October. It’s the most romantic month I know. Here’s why….
We are right in the middle of PinkTober—when our country wears pink bracelets, we watch NFL players make touchdowns in pink socks, and we practice “awareness” of breast cancer by eating yogurt in pink cups. And, it’s a nice gesture. But, What does awareness mean? Does it mean that we think about of the following facts:
– 1 in 8 U.S. Women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. (Think of Eight women…friends, family, coworkers….Statistically, one will develop breast cancer.)
– For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. (By the way, if you smoke or love someone who does, PLEASE stop or encourage them to stop. My lungs are FILLLED with tumors. Breathing is an absolute struggle, and I NEVER smoked.)
– Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in woman who are pregnant or have recently given birth. * In other words, Breast Cancer is killing women with young children.
This month is terribly hard for me. I appreciate the rah-rah pink culture. But, I can’t escape it. Every time I turn around, I am reminded of my reality: that I have breast cancer.
But, on a totally different note, for me, this is the month of romance. True, real, authentic, I Will Love You Forever romance.
In my 38 years, I’ve never experienced grand gestures of Hollywood scale romance. A room filled with candles. A bed covered in roses. In fact, my high school prom date accidentally burned my dress when he attempted to flick his cigarette out of the car window (Eww, and eww.)
My college boyfriend always wore a puffer jacket and called me “girl.” Like, “hey girl. You look hot, did you stop eating bagels? (Seriously.) And, no, I never stopped eating bagels. I’ll show you, college boyfriend! I just had EXTRA cream cheese! Ha!
But, my current (and forever) love interest is the most romantic person I know.
As I write this, he is sitting across the aisle from me on a crowded Southwest Airlines flight. He is sitting next to two gorgeous, significantly younger women. They are wide-eyed and in absolute love with my man: their daddy. He has packed their backpacks for a spontaneous. family trip. He slowly unpacks our two-year old’s bag. She claps and squeals her hands in jubilation, giggleing, “hooray, daddy!” Then, he pulls out a plush unicorn doll, a ziplock bag of Halloween sized Kit-kats, and a stack of activity books and markers—the magic, washable kind of markers that only appear on certain paper. Nice touch, daddy, nice!
See, THIS is my kind of romance. THIS is my kind of love. THIS gesture says, “I love our daughters and I’m showing you that I will guard them and love them with all of my heart and soul, whether you are one seat away from me, or dancing in Heaven.” He is just the best damn father I’ve ever seen. And, he’s not just doing this for me. He’s doing this because he loves these girls. Our crayons.
Caution: I am about to invite you into a very intimate, important moment of my life. You may think it is beautiful. You may think it’s cheesy. But, it’s ours. It’s our phrase; it’s our moment. So, please just listen.
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me use the hashtag “little crayons.” Well, that’s always been and inside-term for Will and me. One night, a few months after our wedding, Will and I were lying in bed. I turned toward my betrothed and said, “Will, I love you so much that I just want to melt into you.” I wasn’t being sexual or silly or sappy. I just felt like my soul was connected to his. The line where he ended and I began faded into one cloud of togetherness.
I whispered , “You know how every color in the world is unique? Well, I want you to melt into me. And, I want to melt into you. I want our love to create a color that the world has never seen. Something that only you, me, and God could create. Our own unique color…. Our own little crayon.”
Fast forward two years, we found ourselves sitting in a dimly lit hospital room in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was Christmas Day, and our first baby had just taken her first breath. The doctor handed me a tiny bundle of Christmas joy to me. I held her to my chest, she squirmed searching for my breast. Will leaned over to me, kissed my head and whispered, “Here she is, my love. The most beautiful color the world has ever seen. Our little crayon.”
Three years, a big career change, and lots of beautiful chaos later we welcomed a second little crayon. Our life would never be the same. We now had two beautiful healthy babies—a miracle in itself. They showed signs of similarity (their eyes, their smiles, etc.). But, they were unique—-each was an individual Heaven-sent color.
Over the years, I’ve watched our children grow. I have watched my husband grow. And, what I’ve experienced is nothing short of miraculous romance: Pure God-created love and affection. Loyalty. Laughter. Joy. And, what I’ve seen (to me) is far greater than a box of chocolates, a bended knew at the Eiffel Tower, or some grand piece of jewelry in a powder-blue box.
As I sit in my bed, living my last moments, I cannot help but to think of Will and romance. Cancer has been especially hard on me over the past months. But, my husband refuses to back down. He has been nothing short of a hero. As, I spend my nights coughing up blood, he sleeps with one eye open, ready to wipe my face. I often catch him watching YouTube videos on how to braid hair—Our daughters are in great hands. I recently learned that he subscribed to several Mom-blog newsletters. As I cry in disbelief that my end is approaching far faster than any doctor expected, he holds my face and gently asked me to take deep breaths.
He is the most romantic person I know.
Let me get one thing strait: I’m NOT afraid of dying. I have complete and total faith in God. And, I know that Jesus stands at the foot of my bed. I feel His peaceful presence. And, that is incomparable. I feel so safe.
But, I am sad. I’m sad to leave my crayons. I’m sad to leave the most amazing man I have ever met. And, I wish I could be here to experience the good and the shitty life moments. But, we don’t always get to choose.
I have a few more essays that I want to write. But, in the even that this is it, know what I am surrounded by so much love, romance, and peace.
God bless you, my friend. Look around at God’s beautiful paintings and celebrate that you get to be an important part of a masterpiece. YOU are a little crayon. Use your mark wisely.
Love and blessings, Veronica Waldrop