Claire's Profile

About

My story is complicated, but it's pretty great. I worked my way up through some pretty rough stuff. I'm going to lay it all out here, because the best lesson I've learned as a parent is that we need to talk to each other about things. The good, the bad and the ugly. I believe that, instead of judging other parents, we should unite and relate to one another. Let's face it, parenting is hard. So is life in general. It's important to share our stories so nobody feels like they're alone on this crazy, beautiful journey...
I made my first pinwheel mobile on January 25th, 2003. I remember it vividly as this was the due date of my first child, Gwen, who arrived 4 days later. Fast forward 4 years, I made another for my second child, Henry. They both loved their mobiles so much, and it brought me such joy to see them wiggle with excitement at the sight of their pinwheels. It was pretty great when they fell asleep to them,…

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  • Female
  • Born on April 21
  • Joined August 18, 2007

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PinwheelRevolution
*Home of the Original Pinwheel Mobile*

About

My story is complicated, but it's pretty great. I worked my way up through some pretty rough stuff. I'm going to lay it all out here, because the best lesson I've learned as a parent is that we need to talk to each other about things. The good, the bad and the ugly. I believe that, instead of judging other parents, we should unite and relate to one another. Let's face it, parenting is hard. So is life in general. It's important to share our stories so nobody feels like they're alone on this crazy, beautiful journey...
I made my first pinwheel mobile on January 25th, 2003. I remember it vividly as this was the due date of my first child, Gwen, who arrived 4 days later. Fast forward 4 years, I made another for my second child, Henry. They both loved their mobiles so much, and it brought me such joy to see them wiggle with excitement at the sight of their pinwheels. It was pretty great when they fell asleep to them, too. Because that's when Mama could get a shower or a nap (YES!).
I was a stay at home mom. Money was tight, but we were alright. However, I was not allowed access to any sort of "allowance", as my (then) husband made it perfectly clear that he brought home the paycheck and "chose to share it" with me and our children.
Here's where my Etsy story begins. A friend of mine and her husband gifted me a computer and encouraged me to start an Etsy shop. I had nothing but the computer to get started. So I opened up a secret credit card and I started buying supplies to make mobiles. I said the money was gifted to me by my grandmother.
Despite having little support and living in an increasingly hostile environment, I got started. Year by year, my little business grew and my heart swelled with a sense of pride and accomplishment that I didn't think was possible. I had raised two children and made my own money all by myself (and I also paid off that secret credit card).
Amidst all of this, I still struggled to keep my family together. But, after 6 years of marriage counseling, it was all done. That final day in court, when it was official, I collapsed into a puddle of tears. The overwhelming sense of sadness and relief was almost too much to bear. But, just as I'd always done, I kept on.
After the divorce (I hate that word), I began experiencing some medical issues that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I chalked it up to stress and kept on going for a few months. Then, one night, I couldn't sleep. I had severe abdominal pain and went to the emergency room thinking I had a hernia. I had a CT scan that revealed something I never could've imagined. A tumor the size of a small watermelon spanning the entire right half of my abdomen that had been growing for years.
I was immediately admitted. Two days later, a biopsy. Cancer. At 36 years old. Being a small framed woman, I was in shock that this beast was inside of me. It all happened very quickly. I had the scan, biopsy and surgery to remove it all in 3 days. It took me 14 weeks to heal from the surgery, which also took my right kidney, as the tumor was wrapped around it. I took plenty of time off from working to sort through what had happened. When the dust settles after something like that, the emotional toll it takes is pretty unreal.
It's good to be alive. My kids are happy and healthy. I really do love what I do. I fought hard to get here. So, I'm going to keep on fighting the good fight. It's totally worth it.
xo,
Claire

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