Living for Today
My sister sent me some pictures to look at today. They were taken from the photo shoot that my niece and nephew had this summer commemorating what is to be their senior year of high school. The twins were born almost 17 and half years ago. The very first babies in our family and on the very day they were born into this world, I was struck with how much love I had within me that poured out every single time I held their little hands or saw the twinkle in their little eyes. I know it sounds cliche', but they both had eyes that seriously sparkled. We've had some laughs the three of us and this bond started from day one. I'd like to think that I've played a part in their upbringing even if that is encouraging their mischievous ways, demonstrating that age is just a number, not a reason to give up on yourself or your dreams or perhaps showing them that a little bit of silliness goes a long way in such a serious world. Being "Aunt Mimi" is legitimately one of the greatest joys of my life. As I was looking at these pictures, I was struck not only by their infinite beauty, but also by time. Specifically how time just seems to race by while we always seem to be waiting for the next thing to happen. For them it's senior year, then college, then a career, then possibly relationships, homes, etcetera. For me, I feel like I"m always chasing something too....my goal weight, a clear scan ,another adventure ...just the right amount of happiness. Why are we programmed to always be reaching for the next great thing? Next party, next milestone, next big event? These days I"m trying really hard to right here, right now feel and acknowledge everything, and I mean everything, that I"m feeling and experience everything that is happening around me in each given moment. I know that sounds a little crazy, complicated, yet really simple, but cancer stole from me not only the promise of tomorrow, but it taught me that lesson in the hardest of truths, slap you in the face. lesson received and learned kind of way. After everything, how can I not just be grateful for the here and now? What I'm learning is it takes an incredible amount of discipline to tune out the distractions and focus on the beauty and joyful moments in what seem to be boring, ordinary and in the days of a global pandemic, very controversial days. I'm really trying hard to not take anything for granted. Not one thing. My youngest son turns six this week. He was only three when I learned about my cancer and I wept on the bathroom floor thinking of him growing up without me. That moment haunts me and is forever burned into my memory. For half of his young life I have been struggling like you can't possibly imagine, and yet he knows nothing but love, joy and contentment. What a gift and a lesson I can learn from him. He doesn't realize it, but his age and position in life really keep him in the here and now and I see how peaceful that can be. I'm excited about his low key celebration this week (again, thanks Rona), but I'm also trying to take in the little things leading up to the big day. His daily excitement about how many days until he is officially another year older. The ordering of the cake, the retelling of his birth story over and over, the excitement in his eyes and quite simply the freakin' miracle that I'm here to see his first wiggly tooth...gratitude in its finest form.
As I"m committed to pausing first thing in the morning, at the very least, to acknowledge what I'm grateful for, I'm finding my eyes opening to the little truths that I think I was missing to some extent before. I"m grateful for adventures even if that means an early morning walk or evening stroll with a friend. I applaud my courage to take chances on things or people that perhaps only I believe in. I'm in love with my new found ability to really see when the universe is sending me signs...they are there and I'm finally less distracted and more open to receiving them. I'm proud that I can sense when I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed and I actually hit pause to take care of myself whether that means a run, journaling or sitting here working on my blog. This is me. This is passion and vulnerability wrapped up in hope, gratitude...with a giant dash of resilience.
So here is my wish to B and B and all of you....as we excitedly prepare for the next great thing, I hope you take the time to take in the beauty of each day, each moment. This year has provided and will continue to throw some major challenges our way. Our perception of these trials will make us or break us. It's hard and it's frustrating that life can't be "normal", but the lessons and experiences when things are not normal will carry you and sort of define you to some extent.. Cancer didn't and never will define me, but the way in which I've handled it and grown from the worst of experiences, I"m certain speaks volumes. Be proud of what you do with your time here under this sky..it is precious. Taking the time to embrace a compliment, be proud of the work that is getting you to your goal and just saying "thank you" to the one up above for giving you this day to breathe is extraordinary. This type of gratitude will fill up your heart and set your soul on fire. Reach for the stars, but enjoy the climb. Aunt Mimi is so proud of you and loves you to pieces.....I'm better for having loved you. Now go get it! -XO-M