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Reflecting back

January 1, 2019


Today is the end of 2018. I posted this on my Instagram this morning and I have been processing it for a long time now.  

Now I know I said (probably a thousand times) that I've been wanting to write more, share more with everyone but I have no excuse other than I just didn't do it. And I'm kicking myself for it. I come up with ideas and things I want to share and honestly I end up forgetting half of them. But this one I did not want to forget.


This image describes me almost perfectly. 


2016, our sweet girl was born into our family. I went from being a boy mom, to being a mom of both. From spending all of my one on one time with Kaden to having to figure out how to share my time with two children who needed me. I remember being terrified and honestly ashamed for worrying about how am I going to love my daughter as much as I love my son. I quickly figured out that my love doesn't need to be divided, it just really does expand with both children. All in all, 2016 was a good year. 


2017. The year that will go down as the hardest year of my life. No question about that. That year, literally almost broke me. It definitely shattered my heart. It was one thing after another I feel like. Losing Millie. Calling John out of the field because I had to have a D&C literally 6 months after. Being evacuated from our home from wildfires that same night. My goodness. just being able to breathe every day without a weight on my chest sometimes felt impossible, but I did it. Some days I felt 100% broken, but like I said...almost broke me. 


2018. Also known as the year of growth. We still had some sadness...but overall a lot of growth. This is something I have really wanted to share about.  This started in 2017, but my head was so cloudy I couldn't get through it. I did a lot (a lot) of serious thinking on the people and the things that mean the most to me, how it all affected me. Call me selfish, but I realized I needed to do what is best for me and for my health, whether it be mental, physical, emotional, spiritual...or all of the above.


I've shared our story with literally thousands of people, thanks to the help of Daily Mom Military, Love What Matters, People.com, radio stations and news stations, San Diego Union Tribune and even overseas publications. I've gotten better at public speaking and I'd like to think I've gotten better with writing.


I've come to really realize that the people who really want to be there for you, will be there. Now I realize I could sound high maintenance with this next bit, but we had such an enormous amount of love and support around us in 2017. It was amazing to feel and have. In 2018, that same amount of support severely decreased. Some people went from checking in daily....to not hearing from them at all. We had people celebrating Millie's birthday all over, when she would have turned 1. The amount of people who joined us celebrating what would have been her 2nd? A handful. I don't know the reason(s). Perhaps it looks like I was doing okay? Perhaps it was a lot of work? Maybe our story was too sad for them to continuously think about. I don't know. I'm not saying that I am someone who needs a constant hand holding, I'm not. But when people have been there for you, have genuinely showed care and concern for you no longer speak to you? That is a stinger. 


Now the other thing that I worked on was the company that I keep. The relationships I had with the people involved in my life. I looked closely at those relationships and how they made me feel. How they changed my behavior as a person, a wife, a mother and as a friend. I have had to let go of some relationships that I have had for a very long time, simply because they were not good for my soul. It was hard, it still is. But I have noticed such a lift in my heart. I've noticed a change in my behavior, especially as a mother. Which makes me happy and sad all at the same time. Probably one of the biggest things I have learned is that some people just will not change, and I have the ability to, so I will...and I have. 


Kaden has grown. We have entered the world of elementary school, he's gotten so much taller and so much wiser. I've learned about baseball and hockey. I've learned about Ninjago and the world of Harry Potter.  I've had to answer some serious questions about his concerns with John being away. I've had to adjust the way I speak with him- in addition to changing how I speak to him. Like I've said, he's grown so much and I'm so proud of him. 


2019.I feel like it is going to be a good year for our family. New changes, new adventures. As much as I hate having to move forward with life without Millie, I know we have to. But I really hope we will have more opportunities to share her story with more people and continue to spread her sweet smile as far as we can. 


Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2019 brings you everything your heart desires. 


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Millie Mae Strong is committed to helping those who are experiencing the heartbreak of pediatric neuroblastoma. We hope to find a cure for this disease through raising funds through research and spreading awareness to others. 


© 2023 by Millie Mae Strong