YaYa comes down the stairs with his hands full of hot wheel cars balanced on a Frisbee and two large plastic dinosaurs. He wears his new sweatshirt. It’s oversized and has the words, “Skateboarding is not a crime” written across the front. It’s his older brother’s walking billboard. He unloads the cars onto the floor and announces proudly, “That’s not all”. He then pours more cars from the oversized front pocket of his sweatshirt. It’s New Year’s Eve, and YaYa is an only child tonight. His brother is off at a friend’s for a New Year’s Eve Party. Tom and I sit by the fire and read and write…and watch YaYa bring his toys to life. It’s car against dinosaur. The fastest one wins.
I sit here thinking about the passing year. It was a tough year….
Papa was diagnosed with cancer. I remember him coming over in March to quiz me on stomach cancer, and determine what questions he should ask the doctor. What he really wanted to know was how much time he had left? Would he hurt? He was young and he had much to live for. He was going to fight no matter what the odds. Later that month I sat with him at his oncology appointment. I rephrased the questions that he would ask, and rephrase the doctor’s response to be sure that he understood what was being said. It wasn’t stomach cancer after all; it was worse. He endured the chemotherapy treatments. They really took it out of him. During the summer, we all played in the neighborhood pool. Papa was energized that he had gotten such a good report from his CT scan. No signs of cancer remained. He’d continue the treatments knowing that he was going to survive the cancer. He wasn’t supposed to have a heart attack. He wasn’t supposed to die. I sit here tonight wondering what happened.
It’s New Years Eve and a time to think about things that one would want to change. Okay, so I can’t change the past. I can only resolve to make the future better. At Papa’s memorial we played a couple of Papa’s favorite songs to a slide show of photos of him. “Live like you were dying” was one of them. I hear it now and wonder what it means for me. If I were the perfect Mom that I’d like to be, I’d be more patient, more caring and more understanding. I wouldn’t yell at my kids so much. But I am not perfect, I am human. My kids and husband aren’t perfect either. I hate the feeling of being out of control when nothing I want seems to be happening and everything that does happen seems to be a demand. My oldest is a teenager and he is constantly challenging me. It’s a fine line between being patient & forgiving and being walked on.
So what do I resolve to do differently this year? Pause before responding to my kids & husband, stop myself when I am going overboard, fight for only what matters, and give more hugs (when they let me).
YaYa is out of the tub. He is back at it with his cars. He’s lining them up. These ones are slow and these ones are the fast and cool ones. You can just tell that they are fast he notes, “Just look at them”. And what my about running? Always there is running. I resolve to eat healthier, to do speed-work, to keep to the training plan, and to stop before the injuries take residence within my body. I resolve to try harder than ever to get my goal of BQ. It is car against dinosaur and the fastest one wins.