Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The lovely mom sitting across from me has a crisp coral scarf tied about her head.  I see no hair.  Her wiggle-jumping, I am guessing, six year old boy is with her passionately filling her end of the table with words that are important to him.  Her face seems kind and placid but also tired and older than it should.  Carefree, her boy plays with the small toys placed in front of him, sips his lemonade as his mom carries a weight that her now thin frail frame wonders if possible.  The boy chatters doing what is normal to him as she moves around the table doing what a mother always does at a restaurant.   Today looks normal but I bet, she knows it is not.

I look at her little boy with her and think of my own.

Today, I get to watch Brighton play his first game of baseball this afternoon.  I am a little miffed that I can’t change a work training  so I won’t have to miss a game in April.  I wonder what she’s thinking she might miss.

Today, I will take him to the park to play with one of his best buddies.  I can think of a handful of errands I could run.  I wonder if she’d choose the park or Target.

Today, I dream of seeing him turn into a young man, even a dad and on a day of dreaming big, a grand dad.  I wonder what her dreams are today.

Last night, we all got home late from a meeting.  My kids entertained themselves in the next room for TWO hours while some dozen adults hammered through some details.  During the bedtime routine, voices elevated from upstairs and upon my investigation I found excessive water on bathroom floors, clothes (now wet) that should have been placed in the hamper, BOTH bedrooms scattered with B’s toys, Science Etc. homework that still needed completing.  I was aggravated and they knew it.

Today, this morning, two tired little bodies got out of bed, walked the dog, and made breakfast.  After waffles, bananas and free flowing maple syrup, Brighton found his paper Texas Ranger “T” he colored slightly bent and was bent himself to blame his sister.  He had no room for reasoning.  No room for grace.  No room for letting it go.  And neither did I.  Stern words, grown up fingers clamped on his bicep, I pointed plainly to his sin of selfishness.

And, gently, He pointed to mine.  My grip loosened on his small bicep.


I wonder, would she have sweated the mess upstairs?  Would she have even SEEN it behind the wonder of kids streaking pale and cold to find a towel?  Would she have seen B’s toys in Julia’s room as a simple desire to be with his only sister?  Would she have remembered to applaud them for hanging out for two hours so we could have a meeting and not hire a sitter?  Would she have remembered to express her gratitude to them for not dragging around this morning, tired as they were?  I wonder, would her words have been gentler, more patient as she tried to make her son understand his sin in blaming his sister?  Would her kindness in the midst of irrationality have led him to repentance instead of excuses?  I wonder.

I wonder what she has learned through world shaking news, chemotherapy and doctor’s appointments.   I bet “today” is a big deal to her and wet clothes on a wet floor is not.  I bet she knows expressing gratitude today is a privilege not knowing what tomorrow holds.   I bet today with a stop at a park is better than a run through at Target.  I bet today is a gift to her and proving a point in haste is not.

Today, I will pick my kids up after piano, take Julia to sewing, join Jeff at the ball field for B’s first game and figure out dinner as we go.  They will take baths and inevitably soak the floor.  We will read on the couch and Jeff will kiss them and tuck them in tightly.

Today looks normal but because of the lady in the coral scarf, I know it’s not.

264.  husband taxi at airport

265.  finding house much better than I left it

266.  “youths” grown up, flying on faith to India

267.  opera for kids

268.  boy tallying squirrels

269.  J and B having a secret handshake

270.  kids making the best of it

271.  fruit of discipline-- yet to be seen

272.  sister helping brother sort a mountain of Legos

273.   five around our table

274.  wind reminding me of wide open spaces where I live

275.  quiet Saturday morning house

276.  friends on floor- “hiding” to talk

277.  empty suitcases

278.  smell of kids after play

279.  homemade scones

280.  today


Sarah said...

Once again, beautiful writing. Can't imagine being the woman in the coral scarf, but have to believe God would give me the grace to be if I was. Great words, K.

Alyssa said...

I need to tape that letter to the top of my hand and my computer and my mirror and my dashboard. T-O-D-A-Y! A timely word indeed.

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

It's "Today" that got me. You just don't know how thankful I am for my todays. You see, I was once that lady behind the coral scarf waiting for chemo and radiation. And I thank the Lord that He opened your eyes to SEE what was important to HER and what was not. You were right in all that you "saw." And it is today === just today that we are blessed with and it's when we think it might be one of our last "todays" that we begin to understand what is important and what is not. Thank you for your post! And I will be praying for the lady behind the scarf!!!!

Ruthie said...

I just found your blog and I love it. I too was that lady in the scarf. I was diagnosed with cancer two days after my 43rd bday. My kids were 8 and 10. Next month will be my 1 year anniversary of finishing chemo. I was diagnosed and six days later had surgery. Those six days were precious to me. It didn't matter if the shoes made it into the basket by the front door. And it didn't matter if I got to Target. All that mattered was being a Mom. I'm now cancer free and doing great. But as I return to "normal," I want to cling to those scarf-wearing days. In a sense, those were the "good ol' days."
You get it. Thanks for sharing with all of us.