...the oldest son carries the tag-name, "Rocket" on his sleeve like a top dollar tattoo. Armed with raw strength from his mother's side, a spiked dose of athleticism from his father's genes, and simply put, the boy can make things look easy.
My daughter brags of the same talents. An eight year old gymnast who shines in the classroom.
And while he struggles to keep up with his siblings on occasion, younger son leads the pack in my favorite pastimes...he's an insatiable book worm, and can sink a twenty foot jumper from anywhere on the court, despite a defender wheezing spittle upon his brow and screaming obscenities to thwart his concentration.
They spoil my wife and I with grade cards worthy of being framed under glass and hung above the mantle.
Following a lifetime of failed attempts, the countdown to my book's release is but weeks away. The fulfillment of a dream.
When I looked to the skies, regardless if met by a splash from the clouds, or plumes of frost, I saw the sun.
...and the world continued to spin, oblivious and unaware.
Then one day it happened. A routine maneuver on the balance beam, something she's incorporated down to the ease of retrieving the morning paper at the end of the drive...when a tremble ran its course along her spine. When vertigo caused for a moment, her eyes to roll back in their sockets. When my eight year old daughter lifted a bare foot no larger than a smart phone, lost her balance, and crashed to the floor.
The headaches began thereafter. Migraines rendering her incapable of lifting a spoon to her mouth.
A few weeks later, following a battery of tests, my wife and I watched, helpless, as our daughter was rolled under the incandescent lights and vibrating rumble of an MRI exam.
The platform was designed for an adult. Lying prone, under the embrace of a woolen blanket, her thin stature resembled that of a cocoon in a bathtub, trembling and hidden.
The procedure was routine for those in white coats. A numbing tale of distress for our family.
...and the waiting began. Scowling at the telephone, the thing just sitting there, taunting us in silence.
I looked up to the skies and felt the rain. Pellets of ice and lightning. Released from clouds shaped like gunships. Somber and indifferent.
...and I was angry at how the world continued to spin. Without hesitation. Remaining oblivious.
A day passed without word. And nearly another.
But then the call came, the results a blessing. Nothing to report. Hereditary migraines. We were offered a prescription. Informed to keep an eye on her. That she'd most likely be fine.
My wife cried. My daughter and I shared a laugh. And while the boys would never admit to it, I caught them each releasing a sigh.
...and now I look to the skies, feel the rain upon my cheek, the ice under my feet, and realize how quickly things can change.
Yet the world will not slow down, allowing us to catch up. She'll keep spinning, brutally unaware, oblivious to what may happen.
If lucky, we'll succeed. Perhaps we'll fail.
...but that's okay. We're built for this. Getting back up. Trying again. It's what we do. Who we are. And whether the rest of the world knows it or not...all's well again :)
Thanks for reading.