Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

"The [wo]man who has no imagination, has no wings." ~Muhammad Ali

So here's what's been going on with me:

3 years ago, this Spring, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. It was the beginning of the pandemic. In November of 2020, I left my teaching position at Timber Creek High School. I spent these last 3 years being a full-time mom, sister, daughter, friend, and wife. In October of 2021 my CA numbers (an indicator of how bad my cancer is) dropped to a 5; when I was diagnosed, that number was 1,248.

That number has been slowly increasing and it is now 122.7. It is worth noting, though, that it was 145.4 at the beginning of January, so hopefully it's heading back down. 

Last year, around this time, Michael and I started discussing moving from our house in Audubon. By Spring of 2022, we sold our house and bought a fixer-upper in Cherry Hill. Our fixer-upper sits in the middle of 3 acres of the most beautiful wooded land. Zoe, who will be 7 in April, and Emmy, who will be 5 at the end of March, see deer out of our back windows almost every morning. They are regal as they rule over their own enchanted forest. 

As the girls pretend to be mermaids, unicorns, and queens, I often think about how my sisters and I used to do the same. I would picture myself in a window seat, uncovering secrets in a haunted mansion full of jewels and pink, velvet pillows. I fancied myself magical royalty. I used a stick as a wand and would simply cast a spell to see the manifestation of all of my dreams. 

Emmy, my 4 year old, loves to wear a sparkly blue leotard and her silver "high" heels as she runs around our new house. She dons a tiara and declares, "I'm Cinderella!" Her confidence reminds of her Nona, my mother-in-law. I didn't know it then, but my childhood magic spells worked! They brought Theresa DiVietro into my life. 

When Michael and I decided to start looking for new homes, last Spring, we consulted his mom, and a new spell was cast. Before we knew it, she fixed up our Audubon house, staged it, and then, since she wears all hats (tiaras) she used her real estate license to sell it for a profit that was, well...magical. We now live down the street from where Muhammad Ali once imagined himself a champion. 

And then, since our fixer-upper wasn't livable until August and we sold our house in May, she provided a home for us for the entire summer. We lived, so comfortably, in my in-law's beautiful home in Wenonah, which, by the way, they were also in the process of selling. Without a moment of hesitation, Theresa, opened her palace doors and made room at her table. And in her jewel room! Michael and his brothers have long since vacated the rooms in my in-law's Wenonah home, but Nona kept years of costume jewelry stored there. Until  the royal DiVietro sisters moved in that is. Their pretend came to life as they ran up and down the halls of their summer home wearing gold, silver, and emerald tokens of Nona's selfless care. 

I am currently sitting next to the baby grand piano my in-laws gifted us when they finally did sell their Wenonah home. I'm comfortable in a tufted teal chair, looking at a leather couch, strewn with plush, stylish pillows, and I'm still racking my brain for an adequate way to thank Theresa DiVietro for all of it. For not only the decorations, which her brilliant taste chose and lovingly dropped off at this home which she helped us purchase. For not only giving me and my daughters anything and everything we can dream up. For not only raising the kind, smart, creative, strong, and selfless person I married. For not only loving me as her own...

...but for inspiring me, daily. For never letting an idea go undiscussed. For never letting a dream seem too big or unattainable. 

She is our real-life fairy Godmother. She pulls wands out of thin air, and with only a little warning, "Be back by midnight," or in our case, "Don't run in the house!" she casts a spell and gives our imaginations wings. She hears our heart with hers and makes our dreams come true. 

We love you, Nona. And, though it will never seem enough, THANK YOU! 

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