Today was pretty special. My friend celebrated 5 years of being cancer free. We threw her a party. Part of the decor were pictures that represented the 5 years. Her husband narrated what each picture represented. I was touched beyond words that the pictures all represented simple joys: a sweet 16 party, family fun nights, holidays and being able to attend grandchildren’s sporting events. Only one was an un-ordinary “moment”. The rest were simple days surrounded by family. How precious that her most treasured moments were with those she loved. I daresay that, if asked, their most prized memories would be of the normal, ordinary days that they got to spend with her.

Part of the party was that everyone who attended had to
list the 5 things that they most love about her. I didn’t seem them all but she shared a few. The crayon list from her grandson and her sons sweet (and funny) tribute were enough to let me know that we all felt the same. She was loved by everyone for the same reason-because of how she loves.

And I love that.

It made me think. Everyday is gift-and not just for those who have survived cancer. We all survive something-hurt or disappointment or a loss-just in the midst of our ordinary life.

How would I illustrate the gift my last 5 years have been?

A picture of my Sadie bug for certain. My healthy Sadie. There was so much uncertainty for the first 12 weeks of her life-everyday with her is truly a gift. Some days more than others but each one is a gift.

Another would be of my son and that crooked smile he saves just for me. He grew into a young man in the past 5 years-more so in the past few months. I am proud of what I’ve seen in him. I am proud of what he’s becoming. Seeing him grow and bloom over these past years is definitely part of my highlight reel.

I would also have a picture of the card my big girl wrote for me on Mother’s Day. She affirmed that she has learned life lessons from me. Important lessons. Lessons that she saw-not I preached-but lessons that she learned by observing. And that makes me proud. These past 5 years have let me see glimpses of the incredible woman she is going to be.

I would have a picture of my blog because in 5 years I finally gained courage to do something I’ve always wanted to do-to write. I’ve written and written and written but more importantly I’ve shared what I’ve written. That makes me happy. I’ve written happily and I’ve written to survive hurt. I’ve written to make people laugh and I’ve written to keep from crying. And people have read it . And a few people have responded that they’ve enjoyed it. It’s a little way of realizing a dream but it matters.

The 5th picture would be of my friends. Only in the last 5 years have I been part of a tribe. This group of women have embraced me for who I am. They even kind of like me. And I like them. I love them. We make each other stronger. Being introduced to them has been a gift. Being invited to the ‘cool kids’ table was unexpected and came at a time when I most needed it. That first lunch changed the course of my journey. My path is different because they are part of my life. And that is a gift.

And though it’s just supposed to me 5 I would have to have a 6th picture of my family. My son who looks like his grandpa. My daughters who adore their grandmother. I came from good stock. The last 5 years would not have been the same had I not gotten to share it with my mom and dad.

I don’t know the 5 things people would say that they most love about me. I really don’t but this year I learned to embrace some of the things that people say about me.

I’ve learned that intensity isn’t awful. I am intense. I cried the first time I was described this way but not any more.

I’ve been called passionate. I don’t know that it was meant in a positive way but I’ve learned that I can make my passion positive.

I’ve been called honest. Which I like. Brutally honest is a description that’s a little harder to be proud of but….well-like being passionate I have to keep working on keeping that as a positive trait.

Sweet isn’t a word that is often used in conjunction with me bit those that know me have said it. I like to know that somewhere, even if it was just for a fleeting moment, someone thought of me and that word on the same breath.

Strong and brave. I like those too. I’ve been described as those and I hope that the description is true. I don’t feel
strong and brave most of the time but they are traits I aspire towards so even if, for a single moment, those words were uttered about me I would be happy.

5 years.
5 words.
It wasn’t my anniversary to celebrate…or maybe it was. Maybe we should all take a few minutes every once in awhile to ponder 5 things….



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