You Were Made for This

22 Nov

After Chip was diagnosed, people kept telling me I was “made for this.”  Chip told me I was made for this.  I even adopted this phrase and started telling people I was made for this.

Well, after Chip’s prognosis, I started to think, what the fuck?  I was MADE for this??  I had a starring role in a really, really bad Lifetime movie.  I was made to have a three year old son, to be within weeks of my due date and for my husband to be diagnosed with terminal Stage IV cancer?  I kindly began to take offense to this.

I mentioned this to my friend, Ginny Johnson, one night, and her take on it was that it meant I was made for Chip.  That I was the perfect spouse for him.  Hmmmm…I still needed to chew on that one.

Anybody who knows me very well knows I do tend to sweat the small things.  If Joe drops a banana slice on the kitchen floor, I am immediately on my hands and knees with a wet paper towel cleaning it up.  If something gets thrown into the dryer with a stain on it causing it to set, well, I can truly lose it.  If a bag of chips is opened from the wrong end, I can’t eat them.  If a pillow is out of place on the couch or the throw blanket is on the floor, I can’t go to bed at night until everything is back in its proper place.  It’s a problem but to quote the great Ke$ha, “We R who we R.”

On the flipside, I can handle, and I mean REALLY handle, the big things.  I am cool as a cucumber at my what is supposed to be a stressful job.  I can schedule for the Senator with my eyes closed.  Joe can tumble out of the back of the car and crack his head open on the corner of a concrete curb, and I never break a sweat.  Our connection through Addis Ababa, Ethiopia en route from Bamako, Mali to Arusha,Tanzania can suddenly turn into an unexpected overnight stay, and I embrace the adventure.

So, when Chip was diagnosed with cancer, I pulled up my big girl panties, channeled my inner Steel Magnolia and decided to make the best of it.  What other choice did I really have?  As one cancer victim wrote to us, “I can’t always control my circumstances, but I can control the way I experience these circumstances.”  Wow.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.

People keep telling me how strong I am, and I do appreciate the compliment, but I am just being the person my parents taught me to be.  I also think my Southern roots are coming into play.  I may not have learned to pump gas until Jenny Hassell taught me how my freshman year at Ole Miss, but Joe Boyd sure taught me how to change a flat tire and check my oil.  I can barely choke down a beer, but I sure can take a single malt or bourbon down neat.  I may not know how to cook it, but I’ve got a really good shot and could probably bag one and bring it home if I needed to.

So, I guess everyone was right.  I WAS made for this, because cancer, you sumbitch, you have messed with the wrong Steel Magnolia.  Game on.

– Sheila


27 Responses to “You Were Made for This”

  1. Bayard W. Kennett, 1st November 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM #

    Oh brother, I think I see a best seller coming. Count me in for the ride. Grandpa B

  2. Theresa Kennett November 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM #

    So very glad you are on Chip’s Team. Mother Theresa

  3. Shannon Davis November 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM #

    I LOVE YOU, sweet girl. I love your grit. I love how you love your husband and your family. I love your sense of humor. I even love your potty mouth. I can promise you this: you, Chip, Joe and baby girl Kennett (and both your families) will be daily covered in prayer by me. May He daily recharge your batteries, dear ones.

  4. Maarten Basten November 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM #

    Dear Sheila and Chip, all the way from the Netherlands we are sending you our positive energy and prayers. We pray you will find the strength to keep fighting. You are in our minds everyday. Love Ilona and Maarten

  5. Kristen Noyes Underwood November 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM #

    I’m so thankful to have stumbled upon this. What a way you have with your words (even the naughty ones). I love it! You’re outlook and honesty are admirable. I will keep Chip and your family in my prayers. Kick the sumbitch in the ass!

    xo Kristen “Umlah”

  6. Jenn November 23, 2012 at 1:43 PM #

    Crying reading these posts and laughing at the same time. This blog is SO your voice, I am so happy Charlotte made this for you to start. You’ve got this, cancer better watch out!

  7. Amanda November 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Love you, Sheila! What an honor to read back through your posts today!! You are such fabulous writer, we feel like we are there with you. Thank you for your willingness to share this tender part of your journey with us!! Hugs and prayers to/for you! Amanda

  8. Katie creedon November 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM #

    Sheila, these blogs are so great- thank you so much for sharing what you all are going through! Im sure we all appreciate it so much…it must be incredibly therapeutic too!. Thinking of you guys and sending my love and prayers. Katie

  9. Karla Conway November 23, 2012 at 7:39 PM #

    I am so incredibly thankful that Chip has such a strong, badass woman in his life. YOU are what is going to get him through this!

  10. Hope Matthews November 23, 2012 at 9:56 PM #

    You are wonderful and a wonderful writer. I have strength to spare. My heart is with you and your husband. Positive thinking helps us live life to the fullest. Hope

  11. Bethany Scully November 25, 2012 at 6:08 AM #

    You are in our prayers and I know you are fitting this with all you have and more!

  12. Melissa "Fall" Turner November 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

    Sheila, you don’t know me but I went to school with Chip, whom I honestly didn’t know super well, I had only a few classes with him and passed him in the hall and was friends with some of his friends. He has always been such a nice guy and it seems that nothing has changed. I’m thrilled to see that he has someone like you and your children to help him fight this. I had no idea it was this level of cancer when I recently saw on facebook that he was diagnosed. I have no question this is something you will all fight with strength and love. I will continue to look to this for the updates and will be waiting anxiously for good news and funny stories (you are a wonderful writer). All my thoughts and prayers go out to your family. Kick cancer’s a**!

  13. Sara Brawner Northcutt November 25, 2012 at 5:38 PM #

    Shelia, you and your husband and your cute, cute Joe, and baby sister are in my prayers. You are so strong and sound like you guys are definitely on top of treatment and conquering this cancer. Thinking of you, Sara Brawner Northcutt

  14. Tamera Luzzatto November 25, 2012 at 6:57 PM #

    There were Hugo, Irene, and Sandy. Now time for Sheila and Chip to do some leveling of your own, to the Cancer Demons. Am rooting and praying (and Sheila, you know this means a LOT, also Bach-ing) like crazy for good news. Love, Tamera

  15. page hickman wilson November 25, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

    Sheila, you are such an INSPIRATION! Chip is lucky to have you! I am praying for you,Chip, Joe and sweet baby girl! Please know that prayers are heading your way from Jackson, Mississippi! LOVE!
    Page Hickman Wilson

  16. Suzanne Johnson November 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM #

    Oh my, I’ve just read every word you’ve written! While Chip’s diagnosis is heart breaking, your expressiveness in relating to those of us “out here” is overwhelming! So great to know that you two youngsters are tackling this FC head on. You both and Joe and Baby Girl are in my thoughts way more than you would EVER realize. Love from the farm in rural GA all the way to 1207 West Braddock Rd in Alexandria, VA. Y’all are absolutely THE BEST!
    Suzanne and Don

  17. Kristine Johnson November 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM #

    I’m with your first thought – you were NOT made for this! Nor was Chip made for this. But who you are made to be – each of you, and what you have created together – will get you through. Loving your clear-eyed, take-no-prisoners (except the cancer) updates. Imagine a million arms around you and your beautiful family as those meds eat up Chip’s cancer. Kristine

  18. Carrie Erickson November 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM #

    I just recently heard the news about Chip and it breaks my heart to know such an amazing man has been diagnosed with such a terrible disease. However after reading this it is abundantly clear he has the best and strongest wife to stand beside him. I wish you all the best and will be praying for Chip and your family!

  19. Jeanne Doherty November 27, 2012 at 3:46 PM #

    Dear Chip and Sheila: You are in my thoughts daily. Sheila, you don’t know me, but I am a neighbor of Bayard and Theresa. My son, Jared, was Tanner’s best man. You are amazing. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but know that so many people are praying for you. I put Chip’s name on the prayer list at our church so people that don’t even know him are praying for him every day. I am a Reiki master. I don’t know if you know what Reiki is, but I have been doing long distance Reiki on Chip since I found out. I do it every morning and I believe that it works. Jared told me that you are a very strong woman. Women can do amazing things and I see you doing just that. Good luck with your new baby girl. I know she will be just as beautiful as Joe. We are thinking great thoughts about your family here in Conway. Take care and stay strong.

  20. Heather Sapp November 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM #

    I’m absolutely crying reading this, but at the same time you’re making me laugh. That sounds weird, but I know it’s exactly what you intended. you have an absolutely amazing voice, and you’re right. Game on, cancer.
    Chip, Joe, and the soon-to-be new Baby Girl are lucky to have you on their team.

  21. Donna Woodward November 27, 2012 at 9:26 PM #

    Hello Sheila,
    You don’t know me I feel as though I know you just from the wonderful stories and brags Theresa shares with us girls up here in Conway. I am a devoted friend of B and T’s and though I have met Chip over the years I would not expect he would remember me. When Theresa shared the devastating news of Chip’s health challenge and the battle your family is facing we all immediately embraced you, Chip, Joe, and baby girl (Lovingly nicknamed “future Prom Queen Kennett” by me) in white light and prayer. It is wonderful to have a blog to go to where we can follow, encourage, and support you as you fight this battle. You are so young to face such an overwhelming situation but the courage and sassiness that you show in your blog is admirable and uplifting. Thank you for sharing and being so real and open. Keep up the strength and know you are so not alone in this battle as your support troops gather around you and surround you with love, faith, and positive energy.
    I’ll be following your journey and keeping you in my prayers.

  22. Nancy Twomey November 29, 2012 at 7:51 AM #

    Sheila, you had already impressed me – really made me stop and think – even before this awfulness tried to stop you in your tracks. (recall the name convo – still tickles me!) But now….wow. Just wow.
    You and Chip are absolutely the BEST. I feel so lucky to have met you.

  23. Dian Birkbeck November 29, 2012 at 10:18 PM #

    Sheila, you do not know me but I have been a longtime Kennett family friend. I was saddened to read this blog. Chip is a Kennett so I believe he has got it.Good positive outlook. Know that you and your family will be in my prayers everyday.

  24. Lindsay Hudson December 5, 2012 at 10:52 PM #

    I speak for your Marks family, We are all praying for your family. May God provide you both with strength during this difficult time and the ability to know that his plan is working daily for Chip and his treatment. I pray that with each treatment Chip has less side effects, better days, and endless prayers for his treatment to rid each cancer cell one by one. May you two continue to inspire health care professionals like myself to find cures for these life changing diseases. Remeber with the Lord you can persevere. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all. Congrats to you both on your precious new addition.

    James 1:12 – Show Perseverance

    Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

  25. Resa Kierstein December 6, 2012 at 10:25 AM #

    Sheila this blog is all you and it is outstanding….this “cancer” has no idea who it’s dealing with!!!! Fight Fight Fight every day and embrace your beautiful babies with hugs and kisses as often as you can.

  26. Tom Mullen December 7, 2012 at 12:52 PM #

    Hello Crosby,

    Well little one, you’ve had about nine months to get the inside track on your Mom, and albeit from a distance, your Dad as well. And now, us outsiders also get to know you a little better. The coming time period will be a challenge, a much bigger challenge than a little one like you should have to deal with so early in life, but given your genes, I am positive you’ll weather all that life may throw at you in true Kennett form – by being strong and kicking back.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know your Mom’s side of the family, but after reading her blog, I wish I’d had a mother like her. Wow, growing up with her around is going to be a trip!!!
    Here’s the deal! Your Mom tells it like it is. That means you’ll never be able to pull the wool over her eyes and get away with it cause I can tell, she knows all the tricks. By the same token, you’d be smart to be her buddy as well as her daughter cause you’ll always know what’s on her mind and you’ll have lots of fun in the process.

    As for your Dad, Chip, he comes from strong stock. His own parents, Granpa B and Gramma T, are special people who have a zest for living and when life takes a hairpin turn, they don’t run off the road, they lean into the corner and accelerate out the other side. As far as your big brother Joe is concerned, I can see from the web photos that he’s already on the job. You’re not heavy lifting right now, but I give you around fourteen years and Joe’s gonna have his hands full keeping you on the straight and narrow.

    I see from your Daddy’s expression that you’re already the apple of his eye. Your presence on this earth is already giving him new found strength to fight his health challenges with a renewed sense of determination. Sons are always fun for a Dad to have around, but daughters are verrrrry special and always bring out the best in their fathers. I know cause I have two of them. Your Granpa B is Godfather to my oldest daughter, Kelly. Given how irreverent she is toward me, I’m not sure Granpa B is doing his Godfather job all that well, but I’m sure he’ll focus a bit more on you as you’re growing up.

    Please tell your Mom for me that she is a true inspiration. Something like cancer isn’t going to cause her to tip toe around. The news about your Dad’s cancer is one of the toughest, hardest knocks that life can hand out, but your Mom, she kicks back even harder and if cancer has a set of testicles, I think she’s going to kick it square where it hurts and bring it down to its knees. I’d bet on her in that fight.

    I hope to meet you and your Mom one of these days. I’ve met your Dad, but way back when he was just a little guy. In his short life, he has accomplished more than many men do in an entire lifetime as has your Mom. You can be very proud of that. Crosby, welcome to your first Christmas on this earth. Your arrival has brought goodness and light to your family. May that light bring peace and warmth to all of you during this holiday season!

    A good friend of the family,

    Tom Mullen

  27. Amy Smith December 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM #

    Sheila – Haven’t met you yet but like you already and I’m a big fan of my friend and colleague Chip. You’ve fired up the Southern woman from within and I’m sending you guys strong Southern resolve vibes for continued resiliency and – almost as importantly – a subcription (if you don’t already have it) to “Garden and Gun” magazine which has so much more than Gardens and Guns – uber cool guide to art, food and music and powerful reminder that, as my Momma says “Happiness is found in simple pleasures.” – Amy Smith

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