Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Today Was Better

It's amazing what a little perspective will do for you. Today Steve, Ryan and I went to my Women's Bible Study hour, Steve to Storytime class--Ryan to the nursery, and as I explained my need for my particular prayer request, people laughed. People nodded their heads. Most of these women had been there or are currently there. The great thing about this group of ladies is that we are all different ages, and that's where the perspective came in. I trust these women. They are like my surrogate mom(s). Truth be told, I was missing my own mom yesterday, and wishing that she was standing there next to me during that photo session. She always knew the right thing to say to me, to put things in perspective, and she wasn't there. I felt her lack of presence; always do this time of the year. Lord, I miss her so much!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Is It Just Me?

Prior to today, Kiddie Kandads at Babies R' Us was THE best place to take Steve to get his pictures taken. I had been getting upset by the stupidity of having to wait to have pictures taken, no appointments! However, it usually worked out.

Two weeks ago, I found nirvana in an envelope! It was from Kiddie Kandids and it said that I could make an appointment to have my child's holiday picture taken if I had it taken prior to November 13th, I believe. Well, I ran to that phone, so happy was I! Guess what they said? Oh, well, yes we'll take your appointment. What time did you want? Oh, in the MORNING! Oh, no. We don't do that, because that's when children are usually at their best, thus the best pictures are taken during that time. BUT you can schedule an appointment at 1:40 PM or later. WTF! So stupid me thinks that a scheduled appointment at the place that has always taken the best pictures of Steve will be fine no matter what the time, as long as it's after naptime. Oh, what a silly mistake that was! Because, you see, I now know why they have taken such good pictures of Steve: He has always had his picture taken in the MORNING! Last year, you know, prior to having TWO children, I had Steve's yearly photo taken as well as the holiday photo/card because I had learned the year before that it is best not to wait until after Thanksgiving to have one's child's picture taken. See, this mothering thing is full of lessons you learn AFTER the fact. Back to the point. Last year everything worked out so beautifully, and I was so happy to not have to deal with having pictures taken during the holiday season. I stupidly thought, that since it went so well last year, and being that I could get an appointment and all, I should do it again with BOTH boys by MYSELF this year. I mean who could I get to go with me any way? Jeff, oh no, he got called into a zillion meetings, but I'll talk about how that was found out later.

I planned my whole day around this blasted appt. Getting Steve up EARLY so he'd be tired enough to take a nap EARLY, so he could get up, have a snack, take a poop, and get dressed early. It should have also worked for Ryan; he would also get to nap and eat. Well, everyone napped and ate, and we got to the store at 5PM like we were supposed to, but that is when all the positive things stopped happening. I, unfortunately, got someone inexperienced. How do I know this? I had to tell her what props, background to use, as well as how to position my children! I bet they schedule the best portrait people IN THE MORNING! Steve was being just downright ornery; he's a morning guy. Sure he'll sleep until 8-8:30 AM if you let him, but he just is not his best after he wakes up from his nap. Today was no exception. Stupid mama! At any rate, no amount of trying was getting my boy to smile. We tried cheerful noises, props, and yes, even food and water, my kid loves water, go figure, but he wasn't having any of it. So I said,"That's it!", and told Steve to get down, Ryan was going to have his picture taken, his 6 month. Yep, early, but I figured let's get 'em all done while we here and in these ridiculously priced outfits. Try to find coordinating outfits, not matching entirely, boys outfits that can be holiday, but 'don't have to be so you get your money's worth out of them', outfits! I ended up buying them from Gymboree. I have never purchased anything for my boys there prior to this. Yep, Gap is expensive, but they have SALES on items the kids can wear now. I was desperate, so I bought these outfits, and they are cute, but not what I paid for them cute. Okay, back to the point. Ryan took a pretty decent picture, so I put Steve back into the picture so we could get a holiday one taken, to make holiday cards out of. They do it there; I'm too lazy. Well, the only way we could get Steve to take such picture was to let him kiss his brother. At this point, I just told him to kiss his brother at the count of three, and poof!, there's your holiday picture.

During this whole sweat producing project, people waiting for their pictures to be taken have arrived; TWO whole groups! Now when I made the appointment, I told the woman that I would be having a holiday picture taken plus an individual picture taken of each child. Guess who didn't schedule enough time? At any rate, the portrait woman, 19 years old at most, whispers to me that she can 'pencil me in in then morning' when I said 'This is why I always have their pictures taken in the morning!', to which I replied, "I am not getting everyone dressed up again to do this!", or something close to it. So the people had to wait, and I know it's not fun. But neither is it fun to have pictures of your children taken, 3 years and the other 5 months, by YOURSELF, sans help like the rest of the people had. One woman's mom was actually trying to help me, she felt so badly for me, and to her I say a hearty 'Thank you!', because all the other people waited with the 'Your kid is such a fucking brat' look on their faces. And yes, he was being bratty, but come on, haven't we all been there? After the pictures were done being taken, we went over to the computer to have a look at them. I chose two poses, one of Ryan and one of the two of them, she deleted the one of Steve that I thought would work. Thanks! And it was then that I found out that Jeff had not even left work yet at 6:15, an hour away during rush hour traffic. How did I find out? He called my cell phone, which I had actually remembered and remembered to turn on. My husband being sweet and all, had purchased a few ringtones for my phone for our anniversary. Which one was playing at the BABIES 'R US, do you ask? 50 CENT'S sex-capade song,'Just a Little Bit'. And I didn't get to the phone in time, BOTH times he called. 'Come on unbutton your pants just a little bit, pull 'em down just a little bit...' You get the idea. Being that most of us had children from 3 weeks to my son's 3 years who did not want to have their pictures taken, I think it's pretty fair to say no one really wanted to hear a song about sex, because you know, that's how most of them got in this position in the first place.

I have to admit something, though. I gave in to Steve so he would shut the heck up, so I could choose those pictures. I told him I would give him the sweet potato puffs only if he was good. You know what? I gave them to him even though he wasn't being good, so I could do what I needed to do. It was then that I had my lightbulb moment: I am no better parent than anyone, except child abusers, are. I taught school, I even taught behavior disordered, or the more politically correct term 'socially/emotionally disturbed' children, children who were delivered to school via police, children who had started fires in the school bathrooms, children who had to be watched for fear they would commit suicide, and I did a better job with those children than I did of parenting my own child at that store tonight. That hour of hell for both of us. I am embarressed at my own behavior, I am mad at the store for doing the old bait and switch---hey you can make an appt. IF you do a, b, or c, but not during the MORNING---, I am mad at myself for making that appointment in the first place, and I am frustrated with my son. But, hey, look at me. I had my holiday cards/pictures created before Halloween, aren't I fucking perfect. The problem with this is that I have learned that I could appear to be 'perfect' with one child, but it is damn near impossible with two. Hey, I just learned another lesson. Why does no one tell you these things? These little things? You want to know what I said out loud as we were leaving that place,"We have now made everyone want to use their birth control tonight." Yah, I said it, and I am going to pour myself a glass of wine. This has not been one of my better days.

***(I am not depressed. The meds. etc are working well, so please don't worry about that. It was just one of those days.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Favorite Pictures Of...

Ryan and Steve. This is the first time I was able to get a picture of Ryan smiling. The picture of Steve was when he opened the Cookie Monster we got him from Build-A-Bear. What a racket that place is!

It's Done!

And I fear it's too small. I talked to the owner today, and we are on the schedule for first thing in the spring to enlarge it. My neighbor is also enlarging her patio at that time, so we are getting a deal since there will only need to be one place to be, and we are literally next door to each other. Jeff kept making it seem like it was my job to do this since I was the one who wanted the patio. Yes, I did, but if we didn't put the patio in we were going to have to replace the screened in porch's roof for the SECOND time since living here, and we never use it. It was not a nice one. Plus, the deck needed major work. My husband has not stained, sealed it since before Steve was born, so it was not in the best shape. Plus, pricing out a concrete patio I found out we would not save a lot going that route either. So basically, I tried to get a patio put in, and pay the least amount as we could. Now if my husband would have told me we had $2,000 more we could have spent on the patio at the time, then I would not have to be dealing with this again in the spring! But as we recently found out we are not going to be paid back money by 'you know who', it probably was for the best. And the size is fine, really, it just would be nice to have more space.
Now onto landscaping, which we will do ourselves. I don't mind. I will be putting in top soil where the river rock used to be, and then mulch on top of that. Come spring I will get to plant what I want. I have about six months to plan it all out! I never used to be excited about gardening, but now I have the time to do it.
Today we were supposed to have our driveway sealed. Guess what? IT RAINED! Do you see a trend here? Well, off to tumbling, and to clean off the spit up that my son just deposited on me. Yummy, and I bet I'll smell great! Why do I bother to shower?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, My Son! (Part 2)

Happy third birthday, my little boy! I love you more than I could ever express. You were my first miracle baby, the baby who gave me hope even as I lost my own mommy. You are still my little boy, but even more now; you are a big brother and what a great one you have been. I hope you enjoyed your party as much as we enjoyed giving it to you. So many people love you, and no matter what, remember I will always love you!
(BTW, it had appeared that blogger never posted my original post, so I posted this one too. I like them both, so I'm keepin' 'em).

Happy Birthday, My Son

On this day three years ago, my son Steve was born. I cannot even begin to put into words how much this child means to me, and to so many people. The child that gave my mom peace as she held him. Even as the cancer advanced to her brain, she always knew who her baby Steve was or as she called him, 'Buddha Boy'. The child that I ran to hold the day she died, and just feeling that warmth against my body made me believe that someday life might be good again. The boy who my dad would hold, and talk to, and who made him smile. The child that makes my husband's long commute worth it to him. The child that made me see that there was some good in the world, and that maybe I wouldn't be that sad forever. The child whose smile always makes me smile back. The little boy who gets right into my face when I am hurt, and asks so seriously,"Mama, are you okay?" My little helper, Ryan's big brother, Jeff and my everything. My little blondie who couldn't have made me more happy if he tried. I am so proud of my little guy, and am so proud to call myself his mother. So good-bye babyhood, good-bye toddlerhood, hello preschooler (hood). I look forward to learning more from you everyday, my little Stevie-boy!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Damn Rain!

For the past 6 months, we have been in a drought. So much so, that I have had to water my fall plants because of a lack of rain. So today, we are FINALLY having our paver patio put in. The crew arrives, work for 2 1/2 hours, and then it fucking starts raining! My son has not been able to play in the backyard for almost 2 months. So yes, that means I have to drag poor Ryan out front every day, and pray that Steve remembers his boundaries if I look down at Ryan for a moment. Above is what our backyard looked like when Jeff first started taking down the deck and ugly, useless screened-in porch, as well as what our backyard looks like right now. Damn mother-nature. She has a sick sense of humor.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Weird Taste in Music

I LOVE music! Always have, always will. And I love a variety of music. By that I mean that I can listen to 50 Cent one moment and Barbara Streisand the next(particularly her duet with Neil Diamond, 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore').It got me through a rough break-up.

On the way to the hospital to have both of my kids, I had the CD's picked out that I would listen to on the way. Now remember I was in labor with Steve, not a planned c-section like with my boy Ryan. Do you want to know the song I listened to with Steve? 'Let's Get Down To Business', from the Eminem Show. I thought it was kind-of fitting, you know. I WAS getting down to business.

With Ryan I listened to 50 Cent's song 'In Da' Club'. You know the song that goes like this: 'Hey shorty(my little baby) it's your birthday. We gonna party like it's your birthday. We gonna sip Barcardi? like it's your birthday. And you know we don't give a fuck 'cause it's your birthday.' I found this song fitting because it WAS Ryan's birthday. And one of our nicknames for our children is 'shorty'.

But the one song that can get me to cry every time I listen to it is the old Harry Chapin song 'The Cat in the Cradle'. Let me highlight why; I hope I'm not boring you!

'...He came to us in the usual way. But there planes to catch , bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. ....Hey Dad. Can you teach me to play. Son, I can't. He said,"That's OK." And he smiled as he walked away and said,"I'm going to be like you, Dad. Someday I'm going to be like you." And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man on the moon. When you comin' home Dad? I don't know when, but we'll get together then, son. You know we'll have a good time then. (And then at the end of the song), "I have long since retired. My son's moved away. I called him up just the other day. I said I 'd like to see you if you don't mind? He said I'd love to dad if I could find the time. But the new job's a hassle and the kids got the flu, but it's sure nice talking to you dad. It's sure been nice talking to you. ANd as I hung up the phone it occurred to me he'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me!" And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy and the man on the moon. When you coming home SON? I don't know when, but we'll have a good time then, DAD. You know we'll have a good time then.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song because of it's lesson. You can't get back the time you didn't spend with your children. Listen to the whole song. I just highlighted the parts that particularly stick with me. This song was recorded in 1976 or 1977, I believe. One of my all time favorites, especially now that I'm a parent. Here's the link with all the lyrics if you'd like to read them. If they don't make you cry, then I don't know what will! Cats' in the Cradle

So there you go. I can listen to rap, hip-hop, rock, and just old stuff. I say that's being well-rounded, my husband just laughs and tells me to stop changing the damn station on the radio so much!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Because I Can!

I'm stealing L.'s from have two, they're small comment on her two adorable children. Now REALLY, aren't my boys beautiful??? I certainly don't feel this way because I'm their mother or anything:)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fall Fun!

Our first trip to the local pumpkin farm was a success. Steve loved the cornstalk mazes, the hayrack ride, and mostly the choo-choo train! Mommy got to ride along with him, too. Steve is not crazy about taking pictures anymore, unless Ryan is in them, then it's OK. Daddy was so happy to be able to come along on one of our fun activities; he misses so much by working long hours. We just had such a great weekend!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sex!!! (Do I Have Your Attention?)

I mentioned before, several times when I was pregnant, that after Ryan was born we were done, DONE, with having children. The years of stress from the miscarriages, infertility, surgeries for endometriosis that 'is not very advanced--stage 2 at most and unlikely the reason why you're not getting pregnant', but causing me so much damn pain I couldn't even take care of Steve when I got my period!, two pregnancies, one emergency c-section after a day of labor in which the epidural did not work, one planned c-section and the raising of two children simultaneously, have just been too much for me to even consider doing it all again. So the decision was made that after I gave birth to Ryan, Jeff was getting the big V., funny how insurance will cover THAT, and I would continue to take the pill to keep my endo. from getting worse. We knew Jeff would not get the 'snip-snip' right away, but I was going to take the pill so everything was just rosy there. Actually, there was no need to worry. Come to find out, when you have PPD and two children, one who does not sleep, there really is no sex happening anyway, thus no chance for pregnancy.

Well, it took almost 4 months for me to feel as good as I am right now, knock on wood. After I took the pill for two months, I remember why I didn't like it. I had NO libido at all, not just no desire to have sex because I was too tired, I mean I felt a-sexual. I had zero interest in sex. Plus, I was feeling some of the pains from the endo., minor, and with the depression still not getting better, I decided to go off the pill. Soon I wanted to be 'intimate' with my husband, which definitely helped the marriage. Not to say that we were having any problems, we really weren't, but you know what they say about all work and no play.... The first time I felt the inkling to have sex with my hubby, I looked in the cabinet and found the Trojans we bought 4 weeks after Steve was born. Yep, four weeks. Remember I had a c-section. Those parts weren't hurting a bit. And as a side-note here, with Steve's pregnancy I was on modified bedrest, meaning no sex for the whole pregnancy. At any rate, we were ready fairly soon after I had Steve! So I sent Jeff to the store where he bought those condoms, and you know what: we never used them. AND.........we never got pregnant!!! OK, so back to my point here. We had condoms, I had planned to use the condoms because I am so against another pregnancy, but get this, we didn't use them. Jeff didn't have an issue with using them, I just felt like 'what's the point?' Plus, I must admit I hate condoms. I just do. I feel one of the benefits of being married is that you don't have to use them. I ended up getting my period almost two weeks later, on Ryan's Christening Day. Remember that day? Yep, them were good times!

Well, during my period I remembered that I had my fertility monitor and almost a box of unused sticks in my drawer. Now I still had no desire to get pregnant, mind you. I decided to use it, the sticks are soon to expire anyway, to find out when I am ovulating. I mean, that's useful information, isn't it? No matter, that I can tell you when I am ovulating within a day of it happening, usually less. Remember, I am a former infertility patient. I know the signs of ovulation better than most doctors. It's true. Ask my RE. So I must ask myself, what the heck am doing? Maybe it's just an obsession. I can't leave infertility/fertility alone. I laugh at myself when I look at my cm and can identify how 'fertile' I am on that given day. I think it's just a habit, a hard habit to break. Oh, wait. I hear the band 'Chicago' singing that song. The lyrics are true.....Hey infertility, 'being without you takes a lot of getting used to....'

Sorry about that, are you still with me???? I remember thinking when a friend of mine who went through infertility prior to having her twins, got pregnant and was upset about it, that it musn't have been the worst thing that she felt could have happened to her or she would have been using birth control. And ironically, is that a word?, I am now the one not using birth control. I know several people, people who did IVF, who got pregnant naturally after having their children. Funny thing is, two of those friends went through IVF again to have a second child and none of the cycles worked. So they just decided to accept their status as a mother of one. And then POOF, well it took a little bit, they end up pregnant, and they didn't m/c. So you'd think I 'd know better. I mean after all we've gone through, plus the fact that after having a second pregnancy I am so over wanting to experience another. Add in that my PPD was worse this time, and as a fellow blogger has said, PPD has caused me to miss too much already. Do I really want to risk it? Do I want to risk another bout of PPD, possibly worse this time? Another year of getting the weight off and feeling not as good about my appearance as I'd like to. Another turn at morning sickness, exhaustion that I could feel down to my bones, and this time with a child that does not nap. You know, I think if I had had a girl this time I would have already had Jeff get that vascetomy. Isn't that crazy??? I just continue to think about what I am missing without my mom around, and all that I will be missing out on when my children are grown. I will have no daughter to pass on my words of wisdom to. No way to pass things on , and I don't mean material things. And I am embarressed to admit this, but I am afraid that if I live to an old age, and God forbid Jeff is not with me, who will take care of me? What if my daughters-in-law don't like me, and I end up alone in a state- run nursing home. It makes me shudder to think about it! The funny thing is that I can hear my mom saying to me right now, as she often would when I'd get ahead of myself, "Bev, why are you worrying about this now?" My answer, "I don't know." I do know that I should not get pregnant again, and yet no matter how slight, there is a possibility that I might since I am not preventing it. My doctors would be horrified. But my husband, ever the Pollyanna that he is, said, "Wouldn't it be funny to send my parents a Christmas card next year that read, 'By the way, we had another kid'? Gotta love my husband. He can turn a bad situation into a potentially not so bad situation. But really I still have to ask myself: What am I doing????

Friday, October 14, 2005

Best of Friends

Steve and our dog Maddy love each other so much; it is so cute to see! Maddy was our first 'baby', and I was very worried about how she would accept kids after being an only dog for so long. Well, I needn't have worried. Many times she will go to Steve, and try to coerce him to play with her. And the bonus of this friendship is that whenever I want a few moments to myself, I just have to tell him to find Maddy, or go play with Maddy! LOVE that! The funniest thing, though, is that Steve was always heavier than her; she is only 8 pounds and he was almost 9 at birth. Maddy is no priss though. She rarely barks, she's tough as nails and she believes she is not a Shih-Tzu, but really is a German Shepard or such. It's so funny. But the thing I love the most about her is that she lets me hold her while I fall asleep. I have chronic insomnia, and this really helps. Like a security blanket, I guess. When my mom died, I only could fall asleep with her right next to me, and she hasn't left my side since.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Boy and His Pony

This past weekend we went to a friend of mine's daughter's 3rd birthday party. Did you follow that long-winded run-on sentence? I thought Steve would be scared of the ponies, but being my son and all, he loved them! Yes, we all are animal lovers in this house!

So Steve's birthday is coming up and I had to break it to him that he was not having ponies at his party. Is it just me, or does anyone else think kids' parties are getting a tad overdone????

Going to my weekly therapy appt. in an hour. An HOUR of time to MYSELF--oh my! I am feeling very reflective right now, so I am sure I will have another post in me. Man, if only I had a password protected blog, then you'd really be hearing an earful tonight! Don't you feel left out!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Kids Do the Darnest Things!

Steve put a tube's worth of Vaseline on our door to the basement. What was I doing? Feeding Ryan. Have you ever tried to clean Vaseline off of wood? Neither had I. My husband tells me it wasn't fun. Yah, you guessed right. Some of it is still on the door, and wall. Found THAT one 5 minutes ago. What to do? What to do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

He Can Really Do It Now

Steve dressed himself today. Not just his shoes, but everything. Plus, his shirt was on the right way, the pockets of his jeans were in the back, his socks were on ALL THE WAY, and his shoes were on the right feet. At first I could literally feel the glow of mommy pride as I watched my big boy obviously so proud of himself, and I was proud of him too. But then, THEN, I thought to myself, 'What the heck will he need me for if he can do everything himself?', and then I got a little weepy. I guess this is what this whole parenting thing is about. Taking a baby who is reliant on you for everything, and molding him into this free-thinking person who can do for himself. I had to remind myself that this is a GOOD thing. My neighbor tells me I will actually enjoy not being needed so much, and I believe her--I DO, it's just a little bittersweet as endings usually are. Most of them anyway.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Are You Talking to Me????

Today I took Steve to the dentist for the first time. It did not go well. I think Steve has had PMS this week, or at least the toddler form of PMS. He's OK one moment and the next POOF, he's down on the ground crying, while I am left wondering what in the hell happened here? So after bribing Steve to open his damn mouth because it took a lot for mommy to get his brother, him, not to mention herself ready to go to this appt., plus it's costing us money, so just be a good boy honey and OPEN YOUR DAMN MOUTH ALREADY! I love my son, I do, but his display of rudeness was SO embarressing, especially since he usually is such a happy kid. I told this to the dental hygienist, and she laughed like 'Yah, lady. Tell me another one!'. I wanted to yell, "I swear he really is happy, usually. He's just having a bad week!', but I know she would not have believed me. So daddy is taking him next time; in my dreams! Finally Steve did open his mouth so his teeth could be polished, and then the dentist had a look. So then I had to honor the bribe, and take him to the mall to Auntie Anne's for a pretzel and water. Yes, you heard right, water! I love that about my kid. He'll point to my drink, and say 'Coke.', and then turn and ask for water. And yes, he's had coke before courtesy of the grandparents.

Of course, Ryan gets hungry while we are there, so I took him out of his carrier and fed him. Then, shame on me, I tried to put him back into his carrier. The horror! So I decided not to strap him in until we got ready to leave. Fast forward to that lovely scene. Ryan SCREAMED, screamed like he hasn't screamed in a month or more! Steve ignored it, as usual, and I did my best to remain calm. Apparently, I did a good job of making it look like I was completely calm, because one of the clerks says to me, about Ryan,"He must have his Daddy's temper because his mom is so calm, cool and collected." I smiled, and thought to myself 'Is she talking to me?' It was then that I felt so proud of myself. For the first time I didn't get nervous as hell as my son screamed in a store. I just said to myself 'Babies cry. I'm doing my best. Everything is fine." And everything was fine. Knock on wood, I feel the best I have since my mom died. My therapist, Jeff and I believe it's a combo. of the meds. working, hormones in check, and ILs out of the picture. All I know is that I never want this feeling to end. I feel good, and that is so nice to be able to say!

Monday, October 03, 2005

This One's For You, Mom!


This past Saturday, my family attended Chicago's Susan G. Komen 'Race for The Cure'. I walked in memory of my mother, Debbie, and in celebration of my SIL's two sisters. Laura was diagnosed one year ago at the age of 37. Her sister Tracy was diagnosed four years ago at the young age of 31. Her baby was 6 months old. Her lump was originally attributed to breastfeeding. Luckily her mother convinced her to talk to her doctor again. Unfortunately, it was cancer. My SIL, brother's wife, is the only sister to not be diagnosed at this time, and how I pray she never develops breast cancer.

My mother Debbie was 46 when she was diagnosed, and 51 when she died. I walked so that we find a cure for this disease, and in the short-term, better treatments. My mother once told me that chemotherapy is barbaric; we are still using this treatment that was used 50 years ago. If you have ever seen, really seen, a person go through chemo., then you know what she means. We are basically shooting toxins into people's veins to destroy bad cells, and we almost certainly kill too many good ones in the process. I walked also so that I am here to watch my children's children grow up. I walked so I can watch my own children grow up. I walked so that maybe I won't die of breast cancer like my mother did. The doctor's have told me my risks, and they aren't so hot. But I am being proactive. I had my first mammogram at age 30, 5 weeks after my mother died, in tribute to her. She wanted me to do this earlier, and sadly I waited until she died. The radiologist sat with me afterwards, one on one, and told me the scan looked clear, but he felt with my family history I would be better served by having an MRI. I just couldn't do it. It was still too soon. It took everything I had to make it to that mammogram appt. that day. However, now I am stronger. There is a hospital, Loyola Medical Center, about 45 minutes from here that is renowned for their treatment of breast cancer. And not only that, they are one of the few hospitals in the country to screen high-risk groups. AKA--daughters of breast cancer patients, sisters, etc..... They know what they are looking for better than your general radiologist. I am hoping to be able to have a mammo. there. It'll probably take me 6 months to get an appointment, but that's okay. All of my other doctors told me that I can wait until I'm 35, but what is the harm in having another one sooner? My insurance will pay for it due to my risk. I'm sure they'd rather pay for the low-level treatment than what comes when you are diagnosed at a higher stage. Mammograms are no big deal really. And if it saves my life, then it was well worth it.

I really enjoyed the race this year. It felt so good to be among people who understand you. Who know what you and your family have been through first-hand. Who, when they see your sign that reads 'I Race In Memory of My Mother', don't give you the pity look. They give you the look of someone who understands. Of someone who truly understands how the years of slowly watching the person you loved most of all, die right before your eyes. They know the pain you experienced when the cancer was pronounced terminal. They know how you tried to squeeze 40 years into 6 months. They know how you felt when the strongest person you've ever known, the one who took care of YOU all your life, needed you to help her walk to the bathroom. They know how you as the daughter were the only one who saw how important it was to your mom for you to go through the list of her valuables and write down who she wanted to have what, even though it about broke your heart to do so. They know how sometimes you'd hide from the world so you could pretend that your mom was fine, that she wasn't dying, that everything was going to be fine. They know your regret over doing this; you should've been with your mother more. Way more. You should have grown the hell up, sucked up the PPD, there was time for a cure for that later. You should have BEEN there, but you weren't, not as much as you believe you should have been. No matter how many times your father said you couldn't have done any more than you did. They know you'll never believe that. They know how you still cry, and at times when you don't expect it. They know how lonely you feel in this world without your mom. They understand the anger, the questions, the 'why us?'. They understand not only how the holidays won't ever be the same, but how much they royally suck sometimes. They understand the emptiness. They look at your two young boys and instantly know the joy they give, but also the sorrow. The sorrow because all they know is Grandma Debbie lives in heaven way up high with God. They understand how much it hurts when you ask your son where Grandma Debbie is, and he says 'I don't know' as if he's really trying to figure it out. Maybe he is, and isn't that sad? So on Saturday I felt a comeraderie with these strangers who knew things about me that my best friends will never be able to understand. I felt good. I felt the cool breeze hit my face as I walked three miles along Michigan Avenue with all of these women who are just like me. No matter that some are white, some are black, some Hispanic, some Asian, because on that day we were all sisters. We have all been witnesses, we have seen what this disease can do to women, can do to FAMILIES, and if we can help it, this disease will all but be a memory. Let's hope so.

**The first picture is of my dad myself, my husband and my son Steve (Ryan was behind him in the carrier). The second is of myself, my niece and my SIL. The third myself, Steve with the tag I wrote for him to wear--'We walk in memory of our Grandma. God bless Grandma', the last two are kind-of self-explanatory. Thank you reading, and if you mother is still alive, please call or give her a big hug in memory of my mom, will you?

***Also, check out VirgoJen 's last entry. She walked the next day in her state's 'Race for the Cure'. She also lost her mom to this dreadful disease, but found an even more creative way to raise money. Go Jen!!!