I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me (Sara – Layla’s mom)…I was NOT a big crier growing up. I can maybe recall one or two times I cried growing up (like boo-hoo, sobbing cry). I’m sure there were more, but nothing that was so life shattering that it registered deep into my psyche to live forever. The very first time I remember sobbing uncontrollably was in college; freshman year, in my dorm room (alone) and I was watching Armageddon. What can I say…a group of ragtag, off-shore oil drillers saving the world just really makes my eyes well up. Don’t judge – you know you teared up during the scene with the animal crackers!
As a parent I’ve cried many times (sometimes hormone related, I’ll admit), but mostly they’ve been happy tears. When your child says their first word (happy tears), when they say “I love you” (happy tears), when their tiny arms wrap around your neck and then they puke all over you (no, not that one?). I find myself crying at commercials where new parents are giving their baby a bath for the first time or during shows where children are lost or hurt. I can’t help it. Becoming a parent changed my heart forever. I literally cannot watch Law and Order: SUV. Sorry Mariska Hargitay (and OMG has that show really been on for 18 years!! I feel so old right now!)
Call it coincidence, call it foreshadowing, but the night before Layla was diagnosed, Bryan and I were watching Stranger Things. It was the episode where you finally see what happened to the sherif’s daughter and that she had died from cancer (sorry for the spoiler alert!). I remember looking at Bryan and saying “I can’t begin to imagine what that would be like”. Fast forward about 15 hours and I knew exactly how that felt. It feels like you’re falling through the earth while subsequently being punched in the face over and over again. Even that feels like a walk in the park. There simply are not words.
I won’t share our story again because you can read about it here, but I will freely admit that tears are part of daily life now. Not always sad, mostly still happy, but there are days the sad tears come. I weep for the children who’s lives have come to an end all too soon. I weep for their parents and siblings who must carry on life without them. I weep for the families who are just beginning their cancer journey. I know these parents now. I know their stories, I hug them tight and I pray for them daily. This is our life now and these are our people.
Happy tears are found in the most surprising places. This morning, I was helping Layla get dressed for radiation when she stopped and looked at me and gave me a kiss on the nose. As tears filled my eyes, I said “LaylaBug, mommy is so proud of you. You are so brave and strong and Jesus made you to do amazing things”. She just smiled. Every time I watch her dance or hear her sing I have happy tears. There were weeks when we didn’t know if she’d ever do those things again. Her every move is a miracle from God.
Over the next few weeks I plan to share more details about our family and how all of this has changed who we are. There is no doubt in my mind that The Lord has stood beside us every second. He has been in every waiting area, every hospital room and at every clinic visit. At times his presence is so obvious that it brings tears to my eyes to recount the moment. When people say “I don’t know how you are doing this”, the only answer is “WE” are not. HE is.
“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” – Psalm 91:11