I’m sorry I’ve not been “here” recently. My life has been kind of overwhelming for a bit. I’ve been working full time in a hospital’s intensive care unit…I love the work but I don’t usually work full time. I have been trying to keep up with my passion for cancer advocacy, that’s at least another 20 hours a week. I’ve also been getting my eldest ready for her first year away at college…it’s really bittersweet. I’m so proud of her and her desire for independence, but I cry a lot lately over small sentimental things. She leaves in a week and a half. Saying goodbye to your kids is so hard.
My cancer experience very much impacted my kids growing up. They had to contemplate the potential death of a parent, a sick parent, a parent with a port they felt every time they hugged her. But I think in the end it impacted them in a good way. They are compassionate and caring and love others well. But I’ve been tearful a lot lately. Letting your kids go is the right thing for a parent to do, but it’s also very hard. We’ve got camcorders and have already practiced video chatting for when the time comes and we are hours apart. Tonight we stayed up late and had tea and remembered when they were 7 years old and used to send me notes via paper airplanes from their room upstairs asking to have one last cup of tea with me before they fell asleep.
Letting your kids go is good and right…but it’s hard, though this way is a better way than when I contemplated leaving them while they were still in grade school. This is the right way to separate from your kids…..when they are ready to leave and venture out and try life independently using what you have taught them. Not when they still really need you.
So tonight I was thinking of legacies. I saw this video about Dr. Folkman. He did what I really want to do. He was passionate about something, he inspired others, he made a difference that will reach far beyond his own life. I want to be like him with the time I have past childraising. He had a vision. He died recently, but he made a difference. Watch this about Dr. Folkman
Since cancer, though, in the times I’ve obsessed with purpose in survival, I’ve often thought that maybe it’s the little things that are in the end the big things. We all probably want to do something significant that everyone recognizes, but in the end it will maybe be something small we did that was unrecognized in this life that in the end changed the world. And that maybe we’ll get to learn about our huge and significant contribution that didn’t get noticed here when we get to heaven. Maybe in the end we’ll find out the people we thought didn’t do much in reality changed the world.
I’ve read a few times the story of the kid who decided to help another kid walking home from school who was carrying way too much stuff. They didn’t know each other, but the one kid saw another carrying a huge load and offered to help. They struck up a conversation and in the end developed a friendship that lasted many years. Only years later did the one boy tell the other that he was carrying so much that day as he had planned to kill himself when he got home and had emptied his locker to save his parents the trouble after he was gone…….but the conversation and resulting friendship that ensued on the walk home that day had made him change his mind. Maybe that was the kid who in the end lived long enough to cure a terrible disease…only because someone else offered to relieve his load on a walk home from school. Maybe that short walk and conversation in the end changed the world. Maybe everything we do is important and has an impact.
But most of all, though, I’m grateful tonight to have lived long enough to help my children leave me.
And I am grateful that I am here to contemplate all of this. I don’t take that for granted.