Holding On To Hope

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Holidays and other special times have a way of causing a person to reminisce what this time of year held in years past.   Like my son’s birthday, which is at the end of April.  When I remember this time last year, my mind goes to laying on the couch in our house that, unbeknownst to us at the time, had mold in several locations throughout. I was experiencing the most horrendous migraines during the days leading up to my son’s 5th birthday. 

In years prior, I had spent these days baking his cake and meticulously decorating it according to the picture that he’d carefully selected on Google images for me to copy, and decorating our dining room with his favorite color – green.  Green streamers, balloons, and accents.  But this year was different. 

I’d had odd health maladies since December, and the re-introduction of migraines into my life was an unwelcome change.  Just weeks previous, I had spent two evenings in the ER with stroke-like symptoms.  Before that, I had undergone a colonoscopy because of my inability to eat due to extreme nausea.  And my throat was so tight that barely anything would go down anyway.  Leading up to the migraines, my neck was so stiff that I would spend days literally just sitting in one place, doing all I could without having to try and move my head. 

So, as my little man bounced around, excited that his birthday was finally here, I lay there, unable to frost his cake or be the mommy that I wanted to be for him to celebrate his big day.  This year I had ordered emergency vehicles from Amazon and devised this great plan to include the ambulance, fire truck, and police car into a crash scene on top of his cake.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

My muddled, hurting brain wished for a different scenario, as I begged God for relief and answers, which were soon to come, but not today.  Not in the month of April.

I begged God for relief and answers, which were soon to come, but not today.

I think too often I assume that my child sees life and the struggles of the day as I do.  But that’s not the case, and it wasn’t on this birthday, either.  Mom’s inability to cope equaled an amazing opportunity for my son to decorate his own cake, exactly how he wished, with his newly acquired EMS vehicles that he’d been eyeing in the package (but unable to play with) for a couple of weeks as they sat awaiting their debut.

I have had to learn throughout this journey that expectations are the guarantors of discontentment and being let down.  Let down by lifestyle changes that have come, and the unpredictability of the illnesses that present from mold exposure make life seem like a roller coaster. 

Eventually I’ve tired of making plans – even something so simple as meeting up with a friend at a park – only to be “let down” by my body’s OTHER plans. In turn I feel like I let someone else down (as I tell my friend that I can’t be there), and to someone who doesn’t understand it comes across as being flakey.  The isolation of this mold business is another post’s material.   The death of dreams is such a reality.

I am counting my blessings that, so far, this year’s outlook for my son’s birthday is a better one – at least in a few ways.  We may live somewhere else.  We don’t have the friends that we once did to invite to join us for cake.  But, life has much more hope and the celebration of another year of life after all that we’ve been through this past year is one to be observed! 

And this year’s cake request is a heart shape.  The love of our little family that has endured so many trials is worth a (little) party! 


  1. What a great story of resilience! I have had a lot of tragedies happen in my life and always work to be resilient and triumph over whatever knocked me down. Keep writing I enjoyed this!

  2. Holding onto hope can be challenging… I am glad to read that you have not lost yours!! It’s amazing what looking at life through the eyes of a child can do. They embrace the hope we adults tend to loose. I look forward to reading more of your journey!

  3. I love your positive mindset throughout your struggle. That is something I have never been very good at doing. Thank you for sharing! Your son is lucky you are his momma.

  4. How frustrating and heartbreaking, but so happy to see that it’s looking up for you and your family. Hope the party goes great!!


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