Thank you for the Second Chance with My Mom

When I was 18 years old, a senior in high school, my mom was given six weeks to live.

Her diagnosis progressed from a bleeding ulcer to pancreatitis to pancreatic cancer.  She was fading away before our eyes, losing weight, struggling to mask the unbearable pain from my dad, brother and I.

We didn’t have health insurance.  The City of Hope in Los Angeles came to our rescue….taking her in, performing her surgery and sharing the news that she had been, amazingly, misdiagnosed.

She did not have cancer.

What I remember vividly from that time…..saying goodbye to her.  Since it was possible she wouldn’t make it through surgery, we each….my dad, my brother and I, all had moments with her.  Moments where she struggled to pack a future’s worth of advice into ten minutes.

Be nice to your brother.  Take care of your dad – he’s going to need you.  Remember you can be and do absolutely anything you want.  Remember, no matter what, I will always be with you.

We walked with her as far as we could.  They put her on the elevator, facing out.  My dad, my little brother and I stood up straight, held hands, smiled to surround her with strength, mouthed ‘I love you’s’ and held our breath as the ice cold doors slid shut.

And then we crumbled.

Surgery was half the time it should have been.  The doctors swore what they were seeing in her was cancer, but it wasn’t.

She would recover.  And she did.

danielleandmom

She was there when I graduated from high school and from college.  She helped me get ready on my wedding day.  She has held both of my babies.

She is a Nana.  She is a wife.  And she is my mom.

Even though she lives almost 2000 miles away….and I don’t see her nearly as often as I would like.  I know that I can.  And that matters.

Thank you, Mum – for always being there.  I love you.

Do you live far away from your mom and would like to be reunited with her for a special occasion?

Procter & Gamble is doing something amazing through “Thank you, Mom Reunions”.  They are reuniting more than 100 moms and kids (between now and November) for those special milestone moments.

  • Head to ThankYouMom.com
  • Submit your story (100 words or less) explaining why you would like to be reunited with your mom (or the mom figure in your life)
  • Encourage your friends and family to vote.
  • 15 winners will be chosen every month between now and November
  • Winners will receive a travel voucher to help cover the cost + a digital video camera to capture the reunion (which you can share on ThankYouMom.com if you want!)

Good Luck!

From the ThankYouMom.com site:

ELIGIBILITY: This promotion is open only to residents of the 49 United States (excluding Maine) and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Employees of Procter & Gamble, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion and internet agencies and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void in Maine and where prohibited by law.

A great big Thank You!

I think you know I am excited-thrilled-over-the-moon about the Why Moms Matter Project and the Blog Talk Radio Show I am co-hosting (every Friday 2:30CST) with 2 of my favorite people – Josh and Rebecca from MomFaves.

And you might even know we are doing a Why Moms Matter Blog Tour.

What you might not know is that I love (and by love I mean come-here-so-I-can-give-you-a-great-big-squishy-hug) the wonderful and amazing bloggers who have joined the Tour and highlighted what we are doing.  By bringing attention to Why Moms Matter – each and every one of you is honoring the Moms you know, and even those you don’t. 

Being a Mom is easily one of the most fantastic and challenging jobs in the world – and we want everyone to know that Moms Matter and WHY!

So, here is my great big thank you to the Moms who have played along on our Blog Tour so far:

Mishelle at SecretAgentMama,  Sarah at OhanaMama, Deanna at DomesticChicky, Jennifer at TheDirtyShirtBlog, Christine at FromDatesToDiapers, Kim at CraftyMamaof4, Brandy at WritingsofaWAHM, Jen at TheClassyCloset , Carol at SheLives and to Bonggmom!

(If, by some terrible trick of fate I have not seen your Blog Tour post, please send me the link – I want to express my gratitude!)

If you aren’t already keeping up with these ladies – you should!

There are more bloggers honing their Blog Tour skills as we speak and I can’t wait to share them with you!

If would like to join the Blog Tour – just shoot me an email at danielle@extraordinarymommy.com and I’ll be happy to send you the details. The Tour will still be running all next week.

And, of course, to nominate a Mom doing ordinary, extraordinary things – hop on over to WhyMomsMatter.

You won’t want to miss the Mom we are highlighting tomorrow. She is a source of inspiration to many, but especially to adoptive moms and women working through fertility treatments.

Join us tomorrow (Friday) at 12:30PST/2:30CST on WhyMomsMatter on Blog Talk Radio.

Inspired Military Ovation

I had a moment today.  A big one.  A wow-I’m-living-an-Anheuser Busch-commercial kind of moment and it was fantastic.

After I tell the story, you might get the commercial reference, if not, I’ll catch you up at the end.

I’m at the airport.  My husband notices and points out a young Marine who appears to have just arrived home. He is walking with one prosthetic leg.  A second later, we see another young man – also with a prosthetic.  And then a third.  And a Marine in a wheelchair.  Another one walking with a cane. 

Within minutes we realize that this group of young men (there were no women with them) have just returned home.  The airport has provided transportation for them from their gate to baggage claim (and likely beyond) and is in the process of helping them all into seats. 

I stand up.  I am debating: walk right over to them and say ‘thank you’ or wait patiently for an opportunity to give them an ovation.  I waited.  And it was worth the wait.

As the last Marine took a seat, myself, my husband and a few dozen people broke into a beautiful round of applause.  Our clapping broke open the floodgates to more and more applause of gratitude.  I started to cry.  I could barely respond to the girl behind me who had been on her cell phone the entire time and wanted to know ‘what happened’.

I was proud to be a part of that moment.  Those men (and women) should know we value the sacrifice they have made.  Many are coming home wounded – both physically and emotionally, but they should never doubt that they are welcome and appreciated.

(Commercial explanation: a few years ago during a Super Bowl, AB aired a commercial much like my experience today.  It highlighted military men and women walking through an airport.  As they pass, one person after another begins to clap.  My throat gets tight just thinking about it.)  Ohhh…I found the commercial

It still makes me cry.  Especially in light of today.

The Land of the Free

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  ~Elmer Davis

 I don’t have any family in the military….but I have known many people who have served.

I am truly grateful for the brave men and women who sacrifice time with their children, the every day things they love and often their lives.

These men and women are the true heroes in our world.

Thank a veteran today (or tomorrow…or the next day)  They deserve our gratitude.

In fact, one man has created a ‘Gratitude Campaign’ aimed at thanking the men and women who serve.  He realized that an outward ‘thank you’ can feel awkward for those saying it….and those hearing it…so he created a sign.  Check it out!