Life is filled with contradictions; mundane mixed with miracle, tragedy with celebration, amazing strength with humbling weakness. Contradiction makes life both difficult and powerfully beautiful.
Ten years ago, on May 22, 2002, my first child David was born. He turned my life inside-out and upside-down. He taught me that love can be frightening in its intensity. He made me look at the world differently. Everything suddenly mattered so much more except, of course, for those things that suddenly mattered so much less. Motherhood, like life, is also filled with contradictions.
Today is a day to celebrate his life.
One year ago, on May 22, 2011, our birthday celebrations came to an abrupt stop when the tornado pounded through Joplin. The tornado also turned my life inside-out and upside down. It also taught me that love can be frightening in its intensity.
Today is a day to remember that loss and fear. To, once again, allow myself to be swept away in gratitude that those walls bent but did not fall.
So today, at 5:40 in the evening, I will close my eyes and sit in silence for a moment with my community. I’ll remember what happened a year ago today. I’ll remember the lives lost and the neighborhoods destroyed. I’ll remember that, like my girls’ picture reads, we are surrounded by heroes disguised as neighbors and strangers. I’ll take that moment so that I can remember; once again, that everything we hold dear is fragile. It’s a scary reminder. It’s also the ultimate inspiration to live fully today.
But then I’m going to open my eyes and watch the young man sitting across from me blow out the ten candles on his cake. David inspires words like hilarious, serious, sensitive, tough, kind, and brilliant. He’s totally weird in a normal kid sort of way. We’ll celebrate with pasta and chocolate and presents. It’s good to be ten-years old.
We are taking this day back from the storm.