I know, it takes my breath away, too!
Mom got sick just after Thanksgiving – breathing problems – and a few days later we learned that she has late stage lung disease.
Not to be too irreverent, and, because I know my mom will laugh when she reads this next part, but she’s got some pretty shitty timing.
You see, I have a business to run.
And this was “supposed to be” by BREAKOUT year. This was supposed to be my year to SHINE. This was gonna be the year my modest little company, Life After Tampons, transitioned into a GLOBAL MOVEMENT.
As I say, pretty damn inconvenient.
Of course, nobody knows how anything is going to work out, but I feel pretty certain that this is STILL going to be my year to shine.
This is the year that I SHINE as a caring, devoted, and loving daughter. This is the year – if we even get a year – which I devote myself to making memories as well as building my business.
This is the year that I teach my children, who are relatively inexperienced with loss, how to live comfortably knowing that loss is on its way. This is the year we practice BEING HERE. This is the year we really celebrate every moment, every gathering. This is the year we INSIST on happiness.
The future, when it comes, will take care of itself.
As for me, I personally know WAY too much about loss and bereavement. My alcoholic father died when I was just 11 and my own daughter when I was 30.
If I wanted to, I could create a whole life story around death and loss and why I can never succeed in life because people are always leaving me and blah, and blah, and blah, and blah.
But what I KNOW to be true is that I get to create my own story about my life and everything in it. It’s no accident that the tag line over at my site is “Quit Your Bitching. Change Your Life.” (It used to be “You’ll Thank Me for Kicking Your Ass,” but I got bored with that one. Plus, I figure you can kick your own ass anyway.)
Not that that’s a very strategic long-term plan for happiness.
You see, one of the things my mother definitely modeled for me is that We Are Women Who Rise. All these years later, it turns out that that is the connecting thread that weaves together all of the women in our Life After Tampons community, too.
So, my mother is facing a terminal disease. And I am a woman who rises.
I also run a business. And this year, more than any other, I’m going to have a lot less control over my time. (What we’re really talking about here is control over my “free” time, cause a lot of it is still dedicated to my husband and children – just like you, probably.)
Now, here is where I must include the “mother’s disclaimer statement” and aver that, of course, my husband and kids are part of my dream.
But the reality is that women give the first two or three decades of their lives to the dreams of others, and, for most of us, it is only at midlife, that we at long last get a modicum of time, money, and energy to build something just for ourselves.
Except that stuff keeps happening.
And we keep getting pulled away.
And, if you let it, a sense of hopelessness will descend upon you and you will convince yourself that there is no point in wanting your very own thing.
Cause life is just taunting you, right? It gives you just a wee little taste of what might be possible and then reality RIPS IT ALL AWAY.
You can have that version of your story if you want it — I’m through with it so it’s up for grabs.
The thing is, my mom is going to die, but for now she is in really really great shape, all things considering. And, as she says, NONE of us knows what the future holds.
So we keep on living. We keep on trying. We keep on keeping on because the alternative is a living death. We may still be here, but we allow our dreams to die.
And we allow ourselves to lose our enchantment with life.
I will soldier on because she taught me (and expects me) to do just that. And cause she’s doing it and she’s the one who’s sick, after all.
My mom is a Realist. I am too, but I’ve always been the Realist with a Dream.
You can be one, too.
Here’s how it’s gonna be:
We’re all going to look out for my mom, and we’re gonna snap and gripe and bitch at each other on occasion. We’ll probably talk about each other behind our backs. But we’ll also laugh a whole lot until we kinda sorta pee a little bit in our pants.
Blame that on the babies.
Eventually, my mom’s disease will catch up with her, and she will die. (So will I, by the way. And, you know what, love? Your turn is just around the corner, too.)
My ego wants to be famous. My Higher Power wants me to be generous.
And so I will lead and serve and serve and lead. I will do everything I can to love up the people I love, and that includes my community at Life After Tampons as well as my wonderful family.
This may or may not be our “breakout year.” But one thing is for sure, my Life After Tampons community “gets it.” I know that I have built a community of generous, loving, funny women, and you will show me the way.
If you are serious about taking that turn in your own life, if you are serious about building your own personal Revolution, you’re just gonna have to set all your excuses aside and build the damn thing.
And then have the humility to accept the pace of growth that your personal life circumstances will allow.
There is enough. YOU are enough. This day is enough.
Love, Bonnie’s Daughter, Jen
Photo: Mom, at Swann’s in Piney Point, MD. Isn’t she beautiful and fun?