January 3, 2005
What I learned in 2004...
I promise you that we do laugh...a lot!  This was my rather odd perspective on 2004.  
- Alicia

What I learned in 2004...
(from the mom of a leukemia baby)

A car is a hunk of metal that sits on 4 blobs of rubber and gets you from point A to point B.  It
is not your friend, your identity or your life.  When someone takes it, life will not end, the world
does not stop rotating, and no amount of wishing camel fleas on the thief will bring it back.

Our bodies are fragile commodities.  If we do not treat them well, they will rebel against us.  
With age may come wisdom, but age also brings aches, pains and slower metabolisms.  We
took a lifetime learning to do the neat things that we couldn't do now if our life depended on it.

We may enjoy chocolate as much as in our youth, but our body is afraid it will forget what it
tastes like.  Therefore, as we age, our rear-ends stubbornly hold on to each and every
stinking ounce of chocolate we consume.  Damn.

Just when you think you are as stressed as is humanly possible, the universe will summarily
make sure you get more.  

Cancer is every bit as scary as the headlines say.  Shockingly, it is also more of a blessing
than the headlines lead you to believe.  Cancer affects more than just the body, it affects your
view of the world.

Just when you think the world is full of nothing but car thieves and rich care-for-nothings, you
will meet generous, kind-hearted people that will amaze you beyond words.

Angels don't necessarily have wings and gossamer gowns.  They wear workboots, pumps and
gym shoes.  They drive mini-vans, Hondas and trucks.  They live in the suburbs, the country,
mansions and apartments.  They build houses, push pencils, change beds and drive carpool.  
We meet angels every day, every where...we just aren't always lucky enough to recognize
them.  This year, I met plenty...several I had known for years and never really noticed their
"wings", some I just met.  All of them are beautiful.

Santa Claus is real.  I'm telling you, from the bottom of my heart...Santa Claus is real.

Your children are the absolute, singular, more than you realize...most important thing in your
life.  No promotion, no vacation, no material possession will ever be worth a smile or a hug
from your child.

Your children are not only the children in your house, they are the children in the world that
you love.  Your children may be your friends' little ones, your nieces and nephews, your
neighbors'.  If you love them - they are, indeed, yours.

If you are loved by a child, you are blessed beyond words.

When tragedy strikes your family, you have two choices.  If you give in and wallow, the pit is
bottomless.  If you choose to fight, you will find light and strength when you least expect it.  

To everything, and I mean to everything...there is a deeper, meaningful lesson to be learned.  
No matter how awful the circumstance, how small the interaction, there is a life lesson you can
learn from it.  From pain can come understanding, from abject sadness...can come hope.  
Don't give up, look for the lesson.

Give in to the silly.  Learn to let yourself laugh when the front of your brain says you're crazy
for wanting to.  Finding the laughter, is finding the joy, is finding the humanity in life.  

Just when we think we have control of the world - it will always step up to the plate to remind
us...we don't.

A new purse can give you a whole new outlook.  

Beauty is not only size 6.  

Small houses can hold big families and big hearts quite well.  

The dog who drove you nuts barking all the time, will leave a huge hole in your heart when
she's gone.  

Cat and dog fur are not dirt.  Fur wads are a reminder that another species loves you,
regardless of yourself.  

You are not defined by your paycheck.  You are not defined by your house, car, clothes,
looks, or zipcode.  You are defined by those who choose to love you.  You are defined by the
good you do in the world.  You are defined by your heart... end of story.

If I learned nothing else in 2004...I learned this:  2004 will be followed by 2005.  Then will come
2006, 2007...and so on.  Time will continue, with or without me.  My job is to appreciate each
moment I get to borrow from time eternal, and to, hopefully, improve someone else's moments.
 

Thank you to all of you who helped to teach me this past year.  Thank you to those souls
who improved our moments.
- Alicia
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Avalon's Army of Angels