Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. James Barrie

I never posted the celebration of Alex’s bar mitzvah. To say it was exactly what I imagined would have been an understatement. What I didn’t picture was all of you surrounding my family with such love and support that the energy was seriously palpable. Just ask anyone who attended. From the beginning countdown with my family and friends helping every step of the way, especially my sister and mom fixing an near disaster at the Temple, I enjoyed every single moment. Despite Alex’s craziness at rehearsal, he led the service, played his trumpet, and spoke so eloquently. I was in tears almost every single day as I was so thrilled to be with everyone celebrating when weeks before it seemed so unlikely. I loved being with each person whether it was hanging out in the hotel room, my house, eating a meal OR two. I cannot tell you how much I have treasured each and every moment. I have never experienced such joy ever. Seeing Alex smile and laugh for days, I knew this image would stay with me forever. Seeing all my family and friends, I knew the video playing in my mind would also stay with me forever.

With my chemo on the 30th, I was in the fog for days, but my mind was filled with images of all the family and friends who made the gigantic effort to celebrate with us. I have never slept so much, but I wanted to stay with my dreams. Until the fog cleared, I was lost in confusion and frustration as written about my insurance drama. Then, I started my road to the clear skies. I have to say that each of you I encountered whether for a moment, snack, or conversation, filled my days with happiness. You can never fully understand how much these moments mean to me. We continually tell Alex how much you need to live for today. This often creates a sense of urgency for things that others find not as important. It also makes him infinitely more aware of those who don’t follow this way of living. His teenage mind has little patience or tolerance for those who think differently. It makes us smile, it makes me laugh, and makes me pull out what little hair I have left!
Now, back to chemo again on tomorrow. These free days never seem to be enough. I cannot explain the combination of urgency and excitement I feel since I have been on the roller coaster ride. Things that other people find routine and boring, I find exciting and energizing. Alex always asks why I talk to everyone everywhere I go. I am so excited to see people since it always seems like it has been too long. Even smiling strangers seem to make the day better. Happy to be here, happy to enjoy the sunshine. While I have been in my “world”,everyone else is experiencing every day life. The more I get to experience the normal, the more I enjoy myself. Yes, this includes trips to the grocery, Target, and Walmart, but I still do not get excited about laundry. I am even getting outside more. As I really am loving my freedom, another bill comes from UCLA, another reminder for tomorrow drug day, and I am back to “my world”. I am not complaining as this allows me to live every day, but it is a reminder again how you must value the little things.  I know as Thanksgiving approaches that more people get caught up in the craziness of gifts, but forget about the giving. I cannot forget the giving as I now have Alex to remind me. Take a moment to think about what you can do for a friend, neighbor, family member, or even yourself. Listen, listen, listen…I cannot emphasize this enough. Friends always hate to tell me about their worries, but I can see it and hear it in their voices. Don’t be afraid to share because I am listening. I am here even if I am dazed, drugged, and confused. I want to help. I want to know even if it makes me cry with you or laugh “at” you. Life goes on every day and I’m just happy to be here to enjoy the sunshine with all of you.  It is my favorite time of year without the snow, and I love those empty beach days where you need only a jacket. I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day before my many hours in the closet tomorrow. Please don’t sweat the small stuff. Think twice before you get angry and take a deep breath. There is a lot of stupidity, frustration, and ignorant people in the world, but it is better to be smart, happy, and enjoying your sunshine. We all have our challenges, but it is how we face them and handle them that makes a difference.
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