The family ALL had the day off yesterday (!!), so we drove out to the nature coast for Miss K's 2nd birthday party. When I saw Meredith gathering people for cake, this is what I expected, not this:
Miss K and I share a birthday--in fact, she was the best thing about my 35th birthday!
What you can't see here is me restraining my Little Guy from licking my cupcakes....but you can see what a great friend I have in Meredith!
Cancer, you're one sneaky person. You have no respect for race, age, person, wealth, religious affiliation, or personal habits. You didn't care that I didn't smoke, ate well, exercised, or had a household to care for.
You stole years off of my life, destroyed my veins as well as portions of my memory and cognition. You terrorized my parents, my husband, my children, family and friends. You made my 35th birthday one of the worst (and best) days of my life. Because of you, I may never live a day free of pain. You're relentless and cruel.
I, however, have news for you.
See, you could come back tomorrow and it wouldn't matter, because I know that, no matter what, a better world awaits me, complete with a whole, perfect, pain and cancer-free body.
You loose, because, for now, every gain I make is a triumph. Each time I lift more weight, run or bike farther; each time I cook a meal for my family, clean a room, or do a load of laundry, you loose.
You loose because I don't take life for granted. I know that every birthday--mine or anothers', every hug from my children, every kiss from my husband or cup of coffee with a friend is a gift.
You loose, because I know in Whose hands my life is held, and it isn't yours.
What would you say to Cancer?
When I set out to do the lawn (trimming, edging, mowing, tackling the hedges, sweeping--I'm nothing if not through) my intentions were (mostly) to quiet the nagging feeling that I'd soon be getting a nasty gram from my HOA, then to assure my husband some free time to finish his consulting job this weekend in between soccer matches, and finally because it was one of those perfect Florida days when it's a downright sin to stay inside, and after all, I didn't really have time to make it to the beach before I had to get the kids from school.
I was doing well until I got to the Beast.
The Beast is the hedge that our property "shares" with our next door neighbors. I say "shares" because it's mostly (all) ON their side. It's a HUGE box hedge and gets overgrown fairly quickly. Our neighbors are older (retired), and he's pretty frail and she's rather frugal, so they don't pay their lawn service the extra few hundred dollars it would take to maintain it. Historically, we've gone ahead and trimmed (hacked?) it down because it was the nice thing to do.
This day was no exception. I had a decent attitude until about 15 minutes in to the 2 hour job. Then my inner three year old kicked in.
I began to lecture the inner child, much like I would one of my own offspring.
This is the right thing to do. It's honoring of our elders. It's loving our neighbor. It's serving the Lord.
I pressed through the trimming and began the job of raking and gathering the huge piles of leaves.
Then I heard their garage door open. It was Bob, my frail, early dementia, mid stage Parkinson's neighbor. He was standing and watching me with tears glinting in his eyes.
"You", he stammered, "you're sick!" (He remembers when I moved here very clearly). "You shouldn't have to do this...you're doing my work!".
"It's okay, Bob, I don't mind. Besides, I'm not sick anymore, see?" I pulled off my baseball cap and ruffled my hair to offer proof of my wellness.
"I don't know why I don't do things like this anymore....Lazy, I guess."
Needless to say, I was humbled to the core.
"Bob, you're not lazy. I see you out and about all the time...where are you going now?"
His eyes lit up. "For subs....I'm going to buy you lunch!".
As I was finishing up, he returned.
"Is it right? I probably screwed it up. I screw up things all the time."
"No Bob, it's perfect."
And it was--not for my lunch, as I'm not a fan of mayo, olives, or white bread (but my boys loved it as an afternoon snack)--but as gentle reminder that even when I don't feel "properly appreciated", that God won't be outloved or outgiven.
This is the TQ's new soccer team (plus some friends and siblings who play for the same club).
Yes, it's technically a boys team (but our goalie and sweeper are girls).
Yes, it's mostly made up of working-class Hispanic kids who come from primarily Spanish-speaking homes. We do have one Filipino (first generation American) and our two "token" Caucasian Blondes.
A LOT of assumptions were made about our team when we entered the Region Cup this year.
We had never played an "A" level game.
We belong to a small, mostly recreational club. Our coaches aren't paid. We don't travel much because money is so tight for most of the families.
They call themselves "United"--and they mean it. TQ has never had the blessing of playing with a team like this. No prima donnas, no stars, no white, brown, male or female. Just kids who love soccer--and take care of each other. (I got a little choked up when, during warm up, another player knelt down to adjust the laces on TQ's shoes for her--something nearly impossible to do in keeper gloves, and later when she was lent layers to keep warm in the biting winds of the last game of the weekend).
Their coach never yells. Never. The parents are kind and positive.
They swept the semifinals this weekend, beating clubs that have serious money and sponsorship behind them. I can't repeat some of the comments made by parents from those clubs as this is a family blog, but trust me, they were NOT kind.
We couldn't be more proud to cheer them on in the Final Four.
Did we mention that Eeyore's team made finals, too? His dad, however, forgot the camera :-).