Thursday, May 5, 2011

the everyday.

So, if you read my post a few days ago, you'll remember that they found a brain tumor in one of my best friend's 5 year old daughter.  They discovered it last week.  Last Thursday she underwent a major brain surgery in order for them to get the tumor out.  Well, luckily, she did a great job during the huge surgery, but now the tests have come back and it's bad news.

It's cancer.  It's bad.  It's an aggressive form of cancer called PNET, or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor.  So, the roller coaster continues.  Radiation and Chemotherapy will start ASAP for 6 weeks and then more Chemo in the long months following.

Upon hearing the news, I've found that my emotions are all over the place.  One minute I'm sobbing.  And then the next, I'm trying to push it out of my brain---thinking, "No way.  It's not true.  This isn't happening.  She's just fine."  So, I go on with the daily routine, and then I remember again.  And it continues all day.  Rinse.  Repeat.
I can only imagine what her sweet parents are going through... let alone, the rest of the family.  I wish I could be right there to give hugs, bring out my pom poms and do a cheer routine (I always did want to be a cheerleader...). 

Anyway, I'm not wanting to make this a downer post, one where I complain about the cruelties of reality, how things like this aren't right, and how no one so young should receive such a trial---even though, you know I'm thinking all those things.  I guess, I just want to reflect.  I have changed and grown up in the past week.  So, if you are bored and want to leave, feel free.  I won't be mad.  Sometimes when I see so many words, I leave too.  :) hA!

You might have seen that I took a quick little get-away to California with a few of my close girlfriends.  It was a really fun trip and one that I'd been looking forward to for months.  It was nice to pack up, hop on a plane, flip through the 6 magazines that I had received in the mail the past few months that I hadn't been able to read, and then through out the next few days---remember that I am Melissa.

For those few days I wasn't in mom-mode, daughter-mode (remember, I just had gotten back from Utah the week before), sister-mode, selling-my-house-mode, artist-mode, wife-mode----it was just ME-mode.  The other girls left early Sunday morning back to Utah, and my flight wasn't leaving till the late afternoon.  So, I found myself with a good deal of time on my hand in Santa Monica. Rough life, I know.

So, I got up.  Got dressed.  Chatted with Aaron and the kids and was reminded how good they are. Then, after Aaron encouraged me to be brave (he does this often), I went exploring on foot.  Since our hotel was in a nice area, I felt pretty safe.
I strolled along the streets, saw the ocean, stopped and grabbed some yogurt and granola (which was a lot fancier than the $1-kind I'm used to.  I think they used Greek yogurt = not as delicious as the sugary yogurt McDonald's uses.  Meaning, it was okay.  Not my favorite, but okay.) and thought it was weird that I hadn't eaten at a place by myself in a long, long time.  It was nice, but strange at the same time.

Next, I got up and walked around some neighborhoods. Aaron had told me there was one of our churches nearby, and sure enough, I stumbled upon it.

I heard the congregation singing a hymn through the pretty windows.  
I was in jeans and a blouse, not really "Sabbath attire" but as I read the words "VISITORS WELCOME"--- I thought, "Well, okay.  Here I go."

Unfortunately, the only available seats were in the front right side of the chapel.  And, I had walked in on the back far left side.  So, I got to parade through---in my jeans---past everyone.  That will get the congregation talking.  :)  I got a lot of nice welcoming smiles, though.

Anyway, I sat and listened to the meeting.  It was nice.  It was safe and familiar.  It was good to go and worship.  It was good to be reminded of why I make all the preparations for children's singing time,  and why we wrestle our kids through the 3 hour block.  It was a nice recharge.

After that, I was ready to get back home, back to my real life with two kids that really know how to dirty up a clean kitchen floor.  After that, I was ready to let my kids start playing with their toys again---b/c we might be in "show-ready" mode for a while.  After that, I was ready to come back home and try to figure out how to be a cheerleader to one of my best friends going through the biggest nightmare of her life.  After that, I was ready to come back home and show Aaron more gratitude for the sweet life he's provided me with.  After that, I was ready to figure out how to sew all the ridiculous amounts of fabric I'd just purchased.  Don't ask.  At the end of my trip, I was ready to come home. 

But, since I've been home I've been stumped.  Now that I've experienced these changes of heart and been reminded of the bigger picture, how could I report about the insignificant and ever-ordinary and routine parts of my life---especially when there are so many bigger things happening all around me? 

And then, as I was scrubbing the floor and wiping off Cal's disgusting high-chair tray---it came to me.  This is normal life.  Yes, this is the very thing my sweet friend is missing the most from that hospital room with her little girl.  Getting to make messes, learning to clean them up, allowing people to make mistakes, and then figuring out to fix them, learning patience, trying your best to figure out how to do re-thread the straps in the complicated car-seat,  re-organizing the desk for the hundredth time, helping your kids put on the crazy outfits they've chosen-------this is the routine.  This is the everyday.  And this is our life.

Wow, writing that makes me remember the awesome new magazine that was started by a guy named Daryl Smith (in my sister's ward in Boston).  It's called "Seeing the Everyday" and it's amazing.  here's the link to the website.  You should subscribe.  Seriously.  Spend some time on their site and you'll see how great it is.  

Anyway, this is what Daryl wrote:
“Our lives are the sum of each moment and interaction. Each day we work, eat, laugh, teach, play, read, remember… And work at it all again the next day. Within seemingly small moments we find opportunity to build relationships, develop character, find joy…for the price of our time.

Life’s most essential possibilities are realized at home. Where we share, teach, grow, learn, serve, give our best without praise or fanfare. Because every effort, every moment matters in the development of a person. Nothing is really routine.”

Do you love that like I do?  I think we love it because it's true.  As Professor Gaugh, our art history teacher, used to say, "Truth is truth, no matter where you find it."

Anyway, so, there is a good dose of reflection for you.  There's not much more to say, because Daryl said it all.  I hope it's okay that I will continue to share the regular and ordinary things that happen around here, because this is life.  The ups and downs, the failures and the successes and all the random things in between.

We'd love any prayers you'd like to offer up for little J.  It's going to be a long road for this brave little girl and her sweet family.
Oh, and while I'm at it, and thanks for being my friend.


a pair of pettijohns said...

beautiful, beautiful words, my friend. we're praying...if anyone can do BIG things, it's God :)

Becker said...

Love you, Melis. We're praying.

erin said...

Girl, you are amazing at putting your thoughts into words. (One of your many, many talents!!) I've been thinking about the Nielsons all week and so much of what you said has been my thoughts as well.

Also, I love that you went to church in your jeans, and I 100% agree with you that the sweetened McD's parfait is tastier than the fancy Greek stuff!

Tyler and Erin said...

I'm so sorry for the horrible news of your friend. I too have had a downer week and have been asking the same questions as to "Why someone so young has to go through trials so big?" A friend of mine passed away suddenly at home and was brought into the hospital I work where we did a stat c-section to try and save her 33 week baby. Thankfully I was not working that night as just hearing the story was hard enough for me. Unfortunately her baby did not survive for long where she returned home with her mommy. She left behind 3 adorable children, 6, 4, and 2 and an awesome husband. (She is from Highland and went to school with my brother so your older sister may know her. You can read her hubby's post at

I don't mean to make you cry all over again but rather to just say that I agree with you in that why do these AWESOME families have such difficult trials? Your friend with sincerely be in my prayers as I can only imagine what they are going through as well as you. Love you!

Tyler and Erin said...

mistake- it is

emily snyder said...

oh miss, i love you!!

Denise and Brandon said...

I'm right there with you on an emotional rollar coaster. I just wish there was more I can do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Such simple truths are so easily overlooked or forgotten. We'll be adding her name to the temple rolls in Spokane. Just breaks my heart.

Tim and Melissa said...

I echo what erin said. You do have an amazing talent of putting your thoughts into words. I love all that you said and this has also made me reflect on my life and relationships with my family and friends. I'm glad you're my friend...well, actually I consider you family! Lots of love!

Marc, Michelle, Jackson, and Bennett said...

Hey! I am a little bummed I didn't know you were only 5 minutes away from me?! Are you kidding me? I would have driven 10 minutes to see you (hee hee), but you were literally 5 minutes. You are killing me. Seriously, the next time you come to California and don't call....I don't know what I am going to do, but it won't be pretty. :) ha.

Anyway, I am glad that you had a good relaxing trip. I really am sorry to hear about your friends little child. I truly cannot imagine what that would be like. It breaks my heart to hear of such sad things happening to such a small child. Someone so innocent and pure. I can't picture how I would handle it if it were my own child. How sad.


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