Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry # 15

I am a rule follower. I don’t park in no parking zones. I never cut in line. I believe rules are there for a reason. But as I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of my cancer treatments, I started realizing that I was more than just a rule follower,

15. I was kind of a stick in the mud.

In general, this may not be true. I like to have a good time and my girlfriends probably get to see the wildest side of me. But with my kids I realized I’d been saying no or not doing things, A LOT. I literally had things I wouldn’t do. Like,

1)Chuck E. Cheese was a Grandma or babysitter treat. I literally didn’t go there.

2)I didn’t do rollercoasters. Yes, I’m sort of afraid and I don’t like that feeling in my stomach, but kids should feel it at least once. I knew I didn’t like it because I had tried it before!

3)I didn’t do water slides. Again, I think as I got older, my fear of things increased. But what’s the worst that could happen?

4)I didn’t get in the pool unless I had to, just to make sure my youngest didn’t drown.

These are just a few of the things, I would ‘sit out’ on. I’d find a chair and watch from it. I don’t know when this happened. As a single mom, you typically have to do everything with your kids. But I guess as they’d gotten older and bigger, I’d decided I was tired of always participating.

I feel like with my kids, I had become so one-dimensional. I was the disciplinarian. The rule maker. The enforcer. Like I said, as a single mom, you don’t have much choice. Since they’re kids and they need boundaries and guidance you have to play that role. But somewhere along the way, it had become my only role. I wasn’t any fun with them anymore.

But then, towards the end of radiation, I started doing everything. I went on a water slide with my oldest daughter. I jumped in the wave pool with my youngest and my nieces. I did a line dance with the girls on a cruise ship. And I loved every minute of it. What I loved most about it was seeing how much they enjoyed it. I loved being right there with them when they experienced that feeling in their stomach or the water splashing them in the face.

Yes, there were some things I was just actually afraid of (Cancer taught me it was silly to be afraid of those little things). But there was also this mentality that I DIDN’T HAVE to do those things or I SHOULDN’T HAVE to do those things. There was that feeling of it being a burden to a degree, as hard as that is to admit. The sigh I would let out when my kids wanted me to play with them or ride bikes with them or swim with them. All they wanted to do was have fun with me.

And that’s what I want to do now too. It was a rough year. We all deserve a little more fun. You know what’s even better?  We laugh so much more now – even when we aren’t doing any of those things I used to NOT do. Just in general, cause I guess I’m just more fun now. I might even take them to Six Flags 🙂 …one day!

Snapshot 2 (11-11-2015 10-38 PM)

Check it out! I even did this 2 days after my last radiation treatment!

Inspiration

The best thing about inspiration is it can come from anywhere at anytime. It also can be just what you needed even though you didn’t know you needed anything.

I went to an event tonight where I was inspired. I was inspired by art, by the artist and his passion to do more than just art, by the people surrounding the project who want to get outside of themselves and make a difference, by a young single mom just trying to do her very best. It struck me as odd that this eclectic gathering could make me feel so much, but that’s what I think we can learn from.

It is likely, that you are an inspiration. It’s also likely that you don’t even know it. But I would challenge you to be more conscious of it.

Encouragement and inspiration are like cousins. We often recognize when we are encouraging someone because it is something we are engaging in. But many people inspire someone without trying or knowing that’s what they’re doing. How do the two differ? I think we inspire one another by sharing ourselves. When we open a window into our lives and let others see into our private world, they can walk away believing they can do it too, whatever it is. It’s showing, not saying, that gives us all hope. That is the root of inspiration, the seed of what you can do or be.

So show people how to live a full, balanced, leaning in kind of life. Watching you face and overcome challenges may make a difference in their life and the lives of those around them. Being a single mom, you know how much you need that inspiration, sometimes just to face the next day. So why not be that for someone else?

That’s how single mom’s leaning in!