beating the game

[sharing more that I've learned]

Coley and I sat in the living room of our small brick ranch. Vegetarians on a leather couch looking across the room at our friend Kenny B, who was casually holding Laurel in one arm like a pro. Ken, who has many siblings but no kids, has come in and out of our lives for many years as he has traveled the world. We sat in the living room as the sun set behind him and Coley and I told him about Juniper's diagnosis.

At the time, the girls were just a few months old. I held Juniper close to my body, readjusting my position each time her head sagged forward.

We told him all about the hospitals and the wires and IVs, the spinal taps. He sat and listened quietly. And then he said something very wise, that I can only assume he picked up from some wise old monk in the mountains of Tibet. He looked at us with his usual placid yet playful demeanor and said:

"Well, no one wants to beat the game on easy."

He was right. I had recently beat "Uncharted" on easy and it was not very satisfying. I had also been through times in my life when I didn't feel challenged, times when I was living easy. Those times were great, but I don't want them etched on my tombstone.

The times in my life when I've been challenged to work hard in order to do what I thought was right or to make the world a better place - those times have been the most fulfilling. Those times have filled me with energy. Those are the times I remember (and want to be remembered for) the most.

After having the girls, my life has become more difficult, but it is never boring. The bad has been worse and the good has been better. It's the feeling you get at the end of a long race, the diploma, the promotion, the award, over and over and over again each day. I know there are challenges ahead. I know there are steep mountains to climb. But the steeper climbs always provide the better views. So I'll be up for the challenge.

When I have to wake up at 5AM and feed tiny screaming babies. When I have to clean human feces from my hands. When The notifications pop up on my phone twice a day to remind me to give June her medicine. I'll be up for the challenge.

When I have to take the girls to all of their twenty million doctors appointments. When I have to do June's stretches despite her cries. When the girls push all my buttons. I'll be up for the challenge. And when they get older and yet older again and the new things come along, I'll be up for the challenge.

Because no one wants to beat the game on easy.