On April 25th, 2013, my mom was diagnosed with Stage Two Breast Cancer. Watching her fight for her life; going through chemotherapy and radiation while working full time was something very inspiring to me. She never once complained and she never once took a day off from work. While it didn’t come without tears being shed, it was educational in ways I didn’t imagine possible. Sitting here, writing this, I think about how different I am in just 365 days. I am a little stronger, a lot wiser and, well, my skin is a little bit thicker, which is about damn time if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong- I still make plenty of mistakes (a huge one Friday night), but for growth? I think I may be on the road to becoming the woman I am destined to be, with many thanks to this journey I took alongside of my mom.
My mom finished her treatment in late January. Each day we celebrate her getting back to normal: Feeling herself, staying up later, having energy, working out and the big one- her hair coming back in! This part- watching her become healthy again? It brought a daily celebration and a reminder to appreciate life, especially those little moments.
Since January, my mom is still learning to work through things her surgeries and chemotherapy has unfortunately altered, and she is still working on feeling like the confident woman she was prior to her diagnosis.
I am a complete and total magazine junkie. While this sentence seems to be very random, I am getting to the point: One magazine I was recently introduced to was Redbook. Sharing a subscription with my mom, she was flipping through it one day and spotted a “Real Women Style Awards” contest. Meaning, everyday women with everyday bodies and style, on an everyday budget. She read the contest outloud to me and handed the magazine my way so I could take a look.
I obtained my fashion style from my mom. Growing up with three older brothers, everyone believed I was destined to be a tomboy and dislike the color pink. The complete opposite happened. From a young age, I would go through my mom’s closet and try on her shoes, jewelry and dresses, and I would dream about the day I would be able to share things with her. It cracks me up when I head over to her house and when I walk inside, she is wearing a top or a skirt that I left behind. It makes me smile how the tables turn sometimes.
So when I saw the contest, I thought about how fun it would be for us to give this a try. And more so, when you watch someone you love go through something so difficult, you want to do everything in your power to take their pain away and make them feel better. While my mom is on the mend, there are certain aspects that she still is not 100% confident in. What better way to boost someone’s confidence and self esteem than with a photoshoot?!
I picked a day for us and I had her pick out the colors we would wear. The contest rules stated you needed a minimum of three looks. The first color choice she picked was a cobalt blue and black look:
If you know my mom, you KNOW that strawberries had to be incorporated. So she requested we wear strawberries as one of our looks. I loved that she wore the dress I bought her for her birthday last year. She was sad she didn’t have the opportunity to wear it then (she just began chemo). To see her rock it for the photoshoot? You better believe I did a happy dance to celebrate!
And our third look, which was my favorite, was our formal look:
I loved the formal look because as soon as my mom walked down the stairs, she had such a smile on her face. One that I am mad at myself for not capturing. She not only looked beautiful, but she felt it. And that, to me, meant more than whether or not we would win any contest. She had her confidence back and she radiated beauty.
I loved that our looks were so similar, too! You can absolutely tell we are related. All we did in planning for the photoshoot was discuss colors. We never talked about what we were planning on wearing, so to see such similarity was really something sweet.
I sent the photos to some friends and a dear one suggested we do the photoshoot again, but swap outfits. I am for sure going to suggest that to my mom!
And no, we did not win the contest, however as mentioned earlier, that didn’t matter to me. This was a memorable day that I got to spend with my mom and when I saw her smile and watched her confidence come pouring out of her? That was my prize, and we won big that day.
A very special thanks to my dad who was our outstanding photographer. Even he began to get into it and would suggest our backdrop or how we should pose. This was for sure a Sunday Funday to remember.