“How can you possibly write such terrible things about being a parent? What is wrong with you? As a parent who has lost a child, I am offended by how ungrateful and clueless you are.” Name withheld
That email message wasn’t so much fun to receive.
In the early days of Moms who drink and swear when the power of the social media sent my rants beyond their intended targets, there was no shortage of angry parents letting me know how they felt about my musings. Understandable I suppose, but only for the people who didn’t take the time to understand the mission and purpose of the group and the blog. Readers of my blog know that my son was pretty close to being a child who lost a parent – to depression. If anyone is to blame for my potty mouth, it’s my father. I’d send the complaints his way but I can’t since he is DEAD. Cancer took him.
FUCK YOU CANCER!
I don’t feel bad about venting about the difficulties of being a parent or my filthy language. I do feel bad that my friend and fellow blogger, Mary Tyler Mom (A.K.A. Sheila Quirke) lost her beautiful daughter, Donna, to that asshole of an opportunistic bastard known as CANCER. It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t been touched (I mean had their soul throttled) by this terrible disease.
In September of 2011, many of you were introduced to Mary Tyler Mom when I featured her 31 day blog series, “Donna’s Cancer Story,” on the Moms who drink and swear fan page. The posts were written daily by Sheila using her breathtakingly beautiful and brutally detailed Caringbridge journal posts written during their family’s journey through pediatric cancer. We all fell in love with the entire family and couldn’t help but root for them, knowing the story didn’t have a happy ending. We became enamored not just of Sheila’s extraordinary story-telling skills, but also her willingness to hold nothing back. If you haven’t read it, I recommend that you do.
In one particular blog entry, Sheila described how she felt frustrated with her daughter’s typical toddler tantrums and limit testing. Sheila didn’t feel guilty about being exasperated with Donna when she pulling her best terrible two and three tantrums because she knew well enough to know that at the end of the day, cancer doesn’t make a kid any less likely to push the boundaries of even the most patient of parents. Donna was a little human who didn’t know a life that didn’t include “tubies” and chemo, but none of that stopped her from being a stinker if she wasn’t in a particularly cooperative mood. Sheila continues to write about whatever is in her heart and this includes having a glass of wine and muttering a few nasty words when Mary Tyler son decides to kick her or when she has to put him back in his big boy bed for the 26th times in a row before he decides to fall asleep.
Moms who drink and swear and Mary Tyler Mom are a true example of Yin and Yang; not opposing forces, but complimentary opposites using our gifts for a common purpose. We use different words, but we say many of the same things. Most importantly, we share the desire to raise our children in a loving and realistic environment and to use our expanding blog platforms to raise awareness and money for charitable causes closest to our hearts.
One of those charities, Donna’s Good Things, provides joyful opportunities for children facing adversity be it economic, familial, and social or health related.
Donna’s Good Things was started by the Mary Tyler Mom family to honor Donna’s life. I’m teaming up with them to do a good thing in March. We are participating in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Event on March 24th 2012 at the Candlelight Chicago, 7452 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60545. I will be there swearing and shaving heads. You will also be able to meet Mary Tyler Mom, Mary Tyler Dad and the hilarious and dynamic dinosaur loving Mary Tyler Son. If you cannot make it, please consider donating a couple of bucks to the cause.
“St. Baldrick’s is a volunteer driven organization that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization aside from the U.S. Government.” This is a reputable organization that has helped thousands of families. PLEASE CHECK THEM OUT.
You should also know that some fabulous and anonymous person will match every donation (up to TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS) made between February 14th and February 18th. $5 dollars becomes $10. Every cent matters. No donation is too small.
Here is an email message that was a joy to receive:
“Nikki and Moms Who Drink and Swear put Mary Tyler Mom on the map. Pediatric cancer is not the feel good story of the day, believe it or not, but because of her generous, loving, democratic nature, Nikki had the heart and courage to feature "Donna's Cancer Story" on her mighty social media feeds on a daily basis in September 2011, in effect enabling the face and voice of a woefully ignored and underfunded cause to be seen and heard. I call it "spreading Internet fairy dust," and Nikki has taught me well the power of using an honest voice and hard earned platform to make people laugh while challenging them to think and feel. Moms Who Drink and Swear also Care.”
Sheila Quirke – Mary Tyler Mom
So please spread some internet fairy dust and share my blog today. Also take some time to read the others posted on the Chicagonow site. Today we have chosen Donna, Mary Tyler Daughter, as our valentine. Our love letters to Donna are our blogs, asking our readers to give love to the children who are still fighting cancer.
P.S. This is me and Mary Tyler Mom and YES, we do have awesome racks.