Saturday, December 24, 2011

This Year's Love

I hear that holidays are tough for divorced families on the first year from some both recently and some very long ago divorced friends. I’ve heard from some cancer survivors that the holidays are awesome to be with family and friends when cancer gave you some perspective. Which one of these is it for me? Yes, they both are.

Kiana and I have gone to many parties this year, some with just friends where I’m just the guy who makes stupid jokes, others where I’m the guy who qualified for Boston and put off brain cancer surgery to do it, others where I’m Kiana’s dad, a couple where they wonder how I got such horrible dance moves. At each one, without exception, Kiana and I have felt some very great love. Because of obvious reasons, this was the year that we’ve ever sent and received the most holiday cards. We’ve sent them to the typical people plus the many more including a complete stranger who heard the story and donated the last $350 I needed to be on Team Livestrong’s Boston Marathon team (with that said, there are still many participants who haven’t reached their goal). Some of those cards would have come on their own, some were responses to mine. And while I sent one to various doctors, only one responded, my neurologist from Argentina who I’ve come to be a big fan of. I joked with him that” it was good he realized he owed me big time… oh wait.”

At each of those parties, with each of those ingoing and outcoming cards, I’ve realized the fact that despite the unpredictably of the last 12 months and probably tomorrow and forever, it’s good to be here no matter how long I’ve got. Tomorrow is Christmas and tonight Kiana and I will continue the tradition we’ve always had which is to hang up an ornament representing this year’s most important event. Without exception every previous one was purchased. This year, at the Livestrong Party, we made a snowflake which has her favorite color, her mother’s and the Livestrong logo. Like a snowflake, it’s unique and probably wouldn’t stand out to the average observer but we made it together, with some help and material from friends. Symbols are strange things but they give us touchstones.

With that said, I threw one of those symblos away at a friend’s urging. I had accidentally dropped a glass which shattered and broke and I kept the base with it’s jagged ends, thinking that’s all I could ever be, damaged, damaging goods. It was pointed out that was a dumb way to self-identify and as I made that ornament I threw away the other symbol. As the apostle Paul once wrote, prove all things and hold fast to the good.

Susan Poulos (if you want real writing she recently blogged about it all , someone who I’ve definitely come to see as an older sister even more than I ever had, said very early in the process that eventually the attention would fade and thankfully it has. This year’s intensity can’t possibly last with so many interviews and fans and that’s okay. But I hope that I keep parenting with full intention and continue to live on purpose. Even if the end result is simply that my snow flake maybe falls alone into a pile of others and merges into anonymity.
Holidays and the year wrapping up create some perspective. I am glad to be back at my job, glad to see my little girl wake up almost every morning and hope the snowflake continues the tradition of making classy things together. Last year for New Year’s I did nothing because I didn’t know what to look forward to but this year I’m well aware that looking backwards gives me some good things to look forward to.

But while the attention is unsustainable, I pray and hope that some of this year’s love lasts because I think that’s why I’m alive and it’s certainly why I want to keep living.

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