Sometimes, life isn’t fair. It’s not always sunshine and roses and beautiful things. Sometimes, it is dirty, messy, complicated, and downright terrible. But it is how you roll with life’s punches that really shape you as a person. And ultimately, what prepares you for your destiny.
I’ve talked before about my Aunt Joan – her fortitude, her zest for life, and her unending courage. She was an inspiration to everyone she met – building a lasting legacy – but when all was said and done, life wasn’t fair to her.
She served her country.
She was present – making time and effort to come here for Christmases, Easters, and more.
She wrote letters – so many letters – to let us know she was thinking of us.
She was a single mom who live in Indiana and worked hard to provide for her only son.
She was the definition of sacrifice – in all senses of the word – and even when she didn’t have the time or the money or the energy, she was enough.
I will never forget where I was when I heard she was sick – I was in my brother’s Crestwood house and I remember just feeling like everything was surreal.
And suddenly, life just seemed really unfair.
But she was strong and inspiring and full of life even as she faced the most unfairness that life had to offer.
In each turn that life threw at her, she was steadfast — that life wasn’t fair, but that life could still be really really wonderful amidst the difficulties.
She is kites on a windy Spring day. She is misshapen pancakes on a busted pan that just seem to hit the right spot. She’s the morning snuggles in front of the Christmas tree. She is the green and red socked reminder each holiday season.
And she is him.
The one who flies here just to make sure a piece of her celebrates a sister in her moment.
The one who is the family clown and has an instant bond with the family littles.
The one who sneaks special sweets and listens to boring conversations about five-year-old interests. He is the cologne in a pinch when dad is away for work, he is the mentor, the sunflower seed sharing, kid entertaining mister that we cannot live without. He is the one that five-year-old longs to hug “just one more time” as tears well up in his eyes during the airport drop-off.
The one who watches over the babies – because they understand just how precious they are to our future.
And the one who reminds us of just what it means to call someone family.
He is your greatest gift to us, AJ.
You are a reminder that sometimes things can be so unbelievably unfair, but that it can also be really really wonderful because of the legacy you leave behind.
Thank you for continuing to show us that.