Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gaining perspective on a Sunday Morning

It’s Sunday morning. And since it is Sunday morning, more than likely my husband and I are on the couch watching “Sunday Morning” with Charles Osgood. It’s practically a family tradition, one that dates back to the Charles Kuralt days ... before children. Before we even knew each other.

The kids complain for a while when they realize the tube isn’t transmitting their two–dimensional friends.

That’s practically a tradition, too.

They give up their protests, however, when it’s pointed out that parents sometimes get to commandeer the remote control, especially when there are copious amounts of toys corralled in their rooms. … Toys that are lonely. … And potentially in need of new owners. … Owners who WILL play with them. Nicely.

They'll dart away — eyeing us with squinted scrutiny — to make sure nary a plaything has been toy-napped.

In the peace and quiet I've cajoled with threats against forgotten presents, we'll listen to the segments enjoying music, art and nature. We'll laugh at Bill Geist and wish we had a job like his. Any job that includes visiting the National Taxidermy Championship or reporting on the ugliest of Christmas sweaters would be worth its weight in sculpted butter, especially if it included travel expenses.

For 90 minutes we sit back and are entertained. Time slows down.

There’s no Earth-moving scoops or stories that seem too far out of the ordinary. Instead of The News, It feels more like sitting down with an old friend who tells a good story.

But it's not always easy listening to friends. Sometimes their stories make you visit places you've heard of but try to avoid.

It's not as if I hadn't heard about Beads of Courage, a nationwide project that offers glass beads to children battling cancer. It was just the type of story I try to hum through, as if NOT knowing the details could protect the people I love. After all, it seemed so simple as to be insignificant anyway — glass artisans make beads and give them to children with cancer. But seeing the children on Sunday Morning and listening to their stories, I couldn't look away.

Just a token, perhaps, and yet each bead represents something that the child has endured: Hair loss. Tests. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Surgeries. Transfusions. A list that is daunting and seemingly never-ending. These beads, strung together, are weighty reminders of the strength and courage of the children who wear them.

I couldn't help but cry. Especially when the mother of a child who lost her battle spoke of how her daughter's necklace, now enshrined in a shadowbox on the wall, gives her strength to get out of bed in the morning and go on living.

I can imagine losing a child. What I can't imagine is having the strength to face it with such amazing grace and courage.

My face is puffy and red when my kids make their way downstairs again, having no doubt counted and recounted their most prized possessions until they were satisfied all was well. The show had transitioned into its closing segment. Ittybit wonders why the birds, gently chirping against the sound of water flowing downstream, have upset me so.

It's not as if I've forgotten how lucky I am. It's not as if I don't know that this luck I feel could change come Monday morning. It's just that sometimes we all need a friend to remind us that life really is beautiful, even in places and at times you'd least expect.

Happy Holidays to you and your family, from me and mine.

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