I am a happy person. Truly I am.
I wonder why this is? If you look at my life some could argue I have very little to be happy about. I lost my marriage and found out the man I spent 8 years with was a pathological liar and was finally arrested for assaulting me. During the year that followed I learned that everything (and I mean everything!) he ever told me was a lie (jobs, friends, drug use, alcohol use, right down to the college he claimed he went to that’s printed in my wedding announcement…he made it up). Then after I got divorced he didn’t pay the taxes, the debt, sign off on the title of our (now my) house (well it was always my house…I bought it and I was the only one on the mortgage but that’s for a different rant) Anyway the list goes on. I was struggling half way across the country from my family, trying to pay bills, deal with the marital debt he left me with, take care of a house that needed more work then I have time for, and handle a 3 year old who was being physically and emotionally abused and was in therapy. I was trying to piece my life back together and 9 months later my now 3 ½ year old was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Since then I have moved into Children’s Hospital. Watched my business continue to slide downward, been subjected to severe control and power abuse with her father, watched my bank account dwindle, worry about how to pay bills , not have time (or the mental reserve) to get my act together and get back to work. And spend 100% of my energy cheering this kid through chemo, surgery, and now a bone marrow transplant.
I would say it could be argued I just “put on a happy face.”
And yet that’s not true. It is a happy face. I am happy.
I am happy 7 months later Emily is still fighting cancer! She is HERE to fight her cancer. She has made it thru 6 rounds of chemo, 2 chest tubes, lung surgery, an 8 hour tumor removal surgery, and a bone marrow transplant. She is 4 days into her 14 day radiation. I am happy she is a fighter and no one has told us to go home stop fighting.
I am happy I have a family who hates my ex more than I do. Ok seriously now. I am happy because I have a family that is willing to stand by me, help me out financially, and encourage me to keep fighting for my daughter’s safety.
I am happy that for 12 years I have been in a pink bubble called Mary Kay. Where I have learned to set goals, control my attitude, smile at everyone I meet, and be supported by the most incredible integrity Faith filled women on this planet.
I am happy that this is a season in my life. That it’s not forever. And that both Emily and I will be stronger people on the other side.
I am happy because now I have perspective. I went out the other night with a couple and the guy stormed off mad. Who knows what they were arguing about. They’ve been on and off for as long as I remember. I am happy that I no longer need drama in my life. That my perspective has been changed forever. That it’s ok to disagree, even argue, it’s not ok to bring drama into your relationships. That I see the need for drama as a form of manipulation and insecurity. That I can pick and choose who I want in my life and I have the confidence to say “no thanks” when it comes to drama.
I am happy because my kid is fantastic. She sticks my hand in her warm bath water and then when I’m pretending not to look she puts it under the cold water running from the faucet. And then when I pretend to be shocked and horrified she squeals in laughter – a laugh that makes me laugh.
I am happy because when I got to sleep at night in the pull out hospital bed next to Emily and I say “Emmie I love you” she says “Mommy I love you”
I am happy because in her bath yesterday she told me “Mommy I love you a million gazillion, bazillion, migillion, cadillion, pazillion” I told her I loved her that much plus 100. She said “I love you that much plus 1000”
I am happy because even though I’m no longer Top 10 in Colorado in Mary Kay. (right now I don’t think they even have a spot for where I am!) I still have the skills and experience to rebuild where I was. My “stat reports” may have changed but I have not changed.
I am happy because Debbie Segal believes with more conviction then anyone I know that Emily will be ok. And Every time I am scared all I need to do is talk to her for 5 minutes and I’m ok
I am happy because no matter how bad things are I can always go dancing with Jaime and all will be right (or at least avoided for the moment)
I am happy because even with everything with my ex I would go back and do it all again just to have my daughter – even if she does have to fight thru her cancer
I am happy because 7 months ago Emily would cry on the door when I would leave. I was working like a crazy person trying to get my life back together. I was stressed and tired and just depressed. I would tell my therapist I felt so unconnected. I would sit with Emily and she would just want to play and I wouldn’t know how to just be present with her and play. I felt numb. My mind 1000 miles away filled with fear and worry and then guilt for not being able to just play. I would hold a toy in my hand and just look at it. And because of her cancer I now know how to play again. Cancer gave me a chance to just be with her. To play with her. To laugh and be silly. It gave me my relationship back with my daughter
I am happy because I am not alone. I value the people in my life more than the things in my life. Everything I have lost is material. Everything I have gained is priceless. I don’t get frustrated sitting in traffic anymore. I don’t feel like I need to defend or explain myself to people. I don’t care about the small things and I finally “get” the title of the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small stuff. I see the world differently. I value the “temporariness,” that in a blink life will pass me by. I used to live in the future. I will be happy “when”…when I’m married…when I am a sales director…when I have a baby…when I get a pink caddy. Without even realizing it in the last 8 months that has changed. I am no longer happy when. I am happy now. Cancer forces me to not think “when” because I don’t know what the future holds. Ironic that this is my life now. I am a planner. Emily was 2 and told me she wanted to rip the color coded calendar I had made us off the fridge. It broke my heart. Now I can’t plan more than a week at a time because you just don’t know where you’ll be. Will we be in the Hospital or home? With an infection? Without? In recovery? In crisis? There is no planning with cancer. I am happy I don’t have to plan.
I am happy because it’s sunny. I live in a hepa filtered room. I am happy every time I walk outside and take deep breath and am grateful for the sun and the air and the breeze.
I am happy for sushi, and bagels from Jordyn, and tequila. I am happy that I grew up in NJ and I will forever have a better appreciation for good food then the natives who live here in Colorado (or the Midwesterners who migrated here…the worst! Basically should just lump them with the English)
I am happy when I get to put on stiletto sandals – even when I get strange looks from the Doctors. It reminds me I have a life outside of these four walls and eventually Em and I will be back in it
I am happy for Video chat and that Emily can see my sister who loves her more than anything and Emily loves her back just as much.
I am happy for music. I believe God created music because he wants us to sing. I sing in the car. Alone, or with people. And when Em is in the car we sing together. Music makes my soul happy.
I am happy I don’t have to live up to expectations anymore. One good thing about having the rug pulled out from under ya….everyone knows you’re sitting on the floor. I don’t have to pretend I have it all together. That it’s better than it is. I can just be happy and ok with the crisis that is around me
I am happy that I am no longer married. No matter how bad things are now I am free. I am not being manipulated, controlled, or brainwashed by someone who needs a psyche ward instead of a spot in my bed. I am happy I only have 1 child to take care of now, not 2
I am happy that I will never date someone who I would have to get up if my kitchen was on fire.
I am happy I listened to that annoying little voice in my head that said “call Paul” last fall. I argued with it for weeks. Talk about eating humble pie. But I did. And he’s great. And I’m happy he’s part of my life.
I am happy Erin Rose, Cory Johnson, Jamie Roberts, Savannah Murdock, & Devon Kerns are people I get to have in my energy field
I am happy that 6 years ago after being in CO 2 weeks I saw an ad to audition for the Bovine Metropolis Theater and met Denise, and Eric and they just make Denver a better place to live.
I am happy because I have the most amazing Mary Kay director sisters ~ Deb S, Meara B, Shari S, Yvette A, Pam L, Vanessa M, Sentra H Susan M, Elizabeth M, Sally Ann Q, Suzy K, Lise C, Maryann C, Alexa T, Ronnie K, Kathy P, Tracy G, Judi R, Kelly J, Piper P, Kathy P, Wilma D, and all the others I’m forgetting to add
I am happy Chris Gallegos cracks me up and makes me feel like a million bucks
I am happy Jordyn has the best bed, best Stromboli, best bagels, best hug, and best heart and I am lucky enough to have him in my life
I am happy because Bethany, Jon and Becky and Alyssa are 4 people who have hearts bigger than Santa
I am happy because Brad is my man angel
I wonder why I’m happy. Is it a genetic pre-disposition? Is it 12 years of MK attitude training that it’s an actual choice? Is it the whole Zen Buddhist minimalistic theory…you take away the material and you realize what you really have? What makes someone happy and someone sad? When my marriage was falling apart (oh that, and my ex was threatening to kill me) I was diagnosed with situational anxiety and depression. I kept thinking “what’s wrong with me???” *note to self..there is nothing wrong with you, you were married to a crazy person, you have a perfect child, it was still worth it* I find it strange that at that point in my life – when I had a healthy child, choices (I mean I could have filed for divorce) and still had a solid business…I was depressed. Now I have a child with cancer, less choices (Per-CO law I’m stuck here till Em is 18 or my ex dies, whichever comes sooner), and have lost much of what I built in my business. Yet now, I’m happy. Really in my soul happy. Different then stressed. I’m still stressed beyond belief. Stressed about the pile of bills on my desk. Stressed that my judicial review will not be accepted and my alcoholic ex husband will still be allowed to administer medication s to our cancer baby. Stressed that my mother is coming back from NJ, moving back into my house, and has no plans to actually leave. Stressed that my car program is “up” in Mary Kay and for the first time in 10 years I have to “work” to earn a car. Stressed that I don’t have anyone to facilitate exchanges when Emily is discharged and her dad is going to hang our parenting plan over my head. Yet before stressed = unhappiness to me. Stressed made me depressed. Now stress, yes, it’s part of my life. And yes, it’s there and yes, I’m happy anyway.
My happiness isn’t linked to the stress or lack thereof in my life. My happiness isn’t linked to an event or an achievement or an amount in my bank account. My happiness isn’t linked to a relationship, a holiday, an accolade, or a vacation. My happiness if found in the mundane. In giving my 4 year old a bath. In pushing her on a swing. In that moment right before I fall asleep and think she’s made it another day. (and grateful I have too.) In that moment when the Dr is telling me how much her orthotics are going to cost every year out of pocket and I’m grateful that I’m already calculating what that will be by the time she is 18. In BBQ’s, snuggling, Ice cream, giggling, dancing in the elevator and then in the clinic waiting room to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Even grocery shopping. These are the moments that make me happy.
Should I say “Thanks Cancer?”
Well Ok even I’m not that Happy.