First off, THANKS for coming by! We are continually moved by the number of people who still read our blog and send us cards, wishes, thoughts, and prayers. Thank you. Your attention is where you direct your time, which is your most precious commodity. Thank you for sharing your time and attention with us as we continue forward in our journey for a cure for EB to ultimately honor Bella's life and death. Can I tell you YET AGAIN how amazing Ronald McDonald House is? Friday was Bella's official birthdate, and ON FRIDAY, we received a card from them letting us know they haven't forgotten us or Bella. I mean, they even timed the snail mail perfectly. That is being generous in your care of your residents WAY ABOVE and beyond what is expected.
When I took the Landmark Forum way back in 1998, the Forum Leader spent some time on the distinction between "being generous" and "being stingy." In anything we do, we have the opportunity to be generous or stingy. In our attention to detail. In our attention to a loved one. In our compliments. In our compromises. When you are doing something, are you just dipping your toe in, or are you THROWING your whole self in? I think this is a great concept to invest time and attention into, because frankly, just thinking about it is powerful. If you've never even considered it, how do you know that you are as generous as you think you are? After all, we all tend to think highly of ourselves in certain areas, but have we truly examined ourselves inside of a paradigm like "generous vs. stingy?" How about your eye contact with your spouse or children? Do you initiate it? Do you hold it? Are you the first to relinquish it? See, I LOVE these kind of questions. They automatically map out opportunities to become a better version of my self, without making the current version wrong! I think that is the difference between self development and self help. I think self help operates from the baseline that there is something wrong that needs fixing, whereas self development sees growth on a curve without an end, and that all points on the curve are OK. Huh, I never articulated that difference so clearly to myself before. Thank you for listening! LOL.
Okay, okay, enough thinking out loud. Time for the twice weekly report. First off, I am toying with blogging three times a week as twice a week fills a single entry with QUITE a lot of material lately. I wonder if I should have a PUCK blog and a Ringgold family blog... they really are one in the same, who am I kidding! LOL. Okay, so, thrice a week. Sun, Tue, Thur? Whattayathink? Just a thought.
The weekend was full of activities!
* Friday night was hip-hop night for Ali and cousin Wil, followed by a nice supper with Ali's Aunt Dina, Uncle Steve, and little cousin Molly. Steve and Dina gave us this AMAZING bottle of wine as a gift. The wine is called BELLA and it is from 2009, Bella's birth year! How awesome a gift is that?
* Saturday, I had the sad fortune of watching Barcelona lift the Champion's League Trophy. As much as I dislike them (they have knocked out Arsenal two years in a row now), they are by far the best team in Europe, and easily the world. They made Manchester United, the champion's of the Premier League in England, look like a mid-table scrappy team by comparison. It was shocking the different level Barca plays at. Oh well. It's gonna be a rough summer with nothing but MLS to watch.
* Yesterday, Ali and mommy went to the aquarium while daddy stained cabinet doors. Then, we feasted at our next door neighbor Joe's place. Joe was nice enough to invite me over when he thought I was alone for the day. Joe is a great neighbor; the kind everyone hopes to have. He's always polite, upbeat, willing to share a story, a tool, a meal, anything you need. Good people. I played soccer again yesterday as well! Not the young guy I once was, but it fuels me to keep training to see how much I can bring back!
* Today, I worked on the doors some more, while mommy and Ali baked. Then, we went to grandma and grandpa's for a yummy BBQ with the cousins and grandma's long time friend and neighbor. Dina asked me to bring my guitar, so we had some musical fun as well. My nephew Wilson is like a Johnny Cash Prodigy. It's crazy - he's 3 and he can rattle off like 5 Johnny Cash songs in their entirety! He is absolutely obsessed with playing my guitar, which is just about the cutest thing ever! I know I wasn't like that at his age! I see some guitar lessons in his future!
AH! The reason for the whole blurb at the top of the post!!! Hahaha, HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! I may have lost my dad to cancer, and my daughter to EB, but I cannot imagine losing a loved one to war. I was so lucky in that I was there when my dad and Bella took their last breaths. To be half a world away as my loved one took their last breath... I cannot imagine. There is something so much more intimate and immediate about death now that I have seen it and touched it. When a heart stops, the finality is so overpowering, there is no other experience like it. There is no pause, no undo, no rewind. My deepest and humblest sympathies and condolences go out to any and all of you who have lost a loved one serving our country. It must be so bittersweet; it is the highest honor to serve and sacrifice so ultimately, and yet I imagine the pain is not one ounce lessened. I imagine the honor and the pain coexist together. Days like today have so much more personal meaning to me now. To the spirits and angels who came before me and served and died on some field, in some forest, beneath some sea, in some jungle so far from your home, my ability to write this very post hinges upon you. Therefore, I dedicate this post to you, the generator, the protector, the extender of my freedom. I hear parents say it all the time to me, "I don't think I could be as strong as you..." I say, "Bullshit. You'd do ANYTHING for your kid." I imagine me saying the same to you, "I don't think I could be as brave as you," to which you might reply, "Bullshit. You'd do ANYTHING for your country, wouldn't you?"
I sit frozen. Humbled. Silent. I bow my head in respect. I gulp.
I would carry a stretcher to any man or woman in the field. I would labor as long as my body would support me in any hospital or on any field to make sure that while any fellow soldier might not get to take their last breath with their loved one like my father and daughter did, they wouldn't have to take it alone, either. And yet, it is easy for me to write such noble lines, sitting in the comfort of my office. It is those, like The Immortal Chaplains that I learned of while aboard the Queen Mary, who really have the only right to speak on such matters, and they are silent. In ultimate respect and gratitude, so then I should be.