Some of us are lucky enough to have an amazing Mom. A funny, well adjusted, sarcastic, intelligent, beautiful, wise, caring Mom. And some of us are lucky enough to have two.
When I was in 7th grade I met Wendy. We became very close friends and remained that way through High School- even cheering together for several years. Looking back now Im not quite sure why the heck she was friends with me. Wendy is a doctor now. And she married a guy thats some sort of fancy research neuro doctor guy. Wendy studied a lot. And made good grades. And good decisions. See- not sure why she hung with me…although I can be fun 🙂
One of the benefits of being Wendy’s friend is you also get Wendy’s Mom, Lynda. When I would spend the night at Wendy’s house (which was quite often) Lynda would make us fresh baked cookies and bring them to us in Wendy’s room with milk. WITH MILK! Now- I know some of you know my mom, Karen Ellis. Witty, funny, sarcastic, smart, a little type A…but COOKIES AND MILK? Not that kind of Mom. Love you Karen but your strengths lay elsewhere- as do mine. My kids know Im not a cookies and milk kind of Mom. And thats ok. My very matter of fact Mom explained the birds and the bees on my chalkboard with drawings of a uterus and “man parts” and the very scientific terms that accompanied them when I was 11 or 12. Im still scarred to this day. Yes these are the same parents who blared Led Zeppelin all through the house in my childhood. What can I say. Practically liberal they were! Love them for all of that.
But I’d never been around a Mom like Lynda. Cookies and milk and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS smiling. Always sweet and happy and in a good mood. She made the perfect Elementary School teacher. God Love her. I could tell my Mom anything. No matter what problem I had- and she’d immediately draft a solution on an excel spreadsheet and help implement said plan without a hitch…..Lynda- she’d hug you tight and tell you its all going to be ok. Lucky me to have two Moms in my life. My Mom and Lynda are very VERY close friends. Best friends now. Have been for years. Yin and Yang.
I got to be there the day Lynda married Glen. I was 16. I remember thinking how lucky they each were to have found each other. Glen is so super cool! I am so blessed and privileged to have been there for that. Sometimes fate gets it right with two people.
When I was 18 my senior year of high school I was trying to decide between going to the local university just 30 minutes from my house or the college 3 hours from home. I was scared of leaving home and really debated on what to do. And there was a boy. He was staying local. So there was that. Lynda was over at our house and we went outside (just the two of us) and sat on my front steps on Addington Drive and talked. Well- she talked, I listened (thank God). She talked about the importance of leaving home and spreading your wings and getting away from your parents and NEVER doing anything because of a boy. And she helped make a decision for me- to leave home- to go away to college. I will never be able to repay her for helping me to make that decision. She was RIGHT!
When I was 33 I got a call from my Mom that my Dad had been in a horrible accident in Colorado on his motorcycle. She immediately got on a plane and headed for Denver to be with him. I began frantically running around my house, making calls, trying to stay updated on his condition. There were so, so many people in my house that day that I can barely remember it all. I really do not remember who all was there. It felt so strange to not have my Mom or sister or brother with me. When the call came. I was laying in my bedroom floor curled into a fetal position screaming and crying and SHE was there. Holding me. And just hugging and rocking me. Like a Mom does for her child. In my Mom’s absence, in the moment I found out my Dad had passed…she was there. Thank you Lynda.
Every year since my Dad died Lynda (and my Mom’s other dear friend, Shirley) have spent my Mom and Dad’s anniversary weekend with my Mom. They go camping with her or out to dinner or to a hotel or wherever. So sweet of them to spend what would be an otherwise sad day making my Mom laugh and fall off of horses (inside joke) and surely getting her drunk on wine. The GREATEST thing I learned from Karen was to make incredible friends and CHERISH them. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends.
And now Lynda has cancer. And I told Wendy I’d keep this blog “clean”. And Im not sure how to do that. Because Im mad. Im pissed. Im angry. There are a lot of good people in this world. But NONE are better than Lynda. A heart of gold and the grace of an angel and the sweetest personality ever. I have no idea why crap happens to good people. I’ll never know that. I gave up trying to figure that out years ago. But Im still mad. I hate cancer. Cancer sucks. So does Brain Rot. And Hypothyroidism. And Hashimotos. And Parkinsons.
But I love life and Lynda and I want her to know publicly how amazing I think she is. What an amazing person she is. That she has been and continues to be such a positive influence on my life. I love you Lynda! Karen loves you too and I love you more for what you’ve done for my Mom. If I could I would kick cancer’s ass (sorry Wendy) all over the place. I’d annihilate it and never allow it to harm anyone again. Im praying and hoping and wishing and crossing my fingers and meditating and using all that I have in me to make that cancer go away. You are a fighter Lynda- always have been. Love you- now kick cancer’s HINEY! :)-
You know that saying…Life never gives you more than you can handle? I call total Bull Shit. I know life gives you more than you can handle you just have no choice but to “handle it”. However you can.
My daughter, Maddie is 14 years old. Several months ago she was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism with an underlying autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Disease. Big fancy words for fat swollen thyroid and exhausted ALLLLL the time. The doctor is great…I like her. She’s young and cute and funny and does NOT wear a white coat. These qualities are a must in a doctor. Even my husband’s new neurologist was picked based on these exact qualities. * An aside note- I have fired several of his neurologist based on lack of humor and insistence on wearing that stupid lab coat. HIs new one kicks ass. She even said “shit” in our initial meeting. I hired her THAT SECOND!
So back to Maddie- the medication her doctor put her on several month’s ago was not working. Her thyroid was growing even bigger and her blood work showed it to actually be getting worse. She was more tired than ever and things were not good. So I scheduled an appointment. For Yesterday. And I took her by myself (which I rarely do) but my husband had to tend to our son’s four thousand activities. You people with more than two kids amaze me!
Me, a hospital, and running tests on my kid = a level of anxiety that my Xanax could not touch. But oddly enough I remained semi-normally calm. At least my face did. I might have had a mini heart attack in the ultrasound room as they were scanning her neck for cancer. Yep- cancer. Fuck. After the doctor examined her she felt the need to send us immediately to radiology for an ultrasound of her neck. To look for cancer. Or some other shit-tastic thing that could be causing this. But all I heard was “cancer”.
My entire family has thyroid problems except me. Mine is totally normal. TOTALLY NORMAL. I know this because I just got it checked. My aunt even had thyroid cancer as a teenager. And as my kid laid there on the exam table with someone running an X-ray ball all over her I sat frozen. Three thoughts went through my head. I remembered 15 years ago lying on a table and having a sonogram with Maddie in my tummy. I remember crying because finally I was having a healthy baby after several miscarriages. I remember finding out she was a girl. I remember all the wonderfully fabulous things I wanted for her future and her life. Not once when you’re pregnant do you envision broken arms, braces, boyfriends, hormones, dirty rooms, algebra homework or your kid laying on an exam table at 14 finding out if she has cancer. Thought two was of that scene in Steel Magnolia’s where Sally Field screams “I can run to Alaska and back but my daughter can’t”. The complete gut wrenching inner plea you have with the universe to please allow you to switch places with your kid. I would in a heartbeat. All parents would.
The third thought was of Sydney. Maddie’s friend that died over a year ago from brain cancer. My gut churned and my heart flipped and I came close to vomiting because I could not begin to fathom how her Mom feels. Cancer fucking sucks.
And I will admit that several times today I have wondered what I did to have all of this crap land on us. MY HUSBAND HAS BRAIN ROT. Is that not enough? Really? REALLY?
I often say Im a tough girl. I am. But my definition of tough is putting one foot in front of the other while crying and barely breathing and wanting to lay in a ball and stab someone. Im THAT kind of tough girl. But I am tough. And my amazing kid is tough too. She is SOOOO tough. On the way to the ultrasound room she said “Im not scared of thyroid cancer…I googled it…high survival rate….it won’t kill me for sure”…and then she added “Mom my only real concern is if I have to have chemo & my hair falls out how will I wear a cheer bow at competition?”
Thats MY girl. TOUGH.
And not 3 hours later we get a call from our cool doctor saying “ALL CLEAR”. No cancer. No fucking cancer. Halle-fucking-luyah.
And my heart goes back to all of those people in Children’s Hospital today that I saw who will not get good news. Sometimes life DOES give you more than you can handle. You just have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other. And if it takes pills or drinking or going crazy or counseling or taking up taxidermy or smoking pot or cleansing your aura or acupuncture or speaking in tongues or running away then SO WHAT. Deal with that shit anyway you can. Survive ANYWAY you can. No one in the world has the right to judge you or how you handle things…. NO ONE! And if you do have an opinion of how someone might handle something like this…if you think YOUR way is the ONLY way.…well…Im waiving a very well manicured middle finger at you right now…BLESS YOUR HEART.
Here’s to all those Moms and Dads who will not get a “good news” phone call. My heart is with you. Go punch a wall…sometimes it helps.