Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tommy Pickles and Patty Mayonnaise

My two favorite caregivers:

I think about my parents a lot. I am so incredibly thankful to have been raised by these two and am humbled by their love every day. A lot of people have trouble relating to their parents or at least one of them. I've heard so many people say something about how they can't believe they're even related to them sometimes. Nothing is farther from the truth here. Any bit of sunshine in me comes from them. 

My father is a peaceful warrior. I think of the curveball life threw at him a couple years back healthwise and am impressed every day that he gets out of bed. And not just because he's still living life but because of the way he does it. When I hear his symptoms and what goes on in his body, it sounds like every minute would be a living hell. My father never complains though and goes about his day as a source of peace and joy to everyone else. A silent sufferer. A lot of people talked about the way I handled cancer with a positive attitude. I took this journey following my father's lead. His advice is always thoughtful and useful, but nothing compares to the way he leads by example. Everyone is bettered from his presence. So often I hear of the ways my father changed someone's life, from small things to big. His many accomplishments, from world records to education awards, are a reflection of his work ethic-something he taught all of his children through words and actions. He's brilliant, humble, and cracks himself daily. I love watching videos of my dad doing science shows and seeing him laugh at his own jokes. It's hard to find words to do him justice. Anyone who knows him knows the type of person he is. I have never met anyone like him and I'm not sure that I ever will. He's on a whole different level than the rest of us but still manages to be a total goofball and relatable dude at the same time. 
My dad taught and coached long hours for many years but always made his family his priority. He cared for his students and athletes like they were his own children and still never missed a swim meet of mine. I remember at the high school state meet looking up into the stands and seeing him with his shirt off, waving his "REDIG SISTERS ROCK" tshirt with the biggest smile on his face. His love is the kind that you feel and you feel it constantly. When I got sick, my dad was always there watching zombie show marathons with me and to naps in his lap. My health and happiness were always put in front of his own. He was by my side at every chemo treatment and took me for walks after each. I loved the way he'd take my hand or make my friends huddle around me if I took the stairs post treatment in case I fell in my weakened state. My father has always been there to catch me if I fall and to help me get back up. So many of us are loved by him and understand the security, peace, and joy that come from his unconditional love. His puns aren't too bad either.
I am so incredibly proud to be his daughter. 

And my mother. My best friend and my go to gal. One of the best things to that has ever happened was my mom getting a Facebook. Her statuses and comments give me a peek into her brain. So far it's been like looking into my own (so obviously I think everything she posts is hilarious). 
She a candy queen with a rock hard six pack. Ladies, how many of us look at pictures of her for motivation? We've all done it. Pattycakes lives the dream by being on a first name basis with the lovely folks in the Burger King drive thru while staying in top shape. I was raised by real life superheroes.
Most people don't know how tough my mom is because her always happy demeanor makes you think she has lived a carefree life. Cancer took her mothers life when she was young and her father's when I was a kid. She's had a brother and cousin killed in car accidents, and once again added the role of caretaker to her resume when my father's health started to decline, followed by me having cancer. When I consider the past year she has had as a mother and a wife, it hurts my heart. But like all Christiansens and Redigs what does she do? She continues onward and upward, smiling almost all of the time. I have watched my mother go through these traumatic events gracefully, always putting her loved ones first. I'm guessing her life hasn't gone at all as planned but I know she wouldn't trade any of it. She might not have chosen it, but she wouldn't trade it. She is another person that I have learned how to face adversity and overcome struggles from. My mom taught me a lot about perseverance and the power of a positive attitude from a young age as my swim coach. More importantly, she has taught me how to be strong woman and a good person through the way she lives her life. I remember the day my mom became more of my best friend than my mother. Getting sick allowed more of a motherly role to come back into play but what hasn't changed is the partnership we share. She will stand by me through everything and knows that I will do all that I can to support her as well. I appreciate the way she respects my advice as I do hers. Whenever something great happens she's the first person I call. When my heart is hurting she's the first person I call. I miss having her around every day. Life is always better when Cotton Candy Patty is there. She plays a role in my life that is so much bigger than "mom". She is my rock and the love she shares is my source of strength. I am able to love on others because of the love she has shown me.

I miss them a lot but even though we are a country apart I still feel surrounded by their love. These two are the reason I kept waking up every day and fought to live. 
Their love makes you want to stick around.

And now I want to share it with everyone that I can.

 I am so proud of my sister Kira, too, and the difference she makes in the lives of the kids she works with and the kind of friend she is. She is a beautiful example of the kind of person you can be when you grow up watching our parents. When you consider how she's had the same best friend since kindergarten, it's pretty obvious how special and consistent her love is. And she brought one of the kindest, happiest men into our family when she married Alan and we are all grateful to have him around.
I am so thankful for my parents and the beautiful family they built.

 Counting down the days until my dad and I have Speedway pizza and my earrings get stuck in my mom's ferocious mane every time we hug. We share a crazy love.
thank you for all of it
love you so much!!

“This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more they possess.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

1 comment:

  1. I expect my beautiful young friend is doing much better. You are a captivating woman with a powerful and beautiful spirit. Since I met you last in Chicago, I have thought about you often. Today sitting in front of my computer, I saw your bracelet. And read your expression of love for your family, and I could not agree more. LOVE CONQUERS ALL. God bless you, Kayla, and those who hold your affection.

    C. Ben Bosah