Thursday, May 25, 2006

Of contests and Relays

The winners for Minti's two tickets to paradise, ahem, Blogher were announced this morning. The lucky women who were picked were Tracey from Maypapers and Heather from Rookie Moms. When you get a chance go on over to their blogs and tell them congrats. They deserve it.

Yes, I entered. Yes, I wanted to go. Yes, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't win, but its for the best. I would have had to sell a kidney to afford the airfare and hotel cost. I was, however, one of the four women picked for the runner-up prize (free Minti schwag) which makes me feel a little like the first runner-up at the Miss America pageant. If Tracey or Heather cannot fulfill their duties and obligations as a woman blogger at the conference I will be ready to step in to take their place. Just as soon as I bring in enough money from the lemonade stand I have set up outside of my house.

If you haven't gotten your fill of giveaways - and really who would? - Mothergoosemouse is having a rockin' contest over at her place. Test your musical knowledge and see if you can correctly name the songs and artists from the small lyric samples she has provided. No cheating, no collaboration and no Googling (damn her!). The gauntlet has been thrown and I welcome the challenge. But, seriously, no Googling?


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Now for something completely different.

Some of you are aware that I lost my mother to cancer two years ago. Its not something I write about frequently for a few reasons. One being that even though the thread of my mother's death is tightly woven into the fabric of my being, especially now that I am a mother myself and I never got a chance to tell her from one mother to another how much I was truly thankful for everything she had done for me, its a topic that can bring people down faster than passengers in a defective Zeppelin.

With that said, I feel this is a good time to mention it.

In this part of the Northeast (and many other locations across the United States) this time of year is thought of, by me and many others, as Relay for Life season. The ACS Relay for Life (click the logo for more information), as described on their website, is:

... a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of your American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

That's what the event is on the surface, but to me its so much more than that. For 7 years, from the time she was diagnosed to the year before she died, my mother, sister and I would make a girl's weekend out of the Relay. We would pack our bags like we were going to an outdoor sleep over, which essentially it was. Junk food - check. Pillows - check. Extra sweatshirts and pants, blankets and sleeping bags - check, check, check and check. Her brother would park his camper on our designated site in the middle of the track and we three ladies, along with other friends and relatives who came and went, would stay there the entire 24 hours and walk, talk, sit in the sun and soak up some rays (I know... Cancer. Her's was
colon so she didn't worry about the sun's harmful effects at that point). We'd eat junk food and play Trivial Pursuit. Someone always brought a few gossip magazines that we would pass around. And many, many stories were told.

The year my mom died our group fell apart. Nobody wanted to take responsibility for putting it all together since my mom was the spirit, if not the manpower, behind it. I attended the event for a couple of hours, but it wasn't the same. My mom was not there to link arms with me and dance (yes, we danced) around the track to the musical theme of the
hour blasting through the loud speakers. The following year, the team was revived but the spirit was still missing. But, again, I attended. This time with my almost 2 month old baby. The Hubby and I brought Chicky Baby up to the local college in my old hometown where the Relay is held every year (which, by the way, is the largest RFL in the Northeast). We showed her off, walked her around the track a bunch of times, and then packed her up in the car for the 45 minute ride back home. My baby, who was colicky for the first 4 months of her life, was a doll for the hour or two that we were there. I'd like to think she was being respectful in her grandmother's honor.

I'm still undecided as to whether or not I will make the drive home to attend this year's Relay, though I know deep down that I probably will. I need to purchase some luminaries and write my mom's name on them. I'll stay for the lighting ceremony. I'll feel like crying, but I probably won't, choosing to save my tears for the ride home. I know, with absolute certainty, that I will run into more than a few people, old friends and acquaintances made on that very track, who will talk about my mom and how much they miss her. Maybe my sister will go with me and we'll reminisce about the years we spent as contributing members of this large family of people walking for a cure.

If you get a chance, I encourage you to visit a local RFL. If you go to the website and type in your zip code you'll find many in your area. It will seem funny at first, a bunch of people walking around a track, but I assure you that if you walk with them, read their team names and slogans, stay for the luminary ceremony or get there early for the survivor's walk, you won't be disappointed. And if you're the least bit emotional and/or know someone who has been affected by cancer, bring your Kleenex.

One more thing, if you decide to go and you are so inclined, spend a couple of bucks on a luminary. If you have no one to honor, feel free to light a candle for my mom. Her name was Brenda. She loved to walk and sing and dance... And she was loved.




31 comments:

Blog Antagonist said...

Sorry you didn't win the tix. It sounds like a pretty cool shindig. That's why I never enter contests. I try not to be disappointed by not winning, but I always am.

Your Mom sounds like an amazing woman. I'm so sorry for your loss. RFL is absolutely a worthy cause.

Jess said...

Bummer about not winning the tix! But you get a cool mini prize!

I've known many people who participated in Relay for Life..wonderful cause!
I'm so sorry about your Mom...it's nice that you have memories of dancing. :)

Jessica said...

That sounds like a neat event!

This is my first time of visiting your blog. Feel free to stop by my blog and to post a comment you'll need to register (on the right side of the page) first then click Leave Your Comment next to any blog entry and then Post A Reply in the box that comes up.

I hope to visit your blog again soon! :)

motherhooduncensored said...

I'm so sorry about your mom. I haven't been reading your blog long enough - so I apologize. I have lost many a friend and family member to the cancer, so I'll light a candle for all of them and your mom.

And poopie on the contest (although I know both those girls and they rock). We must find you a way to go. No kidneys involved.

Jess Riley said...

Your post made me tear up...I'm so sorry to hear that your mom died. But it sounds like you're keeping her spirit alive with so many beautiful memories.

Before my best friend's mom died last fall, she and her sisters did RFL annually. It was a really special event.

Elizabeth said...

I'm sorry you didn't win the tickets-maybe you can save up now and come next year?

And I'm really sorry about your Mom. I'll check out that Relay For Life site.

Mamacita Tina said...

Thanks for sharing info about RFL. I have friends who have lost parents to cancer and would probably like to attend the event. My own father is battling bladder cancer. So far, his treatments have been successful.

Mommy off the Record said...

I am so sorry that you lost your mother. I'm sure she is watching down on you every day. The Relay sounds like a great event.

Pattie said...

I am so sorry your Mom passed away. It sounds like the RFL event that you shared has some wonderful memories for you.

J's Mommy said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. I can't even imagine what it feels like to lose a parent, especially so early in her life. I'll definitely check out the site and send up a prayer for your mom.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Thanks for the sentiments! The RFL, though big events, don't get the press that other fundraisers get. Walking around a track is not as glamorous as participating in a three-day hike.

As for Blogher, perhaps next year... When it comes to the East Coast!

Mrs. Davis said...

You've got some great memories of RFL from those years of doing it with your mom. I hope you can go this year and find some peace/strength from visiting with old friends there. I've heard great stories about our local RFL (I used to work with a couple of young 30-something survivors), but I never have been to one. Maybe this year.

Big hugs to you. I understand all too well, having lost my mom to cancer last November.

Michele said...

I did the local RFL for years with a bunch of my friends. We camped and had a blast - even the year that it rained for oh, 98% of the laps I did. I think the laps that we did late at night, with the memorial luminaries still burning, were almost a religious experience for me. As if we were walking not only for, but *with* those who had died. And nothing is more motivating than the Survirors Walk.
Thanks for the reminder. I also want to suggest that if your current situation doesnt allow for you to participate as a walker, you can always call and offer financial support to a team. Or hell, just show up and cheer for the walkers for an hour.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Great cause, and when I finally do it, I'll think of you and your mom.

Carrcakes said...

I didn't realize you lost your mother to cancer. I hope you do go this year and feel your mother's spirit at an event that was obviously so important to her. She would be so honored that you're getting the word out for a cause she believed so strongly in.

The Rev said...

I am a cancer survivor. I was treated up there at Mass General. But my mom helps run one of the Relays down here in the Philly area.

Thank you for continuing to pass the message.

mothergoosemouse said...

Thank you for the link love. I'm sorry that you didn't win the tickets - really sorry. I wish there was something else I could do to help get you to BlogHer.

I'm also very sorry about your mother. I do seem to recall you mentioning her death at some point, perhaps a comment on another blogger's post, but I didn't realize it was colon cancer. My grandfather had it as well and was fortunate only to need a colostomy.

I donated to the ACS RFL St. Louis event, prompted by a link at Fluid Pudding. Excellent cause.

liberalbanana said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mom. I'm a new reader, so I didn't know. I think everyone has been affected by cancer in some way - my mom had skin cancer (more than once!) when she was a teen but it was successfully removed. My friend's brother passed away at the age of 15 from cancer, as well. I donate to a cancer walk that my best friend does every year...

Kristin said...

We've participated in the RFL for several years now... and would be honored to add your Mom to the list of people we remember at the luminary service. Mrs. Chicky, I am so sorry... I didn't know, but I wish you peace.

Marcie said...

I'm sorry about your Mom, that must be very hard. I can understand how the relay is not the same without her.

Christina said...

I remember reading the touching story of your mom's final days. I hope you will go to the RFL. I'll have to see if there is one near us.

I'm sad you won't be joining us at Blogher. I've got a room to myself - you could always room with me and split the hotel cost! If I could smuggle you in my luggage I would!

Mom101 said...

Thanks for the heads up about RFL it sounds like an amazing event for a great cause. I'm so sorry about your mother. She sounds loved indeed.

Tori said...

I have taken part for years. My Momma is a survivor. I join a team and we tag team through the night. It's great and meaninful and sad and rewarding and beautiful all at the same time. Highly recommend you get involved peeps.
Thanks for sharing Chicklet. To lose a mamma is to lose part of your soul I bet. My mother still goes to pick up the phone to talk to her mother and then remembers she's not there anymore.
Sorry she's not there to read your blogs. She would love them.
PS I posted the meme on my blog. Apologies for tardiness, its been a Mother of a week!
Thanks for tagging me.
Thanks for your inspiration.
Tori

lildb said...

I never know what to say to posts like this; I detest the artificiality of the medium in these moments. But my heart goes out to you, sister.

Nancy said...

I will be thinking of you and of your mom when the local RFL events take place. If I get a chance to attend, I will light a candle in memory of your mother.

SUEB0B said...

I didn't know you were in the Minti contest or I would have shamelessly shilled for you the way I did for Tracey.

I covered the RFL for my newspaper for several years in a row. I interviewed a woman whose 45-year-old daughter had died three weeks before of cervical cancer and who was there walking, though she wasn't in good shape and was barely tottering along...boy she made me cry. At work. So much for that cold journalistic shell.

Heather said...

I've been doing the Terry Fox Run since I was a kid (raises money for cancer research) and will knock on a few extra doors for your mum this year.

sunshine scribe said...

RFL will never be the same without your mom but from how you talk about it I expect it will always be very important for you. I have big tears streaming down my face as I write this. Your mom, Brenda, is in my thoughts all day. Hugs to you...

Lisa said...

Great post. I will thing of her everytime I see the RFL events. My parents' community does one of these too. And its has become QUITE the event there

something blue said...

I love supporting events like the relay. What incredible memories that you will always cherish about your mom.

Congrats on being a runner up in the contest. Free stuff is nice!

tracey said...

Thanks for the mention Chicky and I wish you were going too. I'd love to have a drinkie-poo with you. They will serve alcohol, right?
Minti schwag rocks.