Birth

Conception.

Labor.

Birth.

Her’s & mine.  The two are coincidentally (or not) intertwined.

But first I want to tell a story about the person who birthed me.

My momma.

She’s a tough cookie.  It takes a lot to keep her down.

I found out my mom had cancer for the first time on my birthday.  Many of you out there know what that feels like.  You get a call from someone you love and they’re barely able to get the words out, but from somewhere over the line you hear, “it’s cancer.”   Wham.   The battle begins.

November 1, 2002.  I turned 29 that day.   It was probably my worst. birthday. ever.   I was newly married and Jeremy and I were living in Joplin and I was so happy with him there.  But I was 8 hours away from my family in Louisville.   I wasn’t able to hug my mom in that moment.  I wasn’t able to hold her hand through chemo and all the times she was so sick.    Lumpectomy, chemo, radiation…four years later…lumpectomy, radiation…two years later…radical mastectomy and reconstruction.   She’s been through a lot.  Like many good momma’s she protects her babies from as much as she can.   I’m sure I don’t even know the full scope of the ramifications of this disease on her life.

But God knows, and he brought her through…not once, or twice but three times.

Three times.

Breast Cancer.

She survived.

Thank you LORD.

And here we are again.  Hello October.

My absolute favorite month of the year ever since I was a little girl.  As an adult, it’s also become the month I remember my mom and her fight against breast cancer.

I spent some time in the shop last week visiting with my sweet friend, Goldie who recently lost her mom to renal cancer.  She was only 52.  I’m thankful Goldie has faith and knows her momma is finally healed with a “whole new body!” as she told me of some of their last conversations.   Her faith shines, but it shines through tears.   She’s now learning to navigate life without the precious woman who gave her birth, and snuggled her and loved her like no other on this earth.   She said “I had always imagined losing my mom because she had been sick for so long, but I just didn’t realize what it would really feel like having her gone.”

Listening and crying with Goldie of course I’m thinking of my own mom.

Like Goldie’s mom, my mom was also 52 when she was first diagnosed.

11 years ago this very month.

Now she’s 63.

Well before her cancer, I remember when my mom turned 40.  It stands out to me because it was just 14 days after her mom, my granny, died unexpectedly.   I was 16.   My Grandma was in her early sixties.  Same age my mom is now.  I knew at the time that my mom’s world was rocked.  Mine was too.   We were all very close.  But I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of how devastating that really was for my mom at the time until now.

Now that I am at this age…and I see her at that age…and how young that really was…

Now, when my mind wanders and I remember that, for the grace of God, she might not be here today…

I want her to know how much I love her.  No one has known me or loved me longer than my mom.   No one else could have given me this life or have sacrificed so much of her time and energy to raising me to be the woman I am today.

I’m so incredibly thankful.

She’s become a Gee Gee (what my kids affectionately call her).  Seeing her with my kids is a precious gift.

This was the very first time she got to hold one of her grandbabies... that's Luci at 18 days old. Still in the NICU

This was the very first time she got to hold one of her grandbabies… that’s Luci at 18 days old. Still in the NICU

And here she is last October, cancer free. Luci was almost 4.

And here she is last October, cancer free. Luci was almost 4.

So as October rolls along and I remember my mom, I also look ahead once again to my birthday.

40.

I’ve been anticipating my birthday all year.  Not in a dreadful “I’m turning 40 kind of way”…but I’ve had the sensation, almost since I turned 39 last year while working through the book of James, long before I ever discovered Patty’s Place that this year was going to be BIG.  Some days it was more of a narcissistic attitude that 40 was going to be the “Year of ME.”  The year I started to take my life back.  Finally out of the baby stage and my littles were getting a bit more independent.  Time to focus more on myself.  Start working out.   Eat better.  Actually take a shower (every.single.day!)  Get my hair cut once in awhile.  Go shopping.  You know, the typical self-help-self-improvement kind of stuff we all tend to turn to when we’re in the midst of taking care of small children.  Other days it’s been more about looking at the first 40 years of my life, and recognizing that the first 40 years really were predominately “40 years of ME.”

Then in the middle of the night in July, it hit me.   God was for sure up to something.   BIG things he was trying to teach me.   At that moment I knew.  40 would be the year of HIM.   So I’ve been praying that the next 40 years would look differently.  More like HIM and less like ME.

If you ask my hubby who has been working so, so hard to help me…if you take a look around my house…or ask my kids how many times they’ve had to eat McDonald’s lately…you will see that things are a mess and look like anything but HIM.   I pray daily for Grace.  I’m in transition.  And it will most certainly continue for the next 40 years, God willing.

11.1.2013

On my 40th birthday, Plume opens her doors.   It’s not going to be the GRAND opening I first thought.  That will likely come a few weeks later.   This opening will be quiet & humble & low key.   I will open the doors and I will celebrate her birth, and mine, with all the women in my life whom I love.  My mom and my mom-in-law, my sister and my sis-in-law, all my dear friends and any of you sweet people who want to stop in.

See you Soon!

Love,  Kelly