Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tears are for the Tough

It is a known fact, that I am a face book junkie.  I know it.  I admit it.  It’s the truth and truth be told, I probably need therapy for it.  I love FB.  I love the quotes.  I love the updates.  I love the pictures.  There is something liberating about seeing that most everybody else lives a chaotic stressed dysfunctional life like I do…. A normal life. 
There was something on FB today and probably yesterday and probably four months ago that I liked.   It was a quote from an unknown author about people who appear to be tough, being the ones whom at times need people to say hey it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to breakdown, it’s ok to be human.
A story:  Saturday, November 3 – Wichita State University
We were invited by Children’s Miracle Network to bring Leah to a fundraising event; a dance marathon.  A twelve hour music infested, activity driven, no sitting, college kid attending event.  At first of course I was hesitant about accepting the invite – you know somewhat like accepting the wheelchair, this was a step in the “We are a special needs family” direction and well, my mind and body, somewhat like running fights it. But we went and there I found myself walking through an aisle of cheering clapping college kids as we are wheeling Leah into the gym complete with a large picture of her big blue eyes.  I have to admit, it was pretty cool.
So we are asked to stand in front of the stage while the other non-wheelchair families take their place on the stage.  Right in front of us are the marathoners…..young pretty hip girls and big tough college guys.   We the only family with a child in a wheelchair, the only family with a child as disabled as Leah, we, the family everybody is looking at. 
We fly through the introductions and so it begins.  The music….. You know, the kind that conjures up emotions.  Dammit…not today.   The story….. You know, the kind that brings you to tears thinking about what you would do if that was your child.   The story was of a little girl who fought and fought to fight off the cancer that took her life recently.  The dramatic heartbreaking story that makes you think about death. 
I did not shed a tear.  It seems as though my shield stood on guard with a sword protecting my heart from all of it… my thoughts of the girl standing before me with bi-colored hair wondering what on earth my 16 year old would think if I walked through the door with a new ‘do like that.  Shed a tear I did not.  That is, until I looked down at my 12 (then 11) yr old son.  My 12 year old tough 6th grader standing in front of these big tall tough college kids…….sobbing.  
He stood there listening to every single word of that story.  He listened with his heart.  He listened with the knowledge that someday, they might be talking about his sister.  He walked over to where Leah was in her daddy’s arms and kissed her on the forehead.   A moment….a proud, heartstring tugging, never forget moment.   For in the moment, this tough kid, didn’t care about how he looked with tears streaming down his face, he appreciated the broken baby sister that he loves with all of his heart.  The baby sister he might not have to kiss someday.   This kid who picks her up and loves on her as if she were going to get up and walk right across the floor any day now.  The kid who believes his life is better for having her in it.  The kid who will someday be devastated when she is not.  This kid whom through his tears taught his momma a little bit of a lesson and brought me to tears. 
I saw a glimpse of a kid, who even though doesn’t want his mother to touch him, hug him, or god forbid kiss him, has a heart of gold.  A kid who walked over to me after the kiss and hugged me for what must have been five minutes.  Kids see things.  Kids feel things.  Kids care.  Kids love.  Kids sometimes need moments to not be so stinking tough.
 I love this tough kid.
And I love his sisters.

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