The Ghost of Many Father’s Day’s Past from a Mom in The Only Parent Club

Yesterday was Father’s Day. A day, that for the last 22 years, has taken on a very different meaning for me, and one I tend to struggle with. It is a day reserved to recognize those men who are actually active participants in the lives of their children. Men who know the value of the little lives they helped create.

One young mother, who is in a very similar position to the one I was in for many years – made a post on her Facebook about being a mother who has taken on the role of the mother and father. She used a term that struck a chord with me. Only Parent! (thanks Hannah)

That was me! The Only Parent!

Being a “single parent” is hard, but being an ONLY PARENT is 100’s of times more difficult! At least single parents have the other parent part of the time. Only Parents do not!

While raising my boys, I did what psychologist recommended. I NEVER put their dad down to them. I never belittled him and I would often use “work” as an excuse for him when he’d fail to show up for important occasions – or even for visitation when he had made a promise only to break that promise and break two little hearts in the process.

You see, when I look back on those special occasions – I have a picture that has stuck in my mind, even to this day, when my twins are now, grown young men, establishing lives of their own. THIS is MY Image:

coty baer - watching for a dad that rarely showed up

I remember watching them as they would look out the window, waiting for their dad to show up. Watching every pair of headlights that would come down the road – getting excited that he was coming – only to watch the car drive right on by.

Still, I never let my anger and disappointment show to my children. I could only hope and pray that one day, they would SEE the man for what he is, was and, most importantly, all that he was not.

Yesterday, on Father’s Day, one of my boys sent me a text and an image, wishing ME a Happy Father’s Day. The image he sent was:

Happy fathers day to mom - the only parent club

As small as the act may seem to some, to me, it was HUGE! It meant the world to me – because I know now that they KNOW all that I did, and all I tried to be, JUST for them. I KNOW they are becoming the fine young men I raised them to be and all those prayers I prayed, for them to develop their own opinions and see LIFE as it was, with their own eyes, were answered.

As I look back as all the photos of them growing up, I realize just how fortunate I was to have been there for EVERY single, important event and milestone. And as hard as it was then, going without financial and physical presence of “the father” at all, I wouldn’t change a single thing and I would go back in a heartbeat to do it ALL again.

To all the young women who find themselves in similar, ONLY PARENT situations, I can tell you from real experience, it will be worth it. It IS worth it NOW! Take every precious moment you are given now. Take tons of pictures, savor every precious second – because in the blink of an eye, you’ll be watching them leave home and embark on their own journey in life.

Take the time now to mold the adults your kids will become. Let them be kids, but know that you ARE the greatest influence in who they will become. The pride that fills my heart now is immeasurable! You can have that too if you just focus more on your kids and just how valuable a gift you have been given to be the ONLY PARENT!

In the end, it really IS a very precious gift.

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Chemo Care Package – When You Don’t Know What Else to Do

Chemo care package for breast cancer When my cousin called me to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, I was at a complete loss for words. Under most circumstances, I know a little bit about any given topic – cancer is not one of them.

Once the initial shock wore off a bit, I began doing as much research as I possibly could. I wanted to know what she was going to be going through, every step of the way.

When someone you love receives such a diagnosis, there’s very little you can do to comfort, and even less you can do to carry any amount of the challenge they are going to endure. Still, I wanted to do SOMETHING that would be beneficial – something that would help while going through the treatment itself.

After a considerable amount of research, and after talking with a couple of people who had been through the whole experience that my cousin was just beginning, I decided to put together a chemo care package of sorts.

First I found a really cute, trendy bag that she could keep handy and take with her to each of her treatments. I also grabbed a nice, sturdy, bankers box to put items in that she would need at home instead of at her actual treatments.

Once I had those, I put together my shopping list that included:

3 adult sippy cups – the kind with a lid and straws. One cup each for water, juice and Ginger Ale. All of which she may want to keep close by once she got home.

1 case of bottled water to keep in her car for times when she gets thirsty going to or from her appointments.

3 sets of the following items that I learned were “essentials” to have at home, in the car and in her chemo bag: Chapstick, Kleenex, hand sanitizer and unscented lotions.

1 bottle of Biotene mouthwash specially formulated for extreme dry mouth.

1 box of good sea salt. I was told using the sea salt as a mouth rinse would help save her taste buds.

Magazines – the kind you always read in the checkout line. Apparently it’s better to have these than to attempt reading something you wish to actually retain what you’ve read.

1 bottle of Ginger Ale and 2 bags of Ginger candies (thanks to a good friend from Hawaii) to help with nausea.

A couple of days before she began her chemo, I took the care package to her and went over the instructions I had read or had learned from others who have undergone chemotherapy.

If the weather were colder, I would have included slippers, a nice soft blanket and possibly a cap of some sort. Given that our weather is super hot and humid, I decided to forgo the warm, fuzzy recommendations and concentrate on those that might offer some relief from the symptoms she might experience as well as providing a bit of a distraction here and there.

If you are aware of other items that should be included in a chemo care package, please share as I will be keeping her in supply until she has completed her full 20-weeks of treatment.

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When Cancer Strikes Close to Home

On April 30, 2015, my cousin, Kim (we’ve always called her Kimmie), went for a routine mammogram, not thinking much about the “changes” she had noticed recently, since she had been diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease ten years ago. The mammogram, sonogram and biopsy revealed 5 tumors. Pathology revealed two were stage 3 and three were stage 2. Since her diagnosis, she has gone through a series of steps and tests to determine the best […] Read the Full Article »

DIY – How to Clean Microfiber Furniture – Pinterest Inspired

My husband and I have matching recliners – matching in the sense that they were the same when they were purchased. With time and his ability to spoil the dogs by letting them in the chair with him – his chair has taken on a lot more wear than mine. If you know anything about microfiber furniture – it is beautiful, it does wear, very well, but over time, it gets matted, and develops this […] Read the Full Article »

Enough is Enough – Haters Stop Hating Already – The Memories Pizza Fundraiser Has Reached the Point of Being Gross

The firestorm that surrounded the Memories Pizzaria in Walkerton, Indiana has run it’s course already. The more haters hate, the more people are going to donate. STOP IT already! What people are doing to that business is WRONG – I was glad they were forthright with their belief. It gave people the CHOICE to conduct business with them or not. Fine, donate to help offset the loss they would experience from closing for a week […] Read the Full Article »