Last time, this time

Little Bear, while Mommy was waiting for test resultsLast time, my love for my newborn baby and his big brother — and the Daddy who danced in the rain with us — pulled me through.

This time, they pull me — but my work pushes me.

And this time, I make time for that work, for I understand that it drives me forward into the future.  A future that I can create.  A future that maybe, just maybe, can be about more than surviving to erase the maybe-days of a sad childhood that otherwise awaits my children* — a future that is also about me.  My work.  My loves.  My legacy. 

A future that is still open to me creating a new legacy, unlimited, rather than a month here and there alloted to put the polish on the small little legacy that I once thought would sit quietly in the corner of my lifetime, had it ended with my diagnosis in the too-bright summer of 2007.  Two little boys.  A five-year career with NASA.  An overgrown garden.  And a love that was at once the foundation and the fruit of all of these.

To this, I will add a return to faithA book, or two.  A job well done.  A little extra exposure to a shared love of science among children of the internetA tight web of friendships among people who had no right to ever expect to meet.  And with faith and science and love comes hope.

hope that i am not done writing my legacy.

* It is a cold calculus, but true nonetheless:  Every day that I can bear the chemo and push forward with confidence is a day that my children can live and grow in the sunshine of a “normal” childhood, and a day that I know that they are not saddled with the sadness of living without their mother.  I seek normalcy for them above all else, and I do not hesitate to add moments of joy and abandon and paddling in the creek without our boots on.  For of such everyday magic a childhood is made, and I am determined that my little loves will have good memories of growing up, of nature, and of being with their mama as she loved the world, and, for a time, it loved her back.  Today I embrace nature, and faith, and joy, and hope without reservation, in the hope that it will be reflected in their own lives one day.  If I cannot be there for them as they grow all the way up, I can at least give them a good foundation to build on.  I can give them today.  


20 Responses to Last time, this time

  1. pgoodness says:

    This is beautiful and has me in tears. You are giving them SO much and they are lucky for every moment. xo

    • pgoodness says:

      (clicked post too soon) – I think it’s very important that you move forward, that your work is important and gives you something to work for that isn’t cancer, that is normal.

  2. Narelle says:

    Sweetheart, you are beautiful! You are being refined by the loving fire of God to make a precious diamond that shines with His glory for all the world to see. We see this side of eternity, but He sees all. I have no doubt AT all that you will meet people in Heaven who were there because the Lord led them here to remind them of who He is through you. Thankyou.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan N and Dawn, Missy Stevens. Missy Stevens said: So lovely. Smiling and crying while I read. RT @whymommy: Last time, this time: I can give them today. […]

  4. Again…you are amazing…

  5. Bon says:

    you stare that stark calculus in the face everyday. thank you, for speaking the truth of it. for reminding us all how and why today matters.

    i know your legacy will be huge, bigger than you imagine. you will write the books yes, but you have also been writing it here all this time, on each of us.

    that said, i hope your legacy can wait a good long time. i hope there come days when that calculus you’re staring down gives up and goes away for, oh, thirty years or so.

    i know. today is good. i still hope.

  6. I truly believe this: “of such everyday magic a childhood is made”

    My mother danced (and let us dance) in the grocery store aisles, and I do too. A quick chassis down the freezer aisle feels pretty darn good.

    Another beautiful post.

  7. Melissa says:

    Indeed, you have and are giving them a wonderful foundation … and a reminder to all of us that today is all any of us have.

    Beautiful post. ((hugs))

  8. Susan says:

    Another part of your legacy: people you don’t even know, reading here, thinking about you, and children, and the stars, and living, and loving. I carry your stories with me all the time. You’re sharing a little bit of that magic with each of us.

  9. Kirsten says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post. The ordinary miracles of living with children are truly breathtaking, and when you’re facing such hard, hard times with the chemo and the treatment, it’s a reminder to cherish every normal, fun, even boring moment. My husband also faces the cancermonster in full force, as well as the arduous treatment. I do not like the hard lesson that today, right now, is what we have, but it also gives incentive to make the very most of it. Keep paddling and keep writing!

  10. Steph says:

    What more is there to say? You are amazing and I think of you nearly every day. ((hugs))

  11. JoC says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post. It sounds like your various roles are merging back into you. Lovely!

  12. The world is not done with you, not anytime soon. Your legacy is still growing. Your post is beautiful and powerful, as are you!

  13. You inspire me, in so many ways.
    Also, ditto what Susan @ granolacrunchy said above. 🙂 Every time I look at the stars, I think of you! (oooh, they were so bright last night, and I saw a satellite track across the sky, it was very exciting – shame the kids were asleep).

  14. elesha says:

    I just had to read that last part to my husband and did so with what felt a knife in my throat. That was beyond beautiful. Your a brilliant mum. And you are going to be for a long time yet.

  15. Jayne says:


    Gosh I just don’t know what to say except that I think you are a brilliant writer.

    (By the way, I was thinking about you yesterday — we were at a Planetarium show. It was called Oasis in Space. I had no idea that there was so much water out there!)

  16. Brie says:

    Today is all we can give.

  17. I’m without words. Beautiful.

  18. Elaine says:

    You inspire me. Thanks!

  19. Lena says:


    “I can give them today” just changed my plans for tomorrow. Instead of plopping down in front of the computer tomorrow afternoon after picking up Savannah from school, I’m going to ask her what she’d like to do with mom. The least I can do is give my child the afternoon. After all, not one of us knows which day will be our last.

    Thank you for getting my head out of my ass. As usual.

    …can I say ass?


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