Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Moments of Definition

Sitting at Church on Easter, our pastor asked us to think back on the defining moments in our lives, which I of course did. As I thought back to the moments that have defined, shaped and molded me into the woman I am today, I felt overwhelmed with emotions. Here I am, cutting close to 29 and have seen, done, and been through more than many of my friends. In ways, I guess you could say I feel as though I have "lost" my place with many of them because of my experiences.

What has defined me? Where would I even start?

As a child I ran into health issues, which the doctor explained would take my life without the proper medication. Over the years, I have learned this to hold much more truth than I believed as a child. My health issues have left me in the hospital, fighting to become well again. As a teenager, I really went through some tough moments, ones of which I will not go into detail here on. Then at the young age of 17 I was faced with the reality of becoming a mother as I discovered that I was pregnant. Looking back, I was just a child myself, yet grew up rather quickly as I learned that I was responsible for another human being. By the age of 19, Kevin and I had two daughters just 15 months apart...after the doctors told me I would never be able to get pregnant.

Being pregnant with Bre was discovering my second home to be in the hospital. I spent the majority of the last fifteen weeks there and ended up having her right before 35 weeks gestation. At this defining moment, I learned to cherish every moment. Breanna flat-lined multiple times during the last couple of days that I was pregnant and she had her struggles the first year, and even some now with her breathing. We like to refer to her as our miracle child.

At the age of 20 my husband decided to enlist in the army. At this time we were faced with new challenges, new experiences, and many changes. During the eight and a half years that he was in, we endured numerous field probs, training, two deployments, and countless nights apart. We learned to depend on each other in ways that we never would have imagined. We grew apart at times, just to find our way back to one another and fall in love all over again... or more than we ever were to begin with. We lived through the fears. We lived through all the army throws at a soldier and his family. We lived through the realities of war really can do to a soldier. We lived through hearing of permanent damages. We have survived thus far with my husband being forever permanently wounded from combat. He survived one of the most selfless acts a person can do after countless convoys and multiple IED's, VBIEDS, mortars, rockets, RPG's, Snipers, and so much more. After many close calls, he is here. Everyday may be a struggle at times and we do live our lives in ways that family and friends may not understand, but we do it together. This is just another defining moment of ours that has shaped us into who we are.

One of the most defining moments for me was realizing that I may not live in 2010. When I had to send Kevin a text message from our upstairs room (El Paso, TX house) because I could not breathe enough to yell for him, I knew something was terribly wrong. I looked like I was nine months pregnant due to me being so swollen, not being able to urinate, filling with fluids and bleeding internally all because a doctor did not cauterize sites after surgery. This was a time that changed many things about me. This was a time that truly opened my eyes. At one in the morning, I had to make the phone calls to my parents and Kev to his to inform them that the doctors did not know if I was going to live or not because my body was shutting down. My kidneys had already shut down. There I was, a 27 year old, mother to three little ones, wife to an amazing man fighting like hell for my life. I called my dad and told him what was going on, feeling strong as I dialed his number. When I heard his voice, it was like I became that little girl again, just needing her daddy. Needing for him to say "everything will be okay". I was honestly scared. Before Kevin left the room to call his parents, I kept telling him "I'm my Grandmother's Granddaughter, so of course I would be okay". Yet, after he left, I was on the phone bawling like a little child. This to me, was one of the most defining moments of my life.

Surviving kidney failure not once, but twice within a two and a half month span opened my eyes, it allowed me to let go of the negative and cling to the positive. It has allowed me to cherish the small things and moments in life, as we never know when they can be taken from us. Lying in the hospital both times, fighting for my life, thinking about all that I have in life, made me a better person. I no longer hold on to the past or grudges. I have learned and accepted that I can't change people nor can I make them behave a certain way. I have learned that not everyone will be there when they say they will, and no matter how much it hurts, that's okay. That's just life. I've learned that often times, friends are our family and the last ones we expect to be there for us are often times the first ones opening their arms and hearts. I've learned that people aren't who they say there are and I've learned to let go of those people, just as I have learned to let go of the ones that I am always there for, yet do not have that in return in my moments of darkness. "If someone cannot handle me at my worst, then they sure as hell don't deserve me at my best" - one of the best things Marylin Monroe ever spoke. Why should I share my moments of joy and happiness with those that cannot stand beside me through my moments of weakness.

Even today in life, between my health issues, children, and wounded husband, I have my moments of weakness. I have my days of breaking into tears over a commercial. I have my moments that I want to yell at the world that sometimes life just isn't fair or want to fight with someone because why do I have these health issues? Why is my life so limited after kidney failure and other things? Why is my husband so damn broken? Then through all the pain, anger and sadness, I do find the happiness. I am still here to get angry over this - all things that I deserve to have anger and frustrations over. I am entitled to my "bad" days, especially when I do not feel right. I do have my husband around that I can get irritated with when he does things that make me stop and shake my head. A husband that does love me for me and that I would be lost without. I do have three kids that can drive me up a wall, yet can leave me with a heart so full of love and pride that I never knew existed. I have my family and friends, all of whom support me and love me for me.

The moments that have defined me are too many to mention and I know there will be many more in the future. Whether they are near or far, some I will openly welcome and others I will hope they remain in the far future. With whatever happens in this life, we are all faced with moments that define us as individuals, in our relationships, as parents, as children, and as much more. These moments will be good and they will be bad. They make us who we are. What we do with these moments and how we react to them is what makes us the person we are today. After my kidney failure, I started to change my life around more than ever before. I have opened my eyes and in ways become a new person. I like the new me and I learn more about me everyday.

Life is full of opportunity, take it. Life is full of moments to make memories, so make them! Cherish what you have and who you are with. The moment you are in is a moment you can never get back. Let the good and the bad define you into a person you are proud to be.

What moments in life have defined you? Leave a comment on this blog post!

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