Peanut Butter Fudge and Tradition

We would fight to scrape the pan and eat the melt-in-your-mouth fudge bits left after mom was done.  After it cooled, the fudge squares were dumped over a huge bowl of popcorn which four small children devoured during the annual playing of “The Wizard of Oz,” on television in the days before VCRs or streaming video.

As an adult, who moved back home against all odds, my life is now more about reliving the traditions created for my siblings and I by my mother.

This winter, I spent countless hours with Ben trying to remember the names of the birds which swarmed our feeders.  With my mother’s cancer treatment wrecking her body this summer, I took the time to sit with her and relearn to knit.  Time normally spent writing or engrossed in social media, I spent remembering why small things are important.

I helped plant a garden, canned pickles, and visited 93 year old Grandma Millie and her live-in boyfriend Chuck.  I worked on my quilt, finished knitting a stocking cap and a scarf.  I baked bread.  I relearned how to bobber fish, caught my first salmon down rigger fishing, and cut my first hole to ice fish.  I watched Meteor Showers with Ben while floating on Lake Michigan.

I went skydiving, read books, and simply sat.  Sat and enjoyed sunsets.  Sat and enjoyed the Scottville Clown Band.  Learned to play a C Major scale on my guitar.  I cleaned out closets, decorated our first Christmas tree, learned to play Marbles, and enjoyed hundreds of cups of coffee.

As I look forward to the imminent spring frog symphony, and celebrate the first song of the Red Winged Black Bird, I know that a summer of insanity awaits.  I also know that before summer comes the first green shoots of flowers my mom would call me outside to witness.

Mom still calls me to announce the first Robin sighting of Spring.  It never fails.  She is always the first to see one.

As I cut the peanut butter fudge into little squares and share the first piece with Ben, I acknowledge that life is about the small, ever important moments in which you take the time to appreciate the song of a bird, the sweetness of a homemade treat, or the beauty of a sunset.

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I am sick of pink

I am sick of pink.

Pink runs, pink toothpaste packages, pink yogurt.

I am sick of pink articles, pink signs, pink nail polish.

Every time I see pink it reminds me that my mom has cancer.

It reminds me that the first time an “expert” saw her breast mass two years ago they said it was nothing.

You bastard.

You fucker.

You may have taken my mother away from me. If you would have done your job she may not be going through chemo. She may have had no lymph node involvement.

22

TWENTY-TWO LYMPH NODES

EVERY

FUCKING

ONE

You should wake up for the rest of your life and explain to her grandchildren about why their first lesson in death wasn’t their dog, it was their Beama.

Please nurses, doctors, techs at Mayo Clinic.

Please, Please take care of my mom.

Please make up for the mistakes of another.

Please give her more Christmas mornings, more afternoons of knitting, more time to teach her grandchildren all of the things she has taught me.

I cannot fathom a day without my mom. My teacher, my guide, my wisdom, my strength.

Not yet.

Not now.

The pink that is so empowering, that gives hope.

Please be my hope too.

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“Save the Tatas” Breast Cancer Fundraiser—Skydiver Style!

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and support. As with everything else in my world, after my mother’s diagnosis it has been insane. With her permission, I will be writing more about her journey from the eyes of her eldest daughter.

While I am working through just how to do that, I am participating in the 3rd annual “Save the Tatas” breast cancer fund raiser at Premier Skydiving this weekend. It is not only giving me a way to do something productive, it has opened my eyes to the thousands of people breast cancer affects.

emily tata pics 019

Although I am looking for donations, (SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!–please go read the page on the event) I am just as interested in seeing how many comments in support of my mom and or the cause you all can generate.

For everyone who leaves a comment by Saturday night at midnight, I will add your name or Twitter name on a flag I am sponsoring in honor of my mom’s fight. Please retweet this and help it go viral!

Thank you all for helping me make “Save the Tatas” a success!

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My Mom has Cancer—The Diagnosis We Never Expected

The diagnosis was a complete shock.

During a phone call to my mom a month ago I jokingly told her that she needed to live to be 900. Just the thought of not having her near, an ever present influence, was almost too much to fathom.

5 weeks ago. Tuesday morning. 3 days before my 34th birthday.

She answered my call to her cell phone.

Until that moment my day was one of errands and laughter as I rode shotgun, keeping my significant other company. My mom’s voice, weariness coupled with strength I can only hope for, expressed words that took my mind hours to completely comprehend.

Emily, it was positive.
I have breast cancer.

I heard those words just over a month ago.

A month ago, and a century.

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