The day I became a mother was the very best day of my life. I had literally dreamed about becoming a mommy from the time I was in elementary school, maybe even before. This may sound weird, and I am not sure I have ever admitted this to anyone, but where most kids excitedly looked through the big JCPenny catalog picking out toys, I looked through the catalog picking out the children I would someday have…. And of course picking out all of the cute clothes I would someday dress them in. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied with; “I want to be a mommy”. My love of children only grew through the years and I was quickly labeled as the one most likely to have a gaggle of kids by my peers. I started babysitting all of the neighborhood kids at when I was 10, and I loved every second of it. When I was in high school I took a job working in a daycare after school and later I worked as a nanny for two amazing baby girls that I still refer to as my first born. I fell in love with every child that I had the pleasure of caring for, and I often joked that I was a second mommy to many, however the love that fills your heart as your baby grows and develops inside of you, and the joy you feel in the moments you bring that baby into the world, are nothing short of awe-inspiring, life-defining, and indescribable for those who haven’t felt it for themselves.
I had spent so much of my life planning for the day that I would bring a baby into this world, but I really had no idea just how life-changing it would be until Corryn made her grand entrance. We had spent months planing and designing her nursery, baby-proofing our entire home, and of course, filling her closet with the cutest clothes and shoes I could find. I had been around kids most of my life and often had parents come to me to ask advice on the care of their own children, so I didn’t have the fears that a lot of first time moms have in bringing a baby home from the hospital. Being the Type A-planner type that I am, I had read all the pregnancy books I could get my hands on, so I really did have everything planned and very well thought-out when it came to my birth plan, and I was ready in every sense of the word, but sheer amount of love that filled my heart when my doctor lovingly placed Corryn in my arms was a love only a mother could understand. In that moment my world filled with a Joy and happiness that I had never experienced. From the first my sweet Corryn looked up at me with her big brown eyes and wrapped her tiny hands around my finger, I was all-in. My life happiness no-longer hung on what I wanted for myself, because my life was no longer about me, the only thing that mattered now, was what I wanted for Corryn. In an instant she became my everything and I learned what it really means to love someone more then you love yourself. I learned what it means to be a mom.
Just two years after the happiest day of my life, I faced the hardest day of my life. Being diagnosed with breast cancer was and still is the scariest thing that has ever happened to me, but not for the reasons you would think. People often complement my strength in facing this awful disease, however I feel that my strength is no different then anyone else’s, the only difference is that cancer forced me to test my strength and push it to its limits. In the moments leading up to my diagnosis I was able to mentally prepare myself for the fight of my life as a young women facing cancer, however from the moment I heard the words “This is serious, we think you have two forms of breast cancer” I realized that I wasn’t facing breast cancer as a young woman, I was facing breast cancer as a young mom. In fact, I don’t remember fearing the cancer itself. My biggest fear was and still is, that cancer could someday take me and leave my baby girl without a mommy and my husband without a wife. Being diagnosed with cancer wasn’t something I could change, so I didn’t waste time or energy feeling sorry for myself and wondering “why me”, instead I started making plans for a world without me in it and planning all of the things that I could do to make sure that my sweet Corryn would grow up knowing that her mommy loved her, even if I wasn’t here to show her myself. Looking back now, I know I wasn’t as close as I thought to being taken from this beautiful world, but as a mom we do everything we can to be prepared in a moments notice and although I am optimistic and determined to continue kicking cancer’s butt, I am glad I prepared for the worst in the early moments. Mothers are doers, without thinking we jump into action, like my own mother, who dropped everything to care for me during my surgeries and treatments. I was doing everything I could to make this scary situation a positive experience for Corryn. She may not know it yet, but she has been my everything from the moment I found out she was growing inside of me, she is and always will be my greatest accomplishment, and most of all, this past year she has been the reason I get up every morning and fight with everything I have in me.
Today is a day set aside to honor all mothers. Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mom, and my two mother-in-laws, happy Mother’s Day to all of the mommies out there who selflessly dedicate their lives to the children they bring into the world, and most of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the strong, brave, and courageous cancer fighting mommies out there who get up and fight every single day, because they cannot bare the thought of their babies facing a world without them in it.