Where Is the Reverse Gear?

The excitement in our home is palpable.

We are so glad for school to be over. Oh, how I miss them when they are gone!

I’m a little behind because of chemo this week, but I’m readying our summer basket and we’re putting the finishing touches on our summer list. We’ve even checked a few things off already! The past six weeks have been hard on all of us as we’re learning to adjust to my new chemo–what it takes, yet what it gives. I’ve been quiet here, needing space to process and grieve and accept all over again. We all have.

But in the midst of it all, we anticipate and relish the thought of our summer days together. I’m shedding a tear over the passage of time. It seems to be speeding up these days. As Jack London said, “Darn, the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?”

As my Ash breezed into the kitchen yesterday, I looked up into his confident face as he draped his arm over my shoulder. He’s a full foot taller than when he started ninth grade. And it’s over, his first year of high school, where he gained insight and friendship and wisdom and confidence and maturity. My eyes welled with a mama’s pride.

And my Bear, who flopped next to me, shining eyes, dimpled grin. “Exams are over.” He has stressed all week, this boy who struggles to test well and tries so very, very hard. Our eyes are level these days, and his arms that squish me in hugs are stronger, lean with muscle. His heart grows larger each day and he revels in adventures… even creating an adventure for himself and his class tonight, planning party food with his Grandma (Brian’s parents are here for a visit) so he can have capture the flag in the yard with his class and then a big bonfire. “I can’t wait to burn my Latin papers!” he laughs. I love having his friends in our home and I love watching him with them.

And Bella girl, our last elementary schooler. She’s finished. Elementary school is over. She’s grown up on us despite our stern warning to the contrary, and as she settled into my lap yesterday at our lunch on the terrace, she tucked her head under my chin. “I’m so ready for summer with you.” Her girlishness is settling into a womanly grace and strength I don’t feel prepared for… yet I know I need to prepare her for. She has thrived in fifth grade and fills our home and her friends’ lives with kindness and beauty, compassion and empathy.

My oncologist is working with our summer schedules to allow for travel times and to give me “good weeks” when it suits our summer plans best. I am so thankful for her.

Even with cancer’s shadow in our lives, we are still chanting our summer mantra and filling our days full…

The only option as I see it, is this delicate weaving of action and celebration, of intention and expectation. Let’s act, read, protest, protect, picket, learn, advocate for, fight against, but let’s be careful that in the midst of all that accomplishing and organizing, we don’t bulldoze over a world that’s teeming with beauty and hope and redemption all around us and in the meantime. Before the wars are over, before the cures are found, before the wrongs are righted, Today, humble Today, presents itself to us with all the ceremony and bling of a glittering diamond ring. “Wear me, ” it says, “Wear me out. Love me, dive into me, discover me,” it pleads with us.
(~from Shauna Niequist’s “Cold Tangerines”)

Yes, we are ready. And we heave deep sighs and look forward to pool days and learning new games and root beer floats and catching fireflies. To travel and concerts. To us being together. To growing up and growing old. (Y’all, what a privilege it is to grow!)

To celebrating, really celebrating, this life we’ve been given, tasting the simple joys of ordinary days and the exquisiteness of new adventures. And to being thankful every day for the life our God has chosen to give us.

Yes, as Hannah Coulter (one of my favorite reads) says, “This is [our] story of giving thanks.”

Our summer basket is “almost” ready.

And so are we.

2 responses to “Where Is the Reverse Gear?”

  1. Oh Angie. May God see fit to give you many more “Todays” to cherish! Celebrating today with a grateful heart.


  2. Betty Anne Haskins Schlegel Avatar
    Betty Anne Haskins Schlegel

    We are praying for your best summer yet. May God continue to fill your hearts with joy and hope. Aunt BA


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