“My father didn’t tell me how to live; He lived and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland
McKay and I have always called each other My Favorite. My husband and I chose each other on our wedding day and we continue to choose each other every day. At 25 years old, I didn’t really put a lot of thought into the fact that I was also choosing the father of my children. Fortunately for me, I hit the jackpot. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time at age 32, we had just moved to Ohio from Indiana for a job change. My son was not quite three years old and my daughter was only 8 months old. We knew no one except our realtor and had no family in the area. Since we didn’t have a support system at the time, McKay bared the brunt of parental duties while I underwent chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and then a clinical trial. This man, who was proving his worth in a new career, was also my caregiver and a father beyond compare to our two small children. When I was scared out of my mind that I was dying, he was the rock that said everything was going to be ok while he secretly prayed that he was right. When I was bald and broken, struggling to be the parent I wanted to be and just trying to stay alive, he stepped up and allowed the kids to just be … kids. Fast forward nine years and we are navigating my second breast cancer diagnosis. The kids are older now and actually have questions. When my son asks, “Are you lying to me? You would tell me if you are going to die, right?” he knows that by the example McKay has set, that he can trust our answer. This time around, Pink Ribbon Girls is here to lighten the load on our entire family. The meals and housecleaning have left us with more time to heal and make memories. I garner strength from talking with survivors I have met through PRG and my husband no longer feels as if he has to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. Caregivers are often overlooked through the cancer journey, but I can tell you that without my husband, my friend and the father of my children, our family would have never made it through not once, but twice. I want to thank my 25 year old self for not only choosing the boy who was hunky, smart, kind and funny, but the MAN who is strong, compassionate and faithful with the character my children have needed in a father. Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there, but particularly to McKay. My Favorite.