There are a lot of big things to be thankful for. My parents, my family, my church, my friendships. And I’m sure that I overlook them and take them for granted sometimes- not as often as I would have thought. If this disease does anything, it slows me down and helps me to reflect. But every once in a while, a thought will hit, and I’ll think, “I sure am lucky for that.”
I was late to puberty (by today’s standards). A girl once asked me in 7th grade why I didn’t have any hair on my legs. On the spot, “I shave them. I’m a knife collector and that’s how you tell if your knife is sharp.” Brilliant. I’ve had better days. Tiffanni lost motor skills before we had time to plan. About a year into helping her do everything it occurred to me, I haven’t shaved her legs. I panicked and began to think through all of my options- shaving, waxing, sharpening my non-existent knife collection, laser (is that a thing?), removing her legs altogether. And then I looked- she has no leg hair. Like none. Whether it was the disease, the medicine, or genetics, I hit the jackpot.Lucky her, she gets to keep her legs. It’s the little things.
She and I go to Dairy Queen and a movie every Friday. We’ll see about 45 movies this year. A lot of them are good, some of them not so much (I’m looking at you Divergent: Allegiant), all of them an escape. But something that never fails- Dairy Queen. If you’ll just lower your expectations a little, the burger and fries and a blizzard are spot on. I had a kidney stone last year and gave up soft drinks, but on Fridays- I splurge. Root Beer is my guilty pleasure. But when it’s time to go, I have to figure out a way to leave with two drinks and Tiffanni. That’s a three handed problem. She gets one hand and lucky for me, my other hand is the perfect size to hold two drinks. Whether it’s big hands or small cups, it works. Tiff in the right and Dairy Queen in the left. There’s not a Friday that goes by that I don’t think about that perfect combination. It’s the little things.
I was never a curser, but if there’s anything in the universe that is damned by God, it’s disease. To listen in on a cathartic explosion of shared frustration once in a while opens a relief valve, if only for a moment. I’m grateful for friends who grieve with me. They bargain, and cry, and deal, and curse the things that are cursed in my life. One of my closest friends fills in the gaps when I can’t. Where I don’t have the space for anger or to feel for that matter- he let’s somebody have it. I’m not exactly sure who Somebody is, but that person would be so offended if they heard him. So that no one ever gets too vaunted of an image of me- I like when someone curses for me and more importantly, for Tiffanni, out of a desperation for justice. Tiffanni is proof that bad things happen to good people. And sometimes safe words don’t express this violation. It’s the little things.
Over and over I’ve noticed the serendipity of the timing of this disease. If it was going to happen- there are some things that make it better now. The big things are my parents in a place where they could uproot their lives and build a house with me. And my church that affords me the pleasure of doing what I love and the space to take care of the ones that I love. The other day, Tiffanni and I were at the movie theater and I’ve noticed the last few times she’s struggled to go to the bathroom by herself. She usually takes about 15 minutes- just long enough for me to start evaluating women to see who I could ask to check on her. But she always stumbles out. So a few movies ago, I went to the General Manager and told him our situation. He said that he sees us every Friday. I asked him, “If there is anyway possible that remodeling is on the agenda in the future, would you consider a family bathroom?” He skirted the request with the legalities, and bringing everything up to code, and such. But then said to me, “You know what, take her in there with you. I don’t mind and no one around here will mind. Lastly, because of the last few months, no one can really say anything anyway.” And with that, we resurrected movies. They’re ours for as long as we want them and nothing really stops us. So, the angry people can have their boycotts and feigned outrage. I’m going to take Tiffanni to the bathroom. Without it, we lose movies, and movies are important. And in this case, timing is important. It’s the little things.
It’s not all bad. And I’m not just spinning this thing. Because there are so many parts of our life that are tragic. But there are bright spots, suspiciously providential spots, that float around our lives everyday waiting to be noticed. And enough little things make this big thing a little more bearable.