I heard something, the other day, that went straight to my soul. Of all places, it was a line from an episode of the old 1960’s TV western: Wagon Train.

Let me set the scene for you: an old Irishman is dying, close to Christmas. He was supposed to play the part of Santa Clause for the children, but he knew his time was growing short. He asks the Wagon-master to play Santa, in his stead. He (the wagon-master) remarks that it’s such a small thing. The dying man says “Aye. Tis a small thing. But the small things make the BIG things bearable”. The simple truth of those words, even now, several days later, is still almost unbearably beautiful.

Let me tell you, this isn’t the blog entry I intended on writing. It is Mother’s Day, tomorrow. I had planned to write to you about my wonderful, beautiful, strong mother. I wanted to tell you how funny, wise and resourceful, loving and giving she was. How she only gave birth twice, but had many ‘children’. And how she faced the end of her life, from cancer, with a grace and dignity worthy of any great lady. How she died quietly one June morning, in her sleep, at home. It was four days past her 81st birthday. She was a lady, after all, and a lady always knows when to leave.

Unfortunately, life–and satellite television–intervened. I am playing the waiting game, right now. And waiting has never been something at which I excel. I was fortunate enough to have my mother for 36 years. My children may not be so lucky. I am waiting, as I said, on test results. There is a mass, approximately the size of a nickel, on the outer portion of my left breast, and two “areas of concern”, somewhere in my right. I am trying very hard to think positively, and not dwell on “could be” and “what if”. I will get the results next week, sometime. I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, I am choosing, instead, to concentrate on the small things, or small, in relative terms.
My 9 yr old brought me a paper flower she made, in school, with a note attached, in cursive (she’s just learning it), that reads “I love you very much, Mommy!” And my 11 yr old? She’s begun having nightly chats with me. Not about anything important, really, in the grander scheme, but just general stuff. This is a new development. And it’s appreciated, by me. The two of them are TRYING to cooperate. Also a new development. They are sisters, after all…

I have friends both online, and IRL, who have offered comfort and support, laughter and advice, prayers, distraction, and just…parts of themselves, metaphorically speaking. Invaluable gifts, one and all. Small things, but important. Thank you, each and all.

And I have my “family”. Brothers and sisters, not born of blood, but of the heart. The men and women who called my mother “Mom”, as a token of respect. Then there are those I’ve met (IRL, and online), with whom I have forged a bond. I am truly blessed. This is something I don’t stop to count often enough.

What I came away from that episode of Wagon Train thinking, was that instead of worrying about what tomorrow holds, perhaps we need to concentrate on today–the small, everyday, happy things that our children, or friends, or family do that make us smile, make us look to the silver linings, rather than the clouds. Because when the storms come, these will be our comfort and shelter.

For whatever reason, the song in this link came to mind, when I think of the Irishman’s words:

I bid you peace. Happy Mother’s day.

~Reba

UPDATE: I spoke with the Dr., Monday last, and my mammogram showed a benign cyst at the 7 o’clock position, on my left breast, and two shadows on my right which turned out to be nothing. So I don’t have cancer. This has, however, taught me to appreciate the scenery, so it wasn’t wasted.

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