I love to write, it's why my blogs are often long instead of short. I love the details of life, of our journey, our daily story. Sometimes though not many words are needed as a circumstance itself often leaves a bigger impact than words ever could. Translating those experiences into words sometimes comes naturally and sometimes feels like the words I've chosen can never make the impact of what caused them to begin to stir in my mind...but I will try.
Last Friday Parker and I made the 4 hour each way trip to Chicago to see the wonderful fragile x specialists.
After the 4 hour drive up Parker refused - for over 2 hours - to leave the van and go inside. When he finally did, thanks to Anne & Dr. Mike, he was a superstar throughout his hours of testing charming and surprising everyone - except his expected nothing less very proud mom :-)
When we left for our 4 hour drive home I promised Parker we could stop at American Sale, his favorite store, just outside of Chicago. That stop never happened.
We were in barely moving traffic for 1 hour and 42 minutes. I could see from my navigation that there had now been 2 separate accidents causing the back up.
During our 1 hour and 42 minutes we traveled 19 miles. Parker watched the clock and was angry when it was clear we would not make it to the store before they closed at 8.
Having barely eaten all day due to his anxiety of the visit he was incredibly hungry telling me frequently that his belly hurt because he was starving. Even after devouring all of the snacks in the van, he was simply hungry for real food.
The battery on his iPad was dead. It was time...and then past time for his medications that he refused to take.
My mind wandered with frustration, a combination of processing all of the information received that day, disappointment that I couldn't keep my promise of rewarding him with a trip to the store and exhaustion - all of which I continually tried to hide from him with a smile and entertaining distraction.
As we crept along I thought of all of the ways I've focused life on paying it forward and the incredible personal transformations of regaining personally who I am and the path my life has taken over the past few years. I thought about karma. Something I've never believed in and this was an example as to why. As the instances of ways I had paid it forward that week went through my mind there was no way "karma's" return to me was an over 2 hour parking lot meltdown wait out and now barely moving traffic with an incredibly exhausted son. As I sat in the traffic not moving, listening to Parker grumble about the "cutter" I let merge in front of us I began to type out a frustrated status on Facebook blasting the idea of karma and wrapping my mind around what we "had done" to be put in this situation.
I set my phone down in the middle of typing as traffic started to move again. I could see the lights of police and first responders ahead. I pointed them out to Parker and we began to count the police cars, ambulance and fire trucks. As we slowly crept by what felt like in slow motion past the 2nd accident I quickly realized it was unlikely that everyone survived. (This was later confirmed by my friend Missy, a 25 year old mom and her 2 year old did not survive the crash. Our prayers are with their family)
As I looked at the mangled pieces of vehicles attempting to piece together who or what was involved I kept glancing back to what appeared to be the remains of a motorcycle. My mind raced to the couple that had weaved through traffic early on in our slow journey when my navigation was showing just 1 accident. I prayed they were not the 2nd accident and that whoever was in this was blessed with the miracle of survival.
With a lump in my throat and tears streaming quietly from my eyes I remembered that everything in life happens for a reason. A reason sometimes out of our control and part of a much bigger plan.
This wasn't karma, it was a reminder if my blessings. A reminder that we were delayed today for a reason. A reminder that while we didn't get a reward from the store, we are blessed with another day here on Earth with those we love - a much larger and more valuable reward than could ever be purchased. A reminder that we all need to slow down.
I never did post the status. When we stopped for gas I deleted it instead of finishing it. I hugged my boy, thanked my God and remembered why I have chosen to live my life paying it forward in any way I can. It's not about money, I don't have any :-) - it's about caring. Being there for someone who needs a hand, a reminder they are not alone, an act of kindness to help heal what troubles them.
I believe you should do good things and be kind because it's what is in your heart, not for reward, praise or attention. I'm thankful to those who cross my path with understanding, a smile, encouragement, support and love and strive to do the same for the people in mine.
I'm far from perfect. I've made mistakes and always will. I can only hope to learn from them and not repeat them. I use them to be better to those around me, not seeking perfection but understanding the difference being there to support and lift others makes in me...and them.
I have my struggles, they are greater than I will ever share..but I also have my life, something I know not everyone will be able to say today who could yesterday. I pray for their families, their friends, their communities...and hope the reminders in my future of what is important versus trivial doesn't take such a somber reminder.
Hold tight to those you love. Remember it's never too late to become a better version of you, to start new, to love deeply, to find passion, to follow your dreams and make a difference in this world...make it a positive one, please.