What if every day was a snow day?

Now before you jump through the page – hear me out.

The kid in you may be cheering.  “SNOW!  FUN!  PLAY! ”

And the grown up in you may be growling.  “TIRED OF SHOVELING AND GETTING STUCK AND BEING COLD.”

But actually, neither is exactly what I meant.

2314snow

I got a message around noon that my daughter was hurting.  The pain has been bad again.  The weather doesn’t help.  I fought through a wicked virus last week, and there is always the possibility of it eating at her.  Her nerves are shot.  The thyroid consult is Thursday.  Consciously or not – she is worried.  I’d be shocked if she wasn’t.  I am too.

And between the weather, and the stress, there is the pain.  It started a few weeks ago in the shoulder.  It found its way to the ankle.  Physical therapy in between.  Swim practice ends up being haphazard and inconsistent.  My heart breaks.  I am distracted.  Most of the time.

But this afternoon, when we left school together, and there were 8 inches of snow on the ground where it hadn’t been a few hours earlier – no one we were about to meet would have had any real idea of what I wrote in the last 2 paragraphs.

After settling Meghan into the warming car I set about clearing it off.  Its a decent car, but a sedan,not an SUV, and while it can handle 2 or 3 inches, it is NOT designed to drive in 8 inches of anything.  I ended up on my bottom twice as I finally got the windows and roof clear enough to be safe and legal.

Then, I decided to pull out.  Well I went through all the motions anyway.  There was lots of spinning and not much moving.

Then there were people all around my car.  Some I knew, others I don’t think I ever met.  And for a moment getting my car out of the spot was the most important thing on their agenda.  They guided me as I behaved like a ditsy distracted woman.  They had no idea how full my head was, and they passed no judgement.  They were patient.  I got free.

I kept driving, ready to make the first right when a woman waved me away.  Someone was stuck.

I proceeded straight slowly, and when I tried to move slightly to the left to be sure I cleared someone in the road, I quickly ended up on the curb.

Fortunately no cars were in the way.  But I was not moving.

And then… there were people.  New people.  Surrounding my car.  Strategizing.  Thoughts of Thursdays appointment still waffling around in my head, I desperately tried to focus.  They worked at it.  I did as they said.  And in a few moments, I was free again.

I kept to the main roads for as much of the rest of the trip as I could manage.  And I was doing well until I had to stop to let a car pass at the service road.  Stuck again.  This time I had the wherewithal to free the car on my own.  And as I turned down my block, there was a sense of relief.

So I pulled up alongside our other car to quickly shovel out the spot in front of our house.  Then I got in the car to back it up.  Spinning wheels.  Sliding.

Then there was a neighbor.  Then another.  People I have lived near for 13 years, but I am embarrassed to say I formally met for the first time today.

They aren't actually touching - but it's 2 inches at best.

This time the predicament was a bit more dicey.  My new car was literally inches from the old one.  A slide in the wrong direction was going to cost me the front corner panel of one, OR BOTH, of my cars.

Hesitant I called my parents house.  I knew my Dad would make it down and help me make sense of it.  I frantically shoveled until I could see the blacktop of the street, looking over my shoulder and holding my breath as a few cars sporadically made their way down the street.  Our other neighbor, a former bus driver, came over and strategized a bit.  Before I knew it the two of them were moving my Saturn out of the way.  As my stepdad’s familiar smile greeted my from the window of his truck – my neighbors had safely parked both of my cars – without them ever touching!

Relieved.  Grateful.  Exhausted.  I gleefully accepted my Dad’s news that he’d be using the snow blower on the back of our property and I busily got to work on the front.  Street to street property is nice… most of the time.

Guess we should have taken the flower pot in?

Some time close to five – a few minutes before my husband got home, I walked my sore back into the house to greet the face of my wiped out “I’ve totally had it.” kid.

Close to two hours after I had left my job, I had to stop for a minute and reflect.  The chaos of my mind was still swirling about my head.

I chatted with “The Captain” for about 15 minutes in awe of exactly how many angels had crossed my path today.  By my count at least 15 people had in some way “paid it forward” to me and my girl.

And I work less than a mile from my house.

So what if every day was a snow day?  Well we may have lots more chances to find out.  But, more importantly, what if we TREATED each other, EVERY day, as if it was a snow day.  What a wonderful world it would be.

PAYING IT FORWARD LOGO

Generous Heart

I’m not exactly sure how the idea got into her head.  At some point Meghan learned it to be possible to donate your hair to make wigs for people who had no hair.  And she decided that she wanted to do it.

For a bit of time it was talk.  We spoke about when it would be a good time, if her hair was long enough, and how it would feel to lose so much hair.  Then she got serious.

Sometime right after school ended she decided it was time.  So, we went to a new hair salon and had her hair measured.

“Close,” they said.  “Come back in about 2 months.”

And, as summers go, time passes and 2 months is gone.  We made the appointment for today so she would have time to “adjust” to the new hair if she wasn’t happy.

Before...
Before…
Almost ready...
Almost ready…

 

She was anxious but determined.  Confident that it was the right thing to do – she bravely sat in the chair.  Her hair was measured to ensure it reached the necessary 10 inches.

Then, even I held my breath as the pony tail was cut off.

Meg LOL 2

And as the hair fell down, the smile of relief sprang up.  She saw the life bounce into her hair.  She knew it would all be OK.

As she looked at her new cut, and adjusted to the reality that she had just done something HUGE for someone in need, I couldn’t help be overwhelmed with pride.

Once again, my girl led me by example.  Once again her bravery is unmatched.

You see last Friday we found a small bald spot on the top of her head.

Yesterday Meghan got the formal diagnosis of “Alopecia Areata.”  It hasn’t got a blessed thing to do with Cowden’s Syndrome.  Although being affected BY Cowden’s Syndrome has made us all more aware of the needs of others who suffer.  The denim ribbon we wear each day is a reminder of the Global Genes Project, and a search for cures, or at least awareness of ALL rare diseases.

Stress can trigger this unpredictable autoimmune hair loss.

We can hope the spot was a reality check for all of us.  A reminder to try to take some deep breaths along the bumpy road we travel.

We kept it from Meghan for the weekend, but as we headed to the dermatologist Tuesday the conversation had to happen.  We go through too much here not to have each other’s trust.  I answer questions as briefly as she allows, but I always answer honestly.

There is no way to know what path it will take, if this will (hopefully) be the end, or the beginning.  Alopecia Areata is a life-long condition.  It may stop now and rest forever.  Or maybe it won’t.  We just don’t know.

But we are kind of used to that around here.  There are no “plans” anymore.  Only guesses, and hopes, and prayers.

And thankfully we live with the confidence that there is a greater plan than any of us can wrap our heads around.

For now, some beautiful little girl will soon receive a wig made in part by Meghan’s beautiful, curly hair.

My beautiful, BRAVE, GENEROUS girl!
My beautiful, BRAVE, GENEROUS girl!