Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008, during Mattie's sixth birthday party. This was the last birthday Mattie celebrated cancer free. That year Mattie had a bowling party, and he requested to have a Scooby Doo cake. If you look closely the cake had the "Mystery Machine" (or van) on it along with Shaggy and Scooby Doo characters. Mattie loved those items on his cake, and the Mystery Machine, can still be found in his room even today. Mattie was actually quite ill at this birthday party, running an 101 fever. But he kept at it that day and was excited to be around his kindergarten and preschool friends. If you look at the heads of his friends that surround Mattie in this picture, you will hear the names of children you have heard many times before on this blog. Going clockwise was Kazu (Junko's son), Mattie, Zachary in red, Charlotte in pink, and next to Charlotte (who you can't see) was Campbell.
Quote of the day: Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. ~ Steve Maraboli
My friend Charlie sent me this quote while I was away at the beach. It is an intriguing quote in a way, because a part of me agrees with it, and yet a part of me feels it is unrealistic. I certainly concur with the latter part of the quote..... a kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. I would take this one step further and say that compassion sometimes is the only medicine that will cure certain ailments. However, my issue is with the first statement in the quote..... give yourself entirely to those around you. Well maybe not the whole statement as much as the word ENTIRELY. From my life experiences, I have concluded that only certain people in one's life are entitled, deserving, and SAFE to give one's self ENTIRELY to. I am not talking about generosity of things and money, I am talking about generosity of one's time, emotions, and feelings. In many ways, this form of generosity is hard to quantify but it is indeed priceless. Giving this type of emotional connection and bond to someone should not be entered into lightly because such feelings though a blessing are not always reciprocated. Not that feelings have to be quid pro quo in friendships, but without a balanced relationship, the constant giver in the duo can begin to feel used, unappreciated, and in the end develop internal wounds that no amounts of compassion can heal.
Being our first day back after several days away, we were both working very hard today. Peter was at work, and I was running around doing all sorts of chores. We text messaged each other all day, and shared how the day was going for us. Whether our blog readers could tell or not, our time away at the beach was difficult emotionally for us. I started my day by picking up Patches at the vet. I had a long talk with the vet since Patches has many physical ailments now being 17 years old (I keep thinking she is 14, but Peter did the math and she is indeed 17, which is old for a cat!). The doctor would like to put Patches through various tests and procedures, and I frankly feel this would be more stressful for her than beneficial. The whole vet office knows about Mattie, because Patches lived with them while Mattie was battling cancer. So after this long discussion today, they all said that they would support whatever decisions I make. Great!!! I seem to always be forced into these medically difficult positions.
After picking up Patches, I then had to head back to Virginia Hospital Center for a test of my own. Just heading back there now makes me jumpy, considering the last CT scan I took there revealed a large mass. I spent the rest of the day shopping for supplies for my three part kindergarten art series starting this week. My trunk looks like an art supply shop and though I developed this Matisse and Picasso curriculum last year, so much of it has gone out of my head.
One of the items I had to buy today were muffin tins (the disposable ones that you can buy in a grocery store!). I like to use these tins to hold paint for the children. Any case, I literally went to three different grocery stores until I found what I was looking for. While at Giant Foods, a store clerk came up to me and asked me to donate a $1 to childhood cancer. The irony of this is my friend and college roommate, Leslie, emailed me and told me that while grocery shopping yesterday, the store asked her to donate a $1 during checkout to childhood cancer. Leslie explained in her email why she would prefer to support Mattie Miracle rather than an unknown entity. As this clerk was talking to me today, Leslie's email was swirling around in my mind.
Giant Foods supports the Childhood Cancer Foundation, and though the clerk never told me where the money was going, or what organization the store supported, I felt compelled to google the store and find out what charity their consumers' money is going to. You can find out more about the Childhood Cancer Foundation below. But despite the clerk's ignorance in who they were supporting, she was very persistent in wanting to get a dollar from me. When I wouldn't give it to her, she started to give me a hard time. At which point, I went into Mattie Miracle mode and the poor thing did not know what hit her. I not only use our own financial resources to help Mattie Miracle, but it is my daily job (of which I get no salary), and frankly I do not care to be judged as to who or what I want to contribute to, as I suspect many shoppers feel the same way I do.