Sorry I didn't update you yesterday on the outcome of my visit to Roswell.
Not that I'm a horseracing buff, but it was the trifecta of visits actually:
(1) Most important, my tumor markers are actually even lower than they were last month.
(2) I didn't have to get an infusion because a new bone strengthening drug was just approved by the FDA and it's a shot rather than an IV infusion.
(3) We made it out of there in record time. We were in our cars driving home by 10 AM. That has NEVER happened!
All easy, easy things. For that, I am grateful. Extremely.
And I realize that it's been a little while since I provided an update on how things are outside of my medical status. While I'm not going to go super deep with you today, I did want to share with you one little story. I promise that it will make you smile, perhaps even make you laugh.
We just got back from a surprise-for-our-kids family vacation to a fabulous home in Delray Beach, FL that a co-worker of Chad graciously offered to us. It was a wonderful gift and one that provided just the rest and family-time that we really appreciated having, especially given the sadness and stress associated with Laura's death. (I still hate typing those words...still coming to grips with that reality and, quite honestly, I don't like it one bit not having her around and hearing her voice. Maybe I'll talk more about that at another time. Not today though. Today's a day for a funny story!).
In addition to fun times on the beach, lounging in a hot tub built for 10 (so the kids could actually "swim" in it!), treating ourselves (3 times in 4 days!) to the best, make your own frozen yogurt desserts....I learned a new thing about my daughter.
I learned that she's a total chicken crossing the street.
Now Em's a fast girl. God has gifted her with speed, for sure. However, she often doesn't like to use that speed. She could toast almost all of her peers in a footrace, but usually comes in 3rd or 4th because, "Why would I want to get all sweaty just to beat my friends in a race, Mom?" (What?!?! Where's the competitive Rich/Rush spirit in that statement?!?!). Well, give that girl a street to cross (and throw in one car driven by a senior citizen that you can barely spot 1/4 mile down the road) and all of a sudden she shows her speediness alright. She runs like she's being chased by a pack of wild dogs!
So we're crossing the street at an intersection with crosswalk signals. You know, the signals that show an orange man that tells you to stop and wait and then a white figure that let's you know it's safe to cross. There isn't a car in sight and we tell the kids they can cross even though the orange guy is telling us to wait.
Em weighs her options: "Do I obey my parents or do I obey that orange man?"
She apparently chose to obey her parents because she takes off like a shot before I take my first step off the curb. I look up and see the orange guy turn to a white one and I begin to point as I shout to my black daughter who is now halfway across the street, "Look, Em; it's a white man!"
To make matters worse - but also to make them funnier - my eyes shifted slightly downward and saw an actual "white man" (a Caucasian human, in case you're confused), standing under that crosswalk signal. A man whose face all of sudden started to look very confused and very uncertain about how he should respond to my sprinting, eyes-filled-with-anxiety daughter who was now just feet away from him and whose mother was yelling about a white man.
Well, I start laughing; you know the kind of laughing that causes you to just shake because no sound comes out. Chad, of course, heard what I said because I shouted it. He starts laughing so hard that he has trouble breathing. And the poor Caucasian man stood there, trying to comprehend our story, not at all knowing what the "politically correct" response was to the situation. You know that, inside, he was thinking, "Why, oh why, is this mixed-race family pointing out white people? Do they not think their 10 year old daughter can tell who is black and who is white???"
(I'm totally laughing as I'm typing this. It's still totally ridiculous to me that I would say that!)
Chad mumbled through an explanation to the man. I just stood there like a fool laughing. And, all the while, the kids are asking over and over again, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Why are you laughing? Tell us why you're laughing."
Oh my gosh. Totally ridiculous.
Okay...so why did I tell you this story? Well, because it's funny (at least it will forever be a family laugh for Chad and me!)
But I also hope that it reminds you - as it does me - that there is great joy during this challenging time. I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: there are many, many, many things that happen that cause me to laugh freely and smile widely as I, at the same time, grieve the loss of Laura and live out the unknowns of our situation. Yes, this is a hard road. And being a mom walking out this road can be a difficult thing. But I want you to know that, despite what you may think, being a mom is one of the biggest influences I have to remember that I have to be fully present, fully engaged, fully alive today. That my children don't need me wondering about and worrying about their future (and my future ability to be their mom). They need me to be fully present today.
Laura helped to teach me that. Her ability to be fully-engaged-in-the-most-important-parts-of-parenting until almost her last breath here on earth was an example worthy to emulate. She taught her children - because she believed this with her whole being - that her children were entrusted to her for a time. That God loves them more than she does. That her most important role is to be as present and as much of an arrow pointing them toward Christ as she can be. And that her most important task in living out that role was to pray over her children fervently, consistently and boldly. Pray for their character. Pray for their belief systems. Pray for their futures.
How that has encouraged me and challenged me: Live fully present and offer prayers that matter eternally. So thankful that Laura paved the way in modeling this so that I, too, can choose to live that way and pour that truth over my children.
And I'm so thankful for you, my friends.
Thankful for your continued desire and ability to walk alongside of my family and me. I continue to feel inadequate to express what a blessing you are to us.
So, enjoy your day.
Hope you had a little laugh.
And, I hope you will never, ever say out loud in a public setting, "Look! There's a white man!"