Tag Archives: family

On Being A Daughter

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It’s Father’s Day, so I wanted to say a few words about Stan the Man, Stanley the Manly, Pops, Ray, Daddy-O, or simply, Dad.

 

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If I narrow down all the things my dad has taught me to most important thing, it’s that parenting is a life-long commitment. Is it fulfilling? I’m sure it is at times, but I laugh because I’m well into my thirties and my dad and I both know I’ll be leaning on him for direction, guidance, and emergency money until the sweet, sweet release of death. Luckily, for me, my dad is committed.

When I first went to college at Texas Tech, I struggled so hard. I wasn’t aware of what a panic attack was when I was 18, but I was having them constantly. When I called home, it was my dad who talked to me and calmed me down. This man flew me from Lubbock to Dallas and back nearly every weekend of my freshman year of college.

After college, it was dad who helped me get my first “real” job in sales. I’m sure he had visions of me following in his footsteps and being an affable, outgoing, selling machine! I sold exactly one unit. On the day I quit. Nine months after I started.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a late bloomer. I needed lots of help to get my life on track. My dad put a roof over my head while I figured things out…for eight years. Granted, some pretty significant life events were happening concurrently, but if my dad hadn’t welcomed me back, I would not be in the same position I am in now. I needed his safety net in that time, and I’m so grateful he provided it so I didn’t have to settle. I still felt like I was settling in the early years- working at a daycare, waiting tables full-time, switching to retail…I felt like I was capable of more, but I didn’t have the confidence to go after it until seven years into living with my dad.

In all that time, because I wasn’t scrambling for rent or a car payment, I had time to think. I had time to sort out what was keeping me from functioning at the level I am capable of functioning. I had time to learn what I love to do, cultivate that passion, find my purpose, and follow my own path. I don’t know too many other people who have the same kind of support. I’m lucky to have my dad, I would not be the person I am today without my dad, because I wouldn’t have had the kind of time it requires to find out.

I think lots of young children see their patents as these perfect, all knowing entities, rather than fallible humans. The thing about my dad is, once I found out he wasn’t perfect, I didn’t feel like I had to be either. He continues to be really open with me about mistakes he’s made in his life and how they helped shape who he is now. My dad definitely has a growth mindset and I think he inspires others to want to be their best self as well. I must have inherited that trait from him.

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It all goes back to that important lesson, parenting is a life-long commitment. Thankfully, when I turned 18, my parents weren’t saying, “Well, Kasey, we’re all done here, good luck out there! See you at Christmas!”

So, this Father’s Day I wanted to honor to the best father I know, my own. Thank you for your patience, faith in me, and commitment to supporting me so that I can live my life my own way.  I love you dad! Happy Father’s Day!

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I’m baaaaaaaack

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Great news! My brother was discharged from Johns Hopkins on Thursday and we were given the go ahead to move back to Dallas!

After the transplant, my brother was going to the hospital everyday to have his levels checked, get transfusions, make sure there was no infection, etc. After about a month, he only had to go 4-5x a week, now, once a week! He’s also transfusion independent, so he’s making his own healthy blood cells and platelets!

The transformation has been incredible. To see my brother back to his energetic, playful self has been a blessing. Thank you for all the positive energy you have sent our way. I think it truly made a difference in his recovery.

He still has a long road ahead, he still has to avoid sick people, or anyone that’s been exposed to someone who is sick (he lost all of his vaccines since he has a new immune system). He has to stay out of the sunlight because sunburns can be especially damaging. Even so, it’ll be nice to have him in Dallas for a while longer and also to be home myself.

I’m very happy to be home. The city life just isn’t for me. Not in Baltimore, anyway. Three years ago, maybe. But today I’m in the mindset that if one more person throws their dog’s poop in my trashcan, or waits for the bus in the middle of the street (why??!), or walks into traffic blindly, failing to use even the most common of sense, I’m going to freaking lose it!

That being said, it was still awesome to spend so much time with my big brother in Baltimore. My brother is the best guy I know, he’s always there for me and present when I need him to be. He offers me priceless advice and wisdom and I love spending time with him and talking to him. I definitely won the sibling lottery, he’s my hero and I know he would do anything for me. Including going through painful, debilitating treatments and the fight of his life so I don’t have to live without him.

yep, this was pretty much our entertainment.

So what now? Well, I was offered a live-in nanny position for my little chickpea’s family and I accepted. I love her and her brother so much, I am very excited to be a part of their daily lives and be a positive influence on them as they grow. So this will really be the start of something new!

my little chickpea turned one this week, so I made her a scrapbook of her first year

my little chickpea turned one this week, so I made her a scrapbook of her first year

I also got a great part time morning job with another family with a little girl and a newbie set to arrive at the end of next month. I’m really excited about both opportunities, I still feel very much like this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. It makes me happy and I love my work. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

I really wanted to travel after I was done in Baltimore, but I think it will have to wait. Luckily, with my new job I can accrue vacation time. Also, since they pay for rent and food I can save up for a great vacation and other things. It just takes patience, which I’m used to.

So. I’m home for good! I start my new job in July, June is going to be a time to regroup, I’ll be working a little but also taking it easy and trying to get into the right mindset for what’s ahead. I’m still doing heavy personal growth work, even more so than before. It’s already helping me achieve more clarity about who I am, what I want out of life and who I want to eventually become.

That’s about it! Thanks so much for reading, I’ll write again soon.

remembering mom

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Today marks one year since my mom passed away, and what a year it has been.    So much has happened all over the spectrum.   There was so much change and so many tears.  A few priceless memories and several painful memories.

I remember the especially traumatic events used to replay in my mind in order of appearance in my life and haunt me.  And when those memories weren’t playing, the guilt was.  There were so many things that I wished I would have done.  None of them would have saved her, but I wished I had done them anyway.

Leaving all that behind me hasn’t been easy.  I want to get to the point where my happy memories hit me first.  She wouldn’t want me to be haunted by painful memories. She loved me and was an incredible source of comfort to me and that’s how she deserves to be remembered.

Mom helping me walk

My favorite memories aren’t anything particularly exciting.  Just spending time together and laughing, mostly.  I miss her laugh and her making me laugh. One day, in the hospital, she was about to go down for some sort of scan.  The guy that always came to get her had only met me, but this time my dad and my brother were also there.  He asked my mom who everyone was and she gestured to us and said, “My daughter, Kasey,  My son, Bryant,” and finally she points to my dad (keep in mind, my parents were divorced) and says, “baby daddy.”  Everyone in the room busted out laughing.  I think that was the last hearty laugh we had, the four of us together.

A family classic

I think what I miss even more, is having that extra person on my side unconditionally.  It is such a profound loss, not just because of what she did for me in my life but because she gave me life.  She didn’t have to keep me safe in her tummy for 7 months.  When the doctors wanted to refuse to tie her tubes because they thought I was going to die, she knew in her heart that I am a fighter and I wasn’t going to give up so easily.

She always fought for me and she was always proud of me.  I don’t know many other people’s moms that would walk around bragging that their daughter is a bartender…but mine did.  Annoyingly so, sometimes.  Anyone that ever came to the house, I just HAD to make them a drink.  I just HAD to make hors d’oeuvres.  I hated it, but I know now that she just wanted everyone else to see what she saw in me.  She wanted me to see what she saw in me.

Yes, that’s what I miss most.  She was one of only a handful people in my life that went out of her way to make an effort to make me feel like I was important and that I deserve great things, you know?  Our relationship wasn’t perfect, but when it came down to it, she put in the time.  Even if she was exhausted she would pick up my calls at 3 a.m. to let me vent about work.  Every time.  I miss her so much.

mommy and me

I had a bond with my mom that I have very rarely seen in other mother daughter relationships or been able to relate to anyone else about.  When I was a little kid, I was always right next to her.  I can’t remember ever going through a time where I was embarrassed by her mere existence, as most teenagers tend to be.  I held my mom’s hand in public until I was 27 years old.  She was my best friend and even though I am not religious, I know that it was no accident that we were placed together in this life.

I can’t say that I will be celebrating my mom’s life today.  I think it’s too soon, I am still mourning her loss.  I can,  however,  celebrate how far I’ve come since that day.  I was sure that I had hit my threshold for emotional pain after the funeral.  But the bad news just kept coming.

If it had only been my mom, I think it would have been easy to let grief completely take me over.   But my brother and best friend were fighting for survival and, even though I was completely broken, I had to get up and fight for them too.  They are worth fighting for.

I would have never thought that in the process I would learn so much about my character.  The difference between what I think I can handle and what I can actually handle is far greater than I previously thought.  I think I have grown more as a person in this last year than I had in the previous 3, combined.

All that and my own personal safety net was gone during all of it.  I know that my mom would’ve liked to see the two big passions that have come out of my experiences.  For one, I love to cook, which I never did before.  While I will admit I had to start cooking out of necessity for my brother, it really turned into a hobby that I throw myself in to.

Second, my mom always said this one phrase to me, from one of her favorite songs.  I thought it was so cheesy and I always rolled my eyes whenever she said it.  She always said, “I hope you dance, Kasey.  I always loved watching you dance.” I quit dance to become a full-time cheerleader when I was thirteen, so it just sounded ridiculous to me.   Well, you can imagine my surprise when I started going to one dance class at my gym and now dance seems to be slowly taking over my life.  I forgot how much I liked it and now I go to anywhere from 3-8 classes a week.  Who knew?  Mom did, of course.

Maybe she’s watching me dance, but honestly, I hope  she’s dancing herself– with her dad, brothers, friends and, as of April 2, 2012 her mom.

Mom, Bryant, Grandma, and myself

Rest in peace, Mom.  It’s been a year since you left and I think of something you taught me everyday.  I know that I am who I am today because of you and  I’ll continue to miss you every day until I see you again.

Peggie Anne Gardner
April 15, 1951-April 19, 2011