From the outside we appear picture perfect; a young family with boundless amounts of energy and a lust for life.
People often stop us in the streets to compliment my well-behaved kids and question how we make it look so easy.
Easy, my friends is not how I would describe parenting three boys under five years old. Tough, sure. Exhausting, sometimes. Fun, always. Every day is an adventure. What will the day bring? Gruffalo hunting in the woods, Merman watching on the beach, and the constant hope of spotting the elusive unicorn. Occasionally I lose touch with reality and admittedly on purpose. Reality bites.
We've had more than our fair share of struggles. Our middle son was born with a medical condition called Laryngomalacia. After two long years of breathing difficulties, surgeries, hospital stays and medication, he was finally able to sleep in his own bed without the aid of C-PAP machines and SAT monitors. At last, our luck was changing. Or so I thought.
In 2015, at the tender age of 28, I was dealt the Cancer card.
My appendix had ruptured and a tumor had been found. I can't begin to explain how it feels to hear the words 'you have cancer'.
With me, there was no denial, it was instant acceptance and all I could think about were my two babies at home. If I was to die would they remember me?
Would they even know how much I love them? How a single smile or a funny face from them is enough to make my heart dance with pure love?
I set up email accounts, I documented everything, and I started living life through a lens. I planned on getting well, but at least I had a backup plan. Within weeks of the initial diagnosis, I underwent a bowel resection. The results were good. The surgery was a success and I needed no further treatment. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. I was given a second chance at life and I planned on making it count. But why was I feeling so strange? I was pregnant, with twins.
I had been unknowingly pregnant whilst undergoing abdominal surgery. Unfortunately, I miscarried one of the twins but seven months later, I gave birth to an incredibly perfect baby boy. He is the light of my life and will always be my beacon of hope. Sometimes life throws a curve ball and we have two options:
2) hit it out of the park
I choose the second. If life ebbs along carefree, we unknowingly take what we have for granted. It's only when we are challenged and the possibility of losing what we have is real do we actually experience true gratitude.
I am a better mother following my struggles. I appreciate everything so much more. My proudest moment to date is my eldest sons first day of school, a moment I was terrified I might never see.
As I stood at the school gate holding my six-week old newborn in my arms, waving my big boy off into the world, I have never been more thankful to be alive.
I continue to document everything, the boys now have their own YouTube channel called The Lost Kids which we use as a digital memory bank of the fun times we share as a family.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.