Two weeks ago, I sat in an exam room in Houston, and I heard that, while my little friend had been growing... it wasn't growing fast enough to merit starting chemo right away.
A precious few thoughts went through my head:
I get to have my birthday month. ... Again.
I'll be able to see The Sound of Music in the theater on Tuesday.
I'll get to go to Tempe Town Lake on Sept 11th.
I've got another couple months to eat chocolate, and see if I can't get my stomach to tolerate beef and/or bacon again.
I have more time.
I love Tempe Town Lake. All the time, during all of the seasons. I love the lake and I love the park and I love the bridges. I love it during the light of day, and I love it at night when the bridges are alive with twinkle lights. I love it!
But I especially love it on Sept 11th. They plant a flag for every life lost on the planes and on the ground. Each flag has a name and a brief bio for the man, woman or child that flag represents.
It is a beautiful, holy, experience to go and walk among the flags.
Last year, I was still recovering from surgery and I remember walking through the flags very carefully, taking mincing steps as I made it from one end of the park to the other... grateful that I was strong enough, well enough, to be there - but frustrated that I couldn't stop and stand at each flag, reading the bios, as I had done in years past.
This year, I walked into the park and I stopped at three flags. I read three bios. And then I had to sit down. (Most of these pics were taken from a bench. Or as I walked into or out of the park.) I can't meander through the rows of flags anymore, and I can't bend down to read the names tied to the combat boots. But I was able to be there, and I hadn't been sure that would be possible this year.
I am still here, and I still get participate in the events and the lives that matter the most to me.
I'm so grateful. To be an American, for the memory of September 11, 2001 and the weeks that followed. For my life, and everything that has happened in it. That I got to spend yesterday morning in a park, looking at flags, thinking about life and remembering what matters.