Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fragile Combinations

Bejamin Franklin is credited with saying, "In this life, nothing is certain but death and taxes." Most of us, live our lives under the notion that we will die late in our lives. We marry, have children, set up house and march through life at a steady, comfortable pace.

Occasionally, things will happen to us that will cause us to stop and evaluate our surroundings. The unexpected occurences often make us cherish each moment that we have....At least for a little while. Eventually, the shock wears off and we fall back into the comfortable rhythm of the hum-drum.

Today, I saw a friend of mine while running some errands in town. I had to look twice to be sure that it was her. She'd lost an unhealthy amount of weight, and there was something very different about her. It took me a moment, and I realized that she didn't have any hair. No eyebrows, no eyelashes...no hair. Period. She told me four months ago that she had cancer, and I have spoken to her on the phone and on Facebook frequently, but the shock of seeing how sick she really was...Well, it was like a punch in the stomach.

My friend is young; 35. She has an eight year old daughter that worships the ground she walks on. I could wax poetic about all of her majestic qualities, but I will simply say, she is a marvelous human being.

When speaking to her today, she told me that she forces herself get out of the house three or four times a week even though it depletes her energy. We talked about the weather. I told her a few funny stories about my children, and throughout our conversation I couldn't help but notice how peaceful she seemed...

Until we started talking about her daughter. She asked me, "Lucy, how am I supposed to answer every question she will ever have, about everything...in just a few months?"

As I sit here typing this, my son, Sammy is stretched out on the couch beside me and my daughter, Abby, is playing in her room.

 I am, at this moment....This very mundane and ordinary moment....so very,very lucky.

I am healthy...mostly, and my children aren't in immediate danger of losing a parent to an ill fated disease.
Today, I am overwhelmed with the privilege it is to parent another human being, the luxury of love, the decadence of caring. Being a parent, raising these children...Well, it is the only thing in the world that only I can do.

You know, a child's life is made up of fragile combinations. The irresistible upward motion of precariously stacked building blocks...The smooth symbiosis of peanut butter and jelly...The glory of playing in the rain, but the chill of the wind that follows.

My heart is breaking today for my friend and her daughter. Today, was a reminder for me:

 You must treasure your family.
 You have to take the good with the bad.
Don't mince words... say what you really mean.
The sticky smell of pickles and cookies on little hands is the sweetest smell in the universe.

And most importantly...Ben Franklin was right. Nothing is certain in this life.

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