Mine matters to me more than anything, period. I’ve had the privilege of doing some really cool things in my life, but nothing compares to being at home with my people; my husband of 15 years, my incomparable baby girl (nearly 14) and my favorite little man (almost 9). I’ll take a Saturday morning snuggling in bed with these three people over a Cannes red carpet premiere any day of the week, no contest.
I was put on this earth to be a mother to these two children, and I know it to be true more with each passing year. Being a part of my own little Czarnecki family is a privilege day-in and day-out, 15 years into its establishment.
Becoming a parent was difficult for me and my body and as such I appreciate it far more than I would have without all the pain and struggle. Because of my Lupus (stupid lupus!) getting pregnant is tricky, and staying pregnant is almost impossible. If you’re a woman with Lupus and of childbearing age, and trying to get pregnant, odds are you’ve had dozens of miscarriages, you’ve nearly died trying to stay pregnant, or you’ve decided you want to avoid any danger so you’ve skipped the whole ordeal. My pregnancies are horrific, and 9 years ago the possibility of staying pregnant OR alive OR keeping the baby healthy and carried to full-term didn’t coexist in my toxic Lupus body. I nearly died on multiple occasions throughout my pregnancy with my son. He ended up being born almost a month early amidst a myriad of nightmarish complications, completely healthy. He wasn’t supposed to make it out alive, let alone unscathed.
So, you could say not only do I appreciate my life, but I actively pursue dreams on my life list and the bucket lists of my husband and children. We’re all so grateful to be alive and healthy (ish. stupid lupus!) that we do crazy fun things like take a month off and travel through Europe as a family. We make great things happen every. single. day. Because as long as I’m still here, we’re going to rock this.
As you can imagine, I’ve spent some serious time thinking about what would happen to my husband and kids if I died. People die from Lupus complications on the regular (I won’t, I’ve got stuff to do, yo) and when I was first diagnosed I felt selfish thinking about having a family that might suffer because of a disease I can’t control. If things start going south fast (they won’t, but just in case) I have a whole plan in place to prepare my kids for life without a mother.
Part of my action plan includes making a series of videos for each kid with my wishes for them and their beautiful bright futures. The videos will be basic life stuff along with some wishes I’ve had for them since they were born, things I don’t want them to forget if I’m not around to remind them.
Like how singularly spectacular and wonderful they both are, how loved and precious and unique, and how much this world needs them in it.
For my baby girl
- I’ll teach her through video how to properly apply red lipstick and perfume, how to wear liquid eyeliner, and a tutorial on how to wax eyebrows and mustache at home (we’re a hairy bunch). How to apply a 5-minute-face (makeup in 5 minutes or less), and how to cover up scratches on her car using nail polish. The essentials.
- A video to watch on her first day of college, basic tips on making it through and making the best of her undergrad years. Telling her how proud I am, to please have fun, study hard, meet new people, play with friends, join random clubs, major in whatever makes her happy no matter what. How I wish for her to find a career that makes her excited about life and utilizes all the parts of her clever little brain.
- We’ll have a one-sided conversation about allowing her little brother to be her best friend, to always stay close and involved in each others lives because they’re it. End of the line stops with them so they might as well be besties.
- I’ll write some letters, some to accompany videos and some to stand alone. One of the letters will be what to look for when she starts dating, what she cannot tolerate in a relationship no matter what, where to give a little, to make sure her boyfriends and husband demand she be exactly who she is and not an ounce less.
- A video for the eve of her wedding day. I’ll leave behind a letter explaining things I’ve left to her, some small tokens I carried on my wedding to her father (my beloved grandfather‘s handkerchief) and some things I wore, (my wedding earrings, saved in a jewelry box since my wedding day, and my mother’s pearls) along with the things every mother wants to say to her daughter the day she gets married: I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m so excited for you. Be happy. Make me lots of grand-babies. Be wonderful to your husband. I loved daddy so much it hurt, and marriage is the greatest adventure I ever had.
- A video for the day she has her first baby. I’ll give her advice only a mother can share, tell her how now that she’s a mother herself she might finally understand the depth and breadth of my love and devotion to her. How there’s no way to explain the love you have for your child until they have a child of their own. I’ll tell her stories about when she was a baby, how we were inseparable companions the first 5 years of her life. How she was my right hand and my left, and my whole heart. I’ll tell her to say yes to her children as often as possible, to love and kiss and adore her babies, to snuggle them and teach them to be kind, to tell them she loves them at every turn, and to truly enjoy every minute because it’ll be over before she can catch her breath.
For my little man
- I’ll talk to my little man about the things that make him the most wonderful little boy who’s ever lived. That I’ve never known another human as genuinely happy to be alive as he. I’ll tell him he filled a hole in my heart I didn’t know existed before he came along, how his words and love and sweetness make the world a better place and people’s lives happier for having known him.
- There will be some ground rules laid down about how to treat women, how not to treat women, how to be a man among men, how to handle himself in business and as a boyfriend, husband, father. How to pin a corsage on a girl, how to show respect and love and to demand both in his life. I’ll explain the love I have for his father, and tell him not to settle for anything less than the deeply satisfying happiness and fun his father and I shared in marriage.
- I’ll tell my little guy he’ll always be mama’s little boy, that I’ll love and protect him forever.
- I’ll do some demonstrations on cooking basics: pasta sauce, good grilled chicken, pie. There will be talk of dividing labor and responsibility as a parent and husband. How men of his size (he will be Viking-huge) have to be extra careful navigating life. That even though he’s a giant, handsome man he should stay sensitive and sweet, always. How I wish for him to be a kind father, a devoted husband, a generous and honest man full of integrity and humanity.
- I’ll put my face close to the camera and whisper as I tell my little baby boy how instantly I fell in love with him when he was born. That I couldn’t understand how the world kept spinning the day we brought him home from the hospital, how the universe didn’t pause in awe at the miracle he is. How I used to lie awake at night, exhausted, counting his breaths and caressing his little hands and feet just to know he was mine.
- And finally, I’ll leave a letter for him on the day he becomes a father. I’ll include the white ribbon rose I pinned on him for his baby blessing and baptism and tell him to pass it onto his children. I’ll talk to him about being kind and fun, how he must be available to his children always, always, and that time really is love. I’ll ask him to please to find joy in the small things, to savor the everything with his babies and how I hope now he understands my love for him and my deepest wishes for his complete happiness.
I don’t have it in me to wish anything for my husband. Not yet, anyway. If the time comes, I’m sure I’ll be able to express to my beloved my adoration and explain to him the sanctity and privilege with which I view our marriage and companionship.
And then I’ll tell him he’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and to never ever forget how happily married we were, and how much we loved being together anytime, anywhere doing everything and nothing. I’ll share details about how he brought sunshine, happiness, levity, and flat-out-fun into my world, making it a far better place than I ever had right to hope it could be.
What would you say if you could make a wish for your family? What’s your wish? Please, please go to the website I Am Loved to share when you feel loved. Every time someone posts a story, a wonderful kid like this get $1 closer to fulfilling their wish.
// This post is 1 of 2 as an ambassador for Helzberg Diamonds and their support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s ‘I Am Loved‘, an AMAZING campaign started in 1967. For every story shared on the I Am Loved page $1 Opinions and stories are my own, just like they are every other day of the week. All photos are my own: kids, family, etc.//