Lions and Lambs

143b1d8de71dbdd40070b67afb97e892How did your day begin? Did you spring up out of bed and attack the day or did you hit the snooze button a few times? Personally, I am not a snooze button type of girl. My feet need to hit the floor within moments of the alarm going off or my chances of starting the day off to a late start grow exponentially.

The line between Carpe Diem and Crappy Diem is razor thin. My day begins with more of a stumble than a precision attack because my body needs time to catch up to my brain most of the time. Some begin the day by lying in bed while slowly embracing being awake and others take a more direct approach to wakefulness. Either is perfectly acceptable because what works for one does not work for all.

The first moment of wakefulness is bliss. The small window of time when the mind is empty of any thoughts and only an awareness of being awake exists. Hands down my favorite moment of each day. My least favorite moment of the day quickly follows. It is the instant when the brain kicks on and full awareness of reality sets in.

For the past two weeks our family has been on the receiving end of shitty news on more than one front. The precious moment of bliss has been replaced with the nagging reminder that my wife has breast cancer. It is instantaneous and a hell of a way to wake up each day. I am in good company as my wife is in the same boat. Within a matter of days any semblance of normal has been replaced with uncertainty and a laundry list of emotions that shift by the minute.

Each of us are navigating though the emotions in our own way. Imagine the chaos of One Flew over the Cuckoos’ Nest marrying the feel good of Forrest Gump. Normal life for us now includes laughter, joy, and humor simultaneously existing in the same space as anger, sadness, and fear on a jacked up scale. This fall is yet another reminder that life is random and of how little control any of us have over anything. I know. It hate that part too.

In spite of it all our awareness of the importance of putting one foot in front of the other, taking one step at a time, and not to getting too far ahead of ourselves is growing. Our methods are not conventional and include trips to nude beaches, sunburned skin, and changing lyrics to our favorite songs espousing the benefits of having breasts removed. I told you it was unconventional. The Waters Chicks fully acknowledge our dark and twisty side and encourage others to do the same.

As we bide our time in the waiting space, we are feeling everything, all at once, and fighting the urge to retreat in fear or sadness. Until we know more, we have no choice. We crumble and rally. We are leaning on one another and remembering to care for ourselves in the mess. As cliché as it sounds, we take comfort in the fact that things could always be worse.

The ultimate test of gratitude is remembering that no matter what the circumstance, it could always be worse. Looking for the blessing in the mess take the focus off the curse. Admittedly, the idea that circumstances and situations we face in our lives can be both a blessing and a curse has never been popular with me.

There is good. There is bad. Simple. Wait. Goodbad is not a thing right? Crap. It is. The lesson is loud and I want to put the universe on notice that I am paying attention. Even in the most difficult times, opportunities for growth, goodness, and even peace spring forth.

Case in point. The kindness meter is off the charts in my house. This is unprecedented given the fact that three testosterone fueled teens live here. Full force lion’s laying down with the lamb mode has begun and despite the underlying anxiety there is a palpable sense of togetherness wafting through the walls of our house. We are in this fight together.

While the circumstance may be unwanted, we are overwhelmed with pride as we watch four young men rise to the occasion and shine in the best ways. They inspire us when we are having our less than courageous moments. We are amazed at their strength, tenacity, and soft heartedness. There is no greater joy for a parent than to bear witness to their children turning out to be loving, kind, caring, and decent people.

Our family is not special and certainly not alone in our struggle. Unfortunately, many are in the same boat. Cancer sucks. As a tribute to the people whose first thought each morning centers around living with, battling, or watching a loved one suffer from this disease do whatever you can to prolong that moment when your eyes first open in the morning and simply being is your only awareness. Feel gratitude. Breathe. Laugh. Cry. Stomp. Press on. Make perspective is your best friend.

As we continue on this journey, we thank everyone for their good thoughts and wishes. Our most urgent request is for everyone to take a moment and consider the hidden blessings in whatever curse may be knocking at your door. Share kindness and be generous with your love, especially when it seems the most difficult to do so. Cancer or not. Just do it.