Tag Archives: Living Kidney Donor

Five ways to create a practice of graditude

untitledI recently noticed I was struggling. I began striving for things such as; loosing a few extra pounds, wishing I had this or that. To me this is dangerous, the message is clear that I am moving away from my core to external wants. Mind you, it’s ok to want and desire more for yourself. However, when your experiences are based on external ideas of you not being enough, something is missing. For me, it’s a reminder that I have stepped away from my core. I know for sure that we have the ability to be happy in this world with gratitude.

Two years ago I learned this lesson well.

Everything in my life fell apart, finances, relationship, and business and I was facing major surgery to donate my kidney on behalf of my brother. At the time, I simplified it, thinking I could donate my organ and heal over the next few weeks and then get back to picking up the pieces of my life. However, things turned out very differently…..

I started blogging prior to the surgery and opened myself up. In the past I lived my life only showing the pieces of myself that I chose to share. Although, I was warm and friendly most people knew little about me. All of that changed with my blogs. I wrote about my deepest fears, thoughts and insecurities and my world opened. People could relate to this person and through these experiences I learned how connected we all are.

After my surgery life slowed down (in part because of the pain), I became very present and realized the impact my surgery had on my brother and the chain I was part of. The gratitude I felt was staggering. I felt like I had been reborn and woke up in color. Nothing seemed too hard, everything seemed as it should. It was the first time in my life that my soul was at peace with itself. It took me a year to heal completely from the surgery, it was time well spent loving both myself and everything around me.

I realized even though I practiced gratitude throughout my life, this was deeper. I felt gratitude in every cell of my body.

Here are five ways to create a practice of gratitude

1). Before you go to bed; take a moment and consider what you are grateful for? Then feel it in your body, this is very important. Recall the day your child was born, or the day you learned that “fill in the blank”. Reconnect with the emotion from that moment, feel that sense of excitement and appreciation in your body.

2). Keep a daily gratitude journal. I keep a calendar and write down every evening what I am grateful for; at times it’s my breath, my kids, the sky. Other times it’s something amazing that happened in my day.

3). Wake up each morning with your first thought of gratitude. Instead of thinking about everything you need to do, take a moment relax and feel what you are grateful for. You cannot be in an ego state when you are in gratitude.

4). Throughout your day stop and feel gratitude, notice what is positive in others and give someone a compliment. It gives us energy to see the good in others.

5). When you find yourself in a negative situation, ask yourself what can I learn from this experience and what can or will I be grateful for?

Wendy

Choices in life’s defining moments! Living Kidney Donor

It’s hard to imagine that a loss of this magnitude would leave us at choice. I remember writing at the timeI must find a way to feel whole again and let go of the pain, so that I can feel the joy of having Kyle in my life“.

My son Kyle and I

My son Kyle and I

It was January 7, 1984 and I was 24 years old when my first son Kyle was born. He was beautiful with blond hair, blue eyes and barely 3 pounds. I remember feeling so happy that I had a part of carrying this beautiful baby into the world. As a young Mother I felt unsure and didn’t particularly like or know myself. However, when Kyle was born, all of that changed.

We have all had loss in life and often these moments define us. For me, it taught me about love and choice. I quickly realized after my son passed away 3 weeks after birth that I had serious life decisions to make.

  • How was I going to let this affect my life?
  • How would this influence me as a young women?
  • Would I live in fear?
  • Would I be open to love?

I chose to keep Kyle close and to honor the time we had. To not question what I couldn’t answer and to trust in life.  I have learned to be a more loving person and a better Mom to my two sons. I found a new path in life and got away from things I wanted and focused on moments I had.

What choices have you made from life’s defining moments?

Wendy

About Wendy:  Another defining moment! This blog began as I looked for an outlet to write about my experience in donating my kidney on August 16th of 2012.  I went through the surgery and came out stronger and more grateful that I was able to donate on behalf of my brother Tim.

 

Combining lifes lessons to find joy! Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving Day and I can remember the anticipation of my family getting together for the holidays! It seems like so long go… when I was a child with five other siblings, my Mom would rush home from work and we would go to the grocery store on the money my parents earned that week. She would buy all this wonderful food that we didn’t ordinarily have in the house for a very special dinner.

Cooking a big dinner was a lot of work and yet it was a simpler time. We were all happy in  anticipation of the meal. Plus, for us kids it meant Christmas would be here soon. Our home was always noisy with lots of running around, a few fights between us kids and always a sentimental word at the table.  As we grew older our family expanded and we continued to get together for holidays.

But now we are literally spread around the world. With my youngest son in Japan, my oldest son and his fiance in Los Angles,  and my siblings and their families living in various places across the country.

Even though so much has changed, including the loss of my Dad in August there is much to be grateful for. I have learned particularly in the past few years that being joyful– is based on focusing on what I have and what is going well versus the opposite.

I was always adamant with my kids as they were growing up saying “We don’t get to choose what comes at us, but we do get to control how we respond in any situation”. For me, I have been tested many times throughout my life and I haven’t always done well. My ah ha moment came when I was 24 years old when my first son passed away. I was devastated! I remember Father Dunn at the burial service telling me that I was at choice in how this would affect my life. Those words empowered me, they continue to empower me.

By combining these two life lessons, I have found joy!

  • Focusing on what is good in life, appreciation for what I have
  • Empowering myself in how I respond to life’s events

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for family, friends, life’s opportunities and health!

Night Wendy

Marketing yourself in a social world. Free whitepaper for people in need of a organ transplant..

I was reading a post tonight about a young women asking for a kidney for Christmas. Many of us ask for a piece of jewelry or perhaps the latest gadget. Yet so many others wait for a phone call that will change their life….. we found a kidney and its a match!

Did you know that one in 10 American adults, more than 20 million, have some level of CKD? Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal said Doctors often don’t test for kidney disease, and patients may have no symptoms until they are in crisis. Yet kidney disease is fast becoming a dangerous health threat, and one of the most costly. The most common test screens urine for an excess amount of a protein called albumin, often the first sign of kidney damage.

Every week on various forums I see people sharing their stories of giving to another and it’s really beautiful.

Still 13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving transplant, nearly 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month. National Kidney Foundation

How can you help?  

1. Get educated

Marketing yourself in a social world.

Marketing yourself in a social world.

2. Find someone to advocate on your or friends behalf

3. Be aware that you can register on more than one Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program.

4. Download our white paper….We took the concept of “finding a donor” in today’s social world and created a plan! Some of our content includes; creating a strategy, how to write a press release, ideas for raising awareness, the role of an advocate, developing your message, and so much more. Please take a moment to sign up and download this free paper and share your feedback. A special thank you to my friends, all marketing gurus!  

  • Gini Keck who painstakingly proofed this paper over and over again,
  • Rebecca Johnson Menedez who contributed “how to get your message to the press”. Writing a press release.
  • Mary Beth Lowery for your well thought out suggestions.
  • Shelly Dinan for all your contributions in writing and consult!
  • Mike Sukhenko for your amazing design and layout

How about a challenge? As the holidays quickly approach, I challenge you to do one small thing every day for another human being? Share your stories and spread the word!

Wendy

As the poet David Whyte wrote “Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences”.

About Wendy – A kidney donor myself a little over a year ago I continue to feel gratitude. Although I was not a match for my brother, I was still able to give through the kidney paired exchange program. Obviously this was a huge benefit to my brother and he is doing well, However, I did not expect the gift I would receive in return! read more

Survey says–Donating a kidney to save a life is a huge return for the donor!

I recently ran a survey for kidney donors through a large private support site and we had an excellent response! One of our responders said, “Donating a kidney was a defining moment in my life. It showed me the capacity to love and care for someone else. Realizing you’re making a decision that is beyond yourself is a very humbling experience and I wouldn’t have changed any part of the journey for anything”. Cody, Santa Rosa, CA,  22 at the time of surgery in 2007

The news was pretty much what I expected or in fact reflected my own experience.  Interestingly a majority of respondents said that they would donate again!  Frankly this wasn’t even one of my questions, these responses were left in the open comments box.

We asked donors what amount of time did it take to become approved as an organ donor? Our responders who are from various parts of the United States answer’s varied. From up to a year, to as little as 2 months. Our average response was 5 months before they received approval to donate their kidney.

As you can see by the chart below most of our donors 78.79% are direct donations and gave to a family member, a friend, or a co-worker. The good Samaritan donation is someone who chooses to donate to someone they had never met before!

I was surprised to see only a few people were paired exchange donations. Kidney paired donation is an option for living donor pairs who are not compatible with each other. For example, I was not a match for my brother Tim, however through a paired exchange program I was able to become part of a swap with eight other donor/recipients. Therefore my kidney went to NYC and my brother’s kidney came from Philadelphia. etc. Within 24 hours of being added to the National Kidney Registry (NKR) they found a match for my brother.
surveyStudies show that a donor will take a risk to help another in a moments notice; they often think only about giving life to another, particularly when a loved one is involved.

I asked an open-ended question on the survey “Did donating your organ have any affect on how you view life today”?  Some of the responses were…

“It made me again realize how important each of us are on this earth, for whatever reason, little or big, we are here to serve and love one another and help one another on this journey”. Julie, 47 at the time of donation, Imperial Beach

“When I first learned about altruistic donation, I thought it was incredibly cool that there were people in the world who would do that. Now I get to be one”. Carol, 59 at the time of donation.

“I’d do it again. I firmly believe living donors and pairings are the only way to reduce the kidney waiting list”.  Kara, 54 at the time of donation, Chicago

“It made me realize how good it feels to give. I became more active in volunteer work following my donation”.  Michelle, 25 at the time of donation, Rochester, NY

“Yes – don’t waste time striving for happiness, positive outlooks, and making others feel happy”. David, 27 at the time of donation, Boston

“I’ve always lived life the same….but this was probably the most amazing thing I have done. I’d do it again….in a heart beat”. Tara, 34  at time of donation, Bakersfield, CA

When you consider what the surgery entails along with some risks for the donor, these responses and so many others received are remarkable, but not surprising.

Most patients undergo laparoscopic surgery for kidney donation and require a hospital stay of only two to three days. For me, I was 52 when I donated and am now back to doing the same active things I did before my surgery! Including plans for a 100 mile bike ride in the Spring.

Another interesting comment that seems to be common thread is; donor’s do not like to be perceived as heroes. They simply took a step to help another and of course wouldn’t you do the same? Would you?  We would love to hear from you? What are your thoughts on organ donation? Take our survey!

About: The first Kidney donation was done in 1954. There are some risks for the donor and you must be healthy. Most patients undergo laparoscopic surgery for kidney donation and require a hospital stay of only two to three days. For me, I was 52 when I donated and am now back to doing the same active things I did before my surgery! Over 50,000 living donors who have donated their kidneys to people facing kidney failure.

 

 

Positive attitude leads to quick recovery for transplant patient

At the age of 28 Amanda was receiving her workup for transplant and was asked how she was able to maintain her attitude throughout her 13-year battle with Kidney Disease. Amanda answered, “It’s simple. I don’t get too anxious or worried. I take a moment to acknowledge it and move on. I take after my Dad.”

It was a hectic morning as I raced across Pittsburgh to pick up my brother for our six Amanda_nmonth post transplant check up. It was cold outside and I was dying for a cup of coffee. As we hurriedly entered the hospital, I scoured the waiting room looking for familiar faces. I looked forward to seeing the doctors and nurses with whom I had shared one of the most profoundly impactful times of my life.

My brother was called into his appointment as I sat in the transplant waiting room on a comfortable chair with coffee in hand, I noticed a young women holding a large box of medications in her hands. She had long, dark hair and a smile that reached her eyes. I was immediately curious about her. I knew she had received a kidney by the medications she carried. Everything else about her looked happy and healthy.

Here’s her story…

I was shocked to learn that Amanda had received a transplanted kidney only two weeks prior! She had a bright, sunny disposition and I could clearly see she had a wonderful outlook on life. As we started to talk, she immediately mentioned her seven-year-old son who was obviously a light in her life.

Amanda shared her experience and how she got to this place with me.  Her symptoms started at the age of 15 when one morning she woke up with pain that ran from her right lower back to her side.  She tried, but could not walk. By evening she had a fever and was vomiting. When her Mom took her to the pediatrician the next day, she was diagnosed with the flu.  Amanda’s Mom pushed for more tests and it wasn’t long before they realize her creatinine levels were off.   Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams and Amanda’s were much higher.

Amanda began a regimen of going to the children’s hospital every three months for evaluation. It wasn’t until her 22nd birthday that the pain flared up again. She ignored the pain, thinking it would go away until a horrible dream of death one night caused Amanda to face the reality that she needed to have this problem checked out. Her creatinine levels were at 1.9.

And… two months later Amanda and her husband discovered that she was pregnant!  Due to her precarious health, her pregnancy was deemed “high risk” and Amanda was monitored closely.  The good news is that she carried her baby to full term and she and her husband welcomed their beautiful and healthy son to the family?)

A year-and-half later, Amanda’s condition deteriorated to the point that she had to start dialysis. She was transported by ambulance to the main dialysis center in Pittsburgh.  A port was put into her jugular and she started dialysis that day in the hospital. Her attitude remained upbeat and she was put on the list to find a donor. Her immediate family and friends were tested and were either not a match or unable due to health reasons.

During the first year of dialysis she found a center nearby and was able to maintain her job along with her dialysis appointments.  Not surprisingly, Amanda found she was the youngest person there, every other day she would go to the clinic and see the same nurses and patients. She would lie there for four hours at a time while they emptied out her blood, cleaned it and put it back in her body.  This was an exhausting process, particularly with a young child at home.

During this time Amanda had at least six replacement catheters in her chest (catheter is placed by puncturing the internal jugular vein in the neck) and the catheter is then advanced downwards toward the chest). A catheter is used for exchanging blood to and from the hemodialysis machine from the patient. Most patients would have one added in the arm. However, Amanda’s never matured enough to use it.

Amanda eventually had the opportunity to do home dialysis Peritoneal dialysis (PD), which she did for two years before receiving her transplant. Home dialysis gave her the flexibility to do it at night for eight hours while she slept and she didn’t have the exhaustion.

At times she felt it would never end. But after three years on dialysis her Aunt flew to Pittsburgh to donate her kidney directly to Amanda.

Amanda is so proud and grateful of her Dad’s sister who after surgery is doing a 100% better. At 55 years of age she is retired and living in California and watches her three grandchildren while her own daughter and son-in-law are stationed overseas in the US Air Force.

Studies show that a kidney from a living donor can last up to 20 plus years.  Amanda is taking good care of herself. She is healthy and recently got a membership to a health club. She is focused on eating well, exercise and taking her medications as directed. And, I can’t help but think that her positive outlook on life makes a huge difference in her overall success.

Amanda’s hope is to have more children, and she happily tells me that she will be talking about just that when she meets with her doctors in January, which will be her first anniversary with her new kidney.

Share your story, share your experience!

My Dad– a life of survival, acceptance and trust.

Being raised in London, England during World War 11,” I never felt like a victim during the war, people often referred to us as the poor children, it was part of my life and I accepted that” said Ken Graham.

Kenneth Peter Lewis Graham was born in the Spring of 1938. World War II  would start a year later when he was just one year old . While being raised in the midst of war, their Mum worked as a cook  and their Dad was in the Royal Air Force and served in India and Burma during the war, their Dad was a complete stranger to the boys until 1945. Ken spent much of his time with his 17 month older brother Derek.

My Dad and Uncle Derek in 1947. London, England

My Dad and Uncle Derek in 1947. London, England

When the war started many young children were sent away from London and moved to areas thought to be less at risk from aerial bombing. Operation Pied Piper, which began on September, 1939, officially relocated more than 3.5 million people.

Ken and Derek were sent to a farm at Chalfont Saint Peter, shortly after arriving the boys came down with dysentery and nearly died, they were sent back to their Mum in London after they had recovered enough to travel. While many children left London to live safely in the country, Ken and Derek spent their childhood in the midst war.

Both the boys attended Droop Street elementary school. They walked to school every day with gas masks slung across one shoulder. At times when the air raid sirens went off, they would hide in a shop doorway until the all clear sounded . During classes if the air raid sirens went off all the students would stand up and then continue their lessons in the school air raid shelter. If a buzz bomb went overhead we would all hold our breath and hope the engine would continue. If the engine stopped it meant the buzz bomb had run out of fuel and dropped from the sky filled with high explosives.  Source: Derek Graham

As a small child Ken would run around with his friends, one time he got caught throwing rocks at German Prisionors of War until the Tommy (British soldiers) yelled at them and sent them running. Often during the day Ken and his brother would collected shrapnel or tin foil dropped by departing bombers to help the efforts. The city was in the dark thorughout the war, at night they would find themselves running to bomb shelters due to airraids.

By the time the war ended in 1945 Ken was about 8 years old, he grew up fast in the streets of London. I have heard many stories about the gangs of London and my Dad’s explorations. I heard the reason why my Nanny (Grandmother) chose to get on a ship to Canada was to give Ken and Derek a new life.  At that point my Nan was 59 and 9 months when she emigrated to Canada, leaving her three grown up daughters in London to start a brand new life with her boys . They sailed from Liverpool on the Empress of Scotland and landed in Montreal and from there they spent two and a half days on a Canadian Pacific train to Edmonton

 

My Dad and his family outside his home celebrating end of war!

 Celebration – War has ended, outside my father’s home in London, England.

Arriving in Edmonton, Alberta Canada at the age of 15, my dad met my Mom two years later. He taught my Mom how to speak English, since she was from the Nederlands and spoke mostly Dutch. The two of them loved to dance, go rollerskating and have fun. It wasn’t long before my parents were married with their first baby on the way. By the time Tim came into the world my Dad was barely 18 years old.

My father wanted desperately to give his family a good life, he worked hard and felt kids should be seen and not heard. Respect was important in my family and we did not talk back. My parents had the first four of us kids before moving to Toronto, Canada where my father found better work and started taking engineering classes in the evening.  Soon after, my youngest brother Trevor was born.

I recall my Dad sitting us all down for one of our family meetings excitingly telling us we were moving to the United States of America, home of the free and lots of opportunity. He loved the idea that we could be whatever we wanted to be in life.

Moving from the city of Toronto to a small town in Kendall, NY was not easy. It was quiet in the Country and a bit of an adjustment especially for me– since I had never climbed a tree and  had an accent which made me feel different. 

Coming from the city we were used to living in a small space, however this home in Kendall was huge with six bedroom on 12 acres of land.  My father said this was his favorite time in life, where he enjoyed his six children (my sister Audrey was born in Kendall). For the first time my Father was part of a community, working at Eastman Kodak and coaching the boys baseball teams.

My Dad renovating our house in Kendall, NY

My Dad renovating our house in Kendall, NY

Things became more complicated and competitive as “the boys” got older.  I remember my Dad holding a family meeting and asking what kind of engineer did each of my brothers want to be? They were required to make a decision in that moment, each one of my brothers spoke up one-by-one. Tim, Manufacturing, Ron, Mechanical, Shane, Manufacturing, Trevor, Mechanical when I asked my Dad, what about me, he proudly stated that I could work at a the local hospital as a nurse’s assistant and meet a nice doctor.  

His thoughts on women were old fashion and I never bought into it, however I know he wanted us to be successful and to be the best we could be.

For me, its important to understand where we come from and what our parents have endured.  I had the priviledge of spending the past week with my Dad in San Diego, where he shared his life with me in ways I have never expereinced before.  I am forever grateful.

My father has managed his illness very similar to how he dealt with war as a child… as a survivor with acceptance and trust.

My Father passed away this evening on August 6, 2013.

Wendy

 

Moving on and letting go! Living kidney donor

One of the advantages of getting older is the ability to let go! Last week was big for me.  For the past six months I have been harboring these negative feelings around someone who in my eyes–had done me wrong.

During the day I’m pretty good, but at night the thoughts would haunt me. I would go over  the situation in my head and emotionally felt drained .  I made a decision to move forward and let it all go. Some of my friends would argue that was the wrong decision,  particularly since assets are involved.  I certainly felt the need to be right; however this was not serving me– in fact it was costing me!

It affected my sleep and I didn’t like the negative thoughts in my head. I berated myself for the decisions I made and in truth I  was wasting valuable time and head space. With all of the good things going on in my life,  I know longer wanted to harbor these destructive feelings.

When you consider the laws of attraction a belief where “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results.   For example a close friend of mine carries a great deal of fear and I see her hanging on to it like a life line.  By keeping the fear close, she keeps herself in a box and repeating the situations over and over and wondering why the results are always the same.   Fear has a way of stopping us in our tracks!

Typically what you see in others is often a reflection of yourself. So what can you today to let go of negative thoughts? Ask yourself….

I often feel….
But the truth is…..

What is your truth? Where can you let go of a thought or a fear and move forward and just trust that it will be OK!

 Good night Wendy

Memorial Day Weekend – Living donor

This Memorial weekend I went to Pittsburgh PA to visit my brother Tim and his family.  Last year I had done the same with Emily’s upcoming birthday and her dance recital its a good weekend to visit. So much has changed since last year Tim is no longer on dialysis since he received his new kidney on August 30 of last year!  Aside from the improvement in Tim’s health his personality is coming through. I can remember last year’s visit– he was quiet and would often just sit their with little to say feeling exhausted and sick. Tim would never complain, but you could see it in his body language, he was spending three days a week in dialysis and had been ill for a long time. To me, Tim had seemed depressed and perhaps hopeless however I do remember seeing the joy and pride in Tim’s face as he watched his daughter in last year’s recital.

Tim and Emily before the dance recital!

Tim and Emily before the dance recital!

During this time, I was determined to help my brother and I was going through the tests to become an organ donor. It turned out I was not a match and was entered into the NKR (National Kidney Registry).  Within 24 hours of being added into the database they found a match and their were eight of us in the paired exchange.  

What a difference a year can make! Tim is alert, determined and always has something to say. His health has improved tremendously although he still has a ways to go, it takes time to get used to the medications and rebuild strength after such a long illness.

Many people are waiting to hear good news and my wish for you is to always do your best including; eating healthy, exercise and don’t ever give up! Share your story and ask for help we are all in this together.

Today is Memorial day and I dedicate this post to my brother Tim who served in the US ARMY along with the many men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. Thank you!

Grateful for change.

Wendy

Moms – Living kidney donor

This morning I ran into Wegmans to pick up a cup of coffee and a few things. It’s the day before Mother’s Day and the store was a buzz with fathers, husbands, and son’s shopping for the women in their life.  With all of my travels throughout the US, Asia and Europe I have never experienced a grocery store like Wegmans.  When you walk into Wegmans it takes in all of your senses, the store is alive with color, taste and smell and today the store manager was at the door welcoming every customer. While I was in the checkout line,  I met an elderly man who had been searching for something special for his wife — he said they had everything they could possibly need but it was important  to recognize her on Mother’s Day.

My Mom, Tim, Ron, Shane, Me and Trevor

My Mom, Tim, Ron, Shane &, Me 

While approaching my car, I noticed a young Mom holding her three children tightly to protect them from the busyness of the Wegmans parking lot. She had a serious and determined look on her face that I recognized in myself many years ago.   I thought this is what counts–  the day to day actions that Mom’s do to ensure there children are safe.  Its the small things that go unnoticed like a kiss goodnight, a clean bed to sleep in, a dinner prepared at the end of the day, a smile when they walk in and their favorite cookie on a special occasion.  For me as a Mom it was important to widen my sons view by  introducing as many new experiences into their life and thereby showing them its a  big world with many different occupations, personalities and cultures. They could do whatever they set out to do in this world– this is one of the biggest lesson’s I learned from my own parents and I wanted to pass it on.

My big lesson this year is my Mom and one that I will always cherish.  I donated my kidney on behalf of my brother last August and when I was released from the hospital I was required to stay in Pittsburgh for two weeks due to traveling and follow up medical visits. During this time I stayed at the Family House in Pittsburgh and my Mom who had traveled from California stayed with me. I often consider my Mom as one of the most impatient people on this planet, but for those two weeks she was an angel. She stayed by my side and just looked after me by cooking, organizing, washing, lifting and always being gracious.  It was a crazy time for me with the recuperation from the surgery, the large amount of emotional baggage I carried along with feeling anxious about my brother’s surgery two weeks after my own. I can be stubborn in thinking that I can do it on my own and so I rarely let anyone in– let alone help me. This experience has taught me much, including opening myself up and letting my Mom in and for that I am forever grateful.

My Mom and I

My Mom and I

 

Being one of six children my Mom was busy, working, raising us, getting dinner on the table and ensuring we had clean clothes and she never had a moment for herself. Us older kids had very little one-on-one time with her but she did find the time for occasional bedtime stories and a cup of tea.  My Mom is Dutch and she grew up in Utrecht, Holland during World War II and has amazing stories of the Americans camped out in her backyard and war planes flying over the city she lived in. Oma who is grandma to my boys  would often tell  them wartime stories at night before they went to bed, I often wonder about the influence these stories has had on my children’s lives.  English is my Mom’s second language which is all she has spoken since we were born, however it’s not her native language and with that words sometimes are misinterpreted.  My Mom who has nine other siblings learned to make due with the bare minimum and she continues to live her life this way. She has an amazing strength and determination along with a deep love for all of her children.

On this Mother’s day can we focus on the simple moments of our life, think about the small things your Mom has done for you and let go of the stories that keep the painful memories alive. Consider how much our Mom’s gave of themselves and how they worked to keep food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in and let that be more than enough. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!

Wendy