The first person is a relatively new friend, an acquaintance who I really hadn't connected with until just recently. When I first met her, she seemed like someone I didn't have much in common with. To be totally real, I felt like she was kind of socially out of the loop. Not that I'm so altogether with it all the time, but she just seemed odd. Over the past year, I had reason to see her many times. I began to realize that we have strikingly similar family experiences. We talked more often and I started to hear about her brave battle with colon cancer. I really began to admire who she is. I started to see this woman in a whole new light. My reaction to her told me a lot about how others sometimes react to me.
Now, she is sick once again. The colon cancer is back and she is stage 4. She has had to go through more surgery and changes to her body than I can even image dealing with. Through all of this, she is an amazing balance of fight and grace. She takes things one day at a time and never gives up, even when the news is really bad for her. She is honest and upfront about her feelings without letting those emotions eat her alive. She lives every day doing whatever she can to function 'like her normal self' as much as she possibly can. What an inspiration and wonder that I would have missed out on if I would have stuck by my original snap judgement of this person. I am so glad that she makes me better just by getting to know her.
The second person of my three is someone I have known for a long time. She is the mother of a family that I was a nanny for, for nine years. During the time that I was seeing her daily, she went through a long bout of illness and then began dealing with the permanent changes that illness left her with. She comes off as a real pushover. She doesn't have a lot of fight in her. If you're not careful, you might see her as weak. This woman is not weak. She gives to her kids and husband so unselfishly. She uses what energy she has to make sure that the people she loves are truly happy. This is what makes her happy. This woman is a true force when it comes to demonstrating quietly what a mother often sacrifices for her family.
She has shown me a side to mothering that is awe inspiring. I never saw this with my own mother. To be fair, I don't think this type of mothering is for everybody. Through her, I have learned that I am a true nurturer, but not a mother. At least not the type that I would have wanted to be. I am often questioned about my choice not to parent, with the usual "but you would make such a great Mom". This woman has given me a more concrete grasp at what I've always known in my own heart. On top of all that, she helps me understand that some people don't lose who they are when they become mothers. Instead, like this woman, they fulfill who they were actually meant to be. I saw her again the other day, after I hadn't seen her in quite a while. She knew that my husband and I had gone through some difficult times over the last year. I could see in her eyes that she was so happy that we had come out the other side with our health in tact and our hearts and minds in the right place. It was all she needed, and everything to me to be loved like that.
The last of my three people is someone who hasn't even been born yet. This little woman is going to be coming into the world with a bang. She is going to be born with a birth defect. To quote her mother: "I hate the term birth defect. She's NOT defected!! She's perfect!! She's beautiful!! She's my little girl!!" Through the already shed tears and pain that I have shared with her mother, I can see the good that is coming through this beautiful new life. This baby will bring more love to an already fearfully and wonderfully made, fantastic family. She is already teaching those of us around her what it means to truly love unconditionally. I look forward to what this will mean to her mother, her sister and her father.
I will leave you with the lovely poem her father wrote on the night her family found out:
I had dreams for you that would one day come true
Dreams which now may be whittled down by a few
I’m lost, in despair, all but driven to madness
Denial, anger, depression and sadness
I weep and I cry and I come to the conclusion
I need to escape from this dreadful delusion.
Your life’s not been lost but perhaps altered a bit
Like a breath of fresh air I dare to admit
I’m not okay with giving you less than the best
A life to be envied by all of the rest
It will be a fairy tale of which you'll be the star
I know my dear daughter that you will go far.
Nothing is going to stand in your way
I’m anxious to meet you come your delivery day!