Believe it or not, for much of my life the character I related to the most was Eeyore.
He was a pleasant enough fellow. Had some friends but a somewhat gloomy outlook on life. If something could go wrong, it usually did and he was never surprised. I have been a closet Eeyore for much of my life.
And things did go wrong. Usually because of a choice I made... of course, a lot of those choices were kind of knee-jerk. Someone wanted me to do something one way so I had to do it the other way. You would think that experience like that would prepare me for having a teenager, but I'm constantly surprised at how exasperated I can feel by some of the choices my son makes. But those are choices he makes for himself and as long as they don't hurt him or someone else, I'll accept them. Sometimes his seemingly contrary choices come from his very kind heart.
One of those choices is his hair. It's LONG. And beautiful. I admit to feeling very envious of his thick, wavy locks of dark gold. As I look out from under my thinning, limp locks at his shining head I can almost FEEL my complexion going green. He loves his hair too - except when people mistake him for a girl. The waitress who asks "What can I get you ladies today?" The person who says "I don't believe I've met your daughter." They make him turn bright red and laugh nervously before he corrects them. I've told him there was a way to make that stop, but he stubbornly holds on to his determination to grow his long hair.
A couple of years ago he tried emulating his Uncle Jerry who grew his hair for a year before donating it to Locks of Love. I suspect his uncle and he share the hair gene because Jerry's hair is also unbelieveably thick and wavy. Whoever got his hair is lucky. Last time, the heat got the better of him and he eventually cut it off. This time, my boy is determined to get his hair long enough to donate too.
These days, the Pooh character I relate to is more of a cross between Tigger and Owl. Owl, because as I age I find I make much wiser decisions than I have in the past - and Tigger, because I am making a conscious effort to enjoy my life - everything about it, including raising a teenager with a mind of his own.
It's a pretty big turnaround from how I used to feel inside. What has changed? you might ask.
Life. Life and the remarkable people I have come across in the course of living mine.
One such person is my online friend, Michelle. I've "known" Michelle for many, many years. When we first crossed paths she was in an exhuberant, if difficult relationship. I read the ups and downs of her life and she read mine. Something in her touched me and even when other blog friends fell away after a time, she stayed on my mind. Things got busy and she stopped blogging as well, though I never forgot her and thought about her from time to time, wondering where her life was taking her.
It was quite a journey, as it turns out. One day she popped back up on my blog, then emailed me saying that she had a new blog going and would I check it out. I did.
It took my breath away. She was only a couple of entries in at that point but as I read, my heart ached and I cried for my friend. She had love in her life, had just turned 35 - and was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was shocking... people her age weren't supposed to get breast cancer! Little did I know - I have since discovered that a lot of my online friends were either survivors of or currently battling breast cancer - all under 40 at the time of diagnosis!
I followed Michelle's blog throughout her fight. It was by turns scary-as-hell and incredibly mundane - and I rejoiced in her mundane days when everything was just kind of normal because those other days... I spent a lot of time praying for her. That she would survive. That her personality would remain intact (because she's just so awesome). That her children would understand one day and that her boyfriend would continue to stand by her and love her because of who she was and not because he felt some obligation because of the cancer. That she would be healed of this terrible disease. Every day I would pray for these things for Michelle. And for all my other friends who were going through similar things.
And here's where the miracle happened... I stepped away from worrying about my own life and caring more about someone else's. My life was fine while her's was falling apart. I prayed for other people and not for myself. Somewhere in there, with a renewed relationship with God beginning, I got happy. I realized that no matter what else was going on in my life, I was no longer having bad days. There have been challenging days, but they no longer got the better of me. All my days are good and I spend them trying to make them better for other people too. I realized, thanks to Michelle and all the others that our days here are finite and that number doesn't change depending on whether you're happy or angry or sad. I determined to make as many as possible positive. And I don't have bad days anymore.
In the meantime, Michelle turned her lemons into inspirational lemonade as well - she's taken her blog and expanded it into a book, finally heeding the words of almost everyone who read her blog - "You really need to write a book about this!" It's finally been published.
KNOCK, KNOCK, IT'S CANCER! by Michelle Farrance is available now, here, and next week it will also be available at Amazon.com. My book is on its way. I know that I will love it and because I know how Michelle writes, I'm sure you will too. Even if you don't know someone with cancer now, you will one day and you should have the experience of this book under your belt before that day comes.
My son doesn't know anyone with cancer, but he is a sensitive kid and he knows all about Michelle. He also knows there's not much he can do for anyone at this point in time - but if he can give someone his beautiful hair to help them feel normal during their cancer battles, he can feel like he's helped someone else on their bad days and maybe one day, they won't have bad days anymore either.
I am so proud of my boy. And I'm proud of my friend for following through with this project and living her life in such a positive manner. Bad days, be gone!