2010 has been the year of near misses for our family. The big joke around here is this is our jinxed year.
So let’s see. 2010 started with my almost-cancer diagnosis. The cells were changing, but surgery took care of it. Letty had severe development delays and odd blood test results. Possible causes? Muscular dystrophy, brain tumor, stroke. She’s fine though. None of those manifested. Jett was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. But he’s mild enough that most days we are able to help him with a rigid routine and visual cues when we veer off course.
Lest we start to feel complacent, J developed a stomach ache this week that quickly escalated. One doctor visit later, and we were on our way to the ER, then surgery. The culprit? Appendicitis.
Our year has in some ways really sucked (yes, I’m 13). But everything that has happened could have been so much worse. I could have had real cancer. Millions of people do. I was lucky. Letty could have had some serious debilitating disease. So far she doesn’t. Jett could be completely non-verbal, learning disabled… the list goes on. He isn’t. J’s stomach ache could have had a variety of causes. Appendicitis is fairly benign.
And I’ve learned a lot.
Offer to bring us dinner, I’ll say yes. Ask if I need anything: I won’t be polite, I’ll tell you what I need. Even if it’s nothing (or something no one can give).
I learned a sense of humor goes a long way – especially with medical personnel who see the dark side every day. A smile and a joke can make almost every situation better.
Some days, you just have to keep going. Even if you don’t want to. And some days you just need to hang out on the couch and lick your wounds (and perhaps a bowl of ice cream or glass of wine).
Being sad is okay. Being mad is okay. But listen when your friends or family tell you the sad and mad need some attention.
This year I have sometimes had more offers of friendship than I knew how to handle. And I know sometimes I wasn’t very thoughtful, kind, or pleasant. But I was loved anyway.
That’s the biggest lesson this year. Not only how to love others, but how to receive love. I’m grateful for the lesson. No matter how painful.