was clear that he was not going to make it so I left him there to pass. After I got you on the bus at 7:15 a.m., I went to put Kendal in the car.  I decided to check on Jack one more time.  He was gone.  I picked him up to move him to a proper resting place, but was horrified to find that upon picking him up, full rigor mortis had set in–like straight through his tail.  I can’t un-feel that.  There is nothing pleasant about that.  I had a stiff cat in my arms (*shutters*) that I was trying to shield from our resident cat-loving three year old.  A dead cat is dramatic enough for me without Kendal’s knowledge of it.  So back into the box he went until Dad could come home and help me out later that day.

I admit it…we straight up lied to you about Jack’s whereabouts after that. We told you that he went to cat therapy at the vet so that he could get better; hoping that one day you guys would just forget about him. Cat-freaking-therapy. It worked for a while.  But your sister, with her exceptional memory, brought Jack’s name back out the other day and we had to come clean…well, sort of. We said that Jack was so sick and the therapy just was not helping him which led to his unfortunate death.

Oh and remember how I said there would be no more cats?  I lied about that, too.  You will come to realize one day that we have told many white lies throughout your childhood.

R.I.P. Jack.  The end.  You and your sister are both fine, and I now realize that I went to great lengths to shield your hearts from something you were both okay with in the end.  Boy when I am on, I am really on in this motherhood business.  But other times, I am so far off.

How is everything else?  For anyone else who asks, I use many phrases that involve swear words to describe life as it has been the last few months.  Take that for what it is worth.  There have been many ups and downs, and most days feel like we are just entering a boxing ring with a defending world champ.  But we battle on because that is what we do best.

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Kendal’s face is all of us right now…

I can’t believe I almost forgot this–you have glasses now!  I mean you definitely hate them, but they sure are cute.  So far they have only had to be repaired once, which isn’t too bad considering how much you detest them.

In other news…you have a brand new baby cousin who is too cute for words, we had our first snowfall at the new house and we spent some much needed time as a family in the Dells last weekend for a family Christmas gathering. You gave us quite a scare when we had to get your labs drawn unexpectedly the end of last week, but all was well with your results.  Always full of surprises Miss Tessa Jo.  wp-1481308607512.png

Of course there is so much that I did not cover.  In time, though.  Right now we are playing a never ending game of catch-up in everyday life while trying to get ready for another beautiful Christmas.  More to come soon…

Love, Mom.

 

Random Reflections

It has been a wild last few months from moving to a new place in the country, a school change for Tessa, juggling the weight of our workload, traveling and making necessary lifestyle changes. All of which contribute to this transitional phase in our lives right now.  Some days are better than others.

But at the end of every day, my heart is full and my faith is constantly restored. It feels good to find contentment in change…finally.  After a long period of heartache and chaos that came into our lives without warning, I am certain that this adjustment was the right move for our family.

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We are healing and growing from our life experiences; gaining perspective along the way.  None of which happens in a day’s time.  And none of it happened immediately after we were no longer confined by a disease that held my daughter–and our family–captive.  In the process we face hardships and frustration and we learn hard lessons.  Recovery is a long process.  When treatment ends, it absolutely does not mean that it is entirely over.  We are never going to be free from this.  Never.  Every single day it remains with us…not because we choose it that way, but because that is just a part of it. This is something many people struggle to understand, and I would not expect that understanding either from another point of view had I not experienced it myself.

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Where I once shook my fists at God, demanding an explanation, I now have peace; appreciating the road less traveled because it has opened our eyes to other things in life that we may have otherwise missed.  It also gave us the chance to really realize our dreams after all was said and done.  To have the opportunity to chase them down and live them out without justification.  It has not been easy. These dreams have been met with resistance on several ends, but I am learning to let it go.

We battle self-doubt, fear and all kinds of what-ifs; but we let it go.  When others use words or actions to try and reduce us, our achievements and even our happiness…we let it all go.  And you know what?  It is amazing how freeing it feels to do so.  To literally not give a damn about any of it; to stay solely focused on what we have going on and to know that nothing can break us down or hold us back.  Because I can’t control how, when or if negativity will approach us; but I can control how I react.  That is the mantra I roll with.

The best thing I do for myself is to spotlight my own dreams, not someone else’s; by living freely each day for myself and not in spite of anyone or anything else.  Life is incredibly short and extremely fragile, and it can change in an instant.  Knowing that, I cannot allow my energy to be exerted on things that only add unnecessary weight on my mind and heart.

We know where we have been and we know where we want to go.  Our feet are steadily planted in a path we are choosing to follow–for the first time in a very long time.  We are days away from the anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever–Tessa’s leukemia diagnosis.  The significance of this day is not lost on me.  I will struggle on that day and the days that surround it; I won’t even lie about that.

As we head into the season of giving and gratitude, this landmark occasion serves as a good reminder for me to pay attention to the present; to look past the trivial things and soak in all that is good and well; recalling how things could have been very different for her…and for us.

Give thanks.  Life is good.