When I had my 1st child, Jaxon, I thought I'd have the perfect situation of working part time and getting to stay home with him part time. As I adjusted into my new parenting role I remember how much I struggled at finding my place. My friends that worked full time were excelling in their careers, and my friends that stayed home full time were what I'd call supermoms. Since I was part time at both, I could never compete with them in either place. Time passed and the friends I thought were doing it "all" really weren't. Whether it be they had a maid, a large eating out budget, a yard person, people that regularly helped with the kids, or something else, there was a built in outsource I had never seen. I learned to stop comparing and just do the best I could at my split situation world, and I began to love it! We welcomed our 2nd child, and now that we had some parenting experience and more of a routine, the baby seemed to be a breeze (well not so much that 1st exhausting month) while we tried to keep up with our 2 year old.
Life was good in our home until that defining moment when our world was turned upside down. At 3.5 years old our son, Jaxon, started having seizures which led to brain surgery and a cancer diagnosis. I was instantly full time mom, and the rest of the world's activities fell way down and off my list. When your child's life is on the line all priorities change. During the almost 2 year journey that Jaxon had with brain cancer, he never focused on himself but instead on helping others. He realized that giving really was the best medicine, and as he became the pay it forward kid (even recognized internationally for his kindness), our family was all blessed by the many opportunities we had to serve others in the childhood cancer community. The cancer was too aggressive and all the chemo, radiation, and alternate options had come up short. When Jaxon was just 5.5 years old he took his last breath on Earth and his first in Heaven.
With 46 kids a day being diagnosed with cancer in our country, God had opened our eyes to a very broken world. We decided to form into an official non-profit, Jaxon's F.R.O.G. Foundation (www.jaxonsfrogfoundation.com) to continue the ministry Jaxon started of bringing joy to kids with cancer and kids on hospice care. Since we want as much of the donated funds to actually get through to the cause, we are an all volunteer ministry.
My daily routine now involves parenting my 5 and almost 1 year old, running a non-profit, working in commercial insurance sales, and keeping up with the home front. From the outside people that don't know me well think I do it all. I DON'T! I probably have the messiest house of any of my friends, sacrifice time with family because I have a hard time saying no especially to good causes, and have a million house projects on the to do but not getting done list.
I wake in the morning after too short of a night's rest. Grief is the most difficult at night, and when you lose someone out of the natural order of things, it is only magnified. Long gone are the days where I could peacefully lay my head on my pillow. When the house gets quiet at night the reality of having tucked in 1 less child, the sadness of the moments I miss with him, and the fact that I now feel like I have 1 foot in the grave (since death is no longer just for the elderly) all consume me. My husband takes our daughter to school which is a special time for them and allows the baby to sleep. I know I only get more tired as the day goes on thus I try to get some things done before the baby wakes up. It might be foundation work, things on the computer, or the dishes that I was too tired to mess with the night before. I get in the best snuggles with my baby in the morning since I have the most energy, and I love that I get to have that 1 on 1 time with him. I'm so grateful there aren't tardies given at kids day out!
After I get the baby to school, I go into the office. Some days I also have to squeeze in foundation things while both kids have childcare which means my work on the computer gets done either after school while my daughter watches too much TV or at night when everyone is asleep. I tend to be 1 of the last ones to pick-up my child from kinder. 1 day last week I had taken a gift to a hospice child across town since time was of the essence, and I got stuck in some traffic heading back to get my daughter. I was 5 minutes too late and had to do the walk of shame into the office to sign her out. Even though it was something really important that caused me to be late, I felt horrible about it! There were several other kids in the office, and as I signed her out I noticed moms that had signed out all the way to 40 minutes late the day prior. In typical mommy fashion I found myself comparing and using their extreme lateness to make myself feel better. Who knows what emergency they might have actually had.
When we got home my daughter got out my old records, and I felt so much joy as we had a dance party building memories on top of my memories of dancing to these tunes when I was a child. Cooking has never been my thing, but somehow I managed to convince some friends that are better cooks than I am to do a monthly meal swap with me. The 8 of us each make 8 of the same meal, freeze it, and swap them to go home with 8 different meals. Thankfully I had poured 1 into the crock pot that morning, so dinner was easy that night.
After getting the kids to bed, I think of my long list of to dos and have a hard time finding the motivation to get them done. The house is quiet but my exhaustion from staying up too late prevents me from finding the energy to do more. There are no breaks in my day as I constantly tend to be busy with 1 thing after another, and the idea of just flopping on the couch is really attractive. TV shows rarely capture my attention and instead I spend my free time on my computer usually mindlessly scrolling through facebook or e-mail.
It's long past when I should have gone to bed, and yet there I still am awake. I think of how I watched my son take his last breath as a smile came over his face. I can still feel the struggle playing in my mind and heart of wanting to hold on so tightly to him and yet knowing that paradise awaited him. I think about how different my family is now and how the journey has impacted us all. Recently my 5 year old daughter told me that her brother was so lucky. "Lucky" isn't a word most people would use to describe a child that fought and died of brain cancer. She elaborated that Jaxon was so lucky that he got to go to Heaven at such a young age! I thank God for pouring His presence into my daughter's heart and for using us as a vessel to spread joy in the dark world of childhood cancer. I ask forgiveness for where I missed the mark, reflect on whether or not I made any deposits into the lives of others that day, and ask for His peace to consume me. I slowly drift off to sleep.
To follow our journey and the work we are doing for kids with cancer go to: www.facebook.com/teamjaxonfrog
or visit our foundation website at: www.jaxonfrogfoundation.com