Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I have had this post swirling in my mind and in my heart for a couple weeks now. Trying to figure out if it was my place to write about it, to share it.
Many of you know my dearest and (almost) lifelong friend Molly.
She and I met when we were twelve years old. Seventh grade. Twenty five years ago. Wow.
We had an instant connection to each other, one that has remained true and strong no matter where we have been through the years. In our early friendship, we were joined at the hip. Where there was one of us, the other was not far behind. We spent almost every weekend together for slumber parties and fun that only middle school girls understand. We easily became each others best friend. Kimmer the Skimmer and the Unsinkable Molly B.
I look back and cherish these days. How simple life was then. Even though it seemed so tough at times. The things we thought unfair, seem silly now. The things we found challenging, we would welcome back in exchange for the challenges we are faced with as adults.
Molly and I have grown into women together.
We became mothers within months of each other. It was at the time that we became mommies, that we truly realized what we had in the other. Strange how motherhood makes you realize that you may not talk to each other everyday. See each other as often as you would like. But at any given time...you pick up right where you left off, as if no time had lapsed at all.
That is the type of friendship we have. No matter where we are, what we are doing, what is happening in our lives...we can count on the that fact that the other is with us in our heart, and that she is never more that a thought away when she is needed.
Since reaching adulthood. Molly and I have been there for each other in so many capacities.
Happiness, sorrow, excitement, fun, anticipation, worry, death, life.
We are constant in each other.
She was there to comfort me through miscarriages. We rejoiced the births of our precious baby girls Chloe and Olivia just 3 months apart. We shared new mom feelings and emotions. Laughter and tears and insecurities. I was there to comfort her when her Dad was diagnosed with Cancer and helped whenever I could during his treatment. She was there for me when my worry and anxiety brought me down she made me realize that she truly understood what I was feeling because she often felt the same way. I was there to hold her hand and help her to grieve the loss of a late stage pregnancy. She was a comfort daily to me during my pregnancy with the triplets, always willing to do whatever I needed her too, even when it was just to sit quietly with me on the phone or at the hospital while I cried so afraid my babies would be born too soon. All the time, pregnant with baby Laila, and worrying about her own pregnancy, and that it would be okay. She is the Godmother to the triplets. We are the "aunties" to each others children.
Breast Cancer. My best friend. My Molly. A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend...breast cancer. How does that happen. Why does that happen. In your early thirties, it can't be. This is not supposed to happen. But it was. I was there for her. I cried with her, held her hand. I cried when I was alone for her, for her family, for her little girls. I cut my hair with her. Loved her unconditionally, praying in my heart that she would beat it. She did. She beat breast cancer. She is a survivor. In the following years, she has discovered a new zest for life. A realization that she had been missing to some capacity a wholeness, a completeness. I stood beside her, and supported her through the dissolve of her marriage. Supporting always that the right thing was for her to be happy. For her to be a happy mom/woman. For herself, and for her daughters. No matter what that looked like, no matter how much life would change...being happy is what she deserved out of life. What we all deserve throughout life.
She has endured so much. In the past year, she has really taken a new stance on life. She lives it to it's capacity. She has her own apartment, her own new life. She is healthy and happy.
A few weeks ago Molly called me. Tears, and sobbing. My heart dropped. I know in my heart that I thought she was going to tell me that her cancer was back.
Cancer yes, but not my dear Molly. Molly's mother Ellen.
Molly's mother Ellen, who was like a second mom to me in my younger days. Molly's mom Ellen who has a wonderful husband, five daughters, four son in laws (soon to be five), six grandchildren...
Cancer. Again. My tears fell strong and quick. I had so many mixed feelings happening. I was so thankful that it wasn't my friend, that she was okay. But heart broken for her pain, heartbroken for the thought of her losing her mother.
Things are progressing quickly. It is liver cancer and she is very sick. She is undergoing chemo treatments and is in so much pain. The outcome is not good. But I pray everyday for that to change.
I feel so helpless. I cry and try to think of ways to make it easier, to make it not hurt so much for my friend and for her family. She knows I am here for here when she needs me, and yet I feel so useless to her. My heart breaks for her.
Seems strange to think back on days when live was so simple.
She is so amazing. So strong. So inspiring to me.
I love her with all of my heart. All of my soul.
I want her and her family to know how much they all mean to my heart.
I look at Molly and her four sisters. They are so incredibly close and supportive of each other. Then I look at my own daughters and know that they are so lucky to have each other all through life, they will be there for each other, no matter what.
I hope that our daughters...Olivia, Chloe, Jocelyn, Farrah, Silvie and Laila are as blessed as Molly and I have been in friendship. I hope they find a person to share their lives with, just as their mommies have. A person that is not a sister by blood, but a sister by heart.
I love you Molly.
My Best Friend. My Sister.
Take comfort in my love for you.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Just a couple weeks shy of four years ago, I attended my first Old Capitol City Roller Girls practice.
Little did I realize, that on that night, my entire life would change.
Kimberly-A thirty three year old married woman with four little girls ages 4 and 18 months. I had not been involved with team sports since middle school, I had not been on roller skates for fifteen years (okay maybe more than that.) Not to mention, for the last 18 months (plus 33 weeks of pregnancy/nine of which I was on hospital bed rest) I had been caring for my triplet daughters and my little Chloe girl. I needed to find something to do...all for me. Something to ease tension and get back into shape (or at least better shape.) Something to make me feel confident and strong. Don't misread...I LOVE BEING A WIFE AND A MOMMY. I just needed something to take me out of reality a few hours a week.
I went to this practice with my pal "Fonda Cuffs". She and I have been friends for many years, and she invited me to tag along and check this roller derby thing out. I remember being so nervous. What if I was too old? Too out of shape? What if I didn't fit in? What if I embarrassed myself? I left the practice, (which was really just five women and one referee talking about how to get this league going) went home and immediately started looking online for my skates and my gear. Matt was so supportive. He thought it was so great and was happy to see me smile and be excited about this new "hobby" I had found.
Fast forward to July 2010.
My "hobby" had turned into, well, a full blown part of my everyday life. Kind of like a full time job that you didn't receive a check to do. (Like motherhood, rewarding in so many other ways that it is worth it. You receive "payment" in other capacities.) It makes you feel good, whole, important and accomplished. Practices, board member responsibilities, board meetings, human resources, scheduling practices/bouts, bouts, fundraisers, planning, promoting, paperwork....so many aspects to running a league. I proudly shared in much of the business side of the league, as well as being a rostered skater, and I did love it, but it was a lot of responsibility and a lot to keep up with.
July 2010, I was scheduled to have a surgery on my legs to relieve a problem called "compartment syndrome." This annoying and painful swelling in my lower legs was something I had been fighting through since joining the team in Octber 2008. It was a fairly simple surgery and I would be off skates six to eight weeks post surgery, and then back better than before...Just a few days before my scheduled surgery, I blew my left knee at practice. I completely ruptured PCL and MCL and dislocated the patella. I'll be honest, it was more painful than I recall childbirth being, and also...no reward of a baby in your arms when it's over. Long story short, in September 2010 I had major knee surgery, and now have two donor ligaments in my knee. It was a long recovery. Six weeks without being able to bend my leg. Eight weeks with no weight baring and months of physical therapy, three times a week. It was difficult, painful and discouraging, but it was just the hand that life had dealt me, so I played it. I spent the next year bench coaching. Being a positive force on the team, even if it was from the bench and not on my skates. I continued with all of the other jobs I had and I was confident in my role as a coach. However, I knew in my heart that skating was where I wanted to be. I was determined to get there. I would get there. I can do anything I set my sights on, right?
On June 11, 2011 I was cleared to put my skates back on. No contact or falling yet, but at least I could test my sea legs or knee rather. After two more months, in September 2011, one year exactly from surgery, I was clear for contact. Completely released for all activities (although my surgeon thought I was crazy).
I worked and worked and worked for the remainder of the season, trying to get back to where I felt I should be. Playing catch up with myself and with the league overall. The game had evolved so much while I had been off skates. Although I had the mental game and the strategy knowledge on my side...my body and skills were lagging. The new season of bouting began in February 2012. We traveled to Minnesota to play the All-Stars. (How's that for my first bout back! The Minnesota All Stars!) It was a tough game, mentally and physically and emotionally. It felt fantastic to be ON the track again with my team. Although we lost (badly) I learned so much. About derby, about myself, about myself in the role of an athlete. I felt proud. I was doing it. I was skating again!
Fast forward to late summer 2012.
I have continued in all of my leadership roles within the team this year, as well as skating again. My knee feels great. (Although the rest of my body feels really really old.) The season has been a tough one, which is good, because we are growing as a league and becoming more competitive with amazing teams. I have always been of the mind set that it's not about winning or losing, but about having fun. Doing what you do because it makes you happy. Derby has always made me happy.
Then I hurt my shoulder during a practice. At first I thought I had pulled a muscle, but not the case. Still not exactly sure what is happening with it, as I have not had an MRI. However, I know that there is something that isn't right with it. I have continued to skate through it because I did not want to quit. I did not want to be injured again.
The entire season has had several challenges for me individually. I have that little voice in the back of my mind thinking...what if you get hurt again? What if. I have battered and bullied myself for not being as good as I want to be, not as good I have told myself I have to be. Of course I have my strong points, and I know that. But, I feel as though everyone around me is excelling and I am stuck in neutral. Honestly, it's a bad feeling. A feeling that makes you cry inside and outside. It hurts. So I started to do some soul searching. What is it? Why do I feel this way? After several months of thought, back and forth conversations with myself about what to do, I stepped out of a few of my roles within the league, hoping that it would help ease things, but it didn't change the way I was feeling inside. Always at maximum stress, questioning why can't I be better? Angry at myself for feeling like I was failing at something I wanted so much to be good at. Never feeling like I had enough time for anything.
I have realized, the reason I feel this way, is because I have come to a crossroad in my personal life, my babies are all in school this year, and I don't want to be away from them in the evenings, because I miss them. I want to be at home to read and do spelling tests and snuggle after bath time, every night...not just five out of seven or less on weeks we have bouts. I am taking full time classes,as well as taking on clients and building my career, which takes a lot of time and focus to be successful. I miss the free time with my husband. He has been 200% supportive of derby since day one, but I miss him. It's difficult when he has a night off work and I have to leave for practice or whatever might be happening.
With these heavy thoughts lingering in my heart and in my mind...I realized that derby filled an opening in me as a woman. An opening I could never really pinpoint. It made me confident and proud of myself for coming out of my comfort zone and doing something unique and challenging. Derby taught me that I am an amazing woman, an amazing mother and and an amazing wife. Derby taught me so much about life, about me. So really, the thoughts that I am feeling are not heavy or negative, they are positive. Derby allowed me to find me.
The last four years have been an incredible journey.
I wouldn't change anything about the way my derby story was played. The series of events all happened for a reason. I am proud to say I was part of OCCRG, a part of roller derby. I am so graced to have met so many terrific people. People who have changed my life in so many positive ways, people that love me and care about me. I know that those people will be forever in my life, with derby or without derby. They have made a hand print on my heart. I am honored to have helped build this league and look forward to watching it continue to grow.
I am ecstatic looking toward my future... to be an old gray haired grandma, telling my grandchildren that I WAS once A ROLLER GIRL!
It is with sw33t tears, that I will hang up my skates after the bout on Friday night.
This chapter has come to an end.
I look forward to beginning the next chapter in my life's journey.
I always say, "Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination."
Yesterday Today and Forever ...
Friday, October 12, 2012
The 10 year Anniversary symbolizes strength.
It is said that that marriage has shown to be flexible, bendable. Like the metals tin or aluminum. The strength is also compared to a diamond, beautiful, strong, unbreakable.
A marriage at the 10 year mark has encountered changes wonderful as well as difficult.
We have had so many wonderful experiences in the last 10 years, and some tough ones as well.
We have persevered as a team, a united force that can handle whatever we are faced with. We hold closely the love and commitment we promised to one another.
Our bond has grown, every day, stronger than I even imagined was possible.
When I look into his eyes, I fall more and more in love every time.
We are watching our four beauties grow and are teaching them what love is, what is means and the power of what love holds within.
I love you Matt.
I love our life.
I love the intrigue of what the future will hold for us.
While doing some research on 10...I found this song and I'd say it fits us.
"I Won't Give Up"
by: Jason Mraz
When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find
'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No: I won't give up
I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up, still looking up.
I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up