The girls have been fighting all day. It started before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee this morning. I was upstairs trying to get ready and I could hear them screaming at each other and beating the crap out of one another. Well, hitting in the very girly way they do. Did I intervene? Nope. I turned up the radio. I took them to a dentist apt. Then to Wal-Mart for school supply shopping. Which is a little piece of fresh hell all on its own -- made even more fun when my lovely children won’t stop pushing each other and saying nasty things in low voices. So I matched the nasty low voices and said in my most threatening manner, “Would you like your fanny's beat in the middle of the crayon aisle right now?!” After Wal-Mart, we made our way to a middle school open house. Chaos is the only word that would describe that experience. Or maybe it just felt that way to me. We drove home. I heard the words, “I hate you (insert either Sophia or Stella)” several times. We pulled in the driveway. We unloaded the car. I poured a glass of wine and went up stairs. I heard the calamity of them sorting school supplies. More screaming at one another. I decided to escort them, ever so gently, into their rooms. With the instructions, “Do not come out, under any circumstances.”
And uttered the words, “I want to jump off a bridge.”
I came in to the office to sit and write a blog on “squatting,” for a bit of a mental escape, but decided to first check my email. I saw that my friend, Elizabeth had posted a new journal entry and a birthday video about Peyton. Peyton has a rare, inoperable brain tumor. I read it and cried. I’ve known Peyton since she was one. She turned 7 yesterday. She and Stella have grown up together. We live 2 houses apart. I love this child. And I felt guilty for saying that I want to "jump off a bridge” when I have perfectly, healthy kids. Even after a day like this. I have my kids. They are healthy.
|Elizabeth & Peyton|
My friend, Elizabeth, has taught me so many lessons in the last several months since Peyton was diagnosed. I am in awe of this woman. She has handled this unbelievably painful situation with dignity, and grace and almost always has a smile for everyone. She has shown me to appreciate the small things. The day to day things that we all take for granted.
About a week ago, Elizabeth asked me if the girls and I wanted to go and stay with them as their house in Preist Lake, Idaho. My first response was that I couldn’t because I’d have to cancel classes last minute. She looked at me and smiled, and said, “Life is short, Lori.”
I cancelled classes. We packed our bags. We had the most amazing journey. In so many ways. It was a once in a lifetime visit. I know this now. Life is short. And I am so blessed to have shared a wonderful, five days with Elizabeth and Chad and Peyton and Ryan, and all of the other wonderful people who were there. We had so much laughter. We had tears. We shared stories. We made memories. We lived.
|Ryan, Stella, Peyton, Sophia|
I’d like to freeze those moments. I want to feel the hot sun. I want to feel the sand in my toes. I want to see my friend smiling and laughing with her daughter. I want to see our kids playing in the water, making childhood memories that will last forever.
I want to stand on the edge of the dock. I want to stand there with that feeling of anticipation, wondering how it will feel when my body is submerged in the cool, clear, lake water. I want to take that leap. I want to be suspended in air for that brief moment. I want to hit the water and come to the surface, laughing and saying “woo hoo!” I want to remember that feeling of peace and simplicity and pure joy.
So, I will correct myself. I do not want to “jump off a bridge.” I want to dive of the dock at Elizabeth’s house in Priest Lake, Idaho. I want life to stay in that moment. Just the way it was. I want life.
|Giving Peyton a squeeze!|
For more information on Peyton Rudkin and Peyton’s Ranch, please visit peytonsranch.org.