Seriously guys, look at my life. I was born in the 20th century to two loving, educated, middle class parents. I've had every advantage necessary. My parents always put us first, even if it meant we acted like we hated them for it. I benefited everyday, and continue to benefit from the stable loving home they provided based on a strong marriage that was rooted in their love of God. I've had good food, good medical care, a good education, you name it, from day one. I have 4 siblings who bless and enrich my life. My parents, brothers, and sisters love and support me constantly. My parents come over after work so that I can rest. My baby brother who is 20 now and not a baby anymore is over here all the time helping out. My sister Jill will be moving near us soon and will be here all the time to help out. Where in there is anything that gives me the right to have a bad attitude?
My husband. Oh dear, my precious, precious husband. My very best friend. Our rock. Our hero. He provides a life for us that is downright luxurious. We have a beautiful home, food, clothes, transportation, great medical insurance, the ability to choose any education setting or resource we feel is best for our kids, etc. He provides for us so well that I can stay home with our kids and he does not begrudge us that for one second. Not only does he provide this life for us while using his intellect to help others, he is a wonderful husband and father. He is our everything and he gives everything he has to us so generously everyday. He puts up with my craziness, he tolerates my weaknesses with patience and compassion, he laughs with me, he holds my hand and listens to me cry.This was true before cancer and it is true now. Now that his wife is exhausted a lot he comes home from work and does the Daddy things and the Mommy things and actually does it better than I do. Seriously, does that sound like a person who should have a wife with a bad attitude?
My babies. We are blessed to be entrusted with 5, soon to be 6 precious people. They peel the layers of our selfishness back day after day. They make us laugh. They love us and each other. They're adorable. Watching them grow is the toughest job I'll ever love. I'm so grateful it's me that's sick and not them. They need to see Mommy and Daddy being positive. They will learn from this situation many important lessons about how to face adversity. It is my job as their mother to set a good example for them. A bad attitude is not a good example. It will not make them feel safe. It will not show them how to face the challenges that will inevitably come as they grow.
I have a beautiful, diverse, generous group of friends who have been covering me in prayer, bringing us meals, watching kids, and being great listeners. My freezer is overloaded and every time the slightest daylight is visible it is instantly blocked out by more delicious meals to feed my family and to take the load off of Michael and myself. They have sent notes, food, flowers, edible arrangements, money, and so many other gifts and kindnesses that it is impossible to enumerate or to ever repay. We have received meals even from people who I've barely spoken to since college. I was a despicable human being in college. I was a narcissistic mean girl who was just a disaster. If I could go back in a time machine I would punch her in the face. That time, when I was so yucky, was the only time in our lives we even crossed paths and still the blessings flow from all over, from friends and those who are not so close.
And then, AND THEN: How can I have a bad attitude when things like this arrive in the mail the day before a chemo treatment:
Yes, that is a Wonder Woman backpack. You can't tell from this photo but it has a CAPE. It was full of chemo comforts like a super soft cute blanket with a RUFFLE EDGE, books, games, candy, and cute socks. Bad attitude? With a back pack like this and friends like this? How dare I. I could not, I will not.
People I don't even know are praying for me and thinking of me all because of the beautiful people who surround me and reach out on my behalf. My mother came over today after work and told me about a beautiful gesture her coworkers extended today. My mother goes to 6:45am Mass most days before work. One of her friends, another teacher at her school, knows this. She spread word around the school and when my Mom arrived at Mass this morning she was surrounded by coworkers who stayed with her, prayed with her, and offered her their support. With people like this in the world praying for me and supporting the people around me, how can I have a bad attitude?
My life is so incredibly blessed. Those blessings did not stop because I was diagnosed with cancer. Those blessings are no less real nor are they diminished because I was diagnosed with cancer. They have become even more magnified in my consciousness. So I have cancer. So what. Look at everything else I have! Look at the love and beauty in the world. It is there even though I have cancer. Because I have cancer, I can see it even more clearly. Bad attitude? That would be dumb.