Over the past few months, I've thought a lot about life. Being pregnant and losing a baby almost half way through a pregnancy has made me question what is and isn't fair. I often ask myself, why us? Why did we have to go through this? I hope that I one day look back on this as a memory, but at the moment, it's still a very raw experience. I know that because of what we have been through, Jim and I have a stronger relationship. We were forced to have some difficult conversations and were the only ones who knew, deep down, how the other person was feeling . We were there for each other, as we promised to be the day we got married. We were also there for our daughter. Actually, when I think about it, it was Lilly who was there for us. We have loved Lilly from the second we set our eyes on her but over the past few months, we have loved her even more...if that is possible. She is happy, healthy and everything we could ask for in a daughter. Even though I was thankful for the strengthening of these relationships, I still didn't understand why. I don't need to know why anymore.
Yesterday, two things happened that helped to put things in perspective for me.
In the morning, Lilly and I were at the grocery store. I turned away from the shopping cart to get cheese, and heard Lilly saying (yelling, actually), "hiiiiiii." I thought nothing of it. After all, she says hi to everyone at the grocery store. When I turned back around, I saw Lilly chatting and waving to a little boy in a cart next to ours. This boy was no more than three. He was talking to Lilly about his shoes and socks. Listening to them, you would have thought it was an ordinary conversation between two toddlers. Looking at them, you would have seen that the little boy had cancer. He had no hair; just a few pieces growing back in where it once was, before cancer treatments took it away. My heart dropped when I saw him. His mom started talking to me about how how disgusting it is that toddlers put everything in their mouths, just as Lilly was putting her mouth on the shopping cart. She was smiling and mentioned how she has to disinfect everything her son touches as his immune system isn't very strong anymore. Then, she started talking about reasonable places in the area to buy clothes. As we walked away, Lilly waving and saying "bye bye" until she could no longer see this little boy, I wondered how this mother gets through every day. How does she have normal conversations about clothes? How does she not burst into tears mid conversation? What does she think when she sees other toddlers--toddlers without cancer? I haven't stopped thinking about this boy and his mother. Is he going to be okay? I keep thanking God for our healthy little girl. I know you can't compare situations, but what Jim and I have been through doesn't compare to what this mother goes through every day.
Then, last night, I woke up at 1am and saw that I had just missed two phone calls from Jamie, our neighbor. I knew that something had to be wrong so I immediately called her back only to learn that Parker, her daughter, woke up shaking with blue lips. Parker hasn't been feeling well this week and I knew she had croup but it was clear that something was wrong. An ambulance was on its way and Jamie asked, apologetically, if I could come over and stay with Owen while she and Scott went with Parker to the hospital. I threw on some sweats and sprinted over there, begging Jamie not to apologize. I knew she would do the same for me in a heartbeat. In fact, she has helped me out on more occasions than I can count. Thankfully, Parker was okay and seemed to have a bad reaction to a fever, but again, this was an eye opening experience for me. Every day, I wake up expecting everything to be the way it was the day before, just as I'm sure the mother of that little boy did--until the day she discovered that her son had cancer. I know Jamie didn't wake up yesterday morning expecting to be in an ambulance taking her daughter to the hospital at one in the morning.
It is easy to take the blessings in my life for granted. When I'm exhausted at the end of the day as I'm running out the door to tutor and just want a minute to sit down or some quiet time to myself, I'm going to be thankful. Thankful that I have these opportunities. Thankful that I am able to spend my days with Lilly and my nights teaching--doing what I love. Thankful that my husband supports me in my desire to stay home and never, not even for a second, makes me feel guilty that I'm not out earning money every day. Thankful that at this moment, Jim, Lilly and I are happy. We are healthy. We are a family. We love each other and adore spending time together. We have healthy brothers, sisters and parents who all love each other. We have amazing friends. What was my problem again?