I saw a baby girl just the other day. She looked identical to her mama who was making silly faces while holding this precious girl on her hip. I noticed her toes, of all things. They were painted raspberry…a not-quite-red-not-quite-magenta color. For a second I wondered how it was humanly possibly to pull that off. How does someone get a baby to hold still long enough to dip the brush and paint each tiny toenail? Then I thought, “Of course, silly…while she is sleeping.” Almost instantly all the breath in my lungs attempted to escape and I couldn’t seem to catch it in time. The line at Target moved too slow as I desperately fought back that all-too-familiar feeling of despair. Those little raspberry toes made my heart hurt.
I should have painted her toes.
There are days it is just plain hard to feel. It’s easier to shut down, hide and pray to God for a new day. The new day may be brighter and clearer, but sometimes the new day is darker than the one before.
“Embrace the place you are in.”
Last week, Christine Caine said these powerful words to a small room full of 150 people craving wisdom and hope. As I looked around the room briefly, I wondered what “place” each person was in at that moment. Most people nodded their heads in agreement as those six words dripped like honey and coated the room with her charming Australian accent. A few, however, looked down or closed their eyes. Embracing this place means accepting it, owning it, to stop wishing for the past or the future…instead to be still.
I’m guilty of reliving days and moments in my mind over and over instead of making the most of the day ahead of me. I’m guilty, also, of wanting whatever may be next to just reveal itself. Whatever Audrey’s life was/is preparing us for, let’s just get on with it. I wouldn’t say I’m living in fear, but I can’t help but think that her story was a means of preparing me for something even harder. Why else would such a tolerance to heartache be needed? Quiet aside: I’m keenly aware of how “glass half empty” that sounds.
Early in my twenties, I decided I couldn’t wait to be 30. I had this strange infatuation with turning the big 3-0. I’ve always felt young, like the baby of the group. Perhaps turning 30 would finally gain me some credibility. In my mind, 30 basically came wrapped in a white picket fence. I turned 30 with baby Audrey in my belly, just a few weeks after learning of her health concerns. There’s no denying that this ripe, old age of 30 has come with a serious dose of reality. In some ways I feel like I’ve aged many, many years. My face is lined with new crevasses. These lines act as a map of this life. Quite appropriate isn’t it? With life experience comes a visible trace of where you’ve been.
Life lesson #1,793: I wished so badly to be 30. Instead of embracing the place that I was in, I wanted life to move more quickly. Result? I made it to 30 and at times look back and think, “Why did I rush the most simple times in my life?”
Let time stand still. Be brave and take a deep breath. This is what I will tell Cooper when he can’t wait to be 16 and drive, or when he is itching to move out and go to college. “Embrace this place, my boy.”
Our family is once again in a hard place. Chris’ father has been in an accident, he was hit by a car while walking across a street in Stillwater last weekend. He is stable and in good hands. He has been tough through it all. Chris has been a pillar of strength for his father, mother and sister. Mary and Carrie are so compassionate and gentle, it is hard to see the pain in their faces as they lovingly hold his hand or peck his cheek, aching for him. Life is so incredibly precious and here we are, reminded that each day is a gift.
Have you said it lately? Have you told them how much you love them? Have you mentioned how much they mean to you?
Many thanks to you for continuing to read, support and love. Some days I feel like it’s time to “get over it already”, other days I feel enraged by the whole of it and simply functioning like a normal human being feels challenging. That’s just the honest truth. There’s no point in hiding it now. Thank you for just being there, on the other side of your screen, caring. Wings for Audrey is taking shape because of so many Audrey lovers, each of these donors is proof that her life holds meaning.
Stillwater Newspress graciously included an article on their website today, click to read & share: http://tinyurl.com/AudreyNewspress