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Dear daughters,

I love your beautiful blueberry eyes and how they shine when you smile. I love how happy you both are, especially when our family is altogether. You are both such darling girls and I am lucky to be your mom. I know things have been different lately, but I promise it is only temporary. You may not even remember this chapter years from now, but…mommy has cancer. It is an owie in my booboo, doctors are giving me medicine to make it go away. The medicine does icky things to mommy like make me lose my hair, but it will grow back, I promise! The medicine makes me feel yucky sometimes, but that just means it is working. Throughout this chapter it is so important that you both know how much mommy loves you and I feel brave when I get my medicine because of you. I think of your gorgeous faces and suddenly I am okay. You both give me more strength than I ever thought I could have. Even though you both may not remember mommy going through this difficult season of life, there are a few things I want you both to know.

  1. You are stronger than you think. God will not give you more than you can handle. Life can be a burden sometimes, but I want you to be the blessing. And no matter what people say or do, you control you. God is on your side and you always do the right thing and push forward even when it is hard.

  2. Experiences far outweigh material objects. It is easy to get trapped into buying a bunch of stuff. Especially after this diagnosis, daddy and I are working hard to create your childhood moving forward focused on experiences and teaching you what is truly important in life.

  3. Eat well, get outside. God created you in His image, treat your body kindly. Fill it with goodness and get outside. We were meant to use our bodies to climb, walk, hike, swim, move and play…not be cooped up inside. After mommy’s done with her year of yuck, I will be ready to hit the road and hit the trails.

  4. Jesus is your best bud. Days can get pretty gloomy, but He is always on your side and there for you. Like you tell daddy and I Halen, “If you want to talk to God you fold your hands and pray.” And that’s really what it’s all about. God wants to know about your day, He wants to hear your hopes and dreams, He will carry you when life gets too hard to bear. Just like He is carrying mommy right now.

  5. Daddy and I want to be near you always. You’re little now, but one day you will grow up and venture out on your own. Remember that you always have a place at our table, a spot on our couch, have a bed in our home. We always want to talk to you, hug you, travel with you, and spend time with you. As I am going through this (as a mom), I am reminded how much my own parents (your YaYa and Papa) love me, worry about me, and want to be near me. Daddy and I feel the exact same, we always want to be near you.

So even though this year may be hard and frustrating, even though mommy may not be able to jump up and play or tuck you into bed or rock you to sleep doesn’t mean mommy doesn’t want to. It means mommy is trying to heal, I am working hard to be healthy again. Being a mom is my favorite role in this life God gave me, I love every single moment, chaotic or peaceful. I love walking into your rooms in the morning and seeing your bright-eyed faces, I love picking out your clothes for the day and making you breakfast, I love our conversations, our cuddles, I love playing with you girlies and all the adventures in the day. I love decorating your rooms and planning your birthday parties, and holidays. I love bath time and getting you into your jammmies. I love nighttime snuggles, prayers with you Halen, and rocking you to sleep, Henley. I prayed to be a mom my entire life, and you each more than fulfill my expectations as a mommy.

In the next few months, if I seem really sleepy and if we aren’t able to do as much this year, daddy and I will make up for it. Mommy is fighting a battle so that I can walk you into your first year of Kindergarten Halen, and your first day of pre-school Henley. Mommy is fighting this fight so we can spend summers in Michigan playing in the lake and hiking the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Mommy is enduring this yucky medicine, so that I can celebrate your 16th birthdays. So that we can go celebrate Halen’s 21st birthday at the Kentucky Derby (since you were born on that day) and go celebrate Henley’s 21st birthday in England at the Henley Regatta. So, I can cheer both my darling girls competing on the volleyball court or in the swimming pool. So, I can watch both my girls become successful, humble, confident, faith-filled women leaders in our world. So, I can dance with my sweethearts, as you both marry your God-given husbands. I am raging this war to spend the next 60+ years in each of your lives…laughing, eating, cooking, dancing, traveling, hiking, running, camping, skiing, kayaking…living.

I love you both more than every star in the Rocky Mountain sky and more than every grain of sand on the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Xoxo Mama

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