Dear Gem – Month 28

by | Cancer, Living Well

This month you made your international television debut on CNN!

This story was about Debbie Cantwell, another woman who survived breast cancer. She went on to build an organization to help other young women with breast cancer. She helped us by hiring someone to come clean our home when I was tired and weak from the treatments. Now she is being honored as a CNN Hero, and I jumped at the opportunity to thank her, and tell the world how critical her help was. [Full Story]

You were so cute, but I wish I’d made you sit still before-hand, so I could get a better part in your hair.

Then, a few days later, they came out with another video, this time it was longer, and showed even more of you…

[Full Story]

The whole production was so much fun, and the team that came out to interview us was really nice, and set us all at ease right off the bat. Anytime you get a chance to stand up and say thank you – grab it!

letters to gem - month 28

We’ve had other big developments this month as well. We moved into a new apartment. It’s quite a bit smaller than our old place, but you love it. For one thing, you get quite a bit more freedom to run around the house than I allowed you in the old place, and you get to spend more time playing unsupervised in your bedroom. Some of that is out of necessity.

For instance, you graduated from a crib to a big-girl toddler bed.

I love listening to your non-stop chatter over the baby monitor. One day I heard: “keep trying, keep trying” and “try it again.” When I became a Mommy, I was granted eyes in the back of my head, and the ability to see through walls; I knew exactly what you were doing. I went into your room and sure enough, there you were perched on top of the crib railing making your escape. No more crib for you.

Unfortunately, you are also quite skilled at opening doors, and know exactly what to do with a deadbolt. I’m sure our attempts to keep you from wandering away would fail the fire marshal’s standards for ease of egress, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. I’m certain a fire marshal with a 2 year old would understand.

gem and the tree

Your happy place here in our new home seems to be mommy and daddy’s bed. Whenever you get quiet and disappear, that’s the first place I look. There you are, perched in the middle of our bed surrounded with your books and babies. And a couple times a day you will take me by the hand and lead me in there and ask to “sluggle.” How can I say no to that? When I go to bed at night, the first step is emptying our bed of your playthings so there is room for me to lie down.

gem and the slide

You sing all the time. You make up little songs, but most of the time you just sing a running report of what you happen to be doing at the moment. I have often heard you singing: “sitting in a chair, sitting in a chair…”

Gem and the yellow dress

Your language skills are really blossoming, but sometimes it takes a little time to figure out what you mean. The other day you came to me and asked me to: “rescue it, the pie cake?” I could not for the life of me figure that one out, until eventually, like Lassie leading Timmy to the well, you brought me to your bedroom and looked hard at the register under the window. So I looked too.

Sure enough, there was a pancake (pie cake) stuck in the register, along with a few crayons.  Maybe we need to rethink the unsupervised playtime in your bedroom. Also, we need to figure out how to childproof that register, because it get’s really hot. I know it gets really hot because the thermostat is within your reach. Maybe we need to rethink those ease of egress issues, too.

I don’t image this post is going to garner me any mom of the year awards, but that’s not the point anyway.

I’m just doing the best I can, just like most of the other parents out there.

Someday you might find yourself in the same boat. Parenting isn’t full of easy, one-size-fits-all answers. It’s hard, and sometimes you feel like there is no right answer. Parenting is trial by fire, learn on the job, and there is no way to know if you’re doing the right thing. It’s also the most fun I’ve ever had.

I’m so lucky that I get to be your mother.

I love you


Judy Schwartz Haley


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