Sometimes...I get a little tired of talking about me. We all know my love affair with Sharpies and paper towels, how many gremlins I have, where I pass my time, and what I like in my coffee. So, to keep this blog fresh as a daisy, I personally thought it'd be fun to pepper it with some interviews. So, I'll be Lois Lane today and I bring you an interview with Mariah - a bff, Chicago dweller, ex-social worker, ex-cheerleader, lover of football and the SeaChickens, mother of two, wife of one (because Jon Bon Jovi doesn't count). Enjoy! If you have been alive longer than two years, you too are interesting! So shoot me a comment if you'd like to prattle on about yourself on my blog.
1. Why did you pick social work as a career? I was originally going to study accounting and become a CPA (cause THAT'S super related to social work). However, half way through my AA degree I decided to switch gears. I am assuming at the time (I was 19 years old) I wanted to change the world and actually thought I could single-handedly. I had a not so phenomenal childhood and entered the social work field initially to work with other youth who had endured similar challenges as I had. I learned in school that this is the reason most social workers become social workers. :0)
2. You were scared to have a boy after having a daughter. What's your favorite thing now about your man child? Wow. It is extremely hard to pick one thing. I would say his insanely gentle spirit. He is so soft-hearted towards other people. He loves to snuggle still at age 7 and is the goofiest creature I know. Physically, his eyeballs make my heart melt. I consistently want to just suck them right off his face.*
3. What about your husband inspires you? Again, hard to pick one thing. I would say the same soft heart that my son has. Though many mistakes occur in marriages he, at his core, loves me and my children more than life itself and would give up his own life, at any moment, for us. He is a dedicated, hard worker regardless of what job he is doing (teaching, TGIFridays, etc!). One of the other things I love about him so much is that he is a man that actually craves and really enjoys other male friendships. Hard to find them as this is apparently not too common amongst men but I love that he is a social butterfly who can handle himself well in any situation. And he has a nice toosh......
4. People say they couldn't cope with their child having the "C" word. What FORCED you to cope? (Daughter, Sadie, was diagnosed with cancer at age 8). The mere existence of a diagnosis forces you to cope. It's as though your mind takes over with "get this kid well" and you go on auto pilot. Of course, having God to lean on the whole time was the real life saver and I'm not just saying that. A couple of things I remember we did, specifically, during our cancer shabang were: 1. Tried to focus on miracles that were occurring through the entire ordeal. This was so good for us. It reminded us that though we were facing tough times, we were insanely blessed at the same time. I remember describing to Kelly Lopeman once that I felt as though we were floating in a cloud of grace. Sounds cheesy but was most definitely the truth. 2. We also put most of life on the back burner and hit survival mode. This definitely had it's disadvantages later on but I don't think we knew what else to do. Try to continue running as a "normal, happy family" so as to assist Sadie in staying positive and getting through it. All in all, we realized that though we were facing cancer with our child, we were the lucky ones. We had a very curable form that followed all good protocols and our child was rarely really sick throughout it. We saw so many other worse situations that while we were dealing with something many others feel is impossible to deal with (and we did too before it happened!) we were watching others, and admiring others, who we felt were dealing with TRULY difficult situations with their children (longer treatment, terminal cancer, etc).
5. Is there anything you would do differently now that it's in the past? Like I said, putting all of life on a backburner had it's disadvantages. Our marriage suffered. Some of my closest friendships suffered. Isaac suffered. Even Sadie suffered from that. If I had to face it again, I would hope I could change some of this. I would hope to go on more dates with my husband so we could process through it all, laugh and have fun. I would hope to do more special things with Isaac to make HIM the center of attention once in awhile. The poor guy took a huge backseat unintentionally. I would hope to carry on with life more as "normal" than we thought we were doing for Sadie. Her illness became life and, therefore, she became the center of it all. Not good for any kid. They then don't know how to NOT be the center of life and we have been dealing with those challenges ever since. I would spend more time with friends caring about what was going on in THEIR lives rather than focusing on just what was going on in my life.
6. What would you tell a mom who is facing what you and your family faced? Oh gosh. I would suggest to her that she accept more help from others than I ever accepted. In the beginning you think you can conquer the illness and the world and about a quarter of the way through you collapse from emotional and physical exhaustion. It's hard to let someone else care for your baby when they are sick but, at times, it is vital for your own sanity so you can continue to do the same. I would perhaps also encourage a mom, or family, to get through the illness in whatever way they need to. I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to handle something like that. You have to do what you're family does to get through it. You will look back and see things you wish you would have done differently but when you are going through it that doesn't matter. Getting your family through the ordeal is what naturally matters most at that time.
7. You come home after a terrible day and the most wonderful thing in the world is in your living room. Describe it. It is about 5 foot 8. Has a great head of hair, straight teeth and this insane musical talent......Okay, seriously. This is a difficult question. I would have to say it would be lovely to come home to a massage table in my living room and a happy hubby who didn't have a hard day that day. It would also be great to have my kiddos there to snuggle with. Kind of like Mothers Day. A night where I could relax with the people I love the most and not have any expectations placed on me. Is that shallow after a terrible day?
8. What was your favorite school subject and what are your kid's? My favorite school subject was Math. Sadie's favorite subject is generally science though I have learned this year that she loves to research ANYTHING. Isaac's favorite subject is Math. Weird.
9. What do you love about homeschooling and what do you loathe about it? I love the freedom! I love that while others are inside on a beautiful day I can take my kids to an apple orchard field trip and see dozens of other children with the same freedom. I love that I can pick up and go out West for 2 weeks at a time to visit family and no one will be there to breathe down my neck for my kids missing school. I love watching them decide what is most exciting to learn about and how they learn best. It is liberating. What I loathe about it are the days where I am apparently the dumbest person on the planet who can't possibly teach them anything AND the days where we stay inside for way too long. I am an obnoxiously busy person so staying at home, in home for extended periods of time drives me bananas.
10. You love to travel. What's next on your destination? Well we are going back to Seattle for my sister's wedding in October but what's next on our "just because" destination is a Spring break in Pennsylvania. It is beautiful there that time of year. We plan to visit some old friends, do a historical stop in Philadelphia and then go experience Hershey, PA which we studied the beginning of this school year. I gotta go see a city where the tops of the streetlights are silver foil Hershey kisses.
11. If you could build a time machine, what era would you visit or whom would you visit? I would visit the Civil Rights Era/Martin Luther King Jr. I would like to see if I had any guts back then like I pretend now that I would have had. I'd like to know who I would have been during that time. Would I have been brave and stood up for what is right or would I have caved to the fear and pressure from around me?
12. If that same machine took you back to meet yourself, what you say to your 10 year old self? Your 15 year old self? And your 20 year old self? What I would say to my 10 year old self is "this too will pass". To my 15 year old self I would say "life is so much bigger than highschool. Don't get caught up here. Be the person you hope to see yourself as in your 30's and leave the rest behind." To my 20 year old self I would say "don't rush adulthood for fear that it will pass you by. There is plenty of time to get married, have babies, etc. Trust God with your future and enjoy your present life."
13. If the movie of your life had a soundtrack, what would it be? And what would the movie be called? The soundtrack would definitely be Footloose (which I REFUSE to go see the remake of) and I suppose the movie could be called "Trauma, Redemption and the Life Lived In-Between."
Mariah and Gianni, a scant three or four hours after he was born. When Mariah isn't sucking out small children's eyeballs, she's licking the New Baby Scent off newbie humans.
* Views of this post are not necessarily the views of this blog owner. Thedazeofus does not recommend the sucking out of anyone's eyeballs.