(Photo from Archives: 6/8/2008)
This photo was taken two years ago while on vacation in Florida. In the middle of a moonless night, a mama sea turtle emerged from the waves and, inch by ever-loving inch, by instinct alone, made her way to the soft dunes to lay her precious eggs. After they were safely buried, she was slowly and steadily beckoned back into the sea. Upon sunrise, her tracks were the only evidence of her delivery.
The bus stop for our neighborhood's elementary school is at the stop sign which sits at the street corner by our front yard. When my daughter was younger, I was out there every morning with her, along with about a half dozen sleepy children and two or three other cup-carrying moms. We rarely went straight home when the bus pulled away. Bus stop therapy was often the best part of our day.
I considered us friends, even though we had little to no contact beyond our time together each morning. But, sadly, when my daughter moved on to middle school and we weren't together at the bus stop anymore, whatever bond we had forged swiftly withered from lack of time and attention. Sadly, for years now, we have been reduced to little more than drive-by waves.
One of these moms has cancer. I see her through my living room window, escorting her children to the bus stop as she has done every morning for years. She wore a hat at first, but now emerges bravely bald like a superhero. Part of me has wanted to race out there and say something, anything. Offer my support. Congratulate her courage. Just plain cheer her on. Instead I let my cowardice win. Again. I mailed a note instead.
As she moves into and through chemotherapy, I wonder if she feels like the mama sea turtle. Forging forward. Inch by inch. Through the darkness. Against intimidating odds. Looking for a soft, safe place to rest. Trusting the tide. Doing whatever needs to be done for the best possible odds. Not only for her babies' future, but her own.