About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Life Lesson #164~ I'm Home




"Because when I look at you , I can feel it. And  - and I look at you and I...I'm home. Please...I don't want that to go away. I don't want to forget. " Dory, Finding Nemo

I can hardly believe it's been 14 years since we first watched Finding Nemo with our boys. The year was 2003. Joshua was 6 and Micah just 4 years old. Little did we know that just three short years later breast cancer would come for me, wrangling for our family and the life we were creating together. How could we know then that every memory we were making was about to be put to the test, tearing at our fabric, and pulling at the very stitches holding us together? How could we know a barracuda named breast cancer would come seeking to destroy our home, our life together in 2006, possibly leaving our boys without a mother? I wanted nothing more than to see my boys grow up. I mean what an awfully big adventure that was going to be right? I longed to see where life would take our boys even as my hair fell out and as I read them a book called 'Love You Forever' by Robert N. Munsch. And yet, by God's grace here we are some 11 years after that terrible day. When I was diagnosed with the C word it was a crushing blow. The moment that barracuda stuck her head into our little anemone we called home, grabbing at our life with her sharp, terrifying teeth, seeking to tear me apart and away from my family will never be forgotten. How could it be? Fear, uncertainty, loss and death are just a few of the words that come to mind. We all still bare those emotional scars, just as I wear my physical scars. BUT to God's credit, we have done just as Dory says, "When life gets you down, do you know what you've gotta do? Just keep swimming."

I really love this line from Finding Nemo, so heart fully said by Dory. "When I look at you I CAN FEEL IT.  I look at you AND I'M HOME..." That one line caught me off guard and honestly by complete surprise the other day. I couldn't hold back my silent tears watching this movie again with my class. I was stunned Dory's words had such a grip on my emotions. Dory's words pleading with Marlin held me tight and in that moment stirred such a deep reaction within me I felt my heart break open. I was struck by the reality of how far my life, our family's life has come since May 2003. Our boys were still babies for one, and second cancer had yet to make her presence known. Looking back now, I am so thankful for those powerful, strong and beautiful memories we made long before breast cancer took her first bite. Those moments before built a strong foundation, a desire to fight back, and not to give up but to keep swimming. And every moment, memory and adventure since has been a resounding victory call. As we did then, we still hold onto God's Word believing our faith is not in vain. When the waters start to churn, tossing us around, when the barracuda seeks to cast her shadow or a well intending shark approaches, shouting "Fish are friends, not food" we have learned to remind ourselves of Romans 8:37. "In all these things we have complete victory through Him who loved us!"

Truly, I'm so very aware during this month of celebrations, from my baby boy finishing high school to my own birthday how exceptionally fortunate I am. I 'm here not only to see our youngest become a man, to see both our boys in college but to celebrate my 44th birthday with my family some 11 years after being told I had triple negative breast cancer. I  know I'm truly a blessed woman. I know without a shadow of a doubt I would not be here today, where I am standing right now without both the mercies of God or my beautiful family holding me up. During those days of fear and uncertainty, not knowing if the barracuda would ever let me lose and if I'd live to see this very day the words said by Bambi's mother played over and over again in my heart. "I'm always with you, even if you can't see me. I'm here." And while they are true, no matter what tomorrow brings, or where the current takes our boys my love will always be with them. I can't begin to explain how full my heart is tonight preparing to watch Disney's new fireworks, Happily Ever After over top Cinderella's castle. And yes, I know silent tears will again fall from my eyes, this time tears of joy, not uncertainty. It's been 11 years to the day since we stood together, hand in hand, watching Wishes wondering if we were making our final memories together. And I say again, HERE WE ARE, TOGETHER, hand in hand, beginning the next chapter of our lives, again...together. All I wanted, all I asked my Father for was to see our boys become men, to see them finish high school and here we are 11 years after my diagnosis at Disney World, celebrating a new beginning in life. Cancer came for me, she came for our life but she hasn't won. The barracuda is now far from sight, and yes her scars are always near. I can't lie, cancer's  constant reminders are with us, but if we have learned anything in our journey, finding our courage along the way is something Spiritual Inspiration reminds me to do often. "You may be up against a giant today. But don't be focused on how big your giant is; focus on how big your God is!"

If you've followed my blog over the years you know Disney has a special place in my heart and in the hearts of my family. I was raised on Disney, experienced the Magic Kingdom for the first time at the tender age of 5. I was just a year in between the ages of my boys when we first watched Finding Nemo, and a year younger than Micah was when we first saw the barracuda peek her head into our lives. Now a decade later, we are a family of survivors. Breast cancer and her viscous attack on my body failed. Today just as Walt Disney believed, I know, "The most important thing is family." This has been my resounding message over the last 10 years of writing, and it will continue to be my mantra, family is everything. Today's Life Lesson, #164 ~  I'm Home is my proclamation. I'm home, I know it, I can see it and as wide as the ocean is deep I can feel it. When I look at my family I know I'm truly forever and always part of something beautiful and amazing. I'm loved unconditionally....and I'm home. I won't forget, I can't forget... the hardship, the heart ache when the barracuda came. But she left empty handed and instilled a courage and a strength inside of us that can't be rivaled. Today, this 12th day of June 2017 we celebrate being a family, God's triumphs, and you can bet we'll shout from the roof tops how we've survived a barracuda attack, crossed an ocean, and found our way back home TOGETHER.

Boys, my love bugs, my sweet, sweet baby boys...."I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." ~ Robert N. Munsch

Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Breast Cancer Survivor...

~Christina


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