Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is the definition of generous?

Generous (adj.)

generous - willing to give and share unstintingly; "a generous donation"
charitable - full of love and generosity; "charitable to the poor"; "a charitable trust"
generous - not petty in character and mind; "unusually generous in his judgment of people"
unselfish - disregarding your own advantages and welfare over those of others

The only thing missing from those definitions is a photo of my Mom. In life, she was such a caring, giving woman. Before she retired, she worked as a nurse who cared for geriatric patients, most of whom were at the end of their lives on this earth. A few days ago, before we lost her, I was filing some papers away and found some cards that were given to her by patient's families. While reading them I felt such happiness; they were talking about my Mom! She loved and cared for her patients as though they were her own family, and her kindness and generosity was always so appreciated by their loved ones.

Now, in death, she is doing one of the most generous things I believe a person can do. She made the very altruistic choice to donate her body to a University/School of Medicine here in Georgia. Her decision was based on not only the memory of her days in nursing school (where there was a serious lack of cadavers to learn by), but also by the knowledge that her lymphoma and leukemia could possibly help someone battling those terrible diseases in the future.

I am crying tears of pride as I write this tonight. Although we won't be having the traditional funeral or service, just knowing that her gift will enrich and expand a future doctor or nurse's knowledge brings me such peace.

Although I was the only one there with her when she took her final breath, Mark and Renee came to be by my side as quickly as they could safely get to the hospital. We said our last goodbyes in a lovely, quiet room, just the four of us. We had plans for her last days to be at home with us with hospice, but that wasn't meant to be. Instead, we shared an experience that reminded me so much of the day Renee was born, except that we were saying goodbye to Mom instead of hello to baby Renee. There were tears, hugs, and smiles. It seemed surreal, yet perfect, that we were able to be there together. It was just a special, beautiful moment in our lives.

She will be with us forever, in our hearts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mickey Monday~Harmony Barber Shop

While going through my photos for our recap of 2010, I realized how many photos I had put aside in folders in hopes of finding the time to share the details of our trips. On many Disney message boards, that's called 'Doin' a Trip Report'. Although it would make me very happy to do one, I just don't know if I can find the time for that anymore. Life is definitely in full tide mode at the moment!

I don't know if I will be able to keep up with it, but I would love to make Mondays all about Mickey here at Making Memories. So, for now, I would love to try to share little tidbits of things that we love to do, or see, and sometimes, even eat (now that's a shocker!) while we are down at Walt Disney World.

Today, I would like to share about a special little place that you will surely miss if your eyes are focused only on Cinderella's Castle as you walk into the Magic Kingdom. I know it's hard to take your eyes off of it, but take a quick peek over to the left. Tucked away in a little corner after you enter through the tunnel is the Harmony Barber Shop.

It is a wonderful place to visit in the middle of the chaos that can often be Magic Kingdom. The barbers are patient with toddlers, kind to kiddos, and all around nice to the adults. Every experience we've had there has brought smiles to our faces. Oh, and when we walk out, our hair looks fantastic!

Although the Badelves had visited quite a few times in the past, this past April, we decided it would be great fun to get spruced up along with the McCann clan.

The ladies in the group decided that the boys/men in their party needed a little shave and a haircut, two bits!

Okay, maybe not a shave, but how about some colored gel?

And a hidden Mickey!

And perfect, painted on stripes!

Oooooh! And confetti!

The boys were even nice enough to share some of their sparkle with Renee. There can never be enough sparkle in your life!

Nice job, yes?

All cleaned up and ready to go!

If you ever have the chance to stop in, please do so. It's often quite crowded, but we think it's worth the wait. If you are very lucky, you might even time it perfectly and be serenaded by the Dapper Dans!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2010 as represented by adjectives beginning with the first letter of the month

Hello, friends! I began drafting this post way before the end of the year, but as usual, life got in the way of its completion. I don't think it's ever too late for a recap of the year's events, do you? As long as you are cool with that (and the very long title of this post!), then please feel free to read along!

2010 was quite the year in the land of the Badelves. There was a mix of joy, laughter, and even some tears. But through it all, it was shared with special friends, and each other. And so it began, in....

Joyous January

January began, as it always does, with the ringing in of the new year and my birthday. It is both a joy and a curse to be born on New Year's Day, depending on how you look at things! This year, though, I had my own little cake baker who created for me, not only a big cake, but a mini one, too!

Mom (whose head was still naked under that chef's hat from her numerous rounds of chemo) encouraged me to join her in her favorite 'Wilson pose'. I love this photo more than anything!

Fabulous February

This had to have been one of the coldest winters we'd experienced since we'd moved down south. We spent a great deal of time teasing Mark about moving us to where it was 'warm'!

We celebrated Mark's *cough, cough* 47th birthday on the 13th. His day was filled with love and a huge, make your own ice cream sundae; what more could a man ask for?

Flowers? No, not for Mark. This lovely bouquet was sent to Miss Renee by our dear friends, the McCann clan. They sure do know a way to a girl's heart on Valentine's Day!

Marvelous March

To the gardening girls in the family, March has become the month when we wait for spring to arrive. This year was no different, but the weather just wasn't cooperating. Thank goodness we had the opportunity to see our sweet friend, Danny, perform with Lord of the Dance when his tour stopped in Atlanta for the night. Of course, this meant a dress-up evening for all of us, and there was a certain little girl who was totally in her element. Take a peek....

Although Miss Renee is all about getting her hands dirty, she is sure turning into quite the lovely lady! Here she is with 'her' Danny. She just adores him!

Awesome April

Remember what I mentioned earlier about someone liking to get their hands dirty? Well, Easter was a perfect excuse for that, especially when there were eggs to be dyed!

The Easter Bunny stopped by, and this year, he left detailed instructions about his Easter egg hunt. You might also notice that he ate all the yummies she had left for him in that now empty, Mickey plate. Who knew he was all about the fatty goodness of Peeps?

The best part of an Easter egg hunt? Opening up those eggs to see what is inside!

Meaningful May

May began with a bit of news we were sort of expecting, but not really wanting to hear. After numerous tests, they found that although Mom's chemo was keeping her lymphoma somewhat under control, it really wasn't putting her into remission. We all decided to take a 'wait and watch' approach to give her body a break from the poisons they had been pumping into her.

We had a trip to Walt Disney World planned for quite awhile and really wanted to bring Mom with us, but after months on the road back and forth to hospitals and cancer centers, she just wanted to rest at home. Although we were sad that she wouldn't be joining us, who could really blame her for her choice?

Our trip began with some fun at Epcot...

And became even better when the McCann clan showed up! There is nothing better than sharing the magic with our friends.

Then, we all met up with the McAuleys as well, and enjoyed celebrating the birthdays of two very special young men.

Before we headed back home, we were also able to meet up with our friends, Keri and Kara, who work at Disneyland Paris. They call Renee their Lil Sis, and that's just fine with us!

Who else but big sisters would be crazy enough to join her in going along with Aladdin's idea to jump in the air like this?

After a wonderful trip with amazing friends, we returned home and celebrated not only Mother's Day, but Mom's 70th birthday. She is not a fan of having her photo taken (hence the Wilson poses!), but she obliged this year. She had to; she was finally growing some hair on her noggin!

Jazzy June

We were so happy to see June arrive! Things were somewhat quiet with Mom, so it allowed us to take a few local day trips. We spent one Saturday at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, just enjoying the scenery, listening to some jazz musicians, and spending time together.

Another weekend, we stopped by the (FREE!) Fernbank Science Center. They have many things to peruse inside, but outside, there are amazing, wooded, paved pathways to wander through. Of course, hijacks ensued as usual!

June also began my battle with tomato horn worms in our container gardens. Although it was suggested to me that I should take them out back and beat them with a brick, at that time, I just chose to take them deep into the woods and chuck them. As time went on, I learned that was a pretty stupid idea, and I should have listened to Erin! Our poor tomato plants were never the same after that.

Juicy July

If we thought this year's winter was cold, we learned that its summer would be just as hot! Sweaty, sticky, fry an egg on the driveway hot. It looked like even the butterflies were having a rough time with the weather.

The hummingbirds, on the other hand, were staying hydrated by clearing out the feeder almost every other day. It was humorous to watch them fighting for ownership of this glass vessel, so I was surprised to find these two sitting peacefully sipping nectar together!

Amazing August

August was just as hot, and we were doing all we could to stay cool. That meant we didn't go outside unless we had to. I didn't want to miss out on all the beauty, so I was thankful for our kitchen window. It made it easier to see lovely sights like this...

Later on that month, I got a message from my friend, Sandra (my sister from another mister!), who we met while living in New York. She wanted to know if Miss Renee and I could come down and stay with her and her daughter, Christina, for a girl's week at Disney. Ummmm, yes!

They are DVC owners too, so Renee and I encouraged them come along with us for their first ever Welcome Home Wednesday. What could be better than seeing the always hysterical Deevy See? Renee is her biggest fan, and couldn't wait to introduce Sandra and Christina to her!

We also stopped by to visit our friends, Lynne and Lisa, who perform with the World Showcase Players at Epcot. Love these ladies!

Later in the week, 'Uncle' Nick came by to visit. He created the most amazing head wrap for Renee!

Amy and Danny came along, too! We were so happy to see them!

The day that we were supposed to head for home, our friend Kara (from France) and her Mom (from the UK) met up with us at the Studios. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip!

Sad September

September arrived with wild turkeys in our yard...

Tree frogs outside our bedroom window...

And news we didn't want to hear. All on the same day, we learned that some moles I had biopsied were cancerous, and that Mom's freaky blood disorder had morphed into acute leukemia. It wasn't a good day to say the least, but immediately, we put things into gear for treatment mode.

Mom started on a five day, once a month infusion plan. It was a lot different than her chemo for her lymphoma which was only given for one day, once a month. It made it even harder when I had to have surgery on the same day as she needed to be up at Emory for her infusions!

My first surgery was to remove the melanoma from my thigh. I will not be posting a photo of that, thankyouverymuch! What I will share, though, is that my leg is now known as 'Franken-thigh'; nothing like a little humor to make things easier!

I will also not be posting a photo of the next surgery, a removal of a basal cell from my chest. If I thought recovery from these was hard, they would be nothing compared to the ones on my!

Optimistic October

Luckily, Renee's 11th birthday was a wonderful diversion from the past month. Although we were only able to sneak away for a long weekend (due to Mom's treatment schedule and my dermatologist's desire to get that cancer removed from my body!), we were so happy to be able to follow our tradition to celebrate Renee's birthday at Walt Disney World.

It was a whirlwind weekend, but some of our favorite moments were an amazing card made for Renee by the Citizens of Hollywood and presented by the always classy, Dara Vamp...

Being chosen to participate in the last show ever of HSM3...

Hugs, kisses, and birthday spoiling by our sweet friend, Angela...

A little self reflection...

And giving her Mama a preview (Eeeek!) of what will be happening 5 to 6 years from now!

When we returned home, it was back to treatment for Mom, and back to the dermatologist for me. My third surgery to remove a squamous cell from my upper lip left me looking like a lip job gone!

Then, after much thought, Miss Renee decided that it was time to have her ears pierced! It surely took my mind off my blown-up lip. We were so proud of her; she was so brave, and looked so grown-up!

My fourth and last surgery was to remove a basal cell from my forehead. I figured this would be the easy one, but I was sadly mistaken. I won't go into detail, but I will say that I will never willingly have plastic surgery done. Ouch!

After posting those photos, I would like to share that, first, I can't believe I really posted those photos of myself, and second, I did it to remind everyone to put their sunscreen on. No soapbox here, just frightening photos of me as a!

Oh, and if I hear that you aren't applying your sunscreen, I will pull out those 'Franken-thigh' photos, people. Don't make me do it!

Nourishing November

November was a time to nourish not only our bodies, but our hearts, and our minds. We were invited to an 'After Halloween' gathering, and Renee decided on a new costume. Our girlie just loves her cats!

Throughout the month, we continued with Mom's treatment, and things seemed to be going well. The hardest part was the neutropenia, which put Mom on house arrest unless we were going to have blood drawn or chemicals infused into her body. We kept her laughing and surrounded by love, so that helped a bunch. She also felt well enough one weekend to come outside and help me attempt to finish staining the deck before the cold weather arrived. I'm sure it was her help that gave us this lovely result!

Thanksgiving came much faster than we expected, but even with my last minute shopping and cooking, it was delicious. Most important was the fact that we were together as a family!

I'm sure that Mom is going to kill me for posting a 'Non-Wilson' photo, but I will endure her wrath. This photo makes my heart smile.

Deserving December

Earlier in the year, we had made plans to meet up again with the McCann clan at WDW after Thanksgiving. With everything that had gone on with Mom and me, we weren't sure if this trip would happen at all for us. I guess we were deserving of it, because all the planets aligned perfectly!

We had a fantastic time together, enjoying Disney all dressed up in its Christmas best. And although our trip was cut short due to Mom's treatment schedule, Renee was able to have a turkey leg before we headed for home. She was a happy camper!

Christmas came, and as always, it was about family more than anything.

But sometimes, there is a special gift you are just dying to receive.

And it's even better when it's your Grammy who surprises you with it!

That last photo speaks a thousand words to me. It is love, and family, and joy.

And although I've shared many other things with you in this recap, that is what 2010 was really about.