Well, after an afternoon spent decorating the house for Christmas and wrapping presents, there is a mountain of colorful and sparkly glitter in my dustpan.
Yesterday, I overheard the following from Laila, behind a closed door:
Laila: "Jesus, why did you not make unicorns?... (pause)... Ok!... Well, thank you for making my Texas Rangers shirt... Goodnight!"
And today, from the backseat:
Laila: "Lydia, repeat after me... Papa!"
Lydia: "... giggle ... Nonna!"
Lydia: "Dy-puh!! (Diaper)"
(Hysterical little girl giggling...)
Smiling. Smiling. Grinning like a fool.
Yesterday and today, parenting by myself with no voice went far better than expected. The truth is that I have the sweetest, most understanding and darling little girls in the universe. As a result of this little bout of sickness, Lydia has learned to whisper (mimicking me) and blow her nose (mimicking me).
Today is the day that my parents flew to Miami for my father's second tumor removal. Second sending into a deep, dreamless and unnatural sleep. Second waking to (aha!) no tumor pain (focusing on the positive) but also a process of recovery that is sometimes painful, always inconvenient and will likely mean that Nonna and Papa won't be home to spend Christmas with their granddaughters. They won't be spending Christmas with their children and children-in-law either but, let's be honest about who's really important.
Laila Grace. Stella Sloan. Lydia Kate.
Even so, we smile.
If, after all the things that go wrong in our lives go wrong and all the traffic that slows us down holds us up and all the things we are anxious about come to pass and all the difficulty that has to be endured is endured, I think that, if we try to smile... and we keep trying to smile... and then, one day, we DO actually successfully smile, I think it must get easier to smile again the next day.And the one after that.
And all the ones after that.
A recurring tumor is something. But so many people whom I love dearly have had to go through so, so much more. And, yet, they rejoice on facebook over their son's Christmas list, they meet me in the morning for a giggly and companionable run, they plan their wedding with excitement, they open their hearts to the hope of loving again, they find peace in the memory of the beloved parent they miss so desperately... they smile. And, by smiling, they inspire me, they challenge me, they fill me.
For all of you out there smiling in the midst of the pain, I join you.
I will smile.
Today marks the beginning of our family's second season of moving through cancer.
Today marks the beginning of our family's second season of moving away from cancer.
We have so much to smile about.