When asked what she would say to her twenty year old self, Marcy Medinger says without hesitation, “Enjoy life and don’t worry about the future.” Unlike many, she grew up on a boat, literally. “I was raised in Ft. Lauderdale on a boat with eclectic, hippie parents who still to this day live a bohemian lifestyle,” she reflects.
Growing up, Marcy craved ‘normalcy’, which for her meant, having a mailbox with a ‘real’ address. That craving would eventually land her at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. A place that is as opposite of Ft. Lauderdale as possible. There she discovered what living in the South is. She also discovered that she was much more like parents than she cared to believe, and that working towards a normal life meant learning different lessons about living.
DEFINING A NORMAL LIFE
At 24, Marcy got married and started down a successful path building her life. Her marriage brought two beautiful children and her degree brought a promising career. These accomplishments made being normal seem easy.
However, July 11, 2001 is the day Medinger’s world was flipped upside down. She’d received a call at work that her then husband (who was a custom home framer) had fallen and had a severe accident. “My instincts told me it was bad and then when I arrived at the emergency room, and greeted by paramedics with tears in their eyes, I knew it was really bad. But I could have never imagined the hellish world I was about to enter.” Her ex-husband had suffered a massive traumatic brain injury from the fall.
The last time Marcy saw ‘normal’ was when the neurosurgeon came in to say that she could go see her ex husband before they took him to surgery. After that he was in a coma for 2 weeks, and almost a year of outpatient therapy, her ex-husband had become a very different person – from a laid back kind of guy to one who was prone to violent outbursts. As is common with such a severe head injury the person can develop a completely different personality yet not realize that they’re different. “He was angry, volatile and scary to the kids. He resisted therapy and blamed Marcy for ‘making him go’. At times he was completely irrational.
“I missed my son’s first day of kindergarten because my ex-husband insisted we’d be late for therapy if we waited for the bus to pick my son up. I chose the lesser of 2 evils and left my son with a neighbor to see him onto the bus.” So much for that kind of normalcy.
After 2 years of volatility, several attempts at therapy, and seeing the children afraid to be left alone with him, Marcy made the decision to get a divorce. She was left with no other choice than to choose a life of peace with her children over a life of suffering and pain.
Normal became the role of breadwinner, head of household, caretaker, carpool organizer, room mom, team treasurer and with her primary focus on raising her kids’. Fitness, cycling, staying as healthy and strong as possible became her salvation – including years of 5 am wake up calls to get in a workout before starting the day. Even though she chose to take a step back instead of pursuing the BIG career after her ex-husband’s accident, Marcy says that her career has been great because she has found joy on the creative side of branding and marketing.
“Helping business owners with unique ideas and ways to market their product or service without spending a fortune is fulfilling.” she says. Medinger boasts that her greatest accomplishment is raising her children. “I gave up going down the ‘BIG career’ path to raise them and would do it all over again because my children are the best part of me. My son Sam, is kind, and loving. He has never met a stranger and not only is he ambitious and successful, but he always makes time for others. And my daughter Paige, is the one her friends come to when they have a problem or need to talk openly to someone without judgement. She is smart, driven and sassy.”
Now that her children are young adults, Marcy is focused on growing her business. Community Brand Marketing is a boutique agency that specializes in helping small businesses find creative ways to grow, to focus on primary market areas and how to best find their community of customers. She enjoys seeing her client reap the rewards of her efforts. Medinger continues to be a fitness buff as well – believing strongly that you have to take care of your health and yourself before you can take care of anybody else. All in all she would say that life is good and she feels very blessed. This fitness mom knows that it’s the little things in life that make a normal day – a beautiful sunset, a call from a loved one, or a random text from a friend.