The reality of chronicling and sharing about my family on this blog means that sometimes it isn’t all laughter and nerd jokes. Sometimes things get tough. To better understand how and why things get tough, I’m going to provide you with some backstory.
To recap and set the stage, here’s a quick line-by-line big event breakdown of some tough stuff that happened when our family was formed:
June 2011 BA (Before Ashley):
I meet Zephy Monsters now-mother in a bar one weekend night. I’m single, drunk, and prone to risky choices at this juncture in my life. We have a 3 hour (or so) meeting. You can fill in the blanks here, I imagine.
May 2011 – November 2011 KoA (Kind of Ashley):
Me and Ashley begin hanging out on a slightly more-than-friends basis. She was on her way to Denver to grad school, I was still single and unwilling to admit that I was madly in love with her. Partially because she was moving away, and partially because I was dealing with some of my own insecurities.
November 2011 BoA (Beginning of Ashley):
Me and Ashley start dating. She was back from grad school specifically to visit me for two weeks.
December 2011 DA (During Ashley):
Zephy’s Mother calls me with news that rocks my world.
December 2011-June 2014 ASA (Amazingly Still Ashley).
I give Ashley the option to leave. I did, after all, just get insane and life-changing news. This woman stayed with me through the most hallmark one-night stand that resulted in a pregnancy ever. Not only did she stay with me, but she became a rock of this family – before and after marriage.And let me tell you, that rock she became, it became weathered. Because…
June 2014 ASAEALRGECAARYA (Amazingly Still Ashley Even After Levi Randomly Got Eye Cancer At A Ridiculously Young Age):
This was an incredible gut punch. I have trauma memories of every step of this process. Diagnosis, surgery, treatment, parenting during it, living with chemo in my system, trying to maintain work and social connections during it, the list goes on and on. The hardest thing, however, during all of it, was seeing both Zephy and Ashley suffer with worry and grief while I was too sick to be able to help heal anyone but myself.
August 2014 WWAETC (Wedding with Ashley Even Though Cancer):
We decided that we were not going to let a silly thing like cancer get in the way of our wedding. Going through it was both the most beautiful and momentous day of our relationship, as well as the hardest. I almost collapsed from exhaustion multiple times, but I fell back onto age-old techniques of “faking it” from years of serving and restaurant experience. We did pretty much nothing but sleep after it was all said and done.
April, 2015 AETIGSAWALCD (Ashley Even Thought I Got Sick Again With Another Life Changing Disease):
This time, I got Celiac disease! Well, technically, I found out I had Celiac disease after thousands of dollars in every test imaginable and many, many doctors (including the wrong doctor once, but that’s a story for another day). I spent a long time feeling awful after I beat cancer. At first, I thought it was just fallout from chemo, but it turns out I’m Celiac – and have been since birth, but after chemo and all that huge stress, the celiac disease became extremely potent. I’m at the point now where a bread crumb sends me to the bathroom for a day. Fun!
So, here we are…
We’re juggling trauma, split parenting, post-cancer fallout, celiac disease, among countless other normal stresses. But we are so much more than that. Sometimes it’s so easy to get sucked into that hole of retrospection and forget what we really are. A family that loves each other. A family that smiles, loves, laughs, cries, jokes, hugs, tells stories, makes messes, and has meltdowns. A family that builds, not just with wooden blocks but with each other. Not so different from any other family. Each day Zephy wakes me up too early, my mind keeps me up too late, and sometimes my sicknesses make me forget some stuff in the middle, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Unless the three of us could be dragons. Then I would discuss terms.
Can you relate? Share a comment or reach out to me on Facebook. I would love to hear your thoughts.