It just so happens that she is a drug and alcohol counselor here in town. In our neighborhood, she's mostly just a counselor, since there's not a lot of drugs or alcohol around. She's talked me though many a melt-downs. She also keeps the drama to a minimum. When Friend and I see a police car drive down our street, the anxiety and unlikely scenarios go up a notch, but Iron Mom knows how to douse those hyped up feelings and bring us back to reality. She's really great to have around.
A few weeks ago, this dear neighbor of mine was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It's taken some time for me to digest the whole situation. Last year at this time, we were planning after school book club, end of the school year water bash, and the Amazing Race. We were running, making Maverik runs, and grilling meat, all the while basking in the summer sun. Our corner of the world was pretty awesome.
But then cancer had to go and suck the fun out of the perfect little hood. In the beginning, I didn't think I could handle it. But then, Iron Mom went along and did her thing, and gave me several pep talks about getting through it, doing hard things, and relying on our Heavenly Father. Of course I should have been the one giving her the pep talks, but she was stronger than me, so she got to do the talking.
This little Posse of ours has to stick together through things like this. I think all of us, except her, cried when she cut her hair. She of course donated her locks, and rocked her new do, all with unwavering faith that things were going to work out perfectly according to God's plan.
Since she has started chemo, our little hood has had to adjust to a new normal. Our schedules have tried to sync around chemo rounds, and walks around the block. We're stocking freezer meals, and I don't mean to brag, but my visiting teaching to her is 100%. I haven't missed a month since I was assigned to her. (Little inside joke there...)
But just because Iron Mom has cancer, that didn't keep her out of the Bracket Fest. It was a requirement for those kids that I coached on the basketball team and their parents to fill out a NCAA bracket. Iron Mom and her family also fell under that commitment because they live within a stones throw. Hey. Rules are rules.
I had to walk most of them through the picking process, but they got their brackets filled out and they contributed to the trophy box (everyone that filled out a bracket also had to contribute something to the box...it could be anything. Candy bars, soda, gift cards, whatever...)
Would you believe that Iron Mom picked Villanova to win the whole thing? She did. The whole trophy box went to her.
She is the Bracket Fest Champion.
She's a champion in so many other ways too. Our little MAFIA (Mothers And Fathers In Action) wouldn't be the same without her.
Congratulations Iron Mom!