Britt Nicole reminds me of me-her age, her dress, her fears, her life experiences. I love her song, The Lost get Found.
She sings, “don’t let your fire burn out.”
My mom and I were talking yesterday about a time in her life when she saw her fire burning out. She was sick of fighting alcoholism. She was sick of her diseased body. She’d tried and tried and tried and didn’t know how to change into the life she wanted. I think she would have given up if her love for my brother and I wasn’t so strong. It’s amazing to think love for another can save the one who feels it.
Sometimes I feel like my light is going out. I know it will come back. I know kids without moms can still change the world. I know kids without moms can still feel love and that a human’s capacity to feel awed by the universe is never entirely stolen.
But my light, is flickering. My mom is still here buoying it up, even though chemo is so exhausting.
In her heyday mom did a lot to change the world. She put up with countless challenges as the first woman pilot at Flying Tigers. She wrote a book about it and in places like Africa where woman are just beginning to get to fly her story resonates and provides encouragement. She told the world not only how she overcame prejudice and turbulence a mile high, but how she overcame alcoholism and domestic abuse. I don’t think her days of changing the world are over, but it seems to be on a smaller scale at the moment.
Yesterday we went to Chicos to get my mom new pants-she’s been losing weight lately and her clothes are getting baggy. She’s still cheerful. She tells the people in the dressing room when they look great in an outfit. She found a rainbow silk top which is perfect for “chemo-wear.” Chemo wear refers to outfits sufficiently colorful, chaotic, and sparkly to chase away the shadows in everyone’s heart at the cancer care center.
I think because of my mom’s willingness to bring her light into the world and her lack of shyness everyone at Chicos that afternoon was affected. One woman told about her grandson who was currently undergoing chemo for Colon cancer(feels like it is everywhere now). The saleslady’s mom was in treatment for lung cancer. I was secretly jealous that she had lots of wrinkles and still had a mom, but sharing stories helped and I know jealousy isn’t moving me forward. So in the midst of something as simple as buying a bright rainbow chemo shirt, we’d all had a little bit of group therapy. The majority of the woman in the store were struggling with a loved one’s cancer, and to know that they were getting up and going out and being nice to others was something to keep my light shining.
So many of the teachers here are giving their all to keep kids lights shining-it’s a monumental task and a worthy one. Thinking about teachers and kids helps keep my light shining. I just need the energy and I don’t know how to get it back.
I won’t forget Britt Nicole’s lyrics: “There’s a really big world at your fingertips and you have a chance to change it.” I have to keep my light bright, and so do all of you teachers out there!