14 years! 14 years ago yesterday since I sat in that doctors office with Bob sitting alongside me and we heard the words “you have cancer” …14 years!
There I was, a 27 year old mother of two and I had cancer. My first thought was ‘fuck’ and then the second was my girls. My babies were three and one and they needed their mummy, how the hell could I not fight and be here for them? It wasn’t an easy fight, and some days I felt like giving up. But every time I tried to take the foot off the gas, I had two little girls pop into my head. I didn't have a choice, I had to keep going.
I wanted to be here to see my girls grow up. I wanted to see their first days of kinder, school, graduate, get married and become mums. I wanted to be here when they got their periods, I know that's gross but it's also a mum's privilege to show them the way. I wanted to see them go to their school formals, and teach them how to drive, although I knew that part would be scary! I wanted to see them start their first jobs and see them get their first boyfriends and be there when they needed mum to wipe their tears and help mend their broken hearts.
My girls are forever making fun of me because I am an emotional being. They will look at me and say "Oh God! Here she goes again" and then we all have a giggle. I cry at tv shows when there is a wedding, birth or a death. I also or if someone gets the fourth set of steak knives for free. I cry when I’m angry, I cry when I’m proud but most of my tears are done when no one can see. Every time I hit a milestone it fills my heart and let’s me tick off one more. One more moment that I didn’t think I would get to see, and when these events or milestones happen, it hurts in a strange way. It takes me back to the time that I was fighting and wishing that I made it through so I could witness these special moments.
I think I have put up such a wall to protect myself that when things happen I actually feel a little surprised. It may seem trivial or not very important to most, but to fight as hard as I did to still be here for them, the pride I feel not only in my girls but also myself is immense.
Last week I watched my girls play together on the same basketball team. Gem is a great defender and I love watching her get into spots to take on a player head on. Bree however starred. She is a little handy at throwing 3 pointers and she beat her all time record during this game when she scored 7 three pointers! 7!! The look on her face was priceless, she was so proud of herself but at the same time was staying very humble. I love watching them both play the sport they love, but I especially love it when they are on the court together.
Recently I got to spend some one on one time with Gem as she was getting ready for her year 10 formal. I had the biggest smile on my face as I was enjoying the process of doing her hair and popping on a little make up. You could see she loved being all prettied up as she was twirling around and checking herself out in any surface that she could see her reflection in. When I dropped her off, I looked up and said a quiet ‘thank you’ whilst tears were streaming down my face. These are moments I am grateful to still be here to witness.
I do however go a little overboard at times to make sure things are extra special. For instance for their birthdays I stay up until they are both in bed asleep and then I decorate the house. Balloon garlands and streamers can be found everywhere and my eyes are normally popping out of my head as it always ends up being a late night. We always have a birthday dinner and they can invite whoever they like to help them celebrate. If it has been raining heavily for a few days, we take them out and we find the biggest puddles we can and we get out and go jump in them. We end up drenched but the belly laughs and smiles are so completely worth being cold, and wet messes cramming back into the car. I don't wait for the memories to happen, I also make them happen.
So if you see me sitting side court at a basketball game, or at a school assembly and I’m having a quiet tear, remember there is a reason for it. I’m not always being a sook, I’m just overly grateful that I am still here and loving being able to have special moments I didn’t think I would see. Please don't take anything for granted. Be grateful that you get to share in moments with your little people. These may be moments that seem trivial to you, but the thought of these moments being taken away from me 14 years ago was my worst nightmare. Treasure them because you never know when life may throw you a curve ball and you may not get to share such special times with your loved ones.
I'm a sook and I'm sure I cry more than the average person, but I'm proud I fought and super bloody proud to still be here!
Big Sook (Kate) xx