Today is my wedding anniversary...9 years ago, after 7 years of togetherness (and some procrastination, this motherless daughter was afraid of planning a wedding), Bill and I were married. I think that I may have mentioned that Emma was a little surprise to us which spurred on the end to the procrastination. From the first moment I knew she was coming, I felt like she was a little miracle, a little person I wanted to have around, even if the timing was a little crazy (I found out I was pregnant the day I sent in my tuition deposit for MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine). Unfortunately, not everyone I was close to at that time responded as favorably to our situation (Catholic upbringing in a modern world), which is something that always weighs heavily on my heart on this day.
On top of the heaviness some sad words have left on my heart which I have not been able to shake, I've had other sad thoughts today. Last night I overheard my wonderful daughter discussing her breasts and the eventuality of their growth, the fact that she will feed babies with them, etc. Little Nathan was asking "Why" to everything, as he always does, probably while looking at himself in the bath, and she was doing her best as an older and wiser 8.5 year old girl to answer his questions. Hearing my girl answer these questions so matter-of-factly, her peaceful acknowledgement of the fact that she will grow up, did not lessen the impact that her words left on me. Fear ripped through my heart when I thought of the possibility of her breasts developing, because I know about the mutation I may or may not have given to her. Yes, she will grow up and develop...and then what?
And lastly, because this is just how 2008 has been for me, I've been dealing with some flu-like symptoms today (every special day of this year has been marred by cancer or illness). It has left me with lots of time to lie around and think of sad things.
The good thing about spending time with one's thoughts is that hopefully, with enough effort, one can direct them in the way that they need to go. Today after mulling over this day in my own history and the scariness that the future may or may not have in store (today I am afraid for my children more than for myself), I have come to the realization that my only choice is to, again, rise to the challenge in front of me. I don't know what is in store for myself or for my beloved children, but I can use my life, my hours, my time, to make it as good as it can be. 9 years ago, Bill and I took a surprise and made it into the most wonderful thing. We had a beautiful wedding, we have a beautiful family, and we proved to ourselves and others what you can do if there is enough love in the mix. It is just time for us to keep doing that, even if the surprises, like the one I got this year, are not always so happy!
So today, we practiced rising to the challenge again. Bill stayed home to be mom for the day while I rested. I made myself think better thoughts! And our children rose to the challenge as well. When Bill told Emma about our anniversary, Emma said, "Oh I'm sorry Mom isn't feeling good on your birthday! Can I make you dinner tonight? I know how to make macaroni and cheese..." And she did...we had a lovely dinner of macaroni and cheese, she made cards - "Happy Anniversary! From the whole family and the pets!", and Katie washed the dishes while Nathan provided comic entertainment. Isn't it amazing how the love that you put in just grows and grows?