23 October 2009

pink at 11am

Friday is library day in our little homeschool world. Unless the van battery dies or someone is really sick, we take our regular trek sometime between open and close....I'm consistent like that.

This morning we managed to leave around 11am. I am torn as to whether I like story time or not since
1. only Miss C is the right age and
2. while Little B is content now to sit and read his own books for however long we're there (I took him ONCE as a preschooler...and only once), Baby J is a whole 'nother story these days; plus
3. story time is Fridays at 11:30am at our branch (also known as lunchtime and Baby J's naptime if you get my meaning).
I got in the van convincing myself I could get in and out before it started.

As it turned out, I was distracted and we stayed for story time. It went pretty well and there was even a craft for Miss C to do. Baby J only wailed during the craft part since he was tired of playing with my cell phone. Not bad.

But, I digress.
This is about why I was distracted.
And what time we were leaving. 11am.

As we drove through our small town's Main Street, there were ladies (and even men) wearing bright pink shirts, holding pink pom poms and carrying large signs ("Thank you for walking!") on the sidewalk, cheering loudly as others walked past. The crowds thickened a bit as I got closer the square, and once there, it was full of pink-clad people taking a break - you no doubt know of what I speak.

While breast cancer has never been the cause of death for someone I love, it has certainly touched my life more than once. And on this cloudy day it touched my life once more as tears clogged my throat and filled my eyes. My children wanted to know what the cheering was, why everyone was in pink, what is was all about. I could only say I'd explain in a minute. I had to say that several times since nothing else would come out of my mouth. Instead tears leaked down my face.

I was surprised by how deeply this was affecting me. It made me so proud to be among them, even for a moment. It gave me loving thoughts of the women I've known who have battled breast cancer. And it kept me from explaining to my kids until after we'd arrived at the library. But, explain it I did, slowly and choked up, and loved the compassion on my 8 year old son's face. (I took the time to suggest he not discuss it publicly, because of his age and the personal nature of the cancer.)

As we returned home, the square was drab and lonely, one pink-shirted lady on a bench with a friend, port-a-potties empty and stands being put into trucks. My kids had hoped for another chance to see the crowd and so had I. And I'm really glad I headed to the library at 11am this morning. It was definitely the right time today.

(For those of you who love to read like I do, there is a fabulous fiction novel about a woman with breast cancer - Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker.)


Hannah said...

My sis (age 30) recently had to have a mastectomy, much to our shock, as they found a ductal carcinoma. The "best" kind to have, but still life-threatening if not treated. That made the whole thing hit a lot closer to home. Maybe I'll recommend that book to her -- thanks for the suggestion!

cjoy said...

Wow, Hannah. That really does make it hit close to home.
This book sounds just like her, too. I hope she'll enjoy it!

Donnetta said...

There is a very high rate of breast cancer in my family. My doctor is being proactive with me in relation to it due to my family risk.

What an opportunity to be able to talk with your children about it.