Category Archives: Get [Personal]

Get [Personal]: I’m a Survivor…

It’s been 8 years… 8 years since my last surgery.  8 years since I lost the last half of my thyroid. 8 years of waking up to a pill on my nightstand every morning. 8 years of life looking different. 8 years of deciding to live differently.

I remember returning to college after taking 2 years off, and traveling across the country to finish.  I remember calling my dad the week before Summer break with a scratchy throat and my usual semi-annual sinus infection, and him begging me to go to the doctor.  I didn’t.  However, my dad did wake me up the day after I flew home with an announcement that he had made a doctor’s appointment for me and we were leaving in 30 minutes.  I have never been more thankful for my dad than in that moment of forcefulness… Of course I went to the doctor kicking and screaming on the inside… it was just a sinus infection!  It would go away in another week. I would be fine…

The doctor gave me a full physical and when his hands felt the lymph nodes in my throat he discovered something else… a golf ball sized lump on my thyroid.  I was instantly a complete mess.  I knew what it was… I just knew.  That Summer wasn’t full of beach trips, a part time job and time with friends… it was full of doctor’s appointments, poking, ultrasounds and 2 surgeries.  But I was going back to school… come hell or high water, I was going to finish this time.  And I did.

I went through radiation over Thanksgiving break, then again over Spring Break… and somewhere in the middle of all of that Ryan and I started dating, got engaged, I made the dean’s list and graduated the following Spring Magna Cum Laude with a 3.87% GPA, and received a clean bill of health.  It was a miracle. A miracle that was aided by a college staff that understood, friends that stood by me, and family that all helped me through every step of the way.

I say all of that to say this… 3 years ago I was at a crossroads in my life.  I was still angry for having been made to go through that season… “Why me?” was all I could keep asking God.  And there was no answer…. 3 years later and there’s still not… and I have to be okay with that.  I will probably always walk around with that scar on my neck… but I had to choose to let the inside wounds scar too.  I had to choose to heal.  I had to choose to not let that season of hardship define me, and remain an open wound. And not walk around all the time saying, “Well, I went through cancer 5 years ago and that’s why I’m still angry.”

I had to choose to forgive God.  Forgive God?  Yeah… even though He’s perfect and can do no wrong… I had to choose to forgive and let it go.  If I hadn’t made those choices I think I’d still be that angry girl standing in the corner stomping her feet with her arms crossed… because inside that was exactly who I was, and how I felt.

We all get our hearts broken, go through hardship, have friends that die too soon, car accidents that severely injure, lose good jobs and on and on and on… but I think in the aftermath we have the opportunity to choose whether we let those unfortunate incidents become wounds or scars… wounds that we carry around with us for the rest of our lives, or scars that mark what happened but that we choose to live and grow beyond.

My scar may be ugly… and it may have been followed by a rapid scarf addiction… but it’s mine.  And it’s a constant reminder that although I went through something tough, I survived.  I survived. *exhale*

Get [Personal] Motherhood: Too Fast

Everything is happening too fast… He’s getting way too big, too fast… laughing, almost rolling over… and definitely not the cuddle bug he was 10 weeks ago.  As much as I wanted him out of my arms every night and sleeping in his crib, I don’t think I was prepared for the independence that would follow!  There are times where I’ll be holding and playing with him on my lap, and all of a sudden he just isn’t happy until I put him down in his swing or bouncy chair.  I mean, I’m thankful for the opportunity to get some work done while he’s awake, but now that I have my own independence I miss holding him!  How strange is that?  Many of my friends told me to soak it in while I could, and I wish I had.  The little chunker is already in 6 month clothes! How did that happen!?

Monday night I had an absolutely fabulous Get [Engaged] session (which I will share soon), and I was so thankful that I arrived home right before the kiddo was put to bed.  All I could do was sit in the chair and hold him… I was overcome with thankfulness that I had just a couple minutes to cuddle, because those opportunities are getting fewer and fewer. Proud of my non-camera wielding hubby for grabbing this shot for me.

Get [Personal]: Motherhood…

A little over a week ago Ryan and I had a knock down, drag out fight over nothing…  I was emotionally and physically exhausted from having to hold our son every night to get him to sleep.  The chiropractor said that he was seeing signs of stress in my back and arms from holding a 12lb child all the time.  I was afraid of letting him cry.  I was afraid of leaving him alone.  I had absolutely no time for myself during the day because I was either holding him, or sleeping because I was so tired.  Ryan was exhausted from having to take care of tired, hyper emotional me… it had been 10 weeks… my body and emotions were shot… something needed to give.

Everyone told me how much I was going to love being a parent… let me be honest… I love my kid, but being a parent is hard… not something I was loving last week. Realizing that I needed to set boundaries with my 10 week old son was unimaginable… I never thought that at 10 weeks my son would need boundaries, and I would have to tell him “no, that’s not what’s best for you” so early.

Now, let me be clear… I’m not writing this post to spark some controversy or argument… because there are some parents who are okay with running to their child at every cry, co-sleeping and holding their kids all day; I’m just not one of them, and I think I’m finally okay admitting that out loud.  I don’t love my son any less than those parents… I’m just choosing to parent my son differently.

So we set boundaries… We put Ian in his crib… and he hated it.  We started setting a schedule… and he bucked it.  We tried cloth diapers… I hated it.  I think the most freeing words were that of my second Mom, Carrie, when she prayed for me this week… “Lord, help Rachel realize that being a parent is trial and error.”  Relief… I have permission to try, fail and try again. And the other realization… it’s not my job to keep him happy, it’s my job to be his parent.

It’s been 8 days since we established these new boundaries… My kiddo is sleeping in his crib and is visually uncomfortable falling asleep in my arms.  It took about 3 days of consistency for it to stick, but he looked at me last night as if to say, “Ok Mommy, I’m full now… will you please lay me back down?” So I did… and he slept… in his crib… alone… without having to be held.  The funny thing is that as anxious as I was to get him out of my arms at night and into his own space, I miss him being in my arms and cuddling. On Friday we had a breakthrough… the schedule took.  Now it’s not regimented to the minute, but he finally “got it” and I’m waking up to a happy, rested kid every morning.  Things are getting into a rhythm… praise God.

Now, I know that I’m super new at this… and I don’t have everything together.  But I do wish that I had listened to the wisdom of my elders, and took their advice to heart in the beginning rather than trying to forge my own path.  I wish I had realized the age old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  I don’t know why at almost 30 I’m still learning by experience and not wisdom, but I’m hoping that this was the wake-up call I needed.  If I had listened to the wisdom of the Mom’s around me (including my own) I’m sure it would have saved me hours of sleep and frustration, as well as conflict within my marriage.  Now, I’m so excited to see what the Tiny Human will become, and the amazing things he’s going to do with his life… and I’m so thankful that I don’t just get to watch from the sidelines… I get to be one of the head coaches… telling him no, pushing him on and encouraging him to do his best.  Welcome to Motherhood.