As I watch these Christmas movies with inevitable happy ever after, it makes me think back on my life. The choices I made, the decisions that led to me to where I am today… and what I would do differently. I’ve always been a fairytale girl, and God gently reminds me that people are incapable of fulfilling that desire within me. But, I think we can come close.
Christmas is bringing a lot of emotion my way, and I have had a hard time getting into the spirit. I feel like this battle is a never-ending rollercoaster, and I find myself straining to push the stop button. The rewind button, the pause button, maybe even the erase button, or how about the do-over button.
I find that most my days are filled with light, laughter, business which all equals my girls and Evan. Night time can be more difficult, as the house quiets my mind chatter is given ample volume to think aloud. I do a pretty good job of keeping myself positive, because really what other way is there to be? But when I watch these movies and watch the beginning of a romance, I think about where I am today. How I got here, how this cancer was allowed to flood my life, my family, my health…why is it being given a chance to threaten all I’ve built?
It makes me want to start over…to relive my life. To choose to be more kind, to not rush, to not worry over things that seemed so monumental to me, to take more chances, to travel to faraway places, to stop making excuses, to see more sunrises and sunsets, to donate more, to volunteer more, to give back more.
It makes me want to relive my romance story all over again…seeing Evan’s face for the first time. Seeing his eyes light up as we made that first connection mid-conversation. I want to relive our story. How he refused to kiss me on our 2nd date because I was still dating someone else (oops!), how we traveled together to the New York City and walked arm and arm around Central Park, how we skied together in Colorado falling and laughing down the mountain. How we swam in Lake Michigan despite the frigid temperatures. To relive the early days, not rushing the romance. How he proposed on the balcony of the Driskill Hotel on our two-year anniversary of being together and he thought of every single detail, how I exclaimed, “I feel like the Queen of America!” because I truly did. How he brought our friends and family together to celebrate. How much I loved planning every single detail of our wedding. How we had the most fantastic week with friends and family when we got married. How we flew to Vegas for our honeymoon because we spent all the money on the wedding. How we took our first big vacation to Hawaii for our first wedding anniversary, where “Vacation Evan” emerged and we had the most unforgettable time. How we’ve moved 8 times in the 9 years we’ve been together. How I told Evan we were pregnant at the Driskill hotel and a few months later we found out it was our Halen girl on the way. How that little baby changed our lives, made our hearts explode out of our chests. How we learned to become parents and how to strengthen a marriage while parenting. We explored Colorado, camping, hiking, and loving every minute. How we welcomed another daughter into the world, making our hearts burst even more. How my daughters have absolutely shaped me into who I am. Being their mother and Evan’s wife are my favorite role and one I do not want to relinquish.
I wish I could go back and relive it all. Relive my pregnancies, my births, my precious nursing days, snuggling with my tiny girls. Oh, how I wish I could go back and hug more, snuggle more, stay in and be cozy by the fireplace, or to lay a blanket out back in the summer and watch the stars up above. How I wish I could relive the baby moments with my girls, truly cherishing every single one.
Never in my life did I think I would be battling breast cancer. It didn’t even cross my mind for a second. It will seem manageable and then I get knocked off my feet again. It is all such a gamble, that the most important life lesson I have learned and I hope to convey through my story is you have to have faith. My days are numbered, all of ours are. Cancer may have seeped into my body, and I will fight like hell to make it go away. But it can’t take away my spirit. As challenging days come, I will embrace the emotion and then get back up. All I can truly control is living the best life possible. That is what I plan to do.
Lake Michigan 2010
Halen Rae Carol
May 3, 2014
Henley Charlevoix May 23, 2016
Snow in Austin